The past 20 years have have been pretty bloody brilliant with some of the best Australian bands of all time entering the fray. I mean we entered this millennia with the Sydney Olympics, it doesn’t get more glorious than that. We’ve also seen John Howard implement anti-gun Laws and gay-marriage was given the YES.
Through it all the music has shone through with some incredible artists innovating and re-defining genres to create incredible pieces of work. Thus we list the top 10 most influential Australian bands since 2000.
We reflect on a turbulent 20 years and pull out the best Australian bands who’s masterpieces persevere to this day. Here are the best bands this millennium.
Just to make one thing very clear this list only includes bands who released their first work after 2000. Thus it’s not the best bands who released in the past two decades but a snapshot of modern Australian musical innovators.
10. Empire Of The Sun
Name a more iconic Australian electronic act I dare you. Luke Steele of The Sleepy Jackson and Nick Littlemore of Pnau form Empire Of The Sun back in 2007. In 2008 they dropped their debut album Walking On A Dream and were woven into the tapestry of Australian music forever.
Their flamboyant appearance and elaborate stage designs have set them apart from the rest and we guarantee that if you listen to Walking On A Dream it will be stuck in your head for a week.
Jabbing adrenaline into the dying heart of rock n’ roll, Wolfmother blazed fierce and hot for after their self titled 2005 debut. Tracks like Joker And The Thief, Woman and White Unicorn endure as some of the most iconic modern Aussie rock songs.
Their debut album has sold 1.5 million copies worldwide and has earned the band an induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame.
8. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Arguably the most prolific Australian artist since the turn of the century, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard embody the driven, hard-working musicians perfectly. Their tastes are eclectic and far-reaching as ever ranging from folk to jazz-fusion to concept metal.
Having released 15 exceptional albums in seven years, The Wizards don’t need to prove anything. With a relentless fanbase titled ‘GizzWizz’ they share many likeness to the cult following of The Grateful Dead. To top it off they just sold out Alexandria Paladium in London with a capacity of 10,000.
Fall into the bottomless well of psychedelic goodness that is Gizz.
Jet formed in 2001 so they just made the cut. And rightly so because they are easily one of the best Australian rock bands of all time. Having sold over 6.5 million albums worldwide Jet have some of the most instantly recognisable songs of the past 20 years.
Their 2005 debut album Get Born went 8x platinum in Australia as well as platinum in almost every other country. Plus how’s this for a throwback, Are You Gonna Be My Girl won the Triple J’s Hottest 100 back in 2003.
6. Courtney Barnett
Every now and then an artist joins the ranks of musicians whose caliber puts them in the league of the undying. With the release of her 2015 debut Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, Courtney Barnett catapulted to these heights.
Sharing likeness to the rambling yet profound lyricism of Bob Dylan, Barnett will surely be remembered as one of the great Australian songwriters.
5. John Butler Trio
Undoubtedly one of the most unique Australian guitarists of all time, John Butler also champions many pressing political challenges and is an involved activist. The band performed at The Wilderness Society’s Save the Kimberley concert on 5 October 2012 and frequently reference Australian politics.
Furthermore the John Butler Trio have won 6 ARIA Awards from 28 nominations. Sunrise Over Sea (2004); Grand National (2007); and April Uprising (2010) all debuted at the number one position on the Australian album charts, with all three albums hitting platinum sales. Just listen to Under An Indian Sky or Ocean to behold the sheer depth of John’s talent.
4. Missy Higgins
One of the clearest and most widely respected voices in modern Australian music, Missy Higgins exploded onto the scene with her 2004 debut album The Sound Of White. She has won seven ARIA’s and sold over a million records worldwide.
A masterclass in song-craft, Missy Higgins is widely revered for her country infused folk-pop and poignant lyricism.
3. Tame Impala
Perhaps Australia’s biggest export, Tame Impala have put Aussie psych-rock on the map in a big way. Kevin Parker, the genius mastermind behind the project, is as talented a producer as he is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter.
His three albums are widely recognised as masterpieces and even led Tame Impala to headline Glastonbury in 2019. Tame Impala/ Kevin Parker have won 8 ARIA Awards from 20 nominations.
Tame Impala have re-invented the psychedelic will and continue to do so. Melt into the kaleidoscopic growl of Tame Impala.
2. Angus & Julia Stone
Kickstarting the indie-rock movement in Australia, the Northern Beaches siblings Angus & Julia Stone are master songwriters and highly acclaimed for their genuine artistry. Though both siblings have each released two studio albums their music together has endured as their most powerful work.
They have won 5 ARIA Awards from 20 nominations all for their second album Down The Way.
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu is one of the powerful voices in Australian music. Known professional as Gurumul he was an important figure in fostering racial harmony, and as a voice of Indigenous Australians and the most commercially successful Aboriginal Australian musician at the time of his death in 2017.
The lilting, emotional powerful of his voice earn’t Gurrumul rave reviews and is one of the most culturally important voices of our time. Gurrumul has won 9 ARIA Awards of 20 nominations as well as well as 21 National Indigenous Music Awards of 21 Nominations.