Digging For Diamonds: This Month's Best Australian Releases

Digging For Diamonds: This Month's Best Australian Releases

We shake up our monthly playlist of under-rated gems and give it an Australian twist.

Over the past few months, our trusty contributor Harrison Kefford has been piecing together a column called Digging For Diamonds, where he highlights the most slept-on releases of the past month from both here and abroad. However, something we found was that every single month, the column would get more and more Australian as our locals really up their game. So, here we are, with a new-look Digging For Diamonds column that'll cover 10 or so of our favourite Australian releases from the past month that we couldn't quite find the time to cover on their own (because let's face it, to write up every track we come across that we love would take a small army of writers). Check out the first bunch, including Eilish Gilligan, Alex The Astronaut, ISLANDIS, HTMLflowers and a whole heap more below:

Eilish Gilligan - Creature Of Habit

After captivating our hearts with the brilliant The Feeling, Melbourne’s Eilish Gilligan has returned with an equally impressive new single, Creature Of Habit. It’s another restrained and subdued affair from the emerging musician, combining her soaring, highly-recognisable vocal prowess with an airy, synth-driven production that bridges the gap between indie and electronica. Between this and The Feeling - one of our favourite 50 tracks of the year thus far - Eilish Gilligan has been nothing but incredible so far in 2017, something which I’m 100% sure will continue as we progress into the final months of the year. - Hayden Davies

HTMLflowers - Chrome Halo feat. Banoffee

Melbourne’s HTMLflowers is more than your average Australian electronic musician. Diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, HTMLflowers - real name Grant Gronewold - was given a life expectancy of just 35 and ever since, he’s been battling the healthcare systems of the United States and Australia in trying to obtain reasonably affordable treatment. His forthcoming album Chrome Halo, which features names like Oscar Key Sung, Banoffee, Collarbones’ Marcus Whale and more, details his experiences with Cystic Fibrosis and his struggle to find treatment through fresh, hip-hop-infused electronica and touching lyrical work. Chrome Halo, the album’s Banoffee-featuring title track, is bold and expressive, with Banoffee and HTMLflowers sharing the vocal stage above a percussion-dominated, hip-hop-flavoured production which oozes with slick, laid-back vibes. - Hayden Davies

Chymes - Shade

Sydney electronic duo Chymes is a pairing we’ve shared on this site before, but we’re sure as hell going to feature them again. Shade is their latest track and their first since last month’s All Time Low, and it sees them really dig into their refined and stripped-back sound to unearth beauty. The comparisons to a raw and isolated Broods aren’t too farfetched, particularly on Shade, with frontwoman Kiersten Nyman sounding very Purity Ring-esque above a really minimalist, percussion-soaked production. - Hayden Davies

DIET. – Take Me

As summer starts to roll in, there’s no better time than now to dive into the jangly, sun-bleached world of Melbourne larrikins DIET. Their last song – an ode to the classic Australian pastime of streaking, appropriately named Clothes Off – set the tone for the boys’ carefree attitudes and knack for writing irresistible chorus hooks, which continues to flow through their latest single. Take Me is everything you could want from a blistering power-pop number: charging chords, tight synths and an undeniable sense of joy. It’s pretty easy to fall in love with these little bite-size pieces of DIET., so if you’re craving more, don’t miss them as they rock around the east coast supporting Polish Club this December. - Debbie Carr

imbi the girl – V.I.P.

You may want to sit down for this one friends because what I’m about to say may come as a shock to you - Australian hip hop is good. Very good actually. Those stigmatised days of bogan teenagers rapping in their bedrooms are long gone and have since been replaced by one of the most creative, politically aware and culturally diverse genres our nation has right now. Leading the pack is newcomer imbi the girl, whose latest track V.I.P. explores all those warm, idealising, lusting, sultry, almost obsessive feelings that come with being in love. The minimalistic production lays perfect groundwork for her thoughtful and completely spot on lyrics, while her delivery is nothing short of captivating. - Debbie Carr

