Pilerats End Of Year Wrap: 17 Artists that Killed It in 2017

Pilerats End Of Year Wrap: 17 Artists that Killed It in 2017

From Confidence Man and Willaris. K to Ocean Grove and Ziggy Ramo, here are the artists which made 2017 their year.

Australia's music scene is rich with talent, and in 2017 we felt this more than ever before. Australian festival line-ups became more reliant on Australian (and New Zealand) drawcards than ever, and I would be placing some solid bets that this year's Hottest 100 will be dominated by Australians (and more than just Gang Of Youths). Our music industry has been over-run with Australian talent in 2017 (more-so than usual), and with names including Alex Lahey and Kllo starting to make moves overseas, we wouldn't be surprised to see more Australian music in the international eye than ever as we head into 2018. Here at Pilerats, we're always down for spotlighting Australian talent – those making waves and those yet to – which is why to wrap up our 2017, we've chosen to highlight some of the Australian acts which made 2017 their year, from the empowering sounds of Alex The Astronaut and Stella Donnelly to the rave-soundtracking sounds of Willaris. K and Confidence Man. There's a little bit of something for everyone here, so dive into the list below and keep an eye on these artists as they continue to run the country in 2018.



alex the astronaut

Over the past twelve months, Sydney's Alex The Astronaut has gone from a small, local New South Wales name to one of the most important songwriters in Australia, with her two EPs for 2017 – To Whom It May Concern and more recently, See You Soon – both making their mark in Australia's indie-pop world. More than just great music, the latter EP's leading single Not Worth Hiding is also one of the most empowering of the year, with the critical message of self-acceptance dedicated to "16-year-old Alex and for anyone who’s struggling to let you know that you’re absolutely perfect just the way you are." In a year full of challenges, Alex The Astronaut has helped so many Australians feel comfort in their true selves, something we are incredibly grateful for on behalf of those who have struggled in 2017.



baker boy

In 2017, Baker Boy has become one of Australia's most treasured names in homegrown hip-hop, and for a damn good reason too. Hailing from the north-eastern Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, Baker Boy is the first mainstream Australian rapper to rap in both English and his traditional indigenous language Yolngu Matha, bringing something unique and well over-due to the Australian music industry. On the incredibly slick lead single Cloud 9 (which features Kian on the chilled-out and blissful chorus), Baker Boy declares that he's "not coming down / you can't stop me", and considering the effort he's put into killing it in 2017, we wouldn't even think to disagree.



confidence man3

Confidence Man are perhaps the most cooked electronic act in the country at the moment, but their care-free attitude and party-starting ethos are too addictive to ignore. Although capturing our attention in 2016 with the anthemic Boyfriend (Repeat), in 2017 the Queensland ensemble built on this energy to become one of the Australian festival circuit's most desired artists – just check out the infamous video of them slaying their lead single at Splendour this year for evidence. This year, the group delivered two irresistible singles in Bubblegum and Better Sit Down Boy, both amplifying their ravey sound and smart songwriting to levels we hope to continue with their debut album release in 2018.



dear seattle ep2

Counting fans in Violent Soho's James Tiidswell (so much so that he signed them to his just-launched Domestic La La label as an inaugural signing with West Thebarton), Dear Seattle have proven themselves time and time again to be one of Australia's next big things in alt-rock, mirroring the energy and excitement of their label head and acts like The Smith Street Band in both recorded and live format. The Northern Beaches four-piece stole the spotlight in 2017 with their anthem-filled debut EP, with singles including The Meadows and Afterthought proving year highlights amongst the Australian rock world, and with their intense live shows selling out across the country, we have no doubts that Dear Seattle will continue to grow in the next twelve months.




