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Music legend. For music lovers. For music makers. For perfectionists. At home. On stage. In the mix. For 30 years.

Rediscover the legend:

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in this issue what you’ll find inside…

The Frontline


Back To Business


Thundercat talks yacht rock, working with Kendrick Lamar and getting drunk


Future Islands


Pissed Jeans


King Parrot


Machine Translations


Tommy Stinson


Letters To Lions


Dan Treacy of Television Personalities is very good at disappearing


Why do some songs take such a long time to catch on?



“Dan was very off-hand about the whole music business, and scornful of conventions.” (16-18)


“Everybody’s reality is different.” (8-9) 22-24

A pop punk fan seeks to understand the allegations swirling around Brand New’s Jesse Lacey


Lucas Abela




The Girlfriend Experience




Why are we still watching Marvel movies?


The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, Sea Oak


The Defender


The Brothers Karamazov, Armageddon And Paranoia


Game On


Sounds Like, Drawn Out


Out & About


Gig guide






the frontline With Brandon John, Poppy Reid and Nathan Jolly ISSUE 730: Wednesday November 29, 2017 PRINT & DIGITAL EDITOR: Joseph Earp NEWS DIRECTOR: Nathan Jolly SUB EDITOR: Belinda Quinn NEWS: Nathan Jolly, Tyler Jenke, Brandon John ART DIRECTOR: Sarah Bryant PHOTOGRAPHER: Ashley Mar ADVERTISING: Josh Burrows - 0411 025 674 PUBLISHER: Seventh Street Media CEO, SEVENTH STREET MEDIA: Luke Girgis - luke.girgis@seventhstreet. media MANAGING EDITOR: Poppy Reid THE GODFATHER: BnJ GIG GUIDE COORDINATOR: Kenneth Liong - REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS: Arca Bayburt, Lars Brandle, Tanja Brinks Toubro, Alex Chetverikov, Max Jacobson, Emily Gibb, Emily Meller, Adam Norris, Holly Pereira, Daniel Prior, Natalie Rogers, Erin Rooney, Anna Rose, Spencer Scott, Natalie Salvo, Aaron Streatfeild, Augustus Welby, Zanda Wilson, David James Young Please send mail NOT ACCOUNTS direct to this NEW address Level 2, 9-13 Bibby St, Chiswick NSW 2046 EDITORIAL POLICY: The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher, editors or staff of the BRAG. ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE: Carrie Huang - (02) 9713 9269 Level 2, 9-13 Bibby St, Chiswick NSW 2046 DEADLINES: Editorial: Friday 12pm (no extensions) Ad bookings: Friday 5pm (no extensions) Finished art: No later than 2pm Monday Ad cancellations: Friday 4pm Deadlines are strictly adhered to. Published by Seventh Street Media Pty Ltd All content copyrighted to Seventh Street Media 2017 DISTRIBUTION: Wanna get the BRAG? Email PRINTED BY SPOTPRESS: 24 – 26 Lilian Fowler Place, Marrickville NSW 2204 like us:


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NO MILK TODAY One of the country’s oldest milk bars — and Sydney’s most reliable timewarp into the early ’60s — has been forced to shut. Olympia Milk Bar has long fallen into disrepair, which is part of its charm, but also why the council finally intervened, ordering it shut until major ceiling and facade damage is dealt with and the building is brought up to code. Nicholas Fotiouis has owned the milk bar since 1959, and is quite reclusive: he’s often called Dr. Death due to his unwelcoming demeanour and the store’s lack of light. This is also part of the bar’s charm. “It’s an amazing place and it would be terrible to lose it,” Effy Alexakis, who is close to Fotiouis, told a reality website. “That’s his life and he has nowhere else to go, and has no family. His life is that shop. But I’m not surprised that the council got involved. I think they’ve been turning a blind eye for a long time. All the front is ready to collapse and while he had some repairs done, they look pretty shonky. I think it really is a health risk now.” As least it won’t be demolished anytime soon, as the milk bar is heritage listed by the NSW Heritage Register, which preserves buildings with “historical, aesthetic and social significance.”

