Australian audiences really lap up new artists quickly. You’ve just got to look at the quick rise of Chet Faker, George Maple, Tkay Maidza, SAFIA and the like to know that we’re a bunch of music fans hungry for fresh meat. BIGSOUND serves up fresh meat like no one else - it's Australia's musical butcher of choice and this year there was plenty to choose from. As everyone runs madly around the valley looking for the next Flume, you can almost be assured that you’ll find something completely unexpected around the corner.
While electronica was the flavour of the moment at BIGSOUND last year, it seemed in 2015 there were a few other genres snatching its crown. Hip-hop acts ruled the entire second night of the showcases, demonstrating once again that our local hip-hop scene is the most diverse it's ever been. It ranged from the US influenced Gill Bates to the jazz-fused sounds of Baro. Then there was Melbourne foursome Rara who took cues from pop-tinged International hip-hop acts sounding like they were hungry for a number one and not afraid of choreographing a few dance moves along the way. On the other end of the hip-hop spectrum there was Koi Child who easily snatched the title for the best-received set of the week. They combined brass, mellow keys and energetic rap for a huge wall of sound that blew everybody away.
As per usual, the young guns were out in force blowing minds with sets way beyond their years. Brisbanite JOY. had everyone swooning with her insanely busy showcase while cln impressed with his singing - even though he told the crowd his manager was making him sing. These two are the ones you’d imagine to pull huge audiences at festivals next year - just like Tkay and SAFIA are doing at the moment.
With so much electronica and hip-hop at the moment, big voices often don’t get much of a look in but there were a few this year drawing plenty of attention. Ngaiire is a well-seasoned singer and her set, complete with backup singers, was so powerful that you could feel it from the back of the room. Her latest single Once is an absolute stunner, balancing future R&B with a booming, soulful vocal. The vocalist of washed-out jazz-hop duo Slum Sociable also has a beautiful set of pipes on him and those contributed to one of the most impressive sets of the week. He has the voice of an old soul and at large, their set combined vintage stylings with modern electronics.
Once again, BIGSOUND showed there’s plenty of reasons to be excited about new music. These are artists with sounds that don’t only translate to Australian audiences but are also picking up attention overseas. Don’t be surprised if some of these names are filling a tent at Splendour In The Grass and then hopping over the pond for Glastonbury or Lollapoalooza,. Every act has some kind of hype or buzz around them but if we had to give out just one gold star, it has to go to the masterful Koi Child - with a debut album on the way, these guys are going to be on the tip by early next year and their showcase proved exactly why - exciting, fresh and boundlessly energetic, just like good Aussie music should be.
- Words by the interns' Sam Murphy for Cool Accidents and sweet infographic by the interns' Queen B