Look, I don’t know how to break this to you but Cold Chisel is mostly a thing of the past. If you’re still driving around, listening to ‘Breakfast At Sweethearts’, then all power to you but the music world has moved on.
Or has it? Giants Among Men, decided to go hunting the latest, modern bands that channel Barnsey, Mossy, Walko and Presso. We asked one of our resident musical jedis, Jeff Jenkins, and he produced gold.
Like, for example, for the harder edge of Cold Chisel, he threw up a the band Airbourne, which, to be honest, seems to have been teleported straight out of 1976 (even down to the cars)…
Seriously, it’s more AC/DC than AC/DC, at least now.
And then Jeff mentioned some slightly more thoughtful, complex young Australian bands carrying the very large torch left by one of the greatest local bands ever.
So let’s get down to it. If you loved Chisel, you might also love:
Lots of guitars, lots of attitude, interesting lyrics. Maybe just lacking a Khe Sahn-like anthem. Give them time.
‘Ohio’ is a cracking song, from the Change of Heart EP, while ‘Sucker Punch’ off the Microscopic Wars album is a beauty. Or there’s ‘ICFTYDLM’, a single from 2014. It’s a little more laid back, more in the ‘Choirgirl’ vein of Chiseldom, but let’s face it, just the fucking title tells you that they’re a modern band. (Can’t be bothered Googling? Fair enough. It stands for ‘I Can Feel That You Don’t Love Me’.)
Well, hell, there’s even a direct line from Chisels to Bad//Dreems. Legendary Australian producer Mark Opitz has been behind an epic amount of classic local albums and songs, including ‘East’ and ‘Circus Animals’. He was even in the control room, keeping the cameras running, when Cold Chisel famously derailed the end of the 1981 TV Week Countdown Rock Awards (read: ‘The Never, Um, Ending Story’, Molly Meldrum’s book, with Jeff Jenkins).
So, it turns out Opitz is still going and the debut Bad//Dreems’ album, ‘Dogs at bay’, is a recent project. Out of Adelaide, with a touch of a young Paul Kelly, the sound is distinctly Australian (start with ‘Caroline’ to see what we mean). ‘Hiding to nothing’ has strong Chisel bloodlines running through it, while a recent single is ‘My only friend’, featuring raspy voice singing that Barnsey would be proud of.
Another thumbs up: they don’t take music videos too seriously.
My Only Friend:
Hiding to nothing:
You’ve got to love this Melbourne band just because they take the piss, a bit like Chisel did back in the day. Like when they started to get some media attention, still only teenagers, and told journalists they got their name from a B-side by vintage psychedelic rock band Strawberry Alarm Clock. iTunes reports that this was a crock of shit but who cares? It’s a fun band, turned into the real thing by none other than Harry Vanda, formerly of The Easybeats, Vanda & Young and pretty much every other royal thru-line of Australian music.
They’ve been around for a few years now, maturing and getting more complex. If you want to really feel them channeling Cold Chisel, go back to their very first album, Guillotine, or take a gentler road in with ‘Summer Forgive Me’, or maybe ‘I can make you love me’…
Jeff Jenkins reports that they’re even better live.
Tie up my hands:
I can make you love me:
Jeffy Jenkins, musical jedi, also mentioned Gang of Youths when I asked him for modern Chisel reincarnations. But I can’t work out if he was taking the piss.
Exhibit A, this video:
Are they for real? Who was the poor assistant director who had to explain to the singer that he needed to somehow expressive-dance, solo, like a marooned seal through the streets for the entire clip? And who exactly thought the band would harden their street edge by taking to a dinner setting with baseball bats? Tupac, eat your heart out.
And finally, straight out of Brisbane, we’d like to introduce DZ Deathrays. This video will either make you love them forever, or reel back in horror, but all we can say is they rock, they’ve got a sense of humour and they’re worth keeping an eye on.