5 artists from New South Wales that we’re digging right now

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we scour the depths of Australia and New Zealand to bring you some raw talent as part of our Needle in the Hay vinyl competition.

To celebrate, we’ve been bringing you our favourite artists from each state in the country as well as New Zealand. Next up is New South Wales.

When New South Wales’ capital city of Sydney got slapped with the highly controversial lockout laws in 2014, many thought it was all over for the city’s music scene. Some even still argue that the local scene is dead. The bands below beg to fucking differ. Music in this state is still thriving, and this list proves it.

We’re looking all over Australia and New Zealand, giving one artist the chance to press their single to vinyl. Here are 5 artists from New South Wales we’re digging.

Let’s kick things off with a bang, shall we…

Murray Darling

The brainchild of self-confessed underachiever BJ Smith, Murray Darling is a no-bullshit slice of straight talking Australian pub rock. With their incredible debut single Leave Me This Way receiving airplay on FBi Radio and triple j, Murray Darling are a Sydney band you’re gonna wanna keep a keen eye on.

They keep a pretty constant gigging schedule, so you’ll probably be catching them at your local pub before too long.

Party Dozen

Made up of saxophonist Kirsty Tickle and percussionist Jonathan Boulet, Party Dozen are an unapologetic assault of noise. Easily one of the most interesting and intense live bands currently making the rounds, the Sydney duo’s insane experimental music is based loosely around improvisation.

Catch them live at Bad Friday in Marrickville this March.

Johnny Hunter

Johnny Hunter once described themselves to me as ‘Happy Joy Division‘. This is pretty accurate, though the Sydney five-piece are also a whole lot more. With a repertoire of insanely infectious hooks and epic anthemic choruses, Johnny Hunter consistently deliver one of the most endearing live shows around.

A couple of the boys even operate their own record label, White Lodge Records, responsible for releasing music from SOOK, Mac The Knife, Shaun Oakley & The Boys, and Space Boys.


Belting out spacey, garage noise-pop with an incredible lo-fi charm, Fritz has already established herself as one of New South Wales’ favourite acts.

Hailing from Newcastle, Tilly Murphy and her band have already scored support slots for such names as The Belligerents and Bleeding Knees Club, with future shows including support slots for Ali Barter and Ruby Fields.

Viral Eyes

Masters of fuzzed out garage punk, Viral Eyes keep it simple with one guitar, one bass, and one drum kit. None of that fancy shit.

Except for their cross-dressing tambourinist, who the band describe as being what “glues the high energy together.”  Do yourselves a favour and catch these guys live. It’s an experience.


Needle In The Hay is a vinyl competition targeting the next generation of exciting musical talent across Australia. Find out all the details here.

See who won the first Needle in the Hay here.