The Native Cats’ Peter Escott on ‘Dallas’


In a special feature, Peter Escott of The Native Cats (pictured left above) discusses in detail the duo’s new record’ Dallas’, which is available now through R.I.P Society. It was originally published on Escott’s blog.

Part One: The True Personal History Behind the Mysterious Title of the Third Native Cats LP

Dallas? Dallas is a state of mind, man. Wait, where are you going? Come back…

The Native Cats toured the United States of America in September-October 2012. We didn’t play Texas, but Dallas Fort Worth was our point of entry into the country. In the months leading up to the tour I had a strong feeling that we were going to be turned around at the airport and sent straight back home. This wasn’t a completely illogical fear – who hasn’t had stories drift sadly past their eye about visa mishaps causing an international tour to be compromised, postponed or cancelled entirely – but it also spoke to a refusal to fully accept that the tour could actually happen, that the idea of it could cross over from daydream to rough idea to itinerary all the way to reality. The phrase “too good to be true” in its purely defeatist form. Dallas is where all thoughts and visualisations of the tour were frozen for months. Dallas is an aggressively pessimistic state of mind which was soon proven wrong.

(I explained the above to Julian when I suggested the title for the album, and he in turn suggested that the inside of the CD booklet contain his photograph of a big, sloppy beef burger, his first meal inside the United States after almost 18 hours of sleepless flight. I suppose it represents the victory over pessimism, the beginning of things turning out alright after all. However, I take this opportunity to apologise to our vegan fans for what you must find a sad and repulsive sight in an otherwise gastronomically unthreatening album. I myself am not a vegan, but I have always defended you against ignorant jokes based on the false premise that you are weak and exhausted all the time, to the point where many people consider me quite humourless as a result.)

When I was 11 I read The Winning Touch by David Hill, a book about a struggling school rugby team and their fairly standard Mighty-Ducks-esque rise to victory. There was a kid on the team named Dallas, and to the best of my recollection, his entire story during the course of the book was this: Dallas joins the team, shy and nervous and oddly bruised; everyone finds out right before the final that Dallas’ dad beats him up; Dallas starts going out with The Most Popular Girl In School.

There are regular childhood daydreams I can recall more vividly than most true memories. From about age ten onwards they were mostly based around being pitied: fantasies of being beaten unconscious for no reason by a group of older kids at assembly, of returning to school at the start of term having lost an unhealthy amount of weight off my already skinny frame, of having cruel messages about myself painted large on school walls, of fainting inexplicably and being rushed to hospital. They started well before I read about Dallas, but I certainly imagined these things a lot more often afterwards, and most of all, that’s where I developed the poison idea that pity was the way that girls form an interest in you.

I never made any attempt to bring these fantasies to life, unless you count slouching around the school grounds almost every day for years, looking miserable, though never more miserable than I actually felt. But undoing the psychic rot took years. Starting the Native Cats was an early step in learning to project a basic degree of self-confidence and never trying to attract pity again, so it made sense to name an album after Dallas the city, and after Dallas the kid.

Dallas is a state of mind, and I’ve named it so I remember never to repeat it. Dallas is a place where you mustn’t ever win.


Part Two: The Origin and Intent of Each of the Seven Songs which Together Comprise the Third Native Cats LP…

(…with the exception of one lyric, which I was planning on writing about, but I’ve seen a few quite dark interpretations of it in the last couple of months, and in this particular case I’d rather take the credit for an unsettling idea than write about the very ordinary place it came from.)

1. Pane e Acqua

Julian wrote the bass part, recorded it on his phone and texted it to me. The next day I wrote the words, sang them into my phone, and texted them back. Then he texted me to say that he liked what I’d done and that we should keep the song without any beats. That was the entire creative process. Have I mentioned we live 20 minutes’ walk apart?

When I was eight I really liked the young rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg (or whichever songs from Doggystyle were played on Triple J, at any rate), and refused to accept what I would hear on the news about him possessing marijuana or carrying firearms, because why would he, if he was such a good musician? 20 years later I don’t feel like my position on drugs and music has advanced much further. In my whole life I’ve only ever been sober, because nobody has ever made even an hour of any alternative look or sound appealing to me. But that’s just a gap in my comprehension. So this song is about a lifelong teetotaller trying to find a clear point of identification with his favourite drug musicians. I think I managed to fit into the song every confused and conflicted idea I had in the space of an afternoon.