WHITEWASHED Australian TV is a white-washed mess, according to a new study. More than three out of every four TV ads (77 per cent) feature all white casts, 14 per cent of TV ads star a Caucasian and one other ethnic actor, and just 3 per cent feature no Caucasian talent at all. The lack of

HALL OF FAMERS As one of the most critically acclaimed bands in rock history, the members of Radiohead have managed to remain fairly down to earth despite their constant praise. Back in October, it was announced that Radiohead were on the list for potential Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction – but it seems like the band’s Ed O’Brien may think this is one accolade the band maybe don’t quite need yet. In a recent chat with Esquire, Radiohead’s six-string king said that Dr Dre “should be first on the list way ahead of Radiohead” up for inductions next year. “As a British band, it’s one of those things that it’s very lovely to be nominated, but we don’t quite culturally understand it. It’s a very American thing. Us Brits are very bad at celebrating ourselves.” O’Brien went on to say that as Brits, “it’s in our DNA to be a little ambivalent with award ceremonies.” He also added that the Hall of Fame is “a little bit thin on black artists and hip-hop artists.” and that he “would have thought that Dr Dre should have been in there two years ago.”

NOT THAT WE’RE BRAGGING… Listen, we might produce a fortnightly print magazine, but that doesn’t mean we’re precious about what people do with copies of the mag. Sure, we’d love to think that people read every single word of every single issue, poring over the thing cover to cover and treating it like a holy document, but we know that as with any free print


NEWSFLASH: MORRISSEY STILL A PIECE OF SHIT Morrissey has always been an acquired taste of a human being, mouthing off on issues that are often polarizing for society as a whole. Now, the acclaimed British singer has sounded off on the recent Hollywood purge of sexual predators, pondering on what he perceives as the “unfair treatment” of Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. In a recent interview with German news outlet, Spiegel Online, when discussing recent allegations made against Spacey, Moz chimed in with his utterly unnecessary point of view. “It seems to me Spacey has been unnecessarily attacked,” he said. “All at once everyone is guilty. Anyone who has ever said to someone else, ‘I like you,’ is suddenly being charged with sexual harassment.”

publication, people use our mags to: line their guinea pigs’ pen; wrap Christmas presents; and generally reuse and recycle our pages. So we were particularly chuffed when our friends over at Australian institution Play School whipped out a copy of the BRAG adorned with Kirin J Callinan’s face and cut it up to form the nose cone of a rocket. Also, extra points that it’s Kirin’s face that makes the appearance on the show: might be the first time that a man famous for a song about drugs has ever shown up on Play School?


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Olympia Milk Bar

cultural diversity on Australia’s small screen has been highlighted in a recent study assessing SBS, Seven, Nine and Ten. Marketing and media consultancy firm Ebiquity, in partnership with SBS, assessed 4,156 ads between February and June this year on the four channels. A similar study to Ebiquity’s was carried out in 2013 and since then (wait for it…) representation of ethnicities other than Caucasian has seen a measly 4 per cent increase. “Our industry is moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to showing diversity on our screens,” said SBS director of media sales Andrew Cook. “At this rate of change, it will take another 100 years before we see only half of all ads on TV refl ect Australia’s diverse population. There is no doubt we need to speed up this change.”

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Back To Business Music Industry News powered by The Industry Observer

With Poppy Reid and Nathan Jolly


Jen Cloher

Four well-deserving acts have been celebrated at triple j’s 2017 iteration of the coveted J Awards. Having already taken out the Age Music Victoria Award for Best Album, A.B. Original and their critically acclaimed LP Reclaim Australia took out the top Australian Album of the Year trophy at Sydney’s Giant Dwarf. triple j Music Director, Nick Findlay, says of the album: “Every year we are lucky enough to experience a swathe of incredible Australian records, but the last 12 months in particular has seen some of the finest local releases in years. Despite this, it’s hard to look past the raw, confronting and empowering energy that Briggs and Trials have mastered on Reclaim Australia; it’s impact has been long-standing, incredibly significant and long overdue.” Stella Donnelly was named triple j’s 2017 Unearthed Artist of the Year, just months after earning international praise from Pitchfork and The New York Times, and taking out the inaugural Levi’s Music Prize at BIGSOUND this year. Following the release of her most commercially successful record yet in August Jen Cloher took out the J Award for Double J Artist of the Year. The singer-songwriter, mentor, business owner, and co-operator of Milk! Records with Courtney Barnett, has a body of work which serves as a love letter to the industry, which in turn adores her.

