#036 July ‘09
arts & entertainment news monthlynewcastle|hunter|coast
Bringing Splendour To Newcastle Brandon Boyd The Art Of Incubus
Manic Street Preachers Opening the Journal
Also Inside: Patrick Wolf + Meat PuppetS + Yuksek + Friendly Fires
REVERB’S THIRD BIRTHDAY PARTY SATURDAY JULY 18, 2009 CAMBRIDGE HOTEL
LEADER CHEETAH THE SEABELLIES THE TUNSTALLS FEAR OF MONSTERS NED KELLY MENNA MATT SAXON
TIX $12 PRE/$15 DOOR
Arts Projects Australia and Adelaide Festival Centre’s CentreStage program present
index 08 News 13 Patrick Wolf 14 Leader Cheetah 16 Incubus 18 Matt Corby/Vulgargrad 19 Yves Klein Blue/Head Of State 20 Three Years of Reverb 22 Flipper 22 Yuksek/Alexisonfire 23 Meat Puppets 24 Gig Guide 26 CD Reviews 29 A Silent Fiction 30 Manic Street Preachers 32 Audiophoolery /Talking Shop 33 Carus Thompson/Friendly Fires 34 Fashion 36 Motoring – Porsche Panamera 37 Paper Prophets/The Backsliders 38 Live Reviews 41 Gamer’s Corner 42 DVD Reviews 43 Film Reviews 44 Socials
CLE TA C E P S T N E IC IF N G A M “A WHICH LEAVES US BREATHLESS”
circus as you’ve never seen it before!
Le Devoir. Montreal
“rent meets cirq ue du soleil”
The Washington Post
> > > > > > Photography © OCDPhoto
letter from ed
Design: Adelaide Festival Centre
Dear Reader, Well, we made it. This month Reverb celebrates three big years in publishing. The small, hard-working team behind Australia’s best free music publication (don’t argue), couldn’t have done it without all the amazing support we receive from the local community and our stellar line-up of contributors. It feels good to be three years old. Come and celebrate with us on Saturday July 18 at The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle. Tickets are selling fast on Moshtix. On a sader note, Reverb would like to pay its respects to the late Michael Jackson. With sales in excess of 750 million records, there’s no disputing that ‘The King Of Pop’ changed the face of music. Rest in peace, Jacko. Until next month, Nick Milligan
PINK PAGE 39
giveaways So many goodies to give away to you guys. • 3 x double passes to see Yves Klein Blue at the Cambridge, July 3 • 2 x double passes to Birds Of Tokyo at the Entrance Leagues Club, July 29 • 2 x double passes to Something With Numbers at the Entrance Leagues Club, July 29 • 2 x Hospital The Musical packs containing CD, t-shirt and double pass to their Cambridge, July 22 gig • 5 x copies of the new Red Riders CD, Drown In Colour. • 3 x Copies of the Rage Retro CD/DVD • 5 x copies of the self-titled Blackchords CD Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you want.
Editorial email@example.com Phone 4929 4739 Gig Guide firstname.lastname@example.org Sales Enquiries email@example.com Sales Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 0410 295 360 Production email@example.com
Editor Nick Milligan Sub-Editor Amanda Beven Production Cameron Bennett IT Manager Kieran Ferguson Sales Kevin Bull Nick Milligan
Senior Writers Peter Douglas Hugh Milligan Mark Snelson Writers Amanda Beven Kevin Bull Andrew Chesham Noah Cross Courtney Fitzsimmons Mark Forrester Sean Frazer Scott Gilbert Ashleigh Gray Jess Henderson Mark Henderson JD
Dean Joy Chrissy Kavalieros David Long Lianna McDonald Mark Moldre Terry Paull Krystal Ryan Yumi Sed Sam Tess Nathaniel Try Kellie Wallace Marija Zeko
Photographers Joel Attenborough Johnny Au Kevin Bull Joel Courtney Courtney Fitzsimmons Chrissy Kavalieros Robyn Moore Terry Paull Mark Snelson Dese’rae L Stage Linda Wales
Graphic Designers Cameron Bennett Nick Milligan Kevin Bull
Reverb Magazine is locally owned & published by The Lockup Garage. Printed by Spotpress Pty Ltd: firstname.lastname@example.org r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
SUITABLE FOR ALL AGES Co-production: Centre National des Arts Ottawa With the support of: Conseil des Arts et des Lettres Quebec; Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; TOHU
July 29 – August 1 civic131theatre newcastle BOOK AT 246 adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au box office 4929 1977 or visit www.civicprecinctnewcastle.com.au
B-52s AND THE PROCLAIMERS!
COASTER RETURNS IN 2009
Coaster, The Central Coast’s very own music festival is back for another year. After 2008’s sold out event, this year promises to be even bigger and better. With a jaw-dropping lineup featuring international acts and including a who’s who of the best bands Australia has to offer, Coaster is set to rock the Central Coast on Saturday September 12, 2009! This year’s giant line-up includes Eskimo Joe, Bliss n Eso, Does It Offend You, Yeah? [UK], British India, GZA/Genius [Wu Tang Clan], The
Bronx, Van She, Grafton Primary, The Airborne Toxic Event [US], Children Collide, The Fumes, Pez, Gin Wigmore, Ajax, The John Steel Singers, The Scare, Slow Down Honey and Yacht Club DJs. Tickets are $80.00 (plus booking fee), and are available from OzTix or any OzTix outlet — Macron Music, Erina, Macron Music, Tuggerah, Leading Edge, Gosford, East Gosford Music, Beaumont Street Beat, Newcastle, Newcastle Rock Shop, Mojo Music, Sydney Repressed Records, Newtown.
The B-52s will roam around Australia later this year and Scottish wonder twins, The Proclaimers, are also on their way (ahuh) for a fabulous November/December national concert tour. Both bands will perform at six ‘a day on the green’ winery events to launch the 2009/10 summer season with the very first concert of the tour being at Bimbadgen Estate, Hunter Valley on Saturday November 21. Both The B-52s and The Proclaimers are renowned for their charismatic live stage shows and raucous, uplifting music. Mental As Anything, celebrating their 30th anniversary, will kick-start all concerts. In preparation for this summer’s concerts, Bimbadgen Estate is undergoing renovations to improve the venue. The main site area is being re-landscaped to increase the capacity for patrons and the parking area is being resurfaced to ensure coaches and cars can be parked on site whatever the weather conditions. Both are major initiatives to increase the comfort of all concert goers. The B-52s — Keith Strickland, Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider, and Cindy Wilson — put Athens, Georgia, on the musical map in the late 70s, with their quirky and unconventional take on the new wave sound of the era. The band’s pioneering fusion of punk, new wave, vintage rock and electronic music all wrapped up in savvy hooks was an instant success. With three unique vocalists, they are an irresistibly upbeat party band. Tickets to the Bimbadgen show are $99.50 (plus booking fee) for general admission, $160 (plus booking fee) for gold reserved seating, and $125.00 (plus booking fee) for silver reserved seating. Tickets on sale now.
THE TRIP TO CASUALTY
A SPLENDID SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT
While it may have been conveniently leaked that Doves were going to flutter their way on to the Splendour In The Grass bill, we couldn’t have guessed the addition of ‘Madchester’ poster boys The Happy Mondays. The legendary lads are joined in the second Splendour announcement by a swathe of impressive acts: Architecture In
Helsinki, You Am I, The Beautiful Girls, Downsyde, Drapht, Kisschasy, Little Red, Bluejuice, Children Collide, Miami Horror, Art Vs. Science, Paul Dempsey, Dappled Cities, Holly Throsby, Dananananakroyd, Bridezilla, Deya Dova, Cut Copy DJs, Yacht Club DJs, plus many, many more. Splendour In The Grass happens on Saturday July 25 and Sunday July 26, at Belongil Fields, Byron Bay.
Buy a neck brace. Hospital the Musical are back and, like a group of strange robogrizzlies, the Wollongong foursome are up on their hind legs. HtM have honed their live show supporting internationals such as Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan and Horse The Band. Having recently survived a trial by fire during their first major stint on the road supporting Sydney deathcore stalwarts, Bermuda, HtM are taking the reigns and cracking the proverbial whip, coming to the Cambridge, July 22 with Worlds Apart and Safe Hands as support. This may not be pretty, but please try and enjoy.
BRACKETS AND JAM HITS NEWCASTLE
The highly successful multi-arts organisation Brackets and Jam recently celebrated their expansion to Newcastle by launching a monthly sustainable event on the third Saturday of the
INFUSION LIGHT UP
month at NCAC’s Black Box Theatre, Newcastle West. It starts from Saturday August 15, 2009. Brackets & Jam Newcastle aims to improve performing arts in the Hunter by creating an expression space for musicians, dancers, drummers, poets and artists from all ages, all styles and all levels of expertise. To cover costs for Brackets and Jam Newcastle’s launch, a fundraiser event will be held on Friday July 17, 2009 at the Wickham Park Hotel (61 Maitland Road, Islington). Headlining are Newcastle-based ska band Rubix Cuba, plus performances from other local acts including The Karma Cops, The Rum Corps, Brett O’Malley, Fiona Magee, Grant Wolter and Jessica Cain. Music will go from 8pm to 12am. Entry to the event is free as fundraising will be done through bar sales.
THE MUSIC NURSERY
Infusion are hitting the road to launch their brand new album All Night Sun Light all around the country during July. Presented by Triple j, the band have also partnered with Moshtix in a nationwide promotion to offer fans a chance to purchase a pre-release advance signed copy with a discount ticket offer. After touring extensively overseas over the last few years and performing earlier this year at Big Day Out and the recent regional Groovin the Moo festivals, the band will be embarking on their own headline national tour, for the first time in four years. The show will feature brand new tracks off their new album peppered with their signature infectious, electro-pop dance explosions. In an exciting album promotion by moshtix, the ticketing outlet will offer fans the chance to buy an album package direct from their website at moshtix.com.au. This package includes an advanced signed copy of the album together with a discount ticket to a show near them. Louis Rogers, Marketing Manager at Moshtix says of the offer, “This is a great deal for Infusion fans. They’ll be among the first to get their hands on the band’s amazing new album, and experience them first hand, all at a great package price.” Infusion will be supported by the synthy new wave rockers The Dirty Secrets. Catch them at The Cambridge Hotel on July 17, 2009.
BACARDI BAND SEARCH KICKS OFF
Newcastle’s hottest new band competition, the Bacardi Band Search, will get started with Heat 1 on Thursday July 9, 2009. The first four bands to battle it out will be The Karma Cops, Goodnight Kids, Lockjaw and Wandering Bear. Heat 2 on Thursday July 23 will feature
offers a mobile service, at very reasonable rates. Have your music mixed in the conditions you’re comfortable in. Monitor speakers and room treatment provided. For rate sheets or a free pre-mix readiness consultation, call Mark on 0432 950 411 or email at email@example.com.
METAL VS HARDCORE FUNDRAISER
Newcastle Roller Derby League is hosting their first major fundraiser of the year, The ‘Metal vs Hardcore show’ is to be held at the Cambridge Hotel on the August 21 with Newcastle bands The Storm Picturesque, Hard Man, Crowning Swarm, Violence and Rosevelt. There will be a pool comp from 6pm, raffles, prizes, merch and a beer garden BBQ. The doors open at 8.30pm, tickets are $12, and proceeds going to the NRDL not-forprofit organisation, to ensure they are ready to compete in early 2010. So come along and support your local heavy scene and Newcastle’s very own roller derby team. infusion
Candy & The Full Moons, Dr Robotnik and Shaded Glass. Heat 3 on Thursday July 30 stars Liberation Front, Empire Burlesque, Truth Ruby and Anarchitects. At Heat 4 on Thursday August 27, you can catch Broadway Mile, Cota and The Shades. The winner of each heat will ascend to the semi-final, where they will have the chance to go straight on to the grand final. Bands that enter the competition have the chance to win $1,000 worth of free advertising in Reverb Magazine, a feature length article printed in Reverb Magazine, $1,000 in cash from Bacardi, a photo shoot with one of Reverb’s professional
photographers, an EP launch hosted by The Cambridge on a Friday or Saturday night [with no venue fees], 8 hours of free recording time at The Studio [with an extra day of ‘lock in’ rehearsal time], plus one hundred A2 gig posters from Empty Belly. Get along and support local music!
NEED A PROJECT MIXED?
Finished tracking, and need your project mixed and/or mastered? Tired of paying a high hourly studio rate only to have an uncommunicative mix engineer hand you back a crushed result? Surveillance Party Music
LIVESITES’ WINTER HEAT
Have you ever seen Winter Heat? It’s time to get your bum off that couch. The free Newcastle L!vesites annual event is a sight to behold with burning sculptures, candles and lanterns made by local artists turning ordinary places into something out of this world. The events will happen from 6–9pm every Friday night in July and feature hot live music, hot food and hot drinks to bring a rosy glow to your cheeks. Catch Intermezzo Strings on the 3rd at Civic Park, Saxanova on the 10th at Honeysuckle, Ivy Ireland on the 17th at Wheeler Place, Mojo Ju Ju & the Snake Oil Merchants on the 24th at Foreshore Park and Rub A Dub Dub on the 31st at Pacific Park. Check out livesites.org.au for more details.
One of the first acts of the new owners of the Wickham Park Hotel was to reinstate The Music Nursery to their entertainment schedule, highlighting a definite desire on their part to nurture what is often a neglected segment of the industry – those musicians and artists who are at the stage where they want to leave the garage and announce themselves to the world. Those acts who have penned their original compositions and want to test the waters in front of a live audience, and those who may have played once or twice before but want to spread their own musical gospel. The Music Nursery is open to all genres of music, from folk to metal and from soloists to 8 piece extravaganzas. Each Nursery will feature two acts and the evening will run fortnightly. Coming up in July will be Dali’s Angels and Scotch Creek, Thursday 9, followed by Sabretung and Death Mask on Thursday 23.
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A Circus in Your Back Yard Combining traditional circus forms with theatre, contemporary dance and urban sports, Traces strips away the hi-gloss, high production values of the world’s most famous circuses to bring performance back to its raw physicality. The 7 fingers (les 7 doigts de la main) was founded in Montreal in 2002 by seven seasoned circus performers. This group of friends had worked together in such prestigious companies as the Cirque du Soleil, the Cirque Eloize, Wintergarten Variety, Teatro Zinzanni, and Cirque Kniel, who ‘ran away’ to create their own circus of an entirely different flavour. “The rare thing about Traces, is not only the mix of skills and modes of expression, but the mix of styles. Going from hip-hop to indie rock to classical piano to vintage jazz, makes not only for an eclectic soundtrack but an eclectic atmosphere. Just when you think you understand what sort of a show it is, it turns around and surprises you,” says one of the coaches, Sebastien Soldevila. “What we love saying about Traces,” continues Soldevila, “is that you really can’t describe it. You can’t categorise it as just dance or circus or theatre — it’s a hybrid… we wanted people to walk out of the theatre telling their friends, “I can’t describe it, you just have to see it!” It is electric BLACKCHORDS - A3 posterSYD two:Layout 1
Hugh Milligan takes aim during a round of Wii Sports Resort archery
NEWCASTLE FASHION WEEK
urban acrobatics, but poetic, theatrical, funny and sexy. The artists do everything dance and sing and draw and act and throw themselves from poles 15 feet in the air. It’s like Rent meets Stomp meets La La La Human Steps with incredible circus acts. It is about the uncontainable vitality of youth, about living in the moment, about pushing the limits of the body.” Catch this awe-inspiring show at The Civic Theatre, Newcastle, on Wednesday July 29 to Saturday August 1, 2009. Special prices apply for people under 26 years of age. Head to ticketek.com.au
DUST DEVIL MUSIC PROUDLY PRESENTS
THURSDAY 2 JULY
HAMILTON STATION HOTEL NEWCASTLE
FRIDAY 3 JULY
THE EXCELSIOR HOTEL SURRY HILLS
WITH THE SHIPWRECKED
DEBUT ALBUM OUT NOW THROUGH DUST DEVIL MUSIC
“...a cross between the diverse and atmospheric nature of Interpol combined with the progressive sound scapes of Radiohead.
Blackchords are going to be huge and are going to be huge soon”. - NICK KAYS • THE DWARF
WWW.BLACKCHORDS.COM WWW.DUSTDEVILMUSIC.COM 10
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“...this is no ordinary release... This is one of the best Australian debut releases I have heard in a long time”. 4.5 OUT OF 5 - KEVIN BULL • REVERB MAGAZINE / I’M WITH THE BAND MARCH 09
If you haven’t heard of Newcastle Fashion Week, get used to it. Newcastle Fashion Week is the brain child of young cancer survivor and student Louise Mackay, who was diagnosed with leukaemia four years ago. With the support of the Cancer Council, Mackay hopes to raise awareness about the needs of young adults with cancer, that are currently not being met. For the fashion fixated, there is something for everybody at Newcastle Fashion Week. From the quirky designs of Guanabana, to the clean crisp cuts of Melanie Ritchie and the glam chic of A.Shai Designs. Newcastle Fashion Week caters for men and women, young and the young at heart, casual and work wear. Newcastle Fashion Week takes place from September 20–25. Venues to be confirmed. For more information, visit the Newcastle Fashion Week Facebook page and keep an eye out for the official website, coming soon.
Wii Sports resort
NINTENDO LAUNCHES Wii SPORTS RESORT
With over 1.2 million Australian Nintendo fans owning a copy of the interactive title Wii Sports, it made sense for the innovative games company to develop a sequel. Reverb Gaming Editor Hugh Milligan and Editor Nick Milligan, were kindly invited down to Sydney for a preview of Wii Sports Resort. Taking place at The Change Room, an exclusive space at the Ivy, the launch gave the media an opportunity to try out this anticipated sequel. The game features 12 sports that include table tennis, basketball, sword fighting, jet-skiing and archery. There’s also old favourites like ten-pin bowling and golf. The game also requires an additional attachment for the Wii Remote, which provides a superior level of movement. Head to nintendo.com.au for details on the release of this very fun Nintendo title.
ELANA STONE @ LIZOTTE’S
Genre-busting singer and Triple J Next Crop artist Elana Stone, returns from a victory at Rockwiz to launch her new album Your Anniversary. The Elana Stone band began recording Your Anniversary in 2006. It was a three year quest. During this time the band survived a series of triumphs and upheavals, from a self-styled tour of Europe to a break up, a marriage and a failed attempt by the lead singer to move to Melbourne. But like Fleetwood Mac, the chain kept them together. Take in the full Elana Stone experience at Lizotte’s, New Lambton, Sunday July 26.
THE ECLECTIC LASS
The Lass O’Gowrie has always been a music venue that is very open-minded when it comes to the entertainment they put on. No more so than on Sunday July 19 when an eclectic mix of entertainment will be on offer that is certain to both inspire and confuse. Music will be provided by Wirehead and Alps of New South Wales, comedy from Nick Van Doninck, all the magic from Magic Flash, spoken word by Johnny Illiterate, and what has been described as an absurd performance from Tall Jenny. Mayhem starts at 6pm
BLACKCHORDS HIT NEWCASTLE
Since the release of their critically acclaimed debut album, Melbourne’s Blackchords have been fine tuning their live show and will be taking it on the road to showcase their moody, atmospheric sound scapes to an audience in Newcastle on Thursday July 2, 2009, at the Hamilton Station Hotel. Entry is just $10. Blackchords on stage at 10pm. Do yourself a favour — go along and check out on e of the most impressive new bands in the country.
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SPUNK RECORDS FILM SCREENING
Presented by Spunk and Andrew Kidman, Last Hope is a collection of 16 original short films inspired by the ocean, featuring Albert Falzon [Morning Of The Earth], Jon Frank [Litmus], Monty Webber, Michelle Lockwood [Kids] and American underground surf filmmakers Patrick Trefz [Thread] and Richard Kenvin [Hydro dynamica]. Kidman also provides four special cuts of his own. The filmmakers created their short films to music selected by Aaron Curnow [Spunk Records] from some of the greatest independent contemporary artists; Smog, Sufjan Stevens, Mogwai, My Morning Jacket, Dirty Three, Holly Throsby, Vetiver, Bonnie Prince Billy and The Brown Birds From Windy Hill. Initially, the Last Hope DVD is being released with a bonus CD of the film’s soundtrack on July 3, with a 24 page booklet with thoughts, interviews and images from the filmmakers in some damn fancy one-off
packaging. Andrew Kidman is taking the film on the road this July and his band Brown Birds From Windy Hill will be providing a live score for the film at each show. Special guests [including Machine Translations] will also be appearing along the way. Head to the Royal Exchange Theatre on July 21, 2009.
Brackets & Jam. Rubix Cuba will feature alongside performances from other local acts including The Karma Cops, The Rum Corps, Brett O’Malley, Fiona Magee, Grant Wolter and Jessica Cain. Music will go from 8pm to 12am. Entry to the event is free as fundraising will be done through bar sales.
Money for Jam
GBOB 2009 KICKS OFF
The highly successful multi arts organisation Brackets and Jam recently celebrated their expanding to Newcastle, and will launch a monthly sustainable event on the third Saturday of the month at NCAC’s Black Box Theatre, Newcastle West starting from Saturday August 15. Brackets & Jam Newcastle aims to improve performing arts in the Hunter by creating an expression space for musicians, dancers, drummers, poets and artists from all ages, all styles and all levels of expertise. To cover costs for Brackets and Jam Newcastle’s launch, a fundraising event will be held on Friday July 17 at the Wickham Park Hotel. The evening will host a large and diverse range of artists, highlighting the broad scope of
The first heat of the 2009 Global Battle of the Bands was held at The Loft Youth Venue on Saturday 13th June. The top two bands who progressed to the Regional Finals in Sydney are The Nickson Wing [first place] and 3 Deep [second place]. The boys have big shoes to fill if they are to walk in the footsteps of last year’s Newcastle winners. Powerage not only went on to win the Australian National Final, but came second in the World Final, just missing out on the US$100,000 cash grand prize. For any bands that missed out, registrations are being accepted for the Maitland GBOB Heat, scheduled for Wednesday August 5 at the Hunter Valley Brewery. Details can be found at gbob.com.
The Nickson Wing with A Red Letter Day Managing Director, Denny Burgess
“I’m on tour at the moment. I finished a show about half an hour ago, so I’m full of adrenaline for you,” says Patrick Wolf, wickedly. “You’ve got me after midnight. Usually overseas interviews are scheduled for 8am, when I just want to be dreaming. I’m definitely more of a night time person. I write best at night time. I’m nocturnal.” Although in this instance he is slightly tipsy, Wolf is never short of enthusiasm for his music. Since captivating England’s indie scene with his beguiling debut, Lycanthropy, the crooner and multi-instrumentalist has revelled in his ability to both shock and mesmerise. Marrying the sensibility of classical music with an interest in electronica, Wolf is a combination of Leonard Cohen’s wry lyricism and David Bowie’s androgynous glamour. His fourth studio record, The Bachelor, consolidates his pursuit of a unique sound. It’s dark, emotionally sincere and always beautiful. Wolf has stated that The Bachelor is one half of a double album project. This first collection of tracks were written during a period of Wolf’s life where he was single, and the content reflects his feelings of loneliness. When he met his current boyfriend, Wolf was flooded with inspiration and very quickly wrote a follow-up record, The Conqueror, that is due for release in late 2009. “I write a lot when I’m on tour,” explains Wolf. “When I finished the touring for The Magic Position [his previous record] at the end of 2007, I had been on the road for a year and a half. I really sank into some kind of depression during that time. Although I tried to be very hopeful and positive, I was really, really lonely on the road. I was desperately seeking a boyfriend. There was all these great moments happening in my life and I had no one to share them with. In the song ‘Blackdown’, there’s the line, ‘I’ve been alone for so many of these great moments in my life…’ That’s probably the most important lyric on the album. That’s what convinced me that I needed to write these songs and get them out of my system.” “When I met William [his boyfriend], I was very run down and depressed and needed love and care,” continues Wolf. “I’d written all these songs that were dark and in the minor key, but I met this boy that changed my head around and made me think positive things, and then I wrote a whole new set of songs. But I didn’t want to ignore what had happened, but document it. It was important to do both of these new albums at the same time. Once you hear [The Conqueror] you can hear both the past and future.” While The Conqueror may be a more joyous sounding record for Wolf, he stresses that “it’s not the Polyphonic Spree”. The lonely period of his life, following the tour of The Magic Position, has left its mark on the tracks. But overall there’s a stronger theme of hope. The cover of The Bachelor is a reference to Wolf’s very first album, Lycanthropy. Wolf stands in the same pose and the text is arranged in the same vertical fashion. This was a deliberate decision. “I felt that with this album I was returning to the strength I had as a young one. Lycanthropy was recorded during a period of loneliness, so The Bachelor reminded me of when I was 18. I was a total bachelor back then, except I didn’t give a shit
The Lonely Hearts Club Patrick Wolf continues to be one of the truly unique and inventive minds of modern music. On the making of his latest album, The Bachelor, the British songwriter fell in love. By Nick Milligan.
about love,” explains Wolf. “I’m not trying to reproduce anything, I’m doing the opposite. I just happened to be in the same mental position that I was when I was 18. I was alone, thinking about love, but I didn’t really understand it. It was a lonely confidence.” So what would Wolf have thought of The Bachelor if someone had played it to him during the writing of Lycanthropy back in 2002? “I would have thought it was awful,” laughs Wolf. “I was really single-minded back then. I would have thought that what I’m doing now is quite conservative. Once I’ve tried one thing, I explore another. Lycanthropy sounds pubescent, because I was pubescent! I think it’s important to document yourself very honestly. That’s why I love Joni Mitchell more than any other songwriter, because as she grows older she documents each stage of her life.”
