I'm a sucker for a list so here's my side of this rundown. A quick disclaimer before we start however, this list is a) lacking bands which are older (Go-Betweens, Saints, etc.), b) lacking bands which most people already now about (The Grates are the only casualty here), c) lacking bands who have recently moved (Scul Hazzards), or disbanded (Night Crash, Shakes) and d) lacking bands which Cam has already listed. On top of all this I am an extremely fickle person and this list will most likely have no meaning to me come tomorrow, but for now it is today so here goes.
I Heart Hiroshima:
This was the easiest pick of the lot. I Heart Hiroshima are a band who I'm proud to say come from Brisbane. From the quirky name and off beat lyrics, to the slamming drums and repetitive riffs, Matt, Cam and Susie have been the soundtrack to the last two years of my life. While many are quick to whack the generic indie band label on the trio, I am of the opinion that I Heart Hiroshima are quite possibly the most unique sounding band in Australia. I constantly find myself trying to play spot the influence while listening to IHH, and yet I fail miserably each time. Instead I usually end up dropping the music geek shtick and losing myself in the sea of catchy yet discordant music they produce.
And while each one of IHH's releases has been a highlight for me, it is on stage that the band really shines. The constant energy the band puts into their music, not to mention the sheer joy that constantly emanates from Susie when she's behind the kit, propels the band from good to great in the live setting. I've now seen the band perform close to 20 times and I can still vividly remember each one (though I have to admit, the Skinny's in-store where a drunken hobo attacked a bunch of teenagers stands out). While the band may have to refine their style to make it internationally, half of me hopes that they don't so they stay in Brisbane.
Oscar Wilde once said 'Talent borrows, genius steals.' If this is true then Violent Soho may just be the next Beatles.
Okay so Violent Soho may not be geniuses, but the four boys from Mansfield have taken the almost deceased sound of grunge and beaten it into submission. Having missed grunge the first time around, I feel like I can somehow vicariously live that life via Violent Soho. And why not when they channel the sound of bands such as Mudhoney and Green River so perfectly? Indeed one of the corner pieces of recent sets has been their searing cover of Melbourne band GOD's 1989 song 'My Pal'. While their debut EP was catchy as hell, it had a feel of youthful ignorance to it that stopped it from being the great release it could have been. Recent tracks may signal an improvement however, with 'Son Of Sam' and 'Jesus Stole My Girlfriend' both showing signs of the band finding its on niche within grunge.
When ever Del Toro comes up in conversation it seems unavoidable that words such as 'cinematic', 'western', and 'desert' will be used. And while their is a huge Morricone vibe running through most of their songs, Del Toro turn it into The Good, The Bad, And The Acid Casualty. Indeed if they were to score a film it would be a western, but one set in space or a post-apocalyptic setting (a la Firefly).
The trio have just finished recording their debut album with Casey Rice (Dirty Three, Tortoise, Veruca Salt) which should be released sometime in the near future.
The John Steel Singers:
JSS are probably the band most likely to succeed in Brisbane at the moment. Anyone who has seen them live or heard their debut EP will testify this. The six lads take every current musical trend and throw them out the window in favour of a classic 60's pop sound drawing straight from The Beatles and The Beach Boys. That said they never fall into the trap of being derivative, rather they keep things fresh via unique melodies, quirky lyrics, and the ability to take a song in the opposite direction from what you're expecting, even if you've just listened to the it a dozen times. They've also just finished recording an new EP, so keep an eye for that one.
The Young Liberals are the dark horse of this list. Indeed they've only played live once (their second gig is tonight), yet they have already recorded two albums. The reasoning behind this is a goal to record an album for each month of 2008, and so far so good. The band combines the sound of 60's garage rock with lyrics reminiscent of David McCormack (E.g. A song about Robbie William's CD's being used to pave roads in China). The result is some of the most entertaining music I've heard in recent times. I won't go into much more as I'll be posting a review of the albums soon, but if you get the opportunity to see the Young Liberals play I couldn't recommend it more.