Drug Sweat’s Distorted Boogie and Spotting’s Bruising Punk Are a One-Two Punch
Aarght Records continues their fine ear for Australian punk with two new releases.
If there was a father and son duo of Melbourne's punk scene, it could well be Aarght Records' Richard Stanley and Jake Robertson. Rich plays in Ooga Boogas and Jake does time in Ausmuteants, Leather Towel, Hierophants, and School Damage. They are bandmates in Drug Sweat.
Through their label Aarght Records, they've contributed to some of the best Australian releases of the past 10 years with a catalogue that includes Total Control, The UV Race, Eastlink, Ausmuteants and Exhaustion.
The label started in 2007, at an Ooga Boogas practice, as an outlet for the band's own records and for bands that they liked. Thought the taste making label's lineup may have since changed, with the addition of Jake, the ear for brilliant Aussie punk hasn't.
So, what holds for Aarght Records ten years on? The releases of both highly anticipated, horrifically punk Drug Sweat's 'Six Song EP' and Spotting's 7" EP.
In Drug Sweat's Six Song EP, it's the off-kilter drums, miraculously synchronised with the drum machine, that hooks you into the groovy guitar riffs and Jake's lyrical comedic timing - as he hollers, 'that's why you're not in my band'. A highlight is last track "Pingu," a thumpy, distorted jam that concludes the EP on a strong note.
With Spotting, the 7" is remnant of their live performances - intense synthpunk with a powerful, forceful attitude. Ariel Madigan's vocals are clear and determined here in Spotting's debut EP, especially in "Please", where she demands you to let her speak her mind.
We had a chat to Richard about the origins of Aarght and Drug Sweat, hardline politics of Melbourne and the launch.
Noisey: What was the driving force that started Aarght Records?
Richard Stanley: Aarght began in 2007 when Mikey was pressing records at Zenith Records, when it was in Richmond. He and Per talked about starting a label, then the next day Mikey and I talked about starting a label, and so on the third day, Aarght was born. We were all playing in the Ooga Boogas. We just like bands and labels and releasing records, especially our own.
With the label's now in its tenth year, what have been the most noticeable differences in the Melbourne punk scene?
There's heaps more synthesizers and hardline politics.
Drug Sweat has been kicking around for a few years albeit brilliantly, might I add. How has the band transformed from the beginning to the now with the 'Six Song EP'?
We started with Roland, Jake, Niblett and myself, totally improvised. At the first gig Angus jumped on a drumkit that was sitting there unused, because our drums were coming from Niblett's Casio set to bossanova at full speed. Then Angus and Marc turned up to start a band together and there was no room for them so they joined our band. Then Niblett left.
We played for two years with Marc then he left. Now it's Angus, Roland, Jake and Rich in an all guitar/no synth line-up. Guitars are the future; overdriven guitars are a humanistic screech for freedom from manufactured nostalgia. All remnants of synthesis must be overcome with distorted boogie.
Spotting's EP has been long-awaited since the 2016 demo. What song by Spotting do you most love on the 7"?
We had a really big argument with them about this topic. Jake and I really liked "Dual Paths" but they hated it. We got in a punch-on with Brayden and he lost so DAF is on the record and Brayden has to leave the band. This launch gig is his last gig with them.
With extreme personal excitement over the new NUN LP, it looks like it's going to be a big year for you. What's on the cards for 2017?
The biggest deal are these Spotting and Drug Sweat EPs. We're going to finally reissue the first three ECSR albums on LP and CD. There's a few other things in the works but none of them are finished off so who knows whether they'll be this year or next?
Spotting and Drug Sweat records are available March 30 through Aarght.
They launch the records in Melbourne March 30 at the Gasometer.
Images supplied by Aarght.