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Australian Underground, Pt. 2

Okay, we are LATE. I know. And I'm very sorry. But the work I've been putting into this for the past couple of days is ridiculous. But I'm so glad I have - here are forty of this country's coolest acts from pop, rock, hardcore, metal, blues, roots...whatever! This is just some good music that I hope you enjoy. Also, MAJOR props to Rasputin: his contributions to this list are duly noted and very much appreciated. If you missed how this works, we name a band, with a bit of info on them followed by a link to their MySpace and three acts they sound similar to. Get discovering, and PLEASE leave a comment if you've listened to any of these acts - let us know what you think of them!
1Bennie James and the Hesitant Few

Five-piece from Wollongong in New South Wales. Released their wonderful debut EP earlier this year and have opened for The Whitlams, one of the country's most beloved bands. If you're into upbeat indie-pop, give this a go. Similar bands: Ben Folds, Brendan Benson, I'm From Barcelona.
MySpace: ://

Rasputin: Hailing from the distant West coast, Extortion's brand of hardcore/powerviolence is quite renowned throughout the world's underground punk circles. Fast, loud and constantly aggressive - Extortion will fuck your shit. Similar bands: Infest, Weekend Nachos, Iron Lung
MySpace: ://
3Paper Moon

One of the most exciting power trios I've ever seen perform, this band mixes their love of dark prose and literature and turns it into a brooding snarl towards seventies rock and roll mixed in with hints of both blues and prog. An intense listen. Similar bands: Wilco, Grinderman, Tom Waits.
MySpace: ://
4The Vasco Era

Filthy delta blues curled into a ball and thrown headfirst into jam rock; the Vasco Era are one of the most hard-working and exciting live bands our fair country has to offer. Currently writing for their third album, entitled Lucille, you'd be wise to get onto this lot now and beat the rush. Similar bands: The Fumes. Beasts of Bourbon, Stevie Ray Vaughan.
MySpace: ://
5Amy Meredith

Eighties-loving pop sound here; plenty to like. This is really catchy stuff, with a few tracks that aren't gonna leave your head for days on end. They've just scored the national support for Cobra Starship's Australian tour next year, but don't hold that against them. Similar bands: The Cure, The Killers, Soft Cell.
MySpace: ://

Rasputin: Dense and utterly evil death metal, one of Australia's prominent death metal acts. Debut full length Death Transmutation, released earlier this year, builds upon the success of their earlier demos and is a one of the year's best death releases. Similar bands: Incantation, Dead Congregation, Funebrarum.
MySpace: ://
7Leader Cheetah

Folk rock from Adelaide. Very mellow on record but can be blistering live. The four-piece relelased their debut album earlier this year, called The Sunspot Letters. You can also currently catch them on tour with Cloud Control, who were in my previous list. Similar bands: Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Blitzen Trapper, Frightened Rabbit
MySpace: ://
8Yeah Right

From Melbourne, Yeah Right don't do bullshit. They plug in, they press record and they pour their heart out. This is very abrasive, emotive hardcore that doesn't have any qualms with putting it all on the line. Five track demo is available online and at shows. Similar bands: Black Flag, Have Heart, Minor Threat.
MySpace: ://

Danejer is Dane Lewiss, a singer-songwriter/performance artist from Sydney city. Her music is beyond your usual piano and vocals fanfare, throwing in some powerful emotion and a hint of cabaret for some genuinely interesting and original music. Similar bands: The Dresden Dolls, Kate Miller-Hiedke (early), Regina Spektor (early)
MySpace: ://

Fresh off a tour with one of the stars of my last list, Urthboy, this Sydney crew are one of the most talked about acts from any genre of the year here in Australia. With their debut album, Inside Story, out now, this is an act that have plenty to give to the hip-hop scene that is bouncing back after a quiet period. Similar bands: The Herd, Muph & Plutonic, Atmosphere.
MySpace: ://

Rasputin: Australia's Eastern states have a very well established DIY emo/hardcore scene, and Ohana made it even better with their 2008 release Dead Beat. Similar bands: Off Minor, My Disco, Funeral Diner.
MySpace: ://
12The Pennys

Hailing from a variety of places on New South Wales' south coast, this is a sextet collective that are quite charming and always a joy to listen to. The music is bright, optimistic folk rock with a bit of harmonica and some lovely harmonies thrown in for good measure. Similar bands: Mumford and Sons, The Middle East, Dead Letter Chorus.
MySpace: ://

Australia's burgeoning heavy rock scene continues to expand with this Melbourne outfit one of the newer faces going around currently. With their debut EP just out and a support slot for Karnivool on the cards, expect to be hearing more from these guys soon. If they play their cards right, they could well match the successes of their contemporaries. Similar bands: Sleep Parade, Cog, Sugar Army.
MySpace: ://
14Bare Arms

