Global Beat Australia: Hard rock, transnational ennui, and a good morning to you

By Andrew Khedoori and Raul Campos

This week gets heavy with the hard rock of Hard-Ons, the scalpel-precise lyrics of Tropical Fuck Storm, and some Jeff Tweedy-approved jangle from Melbourne’s Good Morning. Photos by Michelle Young/Lantern Studio, Tropical Fuck Storm and Nick Mckk

KCRW’s Global Beat is a new series highlighting emerging artists from around the world. We’re kicking the series off with our friends in Australia by partnering with The Australian Music Alliance and the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap), a uniquely Australian organization designed to support Australian music on public radio.

KCRW DJ Raul Campos hosts along with Amrap Manager Andrew Khedoori for this week’s Aussie artist spotlights. This week gets heavy with the hard rock of Hard-Ons, the scalpel-precise lyrics of Tropical Fuck Storm, and some Jeff Tweedy-approved jangle from Melbourne’s Good Morning. Catch up on all the artists from the series (plus bonus tracks!) with our Global Beat: Australia playlist

Hard-Ons - “ Hold Tight ” 

Hard-Ons have been rocking from West Sydney to their dedicated fans for 37 years, and now Tim Rogers from You Am I is in on the action. Photo by Michelle Young/Lantern Studio.

This band exists where the melting pot of suburban Australia and the punk rock explosion collide. They started off nearly four decades ago as high schoolers doing Kiss and AC/DC covers, and coming from the western suburbs of Sydney into what was a very “cooler than thou” scene. They eventually made their mark, and have sustained it for 37 years with a devoted following the world over. Their fan base is deep and devoted, and includes some heavy hitters like the Foo Fighters and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Both of these bands have performed with the Hard-Ons over the years. They also have a fan in Henry Rollins, who decades back provided lead vocals to their cover of one of the classics; AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock.” 

Now they have a new singer, none other than Tim Rogers from You Am I. You might remember them as another long standing Australian band who we have featured on Global Beat. This single “Hold Tight” is from a forthcoming album, and underneath the guitar fuzz that's been their trademark for so long is a love for the kind of melody that turns into immediate ear candy. It’s no surprise that this one bounces right out of the blocks, and it's a bit of a glam stomper. They're never shy about talking up their influences, and this one's got a sweet T. Rex vibe. 

Tropical Fuck Storm - “ Bumma Sanger ” 

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Western Australia's Tropical Fuck Storm provide urgent and heady songwriting. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Gareth Liddiard, through his work in both The Drones and TFS, is writing songs with scalpel-like insight. The new album from Tropical Fuck Storm, “Deep States,” is urgent and heavy. It captures the ennui of the nation and the desperate times we live in. It also gives us the impression that we need to look inwards to get ourselves out of it. There's a lot of irony in this music, and some laugh out loud lines. That's the age we live in, and this is how we often convey our thoughts and feelings. “Deep States” is an apt title for what they convey throughout. And just like FERLA, who we heard from recently, this can feel like the end of the world turned up to ten — somewhere between total abandon and complete control.

Good Morning - “ Country

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Good Morning is a duo out of Melbourne delivering breezy jangle-pop from Wilco's Chicago Loft. Photo by Nick Mckk.

Good Morning perfected their slacker pop sound from the bedroom with a string of low key but charming releases. Under all the affectation there's some really good songwriting, and now they've gone a little bit more hi-fi by recording at The Loft in Chicago. Wilco heads will instantly know that this is a space maintained by Jeff Tweedy from the band, and that the studio is  responsible for some great and singular releases over the last five years. 

This band is poised for quite a leap with their forthcoming album “Barnyard,” and you can already hear it in this single “Country.” Good Morning are out here making beautiful, unassuming songs with a lot of romanticism and wishful thinking.





Raul Campos, Adam Burke