HOTR has teamed up with local legends, The Dead Salesmen, to re-release their recorded swan-song, 1998’s much loved and cherished, Amen. Available on vinyl for the first time, this fan-favourite is sure to sell out fast.
This will be a limited edition run of 180g black vinyl (250 made).
HOTR’s latest release will be the new album from ‘Mark With The Sea’.
When it comes to taking huge bounds forward for follow-up albums they don’t come much bigger than ‘When the Blood Runs Dry’ by Mark with the Sea.
If you could imagine a scientist collected a single cell from folk-songwriter, Marc Oswin. He expertly splits it. One half remains the same, continuing to craft gentle, dark narratives, but the other half mutates into a pulsing, spirited 6-headed organism, ejecting a sonic wall, then you’re starting to get an idea of what to expect from this album.
A driving rhythm section carves through a sea of cymbals. A wall of guitars wail in harmony with soaring keys. Vocals assail the senses in surround sound… Then it all turns on an edge, offering a subtle, considered gentleness, sometimes all within the confines of one song.
Although the album is sonically in high-contrast to 2013’s ’13 Years’, one thing stays the same, Oswin delivers on his trademark turn of phrase and jet-black narrative through his distinctly Australian articulation. This is a collection of well-loved and finely-tuned songs. Take them and make them your own.
This will be a limited edition run of 180g transparent red vinyl (250 made).
The Yard Apes return with their first release in 3 years and HOTR couldn’t be happier. The 7″ single ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ has been recorded in analog glory, tape hiss and all. This three track is a dirtier take on their previous recordings and is a must have for aficionados of fuzz, noise and a damn good time.
This will be a limited edition run of red/green vinyl (250 made).
This album (SWHAT – Down in Tango Zulu) was posted to me from Australia. I take great comfort from the fact that there are still bands around prepared to do that. Lets face it, if some-one does that you have already got a soft spot for them, before you have even heard a note. So can you even imagine my utter joy when I played this thing and it hit me dead on the sweet spot between my ears. This band sound wonderfully old school punk – I really can’t tell what a joy it is to be playing the songs for the umpteenth time. I am reminded just how rewarding it is to be a zine ed, when I get treated to experience such talent. One day they might come to the UK, I will do my level best to go to as many of their shows as is humanly possible.
– Neil Duncan
There’s little as thrilling as hearing a new band that bangs out some smoking Punk jams while already having their own sound and style and that elusive X factor that just says, “Listen up mofo.” What’s more SWHAT is a mere duo (on this recording at least) cranking out their thing from the suburbs of marvellous Melbourne, Australia. Dunno if it’s that Aussie connection but opener ‘Down In Tango Zulu’ is a ringer for prime time SAINTS – it could even be Chris Bailey on vocals. Next up ‘Henry (Policy Enforcers)’ lifts some BAD BRAINS P.M.A. and so it continues – great Aussie Punk but twisted somehow – add a bit of TURBONEGRO and you’re closer. Simple fact, when a stellar track like ‘Shake That Spell’ can be followed and obliterated in the wild garage core of ‘Reinsert Me’, it’s fucking impossible to criticise. Closer ‘Don’t Throw Your Anxiety Away’ slows things down to a Grunge lurch and is the perfect finale with dual vocals sounding like Mould and Hart trading bellows during HUSKER DU’s ‘New Day Rising’ era. An easy contender for record of the year – and what’s more this ain’t a self-released CDEP… This is a solid black vinyl 10″ which looks great and sounds perfect. Highly recommended.
– Steve Scanner
Ballarat three-piece SWHAT have worked their instruments into a style of modern punk that gives a nod to their roots and is stripped back from any of the synthesiser, playfulness or pop that characterises many of the contemporary Australian post-punk bands that will be on the layman’s radar. The band’s approach to crafting self-produced album Down In Tango Zulu is just as stripped-back as their sound; they used a reel-to-reel recorder in their home studio. Independent punk spirit at heart!
With eight tracks and a 21-minute total playing time, if you blinked you’d miss it. It’s fast-paced, ‘70s-punk-inspired and high-energy, and with most tracks going for around two minutes the mood keeps changing. The whole album feels like someone recorded the chaos of a manic house show. The title track welcomes a bunch of friends who arrive to an already pumping atmosphere with clinking bottles, high-fives and too many people piled into the living room. Henry (Policy Enforcers) gets deep down and dirty with lots of low range fuzz, low-fi gravelly vocals and steady drumming which is maintained throughout the album.
Party vibes continue in We Will Not Be Tolled which is bouncy mosh-inducing. Lunatic Fringe picks up the pace and becomes frenetic whilst still retaining the aural hallmarks of previous tracks. A fuzz fest of guitar tones on the crunchy end of the spectrum could make all the tracks rather samey but SWHAT have individualised each track by writing distinctive riffs and melodies which adds attention-holding variation. The occasional group harmony adds contrast for your listening pleasure. The party rages on until the last track of the album, Don’t Throw Your Anxiety Away, which provides a ballad-like end to the evening and party guests linger in the house to soak up the vibes of a great night.
These are songs that remain as free as a bird, bag blowing in the gusty wind style, the linear run of material pulling off many the dreamlike, shiatsu-for-the-soul type moments. ‘Complex Chemistry’ invites splashes of Ry Cooder-esque slide and a jazzy female vocal, ‘Princess, Save Your Breath’ could be a modern-day folk psalm with harmonica and plucking strings kneading the speakers, while closer, ‘Spark Archer’ is one for the lovers. Transcendent stuff.
