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Newcastle Punks Whitney Houston’s Crypt Are As Bleak As Their Name Suggests

On the eve of an Australian east coast tour the Newcastle five-piece discuss 'Neighbours' and pigeon themed dating sims.

Mornings can be cold and still in the Hunter Valley. Early, on the hills outside Newcastle, looking down upon the second largest city in New South Wales, you could be mistaken for thinking that all is calm and as should be.

But this city of 300 000 is home to Whitney Houston’s Crypt, a local band who train in a dark and unsettling style of rock and roll. A music that harkens to the ghosts of Newcastle’s past when it gained a reputation as a "hellhole", a place where the most dangerous convicts were sent to dig in the coal mines as harsh punishment for their crimes.


This is death wave with an emphasis on death. Punk with an emphasis on punishment. Shredded vocals howl and shriek over throbbing guitar and thumping drums. The five-piece’s new 7” EP, that has just been released through Melbourne label Vacant Valley, is like a cup of cold tea with coal silt sediment. Gritty and dirty. The band are about to take their dirt on the road on a series of shows down the Australian east coast. Listen to the dirge below and read an interview with the band's Zoe Nixon.

Noisey: I’m curious about the spelling of “Hatoful Boyfriend”. Where is that from?
Zoe Nixon: Hatoful Boyfriend is a pigeon-themed dating sim. You play the sole human navigating the dating scene at an otherwise all-pigeon high school. We found it for free online one day and it quickly became this sordid band tradition to get together at Alex, our former drummer’s house, sniff amyl and play it for hours. Apparently the name is a play on ‘hato’, the Japanese word for pigeon, heartful and hateful.

How has the new material changed/if at all from your first recording?
When we first started out, back in 2013, we actually wanted to be a dark wave band. That obviously didn’t last long though. I guess the new 7” immortalizes the band getting a whammy bar and deciding to switch to this swamp-no wave thing we do now.

Ten years ago Newcastle had a great music scene. How does it hold up today?
I don’t know, how do you feel about Triple J Unearthed? The scene still exists but I doubt anyone’s going to be releasing any compilation CDs in thirty years’ time. It’s too easy to be cynical but it seems like the old artists grew up and moved on and have been replaced by a wave of radio-friendly garage which we’re still in now.


You’ve got some amazing lineups on the tour. Was it a matter of going to Facebook “About’ pages and getting contacts?
I know, it’s going to be killer. We’ve built a network of good friends interstate who helped us book the shows with their picks from the local scenes. Honourable mentions to Pete from Vacant Valley, Gus (California Girls, Wives), the Naked guys in Hobart and Matt from Tenth Court. We’re really jazzed to be sharing bills with bands like Burlap, Masses, Clever, Harrow, Home Burial, Diecut. All of them, really.

The tour poster features Harold Bishop strangling Paul Robinson. I think it was because Harold blamed Paul for a plane crash in which three of his relatives died. Paul was a prick though. Did you like Harold?
That’s right. RIP Serena, David and Lilijana. He’s a total prick but he chilled out a little after his leg got amputated. Besides, the plane crash was caused by Robert, Paul’s son, who was impersonating Cameron, his twin brother who was in a coma at the time. I love Harold like a shar pei or a religious uncle.

Whitney Houston’s Crypt 7” is available now through Vacant Valley.

Whitney Houston’s Crypt East Coat Tour:
March 24 – Newcastle at Hamilton Station Hotel with
Burlap (LP launch) + Twinrova (tape launch) + Collector
March 25 – Sydney at Black Wire Recordswith Burlap + Home Burial + Cat Heaven
March 31 – Sydney at The Bald Faced Stag TBA
April 1 – Canberra at The Phoenix with California Girls + Twinrova + Harrow
April 2 – Melbourne at Grace Darling Hotel (basement)
with Synthetics + Men With Chips (Adelaide) + Karli White + Kompact Development
April 4 – Melbourne at Northcote Social Club (Monday Night Mass)
with Masses + Twinrova + Diecut
April 9 – Brisbane at Trainspotters with Clever + Twinrova + Rebel Yell