Happy Mag's top 10 debut singles of 2018

Happy Mag’s top 10 debut singles of 2018

As the curtains of 2018 draw to a close, there’s no better time to sit back and take a look back the year that was. So far we’ve had two prime ministers – which by current standards is nothing too out of the ordinary – strawberries ready for needle-warfare, sandpaper wielding cricket players and thousands of school kids cranking up the heat on climate action.

On paper, it’s been a pretty bizarre year, but on the ground, in the gig room and on the airwaves, well, that’s another story.

Let’s take a moment to give a virtual pat on the back to some hot-off-the-press artists who have thrown their hat in the ring this year and made waves through a cracking first release.

In no particular order, here’s our pick for the top 10 debut singles of 2018.

annie hamilton fade dani hansen happy mag
Photo: Annie Hamilton by Dani Hansen

On paper, it’s been a pretty bizarre year, but the airwaves tell a different story. Here’s our pick for the top 10 debut singles of 2018.

Baked Beans – Slow

Shifting between the realms of garage psych and something a little more sinister, Slow showcases why Baked Beans are an obvious choice to saddle themselves up next to King Gizzard and The Wizard Lizard in the Flightless Records family.

Its sparse vocals, frantic organs and driving drums make this one of the year’s strongest debuts.

Eagle Eye Jones – Bad Omens

Rooted in blues but with tentacles in groove and funk, Eagle Eye Jones seamlessly sow their melodic prowess and their individual stylistic touches in Bad Omens. There’s a lot to look forward to from these young maestros.

Phantastic Ferniture – Fuckin’ n Rollin’

Fronted by the smooth and sombre Julia Jacklin, Phantastic Ferniture put their mark on 2018 in a huge way with their debut single Fuckin’ n Rollin.

Instantly charming, the unmistakeable lax vocals of Jacklin are supported by quirky guitar work and attests itself as one of those tunes that makes you feel all fuzzy inside.

Murray Darling – Leave Me This Way

A punky pub-rock ballad for the ages. Leave Me This Way is a fierce ode to all things that we love about Aussie rock and roll.

Unashamed in its delivery, Murray Darling’s raw and honest lyricism paired with his simple yet punchy chords cement this single one of this year’s true Aussie gems.

Annie Hamilton – Fade

Bold, raw and passionate are three words that come to mind after hearing Fade, the impressive and delicate debut from Sydney songwriter and designer Annie Hamilton.

For something that was partly recorded in a home studio, the quality of the track is seriously impressive, and we can’t wait to hear whatever else she has in the works.

Spit Chewy – Grunge Is My Religion

Spit Chewy throw back to the noughties with this beer spraying, big sounding release. Perfectly splicing pop and punk, Grunge Is My Religion is a tip of the hat to the American high school days we never had.

Carla Geneve – Greg’s Discount Chemist

Carla Geneve is one of the finest new songwriters to make her mark on Australia in 2018.  With little more than a single under her belt, Geneve was playing BIGSOUND and some of the country’s finest festivals.

Greg’s Discount Chemist was the kind of debut single that stops you dead, and we’re damn sure she’ll have the same effect as she continues into 2019.

murmurmur – Cable Car

From the offset, Cable Car evokes the drifting chamber of psych-nuanced sounds normally reserved for Australia’s West Coast.

Starting off soft and dreamy before escalating towards an undeniable wall of sound, murmurmur have expertly crafted a dynamic piece of sound that takes no prisoners on its interstellar journey.

Ultracrush – Swimming

Floating down iridescent rivers of nostalgia, Ultracrush have drawn upon a gorgeous channel of their heart with Swimming.

It’s the type of song that plays through your head while you sit in the back seat of a car with your head resting on the window, watching the passing landscape of a place you once called home. Simply beautiful.

Shogun & The Sheets – Hold On Kid

Earlier this year, the Australian DIY community mourned the disintegration of local staple Royal Headache. But such is the way of the Aussie punk band – in the words of Henry Rollins; “you kinda blink and you miss them”.

Then emerged Shogun & The Sheets, a new project from Royal Headache’s wayward frontman. Hold On Kid was their first mark on the world, a highly energised debut single which already has us hungry for more.


While you’re here, check out our Top 100 Songs of 2018.