Every year, around September, industry folk and punters alike gather in Brisbane’s vibrant Fortitude Valley to wrap their ears around the exciting next generation of Australian music.
By day, Bigsound is in-depth panels and “meetings” (I say this very loosely), and by night, showcases and parties galore. The latter is where a specially curated selection of artists get to strut their stuff in-front of music heavyweights and, of course, just jam out for fans.
Spread across 18 stages, this year’s cream of the crop stands at 147 acts destined for big things. “Tomorrow’s superstars,” you could say. In honour of past Bigsound alumni – Gang of Youths, Flume, RUFUS and Tash Sultana, to name a few – we thought we’d compile a little list of acts already bursting at the seams, ready to break out in the next year. Here’s six Bigsound 2019 artists you’ll want to keep tabs on.
To put it simply, this Perth outfit are damn near impossible to watch without tapping your foot, nodding your head and having a weird cheeky grin slapped on your face the entire time. Key example: Spacey Jane’s latest track Good Grief is a slice of warm, suburban indie-rock, served with a melody that rolls for days. They execute it in style, gravitating around the stage and connecting with each other, but most importantly, they look like they’re having a bloody good time doing it. In only a matter of a few years, the charming four-piece has supported The Jungle Giants, Alex Lahey and British India, along with recently playing this year’s Splendour in the Grass. Sublime.
Cry Club is 100 per cent that band. All the glitz, glam and theatrics in the world, combined with a solid sense of self-assurance and purpose to their music. Rising up the ranks with their whirlwind debut Walk Away, the self-proclaimed “noisy two-piece queer pop band” lodged themselves as ones to watch with their furious, unabashed anthem DFTM – or Don’t Fucking Touch Me, for those playing at home. Cry Club take issues like non-consensual touching in public spaces, wrap them in rousing power-pop melodies, and present them to the world without a single sliver of shame. Their live performance is just as captivating, creating a safe space you can dance your heart out to and feel really, really good about it.
Surely this doesn’t come as a surprise. Tones And I has been one of the most hyped emerging artists this year, and for good reason. Her scandi-pop stylings and unique voice first hit a chord in February with the release of her debut single Johnny Run Away – a song that quickly achieved Gold ARIA status. Each single since has been equally as bright, fresh and completely addictive. Within months, Tones & I has developed a dedicated cult following that saw her have the biggest crowd for a Splendour in the Grass opener in… well, ever. And, on top of all this, her debut headline tour is totally sold out. Not too shabby for a Byron Bay busker, hey?
If you’re looking for grand bravado and overwrought pop-rock madness, then look no further. There’s a Sydney outfit breeding a whole new generation of new wave chaos, dripping in glam aesthetics, and they go by the name Johnny Hunter. As far as diversity goes, each single from this five-piece feels like another chapter of an 80s Hollywood tale: 1995 has the agitated urgency of a high-speed chase, Cult Classic takes a more brooding cinematic soundtrack route, and their 2019 offering Ashamed has an edgy, underground coolness running through its veins. Their stage presence is equally as dynamic, with each song acting like a call-to-arms for anyone within earshot. This is one act that commands attention wherever they go, and who are we to not give it to them.
With the voice of an angel and emotion that could flood a stadium, Fergus James is going to be one of the most memorable names to come out of this year’s Bigsound. It seems almost offensive that at 19 years old James is already giving us supremely polished tracks with soaring pop melodies, but the reality is this is an artist who puts so much care, consideration and heart into everything he does. Back To Life is a clear example of how a powerful hook and momentum-building production can create a wave of pop euphoria, which the singer-songwriter showcased not too long ago, as triple j Unearthed’s competition winner to open day two of Splendour In The Grass. Oh, and did I mention Fergus James supported Ed Sheeran?
Honestly, who could forget Fritz? The young gun makes music for the warmest parts of your soul, with a likeliness to other lo-fi pop stars Best Coast and ALVVAYS. There’s a purity and ease to everything Fritz does, which translates ever so nicely into her dream-pop world, as she takes to the stage with a charming bubbliness. Summer Holiday, her 2018 debut, is feverish and fizzes up like a sparkling new can of lemonade, while her latest ditty Jan 1 takes a hazy introspective look at how she plans to better herself in the new year. From slots at Groovin’ The Moo to SXSW, and having supported Ruby Fields, Tired Lion and Bleeding Knees Club, it’s clear Fritz is undeniably on the come-up.