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The Beautiful Girls are an Australian roots music group founded in Sydney in 2001 by Mat McHugh, Clay MacDonald and Mitchell Connelly. They have released three extended plays, Morning Sun (2002), Goodtimes (2002) and The Weight of the World (2004); plus five studio albums, Learn Yourself (2003), We're Already Gone (2005), Ziggurats (2007), Spooks (2010), and Dancehall Days (2014). The latter four albums have all peaked into the top 20 on the ARIA Albums Chart. Spooks and "Dancehall Days" also debuted at No. 1 on the Australian Independent Chart and, No. 7&5 (respectively) on the American Billboard Reggae Albums Chart. Their single, "I Thought About You", reached No. 60 on the ARIA Singles Chart.

The Beautiful Girls
Mat McHugh.jpg
The man behind The Beautiful Girls, Mat McHugh,
Corner Hotel, Richmond, December 2007.
Background information
OriginSydney, New South Wales, Australia
GenresRoots, pop rock, alternative, reggae, dub
Years active2001 (2001)–2012, 2014-present
LabelsIndependent/MGM Distribution, San Dumo, Die!Boredom
  • Mat McHugh
  • Paulie Bromley
  • Paul Derricott

Songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist, Mat McHugh, has issued two solo albums, Seperatista! (2008) and Love Come Save Me (2012) as well as an EP, Go Don't Stop (2011).

Clay MacDonald fronts multiple bands, 'The Orange Bird', 'The Lung', 'The Guilty Conscience', 'The Oort Cloud' and 'Hungdonkey'. He also plays in fuzz rock group, 'Valley Floor'.

Mitchell Connelly has written and recorded under the name 'aliTTLErowBOAT'.

MacDonald and Connelly write and record instrumental hip-hop under the name 'The Undertones'. They also have an unnamed unreleased noise/rock EP under recorded under the band name, 'Salmon Facade'. The pair provided the rhythm section on Angus & Julia Stone's first two EP's and first two albums and toured extensively with the siblings from 2007 to 2009.

By 2014 The Beautiful Girls had toured the world multiple times – including Japan, Canada, Brazil and the United States – and their total album sales had reached 350,000.


In 2001 The Beautiful Girls formed in Sydney as a roots music group with Mitch Connelly on drums and percussion; Clay MacDonald on bass guitar, backing vocals and Mat McHugh on lead vocals and guitar. Previously McHugh had travelled to New York to pursue a music career, he returned to Sydney to record some demos where he founded the band.[1] McHugh choose the name to counter the "macho posturing and the associated tough-guy band names. And a beautiful girl was just about the sweetest, most appropriate opposite I could think of".[2] In March 2002 The Beautiful Girls issued their debut eight-track extended play, Morning Sun on a self-funded independent label, which was distributed by MGM Distribution.[3] The track "Periscopes" received airplay on national radio station, Triple J.[1][4] McHugh explained why they chose not to sign with any major label, "It's the way we've always been as a band and the way I've always wanted to do things. I like artists and musicians who I get the vibe of where they’re coming from and an understanding of what kinda person they are. For me it's just a way of conversing back and forth with people".[4] In November 2002, a second EP, Goodtimes, was issued with five tracks.

On 22 September 2003, the group released their debut studio album, Learn Yourself, which was co-produced by McHugh with Ian Pritchett.[5][6] United States pop-rocker, Mason Jennings, provided lead vocals on a track, "Freedom (Part 2)", and former Soul Asylum drummer, Ian Mussington, provided percussion on two tracks.[5]

In 2004 The Beautiful Girls toured Japan, Canada and the US.[7] In January 2005, they released a four-track EP, Weight of the World, where the title track was a "rollicking, dance hall tune, featuring, wails of melodica and a tinge of hip hop, [it] has already been added to rotation on JJJ".[7] On their Australian tour promoting the release they were joined by Brazilian, Felipe Kmiecik on harmonica.[7] On 4 July that year, with Kimieck aboard on melodica, harmonica and keyboards the band recorded their second album, We're Already Gone,[8] which peaked at No. 19 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[9] It was produced by McHugh and Pritchett on The Beautiful Girls' own label, San Dumo Records, and distributed by MGM.[8][10] The special edition of We're Already Gone includes a four-track DVD, 'Legged, with live video footage and film clips.[8] The album features guest vocals by Julia Stone (of Angus & Julia Stone).[11] In October 2006 the group issued a compilation album, Water.[12]

