BIGSOUND 2017: Your Guide To The Next Big Thing
Every September, the blinding lights of Brisvegas get even brighter as Australia’s entire music industry descends upon Fortitude Valley for a week of schmoozing, boozing and most importantly, showcasing the finest crop of upcoming musicians from Australia and New Zealand. BIGSOUND is a festival, a conference, and without a doubt one of the most important events for the Australian music industry with over 130 acts, speeches from industry heavyweights, workshops and showcases galore. BIGSOUND is the mecca for any music lover and your chance to discover the next big thing, up close and personal. Over the years, BIGSOUND has showcased the likes of Tash Sultana, Courtney Barnett, Gang of Youths, Tkay Maidza well before they blew up. Rumour has it, Flume played to a crowd of 20 people back in 2012, and just look at Harley Streten now. The guy is about to get a Manly wharf named after him and we suspect it all started with his BIGSOUND showcase.
BIGSOUND programmers filtered through 1070 applications to bring you 133 acts that are the creme de la creme of the thriving local music industry. We’re helping you navigate through the list by making that shortlist even tighter with our 12 favourite acts. Remember the names and brag to all your friends about listening to them “before they were cool” cause they are about to blow the f*ck up!
There is a very good reason Winston Surfshirt are one of the most talked about acts in the country right now. Their unique blend of soul, funk, hip-hop and enigmatic live shows have the critics and fans frothing at the mouth. In case you haven't herd of them, don’t sleep on Winston Surfshirt any longer. Their new track ‘Same Same’ already has Zane Lowe’s tick of approval and it’s only a matter of time before they take over the world.
ALEX THE AUSTRONAUT
Hailed as one of the “most important songwriters in Australia right now”, Alex the Astronaut is turning heads all over the world with her candid folk-influenced pop. The honest storytelling heard in her songs is reminiscent of Paul Kelly, Bob Dylan and Courtney Barnett, but rather than being derivative, she gives this genre new life. One of Australia’s brightest stars and a must see at BIGSOUND.
Melbourne duo ALTA have been dominating the local and international festival circuits with their impressive brand of left field pop electronica, with a blend of raw talent, a joyful music obsession and uncompromising hard work. Their latest offering ‘Fix It’ is making major waves and you’ll see why after just one listen.
Self described as “an experience. a feeling. the most sexually charged discothèque this side of the tropic of Capricorn”, and they’re not wrong. Total Giovanni will transport you to another era with sets that move from smooth boogie to heartbreak house. Known for their energetic live performances, make time for Total Giovanni’s poly-rhytmic jams.
October is 20-year-old NZ vocalist, producer and video artist who writes electronic pop music that drinks deeply from the rich histories of hardcore, industrial, new wave, and post-punk. She’s probably cooler than I’ll ever be and I’m OK with that. Her glossy, high powered pop punk is already drawing comparisons to Grimes, but she’s got more than enough individuality to make a name for herself.
Without being too controversial, Manu Crook$ is hands down the greatest emerging hip-hop talent in this country right now. One listen of his incredible debut EP ‘Mood Forever’ and it’s clear why. Manu Crook$ produces world class hip-hop and makes it sound effortless. He’s getting a ton of attention in the US and it’s only a matter of time before he blows the f*ck up!
With the release of just one song, Odette has managed to cut through the clutter of millions of songs that are released every day. Her debut single ‘Watch Me Read You’ is one of the most talked about songs in recent history and she’s dubbed the next big thing by anyone who’s anyone. Watch Me Read You’ is a lyrical wonderland and Odette is very much making her voice heard.
Representing Auckland in the best way possible, Yoko-Zuna is an act with talent to burn. Their live shows are nothing short of electric and they’re bringing their unique blend of electronic, progressive, hip-hop to light up Brisbane.
Childhood friends Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming parlayed their love of surfing, skating and rock and roll into the jangly fuzz-pop duo Hockey Dad. Their chemistry and friendship shines on every single track and it’s impossible not to be completely charmed by their coastal, easy going vibe. They’ve just wrapped up a headline tour of the US and signed with a Brooklyn indie label Kanine Records (Chairlift, Grizzly Bear, Surfer Blood) so it’s safe to say, Hockey Dad is a name you’re going to want to remember.
Haiku Hands, the elusive crew of artists whose influence can be felt across live performance, visual art and production have exploded onto the scene with their irresistibly danceable single ‘Not About You’. Unashamedly fun, Haiku Hands bring a tongue in cheek element to this year’s BIGSOUND.
In Arnhem Land they call Baker Boy the ‘fresh new prince' and after one listen of 'Cloud 9', you'll know why. The 20 year old singer, dancer and actor has rhythm, flow and an exciting sound we haven't heard in Oz hip-hop yet. His debut song ‘Cloud 9’ is equal parts catchy and ground breaking, and has already caught the ear of the OG tastemaker, Zane Lowe. If you have any other apprehensions, just give this song a go
Alex Knight AKA Brightness brings fuzzy guitars, pop melodies and a dose of nostalgia and longing on his debut album ‘Teething’. His lyrics are all too relatable and if you’re a fan of Dinosaur Jr or Elliot Smith, Brightness is a must in your life. He describes his music as “being lost, but not in a bad way. Being drunk, being panicked, being in the early stages of love, with this thing exploding beneath you”. We’ve all been there, don’t pretend you haven’t.
If you’re thirsty for more incredible local produce, give this a go:
- Andrea Gavrilovic