Ep 03: rooArt Records – Show Notes

Notes, links, videos and music from Episode 03 – rooArt

Ep 03: Some Kind Of Sensation – rooArt Records

Just Ace: A podcast about the 90s Australian alternative music scene
Just Ace: A podcast about the 90s Australian alternative music scene
Ep 03: Some Kind Of Sensation - rooArt Records

The title of this episode is Some Kind Of Sensation, a lyric from the Ratcat song Don’t Go Now.

Books and references

Here’s a promotional reel about rooArt. I assume this was for some sort of sales conference for when rooArt moved over to Warner, 1992-ish.

In terms of books, rooArt was written about in Craig Mathieson’s wonderful book The Sell In. It is sadly long out of print and one of the very few books about this period.

Chris ‘CM’ Murphy wrote a memoir. It’s humbly called Murphy The Making of CM Murphy: The son, the father, the goals, the wins and the triumph of INXS. rooArt is mentioned briefly as a label he started with two other people.

It’s interesting but recent vinyl reissues of You Am I and Augie March albums don’t have rooArt logos on them at all. That logo doesn’t mean anything, and I wonder if it’s even still a legal entity in any way. Probably not.

I guess the label is a bit of a pain point for the people who ran it and the bands that were on it.

The Young Blood compilations were important snapshots of the Australian scene at the time. The subtitle was A Selection of Australian Up And Coming Bands. There were four volumes all up, the first two were released on vinyl. They aren’t available on streaming and I imagine they must be a licensing nightmare. You can check out the details of the Young Blood series on discogs.

A poster from 1988 launching the first Young Blood compilation.

Ra Records

Ra Records, the officially alternative arm of rooArt, started in 1992. Amongst the releases in that first year were EPs by You Am I, Custard and The Lab. The latter featured dance guru Paul Mac. All of them would play their roles later in the 90s.

Here’s the long forgotten Ra Records logo, in the highest resolution I could find in the internet.

Ra Records ends with a single from a Big Brother contestant. The label that was supposed to be the indie arm of the cool Australian labels ends with this monstrosity. Sara-Marie was a contestant on the first season of Australian Big Brother in 2001. She didn’t even win.

The backing ‘band’ was Sirens, an all girl pop group also signed to BMG at the time. They managed to release 2 other singles in their entire career.

Here’s the back of the CD single, with the Ra Records logo on it.

Compilations and things to listen to

If Ra Records wasn’t painful enough as a navel gazing reference to rooArt, along comes the compilation Rare Cords. It was a strange rarities compilation from pretty good acts like You Am I and Custard, as well as The Mark Of Cain, Crow and others.

The other rooArt compilation is the one mentioned on the podcast – Rock Art: The History Of rooArt Records. It’s a pretty good overview of the label although the label was so random, it’s not a good listen. It was one of the last releases from the label. And it’s not like competing labels like Waterfront, Red Eye or Murmur got compilations like this. So that’s a win for rooArt, I guess?

We’ll cover a lot of the bands on the label in later episodes. You Am I, The Hummingbirds, Ratcat, Custard, Crow and others.

I always quite liked this song by Martha’s Vineyard, an early rooArt band. Nothing alternative rock about it or anything.



  • All Hail The New Right by The Trilobites (from the 1988 Young Blood compilation)
  • Hindsight by The Hummingbirds (from the 1988 Young Blood compilation)
  • Blush by The Hummingbirds (from the 1989 album LoveBuzz)
  • That Ain’t Bad by Ratcat (from the 1991 EP Tingles)
  • I’m So Excited (The Bum Dance) by Sarah Marie (2001)

Background music

  • 4 by The Cruel Sea (1991)
  • Instrumental version of Where The Wild Roses Grow by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue
  • Instrumental of Need You Tonight by INXS
  • Instrumental of The Day You Went Away by Wendy Matthews


This playlist is based on the rooArt compilation RockArt – The History Of rooArt, a 2CD compilation from 2001.