5 Essential Newcastle Albums & EPs

Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Newcastle dance-punk ravers RAAVE TAPES recently released their debut, self-titled album.

After working through different line-up iterations settling on the duo of Joab Eastley and Lindsay O'Connell, the Novocastrian act teamed with producer Fletcher Matthews (Dear Seattle, Stumps, The Buoys) on 'RAAVE TAPES'.

"The most integral themes of the album revolve around the interpersonal relationships we have with the people around us, to the nearest and dearest, as well as those who've become distant and not so dear," Joab says.

"It's a pretty broad and universal overarching theme for sure, but it's one that heavily impacted our writing process. At its core, we were a few good friends locked in a room with no phone reception for long periods of time, and that encouraged plenty of D&Ms, late-night soul-searching and a level of introspection that pushed us in a more earnest and personal direction."

A band who've played shows with The Presets, Northeast Party House and Psychedelic Porn Crumpets as well as playing such festivals as Laneway, Groovin The Moo, and BIGSOUND, on 'RAAVE TAPES' the group feel fully reborn, and a lot of that stems from the work from producer and best friend Fletcher Matthews.

"Fletch works so bloody hard hey," Joab says. "We are so lucky to have him. He has been such an integral part of the RAAVE family for so long now that he has perfected the art of gently taking our hand and leading us in the right direction.

"He brought so many tools out of his kitbag with this record – different songwriting approaches when we hit a wall, suggestions of writing topics because he knows us both so well, or fresh ways to treat our instruments/ production when the tried and true wasn't cutting the mustard.

"All of this while still understanding and respecting the RAAVE TAPES project and grounding our decisions within those blurry, ever-changing boundaries.

"All of that said, Fletch's biggest impact was his unwavering quest to make sure the melodies are the best they can be. He pushed us so hard to juice every last drop out of those lead vocal lines especially.

"While we love playing around with fun sounds and production, these songs simply had to be anchored by strong top lines and we reckon that really comes through in the final product."

Here, RAAVE TAPES share five essential albums-EPs from other Novocastrian groups-artists.

1: Suburban Haze - 'Wilt'

As a bass girly, it's not too farfetched to say the first thing I tend to listen for is the bass tone in songs, and 'Overhang' has one of the best opening growls. I still think about this song a lot and this album has a pride of place in my record collection.

2: e4444e - 'THESE WAVES'

We watched this EP come together in real time, seeing Romy perform countless shows across Newcastle (from house parties to big stages). In a very guitar-driven scene, it was so refreshing to see someone have a unique take on it and be so ahead of its time – and 'Bluewalking' f...s.

3: teddie - 'Theodore'

The sweetest, little lowercase hug (with wit and charm to match) this entire EP encapsulates exactly who T is. We're currently brawling over which is our favourite and will be back to you COB ['Lightnight McQueen vs 'Wish That I Hated U'].

4: Holiday Basement - 'Long Islands'

This EP truly sounds like you're spending a long summer holiday locked inside a basement. It's the languid brass interwoven with lush keys and lazy drums that make 'Blue Skies' a standout track, but don't let that stop you on the first song.

5: Pals - 'In-between'

A list of Novocastrian essential albums/ EPs wouldn't be complete without some grinding, aggressive post-punk. We've gotten way too sweaty and screamed ourselves hoarse to every song on this album, but 'Drain' always hits home.

RAAVE TAPES take over Jams Karaoke (Newcastle) on 23 June including an after-party karaoke session hosted by the band. RAAVE TAPES then join The Gooch Palms and others at West Best Bloc Fest (Newcastle) on 6 October.

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