July 26, 2023

Words by Tom Gordon

In Session: A taste of the first Group Therapy line-up

Group Therapy is officially in session. We’re beyond excited to announce a brand-spankin-new gig series that’ll be rounding up all the best acts from around the country to descend upon the Mary’s Underground stage. Bring your friends, bring your neighbour, your mum and dad, your bus driver, the bloke who ruffles through your bins looking for cans, everyone. This is where we get together and let off some fucking steam.

To prime you for the first ever Group Therapy on Friday August 4th, we’re running down some of the artists playing. Expect a big night of searing post-punk, garage and grunge, as well as a whole bunch of dancing. Get the low-down below.

These New South Whales

How does one begin talking about These New South Whales? They’re a real band who play real shows and release real (and very good) music. But they’re also kind of a fictional band who appear in a fictional (and very funny) television show. Just to muddy these waters a little more, frontman Jamie Timony and guitarist Todd Andrews are also the hosts of the phenomenal podcast ‘What A Great Punk’.

Confused? Good. I’m pretty sure that’s the point.

It’s always been difficult to pigeonhole These New South Whales because they don’t really play by the rules of what a band ought to be. They repeatedly come up with wild ideas and then actually execute them. The result is a band beyond categorisation. But because These New South Whales (the band… the real-life band) will be playing the first edition of Group Therapy, I’m going to focus on their real-life music.

At some point, TNSW started pulling the band away from the comedy and nudged it toward more serious musical terrain. I’m not sure about the status of the TV show, but the band are currently at the top of their game, having released their third full-length record—’TNSW’—last year. ‘TNSW’ is a big ol slab of hard-hitting, melody-driven post punk. Lead singles ‘Bending At The Knee’, ‘Rotten Sun’ and ‘Under The Pressure’ flaunt the band’s best songwriting to date, showing that while they’ve been very funny at times, they also know their way around a tune.

Whatever confusing identity the band have created for themselves, it doesn’t really matter here. ‘TNSW’ is just a great album made by a great band. Pretty simple really.

Sophisticated Dingo

Speaking of people who know their way around a tune, meet Melbourne duo Sophisticated Dingo. Schoolmates Jimmy and Lew have been kicking it for quite a few years now, developing a hard-hitting but catchy-as-fuck brand of garage punk. It’s the kinda stuff that grabs you by the lapels and screams in your face.

Think Cloud Nothings or Badillac-era Together Pangea but with a distinctly Australian edge. They’ve been churning out brilliant garage hooks since 2016, with their strongest material coming over the past year or so. ‘Morning View’ is a personal favourite; it’s raucous and rowdy and will be stuck in your head for days.

There’s plenty more where that came from, too. ‘Day In The Life’ and ‘Head Talk’ are both great for making you feel like it’s warm when it’s actually cold as fuck, and 2023 singles ‘With You’ and ‘Radio On’ showcase their versatility, swinging between scuzzy, chugging rock riffs and melodic choruses.

They’ve been kicking around for a few years, but it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon. All are invited.

Muscle Mary

If Sophisticated Dingo’s music is akin to being grabbed by the lapels and being screamed at in the face, Muscle Mary’s music is more akin to being punched in the head. With knuckle dusters. They’re not wasting any time with subtlety; they know what they want to say, and they’re saying it.

It’s dark, brutal and highly political, dealing largely with issues of sex and gender. Their most recent single, ‘N.A.G’, is a thumping piece of grisly post-rock that deals with being non-binary in a ciscentric society. It’s brooding and moody and lyrically quite strong. These are serious issues, but the band approach them cleverly, stacking the tune with great one-liners.

Keep an ear out for Muscle Mary, we expect there’ll be plenty more music on the way. We’re very much looking forward to it.

Mary’s Underground
Circular Quay
Friday 5th August 2023
Doors open 7PM