If bands like this prove anything, it's that women have a place in hardcore that isn't being dragged along to their boyfriend's gig. Mitzi has one of the most powerful and genuinely frightening voices in Australian hardcore right now. Catch this band while they're still playing underground shows - and while you're at it, grab a free copy of their demo! Similar bands: Circle Takes the Square, Ouch My Face, Anasarca.
MySpace: ://
15Twelve Foot Ninja

This is an interesting one. Hailing from Melbourne city, 12' Ninja work a little differently from their heavy rock contemporaries with a lot more focus on melody and progression. It takes awhile to get used to, but it's definitely worth it. Similar bands: Porcupine Tree, The Butterfly Effect, Tool.
MySpace: ://

This five-piece band emphasise the alternative in alternative rock = they feature a cello player and the kind of vocals that even Jeff Buckley would have to squeeze balls to get the high notes. Swelling, melodramatic and ceaselessly brilliant, be on the eye out for this excellent Wollongong band. Their debut album comes out in a few weeks. Similar bands: Jeff Buckley, Bridezilla, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
MySpace: ://
17No Anchor

Mother Nature just shit her pantsuit. The filthy, sinful noise these two get out of bass, drums and their voices makes DFA1979 sound like Coldplay in comparison. Step over dying mother and child to check out these Brisbane maniacs and their music that's so rough around the edges you'll bleed if you touch it. Similar bands: DZ, Fugazi, Sunn O)))
MySpace: ://
18Vespers Descent

Rasputin: Though working very hard to promote their first full length, it was not until choice line-up changes and a new EP did melodic death act Vespers Descent really make an impression. 2008's Reality Dysunfction was remarkably focused and was a highly credible promise by the band to keep being good. Similar bands: At the Gates, Autumn Leaves, Pathogen.
MySpace: ://
19The Paper and The Plane

This Brisbane group are part of a very healthy Queensland music scene. With obvious indie and post-punk groundings, the four-piece nevertheless mark their own unique territory. Similar bands: I Heart Hiroshima, Flamingo Crash, Bit for Bats.
MySpace: ://
20Like... Alaska

Having played with some great Australian bands like A Death in the Family as well as international acts such as Jim Ward and One Small Step for Landmines, this Novocastrian quintet do rattling folk-punk with a multitude of lead vocalists and one powerful sound. Similar bands: Chuck Ragan, Against Me! (early), Iron On.
MySpace: ://
21Black Asylum

The philosophy of BA is simple - your heaviness comes to complete incoherence if it has no groove to it. This five-piece from the Central Coast of New South Wales ooze energy, mixing Bay Area thrash with nineties groove metal for a very straightforward yet almost instantly likable sound. Similar bands: Metallica (early), Sepultura, Mammal.
MySpace: ://

More kickarse ladies fronting kickarse bands - don't you love it? This Melbourne band thrive on big choruses, minor-chord melody and tight-knit energy - so when you're done perving on Crystal, be sure to give the tracks a listen. New EP out soon, plenty of gigs in Melbourne coming up. Similar bands: Flyleaf, Birds of Tokyo, Paramore (yes, all girl rock bands sound like Paramore, sue me)
MySpace: ://
23Safe Hands

More incredible hardcore, this time from Newcastle. The five-piece works around a trio of vocalists and a punishing take on alternative hardcore. A must-see live, this is one of the tightest bands Australian hardcore has to offer. Similar bands: Poison the Well, Every Time I Die, The Chariot.
MySpace: ://
24Mad Polly

From Stanwell Park in New South Wales, Mad Polly started out as two best friends just jamming away. Now a four-piece, the group make sexy, swaying rootsy folk-rock with a few interesting bits of percussion thrown in. A unique, fun band. Similar bands: The Kill Devil Hills, Newton Faulkner, Melissa Bainbridge.
MySpace: ://
25We Say Bamboulee

Up in the Blue Mountains in NSW, you'll find this wonderful and charming three-piece. Already making a name for themselves in Sydney's indie music scene, as well as making an appearance at 2009's Sydney Parklife festival (alongside La Roux, The Rapture, Crystal Castles etc.), these guys have a charming guitar-less pop sound that is sweetened by dollops of harmony and bright keyboard. Similar bands: Matt & Kim, Mates of State, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (early).
MySpace: ://

From Adelaide, these guys are just about to head out on tour with Karnivool. As always, they're an interesting choice - the sound mixes nineties post-hardcore with slices of prog-rock to create a sound that is more than ready to evolve into its own. Similar bands: At the Drive-In, Sunny Day Real Estate, These Arms Are Snakes.
MySpace: ://