After leaving Universal Music, Wolf chose to release The Bachelor via a website called Bandstocks.com, where fans can invest in new album projects and become shareholders. “The music industry is fucked write now. It’s really hard to find someone that cares about
“I’ve always felt like Tilda Swinton’s tw in.” creative control. There’s a reason why Prince works with his fan club. Do you want someone above you saying, ‘Here’s one hundred grand, but you have to do things my way’, or do you go to your fans? Now record labels want a cut of your merchandise and live income, because no one’s buying records. My live income has kept food on my table, so I don’t want to share it with anyone. Bandstocks seemed like
the best way forward and it’s been great!” says Wolf. One of the majestic moments on The Bachelor is Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton’s spoken word performance on ‘Theseus’. Wolf felt that the album needed a sense of hope, so he approached the actress to see if she would like to work with him. Within two days, they were recording together. “I had songs about cancer and suicide and I didn’t want to inspire that in anybody. I didn’t want to glorify negative opinions of the world. I needed a narrator on ‘Theseus’ and my engineer suggested Tilda Swinton. If you don’t ask you don’t get. It shows what a genius actress she is, to be so spontaneous. She’s a true punk and an original. She says that she’s my twin and I agree. I’ve always felt like Tilda Swinton’s twin.” The Bachelor is available now through Speak n Spell. r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
titl e r u n s h e r e
FOLLOW THE LEADER
L e ad e r C h e e tah
Leader Cheetah rose out of your previous band Pharaohs. Did you have a clear idea of how you wanted Leader Cheetah to sound? Not exactly… it was more that I had written some tunes and showed them to the other guys [in Leader Cheetah]. Everyone came on board and it just sounded the way it does. I thought it was pretty cool — big melodies, but a certain rawness to the guitars. It was a natural progression. So most of these songs would have started out as simple acoustic tracks? Yeah, much in the same way that we’re currently sitting on about 20 new songs for the next record. It’s basically just some melodies, a verse, a chorus and some chords on an acoustic guitar. That’s generally how I write. Now my brother [Joel], who plays drums, has been coming up with new ideas. The main embryo is a strong melody, which I take to the band. What can you explore musically with Leader Cheetah that you couldn’t in Pharaohs? I guess the thing with Pharaohs was, we were very young. My brother may have been 13 or 14 when it started. I was in my early 20s. We would just rock up and jam. I’d never really
Musically, ‘Alibi’ was a very early song, along with ‘Bloodlines’ and ‘Fly, Golden Arrow Pt 1’. They were the first Leader Cheetah tunes that came to me. Where did you get the name ‘The Sunspot Letters’? It was actually one of Galileo’s lost manuscripts, that the Vatican got a hold of. It was a study that he’d written on sunspots. I was looking at all the stuff Galileo had done and I thought it sounded great. It felt like a cohesive name. I think you can play our album from beginning to end, and the name tied it together. Are there any recurring themes in the lyrics on your debut album? Melodies are my strong point. Lyrics are something that I have to work on. With The Sunspot Letters, I would come up with a melody and then let it dictate what kind of mood it creates [for lyrics]. Then I’d sing until a little phrase would come — that would then give me an idea of what to write the song about. I’d say 80 per cent of it is personal experiences and friends and people I know. ‘Wasted Life & Times’ is about an old guy that sits at the pub that I work at. I tried to keep the
“I picked up th e acoustic guit a r again… and tu nes just started co ming to me.” sung before, but I knew how to arrange a song and come up with a melody. We would just rehearse until we came up with something that could be a song. It was a slow process. We wrote a fair bit of stuff, but I knew it would take a long while to make another album. There was also definitely tension between myself and the bass player. We were going in different directions. He’s a good guy and I like him, but he’s a Modular DJ now. He’s very into dance music and techno. It’s obviously the opposite end of the spectrum to what I’m into. [The end of Pharaohs] had to happen. I picked up the acoustic guitar again, which I hadn’t done for years, and tunes just started coming to me. The songs wouldn’t fit with Pharaohs, so we started afresh. I approached Dan Pash, our guitarist, because I’ve always been a big fan of his style and tone. Mark [Harding, bass] is an old friend of mine as well, who I’ve always thought is a great musician. It just worked.
With an absorbing sound that combines rustic, 70s guitar fuzz with a modern indie sheen, Adelaide’s Leader Cheetah are the shining new stars of Australian music. Vocalist Dan Crannitch chats with Nick Milligan about his band’s impressive debut record, The Sunspot Letters.
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The biggest and most wondrous song on your album The Sunspot Letters, is ‘Alibi’. What can you tell me about that song? Yeah, it’s a bit of a rocker. I think when people see us live they may be surprised, because we’re more of a rock band. I like the sound of the album — it still rocks, but in more of a hazy, dreamy kind of way. Lyrically, ‘Alibi’ is sort of about being out [on the town] and inebriated. It’s about the thought of… not cheating on your partner, but perhaps being lead into a situation… I have to be careful, because my girlfriend might read this (laughs). The line ‘Reign back the brakes around two, to redirect my love’ is about sobering up and thinking, “Fuck, I better get out of this situation before I wake up and really regret it.” [The song] is about how much your headspace can change when you’re out, and intoxicated by someone or something. It’s got an undertone of regret, but it’s also thankful that things didn’t go too far. It’s probably a sentiment that most people have felt.
lyrics about stuff that I could be sincere about. ‘Fly, Golden Arrow Pt 1’ is from more of a [fictionalised] character, because it’s got that timeless, ‘riding off into the sunset’ theme. You worked with American producer Kramer [Low, Galaxie 500, Butthole Surfers], on this album. What was that like? I love Kramer — we’re very close. He’s also been producing a band called Bridezilla. He recently flew down to Adelaide to hang out for a few days. Want to hear something funny? A guy came up to me at a party and said, ‘Did you know that the guy that produced your album also produced ‘Detachable Penis’ [by King Missile]?’ So when I was catching up with Kramer, I asked him, ‘Did you produce ‘Detachable Penis’? He put his head in his hands then gave me a cheeky smile and said, ‘Yeah… I can’t believe you people know that in this country.’ I said, ‘Dude, it was a big hit over here!’ I thought that was absolutely hilarious. But Kramer is a very intense, passionate, and artistic guy. He’s into catching in-the-moment performances. The songs were all recorded in one take. Kramer despises perfection. He was about making [The Sunspot Letters] emotional and something people will connect with. I definitely think he brought some magic. You guys are playing Splendour In The Grass. Is there anyone you’re looking forward to seeing? There’s another band that Spunk have signed called The Middle East, who are great. I really enjoy watching Sarah Blasko, too. I’m also a big Mark Lanegan fan. I’m even kinda interested in seeing MGMT, just to see what they’ll be like. Leader Cheetah perform at Reverb’s Third Birthday Party on Saturday July 18, 2009. Tickets are on sale now through Moshtix. You can also catch them at Byron Bay’s Splendour In The Grass on Saturday July 25, 2009. The Sunspot Letters is available now through Spunk/EMI.
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came into a deep desire to do our own thing, and filter our influences, as opposed to taking from them. Most musicians go through a couple of incarnations of the styles of music they want to make, before anyone hears them. The strange thing about our band is that some of our earliest recordings are on iTunes. If it were more of a, quote unquote, ‘normal situation’, there may have been a different incarnation of the band, maybe with a different name and different players. What I find really note-worthy and unique is that for
swimmer is done for. But when you look on the back cover, you see that the swimmer is actually quite safe in the belly of the beast, and its journey has begun just there. As a creative outlet, what does fine art allow you that music doesn’t? I’ve always felt that the two were so similar that to focus on one of them would be doing the other a disservice. I’ve really felt that by indulging the visual sides of my art I’ve only allowed more room for expression in the sonic
“[Cr eativity is] like a tiger. You can nev er tame it, you just hav e to lear n to live in the cage with it.” the most part, we’ve been the same group since the beginning. If people are interested, there’s an opportunity for the listener to watch this strange progression that’s been Incubus for the past twenty years. There are two new songs on Monuments and Melodies. If someone had played you, for lack of a better term, the ‘modern’ Incubus sound when the band was first forming, what would you have thought of it? I wouldn’t have known what to think. Part of me probably would have been like, ‘This is lame!’ But part of me looks back on the things we were doing then and thinks, ‘That’s lame!’
Monumental Success With nearly 20 million album sales under their belt, Incubus are reflecting on their back catalogue with a ‘Greatest Hits’ release called Monuments and Melodies. Singer Brandon Boyd speaks with Nick Milligan about the band’s history.
Was it difficult to choose which songs would make this compilation? It was difficult only in the sense that we didn’t want to just put the singles on the album. We felt like that would definitely be undercutting the potential of this album. We didn’t want to take doing a ‘Greatest Hits’ album too lightly. The world is a very big place, and even though there are a lot of people who have heard of our band, there is still a lot that haven’t. So for a lot of people this could be their first introduction to our music, and we have to weigh that in with the fact that the people who have been listening to our music for a couple of decades deserve some new music as well. They’ve already made their own playlists
on their computer. So we tried to put together the best package that we could. The first CD is the more obvious one, which is the singles. The second CD is a lot of unreleased material and rarities that we digged up from the past. Why was this the best time to release this compilation? There’s a few reasons. We have been on a little bit of a hiatus for the past year, doing our best to balance normalcy with the chaos of being a touring band. Our drummer, José, had his first child almost a year ago. Michael and I both wanted to go to school, so we’ve taken this opportunity to do those normal, human being things. In the meantime we
“If I could give any advice to a you nger band, it would be to venture way outside your comfort zone.”
realised that there is definitely a need for us to step back from our career and take a hard look at our career and what we’ve been doing and where we’re going. We need a bench mark. There’s also the fact that contractually we owed our record label a ‘Greatest Hits’ record [laughs]. You were all very young when Incubus formed — around 15 and 16 years of age. Did you have an idea of how you wanted Incubus to sound? When we first started the band we didn’t really have any intentions beyond wanting things to sound — pardon the term — ‘rad’. The guitars were loud, the drums were bashy and I yelled really loud. It was fun. Our intentions were to entertain each other and ourselves. We didn’t believe anyone would like what we did. We were listening to a lot of Primus, old Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Mr Bungle and Firehose. More art-punk, art-rock type stuff. We wanted to just rip off those bands when we first started. When we started getting the hang of it after a few years, we definitely
realm, and vice versa. By allowing myself the freedom to paint, take pictures and write beyond the band, I’m following my muse. Creativity moves in so many directions and moves in a non-linear fashion. You can have moments of success but I find a lot of artists get frustrated. Art really wants to do what it
wants to do. It doesn’t necessarily want to do what the artist wants to do. I’ve used this analogy probably too many times, but it’s like a tiger. You can never tame it, you just have to learn to live in the cage with it. Hopefully you pet it in the right direction and it doesn’t tear your face off. Looking at the songs that are on this compilation, are there any that you’re the most proud of? They’re all children of mine [laughs]. It’s hard for me to pick favourites. But depending what mood I’m in, one will arise. I’m particularly fond of the song ‘Look Alive’. That song has a lot of notes in it and is an exceedingly difficult song for us to play, and it’s a lot of fun when we do. There’s nothing easy about it. Lyrically and melodically, it’s very challenging. When we play it live and pull it off, it brings with it a cool feeling of accomplishment. At the end of the song on the recording, you can hear Ben [Kenney, bassist] do an ecstatic sigh, because I think he felt like his arm was going to fall off by the end of the take.
By Incubus’ standards, your breakthrough single, ‘Drive’, is a laid-back ballad. Did its success surprise you? Yeah, pleasantly surprised. There is never any expectation that a song is going to be successful. We can have a feeling about certain things, and sometimes those feelings have been accurate. But it’s not for us to decide what’s going to work on a mass scale. When that song became really successful for us, it was surprising and elating at the same time. When Michael [Einziger, guitarist] and I wrote that song, we weren’t really thinking it was going to be an Incubus song. We’ve had a lot of songs that were not necessarily intended to do anything. Just songs that were funny, weird and different. We wrote a song on our album Morning View, called ‘Aqueous Transmission’. It’s this Asian sounding, Massive Attack, break beat song. It’s very left field for this band. When we were writing it, we weren’t intending for it to be an Incubus song. We liked how it sounded so we followed it through. It ended up being a live favourite. Monuments and Melodies is out now through
What have been the biggest lessons you have learned about the craft of being a front man? There’s been a lot, to tell you the truth. Some of them are easier to swallow than others. One of the things I have done, consciously and unconsciously, is write melodies that are way out of my range. I write melodies and lyrics that a song wants, whether I have the ability to sing them or not. Occasionally I can’t actually sing what I’ve written very well. I can do it when I’m relaxed and at home, or in a recording studio. When we get to the live forum, there are a few songs that are really, really difficult for me to sing on a nightly basis. I think what I’ve learned over the years is that my unconscious intent is to write melodies that are challenging to me continually. The 15 year old version of me would not have been able to touch the things that I’m singing now, because I didn’t have the ability then. One of the lessons I’ve learned is that to challenge yourself creatively is a really good thing. It’s hard, and it’s heart-breaking sometimes because there are times when you can’t rise to the occasion. But by allowing that challenge into my creative experience I am invariably allowing myself the chance to progress as an artist. If I could give any advice to a younger band, it would be to venture way outside your comfort zone. Write things that you know you can’t sing and then learn to sing them. You created the artwork for Monuments and Melodies. What can you tell me about the image on the cover? I started with the wave lines, then I started moving into a ‘plunge’ of sorts. Venturing deeper than one has allowed themselves to go before. Have you heard the myth of Jonah in the belly of the whale? That started to arrive in my mind’s eye. I didn’t want to regurgitate the same age-old myth, I wanted to put a modern spin on it. I included a personal fascination with deep sea creatures like the angular fish. So I drew the angular fish much bigger than he would normally be, and his bioluminescent lure is the bait that’s drawing the swimmer in. All the swimmer sees is the light and is consumed by the beast. We are naturally assuming that this is a dreaded moment and that the
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M att C orby — V u lgargrad
Y v e s K l e i n B l u e — H e ad O f Stat e
The Sound Of The Future Matt Corby has been around the world and back since finishing second in 2007’s Australian Idol competition. Now he’s returned with a surprisingly mature release. Jess Henderson caught up with Corby at the beginning of his Australian tour. Matt Corby is not shy of the stage — his music career started at the age of 14 when he spent 15 months on the road with Christian R&B band Iron & Clay. Returning home in early 2007, Corby reluctantly returned to school and regular teenage life, but not for long. In May 2007, the aspiring singer made a spur-ofthe-moment decision to audition for Season 5 of Australian Idol. With his past performance experience and obvious natural talent, he was soon a favourite and went on to become one of the few to make it through to the Opera House stage, along with fellow contestant and subsequent winner, Natalie Gauci. Having experienced the height of the music industry’s hysteria, Corby shunned the spotlight after Idol and escaped to the relative anonymity of London and New York to find his sound, his style and most likely himself along the way. “It’s been a really good adventure. I absolutely loved travelling and playing places where I didn’t have that stigma (of being in Idol), and just genuinely seeing what people thought. That was really cool... and I really, really appreciated it. I think I really needed it,” says Corby. “I played a few gigs - just really small little clubs and little venues,” continues the songwriter. “It was really amazing, actually. I had a great time. I think people put a lot more
value on live music over there, over in the UK especially. It didn’t matter who you were, people would listen. One of my first gigs, after I got off stage someone came up to me and said, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry that the crowd was so quiet’, and I’m like, ‘Actually, I’ve never really had that before and it was amazing!’” In just 18 months, Corby has transformed himself from teen pop sensation on Australian Idol, to an artist who has developed his own unique brand of folk-rock – an impressive achievement for someone under 20 years of age. The result of Corby’s transformation is his debut EP Song For… - an eclectic and modest mix of songs, akin to the work of Nick Drake or Jeff Buckley. Corby produced the EP with McGowan Southworth, the co-writer of Ben Lee’s ‘Catch My Diease’. Corby plays a diverse range of instruments on the recording including banjo, glockenspiel, keys, bass and guitar. “The EP is the first step in another direction for me. It’s just like a statement of where I’m at. I’m excited for people to hear it. Whoever I’ve showed it to so far has been like ‘Oh, ok, didn’t see that coming!’” The maturity of Corby’s songwriting is probably the biggest stand out on this release. An unexpected move away from the popinfluenced, mainstream path of previous Idol contestants, Corby is understandably proud of
the tracks. “I’ve been writing for maybe three years. I had a bit of a struggle picking what to put on this [EP] because you don’t get your first one back. I wanted something almost understated, but just something that will make people go, ‘Yeah, that’s nice’. I didn’t want to come out and do this really extravagant thing. I think I did the right thing by this EP.” While Song For… was recorded in a friend’s studio in Sydney over 10 days, the songs went through pre-production while Corby was in New York, working with Southworth. “[Southworth’s] a pretty funny guy. I met up with him in New York. He has these two apartments that are really close to each other
and I stayed in one…it was freezing cold because it was right at the end of December. He’s a really good songwriter and it was great hanging out with him. I brought him all these songs…he fine tuned a couple of them which was really cool. It was really, really fun and he’s super, super talented in the studio. I learnt a lot.” Corby will be showcasing his new songs in a mini tour over the next few months, playing many places for the first time, including Newcastle. “I’m pretty excited [about playing Newcastle]. I’ve heard good things!” Corby muses. “This mini tour is just solo. I’ve been trying to rehearse by myself and it’s really funny. It’s heaps lonely. I’ve got no one to bounce things off! Normally I play with a mini folk band with a banjo and a cello. It should be good just doing this thing acoustic, just with a stompbox and a harp.” After Corby wraps up his Australian tour later in the year he plans to head back to London for more songwriting, shows and life experience. “I actually can’t wait to go back. I absolutely love it. I’m going to London very soon. I’ll be there for almost half a year so I’m very, very excited.” Matt Corby plays the Red Bar at the Cambridge Hotel July 3, with Jenny Queen and Nick Saxon. Tix $12 available from the venue, The Rock Shop, Beaumont St Beat and Moshtix.
Melbourne-based band Vulgargrad, play this style of music and have released their second album King Of Crooks. Lead singer, and notable actor, Yacek Koman takes time with Andrew Chesham to discuss his music, migrating from Poland, and the tricky thing about performing on Spicks And Specks.
You came here from Poland with your brother in 1981. What are your memories of coming to Australia? There was quite a turbulent time before we arrived in Australia. We were suspended in not knowing whether we would be accepted. It took months and months of waiting. We were unemployed and unemployable, with no status. We were not officially refugees, though we were refugees. The last thing on 18
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our minds was of being sent back to Poland. In that time we just had this dream of being here. They could drop us in the middle of the desert in Australia and we could be naked and fend for ourselves from there, but just get us there. So arriving here was quite euphoric. How did the band get together? It is the love child of Andrew Tanner [Contrabass Balalaika] after a few years of living in Moscow, and having collected massive amounts of material in that kind of genre. For the following years he always carried this idea of doing this kind of stuff. The rest of us were kind of head hunted for it.
Blatnaya pesnya means ‘criminal’ or ‘outlaw’ songs. It’s a style of music played in Russia, that focuses on the criminal underworld. The music itself was largely underground until the 50s and 60s when the ‘Khrushchev thaw’ lightened censorship in the Soviet Union.
presenting a song. With your background as an actor, did you feel this to be a natural transition to go from the theatre stage to the concert stage? It’s actually a bit of a leap. It happened in a few phases. It wasn’t immediate, but there’s definitely a connection. But it’s not a small transition, it wasn’t for me anyway. I sang in Moulin Rouge, and a few times on stage. They usually are in character and that, I suppose, is the way in for an actor. Here I felt, at the beginning, very exposed, very naked. I’m not coming on as a character. It is me and I’m
After years of slow-building hype, Brisbane’s indie-rockers Yves Klein Blue are releasing their debut album. Marija Zeko chats to singer Michael Tomlinson. It’s lunchtime and a lovely, enthusiastic voice on the line asks me, “What’s for lunch?” Before I took the call I was getting stuck in to a hearty asparagus soup that has been to turn cold, as I chat away with Michael Tomlinson, vocalist in indie-pop act, Yves Klein Blue. Lunch is the furthest thing from Tomlinson’s mind as he gets stuck into a heap of interviews in anticipation for their album release and nationwide tour. The album Ragged and Ecstatic is “something that you can sit down and listen to for 45 minutes. We tried to make it an experience… it’s about being a young person or for any person, about life and experiences, where we are at this moment in time. It’s emotional with lots of ups and downs. Anyone can relate to it.”
Yves Klein Blue is Tomlinson [guitar/vocals], Chuck Sale [guitar], Sean Cool [bass] and Chris Cross [drums]. Their name was derived from French artist Yves Klein who developed International Klein Blue [or IKB as it is known in art circles] as part of his search for colours which best represented the concepts he wished to convey as an artist. Fascinated with his quest for a special type of blue, the name stuck. “We kinda like the idea of using the meaning of the colour. The music has a certain life and quality that can be traced to the reasoning for the colour. It’s unique and quite special.” The young lads from Brisbane encapsulate where they are at in their lives with a mature approach from a foursome who put their studies on hold whilst they charge full steam
ahead into the music world. “I’m quite proud of this album,” admits Tomlinson. “It’s got a whole lot of styles, indie, pop, you name it. We all listen to different stuff and bring our influences to the table. The album sounds as we wanted it to, the songs are strong with a great vibe.” Happy with the album, the young Brisvegan has also enjoyed some of the perks of being in a band — the touring and travelling. “There are all the wonderful things, a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to go to LA to record, travel the world twice over and do all of Australia,” no boasting intended, Tomlinson throws in. “This is hard work and not at all that glamorous. Sure there’s perks to it, but we do work very hard and then there are all those boring times hanging around hotel
rooms and just waiting around.” Living at home has ensured the boys can undertake this music gig full-time, as holding jobs or studying simply does not fit in with their timetable. Having just come back from a tour of the UK, Yves Klein Blue is keen to go back, as well as embark on their current tour. “It’s going to be fun and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s important to get out there and play, meet the fans and promote the album. I mean we’re very happy with what we’ve done so we need to take it to the people.”
It was the same — being in a room with four guys, the heat, and uncomfortable conditions. It was fun and it was beneficial to us as a unit, but each one of us wanted to kill each other at some point.
Neil Young appreciating our music gave us the confidence to keep going. It blew our minds.
Yves Klein Blue will be at the Cambridge Hotel, July 3, and are supported by Philadelphia Grand Jury. Ragged and Ecstatic is out now through Dew Process.
