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The Best List: Underrated and Forgotten Ozzie Music from the Late '90s

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Charlie is an avid music fan whose music collection and taste spans a wide range of genres.

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Music is a primal need. Even as music tastes change, some music never leaves you. This is the list of great, underrated or forgotten Australian tunes from the late '90s. It was a time when quality indie pop/alternative rock was in demand, and the Australian public couldn’t get enough. Rediscover Aussie cult classics and enjoy them again. I hope you enjoy reminiscing about these tunes.

Best Forgotten Australian Music of the Late '90s

1. Alchemist ‎— “Eve Of The War”

2. Superheist ‎— “Have Your Way”

3. Loki — “Not Like You”

4. Eskimo Joe — “Turn Up Your Stereo”

5. TISM — “I Might Be A C**t, But I’m Not A F**king C**t”

6. Happyland — “Don’t You Know Who I Am?”

7. Skunkhour — “Home”

8. The Mark of Cain — “Degenerate Boy”

9. Rebecca's Empire — “Way Of All Things”

10. Not From There — “Juanita's Cocktail Party”

1. Alchemist ‎— “Eve Of The War”

Album: Eve Of The War

Release Year: 1998

Energetic, psychedelic and aggressive...this track has an amazing atmosphere. "Eve of the War" is a cover of Jeff Wayne’s 1978 prog rock classic, which was the opening piece to Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. If you managed to listen to Alchemist's Triple J Live at the Wireless back in the day, this was song was epic. The track re-appeared on Alchemist’s compilation album Embryonics in 2005, but has never truly received the recognition it deserves.

2. Superheist ‎— “Have Your Way”

Single: Have Your Way, EP: 8 Miles High

Release Year: 1999 / 2000

Classifying this track as late 90s might be controversial, since the “Have Your Way” single was never officially released. The unofficial single was pressed to CD and is now a collector’s item. However, we know from the liner notes it was at least recorded in 1999. The track’s first official release was probably on the breakthrough EP ‘8 Miles High’, although it had been played live and on radio before this. Superheist were (and still are) a hugely underrated band and excellent live act.

3. Loki — “Not Like You”

Album: Chyme

Release Year: 1999

Loki were one of those bands who you knew had a couple of good songs, but it felt risky to fork out and buy the album when you're only income was pocket money. The album Chyme (1999) was Loki's only full-length release, which spawned two splendid indie rock singles, ‘Not Like You’ and ‘Get up’ - both of which are catchy and cool.

4. Eskimo Joe — “Turn Up Your Stereo”

EP: Eskimo Joe

Release Year: 1999

Before they became a well-known, commercially successful soft-rock band, Eskimo Joe were pumping out quirky indie-rock tunes that got loads of airplay on Triple J. The ‘Sweater’ EP (1998) really exposed Eskimo Joe, so I’ve gone with something that in my opinion is slightly less acknowledged.

5. TISM — “I Might Be A C**t, But I’m Not A F**king C**t”

Album: www.tism.wanker.com

Release Year: 1998

To this day, TISM are one of the most intriguing bands in history. Their album Machiavelli and the Four Seasons (1995) was certified Gold, reached #8 on the ARIA charts and had two songs that made the top 10 in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1995. TISM seemed to be intent on confusing people and ruffling feathers, even if it meant self-demise. Their follow-up album to Machiavelli, "www.tism.wanker.com",featured the single “I Might Be A C**t, But I’m Not A F**king C**t”. The song isn’t forgotten among their fans, but it was for everyone else, since it was banned on most TV and radio stations.

6. Happyland — “Don’t You Know Who I Am?”

Album: Welcome To...

Release Year: 1998

Happyland were the side project of Quan Yeomans (Regurgitator) and Janet English (Spiderbait). They had one album with two singles. “Don’t You Know Who I Am?” is good for playing to young kids so they can burn off some energy - seriously, kids love the keys and Janet’s child-like vocals.

7. Skunkhour — “Home”

Single: Home

Release Year: 1999

Skunkhour are a unique and underrated band I have rediscovered recently. Their single "Home" made the Triple J Hottest 100 in 1999 before later appearing on their album The Go in 2001. I guess their sound is a fusion of funk, hip-hop & rock, but to be honest, I find this description a little off-putting. Just listen and appreciate.

8. The Mark of Cain — “Degenerate Boy”

Single: Interloper - Who Made Who Remix

Release Year: 1997

The Mark of Cain are a hard rock band with an interesting sound and powerful energy for a trio. “Degenerate Boy” is a no fuss 90s rock classic. The hardness and rawness of this group demonstrates why they have a cult following. I wouldn’t want to mess with these guys, but come on fellas, Mercedes are good quality cars that are standard in Germany (refer to lyrics).

9. Rebecca's Empire — “Way Of All Things”

Album: Way of All Things

Release Year: 1996

Rebecca’s Empire had a small degree of success in the late 90s, with two songs from their album Way of All Things making it into the 1996 Triple J Hottest 100. Their next album came 3 years later although was not as well received. The Empire disbanded soon after.

10. Not From There — “Juanita’s Cocktail Party”

Album: Sand on Seven

Release Year: 1997

As a teenager I always thought Not From There were from the US. Perhaps the sound they were going for was something ‘not from there’ (ie. not from Australia). The band consisted of an Austrian frontman and two Australians, who first got together in London, before relocating to Brisbane, Australia. Their second album (Latvian Lovers) brought a more funk sound to the table, but also didn’t take off. Not a great deal has been heard since.

More Top Music Lists from Charlie Hunter

Comments

Donald on October 03, 2018:

Fine selection. Brought back fond memories for me. I'd be keen to see your favourite songs from this period in general, not just the forgotten ones.

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