In late 2005 Kmiecik returned to Rio Negrinho, Brazil to raise his newly born daughter. In 2006 Connelly left the band citing irreconcilable differences with McHugh. In February 2007 MacDonald left the band also citing irreconcilable differences with McHugh. As mentioned above, MacDonald and Connelly subsequently worked on Angus & Julia Stone's albums and EPs while working on their hip hop project, 'The Undertones'. They then went on to do their own projects, Connelly with 'aliTTLErowBOAT' and MacDonald with 'The Orange Bird', 'Hungdonkey, and later, 'The Lung', 'The Oort Cloud' and 'The Guilty Conscience'. In 2009 Kmiecik, as Felipe Harp, issued a solo EP, Back on the Road. The Beautiful Girls continued with McHugh now on lead vocals, lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, melodica and percussion – he was joined by (The Beautiful Girls producer) Pritchett on bass guitar, backing vocals, guitar, keyboards and percussion, and Bruce Braybrooke (ex-Frenzal Rhomb, The Fantastic Leslie) on drums, percussion and vocals.[13] On 14 May 2007 the group issued their third album, Ziggurats, on Die!Boredom Records with McHugh and Pritchett co-producing.[13] The album peaked at No. 21 on the Australian albums chart.[9] It spawned the single, "I Thought About You", which peaked at No. 60 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[14] The Sydney Morning Herald felt the group's "sound is punchier and more angular. Lyrically, McHugh has drifted away from the personal politics of relationships to a wider political outlook. The album, in particular the stand-out 'I Thought About You', are a convincing departure from the 'roots' scene".[15]

At the APRA Music Awards of 2008, "I Thought About You" – written by McHugh – was nominated for 'Blues & Roots Work of the Year'.[15] By 2008, The Beautiful Girls had toured Japan, Europe (including UK), Brazil, US and Canada.[15] McHugh launched his solo career, however late in 2008 a motorcycle accident in Los Angeles hospitalised McHugh and delayed the release of his album, Seperatista!.[16] By 2010 The Beautiful Girls had toured the world twelve times and their total album sales reached 285,000.[17]

On 25 May 2010, The Beautiful Girls with the line-up of McHugh and Braybrooke joined by Paulie Bromley on bass guitar, issued their fourth album, Spooks.[18][19] It peaked at No. 18 on the ARIA Albums Chart,[9] and debuted at No. 1 on the Australian Independent Chart.[17] In June that year it reached No. 7 on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart.[20] In September, a US tour was interrupted when McHugh was diagnosed with a ruptured appendix.[21] In April 2012 McHugh's second solo album, Love Come Save Me, was released on his website as a free download.[22]

By late 2012, McHugh established a new band name, Mat. McHugh and the seperatista soundsystem, which first toured in January 2013.[23][24]


Past membersEdit


Studio albumsEdit

Compilation albumsEdit

Extended playsEdit


  • "Morning Sun" (2002)
  • "Periscopes" (2002)
  • "Black Bird" (2003)
  • "I Thought About You" (2007) No. 60 AUS[14]

Solo ProjectsEdit

Mat McHugh:

  • Seperatista! (2009)
  • Go Don't Stop - EP (2011)
  • Love Come Save Me (2012)
  • More Money - single (2014)
  • Sound/System/Version (2015)
  • Waves (2015)

Mat McHugh and the Seperatista Soundsystem:

  • Live at Random Hall (2013)

Mat McHugh & The Black Bird:

  • Darling This Scene Must End - single (2008)

Clay MacDonald writes and records as 'The Lung'

Mitch Connelly writes and records as 'aliTTLErowBOAT'

Felipe Kimieck writes and records as 'Felipe Harp'

