Sharky Beach, located between Coledale and Austinmer along the Illawarra’s Grand Pacific highway, known to the locals as Sharkies, is where we’ve been hanging for the past month as the most consistent sets with the Nor-Easters drift in on the spring tides. Seeing as the break has offered us up some slow-moving killers, we thought we would name vol.11 of the 2023 mixtape collection after where we’ve been spending most of our downtime in its grip.
For those who are new to the GPC mixtape series, we source the freshest tracks from Illawarra artists or those with links to the recording studios and venues along the Grand Pacific route to celebrate the musical counterculture that makes this stretch of the pacific southeast a global creative hot spot. We then share the mixtape with radio stations around the world that have cool underground sounds programming. Four tracks from the current mixtape have been picked up by BBC Radio 6 Music in the UK.
As always, here is the write-up (underneath the mixtape section) with links to the artist profiles so you can follow them, links to their gigs so you can see them live along the Grand Pacific route and links to wherever they want us to link so you can grab their tunes. They depend on your patronage so let’s get to it. To be in to win guest tickets to some of these shows just sign up to the newsletter in the footer to receive the giveaway info.
You don’t need to sign up for SoundCloud to listen, just press play if the music hasn’t already started. If you have a SoundCloud account you can follow us there and get all the archive in one place, as well as the ASSEMBLY series curated by Illawarra cool folk. Too damned easy.
Concrete Sea - Decent People. Another track from the new album from the northern villages answer to the Velvet Underground. Recorded at the Australian version of Muscle Shoals, Stranded Recording Studio in Bellambi, under the watchful guidance of production polymaths Cody and Bowen. It has been a year since the release of Hotel in Thirroul, our track of 2022, and we are still playing the album of these reluctant anti-heroes every week. Concreate Sea of one of the many bands on this month's mixtape playing the Thirroul Music Festival on 3rd December. Want to go to the festival? We've got two tickets to give away to our newsletter fam, so sign-up to be in with a chance to win. *
Death of Sound – Rosebank. We know nothing about Death of Sound other than she occasionally releases tracks when she feels like it and we always like them. We have out theories that this mild-mannered wunderkind is hiding in plain sight and everyone has no idea of her alter-ego. We have a Marvel comic heroine in mind.
Ocaen – You Go First Because Spiders. We have been badgering these guys to upload this track for weeks and our persistence has paid off. This summer thrash of bouncing pool rock is bound to be a festival favourite. The new single is great but the B side is brilliant. Get on it. Get down the front. Lose your shoes.
Cam Crest – Party Rocking (ft. TGAR). Kiama rapper Cam Crest launched his new single at Port Kembla’s The Servo last week and this slow-cruise lowrider track is a counterpoint to the huge wave of hard UK-Influenced garage/grime that is such a massive underground scene in the Illawarra lead by Womp Krew. This summer smoothy won’t blow your car speakers but blow blunt smoke out of the car window.
Y.O.G.A. (ft Jimmy The Kween) – Interstellar. Bringing a blend of Boney M and Ibiza we can see the beach beatboxes playing this all summer. We cannot help but grin when this plays and shoulder-boogie at the design desk. A real guilty pleasure.
Matt Brockman – Ring The Alarm. As we mentioned, Womp Krew are killing it at the moment, with every damned track, and Matt brings more of the flavour. This track is massive. We can see this going off in every great club in the UK. This track would bounce Fabric, The Warehouse Project and the new superclub, Drumsheds. We can’t wait for the NYE party announcement because it is going to be an epic culmination of all the bangers that they have collectively released this year.
Salarymen – Second Sight. When we first heard the intro of this new track, we thought it was War On Drugs. This is definitely going on high-rotation in the surf truck as it was made for summer explorations. “We can’t change the tide but we can make it fun” is our spring motto. We can’t get this track out of our heads. Total earworm. And what greater praise is there?
SL8erboy – Kiss My Reflection. We went down a music rabbit hole following a Wollongong based drummer and we came across a great band. Or as they like to say, ‘your mum’s favourite band’. This group of fellow travellers have their fingers in all sorts of creative pies so if you follow them, we are assured a whole new music universe will open up for you. One to watch and we really want to see them in the Illawarra soon.
