Hot Like A Byron Bay Summer: Top 5 Bands From Byron Bay
When we say Byron Bay there are probably a lot of things that come to mind – overly beautiful beaches, hippies, that one lighthouse, lots of very tan people – some which resemble leathergoods, an eagle flying through a rainbow over the spout of a whale (it’s a thing, we’ve seen it happen). But outside of Byron Bay Bluesfest and Splendour In The Grass you may not know that it’s kind of a breeding ground for rad musicians.
Some of the five artists mentioned below you may have heard of, but regardless of genre or standing they’re all doing their damn best to represent the killer beaches and awesome attitudes of the Northern NSW Coast, hence why they’re our pick for the hottest bands to come out of Byron Bay.
While technically the very cool, now London based indie-rockers technically formed at the University of Sydney, three of the members – lead singer Hayley Mary, keyboardist Heather Shannon, and lead guitarist Sam Lockwood all hail from Byron Bay. Hayley Mary and Heather Shannon actually used to play together in Byron Bay before The Jezebels officially became a thing. They released their sophomore album The Brink in January, which quickly rose to number two on the Australian charts.
So everyone knows who Parkway Drive are right? Yeah, every person and their little brother has found themselves at Parkway Drive show, or having the very, very loud hardcore music pounding through a friend’s car speakers while you get drunk in a shopping centre car park in high school. They’re a comparatively huge thing to come out of Australia, an absolutely giant force in an already pretty active hardcore scene both locally and overseas. They seem to break up – or at least have ‘final tours’ – a lot, but as of April this year Parkway Drive are working on a new album, apparently due out this summer. So be prepared to pull out your band t-shirts and side fringes that you’re willing to take into the mosh.
John Butler Trio.
Okay there’s a good chance you might not be super impressed with John Butler Trio. Their earnest blues-folk is kind of cheesy, and it’s a few years since they were a big deal. But they’ve been a fairly solid, consistent force in the Australian music world for well over a decade, and although they officially formed in Fremantle, the eponymous John Butler himself is from sunny, laid back Byron Bay.
Now we’re getting into the slightly less well known territory. Pilots are a kind of lo-fi, atmosphere-ish indie trio from Byron Bay, fronted by the almost-haunting, emotional vocals of Kit Bray. Their first EP is out soon apparently, and it promises to be pretty great. For now, you can find Pilots and their catchy, easy indie songs on their Triple J Unearthed page.
Another indie band from Byron Bay (this time a four piece) Vernas Keep have a very similar style to Pilots, all soaring and kind of ethereal with high vocals while still being catchy and easy to absorb. They released their first single ‘Rivalry’ in June, and their EP drops later this year. They, along with Pilots, represent an interesting shift in both the focus of Australian music in general and the artists coming out of Byron Bay specifically.