Polash Larsen Announces First Single From His Upcoming Solo EP

Isolation (Tonight) will be available on all streaming platforms from Thursday 19th November 2020

‘Polash From The Garden’ is the forthcoming solo EP from The Offtopics songwriter & frontman and former Grenadines guitarist Polash Larsen. The EP is an introspective, reflective and occasionally whimsical offering from an artist more known for his on-stage antics and high energy performance persona.
Recording during the lockdown created unexpected opportunities to explore songs that couldn’t find their place in a band context. “It would have been easy to become negative, focusing on what we couldn’t do but we (Polash and sound designer and Tim Minchin engineer Darius Kedros) chose to lean into the limitations. If I couldn’t play it on guitar myself then we couldn’t bring someone else into the room to do it. There was no hiring fancy equipment. One of the tracks features a drum that Darius found in hard rubbish! I still try to focus on story when I write a song and the stripped back production puts the events and characters front and centre.”
A case in point is the single ‘Isolation (Tonight)’ which, in a subtle nod to the EP tittle, starts with a circular chord cycle similar to Van Morrison’s ‘In The Garden’ but then deviates into unexpected territory by contrasting languid vocal delivery with the underlying impatience of the rhythm guitar. “I wrote this song very early on in the pandemic thinking about people physically separated from their loved ones. It’s an anticipatory sort of song from the perspective of someone who’s trying to make the best out a date night over Zoom. It’s a song of frustrated romance.”
The EP makes a virtue of “making do” and is inspired by the acoustic bootlegs of Bobby Womack and Rick Rubin’s American Recordings with Johnny Cash. The EP title is a play on words referring to both the recording taking place at Kedros’ Garden Studio and the Bengali-Australian Polash being named for the flower from the Flame of The Forest tree. Illustrator Rebecca Stewart’s cover art was inspired by a New Delhi mobile Covid testing station depicting the artist as “the sort of Hindu god who keeps an arm free to pat dogs”.
http://www.theofftopics.com | management@theofftpics.com

Offtopics Dates, Gigs and More for 2020

Hi everyone!

Here’s the first newsletter for 2020.  Anyone tuned into our Instagram will have seen that we’ve resurfaced and we’re working on new tunes for the new year.  There’s plenty more to report vis a vis forthcoming gigs, recording plans and our funk dynamo’s India trip but before we get underway we have a bit of sad news to relate.  Keyboardist, ofttimes guitarist and founding member Mark “Bretho” Bretherton has announced that 2020 will be his last season playing midfield with The Offtopics.


He has some burning personal creative projects (including finishing that novel he’s been working on) to get through this year. Obviously we’re very sad to see him go but we support his endeavours. On the positive, he’s committed to playing the following two gigs so make sure you get along to those to wish him well.  We’re also looking for someone to fill his jumbo size converses so forward any recommendations if you know someone seeking to become a new hot topic…

The band is kicking off the year with a fun, family friendly show at the Thornbury Bowls club on Sunday 16th Feb.  We’re very excited to be entering into, what will hopefully be, an ongoing relationship with the promoters, Rinkydink as they seek to activate Bowls Clubs across Victoria.

The Offtopics at the Thornbury Bowlo

This is a ticketed show that includes barefoot bowls and bar prices that haven’t changed since the 1970s.  The band will play two funny, funky sets from 2:30pm. You can BYO a picnic and there’ll be prizes and giveaways on the day including a copy of our Back on the Zine Collection (valued at $100).

For more info as it pops up there’s a Fecebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/535132840575293/

Friday 27th of March we’re travelling further afield to The Vault in Shepparton for The Shepparton Festival where we’re collaborating with our good friends the Deans of Soul to put on a night of original, funky disco and dance music. Punters who came along to our show at Bar Open last year will have an idea of what’s in store as The Offtopics put out a vibe that’s kooky and rambunctious followed by the Deans being smooth and unctuous. Great fun WILL be had.


Tickets go on sale at the end of January from: http://www.sheppartonfestival.org.au/

Our resident funk-dynamo is playing a solo acoustic show at the Foreigner Brewing Company on Thursday 6th Feb. He may, or may not, be getting paid in Pilsner…

Screen Shot 2020-01-22 at 4.14.27 pm

In any case come along around 6:30pm to hear him play a selection of Offtopics tunes and other old favourites.

You can find out more at the Facebook event.


Plans are afoot to record and digitally release some new songs this year.  As you know there are stalwart tracks that get a good showing live like “The Love Wombat”, “One More Time (Now With Feeling), “Mr Tonight” or “Tomorrow is a Month Away” haven’t immortalized in code.  We’re going to try to get these onto the world wide web this year.  Make sure you stay in the loop for news about digital launches and download giveaways!


