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Five Bands To Watch: Adelaide

Hard to believe, but a lot of great music happens beyond Melbourne and Sydney. As part of a new series, we asked local Adelaide legend MATT BANHAM to tell us his favourite bands from the City of Churches. He phoned a couple friends.

One of my favourite things about Adelaide has always been how quickly bands come and go. So many are started on drunken whims and quickly dismantled all too soon, but always with a bunch of new ones to take their place. I guess this could be said for a lot of cities but in Adelaide, if a band was around for more than a few years, they were either taking themselves too seriously or not seriously enough.

I’ve been living out of Adelaide for a year and in that time most of the bands I used to watch have either broken up or moved interstate and a million new ones I’ve never heard of have taken over. So to compile this list, I’ve enlisted the help of my friends Karl Melvin (musician, radio presenter and label owner) and Matthew Hayward (musician, booker and manager).

Summer Flake

The first time I heard Stephanie Crase (aka Summer Flake) play music was in my mother’s lounge room after drunkenly asking her to play a few guitar bits on some of my songs for an upcoming gig. She kept telling me that she wasn’t that good and would ruin my songs but then pulled out a fancy looking Fender and proceeded to put amazing licks all over them. Over the next few years she played with my band No Through Road, then Birth Glow, Batrider, Hit The Jackpot, Fair Maiden and Avant Gardeners. Through Birth Glow we got to hear her incredible ode to the soft drink ‘Fanta’ (co-written by Ellen Carey and Nick Walton). Never before had I felt so many emotions about a non-alcoholic beverage, nor questioned who I could trust to take care of it when I went to the bathroom.

Birth Glow - Fanta by Mess+Noise

I knew that while she was playing in all these bands she was writing her own music, but she wasn’t letting anyone hear it. I knew it would be good but didn’t expect it to be quite so incredible. Summer Flake takes the best parts of The Lemonheads, Best Coast, Hole and Elliott Smith and smashes them together with some extra helpings of ’90s indie-rock melodic noodling, all of which comes pouring out of her first EP. She is going to tour the east-coast in a few months and I’m sure everyone will fall as much in love with her as I am. I’ve never been more proud to know a musician than I am to know Steph. More on Summer Flake here. – Matt Banham

Mondo Phase Band

The Mondo Phase Band line-up of guitar, synth and drums pound out some wonderful punk-psych space jams. Worshipping Kraturock, Neil Young’s much maligned LP Trans and San Francisco freaks Chrome, you might get a sense of where they’re coming from. But, you’d probably be wrong. Mondo Phase meet you at the front of the stage with a vast array of effects pedals, a behemoth of a bass amp supporting some ol’ timey synth, solid drumming and delay drenched vocals pushed through one of those pilot-head phone sets you’d expect to see Madonna wearing. Intricate guitar noodling over repetitive synth lines suck the listener into some kind of trancey vortex.

This lot are responsible for dragging reclusive American outfit Nothing People across the sea for last year’s double headed tour. A split 7” cemented the relationship, and this year we’ll see Mondo Phase release an LP recorded by Nothing People folk. More on Mondo Phase Band here. – Karl Melvin

Old Mate

The first time I saw Old Mate it was a one-man monotonal karaoke affair. The last time I saw them (two weeks ago), it was an eight piece sonic bulldozer. The vocals were still monotonal deliveries of tales of fucking up big time but then being able to stand straight back up, brush yourself off and get back on with being a gnarly dude. Intrinsically, Old Mate is Pat Telfer (one third of Bitch Prefect) with an assemblage of crew pulled from Adelaide’s current “band in pockets” scene. Take three members of local outfit friends, throw in wild sax for the skronk factor and a superfluous member on tambourine duties and backing vocals – that’s Old Mate. Musically, the band plays with a lazy, hungover sprawl. There’s no reliance on an over abundance of lyrics or complicated chord patterns. The songs are paeans to life’s downer moments and the celebration of glasses half full.