We like to start our albums somewhere unusual — ‘Water Down’ on Always On, ‘The Singer is Dead to Me’ on Process Praise — and as the first song we’ve ever written without a beat, ‘Pane e Acqua’ certainly fits the bill. We’ve started opening our live shows with it sometimes too, the theory being that it kills chatter by being the quietest thing that happens all night.

The title is Italian for “bread and water”, and is, as I learned from a documentary aired during the final act of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, a slang term for cyclists who don’t use performance-enhancing drugs. The first of the album’s many little jokes.

2. Hit

A total mystery. I’ve been using the Korg DS-10 (a Korg MS-10 emulator for the Nintendo DS handheld gaming system) since 2009 and I don’t know when I wrote ‘Hit’ or why I saved the program under that title, though I think I meant it in a physical sense rather than a sarcastic “that’s the single!” sense. One day I played it at a rehearsal, Julian wrote a bass part, and it became a Native Cats song. I’m a Fall obsessive with a wide range of live bootlegs, and heaps of them from about 1990 onwards start with the band playing a moody instrumental for a minute or two (‘Theme from Error-Orrori’, ‘Zagreb’, ‘Tunnel’) before Mark E. Smith comes on and does his “Good evening, we are the Fall” bit. Though my insistence on putting two versions of it on the album was less about This Nation’s Saving Grace and more about my favourite album of all time, the second Tindersticks album (with the accidentally perfect cover photo of Neil Fraser being fitted for a suit, the great signifier of stoic masculinity dissected and laid bare), with the instrumental ‘Vertrauen II’ all tension and fury and chaos, and ‘Vertrauen III’, much later on the album, the same tune but utterly emotionally drained.

3. I Remember Everyone

All the beats on Always On were presets on various keyboards. Almost all the beats since have been mine, but Julian wrote this one, and full credit to him for doing so, as this is the song that gets people goth-dancing when we play it live. The final mix of this song was the last of many genius moves by our producer Anthony Rochester. Neither of us could articulate what was missing but he filled it in for us anyway.

I used to write a lot of songs about people I didn’t want to think about anymore, the trouble with that habit being that I then have to think about the person every time I’m on stage singing the song. So I wrote this song about remembering everyone I’ve ever met while singing this very song. It’s a Dave Graney move. See ‘Playin’ Chicken’.

I was thinking about a spy breaking into a government facility by pumping a non-lethal amount of chlorine through the vents, just enough to make everyone in the building remember swimming pools and get distracted from their security duties by long-forgotten teenage body shame. It’s a scene from a TV series I’ll never write. But I got it into a song.

This song also marks the first appearance of our friends Claire and Emma, dual lead singers in the great new Hobart band Catsuit, and in Claire’s case also co-up-the-front of the great new Hobart band Heart Beach. ”Ksh ksh.”

4. Cavalier

This song is about being 21 and single and not especially confident and trying to build a self-concept practically from zero. For bonus verisimilitude a lot of the words are even lifted from another song that I wrote at that age and within that thrilling life situation.

I have no time for “mash-ups” and never have, but I will happily make an exception should anyone feel inspired to combine our song with the not entirely dissimilar – and, I should stress, more recent – ‘Fluorescent’ by the Pet Shop Boys.

5. Scratch Act

A character piece. Self-explanatory. The second appearance of Claire and Emma. Spot the tribute to Jessie Ware’s ‘No To Love’, from her flat-out incredible debut album Devotion, which I suspect not nearly enough people in our furious little corner of the music world are listening to.

6. C of O

I first heard Broadcast when I was 17, thanks to a private file-sharing server operated by my small group of American internet friends. When people talk about the life-altering possibilities of music piracy, they’re talking about kids like me. My taste in music was mostly limited to some pretty decent Australian rock (Rocket Science, Spiderbait) and the genre I even briefly and somewhat absurdly tried to build my personality around, UK “chillout” (Groove Armada, Kinobe). Then one of my friends uploaded The Noise Made By People, and that was the window into everything I know now. At first I only liked a few of the more openly rhythmic and melodic songs (‘Papercuts’, ‘Come On Let’s Go’, ‘City In Progress’) but the rest was so foreign to me that I kept playing the whole album repeatedly for answers. I had never heard a voice like Trish Keenan’s, I had never heard such fractured, unearthly noises put to such beautiful ends, I had never heard an album start in a place like ‘Long Was The Year’. But now I had.

