Here’s what a stack of your favourite Aussie indie bands did after they broke up
Last month DAVE RUBY HOWE took a trip down memory lane to find out what happened to the gangs from Little Red, Van She, Operator Please, Hungry Kids Of Hungary, Children Collide, Lost Valentinos and Mercy Arms after the bands broke up. But they weren’t the only acts from the depths of your CD collection that have forged on to create a stack of new bands and solo projects. So he’s is back on the case, digging through the archives of SoundCloud to solve the mystery of the missing indie musicians once again.
It was the middle of the 2000s and The Strokes had already come along and ignited the fresh surge of new new-wave British bands like Arctic Monkeys, The Rakes and The Cribs and it felt as if this indie-rock revolution was taking over the world. Australia had its own answer to those bands in Sydney’s excellent Red Riders. Over a couple of EPs and two albums on Ivy League, the Sydney four piece operated with both style and substance on tunes like ‘Slide In Next To Me’ and ‘Ordinary’ before officially it a day in 2011. But Red Riders fans have been kept well serviced by the band’s members since then.
Tom Wallace and frontman Al Grigg have been busy with Palms (when Grigg isn’t on duty in Straight Arrows, too); Matt Chapman has released some great, Smashing Pumpkins-influenced rock with his band Peppercorn; not to mention Brad Heald who’s played in The Vines and more recently as a part of Sydney indie-folk artist Nikita Rolleston’s band. While Adrian Deutsch – who left Red Riders before their Drown In Colour LP opening up a spot for Heald – has a multi-release solo career in addition to writing songs for Andy Bull and 5 Seconds Of Summer.
The four piece rock revivalists laid claim to being the biggest band in Australia at the time of their debut album’s release in 2003, selling a few million copies of Get Born and obliterating the competition to reach #1 in that year’s triple j Hottest 100 with ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’. Two albums later and the band of two brothers and two mates pulled the pin, going out as the national support for Powderfinger’s own farewell tour and explaining it as a “discontinuation”, as they put it, of Jet as a band.
The only official project to emerge in the afterlife of Jet has been Damn Dogs, founded by Chris Cester and Mark Wilson in 2011, with a charged up dance rock and were based out of Los Angeles and playing live through to 2013. Jet frontman Nic Cester unexpectedly emerged from exile in 2014 with an Italian vocal collaboration with Italian rockers Afterhours and proved he can still wail. Most recently Jet made headlines as a rumoured reunited guest on AC/DC’s 2015 Australian tour, with Wilson telling Triple M at the time, “I don’t want to put out the fire…”.
To follow Australian indie music in the mid 2000s was to know Ghostwood. Originally The Ghosts, the Sydney band were the subject of a hype storm from their first MySpace salvos; here was a pack of kids, for real still in school, making music with a sophisticated and dark edge and quickly signed to Modular and booked as support for The Jesus And Mary Chain. Though Ghostwood is no longer, in 2016 we’re still hearing the music from these guys. Singer Gabriel Winterfield is out front leading Jagwar Ma, Patrick Harrowsmith and James West formed Green Buzzard and Tom Crandles has been making music in Au.Ra with another band refugee, Tim Jenkins of Parades.
Notch up Bridezilla as another frighteningly young indie group from the last decade beset with as much hype as talent. They released their sole album their album The First Dance in 2009, but beyond the quintet’s releases on Ivy League and Inertia for at least three fifths of Bridezilla are still putting out music. Original frontwoman Holiday Sidewinder has been dabbling in various shades of pop music while living in the UK; Daisy Tulley’s is the leader of excellently brooding Sydney two-piece Low Lux; and Bridezilla drummer Josh Bush has most recently stepped up to the microphone to front a markedly sunnier solo project called Arms Akimbo.