10 must-hear Victorian bands, according to Jake Laderman from Clowns

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10 must-hear Victorian bands, according to Jake Laderman from Clowns

Photo by Tim Lambert

Featuring the likes of Romero, Smooch, Clamm and more.

A punk band not bound by genre, Melbourne’s Clowns have built a career spanning 12 years, four critically acclaimed albums that blend punk with all flavours between psychedelia, garage, hardcore and power pop, as well heading out on countless tours all over the world.

After a quiet 2020, the band are back with their new single ‘Does It Matter?’, which marks a change in the Clowns sound.

Working with US songwriter and producer Matt Squire (Panic! At The Disco, Ariana Grande), Clowns welcomed some outside writing influence into their process, and the result is a belter that encapsulates the best of their already dynamic sound. There’s punk, garage, anarchic energy; mixed in with some pop, rock and big sing-along moments poised to rile their fans up.

Delivering the first in a string of releases for this year, we asked Clowns’ Jake Laderman to shine a light on their favourite Victorian bands right now.

“I think one of the best and most rewarding things about getting involved in your local music community is the realisation that you could well and truly find your new favourite band or artist every single week. Tell me, WHERE is the rule written that your favourite artists have to be big, rich or famous? It’s a crock,” Jake tells us.

“I used to think I was weird for not being able to list off many popular artists with friends in my late teens, but now I just feel like they were the ones missing out. If you’re paying $200+ for every music performance you attend, who’s the real weirdo?

“People like to say that Melbourne, Victoria is the capital music city of the world and I think it’s true. For those who know just where to look, can reap some very rich rewards.

“Here are 10 Victorian bands that I’m currently loving and would recommend to anyone.


Face Face are a powerful rock trio that intertwine 90’s nostalgia with hard-hitting emotive lyrics. Their hooky, sometimes heavy and but always incredible songs often make me wonder why they haven’t taken over the world yet. Eternally thankful for the fateful cold and quiet Thursday night in the Tote front bar where I crossed paths with this amazing band.


High intensity, fast rock and roll at its most pure and badass. You don’t have to be a musician to see that Rot TV is a band of talented people who know exactly what they’re doing, and that is to melt the faces of everyone, leaving no prisoners.


KISS-worshipping glam freaks who play their rock and roll fuzzy. Smooch are a relatively new band with a culmination of familiar faces from other great bands such as Drunk Mums, Dumb Punts, Mesa Cosa and Meat. It’s fun, hard and glittery and you’re missing out if you haven’t seen them.


Jackson Reid Briggs & the Heaters are an impressively proactive, raw punk, Stooges-esque rock and roll band who’ve released an array of great records in a short period of time. Watching them live is like being hit by a sonic tidal wave – it’s explosive. They describe themselves as “punk rock n roll without the spit shine” and I don’t think I could sum it up better than that.


Garage, rock and roll meets soul. Romero are probably the band you’re craving if you’re stuck listening to the same old crap, at least that’s how I felt finding them. What a breath of fresh air this band is. For any fans/worshippers of Royal Headache and Sheer Mag, you’ll be delighted by the warm/crisp guitar tones and that OUTSTANDING voice from singer Alana Oliver.


Stiff Richards are the new born kings of the Mornington Peninsula. I slept on this band for later than I should have, but I’m glad to say I’m well and truly on board. They’re like the raw, filthy, bratty nephew of Eddy Current Suppression Ring. They sound exactly the same live as they do on record and it’s so cool. What’s truly admirable to me about Stiff Richards is the amazing community that they’ve created around their own label Legless Records. Go and check it out for yourself.


Clamm are a perfect storm of noisy punk and grit. I, like many others, discovered their debut album ‘Beseech Me’ from community radio and it’s TUFF. I love how their intensity can shift straight to 11 at the switch of a fuzz/delay pedal. It’s powerful and dynamic. They sound like a band you might hear on In The Red Records and here they are in our own backyard, kicking ass.


Program released their debut album ‘Show Me’ in 2019 via Anti-Fade Records and it was a huge record for me that year. It’s a record for any power-pop fanatics or just anyone who admires good songwriting and melody. There’s some great guitar work and amazing tones (cleans / chorus) that translate amazingly in a live setting. It’s tight! Go and see ‘em!


Dr Sure AKA Dougal Shaw is a master of obscurity and an artist whom I really admire. I’ve only seen the full live band once, but that experience was enough for me to be blown away by the weird. BUT I’ve gotta say, it’s so much more than weird! It’s punk, unapologetic and cheeky and often a direct response to the powers that be and those who abuse it.


I found Moon Rituals amidst the clusterfuck of the 2020 lockdowns by swapping/trading records with the legend Tom Lyngcoln (Solar/Sonar head honcho and music god). Moon Rituals is a synth-pop project by Sarah Hardiman (Deaf Wish / Nightclub) and Mikey Young (Total Control / Eddy Current) and it’s chilling. The debut record features deep and sombre lyrical themes, while newer singles have a more upbeat, whimsical feel about them. I really connected with this project and I can’t wait for more!

Keep up with the latest from Clowns via the website.