In the “Not entirely confirmed but geeze I hope we pull it off category” some of you might be aware that Polash went to Mumbai before Christmas to pursue a bizarre opportunity to play on a pair of floating restaurants moored outside the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Gateway to India for a luxury yachting event.  He’s always had smooth music leanings but this is probably ridiculous… Anyway – if the stars align we’ll be flying to Mumbai for the last weekend in November to play some gigs in India. Stay tuned…

Key dates

Getting Back On Topic

Well we promised news a long time ago and here it is 100% guaranteed not to be “fake”.

With an intro like that where to start? Where to start…?

Let’s go back further than we need to – let’s talk about this guy. Welcome aboard Omid Shayan!


Photo by Emma Phillips

Yes – we know he’s been in the band since early 2016 but what a year it has been! A new American president, a new Australian Prime Minister and a sizeable percentage of every important 20th century icon of arts, culture and music – DEAD! That’s why we’re leading off with a good news story. Omid joined up to fill the shoes of the departing Jason Chalmers and brought with him not one but two saxy tones including both tenor and baritone.

Omid like many Offtopics players is a band leader in his own right. His own band “Shayan” play just the kind of structured jazz that made you think you wanted a picture of John Coltrane on your bedroom wall next to that Jimi Hendrix poster. Being Iranian, Omid likes to thread Persian melodic influences into his jazz. In the Offtopics though it’s all about dripping funk.

And he brought hair – SOOO much curly black hair! We think The Offtopics benefit from his low, baritone rumbles and, in our own small way, we like to think we’ve contributed a little something to Omid. Sometime in 2016 Omid and his partner found out they were pregnant.  Does associating with The Offtopics increase your sexiness and fertility? Well – you might think so. You might very well think that indeed but WE couldn’t possibly comment…

Moving the clock forward to the end of 2016 we lost Dan our guitar player. Don’t panic – he’s not dead – he just decided it was time to move on from the group. This was a bit sad as he’d been a massive part of the formation of the band. All of our early rehearsals were at his house – in fact, we recorded the early demos in his lounge room. If Dan hadn’t been so generous, sympathetic and kind to Polash after he left The Deans in 2012 there would be no funk dynamo.


Photo by Emma Phillips

We’ll miss his exciting lead breaks and if you find that you are missing him as much as we are you can see him playing country in The Pheasant Pluckers and rocksteady with Tim in Johnny Longshot.

How ever will The Offtopics manage without a guitarslinger, you cry? Fear not! We’re incredibly lucky to welcome aboard two of the tastiest players in Melbourne. First up is Anthony Mark Shannon.

AKA “Tone”

AKA “Skull”

AKA “The Beulah Bullet”.


Photo by The Funk Dynamo

Why so many nicknames? Well he usually goes by his middle name but we already have a Mark on keys and maracas. Having two would be confusing so for the moment we’re just going to use all of Mr Shannon’s handles until something sticks. Some trivia about this guy:  Did someone say “TRIVIA”???  As a former Sale of the Century Champ he’s officially the king of trivia in The Offtopics! Some of the other guys might find that hard to swallow but there may well be a new leader for obscure music history facts. The Buelah Bullet comes with a good music pedigree. His brother Dean was in Ballarat alt-rock outfit Epicure and his son is the creative force behind Melbourne dreamy rock band The Bickies.

When it comes to guitar this guy knows how to keep it “Stanky”.

And now onto the other part of The Offtopics double axe attack:

Introducing – or rather reintroducing Dave Sheehan!


Dave had been taking a bit of a break from music and wasn’t sure if he could commit to a band – after all there were cricket finals to think of, work, family etc. The argument was clinched by his young son who took a break from riding the ferris wheel at Inverloch to weigh in on the quality of the band’s demos. It was decided. The “band was impressive” and “the grooves were dug”. “Dad, you should definitely join!” were the words of the young scion – and that was that.

Polash caught up with international Glenroy Pop Sensation Kylie Auldist at the launch of the Brunswick Music Festival. When he mentioned that her former Curtis Late bandmate Dave was joining The Offtopics she went very quiet and still for a second.

“How did you get him?” She breathed… “You are a lucky, lucky man…”

And The Offtopics are a lucky, lucky band!

That’s all for the personnel roundup. Stay tuned for the next installment where we tell you all about our studio project with Kalacoma’s Nick Hererra. There’s definitely a gig coming up in May and hopefully another one before that. All will be revealed but for now – get stanky and stay funky.


Vote 1 Offtopics for Open Studio: Saturday 2 July


Either way you look at it we’re all in desperate need of something realistic to look forward to on the 2nd of July.

Well here are some election promises The Offtopics will definitely deliver on:

  1. Booty Shaking music


The Offtopics stand by their track record of funkifying the night.

2. Songs that will focus on what’s important to all of us.

Somebody Funked My Grandma

The Offtopics know what the hot button issues of the day are.

