Australia isn’t necessarily the first place you think of when it comes to country music. Aside from Keith Urban, the antipodeans haven’t necessarily had many country music exports since the 60s, but over the years they’ve constantly nurtured their own homegrown scene. Queensland native Kasey Curwen – professionally known as Kasey-Michelle – really grabs a hold of the poppier end of the genre to provide the core sound for her debut EP ‘Young & Reckless’. It isn’t the work of a country purist but, that said, most of this release is still going to be far too country for those who come out in hives at the merest hint of a knee-high boot, and run for the desert plains screaming at the threat of a newer country music and it’s shiny pop fusions. Those who like a bit of a country influence, on the other hand, are likely to find at least two unpolished diamonds within this EP’s five songs.
This debut EP from Wesley Fuller is gloriously retro. Almost everything about it – from the 70s musical influences to the garish 80s artwork and Fuller’s own fashion sense – has at least one foot in the dirt of the past. The Aussie singer songwriter so loves retro synths and glam rock stomps, bubblegum choruses and power pop guitars and while his work rarely displays the kind of perfection you’d find from, say, Mike Viola or the vastly underrated David Myhr, ‘Melvista’ presents five tracks of guitar oriented pop that should appeal to those whom reach for Pezband and Off Broadway (USA) records on a semi-regular basis.
A progressive metal quartet from Adelaide, Sun of Gaia are a talented bunch. Rather than take the predictable prog-metal route of trying to recreate an hour’s worth of Dream Theater inspired anally retentive dullness pomposity, the tracks on their 2016 EP look farther afield for inspiration. The riffs are heavier than many prog metal bands for starters – more of a melodic death metal punch informs their sound, along with some hardcore – but that’s not all that sets them apart. In terms of taking such riffs and fusing them with the unexpected, this release is a real winner.
From Brisbane comes classic metal/stoner metal band Hobo Magic; a band deep into the sounds of early Sabbath and more than ready to shake their audience with a rather fierce bottom end. There are hundreds of bands out there churning out post-Kyuss riffage, of course…so many, in fact, that it’s easy for many of them to be overlooked, or indeed, lost in the noise. Fans of the style should make a special pilgrimage through the realms of the internet’s countless stoner bands to find Hobo Magic, for musically, they have something special that really sets them apart.
Rarely was a band more aptly named. It takes about three seconds before this second EP from Australia’s Skullcave sets about caving in listeners’ skulls. These guys not only know their way around an enormous riff, but also know how to make the simplest riffs sound truly frightening.