Recently I read an article at Vulture Magazine that sung the virtues of the Perth music scene. It was a nice idea, but it was kind of a bust. The basic premise of the argument was that there’s a few bands in Perth that you probably know the name of and also some dude who played in The Clash for a while. It wasn’t really a great argument.
I decided to extrapolate on the idea, but before I do, here’s some backstory.
I moved to Perth in 2011 after living in Sydney and Brisbane and after a couple of months I was fortunate enough to head to an acoustic show by Millencolin frontman Nikola Sarcevic. One of the support slots was by a band called The Decline, I’d vaguely heard of them, but hadn’t really heard their music before, and even though it was just two of the members playing ‘unplugged’, it was kind of incredible. Their harmonies were impeccable, and their songs were the kind that made you want to sing along before you even knew the words. After their set, I went up to the band and bought a CD, we had a cool chat about the Perth scene and the guys took my number so they could tell me when more shows were on. That small kindness, a great band showing that they were welcoming and friendly dudes opened up a door to something far greater, and my world hasn’t been the same since.
So straight up if you’re not already a fan of The Decline then you should be. These guys are on the verge of releasing their third full-length album – Resistor. Their first two albums, I’m not Gonna Lie to You and Are you Gonna Eat That? are some of the best of you’ll find in Australian melodic punk, they’re thematically relevant and catchy as fuck, I can only assume their follow-up is going to be amazing. Right on their heels are the always impressive Bob Gordons who do their very best to party harder than any other band, and they also play great music, so they’re worth checking out. I think one of the most underrated bands in the country is Castle Bravo, their debut release from 2012 is a masterpiece, one of the best punk records you’ll hear, it’s provocative but not preachy, melodic but heavy and wonderfully produced. Find a copy and buy it.
The Decline’s videos are always pretty awesome too!
If ska is your thing, then there’s a bunch of bands worth checking out. House Arrest and At The Space Jam are both great bands, the kind of modern ska that isn’t afraid to explore its jazz and dancehall roots. Then there’s Trip Hazard and the Rude Boys and Frigid Digits who both channel that ’90s Southern California sound made famous by bands like Operation Ivy and Voodoo Glow Skulls. One of the most impressive bands in Perth is Them Sharks. They’re a wonderful fusion of reggae, ska and punk that is kind of reminiscent of Sublime, but more than capable of standing on its own two feet. These guys have created an awesome bunch of songs that are as infectious as they are fun. They’re one of the best live acts in the state, so do yourself a favor and check them out.
If you need something a little more fuel-injected then the inescapably awesome Chainsaw Hookers are the band for you. The bastard child of Motorhead, the Ramones and pure gasoline; these guys have firmly established themselves as the kings of rock n roll, not just in Perth, but of the whole country. I’m calling it, these guys, make AC/DC look like fucking the Wiggles. You should be listening to them. On that note, if the Hookers are the kings then Scalphunter are the usurper to the throne. They’re the Stanos Baratheon to the Hookers Lannister, or whatever, Game Of Thrones is confusing, the point is Scalphunter are bad ass speed punks playing rock n roll that’ll fuck you up worse than a hot sauce enema – listen to their music.
Perth has no shortage of brilliant singer-songwriters, many of whom also play in some of the killer bands I’ve mentioned. Ben Elliott from The Decline and House Arrest, the enormously talented Noah Skape of Total Waste and FAIM, Benny Mayhem who used to front Project Mayhem, Jason Ayres who tours thus country harder than anyone else, Dan Cribb who after killing it in The Decline for years now fronts Dan Cribb and The Isolated – who just launched their debut album and are fucking amazing. But that’s only scratching the surface, there’s so many to be discovered if you take the time to check them out.
There are just so many great bands here that you should check out -The Shakeys, Worst Possible Outcome, Agitated, Anavar, Illyria, Blindspot, Alex the kid, Voyager, Bounty Hunter, Emu Xperts, Miles Away, Cursed Earth – it goes on and on. I’ll probably look back at this list and realise I’ve missed dozens of great bands, but it doesn’t matter. You can find these bands on Facebook and Bandcamp, Dan Cribb and The Decline both put out records through Pee Records, so check them out.
Okay, so this is basically a glorified love letter to the Perth music scene, but fuck it, it’s a pretty great scene.