Peter Milton Walsh of The Apartments Rejects Assembly-Line Recording: A Nakedly Examined Music Conversation (#135)

Aus­tralian singer-song­writer Peter Mil­ton Walsh start­ed The Apart­ments in the late ’70s, and our inter­view begins with a snip­pet of the open­ing track from, “Help” from his 1979 Return of the Hyp­no­tist EP. He also around this time played with the Go Betweens and oth­er groups, and released The Apart­ments’ first LP, The Evening Visits…and Stays for Years, in 1985, a heart-wrench­ing affair which made it onto the New Music Express “albums of the year” list. This led to some sin­gles, one of which–“The Shyest Time”–made it onto the sound­track of the 1987 John Hugh­es film Some Kind of Won­der­ful.

The band had all the moody jan­gling of ear­ly REM, the Smiths, and The Psy­che­del­ic Furs, with a unique front man, strong melodies, and the mood of the moment? So why (pre­sum­ably) have you not heard of this group? Their 1993 album drift (the first full album since their debut) was appar­ent­ly a big hit in France, but none of their work sold par­tic­u­lar­ly well in the Eng­lish-speak­ing world. As Peter reveals on this episode of Naked­ly Exam­ined Music, he did­n’t much like high-pres­sure stu­dio record­ing, result­ing in whole eras of his song­writ­ing left large­ly undoc­u­ment­ed.

Per­son­al tragedy also derailed his career from the late ’90s until the late ’00s when he returned to live per­form­ing and even­tu­al­ly released a cou­ple of real­ly dev­as­tat­ing albums, includ­ing 2015’s No Song, No Spell, No Madri­gal and the new­ly released In and Out of the Light.

On each episode of the Naked­ly Exam­ined Music Pod­cast, host Mark Lin­sen­may­er plays four of an artist’s songs in full and dis­cuss­es them with the song­writer at length. Here Mark and Peter dis­cuss the struc­ture and record­ing of two songs off the new album: “What’s Beau­ty to Do?” and “Where You Used to Be.” They then look back to the mid­dle of The Apart­ments’ ’90s out­put with “Sun­set Hotel” from Fête Foraine (1996), a song cap­tur­ing his obser­va­tions of a group of hero­in addicts. Final­ly you’ll hear “Look­ing for Anoth­er Town” from that 2015 come-back album.

For more Apart­ments: The first come-back song was real­ly 2011’s “Black Rib­bon,” which you can watch him play solo. Per­haps my favorite song he’s done is the doom-epic “What’s Left of Your Nerve” from drift. You can watch a recent live ver­sion of “Sun­set Hotel” and catch the offi­cial video for “What’s Beau­ty to Do.” More at

Naked­ly Exam­ined Music is a pod­cast host­ed by Mark Lin­sen­may­er, who also hosts The Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life Phi­los­o­phy Pod­cast and Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast. He releas­es music under the name Mark Lint.

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