– Nick Argyriou
Working on your sophomore album can be difficult. For a lot of bands that rush through it, there isn’t the same passion as the first record and it can inevitably be called the sophomore slump. Luckily for the band Matheson, instead of rushing they have been taking their time on their self-produced album called The Word is On The Wire. The results are a very professional sounding record that has an eclectic mix of good if not great songs that are full of emotion. Matheson has some of the live energy you feel with a band like Arcade Fire. It’s this forward momentum that feels like it’s progressing and just building upon more and more momentum. They also have some tunes that are more laid back and rely on the singer’s commanding voice and minimal instrumentation. It’s a good mix of songs that lead you through a gamut of emotions that is very rewarding in the end.
The album opens with one of the highlights on the album “Ghosts.” This is one of those songs that you can tell after the first thirty seconds is going to be good. The blazing guitars, the kinetic drums and the singer’s triumphant voice come together creating a tornado of sounds that is steady and looking towards the future. At the beginning of “Sailors Son” it takes down the energy a couple of notches trading it in for harmony and a melancholy. A little after the two- minute mark the band rocks the hell out. The drums are frantic, the lead guitar is thrashing and the bass is keeping the energy balanced.
There are some indie rock ballads on the album not unlike those that you might hear from a group like Band of Horses. Songs like “Golden Ring” and “We’ve Lost It All” are visceral experiences that could be a tear inducing experience.f you enjoy well-produced unpretentious indie rock that delivers on multiple levels I would suggest giving The Word is On The Wire a listen. Eleven songs strong make it an album worth picking up.
– Ted Rogen
Matheson have been around Ballarat and a regular mainstay on its few but frequented stages for some years now; this album is tribute to a band hitting their straps both as songwriters and as a road-hardened band.
Style-wise, if the Kings of Leon could steal that big, mid-tempo rock-vocal sound from Noiseworks then it should be fair cop for Matheson to steal it back – they come close to getting away with it upon the opening tune Let the Satellites Fall.
Along with the power ballad Forever Girl these are some of the most rock radio-friendly tunes this band have come up with so far; what has evolved from a country and folk base now rocks out a bit louder and stronger.
Yet the folk and country roots of Matheson remain: 1859 goes back to history for inspiration in a tale of a sailor headed back to Australia, while Caroline Blues digs deeper into a Dylanesque folk groove with added (uncredited) harmonica.
Safe For Now gets across deeply felt and complex feelings about military involvement in overseas conflicts without getting bogged down in platitude or too-simple rhetoric, while She Was From the Country sounds like a road anthem with a crooked twist for university students from the country, destined to be played to crowds of students at uni campuses across regional Australia.
Frontman and guitarist Aaron Mathews is ably backed with harmonies from bassist Mark Perry and drummer Steven Martin, with some additional work by guitarist Dan Houlihan (Epicure), pianist Yuko Nusiyama and the album’s producer Cam McKenzie.
A big sounding debut with the promise of more to come from a very promising band.
– Jarrod Watt
It’s not exactly Frank Sinatra circa 1966. But the phrasing of “my heart is like a stranger in the night” in entrée Let The Satellites Fall is a salient signpost to romantic imagery by Ballarat band Matheson. That’s the same band that scored home state exposure as support for Louisiana swamp pop octet Lil Band O Gold on its debut Australian tour in March.
But the imagery is much darker in 1859 – a love story set in days of yore when city chaps invaded the bush, panning and digging for gold. The sailor in the song returns from across the ocean in response to a letter from a lover with marriage plans. Sounds like faded love as he reveals on his return “flowers of romance no longer bloom” – and “the town is not worth fighting for.”
And don’t be dissuaded simply because Matheson may be marketed as alt-country. There’s none of the barking dog distortions favoured by those total depression dirge practitioners in these 11 songs.
Singer Aaron Matthews drives an accessible vocal vehicle that speeds and slows to suit mood swings. That’s low gear for Lullabies and cruise control for the vitriolic parody of political puppeteers priming the fear pump in masters of war reprise Safe For Now. The band explore diverse shades of love – a fortune teller-fuelled fear in the jaunty Caroline Blues, where the character’s songs fall on deaf ears, and the same emotion at journey’s end in Forever Girl. And maybe this is too analytical, but the vixen – spawned by paternal butcher and maternal lawyer – in I Was Her Man, may be easily identified if she hails from Ballarat. Then again, perhaps not. It’s a large place, after all. But the literary licence to print this manipulative, flawed princess may have been issued far from the scene of the rhyme, and it beats a hasty retreat from a chilling crescendo. Either way, you get the picture – these wanton women are not bucolic Betty Crockers of a new era.
Mary Lynn is a barroom rose who wilts in the neon glow and the lass in She Was From The Country ends life as a blood splattered boomerang. This intriguing disc ends with optimism – The World Still Turns Me On – and surreal splendour in The River & The Sun. Bassist Markus Perry, drummer Stevie Martin and Yuko Nishiyama on keyboards all help and enable guitarist Matthews (as well as guests Dan Houlihan and Cam McKenzie) to ensure the narratives are never drowned. Lovely.
– David Dawson