July in WA Music: SLUMBERJACK, Jaycee, Big Orange + more
As we recap a big month full of homegrown releases, new tracks by HAIRCARE and No Nomad also get a shout.
The West Australian music scene has well and truly been shining in a lane of its own and its time we shed some light on the talented artists, making their name in and around Perth. Take a look at a few artists we are loving at the moment that are creating sounds that are cleverly defining WA’s music scene.
SLUMBERJACK - Surrender
The second half of 2020 has already stacked up to be colossal for SLUMBERJACK. Unfortunately left unable to tour much of the music they released early on in the year - like their collaborative Black & Blue EP and a remix of G Flip's Killing My Time - the duo have been keeping busy over isolation by doubling down on their production prowess, exploring new sounds and pushing boundaries while they have the time to do so. However, at the mid-way point through July, they made a return: The WA Unlocked show, being West Australia's first major live music event post-isolation, enlisting SLUMBERJACK alongside Shockone and Crooked Colours.
If you thought that was going to be it, however, you're wrong. Amidst SLUMBERJACK's return to the live music market came news that they had also signed to Sweat It Out, releasing a new single - titled Surrender - towards the end of the month. It's a cinematic, slow-opening return from the duo that begins by centring itself around this vocal-led opening that after a minute or so, crescendos into a rushing explosion of glitchy bass and distorted melodies that feels like an evolution of their sound, rather than something that keeps them stagnant (which, considering the output they've shared in the past, wouldn't even have been a bad thing itself).
Jaycee - Got It All
In a time where music's latest stars are coming from all kinds of internet pockets, Perth's own Jaycee looks set to step it up. Over the last two years or so, the rapper has consistently captured our attention both in recording and on the live stage, with a never-ending string of singles - one a week at one stage last year - showing how the rapper has consistently skilled up and shaken things up. However, many would be familiar with Jaycee through his TikTok - the rapper seemingly teetering on the edge of an international rise thanks to a consistent output of viral remixes and edits that's captured national attention.
He's been following these remixes and edits up with music of his own, and Got It All is the next taste. It's also damn good, showing how Jaycee's ear for rhythm and melody have really picked up over the space of the last year - something you'd expect with such consistent releases - as he moulds together this percussive, afro-beat-type production with dancing vocals of his own that fit right alongside it, the end result being this danceable burst of wind-swept, sun-soaked excitement that really blurs the lines between his older work and a more well-rounded future.
Big Orange - Apocketlipstick
There's something really exciting about Big Orange, and throughout 2020 - despite everything going on - we've had the opportunity to see that begin to blossom. After a string of releases over the last few years, the band were hard at work recording their debut album before lockdown happened, and while things may have been delayed or moved around a little because of the uncertainty in the world, Big Orange still have plenty up their sleeve, and their expanding a little bit to bring their visions to life - bolder than ever before.
Their new single Apocketlipstick - their first for 2020 - arrives with news that Big Orange have added a new band member in the form of drummer Jamie Gallacher (Pat Chow, New Talk), with Apocketlipstick being as much of a celebration as it is a return to the limelight for a band on the come-up. Sound-wise, Apocketlipstick is a shimmering collection of tones that combine to give this kind-of hazy alt-pop sound, with frontman Daniel Davis leading the way above dancing keys that soon turn into something a little more fierce and commanding, with blues-y guitar breakdowns and pacing drums switching things up.
HAIRCARE - For Koji
Over the space of the last two years, HAIRCARE have turned into an extremely exciting addition to Perth's indie-rock realm, and in 2020, they're out to prove exactly why this is. With their first single for the year in On The Side, they gave us something slow-burning and subtle, moving into some softer, dreamy indie-pop tones for their first song of the year that in their second single, For Koji, lights up into something a little more pacing and lively, with the group also taking the opportunity to announce the release of their forthcoming debut EP HAIRXARE, scheduled for release September 9th.
For Koji is an upbeat moment of animation from HAIRCARE that really dives in on those more pop-friendly sounds the group have teased in the past; that liveliness maybe coming through the single's lyricism as they share an ode to Nintendo soundtrack composer Koji Kondo, who has worked across the Zelda and Mario soundtracks through his career. "The song deals with themes that I usually try and escape from via books and video games. It is essentially escapism at its finest." It's not too hard to find similarities between the fun energy of For Koji and a Mario soundtrack, and it's something that really shows HAIRCARE are on the way up.
No Nomad - Subterrain / Arctic Beauty Kiwi
With their 2019 EP Kayak, No Nomad were able to officially introduce themselves and many sides of their multi-faceted sound, with the opportunity of a debut EP giving the group the breathing room to approach more ideas than what they typically can through just one song. The end result, was a collection of five tracks that were about as diverse and wide-ranging as you can get, linking cliff faces of indie, pop, R&B, soul, jazz and so on; the linking point between all these sounds being how No Nomad could grapple with them, embrace them, and make them their own.
Just last week they shared their first material since then, with Subterrain / Arctic Beauty Kiwi being a chance for No Nomad to further push and evolve their sound, capturing the beauty of their past work and twisting it into slight new forms that watch them grow, rather than keep within the lane shown on their debut. It's brilliantly woozy and graceful, with an enchanting sway you'd expect from someone like Amy Winehouse moving amongst dancing brass sections and playful melodies.