Hot Apple – Changing. We featured the first of the new singles from their new album in last month’s mixtapes and this is the second from this crafted folk-pop that gives us all the ‘favourite Beatle’ vibes. We think their sound has been captured because the recording studio they used has loads of old desks and machines that brings that magic. Again, this was recording in Stranded Recording studios. We swear a documentary is going to be made about this studio in future decades. And you were there when all that alchemy happened. And guess what? They are gigging with Tex Crick, so you can really be there.
Lizzie Jack & The Beanstalks – Dumb Decisions. With an essences of 90s Britpop stalwarts, Louise Wener’s Sleeper, we heard this first on Lindsay McDougall’s show and podcast and have begged to have it made available for you folks. So show your appreciation for a Wollongong festival favourite and play as really loud as it is this year’s ‘Summer of 69’ up-tempo gratitude anthem for all.
Merci, Mercy – Silver Lining. Solid guitar-pop that we can see world class artists knocking on her door to record her tracks, just like Tove Lo. This could be brilliantly remixed as a sexed-up dance track. Still in her teens, this lilac mistress of the dancefloor, has her eye on the charts and is heading down the Grand Pacific from her Sydney base to play Changing Tides Festival in Kiama this December.
Chloe Dadd – It’s A Joke. Hailing from Kiama, Chloe has a ton of new tracks out and we chose this track for its global appeal. We can see all the local Swifties falling in swoon for their very own arena-sized chart-attacker.
Surely Shirley – Sailors Love Song. Drifting into a laidback staccato beat, this is the second track this year we have featured from this artist, who is playing at Thirroul’s Railway Hall in tandem with Velvet Trip and Lux Trevis.
Freyja Garbett (ft. RISSA, Lucy Clifford, Cat Hunter) – Hotline. This one was a definite ‘beg the artist’ to release this track for your listening pleasure. We choose this track as it features a different, more immediate style from her repertoire with a Lilly Allen feel that we thought would sit well in the flow of this mixtape. However, go check out all her tracks because she is a seriously talented musician. Hyper-connected to the nu-jazz and ambient electronica scene we uncovered Freya from one of our musical rabbit hole sessions with Wollongong Conservatorium and Austinmer’s music sage, Russell W (of The M1, Shinning Bird and more). Freyja is on tour with an event called Music From The Waves featuring Sandy Evans. It is landing on the shores of the Illawarra on Saturday 2nd December in Wollogong and we have a pair of tickets for the show. Sign-up to the newsletter to be in with a chance to win. *
Tex Crick – Barefoot Blues – Coledale nu-blues merchant and now US resident Tex Crick has sent a wave of excitement through the cool scene of the Illawarra with news of his latest tour reaching Australia. He generously released all a selection of his paywalled tracks of the new album so you guys could listen and then come check out the shows. We choose Barefoot Blues, as the track is taking off in the USA for this northern villages’ global ambassador of Australian lo-fi folk-core. We will be at the Bellambi show, and so will all the other music heads of the pacific southeast.
Velvet Trip – Electric Dreams. After we heard the Balearic monster that is Silly Boy we were hooked and we are stoked that local promoters Holy Pavlova have organised a new album gig alongside some our mixtapes alumni, Sure Shirley and Lux Trevis. Based in our neighbouring metroland city we welcome this psych-groove machine, that have managed to capture all our favourite guitarist in the vinyl canon from Nile Rodgers of Chic to Will Sergeant of Echo & The Bunnymen to the Beta Band offshoot The Aliens and the album Astronomy For Dogs (which is a GPC favourite) and making it totally their own. Remember when Pharrell and Daft Punk were the sound of the summer? This is the global south response with some serious Australian audio butter.
Elliott Road – What I’m Made Of. An album of all killers, no fillers. Based next door amongst our metro neighbours, we don’t understand why we haven’t seen them live yet because these guys are on fire. We’ve been listening to the album they generously uploaded for us to share with you folks all week and it is addictive.They are currently touring with Salarymen so it won't be long before we see them gig in the Illawarra.
