Gaslight Radio

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Gaslight Radio
OriginBurleigh Heads, Queensland, Australia
Years active1995 (1995)–2009 (2009)
Past members
  • Martin Cooke
  • Rory Cooke
  • Simon Piper
  • Phil Roubin
  • Matt Davis
  • Nick Treweek
  • Alex Jarvis
  • Emily Fullerton
  • Peter Mclean
  • Michael Regan
  • Cameron Teys

Gaslight Radio were an Australian indie rock band. It was founded by brothers, Martin (guitar) and Rory Cooke (vocals, guitar) with Simon Piper (drums) and Phil Roubin (bass guitar) at Burleigh Heads, Queensland in 1995. They released three studio albums, Hitch on the Leaves (September 1998), Z-Nation (2003) and Good Heavens Mean Times (July 2006), before disbanding in 2009.


Gaslight Radio formed at Burleigh Heads, Queensland in 1995 as an indie guitar pop group by Rory Cooke on vocals and guitar, his brother Martin Cooke on guitar, Phil Roubin on bass guitar and Simon Piper on drums.[1][2] The Cooke brothers grew up in a housing commission suburb, Burleigh Park, which later became part of Burleigh Heads.[3] Rory later explained why he took up song writing, "If someone is in their bedroom with their headphones on, trying to drown their parents' fighting, that's when music can mean the most."[3]

Gaslight Radio recorded a four-track demo in the Gold Coast hinterland, which included the track "Tarmac and Line". The demo was sent to Mushroom Records, where the band signed with an independent offshoot – Lonely Guy Records. The first EP, Torchin' Towns, Hankering Homes (August 1996), was recorded over the Easter weekend with Greg Wales (Drop City) producing at Smash Studios, Sydney. Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, opined, "With influences drawn from US bands like The Pixies, Pavement and The Breeders, the band fashioned a compelling brand of low-fi indie guitar pop."[1] Its five tracks were "earning the band across-the-board praise."[1] "Tarmac and Line" was one of its popular tracks.[4]

The group played several shows in the Gold Coast and Brisbane prior to the release of the EP, including co-headlining with another Gold Coast band, Pollen. They toured Australia for a year "with other like-minded bands such as Autohaze, Drop City and Pollen."[1] After its release their material gained high rotation on JJJ radio and independent stations ZZZ and RRR. They appeared at the Big Day Out, Gold Coast and at Brisbane's Livid festival.

They recorded their second five-track EP, ...Our Dolelove (June 1997),[1] in Melbourne during mid-1997 with the assistance of Charles Bickford from the Paradise Motel. It appeared via Lonely Guy Records and was distributed by Mushroom Distribution Services (MDS).[1] McFarlane felt its "track 'The Singer's a Liar' highlighted the band's off-kilter inventiveness."[1] Extensive touring was undertaken in support of the EP, including a national support with Even and Header.

In late 1997 Gaslight Radio recorded four tracks for their third EP, Is by Bus (November 1997), with Lindsay Gravina (Underground Lovers, Magic Dirt) at Birdland Studios, Melbourne. The title track, "Is by Bus", received significant airplay.[5] Phil Roubin departed the band, prior to their relocation from the Gold Coast to Melbourne.

Gaslight Radio's debut, Hitch on the Leaves (September 1998), was released to critical acclaim: McFarlane described it as "a fine example of indie guitar-pop,"[1] while AllMusic's Ned Raggett rated it as four out-of five stars.[6] He explained, "[it is] a wonderful debut album from this quintet, equal parts pretty Cocteau Twins-inspired shoegaze and fragile rock drive... [they] don't sound like a cloning of any one group in particular, partially since the group turns from total feedback overdrive to subtler, slow motion approaches."[6]

In December 1999 they issued a six-track EP, Sleeveful of Slight, via Silvertone Records, "With a new bass player and drummer installed, the band recorded new material."[1][7] Five of its tracks were recorded in October with Tim Whitten producing.[7] Cameron Webb of Oz Music Project felt the title track is "easily the best track here and is forged from the same mould used for the previously released 'Is by Bus' and 'Spindlings of the Summer'."[8]

Webb observed, "Upbeat catchy pop with skewed guitars and abstract lyrics have become the trademark of Gaslight Radio and there is no shortage of those elements here. However, it is nice to hear a more minimalist approach taken to most of the other tracks where drums have been stripped back and a greater prevalence bestowed upon the organ."[8]

A six-track EP, Chapter 6: The Hard Luck Knights, was released in 2002 via Love + Mercy / Inertia Records.[9] Oz Music Project's Jasper Lee opined "[it] follows nicely onto their last release, the 7" Sleeveful of Slight and is broken down into two single tracks and four demo recordings... Not much to fault here, it's very much a Gaslight Radio disc, with their sound relatively intact through the years in the musical wilderness."[9]

Z-Nation, the group's second album, was issued in 2003 via Love + Mercy / Inertia with Gravina, Michael Alonso and Glen Berry producing. According to Sam Fell of Mess + Noise "[it] was a polarising release. Still, it was a record that found the band comfortable in their own musical skin; one where they developed their signature wall of sound. 'I like that album. Not many people do, but I do,' [Rory] Cooke jokes. 'Marty and I had been doing it for a long time by that stage, we knew how to do it, realised strengths and weaknesses of certain things'."[10] Lee opined "the band have added several members to their ranks, the sum total of their parts being a fuller version of their earlier incarnation. The ever-languid vocals of Rory Cooke still glide through the band's defining jangly indie rhythms with a seemingly enhanced vigour."[11]