Awards and nominationsEdit

APRA AwardsEdit

The APRA Awards are presented annually from 1982 by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), "honouring composers and songwriters".[25]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2006 "Ashes" (Mat McHugh) Most Performed Blues & Roots Work[26] Nominated
"Let's Take the Long Way Home" (Mat McHugh) Most Performed Blues & Roots Work[26] Nominated
2008 "I Thought About You" (Mat McHugh) Blues & Roots Work of the Year[15] Nominated
2011 "10:10" (Mat McHugh) Blues & Roots Work of the Year[17] Nominated
"Don't Wait" (Mat McHugh) Blues & Roots Work of the Year[17] Nominated

Other awardsEdit

Mat. McHugh DiscographyEdit

Studio AlbumsEdit

  • Seperatista! (11 October 2008)
  • Love Come Save Me (4 April 2012)
  • Waves (1 October 2015)

Live albumsEdit

  • Live at Random Hall (4 June 2013) Mat. McHugh & the seperatista soundsystem recorded live January 2013

Compilation AlbumsEdit

  • Girl (Songs from 2000-2010) (2010)
  • Sound/System/Version (8 October 2015) soundsystem version mixes of previous releases

Extended PlaysEdit

  • Go Don't Stop (10 June 2011)

Other appearancesEdit


  1. ^ a b "The Beautiful Girls Tour Dates". yourGigs. ninemsn (Nine Entertainment Co., Microsoft). 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  2. ^ Cox, Tim (11 July 2005). "Disc of the Week: Beautiful Girls". ABC Tasmania. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  3. ^ "Morning Sun [sound recording] / The Beautiful Girls". Music Australia. National Library of Australia. 22 January 2004. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b Hill, Louie (6 February 2012). "An Interview with The Beautiful Girls". Tone Deaf. Tone Deaf Network (Nicholas Jones). Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  5. ^ a b Learn Yourself (Media notes). The Beautiful Girls. Independent Release. 2003. I 003.CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ "Learn Yourself [sound recording] / The Beautiful Girls". Music Australia. National Library of Australia. 8 September 2004. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  7. ^ a b c "Beautiful Girls". Music Australia. National Library of Australia. 9 June 2004. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  8. ^ a b c We're Already Gone (Media notes). The Beautiful Girls. San Dumo Records. 2003. I008.CS1 maint: others (link)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Hung, Steffen. "Discography The Beautiful Girls". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  10. ^ "The Beautiful Girls". Australian Music Online. Federal Government Project. July 2005. Archived from the original on 12 August 2008. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  11. ^ "We're Already Gone [Bonus Track] – The Beautiful Girls". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Water by The Beautiful Girls". iTunes. Apple Inc. 10 October 2006. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  13. ^ a b Ziggurats (Media notes). The Beautiful Girls. Die!Boredom Records. 2007. D!B 001.CS1 maint: others (link)
  14. ^ a b "The ARIA Report" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 16 July 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  15. ^ a b c d "Nominations > Blues & Roots Work of the Year – 2008". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  16. ^ "Motorcycle Accident Floors Mat McHugh". Triple J. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 31 October 2008. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  17. ^ a b c d "Nominations > Blues & Roots Work of the Year – 2011". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  18. ^ Spooks (Media notes). The Beautiful Girls. Die!Boredom Records. 2010. 010.CS1 maint: others (link)
  19. ^ "Spooks [sound recording] / The Beautiful Girls". Music Australia. National Library of Australia. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2012. Following their hugely successful third album, Ziggurats and the completion of a mammoth international touring schedule, The Beautiful Girls deliver Spooks. A rich production where stylistic threads run deep. The ever-solid song writing pushes further forward. Spaced-out effects and pulsing synths, skittering drums and dark blue horns, brash toasting and cops-and-rude-boys narrative, offbeat keys and dub undertow pulls Spooks into a world of its own
  20. ^ "Spooks – The Beautiful Girls". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  21. ^ "Burst Appendix Ends Beautiful Girls US Tour". Triple J. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 29 September 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  22. ^ McCabe, Kathy (26 April 2012). "Free Album from Mat McHugh a Hit with His Fans". Herald Sun. News Limited (News Corporation). Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Photos: Mat McHugh". Soulshine. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  24. ^ "ABC South East NSW Events". ABC. 28 December 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  25. ^ "APRA History". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  26. ^ a b "Nominations > Most Performed Blues & Roots Work of the Year – 2006". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 2006. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  27. ^ "ARIA Awards: Winners by Year: 2005". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 8 May 2012.

External linksEdit