Spirit of the State
Sounds Criminal What can you tell me about these Russian criminal songs and that type of music? In Russian music, this genre, blatnyak, has existed for centuries and is a very cherished genre. It’s a genre that ranges quite a lot, thematically, musically, and geographically. A lot of it is about gang warfare, honour, love, and it’s often expressed cheesily, and very simply… but perhaps its beauty and appeal is in that it cuts through the mustard and goes straight for the jugular. The material we play is traditionally Russian, but it’s in the hands of musicians who are all young Melbournians. It transforms a little… when the boys decide to give it a Mexican flavour it becomes almost global. We also have a couple of songs in our repertoire of Polish street folklore.
Ragged good looks
I saw Vulgargrad on Specks And Specks. Spicks and Specks is a great show. I love to watch it. Being on it is a trickier thing. You’re preparing six or seven songs, very quickly. And you never know how far into the song you’ll get when you get stopped, so it’s a bit of a gamble if you only learn one verse. Consequently, you’re performing stuff that you’ve never performed with an audience and now you’re in a studio with a live audience. So it’s a bit challenging in that respect.
With this type of music, is there a particular goal you have when making an album? By now we have all performed it with appreciating crowds. Many times we try to click into the spirits of a live performance and recreate it. We have recorded some stuff after only having it for a few months, with only a handful of gigs under our belt. And that was very different. I listen to those recordings now and I can see there is no juice of the live show. I think this time we managed to successfully capture it — as close as possible short of recording it on stage… but we got so pissed. It was useless. That was a bit of a shame. Next time when we get the equipment we’ll have to behave. Vulgargrad will be at the Cambridge Hotel on July 10. The new album, King Of Crooks is available online from indie-cds.com, JB HI-FI, and all good music stores.
Having gained acknowledgement from legends such Tom Waits and Neil Young, one can only assume that Head Of State’s national recognition is not far away. Rejunvenated by the release of their ambitious new double album, The Spirit of the Staircase, it’s full steam ahead for the Newcastle rock band. Sam Tes caught up with bassist Ty Brennock.
coming to the end of the Head of State chapter. We knew that Head of State was a big chunk of our life, so we wanted to document it as something to play to the grandkids. We wanted to record every song that we had finished, which was 23 songs. The rehearsals and the intense recording, which was done over two days, breathed new life into us. It was exactly what we needed. It turned out how we had hoped, but not what we had expected.
Head of State have been together for five years, but for people who are not familiar with the band, how and why did it all start? A couple of us worked together in bottle shops and one of us had a mate who was a singer and he wanted to play with another guy who was a guitarist, and I knew a drummer at the time. It was just playing Neil Young covers that made us a band straight away.
How does it feel to be one of the first bands in Newcastle to have recorded a double album? Good. We didn’t really think about it until some of our friends said they couldn’t think of any other Newcastle band that had done a double album. We didn’t think of the enormity of it, because we didn’t think of it as being heard by anyone else.
What can folks expect to see at a Head of State show? They can expect to see a lot of energy and passion. We don’t do anything we don’t mean and the show will not look rehearsed. We wear what we wear during the day — we don’t try and dress up. It’s a very natural, passionate and organic gig. The Spirit of the Staircase is a double disc album with 23 tracks. What were some of the reasons behind recording a double album? Well, to be honest, we thought we were
In what the music industry would consider record speed, the album was done in two days. How enormous was this task? Full on. It was the hottest weekend over the summer and we were in an industrial shed that didn’t breathe. It was all metal, and I think the temperature in the studio was high 40s, so we were soaked in sweat. It took the thinking out of it, after an hour in there our natural instincts kicked in because we were so drained. We just played until it worked. What were the best and worst experiences in the studio?
What can long time fans of Head of State expect to see on this album, compared to your previous release and gigs? Over the past couple of years we have had the opportunity to play with our favourite bands and we have been able to see how they play and experience it. When you have to open for The Drones you’ve got to at least be on their level of passion. The Tom Waits acknowledgements and
Where do you see yourself in three years and what do you hope to have achieved? This band has always been done for pleasure and purity. We just hope that people will hear the record and love it. Hopefully a staple on the Aussie music scene would be great. We would love to tour with the Drones, British India or the Dukes of Windsor. Anyone but Eskimo Joe, that music is too pedestrian. Head of State launch The Spirit of the Staircase Saturday, August 1 at the Cambridge Hotel. r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
R E V E R B r e tro s pEctivE
Three Years and Counting
AT THE STATIO THIS MONTH....
After three years of existence, Reverb is showing no signs of slowing down. Publisher Kevin Bull and Editor Nick Milligan take a moment to reflect on 36 issues — and both agree, the future is bright.
Three years of Reverb… personally I feel a lot of satisfaction in this achievement. My first involvement with the magazine was way back in Issue 7 [February 07] when some live images of mine found their way onto the page. Two issues later, the Central Coast supplement was born, and I was writing for Reverb. Then, a dramatic turn of events occurred mid-June 2007. While preparing for Issue 12, I was told that Reverb might not make it to the next issue. I contacted the publisher at the time, Tommy Leung, to find out what the real story was. Within a couple of weeks, I had purchased Reverb and it was full steam ahead. Looking back over the two years and 24 issues that I have had a direct involvement with, there are many moments I am proud of. Firstly, there has been a major change in the look of the magazine over this time. We have always wanted to move away from a ‘street press’ feel, and I believe that with the support of Nick [Milligan, editor], Kieran [Ferguson, production] and Cameron [Bennett, production], we have finally nailed it. When you flick through the pages, it is now a magazine you are reading. Being established for three years now gives us the access to the major artists. Being able to run interviews with Marilyn Manson [Issue 13, August 07], Pete Townshend [Issue 20, March 08], Dandy Warhols [Issue 24, July 08], and Alice Cooper [coming very soon] has been great for all involved. There is also the access we are getting for live reviews. When I started a couple of years ago, it felt that the live reviews were not that important. Now we have at least two pages of reviews, and about 15 each month. Personally, this is my outlet, to be able to photograph these artists. I have said that I purchased Reverb so I could get access to the photo pit. There is a little bit of truth in this statement [only a little bit], but to be able to get access to Black Sabbath, Smashing Pumpkins, The Mars Volta, Leonard Cohen, Kings of Leon, Billy Joel, Sting, The Who and most recently Pink, is amazing. To top it off, Reverb was given photo access to this year’s Big Day Out. A big coup for the magazine. There was one particular event that tops them all though. Reverb had a big hand in bringing Helmet to Newcastle in 2008. We presented the show, organised the supports, and promoted it as much as we could. We even ran around town pasting up big posters at 3am. To be able to put on lunch for Page Hamilton and the band, to sit in on their sound check, and to see how successful the night was gave me great satisfaction. One final thing that I am really pleased with is the number of contributors we now have involved. There was a time where most of the writing and photography was being done by 20
r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
Issue 1 – August 06
Issue 28 – November 08
The Mars Volta – Hordern Pavilion, 19th June 2008
Issue 7 – February 07
Issue 22 – May 08
Smashing Pumpkins – V Fest 2008, March 29, 2008
Issue 20 – March 08
Issue 12 – July 07
Rage Against The Machine – Sydney Ent CenT, January 22, 2008
three or four people. Now we have about 20 writers and photographers actively involved. To give these passionate people an outlet is very pleasing. Thank you very much guys. Your work is greatly appreciated. Looking ahead, we have our 3rd Birthday party at the Cambridge on July 18. The night will be amazing — great music, and the perfect way for us to celebrate three years in print. The other big plan is to expand our distribution. As of the August 2009 issue, Reverb will be available all the way to the Queensland border. We will cover from the Central Coast to Tweed Heads. It is a mighty challenge, but we believe in the quality of the magazine, and the benefit that having one publication covering such a wide area will bring to the industry. Finally, thank you to all our faithful readers. Without you, we are nothing. Much love, Kevin.
Issue 13 – August 07
Issue 35 – June 09
Nobody ever said it would be easy to run an independent magazine, but it’s a challenge that truly inspires creative output. After three solid years of Reverb, we don’t feel like the underdogs any more. This fine publication has become an integral part of the rich and unique culture that exists in Newcastle, the Central Coast and Maitland. We’ve lasted longer than any other local streetpress that’s come before us, which has only enforced the idea that these areas need a voice. No one should underestimate what Kevin Bull has done for Reverb Magazine. He essentially saved this important publication two years ago, and his unbridled dedication is completely invaluable to Reverb’s past two years and now its future. What makes being the editor of Reverb so satisfying, is that when I pick up our monthly publication I see a product that is of an international quality. We pack in more substance per square inch than anyone else. All killer, no filler. It’s clearly time to grow even further. As of our August issue, Reverb will begin distributing up to the northern coast of NSW — places like Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and Port Macquarie. I suppose it would be selfish to keep this great magazine to ourselves, so we’re spreading the love. It will mean even greater exposure for the local bands that we cover, plus an increased communication between acts that are based along the east coast of Australia. Everybody wins. There’s been many highlights during my time as Reverb’s editor. Two years ago I was given the opportunity to fill the very big shoes of our first editor, Larissa Meikle. I inherited a publication that was full of potential. Having been a contributor to previous local magazines like Uturn, I felt a strong passion and a responsibility to prove that it was possible to sustain Reverb into the distant future. Our region deserves it. Of course, there’s too many great interviews and way too many amazing shows to mention. But as I’m often asked to pick favourites, I’ll attempt to single a few out for you. The perpetrators of the best live performances I’ve seen during my time with Reverb have been Daft Punk, Band Of Horses, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Paul Kelly, Neil Young, Rage Against The Machine, the Pixies, Pearl Jam, Fleet Foxes, Ryan Adams, Gnarls Barkley and last, but definitely not least, Leonard Cohen. I said I’d only mention a few. I lied. Write me an angry letter. The best interviews? It’s always the ones you least suspect. Always. Artists build a reputation as ‘journalist haters’ and all-round pricks, because they spend their lives being interviewed by hateful journalists and allround pricks. I’ve never pretended to do a well-researched interview, because there’s nothing more transparent to an artist. You have to research your arse off. If you love music, then it shouldn’t be an ordeal. If a band has spent six months recording an album, why would they want to be interviewed by someone who hasn’t even listened to the fruits of their labour? You would be horrified to know how often this happens. I don’t want to sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet. I can’t play any instruments. But I’m constantly surprised by how many famous [and supposedly difficult] musicians thank me at the end of our interviews. Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream insisted that we keep chatting long after our designated time was up. Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell, who is renowned for avoiding media interviews, told his British record label that he wanted to chat to more Australian music journalists if they
T h u r J u l y 2 - B a c k r o o m 10 p m - $ $ $ Stone Parade
F r i J u l y 3 - B a c k r o o m 10 p m - $ $ $ S hivering Indies, Purenvy
S a t J u l y 4 - B a c k r o o m 10 p m - $ $ $ were all as nice as me. Nick Littlemore and Luke Steele from Empire Of The Sun told me that I am unlike any other interviewer they’d sat down with. Apparently, I “actually seem to like music.” They even took me to Circular Quay and shouted me drinks afterwards. This would all sound like grandiose chestbeating on my behalf, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m not a grandiose journalist. I’m just someone that needs to listen to music when they wake up in the morning and go to sleep the same way. I’m obsessed. This enthusiasm rubs off on the people I have the privilege of interviewing. So when someone asks me, ‘Who has been really difficult to interview?’, I don’t really have an answer. I hate name-dropping, but after three years of Reverb, I think I have some credit in the bank. Take a deep breath. My favourite interviews have been with James Mercer from The Shins [I had coffee with him for an hour], Marilyn Manson [articulate, intelligent and an ex-music journalist], Kings Of Leon [polite and well-spoken], Frank Black of the Pixies [wry sense of humour — very chatty], Matt Damon [uber-famous, very down-to-earth], Tori Amos [one of Richard Kingsmill’s worst ever interviews — I must have gotten her on a good day], Danger Mouse [one-half of Gnarls Barkley and my favourite producer — awesome guy], Daniel Johns [supposedly very shy, but no], Dylan Moran [so delightfully normal it was almost disappointing], Weird Al Yankovic [extremely genial and concise], Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth [actually not an easy interview, but it’s Kim Gordon], Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta [he’s meant to be eccentric... but, no], Courtney Taylor-Taylor of The Dandy Warhols [a very effortless man to speak with], Kurt Cobain [yeah, I wish], The Presets [I ventured to Modular Records in Sydney to discuss their then unreleased record Apocalypso — I suppose it was a minor success for them], Paul Kelly [one of my all-time heroes — he didn’t disappoint], Tim Rogers [he’ll give you too many ingenius quotes to fit in the one article] and last but not least, Pete Townshend [delisciously arrogant, but that often makes for the best interviews]. My sentimental favourites also include Claudio Sanchez from Coheed and Cambria, and Ben Bridwell from Band Of Horses. I also once interviewed Chit Chat from Machine Gun Fellatio while he was on some very effective substances — we spoke ‘on the record’ for an epic 90 minutes. Besides the odd brush with fame, the most satisfaction I get from being a part of the Reverb family is spreading the word about little known bands — particularly the unsigned acts in our local scene. Reverb gives back to the community as much as our readers, the music industry and our contributors give to us. We couldn’t do it without the townsfolk of Newcastle, the Central Coast and Maitland behind us. We feel this support every day and we love you for it. If you promise to keep that support in plentiful supply, then we pledge to keep producing the best mag on the face of the planet. Here’s to the future. Much love and good wishes, Nick Milligan.
Autoly sis, New Blood ( gong ), Epileptic Fist F--- (qld), M eatgrinder (Qld), G rannyfist
Sun July 5 - Front Bar 8pm - free The Coconut Trio, Jen Buxton
W e d J u l y 8 - F r o n t B a r 9. 3 0 p m - f r e e Inhale the Sea, The Cold Front, Sagacity
S a t J u l y 11 - B a c k r o o m 10 p m - $ $ $ The Clap, Bitc hc raft
Sun July 12 - Front bar 8pm - free
La Dispute (US), To the Nor th, Like Alas ka
Wed July 15 - Fr ont Ba r - fr ee The Playtapes band, Tbc
F r i J u l y 17 - B a c k r o o m 10 p m - $ $ $ D eclan Kelly, The Fis her King
S a t J u l y 1 8 - B a c k r o o m 10 p m - $ $ $ Stand D efiant (tas), M indsets (vic)
S u n J u l y 19 - F o n t B a r 8 p m - f r e e The Coconut Trio, Jen Buxton
W e d J u l y 2 2 - F r o n t B a r 9. 3 0 - f r e e Slowburn, Worlds Apar t, The Rains, 10 paces
F r i J u l y 2 4 - B a c k r o o m 10 p m - $ $ $ Barrellhouse
Sun July 26 - Front Bar 8pm free The Haveloc ks, M ic k Fer ffoglia, Jen Buxton
F r i J u l y 3 1 - B a c k r o o m 10 p m - $ $ $ Nucleus (syd), Level 8
S a t A u g u s t 1 - B a c k r o o m 10 p m - $ $ $ Bug Girl, The Clap
Live It Up Karaoke thur,fri& sat 9.30
Kurt’s Rock Trivia Sunday from 7.30
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cnr BEAUMONT & FERN ST’s ISLINGTON myspace.com/hamiltonstationhotel 02 4961 3852 OPEN 9.30AM-3AM DAILY EXCEPT SUN 10AM-MIDNIGHT r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
y u k s e k — al e x i s o n fir e
m e at p u pp e t s
FINE Young Cardinals
Lighting up clubs around the world with his super-slick explosions of futuristic dance music, Parisian producer Yuksek, aka Pierre-Alexandre Busson, is certainly a hot ticket on the international festival circuit. Before returning to Australia to perform at Splendour In The Grass, Yuksek took a moment [in his thick French accent] to chat with Noah Cross. Your last trip to Australia was for Parklife — how have you found Australian audiences? Australia has some of the most energetic crowds I have seen. They are funny, in a way, because they are dressing to come to a festival. They really want to hear new stuff and dance to it. It’s very cool to play in Australia.
Are you a fan of any Australian artists? I’m a really big fan of Midnight Juggernauts and Cut Copy. Like many bands from Australia, they make electronic pop music and I’m definitely into it — I have a good feeling about it. Before making your debut album Away From The Sea, did you have a clear idea of how you wanted it to sound? I wanted to make a full album that you can listen to at home, from the first track to the last track. Not just a compilation of dance tracks, but a journey with some pop arrangements — a special atmosphere. Are your lyrics always in English? Yeah, because of my influences and also because it’s difficult to release lyrics in French. It’s doesn’t work too much in electronic music because of the rhythm. English is much more easy to match the rhythm to the voice. French is more strange, I haven’t found a good way to make it work. When you write your songs, are you thinking about how they will sound live or are you more studio-focused? I don’t think about it too much, actually. When I work on the tracks live, I just find a new way to produce them. But it’s not the first thing I think about. Why was Away From The Sea the best name for the record? It’s trippy, but it’s mostly because I work in a dark studio under the ground. I’m in the eastern part of France, so I’m really away from the sea. But I try to make positive music, not dark music. It’s the sea as a symbol of feeling good. 22
r e v e r b m ag a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
You played in a number of French pop bands before turning your attention to electronic music. Have you found more creative freedom as an electronic producer? Yeah, I think so. I like to work alone, because in some projects I work with friends. I like to find a way to produce music without having boundaries. You don’t have limits for production and writing [in electronic music]. What drew you to electronic music? It was new and interesting. I discovered Aphex Twin, some Detroit techno and early Daft Punk. It was very wide. I also liked Bjork and her electronic stuff. It was a new world. What can you tell me about the electronic scene in France at the moment? There’s a lot of very interesting producers and many cool things. Of course there is Justice, and also my friends like Brodinski. You’ve made remixes of songs by bands like Kaiser Chiefs, Phoenix, Van She, Ghostface Killah, Chromeo, and M83 — what are the biggest challenges in remixing a song? Honestly, it’s always been easy for me. I never have too much trouble. It’s always a pleasure and an easy time. It’s much more easy than doing my own stuff. But someone like Ghostface Killah has a particular way of singing, so that was a bit more difficult. Do you have many projects coming up? After I finish touring the album, I’m producing an album by The Bewitched Hands, a band who worked with me on one of my tracks. I also have a new project with Brodinski. I have many things to do. I always need to be doing something, whether it’s producing music for me or other people, or doing remixes — I cannot stop working. Away From The Sea is out now. Catch Yuksek at Splendour In The Grass, which takes place in Byron Bay on July 25 and 26. Check him out at myspace.com/yuksek.
photo © vanessa heins
Canadian hardcore five-piece, Alexisonfire, have just released their fourth album — Old Crows/Young Cardinals. Sean Frazer speaks to rhythm guitarist Wade MacNeil, about their new album, side projects, tour and the land Down Under. Your new album is titled Old Crows/Young Cardinals. How did the title come about? We had written the song called ‘Young Cardinals’ around the same time that we were trying to come up with a title for the album. It’s a song about everything that’s really wrong in the world, all the horrific stuff that’s going on. In saying that, there’s a lot of beauty and a lot of peace and a lot of hope. We brought together this idea that you’re sitting on your couch and watching the news — watching everything that’s going wrong in the world, and at the same time nature is outside and is a separate idea. The song’s got a fairly diverse meaning to it to say the least. What makes Young Cardinals fresh? We’ve definitely built on things. We’ve tried not to repeat ourselves and tried to do something different. I think the biggest change for us has been the vocals. George [Pettit, vocals] has started singing on this album, and I think that’s definitely going to freak a lot of people out. I’d have to say there is barely any screaming on the record at all, actually. He’s singing but at the same time it’s not singing. It’s more of a brutal shout kind of thing. I think its heavier sounding, and it’s more audible — you can pick out what he is saying a lot better. It’s a change — I think it’s a good change. Which is your favourite song on the album? I’d have to say ‘Young Cardinals’. From the minute we wrote it I just felt the itching to play it live, it just felt like “the one”. People will rip each other’s heads off in the pit… it hasn’t happened yet, but I can’t wait for it! You guys have been in a few side projects, experimenting with different styles of music. Do you believe that may have increased and influenced your writing for Alexisonfire? Yes and no. We hold a certain kind of standard as to what we want Alexis songs to be. So I don’t think it really influences that much, other than maybe it helps to write and play with other people. Because Dallas [Green, guitar] has an acoustic project, it doesn’t mean we’re going to start doing acoustic music.
Who does the majority of the writing for Alexisonfire? It’s very collaborative. It’s pretty much everybody. Things always start with a very basic idea, with a couple of riffs or a chorus, something like that. Mostly Dallas or myself coming up with a basis for something, and then everyone puts their stamp on it and we change it and change it, until everyone’s happy and we’ve got something to be proud of. What inspires you? I think the biggest thing that has happened to us as a band was going on tour with Hot Water Music. I’ve been a huge fan of the band since I was very young. Going on tour and seeing the way they played every night, and how gracious they were was inspiring. Just by the way they treated us; the way they treated their fans, the way they looked at life and music. How do you guys prepare for months on the road? We will usually stockpile on a lot of books, comics and I’ve got this really old scooter, a Vesper. I’ve been spending a fair bit of time working on that thing and trying to get it running. Everyday after we play, I can leave the Warped Tour because it makes me miserable. Are there ever any arguments on the road? We all grew up together; I’ve known Chris [Steele, bass] since we were seven. We grew up playing hockey and baseball together, we’re like brothers. But sometimes it has come to blows between us [laughs] — a couple of black eyes and some hurt feelings. There’s also the chance of a few tears here and there. When can we expect to see Alexisonfire back in Australia? It’s going to be a little while. We’ve got a bunch of tours booked already. We’ve got to get through North America and Europe first, but definitely early in the new year we should be coming down under. Old Crows/Young Cardinals is out through Shock.
As one of Kurt Cobain’s favourite bands, Meat Puppets’ influence has left an indelible imprint on modern music. Overcoming their tumultuous past and continuing a legacy that now spans almost 30 years, this legendary group has returned to a creative peak. Nick Milligan spoke with bassist Cris Kirkwood about Meat Puppets’ wonderous new record, Sewn Together. “At the moment I’m under an underpass in St. Louis, it’s three in the morning and we’re lost. It’s the typical American punk rock story. Punk rock really is the refuge of the genetically deficient,” says Cris Kirkwood, with selfdeprecating candor. “Things are starting to disintegrate and the edges are getting frayed.” It seems that after 29 years, Meat Puppets have come full circle. In a career that contains 12 diverse studio albums, drug addictions, prison sentences and multiple reunions, Meat Puppets have proven themselves as muscular as their name suggests. Cris founded the band with his brother, guitarist and vocalist Curt Kirkwood in 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona. Initially focusing on abrasive hardcore punk, the trio [which also included drummer Derrick Bostrom] moved towards a softer concoction of psychedelic rock and alt-country. So how does being in Meat Puppets in 2009 compare to being a member of the band in the early 80s? “‘Some things will never change’,” chuckles Cris, quoting the band’s 1994 single ‘Backwater’, which was also their highest charting song on the Billboard 100. “‘They stand there looking backwards, half unconscious from the pain’. What changes? Not too much. Some of the old songs start to apply even more. Curt and I have been playing together for so long, and it’s great to be able to still do what we do. It feels like it always has been.Life is short, man. The amount of time it takes for a human monkey to be hatched, grow wings and fade away, is a mere twinkling.” By the release of their seventh studio album Forbidden Places, in 1991, Meat Puppets had developed an unshakable cult following. Their swelling fan base even included popular acts like Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, Soundgarden and famously Nirvana. Kurt Cobain was such an adamant supporter that he demanded MTV allow him to include Cris and Curt Kirkwood in Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged live broadcast. Their appearance was made all the more legendary when Cobain took his own life less than five months after it was recorded. This officially brought Meat Puppets to a mainstream audience. Their next record, 1994’s Too High Too Die, would prove to be the trio’ greatest commercial success. “[The MTV Unplugged] show was always going to mean a lot of exposure, because Nirvana was fuckin’ huge at that point,” enthuses Cris. “But we obviously didn’t know that it was going to go on to be what it was. Who knew that Kurt was going to fuckin’ do that himself? Whenever someone does that, every piece of their work is going to take on so much more significance.” At one point it looked as though Cris Kirkwood might share Cobain’s similarly tragic
Sewing , v e r brok e u p e y l l a e r s u “Neither of ced hiatus.” u d n -i f l e s a I just I took fate. Around the time of Meat Puppets’ largest commercial high in 1994, Cris’ addiction to heroin and cocaine was spiraling out of control. His wife died of an overdose and many feared that Cris would be next. Curt tentatively continued writing music under the Meat Puppets name, but Cris’ problem forced the bassist out of the band. The spiral came to a horrific climax, when in 2003, Cris attacked a post office security guard with his own baton. In self defence, the guard shot Cris in the stomach. Kirkwood was arrested upon discharge from hospital and served a two year prison sentence. It’s Cris Kirkwood’s troubled history that
makes his reunion with brother Curt, and their subsequent two records, 2007’s Rise To Your Knees and Sewn Together, so triumphant. But was initially rejoining Meat Puppets a difficult decision? “No, not for me,” replies Cris. “The decision was made by Curt. Neither of us really ever broke up, I just I took a self-induced hiatus. Then I got back to a point where I was someone that Curt would be willing to play with again. Curt called me and it was a no brainer. We re-established our musical relationship by making Rise To Your Knees.” Meat Puppets’ new release, Sewn Together, demonstrates the Kirkwood brothers’ return to the height of their songwriting powers.
