25 Oct 2013 / Corey Tonkin
Given Western Australia’s segregation from the rest of the country it’s barely a shock to hear about the struggles of local artists trying to gain an audience across Australia and internationally.
The financial constraints of touring across the East Coast are enough to discourage many a band. However this hasn’t stopped the state from pushing Australian music into international audiences.
That’s right. Western Australia has become a gold mine of late in producing bands that make it overseas.
Namely the Kevin Parker lead Tame Impala who extended upon the success of their debut with 2012’s Lonerism. An album that saw them headline festivals the world over. Pond, the band’s lesser known brother, which is made up of several members of Tame Impala, are making their own waves overseas with 2013’s Hobo Rocket.
Australia’s biggest pop export in Empire Of The Sun also shares its origins with Perth. While Nick Littlemore hails from Sydney, lead singer Luke Steele started his career with The Sleepy Jackson in WA.
Musical comedian Tim Minchin was raised in Perth before he moved on to eventually become an influential London based figure.
On the electronic front Pendulum’s 2010 LP, Immersion, continued their international success with the album reaching #1 in the UK. Members Rob Swine and Gareth McGrillen have also taken their electro house dubstep outfit Knife Party successfully across the globe.
Progressive rock outfit Karnivool have also trotted across the world courtesy of their three album discography.
Lead singer Ian Kenny’s other band Birds Of Tokyo demonstrate the national success that WA acts have been able to achieve in the past. The likes of the John Butler Trio, Gyroscope, End Of Fashion, Jebediah, The Panics, San Cisco and Drapht have all garnered fans and praise across Australia.
Of course such vibrancy can’t be achieved without strong foundations. Look no further than the likes of The Triffids and The Waifs to see where the strength of city’s music history lies.
Undeniably Perth is at the core of WA’s success. The city has fostered the aforementioned acts in their early years and allowed them to gain fans internationally.
Segregated the capital of WA might be, but the state is leading the way in terms of Australian music’s international invasion.
78 Records, 255 Murray St. Mall
In its old location this record store was home to an envious collection and a space for in store performances. Moving after 16 years 78 Records is slightly smaller, but its collection hasn’t lost any of its quality and diversity. With over 40 years in the business you can count on this establishment to have the best of local and international music. You can also purchase tickets to local gigs here.
Dada Records, 36 Pier Street
To say extensive might be somewhat understating this space, which is stacked with CDs and vinyl. Dada Records’ range of obscure acts should also not be underestimated. This establishment is one for the patient diggers. Dada Records also irregularly holds gigs in its garage behind the store.
Fat Shan Records, 37 Barrack Street
A recording space for the musicians and a vinyl haven for the music diggers, Fat Shan Records is barely two years old. While there is a small CD selection the fairy lighting will attract most customers to their vinyl selection. It’s a small, intimate and dark space, which allows for a mood to set over vinyl hunters.
An award show, music conference and festival are all rolled into one from the 6th to the 9th of November to showcase the best and brightest of Western Australian music. The WAM awards aim to celebrate and promote up coming and established acts, while the music conference runs over two days at the Perth Cultural Centre with sessions from local and international artists. On the Saturday of the event over 100 acts are spread across two venues with admission free to the public. Other showcases are also held to promote local musicians.
The Bakery, 233 James St.
Get your cooking puns at the ready this music venue and exhibition space displays quality art for all Perth citizens to sample. It provides a platform for local artists so they can taste success while international acts stop by as they continue their rise. Run by not for profit arts organisation Artrage The Bakery is a stronghold for the artistic community in Perth.
Rosemount Hotel, 459 Fitzgerald St
A regular winner of WAM awards this establishment encapsulates the best of Western Australian music. Local and international acts share the stage from Wednesday through to Saturday, while DJs provide the tunes in the beer garden. The meals and drinks are relatively cheap, but regardless with past acts like The Gossip, The Cribs, Dinosaur Jr, Mudhoney and Spoon playing here their live music is what will get you through the door.
Bon Scott’s Grave and Statue
The memorials of the former AC/DC frontman ensure that his legacy lives on. Given his impact on Australian music it is little surprise that his gravesite at the Fremantle Cemetery was decreed by the National Trust of Australia as a classified heritage location. In 2006 to mark the musician’s 60th birthday his gravesite was transformed into a cultural landmark with an arch and memorial entrance gate installed. Scott’s resting place is reportedly the most visited gravesite in the country.
At the Fishing Boat Harbour in Fremantle the singer has also been immortalised in the form of a bronze statue.
The Bell Tower, Barrack Square/Riverside Dr
How on earth is this a music attraction, you ask? While not a conventional stop for most music lovers The Bell Tower is one of the largest musical instruments on earth. Custom built to hold the bells of Saint Martin in the Fields Church, the bells date back to the 14th century. If that doesn’t grab your attention the views overlooking the city should.
Perth Acts You Should Check Out
Stillwater Giants – Soundcloud
This four-piece are undeniably surf rockers. It’s unsurprising then that they formed “out of a hazy South Western beach cottage”. With two EPs under their belt Stillwater Giants are finally ready to unleash their debut album in 2014. Listen to ‘Insane’ below to sample their form of indie.
Rainy Day Women – Soundcloud
“Wait …. so they aren’t girls?” reads the band’s Facebook page. Appearances can sometimes be deceiving but not in this case. The four-piece ooze classic pop rock sounds and if their WAM award win for Song Of The Year via their debut single ‘Sleigh Bed’ doesn’t convince you of their talents than their latest single below should.
Ta-Ku – Soundcloud
This prolific producer has worked with numerous local acts and released a mass body of work, which includes the recent Bandcamp charting Re-Twerk no less. Ta-Ku’s remixing abilities, which have been used on the likes of Justin Timberlake, Flume, The Presets, Hermitude and Snakadaktal, is nothing to frown upon either. Have a listen to his collaboration with Oliver Tank below.
Filed: City Guide