Gaslight Radio released a compilation album, Magic Castle Broke Songs, in August 2004.[12] It included tracks from their first four EPs.[12] The group's third studio album, Good Heavens Mean Times appeared in July 2006. Darren Levin of The Sydney Morning Herald observed "the members had to weather homelessness, doomed relationships and Melbourne's hottest summer in 45 years. Tracked in five days at Birdland Studios, most of the album was written on the lounge-room floor of bass player Michael Regan's flat, where songwriting brothers Martin and Rory Cooke were temporarily housed."[13]

In August 2007, New Zealand group Cut Off Your Hands, performed "Is by Bus", on Triple J's Like a Version program.[14] In 2009 Gaslight Radio disbanded with Rory and Martin Cooke pursuing their own projects: Forty Thousand Sisters for Martin,[15] and the Eliza Band for Rory.[16] Latter day members of Gaslight Radio included Nick Treweek (2nd drummer), Matt Davis (keys), Emily Fullerton (keys), Alex Jarvis (guitar), Peter Mclean (guitar), Michael Regan (bass) and Cameron Teys (drums). In June 2015 Emporio Armani choose "Change the Ending" from Gaslight Radio's album, Good Heavens Mean Times, for an ad campaign.[16] Martin explained "[it] was sourced old school, someone heard it on Youtube, and the negotiations started."[16] The track was co-written by the Cooke brothers.[17]



  • Hitch on the Leaves (September 1998) – Lonely Guy Records / MDS (GUY004)
  • Z-Nation (2003) – Love + Mercy/Inertia (Briar004)
  • Magic Castle Broke Songs (compilation album, August 2004) – Independent (GR001)
  • Good Heavens Mean Times (July 2006) – Love + Mercy (Briar013)

Extended plays[edit]

  • Torchin' Towns, Hankerin' Homes (August 1996) – Lonely Guy Records (GUY001)
  • ...Our Dolelove (June 1997) – Lonely Guy Records / MDS (GUY002)
  • Is by Bus (November 1997) – Lonely Guy Records / MDS (GUY003)
  • Sleeveful Of Slight (December 1999) – Silvertone Records (SILV002)
  • Chapter 6: The Hard Luck Knights (2002) – Love + Mercy/Inertia (Briar001)
  • One Kid (2004) – Independent


  • "Guillotine Sun" (2009)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Gaslight Radio'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 7 August 2004.
  2. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Gaslight Radio | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b Healey, Madeline (12 April 2013). "Song writer Rory Cooke used illness to inspire new EP". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  4. ^ "Bus Travellers Beware: Gaslight Radio Interview". hEARd. Archived from the original on 9 October 2002. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  5. ^ "Oz Music Show playlist". The Oz Music Show. Triple J, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 9 February 2000. Archived from the original on 14 June 2000. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Hitch on the Leaves – Gaslight Radio | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b Gaslight Radio (December 1999). Sleeveful of Slight (liner notes)|format= requires |url= (help). Silvertone Records. SILV002. Tim Whitten recorded all songs except "...dumped in scrub". This and the other musical interludes were recorded in Burleigh Heads, Queensland during the latter half of 1999. Tracks 1, 2 and 3 were recorded in October 1999 at Megaphon Studio's in Sydney and mixed down at Mangrove Music Studios, Gosford, NSW. Mastering: 301
  8. ^ a b Webb, Cameron (Cam). "Gaslight Radio – Sleeveful of Slight". Oz Music Project - Australian Music Resource and Webzine. Archived from the original on 9 August 2004. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b Lee, Jasper (Jaz). "Gaslight Radio: Chapter 6: The Hard-Luck Knights". Oz Music Project - Australian Music Resource and Webzine. Archived from the original on 7 August 2006. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  10. ^ Fell, Sam (28 July 2009). "Gaslight Radio: Out of the Wilderness". Mess + Noise. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  11. ^ Lee, Jasper (Jaz). "Gaslight Radio: Z-Nation". Oz Music Project - Australian Music Resource and Webzine. Archived from the original on 7 August 2006. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Music News – Releases". Oz Music Project - Australian Music Resource and Webzine. Archived from the original on 9 August 2004. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  13. ^ Levin, Darren (21 August 2006). "Gaslight Radio – Gig Reviews – Music – Entertainment". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  14. ^ "jtv vodcast: Ser2 Ep25: Kisschasy, Hack – cultural healing, Netball Diaries, Regular John, Cut Off Your Hands, Quijibo 3 (10/08/2007)". Like a Version. Triple J, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 10 August 2007. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Goodbye Broken Sled | Forty Thousand Sisters". bandcamp. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  16. ^ a b c Cahill, Mikey (25 June 2015). "Gaslight Radio back in fashion, Royal Headache remain high and the Must See Gigs this week". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  17. ^ "'Change the Ending' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 August 2017. Note: For additional work user may have to select 'Search again' and then 'Enter a title:' or 'Performer:'

External links[edit]