Welcome, you bunch of pussy-ass little crybabies. Okay, so I apologise for the introduction, but I’ve had a stressful week dealing with that exact demographic of Human. It’s extraordinarily exhausting. One-half of IPHYB’s founding duo Thrillhouse eloquently explained the collective sentiments through his article Music and Entitlement: A Recipe for Douchebaggery which I highly recommend you check out IMMEDIATELY after this.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’m excited to announce something nice, different and unusual. Every now and again at IPHYB, we like to but the beef aside and focus on the positive. Australia is blessed with a rich plethora of bands, with local scenes positively bursting at the seams with talent. Each week we will be featuring five emerging bands from each state or territory in an effort to spotlight some of the work being done by Australia’s finest up-and-comers. Please note that we’re currently seeking submissions from all states apart from Tasmania, so if you or your buddy’s band think they have what it takes, then we would love to hear from you! Please see a quick note at the end of the article which details how to submit your interest.
It’s noice, it’s different, it’s unusual.
Obviously, that means the first state up for review is the often overlooked Tasmania. My dear Tassie, I have a profound love for you. I spent the majority of my youth growing up in the North-East, and I was lucky enough to share many stages with many talented musicians during my time involved with the local scene.
Tasmania’s abundant arts culture creates a melting pot of diverse artistic influences and styles, which ultimately come together to produce some of the most beautiful and innovative music I have ever heard. Perhaps it’s biased of me to say so, nevertheless, I’ve always believed Tasmania has maintained one of the most diversified local music scenes. With this being said, I’ll do my best not to focus purely on the heavier genres, as I feel to do so would be to go against the very soul of Tasmania itself.
Honestly, if you’ve never been there, then what the fuck are you doing with your life? DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW TO LIVE? Get down there, go to MONA and see some fucking art, drink some wine, do some mountain biking, eat some good food, get all up in some pristine, unadulterated nature and watch some amazing bands to top it all off. You’ll thank me later.
1. Band:Speech Patterns Location: Hobart Genre: Punk Rock For Fans Of: A Wilhelm Scream, After The Fall, Punx
Formed in late 2012, Speech Patterns have secured their place as one of the state’s premier Punk Rock bands. Tasmania has long been known for its thriving punk scene, with some the most earnest, hardworking and honest punk originating from the craggy, arctic terrain of Hobart and Launceston, and the scattered, sleepy coastal towns of the North-East. Local scene pioneers Stand Defiant (2002 – 2011), The Scandal, Ride The Tiger, Luca Brasi and Woof-Woof are just some of the top-tier punk acts to emerge from Tas, and Speech Patterns is no exception.
Their self-titled EP is highly introspective and showcases a range of dynamic punk influences, but most importantly of all, Speech Patterns have successfully carved out their own niche. Fast, progressive and technical – their musicianship is matched only by their obvious passion for the genre – and while Speech Patterns is ultimately a punk rock band, they transcend from punk into dark, melancholic soundscapes backed by harsh and sincere lyrical content. The individual musical signatures of each member peppers the mix and creates a fucking journey, where their progressive influences evidently come into play – drummer Jax Leonard fleshes out the sound with relentless fills, and the dual vocal harmonies of Alex Hinds and Nick Mole soar over the melodic guitar lines. The EP took me right back to attending many freezing, dark Hobart shows dimly lit by the golden glow of house lights. If you’ve never been to a Hobart punk show, then quite frankly, you haven’t lived.
The future looks bright for Speech Patterns, after having played alongside heavyweights Pour Habit, Propagandhi, Wilhelm Scream and Title Fight on their Tasmanian shows, they plan to enter the studio in a few months’ time to begin work on their debut full-length. You can check them out headlining Winterfest in Launceston on July 31st. Do it. Launceston rules! There are monkeys in the middle of the fucking town in a public park. Seriously. Just a cage of monkeys.
Their EP is available for download via their bandcamp.
