- If you’ve never heard it before, Australian surf rock is the genre you didn’t know you were missing in your playlist.
- While the land down under has already given the world legendary bands like AC/DC or Tame Impala, these modern bands prove that Australia’s music scene is still delivering.
- Blending garage rock, pop, and punk elements into a sound that encapsulates Australian surf culture, this new wave of Australian surf rock is exactly what you need this summer.
I don’t know about you Apple Music or Tidal people, but for those (normal) people who choose to listen to their music on Spotify, you’ll understand exactly what I’m about to say. It seems like, sometimes, the algorithm is out to lunch and every song that comes on whatever radio you’re listening to is an assault on your ears.
Other times, the algorithm is like Steph Curry from the three-point line: It simply can’t miss and every single song that comes on is a banger. Well, I’ve recently had one of those good Spotify weeks and it’s opened my eyes to an entirely new world, a world that I didn’t even know I needed in my life, the world of modern Australian surf rock.
I’ve been listening to nothing but Australian surf rock bands all week and I think it’s beginning to piss off my coworkers, but I couldn’t care less.
It won’t be long until I’m living out of a van, sporting a long, dirty blonde mane, and drinking excessive amounts of Coopers Dark Ale (my favorite of the Australian beer offerings). Hell, I might even have one this arvo, mate! Oh no, it’s starting already…
In all seriousness, Australia is not just a place for marsupials and shrimp on the barbie, they also have one of the strongest modern music scenes in the world that’s constantly churning out amazing new bands.
We could talk about classic heavy metal bands like AC/DC or modern psychedelic rock bands like Tame Impala, all of which hail from the Land Down Under.
However, today, we’re going to focus exclusively on the blossoming Australian surf rock scene and some of the best bands that are carrying the torch in this genre. Plus, I’ll even give you some song titles to listen to from each of these bands!
5 Australian Surf Rock Bands to Add to Your Summertime Playlist
Spacey Jane was formed in 2016 and found its home amidst the well-respected Perth music scene (which was also the birthplace of worldwide sensation Tame Impala). The founding members of the band were Caleb Harper and Kieran Lama, who played in a band together called Sicchino during their high school years in Geraldton, Western Australia.
Ashton Hardman-Le Cornu and Amelia Murray were later added to the band and the name was conceived when the four of them were out for a night with a friend of theirs named Jane, obviously.
The band released their debut single “Still Running” in 2017 followed by their first EP No Way to Treat an Animal that very same year. According to members of the band, their musical influences include The Strokes, Pixies, and the early works of Kings of Leon.
The band’s first studio album Sunlight was incredibly well received by critics and, in my opinion, doesn’t have a single skip-over song all the way through. Their music is honest and melancholy at times and, other times, makes you want to dance around or go on a sunny drive through the country.
Songs to Bump:
- Feeding the Family
- Good Grief
Skegss is probably the epitome of Australian surf rock. They’re a bunch of long-haired, blonde Aussies that wear retro clothes and make awesome laid-back yet energetic surf rock that makes you want to jump around on a beach or catch some waves.
Toby Cregan, the bass guitarist, is known as Toby Two String. Jonny Lani, the drummer, goes by the name Johnny Layback. And Ben Reed, the lead singer and guitarist, has taken on the moniker Ben Ben Bograil.
Reed and Lani had known each other since childhood, reconnected in 2014, and started playing shows for around a hundred bucks and a few free beers from the venue bar.
Things changed when they released their debut single “L.S.D.” in 2014 and the song became a smash hit around Australia. But, it wasn’t until 2018 that they released their first studio album My Own Mess, which was also well received by critics. Their music makes you feel like you’re sitting in the back of a van and watching the waves roll in as you sip a lukewarm, sandy beer.
Songs to Bump:
- Up In The Clouds
- New York California
- My Own Mess
In my opinion, Dune Rats may win the award for the best name of any of the bands on this list. The band’s name embodies the entire surf rock vibe: a little bit scummy and dirty and sandy and all-around cool.
They’re also yet another group of tattooed, long-haired, blonde dudes that look like they just crawled off the beach and onto the stage.
Originally, the band started as the duo of BC Michael Marks and Danny Beus. Eventually, they added in Brett Jansch as the bassist and the band was complete.
Back in 2014, the band released their self-titled first studio album through their very own record label. The name of the label? Ratbag Records. The album was an instant hit, so much so that their second album The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit debuted at number one on Australia’s ARIA Albums Chart. Dune Rats’s sound is a bit more on the punk rock side of things. So, if you’re into some headbanging, make sure you check them out.
Songs to Bump:
- Too Tough Terry
- Scott Green
- Demolition Derby
- If My Bong Could Talk
- Stupid Is As Stupid Does
While they didn’t win the award for my favorite name on this list, Hockey Dad comes in a close second for their wonderfully strange name. The duo of drummer Billy Flemming and guitarist Zach Stephenson, who are both natives of New South Wales, was formed in 2013. However, they had been playing together in a band called Abstract Classic far before Hockey Dad was ever formed.
I think we can all agree that Hockey Dad is a far preferable name to Abstract Classic. Fleming and Stephenson have known each other since they were three and four years old and they met each other while playing football in their neighborhood.
The name of the band comes from an episode of The Simpsons in which Bart and Millhouse are briefly shown playing a video game called “Hockey Dad.” The band members have said that their music is primarily inspired by the garage rock movement of the 1960s.
However, Fleming has also said that his brother’s collection of 1990s punk rock also served as a major inspiration for the band’s musical style. The two-member band brings a ton of sound and their music has undeniable drive and energy.
Songs to Bump:
- I Need A Woman
- In This State
- Sweet Release
- I Wanna Be Everybody
The Terrys was formed in a shared mobile home in Gerringong, New South Wales when Jacob Finch, Lukas Anderson, and Ben Salvo began teaching each other how to jam.
According to the band members, their practice sessions led to a lot of noise complaints from their landlord, especially when they added two more members: brothers Cameron and Trent Cooper.
They released their first single “Video Games” in June of 2020, making them the newest band on this list, and they quickly garnered a group of loyal fans who like to call themselves “Terrydactyls.”
The band has only grown in popularity throughout 2021 with their two new singles getting a ton of attention from Australian media outlets.
Songs to Bump:
- Our Paradise
- Melbourne Bitterz
- Ned Sanchez
- Never Going Home