Our pick of 10 of the best bands heading northwards this year
This Wednesday is Australia Day, an admittedly problematic holiday that celebrates the First Fleet’s arrival way back in 1788. Obviously, that didn’t work out great for everyone involved. What is uncontroversial however, is that Australian music is in very rude health. So let’s take this opportunity to look some great Australian bands and artists doing a First Fleet in reverse and arriving on our shores in 2022.
Gang Of Youths (March)
The Sydney alt rockers hit a winning formula by marrying a love of 80s alternative (Sonic Youth, The Replacements) to stadium-ready bombast (U2, Bruce Springsteen). Frontman Dave Le’aupepe’s lyrics don’t shy from dark corners and their third full-length, Angel In Realtime, depicts a band resolute in the face of personal trials. Expect rock ‘n’ roll catharsis when they roll into the UK this March.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets (March)
The e-mail filter-triggering Perth psych rockers were first brought together by a mutual ‘purveyor of controlled substances’ and started off jamming in an old barn. Endearingly shambolic origins and puerile name aside, they are no joke. The riffs are like obelisks, the musicianship intricate and accomplished and the songs sprawling yet focused. For fans of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Tame Impala and Pond.
The Stroppies (April)
Melbourne’s The Stroppies are an amalgamation of some of the best indie pop bands to come out of the city in the last decade; the band’s members have spent time in Twerps, Dick Diver, The Stevens, Boomgates and Blank Statements, amongst others. From the scruffy lo-fi charm of their debut EP, the band jumped lightyears ahead with 2019’s Whoosh! and 2020’s superbly woozy Look Alive. One of those bands that seems predestined for even bigger things.
Amyl & The Sniffers (May/June)
The ferocious garage punks are one of Australia’s most buzzworthy bands, thanks to two critically adored records: 2019’s self-titled debut and last year’s hard-charging Comfort To Me. Frontwoman Amy Taylor is a spandex-clad force of nature, slap bang in the centre of the badass Venn diagram between Poly Styrene, Furiosa from Mad Max, Iggy Pop and Pete Shelley. With the Sniffers laying down an ear-shredding assault behind her, this one’ll make your head spin.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (May/June)
RBCF are disciples of the hallowed Antipodean craft of jangle, particularly as preached by The Go-Betweens and NZ’s The Chills. The self-described “soft punk/hard pop” quintet have a tougher approach than your average indie pop band, but their melodies will take up such permanent residence in your brain that they should really be paying council tax. This tour has been in the works for so long that they might even have a third full length out by the time it comes around.
Crowded House (June)
As with Pavlova, flat whites and Russell Crowe, New Zealand and Australia will always dispute ownership of Neil Finn’s supremely tuneful troupe. NZ-bred but formed in Melbourne, Crowded House found worldwide fame through perennial hits including ‘Weather With You’, ‘Fall At Your Feet’ and ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’. Reformed in 2007 after an extended absence, the band remain purveyors of the finest and smartest pop music out there, while Finn is a brilliantly compelling and charismatic frontman.
Genesis Owusu (June)
Owusu was born in Ghana but raised in Canberra, from where he’s rapidly establishing himself as Australia’s brightest hip hop star (sorry Iggy). Tracks like The Other Black Dog and Drown showcase Owusu’s incredible musicality, seamlessly weaving funk, synth pop and jazz into a sound that feels like a unique rush of energy. Guaranteed to leave you sweaty and smiling.
Courtney Barnett (June/July)
Some things demand to be loved – not in an aggressive way, more objectively non-negotiable. Pizza. Puppies. Jonathan Van Ness. Add Courtney Barnett to that list. Her laconic delivery, matter-of-fact profundity, warm sense of humour, perfect guitar tone – Barnett is a gift and we’re the endlessly grateful recipients. If you’re yet to be converted, get yourself down to one of her gigs opening for the Foos and see what we’re on about.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (August)
Despite their frontman’s reputation for gloriously gothic gloom, the Bad Seeds are a riveting proposition live. Anyone present when they last headlined All Points East in 2018 will testify to Ol’ Nick’s mesmerising stage presence and demented preacher energy, which reached fevered heights on ‘The Mercy Seat’. Who knows, maybe Kylie will show up again?
Tame Impala (August)
Perth’s Kevin Parker is maybe the biggest Australian musical export of this millennium. His psych rock band’s rise to fame has seen them go from opening for MGMT to collaborating with Mark Ronson, Mick Jagger and Lady Gaga, selling shedloads of albums and filling stadia all over the world. Their UK date at All Points East comes off the back of their hugely successful fourth album, The Slow Rush.