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Single Premiere: Heir Traffic Returns with Dissonant Post-Punk Chaos on "Smoke Taint"

Following the release of the double single "The Roman Road" / "The Bellows" in 2020, the Melbourne post-punk quintet Heir Traffic return with their new single "Smoke Taint," the first taste to their newly-announced debut album, No Hearth, out August 26 through Marthouse Records.

Photo by Jenn Tran

Forming in 2017, the scuzzy post-punks Heir Traffic have employed a brute-force of blistering noise and distorted intensity across their previous singles, "The Roman Road" / "The Bellows" and local cult hit "Is To Clamber, To Climb?." Comprised of vocalist Hugh Mitchell, guitarist and synthesist Luke Morton, guitarist Zac Marshman, bassist Mike Bradvica, and drummer Daniel Devlin, the Melbourne quintet have announced their forthcoming debut album, No Hearth, out August 19 through Dougal Shaw's Marthouse Records. They also shared with us the album's bruising lead single, "Smoke Taint." With nods to post-punk trailblazers like The Fall and The Birthday Party, the new single is a sparse and bleak post-punk scrawl with a snarky, tongue-in-cheek political ethos that cuts through the ferocious guitar lines, frantic percussion, and prowling bassline — sustaining a sense of anxiety through its raw immediacy.

"In the early stages of composition we were trying to put our own spin on a sound that existed somewhere between the lines of spaghetti-western and punk-blues," the band wrote in our email conversation. "This track went through quite a bit of structural change across a few demos during the songwriting process, but once we settled on a structure and started jamming it as a full band it just felt right — we've had it bookmarked as a potential lead single for a few years. While recording and mixing, we tried to highlight the atmosphere of the guitars and the ride cymbal, but we never strayed from the initial bass/drum groove which defines the song."

Heir Traffic will be launching the new single at the Old Bar on May 27 alongside The Teethers and Propaine. No Hearth comes out August 26 through Marthouse Records. Pre-order now and stream the new single below.


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