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NEW WAVER : NEUTERS (2005) CD (last copies)


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A retrospective ‘best off’ taken from New Wavers infamous cassette series spanning the 90's. Essentially Top 40 hits with the lyrics changed to address all aspects of loserdom, Or Weird Al with an extremely pessimistic neo-Darwinian world view. In the New Waver world, everything comes down to survival of the fittest, a land in which the strongest and most dominant triumph and the rest are sidelined, ostracised, beaten up, and generally have miserable, pointless lives.

The members of New Waver met in the early 80s as young recruits to the Claims section of the Australian Taxation Office in Canberra. Over coffee and cards and in water-cooler conversations the teenagers discovered their shared passion: popular music. From there it was a short step to forming a band.

They bought and learned instruments, and by the end of their first year on the job were regularly getting up to play Smoke on the Water or American Pie at departmental social gatherings. In 1982 the new wave explosion that had revolutionized music internationally hit the Australian scene like a tsunami. Dangerous new bands like The Knack and Duran Duran were galvanizing local youth, and these fellows were not immune.

Cutting their hair fashionably above-the-collar and keeping their ties on after work, the Wavers’ enthusiasm for this new musical movement led them first to change their name (from "Claimfiler"), and then to adopt the keyboards and drum machines that were to shape their signature sound. By the end of the eighties the members of New Waver had been promoted as far as Acting Clerk Class Three, and the band had progressed from backyard barbecues to departmental formals and Christmas parties. They played hits made famous by their musical heroes, and fellow workers knew they were listening to one of their own.

1990 saw the release of the band’s first album Middle Class Man, which was soon followed up by a swag of vinyl and cassette releases. Increasing popularity brought a booming balance sheet, allowing the band to broaden their instrumental palette, employing computer technology, found sound, and even the Canberra Philharmonic Orchestra as backup on later recordings.

But all good things must come to an end, and inevitably marriage, increasing job responsibilities and the secondment in 1999 of their lead guitarist to the ATO’s Adelaide office found the band unable to devote the time and energy necessary to maintain the standards their colleagues had grown to expect. The first sign that New Waver were winding up came when they turned down a personal invitation from the Under-Secretary of Human Resources and Administration to play at the combined federal public service end of financial 2001 boat cruise, a gig no working band in the land would have handballed.

The New Waver dream was over. But now their music can live on, thanks to the Dual Plover and Spill labels, who have brought this retrospective collection to the compact disc format - so convenient to play while computing or commuting. We’re excited about this cd, and hope that listening to it distracts you from your tasks as much as it did us. File under “rock and roll”!



01 You've Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party 3:23
02 Tea Break 3:51
03 Start It Up 3:10
04 Gotta Get Up 0:29
05 Erotica 2:59
06 Middle Class Man 2:43
07 Just Cant Get It Up 1:46
08 I Got You Babe 4:16
09 Chadstone 1:43
10 Techno Man 3:26
11 Too Sober To Fuck 2:09
12 Prozac 4:51
13 Monday Mornings All Right For Working 4:02
14 Secret Track 0:28


"Boring folks from the tax office singing boring songs from the 80s sounding tired, bored and beaten down by society. It sounds terrible, but it;'s not. It's genius. Breathing new life - or is it lifelessness? - into some old chestnuts like I Got You Babe, You've Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party and a few that are a little different than I remember. Jailbreak becomes Tea Break and they seemed to have missed the point a little with songs like Too Sober To Fuck and Middle Class Man. After all these years of take, take, take finally the ATO are giving something back in the form of New Waver: Neuters." - Bob Baker Fish.


"For most of the '90s, the now defunct New Waver were one of the strangest and most entertaining bands in Melbourne - two unassuming public-servant types lurking behind cheesy synthesisers, with a singer who began most gigs naked, putting on an item of clothing after each song in a deadpan inversion of rock'n'roll behaviour.

The music consisted of dinky covers of Top 40 hits with the lyrics changed to address the life of the office loser. Thus AC/DC's Jailbreak becomes Tea Break, a tale of workplace bullying around the water cooler, while the Rolling Stones' Start It Up becomes an ode to the socially stunted computer geek. This CD compiles the pick of New Waver's hilarious work.

Key Track: Chadstone - in this remake of June Carter and Johnny Cash's Jackson, a suburban couple use their favourite shopping centre as a sex-life replacement." - Guy Blackman


"A copy of the New Waver retrospective, Neuters, arrived in the mail recently. This CD was released this year through Australian experimental label Dual Plover (who will be familiar to anyone who has been to the What Is Music? noise-music/sound-art festivals or who frequents Synæsthesia), and compiles 14 of New Waver's biggest hits from the early 1980s onwards.

The compilation appears to be roughly in chronological order. It starts off with NW's rougher, earlier pieces; covers of pop songs performed on a home organ, with altered lyrics performed in a lugubrious monotone, and then goes on to more sophisticated General MIDI dance grooves. The basic concept of New Waver involves covers of pop songs with the lyrics changed to present an extremely pessimistic neo-Darwinian worldview; in the New Waver world, everything comes down to Darwinian competition, in which the strongest and most dominant triumph and the rest are sidelined, ostracised, beaten up, and generally have miserable, pointless lives. This is underscored with lyrics like "sexual performance needs social dominance" and sound samples from wildlife documentaries, recordings of counselling sessions, consumer-product advertisements and Christian anti-masturbation therapy tapes.

The songs are roughly chronological in terms of the story they tell, which is the life of Everyman (or perhaps Everyloser), the poor low-status schmuck who keeps being kicked in the teeth by life and always comes out worst. The story starts with him being bullied and persecuted at school, his life made a hell by "tough guys" and "confident guys"; then goes on with him going on to a dead-end public-service office job and being ostracised by coworkers ("a complex man with a heart of darkness in a beer and football land"), getting obsessively into computers/video games, being ignored by the opposite sex until a last-resort marriage to a low-status female who recognises and exploits his low value and lack of bargaining power, moving to the suburbs, and dulling the pain of existence with beer, consumption and Prozac whilst trudging through the pointless day-to-day routine. Had Jean-Paul Sartre been born in Brisbane or Canberra, he could well have come up with something like this.

The songs? Well, it starts with an organ-driven version of the Beastie Boys' You've Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party, which segues into an AC/DC cover titled Tea Break. There's a version of Madonna's Erotica all about masturbation, a Jimmy Barnes tribute titled Middle Class Man; a version of the Dead Kennedys' Too Drunk To Fuck that proclaims that, without brain-deadening alcohol, the human race would die out, and a masterful take on the Velvet Underground's Heroin, titled Prozac. And that old Depeche Mode joke which everyone has heard lots of times, Just Can't Get It Up, gets transformed into a complete song; transposed into a minor key, it works quite well.

The CD came with a press release recounting the history of New Waver; the band's formation by several teenaged clerks in the Claims section of the Australian Tax Office in Canberra in the early 1980s and run of minor hits in the 1990s, before time pressures caused the band to break up." - dev.null