Broadcast blew my head open wider and wider for years to come. I remember the moments: the tonal impossibilities of ‘The Book Lovers’ and ‘Pendulum’; the freeform God-knows-what of ‘Hammer Without A Master’, the euphoria of Haha Sound occasionally interrupted by dark scuttling madness that I eventually learned to love; the piercing minimalism of Tender Buttons; the astonishing discovery years later that Tender Buttons was just a bunch of demos that the two remaining members were originally intending on playing with a full band, until they heard how extraordinary it sounded already. I remember listening to the legally purchased CD of early singles compilation Work and Non Work for the first time, and being nearly brought to tears by the ghostly minute-long instrumental at the end of ‘The Book Lovers’, which was missing from the .mp3 I’d been listening to for the last three years. Even as recently as a couple of weeks ago I was suddenly completely floored by a lyric I must have heard a hundred times previously, from ‘Lights Out’: “I remember your excitement, choosing pictures for your wall. But now you’ve seen them all so often, you hardly see them anymore.”

My memory of the day I learned of Trish Keenan’s passing was that I had never felt this particular kind of grief before and didn’t have a chance to express it. My son had only been born a few weeks prior, it was becoming clear that one of my responsibilities as a father and a supportive partner was to stay strong and generally keep it together, and on that day it meant heading out to the city for some shopping and a nice lunch and not being a bawling wreck.

I felt sick and confused about Trish and unable to listen to Broadcast for over a year. I thought my inability to process the tragedy and move on was due to having suppressed it on the day, but I came to realise it was much simpler than that: I just didn’t know how. She was a voice to me, not a human being; her lyrics gave no clear insight into the life she had lived. I still had recordings of her music but I had no way to carry her spirit with me in my life. So I tried to write a song for her, out of desperation rather than inspiration.

In an interview with The Wire in 2009 (which I still haven’t felt able to go back to, so I’m going from memory here), Trish spoke about her childhood love of film scores, and how she would record the music from films like The Wicker Man by holding a cassette recorder up to the TV, only to become disappointed later in life upon hearing the official soundtrack album and hearing nothing but the tunes, no dialogue, no doors opening, no footsteps. You come back and it’s just music, you come back and it’s just noise, and all the people have gone.

It’s still all I really know about her outside of what she made.

‘C of O’ is “constellation of Orion”, a lyric from ‘Arc of a Journey’, my favourite of a hundred-odd perfect songs. I liked the sound of the abbreviation. A little bit “C of E”. Vague astronomical imagery and vague religious imagery from someone with little knowledge or understanding of either.

The arrangement of the actual song was a hell of a thing to try and put together. It’s the most complex piece we’ve ever recorded. Top marks to Julian for writing several beautiful bass lines; and to Anthony for making sense of my instructions, frantic, unclear and uncertain as they were; and to Claire and Emma, the astral choir, who of course we didn’t summon all the way out to Rokeby just to sing one line and impersonate a drum machine hi-hat.

Nothing about the song sounds particularly like anything Broadcast ever did, save for the sound at the very end, which was meant as an approximation of the synth tone they used on Tender Buttons, and also as a kind of ascension. That speckled wave. So long, stranger.

7. Mohawk-Motif

This would be the actual tribute to the music of Broadcast, then. “Mohawk” is the name for the track and “Motif” is the name for the lyrics. It started with me inadvertently setting up a drum sequence that sounded just like the song “Hawk” (hence the title) but overall it’s more of an attempt at a ‘Hammer Without a Master’ style tightly-wound freeform epic. The first time we ever played it live was in January 2011 at an outdoor afternoon MONA FOMA event down near Princes Wharf. I walked to a bus stop in the city as the next act was playing, a solo singer-songwriter on acoustic guitar. I could still hear him as I approached the city centre, and I tried to imagine how many people not even attending the event our 10-minute noise fit must have reached.

What you hear on the album is the first and only time we played it in the studio. We had our obligatory little chuckle – you know, “that’s the single!”, ho ho ho – then each independently listened to the rough mix compulsively on repeat and decided that it had to go on the album. I said it in the press release and I’ll say it again: there’s meant to be somebody around to veto that sort of decision, but nobody did.

