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In the 1990s, You Am I were the model Australian alternative rock band. Shambolic but skillful, they inspired a generation of young Australians to pick up instruments. Even grunge wannabes Silverchair took the latter half of their name from the You Am I song "Berlin Chair." They continued to be an inspiration for bands like Skybombers, who emerged from Melbourne to sudden international exposure based on a similar melding of British and American influences into a laconically debauched rock & roll whole. The four members of Skybombers -- guitarist and lead singer Hugh Gurney, bass player Ravi Sharma, drummer Scott McMurtrie, and guitarist Sam Bethune -- all attended high school together. One was kicked out of the school orchestra and all four were banned from the school's music room, forcing them to rehearse in a cramped spare room belonging to Scott McMurtrie's mother and host their first concert at a party in the McMurtrie family backyard. A five-song demo of their songs called Sirens, intended to be given away to friends at another early gig, found its way to Albert Productions, the label who had signed such classic Australian rock bands as Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs, the Easybeats, and AC/DC. Albert Productions snapped up the young members of Skybombers and sent them to Los Angeles for six weeks to record their first album, 2008's Take Me to Town. They used the opportunity to line up supports for several big-name American bands including X and Foo Fighters. ~ Jody Macgregor


2007 in Melbourne, Australia

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