The Vovos, Winter McQuinn and other indie artists we’re loving this fortnight

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The Vovos, Winter McQuinn and other indie artists we’re loving this fortnight

The Vovos (sourced from the band's Facebook page)
Words by Tom Walters

Hello and welcome to our new fortnightly indie artists column, solely championing emerging and underrepresented Victorian artists.

Every fortnight, we’re rounding up the best Victorian indie 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.

Catch up on the latest music interviews, news and reviews here.

The Vovos

“This song is a silly rant about how weird and small our capital city is,” say Melbourne five-piece The Vovos about ‘Compromise’ – a song that’s more of a love-hate ode to Canberra, “a big small town” as the chorus goes.

The Vovos are everything you want a lo-fi indie rock band to be: sharp, witty and sporting kick-ass hooks. ‘Compromise’ will have you yelling along from its first chorus: “Canberra/You make everyone frown/Canberra/Nobody likes you,” they sing, as if graffitied and dart-riddled posters of our country’s capital adorn their bedroom walls.

Like Vivian Girls or Dum Dum Girls before them, The Vovos share the charm of that mid-2000’s lo-fi indie rock scene without ever falling into pastiche or nostalgia: ‘Compromise’ sounds fresh and exciting, even if its message is as old as the city itself.

‘Compromise’ is out now via Roolette Records. Catch The Vovos at Max Watts on Friday April 16. Tix here

Winter McQuinn

Autumn might be in full swing, but Winter McQuinn is delivering the goods for Melbourne’s unseasonably warm weather with the first taste of his new album, A Rabble of Bees

McQuinn — who also plays in the psych-pop band Sunfruits — describes the songs on A Rabble of Bees as inspired by “Syd Barrett, Babe Rainbow, Pond and some acid burnout country,” which, if the first single ‘Agent Apple Orange’ is anything to go by, isn’t too far off the mark.

Like the recent Cool Sounds album, ‘Agent Apple Orange’ is a distinctly Melbourne take on the classic alt-country sound, funnelling McQuinn’s psych-pop experience through a hazy filter of ‘60s garage rock and the weirdo-pop of early Mac DeMarco

The fact that there’s also a track on the album called ‘George Harrison’s Crystal Ball’ tells you all that you need to know — that McQuinn is channelling the ‘60s and ‘70s classics; being on-the-nose with his references while putting a fresh lick of tie-dye psychedelia over it all.

‘Agent Apple Orange’ is out now. A Rabble of Bees drops Friday April 30 via Third Eye Stimuli Records.

Spiritual Mafia

Many of us can resonate with the need to get back to basics post-COVID, having prioritised and appreciated the little things in our day-to-day lives more. Alfresco, the debut album from punks Spiritual Mafia, does exactly that and gets back to raw, unpretentious punk basics. 

The band has been flying relatively under the radar, only playing a handful of shows a few years ago. But with the great Alfresco — which comes courtesy of Melbourne’s excellent Anti Fade Records — they come back rejuvenated and sounding like one of Australia’s best punk bands in ages.

It’s the album’s centrepiece — the sprawling nine-minute ‘Hybrid Dog’ — that really cements this. With a single hypnotic, looping riff; a primitive-yet-distinctly-post-punk vocal and a glorious lo-fi sheen, the song chugs along at its own pace, never wavering on its journey towards the abyss. 

Alfresco is a zen meditation for the disenfranchised — a grotty, stomping record that sounds like a hidden post-punk gem reissued from the ‘80s.

Alfresco is out now via Anti Fade Records.