Words by Zoe Sainsbury
Brisbane band Last Dinosaurs found their way into our studio this week with their freshly packaged debut album In a Million Years still warm in their palms - and by golly it’s a cracker!
Listening to it (it’s our Radar Record of the week) got us musing on all of the talented bands we’ve seen sprout out of the northern land of tan in recent years. Is there something in the water up there (aside from extra fluoride)? Plectrums laced with Ian Curtis’s tears, chunked with Jimi Hendrix’s vomit perhaps?
Maybe it’s just the warm weather… whatever the cause, there is an overflow of creative juices brimming the Brissy indie music scene, and you NEED to know about.
Beautiful peeps from Brisvegas reading this, please add any we’ve missed in the comments – I don’t profess to know them all, just an admirer from afar…
Kicking off the 20 strong list with our new BFF's...
A four, (five piece live) who produce melodic indie pop that’s really cleverly and intricately layered, but their recent debut In a Million Years in essence speaks for itself. Check out our full review here and watch the boys talk about it. Here’s the single that launched their career back in 2010 – yikes!
Laneous and the Family Yah
This collective combine dub, ska, pop and pure musicianship – it bugs me that they haven’t received more national recognition. This track is one of my fave of theirs – but seriously – pick up a copy of their latest album/eps to fully experience how varied and accomplished these guys are.
These guys recently toured with Last Dinosaurs and you’ll probably know this track. They have that lo-fi surf punk sound that made new waves back in 2010 (Wavves, Surfer Blood) and now has some cool Aussie bands creating their own version: my guess is they were doing it long before in their own garages. (Bleeding Knees Club, Twerps). These guys just make you feel like ditching work/school/life and jumping into a quarry too.... ahhh. They shot this on a GoPro for $0, nice work guys.
These guys we already named Top 20 Aussie Indie Artists to watch, as they keep slamming out these catchy indie rock tracks and they're a tight live band that sound loose: a top combination in my book. Front-running their forthcoming album is their second single "Shame", but I couldn't fine it online anywhere - so here's their first if you haven't heard it "We all Buy Stars".
Bringing funk and dominant bass lines back to indie-pop; these guys have a different sound – mature for such a young band – and catchy as hell. The frontman has a really nice vibrato-tailed quality to his voice too: we wanted to add this track but it didn’t win our Wednesday facebook pick sadly.
The Jungle Giants
These guys are so young and fresh, it’s amazing they have managed to scratch the surface of the blogosphere (50K + views on youtube says otherwise). Spruiking uplifting indie pop sounds, you’d think they’d blend in with all the others, but there’s a folky quality to frontman Sam Hales vocals (sounds a little like David Grey on anti-depressants) that differentiates the band.
Also listed as one of our Top 20 Aussie indie bands to watch, this brightly vintage clad duo have a sweet dream-pop vibe – it just makes you feel good – even though they taint the sweetness nicely by alluding to relationship struggles in their lyrics… don’t know who they are referring to, but I’m glad they “weren’t there" so this track came about. It's their second single after "Half of it"... and it's a corker.
Ball Park Music
These guys would be close to being the most well known on this list having exploded onto the scene last year with their debut album Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs. Their sound is best described by one of the lines in single “Literally Baby” – “Outfits smashed together like fresh fruit in the sun” – it’s chaotic, there’s a whole lot of colour and clever instrumentation involved – and it’s a whole lot of fun.
OK so technically these guys are from Cairns, but whose counting kilometres! There is something about their frenetic guitar work, layered with airy vocals and backed by some hectic drumming: it’s so refreshing to hear the patterns break tradition and drive the music. The second single of theirs “Joseph” had me head banging in my room at first listen.
A band I’ve written about before but I feel need more people consistently spruiking their name. They’re a must-see-live sextet: frontwoman Alex’s vocals are ethereal and yet can plume out a festival tent with force. As a band, they don’t really sound like anyone else on the market, but you’ll probably dig them if you like The Jezabels/Florence + the Machine. This track is an older one, but a fave:
These guys produce some sweet 60’s inspired indie rock (As clap worthy as early Beatles songs and with the raspy edges of Kings of Leon's early work – when they were good.) I love this track, correction all I’ve heard from these guys I love: “Sleep with the Fishes”, “In the Springtme” and this one below “Cynthia”, and supposedly there is more to come when they release their EP in coming months.
The brainchild of frontman Tim Nelson, this indie 5-piece have a soft endearing tone that’s hard to hate. I discovered them when they/he went by the name “Tim Nelson and the Cub Scouts” on Myspace (yep, cool I know)… PS. Tim what happened to those tracks? Here’s one that thankfully didn’t disappear “Evie” their latest single with a video. But they have just released a second single you can download for free from their bandcamp "Do You Hear" and it's just as good!
The tags on their bandcamp read “ghost hunting gypsy mystic pop” and although they're just a collection of words, they paints a nice visual picture of Magic Spells' sound. They supported Ariel Pink too! I love the minor chords in this tracks bridge… lush.
Punchy garage indie band, who sound scratchy and rough in the best sense, the deliberate sense. Respect for any band who can write catchy garage punk and still have cut through as there is a lot of it around. "Fishpond Goldmine" had me head-nodding at first listen, I'm sure that would turn into a bang seeing them live. Keep it up guys!
A hazy (sounds shoegazey – but I’d have to see them live to tell) all-female four piece. I always get excited about "girl bands" who make good music, not because their aren’t many – they just help to fight the unfortunate stigma (Warpaint, Stonefield). From what I hear so far, these guys will be fighting for a long time too.
Trashy garage rock with loose weighty riffs, a violin in the mix, and vocals that vary from smooth to trailing screech: intrigued yet? You should be after hearing this track of theirs “Barefoot Daze”. And with drumming like in this track… pretty sure these guys will be better known soon.
Got a lot of love for these guys… they’re style is self-proclaimed dream-pop, but often frontwoman Melissa Tickle’s vocals border on haunting (nightmare-pop?). They’ve supported First Aid Kit, Belle & Sebastian and toured with Sydney faves Parades. Their recently released album is well worth a burn.
The Trouble with Templeton
TTWT is solo artist Thomas Calder and he produces some really alluring indie folk music. Remember Melbourne band Whitley? His vocals have the same innately Australian quality of frontman Lawrence Greenwood… but despite the callback, his debut album Bleeders is original and impressive. I’d love to see this guy live… let me know if you have.
Like your metal? Then definitely check these guys out; they’re actually quite melodic even if you don’t consider yourself that ‘hardcore’. Again epic drumming...
You'll have to head to their facebook page to hear their tunes as their player starts automatically. Soundcloud/Bandcamp boys!
The Gin Club
These guys have been around for a while now so might not be fresh meat on your table. They have that real gritty “3 pints down” Irish bar band sound, fronted by some powerful rock vocals. Are they still producing music and gigging around? Please let me know. Caught them at Peats Ridge Festival in 2010/11 and they were epic. This track “Ten Paces Away” is really old… but still gets me every time.
Have we missed any? Tell us in the comments!