Brisbane's Hatchie may have only released two singles this year, but when they're your first two and they're at the quality that Hatchie delivered with Try and Sure, you would be impressed too. The shoegaze-pop figurehead has sold out shows and graced festival stages across the country off the back of these two singles alone, with her indie-pop charm and spectacular, genre-merging songwriting proving unavoidable for much of the year. On Sure, the most recent of her two singles, this brilliant songwriting truly comes to light. The Brisbane name combines her inviting vocals with a stripped-back, acoustic instrumental that's packed with this dreamy vibe that you could easily hear rolling behind the end credits of a big budget rom-com. It's full of flavour and love, something we hope Hatchie continues to work with on her forthcoming releases in 2018.



kota banks

At the start of this year, you would've been excused for thinking that Kota Banks was going to sound like every other name on the Australian pop market right now. Although fantastically written and incredibly radio-friendly, past releases including Empty Streets and N.F.F.A just failed to separate her from the rest – something crucial with the amount of music thrown at us out of Australia every year. Then came Holiday and her signing to NLV Records. Produced by Swick, Holiday pushes the boundaries of pop music to create something both forward-thinking and desirable, with catchy vocals and bubbly melodies running rampant. With guests including Touch Sensitive working on her forthcoming 2018 EP, Kota Banks has the potential to push pop music to regions never before explored in Australia, and that is so damn exciting.



made in paris

In a genre dominated by overseas royalty, Sydney's Made In Paris is Australia's techno queen. Her 2017 has been astronomically large, with three EPs – SonorousLost Perception and Mass Movement – all proving their worth in the techno world to the point where in recent months, she's become one of Deadmau5's favourite producers (she even directly supported him at a recent Sydney sideshow this year). Her dark and gritty tech sound is unmatched in Australia, with pulsing basslines and lush synth melodies proving their worth on Made In Paris' productions every single time. Although not widely known outside of the dance music circle, Made In Paris has the potential to break-out commercially in Australia, which is an absolutely massive feat for a techno artist and 100% worth applauding.



miss blanks2

It's hard – if not impossible – to avoid being swept up by Miss Blanks' fiery music. The Brisbane hip-hop star has had an explosive 2017, with her sexually-charged lyricism and care-free flow winning us over on singles including Clap ClapFreq U and most recently, the Moonbase-produced Skinny Bitches, each as dynamic and energetic as the last. Her uplifting singles and interactive stage presence have seen her become highlights of festivals such as Meredith and Listen Out, and with similar artists in Cupcakke and Princess Nokia killing it overseas, it wouldn't surprise us at all to see Miss Blanks do the same in 2018 – she's literally too good for this country.




Since emerging two years ago, the Central Coast's Ninajirachi has become an Australian flag-flyer for innovative electronica and pop music. Her Freya Staer-featuring highlight Pure Luck holds strong 11 months after release, with bubbly synth melodies and snapping production giving Pure Luck's production this snapping edge to it which keeps you on your toes while Staer's vocals wash you over. With further collaborations with Yates (on Sweat It Out) and official remixes for the likes of Kilter, 2017 saw Ninajirachi break out of her shell as a songwriter, and we can't wait to see how she continues to grow in the year ahead.



ocean grove

Although they may have formed in 2010, 2017 saw Melbourne nu metal band Ocean Grove really make some moves with the release of their debut album The Rhapsody Tapes – a critically and commercially acclaimed affair which cemented the group as leaders of Australia's rising hard-rock revival. Through singles such as the Running Touch-featuring Thunderdome (Running Touch has played a significant part in the group since its formation), the Luke Holmes-led group have done nothing but impressed us in 2017 with their forward-thinking approach to rock, something the Australian scene needs a lot more of if it wishes to sustain itself in the years to come.



raave tapes

What RAAVE TAPES have done in just one year, many bands struggle to do in their whole careers. The Newcastle dance-punk three-piece have made a party out of 2017 with their incredibly successful single k bye, following up the single's release with a mammoth, nationwide Australian tour and even their own festival (they took over Newcastle institution The Argyle with names including FROYO, MEZKO and KWAME). The trio are one of the most fun and cheerful groups in our rock scene at the moment, so we're genuinely excited to see where they take us in the next calendar year.