From beginning to end, it’s a melodic masterpiece and psychedelic journey that warrants repeated listens. “Curt has always been the creative engine behind the Meat Puppets,” conveys Cris. “The band wouldn’t have happened if Curt wasn’t such a motivated and prolific songwriter. Me and Derrick [Bostrom] were important too, but Curt gave us a vessel to fill up with the Meat Puppets’ noise.” Let’s hope there’s more Meat Puppets noise around the corner. Sewn Together is available now through Stomp/Sub Pop. r e v e r b m ag a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
3 July 4 July
Psycho Zydeco The Choirboys
5 July 9 July 16 July 23 July
Mick Hart Ophelia of the Spirits Dr Goodvibe Borich x Borich & Brus
24 July 25 July 30 July 31 July
Mark Seymour & Sarah Humphreys Mark Seymour & Sarah Humphreys Mark Wilkinson The Blues Preachers
1 Aug 5 Aug
8 Aug 11 Aug 12 Aug 17 Aug 19 Aug 20 Aug
Beccy Cole L&L
Jack Jones Erina High Showcase Playjerise Kincumber High Showcase L&L Slava & Leonard Grigoryan
21 Aug The Nielsen Gough Quartet
For bookings and information, phone (02) 4368 2017 or visit lizottes.com.au
r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 5 — j u n e 2 0 0 9
Monday July 27
Cambridge Hotel Dropsaw Hamilton Station Hotel The Playtapes Band Lizotte’s, Kincumber Charlie Crook + M. Carney Ensemble + Phil Edgeley + Sam Hawksely Lizotte’s, New Lambton Melody Pool + Lawrence Baker
Cambridge Hotel Hospital The Musical + Worlds Apart + Safe Hands Hamilton Station Hotel Slowburn + Worlds Apart + The Rains + 10 Paces Lizotte’s, Kincumber Benjalu
Enmore Theatre The Specials Hordern Pavilion Jane’s Addiction + Children Collide
Cambridge Hotel Augie March Chilli Lounge, Wyong Capulet Lizotte’s, New Lambton Paul Greene + Liana Rose Queens Wharf Brewery Renee Geyer
Wednesday July 1 Cambridge Hotel Lamplight Croation Club, Wickham Alps of New South Wales Hamilton Station Hotel Stonehawk + Cota Laycock Street Theatre Stevie Wright spoken word Lizotte’s, Kincumber Mark Moldre single launch + Steve Smillie + Jamie Hutchings Lizotte’s, New Lambton Emily Rose + Mark Wilkinson + Kings Fool + Racz and Waters Wickham Park Hotel Merewether Fats Blues Jam
Thursday July 2 Beachcomber Hotel, Toukley Mark Cashin Cambridge Hotel The Fumes + Claude Hay + The Protectors Hamilton Station Hotel Blackchords + Stone Parade + Broadway Mile Lizotte’s, Kincumber Cotton, Keys and Morris + Jenny Biddle Queens Wharf Brewery Nick Saxon
30 Aug Sophie Serafino
Thursday July 16
23 Aug Troy Cassar-Daley 27 Aug Bushwackers 28 Aug The Badloves
28 Aug James Morrison
Wednesday July 15
Lizotte’s, Kincumber Psycho Zydeco Lizotte’s, New Lambton The Choirboys Newcastle Entertainment Centre Pink The Loft My Future Lies + A December Truth + Zygotic + Neverminds + Crystal Cove + A Nighttime Skyway View Factory Barrel House Wickham Park Hotel Dali’s Angels + Scotch Creek Woodport Inn, Erina Nino Brown
Kelona Ocean + Phil Edgeley + Moondog Blues + Sam Hawksley Woodport Inn, Erina Nick Skitz + Timmy Trumpet
Friday July 3
Sunday July 5
Cambridge Hotel Matt Corby + Jenny Queen + Nick Saxon Cambridge Hotel Yves Klein Blue + Philadelphia Grand Jury Chilli Lounge, Wyong Gilbert Whyte + Nick and Leisl + Sarah White + Eddie Smeeth Club Tuggerah Kotodama Doyalson RSL Bertie Blackman + Dali’s Angels + The Parkers + One Jonathon Genr8r, Belmont He Died Gallant + Halyard + The Chestnuts + Bye Bye Birdy + The Fuse + DJ Powers Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland Great Dividing Range Hamilton Station Hotel Shivering Indies + Purenvy Lass O’Gowrie Hotel The Bedroom Philosopher + Josh Earl + The Awkwardstra
Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland The Fumes + Claude Hay Hamilton Station Hotel The Coconut Trio + Jen Buxton Lizotte’s, Kincumber Mick Hart Lizotte’s, New Lambton Adalita (Magic Dirt) Oasis Youth Centre, Wyong The Amity Affliction + Deez Nuts + Break Even + Ligeia + Louix Knuxx
Wednesday July 8 Cambridge Hotel Broadway Mile Hamilton Station Hotel Inhale The Sea + The Cold Front + Segacity Lizotte’s, Kincumber Carus Thompson + Ray Mizzi + Lawrence Baker + Adam Menser band Lizotte’s, New Lambton
Chilli Lounge, Wyong Fire! Santa Rosa Fire! + Tom Ugly + Stolen Memories Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland Backsliders Lizotte’s, Kincumber Borich x Borich + Brus Lizotte’s, New Lambton Clint Crighton + Mike Clifford + Julieanne Crighton Peninsula Theatre Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen York Theatre, Sydney The Gutter Twins
Thursday July 9 Cambridge Hotel Bacardi Band Search - Heat 1 Carus Thompson Lizotte’s, New Lambton Israel Cannon
Friday July 17
Saturday July 4 Beach Hotel Candy and the Full Hearts Chilli Lounge, Wyong Searching Within + A December Truth + Of The Red Sea + Amy Rose and the Bones Diggers at the Entrance Mark Cashin Hamilton Station Hotel Autolysis + Ebolie + Epileptic Fist F**k + Meatgrinder + Grannyfist Lass O’Gowrie Hotel The Understudy + New Neighbors + Caitlin Park + Birds & Belles Lizotte’s, Kincumber The Choirboys Lizotte’s, New Lambton Daryl Braithwaite Newcastle Entertainment Centre Pink Woodport Inn, Erina The Fumes + Claude Hay
Thursday July 23
Friday July 10 Cambridge Hotel VulgarGrad + Mojo Juju and the Snake Oil Merchants Chilli Lounge, Wyong Sketching Cato + Kitsch + Jess Loche + Shouts The Motorcade Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland Kim Churchill Lass O’Gowrie Hotel Great Dividing Range + Of The Red Sea + The Karma Cops Lizotte’s, Kincumber Ange Murphy + Danielle McIvor Lizotte’s, New Lambton Tim Freedman + Shelley Harland Wickham Park Hotel Mighty King Snakes Woodport Inn, Erina Endorphin
Saturday July 11 Chilli Lounge, Wyong Boston Shaker + Waltz n Black + Hansel Halekulani Bowling Club Felicity Urquhart + Makaylie Foodey + Kaylah-Anne Hamilton Station Hotel The Clap + Bitchcraft Lizotte’s, New Lambton Tim Freedman + Adrian Deutsch View Factory Amy Vee + Maxine Kauter + Jason Lowe
Sunday July 12 Hamilton Station Hotel La Dispute + To The North + Like Alaska Lizotte’s, New Lambton Bondi Cigars
Cambridge Hotel Infusion + The Dirty Secrets Pinky Beecroft + The Havlocks + The James Buckingham Experience Chilli Lounge, Wyong Saltwater + Simon Kelly Hamilton Station Hotel Declan Kelly + The Fisher King Lizotte’s, Kincumber Don McGlashan Lizotte’s, New Lambton Christine Anu Wheeler Place Ivy Island Wickham Park Hotel Rubix Cuba + The Karma Cops + The Rum Corps + Brett O’Malley + Fiona Magee + Grant Wolter + Jessica Cain Woodport Inn, Erina Nick Skitz
Saturday July 18 Cambridge Hotel Reverb 3rd Birthday Party w/ Leader Cheetah + The Seabellies + The Tunstalls + Fear of Monsters Chilli Lounge, Wyong Promisques + Lunchy + Aztek Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland Pinky Beecroft and the White Russians Hamilton Station Hotel Stand Defiant + Mindsets Lizotte’s, New Lambton The Flood Northern Star Hotel Whiskey Go Gos
Sunday July 19 Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland The Ray Mann Three Hamilton Station Hotel The Coconut Trio + Jen Buxton Lass O’Gowrie Hotel Tall Jenny + Magic Flash + Wirehead + Alps of New South Wales + Nick Van Dominck + Johnny Illiterate Lizotte’s, Kincumber Amber Lawrence Lizotte’s, New Lambton Damien Leith
4 July 5 July 8 July 10 July 11 July 12 July 15 July 16 July
Daryl Braithwaite Adalita (Magic Dirt) L&L Tim Freedman Tim Freedman Bondi Cigars L&L Paul Greene
17 July 18 July 19 July 22 July 24 July 25 July
Christine Anu The Flood & Amber Lawrence Damien Leith L&L Chris Gudu (Africa) Mental As Anything
Tuesday July 28 Enmore Theatre The Specials Hordern Pavilion The Flaming Lips Manning Bar Friendly Fires Metro Theatre White Lies Oxford Art Factory Manchester Orchestra
Wednesday July 29 Cambridge Hotel Brittle Civic Theatre Traces Entrance Leagues Club Birds of Tokyo + Numbers Radio + The Veld Lizotte’s, Kincumber Damien Leith Lizotte’s, New Lambton Nick Saxon + Kotadama Metro Theatre Doves
Thursday July 30 The Shivering Indies
Friday July 24 Cambridge Hotel Fictions Chilli Lounge, Wyong Spread The Ashes + Villian + Outsane + The Shivering Indies Foreshore Park Mojo Ju Ju and Snake Oil Merchants Hamilton Station Hotel Barrel House Lizotte’s, Kincumber Mark Seymour + Sarah Humphreys Lizotte’s, New Lambton Chris Gudu Woodport Inn, Erina NIk Fish
Bar On the Hill, Newcastle Uni Paper Prophets Civic Theatre Traces Gee Wizz, Blush Night Club, Gosford Mark My Words + Persist + One Day At Horrorland Lizotte’s, Kincumber Mark Wilkinson Metro Theatre Doves Wyong Leagues Club The Angels
31 July George Smilovici
1 Aug 2 Aug 7 Aug 9 Aug
Adam Harvey FourPlay Galapagos Duck Mark Seymour
14 Aug Mark Wells 19 Aug L&L
Saturday July 25 Bayview Tavern, Woy Woy Christina Crofts Byron Bay Splendour in the Grass Cambridge Hotel Matrix Chilli Lounge, Wyong Omnishow + Lights Out + The Parkers + The Ideal Height Doyalson RSL The Radiators Lizotte’s, Kincumber Mark Seymour + Sarah Humphreys Lizotte’s, New Lambton Mental As Anything Newcastle Panthers Something With Numbers
Sunday July 26 Chilli Lounge, Wyong Behind Crimson Eyes + Twelve Foot Ninja + Forgiven Rival Hamilton Station Hotel The Havelocks + Mick Ferffoglia + Jen Buxton Lizotte’s, New Lambton Elana Stone
20 Aug Jack Jones
Friday July 31 Cambridge Hotel Lost Valentinos Civic Theatre Traces Hamilton Station Hotel Nucleus + Level 8 Lizotte’s, Kincumber The Blues Preachers Lizotte’s, New Lambton George Smilovici Newcastle Panthers Eskimo Joe Woodport Inn, Erina Mobin Master + Alan Thompson
21 Aug 22 Aug 27 Aug 28 Aug 29 Aug
Doug Parkinson Jenifer Green sings Strictly Bassey Rock Quiz trivia Bushwackers The Badloves
For bookings and information, phone (02) 4956 2066 or visit lizottes.com.au
r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 5 — j u n e 2 0 0 9
album of the month
Warpaint Live Stomp
EMI 4.5/5 Having patiently waited in the wings while vocalist Ian Kenny’s side project, and now commercial success story, Birds Of Tokyo took to spotlight, Karnivool raise their beastly heads and let out an almighy growl. Four years in the making, Sound Awake raises the bar for any future hard rock album to come out of this country - it is that good. It carries a bass sound so heavy that it makes your stomach tighten, and progressive elements that demand that you take an active part in the music. ‘Set Fire To The Hive’ is a full force, up-tempo assault. Ian Kenny’s treated vocals, Goddard’s buzzing guitar lines, and the top notch syncopation from the rhythm section makes it a stand out. The 12 minute ‘Deadman’, with its tribal drumming and frail vocal/guitar breakdowns contains everything that is good about Karnivool, all encapsulated with one almighty song. It’s a journey that takes you to the heights of euphoria, pulls you back so you can take a breath, before giving you a further beating. Karnivool has stepped up to the mark, given Birds of Tokyo an almighty kick to their pop-tainted arses, and shown the international market how it’s done. For fans of: The Mars Volta, Tool. ~Kevin Bull
Manchester Orchestra Mean Everything To Nothing Sony Music
4.5/5 This record from the Georgian indierock band has to be the hot favourite for most ‘album of the year’ lists. Repeated listens clearly show why. Manchester Orchestra have taken an age-old indie sensibility and beaten the shit out of it. The whiney vocals and dynamic pop arrangements of groups like Pavement, Band Of Horses and Weezer have been sent off to military school and returned a hardened beast. The riffs are very heavy, exploding abruptly out of quiet, meandering whispers. Songwriter Andy Hull clearly loves surprising his audience, but the shock value is quickly softened by beautiful and soaring vocal melodies. Mean Everything To Nothing is inventive, and masterfully executed. The abrasiveness of the instrumentation doesn’t deserve the whimsical keyboard parts that emerge from its dark heart, but piano is just one of the elements that make Manchester Orchestra so unique and spell-binding. From the colossal riffs of the Sabbathlike ‘Pride’, to the relentless blitzkrieg of ‘Shake It Out’, this second record is certainly a hard one to ignore. Here’s to their next symphony. For fans of: Band Of Horses, My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Smashing Pumpkins. ~Nick Milligan
r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 5 — j u n e 2 0 0 9
4/5 This is a brilliant twodisc live album from a consistent, pure, all American rock ‘n’ roll band. The Crowes have it all; folk, blues, country, soul. Disc one is 2008’s Warpaint in its entirety, disc two consists of a few covers and classics. My only real criticism is that apart from the audiences presence and improvisational jams, it’s not all that different from the studio recorded Warpaint. Not that that’s a bad thing at all, and considering they basically record their studio albums live, what more could we really expect? The songs have a spiritual and social enlightenment beyond anything previously written by the Robinson brothers. “It’s alright sisters/It’s alright brothers/Set your mind to fly”. Completely untouchable as a live band. For fans of: Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers, getting stoned and soul searching. ~JD
Datarock Red Etcetc
4.5/5 Datarock’s debut album was insanely catchy, but never took itself too seriously. On this long-awaited follow-up, the Norwegian duo of Fredrik Saroea and Ketil Mosnes have failed to hide their sense of humour. However, there is a clear intent to make the most of their innate songwriting ability. Red is darker and more song-driven than its predecessor, drowning any kitsch ideas in tripped-out vocal reverb, primal beats, and walls of synth. 80s new-wave influences are sandwiched beyond recognition, allowing Datarock to maintain a freshness that is unmistakable. Red opens with ‘The Blog’, a bizarre fusion of spokenword media grabs and a fast electro rhythm. It’s a satire on the failed promises of the internet. An audience track has been laid underneath, giving the illusion that the song has been recorded live before a stadium crowd. ‘Dance!’ is shimmering, spacey disco, while the very short ‘Do It Your Way’, is the album’s magnificent, innovative highlight. ‘Amarillion’ becomes more infectious with every listen. Red keeps its audience guessing until the very last tune, the Steely Dan-esque ‘New Days Dawn’. Every track on Red takes an unexpected shift in direction, while maintaining a unique identity. This is Datarock’s greatest achievement. For fans of: The Teenagers, Devo, XTC, The Stone Roses, Talking Heads, most 80s pop. ~Nick Milligan
Death Cab For Cutie The Open Door
Atlantic/Warner 3.5/5 The latest offering from everyone’s favourite bespectacled indie-rockers, comes in an unusual form. The five track EP (yup, not LP… sorry to all those sensitive fanboys and girls out there) features songs recorded during the Narrow Stairs sessions (except for a demo of ‘Talking Bird’), which didn’t fit cohesively within the album — and it’s easy to see why. Gone is the swirling opener of ‘Bixby Canyon Bridge’, instead replaced with songs that hark back to their earlier work, Plans. What’s harder to see, is why Death Cab have released The Open Door EP at all? It especially appears
strange to release a record lyrically focusing on commitment phobia at a time when DCFC singer Ben Gibbard, has just announced his engagement to She & Him songstress and actress, Zooey Deschanel. Indeed every track (bar ‘Talking Bird’) speaks of his fears: “I’m a man that hides from all that binds”, “Darling you should know/I have fantasies about being alone” and “I know you can’t hold out forever/ waiting on a diamond and a tether/from a boy who won’t jump”. Highlights include the deliciously poppy, ‘My Mirror Speaks’ and the demo version of ‘Talking Bird’ – which fell flat on Narrow Stairs but is strangely appropriate here. With its stark production of nothing but a slow ukulele and Gibbard’s soft, cracked vocals, it is an absolute standout. For fans of: Death Cab For Cutie’s Plans record, The Shins, Band of Horses. ~Amanda bevan
Downhills Home The Wolves In The Woods MGM
3.5/5 With a definite nod to alt-country rock, The Wolves In The Woods is rich with delicate textures and tight songwriting that lifts it above your everyday release. The vocals are earthy, authentic and remind me of local singer/songwriter Mark Moldre. For me, the killer track is ‘Wandering Eyes’ with its stomping chorus and fiddle strains. It’s short, sharp and delivered with real purpose. ‘On The Stairs (In The Dark)’ begins with a lovely descending guitar line, then builds, sweeps and drops all on top of a tasty drum shuffle. ‘Pluto’s Blues’, the first single to be lifted from the album could have been lifted from the pockets of the 60’s and 70’s country rock forefathers, while ‘Dancing’ injects some forceful blues guitar to mix things up. For fans of: The Band, Augie March, Gram Parsons. ~Kevin Bull
EELS Hombre Lobo Shock
4/5 As singer songwriter Mark Oliver ‘E’ Everett has clearly stated to the public, this latest Eels effort is about desire. Indeed, compared to the band’s last release (a dazzling double album), Hombre Lobo is gritty, vintage rock. Listening to E release his inner animal (and grow a giant beard) is deliciously fun. Taking it’s name from the Spanish translation of ‘Wolf Man’, Hombre Lobo harks back to the swampy, garage roots of the Eels. E has gone as far as returning to the character of the ‘Dog Faced Boy’ that he conjured for the Souljacker record. However, these tales of lustful hunger never tread far from the melancholy that Everett’s vocals invariably evoke. Tracks like ‘Fresh Blood’ bring the record’s brooding sexuality into focus. A tripped-out slice of slinking sleaze, ‘Fresh Blood’s dark, echoed chorus and E’s primal howls are hypnotic — almost traumitising. You can picture its protagonist snaking through a city’s shadows, hunting below the full moon. Hombre Lobo ends with ‘Ordinary Man’, an introspective ballad (ala Eels’ classic ‘3 Speed’) that reflects on the shameless virility of everything track that’s come before it. Perhaps it’s E’s final, desperate plea for female company. Nevertheless, there’s no doubting that few songwriters are as distinctive and original as Mark Oliver Everett, because beneath all his fur beats a gentle heart. ~Noah Cross
3.5/5 In this modern day and age that we live in, it’s hard to imagine being shocked anymore by anything in the media. Well, Slim Shady’s latest effort, Relapse, has managed to do just that. The rhymes are tight as ever throughout, with Eminem clearly not having lost any of his knack in the past 4 years since his last release, and the beats are flawless needless to say. The first couple of songs, ‘3am’, ‘My Mom’, ‘Insane’, are fairly sick in their subject matter. It’s hard to tell if Shady’s being sarcastic or not in these first few songs — they seem to grow in seriousness as the album plays. One thing is for sure though, after a career spanning over a decade, Eminem is not just rapping about this stuff just to shock people. Relapse has the type of stuff that you know could only be produced by the rap games’ biggest players, Dr Dre and Eminem. It’s good to hear the dynamic duo still putting out solid music. ‘Déjà Vu’, ‘Beautiful’, ‘Same Song and Dance’ and ‘Medicine Ball’ show Eminem’s more serious side. Relapse doesn’t really have any low points, the whole album being listenable, and there’s surely more hit singles on the way. For fans of: 50 Cent, Akon, Dr Dre. ~David Long
4/5 Grizzly Bear’s third fulllength release finds them in familiar territory, mixing grand vocal harmonies with earthy, multi-layered guitars. The album’s first single, ‘Two Weeks’, is a spot on illustration of the band’s signature sound, with baroque piano jabs and an infectious rhythm. The interweaving vocal parts and reverb-laden guitars of ‘Cheerleader’, create an immersive soundscape, while scattered psychedelic guitar distortion throughout the album acts as a poignant counterpoint to the predominant soft, acoustic sounds. More than any album in recent memory, Veckatimest lends itself to being listened to as a whole, the tracks following on from one another seamlessly. However, the cohesion of the album is also its greatest drawback – the urgent strumming of ‘Ready, Able’ and the guitar twang of ‘Hold Still’ seem to blend in with the songs surrounding them, their similarities to other tracks on the album more obvious than their differences. Despite this, Veckatimest is a fantastic release, with tremendous depth and space for those willing to look for it. ~Scott Gilbert
ESKIMO JOE Inshalla
Warner Music 4/5 Founded in reflections on foreign travel, Eskimo Joe’s fourth album is remarkably diverse. The first track and single, ‘Foreign Land’, is a show of strength, with raw guitars and restless piano lines that evoke chaotic Egyptian markets. The titular ‘Inshalla’, carries this energy until it descends, through more personal tracks like ‘Losing Friends Over Love’ and ‘The Sound Of Your Heart’, into more colourful emotional territory. The songs, catchy and well-crafted, revel in their own dissimilarity. As an alternative rock offering, Inshalla strikes a fine balance between turbulence and lyricism; the band have evidently returned a little worldlier from their travels. ~Hugh Milligan
Beat Broker 3.5/5 Although Freeland may be labelled electro by some, many of their songs on the new album could’ve easily been performed by a post-punk, indie band. Think Sonic Youth crossed with Grafton Primary. There’s also a wide array of guest artists — Joey Santiago (The Pixies), Brody Dalle (The Distillers), Jerry Casale (Devo), Twiggy Ramirez (Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails) and Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe). The album starts with a few nicely grooving, very danceable songs — some of which actually sound like real drums have been used. The vocals come in and out through the album, never overriding the instrumentation which is very layered, though never too busy. Cope is perfect to listen to on a relaxing afternoon, and a great achievement for Freeland in what is a very tight and well rounded album. For fans of: electronic, punk and indie rock music. ~David Long
Head of State The Spirit of the Staircase Independent
3.5/5 This ambitious double album from Head Of State is appropriately titled. These four guys have spiralled upwards in their songwriting since their early days on Newcastle’s music scene. This release is a consolidation of the band’s back catalogue and a clear message that Head Of State intend to now set their sights on the future. The epic, drifting opener ‘Ferry Lights’ is quickly followed by the rapidfire rock number ‘Little Part Of You’. There’s also some wonderfully emotive ballads, like ‘Bring The Captain In’ (which is reminiscent of Pearl Jam’s ‘Given To Fly’). ‘Pointless’ is rife with chunky grooves — a real stand-out. Unfortunately for Head Of State, all of the elements that make them such a polished and impressive sounding rock band, are the exact same elements that worked so well for their obvious influences. In a musical landscape that’s teaming with innovative reinventions of rock ‘n roll, Head Of State may need to develop a key aspect that sets them apart from the pack. For fans of: Early Pearl Jam. ~Nick milligan
Heaven and Hell The Devil You Know Roadrunner/Warner
3.5/5 From the opening chord progression, you know this is Sabbath. It has been 17 years since this Ronnie James Dio-fronted version released Dehumanizer, and it’s clear that there is still a lot of life left in the old beast. The lyrics may be absolute garbage, but ‘Fear’ is a cracker, heavy as all f**k with a great Tony Iommi solo. The first single, ‘Bible Black’ begins with Dio plaintively singing crap over Iommi’s acoustic before it erupts; Dio does still possess one of the great metal voices. When held up against the pure classic Sabbath albums such as Paranoid, Vol. 4 and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, The Devil You Know doesn’t
quite get there but, without the Sabbath legacy as baggage, this is a very fine metal/ hard rock release. For fans of: come on, you know what it’ll sound like. ~Kevin Bull
Kasabain West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Sony Music 4/5 Take the grinding drones of Oasis, steer it down a meandering path of electro psychedelia and you arrive at Kasabian’s new album, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum. The third album from the Leicester group is an ambitious project that propels the band to new heights. As the neurotic title suggests, this album is a concoction of modern musical influences such as Muse and The Killers, that is sure to excite any Kasabian fan. ‘Underdog’ opens the album perfectly, with electro guitar, a solid drum beat and the moody vocals of frontman Tom Meighan. Other outstanding tracks include the lead single ‘Fire’ which is reminiscent of several of their earlier works like ‘LSF’ and ‘Reason is Treason.’ ‘Vlad the Impaler’, with its grungerock, indie sound, is built on a beat that stadium DJs might envy. This Lunatic Asylum is a place that any Kasabian fan should spend some serious time. ~Mark Henderson
Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy Unseen Music Unheard Words Inevitable Records
4.5/5 Occasionally, side projects can be something really spectacular. Steve Kilbey (The Church) and Martin Kennedy (All India Radio) have been working individually in separate cities on a series of songs that bury you in lavish dreamscapes. There’s a sense of nostalgia, like flipping through an old photo album or late night dreams full of fleeting images. Kennedy’s landscapes are soft, warm and grainy, as Kilbey’s lyrics conjure visions of times gone by; he whispers phrases as though telling us intimate secrets whilst trumpet players blow slinky lines under beds of electronica, strings and tapping morse-code messages. At times it’s like sitting in at a spooky jazz club at 4am where “angels play Dixie on their horns”. Unseen Music Unheard Words isn’t an album where you pick favourite songs — you simply immerse yourself in the whole lush experience. The good news is they’re recording a follow up. ~Mark Moldre
The Lemonheads Varshons
Shock 3/5 If High Fidelity taught us anything it’s that, like breaking up, the making of a mix tape is a fine (and often unappreciated) art. Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando knows this — it’s the concept behind the seminal alt-rock trio’s latest record, Varshons. Perhaps it’s fitting that the band, whose highest single to date is their cover of ‘Mrs Robinson’, have released an album full of covers. Inspired by a compilation tape made by Butthole Surfers’ ringmaster, Gibby Haynes (who also produced the record), Varshons feels very much like a beat-up cassette handed to you by a super-cool in the know friend, featuring equally super-cool tracks you should have heard of (but haven’t).
