Some bands take years and years to refine their sound and create their best work, while others manage to kick their careers off on the right foot and blow up almost overnight with their very first full-length effort.
Gomez – Bring It On (1998)
Gomez’s debut album Bring It On catapulted them to the forefront of the ’90s rock scene, with its unique take on alt, psych, and folk setting the band apart from their post-grunge obsessed peers.
Released to massive acclaim from fans and critics alike, it beat out legends like The Verve, Pulp and Massive Attack for the coveted Mercury Prize for the U.K. Album Of The Year, and it became their first platinum record.
The album spawned one of the band’s career-defining tracks in ‘Get Myself Arrested’, although their highest-charting track came the following year on their sophomore album (another platinum hit) and was, funnily enough, titled ‘Bring It On’.
The band celebrated the landmark album’s 10th anniversary with a whirlwind tour in 2008, and are doing the same for its 20th birthday with their set at Bluesfest in March and a run of shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
Rage Against The Machine – Rage Against The Machine (1992)
Rage Against The Machine facilitated a paradigm shift in heavy music when they unleashed their self-titled debut onto an unsuspecting world. Taking elements of funk, metal and bat-shit crazy lead guitar championed by the mastermind Tom Morello, the politically-charged band lead an army of pissed-off Gen Xers.
The record was a mission statement that was met with total critical acclaim and has yielded an enduring impact on the music landscape ever since and established Rage as one of the most important bands of not only the 90s, but all time. Interestingly, the album was particularly successful in Australia, where it’s racked up 5x platinum status with sales in excess of 350,000 copies – not bad when you compare it to the 3,000,000 sales in their much bigger home country.
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Panic! At The Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005)
Ten years on, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out still stands as one of emo’s most boundary-pushing creative bands. Fusing heart-palpation-inducing riffs, schizophrenic electronics and monster hooks carried by Brendon Urie’s pop punk-meets-Broadway singing chops, the album shot the band to the forefront of sweeping side-fringe hysteria and mainstream success on its way to double-platinum certification.
Tracks like ‘Lying Is The Most Fun’ and ‘Time To Dance’ showcased the higher perception of songcraft and talent for experimentation that many of their peers lacked, and no other pop punk album has quite mirrored Fever‘s level of intensity and creativity since.
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit (2015)
Courtney Barnett’s divisive debut is a journey through the intricacies and mundanities of the everyday, its kind musings on love and life proving unpretentious and cutting straight to the crux of the human condition – a skill Courtney has mastered like few others.
Who else could make pondering on the merits of organic vegetables as sincere and thought-provoking as Barnett on ‘Dead Fox’, or weave a tale as relatable as the already-iconic call out of gentrification that is ‘Depreston’? Courtney copped ARIA, Grammy, and Brit award nominations for the debut effort, won the 2015 Australian Music Prize, and was launched onto the international touring (and TV talk show) circuit.
Pearl Jam – Ten (1992)
Few bands have yielded more of an impact on the rock circuit right from the start than the feisty, driving grunge icons Pearl Jam. Boasting monster singles like ‘Jeremy’ and ‘Alive’, their debut album pummelled the music scene with an iron fist force of fury topped off with guitar solos that screamed Black Sabbath, but with added flannel.
Even though Eddie Vedder hasn’t crowd-surfed much recently, and his days behind the ukelele seem much more prominent, Ten remains a landmark album that, despite being held from the #1 spot on the U.S. charts, has since notched up 13x platinum status and become recognised for its role in catapulting alt-rock and grunge into the mainstream.
Killing Heidi – Reflector (2000)
Killing Heidi’s Reflector introduced an era of Aussie kids to radio-friendly pop rock that packed a serious punch. Imagine how many school music lessons were filled with slightly off-key sing-a-longs to ‘Weir’? Hint: a lot.
Ella Hooper’s wisdom beyond her years and vulnerable yet ferocious vocal performance carried an album of bona-fide anthems that still hold up to this day. The young band won the ARIA Album Of The Year (plus three others), and the record spawned four successful singles including their first #1, ‘Mascara’, cementing them as an essential part of the Australian songbook.
Oasis – Definitely Maybe (1994)
Ah, the album that sent Britpop mania into total overdrive (don’t tell Noel Gallagher that, though). Spawning huge anthems like ‘Supersonic’ and ‘Live Forever’ (although buskers would have to wait until the following year for ‘Wonderwall’), there isn’t much that hasn’t already been said about this seminal album from the Manchester boys, which sold millions of copies and continues to soundtrack many a pub crawl.
It became the fastest selling debut album in UK history when it dropped, and ended up going a whopping 7x platinum, and even managed to sell over a million in the U.S. without actually cracking the top 40, launching the career of one of the biggest bands of all time.