Music / Features
Track by Track:
208L Containers - Horseland
Words by Daniel Devlin
Monday 27th July, 2020
Hobart/Nipaluna quartet 208L Containers returned earlier this year with their latest tape Horseland - eight tracks of chaotic garage-punk, laden with wiry guitar lines, stilted grooves and a snarky political ethos. Walking us through the record track by track, frontman Richie Cuskelly gave his thoughts on the wider themes and absurdities surrounding Horseland - out now via Rough Skies Records.
It’s been over a year now since garage-punk quartet 208L Containers unleashed Knitted Family Helmet - a striking debut into the Hobart/Nipaluna punk cannon, the record defined a sardonic yet head-strong polemic, leaning into Australian politics with equal parts humour and cynicism. Continuing their disparate brand of noisy punk-rock, 208L Containers returned in May with Horseland, their second tape released under Rough Skies Records that serves to further the group’s stunning diatribe. 

Navigating tales from politically entwined tech moguls to the growing class disparity rampant throughout Hobart, Horseland catches 208L Containers at their most confident, snarky and catchy - a band unafraid of exploring the comforts of their own dismay. Mapped across eight tracks, Horseland finds its pace through wiry guitar lines and stilted grooves. Gluing the tape together, frontman Richie Cuskelly laments each track with deadpan passion, a voice equal parts hoarse as it is sporadic.

Most notably shown on lead single ‘I Drive An Audi Into Town’, Cuskelly appears at his most punctual and audibly angry, barking over Hobart’s exponential growth in Audi ownership with an enmity over his town’s continued gentrification. This is one of many moments across Horseland where 208L Containers feel completely essential - often humorous and full of snark, the group adopt fast paced punk-rock with an important political ethos.

Unravelling the chaos of Horseland, Richie has given his insights on each of the tapes’ eight tracks below.
Luddite LAN Party

Imagine the NBN was laid by horses. Plausible isn’t it? Hasn’t turned out great, after all. Picture Turnbull in a plaid shirt and an Akubra, sitting on the back of a golden mare, gazing into the outback distance like one of McCleod’s Daughters, with the telecommunications equivalent of a ten metre-long extension cord trailing behind him in the dust. Or, the TV show Westworld being projected onto his pebble-smooth banker’s face (once a banker, always a banker) while he types out his petty list of excuses (sorry, ‘memoir’) one finger at a time on an antique Remington because he’s still waiting on fibre-to-the-node to be connected at Kirribilli. Then again, the current PM has probably never even seen a typewriter, unless his interior designer recommended buying one for his mantlepiece to offset the Cronulla Sharks banner and his prize coal lump. He seems to be the equivalent of an overgrown ten year-old boy (definitely a boy) who has been gifted a state-of-the-art 3D printer to use at will, but is so lacking in imagination, intelligence and empathy to create anything but miniature 3D prints of his own penis.

I Drive An Audi Into Town

I only recently found out that Audi is the German word for ‘wanker’ - something I thought would have put people off buying the things. Not in Hobart it seems, where I see them bloody everywhere. Every third car on the road is an Audi now, it’s bizarre. This song is about a kid stealing one of these bourgeois hearses and abandoning it on the doorstep of their retail job before starting a penalty-less Sunday shift. Four rings the devil brings.

PS. My friend mentioned recently that the word ‘Audi’ isn’t uttered in the song once. I disputed this for weeks, but she’s right.

Continuing the theme of LNP moral failings, this song is about former Governor General George “what’s-meta-data?” Brandis. It was old news even when we wrote it but, hey, we have the right to release it now if we want. And you have the right to be a bigot, George, but you don’t have the right not to be called a fuckhead for it.

Never Run From A Laughing Skull

Max wrote this clomper while sitting on his beige knit couch watching VHS highlights of the Australian men’s cricket team’s victorious 1995 tour of the West Indies. It looks so hot in the footage I’m surprised Boon’s moustache didn’t go up in flames.

It’s a homage to our two favourite cricket commentators: Kerry O’Keefe and Jim Maxwell of the ABC. Kerry’s nickname has been ‘Skull’ for the past few decades because let’s just say Father Time hasn’t been too kind to him (he looks like Peter Garrett if someone had rubbed him in kebab juice and left him on Coogee beach for a week). He’s also well-known for his maniacal laugh, usually after one of his own jokes. My dad Gary (‘Gazman’) actually went to high school with him in Kogarah and hit him for a boundary through midwicket in a training match before retiring hurt.

Do Attend

If this song were a breed of dog it would be a pug: cute initially, but subsequently unsettling - and never really meant to exist.

Greg’s Dead

Steve is really twiddling all around the geet on this one. He’s great to watch - like a gangly wizard hurriedly trying to open a pack of instant noodles before their owner gets home. The team throw in a disco beat verse in there which is a bit of fun and can be an eye-opener to some of the older listeners, especially if they haven’t had their dinner yet. After all, if you run an open-air prison then everyone gets wet.

5 Year Plan

A pro-unions number inspired by a zine found at The Arts Hall in Fern Tree (where we practice) about a 1938 debate in Cincinnati called Whose Principles Are Correct: Workers Socialist Party or Independent Communist Labor League? Spoiler alert: it was a tie. Max wheels out a silky Slint-esque break toward the end which really pushes my buttons. If this song were an item from my childhood it would be the bodyboard cover my mum made for me when I was 13 on her weathered Singer out of a garish purple curtain and a white elastic band: sturdy and fully functional, if not particularly trendy.
#2 In Yass

A fingerpicked reprise of the song ‘One Eyed Town’ off our first tape, replete with in-tune whistling from a horse-of-a-dog named Brownlow. Dave told me ‘One Eyed Town’ reached number two on Yass 100.3fm… where do you bloody go from there?

Horseland is out now through Rough Skies Records - head here to grab the album on limited cassette.