GET TUNED IN This year’s Bigsound conference in Brisbane has sparked a review of Australian radio’s quota laws. During the panel ‘Why is it Important to Program Australian Content?’, triple j’s Nick Findlay, Hit105’s Jack Ball, MTV’s Monique Bour and James Cheatley from Screen Producers Australia discussed the importance of local content on our airwaves. Among the comments that local streaming services should have to abide by local content quotas on major playlists, it

DIAMONDS ARE HIS BEST FRIEND Elton John’s greatest hits collection Diamonds has crashed like a rocket (yup) into the Billboard albums chart at number 23, marking his fortieth top forty album in the U.S. If he manages to land another in the Top 40 album during his career — which is quite likely given he is still recording and touring, and this is his sixth greatest hits collection to reach the Top 40 — he will tie with The Beatles for the sixthmost Top 40 albums. Frank Sinatra currently holds the record with 56 Top

was said that Sydney commercial stations are missing their mandated local content quota by 10 per cent or more, according to radio data provided to local indie label body AIR. During the panel AMRAP Manager Chris Johnson also chimed in from the audience with some insights into the current system’s inadequacies. This is of course compounded by the absence of the Australian Music Performance Committee (AMPCOM), the independent body which oversaw Australian music quota compliance 40 albums, trailed by Elvis Presley with 54, Barbara Streisand with 51, Bob Dylan with 47, and 46 for the Stones. Elton also holds the highest-selling US single of all time (well, since the charts begun), ‘Something About The Way You Look Tonight’/‘Candle In The Wind 1997’, which sold just shy of nine million copies in the wake of Princess Diana’s death/Lion King fever, with 33 million worldwide sales. That’s not bad, especially considering it was a hasty Princess-themed rewrite of an old hit, coupled with a single already released months earlier. Good work, Elton. Elton John

on commercial radio. As revealed by The Music Network AMPCOM “quietly wound up in the last year”. However, APRA AMCOS called AMPCOM an “ineffective mechanism” as it wasn’t able to monitor the CRA’s compliance with the commercial radio code of practice. In a statement to TIO, APRA AMCOS noted they are working to verify the accuracy of local content reports from Australia’s commercial radio stations, including those under Nova, Southern Cross Austereo and the Australian Radio Network.

THE RULES OF THE HOUSE The NSW Upper House has launched an inquiry into the state’s music and arts economy. The development should open the channels of communication between the Parliament and the music industry, and drill into some hot-button topics from the implementation of the Government’s response to the NSW Night Time Economy Roundtable Action Plan in December 2016, through to policies that that could support a “diverse and vibrant music and arts culture” across the state. “I welcome the opportunity for the music industry to appear directly before the Parliament,” comments John Graham, Labor Member of the Legislative Council, in a statement. “I look forward to working with the industry to find new ways the NSW Government can support our vibrant music and arts economy.” The NSW Legislative Council voted to establish the examination on Thursday November 23.

SHARING THE SPOTLIGHT Richard Moffat has ran successful record labels, booked national festivals, and hosted radio shows since he was 17, so it’s safe to say he has spent the better part of his life in and around the Australian music industry. As a result, he knows what’s going on, which means people should pay attention to his recent decision to retire from music industry panels. “I don’t want to be the voice of the old man’s music industry looking backwards”, he wrote. “I want new faces on boards and as CEO’s of music businesses. I am bored of music organisations sending press releases

about gender equity and helping people of colour, when their entire boards are dominated by older white men.”

BEST. BAND NAME. EVER. Perth’s Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are in good company on their new UK booking agency, as they join the home of global heavyweights like Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys and The Stone Roses on 13 Artists, the BRAG can exclusively reveal. The Brighton-based agency is also home to local heroes including Tame Impala, Alex Lahey, Big Scary, City Calm Down, The Jezabels, Montgomery and Pond. Guitarist and frontman Jack McEwan said of the signing: “When we heard 13 Artists were interested we were obviously all stoked. Then when they asked us to join the roster it didn’t feel real,” he said. “To be on the same roster as our childhood heroes such as Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, and Tame Impala is truly a dream. It hasn’t really sunk in yet but now we’ve been given this opportunity we’ll make sure we throw everything at it.” The band has also inked a local booking deal: the BRAG can reveal the Crumpets have inked a local booking deal with 123 Agency (Tash Sultana, Didirri, Killing Heidi). The move gives the band access to 123’s hybridised business model, where big data, social monitoring and industry knowledge play as much of a role as gut feel.