I can’t even tell whether this is a shameful admission: I listen to ‘Mohawk-Motif’ a lot. At one show I even recorded us playing it on my phone and then listened to the recording on my walk home. It sounds narcissistic (though my vocal part is mercifully short) but really it’s just that whatever it is that we do on this song, this kind of repetitive crackly electronica where the textures keep shifting and a few extra noises whizz around, is the most directly pleasurable form of music to me, and I haven’t found nearly enough of it. Suicide playing ‘Mr. Ray’ at CBGB’s in 1978. Harmonic 313. Shit and Shine’s ‘Bass Puppy’ 12″. Antipop Constortium’s ‘Human Shield’. Autechre, occasionally, when they’ve got the attention span not to go jumping about all over the place. Though Julian takes it more into ‘And This Day’ territory. And that’s how we fell in with the rock weirdos rather than the glitch-hop go-gangers.

The words: one day you find you can hear the musical score of your own life, specifically the leitmotif that accompanies a single repeated bad habit or unwise decision, and the shame comes more than anything else from just how simple your life is, this life you had thought was unmappably complex, like the Faerie’s Aire and Death Waltz, but no.

So side 2 of Dallas is in memory of Trish Keenan, and also Brendon Annesley, responsible for the Negative Guest List zine. He asked me to write reviews for NGL, which I did for about a year, and in the process I got turned onto a lot of incredible music – Los Dug Dug’s, Gun Outfit, Lumerians, Sun Araw, the aforementioned Shit and Shine 10″ – way outside my usual frame of reference. We never met and the only communication we ever had, the initial writing offer aside, was him sending me music and me sending him reviews. I had no reason to even think of him directly as a human being until I heard of his passing. You get to be so many things to so many people in your life and you never even get to know the half of it. Sometimes you’re a friend and sometimes you’re an obstacle and sometimes you’re a faceless conduit for life-altering ideas. That’s what Brendon Annesley was to me and I never thought to say thank you.

We recorded heaps of other songs along with these ones (it would be impolite to say how many) and they’ll all come out in time.

The idea that you would have read this far without having heard our record is hilarious, but nevertheless:

Buy the LP from Ride the Snake (U.S.A.)
Buy the LP from Repressed Records
Download the album from our Bandcamp
(we made a CD as well, honest we did, though I don’t have a clue where one gets it)

Word count before announcement of word count: 3191. Jeez I do bang on a bit. Thanks for reading.


Perks and the Thrills: Constant Mongrel’s Heavy Breathing reviewed

640x640-cTom Ridgewell and Hugh Young are the only two members of Constant Mongrel that also appeared on their 2010 split tape with Taco Leg, which was shithouse. School of Radiant Living’s Amy Hill was added on bass last year, and for this record Taco Leg vocalist Andrew Murray was added on second guitar to flesh out the low and high ends respectively. Hill’s bass is an unsteady and elusive throb, Murray’s guitar is creepy and treble-heavy and the two original members lay down a rabid spine that carries an oozing, low-torque density that is almost exhausting. If the split tape was irritatingly undercooked, this record is at least served at a point where the uncooked flesh carries a sense of hilarious revulsion. I think it’s hard to argue that it isn’t one of the better albums released this year.

Heavy Breathing is a wild-eyed, pill-fucked and perverted record that attacks the highs and lows, the colours and the comedowns, and ravages through moments of overwhelming hysteria before sucking it up and returning to the party. Like last year’s LP Everything Goes Wrong, Constant Mongrel spend time thrashing at the edge of control. There’s no triumph here, but there’s no defeat either; it builds and dies without reaching thematic conclusions, and it captures (possibly unintentionally or just by virtue of referencing the sounds of X, Wire and The Fall) a series of very intense sensations.

I hear humiliation, inconvenient arousal (the irritable throb of much of this record makes the band name feel disturbingly literal to me) and the exact dose of amphetamines or synthetic hallucinogens that makes you think maybe you over-did it a bit. It can be turgid and obscene, but it never feels especially confronting to me. If you have an eight hour trip ahead of you, you can appreciate that the odd bout of hysterical confusion is going to eventually make way for an endorphin hit. Still, it feels like trying to escape your first world agitation by replacing it with hours of paranoia and neuroticism instead. There’s a constant threat of the fun dying off alarmingly quickly.

Thematically, there’s a form of black humour that reveals itself when the threats are funny and the jokes aren’t. Ridgewell at one point chants ad nauseum, “you’re a little boy and you need a smack.” Any humour that lies in that line is quickly killed by its relentlessness, distorting its meaning towards the emasculation of being exposed and looked down upon. There’s humour in Constant Mongrel’s music for sure, but just like the laughter recorded at the end of ‘Reflex’ on last year’s LP, it’s forced and it’s menacing.

