Indie/Indie Rock Pop/Indie Pop Punk/Rock Why We Love

Why We Love: Tee Vee Repairmann

Photo courtesy of Gimmie Zine

Australia. The backbone of several memes regarding its apparently nightmarish wildlife and the home of the late legend Steve Irwin, it has bred quite a lot of great bands throughout the decades. AC/DC, INXS, Men at Work, and Midnight Oil come to mind. Most recently, a trio called The Chats have been dominating the international punk scene with their humorous, punchy songs. However, The Chats are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s going down in the land down under.

In recent years, a fairly spectacular underground music scene has developed in Australia. Featuring bands such as Gee Tee, R.M.F.C., and Tee Vee Repairmann, the style has been called “Egg Punk” by some, and it typically features fast, distorted barre chords punctuated by loud guitar lines or mellow synths, impenetrable bass, and drums that are so compressed they almost sound mechanized. The vocals are often filtered to the point of being borderline incomprehensible. It’s fast, fun, and an exhilarating ride.

Photo courtesy of YouTube

The project we’ll focus on here is Tee Vee Repairmann, a one man project created by Ishka Edmeades. In 2021, he caught the ears of many listeners with his debut EP, Patterns. Featuring four tracks that blow by at a blistering pace, the EP is the perfect mix of grimy punk and bubblegum catchiness. Opening track “Bad Taste” contains metallic hihats, compressed guitars, and robotic vocals that still manage to convey human emotions despite the minimalistic lyrics. “Lights Out!” cranks the tempo up even more, with spindly guitar lines and shouted vocals coalescing into a memorable chorus. “Dirty Hands” slows things down just a bit, with the vocals becoming even more chaotic and indignant sounding. The guitars also take on a bigger role on this track, with the chorus featuring a caterwauling lead line that sounds like it’s being played through a blown out amp. These three tracks all sound fairly similar, which makes the title track, “Patterns,” even more surprising. This track features a skittering drum machine, synthesizers, and a more danceable vibe. However, Edmeades’ guitar playing and vocal delivery help tie the song in with the rest of the EP.

After his exciting emergence, he released an album called What’s On TV? earlier this year. The first track, “Out of Order,” indicates the differences between the previous EP and this album. The production is much more spacious, with the guitars and drums having more room to breathe. In truth, everything just feels bigger, though the punky tightness of the EP is still present in the songwriting. Edmeades’ vocals are buoyed by airy synths, which are also a new touch to his music. The next track, “Time 2 Kill,” is a bit more of a return to form, though the newfound space in the sound continues to benefit the song. This song is the shortest on the album, clocking in at 1:16, but it still feels like a complete listen. Parts of the song reminded me of Thin Lizzy mixed with The Ramones, with the track even ending with a screaming guitar refrain as it sprints to a stop. 

Throughout the twelve tracks, the album perfectly toes the line between the condensed punk of Patterns and the wider atmospheres of indie rock. Another way to describe the change would be to compare Patterns to Ramones and What’s On TV? to Rocket to Russia. The ethos is still there, but there’s a heightened sense of maturity and a greater realization of scope. “People (Everywhere I Go)” even mellows things out by adding swaths of reverb to the guitars and vocals, with Edmeades’ observational yet minimal lyrics working nicely with the change of pace. Overall, the album is a brilliant step forward for the project.

Tee Vee Repairmann is one of the most exciting things to come out of Australia and the underground punk scene there. The willingness to change while sticking to the influences of earlier work will hopefully prove to be a good sign for things to come.