We’re Rooting For These ARIA Nominees
From Julia Jacklin to King Stingray, you need to know about these Australian ARIA nominees
Yes, despite a year that has seen the release of hellish evidence showcasing the many structural problems that plague the Australian music landscape, the sector is still set to celebrate the creative achievements of more than a hundred nominated artists with the first live award ceremony since 2019.
Before the red carpet gets rolled out, here are some of our favourite artists in the running for an ARIA that you might have missed, and why we rate them.
Julia Jacklin Deserves The World For Her Beautiful Third Record
Since her debut album, Don’t Let The Kids Win, the Blue Mountains-born songwriter hasn’t put a foot wrong, carving a rich discography shaped by friends and collaborators like US indie-folk band Big Thief. Influences like Neil Young’s listless grunge classic, “On The Beach”, are also reflected in Jacklin’s work.
Bucking the cliche of the troubled third album, Jacklin’s latest record, Pre Pleasure, is an instant classic, a brilliant collection of modern musings on identity and love. This time, concepts forever close to Jacklin’s heart like family and place are amplified by new sonic textures. Drum machines and sweeping orchestral accompaniments elevate Jacklin’s signature emotional lyricism on tracks like “Lydia Wears A Cross”, which sees Jacklin carefully trace early childhood memories of ceremony.
Standout tracks like “I Was Neon” — where Jacklin reflects on her past with the luminous quality of a fluorescent exit sign — are only further proof of why Jacklin is eternally deserving of acclaim.
Julia Jacklin is in the running at tonight’s ARIAs for Best Solo Artist and Best Independent Release.
King Stingray Have Created The Most Exciting Debut Since Big Name, No Blankets
Hailing from Yirrkala in the Northern Territory (North East Arnhem land), King Stingray’s eponymous debut album has been highly anticipated to say the least.
And who wouldn’t get excited about a group comprised of relatives from renowned Australian band Yothu Yindi? Even without the widely publicised connection to ’80s First Nation’s rock trailblazers, King Stingray’s debut left audiences with smiles all round this year with a record that defies classification, leading the band to coin their own genre for the record: “Yolngu Surf-Rock”.
Across the album’s 10 tracks, King Stingray pay tribute to their First Nation community of Yirrkala with infectious celebration anthems like “Let’s Go”, featuring lyrics that seamlessly transition from English to lead singer Yirrŋa’s language of Yolŋu Matha.
The group are expected to really clean up this year, with a tithe of ARIA nominations including Album of the Year, Best Group, Best Rock Album, Breakthrough Artist – Release and Best Cover Art.
Thelma Plum Has Given Us A Loving Tribute To Brisbane With Meanjin
With a dizzying career trajectory that has seen Thelma Plum support Australian folk icon Paul Kelly at venues across the country, choosing to make her home city of Meanjin the muse behind her latest EP was a decision that paid off in spades for Plum.
With a quintessential style that combines acoustic instruments with snappy electronic high-hats, Plum’s mission to showcase Blak excellence — a crucial theme of her critically acclaimed album debut Better In Blak — has taken her back to her home city of Brisbane.
While Meanjin sees Plum at her most vulnerable, recounting personal stories of a childhood in public housing on ”Baby Blue Bicycle”, she is as confident as ever in the standout track “The Brown Snake”, co-opting the colloquial name for the Brisbane river as an anthem for self-love.
Thelma Plum has been nominated for Best Solo Artist, Best Pop Release, and Best Australian Live Act at the 2022 ARIA awards.
Genesis Owusu Are Still Smiling With No Teeth
It’s a pretty telling sign that not even the venerable Enmore Theatre auditorium floor wasn’t capable of surviving Genesis Owusu live, partially collapsing in the opening moments of the group’s performance earlier this year.
Led by enigmatic frontman Kofi Owusu-Ansah, Kofi and his all-star backing band – comprised of icons like Kirin J Callahan, Julian Sudek and more – are up for an ARIA this year, and it’s to be expected. Last year, the group simply annihilated the award ceremony, with the debut album Smiling With No Teeth taking out four awards for Album of the Year, Best Hip Hop Release, Best Independent Release and Best Cover Art to boot.
Since 2021, the group have continued to cement their reputation as Australia’s best live band with standout performances across the country, even managing to briefly dehumidify Splendour in the Grass this year with a red-hot performance.
Their formal release for this year, GTFO, confirms that Genesis Owusu show no signs of slowing down. A fan favourite at recent shows, the track was made complete with an accompanying video clip that follows Owusu-Ansah’s attempts to crush a wayward cockroach with a cricket bat, artfully dismantling an apartment adorned with religious imagery along the way.
Genesis Owusu are up for Best Australian Live Act, Best Independent Release, and Best Video at the 2022 ARIAs.