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The so-called glory days of pub rock might have been a thing of the past, but the ethic that came with it remained. Bands wrote, recorded and toured tirelessly. They pushed themselves and, in turn, pushed each other, to make music that was on the cutting edge, that broke boundaries and that made us feel really damn good. It alled the end of the cultural cringe. Australian audiences realised that the music of our country was as good as what was happening in the rest of the world.
Aussie bands could headline festivals, top charts and be all over the radio and it didn't have to be tokenistic. The influence of grunge was prevalent early on, but shades of electronic music, power-pop, hip hop, worldbeat and the new breed of vital folk music all emerged in the best Australian music of the decade as well. The diversity of the sounds coming out of Australia meant that there was something for everyone. We wanted to kick off our month-long celebration of the 90s with a celebration of Australia.
It won't surprise you to hear that coming up with this list was tough. The entire Double J team all submitted their favourite Aussie songs from the decade, we tallied the votes and here's how it all came out. You might not necessarily agree with all of our choices here, we believe every song played a massive part in making Australian music such a brilliant force through the s.
Looking for a playlist of these songs? We've got you covered right here. Formed from the ashes of Caligula, another techno rock act, Primary featured the inimitable South African born Connie Mitchell on lead vocals. So loud, so fierce, so furious and yet so catchy. That blistering guitar riff sounds like it's going to go off the rails at any moment, the dual-tracked vocal is equal parts apathetic and inflaming and the hook that Link Meanie belts out is practically unmatched in terms of unforgettable pop punk genius. I've got to thank an ex-boyfriend for introducing me to Half A Cow records, and subsequently Sidewinder.
He worked in a record store and I'd hang out on the counter during the weekends. Despite being bathed in young-love nostalgia for me, it remains arguably one of the best Australian songs of the time. Closer to the commercial appeal of Suze DeMarchi than the alt underground of Adalita, The Superjesus ' Sarah McLeod was the latest in a long line of Aussie frontwomen emerging from the suburbs wielding guitars and writing their own songs. McLeod's clear Want to Australia a band vocals come in over a slow built intro of stoner-like-post-grunge-come-light-industrial.
Like any decent rock song, the bridge gives the guitarists the chance to bring it down a few notches then back up again, shamelessly erupting in a show of appreciation for the work of Gunners and White Zombie. The Dirty Three were a complete anomaly at the time; beautiful and dramatic instrumental grime like no other.
The song was already cherished by many Australian music fans, but Anu's version took it to the mainstream. Consciously or not, it's one of the key songs that has helped the world understand the ificance of land in Australian Indigenous cultures. Beat poetry in the midst of the grunge era. Dave Graney had a hyped presence like no other at the time.
An artist fully formed, atop a mountain of hip, at once looking down upon and also hiding from the sludge. Did you know it's actually an exercise in vowels? Plenty of great musicians made their way through the detar ranks in their short career, so the immediate quality of their radio-ready power pop surprised no one.
But, by the time they hit their third and final record, they were really firing, as this irresistible, high energy gem attests. It was their only track to crack the top 30 on the charts, but its omnipresence on radio and TV at the time suggested the song's resonance was far more widespread than its sales figures indicate. Early ina new voice hit the nation's airwaves. Paul Kelly's production credit carried weight, but not as much weight as the storytelling and character of the artist himself. His name was Archie Roach and, for those who heard his debut Want to Australia a band Charcoal Laneit was undeniable that an important new talent had been discovered, albeit at the ripe age of As listeners, we discovered Roach's stories of dispossession, stolen youth, despair and living it hard on Melbourne's Charcoal Lane.
Recognition and tributes have continued as he continues to be a vital voice in Australian music.
Livid Festival at Davies Park, Brisbane, The crowd is going wild. Kids are climbing to the top of the tent poles and the tent is in danger of coming down. At one point Ammonia formerly Fuzzswirl were arguably the hardest working band in Australia. They'd tour relentlessly from their hometown of Perth to make a name for themselves. Her winning performance on talent show New Faces led to a major label deal.
With an extraordinary vocal style combining operatic flourishes with rock chick delivery, my senses tell me she's been an influence on Sia, Kate Miller-Heidke and Megan Washington. Still writing and performing, Sharam is yet to release a full length follow up. Perhaps she was too bohemian for an industry that preferred more traditional homegrown talent. Who didn't sing about stalking ex-boyfriends doing porn. You've probably heard it a million times. That crisp funk guitar, Charlie Musselwhite's wailing harmonica, the deep groove of the bass and Michael Hutchence sounding like he's just singing whatever he wants, right there on the spot.
But it doesn't get old. It's the kinda song you can only get away with when you're popular, confident and really damn good at what you do. Tex Perkins is an intimidating figure at the best of times. But no more so when he's out the front of the nastiest, most brutal, and arguably greatest rock'n'roll band this country has ever produced, the Beasts Of Bourbon. Tex giving his finest snarl as he plays the part of a smuggler with a plastic bag of dope inside of him. Given the scene the band emerged from and the notoriously druggy grunge scene that was exploding upon its release, it was pertinent.
Today, it's just plain terrifying. Read the lyrics, listen to the melody Want to Australia a band try to argue with this song's inclusion in this Want to Australia a band. You'd have to be cold-hearted to even try. There have been tons of songs written about animals, but this might well be the greatest.
Dogs are the best people. If you love this song, you owe it to yourself to go and uncover more of The Fauves ' brilliance. They might be one of the most underrated acts of the decade. I'd say it's a shame that they're best remembered because of something so light-hearted, but genius comes in all forms. Somehow, the sardonic, highly intelligent, anarchic TISM found a spot in the almost-mainstream in the s. We'd assume, however, that the band would consider their greatest glory to be upsetting Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea, a friend of River Phoenix, whose overdose the band explicitly call out in the song's attention grabbing opening line.
The song is a riotous techno-punk romp that namechecks a range of celebrity deaths, prodding those who obsess over these morbid events far more than the celebrities themselves. Like TISM's best work, you can take it on its provocative face value or, you know, read the lyrics. An Austrian meets two Australians in London. They move to Brisbane, and go on to make one of the best, largely unsung records of the decade.
It's not a complex song, and it's full of familiar tropes, but it's quite unlike anything else that was around at the time, or has come since. They were inventive and she was brilliantly enigmatic out front. A gifted and versatile singer who could capture politics both the personal and the less interesting forms with equal proportions of wit and venom when required. After her first solo album String Of Pearls distancing her from her past work, Conway opened her follow up with a brooding and ominous track that drew a little more from her past.
Relationships aren't easy, especially ones in a spiralling mess. But, as Conway lets fly with nothing to lose, we have to thank all the pain and frustration that lead to such a great song. Its two short verses conjure pain and passion, love and disdain, awkwardness and joyful comfort. Its unforgettable chorus suggests it's a love song, but its verses suggest there's something less pleasant running beneath it all.
Still, it feels sentimental without sounding mawkish. Kuepper's guitar playing remains inventive in the context of such a straightforward pop song, while his vocal is delivered with a stoicism that cracks only ever so slightly.
Sometimes showing just glimpses of emotion is as powerful as opening the floodgates. Twenty-seven years on, it's incredible to think that Ratcat were the most popular act in Australia. They're too good. It's got the basics of a perfect pop tune; it'll make you feel good, get stuck in your head, keep you interested for its not-quite-three-minute duration and probably won't change your life.
Only difference is, this one has a bitchin' fuzz solo in the middle of it. The only criticism is that at one-minute-and-forty-eight seconds, it's not long enough! When I first heard it, I loved it so much I wanted it to keep going. I never got sick of it.Want to Australia a band
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