Heavy Breathing reminds me of all my favourite things that I never do from nine-to-five on weekdays (like sex and drugs) then it reminds me of the bad parts of those things (like coming down or unexpectedly tearing a muscle). Do you know what kind of person can have a constant mongrel? Perverts. Sex pests. Rapists and pedophiles. The idea of losing control is appealing at the onset of mundanity, but there are people in society who are incapable of gaining control. Constant Mongrel make guitar music that dangles you at the precipice of losing it without ever giving you the cathartic experience of finding out if you made it through or not.

I also spent six minutes waiting to find out if the deep recorded breathing that closes out the album ever finishes. On that, I wouldn’t waste your time.


Constant Mongrel’s Heavy Breathing is available now through Siltbreeze.


Truth Decay: Housewives Interviewed


Housewives is a Sydney punk five piece. Comprising members of Ghastly Spats and Teen Ax, the group has just released their debut 7 inch through R.I.P. Society, and will tour Melbourne later this week. As the interview below with vocalist Lincoln Brown shows, the band took a while to settle into its current line-up of Sam Chiplin (Teen Ax), Lincoln Brown and Heather Swan (Ghastly Spats), Will Harley and Dean Adam.

The 7 inch showcases one of the most frenzied and horrid punk vocalists in Australia at the moment, and while there’s a strong sense of gutter humour laced throughout the band’s songs, the primal energy of their live shows can verge on horrific at times – SP

How did you all meet one another?
I’ve known Heather since year 7, we went to high school together. We met Will when we were 16. We were at a friend’s house in Hornsby Heights [in Sydney] cause we grew up around there. Heather, Will me and some dude were the only ones awake and we were tripping. At one point in the night me, Will and that dude went down into the bush land with guitar, bongos and a trumpet that didn’t have valves and had a tribal jam until we got attacked by leaches, haha.It was just after Christmas and Will got one of the bigger iPods as a present, so he no longer needed his smaller 8 gig one. So he gave me it to me when he left after sunrise. It had some of the best music I’ve heard up to that point and took me a year to get through it thoroughly. It had Killed By Death stuff; The Reatards, Razar – you know, good shit. I saw him a few days later and asked him if he wanted it [the iPod] back, [because] we had only just met when he gave it to me and we were tripping. But nope, he wanted me to keep it.

Heather was living at this place on Cleveland Street in 2011 called The Shop. Dean was one of the people who would hang around there a bunch like me, so we got to know him like that. Will has known Chippy for a while, and Heather and I met Chippy not longer after we met Will, but never really spoke to him until a few years later when Will, Heather and I had already started jamming. Then we started hanging out more and more till he joined the band and now we’re ‘bff’.

Was there always the plan to form a band?
Heather and I had already been playing in Ghastly Spats for a while when I decided I wanted to start a more straightforward punk band. When I told Heather and Laura (Hunt, also in Ghastly Spats), Heather immediately wanted in as she’s a huge Killed By Death fan. I told her how it would be great to get Will Harley in the band as he is the biggest KBD fan I knew, and turned me onto it in the first place. Luckily enough we saw him at a gig not too long after that and hung out with him all night and when we asked him he was keen.

So we were looking for a drummer and Jack Mannix had mentioned to Heather recently about how he wanted to drum for a band again, as that’s where he started in his first band [with Kiosk]. So I think we had two jams with Jack on drums, Heather on bass, Will and I on guitar and Heather and I singing. Then Jack moved to Melbourne indefinitely and Chippy already mentioned to Will that he was keen to drum in a band, so we asked him. But after Heather, Dean and I just moved into a new place with some people “housewives” had a jam with Dean on drums. But I still wanted to give Chippy a try on drums which Dean was cool with but asked if he could still do something in the band. And I already had the idea in my head that I could put down my guitar for a few songs and do the whole “frontman” thing so I got Dean to just play guitar instead.

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I know that you guys write songs while together and jamming, most of the time. Do you feel part of this intuitive collaborative songwriting is integral to the band and its energy? Have you ever written in a solo situation for the band?
It’s easier to come up with obnoxious lyrics when I have to yell them to hear myself above the instruments. What I think is great about our band is that Chippy and I still write guitar riffs even though we’re not playing guitar, and those guys are more then happy to play them. [At the same time] Will, Chippy and Heather will write some lyrics and i’ll write the rest of them about what I think those lines mean. It’s very collaborative and yeah, I think that’s what makes it great.

