This week's must-listen singles: San Cisco, Alex Lahey, E^ST + more
All that, plus all-new Australian pop from Banoffee and Sarah Wolfe.
Every week, we're hammered with tonnes of new music from Australia and afar, so much so that at times, it feels a little overwhelming and you're not quite sure where to begin. Every week, we run down this week's must-listen singles and releases, this week featuring names like San Cisco, Alex Lahey, Banoffee and more. Check out Pilerats' homepage for more brilliant music and news, or subscribe to our Spotify Office Playlist for easy listening.
San Cisco - Reasons
It's wild to reflect on how much San Cisco have grown over the last decade, with the long-time Perth favourites blossoming from local cult-adored heavyweights in the west coast music world to bonafide international exports; their grace and charm growing with every record from their dancing break-out Golden Retriever right through to their Awkward EP, their self-titled debut album back in 2012, 2015's Gracetown and finally, 2017's The Water. Now, they're looking forward into the future, following up a string of singles since The Water with one that showcases exactly how far they've come over the years, even in the time since their last record.
In a lot of ways, Reasons may be amongst San Cisco's best work to-date. It's a slick, sun-soaked new tune that amplifies San Cisco's knack for crafting fun pop-friendly hooks, a skill that has kept with the band since day-dot. Dive deeper, however, and you'll find a track about opening up masqueraded underneath; frontman Jordi Davieson encouraging people to be vulnerable and open with the single: "We make mistakes all the time but we can heal these fractures in our relationships with communication and trust. The sentiment is not about dismissing the pain but more about sharing it."
Their new EP Flaws, featuring the track and their other recent single Skin, is out March 27.
Alex Lahey - Sucker For Punishment
2019 was a big year for Alex Lahey, both in Australia - where her debut album I Love You Like A Brother already established her as one of the country's best names in searing alt-pop - and internationally, pushed forward into the spotlight once again thanks to her second album The Best of Luck Club and, somewhat infamously, a Gerald Way-approved cover of My Chemical Romance's Welcome to the Black Parade that set the internet alight not just when it came out, but also when the emo-rockers announced their comeback a few months later.
In 2020, despite just sharing a second album and doing all the touring the comes with it, it's clear Alex Lahey isn't slowing down. Her new single Sucker For Punishment is a track that stands tall amongst The Best of Luck Club's highest of highlights; an explosive two-minutes-thirty of gritty punk-pop that launches from the get-go and doesn't quite let up until its final, heavily-layered climactic end. It's got tonnes of theatrics and energy in it that feels like is being properly fleshed out for the first time - it almost gives a Panic! At The Disco meets Rocky Horror energy - and we can't wait to see more.
E^ST - Fresh Out Of Love
Going into 2020, we already knew E^ST was one of the best names Australian pop has to offer. Over the past few years, she's consistently proved herself as someone on the cusp of Australia's pop future, whether it's in working with artists before they become the sensations they are today - enlisting Mallrat for 2016's Get Money! is a perfect example - or in her own, solo right, with EPs like her 2018 highlight Life Ain't Always Roses or the smattering of singles that have come since then: last year's TALK DEEP and FLIGHT PATH, plus assisting Kwame with his own single, Nobody.
This year is going to see E^ST step it up, however, with a full-length album - her debut, I'M DOING IT - arriving this June alongside a stack of tour dates that include the just-announced Groovin the Moo. Her latest track Fresh Out Of Love continues her streak of high-grade local pop that has lasted almost half a decade now, with a little more of a subtle approach to her pop sound that for the song's opening few moments, almost feels like E^ST championing the more ballad-adjacent side of the genre. It showcases her versatility and evolution as a musician and songwriter, and with a full-length album to come, it's only going to become bigger and better for E^ST.
Banoffee - Contagious
In the lead up to the release of her debut album Look At Us Now Dad this Friday (February 21st), Banoffee is proving that she's one of Australian pop's most adventurous and creative names. Across the last few months, Banoffee's output has been amongst the pop's most forward-thinking and experimental full-stop; the Empress Of-assisted Tennis Fan showcasing her craft in earworming catchiness, while tracks like Count On You - Banoffee's most recent single prior to Contagious - detail her experimentation and constant state of evolution, teaming up with musicians like SOPHIE in the process.
Contagious is a track that sits somewhere in between the two. Like Tennis Fan, it's a single that centres itself on Banoffee's remarkable topline and its ability to mould and adapt itself to whatever production it grabs; her vocal sitting undisturbed as it swells and falls amongst the track's constantly-changing production. At the same time, however, Count On You's creativeness seeps through its moving, sweeping production that at times, elevates itself to be just as experimental and left-field as the track before it - something that we're gonna see a lot more of on her forthcoming record.
Sarah Wolfe - U Think This Is A Game?
At the start of this year, Sarah Wolfe was one of the 20 musicians to make it onto our "ones to watch in 2020" list, a.k.a. a collection of artists that we think will not just define Australian music in the year ahead, but also the next generation and what it sounds and looks like - something the Sydney-based rising star is definitely going to be a part of. A large reason for that was thanks to her fantastic debut single Devil U Know, a tall-standing burst-out-the-gates of a debut single that was full of potential and promise: "too good of a song to say that Sarah Wolfe isn't going to be carrying Australian pop's rising scene on her shoulders in the year ahead," as we said.
Now, we know that she's no one-hit-wonder. U Think This Is A Game?, her second single, is just as fantastic and just as reassuring of her future in Australia's pop market, with another synth-driven production forming the underlay for a powerful vocal which punches just as hard the second time around. This time, however, it's a little more subtle and emotional, perhaps a side product of the single being influenced by go-to break-up anthems, as she explains: "After a few weeks, I was a bit done with my sad spiral, and made a playlist with only happy breakup tracks, which is what inspired U Think This Is A Game?"