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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Clarke

Music - My Release Radar Highlights

Today, I want to talk about music generations and a little theory of mine. If we’re talking about pop/rock music, no decade since the 1970s in has been better than any other decade. There’s been garbage music since the dawn of time, and there have been killer songs in that era too.

The challenge is breaking out of your bubble and finding what is new that suits your ear. Fortunately, as much as Spotify irritates me, it does have the most amazing thing ever invented. The Release Radar.

As much as I detest how little artists get paid from streaming services, which is why I still buy physical when I can, the Release Radar is special. Spotify scans what you listen to, and every Friday it offers up some new releases it thinks you may like.


Spotify gives you what radio doesn’t. So if you can stop listening to woeful radio, and let’s face it, they all are you may have a chance to find something released last week that will 'Tickle Your Fancy' like Taste did in the mid-1970s when we had our own walking talking release radar by the name of Molly Meldrum.

I love my Friday mornings now.

I’ll be lucky if any of my songs in the triple j #hottest100 for 2023 get a run – Dune Rats maybe - partly because Triple J has decided it needs to chase ratings – getting rid of Richard Kingsmill is a disgrace and proves the ABC Australia has forgotten its charter – and play commercial music now, and partly because I am old now.

Girl with a Hawk blew me away with ‘Feel Me’ and was my top song for the year, yes, maybe recency bias, but I fell in love. And it has the word Hawk in there, so it has to be good!

Here are some of the other artists I discovered this year, some is new and fresh and others I have only just found. There were 368 songs this year that tempted me to save them in my 2023 playlist. The first song I grabbed was of course from The Hold Steady, but from there very few I knew.

There’s some punk, some straight-up rock, country and quirky pop. Here is some of what I listened to in addition to Girl With A Hawk.

Dusty Mush is from France and there is something familiar in something that is altogether different. Ditto The Darts. ‘Real Hippies are Cowboys’ by All Them Witches was from 2022, but it took me back to late Joe Strummer (think ‘Fantastic’ not ‘Rock The Casbah’)… Sunny War is unique. Forgotten Rebels, The Whiffs, Shmoo, Baits and LOSER performed well, all 3 new LOSER tracks making my list.

White Reaper has 271k followers, making it one of the biggest bands on my list, although I think Iggy Pop tops it out… great new album Every Loser. Spidergawd and Spacey Jane were there.

Obey Robots led me to She Makes War and Penfriend which is all just Laura Kidd, and she played with Rat from Ned's Atomic Dustbin who I loved in the 90s… now I just need to work out a cheaper way to get the physical to Australia… Jacquie James will be in London this year, so fingers crossed.

Speaking of people with famous collaborations, The Wild Things recorded with Pete Townshend, and I am a fan now. Please come to Australia soon!

“My girlfriend says I lack empathy/Thinks I'm a narcissist and I need gnarly therapy/I'm sober, not even amphetamines/The self-reflection makes my skin crawl like a centipede” says FIDLAR. Thanks for that.

How about some talented women rockers – The Linda Lindas, Yee Loi, Lambrini Girls, The Beaches, The Last Dinner Party, Picture Parlour, Thick, DOWNGIRL and Lolia. Or the very different Tomalia from Melbourne and Karen Dio from Bazil?

Favourite covers – Buddy Holly by Razor Braids, Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again by DUNE RATS and friends (make sure you listen it is unbelievably good), and Don’t You Want Me by Smoking Popes.

The smallest bands on my list – the Roebucks with 599 followers, Night Driving in Small Towns (523), Roach (366 monthly listeners), Read The Room (144 listeners), Sistamatic (429 Followes), The Evening Sons (393), The Rockefeller Frequency (439 listeners), Northern Hospitality (221 listeners), Maizie (139), Tay Temple (61 listeners), I See Orange (88 listeners), Pity Lips (934 listeners), Sister Madds (161 listeners), Raisalka (283 listeners), Sir Echo (528 listeners) and The Strays (100).

I know my music taste isn’t for everyone, but there is more to life than pompous, posturing and lecturing stars who can fill the MCG with music any clown with a computer could make. 500 people at the Northcote Theatre for The Smith Street Band, Press Club and Damaged Goods Club on the same night that 100,000 people made Ed Sheeren even richer by sooking his way through back catalogue – I was happy with where I was.

My best songs for 2023, in no order:

  • The Birdwatchers - The Hold Steady

  • Routine Pain - Spanish Love Songs

  • Feel Me - Girl With A Hawk

  • Keanu Reeves - Isla June

  • Split - Yada Yada

  • Is It Too Much to Ask? - Bridget Artman

  • Am I Silver - Skye & Owen

  • Not The Quiet Type - Obey Robots

  • Heaven Knows - The Wild Things

  • Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again - Dune Rats (An Aussie Classic Reworked)

  • Rock N Roll Heart - Lucinda Williams

  • Black Earth, WI - Ratboys

  • I Think Of Her - The Forgotten Rebels

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