The Australian Alt-Pop Scene Is In Bloom And June Jones Is Making Her Mark
June Jones is one of the shining stars of Australia’s alt-pop scene. Her distinctive lyrics and perpetual sonic shapeshifting has made her most recent album another jewel in the crown of homegrown alt-pop.
For Jones, her third record as a solo-artist, Pop Music for Normal Women, is informed by her history as a confessional songwriter. As we chat over Zoom, Jones wears a crisp white hoodie and is unmistakably charming as she chats in equal parts candour and wit filled cynicism.
“I’ve been writing songs about my experiences and reflecting on emotions and realities that are difficult to process without the tool of songwriting,” she says earnestly.
“I’ve been doing that for a long time now, in very different styles and sounds and I just felt like I wanted to take that core and let the shell around it evolve into something new with a pop aesthetic.”
It’s an exciting time to be a lover of alt-pop in Australia, with artists like June Jones carving out a sound by flirting with the boundaries of candied tones fused with honesty and vulnerability.
You can hear this peppered through the whole record but it feels particularly apparent on the track ‘Hoodie Girl.’
Jones muses on what she dubs the two types of hoodie girls. The first is the mythic hoodie girl, this is someone Jones says she strives to be like.
“She’s someone that can just put on the most comfortable clothes and not give a fuck and just move through the world unbothered.”
Then there’s the other type of hoodie girl, who Jones describes as someone who isn’t served by the fashion industry, clothing trends, body or beauty standards.
“Even when we try and be like these fucking elevated fashion people, it’s like, well you don’t make clothes for us anyway, so fuck it. Maybe I will just become a hoodie girl. But then the tricky part is, can I get away with being a hoodie girl? Do I have the body that the hoodie girl needs? So it’s kind of this vicious cycle.”
Jones’ new album is a culmination of inspirations that has result in a collection of sounds that feel distinctly her own. When I ask her about the first album she ever loved, a smile comes to her face when I say the name: Avril Lavigne.
Jones takes me back to how Avril Lavigne’s seminal record Let Go became a core memory.
“Well let’s set scene, the year is 2000. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Two is released, me and my siblings get it on PlayStation. I play it so much that I overcome my inability to do any physical exercise and become a skater.”
“I have a friend who I skate with called Fraser, and one day in 2002 Fraser comes to me and says, “you’ve got to hear this song. It’s about us” and plays me ‘Sk8er Boi’ and I‘m like, oh my god, this is beautiful, I’m definitely a boy, and so I go and find the album and the thing I fell in love with was the emo songs.”
“I was so blown away by how it felt so real, you know? It felt so real and immediate like it demanded your attention. When she’s singing, ‘why should I care when you weren’t there and I was scared’ it’s like, oh my god, someone come get this woman is she ok?” Jones says with a smile.
It’s the sensation of emotional immediacy that is a thread running deep in Australian alt-pop music right now.
Artists who Jones admires like Geryon, Lonelyspeck, Donatachi and Banoffee are crafting alt-pop songs, that on the surface sound like a bottle of jubilation but on further excavation are lined with sincerity.
Despite many of these artists making music in different corners of the country, they’re collectively forging an exciting alt-pop sound. One that should be fostered and championed to ensure it continues to shine as bright as the music sounds.
Find tickets to June Jones’ national tour here
Issy Phillips is an Executive Producer for Junkee. Follow her on Twitter.