Five songs recently appeared on a cassette ‘Word is Bond’ and there is talk of a 7” in the coming months. More on Old Mate here. – Karl Melvin

Steering By Stars

Having previously been lumped into that nebulous genre void that is “post rock”, Steering by Stars have spent the better part of a year refining their sound into something more immediate and aggressive. The group – Lachlan Wilson, Rory O’Connor, Adrian Reveruzzi and Tom Smeets – have moved away considerably from the lazy yet oft-repeated comparisons to Decoder Ring and Explosions in the Sky, embracing a distinctive stylistic shift towards a more complex and claustrophobic sound. Think a blend between the goth romanticism of Bauhaus paired with the geographical isolation of Snowman and the electronic symphony of Vangelis. Having nabbed some strong supports recently supporting Jack Ladder and Leader Cheetah, they’re the next band to “break”, I guess you’d say in industry speak? At the very least, it’d be criminal if they didn’t have a bigger impact outside the City of Churches. More here. – Matthew Hayward

Gold Bloom

Gold Bloom landed a few plum supports early on before they’d fully developed into the band they are now: a marriage of the wistful pop sensibilities of Freya Adele and Naomi Keyte (ex-Soursop) and the progressive garage-y psychedelica of Juliet Hunter and drummer Tim Ryles. With both bands the American influences are easier to pick than the Australian ones, however Gold Bloom’s latest single ‘Stalactites’ holds up well against anything that’s been added to the triple j playlist this year. It’s sharp, catchy jangle pop that sounds like the best parts of Talking Heads. More on Gold Bloom here. – Matthew Hayward


COMING SOON: Julian Teakle's Hobart.

  -   Published on Monday, May 28 2012 by Darren Levin.
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Your Comments

anonymous  said about 3 years ago:


dogsvscats  said about 3 years ago:

Very awesome. Big ups to Summer Flake and Old Mate.

Sand In My Joints  said about 3 years ago:

Good article. Really enjoyed the Harmonia type bass stuff from Mondo Phase Band. Mostly from those songs in the link.

timscottt  said about 3 years ago:

Old Mate
Peak Twins
Leather Towel
Gaso June 22

Summer Flake
Matt Banham
Gaso August 18

HeteroAsFuck  said about 3 years ago:

Mondo Phase Band are amazing. Wish they would come to Melbs more often..

LoadMyRig  said about 3 years ago:

just fell in love with old mate.

thedropkick  said about 3 years ago:

Mondo Phase Band are great. Big Richard Insect another killer new SA band

Zac  said about 3 years ago:

lots of love for the Mondo!

whatwhat  said about 3 years ago:

not enough quiet in the lab.

Goal attack  said about 3 years ago:

Gold Bloom sound good

chelloveck  said about 3 years ago:

great article, really like summer flake

whatwhat  said about 3 years ago:

also, steering by stars remind me SO MUCH of appleseed cast. it's a good thing, a very good thing.

whale  said about 3 years ago:


whale  said about 3 years ago:

video clip for Stalactites by Gold Bloom

Lachlan from Steering By Stars supported Collarbones a couple of months back and it was fucking incredible, he's started to sound like some sort of mechanised ghoul. Can't wait to hear what the whole band's got going on now.

dazmurray  said about 3 years ago:

Bitch Prefect anyone?

Didn't mind the Steering By Stars debut at all.

Urquhart Bluff  said about 3 years ago:

Gold Bloom are awesome.

jhf92  said about 3 years ago:

Old Mate, Peak Twins, Leather Towel
Gaso June 22

Looking forward to that show

ExCon  said about 3 years ago:

rule of thirds..have been mentioned here before but they're great


and Hydromedusa

and Major Crimes

ghoti-max  said about 3 years ago:

That Old Mate track is fuckin great. Should support Constant Mongrel if they ever make it to Adelaide. Been really enjoying the Summer Flake EP lately too, and bummed to have missed Mondo Phase Band when they were here last. Great little article.

anonymous  said about 3 years ago:

Title of article keeps reminding me of this and now its done it I can't make it stop

apologies to all the bands involved.

anok  said about 3 years ago:

liked pretty much all of that. especially summer flake. yay.

that gold bloom clip is so 90s... sounding a bit cloudsy in patches too. damn.

for a band formerly compared to eits and decoder ring steering by stars sound pretty good.

