Australia has always been ripe with dance music talent. Whether you look to radio for your taste-making or prefer to dig into streaming platforms and unearth artists yourself, the chances are you have found some Australian dance acts that really hit the spot, and find their way into your daily playlists.
But it’s one thing to rinse the hits from these artists, but what about their very first releases from the early days? We delved into the Australian dance music archives to reacquaint ourselves with the very first singles from some of our favourite and most well-known names. Some of these tracks might ring a bell, but there are definitely a few deep cuts in here you might not have known existed!
Dive in and soak up some dance music history!
Hayden James – Something About You
There are few tracks as sexy as Permission To Love by Hayden James. Released back in 2013 on Aussie mainstay label Future Classic, the track would garner instant success on the airwaves, and was the beginning of Hayden’s cool and calculated run of releases that seem to just get better each time.
Alison Wonderland – Get Ready ft. Fishing
Alison Wonderland built up a hefty following as one of Australia’s most in-demand DJs early in her career, so it came as no real surprise when she finally started releasing music of her own. We all knew it would come, and it did in 2013 with the track Get Ready featuring Fishing. The hip-hop-infused belter was something of a dance music statement from Alison Wonderland, who would go on to build global acclaim off the back of it.
Flume – Possum
Even though Harley Streten was making beats as a youngster using production software he scored out of a cereal box, the first official single as Flume came in 2012. Before he stunned the world with Sleepless and his critically acclaimed debut album later in the year, the much-loved Manly local showed off his musical finesse on the glitchy, synth-driven track Possum, that would later appear on the deluxe edition of his self-titled LP.
Cosmo’s Midnight – Phantasm ft. Nicole Millar
The groove is real when it comes to Cosmo’s Midnight’s debut single, Phantasm. Linking up with Sydney pop-heavy Nicole Millar, the Liney brothers turned heads pretty damn quick off the back of this sensual slow-jam that would kickstart the lads’ careers and pave the way for timeless cuts they’d share down the track – Down For You and Get To Know ft. Winston Surfshirt to name a few.
The Avalanches – Rock City
Winding the clock back to 1997, Melbourne outfit The Avalanches made their debut with the track Rock City. Cut from their first EP, El Producto that came via Fitzroy label Trifecta Records, Rock City showed us signs of the chopped-up, hip-hop instrumental work that would become synonymous with The Avalanches catalogue of music in years to come.
Sneaky Sound System – Hip Hip Hooray
Sneaky dominated Channel V and Rage back in the day. You know it. I know it. It’s a fact. But before the likes of UFO and I Love It found their way into our ears – and in fact, before vocalist Connie Mitchell joined the team – the group kicked off their career with a party anthem, Hip Hip Hooray. The high-energy track also helped launch Whack Records, which was created due to the major labels not wanting a bar of Sneaky at the time. Bit of history there for you, folks!
PNAU – Sambanova
In the words of Charli XCX, I just wanna go back to 1999! Why you ask? Well, PNAU had just burst onto the scene with Sambanova, of course. This cruisey, disco-house cut might not be the first tune you think of when you hear the name PNAU, but that is totally fair considering the lads have been at the forefront of the Aussie dance scene for three decades now. With that said, this sexy track is poetry in a club setting and was the start of great things to come from Sydney duo-turn-trio.
Pendulum – Vault
Perth trio Pendulum holds a place in the hall of fame when it comes to Australian dance music. Forming in 2002, the group didn’t officially release a single until 2003’s Vault, which came as a sign of great things to come. Built off a familiar drum and bass foundation, the track proves to be a real grower, teasing us at the beginning before unleashing at the 1:30 minute mark with what would become their signature sound.
The Aston Shuffle – For Everyone
Filthy, filthy goodness. In a time when electro was king, The Aston Shuffle were building their presence in the scene as handy remixers and noble spinners on the wheels of steel. In 2007, however, Vance and Mikah cut their teeth in production with a rip-snorter of a tune titled For Everyone. This absolute belter can still bring a dance floor to its knees and – at least for me – was a frequent selective on the old iPod shuffle.
Bag Raiders – Turbo Love
With an almost spooky build to get things rolling, Turbo Love is a prime piece of Aussie electronic history that saw the Sydney lads find rotation on triple j. The track is peeled from their EP of the same name that was released back in 2008, and would certainly bring back a few memories for any of the older heads who were clubbing in that era. That classic robotic vocal that cruises in around the 1-minute mark gives me chills.
What are some other classic debuts from Australia’s dance music hall of fame we might have missed? Drop-in and let us know and we’ll be sure to include them in part 2!
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