Close to 16 years since they silently split with one last performance, Melbourne alt-rock icons TISM are set to make a return this year, announcing their first physical release since 2004, and first vinyl pressing in 30 years.
Announced today, TISM’s official website has once again become active, with the page bringing with it the first official writings of J.D. Salinger-esque vocalist Ron Hitler-Barassi since the group’s breakup.
The satirical, political missive – in true fashion, titled “The Right Wing Guide To Pleasuring” – makes a veiled reference to the group’s new campaign of reissues by claiming that the likes of Craig Kelly, George Christensen, Tim Wilson, and Tim Smith have proven that “you don’t need penetration to fuck Australia”.
A more blatant reference to the new campaign appears at the end, with the news that the group’s new physical releases will be released through former Shock Records head David Williams’ David Roy Williams Entertainment under TISM’s Genre B. Goode imprint.
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The new campaign begins with the CD and vinyl release of TISM’s final show at the Victorian Earthcore festival on November 27th, 2004. Titled On Behalf of TISM I Would Like to Concede We Have Lost the Election, it captures the group at the end of their career, performing 31 tracks from the full length of their extensive discography.
The second (and most TISM-esque) part of this new reissue series is that of The TISM Omni-Album, which collects the entire track-listing, liner notes, and artwork of the group’s discography onto vinyl, albeit with one notable omission: the music itself.
“The TISM Ultra Deluxe Double Omni-Album – with its two completely silent vinyl discs – has been banned by the Victorian Department of Consumer Affairs,” the press release jokingly notes. “According to a department spokesperson, “‘surely there’s no deadshit stupid enough to buy it.’”
The arrival of “new” material from TISM is undoubtedly a highlight in an otherwise forgettable year for the famously-passionate fans of the Melbourne band.
Having formed in the early ‘80s, and rising to fame throughout the end of the decade and the ‘90s, TISM managed to skirt with mainstream success in 1995, when their third album, Machiavelli and The Four Seasons, managed to reach eight on the Australian album charts, eventually being certified Gold, and earning the group an ARIA Award for Best Independent Release.
Subsequent albums – including 1998’s www.tism.wanker.com, 2001’s De Rigeurmortis, and 2004’s The White Albun – never quite reached the same level of commercial success, and following a performance at the Earthcore festival in late 2004, the group quietly split.
No official word of their disbandment was given until Damian Cowell (better known by his pseudonym of Humphrey B Flaubert) launched his new group, Root!. Despite this, a handful of digital-only releases did appear in the following years. In 2009, the group’s catalogue was reissued onto iTunes with bonus tracks, while the following year saw a “21st Century Remix” of their 1997 non-album single, “Shut Up – The Footy’s On The Radio”.
In January of 2020, the group’s back catalogue made its long-awaited Spotify debut, while a live performance at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel was also issued as part of the Australian Road Crew Association’s Desk Tape Series.
Despite this release of new material, the chances of a TISM reunion remain as slim as ever. Although most of the group’s members have returned to normal life since the band’s split, a handful remain active within the music industry under various guises. While bassist Jack Holt (also known as Jock Cheese) launched a new musical project named The Collaborators in 2018, Cowell has been active with his eponymous Disco Machine project, which are reportedly on track to make new announcements in the near future.
Both On Behalf of TISM I Would Like to Concede We Have Lost the Election and The TISM Omni-Album will be released on Friday, December 4th, with pre-orders available now.