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Who sings that? We pick out four of the kickass female vocalists behind some of Australia’s biggest electronic releases

We’ve all been spoiled lately by some top shelf Aussie collaborations.

Nothing is sweeter than seeing two artists you dig get together for a project, and nothing beats getting a surprise onstage appearance from an awesome featured vocalist. Our music culture favours collabs, and you don’t have to search far and wide to find proof.

Examining all the collaborative projects our country has to offer wouldn’t fit in one article, so to narrow it down this will focus on the kickass ladies who have been enriching our electronic scene with their vocal and production talent.

Every one of these women have solo work behind their killer pipes, so if you enjoy the music they feature in, be sure to give their other work a listen.

kucka

Lately Australia has been spoiled by the talent of our female vocalists. Dynamite vocals enrich a song beyond measure, and these are the best women for the job.

The trend of featuring vocalists in electronica is by no means new. Aussie artist Sia was involved in some extremely high profile collaborations with international artists, and Flight Facilities and Flume have both pushed tracks that fit this bill to the top of the Aussie charts.

Flight Facilities hugely successful debut album Down To Earth had tracks featuring Owl Eyes, Emma Louise and even a short reprise sung by Kylie Minogue. This is a list of four artists, two of whom are inches away from the bigtime, and two whose promising careers are just getting started. In both cases, we’re checking out harmonious Aussie ladies on the upwards curve.

There’s listening aplenty ahead, so grab a pair of headphones and prepare to be serenaded.

Kučka

She’s showing up over and over again, a testament to her talents. Recently she appeared in Dro Carey’s bangin’ single Queensberry Rules. Two months after its release this track’s catchy, broody synths and dreamy vocals are still earning some serious radio time.

Kučka was also a part of arguably Australia’s most anticipated release this year, Flume’s Skin. Her track on the record, Smoke and Retribution saw her and Long Beach rapper Vince Staples sharing the mic. Going back slightly less than a year, you’ll also hear Kučka’s gorgeous vocals in Cosmos Midnight’s super-track Walk With Me.

Kučka’s combined listenership sits well into the millions because of these projects, but this huge user base has always been a few clicks away from over five years of equally impressive solo work. Fans of her vocals should start with Honey, an ethereal track from her 2015 album Unconditional. Her Soundcloud is also rich with curated remixes of her music for recommended further exploration.

Nicole Millar

A voice you’ve certainly heard, even if you didn’t register it. She’s the vocalist behind Peking Duk’s face-melting triple-platinum single High, aka number two on 2015’s Hottest 100.

A quiet achiever for most of her musical life, the singer-songwriter is now being booked all over the shop. She’s on the ticket for the upcoming Yours & Owls festival and rocked the socks off Splendour in the Grass last week. She also gained some massive publicity recently by supporting Australian teen-pop export Troye Sivan.

You’ve also heard Millar in Cosmos Midnight’s Phantasm and in the hefty Golden Features track Tell Me, but earlier this year she released an epic EP titled Tremble – a release which echoes Millar’s past EDM features while exploring her vocals more comprehensively than ever before. A definite recommendation, each track on the EP served to deepen her style, rather than forgo it.

Lastlings

The next name is one to watch out for in the future. Not strictly a solo act, Lastlings is an electronic Melbourne two-piece comprised of siblings Amy and Joshua Dowdle. Amy’s vocals are dream material – they shine over the admittedly fantastic arrangements cooked up by the pair. Showcasing her voice in this environment is already turning heads, the group has bookings coming out their ears. Notably, they supported Glass Animals on their Aussie tour this month.

Lastling’s first collab was with Melbourne producer North Elements on a track called Awake released about half a year ago. In the short period since then Amy also sung on Golden Vessel’s masterpiece debut EP Before Sleep. Never Know is the track, a pensive work of art that could relax the most highly-strung stress addict there is.

A month ago Lastlings released You, a single which resonates past, chilled-out collabs while packing some extra kick. The electronic arrangements are taken further from the chillwave territory in this one, with some punchier synths and slightly more aggressive, pervasive percussion than ever previous tracks.

Woodes

Golden Vessel is a common denominator between Lastlings and our next artist, who also provided vocals in that gorgeous EP. Woodes is the next stylish songstress out of Melbourne who goes by Elle Graham offstage. Echoing all of Melbourne’s fashionable, wintry sensibilities, Woodes leaves a trail of flair, grace and (probably) a few broken hearts wherever she saunters.

Vines was the Golden Vessel track she collaborated on, another tranquil, downtempo piece from Before Sleep. Her most played collab was with Townsville producer Atticus Beats on a single called Decisions. The single’s online play stretches far into the hundreds of thousands on multiple platforms and boasts several remixes, PACES’ being a particularly tasty take on the track.

Woodes proved she’s at home as a featuring vocalist in the release of a full-length EP almost a year ago in collaboration with Melbourne producer Elkkle. The vocals in Woodes x Elkkle are – of course – stunning but credit must be given to the drawn-back arrangement, minimal stylings which reeks of James Blake and other world class minimalists.

Woodes x Elkkle is as good a place to start as any in investigating the young artist’s show reel, it certainly shows off Graham’s vocals in full capacity. She has also recently released a single, The Thaw which edges away from electronica only slightly. Subtle drum machine lines remain underneath soaring vocals, but the stylish silences pervading her and Elkkle’s EP is now occupied by a band feel – piano, bass guitar and a beachy guitar present a beautiful solo track by this promising artist.

Her single The Thaw is still less than a month old, and grabbing plays in the thousands. Jump on it before the rest of the world does.

This list isn’t complete – many others are killing it with musical features all over the country right now. Some are established, and some are emerging, but all of them are undoubtedly bringing some positive vibes to our electronic world right now.

Let the trend continue. Keep an eye and, more importantly, a keen ear out for new collabs. They’re popping up more and more with stunning, unfaltering quality. Lastly, remember – behind each of these magnificent musical teams is often a bank of solo work just waiting to be uncovered by listeners with the tiniest morsel of initiative.  

While you’re here, check out our list of Aussie girl drummers who pound their kits like beasts.

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August 2, 2016

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