Is America experiencing another musical invasion like it did in the sixties?

Is America experiencing another musical invasion like it did in the sixties?

Tom Shackleford

Remember back in the mid-sixties when all the blues musicians over in Britain came over and completely turned the American music scene completely upside down with the onset of the British invasion starting with The Beatles in February of 1964? Good times right?

Music and pop culture historians can look back at the sixties and the bands that came over from across the pond like The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Yardbirds, The Kinks, The Animals, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Donovan, and the Zombies, and can say that a cross-cultural phenomenon like that may never happen again.

However, this writer looks to another part of the globe, which is pumping out incredibly talented artists in a wave that is looking, and sounding pretty similar to what happened five decades ago here in the 2010s. As we turn the page on another year, music fans, especially here in America, need to recognize that they’re in the middle of another invasion of amazing artists, this time it’s coming from the land of wombats and vegemite, Australia.

Throughout the first six years of this wild decade, the land down under has provided America with artist after artist, who are collectively pushing the possibilities of pop music across each of their respective genres. Now it’s not quite having an effect on society as a whole in the same way that the British invasion did in the sixties, but just look at what the artists from Australia and New Zealand have achieved since the start of the decade.

Dancing down the path that Australian artists of the 2000s like the John Butler Trio, the Temper Trap, and Wolfmother set before them, some of more well-known artists who have been able to earn huge followings on a mainstream level include Tame Impala, Flume, Lorde, and even Courtney Barnett, who was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2016 Grammys. Collectively those four have earned nine Grammy nominations over the last four years. Lady Gaga even brought on Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker to help her write “Perfect Illusion,” which was the lead single on her latest album. You can hear his influence heavily in the single’s continuous, very "Let It Happen" style drum beat.

All four of the above artists are beginning or have already made a huge impact in their respective genres on a mainstream level, but they’re certainly not alone. Empire of the Sun (synth-pop), Alison Wonderland (electronic/DJ), King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard  (psychedelic rock), The Paper Kites (folk rock), Rüfüs Du Sol (alternative dance), Miami Horror (dance rock), The Griswolds (rock), Harts (R&B/rock), Gang of Youths (indie rock), and Little May (indie folk), have all established or have set the foundation for building a dedicated following here in America. Many of these artists are regulars in the festival circuit each year in their own area of pop music. 

Just the other day hip-hop's newest big name, Chance the Rapper, even tweeted out that he’s moving to New Zealand! 

Even if you aren’t into some of the acts listed above, there’s no denying that America and the rest of the world are experiencing a wave of musicians from the Oceania area of the world that hasn't been seen in decades. Streaming outlets like SoundCloud, Spotify, and iTunes have certainly aided the process and created a musical bridge by  allowing any artist around the world to have their music listened to and streamed by anyone anywhere with a WiFi signal. If more Australian artists keep showing up looking to conquer the world, we should take a note from parents who were teens in the sixties and invite them on in.