Global Beat Australia: Lush, romantic pop meets anthemic calls to action

This week’s Global Beat features the Australian sounds of Joan & the Giants, Jack River, and Ruby Gill. Photo by Isabelle Haubrich, Dane Singleton and Taylor Ranston.

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 we’re treating you to big, romantic pop, and anthems that will make you feel like shouting from the rooftops. Catch up on all the artists from the series (plus bonus tracks!) with our Global Beat: Australia playlist

Joan & the Giants - “Advocate

Perth's Joan & the Giants have a big open pop sound and are unabashedly romantic and emotional in their feel. Photo by Isabelle Haubrich Photography. 

You already have a soft spot for artists from Perth because one Hector Morlet made a very big impression with his song “Picture Frame.” That one has been getting a lot of love on the KCRW airwaves ever since we heard it on Global Beat Australia. We also heard recently from Jack Davies. The scene is so vibrant in Western Australia, but it's also a little under the radar compared to the rest of the country. It's like a shining star hiding in plain sight. It's often really hard for West Australian acts to break out so I'm hoping that Joan and the Giants break the mold. They've been quietly releasing some fine singles over the last 12 months or so. Their singer is Grace Newton Wordsworth (not Joan). She's got a supreme voice, and a soaring elastic presence up front that allows this band to have a big open pop sound. It feels like they might have a few Japanese Breakfast records in their collection. They're unabashedly romantic and emotional in feel. I'm really drawn in by this song “Advocate,” and I'm looking forward to hearing more from them very soon.

Jack River - “ We Are The Youth ” 

Hailing from Mollymook in the South Coast of New South Wales, Holly Rankin is the force behind Jack River. Photo by Dane Singleton.

Jack River is known to her mum and dad as Holly Rankin. She's based on the south coast of New South Wales. She’s in a super town there called Mollymook, which was devastated by the summer bushfires of 2019 and 2020. And being part of that devastated community spurred her into action to use her platform to create conversations around issues that affect not only musicians, but all of us. So she's as active offstage as she is on stage. She makes representations to the government about ways for the music industry to go forward, and this new song from her “We Are The Youth,” is really all about representing. It's a straight up anthem for the majority of her audience.

Ruby Gill - “ You Should Do This for a Living

Born in Johannesburg South Africa, and now based in Melbourne, Ruby Gill is calm and resolute with undeniable power. Photo by Taylor Ranston.

This is one of the most stark and plain spoken pieces of music that we've had on Global Beat Australia. It comes from Ruby Gil, and it's called “You Should Do This For a Living. It's calm and resolute, but the force and power behind it is undeniable. There's nothing to read in between the lines here. It's about what getting into the music industry represents for a woman, and what a woman inevitably gets out of it in a male dominated industry - which often is not a lot. It represents a (greater) reckoning currently happening in Australian music.





Raul Campos, Adam Burke