Set List: Emerging Australian Artists

Selin Kaya writes on a number of young, emerging musicians around Australia, detailing what they mean to her, their styles, personalities, and more.


Kat Edwards – Hobart – Acoustic, Roots

Sounds like: Missy Higgins, Bon Iver,Vera Blue

I’d always found it difficult to unwind from the stresses of day-to-day life – usually just collapsing on my bed as soon as I got home. I tried meditation and yoga, but nothing seemed to work.  That was until I stumbled across Kat Edwards– an angelic singer-songwriter from Hobart, Tasmania – and have never felt more at peace since. Her velvety-smooth vocals, paired with the raw strumming of her acoustic guitar, has entered, and then broken, the hearts of many Tasmanians (including myself). Edward’s voice has not only touched the minds of locals, but also those in the greater music sphere. As Edwards uploaded her track, “Stranger in My Room” to Triple J’s Unearthed website in mid-2016, she amassed review upon review of incredible feedback. Triple J’s Veronica Milsom claimed it to be a, “…striking song. Quite spellbinding.”. Her songwriting is comparable to that of Australia’s best, Missy Higgins. Edwards’ honest and tender words invite the listener to delve into the world that she creates, allowing one to stay a little longer in that moment. Edwards brings into the Australian music scene something that I didn’t know it was missing – and that’s her remarkable candour – which is adorned with undertones of the blues throughout her 2017 EP, “Sunk”. If the future is to be filled with more of Edward’s mature and ethereal tracks, the Australian music scene is in good, gentle hands.


Wing Defence – Adelaide – Indie, Punk

Sounds like: Alex Lahey, Ruby Fields, Camp Cope

In my teens, I found that I adored songs that are personal yet unique, appreciating the art of storytelling and finding comfort in relatability. Adelaide’s “Wing Defence”, a two-part Indie/Punk duo encapsulate almost perfectly the teenage angst which many Australian women feel whilst growing up.  The Australian accent is now being incorporated by many Australian artists to their advantage, as Wing Defence’s combination of Australian wit and bittersweet guitar riffs is reminiscent of new-age Australian punk rocker, Alex Lahey. In an interview with Triple J Unearthed, Wing Defence claimed their influences largely surround the likes of Courtney Barnett, Alex Lahey, and Killing Heidi, most evident in their 2018 single release of “Listerine”. This does not however diminish their distinctive pop-punk sound and ability to draw the listener in – having a rocking time whilst doing so. Wing Defence became a Triple J featured artist on the week of 25thJune, which has allowed them to emerge from their local scene into the wider Australian audience. Listen out for Wing Defence coming to a city near you – they’ve got exciting touring plans in store for the latter half of 2018.


NLTR – Katherine – Hip Hop, Pop

Sounds like: Baker Boy, Drapht, Horrorshow

Nothing Like The Rest are an Indigenous duo from Katherine, Northern Territory, comprised of members MC and Kayoss. NLTR formed after a collaborative workshop with Indigenous Hip Hop Projects (IHHP). NLTR’s track “Make It Through ft. Zara” features an organic pop chorus mixed with free-flowing rhymes directly sourced from the roots of MC and Kayoss. The duo started developing their talents early and have since paved their way to small-town fame due to their success with IHHP. Soon after they formed, NLTR went on to win “NT Song of the Year – People’s Choice Award” in 2016. This win has led them to be featured on both Triple J Unearthed and Triple J radio stations, establishing a solid foundation for growth in the coming years. After listening to “Make It Through” I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, nodding in solidarity to their message of hope and endurance. If you’re into renowned Australian hip-hop artist Drapht, you’ll enjoy the flow of the bars which NLTR so effortlessly lay down.


Angie McMahon – Melbourne, Vic – Indie, Rock
Sounds like: Middle Kids, Paul Kelly, K.D Lang

When I first heard Melbourne solo artist Angie McMahon in late 2017, I was driving in my car as the sun began to set in my hometown. After a typically long day at my casual job, everything felt in its place – or at least McMahon’s first release, “Slow Mover”, made me feel like it was. “Slow Mover” scored McMahon the position of Unearthed Feature Artist, gaining millions of Spotify streams and multiple features on Australian music platforms. Her debut additionally came in at number 33 on Triple J’s Hottest 100, which was the icing on the cake for McMahon. Her deep, bold vocals matched tightly with her striking electric guitar chords delve into worlds of indignation and rejection. Her powerful early 2018 release of “Missing Me” has proven that her first release was no fluke. McMahon’s voice is so deep it is frequently mistaken for that of a man’s – this doesn’t bother her the slightest – as it is that androgynous tone which makes her stand out amongst the rest. Her mature voice, fierce guitar chords, and articulate songwriting that carries themes of love and loss are akin to Australian icon Paul Kelly. Although her voice is dissimilar to his, the two connect on a deeper lyrical level. In Australia there is just no one quite like her, as after extensive research I just haven’t been able to find an Australian female voice which is as prominent. McMahon’s talent has attracted the likes of Australia’s best, as with a new tour just announced and an additional one-off-show with Paul Kelly, Angus and Julia Stone, D.D Dumbo, and Alex Lahey, she’s paving a glistening path for young women alike.

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