New to me anyway and, perhaps, to you (you are there, aren’t you?…)
AUSMUTEANTS hail from Geelong (pronounced “jehlong”), Australia. According to the interwebs (*cough* Wikipedia *cough*), Geelong is Australia’s largest non-capital city, located southwest of Melbourne in the state of Victoria. The city’s tourism site lists attractions including a National Wool Museum, a series of more than 100 painted sculptures made from bollards (mooring posts, I think) along the waterfront area and something called the Potato Shed. The city recently elected someone nicknamed “Mr. Paparazzi” as its mayor.
What does any of this have to do with AUSMUTEANTS? Fuck all, probably, but learning’s fun, no?
AUSMUTEANTS are a four piece consisting of Jake (synthesizers, guitar, vox), Billy (drums), Marc (bass) and Shaun (guitar). I’ve been listening to both Amusements, an album recorded, according to the label page, by Jake and Billy as a two piece, and an ep sagely titled 100 Ausmuteants Fans Can’t Be Wrong …100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can. The band’s basic musical template draws heavily from early Devo and other more outré post-punk and new wave bands. I also hear some early SoCal punk bands like the Weirdos.
There’s a lot to like on each release. The vocals are shouty, the lyrics often gleefully sophomoric (see, e.g., ‘Flushing Problems’, ‘Pissing in Two Streams’ and ‘Stepping in Shit’ from Amusements). Angular, herky-jerky guitar and retro scifi synth work is balanced, particularly on the ep, with tight rhythms at times reminiscent of Blondie’s more disco side. The ep, particularly the bookend cuts ‘All Talk’ and ‘Nothing Rhythmic’, is great; the tracks feel like they were recorded more recently than those on Amusements and find the band honing its influences into something more unique and resonant.
Highlights: “No Motivation”, “Kicked in the Head by a Horse”, “Tinnitus”, “All Talk”, “Flushing Problems”.