To the rest of the world, Australia is represented by a small handful of icons: mostly just kangaroos, the Crocodile Hunter, and our endless Aussie beaches.
Another thing we have to offer, though, is our ability to churn out some awesome bands, so it only makes sense that we’re sitting on a haul of some of the best bands in the world at capturing the essence of a summer’s day at the beach, a few minutes at a time.
Whether it’s a day spent sipping drinks on the sand, winding along a coastal road, or pushing out into the surf, these are the 10 Aussie bands we want to have playing the soundtrack.
Quickly staking their claim as one of the best duos in the country, Hockey Dad’s brand of bittersweet surf pop hails right from the beaches of the NSW Coast, and it’s not hard to imagine their songs having sprung forth from a need to soundtrack their own frequent surf trips, as their video clips will attest.
Their videos are all practically dripping salt water too, or just as at home in a skate park as our local beach – either way, they managed to make sophomore album Blend Inn one of our most anticipated records of the year.
Clearly it was for plenty of you, too, with new single ‘Homely Feeling’ cracking the triple j Hottest 100 at #54.
It’d be easy to throw Beaches onto this list based on their name alone, but what can we say – this one does what it says on the tin. The quintet have spent the last decade giving us the the perfect bland of hazy, melancholic coastal jams and strung-out ’60s pop.
Gradually sneaking up to become one of the country’s most underrated groups, they’ve well and truly earned the spot they chalked out for themselves among Australia’s best beach bands.
The bright, jangly wave of guitar that swept across Australia in recent years saw a lot of brilliant bands washing up on our shore, but few can match Twerps, and the incredibly evocative sense of space you’ll find on a track like ‘Coast To Coast’.
This is an open coastal road and a heavy right foot distilled into four-and-a-half minutes, and the rest of their catalogue is studded with similar gems essential for any surf trip mixtape.
Despite being surfers themselves, WASH definitely aren’t the mellow type. In fact, they make some of the angriest music on this list; the sonic equivalent of coarse, burning sand on the soles of your feet, and the scrape of a shin across a rock – exactly what you’d expect with Jez Player of The Pinheads on production duties.
Beneath the distortion there are elements of the foreboding, swampy surf-rock of The Horrors in their early days, and the band also owe more than a little to progenitors like Gold Coast skate punk legends Blister.
Aussie post-punk legends The Sunnyboys found plenty of fans in Aussie surf culture not just because they were surfers themselves, but because they played hard and fast, bringing on an adrenaline rush like hanging on for dear life on a big wave.
Growing up surfing in the hotspot of Kingscliff, they soon spent more time with their guitars than their boards, but the surf influence shines through in the distinct surf twang of tracks like ‘You Need A Friend’ and a host of other undisputed classics.
Goons of Doom
Goons of Doom are surf right down to their unusual origin, which saw pro surfer Ozzie Wright renting instruments to appear as props in cult classic (and Kelly Slater-starring) Aussie surf film Doped Youth in 2005, before thinking he and the rest of the band may as well try doing it for real.
While they couldn’t even really play their instruments before they got onstage for their first gig, it didn’t take that long for the Goons to establish themselves as underground heroes, and one of the most authentically salt-soaked, sun-drenched bands on this whole list.
Their place is undisputed in Australia’s music history, as possibly the most formative influence on Sydney’s punk scene, so it only makes sense they make the list of our greatest beach bands too.
The surf-infused sounds of tracks like ‘Aloha Steve and Danno’, which took part of its composition from the theme for Hawaii Five-O, provided an entirely new sort of soundtrack for Australia’s beach culture, and they doubled-down with their classic live EP Surfin At 2JJJ (now, of course, triple j).
Together with the brothers in Lime Cordiale, Byron Bay’s Ocean Alley are providing the soundtrack for our summer before we’ve even properly left winter, their latest release stirring a distinctive sound of the eighties into a brand new concoction.
The Babe Rainbow
Sunny and optimistic to the point of verging on facetiousness, it’s hard not to feel there’s a little bit of a wink and a nudge happening with The Babe Rainbow, but the result is the perfect soundtrack for a Kombi Van trek to the coast, melting in the sun along the way.
A bunch of their Flightless Records family could sub into this spot as well, with The Murlocs, King Gizz and ORB all having their fair share of strung-out jams, but it’s the relentless brightness of The Babe Rainbow that gets them the beachside nod.
Named after a swimming stroke, and with hit albums named Sons of Beaches and Sirocco (after actor Errol Flynn’s yacht), Aussie Crawl were as intertwined with our beaches as you can get, even sponsoring a surf comp in their heyday.
Starting out from Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula, they eventually moved to the warmer climates of Sydney and Hawaii to record, until they eventually signed off with live album The Final Wave in 1986, landing in the ARIA Hall of Fame with over a million records sold.