2016 has been producing some strong music already from some of our favourite Australian artists while some new kids on the block have also been coming through strong and making their impact known with some solid debut albums. Over the past few months, we’ve been looking back at the year that was, 2015, sifting through some of our favourite albums and EP releases that may have slipped under the wider radar.
Falls – Omaha
Omaha is a near perfect debut. It’s the sound and voice of a band who have travelled the hard yards, found their strengths and put together a piece which articulates everything that has built them into the band they are today. A duo who know how to write a great song, the value of solid production – and aren’t afraid to make a song that’s both catchy and lyrically splendid. It’s something that few bands have balanced so well, and should make this album find a home with audiences all over the world. Omaha is, with no bias or exception, one of the strongest records of 2015.
Fanny Lumsden – Small Town Big Shot
Lumsden’s debut record represents everything fans had been seeing of this talented artist on live stages in the lead up; wildly entertaining and charming, Lumsden poured it all into the songs we hear on record all the while remaining effortlessly individual and memorable. Her music is accessible enough for any country/folk newcomer, though in some insatiable bass lines, melodies, banjo and pedal steel in particular, Lumsden and her band ooze the confidence of a group of players who are ultra comfortable in their genre and aren’t afraid of playing around with some elements of it in making some great music that is built to last.
Steve Smyth – Exits
This album was easily one of the most highly anticipated releases of 2015 for us and man, did it deliver. From Smyth’s signature smoky, enticingly emotional vocal work, through to that relentless guitar driven rock n roll beast that comes through on tunes like “Get On” – this album definitely makes the listener feel some type of way. Exits overwhelms, it envelops and it keeps you hooked in until the last notes of “Reeperbahn” play out. A well polished debut album that isn’t afraid to send a shiver or two down your spine.
Heath Cullen – Outsiders
Heath remains one of the country’s criminally underrated songwriters and performers; for this record, he linked up with Elvis Costello‘s band, The Imposters, to record Outsiders in two days out of Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne. The ambition and confidence behind a creative move such as this comes through on the album, easily one of the best releases from Cullen we’ve heard thus far. The music is demonstrative of a writer in a creatively thriving period of his career and the band (Steve Nieve, Davey Faragher and Pete Thomas) comes in not as any type of ‘guest feature’, but the perfect piece to complete the puzzle. The final result? A stunning and raw presentation of songs that give fans another look at Cullen’s engaging and vivid songwriting skills.
R.W. Grace – Love It Need It Miss It Want It
R.W. Grace may have had this EP double as an introductory piece as well as a long awaited result of a solid few years of touring with some of the country’s best, but for those of us who had been following this captivating young artist since she was producing music as Grace Woodroofe, Love It Need It Miss It Want It is a progression we were so impressed to see realised so well on record. An intensely introspective and beautiful sense of lyricism threads its way through the record effortlessly; this collection of songs is a window into a vibrant and incredibly textured creative mind and stuck with us long after its 2015 release.
Ainslie Wills – Oh The Gold
Ainslie’s 2015 EP Oh The Gold represented some intricate, melodic moments of pop greatness that has only gotten better with age. She branches out more on the foundations laid down on 2013’s You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine on this one – her vocal range stands out as one of the immediate highlights, “Drive” and “Sorry My Love” being two examples where Wills’ impressive register comes into play. Solid guitar work, great pop production and some smart arrangements positioned Oh The Gold as perhaps a good little inkling into what we can expect from Wills as she moves into new album territory and well, we’re excited to see what comes next.
Click here to see which artists have been included in Part Two of our retrospective!
Contributions by Sosefina Fuamoli