The major Western Australia city of Perth has long been the birthplace for legendary bands and solo artists. It’s difficult to say whether its size and isolation serve as detrimental contributing factors in its production of nationally and internationally renowned musicians, but nonetheless a general consensus can be drawn that the great WA city has spurred out some quality, original music throughout the decades.
It’s difficult to capture Perth’s diverse music history into a condensed list as the city has been sporadically cranking out exceptional performers for quite some time. However after taking a short glimpse last week at Chicago’s many musical makings, we thought we’d give the WA capital its well due credit.
Undeniably ranking high at the top of Australian-bred musicians is Tame Impala, and their effortlessly infectious, multi-dimensional musical productions. Originating as an in-home recording project for front-man Kevin Parker, the psychedelic rock group was formed in 2007. After a series of early releases, Tame Impala rose to true prominence in 2010 with their debut studio album Innerspeaker.
Their collective minded artistry and psychedelia genius only continued to flourish in the years to come, and 2012 gave rise to Innerspeaker’s follow-up, Lonerism. Slightly less guitar heavy and more pop oriented with an intricate blend of chameleonic sounds, Lonerism was instantaneously praised by critics, reaching platinum status in Australia.
With a continuously expanding inventive sound, Tame Impala’s third record, Currents, persisted down an up-tempo, experimental dance-rock path. Brimming with majestic melodies and a hypnotising compilation of sounds, many critics and fans argued that Currents is Kevin Parker’s greatest creation to date.
The indie-rock stylings of trio Methyl Ethel have recently been making waves in the Aussie music scene, and floating their way towards international recognition. Like sound inspirations Tame Impala, Methyl Ethel was started in 2013 by lead vocalist Jake Webb as a solo recording project. But due to mounting recognition, the trio properly formed to make their debut.
May 2016 saw the Perth collective’s first proper release, Oh Inhuman Spectacle – a creation in which Webb was at the forefront, managing all facets of its production and spending an entire summer in almost complete solitude recording its entirety. An entrancing dream-like soundscape of groovy instrumentals and sultry, intimate melodies, the record exudes some seriously breezy summer vibes. Warmly received, Oh Inhuman Spectacle highlights the potential of further prospective success that’s on the horizon for lads.
The first incarnation of The Drones initially formed in Perth in the late 90’s by Gareth Liddiard and Rui Pereira, who previously played together in Gutterville Splendour Six. In early 2000, Liddiard and Pereira took to the road, and headed east to further develop their musical ambitions, picking up additions along the way. Perth native bassist Fiona Kitschin and drummer Christian Strybosch (later replaced by Mike Noga in 2005 after the group’s sophomore release) were two that completed the motivated combination. While the entire combination proved temporary, with Pereira departing in 2007 (replaced by guitarist Dan Luscombe), keyboardist Steve Hesketh joining in 2013 and Strybosch’s return shortly after, The Drones nonetheless exposed the world to some brilliant garage-rock sounds.
The outfit’s first self-released EP and a strand of performances sparked the interest of listeners, as well as labels. 2002 marked the debut of Here Come the Lies, and 2005 saw its acclaimed follow- up Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By, which further sparked their rise to fame and attributed significant international recognition.
To date, the band has released seven full-length studio albums. From profound rough based rock to celestial infused rhythms, the sounds of The Drones – despite various incarnations of the band – continues to distinguishably evolve.
Birds of Tokyo
Presently comprised of Adam Spark, Glenn Sarangapany, Ian Berney, Adam Weston and Karnivool’s very own Ian Kenny, the alt-rock five piece made their first full-length album debut in 2007, three years after the band’s founding. However, it wasn’t until their sophomore release, Universe, the following year that saw the collective breakout into mainstream success.
In 2010 the boys returned to the studio to work on their self-titled third album, which would later reach double platinum status. The years to come brought about further critical acclaim and accolades, with the sweet sounds of their fourth LP, March Fires, hitting number one on the Australian music charts. The doors of sustained international success flew opened for Birds of Tokyo, and remain so with their continued production of dreamy, melodic rock.
Watch our full session with the band here.
Blending classic pop with alternative rock, The Triffids banded together in Perth in the early 80’s. Although their musical careers often led them far from their WA origins – primarily to the UK – singer/songwriter, David McComb, drew heavily on his rural Perth upbringing for musical inspiration.
The band recorded their debut, Treeless Plain, in 1983. Three years later, The Triffids released their breakthrough follow up, Born Sandy Devotional, which featured household tune ‘Wide Open Road.’
Until 1989, the band continued to craft emotively complex, melancholic melodies that intricately coloured lyrical pictures of the vast Australian landscape. Their music, infused with feelings of longing and isolation, beautifully captured life in the Australian countryside.
The Sleepy Jackson
The Sleepy Jackson was essentially the musical venture of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Luke Steele. While Steele stemmed from a musical family, he strived to take his music endeavours down a profoundly different route. Coining the name “The Sleepy Jackson” from a former narcoleptic drummer, Steele formed the band in 1999. Combining rustic electro-pop with alternative rock, The Sleepy Jackson achieved broad musical attention for a strand of EP’s, their spectacular 2003 debut, Lovers, and positively received follow-up, Personality – One Was a Spider, One Was a Bird.
Focus shifted towards the collective due to their distinctive eccentricity and eclecticism. However, 2007 saw a musical disband, and Steele went on to form the electro-pop outfit Empire of the Sun.
The 90’s and early 00’s were a thriving time for Perth’s alternative rock scene, and Jebediah was certainly no exception. Sparking national attention on the indie charts with EP Twitch and single, ‘Jerks of Attention,’ anticipation circulated around their 1997 first release, Slighly Odway. Admiration and a hardy fan base quickly ensued, and tracks like ‘Leaving Home’ became anthemic. Arguably evolving into solid rock favourites in the Australian alternative music scene, the four-piece attracted some serious attention towards WA.
Before a brief lull in late 2005 up until around 2010, Jebediah fashioned out four more albums total: Of Someday Shambles, Jebediah, Braxton Hicks and Gleesides & Sparities. They reconvened for the production of 2011 release, Kosciuszko, ultimately returning to a still devoted fan base.
20+ years of alluring tunes from Jebediah resulted in a vast spectrum of musical progression from the rockers; and presently, the band still ranks as a top influential act deriving from Perth.