3. Melding the refined aesthetic sensibility of Sir Mixalot with Andy Griffiths “The Day My Bum Went Psycho”

There’s no black hole in The Offtopics’ booty.

4. Reliable looking candidates like this guy:


Awww… why wouldn’t you trust him?  Timmy just beams competence in this picture!

So don’t be disillusioned by the Open Studio Party this election.  Vote 1 Offtopics.  Dance, laugh and clap your hands at Open Studio Saturday 2nd of July from 8:30pm.

Open Studio: 204 High Street Northcote. http://openstudio.net.au/event/the-offtopics-bourbon-street-in-new-orleans-to-memphis-and-jamaica/

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The Offtopics at Oussou

The Offtopics are back to rock Oussou.  Two delicious sets of fonky originals so we advise you to take your chance to dance.

This is our second gig at Bar Oussou this year as they trial a new curatorial approach to music.  Naturally we want to see them do well so we’ll be trying extra hard to put some junk in our funk so you better take the chance to dance!

You don’t have to take our word for it. Just ask your friendly neighborhood Spidey-butt.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 3.39.45 pm

Anyone can dance to The Offtopics so don’t be afraid to show us your moves.


Even these moves…

Or these ones…

Or even…



Of course if you can’t make it to Oussou this Friday then here’s a dance party you can have at home courtesy of the good students of the “Humor and Code” Class at the Parsons School of Design and Technology.  Enjoy! http://gifdanceparty.giphy.com/

Entry is free this Friday.  Can’t do any better than that!



The Offtopics are back to fonk The Catfish

In the worlds before this Friday… Primal chaos reigned. Heaven sought order.
But the Phoenix can fly only when its feathers are grown.
The four worlds formed again and yet again,
As endless aeons wheeled and passed… Hang on… enough Monkey business.


All is well fonksters because The Offtopics are playing again this Friday at your favourite craft beer and sandwich haunt on Gertrude Street.

the offtopics ay The Catfish 22 Apr

That’s right – we’ll brook no timewasting!  There’s so much to do.  There are two whole sets of funky songs to get through before the night is over.  It’ll also be our last gig before we start doing some extended studio time prepping for our first ever album.  We’re really excited about this as *cue drum roll* we’ll be working with Nick Herrera who has previously recorded bands such as Hiatus Kaiyote and some other bands who you’ve probably never heard of.

Anyway – it’ll definitely be worth joining the conga line at the gig this Friday as we’ll be kicking out all sorts of jams.

There’s also a facebook event if that sort of thing floats your floating thing.



The Offtopics to play the LuWow’s Christmas revue with The Rebelles, Frosty the Snow Bastard and much much more on Saturday 19th December


If this is the Silly Season then you need Melbourne’s silliest band of bravos to usher it in.

Saturday 19th December sees The Offtopics team up with those mighty maidens of shimmy – The Rebelles – to wail on the whole Christmas thang.  There’ll be cocktails, dancing and Frosty the Snow Bastard’s Hissy Chrissy Karaoke all at Fitzroy’s finest Tiki Bar/cave of the Lava Goddess The LuWow.

Tickets $10 on the door.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/949970995128333/

Don’t know much about The Rebelles and their shimmy shammy whammy?  Check them out here: http://rebelles.com.au/

The Offtopics own the stage – so pay yer dues!

For those who missed the California Honeydrops show at The Northcote Social Club on the 26th of November – here’s what The Music’s Brad Summer had to say about it.

The Offtopics’ humble efforts get a mention too…




The Offtopics to support The California Honeydrops, November 26th at the Northcote Social Club


A long time ago… when the guys all had thick, lustrous hair…

The Offtopics were in their fusty mancave praying to a tiny terracotta idol of Jo Jo Zep for support when the statue spoke in a low musty dusty tone:

“Are you listening closely, boys?”

“Yes, Uncle Joe”, breathed The Offtopics.

Satisfied, the clay idol went on – with just the hint of a Maltese accent.

“You shall have the support you desire.  Henceforth your spirit animal is…” The little clay man paused for effect.

“What is it, Uncle Joe?!” The Offtopics asked breathlessly.

“Your spirit animal is THE HONEYDRIPPER!”

“Uh… what?” said The Offtopics but the little earthenware man spoke no more…

That was the beginning of the first great schism in The Offtopics.  Dan and Linc thought it referred to this 1978 number by The Falcons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AInFZnCvmj4

“But how can a song be a spirit animal?” wondered Mark, who thought it was more likely that a honeydripper is someone who empties drop toilets.

Anyway it all made sense when it was announced that The California Honeydrops were coming to town and they’ve asked The Offtopics to be their support at The Northcote Social Club on November 26th.

The California Honeydrops make just the kind of N’Orleans Fonk sound we like.  Check them out after you come see The Offtopics at the NSC.

For more information check out Tom Bowler tours: http://tombowler.com.au/tours/the-california-honeydrops/