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Love List:
Australian Punk/Post-Punk

by Low Life

Love List is our new Spotify series where we ask friends of the Opera House to curate a playlist dedicated to a subject of their choice. This week, Cristian and Mitch from Sydney's post-punk lords Low Life have written a Love List to the Australian bands who have shaped them, excited them and geed them up over the years.

Watch Low Life play an empty Joan Sutherland Theatre as part of the Sydney Opera House's Digital Season.


▷ HTRK - Hate Rock Trio

There are only a few artists who have shaped me as a person and have shaped the way I think about music over the years. HTRK are one of them. I heard this Nostalgia EP when I was about 18 and it blew my mind. It still does. Nigel Yang’s guitar playing changed how I thought about guitar. Jonnine Standish taught me how to economise lyrically, and Sean Stewart taught me how to slap bass. For me, they’re one of the most important Australian acts to date.


HTRK

▷ The Boys Next Door - Friends of My World

Although they hate it, I think this album sounds like a band that are really excited to be in a new band together. Side A always cops it (pre-Rowland) but I think it is start-to-finish full of great pop songs!

▷ feedtime - I Wanna Ride

To me feedtime embody the gritty sound of Sydney. Seeing them live can go either way but when they are on, it's like you are in a sonic warzone. feedtime were credited with starting grunge. I don't think they meant it or cared for it, they were just living it.

▷ Exek - Iron Efficiency

I love this track and I love this album. It’s been a joy to watch this band grow and develop into completely their own thing. In a lot of ways Exek are like an extended family to Low Life, so obviously we have a lot of love for all of them. Amazing band.

▷ Lubricated Goat - Jason the Unpopular

This track in particular influenced Low Life in a number of ways. Rhythmically LG were a huge influence In the early days. Still are, I guess. We borrowed their “have a laugh” ethos and shaped into it our own thing. They also showed us how to embrace our complex relationship with Sydney. They taught us to love it. Even though we resent it.

▷ Fabulous Diamonds - G.B.H

Another fellow Alter band. Old friends of ours and staples in Australia’s post punk movement over the last decade. Love all their stuff. Just wish the other 100 bands I could’ve named were on Spotify.


Fabulous Diamonds - Fabulous Diamonds II album cover 

▷ Orion - Sexy Alien

Orion featured either three members or ex members of Low Life and were one of the greatest bands in Sydney. Try and get this song out of your head.

▷ Scott & Charlene's Wedding - Rejected

I love this band so much. Such honest songs with great lyrics and hooks to boot. Craig is also a good friend of ours and has been supportive of Low Life from day one!

▷ Venom P. Stinger - Walking About

Before the Dirty Three, Mick Turner and Jim White were in Venom P. Stinger. I will stand on John Farnham's coffee table and scream that this 7" is one of the best Australian records ever released.


Venom P Stinger. Image: Mother Jones

▷ Circle Pit - Honey

This band is iconic and as Sydney as the Opera House (well... to us anyways). I love this 7” and particularly this song. It showcases Jack and Angie's songwriting capabilities. Beautiful stuff.

▷ Enzyme - Under siege

I saw this band just before the pandemic hit, in a car park underneath a housing estate. It was one of the most liberating experiences. Seeing people of all backgrounds going psycho. All celebrating the end of humanity.

▷ Straight Jacket Nation - Power It Up

Without a doubt one of the most powerful and impressive Australia HC bands. This album is a huge gee up. Perfect before a game of football.

▷ Muscle Memory - Heaven Seemed Brighter from Afar

All three members of this band have gone on to represent Sydney in their own eccentric way. I always loved this band and always thought they were underrated. Much love.

▷ Total Control - Flesh War

I have been friends with Dan for over 20 years now. We were just reminiscing last week about him visiting a house I lived in with a skateboard ramp in one of the bedrooms (shout out 92 crew), listening to records like Integrity and Ringworm. Seeing how far he has come as a good human and musically makes me a very happy person.


Total Control at the Sydney Opera House for Vivid LIVE 2018. Image: Josh Groom

▷ Catcall - August

Maybe not punk/post punk but before she was Catcall Catherine was in a band called Kiosk with Jack and Angie from Circle Pit. I love this song so much. Gets stuck in my head for days every time I hear it.

▷ The Victims - Television Addict

I have a funny story about this song and record but it is maybe not suited for the Opera House website. You can read about it here.

▷ Rowland S Howard - Here Comes the Breakdown

Crowned prince of the crying jag. We miss Rowland.


Rowland S Howard

▷ Toe To Toe - Media Blitz (The Germs)

A band that opened my eyes to punk and hardcore in Australia. I used to sneak into venues underage in the 90s before they had even released their first 7" to see this band play. Still friends with them all today. Respect.

▷ G2G - Wrong Way Corrigan

One of our new favourite bands. They are 100% their own thing. Kind of like Liliput/Klenex but tougher, funnier and uniquely Sydney!

▷ Total Control - Dream Machine remix

This was a big deal for me personally. DX (Dan Stewart) in particular has been so supportive of Low Life over the years. And for him and I to sing on a track together, eventually be on the same label and then put out a split 7” cemented the bond between Low Life & Total Control. Not to mention Cristian and Greg's 20 year friendship with DX. It’s crucial that we all support each other, and back each other. ‘Cause the reality is that Australia has its own special thing. Always have, always will.

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