“I can’t eat you, I can’t fuck you, so why the fuck would I come?”
Those should-be-immortal words, uttered by Brian Jonestown Massacre rapscallion Anton Newcombe, were said to rising post-punk band Radio Free Alice one night during their Sydney residency this month. BJM had been playing at a nearby venue, and Newcombe was a surprise attendee at their early set, where he heaped praise on the five-piece.
An offer for him to return for their late set was – as you can see – met with caustic wit, but Radio Free Alice won’t be deterred.
Why the fuck would you come to one of their shows? You come for the precise post-punk riffs. You come for the endless energy and enthusiastic lyrics. You stay to watch one of Australia’s most exciting guitar bands in years up close.
There is something intriguingly Aussie-anomalous to Radio Free Alice’s sound: it’s a heady throwback to the guitar music that spread across the Atlantic at the beginning of the 2010s, when Twin Peaks and Parquet Courts roamed Chicago and Brooklyn, and The Vaccines and The Maccabees did their exuberant thing in Britain. And in Noah Learmonth’s charismatic and elasticated vocals, they have a frontman that recalls Ought’s primal performer Tim Darcy.
All of this and more is captured in Radio Free Alice’s self-titled debut EP, which arrived into the world last week. The four-track collection features the infectious rumble of “Paris Is Gone” and their latest offering, “Waste of Space”, which is about feeling unwanted while growing up.
“The EP in many ways is a homage to our favourite artists. It’s post-punky but melodic. It’s a collection of some new and some older songs that we felt marked a good place to start,” Learmonth explains.
Australian guitar music is in a strong position commercially right now: Teenage Dads were just named the Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist at the 2023 ARIA Awards, there’s a Royel Otis record to come in early 2024, and Radio Free Alice can rightfully count themselves at the vanguard of this exciting collection of bands.
If you want to catch them live, Radio Free Alice finish their Sydney residency at The Duke on Thursday, November 30th, followed by an EP launch show at The Tote in Melbourne on Thursday, December 7th (ticket information here). Those shows follow prominent showcases at BIGSOUND and SXSW Sydney, as well as a support slot for indie outfits The Snuts and Django Django.
Radio Free Alice’s self-titled debut EP is out now.