Australian ARIA Music Awards: Can’t You Hear, Can’t You Hear The Thunder

This Sunday evening a very special event is taking place: the ARIA music awards.

The ARIA awards are just like the Grammy awards, but with approximately 280 million fewer viewers and production dollars. Also, they’re held in Australia and only feature Australian artists. Australians, btw, are real people, and not novelties or little candies as Laneia recently suggested.

Call me biased, but I think Australians create some of the greatest music in the world. So in celebration of my people’s music and the upcoming music awards, I thought I’d introduce you non-Australian readers to some of the Aussie artists who are doing quite well down under at the moment. Some of them you’ll probably already be familiar with thanks to the internet, radio, etc.

Before you start yelling at me for neglecting to mention some of your favorite Aussie acts, (Missy HigginsThe Veronicas? AC/DC?), keep in mind that I’m only featuring artists that are currently nominated for ARIA awards. And even then, I don’t have time to feature them all.


Who: Megan Washington. 24/F/Melbourne. I told you about Washington only last month, but it would be remiss of me not to tell you again given that it’s likely she’ll win every ARIA award this year, including but not limited to Best Album, Best Alternative Album, Best Female Artist and even a few that she isn’t even nominated for.

Why you should listen: Washington’s debut full-length album, I Believe You Liar, is really quite enjoyable and based on your reactions already, it’ll do quite well when released globally. So if you live o/seas, get into it now.

Here’s Washington’s latest video, “The Hardest Part”:

The Temper Trap

Who: The Temper Trap are a four-piece alternative rock band from Melbourne, Australia. According to Wikipedia, they don’t live in Australia anymore. As long as they keep writing hit songs we’ll still claim them as our own.
Sounds like: That time Emily from Skins walked around Naomi’s home topless. Also, Diet Coke commercials.

Why you should listen: “Sweet Disposition” is a really good song! We know this. But also, they’ve written a lot of other songs that deserve your equal attention. The Conditions record is jam-packed with both studio and live track recordings that will move you, check it out if you can.

Here’s the clip for “Love Lost,” a track that’s nominated for the ARIA Single Of The Year:

Angus & Julia Stone

Who: Angus & Julia Stone are adorable indie folk siblings from Sydney. In a recent artist spotlight, I told you about how Angus grabbed his suitcase full of nothing and made me want to feel things I’ve never felt before. That still happens.

Sounds like: Acoustic folk music that is better than most acoustic folk music. Also: heaven, angels, winged children, etc.

Why you should listen: Angus & Julia’s recently released album, Down The Way, is high rotation material – there’s not one weak track. Check out one of the album’s singles, “Hold On,” below.


Birds of Tokyo

Who: Birds of Tokyo are one of the greatest alt-rock acts that Australia has produced in the last decade. They’re nominated for six (!) ARIA awards, including Best Album and Best Rock Album for their self-titled 3rd record, Birds Of Tokyo.

Sounds like: Triple J once described Birds of Tokyo as “rock music with equal parts brain and heart.” See: “Plans.”

Why you should listen: In my opinion, front man Ian Kenny is the finest (and most humble) singer/songwriter on the scene right now. Dude is impressive. Kenny fronts not just one, but two, hugely popular bands – the 2nd being heavy rock act, Karnivool. (Karnivool are actually my favourite Australian band, however they haven’t been nominated for any awards, so.)

Check out Birds of Tokyo’s single “The Saddest Thing I Know”:


Tame Impala

Who: Tame Impala are a Western Australian act who make psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock music. They’re up for Album of the Year, Best Rock Album, Best Group and Breakthrough Artist.

Sounds like: “The Tame Impala sound is one equally informed by The Beatles as it is beat poetry, by Turkish prog as it is by Turkish Delight, and by English folk as much as homeless folk. It’s intended for moving one’s body to, and it’s intended for keeping still and observing other forms of movement.” – Tame Impala bio.

Why you should listen: The debut album Innerspeaker could be like nothing you’ve heard this year, or since the 60s. The ‘psychedelic hypno-groove’ within provides an effortless escape. Innerspeaker available in the UK and USA right now.

Check out Tame Impala’s music video for “Solitude is Bliss” below.



