Bad Bangs, Mess Esque and other local indie artists we’re loving this fortnight

Bad Bangs, Mess Esque and other local indie artists we’re loving this fortnight

Bad Bangs - photo by Gracie Woodsford
Words by Tom Walters

Hello and welcome to our fortnightly indie artists column. Head here if you missed the previous instalment, featuring 30/70, Snowy Band and Parvyn.

Every fortnight, we round up the best new Melbourne/Naarm bands and artists making waves online, underground and on the airwaves.

For those looking to keep an ear to the ground with the best emerging acts, this column will have you covered every two weeks with Victoria’s finest.

This fortnight, we’ve been digging the new single from garage rockers Bad Bangs, the oddball pop of new Milk! Records signees Mess Esque, and the climate-inspired rhythms of duo OK EG.

Keep up with the latest music interviews, news and reviews here.

Bad Bangs

Garage rockers Bad Bangs announced their debut album Character Building back in May, and now we have another taste of what’s to come with second single ‘All In All’. A breezier tune compared with the swaggering lead single ‘Sweet Thing’, it is nonetheless a genuine earworm that makes us long for the electricity of their live shows. 

Echoing the wonderfully polished and highly melodic sounds of bands in the last garage rock revival, such as Dum Dum Girls and Best Coast, ‘All In All’ does a great job in generating more hype for what could be one of Melbourne’s indie albums of the year.

Character Building is out September 3 via Blossom Rot Records.

Mess Esque

A coming together of both Melbourne and Brisbane, Mess Esque is the brainchild of Helen Franzmann (Brisbane) and Mick Turner (Melbourne). Their debut self-titled album is due out in October via Milk! Records, and based on our impressions of the lead single ‘Take It Outside’, it’s going to be a corker. 

Franzmann has previously worked under her McKiso moniker for the past 12 years, while Turner has churned out a steady stream of instrumental records for the legendary US indie label Drag City. The kicker? The pair have never met, recording the record entirely remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

A true testament to the power of music during these trying times, ‘Take It Out’ presents the duo’s weird and wonderful vision brilliantly: clanging organs, rolling drums and Franzmann’s semi-hushed vocals all coming together in an oddly satisfying way; like an abstract watercolour being painted in real-time.

Mess Esque is out October 21 via Milk! Records


Recorded against the backdrop of the historic bushfires that rocked Australia in 2020, Intertidal Zone – the new record from electronic explorers OK EG – is deeply rooted in the rhythms and textures of the Australian landscape. 

The inaugural release for local party legends Wax’o Paradiso’s record label of the same name, Intertidal Zone is half an hour of melodic deep listening – extremely percussive and hypnotically meditative. ‘Intertidal Zone’ sounds like a soundscape from another planet entirely, while evoking distinctively Australian spaces – putting you in the shoes of experiencing solastalgia.

Recorded in collaboration with percussionist Phil Stroud, Intertidal Zone brilliantly grapples not only with the sheer beauty of the land we live on, but also the stark damage we’re doing to it as well.

Intertidal Zone is out now on Wax’o Paradiso Recordings.

Want more new music? Check out the latest instalment of our singles column.