And now, for the piece you’ve been awaiting with bated breath: the extended second edition of The Set List. While I slowly replace my social life with gigs, unironically substitute all normal conversations for “Dude, have you heard this new song? It’s such a tuuuuuuuuuune” and spend all my spare change on Spotify, I’m proud to share my latest symphonic discoveries with you. With my extensive* music knowledge, the completely accurate and not-at-all-bullshit descriptions below will likely make you at least the second-coolest member of your friendship group. (If, like me, your only friend is your dog, then you were already the second-coolest, and don’t need this guide. Stop reading now.)
Okay, let’s kick back and let the artists do the talking, shall we?
* Not to make you jealous, but I learnt piano for like a year in middle school.
If you love… Royal Blood
You’ll like… Polish Club
Boy oh boy, if you’re a fan of two-pieces that make a lot of noise, do I have the duo for you. Polish Club, the self-professed “sweatiest rock band in Sydney”, is like the Australian version of Royal Blood with a soul and blues twist. Novak and John-Henry, who make up the group, are simply unforgettable live. When I saw them at Falls Festival, they managed to smack out a mighty anthem of their own writing, followed by a mini Kendrick Lamar cover, sarcastic banter with the crowd, then an impressive Flume cover, all within the space of mere minutes.
Speaking of banter, their shenanigans off-stage are sure to elicit a reaction. Anyone craving a rocky, Christmassy Mariah Carey cover? Spicy replies to posts in the band’s own freakin’ Facebook fan group, maybe? Or perhaps you’re looking for a dreamy Savage Garden cover on an exclusive, red, heart-shaped vinyl? Their motto seems to be: Because why not?
Yes, I’ve spoken a lot about their covers, but it’s their originals that really shine. Their songs are polished (pardon the pun), infectious and damn loud. They happen to be supporting Royal Blood on their upcoming Australian tour, so if you’re lucky enough to have snagged a ticket, you’re in for a treat. What are you waiting for?
In a word: Kinetic
Favourite song: Come Party
(Honourable mention goes to their cover of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, which is a banger at any time of year.)
If you love… Sticky Fingers
You’ll like… Ocean Alley
Ocean Alley are here to fill the Sticky Fingers-shaped hole in your heart. “A wavy slice of clear, fresh groove that’ll make you want to melt”, reads a four-and-a-half star review on the band’s Triple J Unearthed profile page, and this couldn’t be closer to the truth. The band radiates Aussie-summer vibes; listening to them feels like lazing on the beach with a refreshingly sweet cocktail.
They’ve come a long way in recent years. Having supported the likes of Cat Empire, they made their way onto the stage of Falls Festival and quickly amassed a sizeable crowd. Their laid-back beats and rippling guitar are layered with no-fucks-given vocals. The songs are dreamy, but also incredibly tight.
For lazy afternoons or, perhaps, when you’re sitting back and reminiscing about days spent in the January sun, Sticky Fingers’ spiritual successor has your back. Unlike Sticky, though, let’s just hope Ocean Alley keep making the right kind of waves.
In a word: Groovy
Favourite song:The Comedown
If you love… Dune Rats/Violent Soho
You’ll like… WAAX
It’s 6pm on a Friday night with the boys and, as congratulations for cooking another batch of perfect snags, you reward yourself with another cold Victorian Bitter. At this point, your nickname is pretty much ‘Scott Green’, you wear your vintage 2016 Violent Soho tour tee with pride, and you’re desperately holding onto the last dregs of summer. But wait… it’s Week 4, shouldn’t you be focusing a little harder on getting those assignments in on time? “P’s get degrees”, you tell yourself, but at the rate you’re approaching this semester, will you even get above that fifty percent mark? What about that crummy facial hair you’ve been meaning to tidy up for weeks?
Enter WAAX. They may be “Just a couple of kids trying to make a crust”, but as summer bleeds into autumn, they’re everything you need to pull through the rest of the semester. The band’s punk vibes echo your much-loved Dunies and Soho. The raw intensity of lead singer Marie DeVita’s larynx will leave you nostalgic of the emo phase that you probably grew out of blissfully quickly.
More than this, though, WAAX are the honey to your white toast: saccharine, dynamic, but also somewhat contemplative. Their Wild and Weak EP delves deeper into some punk themes we all know and love, putting a microscope to our sometimes-psychotic “habitual mistakes”, apathy, loneliness and more.
A rough-around-the-edges, addictive group that hit you with a much-needed dose of self-awareness – that’s WAAX.
In a word: Intent
Favourite song: Same Same