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Top Ten Breakout Bands of 2010 from Australia

Australia has exported its share of pop music to the listening world. Past chart toppers like INXS, Kylie Minogue, and Air Supply all originated from down under. But in the past year, we’ve noticed a number of young acts from Australia adopting styles old and new and running with them. Whether it was the revival of disco and new wave, or taking dubstep and trip hop into new directions, Australia made some of the most interesting sounds of 2010. We’ve compiled our favorites across genres and included a soundbite of what makes each of them great.

10. Philadelphia Grand Jury

Photo Courtesy of Philadelphia Grand Jury

Don’t deny that whiny pop music is infectious. If it wasn’t, bands like Philadelphia Grand Jury wouldn’t be making noise outside of their native Sydney. It’s happy, upbeat, and cheeky and front man MC Bad Genius’s look and voice are as endearingly dorky as his chosen moniker. Think Barenaked Ladies, except not completely out of style. Whatever you do, don’t drive around the real Philadelphia bumping this, you might get shot.

Philadelphia Grand Jury – Save Our Town by // OhFancy

9. Hungry Kids of Hungary

Photo Courtesy of Hungry Kids of Hungary

Brisbane’s folky four-piece Hungry Kids of Hungary was one of the inordinately large number of Australian bands at South by Southwest this past year. The sound of dense, alm0st tribal percussion permeates their songs, laying ground for sweeping melodies. If you’ve got a thing for mildly epic music, this is your stuff.

Hungry Kids Of Hungary – Scattered Diamonds (Alcopop Remix) – 320kbps by delinquents

8. Monkey Marc

Photo Courtesy of Money Marc

This is not producer Money Mark of Beastie Boys fame, but rather an Australian creating dubstep beats with global personality. Equal parts samples, synth and wonky ingenuity, Monkey Marc blends varying sounds into his own style of instrumental beat work. He’s also spinning around Brisbane constantly. Watch the monkey.

Monkey Marc – As The Market Crashes by Aus Electronic Beat Comp

7. The Temper Trap

Photo Courtesy of Temper Trap

Of course, dance pop has a place on every top ten list these days, and this list is no exception. The Temper Trap’s brand of lighthearted melodies launched them onto the world stage in the past year with their singles “Fader” and “Love Lost.” The remixes of their music took on a life of their own, venturing into the sounds of electro and dubstep.

Drum Song (bretonLABS remix featuring Kate Tempest) by The Temper Trap

6. Bliss N Eso

Photo Credit Bliss N Eso

This two-MC-one-DJ trio has been making a sound in Australia for a few years, but are finally starting to get heard outside the country. Their sound is sing songy in the way of folked out hip hop, but can be as serious as death when it comes to lyrical delivery, complete with varying degrees of Australian accent.

Bliss N Eso – 03 – Addicted by clivesterWA

5. Mitzi

Photo Courtesy of Mitzi

What Cut Copy does for new wave, Mitzi does for disco. The four-piece from Brisbane, identifiable by varying haircuts from 20 years ago, plays a brand of disco too true to the sound to be called disco-wave, or disco-core, or whatever kids are calling disco that’s made today. Their debut EP All I Heard just came out.

FCL50 – Mitzi – All I Heard EP by future classic

4. Pataphysics

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Kelley

Pataphysics is a Sri Lankan-Australian musician who has branded his style of conscious rhymes over slow grooves and jazzy riffs with the name “Guerilla Hip Hop.” The production invokes the memory of a sound the Roots abandoned when they went big time, Pataphysics making the jazz reference authentic with his own trumpeting over the hooks and dispersed throughout the tracks.

Jesus Was Black by Pataphysics

3. Spoonbill

Photo Courtesy of Spoonbill

This Melbourne producer combines equal parts wobbly low end and twangy patchwork, peppered with blithe live instrumentation and playful voice samples. Spoonbill is the psychedelic mushroom cap to past collaborator Tipper’s acid sugar cube. With all the wonky sound clips, glitch hop has never been more Australian.

Spoonbill – Catfish by Spoonytunes

2. Ghoul

Photo Courtesy of Luke Stephenson

Without using anything resembling a standard drum beat, Sydney’s Ghoul makes you do that neck-and-shoulder dance without realizing it, so you look like a spaz on the train. The four-piece band doesn’t always sound like one, pulling together a collage of little sounds to form a rumble. Their track “3Mark,” is a little preview of their first release in early 2011.

Ghoul should really have a Soundcloud page, don’t ya think?

1. The Death Set

Photo Courtesy of Tre Kougaar

Sure, they’ve been around for a couple of years, but The Death Set is now making leaps and bounds. Recognized for their multi-format studio work and live shows, the Sydney Group merged the mash-up concept with electro with punk, without making it sound contrived or boring. Their most recent mixtape is leading up to an LP from them in 2011. Based on everything we’ve seen from Australia in the past year, The Death Set are our pick for the most notable on all fronts.

Yo David Chase! You P.O.V. Shot Me In The Head (feat. Diplo) by The Death Set

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