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam band
Sewn Together Stomp/Megaforce
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band Dead Oceans/Fuse
4.5/5 Championed by groups like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pavement, and Dinosaur Jr, Meat Puppets’ musical legacy may never receive the exposure it deserves. Undetered, the legendary Arizona three-piece have returned with a twelfth studio album. From the very first listen, Sewn Together is the mark of a band who’ve become content and comfortable in their craft, without losing sight of what makes their music so emotive and unique. ‘I’m Not You’ combines a country music canter with lushious, Americana harmonies and stirring layers of stark instrumentation. ‘Sapphire’ is its own tiny masterpiece, with singer/songwriter Curt Kirkwood’s tortured vocals evoking dark landscapes and metaphors dripping with rustic romance. ‘Rotten Shame’ harks back to the group’s up-beat, grunge roots and reminds us why Kurt Cobain demanded that MTV allow him to include Meat Puppets in Nirvana’s now famous MTV Unplugged performance. Adding to the hazy beauty is ‘Clones’, a shining example of Kirkwood’s psychedelic lyrics — “Now the magic science knife, is cutting up the molecules of gold, now the magic scientists, are patching up the fabric of the soul.” ‘S.K.A.’ revels in its heavy, Seattle grunge influences, sounding like Carlos Santana duelling with Pearl Jam, surrounded by plumes of pot smoke. ‘Nursery Rhymes’ quickly follows, parting the chaos and delivering one of the most radiant melodic hooks on the record. Taking an usually joyous turn, Sewn Together ends with the whistle-driven pop of ‘The Monkey and The Snake’ and the psych-folk finale ‘Love Mountain’. Sewn Together is weathered and world-weary, but still contains moments of youthful exuberance. It’s evident that Curt and Cris Kirkwood have survived their history of drug addictions, bullet wounds and prison sentences with their souls intact. New drummer Ted Marcus is a seamless replacement for Derrick Bostrom, who declined the opportunity to be a part of Meat Puppets’ unexpected 2005 reunion. More cohesive than its title suggests, Sewn Together is indeed as strong musically, as the brotherly bond that binds it. For fans of: Teenage Fanclub, The Byrds, Neil Young, Sebadoh, Pearl Jam, The Lemonheads. ~Nick Milligan
Covering everyone from Gram Parsons, to Leonard Cohen, to Christina Aguilera and featuring breathless backing vocals by Kate Moss and Liv Tyler, Varshons is as luscious as it is ambitious. Dando’s countrified lilt threads nicely through most of the tracks (and is perfected on ‘I just can’t take it anymore’ and ‘Beautiful’, which sound like original Lemonheads tunes) but like almost all compilation tapes, there is at least one out of place track — Arling and Cameron’s ‘Dirty Robot’, sung here by an off-key Moss, sticks out like a sore electro thumb. For fans of: Butthole Surfers, My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst, Ryan Adams. ~Amanda Bevan
3/5 Infiltrating the music media through comical PSA announcements via YouTube and their own MySpace, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band were marked as a ‘Band to Watch!’, and were the subject of a television segment on American cable station Current TV — all before they had even played their first live show. Upon hearing their material, it becomes obvious that Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band are not just another indie act — they assault the listener with a brazenly eccentric mish-mash of styles, with the track ‘Masquerade’ a perfect example of the band’s genre-hopping tendencies. Starting off somewhere between indie-punk and 80’s hair metal, the song slides into a baroque waltz during the bridge and ends in a bizarre, handclapping barber shop quartet rendition. Despite all the bells and whistles attached to Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band’s debut, one can’t help but feel as though the stop-start tempo changes and multi-genre songs are the band grasping at straws, trying their hardest to keep things fresh rather than being purely inventive. ~Scott Gilbert
NOFX Coaster Fat Wreck Records
3.5/5 If you’ve enjoyed any of NOFX’s last ten studio albums, then you’ll probably enjoy Coaster as well. The band is known for their unique style of melodic punk rock and their humorous song topics; and the majority of Coaster’s songs follow NOFX’s traditional style, with the music just sounding tighter and cleaner than before. Tracks like the Iron Maiden spoof, ‘Eddie, Bruce and Paul’, stick to well-worn paths but also show improved instrumental skill. Like most NOFX records, Coaster also has a few ska and reggae-influenced tracks. ‘I Am an Alcoholic’ and ‘Creeping Out Sara’ are a couple of the slower songs that add variety to the album and showcase the group’s sense of humour. Coaster is also released on vinyl as Frisbee. For fans of: Bad Religion, Local Resident Failure, Frenzal Rhomb. ~Dean Joy
Paper prophets Paper Prophets
Independent 3.5/5 Following on the heels of a name change from Veto to Paper Prophets, we are delivered this debut six track EP. Recorded at The Grove Studios earlier this year, the production and sound quality is top notch. The shimmering guitars create a sheen that is immediately accessible. Producer Rob Taylor has done a masterful job in refining the song structures; there are so many little touches that grab your attention without outstaying their welcome. Chiming guitars introduce ‘Sleepwalker’s Lullaby’, before the tender verse arrives. It builds, harmonies and drums are added, and for the next four minutes there is an unusually structured but wonderfully executed pop song. It’s the highlight of the EP. This is another top notch release to come out of Newcastle. For fans of: U2, Eskimo Joe ~Kevin Bull r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 5 — j u n e 2 0 0 9
a s il e n t fictio n
album reviews Feature albums
Sonic Youth The Eternal Matador Records
4.5/5 So Sonic Youth leave the majors behind, and deliver their first indie label release in nearly 20 years. Bad luck for Geffen as The Eternal is a cracker. Beginning with the balls-out rock blast of ‘Sacred Trickster’, it is Sonic Youth as we love them; serrated guitars from Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, with the Kim Gordon growl. ‘AntiOrgasm’ carries a heavy stomp and swing, with Gordon and Moore grunting for free-love. It explodes into guitar noise before breaking down into an afterglow coda. ‘What We Know’ builds from minimal bass and drums, before getting its insides cut open by shards of guitar and feedback. It’s brutal and it’s primal, and it works best that way. The feedback noise was noticeably absent on 2006’s Rather Ripped (though it was still a strong release), with The Eternal it returns with force, and it is a better release for it. ~Kevin Bull
Warner 4.5/5 This latest offering from Jeff Tweedy and his band Wilco, is proof that less is more. Tweedy’s wry humour is evident in its uber-definitive title. But while the group’s previous record, Sky Blue Sky, was full of dynamics and included wonderfully indulgent flourishes (see ‘Impossible Germany’), this self-titled record is far more measured and laconic — even by Tweedy’s standards. Recorded at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios in Auckland, Wilco focuses on the band’s softer side. There’s a gentle duet with Feist (‘You And I’) and overall, the stunningly beautiful guitar work of Nels Cline is allowed to waft beneath Tweedy’s melodies. The result is a very drifting, effortless project. Perhaps their most cohesive collection of songs, that border, as always, on folk and alt-country, Wilco certainly harbours a few instant classics. There’s the cheeky opener, ‘Wilco (The Song)’, where Tweedy muses that his music can heal emotional wounds (“Wilco will love you, baby” and “This is a man with arms open wide, a sonic shoulder for you to cry” are among its lyrics). ‘You Never Know’ contains one of the catchiest choruses in Wilco’s catalogue, while ‘I’ll Fight’ feels immediately familiar, typifying the timelessness of Tweedy’s songwriting. Echoes of the experimental Wilco appear on the superbly crafted murder ballad ‘Bull Black Nova’, with dancing piano that mimics the shrill violins of Hitchcock’s Psycho. With Cline’s frantic, distorted guitar solo at its finale, the delightfully eerie track proves that Wilco are still prepared to challenge their audience. For fans of: Ben Kweller, Ryan Adams, Conor Oberst. ~Nick Milligan
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Passion Pit Manners Sony Music
3.5/5 With high-pitched, child-like vocals reminiscent of Mates Of State, MGMT or even a young Michael Jackson, Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos leads his Massachusetts five-piece through this buoyant, synth-laden debut album. Jubilant, twirling pop numbers like ‘Moth’s Wings’ conjur the same images of rainbows and sunshine that groups like the Polyphonic Spree revel in, while ‘The Reeling’ emerges as a darker piece of spacey electro. It’s fascinating to see a major label like Sony get behind an album that only a few years ago would have been considered too much of a genre-bender to achieve mainstream success. Manners is a clear attempt to craft an identifiable, inoffensive pop sound, and it would be a mistake to accuse Passion Pit of riding the coattails of other synth bands. However, these eleven tracks are so sickly sweet and densely layered, that they may cause cavaties. For fans of: MGMT, Royksopp, Yuksek, Polyphonic Spree. ~Noah Cross
Peaches I Feel Cream
Kitty-Yo 3.5/5 Canadian-born Peaches (aka Merill Beth Nisker) has injected her fifth album with all the huge electronic beats and unashamedly sexual lyrics as her previous releases. When she’s not growling out coarse rebuke or describing salacious encounters, her melodies are ferocious; ‘Talk To Me’ is a real stand out. Others, like ‘Lose You’, are markedly different – raw, delicate and confessional. Nisker’s vocals are often reminiscent of Gwen Steffani, a quality most obvious in ‘Mommy Complex’ and ‘Take You On’ (though Gwen herself might not appreciate the comparison). Whether you find her shocking or not, Peaches has a bold, catchy electronic sound that’s worth hearing. ~Hugh Milligan
impressive new album LotusFlow3r. With a more developed and visionary sound since his 2007 release, Planet Earth, Prince pays homage to the 70’s with the richness and sex appeal of electric guitars and dreamy vocals. Prince brings a new sound to this era of music, very similar to his revolutionary sound during his prime in the 80’s. Two songs on the album that make an immediate impression, are the smooth ‘Boom’ and the up-beat ‘Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful’. ‘Boom’ resembles the renowned late Jimi Hendrix with its smooth, rich sounds. ‘Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful’ sees Prince go back to his roots with an up-tempo, 80’s influenced flow. Both will get you up and dancing in no time. For fans of: early Jimi Hendrix, early Prince. ~Kellie Wallace
Rancid Let The Dominos Fall
Hellcat Records 4.5/5 Ahhh, finally! We’ve been granted the eagerly awaited seventh full length from Californian punk rockers, Rancid. Let The Dominoes Fall is the ensembles first lengthy player to feature Branden Steineckert, who took over tapping the tubs for the quartet in 2006 after parting ways with The Used (great decision Branden). Complete with 19 tracks, a bonus acoustic disc, a DVD documenting the recording process and a host of other goodies, this album is sure to impress. Or is it? Well, unlike the highly acclaimed and arguably faultless ... And Out Come The Wolves (1995), this release does comprise a small number of filler songs. To their credit, that was the Rancid of 14 years ago, youthful and at their peak and this is still a mighty fine addition to the collection. ‘Last One To Die’ thrusts a signed, sealed and delivered message upon anyone who has ever doubted Rancid; apparent in the admirably enticing chorus “We got it right, you got it wrong, we’re still around.” With six years since their last album, were three esteemed conquerors (and a youngster half their age), able to produce the goods with this mottled mix of punk rock, ska and pop punk? Yes. ~Nathaniel try
Astralwerks/Virgin 4/5 Oh my god, has old age finally caught up with the Iggster? I can see him now, smoking coat on with fine cognac and cigar in hand, listening to Preliminaries and its French jazz ballads. But before you toss that silver disk to the dogs, take a second listen, and a third - there is something quite beautiful amongst his Cohen-esque drawl. Inspired by French writer Michel Houellebecq’s book The Possibility of an Island, we get Iggy singing in French, the New Orleans swing of ‘King Of The Dogs’, and the European electro washes of ‘Party Time’. Even the lone, amped-up ‘Nice To Be Dead’, fits seamlessly within the set. Completely unexpected, there may be less snap and crackle with the Pop, but it makes for an engrossing listen. ~Kevin Bull
A Peaceful Atom is the Bomb
Prince Lotusflow3r NPG
4/5 Eighties rock star Prince returns with his
Difrnt Music 4/5 You will absolutely love this! Regular John’s debut album sounds almost as if it has come straight from the 90s, bringing together the edgy and gritty sounds that have since disappeared from modern rock music. Brock Tengstrom’s unique and dirty rock voice provides the perfect drive for each song, with surprisingly catchy melodies and hooks that continue the energy, making each song better than the next. Standout songs include ‘Sudan Divide’, ‘We Spell Love’ and ‘Language’. ~AshlEIgh Gray
Slow Down Honey In The Picture
to them; vocals with a real huskiness, upbeat melodies and distinctively recognisable songs that would make even the toughest music critics move their feet. Each song is unique, worth listening to, and stays strong from start to finish. Definitely worth a listen, by the sound of it, these guys will be around for years to come. ~Ashleigh Gray
The Warlocks The Mirror Explodes
Tee Pee Records 4/5 The Warlocks have always had a love for the psychedelic 60’s rock with, their major label releases, Phoenix (2002) and Surgery (2005) refining their sound. The darker and less melodic 2007 Heavy Deavy Skull Lover (Tee Pee Records) now appears to be the obvious precursor to The Mirror Explodes, a dense, droning affair that is equally impenetrable as it is absorbing. The album opens with the simple strumming of guitars of ‘Red Camera’, descends into a meditative wash that rises and falls, culminating in an ascending guitar and organ climax. The pace throughout this track, and much of the album is akin to being weighed down with mud on your shoes. Multi layered and heavy in structure, The Mirror Explodes is a release that needs to be listened to with receptive ears, and numerous times. Once you get within its sheets, it becomes warm and encompassing. For fans of: Jesus and Mary Chain, Brian Jonestown Massacre. ~Kevin Bull
A Silent Scream Moving away from their hardcore beginnings, Central Coast screamo outfit, A Silent Fiction, have just released their sophomore EP, Wasted. Andrew Chesham catches up with DJ and backing vocalist Joe Sullivan, to discuss the band’s origins, the new EP, and filming an advert for Coca-Cola. A Silent Fiction originally formed in 2005, with the members meeting in high-school and university. “It was kind of a mixed bag in the way we met,” Sullivan recalls. “It all started when Nug [Chris Nguyen, guitar] and Benny [Ben Clutter, drums] got together from another band, called Second Thoughts. They asked Matt [Heming] to sing for them. They thought, ‘we better have a new name’, so they brain stormed and decided on A Silent Fiction, and it’s pretty much stuck ever since.” There was no great reason behind the band’s name, as Sullivan explains. “All the other names they came up with were haggard names. One of them wanted Science Fiction, and they said that was too easy of a name to come up with. So, they said ‘how about Silent Fiction?’ then they added the ‘A’ in front of it and that’s pretty much it.” A Silent Fiction’s sound came from the band’s early influences. “A lot of the boys were listening to a lot of early punk like NOFX, and a couple of other guys were listening to Story of the Year. Everyone
brought their own flavour to the table. When we were writing songs we would put our own style into it, like some punk riffs, some heavy screaming, and then some break-downs. Over time it has progressed into something a lot more melodic.” The band has a communal system of creating their music. “It’s a good writing process that goes on in ‘the shed’ [the double garage where the band practices], and we all work together on lyrics and things like that.
Nug, I would say, is the heart and soul of the band, but every song always has everyone else’s input into it.” Sullivan admits that the band is trying to expand their range to appeal to a wider audience. “We’re trying to fade out that whole, we’re a hardcore band, we’re a ‘this’ band. We want to be a sort of everything band. So then, you can appeal to many different crowds.” On the new EP, Wasted, ‘We Are the Plague’ is the song they struggled with the most. “We
wanted it to be perfect. It was a song we didn’t really play live until the CD was nearly ready. We wanted that one to be the biggest song on the CD.” As a result, ‘We are the Plague’ is the song they are the proudest of. “A lot more time went in to writing that song. The more effort you put into it, the more you get out of it when it’s done.” With the rise in the band’s popularity [three of the tracks on their MySpace page have had over 35,000 listens] the audiences at their live shows are becoming a lot more interactive and keen to sing along. “You get kids grabbing the microphone off you, kids running on stage, and at the bigger shows, we could pretty much stop singing and hold the microphone out and you could hear the crowd singing.” The group also scored a big coup after successfully auditioning for a Coke commercial, highlighting summer music. “We landed an audition, and we went in and had to play air instruments. We felt like total weirdos. We had the drummer sitting there playing air drums. We had to do it in front of the camera. The next week we got a call saying we got the part. We travelled down to the location, set up our equipment and played to a packed room that had never heard of us before. We were pampered all day. We had cameras walking around us, free food and drinks. It was really good to feel famous for one day.” Wasted is available now through Burn City Burn via myspace.com/asilentfiction.
PatRick Wolf The Bachelor Speak n Spell
4.5/5 Rather than wear his heart on his sleeve, composer and crooner Patrick Wolf prefers to raise it for the world to see. Written during a lonely part of his life where he yearned to fall in love, The Bachelor is as wicked, melodramatic and masterful as what we’ve come to expect from the British musician. It’s also the first half of a double album, with Wolf announcing that The Conquerer is due for release in late 2009. Employing his skills as a pianist and violinist, Wolf crafts a sound that’s as archaic as it is futuristic. Strings and synthesisers dance like they were born to be together. His deep, smooth voice is laced with unrequited desire. The raw, bard-like title track (a duet with the gravel-voiced Eliza Carthy) is Wolf’s defiant acceptance (“I’m not going to marry in the Fall, I’m not going to marry in the Spring”). ‘Damaris’ is the soaring anthem that no one else but Wolf can deliver. Wolf’s mad genius rears its head on the furious rock number ‘Battle’, which sounds like an off-cut from Rocky Horror. There’s even a spoken word appearance by Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton on ‘Theseus’ and ‘Oblivion’. Unashamedly theatrical, The Bachelor is indeed a crowning success for Wolf, who has grown and perfected his unique sound over the course of his impressive career. For fans of: Nick Cave, Tom Waits, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen. ~Nick Milligan
Universal Music 4/5 In the Picture conjures up typically commercial pop/rock sounds with easy to remember singsong lyrics, and it totally works! As a group, Slow Down Honey have a very Wes Carr sound r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 5 — j u n e 2 0 0 9
ma n ic s tr e e t pr e ach e r s
ma n ic s tr e e t pr e ach e r s
And there are other songs like ‘This Joke Sport Severed’, which is a song about abstinence. You know, ‘Virginia State Epileptic Colony’ is just a song about something [Richey’s] read about. He’s relating to himself when he was going through Health Care, I suppose. In ‘Doors Closing Slowly’, it’s pretty obvious that that’s not a very happy experience he was going through at the time. It seems like every avenue, every bit of joy or pleasure that he once had seems to be closing one by one. The recognition of “nothingness” is pretty bleak. According to NME you said Journal For Plague Lovers is the direct follower of 1994’s album The Holy Bible. What do you mean exactly? NW I think it is more a natural conclusion than a follow up. It does seem like a natural step as you grow, but there’s a couple of years difference between the lyrics and obviously we’re different as musicians. The fact that we’re writing the words of a 27 year-old definitely energised us. They’re not the lyrics of a young man, there’s a man that’s at the peak of his intellect and powers. But they did give me an opportunity to feel. Songs like ‘Marlon J.D.’ or ‘Me and Stephen Hawking’ are probably our fastest played songs in a long time, so it’s like going back to that time capsule of 1994. [The lyrics] did dictate in an energetic sense.
famous last words Arguably the most powerful rock band of the modern era, the Manic Street Preachers have continued to evolve and look to the future. However, their latest album, Journal For Plague Lovers, uses the lyrics of their ex-rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards, who mysteriously disappeared on February 1, 1995. In this candid interview, Manics vocalist James Dean Bradfield and bassist Nicky Wire discuss their new album and the responsibility they felt toward the words left behind by their long lost friend. The lyrics for Journal For Plague Lovers were written by former member Richey Edwards who vanished in 1995. Where were the lyrics for the last 14 years? Why do you release them now? Nicky Wire He left a big binder about three or four weeks before he disappeared. He left me a big binder, and did a photo copy for Sean and James as well. The binder’s just been in the cupboard in my bedroom ever since. There’s lots of artwork, there’s lots of collages, there’s lots of paintings and ideas for lyrics as well. They’ve always been there, the last time they surfaced were with tracks like ‘Kevin Carter’, and ‘Elvis Impersonator’ and ‘Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky’. But we thought it felt like the right time, as all the words are so brilliant and so unusual, you don’t hear words like this in modern day rock or pop. It just felt like the right time, dark music for dark times. Which memories do the lyrics arouse? After all, the late Richey wasn’t too good, he was depressive and anorexic. NW I think we could distance ourselves from the actual memories of the time and just treat it as an art project. We were just trying to write music to, and interpret these wonderful words Richey had left to us. I guess we’d been a bit scared to use them over the past 14 years, if I’m being honest, but I think coming on the back of Send Away The Tigers, which was such a re-birth for us and such a success, it just felt like the right time to use them. 30
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Which image of Richey Edwards dominates_ your memory of him? James Bradfield: Probably my memories of him, if you’re asking about the sort of person he was until he disappeared, I think he was resolved to everything he believed or disbelieved, regardless of what subsequently happened. He was the sort of person who actually made his own choices and I think he’d come round to being quite serene about things. But you know, saying things like, “We only want to keep our good memories of him”, I think that’s something we sorted out in our own minds a long time ago. I don’t think actually using those songs or his lyrics on this record actually changes any of that because this is actually part of some of those good memories as he actually chose to give us these lyrics very shortly before he disappeared. It’s kind of an honour that at least he made the decision to bestow us these lyrics before he made the decision to actually disappear. But I think we reached that point a long time ago of distilling these memories and keeping only the good ones. But, inevitably, bad ones come back. Is there still hope that Richey might come back someday? JB We’ve kind of gone past that stage of counting on any resolution on where Richey is or in what state. We don’t go to that B-movie land where people like to theorise or where people like to come up with the answer, it’s a pointless game.