At just 14, Sydney's Ruel has become one of the highlights of Australian music in 2017, with the young-gun and his producer, the GRAMMY-winning M-Phazes, accomplishing an incredible amount of things over a period of just a few months. After featuring on M-Phazes' Golden Years and solidifying his sound with the incredibly mature Don't Tell Me, Ruel already counts fans in names including Elton John and Khalid, the latter of which picking the chart-topper-in-the-making to directly support his limited, sold-out run of Australian shows this year. Keep an eye on this promising name as he builds on the hype created in 2017 to become one of 2018's most-loved acts.



stella donnelly

What's left to really be said about Stella Donnelly in 2017? We could list off the accolades she's accrued over the course of the year, so let's start with that: triple j Unearthed Artist Of The Year, inaugural BIGSOUND industry prize winner, Best Live Voice National Live Music Award winner, winner of 5 WAM Awards... There's probably a bunch more we're missing, but you get the picture. As equality came to the forefront of the Aus' music industry, Stella became a powerful new voice leading the charge. But really her rise to becoming one of this country's most celebrated artists is down to one thing and one thing only - pure talent. Her Thrush Metal EP from earlier in the year features some of the most fantastic, inspiring, heartbreaking and beautiful storytelling from any Australian artist in years - decades perhaps. Backed up with an engaging, charming-as-hell stage presence complete with awkward banter and the occasional stuff up has endeared Stella Donnelly to the hearts of this country, and we get the feeling she's only just getting started.




Often dubbed as the 'Flume of house music', New South Wales' Willaris. K has one of the most exciting futures ahead of him in electronic music – not just in Australia, but internationally. Hand-picked by the infamous Pete Tong as 'one to watch in 2018', the bringer of havoc destroyed 2017 with his synth-drenched, pulsing productions which somehow are both light and heavy at the same time. Whether it's his break-out debut Alchemy, the heaving Dour Nights, the piano-licked instrumental ballad River Song or his commanding remix of Exhibitionist's Hands, Willaris. K has proven time and time again that he is in control of Australia's electronic scene in the years to come, and we are so f'king excited to see what this entails.



winston surfshirt

Unknown at the start of this year, Winston Surfshirt have built themselves an indie-electronic empire in 2017, capturing Australia's attention with their long-winded yet fantastic debut album Sponge Cake. Their surfy, laid-back vibes have soundtracked much of our year (and will no doubt continue across the summer), with stand-out singles including Be About You and Ali D marking themselves as year highlights and Hottest 100 favourites. Their slick sound also caught the attention of names including Elton John and Beats 1 taste-maker Zane Lowe, who can potentially push the New South Wales ensemble into the international waters come 2018.




Initially getting love for her collaborational project with fellow 2017 break-out Elkkle, this year saw Melbourne's Woodes branch out to become her own star with an avalanche of incredible singles and collaborations. From the anthemic Run For It to the tender Dots (which she recently covered for a Pilerats Live Session that you can watch HERE) and collaborations with Set Mo, Woodes established herself as a multi-discipline juggernaut in 2017, bringing together the worlds of music, fashion and video in a way unmatched by anyone else in Australian music this year. In 2018, the singer-songwriter will release her upcoming EP and several other high-profile collaborations (she's been in the studio with names including Feki and Cosmo's Midnight for starters), so expect this musical takeover to continue into the next year.



ziggy ramo

Almost taking line honours alongside Stella Donnelly as WA's biggest breakout artist this year, Ziggy Ramo took a good introduction to Australian music in 2016 to a new level this year. With some explosive messages hidden amongst upbeat, feel-good hip hop and Kaytranada-esque beats courtesy of right hand man JCAL, Ziggy Ramo announced himself as a force to be reckoned with in Australian music this year. From a fantastic showing at BIGSOUND with his band "The Love", to playing some of the country's biggest festivals, social consciousness weighed heavily over every show. Without delving into preachiness, he educated crowds around the country towards the plight of Elijah Doughty and Indigenous Australia as a whole, in the process earning fans as far reaching as California hip hop queen Kehlani, and many many more in between.