If you’ve seen Melbourne band Amyl and the Sniffers live lately it’ll come as no surprise that one of Amy Taylor’s favourite words is ‘rowdy’. She frequently throws herself all over the stage, hyperactively head-banging and jumping into the crowd. Amyl and the Sniffers’ raw, self-titled album is a joy to behold – blending pub rock, punk and glam with ferocious energy – and they’ve earned the rep of being one of the bands you have to see in the flesh this summer. While loyal to their scuzzy aesthetic, band have also cemented a relationship with Gucci, having walked the runway for the fashion house in Sicily and appeared in its Pre-Fall collection this year.
The Sniffers have grown from an amazing underground punk scene – both Melbourne and Sydney have great ones. “I didn’t really know there were female musicians until I moved to Melbourne,” Amy says. “I remember watching all the dudes on stage at home [on the coast] and being like, “Fuck. I want to do that.” When I moved, people were introducing me to all these bands, and it was a whole world I didn’t even know existed.”
While chatting to The Face about her favourite bands who’ve emerged from the Aussie punk community that raised her, a hundred bands came into Amy’s head, and she had to work hard to narrow them down. Here’s her final list – though she did text us to add Stiff Richards after.
“In Melbourne, I think we’re spoiled. You can go out any night of the week and there are five great bands playing. Drunk Mums are probably one of the bands who inspired us to start out. They’re so good. They’re rock ‘n’ roll, down to earth kind of shit, and they always put on a rowdy live show.”
“A lot of good music comes off this label called ANTI FADE records. They have some of the best bands. [Geelong band] The Hierophants album just came out – I don’t even know what genre it is, because I’m not that good at genres – it’s just really good. There’s some really sweet songs and really good lyrics and just this creepy overtone, which I really like.”
“There are a bunch of lockout laws in Sydney, so in the city, venues shut early because they’re trying to stop alcohol violence. A lot of venues have shut because of that. But there’s still cool live shit going on, because people just put on their own shows. It’s a real community. At the moment, all my favourite bands are come out of Sydney. There’s this band called Concrete Lawn, who are just sick. When I first saw them the girl was still in high school and shit. She was just going rowdy. They’re really good to see live – the energy was the kind of live energy I like to watch. They’re just good people. You can tell.”
“My favourite band in Australia has be a [Sydney-based group] called C.O.F.F.I.N, which stands for Children of Finland Fighting in Norway. They’re the best to see live. They’re rowdy, but they treat everyone with respect and make sure everyone gets a go – that’s important to them, and it sums up everything I like about live music. Even if the crowd’s rowdy, there’s space for everyone. It’s inclusive. But even their recorded music is so good – they have great, tough lyrics, and the drummer sings, so it’s got this crazy grunt to it.”
“Fuck, [vocalist Serwah’s] lyrics are so good and just like, as a singer, she’s just staunch as. She’s a really powerful, smart person and I really admire the whole thing and I like the way the recording’s done as well. They have a record out and it’s just real reverb‑y, delay‑y, like, ‘Wow.’ I don’t know technical stuff, but it just sounds great.”
“They’re from Melbourne. They have a demo from about 2017 that I used to listen to a lot before we started a band, and I like the whole thing. To me it was really relatable because they were from up the coast, where I was from, it was this really Australian-sounding thing, but it was something I had never heard as well. Live, when I went to see them, they were just real. Everyone was pushing and everyone was singing and it was just this manic thing. It was exactly what I wanted.”
“Some of AusMutants’ songs have been really influential to me, just because they’re great musicians. The lyrics and the vocals sound so good. They just out an album called… Present The World In Handcuffs and it’s an album from a policeman’s perspective. It’s classic. I think it’s taking the piss out of the authority police have, and how much power they have, and how much power they take. It’s comical because a lot of it’s about, “Oh look at my hot body in the mirror. I’m so tough today. I’m gonna arrest people. All I want to do is arrest people.” That kind of shit.”