Daley Road – Home Is Where The Art is – this ex-pat folktronica duo craft a folky blend of subtle textures, field recordings, lo-fi beats and their signature weaving of sax & vocals - mixed by musical mastermind Hayden Calnin. Daley Road is the brainchild of James Kelly (The Tipsy Scholars) and Hugo Lee (Icehouse) and are now based in Naarm/Melbourne. We found them just before they left the east coast scene to head south but we like to keep sharing what they do, as we would with any artists from the region. This is the new single, released on 24th October.
Scared of Sharks – Yuppie Land. ‘Who needs California, anyway’ is a slow punk treatise on the state of the world and the overconsumption of place, such as the overexploitation of hippy-surf destinations such as Byron Bay, ultimately to the detriment of what was once a cool sunset nirvana into an ‘expensive tourist trap as a metaphor for the western world’s decent into a culture of materialistic consumerism’. A cautionary tale about places losing their soul when profit-over-people takes place. The band originally hailing from Mogareeka on the far South Coast the guys slid up the Grand Pacific highway and are now based in the Illawarra. Their next gig is on 28th October at our favourite tinnie tyrannosaurs Seeker Brewing for Scared of Halloween Free mini fest. Then onto The Chippo, Sydney for 10th November.
Verna Bloom – It Just tasted Better. Newly discovered from our deep trawl for everything tagged Dharawal and Yuin on SoundCloud, Verna’s approach is an ‘Exploration of sonic soundscapes & electronic-based music, vocalisations and instrumental experimentation, responding to nature’. Here is hoping we hear more from her in the future.
Human Noise- Regulate. From our metro neighbours come Human Noise, who are recording with a south coast studio legend who produced this new track. Producer Blain Cunneen has featured before in our mixtapes and we are here to support studios as well as venues in this amazing musical ecosystem, so let’s hear it for the backroom folks that make the magic happen. Human Noise are bringing it to The Servo on the 19th November on their Magnolia tour, with a another new single out next week. This is the wired indie the NME magazine would purr over .
Fever Pitch - Cruel. One of many great tracks unleashing from this refined indie rock band that wouldn't sound out of place coming out of New York's Interpol's record label or Birmingham, UK's band Editors. Hugely listenable and an instant follow. We are guaranteed to lose them next year to all the European festivals. We missed their gig at La La La's because we were busy compiling this mixtape for you but you will see us down the front at the next one.
Satin Cali - Hold On. We feature Satin Cali regularly and they are on a festival season release spurt. Released on Friday 27th October, its so fresh we still need to take the wrapper off. This one transports us to those early 90s bands on LA's K-ROQ FM radio station and their renowned 'Weenie Roast' festival line-ups of Cracker, Beck and Grant Lee Buffalo. A slow build and then a big drop into a heavy emotive wall of sound. It will be epic to hear live. We now are pining for meatloaf from Canter's Deli on Melrose + Fairfax, where so many of those guitar bands played for their suppers on their famous Sunday evening acoustic nights, before they became ridiculously famous. Satin Cali are playing La La La's on the 2nd November and 19th November at the NorthGong Hotel. Sweet.
G.Gannon - Watch The World Go By. We love a mystery. These little one-hit wonders of disappearing acts really peak our interest. We hunt these people down and tell them we have heard their tracks to see if we can coax more tracks out of them. Maybe, just maybe this illusive Kiama skank-pop legend might, jusy might be on the cusp of releasing more soon. We are biding our time as we watch the world go by.
So, over 20 tracks and more than an hour of the freshest sounds emerging from the Illawarra, all thanks to the writers, bands, musicians, engineers, producers, tea makers, managers, label heads, promoters, venues, runners and other great folk that make these mixtapes happen.
By allowing us to bring this all together under these monthly playlists we get to truly appreciate how this stretch of the pacific southeast coastline is going toe-to-toe with some of the most well-respected musical regions in the world.
This month is AusMusic T-Shirt Day on 30th November, with all proceeds going to Support Act, the charity that aids music industry veterans in difficult times. We will be getting involved with our AMPED tee along with many of the bands we have covered over the previous year. 20% off all profits on the AMPED tee collection sold in November will be going to Support Act in December.
Stay salty and see you at some gigs or at Sharkies.
*ticket competition will be drawn randomly from newsletter subscribers on 27th November. One winner will receive two tickets for Thirroul Festival on Sunday 3rd December . One winner will receive two tickets for the Freyja Garbett show on Saturday 2nd November. No financial alternative is available.