Who: Sia is an Australian-born, NY-based singer-songwriter who blows my mind. This year she’s nominated for Best Female Artist, while her fifth studio album, We Are Born is nominated for Album of the Year and Best Independent Release.

Sounds like: The future.

Why you should listen: Last year I went to see Sia in concert and got high and wrote about all of the things that caused me to adore her. Maybe you should just read that.

Check out this amazing music video for her single “Clap Your Hands”:


Dan Sultan

Who: Dan Sultan is a blues/soul/rock/country artist from Melbourne, Australia. He’s nominated for Best Male Artist, while his second album Get Out While You Can is up for Best Blues & Roots Album and Best Independent Release.

Electrifying. The guy has a dynamite voice and his whole band is just… wow.

Check out this rad clip of Dan Sultan, John Butler and Missy Higgins performing a cover of Paul Kelly’s “From Little Things Big Things Grow.” The camera work is a little shaky, but worth sitting through.


Lisa Mitchell

Who: Lisa Mitchell finished 6th place on Australian Idol when she was only sixteen. Three years later she produced Wonder, a debut pop record that outshone the releases of the Idol contestants that she lost to. This year she’s nominated for Best Female Artist.

Sounds like: Radio-ready pop that’s a little left of center.

Why you should listen: Wonder is a solid pop album that produced a lot of great songs, including “Neapolitan Dreams” and the super infectious “Coin Laundry.” Check them out.

Hear Lisa’s latest single, “Oh! Hark!”

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Founding member. Former writer. Still loves Autostraddle with her whole heart.

Crystal has written 320 articles for us.


  1. Great article! Am so glad to see a spotlight on our amazing musicians. Paul Dempsey is my pick for Male Artist and here’s hoping Sia and Angus & Julia Stone clean up as well. Go Crystal! Keep the Aussie music plugs coming!

  2. I have 2 friends who are going on month-long trips to Australia. One day, I’d like to travel there and go to a concert. Awesome list!

  3. Australia churns out a disproportionate amount of truly excellent music. I think I’ve expressed my obsession with Aussies and their super-mega-awesome-foxy-hot accents and their music before, so I won’t again, but I am moving there as soon as it is feasible and going to concerts all the time.

    I guess I’ll settle for going to Outback for now.

  4. That Washington girl has a cool dance and I want to learn it because I prefer imitating dances to performing them from scratch. She sounds like Regina Spektor.

    Also I like Dan Sultan

  5. Good job plugging the Aussies! For those who like Missy Higgins and Dan Sultan, check out the film “Bran Nue Dae” which is a modern musical tackling Indigenous issues in Oz with humour. And why is it I read this “super-mega-awesome-foxy-hot accents” about my accent so often but no one here in North America ever says it to me lol?!

  6. Bran Nue Dae is awesome <3 also has Jessica Mauboy in it (who i think is one of the best aussie singers). and geoffery rush. and for the kath and kim fans, magda szubanski.

    • I’ve been trying to get my English mittens on Bran Nue Dae, but have yet to find it anywhere over here. Well I guess I will have to pop my internet purchasing cherry in order to get it.

      Love Kath & Kim too, I now have ‘Look at me, Look at me, Look at moiee” and ” Ahhh Sharrooonn” reverberating around my noggin!! :)

      Australia has some hidden gems.

  7. Every time the diet coke commercial comes on with “sweet disposition” my girlfriend bellers at the TV. Tempest trap is that good. Or I need to hide the beer.

  8. Ahh I miss Aussie music (and everything else about it) so much!! Aside from those mentioned, I’d also recommend Kate Miller-Heidke (, Empire of the Sun (, Art Vs. Science (, Cloud Control (, Goyte (, British India (, and of course, Hilltop Hoods (! Seriously peeps, so freaking much good music down unda!! Miss Australia like crazy, can’t wait to go back

  9. So I think I’m gonna make my gf move with me to Australia for a bit so she can get her accent back :). Stupid moving to Canada…

  10. Fader by The Temper Trap is musical crack, I can’t stop listening to it.
    And I’m stoked Parkway Drive were nominated for best hard rock/heavy metal album…their lyrics are superb

  11. had i realized sooner that The Temper Tramp was from Australia then i would have went to see them last month …. next time

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