Every fortnight we are featuring an Australian band or artist that we have discovered and fallen in love with on our travels around the sunburnt country. We started last week featuring King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard from Melbourne and decided to jump over to Australia’s second most important city this time around. Sorry Sydney.
It’s impossible to shake the imagery of Sydney. Whether you have been there or not, the sight of the harbour bridge and the opera house are unavoidable and iconic. The city is presented as a clean haven of cosmopolitanism. Clear blue waters, immaculate public gardens and glimmering sky scrapers. But as everyone knows the lifeblood of the city lies underneath the thin veneer of its appearance and beneath Sydney’s flawless aspect lies a burgeoning punk scene.
But this isn’t punk as you might expect it. Despite Sydney’s prosperity this music scene paints a picture of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation. It’s aggressive in its approach but sensitive in it’s sentiment and in a time of mass gentrification and sterilisation feels extremely relevant.
Where: Sydney – Australia’s largest and most iconic city. A microcosm of Australia where fast-paced cosmopolitanism and relaxed beach culture merge seamlessly.
Who: Royal Headache
What: 4 piece band from Australia’s largest city who blend disparate elements of punk and soul together to create something that feels both urgent and fragile.
The band are a great representation of what lies beneath Sydney. A subculture that is screaming to be heard and that captures the disillusion behind Australia’s prosperity. There is a sense of cultural isolation in Australia which can at times feel torn between a European and American influence and Royal Headache epitomise this.
They recently played a bunch of shows in Sydney in protest of the governments controversial lockout laws which look set to kill the cities flailing night-life. Aligning punk squarely back into politics and showing themselves to be intrinsically tied to their own city.
The most impressive thing about the band though, is far and away the vocals delivered by their explosive front-man Shogun. When the band is at it’s most punk, the disenchantment and anger is prevalent in his voice and there is even a hint of John Lydon at his most virile. But then a track like ‘Wouldn’t You Know’ will make you rethink with a painstakingly thoughtful and soulful swing ball.
The band excel in their ability to be punk but with something a little deeper. Rather than purely rehashing the counter cultural elements of punks past, they manage to reinvigorate it and give it a fresh direction with an injection of sincerity and fragility.
Distant and Vague (Royal Headache)
Another World (High)
Wouldn’t You Know (High)
Have you listened to Royal Headache? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or via our social media pages!