Most of the time it’s like that: some one will have a riff ready and we’ll try and flesh it out into a song when we jam. Sometimes also i’ll write a whole song: riffs, lyrics, structure and bring it to a jam. We also try and come up with songs on the spot. Chippy is the master of it. Our shortest song ‘Piss Rip’ and its brother song ‘Piss Rash’ are songs Chippy wrote in his head on the spot in less than the time it takes to play them. Pretty amazing thing to watch, haha.

Live, Housewives to me is a band of extremes – sometimes blisteringly good, and sometimes fucked up and incomprehensible. Is this an unspoken, unplanned dynamic ? Is the live thing something you plan?
I agree and it’s definitely not planned. The thing is even when we play bad, ie “incomprehensible”, people still tell us it was great. I think if we ever will play a bad set it will just be dull and lifeless, even if everybody hits all the notes right. We’ve played shows where I had no desire being there because I’ve been pissed off by someone in the band but that still just makes me want to go harder, like it’s an opportunity to let it out. But I think most of the time it just obviously has to do with how much we’ve had to drink.

Does drinking add to the energy or detract? Is there a fine line or a blurred boundary?
It’s always kinda been about hanging out, drinking and playing music. I don’t think we’ve had a practice where at least somebody isn’t drinking. There is a line, for instance when I have to tune a guitar before we play because they’re too drunk. But at the same time if we played completely sober I think it would be a little dry. But more importantly the shows are better when the audiences are drunk.

What are your most memorable live shows to date? And your most forgettable?
I reckon our most forgettable was in August at Midian, we were on first and were tired from playing in Newcastle with Pop Singles the night before, and just played an extremely tight and dull set. My favorite so far was probably when we played Blackwire with Kitchen’s Floor, Ruined Fortune and Sewers. Perfect amount of chaos. Nathan Roche still says our first gig was our best which really pisses me off, every time after we play I ask him if that has changed. It was a pretty funny gig though. It was in April 2012 at Dirty Shirlows with his band [Camperdown & Out], Family and Convent who had all been around for longer, but for some reason Dan Grosz [from Family] said we should headline and we did, and every one including the audience was wasted and I think I requested our own encore even though we had no more songs, haha.

Do you think you’re on your way to making in your mind the band you envision? Or is Housewives some happy compromise?
I think it’s different from what I originally imagined, but I think it’s better. I mean it’s not that much different, punk is such a simplistic style that there is only so much you can do with it. But I think we’ve pushed it in our own way and by that I mean every individual has helped mold it into something that is a bit different. I feel that punk and rock n roll as an art form can reference itself a lot but still remain exciting and original because it’s more about individuals expressing themselves in the moment. I think I can be more successful doing that in a live scenario than something like performance art. I’ve seen amazing performance art, but usually I find it a real bore. I’m much more affected by bands like Deaf Wish or Whores.

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You’re very young Lincoln – how old are you? I hear that you have been playing in bands through all of your teens. Care to explain this history to those who may only know Housewives? Were you always really into music from a young age or was it a gradual progression? 
[I was born in] 1992, I’ll be 21 in August. I started playing guitar when i was twelve and started jamming with friends not long after that. While I was in high school I played in a few bands that had a few gigs here and there but nothing really worth mentioning. My first good band was Ghastly Spats which Heather, Laura and I started in 2010. I guess like most people, leaving primary school and starting high school was when I started to get into music more. I remember a friend’s brother taught me how to play a riff from a song I liked on guitar and it was easy, so that’s when i wanted to learn guitar. It kinda snowballed from there.

Do you write the lyrics? Live, the lyrics are somewhat muddied – do you purposefully sing them in a way that is hard for the audience to understand?
I guess I write the majority of the lyrics. Sometimes someone else will come up with a song name or a line or two and I write the rest of the song from that. Heather wrote all of ‘Special Power’ except for the second verse, which I wrote. I don’t think the way I sing the lyrics is [due to my not wanting] the audience to understand them – I’m not shy about them. I guess it’s hard to understand them cause I like to yell, it feels good. I love the whole rock n roll scream and shout, roll around on the floor thing. And sometimes I wanna sound like the guy from Young Identities, and sometimes I wanna sound more like Anal Cunt.

