Tester Housing are the latest revive for the peerless Left Ear Records, a Melbourne-based label where diversity and quality are so expertly considered with every release. Left Ear have reissued a range of genres – from African boogie rareties to choice bombs from the Carribean, obscure synth-wave to timeless folk – while also paying deserved attention to undiscovered Australian gems.
The Tester Housing four-tracker comes pressed to the usual high standards, this time the artwork is particularly eye catching! This release has all the hallmarks of the DIY post-punk movement that swept the world, as electronics, synths and diverse influences changed the music.
The band also went in dubwise directions, a key cross polination of post-pnuk, while further displaying the types of influences and musics the band were absorbing in 1982 and 1983 in Oz.
Chris Bonato at Left Ear expalins: “Tester Housing was the short-lived band consisting of mates Bill Tolson and Ken Olver. The duo met during the early 1980s in the burgeoning Southside of Melbourne, St Kilda. Pitched along the bayside, St Kilda at the time was full of artists, painters, writers, poets and musicians. The suburb was also the type of place where you’d find people sharing a jug at the pub after a fist fight.
“Despite Tester Housing producing a modest handful of recordings, both were actively present in the St Kilda chaos. Bill established Prahran’s Greville Records in 1978 and later founded the prolific Rampant Releases in 1982, pressing the likes of Not Drowning Waving and David Chesworth. Both members also previously played in the short-lived Gilded Youth.
“To commemorate Testing Housing’s imprint, we’re presenting Over You, a 12” of the band’s two 1983 singles, The Clock Ticks Over and Into You with their counterparts, a dub version and a stripped back almost acapella. Their sound channels both that of the gritty Southside and the experimental Northside scenes of 80s Melbourne to create youthful and enchanting synth-pop. Both arrangements are laced with themes of love, redemption and acceptance in a unique and compelling way.”
For more – check Left Ear Records online.