Tropical F Storm — typically known by the more profane version of their name — is an experimental rock band from Melbourne, Australia with a sound just as unique and unapologetic as their name.
The four part act is coming to Atlanta for the first time as their own headlining act on Sept. 8. They will be performing at at The Earl, only their second time in the city after having toured once with Modest Mouse. With a name indicative of a certain style, it should come as no surprise that the group takes on a rowdy edge, but it is certainly not one without meaning.
The group reverses the common band formula of a female lead supported by male musicians with a group of female members — Fiona Kitschin, Erica Dunn and Lauren Hammel — taking on the instruments and the sole male member Gareth Liddiard handling the lead vocals. This reversal provides a unique sound grounded in Liddiard’s deep, gritty tone accompanied by frequent female chants and hard-hitting instrumentals. Liddiard, the band’s lead vocalist, shared in an interview with the Technique that the message behind their music is sometimes just as difficult to explain as the unique genre they have created for themselves.
Liddiard points out that sometimes the artists themselves do not fully understand the meaning of their own song until some time after its release, because whatever they feel seeps itself into the lyrics. Everything the band puts out is self-produced, so their own thoughts basically make up the writing process to produce a chaotic yet formulated message to accompany the similarly chaotic sound which creates a musical phenomenon which is, if nothing else, undeniably unique and addicting.
The grit of Liddiard’s tone and the rough sound from his pipes are certainly core to the experimental genre that the band takes on. Such sound, he claims, is somewhat inspired by his hometown of Melbourne. Australia, he explains, has a rough edge to it that inspires some of the band’s core sound. Melbourne can be found in the deep south of Australia, but this has a very different deep south vibe than that of America.
Out of all the cities in Australia, Melbourne’s cold and raw vibe gives the most inspiration for the experimental rock Tropical F Storm proudly writes, performs and produces. “Paradise,” the title track from the band’s newest album, does not stray from this trend; although, it does take a slightly lower and more rhythmic tempo, perhaps bringing out the harsh instrumentals even more so than usual.
Their videos, too, display harsh, vivid imagery not offbeat from their musical theme. One video became particularly intense, Liddiard shares, as they were innocently filming in an off the beaten path venue in Arkansas, set up like a haunted house of sorts, only for a couple of locals to run at them with weapons flashing, demanding to know what they were doing.
Upon frantically revealing their musically inclined intent, the members were met by an attitude reversal in the character of the strangers, with the people threatening to end their lives seconds suddenly offering to help them set up special effects for their video. The result is a visually shocking video ripe with horror special effects, one incredibly entertaining to say the very least.
The song that goes with the video is entitled “Soft Power”, and the video is available to watch on the group label’s Youtube channel. Those interested in seeing the band perform this song, “Paradise,” and more tracks should visit The Earl on Sept. 8 for a show bound to be nothing short of unforgettable.