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Alien Nosejob Synthesizes Grimy Australian Crime With Blistering Hardcore Punk on 'Cold Bare Facts'

From the years of Ausmuteants to School Damage, Jake Robertson is one of the most familiar faces in the Melbourne scene. Whether it is through scrappy garage rock, mutated hardcore punk, or buzzing synth-pop, the non-stop rocker is always reinventing himself through his solo bedroom project-turned-band Alien Nosejob. Still as manic and hyperactive as ever, Robertson kicks down all the doors across his new limited 7" single Cold Bare Facts, out today on Anti Fade Records (Uranium Club, Parsnip, R.M.F.C.). Cruising between catchy guttural bursts of guitar, skittering drum machines, and lyrics dealing with corrupt policemen and career criminals, the two songs "The Executioner" and "West Side Story" are taken from an album of demos recorded last year that will apparently be re-recorded this year for the next Alien Nosejob LP. To collect the facts, I caught up with Robertson through email to gather the highlights from touring America last fall with Lumpy and the Dumpers as his backing band, this alleged new album coming out on Total Punk, and some of the obscure historical sites he's come across in Victoria.

Photo by Iso Buckley

First tell me what you've been up to lately? What have you been listening to, reading, or spending a lot of time doing?

Jake Robertson: Hey buddy, I work full time in a warehouse, so I'm spending a lot of time there, but always traveling on weekends with my partner and listening to good shit and reading good shit on the side. I just finished reading a book on the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance, and just started God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut so far it’s great! 

What were some of the highlights from touring America and playing Gonerfest last fall? That was quite a heavy gang of St. Louis rockers who backed you.

Travelling around with my Lil Dumpers was amazing. It was pretty daunting landing three or four days before the first show and trying to get all the songs together in such a short amount of time. But they all have a solid understanding of rock music and understand that style trumps technicality. There were a lot of highlights and very few low moments! Gonerfest and the "home ground (kinda)" show in STL were up there! 

What did you think of Happy Dog in Cleveland? 

Absolutely loved it. We played with The Hell, Perverts Again, and Science Man, who are all bands I’d been listening to prior to the tour. I helped tour Perverts Again in Australia maybe 2018 or so — their drummer Nathan (the lesser evil twin) could only play two shows, so I drummed for the majority of the tour again, that was 5+ years ago… with a days notice, I found out I'd be drumming for them at the Happy Dog too because Nathan had booked a Disney themed cruise on the night of our show. It was our generation's gig that everybody in attendance started their own band. Oooh I also had a really messed up hot dog with fruit loops on it. Maybe it's a Cleveland thing? I was hoping to get a Buzz Beer, you know, embrace the Drew Carey culture, but nobody knew what I was talking about. Mr. Carey was right: Cleveland Rocks! 

I see Alien Nosejob will be playing Jerkfest in March. What bands are you most excited to see? 

Been a minute since I've seen Reality Guest, Nightclub and Alex Macfarlane… Honestly, the whole thing is always awesome. Straight Jacket is always a Bl'ast. In 2006, Baby Jake used to go see them every time they were in NSW. They were the first local hardcore band I was aware of that didn’t have any breakdowns / metal influence. Almost 20 years later, they hit just as hard.

What can you tell readers and fans about your new single out on Anti Fade?

Yeah, influenced by the mid-paced side of hardcore. DYS More than fashion / SSD Glue..etc I think to most people, it'll sound like a garage record or something. Lyrically both songs are about Australian true crime events involving corrupt police.

Is it true you have a record coming out on Total Punk later this year?

What makes you think this? Bloody Rich spreading rumors is he? First he gets banned from Florida for running his mouth, now he is trying his luck in Portland…. typical! If I was to do a record this year, I'd probably hope that it would sound like The Jabbers, J.T. IV, or Elton Motello or something. Maybe I'll get around to it?

Last year's LP The Derivative Sounds Of... or... A Dog Always Returns to Its Vomit showed you returning to your garage rock roots, embracing the primitive and timeless side of the best '60s garage records. How exactly did that record come together? Did the Frowning Clouds reunion in '22 influence the direction of this album?

Kind of, not really that much though. Whenever I see those guys, there's definitely a lot of '60s garage talk though, so it definitely had me digging through some records I hadn't played in years. I wrote the majority of the album before Covid-19 hit in 2020. Some of the songs I wrote in 2008 before moving state and joining Frowning Clouds. I'm not great with dates or memory, so who knows exactly. 

What are your thoughts looking back at its release? Do you have a favorite track?

I reckon it's the best drum sound I've got out of a recording I've done myself. I haven't listened in a while, but I like most of them enough. I'm a wuss at heart, so I like the melodic sad boy shit the most.

"There was a Time I Called Her Mine" recalls something you'd hear on one of the Back from the Grave compilations. How did that song come together? 

That was one of the ones I wrote in 2008 or 2009. I remember trying to write a song with lyrics like "I Remember When I Loved Her" by The Zombies and "I Love Her Still" by The Poets. That minor key sad, "Remember when times were good"... the aforementioned melodic sad boy shit! The aim was to make the majority of the album something that could fit into the Teenage Shutdown / BFTG / Ugly Things realm and not The Fuzztones / Paisley Underground / Fuzzed Out screaming realm. I've read a couple of reviews that said the album reminded the reviewer of a mix between '60s garage and '80s revival I love a lot of the former and hate a lot of the latter, but I guess the '80s revival lot were just trying to do the same thing as what I was.

When you're not making music, what are some of your favorite things you like to do around Victoria? 

When am I not making music? ... OK... Iso and I have been travelling around to small towns and swimming holes lately. Going over to friends houses and playing records. Reading comic books and cooking. I also like tracking down spots where historic things happened... Finding filming locations of the first Mad Max, finding graves of forgotten Australian musicians, eating in restaurants where infamous career criminals and disgraced former detectives used to do business...etc 

What else is on the horizon for you this year? Do you have other projects coming out? 

There should be a Modal Melodies album, a Swab album and an EP I helped record with George from The Vacant Lot. It's four songs that The Vacant Lot never recorded in 1980, when they recorded their EP, or in 2016, when they recorded their first album... the songs are great, and as stoked as I am to be apart of it, I really wish it came out of the time with the unique brilliance of every original member. So, hopefully all of that will come out this year, but things always take longer than you think. Maybe I'll start working on that Total Punk record that you asked me about earlier?

Cold Bare Facts is out now on Anti Fade Records.


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