Aussie Rules – Why Tame Impala & Co. Owned 2012

As Tonedeaf just pointed out, 2012 marks the first time in 38 years of NME polls that an Aussie act has claimed the Album Of The Year gong.

Woo-fucking-hoo. It’s about time! For me, the scene in Oz right now – spearheaded by Tame Impala – is easily the most exciting in the world. Hip hop aside, New York is still pretty dead – ‘thriving’ to the Tamla beat of a million shit Strokes rip-off bands. London creaked into action for the first time since 2002 in the past 12 months (step forward Palma Violets, Savages et al), but crucially the city still isn’t quite there yet – those acts all need to deliver in 2013.

For me, it had to be Tame Impala what won it this year. ‘Lonerism’ is by far and away the best of the biggies (by which I mean Grimes, Alt-J, Jack White, The xx). But, like NME’s Hamish MacBain (who explained as much in this week’s mag) I voted it as my Number 1 tactically, purely to help an undeniably GREAT album do better than the rising tide of shite which always seems to infiltrate these lists.

My actual Number 1, which I knew was too small to stand a real chance of topping the poll, was Pond’s ‘Beards Wives Denim’. Tame are really fucking brilliant, but Pond are still better, basically. They’re my favourite band of the year – they played the best gig I’ve seen all year (at SXSW), they’ve got the best frontman by miles (Nick Allbrook – Tame’s bassist), probably the best guitarist (Jay Watson – Tame’s keyboardist), the most interesting songs, and also the best riff of the year. In fact, were you to put a gun to my head and get me to order them one-to-five in terms of rock’n’roll greatness, I’d really rather enjoy it and probably bore you to death before you got the chance to pull the trigger.

But I digress. This blog isn’t bemoaning the fact the band aren’t as well-known as they perhaps should be. It’s more about highlighting the brilliant scene emanating out of Australia at the minute. Tame come from Fremantle and the guys in that band – along with their excellent management label Spinning Top – are involved massively in much of the city’s great music (indeed pre Tame most of them played in another brilliant but now defunct band called Mink Muscle Creek).

So I’m going to rattle through a few other bands, and Tame side-projects which I think are worth your time. I will keep the chit-chat to a minimum, I promise:

1Melody’s Echo Chamber
Yeah, so Melody Prochet is actually French. But she’s really tight with Kevin from Tame (aka her producer and muso cohort), and relocated to his hometown to record much of her brilliant debut album. Which is good enough for me.


Nick Allbrook and Pond sticksman Cam Avery’s other band. They’ve got a wealth of material under their belts already, with another two albums waiting to come out (one recorded with members of The Horrors in London this summer).

3San Cisco

Not on Spinning Top but from the same part of the world, and already massive back in Aus. I hear they’re gonna be pushing big in the UK next year.

4The Love Junkies

I don’t know much at all about these, but they came to my attention courtesy of an Australian NME reader who emailed me a couple of weeks ago. They’ve been getting heavy rotation on Triple J and they self-describe them selves as writing “pissy pop verses with a grinding chorus”.


Tame/Pond man Jay ‘Gumby’ Watson’s side-project. I’ll let Spinning Top explain more about his debut track, ‘Delorean Highway’: “It was inspired by a dream Gum had of driving through the desert in the silver car from Back to the Future, before taking off into the night. In real life Gum can’t drive, but he has seen Back to the Future and does look a little bit like the Doc.” Truesay.

6Scott And Charlene’s Wedding

Terrible name, granted, but the music’s not half bad. Technically mainman Craig is an Aussie living in NYC, but I’m still gonna include them here, particularly as the Epping Line is in Melbourne.

7The Growl

Cam Avery’s Jeff Buckley-meets-Black Keys band.

8Felicity Groom

Check the Tame-related cameos in this vid:

9The Silents

Jamie Terry from Pond’s other band. They’ve been around a while now but no one really knows who they are in the UK. This is from their excellent album ‘Things To Learn’.

10O Possum

I’m gonna end with O Possum, who are from New Zealand – which I know makes no sense whatsoever, but they’re great – and a standout track their album ‘Electric Hawaii’, which has been criminally overlooked this year.

Check out NME’s 50 Best Albums of 2012