2. Band:Shark Puncher Location: Launceston Genre: Prog/Metal/Rock For Fans Of: Coheed and Cambria, The Fall Of Troy, The FUCKING EAGLES?
Photo courtesy of Lena Linblad.
I have so much praise for Launceston’s Shark Puncher. A progressive powerhouse, they effortlessly combine some unique influences into something truly fucking amazing of their own. The riffs throughout their debut album ‘Culture Cringe’ are reminiscent of 80’s metal right through to the 90’s Seattle grunge, with some bluesy-Buckley inspired type chord progressions thrown in for good measure. Clocking in at just under 35 minutes with seven tracks, it’s a true progressive diamond; an album that you continue to fall in love with every listen, as you begin to notice the intricacies and nuance contained within each track. The album has the BEST prog/grunge vocal tone I’ve heard in recent memory, and I can in no way fault the lyrical content. Simply, it is vivid, raw and sincere. The production quality is also good but not outstanding, nonetheless, Culture Cringe is a demonstration of how overall production can mean very little when there is some serious artistic integrity driving your material.
All exceptionally talented musicians, the members are veterans of the local scene in various current or defunct bands which have made their mark one way or another. I was actually a little bummed to hear that the drummer recently departed the band to focus his efforts in the next entry on this very list, but Shark Puncher are currently writing new material with a new drummer that I am genuinely anticipating with pure glee. They plan to hit the studio later this year to begin recording for their next release, with the possibility of a single being dropped beforehand (ANTICIPATION). With some upcoming shows in August, you can download and listen to Culture Cringe via their bandcamp.
3. Band:Zeolite Location: Launceston Genre: Metal/Progressive For Fans Of: All Shall Perish, Periphery, Brutality.
LOOK AT HOW FUCKING TOUGH THEY ARE. Seriously. They should start Zeolite Security Services on the side and simultaneously play while providing security at their shows. All they have to do is look like that while they’re on stage and they will scare people straight. With influences ranging from heavyweights Periphery and All Shall Perish through to now-defunct local acts such as This Future… Chaos (THAT WAS MY BAND, GUYS), Zeolite are a definite up-and-comer. The riffs from these dudes will truly suck your dick completely off, and their debut single “Astringent” leaves me begging for more material. It’s easy to see how they won the support slot for Chelsea Grin for their upcoming Melbourne run of shows, and Zeolite have no doubt begun to make their presence known in the scene, and, from what I know about these guys, they employ true DIY ethics and are exceptionally hardworking.
Sometimes Tassie can be a difficult place to make it as a band. The Bass Strait is a complete jerk, and can make the simple act of playing shows outside of your state far more difficult than necessary. Like Zeolite, many Tasmanian bands are diligent in their material, and these guys are the poster boys for such hard yakka. Self-recorded, self-managed and staunch as fuck, they are one of those bands you know will make it simply off the back of the work they do. Luckily, they have the musical strength to back it up, and are to be regarded alongside the greats of the genre.
Having just joined Brisbane’s As Paradise Falls on SF Media’s touring roster, it’s likely you’ll see them at a show near you very soon. Zeolite are also somewhat considered ‘lone wolves’ in the Tassie scene – to my knowledge, anyway – and although a thriving, diverse metal scene has already been established in the apple isle, there aren’t any bands in the whole state who’re doing a similar Djent/Prog thing to Zeolite musically. Tasweigns can check them out supporting I, Valiance in mid-July in Launceston and Hobart and as mentioned you can catch them supporting Chelsea Grin in Melbourne on August 15th.
4. Band:Bansheeland Location: Launceston Genre: Garage/Psych Rock/Grunge/Indie For Fans Of: Warpaint, Claire Bowditch And The Feeding Set, Jack White.
This band is an excellent representation of some of the wildly innovative indie and experimental rock coming out of Tasmania. When I was compiling the list for the article, I was wary of sharing the love around geographically, but Launceston’s Bansheeland were far too good not to include. Formed in late 2013, they show a cohesion and collective songwriting prowess which is far beyond the short amount of time they’ve been together.