Richey Edwards at his typewriter, not long before his disappearance in 1995
The Manics: Drummer Sean Moore, with Wire and Bradfield (from left), standing with the Jenny Saville artwork used for the cover of their latest album
NW I think you just realise that you don’t have to make a decision either way. You don’t have to have hope, you don’t have to have despair. Where there is no answer you just find a middle ground really — it’s hard to explain, but you just get on with it. How did you start finding the sound for Richey’s lyrics? JB I think the first thing that dawned upon us once we made the decision that we actually wanted to create something out of Richey’s
matter of choosing the right parts. NW To be honest, it’s just like working with him when he was around. He was always working so he was always giving you lyrics and you chopped bits out like a natural process. You know ‘Jackie Collins’ was just a natural process of leaving bits out because it doesn’t fit. Apart from ‘William’s Last Words’, which was about two pages of prose. That was obviously a big editing job. We used to write lyrics and he took it really seriously, he loved writing lyrics. It was a really nice thing when
“We’ve kind of gone past that stage of counting on any resolution on where Richey is…” – James Dean Bradfield words, was that there was a sense of responsi bility. He left us the words briefly before he disappeared, so he definitely wanted us to do something with them. You have this massive sense of responsibility, that’s the first emotion. And then very quickly, it felt like the old experience of trying to set music to his words. It’s a different kind of challenge, as his words are so full of intent but there’s no punctuation, so it’s a different exercise to writing to Nick’s words. And so, any sort of emotions that might come to the surface quickly dissipate as you’re so caught up in the practical experience of trying to make this work. It is quite a physical experience to try and sing these words, so it’s not as emotional as you might think. It feels like a challenge. Did you rewrite his lyrics? JB Most of it is written in lyric form — in bridges, verses, chorus, and sometimes there are just too many words to be sung. It’s just a
we used to sit at the table and write lyrics together, it was quite an odd and unique thing. What are the main topics of his lyrics? NW I gotta be honest with you, some of it I just don’t understand. I won’t pretend I do, as obviously the boy’s not around to explain himself. In some ways, it’s less painful than The Holy Bible, as he seems to have come to a lot more conclusions, and seems a bit more resigned in himself to situations. It is really hard to explain — I’m scared of putting meaning into something I don’t really know. There are some lyrics where you can see the kernel of truth. Songs like ‘Peeled Apples’ is just about giving up hope that you can find a belief or find an entity or find any kind of ideology you can believe in. I think ‘Peeled Apples’ is a song about what we’re left with. We’re left with conflict and collapse, probably re-iterated with the line “the more I see, the less I scream”, and that’s inverting the cliché.
Another link between Journal For Plague Lovers and The Holy Bible, is that Jenny Saville is responsible for the cover art of both. What can you say about Jenny Saville? NW She’s just an unbelievably lovely lady that she donated back in The Holy Bible era, that cover for free. She didn’t charge us for anything, it was just something we saw in a newspaper and loved. For continuity, we thought it’d be great if we could use one for free again. Her paintings go for a quarter to half a million pounds, and I know, having gone through artwork for the past seven years, it can be really expensive. [Jenny] gave it to us for free. She’s just a really beautiful woman. The picture on the cover is not clearly defined. You could say it is a boy with a bloody nose. What’s your association? NW That’s the idea, it’s actually a girl. I love the idea of the androgyny — people just read so many facets into that painting. I’ve never seen the blood, to me it’s just a birthmark, and it’s just her style of painting. It’s just like Lucian Freud. But some of the supermarkets in the UK won’t stock it as they say it’s just a child with a bloody nose. JB It’s like a Freudian test. I never saw the bloody nose, I just saw a painting style to be honest. It’s really strange. NW Just the piercing eyes, and that idea of beauty and violence and innocence — it just looks like a puzzle. The way the mouth is open, there’s a sense of doubt. Why did you chose Journal For Plague Lovers as the title for the album? JB It does seem very obvious, that’s quite simple. As Nick said earlier, the lyrics were left in the form of a book, and as you went through the book, it almost felt like a diary as there were lyrics, little scrawlings, collages — it actually did feel like a journal. There was one song in there called ‘Journal For Plague Lovers’, and it just seemed very obvious, very apt. Tell us about the origin of the music on Journal For Plague Lovers. Does this album mark a return to powerful rock after rather introverted, calm albums like Lifeblood? JB Well for me, it was a very mixed experience in terms of styles. There are four very contemplative, acoustic moments on there, and I was very aware that we couldn’t
really create a sequel, or follow up, to The Holy Bible as not everything in the lyrics was as angry. The only rule was that you had the lyric in front of you, and you had to let the lyric guide you. It was as simple as that. Why did you choose Steve Albini as producer? NW I think, obviously, we chose Steve Albini to record the music as we did want his essence, not just his engineering. A lot of the sounds on [Nirvana’s] In Utero were a big influence, especially the drums and bass on there… big drums, he definitely brought that to it. We didn’t want to make a post-punk album like The Holy Bible, which was much more based on stricter parameters. I think Journal For Plague Lovers is really joyous, there’s more uplifting moments on this album then The Holy Bible. It is more of a rock album in texture, but it does have that acoustic side to it as well. What was it like to work with a producer like Steve Albini, who is known for having a major influence on the sound of an album? JB At first it was kind of strange, as everything about the session was different compared to the way we usually work. But we knew it would be. We wanted to work on tape and we didn’t want to do many takes, and he was up for
mobile phone or a computer. He wrote everything on a type-writer… Journal was recorded at Rockfield Studios, where legendary albums of bands like Rush, Black Sabbath and Queen were recorded. How inspiring was its atmosphere? JB We’ve recorded there before, our two number ones were recorded in Rockfield. Every time we go back to Rockfield there are two certain records I think about as I go through the gates. Obviously Hemispheres [by Rush] and Heaven Up Here by Echo and the Bunnymen. Jim Kerr [Simple Minds vocalist] was there as we were there, which was very strange as I’d been listening to Real to Real Cacophony, Simple Minds’ second album, in my flat in Cardiff. There is a sense of history [at Rockfield]. We weren’t as pompous to think that we were creating a small piece of history, but there you feel like you can record something that will last. How much is left in you of the young, wild, angry men you use to be? JB We still have a lot of the same anger about a lot of things. Sometimes we’re angry about petty things, sometimes important things. I think we’re a bit more obsessive in nature, but I think we’re a lot more constructive in the
“We were just trying to write music to, and interpret these wonderful words Richey had left to us.” – Nicky Wire that… the less takes the better. And also, we didn’t want anybody interfering with the lyrics. Producers can be notorious for sometimes saying, “I can’t understand what your singing, perhaps you should re-write the lyrics?” Obviously we didn’t want any of that, as they’re Richey’s words and we didn’t want them touched. NW We didn’t write anything in the studio really, we’re not a ‘jamming’ band. Everything was quite disciplined and very well rehearsed. It’s very much a pre-digital album. All of Richey’s lyrics were written, he never had a
way we deal with our anger. I think we’re a bit more susceptible to being influenced by things. When you’re younger you’re inspired by your own anger, but as you get older, you let yourself get inspired by things that are a bit more positive — though that gets harder sometimes too. What do we learn from his lyrics about the late Richey Edwards? JB Believe me, it’s hard to not go into a solo or create a section that is just guitar. It’s hard to not be like that. We were just very, very aware
of our responsibility to the lyrics. NW For example, in ‘Joke Sport Severed’ there’s a verse, a kind of bridge, a chorus, and a feedback, breakdown section, but it’s still a really short song. I think it’s down to the pace. We are generally playing faster on this album then we have done in a while. Nothing drags on, which we probably have been guilty of as a band — just like every other band. In August of 1989, your first single ‘Suicide Alley/Tennessee (I Feel So Low)’ was released. What are your thoughts when you look back on 20 years of Manic Street Preachers? JB It’s nothing dramatic. It’s nothing like, “This is brotherhood, we must stay together. We must fight the world!” I just love being in a band. NW I think the last three or four years have actually been the best we’ve had as a band. I don’t know why that is. Perhaps just a certain age where creativity just seems to explode everywhere. Can’t stop it. We’ve just bought our own studio, as everywhere’s closing down. We’re bucking the trend and opening one up! We started the band as we felt we had something to say and wanted to express it, and that’s never changed. Deep or hateful, or positive or political, that’s our one form of expression — putting it into a song. JB I suppose last year, it did help that we had some new experiences. Obviously we’d been apart for such a long time. We played so many festivals last year, which we used to hate, but now we seem to like. But we commited to playing places we’d never been to before. So we had so many experiences. Last year we supported Bob Dylan in Croatia. It was just us and Dylan. It was just amazing to play in front of an audience that had never seen us before. We played in Poland and Latvia, Russia and Turkey and Greece, places we’d never been to before, where we had strangely good reactions from audiences, no cynicism, no “come on then — impress me, I’ve seen you before!” So to actually have new experiences at the age of 40 in a band is a miracle. Journal For Plague Lovers is out now through Sony Music. r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
A U D I O P H O O L E R Y — T A L K I N G S H O P
car u s thomp s o n — fri e n dly fir e s
Useful links www.ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html www.gikacoustics.com/education.html# myths Just for fun The audio world is awash with misinform ation and snake oil, and while it can be disheartening, it can also be pretty funny. Check out this guy — he has the gall to shape two pieces of wood into a curvy wave, slap a bold price tag on it and claim it will fix your room response. Unsurprisingly, he also sells electromagical ‘audio stones’. http://www.shakti-innovations.com/ hallograph.htm
AudioPhoolery Are your band’s jam sessions still enraging your neighbours? Mark Forester debunks the myths surrounding sound-proofing. Can we sound proof our rehearsal room with foam or egg shells? Or carpet, blankets, doonas, mattresses, bits of an old shoe? No, and this is possibly one of the most prevalent audio myths around today. Above about 300Hz [parts of the guitars, vocals,
cymbals etc], you will get some damping of the sound, and indeed this may make your rehearsal room more enjoyable to use by increasing its intelligibility. But below about 300Hz [low end of guitars, bass, kick] you get nothing, and it’s that low stuff sailing through the walls and out to the street that’s probably got the neighbours complaining. On the up side, there are still a lot of things you can try. If you go about it the right way, communicating with the neighbours about
rehearsal times and demonstrating good will can be surprisingly effective. Many rehearsal rooms are also quite cheap, especially if you can split it five ways. If a band member is lucky enough to have a room which is partially underground or embedded on sloping ground, that’s worth checking out too, as nothing sound proofs quite like a lot of mass. If you’re the kind of band which doesn’t rely too heavily on volume to create a vibe, and
you can persuade your drummer into using rods during practice, the subsequent volume drop in drums and everyone else turning their amps down can be very dramatic. Some self-storage places have a cheap monthly rate, and while they can be cramped they are usually located in an industrial zone, which is great. Check to see if they have a no band policy, and if they do, do they really enforce it? You’ll find a lot of grown men escaping from the wife in there at weekends, using power tools for their hobbies which operate at well over 85dB. And if all else fails, you can always invest in a box of ear plugs and hand them to whomever’s parents or flatmates are the most indulging! Mark Forester can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Profiling music industry professionals with Jess henderson
Talking shop This month we talk to publishing specialist and bird-lover, Phil Tripp.
Who do you work for? The Federal Government Tax Office, Westpac Bank and my mortgage company, but I run Immedia! and am a travel writer, too. Current position title? Chief Evangelist, Publisher of the AustralAsian Music Industry Directory, convenor and producer of the AustralAsian Music Business Conference which happens in Sydney August 20-22, representative for South by Southwest Music Festival and a few other conspiracies How long have you been in this position? I’ve not had a straight job in 28 years so have run my own business for that long, plus was a concert producer and tour manager in the 70s in the US. What are the main responsibilities of your position? Juggling several streams of revenue, paying a half million in wages a year, avoiding tax as much as legally possible, having fun, waking up happy and clear with a vision to retire in a couple of years. How did you get involved in the industry? I was very adept at loading trucks, planes and 32
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boats with bales of vegetable matter in my unrepentant youth but applied this to sound trucks and became an audio engineer [they don’t have to lug] and then worked my way up the food chain. Proudest moment? When my pet parrot Jackson, an Ecelctus, said “I’m the ladies’ man. I’m the lo-ove machine!” Professionally, bringing 240 delegates and 50 bands to South by Southwest this past year,. Is there anyone you would really like to meet [living or dead]? Most of them are dead. It will be great to get up with Gerd Leonhard who is speaking at our AMBC conference, he’s the author of The Future of Music. Best live show you’ve been to? Jeff Beck two nights in a row at the Enmore tied with the Rolling Stones at the Enmore — all front row centre balcony seats. Favourite venue? Dante’s Down The Hatch in Atlanta Georgia. Favourite musical instrument? My Fender Precision Bass 1966.
Who should we be listening to? Derek Trucks, Jeff Beck’s new live album at Ronnie Scotts, as for Australian artists, The Greencards. What would be on your ultimate rider? I’ve already had it. Just remember all the great vices in life begin with the letter C. I can’t have most of them anymore and swore off the right ones. Best way to spend a Sunday morning? Taking a shower with my two parrots, then settling in for two strong lattes made myself
with Kona Coffee [see, another C vice], reading the papers while listening to new music, then cooking a great barbecue which the staff gets leftovers from on Monday morning. See philtripp.com for recipes. Any advice for people trying to break into the industry? Remember that money is the way that people with no talent keep score. Always be professional, always have fun and don’t settle for less than you’re worth. You’re only as good as your reputation and only as good as your last gig.
The World According to Carus Inferno Affairs Increasing the indie-cred at this year’s Splendour In The Grass, England’s Friendly Fires are bringing their new-wave glam to Australian shores. Yumi Sed catches up with drummer Jack Savidge. Independent musician Carus Thompson has been playing his fusion of roots, funk and reggae for over ten years. Originally of Carus and the True Believers, Thompson has ventured out on his own to release a solo album, Creature of Habit. Andrew Chesham speaks with Thompson about his favourite novelists, the solo album, and prison. Hailing from Fremantle, Carus Thompson began learning the guitar when he was 12 years old. Originally he wanted to be a novelist, as he was a ravenous reader, “I always wanted to write, tell stories,” Thompson explains. “Words have always been something that haven’t come easily to me but have always interested me. They made me passionate… I was a big fan of The World According to Garp by John Irving, [JRR] Tolkien, Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. I loved their characters… but, with writing novels, I ended up discovering that they were pretty long. I’ve always been into poetry, but poetry seems too short, too limiting; whereas music became a happy medium.” Thompson formed Carus and the True Believers in 1995. They have released three studio albums, all independently. Their last album, Three Boxes was released in 2007. Creature of Habit is Thompson’s first solo studio album. The title track explores the pain in love and relationships. “It’s talking about love, and how love can be hurt, and how much you can hurt someone. To be in love and hurt someone, for me, is better than being mundane and boring and everything is great.” Thompson chose this to be the title track of the record because he felt the phrase ‘creature of habit’ defines him and his career at this point in his life. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve stuck to my guns, and I guess I’m sort of saying I’m always going to be playing music; I’m always going to be writing songs; I’m always going to be producing albums. I guess it’s my sort of thing to the world. I’m not going away. I’m always going to do this.
Actually, I can’t stop.” Thompson travels Europe and the UK regularly — sometimes touring three times a year. Inspiration for the Creature of Habit track, ‘I Found Love’ came from a gig he played at a maximum security prison in Germany. “The whole thing about prison is; your face is your mask,” Thompson explains. “You don’t want people to see how you’re feeling. So they [the prisoners] would sit there completely silent and expressionless. There was this one guy who was grinning the whole time, clapping his hands and dancing. I was thinking this guy worked at the prison. Then I found out he was in prison, but he was in love. He just got married two weeks ago. They said he was just walking around on cloud-nine. You couldn’t touch him anymore. He’s sort of in the Bahamas, or whatever. He was in heaven. So I wrote that song about him.” A prison theme permeates the album, but this wasn’t something Thompson planned. “I didn’t realise it until I put all the songs next to each other. The prison thing is a strong image. It just ended up flowing through the album… it’s always a theme in our lives, as people, anyways: imprisoned by our personalities, imprisoned by desires, imprisoned by our dreams, or whatever. Once I realised it was there, I was pretty happy with it.” Creature of Habit is available at musicplug. com.au and selected music stores. Carus Thompson will be playing at The Cambridge Hotel July 9. Tickets are available through Moshtix.
Jack Savidge is driving through the northern UK countryside. His opening words prove to be prophetic. “We’re driving around at the moment, so I hope the phone doesn’t cut in and out,” says the drummer of Friendly Fires. The phone ends up dropping out a total of eight times, but we soldier on. Friendly Fires met at St Albans School at age 14. The members formed their first band, a post-hardcore outfit called First Day Back, which existed until they began university. Upon leaving university, they formed Friendly Fires after being inspired by dance music. Their hipshaking tune, ‘Paris’, smashed on to radio playlists and dancefloors around the country. Their combination of rock driven electro and punk infused disco, has found a home in what I dub ‘the electro-wash era’ — The Presets, MGMT, Empire Of The Sun, Golden Silvers, Florence And The Machine — all perfect examples. Gritty rock has finally hijacked the electronica scene, and the crowd loves it. With a few years of touring under your belt now, do you find that life on the road gets easier or is it always a challenge? Yes, it has improved a lot but there are still problems. I’m sure even U2 get fed up and feel disgusting from touring. I don’t think you ever get to the point where touring is a complete joy. I don’t know really how we keep the harmony, but it’s not that hard. You just have to spend enough time on your own and give others space. It can be quite claustrophobic and you feel that you can’t get away from it. With the success you have had, are you still enjoying playing the songs as much or are some of them getting a little old? I don’t think any of us get tired of playing the same songs. It’s banging around that gets boring. We’ve been touring this album for a really long time now and it’s still just as fun. We don’t have any egos surrounding our music — the most important thing is just to have fun with it all. Is the sound you have now a deliberate construct or did it evolve organically? It happened organically. I mean it’s quite a mish mash of a lot of things that we’ve put together. We started off as a noisy rock band and there’s still an aspect of that, but I guess
it’s a bit more controlled in the songs we’re writing at the moment. We all got into dance music and that’s what spurred us on to make the kind of stuff we’re making now. There’s lots of different sides to what we’re doing now though — there’s the disco side, the electronic side and the rock side. I imagine production is just as important as the initial stages of songwriting. Yeah, you can’t really separate the two at all. You have to look at it holistically if you want to get the final product you want. On a lot of the songs, the drum beats are quite simple, but we’ve added a lot of different percussive sounds over the top. Drumming-wise, it’s really important for me to work out where I fit into the song and what dynamics it needs. To replicate it live, some of it is programmed and we also have an additional member live who plays bass and the percussive parts I can’t do. You’re about to head to Australia for Splendour In The Grass; do you have any expectations of what that tour will be like? I’m looking forward to it a lot, but I’m not really sure what to expect. We really have no idea what’s going on in other countries and how your music is going. You only really have a clue once you go there and play gigs. We were in Mexico the other month and we had no idea that any one there knew our music, but we went over there and ‘Paris’ is doing amazingly well. It’s like you only know it when you see it, it’s really touching. Ed’s [MacFarlane, vocals] mother lives in Adelaide, too. Apart from a whole host of touring, what’s on the band’s agenda for the rest of the year? There’s not that much touring to come in the grand scheme of things. After Australia we’re going back to America, we’re doing South America this time as well and a load of UK festivals. It’s a really busy summer, but it ends in September when we finally get time to think about the new album. Some bands write on the road, but it’s not really for us. It’s really tough to find the headspace to do it. Friendly Fires play Splendour In The Grass Saturday July 25 and Sunday July 26 with acts such as Bloc Party, Flaming Lips, MGMT and Sarah Blasko. r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
fa s hio n — photography by M atth e w P ack e r
fa s hio n — photography by M atth e w P ack e r
LEFT Fran wears Wrangler franc jeans $159.95, Motel bowtastic tee $75, Melissa red malika red heels $167. Brad wears Nique yellow tee $77, Wranger grey stranglers $129.95.
LEFT Fran wears 69 slam sterio knickers $39.95, Style stalker black tuxedo jacket $210, Urban originals hat $39.95, Melissa vivienne westwood anglomania teale heels $245. Ty wears Rider R1 Skinny Jeans $119.95, Nique Le Futur tee $77, Slam 69 Boxers $35.
right [l–r] Fran wears Motel Rose $110, Brad wears Wrangler check shirt $89.95, Flying dog hat $45, Wranger grey stranglers $129.95. Cameron wears Golf punk pistol jeans $149.95, Golf punk black coat $120, Mooks killer tee $59.95. Ty wears Rider R1 Skinny Jeans $119.95, Wrangler blue shirt $89.95. Brooke wears Martini silk one shoulder top $165, Azuki Diva sequin tights $65, Melissa Grey wedges $120, Urban originals hat $39.95.
right Brooke wears Martini silk one shoulder top $165, Azuki Diva sequin tights $65, Melissa Grey wedges $120, Urban originals hat $39.95. below Brooke wears Party sequin frock $285, Melissa pink harajuku heel $120. Cameron wears Golf Punk Check pants $119.95, Wrangler v neck jumper $69.95, Mooks grey scarf $44.95.
Above Fran wears Motel Leopard Dress $120, Melissa Red malika red heels $167. right Ty wears Rider R1 Skinny Jeans $119.95, Nique Le Futur tee $77.
Rags to riches 34
r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
below Brooke wears Party sequin frock $285, Melissa pink harajuku heel $120.
right Ty wears Rider R1 Skinny Jeans $119.95, Wrangler check shirt $89.95, Icon ring $25, Icon leather cuff $30.
Photography by Mathew Packer Styling by Michelle Ramsey All clothing supplied by Ramjet. 78 Darby Street, Cooks Hill. Phone 4926 2839 r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
g e n e ral motori n g
pap e r proph e t s — th e back s lid e r s
Over a couple of months, Newcastle band Veto entered The Grove Studios on the Central Coast, and emerged as Paper Prophets, with their debut EP firmly in hand. Kevin Bull caught up with guitarist Kubush Borzestowski, to find out what it now means for this newly named band.
Was it a hard decision to make the name change just prior to releasing the debut EP? Yes and no. We didn’t want anything on the EP that would soon change, however what was more painful was trying to find another name that hadn’t already been claimed by the billions of bands on myspace.