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR It’s beginning to look (and sound) a lot like Christmas if the ARIA charts are anything to go by, which of course they are. This weekend’s charts look set to be bombarded by carollers if midweek sales are any indication (which of course they are), with Sia’s Everyday Is Christmas, and The Wiggles’ Wiggly, Wiggly Christmas both looking to crash into the charts (Sia is set for a high Top Ten debut). Michael Buble’s Christmas will climb from last week’s number seven to hit the top reaches – maybe this’ll be his nationally-agreed-upon week at number one in 2017, given it has hit the top spot every year since 2011. xxxx

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“Everybody’s reality is different.”

Thundercat photo by B+

“I try not to let myself get in the way of myself.” 8 :: BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17


THUNDERCAT Farts, funk and feeling drunk

Alex Chetverikov discovers Thundercat, AKA Stephen Bruner, is just as delightful in conversation as he is on record


hundercat is refreshing. That’s not just the album-cover lover in me talking, even though he has produced one of the best album covers of the past decade, the shot that adorns 2017’s Drunk. Head half-submerged in Flying Lotus’s pool, his eyes bloodshot, he looks eerily reminiscent of a more than mildly off-the-wall Miles Davis.

And no, it’s not his choice of collaborators that makes him such a unique prospect either, although it does help that he’s brought together two of soft rock’s biggest champions, Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins, and made something beautiful in the process. It’s not even simply that in his downtime he loves to watch his daughter play Star Fox 64. No, what’s most refreshing about Thundercat (AKA Stephen Bruner) is how goddamn playful and down-to-earth the guy is, despite his immense talent. “You just have to have fun with yourself,” said Bruner, chatting to the BRAG the evening before the bass titan is set to play a gig in Paris. “I try to laugh as much as possible about things. It’s already pretty jacked up, the sort of stuff we have to deal with on a daily basis.” Fittingly, there’s fun spilled all over his latest album, Drunk. 23 tracks long, it’s held together by a sonic intoxication; a pleasantly all-over-the-place palette of bubbly basslines and twinkling synths redolent of classic gaming soundtracks. When he sings “it’s cool to be a cat” and then drops a medley of meows and farts two minutes into Drunk – or when he reminds us that many of us do everyday shit like comb our beards and “beat our meat’” – he’s reminding us that it’s okay to have a good time; that much of what we experience is contrived, and that we have to escape that contrivance now and then. And let’s face it: when’s the next time you’re gonna hear a man singing about Dragon Ball Z wrist-slap bracelets and hiding in suicide forests? “A lot of the time I’m trying to find the line; how things work. Every day is different. The minute you show any signs of difference, all of a sudden you’re the worst! For me, that’s the whole point. I don’t try to separate that feeling at all … I tried to explore that with the album Drunk; that stream of consciousness. I wouldn’t separate myself from the music very much. It’s as silly as singing how you’re not paying your bills! You can find the music in real life very easily. Everybody’s reality is different.” One would do well not to mistake Bruner’s tomfoolery for the foolish. Not just content with singing about flatulence, felines and getting fucked up, Thundercat is honest and unashamedly self-reflective about his attempts to make sense of life. He makes music to explore his inner world, and although the ideas on Drunk might be relentless and seemingly short-lived, that can be read as a reflection on anyone’s life – after all, our thoughts are brief, our inner voice persistent, and our existence mostly resembles a bit of a noisy mess at any given moment. “With my songwriting, I spent a lot of time trying to be in and around a good creative environment,” he explains. “There were high points of course – like working with Kendrick [Lamar, rapper] and Kamasi [Washington, jazz musician] and stuff like that – but there’s also the part where I have to sit with myself and spend time going through my mind about how I feel about things. I feel it’s pretty normal but at the same time it’s very difficult sometimes to assimilate that with real life.” Explorations in sight and sound have played an integral part of Thundercat’s history, no matter where the journey’s taken him. He surrounds himself people with an intuitive musical ability; he grew up alongside Kamasi Washington and rapper Terrace Martin, and as a teenager, he landed a minor hit in Germany with boy-band No Curfew, then later becoming the bassist for crossover thrash/punk band Suicidal Tendencies. Over that time, he has honed his skills as a bass player: these days, he has few rivals when it comes to mastery of the instrument. He commands his bass

