Psychic 9-5 Club marks the beginning of a new chapter for HTRK. It’s an album that looks back on a time of sadness and struggle, and within that struggle they find hope and humour and love. It’s Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang’s first album recorded entirely as a duo. Though the record is instantly recognizable as HTRK—Standish’s vocal delivery remains central to the band’s sound, while the productions are typically lean and dubby—they’ve found ample room for exploration within this framework. Of all the themes that run through Psychic 9-5 Club, love is the most central. The word is laced throughout the album in lyrics and titles—love as a distraction, loving yourself, loving others. Standish’s lyrics explore the complexities of sexuality and the body’s reaction to personal loss, though there’s room for wry humour—a constant through much of the best experimental Australian music of the past few decades.
The Part Time Punks Radio Sessions 12″ by HTRK and Tropic of Cancer holds six sublime songs of desire. Comparable to a fly-on-a-wall Peel Sessions, the critically acclaimed Part Time Punks radio show is the sound of the LA underground, run by local icon Michael Stock. The limited split captures both bands live at the radio headquarters during HTRK’s first 2011 tour of the USA, accompanied by comrades in minimalism and melancholia, Tropic of Cancer. Flipping this vinyl sounds like two sides of the same cursed coin, and mirrors a high school dance playing an endless lustful waltz. BPMs bumped down to a psychic stalk. It’s a broken and beautiful memento.
Electric Voice Records presents a collection of 18 pop-rock post-punk tracks. With contribution by Innergaze, The KVB, Soft Metals, HTRK, Jeff & Jane Hudson, Horrid Red and others.
HTRK’s Ghostly International debut Work (work, work) is a flat-lined study of desire and submission, sentimentality and dysphoria. The art-rock duo (pronounced “Hate Rock”) finished the album’s production while grieving the sudden loss of founding member and bassist Sean Stewart to suicide in March ‘10. And while that tragedy has certainly found its way into the music’s bottomless sonic void, Work (work, work), written from 2006-10 in Berlin and London, is about much more than abject darkness. On Work (work, work), HTRK craft a stark soundscape: achingly slow 808 beats, eerie synth arpeggios, vaporous guitar noise, and Jonnine Standish’s androgynous, detached vocals, dripping with reverb. And yet it’s the careful way the pair combine those elements—organizing and juxtaposing them with a minimalist’s attention to detail—that makes their music so emotionally devastating.