It’s easy to get distracted by the constant stream of new and exciting music that’s constantly emerging, but when we stop and think about the Aussie bands we haven’t heard from in a while, it’s easy to get nostalgic.
Today, we’ve taken some time to reflect and here we pay ode to the fantastic homegrown acts who have slipped away from the spotlight – some we may see again, and some who are sadly gone for good.
Whether they’ve gone on hiatus, split up, lost members permanently, or have simply flown under the radar, we’ve tracked down a bunch of absent artists that have really made our collective hearts grown ever fonder.
Sure, lead singer Bernard Fanning is currently keeping fans pretty happy with his solo run, but we’d love to the whole band back together. Splitting in 2010 following the release of their seventh album Golden Rule, Powderfinger (ex-)band members have made consistent efforts to make it clear they have no intentions of ever getting back together.
Not that long ago, he said the much-loved Aussie band were killed by compromise. Now that tensions have had time to simmer down over the past few years, could Powderfinger’s happiness be slowly creeping back?
One of the country’s seminal heritage bands, the Perth-born rock outfit’s chances of a proper reunion obviously disintegrated when central figure David McComb tragically died in 1999 at the age of 36.
The Triffids’ last studio LP was released almost 10 years earlier, with 1989’s The Black Swan, so our nostalgia runs pretty deep. There have been a few teary-eyed reunions following on from their breakup at the end of the ‘80s, and while Alsy MacDonald, Jill Birt and Robert McComb may have moved onto the normal-person suit-and-tie jobs, they have at least reunited for the odd live performance.
One of the biggest are-they-or-aren’t-they mysteries in Australian music, it’s still unclear whether the trio of Daniel Johns, Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou have called it quits on Silverchair.
Here’s what we know: the trio announced an “indefinite hibernation… for the foreseeable future” back in 2011, but then in October 2012, Tone Deaf interviewed drummer Gillies who got tongues wagging again when he told us a new album “will happen one day” and that the three-piece were halfway through a record when they went separate ways.
However, singer Daniel Johns shot those ideas to pieces in 2015 when he said he wouldn’t rejoin the band for any amount of money, so we won’t be holding our breath.
A perfect storm of talented artists, I’lls were a brilliant concoction formed when one of its members rocked up to jazz class with an analogue synth. It became an obsession from there, and the trio went on to make some incredibly beautiful works, becoming hugely appreciated in the corners of Melbourne and being name-dropped by much of its flourishing electronic scene as being a huge influence.
I’lls called it a day when bassist Dan Rutman left for America, but its remaining members Hamish Mitchell and Simon Lam have continued to work together as Couture, while Simon also pushes forward as part of duo Kllo.
There was once a time, in the mid-naughties, when Cog – along with Karnviool, the mighty Perth collective that have arguably risen to replace them – were the leaders in a new Aussie wave of progressive heavy rock groups (such as Mammal, Dead Letter Circus, Sleep Parade, and The Butterfly Effect). With their politically potent content and inventive, burly sound world, Cog came roaring out of Bondi’s music scene like Australia’s answer to Rage Against The Machine.
Their near-perfect 2005 debut LP, The New Normal, merely solidified their stellar reputation. Three years later came Sharing Space and reissues of their twin debut EPs, but it seemed that things were stagnating. A 2010 live album and retrospective documentary hinted at an end-point to Cog’s career. By December of that year they had played a final set of regional farewell shows that would be their last.
While members have moved on to new projects – Borich into Floating Me and The Nerve, the Gowers onto a string of new songs as The Occupants – it’s hard not to get misty-eyed when remembering how powerful and promising Cog sounded at the peak of their powers.
They reunited onstage last year and have so far played a handful of shows, but we’re still waiting for news of a proper reunion and a new record.
It’s been seven years since Nick Cave’s Grinderman released their sophomore effort Grinderman 2, and while the band’s semi-recent reunion at the 2013 Coachella suggested they might return together in the studio soon, it never materialised.
Sure, we’ve seen some brilliant work from Cave of late with The Bad Seeds, but we’re still feeling pangs of nostalgia for Grinderman, too.
Formed in 2005, Melbourne group Little Red quickly became one of the crown jewels of Australian indie pop thanks to a string of loveable, catchy singles in ‘Coca Cola’, ‘Slow Motion’, and ‘Rock It’, the latter of which placed #2 in the 2010 Triple J Hottest 100. But following the success of their sophomore album Midnight Remember, the band called it a day. According to a press release, “the original members [had] parted ways”.
Since then, two former Little Red members Dominic Byrne and Adrian Beltrame went on to play in the local indie supergroup New Gods; Taka Honda moved to The Hondas; Tom Hartney switched to Major Tom & The Atoms; and Quang Dinh left for Naked Bodies.
