Remember The Future? (Vol 2 & 1)



COLOUR: Bright green   EXTRAS: Limited to 300

Melbourne new-wave art-punks Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice emerged from the Oz underground as a potent force and clarion voice with their 2019 debut The West, followed by 2020’s fiery (pun intended) EPs, Scomo Goes to Hawaii and While Aus Burns. Their powerful new album, Remember the Future? is a 31-minute whammy of 10 propulsive robo-punk anthems which document the dystopian absurdity of our times, informed by an innate hopefulness and staunch belief in a better future.

Led by Dougal Shaw (also known as Marthouse label founder and guitarist for Cash Savage and the Last Drinks), Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice is a post-modern, post-punk, post-cynicism embodiment of Woody Guthrie’s folk polemic of “singing the news” -- expounded by Bob Dylan, Public Enemy and countless successors, but rooted in the oldest musical traditions of recounting and pamphleteering historical events. As Dougal explains, his songwriting is lyrically “reacting to whatever’s dominating the news feed, it’s all catastrophes and conspiracies. I’m trying to make some sense out of it, or at least document it.” A potent act of “laughtivism”, the satirical edge of Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice cuts through Murdoch media manipulation, Canberra corruption, capitalist collapse and fossil fuel fuckery. 

“Taking the piss is important. It’s a fundamentally human thing to do,” Dougal states. “Trying to find light in the dark. Remember The Future? makes me think about the idea of an old person planting a tree that they know they’ll never enjoy the fruits of. This album is a small offering, planting a seed, asking a question. I don’t know if it offers any answers, but maybe with a little nurture they will blossom.”

Remember The Future? was recorded over two days (with a year and a global pandemic in between), with studio wizards Nao Anzai (Rolling Blackouts C.F, Floodlights) and Max Ducker (Amyl & The Sniffers). The album is another sonic leap for a band who’s drawn comparisons to Parquet Courts, Tropical Fuck Storm and Devo. Recording with the full band in the studio for the first time, Dougal recalls; "it just felt right to capture that vitality that comes from spending heaps of time playing instruments together, cramming in vans, sleeping on floors and all that good stuff.” 

Before it was a band, “Dr Sure” was a nickname (Dougal’s initials, D.R. Shaw) that became an alter ego. The persona of Dr Sure channels the “snake oil” grifter energy of the post-Trump era, a cooked candyman straight out of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, prescribing self-medications for every neo-liberal capitalist ill from his bottomless briefcase. “Unusual Practice” was an audiovisual art practice from Dougal’s student days, an invention he called “reactive composition”, composing layered sound pieces to improvised videos; an endless process of acting and reacting. The evolution into Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice (whose brilliantly anarchic videos embody the emotional power of the songs) reflects a commitment to practice as action, a circuit breaker to the algorithmic hellscape of reactions, likes and dislikes. 

“The present is disorientating”, Dougal observes. “Everything is advertising, consumption is a lifestyle, media is opinion and propaganda, our feeds are monetised, our faces are filtered. It’s about accountability and gaslighting, trying to find the truth and learning to trust your gut, when what’s on the surface gets harder and harder to believe. It’s a little bit of faith in humanity... that we can learn, and unlearn, and adapt. It’s about not giving up.”

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