Category Archives: News

Review: Kino Motel – Headless

The dark sultry, savage, horror pop noir of “Headless” by Melbourne / Berlin based KINO MOTEL is a lot of things, an alt rock stroll into the unknown done with great panache. Extremely filmic it feels like the script was written in blood after a knife fight between David Lynch (circa Mulholland Drive) and Dario Argento (circa Suspiria). Sonically I feel an amalgam of artists like Bauhaus, The Drones, She Wants Revenge, Alien Sex Fiend. “Headless” wraps around you more tightly the more you listen and imagine the stories between the lines. It is the 2nd single from Kino Motel’s debut album “Visions” dropping on April 26th via Beast Records (EU) & Heart of the Rat Records (AU/NZ). I am soaking into “Headless” in a big way and loving Ed Fraser’s sort of Gothic post punk drawl offset by Rosa Mercedes’ 60’s torchy ‘teenage rebellion’ noir sound. It is all so subversively delicious.

LINER NOTES (bracketed):

[Beach Goth duo Kino Motel created their 10-track debut album Visions (out April 26) between the band’s 2 homes: Melbourne and Berlin. Ed Fraser (Heads. / Cash Savage & The Last Drinks) and Rosa Mercedes (Josephine Foster Band) have created a unique and visionary album filled with space, mood, feeling and complexity.]

[Heavily inspired by the spaces in which they travel, with Visions we see music videos shot by the band in Albania, Northern Ireland, and Australia. Ed and Rosa convey feelings and ideas of shifting landscapes and open-ended roads – “like a movie in your head” as described by Radioeins Berlin’s Marion Brasch.]

-Robb Donker Curtius

Video Premiere: A Miner – Skulls Floating On

On Friday May 4, TheMusic premiered the video for A Miner’s song Skulls Floating On.

View the article and watch the video over at TheMusic by clicking here.

The new tune is the lead single from Oswin’s debut LP, As Water Fills My Lungs, which is slated for release through Heart Of The Rat on Friday 13 July.

Freya Josephine Hollick – The Unceremonious Junking Of Me

The music of Freya Josephine Hollick distils the nostalgic sounds of a damned and grand century into a bold retelling of country music. She returns with THE UNCEREMONIOUS JUNKING OF ME, her new album steeped in old world charm and dark folk of the past. Teased with the release of debut single, ‘My Sleepin’ Body” earlier this year, THE UNCEREMONIOUS JUNKING OF ME follows on from 2014’s Beauty And Sorrow, and is out November 11 on Heart Of The Rat Records

The second single to come from Hollick is “A Man Is The Water”, a hypnotic introduction to the delicate and meandering soundscape cultivated by Hollick, it’s “an ironic love song about the reliability of men I have found myself entangled with” explains Hollick. Inspired by early blues songs, it follows a repetitive form with no real chorus, but rather mournful fiddle solos and wordless sorrowful moaning. “The premise for this song came to me one day as I was walking along a creek by my house and I came upon a man up to his waist in the water plunging his hands in deep and pulling up debris and rubbish, he was humming and had a cigarette hanging from his bottom lip. As I wandered away I began singing and when I got home the whole thing came out in one.”

On her forthcoming album, THE UNCEREMONIOUS JUNKING OF ME, Hollick sings sublimely. She explores her experience of love, pregnancy, childbirth and a deceit of the mightiest degree with haunting obliqueness and sophisticated grace. Between the subtle quiver in her notes, we feel the texture of her voice. Hollick embeds her song in a harmonic gauze of her own guitar, Kat Mear’s (of Cash Savage and the Last Drinks) fiddle and Pete Fidler’s (Bill Jackson, Bluestone Junction) dobro and mandolin, all the while drawing inspiration from Appalachian, cajun and early blues recordings.

Love and deceit balance together in suspended alchemy on THE UNCEREMONIOUS JUNKING OF ME. Captured live on 1 ½ inch tape by Myles Mumford (Rolling Stock Recording Rooms) over three sessions in Ballarat’s historical Main Bar, the album maintains a raw fragility reminiscent of evenings Hollick has spent singing on the porch of her country home.

These are not typical love songs or protest songs; they are painful, poignant riddles that celebrate the ambiguity of love. Hollick explains, “the album is from me to you, the story of how people treat one another, the lies we tell and the ones we want to believe, the folks we hurt and the trail left behind us”.

THE UNCEREMONIOUS JUNKING OF ME is a documentation of true and honest heartache, of relationships past and present. It is ‘Appalachian inspired country music’, vast, yet dense—sparse and lush.

Freya Josephine Hollick’s THE UNCEREMONIOUS JUNKING OF ME is available for pre-order on deluxe 180g vinyl and CD now.

HEADS. – Video ‘A Mural Is Worth A Thousand Words’

A Mural Is Worth A Thousand Words’ it’s the latest single from the trio who recently released their self-titled debut.

