What better way to blow away the cobwebs of a National Day of Mourning than by listening to a split release from two of the country’s most enlivening punk bands? Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice and Bench Press have today released the aptly-titled A Split 7” Between Friends, finding both on resurgent form. 

Former touring mates in 2019, and obviously familiar to each other through Melbourne’s close-knit music scene, a joint release feels like a long time coming from the two bands. 

On their two tracks, Bench Press sound like a group eager to impress after a three-year gap between releases. In his distinctly Australian drawl, singer Jack Stavrakis powerfully rants and raves over stinging guitar lines on ‘More Than That’, touching on feelings of disillusionment and hypocrisy. 

On the more wiry post-punk ‘Curdled’, he unleashes food metaphors, sounding no less irate as he implores listeners to “keep moving forward”. 

While Bench Press were on hiatus, Dr Sure’s were prolific, releasing two LPs, a 7” and a cassette release. On their first track here, ‘The Realest’, they’re typically topical – this is a band that once named an EP While Aus Burns – in powerfully decrying the current national rental crisis.

Bench Press

It’s intensely relatable, the lyrics furiously blasting landlords and their lecherous ways, mocking them for their martyr complexes. For singer Dougal Shaw, the fury comes from a personal place. “The place I was renting was going to auction, ‘3 to 6 months’ they reckon.

“I said, ‘no worries, but we can’t have anyone in the house for inspections and whatnot for 6 weeks, ‘til our newborn gets his jabs.’ An hour later they sent us a notice to vacate,” he recalls. Such an egregious act would make anyone want to write a vicious punk retort. 

Love Indie?

Get the latest Indie news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

Dr Sure’s second track, ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Island’, is equally topical, Shaw spouting harsh warnings over a motorik and fidgety rhythm section. 

Co-released by the always-reliable Marthouse Records and the iconic Fellaheen Records, the latter’s first release since the late 90’s, when they used to host artists like Pavement and Guided By Voices, the 7” marks a welcome return for Bench Press and a solid continuation for Dr Sure’s. 

While not quite a local secret, Dr Sure’s have always felt like a Melbourne treasure, but the U.K. and Europe are about to experience the thrill of the band’s live show for the first time when Dr Sure’s on their first-ever international tour next month.

And with the way Australian punk bands like Amyl and the Sniffers, The Shifters, and The Chats have been received over there recently, Dr Sure’s should expect their unapologetic political punk to go down very well in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Bench Press and Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice’s split 7” is out now. 

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine