Global Beat Australia: A nod to Brian Wilson, endless summer vibes, and firecracker punk

The Florets, Amyl and the Sniffers and Gabriella Cohen. Photos by Rick Douglas, Jamie Wdziekonski and Sara Yael.

KCRW’s Global Beat is a new series highlighting emerging artists from around the world. We’re kicking the series off with our friends in Australia by partnering with The Australian Music Alliance and the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap), a uniquely Australian organization designed to support Australian music on public radio.

KCRW DJ Raul Campos hosts along with Amrap Manager Andrew Khedoori for weekly Aussie artist spotlights. This week’s edition proves that summer can last forever if you hang with enough Australians. Vintage-tinged pop, a heat-hazed glow, and in-your-face punk are here to keep the good feelings flowing. Catch up on all the artists from the series (plus bonus tracks!) with our Global Beat: Australia playlist

Gabriella Cohen - “Frangelico Dreams

Brisbane's Gabriella Cohen draws inspiration from Brian Wilson for her dreamy pop. Photo by Sara Yael. 

There’s a California connection that shines through in Gabriella Cohen’s music. She wrote this song while reading Brian Wilson's memoir and she's unashamedly in love with all things vintage. I wouldn't be surprised if she writes all her songs wearing rose colored glasses. She wants to see the world in a dreamy fashion and live life that way, but this song is about the push and pull. 

It’s about all the corridors we go down in search of that dreamy life. It's another connection to Brian Wilson, really. All the highs and lows Gabriella Cohen took in from that memoir. The music is more joy-seeking, sunny-side-up pop, rather than being straight up joyous. This distinction is really where Gabriella Cohen appears to gather much of her substance. Based on “Frangelico Dreams,” I'm really keen to hear what will be her first new album in about three years.

The Florets - “ Paradise ” 

Melbourne band The Florets prepare for the Australian summer with laid back psychedelia.  Photo by Almo Troup.

Have you ever wanted to feel just a little fuzzier than normal? Take the edge off just a little? Well, I've got something that fits the bill for you. We've got a band called The Florets out of Melbourne. This song, “Paradise” comes from an album called Permanent Glow, which is a particularly apt title for them. It's got that heat-hazed kind of vibe that puts it slightly off kilter. 

You know that slightly warped pop space that it feels good to enter every now and then? And while this sound is one that you might be able to find anywhere in the world, we're really good here at making it super laid back and cruise-y. It’s the perfect pace for our summer, which we're heading into. So you've got a lot of syrupy melodies running through this one, and one sweet mood.

Amyl and The Sniffers - “Hertz

Amyl and The Sniffers are a Melbourne band fronted by Amy Taylor, the most in-your-face lead singer that Australia has seen in years. Photo by Jamie Wdziekonski.

A lot of people in Los Angeles may have already heard of this band because there's a huge buzz around them. They're from Melbourne, and they're led by an absolute pocket rocket in singer Amy Taylor. If you've ever seen this band live, and they have indeed played LA, you know that she just owns the stage when she takes it. She is the most in your face front person that we've had in Australian music for years. But this isn't just channeled aggression. There's also vulnerability mixed with her defiance and bravado. And it's often streaked through with a lot of humor. 

What you've got here is a banger, meat-and-potatoes template of pub rock meets punk attitude, but it’s as complex as it is fierce. You've got feminism, identity, and consumerism all in the one package... and it's no easy package at all. Amy Taylor says her energies are a currency, and in that respect she is one big spender. This song hurts. It sounds at first like someone hanging out for a weekend getaway, but tune in a little closer and amongst the rough and tumble of it all you'll hear a take on urban oppression that a lot of us know all too well, especially at the moment. On the band’s second album “Comfort To Me,” they just come out swinging even more on that modus operandi. There's just so much stomp and bomp going on. It's just so hard to refuse.





Raul Campos, Adam Burke