Combining everything from grunge, psych, indie, punk, and garage, they come across so credible and devoid of pretension that it naturally evokes an endearing and emotionally primitive response. It reminds me of early Claire Bowditch (back in the day), when she was a champion of truth and lyrical authenticity. Bansheeland demonstrate a similar spirit in the vivid and lucid imagery projected through their lyrical content. Their grunge influences spike through beautifully by way of some dark and pensive soundscapes, distinguishable in songs like Death Of A Surfer and Breeders, alongside a more stripped-back alternative/punk feel with songs like Plain White Toast.
I like to think I’m reasonably accurate with my predictions of Tasmanian bands breaking out of the state, and I have absolutely no doubt Bansheeland will make waves in Australia and overseas – they’re a band who will appeal to an extensive array of musical tastes, purely by being so genuine. People value and respect authenticity, and will champion bands that show no forceful agenda. Bansheeland is an extremely talented and young band producing amazing original content who, in time, will truly have the world at their feet.
Recently supporting Dallas Frasca on the last show of their European & Australian tour, and playing several music and arts festivals in Tas, they are already beginning to gain recognition from bands and industry figureheads alike. Their bassist has taken a break from SLAPPIN DA BASS to nip over to Europe quickly, so there’re no upcoming shows just yet – but their debut EP is due to be released in a few months and you can check out their demo material during the wait on Soundcloud.
5. Band:The Lawless Quartet Location: Hobart Genre: Punk/Funk/Prog/Jazz For Fans Of: Mr Bungle, The Mars Volta, Gogol Bordello.
Fronted by abnormally talented madman Ben Lawless, The Lawless Quartet are the band on the list arguably packing the most prominent musical chops. Formed in 2010, TLQ fuse funk, punk, jazz, prog and world music together with punk rock and heavy music ethos, creating a lush, flourishing and emotionally charged wall of sound. Ripping sax and guitar solos overlay the mix, with the rhythm section consisting of James Hunn (Bass) and Sam Dowson (Drums) driving the quartet to heights of unbelievable precision.
With notable influences from Mr Bungle all the way through to Gypsy Punk pioneers Gogol Bordello, they are honestly producing the most exciting heavy take of jazz/world music that I’ve ever really listened to – but then again, I think it’s fair to say that The Lawless Quartet are certainly not following in any footsteps. The quality of songwriting from TLQ is unmatched by anything I’ve come across in a very long time. Some of the bass/drum/sax/trumpet/vocal arrangements are incredible, and creates an overwhelming sense of shame at being such a mediocre musician in comparison to this band of crazy bastards. Lawless’ witty and waxing lyrical content moulds it all together into a profound, contemplative listening experience.
The potential for this band is endless, and with already gaining a spot at the prestigious arts festival Dark MOFO last month, TLQ are well on their way to breaking out of the sleepy island state and directly onto the world stage. Another band that’s taking a break while their bassist galavants across Europe, The Lawless Quartet have plans to enter the studio later in the year to begin recording some new material, but until then, they have a few songs up on their Soundcloud for your 100% guaranteed listening pleasure.
Punk/Funk/World/Jazz honourable mentions: Honestly? I have no idea. Here’s that video of a Cat wearing a shark costume chasing a Duck on a robot vacuum instead. Cheers. EDIT – A kind reader enlightened me on the presence of Bad Beef. Check them out. Also, a show with TLQ and BB must happen immediately.
I’m sure you’re all aware of the amazing talent in your own backyard – you can imagine how much of a difficult, yet pleasurable task it has been to hear so much talent and make a decision, especially when I have to confine it to only five bands. I just had to list the honourable mentions – but the truth is, this is only a tiny percentage of the bands I could’ve ultimately included. I can’t stress it enough to support not only all of the bands listed in this article, but any local and developing bands Australia-wide. Sometimes dropping $5 or $6 on an EP or some merch can help these people continue to do what they love and drive the country’s local music scene to greater distances.
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