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New album pure Garbage
New album pure Garbage

Two decades on from forming around uber-producer Butch Vig and Scottish singer Shirley Manson, electronic rockers Garbage are returning to Australia armed with Not Your Kind of People, their fifth album and first since 2005.

"We are the same band and essentially the same human beings, sorry to disappoint everybody," Manson laughs down the line from her home in the neighbourhood of Los Feliz in Los Angeles.

"I think so much has changed over the years for each of us, but so much has stayed the same. I can't speak for the boys in the band, but I have changed a lot. I am much happier than I used to be. I have grown up a lot since I lost my mum. She died four years ago from (the rare neurodegenerative) Pick's disease and that forced a lot of personal change.

"It was a massive shift in my thinking towards my life, fellow human beings and my band. Everything changed in a good way, that's the crazy, bizarre upside to losing someone you love so much. Sometimes it can give you the kick up the arse you really need."

Not Your Kind of People is inherently Garbage - plenty of agitated electro pop, grungy edges and Manson's biting lyrics.

In the 90s, Manson sang raw anthemic explorations such as Queer and Stupid Girl. Today she's still dabbling in a world of self-doubt and romantic confusion, but it's coming from the perspective of a 46-year-old woman.

"I think I tend to write from memory and experience. These songs aren't necessarily about where I am at, but they're from the past somewhere," Manson says.

"As you become more confident in yourself you can look at some of the harder things you had to deal with in life and face up to them.

"Songs like I Hate to Love are about instances in my life where I have loved someone and they haven't loved me back.

"Love is supposed to be something empowering and gorgeous and instead all you want to do is die. It's that feeling of worthlessness when somebody doesn't love you back. I see older people going through that, it's not just the young - that can last your entire life."

In between 2005's Bleed Like Me and last year's Not Your Kind of People, the band members kept themselves busy. Vig notably produced albums for Green Day, Muse and Foo Fighters.

Manson married record producer Billy Bush in 2010 - her second marriage, the first to Scottish artist Eddie Farrell lasted from 1996 to 2003. The couple have lived in LA for the past eight years and the singer says she has finally found true love.

She has also begun writing and wants to be a published author in the near future.

The Edinburgh-born singer joined Garbage in 1994, when drummer Vig, famous for producing Nirvana's Nevermind, was putting a band together in Madison, Wisconsin. After some tentative early steps, she hasn't looked back.

Garbage recently severed ties with their label Geffen. "There's no pressure from labels anymore," Manson says. "It feels great to release music without huge expectations from others."

'Everything changed in a good way, that's the crazy, bizarre upside to losing someone you love so much.'