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Jagermeister Independent Music Awards Best Rock Album Nominees

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It’s the movers and shakers with a rock-solid ethic and punk sensibility that we have the lowdown on for the Best Independent Hard Rock or Punk Album category at the Jagermeister Independent Music Awards. Calling All Cars, House Vs Hurricane, Frenzal Rhomb, The Peep Tempel and DZ Deathrays are up for the gong. Be prepared to have your world rocked, writes Angela Allan.

 

FRENZAL RHOMB
Frenzal Rhomb have performed at their fair share of under-age Fruitbowl events in their 20 years. They’ve engaged in may radio shenanigans, including some on-air tango with Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O, and band members Jason Whalley and Lindsay McDougall hosted Triple J’s breakfast show for two years as Jay and the Doctor. The current line-up – which also includes Tom Crease and Gordy Forman – are the force behind their nominated eighth studio album Smoko At The Pet Food Factory, which was recorded in Colorado, USA, and produced by Bill Stevenson from Descendants.
Their icons

“Foreigner,” says Whalley. While perhaps not entirely true*, Frenzal Rhomb have toured with Bad Religion, Blink-182 and The Offspring.
* McDougall tweeted that “I can confirm Foreigner as our icons”. Nice.
The album

Their main aim with Smoko was “to finish it”. The result is a punk-tainted, wild and reckless record.
Favourite song on the album

“IBIS!” says Whalley, referring to their frenzied song Bird Attack and the equally as frantic vid.
Fun fact

Known for exaggerating, Whalley insists Frenzal Rhomb intended to be pilots. “We met at flight school,” he says. We’ll let him have that one.
And the winner is…

“House vs Hackysack,” says Whalley. It appears he’s a fan of House Vs Hurricane.

DZ DEATHRAYS
When it’s time to party, these guys will party hard. Formerly known as DZ, party-thrash duo DZ Deathrays (pictured, above) – Shane Parsons (vox, guitar) and Simon Ridley (vox, drums)– have a penchant for making manic-infused rock. One of the their main goals is to party with Andrew W.K. Their debut album Bloodstreams is nominated in this category.
Their icons

Taking cues from thrash, punk, rock and turning into modern party-sized mayhem, the pair cite some interesting influences:
“Johnny Rotten, GG Allin, Zeppelin,” says Parsons. (Allin was known for his on-stage shock tactics, including self-mutilation and attacking audience members.)
The album

Recorded in the twosome’s hometown of Brisbane in less than two weeks, Bloodstreams was co-produced by Richard Pike of PVT. It’s furious, sweaty and dangerously hyper.
“We just wanted to make an album that made people want to go crazy at some points and question what we were doing at other points,” explains Parsons.
Favourite song on the album

It begins with a heavy guitar riff before exploding into a wail of drums and vocals – an all-out frenzied attack – Parsons credits Teenage Kickstarts as a stand out on the album.
Fun fact

“We are both kinda homeless,” says Parsons. Well, they did tweet that they would sleep out on the streets in Berlin…
And the winner is…

“Frenzal!”

THE PEEP TEMPEL
Performing a spiky, sinister and growling hybrid of punk-rock fury, the Peep Tempel’s self-titled debut album is nominated in this category.
Their icons

While the Peep Tempel sound like a punk-rock throwback, they don’t note any influences that stray from their home state of Victoria.
“Benny from Geelong is our icon,” says the group’s singer-guitarist Blake Scott. “If everybody was as enthusiastic as he is about Australian music, the world would be more pleasant.”
The album

“Our aim was make something we would like ourselves and that would sound good on vinyl,” says Scott. It’s a brash, menacing introduction to the Melbourne band, who are known for their hectic live shows.
Favourite song on the album

Beginning with a galloping drum beat and the whir and squeal of guitars before racing to a punk-incited clash, Collusion is Scott’s pick for the song.
Fun fact

“We’re all 21,” says Scott. Well, we can’t confirm or deny this fact.
And the winner is…

“The House Calling Frenzal Deathrays – unbeatable Aussie super punk.” (We wholeheartedly condone.)

CALLING ALL CARS
Calling All Cars again paired up with producer and Shihad’s drummer Tom Larkin for their brutal and brilliantly executed sophomore album Dancing With A Dead Man, which is nominated at this year’s Jagermeister Independent Music Awards. Formed in 2007, the three-piece punk rockers – frontman and guitarist Haydn Ing, his brother and drummer James, and bassist Adam Montgomery – are based in Melbourne.
Their icons

Calling All Cars’ dirty and energetic sound flirts with grunge, punk and metal, drawing inspiration from:
“The Clash, The Jam, Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana and The Who…Because why not?” says Haydn.
The album

There were rumours that Haydn recorded 80 per cent of the vocals in a room heated between 38-46 degrees Celsius for this record. It’s clearly all about the music for them.
“At the end of the day, we do this because we love it, and we wanted to record an album that we are proud of and can hopefully listen to for the rest of our lives,” explains Haydn. “The whole process is a learning experience every time. And if people enjoy listening to it as much as we do, that’s just a bonus.”
Favourite song on the album

“Probably Reptile,” says Haydn. “There was a moment earlier on when we were demoing when that song just came together all of a sudden, and it just worked.”
Fun fact

In their quest for decent espresso and a caffeine high, they can make a perfect cup of Joe: “We are all baristas, and we like to do it in our spare time… For free.”
And the winner is…

“No one. But honestly… DZ Deathrays supported us once.”

HOUSE VS HURRICANE
Responsible for violent post-hardcore mayhem, House Vs Hurricane’s second LP Crooked Teeth is nominated. It was recorded at The Machine Shop in New Jersey during a tumultuous time for the Melbourne band – vocalist Chris Dicker quit and they kicked out their keys player Joey Fagione.
Their icons

From avant-garde Bjork, to post-hardcore acts Thrice, Alexisonfire and Saves The Day and the alternative flavours of Circa Survive, House Vs Hurricane had a task on their hands to meld all the influences.
“Thrice influenced me from an early age, and that band was the reason I started playing guitar,” says guitarist Chris Shaw. “I’ve always been a massive fan of them, and have always loved Teppei Teranishi’s guitar work.”
The album

“We went into the studio not trying to reinvent the wheel,” says Shaw. “We just wanted to write a solid album full of good songs that we would personally listen to. We focused a lot on the structure and layout of the songs, and making sure everything just fit together well.”
Favourite song on the album

Starting off with twinkling guitars before erupting into guttural, pained screams, Moonshine is another direction for the band.
“It’s a fair bit different to anything I’ve written before so it was a little risky, but I think it came out great,” explains Scott.
Fun fact

“We kicked out our keyboardist and now he’s an international pop star, jokes on us.”
And the winner is…

“Frenzal Rhomb,” says Shaw, “they’ve been around for years and one of the first gigs I ever went to was to see them. They’ve always ruled and I back their new album hard.”

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