as much he caresses it, and his control and expression transcends the stuffy traditionalist notion of the sideman. This too is a musician who, within the short space of two years, has made significant contributions to the creative architecture of To Pimp A Butterfly, You’re Dead!, Velvet Portraits and The Epic. ‘‘I don’t try to blockade what things could be. I try not to let myself get in the way of myself. There’s so much more we can do with sound… I get excited at the idea of that space. It’s like the unknown, even though we know so much about it, we also don’t really know anything. “Music is a longing, a stretch, a reach. It mimics the same idea… we have music theory, we have trap music, we have all these different theories and sounds that have slowly evolved over time.’ It’s not only Bruner’s music that pushes at boundaries: the man loves his fashion, and his style is hardly what one might refer to as normative. From fake-fur headwear and bright pink neon merchandise, to a custom-made hat that inspired Pharrell Williams, not to mention his penchant for Gucci, Bruner’s creative visual energy has been with him since he was a child.

“There’s so much more we can do with sound… I get excited at the idea of that space.” “A lot of the time I love the challenge of trying to figure things out. It’s embedded in my personality. It’s not just about being able to afford crazy clothes, or runway pieces and stuff like that. It’s about finding yourself in that: ever since I was a kid, fashion was an element of reality for me. When I’d see cartoons like ThunderCats, it was so enthralling, the way it would all visually come together. I started really enjoying Lionel’s aesthetic: his orange skin with red hair and white and circles around the eyes, his blue onesies… “Fashion is an expression of how you feel at the time, and another artform in itself. The minute you think of fashion and say the word music, there are so many names that come to mind. George Clinton, KISS – it’s such a beautiful world. It’s one of the reasons why I love guys like David Byrne, Miles Davis, David Bowie or Elton John. They’re so out there!” It bears repeating again that what ties all these disparate elements of Bruner’s personality together is his handle on the irreverent; be it via fart jokes or custommade Dragon Ball Z suits, the man spends his life bucking back against the sour pricks who might want to suppress him. Indeed, his absurdist streak is writ large in every part of his person: his ability to laugh when our times are at their worst, and cry when they’re at their best. Even when Bruner is at his most delicate, as on the muted falsetto, gurgling cosmicfunk and heartbreak of ‘Them Changes’ (one of the best funk tunes in recent years), that sense of play and humour bubbles and trickles from his six-string bass guitar. “The biggest thing you can do is to be able to laugh at yourself. Life just has a funny way of making things funny. My music comes out the way it comes out. I don’t shy away from that.” What: Sydney City Limits Where: Centennial Parklands When: Saturday February 24 With: Grace Jones, The Libertines, Beck, Justice and more

“When I’d see cartoons like ThunderCats, it was so enthralling, the way it would all visually come together.”

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Future Islands: Watercolours Of Sound Cameron Colwell chats to William Cashion of Future Islands, a band famous for growled vocals, soaring melodies and some enviable dance moves

it’s the most fl eshed out. In the past, we’d have six or seven songs to bring to the studio and then we would make ourselves write more songs to fi nish the record … For Singles and The Far Field we wrote more songs we needed.”

William Cashion, the long-serving bassist of the group, couldn’t be happier to be coming back, or, perhaps more importantly, with his band’s new record. “I think it’s our strongest batch of songs to date,” he says. “Defi nitely

“Generally, all of our songs are born from a jam. Eventually we’ll fi gure out some chords that work together and we’ll start building from there … Sam [Herring] is in there writing while we’re playing. There’s been one occasion


The band are also well-known for their skill at picking strong creative collaborators: their track ‘Shadows’, for example, features Blondie frontwoman and punk pop legend Debbie Harry accompanying Herring. “That was an old song. We always thought it was going to be on Singles. But we shelved it, and when we came back to it later, we were like, ‘Who should we get to sing the song?’ “We kept going back and forth about it with [producer] John Congleton. We’d just be pissing around: ‘Who should we get to sing ‘Shadows’?’ We’d always be asking questions like, ‘Out of everyone you’ve worked with, who’s the biggest asshole? What’s this person like?’ Just, you know, gossip. Then we found out John was doing Blondie’s latest album. John turned to me and said, ‘Why don’t


