When it comes to great music scenes around the country, quite often we forget where the bands call home.
Or we get distracted due to their awesomeness and simply assume that all the great stuff comes from the eastern seaboard. But oh no dear reader, that’s just not the case.
Western Australia is much more than glorious beaches, wineries, mining booms (and crashes) and Sunday sessions. It’s given birth to some of the most iconic Australian bands.
Here’s just a few, be sure to add your own favs in the comments!
When I was growing up I was addicted to Hot Metal Magazine. This was pre-internet days and I needed an Australian magazine that was reppin' the heavier side of things. They always showcased Australian bands, an Allegiance was one of them. I bought their Destitution album and never looked back. At that stage of my life, Western Australia was like another country, never did I imagine I would ever go there, let alone live there, so for me, when I think of WA music, I think of Allegiance, and that time in my life. VERY RAD THRASH BAND.
I’ve written so much about The Baby Animals over the trip, there’s not much more I can add. But if you’re new here; me – crush on Suze DeMarchi in high school, man crush on Dave Leslie’s guitar ability, their songs rock, hard, legends, awesome, bang.
Formed in Perth in 1978 with David McComb as singer-songwriter, guitarist, bass guitarist and keyboardist, they achieved negligible success in Australia at first, but greater success in the UK and in Scandinavia in the 1980s before disbanding in 1989. ARIA) recognised The Triffids' importance in 2008 when inducting them into the Hall of Fame.
Birds Of Tokyo
The Birds didn’t muck around when they formed in ’04, the amalgamation of Tragic Delicate and Ian Kenny just worked. In a hair over 3 years, they’d released their second album which debuted at #3 on the ARIA charts and #1 on the AIR charts. They were well and truly becoming a staple in the Australian music touring landscape, and continue enjoying that ‘in demand’ status today.
Four of Jebediah’s five studio album have charted in the top 10 here in Australia. No mean feat for a band that got their start winning the National Campus Band Competition, and thanks to massive airplay on Triple J of their single "Jerks Of Attention". In the aftermath of the grunge explosion, Australian radio couldn’t get enough of the Australia version of it, and Jebediah were right in the mix at the right time.
John Butler Trio
I first heard of John Butler, and the John Butler Trio in 2000 when I was living in Mandurah, Western Australia. I had a night show on radio there, and his cousin, Dearne, who lived in nearby Pinjarra, sent me in the JBT EP, which had just 4 songs on it, but I loved it, she then organised an interview with John for me. John was already on his way thanks to tours with The Waifs and solo tours, Triple J started playing "Pickapart" nationally, and the rest, as they say is history.
Any 3 piece band that can support Bob Dylan so successfully here that he then invites them to support him across North America is something special in my eyes. The Waifs 2003 album Up All Night reached the top five of the Australian Albums Chart, achieving double platinum status and winning four ARIA Awards in October of that year. Four further top five albums were released, Sun Dirt Water in 2007, Temptation in 2011, Beautiful You in 2015, and Ironbark in 2017. They’re a hauntingly beautiful band that oozes swagger, and are SO easy to listen to.
Much like the success of Birds Of Tokyo, Eskimo Joe are now regarded as one of Australia’s biggest bands and are in demand due to killer songs and stellar live shows. They’ve been nominated for twenty-nine ARIA awards and have won eight of them. They’ve released four, top five albums including two number one albums. For me, this single, "Foreign Land", about the death of fellow Western Australian, Heath Ledger, will always be a standout. They also just about to re-release their debut album Girl on coloured vinyl, more info here.
As usual, this is just scratching the surface of the great bands that have come out of Western Australia, and I know people will add their own to the comments without even reading this part saying we’ve missed bands like The Scientists and of course Kim Salmon and The Surrealists, but no, we haven’t forgotten them, we just like to hear from you in the comments!
Oh, and if you’re wondering, yes I’ll be showcasing other states soon!