Welcome to the first in what may be (depending on how we feel) the first of many retrospective posts for Who The Bloody Hell Are They. Basically, the premise behind these posts are to highlight amazing Aussie acts that have now split up but didn’t reach the heights they should have. The idea is that if these bands were still together today, we’d have blogged about them.
Courtesy of FasterLouder.com.au
The Grand Silent System - ‘Seems’ (mp3)
Hands down, The Grand Silent System were, and still are, my favourite Aussie band. Though they only came to NSW on three occasions while I was of the legal gig-watching age, I managed to see them seven times.. or maybe it was more? Their music appeals to everything I like about music – variety, experimentation, complexity, melody and rhythm. Live they were phenominal; they possessed a massive wall of sound courtesy of their six-piece lineup. Vocalist Sean ‘Jova’ Albers also doubled as a percussionist, and he would play live surrounded by a mammoth percussive setup. Couresty of a huge internet buzz, many American sites would often lauder TGSS.
The band released two EPs – the difficult to find One and the amazing They Who Built. Their debut LP Gift or a Weapon is one of the best albums I own, and the follow up Everyone Lies Alone was solid but didn’t live up to its predecessor.
Clann Zú - ‘Five Thousand More’ (mp3)
Like The Grand Silent System, Clann Zú is another brillant Melbourne act who sadly aren’t around anymore. I never got to see these guys live, which I’m still kicking myself about. They were an odd group who found a lot of success overseas, especially in Europe and I think Canada as well. Their music was predominantely rock, but it had a strong Irish influence, thanks to the background of vocalist Declan de Barra and the instruments used. They were another band who rebelled against the commercial standards of music and created their own unique art.
They released a couple of albums, the best being Rua which was their debut. They also released a fantastic self-titled EP, and Black Coats and Bandages, the follow-up LP to Rua, was a solid effort but I never quite got into it. Maybe I need to listen to it more… Anyway, two members of this amazing band have formed a post-rock three piece called My Disco and Declan de Barra is now performing as a solo artist.
Courtesy of FasterLouder.com.au
Switchkicker – ‘A Kiss Becomes A Coma’
Switchkicker is the pseudonym for Many Machines on Nine frontman Dan Sutherland and his solo project. Started before joining MM9, Switchkicker had a couple of radio hits on Triple J including ‘Drown’ and ‘We’re Not Apart’ off the album 17102. The songs were catchy but not in the commerical pop sense – they had a dark industrial feel to them, but they weren’t heavy nor alienating. 17102 was heavily influenced by Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails, but it was really Switchkicker’s second release, Method 2, that showcased Sutherland’s abilities as a songwriter and as a vocalist. The album was a far more mature effort, taking in influence from the 80s new-wave movement but still maintaining an industrial feel, garnishing the album with strong rhymths behind a layer of melody.
Despite having a massive amount of potential and being signed to an independent label, Switchkicker was never pushed as much as Many Machines on Nine and as such the project has sadly fallen by the way-side. There are rumours of a final show at Sydney venue The Basement, so one can only hope we get to see this fine music performed live for one last time.