NEW SINGLE: The Finalists – Hunting Knife

The third single from The Finalists‘ debut album First, ‘Hunting Knife’ finds the band digging into a big bright sound that showcases their love of chiming and dreamy guitars, lively drums, melodic bass lines and melancholic hooks aplenty. Across its three minutes, songwriter Mark Tobin sings of a catastrophist who starts smoking again because he believes the world will end before he gets cancer.


All we need’s fresh water 
A magnesium fire starter
A hunting knife 
Marlboro Lights 
And a big box of Amoxicillin

The band’s debut single, ‘Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone)‘, which was a featured single of the week on 2ser 107.3FM, is an understated slice of melodic melancholia, draped in acoustic and electric guitars that sparkle and gently jangle. In contrast, their second single ‘Learn To Live Without You, whichpremiered on the AU review, is a concise and infectious, garage and jangle-pop guitar nugget, harking back to the golden age of the two and half minute pop song. The track was selected by The Guardian for their Best New Australian Music column and playlist for November 2020.

NEW MUSIC: The Finalists – Learn To Live Without You

Sydney quartet The Finalists have released two singles ahead of the release of their debut album First tomorrow, on the Half A Cow label.

The Finalists’ debut single, ‘Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone)‘, a featured single of the week on 2SER 107.3FM, was an understated slice of melodic melancholia, draped in acoustic and electric guitars that sparkled and gently jangled. In contrast, ‘Learn To Live Without You, a concise and infectious, garage and jangle-pop guitar nugget, harks back to the golden age of the two and half minute pop song.

The song bursts into view on the back of a psychedelic intro before the drums strike a declamatory beat and 6 & 12-string guitars strum and chime in unison as Mark Tobin paints an optimistic picture of a broken relationship. The Beatles, R.E.M. and The Byrds in the Paisley Underground.

Tobin wrote most of this song in one afternoon on a 12-string acoustic guitar but as he explains, the song really came alive once they started playing it as a band. “The more we played it, the more psychedelic it became. We shamelessly channelled our heroes, The Beatles and The Byrds, and covered the song with 12-string guitars, Ringo style drums and harmonies. This song, like many others, is about the impermanence of relationships, and the realisation that sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent an imminent painful loss.”

With a sound that draws on the group’s collective music history playing in a number of bands in Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand, they’ve concocted a blend of jangly guitar-based indie rock, with elements of psych-rock, shoegaze and post-punk threading through their debut album. 

You can hear the ghosts of Factory and Flying Nun Records, the evocative strains of The Go-Betweens and The Smiths and other Antipodean contemporaries such as Underground Lovers, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and RVG. 

First will be out via Bandcamp on Friday Nov 6th.

full disclosure – Chris Familton of Doubtful Sounds plays bass in The Finalists

NEW MUSIC: The Finalists – Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone)

*Shameless self-promotion – Chris Familton of DS is the bassist in the Finalists.

It’s Sydney in the year 2020 and for the last two years The Finalists have been honing their sound beneath a Waterloo tin roof, in a Petersham attic, and down long, polished corridors leading to a Marrickville practice room. The results are the musical amalgamation of singer/guitarist and songwriter Mark Tobin (Scarlet, Panic Syndrome, The Black Halo), guitarist Robert Young (The Wednesday Night, Semi Lemon Kola), bassist Chris Familton(Charlie Horse, Thorazine Shuffle) and drummer Matt Brown (Charlie Horse).

The band’s debut single, ‘Ignore All The Hate (On Your Telephone)‘, on Half A Cow Records, is an understated slice of melodic melancholia, draped in acoustic and electric guitars that sparkle and gently jangle over rolling bass and Velvet Underground meets The Ronettes drums, while Tobin sings of the darker side of social media and modern technology. “It can be a bruising experience for someone in the sights of a social media hit squad, that ruthlessly cuts down those who don’t conform to their perceived correct set of values and beliefs,” says Tobin.

“Some enjoy antagonising this mob and can cope with the resultant social media pile-on, but for others it can mess with their mind so much they decide to stay silent in the future. This song is about how to avoid the negative effects on your frame of mind if you find yourself at the centre of an awful online onslaught,” he says, offering some strong advice that, “if you have something important to say you should never pull your punches out of fear of a backlash.”

THE FINALISTS

With a sound that draws on the band’s collective music history playing in a number of bands in Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand, they’ve concocted a blend of jangly guitar-based indie rock, with elements of psych-rock, shoegaze and post-punk threading through the music. You can hear the ghosts of Factory and Flying Nun Records, the evocative strains of The Go-Betweens and The Smiths and other Antipodean contemporaries such as Underground Lovers, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and RVG. On their debut album, the twin totems of melody and melancholy course through the sparkling and shimmering guitar lines. Elsewhere the group take flight in Sonic Youth-inspired six-string explorations.

The songs of The Finalists are predominately written by Tobin, with Young and Familton adding colour, shape, rhythm and texture. Tobin’s lyrics capture and reflect on the contemporary human experience with astute and measured poeticism – whether it’s the chronicling of fractured relationships, navigating the modern world or writing about a catastrophist who starts smoking again because he believes the world will end before he gets cancer.

photo by Rory Toomey

Doubtful Sounds Presents: The Ramalamas, Darren Cross, The Finalists @ The PBC

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Hey, we’re putting on a gig! Yep, we go to so many gigs and we know a good lineup when we see one so we’re putting on a Sydney show with three great acts. There’s a personal disclaimer with this in that I play bass in The Finalists.

Head to The Petersham Bowling Club on Sunday March 10th and you can catch the cosmic country, psych rock ‘n’ roll of The Ramalamas, the sonic alchemist that is Darren Cross (think a future folk version of Leo Kottke meets lo-fi, psychedelic, avant pop) and newish Sydney group The Finalists who blend twelve-string Rickenbacker jangle with post-punk and indie psych rock.

Plus a specially curated DS playlist between bands.

Petersham Bowling Club
The Green Room (downstairs)
Sunday March 10th
3PM $10