The EP was recorded at The Grove Studios on the Central Coast. What was it like to be recording your debut at such a renowned studio? Awesome. We were imposters in rock ‘n roll Babylon, recording our first EP in the same studio as Silverchair, Eskimo Joe, and Delta Goodrem. Our bass player [Stephen Goodhew] frothed over this and I think went as far as sniffing the piano seat that she would of used .The setting is amazing; a state-ofthe-art studio in the bush. Quad bikes, ping pong, barbecue, golf — everything. This experience wasn’t always great for Steve. He got pretty pissed off ‘cos we threw him in the pool all the time, fully clothed.
Has there been a change to your sound with the change of name? We haven’t purposefully tried to change our sound, but the more we create, the more our sound is becoming defined. I guess you could say it’s probably a little different to our earlier stuff. A bit more dancey, perhaps. We’ve injected a more electro element into our newer songs and revamped our older ones. You could say Paper Prophets is the new, improved Veto.
What did Rob Taylor bring to the table as producer? Experience, experience, experience! He helped us cut out a lot of the fat in our songs and tightened the whole thing up. He also gave us a whole lot of confidence in what we do and in the sound that we’re creating — which was nice. He was easy to work with. He expects a high level of professionalism and we got on really well.
The obvious first question — what was wrong with the name Veto, and what is right about the name Paper Prophets? A Norwegian dance act called Veto bagsed that name before us, so we had to let that one go... also the death metal band and the rap artist — who are both called Veto — threatened to pop us if we didn’t pick another name.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? That’s why I was blasting along the German autobahn at 300kph in the new, range-topping Porsche Panamera Turbo, the all wheel drive, four door, 4.8-litre, V8, turbo GT car Porsche will bring to Australia in a couple of months. Just before I opened the Panamera’s taps, some dude in a pissy little Mitsubishi Colt Turbo cabrio was giving me curry at about 220kph. I didn’t think they would go that fast, but the proof was before my eyes. Having none of that, the hammer went down on the big Porsche, which simply bellowed, gobbled up the Colt and blew it out the blatting quad exhausts. That felt good, let’s do it again… Behaving like an absolute prick in the Panamera comes easy. It has the sound, the attitude, the mumbo and the manners to go real fast and everyone with anything semi-quick in Europe wants to burn you off. Dumb buggers. Not being able to help myself, I accom modated some of them and revelled in the experience. But there’s always a downside when you’re having too much fun and it came in the form of a speed camera cunningly hidden at the side of the autobahn, that picked me up as I blasted past at around 260kph. That’s more than double the speed limit and probably means gaol in Spandau Prison. They’d shoot you, root you and electrocute you in Australia. 36
r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
Flashy Panamera Kerching! went the red flashbulbs. Luckily it was the last day of the international press launch for the new Porsche and I bolted to the airport later that afternoon, snuggling into the safety of the Qantas 747 seat heading for home. Next time there’s a German car gig I might get pinged at immigration and taken away… Nah, they won’t, will they? I’ll let ya know. The Panamera is Porsche’s first four door passenger car (Cayenne is an SUV) and is actually a five door hatch, though Porsche would not like it described that way. They call it a Gran Turismo — a GT car designed for comfortable, long distance, high speed driving and in this respect, the German sports car specialist has achieved its goal. Not the prettiest thing around, Panamera definitely has an imposing presence on the road and everyone looks, some with gaping gobs. But that’s probably more because it’s a big boofy Porsche rather than anything else. The front looks like a wide version of a 911. The side profile looks a bit like an extended bubble back hatch and the rear is large and rounded, like a fat arse. But inside is classy — typically Porsche, and much like a 911, with beautifully designed gauges and controls, metres of stitched leather and four lounge seats, all electrically adjustable and heated. Porsche picked me up at the airport and I was chauffeur driven in the rear seat 120km to
reviewed Porsche Panamera reviewed by Peter Douglas
the hotel. Felt like a rock star and it’s definitely a genuine four seater, not a two-plus-two. The experience was heightened by the Burmester 16 speaker, 1,000 watt sound system that converts the Panamera into an audio cathedral on wheels. The standard audio is a Bose system — also incredible. There are three models; the S, with a naturally aspirated 4.8-litre V8 kicking out 294kW/500Nm, driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed PDK double clutch transmission. Next up is the 4S, which is the same underneath except for its all wheel drive system. Topping out the Panamera range is the Turbo all wheel drive. This puppy has a twin-turbo 4.8-litre V8 engine with 368kW/ 770Nm output. That’s right on the magical 500 horsepower mark and despite tipping the scales at two tonnes, it makes the Panamera sit up and pay attention. The Turbo also has the seven speed PDK and is upgradable with Sports Chrono that includes launch control — very necessary if you want to experience a 4 second 0-100kph sprint in a two tonne GT car. Environmental pressure sees Porsche equip Panamera with a raft of emission reduction
devices like auto stop/start that switches the engine off when you come to a stop, then starts it instantaneously as soon as you lift off the brake. There are low rolling resistance tyres, a flat aero undertray and on-demand engine ancillaries — water, oil and steering pumps. Difficult as it is to believe, the Panamera S will use only slightly more petrol than a V6 Commodore. Matching the prodigious engine output is handling that’s right up to the job of offering multiple modes, suitable for comfort right up to high speed hooning. It rolls on 18-inch rubber up to 20s, depending on your wallet. In a move away from screen driven multifunction controls, the Panamera has a bank of push buttons looking after the main stuff like aircon, chassis settings and drive mode. Big tick for that. It’s safe too, with eight air bags, ESP and a host of other kit to either avoid a crash or survive it. Prices start at a lazy $270K, rising to $370K or more if you start ticking the options boxes, of which there are plenty. Competitors? None. Panamera is a first, until Aston Martin brings out its four door later this year or next, and we won’t be clocking 300kph in Pommie land — the old Bill is too frightening — I might be transported to the colonies.
The credits on the EP say that all songs are written by Paper Prophets. How much of a collaborative effort is the songwriting? Very much so. Often it starts with a little riff someone’s worked out at home and then builds from there. It’s actually interesting to see the progression. Sometimes an almost complete song is created by one person, however when brought to practice often this changes a lot, with everyone adding their ideas. It’s always fun to compare the initial idea to the finished product. Writing together works well for us because, in the end, we’re all good mates. Often, after gigs, we like to think of fun ways to prank our friends. Last week we left an organ across someone’s door. It was a team effort moving that beast. Luckily we had Steve there to do the heavy work. You recently launched the EP at the Cambridge Hotel. How was the reception? We knew it was going to be a good night. With Who’s Yoko? doing a fashion show and having
the Inheritors and In The Dollhouse on the bill, it was always going to fun. But the reception blew our expectations. The place was packed, we even had an EMI A&R guy come up from Sydney. And the models were hot! We got heaps of good feedback, which was great! With the EP now released, what are the plans for Paper Prophets for the rest of the year? Keeping busy. Our management has lots of plans and have been dealing with all the recent industry interest we have received. We are going back into the studio to record our first single next month, this time at Flashpoint in Sydney. Gonna keep on gigging to promote the EP and extend our fan-base. A tour is well and truly on the cards, too. We can’t wait to hit the road. Bit of an indie, electro pop scene happening up in Brisbane that we are keen on. Paper Prophets play Bar On The Hill, Newcastle Uni, Thursday July 30. Their self-titled EP is available at the gigs and coming soon to iTunes.
Bringing Holler Back The Backsliders have been writing, recording and performing acoustic–based blues for 20 years — even before ‘blues and roots’ became a catch–phase. Kevin Bull chats with driving force Dom Turner, to find out what has kept the blues passion alive for so long. What is it about the blues that has kept you producing and performing it for over 20 years? There’s something about vernacular music that gets into your blood. In fact, as time goes on I find myself delving further and further back into traditional music forms, and finding more and more reasons not to listen to 21st century popular music. Prior to the Backsliders debut Preaching Blues in 1988, what was Dom Turner up to? Aside from a few high school rock bands, I spent a good part of the 80s swapping between playing in fairly straight Chicagostyle blues bands [Terraplane Blues, The Goldentones and The Stumblers] and playing either solo or in a guitar/harmonica duo. It’s been a couple of years since Left Field Holler was released. Are we close to seeing some new Backsliders material? We’ve just about finished an EP of versions of 60s rock songs [stripped back in a more Delta style] that is due out early September. We’re also writing material for a new album, hopefully to be recorded before the end of 2009. Left Field Holler is the first release not to feature the Jim Conway’s harp — with Jim being such an integral part of the Backsliders’ history, how was without him in the studio?
The recording approach has always been much the same in this band and seems to flow on independent of the members. The aim is to go into the studio with a loose idea of the arrangements of the songs and to lay them down essentially live. We then embellish later with overdubs. Both (harmonica players) Ian Collard and Brod Smith are familiar with this approach so it was really business as usual. How did you feel when the ARIAs recognised Poverty Deluxe  and Hanoi  with finalist nominations? Very honoured — often, particularly in recent years, awards for particular music genres seem to get watered down and become a vehicle for giving more awards to pop acts. I was particularly pleased with the band getting the recognition as blues musicians. I’ve been a blues player for over 30 years. The Backsliders have played with many of the blues greats. Is there one that stands out above all others? Hard to say — we have been lucky. I always feel particularly saddened when a musical influence that we have played with passes away. Most recently it was the wonderful Piedmont-style blues guitarist and vocalist John Cephas, a man that we toured with during the 80s and that I worked with during the 90s at a number of US guitar camps.
Rob Hirst [Midnight Oil] joined the fold in 2000 — how did this change things? Primarily in the fact that Rob and I are songwriting partners, so this meant an evolution in song-writing. Were there any doubts in your mind with Rob coming from an essentially rock background? None at all. I knew he was the perfect drummer for the group. Rob has a littleknown jazz drumming background [from his high school days] — watch his stick technique closely and you’ll see a mix of the trademark wallop, some classic jazz techniques, as well
as an affinity for ‘trashy’ drum sounds and equipment. This is something that was evident in Midnight Oil as well. You’ve got dinner shows over the next few months — does your act change for these more intimate performances? Not really — maybe we tend to talk a little more between songs in that environment. The Backsliders will be performing dinner shows at the Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland, Thursday July 23, and Lizotte’s, Kincumber, Saturday September 5, 2009. r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
Live reviews Trail Of Dead The Forum, Sydney Friday May 29, 2009
Trail Of Dead ©Johnny Au
It’s always worth making the trip to Sydney to catch a band at The Forum. It’s an incredibly intimate space, with multiple viewing areas. Just get a good spot early and chill out. Tonight was the aural assault of Austin’s ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. A sixpiece band, these guys are geared towards a complete blitzkrieg of noise. What makes their music is so successful, is that they mange to weave soaring melodies into the chaos. When Trail Of Dead really want to turn up the volume, they use two drummers - yep, just like Australia’s Wolf & Cub. The difference between the two groups is that Trail Of Dead’s use of two skinsmen doesn’t feel like it’s in vain. It actually brings something to the table. The man responsible is Jason Reece, who switches between drums, guitar and vocals. His musicianship helps singer Conrad Keeley wail above the tumult, as songs drift from an ethereal whisper into an all-out sonic explosion of pounding drums and chugging, distorted guitars. One of the highlights is the band’s new single, ‘Isis Unveiled’, which is epic when performed on stage. A scream would erupt from the crowd as every song crept from the speakers, proving that this was not an audience full of nonchalant interest everyone around me was a hardcore fan. To be fair, Trail Of Dead are an act of stadium proportions - but hey, no one can complain about getting up close and personal with these guys. Just consider bringing ear plugs. ~Noah Cross
Gum ball Festival Belford Saturday May 30, 2009
The Evening Son ©Courtney Fitzsimmons
2009 is the fifth year of the Gum Ball festival and the first time the event has played on its home turf since 2005. Due to battles with the local council, the festival had to find alternate locations in the interim years. In 2008, The Gum Ball was cancelled, just eight days before the show. In typical festival style, there were two stages - with a small stage sat next to the main one for bands to play on between the bigger acts. Too bad they all couldn’t be on the main stage, though. None of the acts I saw deserved to be considered a “small stage act”. Claude Hay, Cass Eager, Nick and Leisl, 38 r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
Matt Southon and Kim Churchill, and Kira Puru all gave strong, passionate performances. I would like to comment on each individually (I have nothing but positive comments about them) but there isn’t the room in this review. My main-stage highlights included The Evening Son, Marshall and the Fro, and The Fumes. The Fumes had a hard-pounding energy. They also worked through a tough set, dealing with drum problems and idiots jumping on stage. Overall, Marshall and The Fro had the best set. The festival could have ended on the strength of their performance alone. The intensity in Marshall’s eyes made him look like he was possessed by the demons of blues and rock. The crowd had the most energy during this set. They packed in tight to the stage and bounced to the rhythm like emperor penguins on ecstasy. Gum Ball 2009 was fantastic. It was cold, really cold. But the mood was great and the fire pits were greatly appreciated. ~Andrew Chesham
Lizotte’s Grand Opening
Sydney electro-pop warriors, Van She were the sole support band for this much publicised event. For those unfamiliar, these guys kicked things off back in 2005 when each member responded to an advertisement in a Sydney street press, to begin a band with influences from Sepultura and Entombed. Oh, how things have changed. The quartet granted a fleeting 20-minute set before the evening’s main course was to be digested. Unfortunately, this concluded while many punters were still lining up outside on a chilly Thursday night. Having never seen The Presets perform live before, I was naturally quite enthused by what would be delivered. Is this band really good enough to receive six ARIA awards? Are they going to live up to the ‘God-like’ reputation, thrust upon them by many critics and average citizens alike? Well, regrettably (and at the risk of being gunned down) my answer in short is, no. Yes, The Presets are good; I’d even go as far as to say they are great. But, I don’t believe the hype generated over this duo was engendered tonight. In all fairness, this was perhaps a result of singer, Julian Hamilton’s, recent illness which caused the concert to be postponed a week from the original scheduled date. The Presets granted a liberal number of their hit singles, separated of course with sedated fillers, which created all the more excitement when things did kick back into full swing again. Crowd favourites included obvious choices such as ‘My People’, ‘Talk Like That’ and ‘This Boy’s in Love’. Just in closing, full credit goes to The Presets lighting guy, who was rocking-out side of stage harder than anyone else in the room and provided a spectacular accompaniment to an entertaining presentation. ~Nathaniel Try
Lizotte’s, New Lambton Tuesday June 2, 2009
Deisel + Brian Lizotte ©kevin bull
There was a high level of expectation among the guests that were invited to this very important night. Already a legendary venue on the Central Coast, Lizottes’ Newcastle home was welcomed with open arms by local media, associates and musicians alike. With mouth-watering canapes circling the room, flowing champagne, and a line-up of performers that included Diesel, Deni Hines and Beccy Cole, this was sure to be a memorable night. Jason Lowe and Adam Miller warmed up the crowd, who regrettably chatted through their set. Not deterred, the two delivered a quality set. Deni Hines followed, rousing on the loud audience, making them pull their heads in and show some damn respect. Good on ya, Deni. As always, the younger of the two famous Hines was a class act. Performing with just an acoustic guitarist, it was a wonderfully raw set. Beccy Cole also went the acoustic route, delivering a wonderfully measured set that included a slowed down, haunting country version of Joan Jett’s ‘I Love Rock and Roll’. Benjalu kept the crowd suitably entertained, before Diesel took to the stage. As a blues performer, Mark Lizotte really remains in a class of his own. Joined by just a bassist and drummer, he ripped through some of his classic hits like ‘Never Miss Your Water’ and ‘Tip Of My Tongue’. Joined on stage by a brass section that included both Diesel’s father and his brother and Lizottes’ owner Brian Lizotte, the show had the crowd on their feet. Despite a stellar line-up, the main star of the night was the venue. Originally the King’s Theatre, Brian Lizotte has given the venue his own original touches. The sound is top notch and it’s an incredibly intimate space, with both upstairs and downstairs seating. It is incredibly exciting to have such refreshing life breathed into the nearly 100 year-old venue. Check out Lizottes Newcastle’s upcoming dates and make yourself a booking! ~Nick Milligan
Newcastle Panthers Thursday June 4, 2009
although there was still plenty of room; it wasn’t as crazy a night as the O’Ball or The Big O. I put this down to a majority of uni students being under pressure with exams at this time of the year. One of the first acts was hip hop artist Phrase, busting out with some cool tunes and taking time to chat to the crowd. The fake snow inside the Bar on The Hill being a little lame, though there was a solid snowboarding slingshot set up in the parking lot which was as good as a real snow runway. The Galvatrons took to the stage with their 80s inspired set, entertaining the crowd for a good hour. Funkoars rocked the outside stage and really got the crowd going. It was Kram though, who took the limelight of the event, with his slick, modern rock pounding out of the main stage. He played a very good set that was lapped up by the audience. All in all, Snowball was a little empty, though still an enjoyable night, and to be honest — I didn’t miss the crowds. ~David Long
the Presets ©Terry Paull
Snowball Bar On The Hill, Newcastle Uni Friday June 5, 2009
The Galvatrons ©Chrissy Kavalieros
An appropriate night was picked for the Bar on The Hill’s annual Snowball, being so cold that even the fake snow was in no danger of melting. There was a decent turn out to the event,
Lizotte’s, New Lambton Saturday June 6, 2009
Reggie Watts ©Dese’Rae L. Stage
There are really no words that can do Reggie Watts justice. His live show is a mixture of comedy, absurd observations and spellbinding musical innovation. Watts’ beautiful singing voice can move you close to tears, before his hilarious rants make you nearly fall off your chair. When Watts takes to the lushious stage of Lizottes, Newcastle, accompanied by his monstrously large hair, he is in the persona of a British aristocrat. Using his loop machine, he then contructs a song based upon a drum beat, a bass line and melodic hook - his only instrument is his voice. It’s definitely impressive stuff, with Watts’ sharp wit almost outshining his ability to improvise. Every piece of stage banter is wildly different from the last, keeping the large Lizottes audience contained in a mix of intense laughter and dumbstruck awe. One song, though musically haunting, is about Watts’ decision to try and scare his girlfriend by turning off the power to her house and hiding in the dark. Not realising it’s a joke, she chases him with a pair of scissors. He runs for his life, hiding beneath the surface of a river. This fools his girlfriend’s thermal vision goggles, which she is using to hunt him down. The song ends with Watts’ girlfriend trapping him and stabbing him in the back. Sung in an aching falsetto, this absurb song typifies the musician’s subversive humour. Another rant pointed out that Australians are clearly big wine drinkers, but we should really consider trying beer instead. Apparently there’s warehouses of beer in our country that are going to waste. More of Watts’ wry comedy. Unlike any other artist you’ll ever see, Watts is a bizarre hybrid of Ross Noble and Gnarls Barkley’s vocalist Cee-Lo Green. But even that unusual comparison, like I previously mentioned, doesn’t really do this world-class entertainer any justice. Just make sure you go and see him next time he’s in Australia. ~ Nick Milligan
Come Together Festival Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney Saturday June 6 + Sunday June 7, 2009
Gig of the month
As soon as the curtain dropped the crowd went crazy as Lily launched into ‘Everyone’s at It’. Throughout the next hour-and-a-half Lily took her fans step-by-step through her new album, It’s Not Me, It’s You, with songs such as ‘Back To The Start’ and the politicallycharged, ‘F*** You’. She definitely had the (primarily female) audience in the palm of her hands with ‘Not Fair’.
Midnight Juggernauts ©Joel Courtney
Day One Luna Park was the place to be for the Queen’s Birthday long weekend as the Come Together Festival took place under blue skies and an ambience of thrills and rides. Saturday’s line up was not short on talent with Pez and Spod in good stead, as the participation was in full swing as fans gathered. Rap artist and Regurgitator front man Quan, really had the audience eating out of his hand. The performance was energetic and high on class, as the audience sang back, “Tell me what you want and I can get it for you.” This was a great introduction for Art vs. Science, who gave a stellar performance, leaving the best track till last, as everyone gave it their all for ‘ParlezVous Français?’ This blow-caution-to-thewind performance was a highlight and made all bands thereafter seem dull and outdated. Melbournian’s Midnight Juggernauts ended the evening with their synonymous indie pop gig. Singles ‘Into the Galaxy’ and ‘Road to Recovery’ were done with zeal on an audience that longed to keep the night going. With the night over, Day Two looked equally promising. Day Two The pigeons that hang by the harbour were to find a new resting point for the next twelve hours (if they had any chance of maintaining their hearing) as Day Two of Come Together was about to begin. Hunter locals Here Come the Birds played shortly after; spreading love and CD’s before revealing how overwhelmed they felt by the early energetic turn out. Numbers Radio had the tough task of bringing the rock back to the afternoon, playing after an impressive double, Phrase and the Funkoars. The Protectors’ vocalist Pete Stals was seen throwing himself to the floor countless times, dancing, screaming and eventually sexually violating the microphone. Hidden behind a dark pair of flash Rock sunnies (even when the sun’s out of sight), Kram strumming the guitar, kicking a bass drum and singing at the same time effortlessly. Something with Numbers had everyone on their feet dancing to hits like ‘Apple of The Eye’ and ’89 Freedom St.’ Hip Hop heavyweights Bliss n Eso released a charge of energy to the army of people that stood before them. Breathing in the elated noise that echoed from the arena, you can’t help but break out in goosebumps, as Bliss smash out hit after hit, covering the floor with their bass anthems. With the night coming to an end, I think we were all feeling one major noise hangover preparing for the next day. ~Marija Zeko, Sean Frazer
Lily Allen Hordern Pavilion, Sydney Tuesday June 9, 2009
Lily Allen has come a long way. Gone is the high-pitched baby voice and drunken rants which have made her previous tours a little disappointing. For her biggest solo show to date, a sold-out 6000 strong crowd at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion, Lily was well on top.
Lily Allen ©Chrissy Kavalieros Pink ©kevin bull
It was a little disappointing that Lily didn’t play more off her first album, but the inclusion of ‘LDN’ and ‘Everything’s Just Wonderful’ were great, as was her cover of Kaiser Chief’s ‘Oh My God’. The highlight of the set was definitely the encore. Lily bounded onto the stage and, as she urged the crowd to dance, trance music filled the Hordern and the crowd responded with hands in the air. From there she launched into ‘Smile’ and new single ‘The Fear’. She then earned some major points with me by dropping her own take on the Crookers’ remix of Kid Cudi’s ‘Day N Nite’, which had the crowd jumping like crazy. Then just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Lily belted out a brilliant cover of Britney Spears’ ‘Womanizer’. And there it was, from the sneaker-wearing Chav of three years ago to the sleek, stunning performer she is today - I am happy to say that Lily has come into her own. ~Chrissy Kavalieros
COG Entrance Leagues Club, The Entrance Sunday June 14, 2009
Cog ©kevin bull
I was fortunate enough to have seen Cog back in 2001 at Sydney Uni’s Manning Bar playing from their first EP Just Visiting, to a small number of students. Let me tell you, they were terrific then and are even more fantastic now. Before experiencing the sounds of Cog tonight, the audience was amped up by Melbourne three piece Calling All Cars, followed by five piece Mancurian group Oceansize, exciting the audience with mammoth sounds. Oceansize lead singer Mike Vennart even playing his guitar over his back ala Hendrix. Now I am no virgin to Cog but, I have to tell you, seeing this trio at one of my locals was an even better encounter. The concert was nothing short of a floor-stomping occurrence, opening with the ten minute phenomenal epic ‘Doors’, from their breakthrough CD, The New Normal. The night was full of crowd favourites, including ‘What If?’ and ‘Bird of Feather’ from Sharing Space. You don’t have to be cognisant of the band’s
Pink Newcastle Entertainment Centre
Wednesday June 3, 2009 With 54 sold-out dates throughout Australia, Pink’s Funhouse tour is the hottest ticket in town. To be honest, I felt kind of special taking my seat, a feeling shared with most here at her opening Newcastle gig. From a runway that thrust into the crowd, Pink rose out of a hidden trapdoor, suspended from a wire and gracefully swept on to the stage — a spectacular entrance to an amazing show. It was a visual, aural and sexual overload, and highlights were many. The set list contained a nice mix of old favourties, as well as a host of new songs from her latest album Funhouse. The pillow fight during ‘So What’ was a lot of fun, with four female dancers taking revenge on their fellow male dancer, before Pink stepped in and straddled him. Something that did surprise me was the
extensive history in order to enjoy their powerhouse, bass-driven, progressive rock songs and their amazing ability to pull huge amounts of sound as a three piece. They don’t play incognito — their presence on stage speaks for itself, with non-stop action for an hour-and-a-half, as the enthusiastic crowd sang along to the lyrics of almost every song. These Bondi natives are a great live band, and will be sure to impress serious music lovers everywhere. If you are ever lucky enough to experience Cog, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. The Between Oceans tour will be the bands last round before they take time out to pull more material together for their third LP. Make sure you catch them on their next stopover. ~Krystal Ryan
Flipper Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Sunday June 14, 2009
Flipper ©joeL attenborough
What does a performer expect from an audience? The audience definitely has expectations of the performer. They expect a certain level of entertainment, in terms of quality and quantity. They want value for
number of covers performed, all being wellchosen and skillfully performed. The Divinyl’s ‘I Touch Myself’ was slow and erotic. Pink performed the Aussie classic draped over a couch, with protruding hands that found places that I am sure only her husband, Corey Hart, dares to go. Led Zeppelin’s ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You’ was truthful to the original, with Pink giving her best Robert Plant wail, and by the time Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ and Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ had the crowd singing along, you had the feeling that Pink could do no wrong. To close the show, the slower ‘Glitter in the Air’ saw Pink rise above the crowd on an aerial ribbon, only to be lowered below the stage. Again she rose, dripping with water. It was awe inspiring — one of the best endings of any show I have seen. My advice, do anything you can to get tickets for Pink’s return visit gigs to Newcastle in July. ~Kevin Bull
money, a return on the dollars they spent on their tickets. American comedian Steve Martin understands this. During one of his stand-up performances in the 70s, he asked the crowd, “How much did you pay to get into the show tonight, $4.50? It’s a good investment. Sometimes I come out here and do a $4.75 show.” Flipper expects energy from their audience. For Flipper, the better the crowd’s energy, the better their performance will be. Gaining this energy from the small crowd at the Cambridge was hard to do, especially when the opening band didn’t accomplish their task of warming up the audience — I’m looking at you, Castings. The only difference between them setting up their equipment and their performance was the lighting. Flipper’s style of punk also made it difficult to attain this energy. They play a mid-tempo, sludgy punk. They still created electricity with this style, but it was more static electricity than lightening. Throughout the set, Flipper tried to energise the crowd. Lead singer, Bruce Loose, and bassist, Rachel Theole, urged the crowd to get close to the stage and jump around; Loose even invited everyone to climb over the metal barrier in front of the stage. The real fans did, most others stood at the back with their hands in their pockets. The crowd did get frantic during Flipper’s final song, ‘Sex Bomb’ — the band’s biggest hit. Three people from the audience were invited on stage to sing it. By the end, the energy was definitely there. But, at this point, the show was over. And, it didn’t negate the fact that certain expectations weren’t met, from either side. ~Andrew Chesham r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
G am e r ’ s C or n e r
Live reviews WOLF AND CUB Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Thursday June 18, 2009
Wolf and Cub ©mark snelson
Making superb use of a half filled room, The Scare’s eccentric vocalist Kiss Reid, spent the entirety of his performance time on the floor of the Cambridge. No, he didn’t spend a moment on stage, as is usually thought to be more conventional. From this location, the surprisingly dapper gentleman toppled tables and chairs, violated the personal space of most and heckled everyone who appeared too conservative, as this entertaining quintet provided a truly memorable performance. An obvious crowd favourite was the recently released single ‘No Money’. Earlier this year one of The Scare’s guitarists advertised ‘Cheapest Labour Hire in Sydney’ signs on various telegraph poles, for a meagre $7.00 an hour. This reality proves how the group can perform the aforementioned hit with such conviction. I’m sure anyone who doesn’t already know, would be intrigued to learn that Adelaide’s Wolf & Cub have two drummers. Mercifully,
the talented quartet use their beat masters as a secret weapon and not a driving force that carries the band, as would be an easier path to follow. Further adding to their diversity, the group’s latest recruit, Marvin Hammond (one half of Wolf & Cub’s backline combo), plays saxophone intermittently throughout the set. Just in case you’re wondering, they’re not paying me to talk up their originality. It was just so damn impressive! Quirkiness aside, Wolf & Cub played a rock set with elements of funk, groove and psychedelic rock thrown in for good measure. The ensemble borrowed a large portion of their material from their second full length release Science and Sorcery. Seeing ‘Seven Sevens’ and ‘This Mess’ delivered in a live setting, was a remarkably pleasant component of a thoroughly innovative evening. ~Nathaniel Try
Sketching Cato Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle Friday June 19, 2009
missing out. The night started with the all-girl outfit, Vamp. This was the first time I’ve seen them play and they were great. Their ability to pull an early crowd was impressive. Next up was Fictions, who I have seen a few times now and really like. I love their high energy indie rock and love how frontman, Cam Bone, jumps off-stage to get amongst it in the crowd. Then it was time for Sketching Cato. These boys remind me of why I’ll always love good Aussie rock. They kicked off their set with the first song off their new self-titled EP, ‘Loaded Gun’, which is a definite crowd pleaser and pulled many to the dance floor. Throughout the next hour the band showcased the new EP with tracks like ‘The Touch’ and ‘Changes’, which had many a punter heading straight to the merch table to grab a copy to take home. In between the new tracks and friendly banter with the receptive crowd, they played a few unreleased tracks including ‘Horizon’, which was quite different to their usual style and the surprising change was well received. Highlights of the set were the crowd favourite, ‘Something Real’, and my personal favourite, the ballad ‘Look Around’, which showcased the bands range and versatility. With the band heading out on an East Coast tour this month, there are plenty of opportunities to catch them live, so I recommend you go along. You won’t be disappointed. ~Chrissy Kavalieros
Ash Grunwald Sketching Cato ©Chrissy Kavalieros
It’s been a while since I’ve seen local bands play at the Cambridge and if the general quality of music is as high as the Sketching Cato EP launch, well, I feel I may have been
Entrance Leagues Club Saturday June 20, 2009
Seven years ago I was under the legal drinking age and first heard Ash Grunwald from the outside of a pub he was playing at. My mates and I weren’t allowed in, so we sat on the kerb
The Lives of Others Ash Grunwald ©Linda Wales
enjoying the beats and wondering who the brilliant musician was inside. I finally saw him at my local club on Saturday night and was blown away... this time drinking quite a few beers. Ash Grunwald’s new music is faster and rockier, and the tunes off the album Fish Out Of Water, with their funky beats, are all easy to dance to. Grunwald’s relentless tapping on the stomp box just made me want to rock my head through the entire set and it was that energy that saw the crowd moving in unison to the beat for the whole gig. ‘Fish Out Of Water’, was the highlight of the show for me. This new song definitely contains Grunwald’s signature blues sound, but it was fresh and had a sexy rhythm. The vigour of the massive local crowd inside the small space was intense. An old tune, ‘Dolphin Song’ was sung with passion, and Grunwald’s wailing dolphin noises revved up the animalism in the audience. ‘Breakout’, was another crowd favourite, and he picked the guitar faster and faster as it played out, impressing everyone there. I’m sure I can speak for local music lovers of the Central Coast when I say that it’s so good to have great bands stopping in here. Keep ‘em comin`! ~Lianna McDonald
Two major titles, fifteen expansion packs, ten item add-on packs and numerous deluxe editions, with combined sales of over 100 million copies in the last ten years — The Sims is easily the biggest selling game franchise of all time. Few were surprised, then, when The Sims 3 was announced in March last year, with the promise that it would expand the gameplay exponentially beyond its previous boundaries. With The Sims 2 already supplemented with pets, nightclubs, apartments, private businesses, vacations and even witchcraft, does the game live up to its promise? How much does the next instalment really contribute, now that it’s here? The answers are ‘yes’ and ‘a lot more than you think’ — The Sims 3 both introduces new features and refines existing ones in equal measure. The most significant change, as Maxis has long advertised, is the consolidation of the entire neighbourhood. Having done away with loading screens, every lot plays out at once before you — people go to work [at workplaces you can actually see], eat out at restaurants, sit in the park, and generally go about their lives as you direct your sims all over town. In keeping with this fluency, all areas of your sims’ lives are streamlined to be both more complex and more intuitive. Climbing the career ladder is no longer a generic chore requiring a lot of tiresome skill-building and relationship-juggling. Each career now comes with its own unique challenges and rewards, and you have a hands-on role in your sim’s behaviour at work — they can suck up to their boss, socialise with their colleagues or learn new skills on-the-job depending on the situation. This makes their workday far more
reviewed The Sims 3 reviewed by Hugh Milligan rated 8.5/10 rewarding and frees up a lot more time at home for exploring and socialising. Sims now have unique personality traits, and as soon as they meet, they’re curious to learn more about each other. They have tastes in food, music and literature, as well as shortterm ‘moodlets’ that change frequently depending on their environment. A wellcooked meal, for example, can boost their spirits, and they’ll even put the leftovers in the fridge for other family members. Maxis have obviously injected the game with an enormous amount of fine detail, and the result is a sometimes frighteningly realistic simulation of daily life. The Create-A-Sim mode has been tweaked with graphical improvements — softened skin tones and features make your sims astonishingly lifelike, and you can use the new Create-A-Style feature to make custom colour schemes for their hair, eyes, make-up and clothing. Create-A-Style can also be used in Build Mode to make your own furniture patterns and decor, giving you far more scope for creativity. The real annoyance here is the rather limited selection of furniture, outfits and hairstyles that ships with the game, which will at times put a crimp in your outrageous style. The online store offers a huge selection of additional items, but they’re certainly not free — have your credit card ready. The greatest addition to the game, and one
you may not immediately find, is the ability to select the lifespan of your sims. In The Sims 2, it was difficult to pack so much activity into their very limited existence, but in this instalment you may now give them lives as long as 960 days if you so choose. Look for the slider in the game’s options. The Sims 3 is the culmination of ten years of trial and error. While the online store can sometimes seem like extortion [and EA are no doubt using your cash to stoke their goldplated fireplaces], one has to give credit where it’s due. It’s a truly immersive and addictive
game constructed from the best features of a truly and immersive and addictive series. It’s absolutely worth playing, and once you’re hooked and clawing at the walls for new lounge settings or a table to match your Victorian counters, you’ll be ready for the long line of expansion packs that are, without a doubt, already in development.
This Shit is Bananas Another Gamecube classic revived on the Wii, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat was originally played using a set of bizarre peripheral bongo drums that shipped with the game. Thankfully, the new Wii-mote and nunchuk controls do away with much of this cumbersome gimmickry, and the game is now played simply using shaking gestures, two buttons and the analogue stick. These simple controls are far more effective given the nature of the gameplay itself. Jungle Beat is a fantastic throwback to the early days of Donkey Kong Country and its sequels — DK navigates a series of cleverly paced sidescrolling levels, collecting bananas and beating the living tar out of anyone who gets in his way. The boss fights are fun and inventive, including some one-on-one boxing 40
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reviewed NEW PLAY CONTROL! — Donkey Kong Jungle Beat reviewed by Hugh Milligan rated 8/10 matches with other Kongs, and the graphics have been suitably enhanced with more brilliant colour, lighting and water effects. The game is a masterful and nostalgic return to Donkey Kong’s origins that nevertheless remains fresh and fast-paced. There’s no multiplayer, but the later levels are tricky enough to encourage replayability and collecting all the crests takes some practice. r e v e r b m a g a z i n e i s s u e # 0 3 6 — j u ly 2 0 0 9
Bush gets Stoned All the Rage reviewed W. reviewed by Noah Cross rated 3.5/5
It’s no secret that Oliver Stone likes making bio-pics. He’s tackled two ex-Presidents [JFK and Richard Nixon], Doors singer Jim Morrison and Alexander The Great. He’s also attracted to controversial and sensational subject matter, like September 11 and the Vietnam War. It’s for these reasons that many people will make quick assumptions about a Stone-directed exploration of George W. Bush Jr, especially when you consider that the main protagonist is still alive. But rather than shock his audience with violence or extreme subject matter, Stone surprises with a very balanced and nonjudgemental look at the American ex-President. Josh Brolin plays George W. Bush Jr and his portrayal is uncanny. There are moments where you believe you’re actually watching the man himself, which makes W. quite confronting. But Brolin’s performance is nothing short of jaw-dropping and, along with Stone, he has done a brilliant job of allowing the viewer insight into a man that the world loved to hate. Fans of Oliver Stone’s work may be frustrated by W., as the film neither celebrates nor condemns the ex-President.
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reviewed Retro Rage reviewed by Nick Milligan rated 4.5/5
bushing the envelope: Brolin in W.
Shifting between Bush’s younger years as an alcoholic tearaway in Texas and his time spent in the White House, W. rests upon its smart casting. Richard Dreyfuss gives a deliciously evil portrayal of Dick Cheney, Scott Glenn is solid as Donald Rumsfeld, Thandi Newtown creates a very creepy Condoleeza Rice and Jeffrey Wright brings depth to the politically torn Colin Powell. The increasingly wonderful Elisabeth Banks gives an understated performance as Laura Bush. A large focus of the film is Bush Jr’s troubled relationship with his father, George W. Bush Sr, played with contained discontent by James Cromwell. It’s made very clear that Bush Jr’s motivation to run for President was fuelled by a desire to win his father’s scarce approval. W. is released Wednesday July 8, 2009.
Although this music video collection contains more mullets than the Hunter River, it’s an absolute treasure trove of classic 80s moments. Retro Rage is certainly an ecclectic mix of songs from the TV show’s vaults, but the important inclusions far outweigh the kitsch. While the most welcome inclusion is the music video of Sonic Youth’s seminal ‘Teen Age Riot’, the golden era of Australian music is nicely represented. There’s The Church’s ‘Under The Milky Way’, The Triffids’ ‘Wide Open Road’, the Go-Betweens’ ‘Streets Of Your Town’ and The Saints’ ‘Just Like Fire I Would’. Watching the late David McComb perform ‘Wide Open Road’ is certainly an emotional experience. If you’re looking for 80s fashion tips, then don’t look any further than the A-list of cool muthafuckas that appear throughout the Retro Rage compilation - David Bowie, Nick Cave, Robert Smith, Deborah Harry, Paul Weller and the Reid brothers from Jesus & Mary Chain. There’s a number of clips included here that can’t be viewed with anything but shock and
quick like a fox: Megan runs scared
morbid curiosity. Whether it’s Pete Burns’ outrageous eye patch in the the clip for Dead Or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)’ or Olivia Newton-John tormenting fat people in the ‘Physical’ video, there’s many laughs to be had. This is the perfect DVD to throw on at parties, as long as dancing along with Simon Le Bon or Terence Trent D’Arby is done while intoxicated. There’s no excuse for replicating this shit if you’re sober.
gang of two: segal (left) and rudd (right
A Robotic Return reviewed Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen reviewed by Nick Milligan rated 3 stars primed and ready: optimus attacks
Retro Rage is out now through Universal.
Michael Bay, you’ve done it again! Amazing, relentless special effects. Beautifully rendered robots. Equally robotic performances from your actors. A cringe-worthy, stupid script with unforgivably bad dialogue. Indeed, most of the Transformers fans that go to see this highly-anticipated sequel to director Bay’s 2007 blockbuster, will have mixed feelings. What makes this sequel so much more disappointing, is that rather than respond to his critics and balance breath-taking action with superbly crafted characterisation, Bay has seemingly reacted by paying even less attention to the script. At an epic two-and-ahalf hours in length, the action-obsessed film maker really has no excuses left. With a budget of approximately $200 million, you’d expect the producers to tick all the boxes. They certainly don’t miss an opportunity to show off Megan Fox’s rump. At least we know where their priorities are. Picking up not long after where the film first left off, Revenge Of The Fallen opens with its hero, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), getting ready to go to college. He’s planning a long distance relationship with his goddess-like girlfriend Mikaela [Megan Fox]. This could potentially work out for both parties, until uber-vixen Alice [Isabel Lucas] sets her sights on Sam’s... um, ‘Witwicky’. Meanwhile, the Autobots, including their grand leader Optimus Prime, have remained on Earth, working with human soldiers to erradicate the last of evil Decepticons. When a dying Decepticon exclaims that someone called ‘The Fallen’ is going to “rise again”, you know that means trouble. The Transformers have an ancient past that Sam must investigate if he wants to stay alive. This is an incredibly over-bloated action film, delivered as only Michael Bay can. For every thrilling scene that has the cinema audience on the edge of its seat, there’s five or six moments that have the crowd laughing for all the wrong reasons. For starters, there’s Sam’s neurotic mother [Julie White], who
simply doesn’t deliver as a comic relief. There’s Sam’s college room mate, Leo Spitz [Ramón Rodríguez], who simply doesn’t deliver as a comic relief. There’s even the brilliant character actor John Turturro, who, unbelievably, simply doesn’t deliver as a comic relief. Turturro spends all of his screen time not only trying to save the planet, but also trying to salvage the last half of the movie. Josh Duhamel returns as Captain Lennox, but is given absolutely nothing to do other than fire a machine gun. Another big let down is the on-screen chemistry of LaBeouf and Fox. It seems forced. So what does Bay get right? Well, there’s the special effects and the delivery of the action sequences — it’s all first class. There’s some unexpectedly innovative scenes, that are both interesting and clever. Unfortunately, there’s also a few shots that are very reminiscent of moments from Bay’s previous movies Pearl Harbor and Armageddon. Bad memories. But fans that go along purely for the spectacle of seeing giant robots turn each other into scrap metal, will not be disappointed. The last 40 minutes of the movie are nothing but whizzing bullets, explosions and robot mayhem. The ethos of the Transformers franchise is also well represented. Optimus Prime and his Autobots are kind and humane, and their search for peace in the universe is what carries the clichéd plot to its climax. Ultimately, they steal the show from their human counterparts. Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen is in cinemas now.
“we’re in a gym!”: rudd with the lonely island’s andy samberg
True Bro-mance One the face of it, I Love You, Man has a rather ludicrous premise, but its clever script combined with great comedic performances makes it a standout. Paul Rudd plays Peter Klaver, a real estate agent soon to be married to his soul mate Zooey [Rashida Jones]. However, both Peter’s family and Zooey express their concern about his lack of male friends when he announces he does not have a best man. He has always had female friends and never did regular ‘blokey’ type things. After a few ‘man dates’, which are hilarious for us but disastrous for Peter, he meets Sydney, an upfront and carefree slacker who frequents open houses for the free food and to hit on recent divorcees. Peter and Sydney hit it off like a storm and pretty soon Peter is spending more time jamming out Rush tunes in Sydney’s ‘man cave’ than spending time with Zooey. This puts him in the difficult circumstance of trying to balance not one, but two rather complex relationships, when all he was after was a best man for his wedding.
reviewed I Love You, Man reviewed by Mark Snelson rated 4 stars Director John Hamburg [Along Came Polly] teamed up with Seinfeld writer Larry Levin for this, and they have struck a great balance between hilarious comedy and sensitivity [even with the frequent bouts of crude one-liners]. Rudd was the perfect choice for the lead. His mix of deadpan delivery and expressions of awkwardness are like no other — it suits this role to a tee. Jason Segal is also very good and the chemistry between the two is spot on. I Love You, Man is the perfect chick flick for men [if that makes any sense?] and will have you recollecting lines and laughing for days afterwards. I Love You, Man is in cinemas now.
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Lizotte’s Grand opening - June 2, 2009
lass O’Gowrie Hotel
sneaky sound system - Newcastle Panthers, May 15, 2009 44
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reverb, spunk & el dorado music present
The Future Of Music & The Music Industry, Downloads, Mobilee Music & How YOU U Can Benefit From Mass Change! C
AustralAsian Music Business Conference
REVERB MAGAZINE’S 3RD BIRTHDAY PARTY
20th–22nd August, 2009
Sat July 18, The Cambridge Hotel With The Seabellies, The Tunstalls, Fear Of Monsters + DJs
Five of our Six KEYNOTE SPEAKERS Kevin Bermeister—CEO of Altnet Inc and Brilliant Digital Entertainment, the driving force behind Kazaa Gerd Leonhard—Media Futurist, Author & Blogger, co-Author of "The Future of Music", Author of "Music 2.0" (Europe) Jeff Price—Founder & CEO of TuneCore (US) Jon Satterley—Senior Vice President New Media and Global Business Development for Roadrunner Records (US) Brent Grulke—Creative Director South by Southwest (US)
Acer Arena Ballroom Olympic Park Sydney
3 days, 50+ top speakers, 9 crucial 90-minute seminars including... • The True Futures of Music
Tickets available from:
• Artists & Manager Relationships • Branding, Sponsorship & New Revenue Streams
Moshtix - www.moshtix.com.au ph. 1300 438 849 + outlets
• Rising Above The Chatter with Technology • Chasing Mobile Music • Music Agents, Blogs & Online Evangelists
35+ of 50+ Speakers, More TBA
Music Industry Piracy Investigations GM, Marianna Annas Music Marketing Manager Vodafone, Sharon Ashworth General Manager, Soundbuzz Australia, Paul Buchanan CEO of MGM Distribution, Sebastian Chase Director of Domestic Music Warner Music, Shae Constantine Director New World Artists booking agency, Julia Davis Manager of Airbourne, Grinspoon & Josh Pyke, Gregg Donovan Entertainment Relations, Gibson Guitars, formerly EMI, Clayton Doughty Market Manager Nokia Music Service, Karen Farrugia Music Supervisor, Music Licensing P/L, Kim Green Manager of Eskimo Joe and former A&R Festival Mushroom Records, Catherine Haridy Music Network Editor, Jade Harley Aloha Management principal (Cog, Faker Sparkadia) former A&R Manager Warner Music, Dan Hennessy Senior Director New Media and Digital Business Development Roadrunner Records, Georgia Hull GM Music Channels XYZ Networks, Shaun James Artist Urthboy, MC for The Herd, Elefant Traks founding member, Tim Levinson Business Development Director MySpace, Nick Love Head of Digital Strategy Austereo Network, formerly Austereo Marketing Director, Jeremy Macvean Concert & Tour Promoter, Producer of Soundwave Festival, A.J. Maddah APRA Director of Recorded Music Services, Richard Mallett Content Director Digital Radio ABC, Stuart Matchett Top music lawyer, Brett Oaten Director Of Commercial Music Sony Music Australia, Ken Outch CEO Mercury Mobility, former MD Zomba Records, Paul Paoliello Managing Director, Peer Group, Andrew Reid CEO, Shock Entertainment Group, Marcus Seal Former world COO for Sony/BMG, former Asia Pacific head of BMG, Michael Smellie MD of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Damian Trotter AMCOS Board Member & owner of Catalyst entertainment consultancy, Keith Welsh Director Sponsorship, Promotion and New Business Development, Sony Computer Entertainment, Steve Wherrett And of course, Phil Tripp, AMBC Convenor returns to moderate.
• Love It Live & Making a Living Playing
15 more speakers and one keynote to be added
• Narrowcasting, Broadcasting & Streaming
THE DEBUT ALBUM “THE SUNSPOT LETTERS” OUT NOW ON SPUNK!
• Be My Friend—Music Social Networking , 2 da
$660 3 days
for AP iscounts
1 day $ 0 5 5 $ ys
d AAM MMF an
nd stud a s r e b m
www.immedia.com.au/ambc IMMEDIA! phone (02) 9557 7766, email email@example.com
Check out all our topics, times & talkers & register to be a part of this major music event that only happens every two years.
coming soon to ... THE
fri july 10
fri july 3
ENDORPHIN fri july 17
sat july 4
fri july 24
NIK FISH BLACK TOUR
wed july 8
fri july 31
SHOW ME LOVE
MOBIN MASTER & ALAN THOMPSON
AVA I L A B L E 7 DAYS A W E E K -LUNCH AND DINNER FRI 3.07.09 SAT 4.07.09 FRI 10.07.09 SAT 11.07.09 FRI 17.07.09
GRAVY TRAIN END OF AUGUST COVER UP CLOCKWORK FULL MOON
SAT FRI SAT FRI
18.07.09 24.07.09 25.07.09 31.07.09
THE URGE STEVE EDMONDS SOMETHING MISSING SPECTACULAR FEETS
for mor e info contact the venue :
207 entr ance r d
ERINA 4367 5222 for ar tist enquiries contact 4367 5222
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