HTRK

Genre: Alternative, Indie

Country of Origin: Australia

HTRK (formerly Hate Rock Trio) is an Australian band formed in 2003.

Originating in Melbourne and based in London since 2007, HTRK (pronounced Hate Rock) started playing in 2003 when guitarist Nigel Yang and bassist Sean Stewart invited vocalist Jonnine Standish to create music inspired by Lynchian imagery, protopunk and post industrial ideas. Using a very slow drum machine, minimal bass grooves and highly textured noise, their attitude clashed with the rock 'n roll status quo in Australia. HTRK’s first release was the Nostalgia EP in 2004, originally intended as a demo but later self-released in a limited 500 disc run.
Their live shows soon caught the attention of underground icon Rowland S. Howard and popular Australian producer Lindsay Gravina, who invited them to record their debut album at Gravina's Birdland Studios. Entitled Marry Me Tonight and considered something of a pop effort by the band, the album was held in limbo for several years due to a protracted rights dispute.

In 2006, a few months after recording Marry Me Tonight, the trio relocated to Berlin, toured with fellow expatriates Devastations and played their first UK gig at the 20jazzfunkgreats club in Brighton. Upon witnessing a show at the Brixton Windmill, UK label Fire Records signed HTRK to give the Nostalgia record a wider international release. A 27-date European tour supporting Liars, and a performance at Glasgow's Optimo followed in 2007.

In 2008, they began to be managed by Paul Smith, who organised London shows with Lydia Lunch and Alan Vega. Stewart and Standish spent part of the year in Melbourne recording on Rowland S. Howard's final album "Pop Crimes" including the duet by Howard and Standish "(I Know) A Girl Called Jonny".

Marry Me Tonight finally saw a release in 2009 on Smith's independent label Blast First Petite and found critical favor from the UK press, scoring 8/10 in NME, making Artrocker's best of 2009 list and an office ambience listing in The Wire. Artist and porn actress Sasha Grey also named the album in her top three albums in a Stereogum end of year poll. That year, HTRK were invited by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Horrors and Fuck Buttons to embark on various European tours. Their increased profile led to a headline show at Cargo in London in January 2010, which coincided with the release of the first of a series of free mixtapes and appearances in US magazines Alternative Press and Nylon.

Tragedy struck on 18 March 2010 when Stewart was found dead in his London home from suspected suicide. Speculation on the Australian music website Mess+Noise was later confirmed in a statement sent to the media. NME published an obituary on 24 April 2010 with tributes from Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner and The Horrors' Faris Badwan. Standish and Yang have continued to remain active with a comeback show at the ICA in London on 29 November 2010 and a new album entitled "Work (work, work)" released on 12 September 2011.