Before we even start, let’s get this out of the way: despite our reputation for making good music, and the great international bands we’ve produced over the years, we reckon Australia is seriously underrated when it comes to the tunes we make.
This country is swarming with amazing artists, plenty of them deserving far more recognition than they get, and we’ve gathered up 15 of our favourites – some a few years old, some brand new – who deserve to be big.
This list could have been 100 bands, or maybe even 1000, but for now, here are 15 Aussie acts we think are seriously underrated – and could blow up at any minute.
After a string of impressively varied alt-indie earworms, the Sydney duo have built a hardcore following, but they’ve definitely got more in the tank. Maybe it’s the fact that only now, five years after they released their promising debut EP Faceless Cat (and with some increasingly slick follow-up EPs in the interim) they’ve finally released their first album?
Thankfully, Permanent Vacation more than hits the mark (and it’d want to after keeping us waiting for so long), proving their most varied work yet. With this one out the gate, they may finally make the jump from underrated to festival mainstays, and not a moment to soon.
Before then, they’ll be launching the new record with a big national tour from October 27 – December 8 – check out the full dates below.
One of the most disgustingly multi-talented performers in Australian music, Lucian’s music combines classical training and a haunting voice with beat-making black magic that makes for dark electronic jams that still get played on triple j.
Just today he released the first piece of his new three-part album, but he’s also been spending his time behind the scenes producing for a huge new name in hip hop in 6lack.
Ruby has had a big, big 2017, her one-two punch of ‘I Want’ and ‘P Plates’ gaining her some serious momentum (and 5 star reviews left, right and centre – including triple j Unearthed).
The Sydney local has just added a second Melbourne show to her national tour after the first sold out, so she’s definitely starting to get noticed across the country, but we’re expecting her to blow up any minute now.
The 22-year-old folk singer from Warrnambool already possesses a ridiculous charisma and storytelling ability, something people are cottoning onto pretty quickly after he dropped his stunning new single ‘Jude’ ahead of some of the best performances at BIGSOUND.
Jeff Buckley comparisons might seem a bit rich, but he’s got the chops to back them up, and it’s only a matter of time until he’s headlining festivals.
Now calling Australia home (via the U.S., Germany, and finally the U.K.) we’re glad we can claim Hachiku as our own, pricking up plenty of ears earlier this year with ‘Moon Face’, a sparkling, layered dose of electro pop.
Having recorder her debut EP over two years and three countries, she’s finally dropped it through Courtney Barnett’s label Milk! Records, and it deserves to be the start of something really big.
The very definition of ‘underrated’, the Melbourne genius has a weird, indefinable, experimental energy that may hold him back from a lot of avenues in music, but which makes everyone who does fall for his charms fall very, very hard.
He just released his first full-length, and maybe it’ll be the release that makes him a household name – or maybe it’ll just go down as one of the mostly undiscovered gems of Australian music. We’re not sure which one he’d prefer.
The Sydney four-piece have grabbed some serious attention in certain corners this year with their perfectly dissonant, intoxicating brand of indie pop rock, but they’re the sort of outfit we’d all love to see flying the flag for Australian guitar bands in 2018.
They’ll be playing Melbourne’s Sugar Mountain early next year, and hopefully they’ll be etched onto a lot more festival bills by this time next year.
Possibly the best rock two-piece in the country right now, the Sydney duo haven’t exactly been neglected, as their (now ARIA-nominated) debut album Alright Already got them plenty of love earlier this year, and saw them touring across the country.
While the ARIA nom is obviously a big pat on the back, we’re hoping for even bigger things for them; their infectious brand of high-energy, Motown-influenced rock a refreshing change from the oh-so-serious attitude that put us off a few of the big name garage rock two-pieces the rest of the world has given us lately.
Currently touring with a few other acts who came very close to being on this list in The Gooch Palms and Peter Bibby, Pist Idiots are the ‘drunk rock’ upstarts who aren’t to be underestimated just because of their name.
Drunk or sober, they’re making music a lot more contemplative than you might expect, nipping at the heels of the likes of the Smith Street Band when it comes to heart-wrenching pub rock, with cries of “Fuck Off” carrying some serious weight to them.
Originally the solo project of Melbourne’s Rhea Caldwell, this is the sort of ’60s revival we can definitely get behind, and we’re hoping everyone else does as well.
Still super early for this newly-minted four-piece, but we reckon their combo of disarming lyrics and cheeky surf-pop flourishes absolutely demand a bigger stage in 2018.
Back in 2015, these boys were making some of the best jangle-pop to come out of the constantly-jangling Melbourne scene, and had a damn good cover of ‘Errol’ by Australian Crawl to boot.
In 2017, though? They’re still doing just that, but with the extra polish that tips them over the top into ‘essential’ territory, blending distinctly British influences in the Morrissey-esque vox with the warmth of an Australian summer.
Our local answer to a Grimes or a Charli XCX, the Sydney dance-pop producer has already signed some big deals, and it’s only a matter of time before her next push comes and she’s everywhere.
She’s already played the perfect support role with Client Liaison, but the cherry Starburst that is ‘Friends Don’t Make Out’ deserves to have her on the top of the bill. Get around her now.
Low-key one of the most formidable production talents in Australia, Jack has worked behind the scenes as a producer on records like Ngaiire’s gorgeous Blastoma alongside Paul Mac, but his own music is criminally under-exposed.
Immaculate, deceptively simple compositions that translate as well live as they do on record, everything he does is perfectly weighted and undeniably beautiful.
She’s taken a four-year break since releasing the acclaimed debut EP Zero, but Phebe’s return with Chronicles earlier this year was worth the wait, a taste of what’s to come next – and hopefully not in another four years.
Inviting comparisons to Sky Ferreira or perhaps a touch of Goldfrapp, she’s been picking up some attention overseas recently, and with the comeback out of the way in style, we’re all ayes on that next record.
They’ve done things at their own pace, getting us hooked with the astonishingly good desert rock of ‘Cab Deg’ several years ago, and leaving us wondering ever since why they weren’t one of the biggest bands in the country overnight.
They’ve become a lot bigger now, nestled nicely alongside the Bedroom Suck roster and touring around the world, but like a lot of their labelmates, we reckon they could be huge.
Lime Cordiale ‘Permanent Vacation’ album launch tour
Friday, 27th October
Amplifier Bar, Perth
Saturday, 28th October
The Odd Bar, Fremantle
Saturday, 4th November
UniBar, Adelaide (Licensed AA)
Friday, 10th November
Workers Club, Geelong
Saturday, 11th November
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Sunday, 12th November
Wrangler Studios, Melbourne (U18)
Thursday, 16th November
Beach Hotel, Byron Bay (FREE ENTRY)
Friday, 17th November
The Brightside, Brisbane
Saturday, 18th November
The Brightside, Brisbane (U18 matinee)
Saturday, 18th November
Sol Bar, Maroochydore
Thursday, 23rd November
Friday, 24th November
Transit Bar, Canberra
Saturday, 25th November
Metro Theatre, Sydney (Licensed AA)
Friday, 1st December
Republic Bar, Hobart
Saturday, 2nd December
Club 54, Launceston
Friday, 8th December
Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville