Blonde Revolver: “Friendships, bad mental health and housemates, getting dressed up and feeling good” 

Original photo courtesy of Rack Off Records. Handmade collage by B.

Today punk band Blonde Revolver drop the utterly cool new single ‘The List’ from their exciting upcoming debut full-length due out next year on Rack Off Records. Raw expression and attitude are on full blast as they rip through this driving track. This song has fangs. Blonde Revolver are a vital band.

Everyone in Blonde Revolver has other bands – Future Suck, Carpet Burn, Delivery, Body Maintenance and Gutter Girls – as well as doing all kinds of other cool stuff; what’s like been like for you lately? What have you each been up to? 

BEC: Speaking on behalf of everyone, life has been busy! Future Suck just put out their debut album, Simulation. Delivery is about to start releasing theirs. Body Maintenance and Carpet Burn have been recording and Gutter Girls are about to play their first show in almost two years. Other than that, Grace and Emma have been Pub Footy captains for the Cudas and killing it. Iso has just been living it up in Bali. Kayley has a new job at PBS Radio and is about to jet home to Canada for a while. Zoe is getting her license and Emma just got a new job too, so it’s all happening really!

What’s the last song that you listened to and what are your thoughts on it?

EMMA: ‘Okay Okay’ by Pino D’Angio. It’s an Italian disco song from the early 80s and it gets me so hot. 

GRACE: I just re-listened to Garbage’s 2005 album Bleed Like Me at the recommendation of Billy from Disco Junk and it holds up hard. Big rocking out in your low rise jeans and Jay Jays’ top vibes. 

KAYLEY: I’ve been listening through Pookie’s album FLick for the first time and currently on the title track. So far I’m really enjoying it. 

ISO: ‘Tribulations’ by LCD Soundsystem. I’m having a big early-naughties moment although I’m never really not having an early-naughties moment.

ZOE: ‘No G.D.M’ by Gina X Performance. The synth and drums make me stop whatever I’m doing and drop it like it’s hot.

BEC: The last song I listened to was ‘Grounded’ by Pavement. Good band, good song. 

In May this year you celebrated the milestone of being a band for two years; what did it mean to you? What’s one of your favourite band-related moments from the past two years? 

EMMA: It’s pretty crazy to think we’ve been a band for two years, but I suppose time flies during lockdown? It’s been pretty nice being able to have regular band pracs and hangs for the second year we’ve been together and also watching our music evolve too. One of my (Emma) favourite moments from the past two years was definitely playing at Down South Fest in Port Fairy this year. We belted iconic female pop songs from the naughties on drive up and it was such a beaut day. The line-up was sick and the crowd were super welcoming and looked like they enjoyed our set which is always a great feeling. Then we spent the rest of the festival drinking guava voddy cruisers. It was pretty magical.  

And, in August it was the one year anniversary of your first release, the self-titled EP, that you put out in 2021. How do you think the band’s sound has evolved since then, as well as yourself as a musician? 

GRACE: Post-Covid lockdowns in Melbourne we’ve just had so much more time to collaborate on songs and really find a sound that we feel is ours. Like a cute little mix of all the different genres all six of us love. I’ve been trying to practice guitar for the first time in my life and it’s been super fun adding extra little bits on top of songs and working out places where all our instruments can shine a little. At the start most of us were playing our instrument for the first time in a band and one person would write something and we’d be like cool, let’s all just play that same riff. Now it’s fun breaking it all down a little more and being more comfortable in working out what each one of us can bring to the band. 

We’re super excited that your debut full-length album is coming out next year on Rack Off Records! ‘The List’ is the first single from it; what made you choose it as the first taste of the upcoming album? 

KAYLEY: ‘The List’ was one of the first songs we wrote as a band. When we were recording our EP in 2020, we were thinking of adding another part to the song so decided not to record it then. Upon reflection, we decided it was good as is and finally recorded it along with the rest of the tracks for our debut album in 2022. I think we chose it as the single because it’s so fun to play live and it harks back to the start of the band. 

What can you tell us about writing it? 

ISO: We smashed out the album over a 2-month period. We had a bit of a deadline, so we were meeting after work and hungover on weekends to write and went pretty turbo during that time, but it came together really seamlessly. Everyone would bring a riff or idea to prac and then we’d all work together to flesh it out. Special thanks to cream cheese bagels all over Melbourne for getting us through! ❤ 

When and where did you record it? How was the session? 

KAYLEY: We recorded the album at a Secret Location in Fairfield over two weekends in May/June 2022. The sessions were really good, it felt just like the Get Back sessions… except there wasn’t much tension and no one left the band. 

ISO: Recording happened to be during Kayley’s unhealthy addiction and wildly-belated discovery of the Beatles and would come to each day of recording dressed as a different member. 

What kinds of themes does the upcoming album explore lyrically? 

ZOE: The album is a real mix-bag lyrically, each song has it’s own story. It mostly covers experiences that I’d had over the past year – writing is such a great outlet for making sense of something. But the album covers everything from friendships, bad mental health and housemates, getting dressed up and feeling good after lockdowns, and last but not least, dating and falling for someone.

Do you listen to other people’s music while making your own? Was there anything specific you were listening to while making the upcoming album?

GRACE: I think most of us listen to music pretty much 24/7. I’ve been listening to heaps of Motörhead and Girlschool and looking up YouTube guitar tutorials. I’ll never be able to play like Kelly Johnson but a girl can dream.  

Blonde Revolver have played a handful of shows this year; what’s your favourite part of performing live? 

ZOE: Outside of the outfits and band banter before we go on stage, there’s something really special about getting lost in a performance and looking out to see people having just as good of a time as we are. There’s a real sense of community at Melbourne shows, and we really feel it on stage. 

What was the best gig you’ve been to recently? Who’s a band or artist that you haven’t seen live that you’d love to? 

EMMA: Cate Le Bon in Castlemaine was hands down one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Her stage presence was so fricken cool and I fell in love with the bassist that night. Would pay big money to go see Phil Collins and force the rest of BR to come with me.   

ISO: I’m still buzzing from Future Suck’s LP launch. Grace and Kayley were cheekily and fiercely commanding the stage and the rest of BR were cheerleading and drooling with the rest of the crowd. So much energy in FS’ shows, you come away shook in the best way. The dream would be front row at a Peaches concert paired with watermelon Cruisers for the BR crew. It’s a Peaches world, we’re just dancing in it.

GRACE: Aww Iso! :’) there’s actually a photo of all the BR girls going nuts at the front of the FS show that gave me little teary eyes. Angels! Recently mine would have to be the Swab LP launch at Thornbury Bowls. The Neuros and Vampire played too and every band were insanely tough and there was so much good energy. It’s the best I’ve ever seen swab play and that’s saying something because every show they play is just mind-blowing. 

KAYLEY: Leah Senior at the Curtin launching her reissues/box set. She played a really beautiful set – as always. Iso and I were meant to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs in July but they cancelled their Melbourne show and we were absolutely gutted. But in reality I would probably be disappointed anyway because I would just want them to play ‘Fever To Tell’ in its entirety and we all know they’d play those post-2003 tracks.

ZOE: The Church at Northcote Theatre! I went recently with a few close friends and it was the most magical experience. My mum and I are big fans and there was something very full circle about texting her song-by-song updates while she was reliving seeing them when she was around my age.  

BEC: I just got back from a regional tour with Vintage Crop and the Stroppies, every gig was so fun… Both bands are amazing live. Vintage Crop really do go absolutely off though, their performance is next level they SEND IT every time it’s very inspiring and entertaining to watch.

What’s a song that always puts you in a good mood?

EMMA: ‘Moja Bhari Moja’ by Rupa – It’s another early 80s disco song but from India. You simply cannot be mad listening to Rupa. 

ISO: ‘Gloria’ by Laura Branigan is played before every show without fail. Also a great one to listen to in the car with the windows down on a 23 degree day. 

GRACE: Anything on Hello, I’m Dolly makes me wanna kick a door down.

KAYLEY: Julian Cope ‘Sunspots’.

ZOE: ‘This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)’ by The Talking Heads

BEC: ATM – ‘6 Or 7 More’ – Cool Sounds.

What’s a band that everyone should know about?  

EMMA: Shove – they have a new EP coming out early October on Rack Of Records as well. Front woman Bella is iconic and the music is just so sick.

ISO: Big Wett – horny dance music paving the way for the rest of us.

GRACE: I’d say Shove too, but Emma already took them so let’s go with this little band called KISS. You want the best? You got the best. 

KAYLEY: Dodda Rivka.

ZOE: Kosmetika! Iconic Melbourne band. 

BEC: Yeah Mets ^ Damn, too many good bands especially from Australia. A local band I’m particularly obsessed with ATM is Micheal Beach, he’s releasing an EP at the moment, singles are so good, can’t wait to hear the whole thing – check it out. 

What’s the rest of the year look like for you? 

ISO: We have a second single off our upcoming album coming out, our first ever video clip and a handful of shows lined up for the rest of this year. Hopefully a debaucherous night of karaoke to celebrate the single releases and another fun year getting to play and make music with besties. 

Blonde Revolver’s single ‘The List’ out now – listen HERE.

Follow @blonde.revolver and @rackoffrecords.

Naarm Punks SHOVE: “Record and release things sooner… don’t just sit on material or ideas for years then get depressed that no-one has heard your stuff”

Photo by Dylan Jardine. Handmade collage by B.

With raw expression and attitude Naarm/Melbourne punk band SHOVE are about to drop their debut EP 7” on the world. Maq of The Faculty gave us a heads up on them last year singing their praises: “I’m gagged for that new band Shove I think they are formidable.” Indeed, they are; they’re here to obliterate us. SHOVE’s Ham, James and Bella tell us about the release.

How did you first get into punk?

HAM: I grew up in a small-ish town in regional NSW (the country music capital!), and was a snotty teenager who was pretty pissed off. Having some sort of outsider complex coupled with access to the internet meant I ended up listening to bands like Rudimentary Peni and The Locust. All the dudes I used to hang out with back then were more into metal, which I thought was too slow “where’s the speeeeed man!” (Although now in my older age I have more appreciation for it).

JAMES: I wasn’t really into punk when I was younger.  Then about a decade ago I saw this band called Battle Club. Their shows were so dirty, and intense, I just wanted to be around that all the time. And now finally I have fulfilled my destiny, as Hamish (the bass player from Battle Club) plays drums in SHOVE!

What’s one of your all-time favourite albums and what do you appreciate about it?

HAM: Ooof, hard question – there are too many to count. Although it’s not an album, I’d have to go with The Shitlickers self-titled EP. I mean, it’s 8 songs so it nearly counts as an album. The whole thing is so sonically extreme and ridiculous it’s hard not to chuckle when listening to it. The riffs are absolutely shredded and the drums are simple but absolutely brutal and full of frothy spit and energy. Rumour has it that to get a sound that fried, they resorted to stabbing their amp speaker cones with needles. On top of this churning mess, the lyrical content is full of far-left despair and the sentiment of capitalism being shiiit, which is something I think most people can get behind in 2021.

How did you discover your local music community?

HAM: When I moved to Naarm I ended up living in sharehouses with people who played in the local music scene. It kind of snow-balled from there, where the majority of my friends and everyone I hang out with either plays in bands or I regularly hang out with them at gigs. I was always pretty into music zines when I could find them too so it was a pretty natural progression from reading them to wanting to get more involved.

Bella, I know this is your first band, and that you’ve “spent too much time on the other end of the industry to know how corrupt and generally useless it is”; can you share with us a little bit about your experience with the industry?

BELLA: As far as cliches go, the one about big egos in the music industry isn’t an unfounded one. Local community stuff is great but once you move into a national stage things become more about how much money you can make off some group of young white cis males from Byron who are probably writing some catchy form of indie pop that’ll take them to the top of a meaningless annual countdown, help them sell out a few shows and the next year never be heard of again. Not to mention the high levels of patriarchal sexism, misogyny and multitude of other -isms that are prevalent the whole way throughout.

SHOVE’s been around since 2019, but members of SHOVE are from bands Shit Sex, Eat-Man and Burger Chef, collectively you’ve been involved in music for a while now; what’s something that you’ve learned doing what you do that you wish someone would have told you earlier on that would have made things a little easier for you?

HAM: Most of the learnings I would tell my younger self are still things that I’m still not good at today, and still trying to improve. Things like ‘Get better at relaxing and talking to people you don’t know so well’. Or ‘Record and release things sooner and then move on, don’t just sit on material or ideas for years then get depressed that no-one has seen/heard your stuff’.

