Happy Mag’s picks for the best Australian albums and EPs of 2023

The dawn of a new year is upon us, which means it’s about time to take a look back on the year that was.

But instead of drafting new years resolutions that’ll undoubtedly go unfulfilled, we’re reflecting in a much more meaningful way; in the form of albums and EPs.

2023 saw the return of industry titans and the breakout of newborn stars, spanning post-punk masterpieces and sugary pop confections. 

Happy Mag's best Australian albums and EPs of 2023

While there’s much to be said about releases from international artists, this year’s batch of homegrown albums and EPs was just too good to resist.

Familiar favourites like DMA’s continued their reign with How Many Dreams?, while Troye Sivan had us all feeling the Rush with his third studio effort Something To Give Each Other.

Starry names like those appear all over Happy Mag’s picks for the best Australian albums and EPs of 2023. Feast your ears below.    

RVG — Brain Worms

Equal parts black comedy and existential dread, RVG’s third studio album Brain Worms is a testament to what the Melbourne band does best. While bound by a post-punk spirit, the ten-track album flits between jangly brightness and 80s new wave synths.

All of it is anchored by RVG’s penchant for absurdity, musing on life as a sea creature or the toils of human pain with wilful irreverence. Listen to RVG’s Brain Worms below. 

DMA’s — How Many Dreams?

DMA’s didn’t exactly have much to prove upon the release of their album How Many Dreams? in March. With three projects already to their name, the trio would be forgiven for resting on the laurels of their past success.

And yet, How Many Dreams? arrived with a splash, swinging big with ambitious rave rock and their most intriguing compositions to date.

With moments of big room house and ascendant choruses, How Many Dreams? Is the clearest distillation of DMA’s’ sound.  


South Summit — Tales Of The Yeti

The brevity of South Summit’s latest EP Tales Of The Yeti does little to confine the Perth’s bands diverse sonic palette.

Across just six tracks, South Summit outline an evolutionary step in their sound, from the surf rock ease that’s become their signature to more eclectic moments of reggae, indie-rock and alternative. Scale South Summit below.  

Ziggy Ramo — Sugar Coated Lies

‘Sugar Coated Lies,’ dropped on Invasion Day 2023, challenging listeners to think critically about Australia’s history. Released on January 26, a day with conflicting meanings, the artist emphasizes the need to confront uncomfortable truths rather than sugarcoat lies.

Award-winning musician, rapper Ziggy Ramo and producer delivered a powerful album exploring intergenerational trauma and the experiences of Australian South Sea Islanders.


Frenetic energy and fierce femme punk define DOWNGIRL’s fittingly titled debut MANIC.

While there’s much to be said about the Sydney band’s affinity for their craft — from thunderous rhythmic drums to frenzied and gritty guitars — MANIC is otherwise propelled by the sheer force of DOWNGIRL’s insatiable attitude.

Raspy vocals narrate the band’s most cohesive project yet, and MANIC accordingly does exactly what it says on the tin. 

Bayang — Antarctica

A shining figurehead for Australian hip-hop in 2023, Bayang’s debut mixtape Antarctica stays faithful to the genre’s roots while leaving room for softer flourishes.

Acrobatic bars and propulsive trap beats abound, but they’re never outshone by Bayang’s ear for grindcore, soul and dreamy electro ambience. “We disturb the peace,” the Sydney/Eora musician spits on CCTV, and with Antarctica as evidence, he’s done just that. 

Mo’Ju — Oro, Plata, Mata

Tackling capitalism, materialism and climate catastrophe, Mo’Ju’s ambitious album Oro, Plata, Mata remains conceptual and heady without sacrificing clarity.

The rapper’s lyricism is as tight as ever, documenting their reflections on modern life through the lens of Greek tragedies, all bound by their signature neo-soul concoctions.   

Cash Savage and the Last Drinks — So This Is Love

Love is the muse for Cash Savage and the Last Drinks’ fifth album So This Is Love, a thoughtful rumination on romantic commitment, mental health and belonging to communities.

Soaring guitars and brutal honesty provide the basis of Savage’s sonic whimsies, which flit between powerful and light with finesse.

There’s moments of soft synths and spoken word dialogue, all bound by the band’s conceptual quest to figure everything out. 

Troye Sivan — Something To Give Each Other

Perhaps no other Australian artist enjoyed quite the breakout moment like Troye Sivan.

Rush, the lead single from the pulsating and shimmery Something To Give Each Other, is the singer’s most successful track to date, and is emblematic of the album’s direction in both sound and substance.

The brisk and sultry record never overstays its welcome, and finds Sivan at his most blissfully unadulterated. For a while there, everyone couldn’t help but feel the Rush. 

Floodlights — Painting of My Time

While Floodlights sketched new, more orchestral shades of their sound on Painting of My Time, the Melbourne band’s lyrical focus remains squarely on Australian identity.

Spacious production and sparse instrumentation provide the tapestry for Floodlights’ post-punk, pub rock tendencies, pairing the intimacy of their songs with nuanced ruminations on justice, history and the very fabric of Australia. 

Didirri — Caught In The Act

Didirri fearlessly explores life’s complexities in this long-awaited debut album, ‘Caught In The Act.’ This soul-stirring journey delves into isolation, reconnection, and the nuances of human relationships.

Crafted during lockdowns in Australia and creative stints in London, Didirri collaborated with producer Rob Muinos, pushing the boundaries of his artistry to emerge as a raw and authentic new songwriter.

Radio Free Alice

Radio Free Alice unveiled one of the year’s most exciting releases—a 4-track compilation that encapsulates the culmination of their year-long efforts.

This compilation features a dynamic array of hook-laden, up-tempo post-punk singles such as ‘I Gotta (Fall In Love)’, ‘Look What You’ve Done’, ‘Paris Is Gone’, and their latest gem, ‘Waste Of Space’.

With this EP, Radio Free Alice firmly establishes themselves as one of Australia’s most exhilarating young bands, solidifying their status in the music scene.

Gena Rose Bruce — Lighting Up

Offering new renditions of tracks from her critically acclaimed debut, Lighting Up sees singer-songwriter Gena Rose Bruce push the boundaries of the songs that kickstarted her ascent.

The ethereal sounds of Budapest Art Orchestra help to colour new shades of Bruce’s palette, from moodier takes on Destroy Myself to uplifting tonic that is Wanted To Be Your Star.

Lightning Up is an exercise in evolution, and Bruce shows no signs of slowing down. 

Pacific Avenue — Flowers

Delivering quintessential Aussie indie rock with verve and feel-good energy, Pacific Avenue debut album Flowers launches what’s sure to be a breakout moment for the alt rockers.

From the polished crispness of Spin Me Like Your Records to electrifying rowdiness of City Lights, the band spans the reaches of staple indie rock with a penchant for sun-drenched guitars, slick harmonies and melancholic lyricism.  

Polaris — Fatalism

In what marks their heaviest effort yet, metalcore icons PolarisFatalism roars into focus with deeper riffs and more incisive storytelling.

Simmering synths and metal balladry often pull attention, but Polaris never lose sight of emo choruses and emotive instrumentation that defines them.

That the album dropped the same year as guitarist Ryan Siew’s tragic passing makes Fatalism all the more gripping.