The annual BIGSOUND festival and conference – sometimes referred to as the Aussie SXSW – is upon us this month. Over three days, industry professionals, musicians and media gather to forge new relationships, discuss the industry and hear the newest music our land has to offer. While we can’t wait to hear the conference keynote speakers (Tina Arena!), here are the names we’re looking out for on the various stages of Fortitude Valley over September 5-8.
Tasmanian Maddy Jane is coming at you with a mesmerisingly relatable, semi-spoken, Courtney Barnett vibe. She’s so cute and salt-of-the-earth that she did a rapt/panicked shout-out on instagram to sell her Catfish & the Bottlemen ticket two days before the Sydney show, after finding out she’d landed the support slot. She plays a bright red Fender Telecaster and rocks out smart, sunny tunes accompanied by her unabashed vocal charm; you have three chances to catch her at BIGSOUND on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Four years ago, pals Joe Agius and Jarrod Mahon recorded some jams in their Brisbane sharehouse. After they turned heads at Rough Trade Records, they added Aimon Clark and Gabe Webster and suddenly jettisoned off to Laneway, Splendour and the cockles of Aussie hearts. The Britpop revivalists’ debut Tremolow came out last month and Our Holly declared that their knack for melody made “each song easily a contender for a single, or best of the record.” They’re playing late slots on the evenings of Tuesday and Thursday.
In case you’ve forgotten how radiant the bones of a song can be, here comes Didirri; there’s an effortless, cursive quality to the young Melburnian’s winsome acoustic storytelling, which he promises to spread with his upcoming debut EP, due sometime soon. His excellent track Blind You is on the BIGSOUND site, but you should also get into the single Jude, which has the kind of simple, gut-pulling piano Johnny Cash loved in a ballad. Didirri is playing Tuesday night, Wednesday night and Wednesday afternoon.
You don’t get to support Kurt Vile or feature on Mick Harvey’s album without some talent in your guts; Jess Ribeiro’s 2015 album Kill It Yourself – produced by the afore-mentioned Bad Seed and full of the propulsive, dark and vivid musical narratives at which she excels – collected her some high profile fans, and all signs point to a new record turning up very soon indeed. She’s playing Tuesday lunchtime, Tuesday night, and on Wednesday afternoon at the Our Golden Friend party with Jade Imagine and RVG.
More to look out for
In addition to the four acts we’ve highlighted above, here are the others we’re keen beans to see: from the NT communities of Malinja and Kulumindini, the bucolic pop of Kardajala Kirridarra; Pool House Records signee and sweetly tristful alt-pop musician Jess Locke; super tight jangle-punk Brisbane five-piece WAAX; former hoteliers and current sweaty, true blue rockers West Thebarton; psych-jazz hip hoppers from Fremantle, Pow! Negro; serene soul-pop Brissie four-piece Cub Sport; the Mike Patton-channelling, hard rock rascals Osaka Punch; glowing soul-pop two-piece Nyck; stunningly tranquil lo-fi music man and I OH YOU signee Brightness; too emotive for her own good (and personal favourite of Jen Cloher’s) Laura Jean; indie alt-folkers and darlings of Melbourne Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird; super relatable country gal and Juicy Fruit thief Fanny Lumsden; Yolngu hip hop artist and astonishing rhythm twister Baker Boy; garage pop homegirls with good hair, big boots and dreamy ideas Body Type; and J Dilla-esque Sydney hip hop boyos Winston Surfshirt.