What brought SHOVE together?

BELLA: Well, the boys were already jamming and I was working in an ice cream shop when I realised that punk rock was my true calling

You’re first show was Best Fest 3 back in 2019; what are your recollections from the show?

HAM: I was at this show as a punter. I remember seeing Shove playing and thinking “How the fuck is this Bella’s first gig!? She’s so good!”

You’re releasing your debut self-titled EP 7 inch, which you recorded with Alicia Saye. What was the recording process like for you? (I know your earlier single releases were recorded separately in your own homes). What did you love most about the process?

JAMES: I’ve had the good fortune of having Alicia as our sound engineer at a bunch of shows in a few bands over the years. You always know you’re in good hands when she’s behind the desk. So, we were stoked when Alicia said she’d record us, we knew the technical side of things was covered. What I loved the most about the process was probably getting to hang out with that legend for a couple days, she tells ripper stories. Definitely spent more time eating chips and talking shit than we did making music, which keeps everything feeling chill when you do go to record.

HAM: Yeah, Alicia is a complete gun. We recorded It over a weekend. It was really nice having someone pulling the levers who knows what ball-park you’re aiming for and who can also set you back on track when you’re off your game and losing your shit a bit.

What’s your approach to songwriting?

JAMES: We’ve gotta keep it simple. One of us usually has a sound that’s been stuck in their head for a week, the other instruments join in, and Bella tells us if it’s a number-one hit. Bella will do her self-proclaimed muppet singing along with it, but then she takes the phone recording home and does the lyric writing in bed with an ice cream.

HAM: What James said. It has always been pretty collaborative. Generally, someone will have a riff and we build from there. Everything is up for discussion and no idea too stupid to try, but also nothing is too precious for the bin if it doesn’t work. Thankfully we all tend to be on the same or at least very similar pages when songwriting so it’s fun.

The song ‘Power’ from your EP also features on the Blow Blood Record compilation A Long Time Alone 3 (you had a track ‘Non-essential Citizen’ on the ALTA 1 comp too); what sparked it’s writing?

HAM: Someone brought in a riff which sounded really good when paired with a d-beat underneath it. When Bella added some vocals, we got really excited because it brought it all together and added the necessary punch.  

We really love the song ‘Control’; how did it come together?

JAMES: I started this one off. I again forgot that I was playing a bass guitar and just starting frantically trem picking. It doesn’t help that I learned guitar from playing Guitar Hero… But the others were supportive as always, and ran with it. I think a defining feature a good band, of bands that’ve worked well for me, is that when you’re in a room and you play something that sounds a bit rough, a bit stupid, everyone just stands back and goes “hmm, maybe that could work” instead of dismissing it.

What made you decide to close the EP with song ‘Maggot’? How much thought goes into your track sequencing?

HAM: A reasonable amount of thought goes into the track sequencing but the final decision mainly comes down to gut feeling. Adrian suggested several different track sequences based off a few different paths the EP would take the listener on. The ultimate decision always seems to come down to if it does ‘the thing’ for your reptile brain.  

What do you get up to when not making music?

HAM: Mainly trying to make weird little animations, and I’ve recently been trying to learn how to make my own fucked up ‘walking simulator’ video game.

What’s making you happy right now?

JAMES: Without a doubt, it’s that we have the amazing support of our new label Rack Off! We seriously feel like the luckiest band in the world. At this level, I don’t expect to get more than a logo and few records on shelves, but Grace and Iso have done so much for us. It’d be a bloody shambles if we attempted to do a tenth of what they have done for the band. And well, we were already stoked to be playing shows and hanging out with our fave bands Blonde Revolver and Future Suck, so being label mates is a dream. Can’t wait to get out soon and play more shows together, and get this EP into some more ear holes.

HAM: Not too much at the moment haha. Lately I’ve been really enjoying having hot baths while listening to some dub or reggae and smoking a big joint. It’s the simple things. But also, what James said! RACK OFF RULE!

SHOVE’s self-titled EP 7” is out tomorrow (Oct 15) on Rack Off Records, a label that focuses on female-identifying and gender diverse releases.

Please check out: shovemc.bandcamp.com