Travelling through a glitchy four minute mindfuck, the video for ‘A Mural Is Worth A Thousand Words’ stars the band’s frontman Ed Fraser.

The video was made in Berlin by Northern Irish digital artist J.E. Murphy, and directed by J.E. Murphy with cinematography duties going to Max Saurma. Check out it below.

Feature: The Dead Salesmen

The Dead Salesmen are one of our country’s musical treasures. The revered Ballarat group deliver profoundly affecting songs; articulating the deepest of sorrows while offering a life-affirming sincerity through shimmering, stirring melodies. In a special partnership with Heart of the Rat Records, The Dead Salesmen’s brilliant 1998 album, Amen, will be reissued on limited edition deluxe vinyl. What’s equally exciting for devoted followers is the band will perform together for the first time in 13 years to launch this special vinyl reissue of Amen.

“Sonically, it’s definitely the best album we ever produced,” says bassist Patrick Bath, “and thankfully it was recorded on big two-inch tape, so it’s got a very nice, warm analogue feel, which lends itself very excellently to being on vinyl.”

For Bath, The Dead Salesmen’s three albums – Jealousy (1993), Bluestoned (1995) and Amen (1998) – capture three distinct periods in the band’s existence. “The first one was very much a youthful album; it’s a lot faster and it’s got a lot of exuberance and energy about it,” he considers. “The middle album is our dark period and that’s where we’re getting a little bit grungier… The third album has a real beauty to it… There’s a maturity and intelligence to the lyrics.”

Although the bulk of Amen will be performed at the launch, the band will also play numbers from Jealousy, Bluestoned, and possibly some off their EPs. Bath has been making albums since he was 16, but knew very quickly that The Dead Salesmen represented something he wanted to be a part of.

“When the Duo [singer Justin ‘Hap’ Hayward and guitarist Justin Ryda] got together and wanted to make their first recording, I was helping to produce and we made a tape and sold it ourselves at record shops,” he relates. “I had my own funk band… [But] I was so immensely impressed with the songs that the Dead Salesmen duo were coming out with that I was extremely happy to let go of that band and become a member of The Dead Salesmen.”

Julitha Ryan – who joined the band for the recording of Amen and their Only Fire EP – will be on stage with Bath, Haywood, Ryda and drummer Len Hyatt for the vinyl launch. Despite playing their last show together in March 2002, they’re all closer than ever. “We played very solidly for around ten years and we were living in each other’s pockets,” Bath recalls. “I dearly love all the members of the band.”

Across their career, The Dead Salesmen always maintained their integrity, sincerity and artistic ideals. “When you’re in a band, it’s like you against the world,” says Bath. “At the time we were together, we really believed – and still do – that we were something really genuinely special. So that in itself led to us wanting to maintain this integrity and I even think when we finally split up, it was partially that if we can’t be as great as we possibly can be… if we can’t live up to our own ideals then we didn’t want to do it anymore.”

The special reissue of Amen on deluxe vinyl is selling well, so Bath hopes to, ultimately, reissue all their albums on vinyl. “That would be my dream and then launch all of them,” he enthuses. “There is a bunch of songs we wrote that never ended up on an album and I would love it if we actually got together to record those last few songs. It would be a question of us all being able to find the time and being able to really commit to doing it with the same authenticity that we did everything else with, so as long as we felt we were in a position to do that, I think we could possibly do it.”

Christine Lan

News: HEADS.

HOTR are extremely excited to announce our first international signing.

“Formed in 2014 of two native Germans and one wandering Australian, HEADS. collectively are like-minded individuals, drawing inspiration from the same filthy pools.

With a straight-up, no-frills approach, and influences as diverse as The Jesus Lizard, Shellac and Rowland S. Howard, this trio are much more than the sum of their parts.”

Debut release out in March/April 2015 (AU/NZ).

News: Epicure – The Goodbye Girl

One of Ballarat’s most successful exports, Epicure, have joined forces with Heart of the Rat Records to re-release their classic album ‘The Goodbye Girl’.

The quintet released Armies Against Me, the 1st single from their sophomore album, in 2003. Arguably Epicure’s most successful and well known track, Armies spent months on the Triple J playlist and was continually amongst the most requested by listeners of the National broadcaster. The song remained in the ARIA top 100 singles for weeks and was voted at #21 in 2003’s Hottest 100 Countdown.

‘The Goodbye Girl’ also featured Life Sentence (also part of 2003’s Hottest 100), So Broken and Self Destruct in Five, which was voted into 2004’s most popular 100 songs on Triple J in 2004.

Frontman & principle songwriter, Juan Alban remembers this time of the band’s career … “It was a pretty magical time… we were doing all the things we grew up dreaming of…”

There is no disputing that “The Goodbye Girl” was a fan favourite. This vinyl will fly out the door so make sure you get in fast and place your order.

News: Dead Salesmen – Amen

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).

News: Mark With The Sea – When The Blood Runs Dry

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).

News: Yard Apes – Night Of The Living Dead

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).