BigBoysSocks  said about 3 years ago:

Old Mate. Wanna hug those guys for the band name.

stevereich  said about 3 years ago:


June 20 Downstairs at Gaso: Old Mate, Bad Dreems, Comfort Zones (aka Rites Wild aka Stacey Wilson)

Ash-showoff  said about 3 years ago:

Mondo Phase Band!!!!!

timscottt  said about 3 years ago:

More info for Old Mate 'Word is Bond' tape launch at the Gaso here

timscottt  said about 3 years ago:

Also from Old Mate One of the vids/songs of the year!

Stepharoo  said about 3 years ago:

Yeahhhhh! Old Mate, Mondo Phase, Big Richard Insect, Xixi Cao, Major Crimes, and Rule of Thirds, all been rocking my world of late.


Where Were You At Lunch + Fair Maiden + Doe
June 8 @ Format, Adelaide

Summer Flake maiden voyage!
June 9 @ The Exeter, Adelaide

Summer Flake tour comin' at ya July/ August 2012...

dimestorehood  said about 3 years ago:

@ anon - speechless! Last I saw this video I must've been about 13. Dad's favourite VHS.

phallic baldwin  said about 3 years ago:

tiger choir (tas)
steering by stars
gold bloom

rocket bar - friday june 8th

lachlan wilson (from steering by stars) will also be supporting ned collette + wirewalker

the metro - saturday june 16th

phallic baldwin  said about 3 years ago:

both in adelaide (soz)

stevereich  said about 3 years ago:


Bad dreems, old mate, comfort zones is July 20 downstairs at gaso

timscottt  said about 3 years ago:

adelaide week
Thurs 19. Beige Abrasion downstairs
Fri 20. Bad/Dreems, Old Mate, Comfort Zones. downstairs
Sat 21 Nebraska + Weightless (LP launch) upstairs

nomad  said about 3 years ago:

tiger choir (tas)
steering by stars
gold bloom

rocket bar - friday june 8th

Adelaide peeps should totes go to this - great line-up. Tiger Choir are heaps fun. Speaking of which - when's the Hobart bands to watch happening?

nightmonster  said about 3 years ago:

There are Adelaide underground sounds nights every second and fourth Sundays at the Exeter.

This Saturday June 2 at the Exeter, members from Doe, Beige Abrasion, and Bitches of Zeus are doing spontaneous collaborations culminating in the one-off appearance of Venus in Transit.

stevereich  said about 3 years ago:

Adelaide week!! Like when everyone drove across and set up a tent city in ballarat for the crowd premierships ?

timscottt  said about 3 years ago:

Thurs July 19
The Gaso

The Emergency
Mondo Phase Band (Adelaide)
Mt Mutombo
Beige Abrasion (Adelaide)

timscottt  said about 3 years ago:

Tonight at the Gaso

Old Mate (Word is Bond tape launch)
Peak Twins
Full Ugly
Leather Towel

It's going to be ace!

anok  said about 3 years ago:

bamesjaker  said about 3 years ago:

So, anyone in Adelaide have anything to say about Tea? (the band, not the drink, though Adelaide has an excellent variety of teas)

Velodrone  said about 3 years ago:

I have never heard of them (until now).

LeRayonVert  said about 3 years ago:

Never heard of them either

ghoti-max  said about 3 years ago:

I lived near Adelaide for a bit and we used to drink a lot of tea, even during the 2009 heatwave.

Velodrone  said about 3 years ago:

I read a live review on them.

Didn't really seem like my thing, whcih is probably why I haven't seen or heard of them.

melvo666  said about 3 years ago:

i thought they were a bogan joke band until i saw they've an album out on off the hip.

Velodrone  said about 3 years ago:

Spunk rock?

LeRayonVert  said about 3 years ago:

Wait, maybe I have seen them. Just saw photos and realised one of them is Dave Blumberg who has been playing sax with Fake Tan and Pink Dreams II, left town recently I think. Not sure if I saw him with Tea.

Stepharoo  said about 3 years ago:

Just pluggin...

Summer Flake
Matt Banham
Straight To Video
Ardath Bey

@ The Metro, Adelaide

Stepharoo  said about 2 years ago:


FORMAT FESTIVAL 2012 is upon us.... 26 Sept - 6 October

Here's my contribution

Stepharoo  said about 2 years ago:


  • Sarah Mary Chadwick (Melb/ NZ/ Batrider)
  • Sparkspitter
  • Summer Flake
  • Xixi
  • Mountain Blood

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