Neighbourhood Youth – Lately

If cinematic choruses and deep vocals are your thing, then Neighbourhood Youth should be right up your alley. Lately comes to us as a rousing two minutes of solid indie-rock, framed with sharp, wire-thin guitars and a whole lot of heart. Frontman John Philip’s vocal chops are once again on show, giving the song that instant classic feel that Aussie listeners will feel accustomed to, while still carving out a strong signature sound for the Melbourne outfit. It’s also near-impossible to not be swept up in the sense of urgency driving Lately along. Mash all these elements together, and now Neighbourhood Youth have another feather to add to their cap, proving once again that they are one of the most consistently good acts coming out of our 10/10 country. - Debbie Carr

Alex The Astronaut – Not Worth Hiding

Alex the Astronaut should be no stranger to anyone who regularly hops on triple j Unearthed. The singer-songwriter (who also doubles as a space aficionado with wildly fun facts on her Facebook page FYI) made her stunning debut with Already Home - a graceful piece of storytelling that had us really wondering why there’s “billionaires for presidents and parking fines at hospitals.” Never one to shy away from taking an honest look at reality, Alex The Astronaut’s latest single is an ode to the LGBT+ community, and more broadly, anyone yearning to be themselves. Not Worth Hiding could not have come to us at a more appropriate time than right now in the middle of this confronting, unnecessary and highly unsettling plebiscite. The song details the artist’s own struggle coming to terms with her sexuality growing up and provides a few minutes of solace during a time where a lot of people are hurting and questioning whether they are enough. The answer is you are enough, with Not Worth Hiding reassuring “we all smile at different faces, we all blush at different names, and holding someone’s hand should never make you feel ashamed.” A simple formula of stripped back guitars and a beautiful string section may not seem like anything ground-breaking, but it’s Alex the Astronaut’s acceptance and encouragement that makes the song so important. - Debbie Carr

Ariela Jacobs – Dare You To Run

I was left stunned for four minutes and 30 seconds a month ago after discovering Ariela through the hauntingly beautiful Saving Grace and this month, the Melbourne singer/songwriter has left me in a similar state. It would be an injustice not to include her newest offering. An injustice not for the free promo, but because Jacobs’ new track Dare You To Run may just be her best yet. There are two features to Jacobs’ music that remain sure-fire certainties, and they are 1) the tone of her vocals and 2) the honesty that seeps through in her songwriting. Both features do a marvellous job at complementing each other in that they are the kind that would silence a room inducing you with goosebumps. Saving Grace did this and Dare You To Run is no different. Layered behind Jacobs’ impressive vocal is a beautiful piano piece, that delivers a real sense of fragile calmness on the song. Add to the combination that delicate guitar riff that comes in towards the back end of the song just after the two-minute mark and Dare You To Run is definitely yet another strong showing as to the Melbourne singer/songwriter, who has generated a massive amount of buzz recently. - Harrison Kefford

ISLANDIS – Your Lover

Even though Spring has well and truly arrived, it’s never too early to start preparing your tuneage for those hot summer days/nights. Heck, feel free to blast this in Spring too as it still fits the vibe, but ISLANDIS’ new song Your Lover sure as hell sounds like it would suit being blasted beach side. With indie-pop being one of the big buzz genres over the past 12-24 months, Sydney duo ISLANDIS are definitely pushing all the right buttons with Your Lover - just think of a combination of wavey synths, tropical beats, an incredibly infectious guitar riff and some smooth vocals. Although ISLANDIS draw inspiration from the likes of Scottish outfit Belle & Sebastian, it’s damn difficult to not draw a comparison to a certain big name local dance act *cough cough* RÜFÜS. - Harrison Kefford

Berlin Bar Hounds – Heights

For the second time this year I get to boast about the talents of former Jinja Safari drummer Jacob Borg’s solo project Berlin Bar Hounds. In May, I was all about the synth heavy Skeletons and this month Borg is well and truly back on my radar with Heights. Paging The Nationals' Matt Berninger, we think we have found your vocal doppelganger. From the delivery to the tone, it’s rather freaky Borg has all those mellow, nonchalant vocal qualities of The National frontman. If you listen closely though, Borg’s vocal isn’t the only thing that channels famed indie outfit. From the simple drum patterns/ loops to its shift from mellow to upbeat guitars, Heights will have you slapping yourself out thinking this is a song by The National. - Harrison Kefford

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