Passing by Toronto when we wrote this post, it might be strange to talk about australian bands but it’s the canadian winter, we’re terribly cold, and we all dream about a life on a Pacific coast. Of course, the title of the post is strange and you wonder what “Dolewave” is, why we wanna destroy it, what this stupid hipster word means, what kind of bullshit this guys are telling us or if it will change something to your dinner.
“Dolewave is a musical gender that appears in the south of… NOPE! NOPE! NOPE! That’s not how it starts. We’re not talking about jazz, country or any-kind-of-brit-pop. NOPE! This term appeared on a pre-facebook forum dedicated to australian rock. Then, some almost musical critics decided to use this term in order to put a label on these ossie and kiwi indie rock bands. Here we are! The classical giant intellectual masturbation. And you know what? It’s just the beginning… Indeed, if we come back to our dear musical critics, we learn that these young artists go through a deep identitary crisis coming from their social class (the middle one), rejecting the atrocities on which the australian society has been built. Say whaaaat? It’s not over yet! Others are able to detect that “dolewave” is a Do-It-Yourself apology in the way to produce and diffuse music. Well… Then “dolewave” may concern all the bands starting by playing in the subway, in their rooms or in their friend parties. Damn… We missed something really big then. All the indie scenes in the world would be considered as dolewave without being conscient of it.
The circle jerk keeps on and on: media influencers are in love with the concept, critics fight each others, narcissists watch themselves in a mirror meanwhile the bands don’t give any flying duck to this story. I mean “would like” to not pay attention but the problem is dolewave will grow and get bigger, appearing in all the magazines, webzines, fanzines, cuizines, blogs, interviews and even in the title of some concert venues. Thankfully, each action lead to a reaction, and each movement lead to an opposite one.
Jimi Kritzler, author of “Noise in my Head: Voices from the Ugly Australian Underground”, (this guy knows what he talks about) intents to defend these musicians: “My book is 500 pages and not once is the phrase ‘dole wave’ mentioned. I think this adequately surmises my feelings about intellectualising ‘dole wave,’ which in my mind is a non-existent genre. These bands who one might link to dole wave – Dick Diver, Twerps, Kitchens Floor, Bitch Prefect – they are just great pop bands. To force on them and the music some kind of socio-economic status is ridiculous. I don’t think any of the aforementioned bands would ever describe themselves as dole wave. Dole Wave is a hilarious joke taken too far by critics struggling to link a batch of bands together who in no way subscribe to such a half-baked music theory”.
Let’s back to our topic because our first goal is to listen to music produced by these bands, appreciate their works before any other considerations. First, all of them were heavily influenced by a punk music label from Dunedin, Flying Nun Records, created by Roger Shepherd in 1981. More than 25 years of existence for a label whose quality of musical proposal is praised throughout the world and which, especially between the 80s and 90s, has allowed the emergence of groups such as The Clean, The Verlaines, The Chills, Blue Go Purple Look, The Bats, Jean-Paul Sartre Experience or The 3Ds. Let’s add the influence of the Go-Betweens and you would understand the very fertile ground in which this fringe of young Australian artists grew up, carried out today by figures like Courtney Barnett or Dick Diver.
Now for your ears you’ll find all the Bandcamp links plus the playlist just made for you by Dusty Clocks. And for people who like to read (if you’ve red the post until here, I guess it’s the case) two main references are available: the introspective “Noise in my head: Voices from the Ugly Australian Underground” by Jimi Kritzler, and the retrospective “In Love With These Times: My Life With Flying Nun Records” by Roger Shepherd.