Q&A Scene: Brendon Houlahan ~ THE BARREN SPINSTERS


Tell us about your new single/ album/ tour?


Our debut album is out July 19th. It’s called ‘Ten Steps to Cynical Thinking’. We’re super chuffed with it and hope people think it’s good. Even if it’s not, don’t tell us. Just smile and change the subject.


What’s your favourite work at this point in time?


We’ve done a number of EPs in the past with different members, but this debut album I’m really proud of. It’s got a bit for everyone, lots of different styles.  I personally love track 3, ‘Long Gone’. There’s a lot happening in the one song, yet it’s still pretty easy listening.


How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 


Probably a microwaved pizza pocket. It’s hot, it burns your tongue and it leaves you unsatisfied.


Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.


We did this one show as part of the brilliant Bendigo Blues and Roots Music Festival. We were playing this little laneway gig and the PA exploded. We kept playing, and somehow through the amazing support of the local musicians, a new PA was delivered and installed in 5 minutes while we sung acapella with the crowd. The next day, we went and got matching tattoos to commemorate the experience.


What, or who, inspires you?


I’m always inspired by trivially insignificant things. Tennant is more of your classic renaissance sort of man, crossed with Tom Waits.


Which song do you wish you wrote?


‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ by The Foundations, or ‘Theme from Snuff Box’ by Matt Berry.


What’s next for you?


If the album goes well, I’ll be in a pool somewhere with a red wine, floating around like a turd. If the album doesn’t go well, an awkward conversation in a Centrelink queue.


What’s your scene?


Hanging around people who will let me swear freely and not think I’m too uncouth, like the secret bogan beast that I am.


Armed with a high energy live show, songs from a forgotten century, and a terrible band name, The Barren Spinsters are the kind of band that Jack White would maybe join if he lowered his standards. They look like a two-piece, sound like a five piece, and move like a hair piece. Front man Brendon Houlahan plays guitar with his hands, bass with his feet, and sings with his face. Matt Tennant belts the drums really hard, sings a little bit, and wears really dumb shirts while doing it. Together, The Barren Spinsters deliver 70s blues rock with a modern thrashy twist.

Tour Dates:

Saturday 20 July – Jamberoo Music Festival

Saturday 27 July 1895 The Royal – Echuca Blues Fest

Sunday 28 JulyHopwood Gardens – Echuca Blues Fest

Friday 2 AugustMarrickville Bowls Club, Marrickville

Saturday 3 August – Smiths, Canberra

Saturday 24 August – Capital Brewery, Canberra

Friday 4 October – Caloundra Music Festival

Saturday 5 October – Caloundra Music Festival

Saturday 5 October – The Imperial Hotel & Eumundi Brewery

Sunday 6 October – Caloundra Music Festival

Saturday 19 October – Smiths, Canberra

Saturday 16 November Healesville Music Festival

Friday 22 November – Queenscliff Music Festival

Saturday 23 November – Queenscliff Music Festival

Sunday 24 November – Queenscliff Music Festival


About Mary Boukouvalas 1614 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.