Luude, T$oko, Demon Days + more: Covering a stacked week for Perth music
WA music has always shined, but with Australian music growing stronger and stronger every week, here's our chance to remind you of that.
It's been a busy week for Australian music in general recently, with a series of big names making high-profile returns in the last week or so - Flume and Tame Impala, of course, being among the most notable. As a result, we haven't really had the chance we've wanted to cover some of the best releases coming out of a more local level recently; a true shame, considering that over the past few days, the west-coast has been destroying it. Here are five releases arriving out of Perth in the past week or so that we missed that we really shouldn't have, each strong for their own reasons and each we think you should dive into as soon as possible.
Luude - Hurricane
Perth beat-maestro Luude is an artist we're well familiar with, whether it be his own, bass-leaning productions that warp and twist between trap and dubstep, or his new, just-launched house side-project CHOOMBA. His latest single however, Hurricane, really opens a new era for the producer/songwriter, teaming up with Norway's Great News for a single that's woozier and more low-key when compared to his past work, reducing his former electronic flair to just a backbone as he layers it with indie-leaning synth and more pop-centric mannerisms than ever before. There's a bit of a retro, mid-00s indie-pop vibe in there, something the producer says was brought on by "listening to lots of bands like Battles, Tame Impala, Holy Fuck and The Flaming Lips", which further deepens the sound, offering a different side to Luude we haven't really seen before; showing his versatility and range as a musician.
T$oko - Rudeboi
Another artist we've come to champion over the years, Perth rapper T$oko is a name seemingly going from strength to strength over the years, playing shows at BIGSOUND and Laneway Festival's Fremantle leg as the triple j Unearthed winner, while also working on his Tone Youth crew - a group offering some much-needed new life in the west-coast rap scene. His new single, Rudeboi, comes as the rapper follows up a quiet year release-wise with what has the potential to be his biggest year yet, teasing new sounds and influences as he plays with a more dancehall-inspired sound. On Rudeboi, T$oko layers this genre-varying dancehall/trap sound, bringing together clanging snare hits and thick bass with a firing synth melody that gives a hefty platform for T$oko to glide over; his vocal darting forward as the production warps and twists around him. "I pride myself in creating something different for the scene," he says on the single. "It’s okay to be different, just be who you are and elevate above it all."
Demon Days - Hands-Free
Demon Days are a band doing what very little others in Australia, let alone Perth, are doing at the moment. Their mix of R&B, soul, jazz, indie, electronica and pop has proved as hypnotic and mesmerising as it is genre-defying and versatile, with singles including Daria's Girl - which they beautifully stripped back for a Pilerats Live Session last year - introducing us to a band on the edge on a national breakout, and it's not hard to understand why. Their latest, Hands-Free, is Demon Days at their most open and honest, layering impactful vocals marked with vulnerability and importance over an intricate instrumental that shines with that versatile, Demon Days groove. "Hands-Free is my second inquiry into my identity as a feminist, this time looking at sexual assault via the perspective of survivors/victims who are men," says frontwoman Bella Nicholls on the song. "I realised in talking to my friends that there are so many similar stories of men assaulting other men, sometimes around activities like sports and music, as well as women sexually harassing men... This song is for all the ‘Andy’s that have felt too diminished to come forward with their trauma."
Superego - Burn
Formerly known as Fremantle boundary-pushers POW! Negro, Superego have emerged as an institutional band of kinds from within the Perth/WA alternative scene, consistently being held as one of the state's best - taking out awards, selling out shows across the country, and playing stages alongside Midnight Oil and Sampa The Great (just for starters). The group have been fairly quiet since their 2018 comeback single I Am The Judge, but in 2019, they're increasing their output levels once again, kicking it all off in a very different direction as they experiment and evolve with their new single, Burn. Rushing with a Death Grips-comparable force, Superego's latest is a maximalist punch of alt-R&B-jazz, spotlighting and fleshing out the experimentalism of their past releases and forcing it out in an over-sensory, three-minute explosion. There's a bigger release to come later this year, but in the meantime, catch them at Freo Social tomorrow.
Grievous Bodily Calm - Repel
Closing off this list is instrumental beat collective Grievous Bodily Calm, who after a tonne of hard work, finally delivered their long-awaited debut album Repel the other day. The mind-melting five-piece are one of Perth's most dynamic and cult-adored, with an entertaining and lively live show seeing them transform their genre-varying instrumentals into works of art fresh with life, something their debut album welcomes as it moves between different sounds and genres - from indie and jazz to sounds more R&B and soul-inspired. One thing that connects each sound Grievous attempt on their debut, however, is their multi-faceted approach to songwriting which sees each track deepen with layers as it continues, with lush melodies and subtle percussive rhythms combining as they showcase exactly what's made them such an incredible part of the Perth band scene.