7 Brisbane musos who are gunning it

When I was ten I went to Brisbane for a family holiday. It rained the whole time, I got stung by a wasp and got locked in an underground carpark for an hour. Ten years later, I returned, to find that Brisbane is actually pretty cool, and has an awesome, avidly-supported music scene. Here are a bunch of the best artists to keep an eye out for; claim them as yours before they get big.

7 Brisbane bands

Not only home to legends like Violent Soho and DZ Deathrays, Bris Vegas is home to a host of sick artists. Here are 7 Brisbane musos who are gunning it.


Any band that begins their artist’s bio with a Nietzsche quote is alright by me: That which does not kill you makes you stronger. And, to be honest, sometimes the vocals of Marie DeVota, the singer of this no-holds-barred punk band, sound like she does actually want to kill you. Managing to combine melody with some epically-shredding guitar riffs, WAAX will punch you in the face and somehow still leave you their biggest fan.


With vocals as sweet as WAAX’s are violent, Airling is Australia’s next indie-pop princess. You’ve probably seen her on stage at Splendour in the Grass (after winning Splendour’s Unearthed comp last year), or supporting Asgeir, Paper Kites and James Vincent McMorrow. Her beautifully shimmery vocals, accompanied by dreamy backing sounds, makes for a truly delightful musical experience that is smooth and creamy, like chocolate for the ears.

The Kite String Tangle

Okay, you probably already know The Kite String Tangle aka Danny Harley, but it would be remiss to exclude him from this most prestigious of lists. This singer/songwriter/producer is best known for the introspective and hella catchy hit, Arcadia. Keep an eye out for his joint track with Dustin Tebbutt, Illuminate. They’re touring the tune this month, and have sold out venues like Sydney’s Metro, Brisbane’s Triffid and Melbourne’s 170 Russell. Colour me impressed.

Young Lions

If you came of age in a certain period of time as I did, pop-punk was your everything. If you’re still chomping at the bit for bands similar to your mid-decade obsessions like AFI, Trial Kennedy and Brand New (please come back), Young Lions are your guys. This five piece are making waves with their latest track, You Are II, which is an earnest — in a good way — hark back to the good old days when pop-punk was huge and everyone wore skinny jeans. Far from a derivative nostalgia act, the group manages to veer more towards straight-up rock, enough that they manage to stay modern.

The Mercy Beat

A little rough around the edges, but well-produced, completely Aussie and zero fucks given, this punk/rock group is Brisbane personified. Raw, shouty and wild, The Mercy Beat have been kicking around since 2007, released their debut album in 2010, and are said to be releasing a second LP around about now. This band stay on the fun side of the punk scale, without sacrificing on politics: check out Start the Boats, featuring their take on asylum seekers in Australia. Hint: they’re not toeing the party line.

Love Hate Rebellion

Like good writers, good bands realise the importance of an introduction that draws the listener in. Love Hate Rebellion really deliver in terms of intros. Take for example the guitars playing around one another, and the basic drum beats that lead up to the beginning of the vocals in the group’s latest track DONO. Like the person you have a crush on playing hard to get, this track leads you on for a little while, before casually introducing lyrics like it’s no big deal. Smooth as hell, straight-up rock, Love Hate Rebellion will make you like them before you even know what’s happening.

Sports Fan

Consisting of “two drumsticks, three voices, four strings and 88 keys,” Sports Fan have the instrumentality of Ben Folds Five with all of the lyrical wit of Oscar Wilde. Their upcoming album features Ball Park Music’s Jen Boyce as well as songstress Tara Simmons…but even without those names, this will be a must-purchase. Dark but poppy, Sports Fan are way more eloquent and tightly put together than your average sports fan (sorry).