Another day, another challenge – digging through the Australian music back catalogue

Sometime in March/April 2020, the #30DaySongChallenge started circling on the web. It was a time when we all desperately needed some kind of distraction. So heaps of music fans, journos and other random people jumped on the opportunity to share their music associations. I did, too. But those 30 days went by very quickly and I found myself looking for something new to do. So I invented my own thing and called it #SillyAlliterationChallenge.

Don’t get excited, it didn’t go viral 🙂 But it wasn’t the point, either.


The #30DaySongChallenge was meant to evoke emotions associated with our music experiences when live music was suddenly banned for pandemic reasons. It allowed us to safely reveal a piece of ourselves without giving away any sensitive details. And it took us all back to memories we hold dear, like sharing “a song that makes you want to dance” or “a song that reminds you of summertime”.

Source: Pinterest

My idea, for a change, was focused on randomness and involved no feelings at all (or so I thought). In opposition to the #30DaySongChallenge, I applied it strictly to Australian music. I know what you’ll say, “what a pointless exercise”. But let me explain.

The thought behind the task was simple: find an alliteration for each letter of the English alphabet within the vast Australian music catalogue. Not just any alliteration, though, but matching the first letter of the act’s name with one of their songs, starting with the same letter. For instance, if a band’s name begins with A, their song’s title must also begin with A for the alliteration to be valid.

The purpose of my quest was to (hopefully) go through Aussie acts’ back catalogues and uncover songs that are not their “greatest hits” or that are a bit forgotten or underappreciated. After all, this the reason I write this blog in the first place. And trust me, it was an interesting exercise that opened my eyes to heaps of new music as well. (Not everything could be included in the playlist at once.)

In the case of three letters (out of 26), it was an impossible task. No matter how long I searched, I couldn’t find an alliteration match for Q, X and Z. But I still decided to go through with the plan. Maybe when new acts form in the future, I’ll be able to add them to my list. For now, I’m treating it as “mission partially complete”.

Source: own image

Also, I’m just a human. So sometimes I gave in to the temptation of sharing more recognizable artists and tunes (like “Come On Mess Me Up” by Cub Sport and “Free” by Flume) or recent releases (like “Majestic AF” by Methyl Ethel or “Numb” by Nooky). Because I really, really, really like these songs 🙂 And the randomness I assumed was going to be the driving force behind the exercise was not always so accidental, either (I have some fond memories associated with “BEFORE THE RADIO” by Bec Sandridge or “Paint” by The Paper Kites, for instance).

It would be a little counterproductive to theoretically talk about all the songs and acts I put on my #SillyAlliterationChallenge playlist in this post. But I’d like to highlight five of them.

ALLDAY – “Atmosphere

Allday is the laid-back muso from Adelaide we all need right now. He dubs himself “a rap singer from Australia” and his FB feed is hilarious. But on the creative and artistic front, he takes things pretty seriously. In the beginning, his success was due to uploading music free online. Today, 9 years, 3 albums and heaps of interesting collabs (i.e. with The Veronicas) later, he is one of the most interesting young Aussie artists I have come across.

The song on my playlist is from his most recent album, Starry Night Over The Phone. And it’s exactly what the title suggests, “atmospheric”.

GRINSPOON – Gone Tomorrow

I don’t know how it’s possible that in the 40+ episodes of this series on my blog, I haven’t dedicated any space to Grinspoon until now. I just kind of forgotten how awesome this Lismore, NSW band is. Especially that they made history in 1995 by winning the first triple J Unearthed competition with their (then) grunge vibe. Having 25 years of music-making under their belts, they are one of Australia’s best rock outfits (move over Powderfinger fans).

Most likely, you won’t find “Gone Tomorrow” on their “Best Of” or “Essential” album. And even though the song made it to my playlist for the alliteration accuracy, it’s a really catchy and melodic rock anthem.

RUBY FIELDS – “Ritalin

The first time I heard about Ruby Fields was in 2019 when she was playing Laneway in Melbourne. I had her gig marked for checking out at the fest. Me being me, I got there late and missed half of the (better part of the) show, I guess. So I wasn’t particularly impressed but decided to give her another chance. And I changed my mind.

Coincidentally, my fave song of hers is not her greatest hit but the artist’s third single release, which also worked with the alliteration challenge.

THE WAIFS – Willow Tree

The older I get, the more I seem to be drawn to folk/roots music. The Waifs definitely fit that genre definition. They’ve also been around for a while (since 1992). At the beginning of the 2000s, they co-founded their own record label (Jarrah Records whose other co-founder is John Butler). If there’s anything else that can validate a band’s reputation, then supporting Bob Dylan would be one of those things for The Waifs.

“The Willow Tree” is a very cool sing-along from the band’s 2017 album Ironbark.


3 years ago, around this (wintry) time in Australia, I attended an Aboriginal fundraiser gig. There were 4 artists on the line-up, out of which I knew only one. It wasn’t Yirrmal. But I quickly made a note of his name because of his beautiful performance (he partially sang in his native tongue as well). Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to talk to him then. He came to Melbourne from the Northern Territory for just one night and was heading back right after the show.

Yirrmal played “Youngblood” on his guitar at that gig. I was pretty moved by it, like the rest of the people in the room.

Check out the whole #SillyAlliterationChallenge playlist below.

I’m shouting you a beer if you help me find the missing entries for Q, X and Z.

Get social with Silly McWiggles here:

Here are some more playlists I put together:

If you care about lyrics in Aussie songs, this post is for you

Let me pose a few questions to start. When you hear a new song, what do you listen to first, the melody or the lyrics? How often do you check out instrumental music? Can a shallow message throw you off a track, even if it’s got an awesome beat? Do the lyrics matter to you…

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