The youngest band on the list, IRISchild have an average age of about sixteen yet still manage to defy convention. Instead of guitar and bass, it's piano and violin that lead this wonderful group, in addition to a lead vocalist with one of the most insane sets of pipes I've ever seen in my entire life. Similar bands: The Corrs, The Cranberries, george.
MySpace: ://
28I Exist

Crust-punk and sludge-metal inspired hardcore out of Canberra. I Exist play loud and tour hard - you're probably sick of hearing that by now, but you'll be damned if it isn't true of these guys. They've also got their latest release up on their page for free, so if this sounds like your bag, get downloading! Similar bands: Converge, Dropsaw, The Dillinger Escape Plan.
MySpace: ://

Rasputin: Progressive death/doom very much in the vein of Opeth, WA's Noctis made a bit of a splash in Perth's scene with their 2007 EP For Future's Past, but have not made any subsequent releases. Any fan of Opeth would do well to hear the EP and keep an eye out for further releases from the band. Similar bands: Opeth, Cynic, (early) Katatonia, Agalloch.
MySpace: ://
30Jonathan Boulet

Despite touring with some strong Australian names such as Tame Impala and The Middle East, little is known about Jonathan Boulet. His latest single, A Community Service Announcement, is one of the best songs of the year - a joyous technicolour bop with a literally unforgettable chorus. And there's more where that came from. Appearing at Homebake 2009, with a debut album launch in the works as well. Similar bands: MGMT, The Sleepy Jackson, Brian Wilson
MySpace: ://

This is fantastic. Intentions are an indie-oriented trio that mix up a love of early post-punk with elements of second-wave post-hardcore to create a sound that's incontrovertibly theirs. Have toured with La Dispute. Similar bands: To the North, the Fall of Troy (early), My Disco
MySpace: ://

This Sydney trio creates freeform experimental music that stutters through polyrhythm and catches one off-guard with its strong ear for melody. Strangely beautiful stuff. Debut album out now. Similar bands: Cornelius, Tyondai Braxton, Four Tet
MySpace: ://
33Break a Leg!

BAL! are five pissed-off teens making pissed-off hardcore for pissed-off kids to fuck shit up to. That's more or less it - the rest is up to you, dear listener. Similar bands: Gorilla Biscuits, Black Flag, Jungle Fever.
MySpace: ://
34The Slow Death

Rasputin: A death/doom act that employs a gothic tint and female vocals without actually sucking. Their 2008 self titled debut is a great album for anyone into doom metal, especially those who are into the Shape of Despair brand of funeral doom. Similar bands: Shape of Despair, (early) Funeral, DOOM:VS.
MySpace: ://
35Emma Dean

Emma hails from Brisbane and is equally about her performance and artistic concept as she is about the music itself. Recently finishing the Wheel of Frank Confessions tour, which took her and several other performers to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Emma's fresh, interesting style is certain to become a bigger hit with more exposure. Similar bands: Tori Amos, Brendan Maclean, Queen.
MySpace: ://
36Mary Jane Kelly

Right here, we have one of Oz hardcore's biggest success stories. From playing youth centres to opening Sydney's Soundwave festival and playing with bands like Bring Me the Horizon and Set Your Goals, this four-piece are a hard-working and relentless band. On tour in January with Every Time I Die and Trap Them. Similar bands: Fear Before, Embrace, Gallows.
MySpace: ://
37Arc Icarus

Based simultaneously between Wollongong and Sydney, this hard rock quartet have been making a name for themselves with a strong run of shows throughout the year. Worth a look if you're taking even a passing interest in Australia's hard rock scene. Similar bands: Karnivool, Saosin, Calling All Cars.
MySpace: ://
38The Polar Opposites

This band from the Southern Highlands of New South Wales recently took out first place in the Illawarra Mercury band competition, winning a five thousand dollar recording deal. I played in a different band that night and watched these guys tear it up - I can vouch for their excellence and their pop know-how. Similar bands: Sparkadia, Phoenix, Anberlin
MySpace: ://

Megan Washington has one of the most pure and lovely voices our country's popular music scene currently has to offer. It's sweet, it's pure and it's essentially faultless. The music that accompanies it is pretty gorgeous, too. Similar bands: Lenka, Melanie Horsnell, Wendy Matthews.
MySpace: ://
40Malignant Monster

Rasputin: Thrashy death act from Perth, Malignant Monster can be seen as the aggressive side of Pathogen, having shared and swapped members with the melodic death band for a number of years. Their 2005 released Foul Play did well to show off their style, supplemented by an array of live shows. Similar bands: Destroyer666, Morbosidad, Diocletian.
MySpace: ://
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