Sounds of the (Down) Underground: 5 Australian Acts You Should Be Listening To

Australia has a proud history of punching above its weight, musically speaking. This is particularly true when it comes to acts operating in the heavier music spectrum. With the seemingly endless advances in streaming and social media technologies making the ears of the world more accessible than ever, the Australian independent scene is thriving. The result is an influx of bands across a variety of genres making a considerable impact on the music scene globally.

As a UTG contributor and proud Australian who resides deep within the nation’s undisputed punk rock heart of Melbourne, it gives me great pleasure to be able to provide you with a unique insight into the Australian scene via my locally focussed reviews and interviews. However, with so much great music being produced down here, I have come to the painful realisation that I cannot possibly cover it all, so below you will the first of what I hope will be many editions of ‘Sounds Of The (Down) Underground,’ a list of 5 Australian acts that I believe you should all be listening to right now. So gather your headphones and get ready to take a ride on the back of a digital kangaroo as we take a trip through the sounds that are currently killing it in the land down under!

Artist: Violent Soho
Genre: Grunge, Garage
Latest release: Hungry Ghost
For fans of: Nirvana, Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr, Dinosaur Pile-Up, the ’90s and big fuzz pedals in general.

Why should you care? They’re the name on everyone’s lips down under at the moment, having taken over the airwaves and stages nationwide, thanks in large part to the success of their album, Hungry Ghost, and its lead single, “Covered In Chrome.” Having recently inked a deal to release the album via Side One Dummy records in the USA and planned an extensive touring schedule in support, it won’t be long till Violent Soho are providing the soundtrack to warehouse parties in Soho and throughout the remainder of the USA. Check out “Covered in Chrome” below.

Artist: Clowns
Genre: Hardcore, Punk
Latest release: I’m Not Right
RIYL: The Bronx, Black Flag, Ceremony, Cerebral Ballzy

Why you should you care? They’ve been ripping stages to shreds nationwide for the best part of the last 12 months, supporting some of the finest punk rock bands the country (and the world) has to offer — earning rave reviews in the process. Their debut full-length I’m Not Right is 12 tracks of the most face-meltingly awesome hardcore punk rock Australia has produced and will have you throwing down comically over-sized cans of Fosters in reverence in no time. Check out “Eat A Gun” below.

Artist: High Tension
Genre: Hardcore Punk, Noise Rock
Latest release: Death Beat
RIYL: The Bronx, Young and Restless, Lo!, Kvelertak, The Dillinger Escape Plan.

Why should you care? Front woman Karina Utomo is clearly not a lady to be fucked with and her aggressive vocal styling, banshee scream and dominating persona are a force to be reckoned with both live and on record. Her performances alone make this band a must-know act. However, they are far from a one trick pony, with guitarist Ash Pegram (ex-Young and Restless), bassist Matt Weston and drummer Dan McKay (both from The Nation Blue), providing a skull crushing backdrop that is a perfect match for the intensity of their fearless leader. A breathtaking live act who won plaudits at SXSW, High Tension are on the cusp of becoming one of the nation’s loudest and proudest exports. Check out “Mountain of Dead” below.

Artist: Trophy Eyes
Genre: Pop-Punk, EasyCore
Latest release: Everything Goes Away
RIYL: The Wonder Years, Gnarwolves, Such Gold, Kid Dynamite

Why should you care? Recently signed to Hopeless Records, this Newcastle quintet are fast making a name for themselves in the pop-punk scene with their uniquely Australian take on the quintessential easycore style. Meshing the intensity and lyrical focus commonly associated with much heavier acts with the pop sensibilities of modern pop-punk, Trophy Eyes write the kind of songs that make your heart beat faster, your mind tick over and your legs want to pogo uncontrollably. Ridiculously young for a band with a sound this accomplished, Trophy Eyes seem set to become a staple of the Warped Tour for years to come. With a debut full-length marked for release via Hopeless in late 2014, Trophy Eyes are destined for a very bright future. Check out “Bandaid” below.

Artist: Lunaticks on Pogosticks
Genre: Indie, Punk, Stoner Rock
Latest release: Slug Cat and Snail Dog
RIYL: Sonic Youth, The Sonics, PUP

Why should you care? This band of teenage rapscallions and their unique blend of vaguely surf-infused indie/punk are the perfect antidote to those late afternoon mid-week blues. Laid back and laconic yet somehow utterly enthralling, the Melbourne via Lennox Head, NSW trio have taken the momentum gained via their win in a national high school battle of the bands (Triple J Unearthed High) and run with it, creating a dynamite debut EP Slug Cat and Snail Dog that has seen them achieve nationwide airplay for lead single “Less Than Sober” and granted them touring opportunities that kids their age can usually only dream of. Remarkably accomplished, yet gloriously disheveled, their delightfully simple songs come laced with a knowledge of song craft that is seemingly at odds with the brash teenage nature of their lyrical focus. An absolute riot in a live environment, this band of upstarts seem destined to go as far as they want to. Whether that is to the moon–or the corner store shortly after 4:20–it’s kind of hard to tell, but my best guess is that wherever it may be is somewhere you’ll want to be, too. Check out “Less Than Sober” below:

Conceptualized and written by Brenton Harris

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2 Responses to “Sounds of the (Down) Underground: 5 Australian Acts You Should Be Listening To”

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