PLAYLIST: Violent Soho’s Songs That Are Better Than a $1,200 Check

The grungy Aussies share some isolation tunes following the release of their new LP Everything Is A-OK.

There are a lot of things better than a $1,200 check—like, say, a $2,000 check every month until this pandemic is over, or, uh, a national leader who doesn’t operate purely out of greed and spite. Another one of those things is Violent Soho’s grungy new record, Everything Is A-OK, which Pure Noise dropped last Friday. Despite not everything being A-OK at the moment, the record’s ten tracks offer a brief respite from the not-OK conditions that are keeping us holed up in our apartments.

Among the noisy tracklist, which tends to pull from ’90s American noise rock—groups like Archers of Loaf and Dinosaur Jr.—the single “Pick It Up Again” stands out, not only because of its catchy pop-rock chorus, but also due to its music video wherein the band goes door-to-door offering strangers a living room concert well before living room concerts were the closest we could get to live music. Makes you wish the U.S. government could mail you your very own Australian grunge band.

Anyway, you can find thirteen more things that are better than a $1,200 check, according to the group’s guitarist and vocalist Luke Boerdam, below. Boerdam compiled a brief list of songs he’s leaning on during quarantine and, perhaps inadvertently, lends some insight into the ecstatic angst of A-OK.

Magic Dirt, “Horror Me”

The best place to start would be with Magic Dirt, an amazing band that somehow managed to write incredibly well crafted pop songs or go into swampy noise at the flick of a coin. The bass player, Dean Turner, was our first manager and helped guide us through the beginnings of our band until his passing. They will forever be an inspiration to our band and their influence on us is undeniable. This song is just perfect.

Eat Laser Scumbag!, “Exit”

If we are talking about the beginning of Violent Soho then we have to mention Eat Laser Scumbag! They were one of the first bands that we met in Brisbane that we all loved. They put this EP out which just blew us away—we went to all of their shows and I’m sure if you found video from those shows you would undoubtedly see the four of us front and center singing all the words. After hearing this EP we went on to use the same engineer, Bryce Moorhead, to record our first EP Pigs and TV, then albums Hungry Ghost and Waco. “Exit” is such a ripping song and, to us, an absolute Aussie classic.

The Grates, “Feels Like Pain”

The Grates were the first band to take us on a national tour and became great friends of ours. I remember seeing them play at The Rev in Brisbane supporting Nightstick and I just loved the quirky garage vibes. “Feels Like Pain” is a personal favorite.

Dinosaur Jr., “Pieces”

This album holds so many fond memories. We were lucky enough to get to tour with Dinosaur Jr. on the Farm album tour. Meeting your heroes can be a strange thing, but standing in the freezing snow shaking hands with Murph and being amazed he was in a t-shirt and shorts is one of my favorite memories! I think we all learnt so much about being a band and about playing our individual instruments from watching them play every night. This album absolutely rules!

The Library Is on Fire, “Magic Bulrush Heartz”

We got to play with The Library Is on Fire in Brooklyn at a house party, they absolutely blew our minds. I wish they would put more music out! Check out everything they did.

Les Savy Fav, “Appetites”

We toured on the Laneway Festival through Australia and Les Savy Fav were also on the lineup. We hit it off with them, and James even got to play a song with them in one of the shows. After that, Les Savy Fav curated the ATP Nightmare Before Christmas festival in Wales and they asked us to play. What a huge honor that was for us—such an epic lineup with some of our other favorite bands like Archers of Loaf and Hot Snakes. This song “Appetites” is so ripping and pumps me up every time I hear it.

The Bronx, “Heart Attack America”

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but I don’t think that applies to records. When I found this at a record store I had never heard of The Bronx but the cover was so good I bought it straight away. I went home, threw it on, and after this song I had a new favorite band. We eventually got to play with The Bronx in Brisbane and then we toured with them through America. I can’t overstate just how incredible this band is live. I remember one show we did in Colorado where only six people showed up—normally a band would be disappointed and put little effort into the show. Not The Bronx, they absolutely ripped it so much so that the six people went nuts and the cops were called because it was getting out of hand. I’ll never forget that show, and I try to play every show just as hard as that.

Archers of Loaf, “Raleigh Days”

This band has had a huge influence on Violent Soho. If you listen carefully, I’m sure you’ll hear a few tips of the hat to them in our music. This new song is so rad, and I can’t wait to hear more! So stoked they are making new tunes!

Pavement, “Cut Your Hair”

When we first started playing shows in Brisbane it felt like every band wanted to be like Pavement—and that wasn’t a bad thing. Pavement, to me, felt like it almost defined an entire music scene in Brisbane. They are a massive influence on us. I think this song is a classic.

RAT!hammock, “Blood to Bruise”

This young band have been pumping out unreal songs for a few years now, and definitely fit into the Pavement-influenced category. This song is perfectly crafted and is catchy as hell. This is a band to watch—I reckon they have a long career ahead of them.

West Thebarton, “Tops”

This band is a bloody godsend—their high-energy shows give me life! The musical talent in this band can sometimes be staggering. The singer oozes rock ’n’ roll and is just so fun to watch live. This song just bloody rips!

Pist Idiots, “Sweet Headache”

The history lesson is over and now it’s time for some good Aussie pub jams. Pist Idiots must be influenced by bands like Royal Headache and a million bands from the ’80s in Australia. They spin a good yarn and are perfect for when ya crack a six pack in the golden hour on the front deck—or if ya down at the pub with ya mates, this one will get vibes going.

Dumb Punts, “Chiller”

Ripping band, ripping song *rock on emoji*.

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