It’s December 1st, so that means its time for the inevitable yearly wrap-up that gets all the clicks. But before I head into the dreaded listicle territory, I’m going to look at Australia’s literal territories, and just what the fuck they got up to this year, from the perspective of a child in Sydney who struggles to charge a phone, let alone understand the intricacies of the music scenes available within each state.
Short answer: bloody heaps, moite. Long answer:
Look, we dropped the ball with the lockouts, and none of our NRL teams made the final. But other than that, Sydney did real well this year, with FLOWERTRUCK, YEEVS, Low Lux, Gordi, Le Pie and Palms being just a handful of the names that kept this dying city propped up.
In very important news, Sydney punk got re-ignited this year, specifically because of two bands: Orion and White Dog. Seeing these bands is akin to setting yourself on fire, Thich Quang Duc-style. Equally terrifying and exhilarating, you’re just as likely to be hit in the jaw by a flying crowd surfer as you are commit the violence yourself. Other new punk bands like Dry Finish, Point Being and Tim & the Boys popped up as well, which makes me feel like it’s going to be only a matter of time before Maggot Fest relocates North. Oh yeah, and Royal Headache returned in order to promptly release the best album of 2015.
Brisbane continued its reign as kings and queens of weird, as the local labels Sonic Masala Records and Tenth Court put out some fantastically obscure and refreshing records, whilst the pop was on point, with a few new teasers from The Creases, Babaganouj, and Love Signs. Blank Realm melted all our hearts with another masterpiece that was possibly BETTER than 2014’s Grassed Inn. Synth strangeness hit its peak, as the new bands 100%, and Corporate Vibes released some incredible tapes, and shoegaze returned in a big way with DEAFCULT and FOREVR injected a couple hefty doses of mind-caving avalanches of guitar.
Another year, another straight flush of amazing rock and punk. Thanks to Power, Little Desert, and Dribble for being the best a pimply teenager from Sydney’s suburbia could wish for.
However, Melbourne’s usual spot on proliferation of jangle-pop stalled a bit this year – there were great records from big hitters The Ocean Party, Twerps and Dick Diver, however none of these releases rose above their preceding material. They were good, but not enough to warrant the feverish excitement that accompanied previous albums.
On the other hand, electronic music regained its foothold in the Southern State – NULL, Planete, and Sui Zhen forced heads to pop up and start salivating, whilst friendships, Total Giovanni and NO ZU proved to be the most entertaining and fun live acts that Australia provided this year. But it was Roland Tings who takes out MVP – that record of his is a work of fucking art.
Wireheads, Bad//Dreems and Summer Flake provided the best material from the City of Churches, although the latter has pissed off down to Melbourne, so it’ll probably only be another few months before she disappears into an alleyway and becomes swallowed by that famous coffee culture. Another Adelaide export, Lord Fascinator released a whole swag of tracks that had an approximately 50% hit rate.
Besides the big names, there were a few newish bands from Radelaide that are showing a fair bit of promise – Old Mate released another album, Rule of Thirds put out their debut, and in very recent news, The Yabbies and The High Beamers have put out a few tracks that points to them becoming the biggest things out of Adelaide since Paul Kelly became the official sponsor for Coopers [sic].
Tame Impala released a pretty average record, POND released a really good one. The various side-projects between these two bands number into the millions, and they’re all varying engagements of the same incestual psych village. There’s just a bit too much, and it’s all a bit “Eh”.
Similarly to the psych boom, there was an over saturation of electro-pop and grunge. Both of these scenes started off exciting, with KUCKA, and GRRL PAL providing satisfying starts in the former category, and Tired Lion, Pat Chow, and Black Stone From the Sun churning out detuned Heimlich manoeuvres in the latter. But by the end of the year, it became a bit tiresome hearing the same old thing. These bands are still good, but with the exception of LOWER SPECTRUM and Catlips, it felt like people in Perth are either listening to too much Grimes or Nevermind.
The most underrated and painfully ignored album of 2015 came courtesy of Tassie’s Heart Beach. We, as a collective society, should have raised this album to triple platinum status, at a bare minimum. Heart Beach is flooring, and I feel ashamed that I didn’t review it. If you’re after a record that you can curl up with, that’ll both comfort you and turn your bones to ash, turn to Heart Beach, and don’t stop listening until you’ve reached the highest point of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If there was going to be an album that guided you towards a higher consciousness , it’ll be this one. Please, do yourself the greatest of favours and jump on over to Heart Beach’s Bandcamp, where the album is still listed as a ridiculous name-your-price.
I have no idea what happened in Darwin this year. Can someone let me know?