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Underground Playlists: New Music From Up-And-Comers KARLOU, Princess Unit, Oscar The Wild & More

18 July 2023 | 8:32 pm | Ellie Robinson

Underground Playlists are back and better than ever, thanks to the legends at Mountain Goat Beer. We’ve even decided to pick out five of our favourites each week, so you can get to know the best of the bunch and keep your finger on the pulse.

Underground Artists 18/07/23

Underground Artists 18/07/23 (Source: Supplied)

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Oscar The Wild – Unafraid (SA)

These eclectic indie-rockers ended a two-year hiatus in March with the release of Pinch Me Please, a brisk and buoyant, punk-infused anthem that balanced nascent rawness with ultra-crisp production – a formidable argument in favour of Oscar The Wild leaping from local scene stalwarts (the four-piece are based in Kaurna/Adelaide) to national heroes. Unafraid only bolsters that argument, channelling contemporaries like The Beths and Alex Lahey with its soaring melodies and wildly catchy hook.

“The lyrics in the first verse of Unafraid is a mantra I use to calm my existential anxiety,” frontwoman Ruby Gazzola said of the song in a statement. “I figured if I put a melody to it, I am far more likely to remember it. Eventually it turned into a song, with the final part sounding completely different to the majority, which reflects the truth; I am actually really afraid. But sometimes you have to trick yourself into thinking you’re fine, and then if that doesn’t work, seek support and let them see you cry.”

Princess Unit – Stallion (NSW)

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Princess Unit have existed for less than six months, but they’ve already well and truly cemented themselves as a post-punk powerhouse in Eora/Sydney and Tharawal/Wollongong (the latter of which being where they’re based). Stallion is their first recording, which is wild to think – bounding along with its buoyant percussion, sticky riffs and synths, and a chorus primed for passionate singalongs, it’s the kind of should-be anthem we’d expect from bands at least a decade into their tenures.

The group themselves have described it as “a stomping dance-punk tune about sapphic yearning, longing to change, and the desire to be saved”.

Elianie – Out Of Luck (WA)

Citing the likes of Lizzy McAlpine, BENEE and Claire Rosinkraz as her influences, Elianie wields a warm indie-pop sound primed for club shows that sprawl into the early hours of the morning… Not that she’s able to play any, being just 15 years old. But this Boorloo/Perth up-and-comer is no amateur – her songs are tightly written, masterfully performed and sharply produced, and her latest, Out Of Luck, shines with hazy synths and a simple, yet impactful beat.

It’s her second track for the year, following Hit And Miss (which took home a WAM Song Of The Year award just last month), and only her fourth overall (having dropped Moonlight and Stop Signs last February and September, respectively). We can’t wait to see what else Elianie has up her sleeves.

Emily Victoria – Memorise (VIC)

It was just last November that Naarm/Melbourne songstress Emily Victoria debuted with the trippy and transcendent, gothic-tinged Humming Heart. This follow-up track embodies much of the same spirit – warm, warbling synth leads, understated percussion and dreamy vocals that flow like silk over the mix – but leans more on dynamic guitars and an extra dose of emotional intensity. Victoria herself has cited a handful of tracks as influences on Memorise, including Unfinished Sympathy by Massive AttackHolding On by AcopiaWBWU by Purient and Love Spirals Downwards by City Moon

In a statement, Victoria noted that Memorise touches on themes of “time passing and the seasons changing”. She explained: “As we move forward , memories are distant…how consistent are visions of an event that occurred many years ago? What images are we reflecting on? And it’s also about nature following a cyclic progression. My intention was to compose a song that resembled a cycle structurally.

“There are no defined sections, the verse unfolds into the chorus and then the chorus concludes sooner than anticipated and the beginning of the idea surfaces again (round and round). Like a clock. Every time the cycle recommences, new paths are explored thus new lyrics, instrumental layers and additions surface. Like memories, culminating in new layers of thought, connections made, ideas appear.”

KARLOU – STMF (Sorry To My Friends) [QLD]

After building her world with a string of standalone singles in 2020 and 2021, KARLOU planted the seeds for her debut EP, STMF (Sorry To My Friends) in May of last year, bursting out the gates with the queer pop anthem Bitter. Further singles 7 Years and Bed Arrest (which respectively arrived last October and back in April of this year) threw us even further down KARLOU’s rabbithole, adding a wealth of colour and character to her musical palette – but it’s the EP’s title track that really has us stunned.

It’s a gripping tale of self-destruction as KARLOU reckons with her demons, candidly addressing her friends and apologising for her tendency to dip out on them. But this is no dour ballad or angsty punk jam, instead flipping the melancholic theme on its head with catchy and cool indie-pop flavours.

You can listen to all of our Underground Playlists here.
And submit your own tracks for consideration