Care to write some of the lyrics out and explain their origins?
Okay, here’s the first verse from ‘Fuck You Or Fuck Yeah’:

Ate some face cause it felt good
What an idea, had nothing to lose
Can’t stop now, a mission man
Bath salts and some truth decay
Total recall is no good
Comes on fast and is hard to disprove

That song is kinda about how the things people do when they’re trying to have a good time can affect other people negatively. It’s also about those cannibals that were in the news last year, how people thought they were on bath salts or something and that turned them into zombies. I know that’s how I’ve felt when I’ve done shitty ‘Designer Drugs’, ie legal cocaine.


Housewives is touring the east coast next week. The dates:

Melbourne- March 1st @ The Gasometer w/ Radiant Living, Cocks Arquette, Gentlemen
Melbourne- March 2nd @ The Grace Darling w/ Dead Boomers, Sky Needle, Encounter Group
Sydney- March 22nd @ The Old Fitzroy w/ Oily Boys, MC Madcunt, Angie
Brisbane- March 30th @ The Spring Hill Hotel w/ Sewers, King Tears Mortuary, Cannon, Pastel Blaze
Nambour- March 31st @ Time Machine w/ King Tears Mortuary, Bitter Defeat, Scissor

First and third photos by Patrick Mason.

New Music

Listen: Housewives – Lick The Pip

housewivesI’ve only seen Housewives play once – at Black Wire on the Parramatta Road – and I was definitely drinking a longneck at the time. It’s pretty safe to say that Housewives is a good band for drinking longnecks to. Some may contest that a band like this would struggle to resonate without the availability of longnecks, but ‘Lick The Pip’, from the group’s forthcoming debut 7 inch, proves that this isn’t the case, because right now I’m drinking a cup of tea.

Anyway, this group features members of Ghastly Spats, and have a reputation around town for being loud and obnoxious. We have an interview coming up soon with the band, so by the power of journalism we’ll know for sure. Speaking of journalism, the vocalist in this band is probably the best “punk” vocalist I’ve heard for years. The 7 inch features four tracks and will be available later this month on RIP Society.


Raw Prawn – None Left (7 inch)

rawprawn“Weirdo Aussie punk that sounds like a Blue Heeler giving birth in the hot sun, while a Gallah eating a witchedy-grub watches on.” That’s how frontman Alex Kiers describes his band Raw Prawn. While there’s an obvious adoration for and infatuation with harsh Australian iconography, the madness of such a narrative is the perfect way to define Raw Prawn’s bizarre strain of punk, and Kiers’ facetious mode of songwriting. There’s also a dog wearing sunglasses on the cover of this record.

Featuring Anna John of Holy Balm, Kiers of Camperdown & Out and Al Haddock and Chris Nailer of Whores (and not to mention MOB), you’d struggle to find a more stylistically dissimilar group of musicians. But listen to this single and it’s not hard to hear where their influences lie. It’d be easy to compare them to bands like The Victims and Swell Maps and then conclusively say that they’re awesome because of this, but Raw Prawn’s eccentricity is far more worthy of any mere comparison, as with many other bands in Australia’s contemporary punk culture. Having formed in 2011, their prolonged Internet anonymity (with access to only one streamable song) and boisterous live show has managed to create more buzz than reams of Bandcamp demos could ever have done. It’s certainly made this debut 7 inch all the more special.

For want of a better description, Raw Prawn’s first tangible release typifies the band’s self-proclaimed ‘weirdo, yobo-punk.’ As soon as the first drum roll of ‘None Left’ fills the room, your eyes widen and your pulse races, like a deranged Pitbull chasing down a stray cat. Each song on this eight and a half-minute offering features a relatively similar duped recipe, infusing chaotic elements of ’70s murder punk with the disjointed basis of ’80s post-punk. Kiers’ irreverent singing style forces out simple, banal lyrics about running out of excuses, being in the wrong place at the wrong time and consequently “always seeming to end up in the shit”, all tied together by hooky guitars playing manic riffs. In contrast to the band’s playing style and live sound, the production on this record is relatively clean, but it’s not of any significant detriment to the songs’ sordid authenticity. All in all, it’s a pretty fun, mind-numbing spin.

Between the meme-like canine on the front cover and Kiers’ mischievous, brazen chanting, it’s clear that Raw Prawn doesn’t stand for anything too serious. It’s an amusing 7-inch by one of Australia’s more interesting bands in the DIY rock mould. It’s hard to stop listening to and simply not long enough.


Label: R.I.P. Society
Release date: January 2013