As has been said many times, there’s a whole universe of Australian rock and pop bands that have never really made a great impact outside of their home country. Obviously, sites like Bandcamp and streaming services – love ’em or hate ’em – have really helped in getting some of the more underground talents into people’s ears, but all too often, so many Aussie bands have had to rely on a domestic fanbase. As it is with rock, there’s an Australian blues scene that’s barely made a blip on the UK and US record buyers’ radar, with performers like Ray Beadle, The Chris Mawer Band and Kara Grainger helping to fly the flag for the most timeless of genre sounds.
Formed in Germany during the Coronavirus lockdown of 2020, Lobsterbomb have an intense sound and positive spirit that combats the negative vibe of the time in which their first songs were written. By combining the lower budget end of the early Yeah Yeah Yeahs sound and the unrestrained yelping of Katie Jane Garside, they hit upon a classic garage punk sound, and after releasing a trio of digital singles in fairly quick succession during the first quarter of 2021, they connected with an audience of like-minded DIY music fans. Although there wasn’t necessarily much in the way of originality in the sound itself, in terms of rousing an energy and an ability to deliver a lyric or two that seemed more self-aware than most, these recordings more than hit the mark.
For fans of extreme metal, Belfast sludge beasts Slomatics are a band who’ll need no introduction. Since their inception back in 2004, they’ve been utterly committed to creating the heaviest sounds and they’ve won a legion of fans with their slow, crushing, doom-laden noise. No strangers to a split release, they’ve shared discs with Conan, El Bastardo and Holly Hunt. They kicked off 2021 by sharing a split with UK hardcore metal act Ungraven, only to return a few months later on this split disc with Aussie doomers Yanomamo.
Despite releasing material as far back as 2010, it wasn’t really until 2018’s ‘That Dog Won’t Hunt’ (released via Mom’s Basement Records in the US) that German pop punk band Neon Bone started to be noticed by a wider audience. Although the production values of that album sounded a little woolly in places, it was a huge step up from previous works and the song writing proved more than solid. Mixing Ramonescore riffs and bubblegum choruses, the material paraded itself in a way that was instantly appealing to fans of Teen Idols, classic Parasites and even early Weezer. The follow up disc (2020’s ‘Make It Last’) brought more of the same and should’ve been enough to keep fans happy for the foreseeable future, but Neon Bone followed that in double quick time, with the ‘I Wanted You To Know’ EP hitting digital platforms a few months later.
On their sixth album, 2017 LP ‘Mas Rapido!’, Spanish punks F.A.N.T.A. cranked out seventeen high octane belters in under thirty five minutes. The breakneck pace with which almost everything was delivered made it entirely possible to forget most of the lyrics weren’t in English. In fact, most of the album’s greatness often came from the playing itself: between a barrage of fast guitar chords and some pretty smart bass work – sometimes reminiscent of an early 80s Dee Dee Ramone – F.A.N.T.A. arguably gave the world their first true masterpiece; an album that really capitalised on the sounds of the previous release (2014’s ‘Asi No Vamos A Ninguna Parte’) and an obviously huge leap from their earlier, more raw work.