We’re all for new stars, but surely we’re not the only ones who’d like to see Little Red ‘Rock It’ together once more.
The Middle East
After a temporary split in 2008, delicate indie folk troupe The Middle East decided to officially call it quits on-stage at Splendour In The Grass in 2011, marking the end of six years as a band.
Co-frontman Rohin Jones told The Vine that by the end it felt like they were “[selling] their souls to it”. While we’re loving Bree Tranter’s latest work, The Middle East fizzled too soon, and we definitely won’t be seeing them again any time soon.
Brisbane indie rock heroes The Go-Betweens tragically disbanded for the second time in 2006 – arguably during the group’s biggest peak – following the death of co-founder Grant McLennan, who suffered a heart attack at 48 years old.
The group became household names during the ‘70s and ‘80s, and while their 27-year-long career has already cemented a legacy in Australian music, it’s easy to get a little greedy for a comeback – especially when you chuck on ‘Streets Of Your Town’. Try playing it without letting out a nostalgic sigh – it’s impossible.
The Paper Scissors
While they’re best known for their 2006 track ‘We Don’t Walk’, which was included on the Underbelly soundtrack and in an Unwired television ad, those in the know remember the Sydney trio as one of the city’s best bands and one of it’s most promising indie prospects.
The band disbanded back in 2012 citing exhaustion and frustration with pursuing a music career in a country where it seems as though it’s ever tougher to do what you love for a living. However, the band’s two albums will continue to stand as two of the most underrated albums in the Aussie indie canon.
This adored indie grunge outfit have remained on indefinite hiatus since the tragic death of bass player and co-founder Dean Turner, who lost his battle to cancer in 2009 at the age of 37.
While Magic Dirt never officially broken up, lead singer and Turner’s once girlfriend Adalita Srsen has carved a successful solo career under her own name and has (understandably) said there aren’t any plans for a Magic Dirt reunion in the future. Their legacy remains untarnished, but that doesn’t mean they’re not missed any less.
Oscar + Martin
The Melbourne-based duo went separate ways in 2011 to further explore their own solo ventures – Oscar has since become Oscar Key Sung and paired up with Andras Fox for Andras & Oscar, while Martin King also releases solo material like 2013’s Fitness EP last year and also plays in Melbourne’s favourite soul-pop group, The Harpoons.
They’re clearly both very busy boys, but we’re still dreaming of the day these two R&B synth wizards reunite and drop another track together.
There was a time in the mid-to-late 2000s when you could not see a major Australian festival lineup without seeing the name Bridezilla on it. Formed in Sydney in 2005 amongst school friends, the band signed with Ivy League Records with 2007.
After an EP, a change of label in 2009, two albums, support slots for the likes of John Cale, Wilco, Stephen Malkmus, The Drones, Interpol, and Sia, as well as every festival you can name, the band announced their “inevitable departure and divorce” in December 2012.
Coasting to success in the early 00s, riding the breaking surf of the wave of 90s Aussie alt-rock that preceded them, was Motor Ace. With the aid of heavy Triple J rotation and even some commercial radio support, the Melbourne four-piece’s highlights included supporting Foo Fighters and Blink 182 and landing an ARIA Top 10 album.
Though swiftly capitalising on the success of 2001’s Five Star Laundry with 2002’s Shoot This, it seemed things stagnated after a tour of Japan took its toll on the band. They slowly edged their way towards a third album, Animal in 2005, and only four months after its release they’d announced they’d be disbanding.
While Aussie contemporaries like Something For Kate, The Living End, Regurgitator, You Am I, and Jebediah have outlasted Motor Ace, they may be remembered just as fondly. Two of its members have since started a new project called Nighthawk just this year, which may be the next best thing.
It went like this. Sydney band walks into an FBi open day with demo in hand, goes onto receive high rotation there as well as a triple j debut on Richard Kingsmill’s 2008 show, and a handful of plays on Home and Hosed, open for Malcolm Middleton as their third show, Jebediah as their eighth, and split in 2012.
While this sounds like a nice, neat, and concise little package, for those that were there, Parades were a much-loved fixture of the Australian indie scene. In a departing message on Facebook, the band thanked everyone who “came to a show, bought a CD or told their friends about us”.
Jono is doing pretty well for himself as Jonathan Boulet, but we’d love to have these guys back together as well.
Before Tim Morrison was one of the most promising contestants on The Voice, he was fronting Melbourne rock outfit Trial Kennedy. While the band sadly disbanded in 2012, they’re a lot more than a footnote in the city’s rich rock history.
The band supported international arena kings like Fall Out Boy and Yellowcard and released two very well-received albums, respectively titled New Manic Art and Living Undesigned. However, the band announced in 2012 that they were disbanding, citing hardships with embarking on a music career in Australia.