Perth’s Most Underrated Musicians

Here are the West Coast musicians you probably haven’t heard of who are killing it.

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13 February 2016, 11:13pm

Ermine Coat. Courtesy of the artist

JD Future Legends & Noisey present THE NEXT ON TOUR series of summer gigs. Hitting six metro and regional cities around the nation, THE NEXT ON TOUR will showcase some of Australia’s rising musical talent.

The tour hits Fremantle at Mojo’s on Thursday 25th February when Melbourne’s Baro teams up with locals Evanda and Chiseko for a big night of hot hip hop. Every show is free but you need to RSVP now!

Crossing the Nullabor to the most isolated city in the world, Perth seems like a stark decision when you're not from the West Coast. Unlike what I've heard about the Melbourne and Sydney music scenes, which appear to be highly competitive, Perth's music scene is an all-encompassing, genre-crossing,and supportive community. The beauty of this is that there are no real set parameters of what you need to sound like to get a gig in town—it just needs to sound good.So, what are some of the better acts you may not have on your player?

One of Perth's most magnificent bands has to be Mental Powers—an essential act to catch live if you can. Unfortunately their last release was a while ago with LP Pro Bono back in 2012, and they don't really play anymore because one of the members now lives down south. I think their last show was at the 2013 or 2014 Camp Doogs.I can't remember 'cause it was Camp Doogs. It's too hard to pocket their sound but I'd say it's some of most diverse, captivating, and somehow danceable music you'll find performed live.

Two of the members from Mental Powers, Deni and Tim, started a project together during the Mental Powers days but it's only now starting to surface to open ears and can be found hidden away in RTRFM's new music playlists. The project called Long Body folds itself neatly between piano-leading soft house with opener "On A Big Trip" through to constructed ambience like the track “Endless Going”. Luckily their debut EP Hi Vibe is coming out in March this year on Perth label Good Company (a label that's previous two releases have consisted of Hugo Gerani and Phil Stroudall; absolute Perth essentials).

Flying further under the production radar is Bahasa Malay, aka Nora Karailieva, a Bulgarian-born artist who pivots between otherworldly pop and synthetic experimentation. Mid last year Bahasa released her debut album Balkans digitally and on limited run cassette through Pouring Dream. Unlike other musicians, Nora never seems to have down time. If you follow her on SoundCloud you'll notice an almost weekly upload of new ideas, reworks or covers. It's an aural journal sure to please.

Like Bahasa, a bunch of other exceptional acts have been released through Pouring Dream. The heaviest hitter, though, is Erasers. Maybe it’s someone you've come across before—but they're still underrated. When I was hanging in a record store the other day it was casually discussed how in a decade's time music nerds are going to discover their debut LP Stem Together that came out late last year and lose their minds. The duo's pairing sees synth layering, programmed suburban tribal rhythms, repetitious androgynous vocal lines, and the occasional mathematical guitar working—an exceptional and mesmerising act both live and on record.

Bahasa Malay. Courtesy of the artist

If we push ourselves further into the analogue state of affairs then Ermine Coat, aka Alex Griffin, is your go to lo-fi king. The dude doesn't even have enough ram on his laptop to make electronic music so it's all-legit 8-track recordings. If Perth had a Phil Elvrum, than Griffin is it slowly building confidence and carving colloquial lines that reflect hometown culture and the twenty- something state of affairs. Ermine's latest album Faulty Landscape comes out this month on his home CD-R label Workplace Safety. Until then though single "Rent Network" is just enough to bait to get you hooked.

It's hard not to mention Griffin without mentioning his other act, an act which has been driving crowds wild lately; Mining Tax. The band is a duo, with Griffin flailing well-versed national lyrics whilst Mitchell Henderson-Miller ramps the drum machine and a couple of synths. Check the AFL vibes here.

Diving deep and back to the ones and zeros of electronic music we find ourselves submerged with Tourist Kid, aka Rory Glacken, who is a young and curious dude that has pushed his production into an almost future orchestral composition. In late February Tourist Kid's EP A Circulation will be released digitally and on cassette by Melbourne label ThisThing, their first release for 2016. Be sure to check out This Thing's release of Atripat's Fibres whilst on their Bandcamp; another ripper Perth musician.

Tourist Kid. Courtesy of the artist

This article is presented in partnership with JD Future Legends.

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