“We love it when people dance.” 10 :: BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17

we ask Debbie to do it?’ … We all talked about it, and agreed she’d do it. We sent her an old sample of the song, and within an hour she wrote back and said, ‘You know what? I love it. Let’s do it.’” The band are probably best-known for their skill as performers – after all, their turn on The David Letterman Show shot them to fame back in 2014. For Cashion in particular, the joy of getting up onstage is getting to feed off the energy of the crowd; drinking in what they put out. “We love it when people dance,” Cashion says. “The music belongs to our audience now. It’s part of their lives. It feels like it’s not even ours, anymore. I think everyone’s reaction to seeing us live is totally personal, and so connected to memories.” Where: Metro Theatre When: Tuesday December 5 And: Performing at Fairgrounds Festival along with Jen Cloher, The Shins and more, from Friday December 8 to Saturday December 9

Future Islands photo by Henry Gorse

le mates Future Islands can’t seem to get enough of Australia. After all, it’s been a little under six months since their last performance Down Under at Splendour in the Grass, but the three-piece are already back and ready to tour the country this coming December, ostensibly to promote their new record, The Far Field.

In between the release of Singles and the writing of The Far Field, the band’s internal cohesion only grew stronger. Cashion, lead singer Samuel T. Herring and Gerrit Welmers, keyboardist, operate as a unifi ed front these days, and they work to make sure that the experiment known as Future Islands is as democratic as it can possibly be. “There’s a couple of things we have to be unanimous about, and that’s songs that make the cut, album title, and album art,” Cashion says. “Those are the things we all have to agree on.

where the lyrics came first, and that was for our song ‘Tybee Island’. Sam wrote the lyrics for it to go on the record On The Water, and then we just created from there; like watercolours of sound.”

“The music belongs to our audience now. It’s part of their lives.”


Pissed Jeans: The Time Is Now Pissed Jeans’ Matt Korvette and David James Young shoot the shit about Lydia Lunch, the hardcore scene, and becoming the best version of yourself


issed Jeans move at their own pace. The grotty hardcore/punk act take breaks from recording whenever they need to – they spent four years out of the studio, for example, between the release of 2017’s Why Love Now, and the dark, menacing and deceptively-titled Honeys, dropped back in 2013. Nonetheless, as far as the band are concerned, those gaps don’t even feel particularly long. And anyway, they’ve never considered themselves the type of band to go into hibernation – even when they are not churning out material, they don’t just disappear. They spent their four year recording sabbatical tending to the call of the open road, and for a while there, the band played as many shows as they ever have before. “For the last few years, we’ve been writing constantly,” says Matt Korvette, the band’s lead vocalist and primary lyricist.


“We’ve also never really stopped playing shows – it just becomes a little more selective, like maybe we’ll head out for two weekends of the month or something. I guess one of the reasons this record took

a little longer than our others is the fact we became a little more selective – a bit pickier – with the ideas that we wanted to pursue. “Brad [Fry, guitar] would write a riff or come up with an idea, but he’d scrap it if it sounded too much like an older Pissed Jeans song. Other times, the idea would be good but not something we were thrilled on. We wanted to make an album where every song was one that we could 100 per cent get behind. That was fine with us – we weren’t in any rush.” Picking up where Honeys left off, Why Love Now continues the brand’s abrasive, abstract and angular take on noisy punk rock – further strengthening the core of what makes Pissed Jeans what they are. According to Korvette, Pissed Jeans aren’t interested in reinventing the wheel – just ensuring that they’re still running people over. “Our challenge every time that we make a record is to be a better version of ourselves,” he says. “We always look at what we did beforehand, and we strive to make something that’s better. For me, that means writing lyrics that I think are interesting, or funny, or worth thinking about. I want the songs to be heavier, to be catchier, to be stranger. I just want to push the band to stronger levels. It gets harder and harder to do that the more albums that you make – and this was our fifth record. Even so, I think we did a really good job given the circumstances.” Said circumstances were certainly helped by the company that the band – Korvette, Fry, bassist Randy Huth and drummer

Sean McGuinness – kept during the making of Why Love Now. Not only does the album feature a spoken-word cameo from author Lindsay Hunter on the hilarious ‘I’m A Man’, the entire record was overseen by a unique production duo in the form of Arthur Rizk and Lydia Lunch. The former is a veteran of the underground metal scene, working with such delightful bands as Goat Semen and Cremation Lily, while the latter is a musician and poet who helped to pioneer the sound now known as no wave across her 40-plus years as a performer. “We’ve known Arthur since he was a teenager,” says Korvette of bringing the two together to make Why Love Now. “We’ve always been friends with him, and he’s so technically talented – a real genius on many musical levels. Lydia is a life genius – an amazing person with so many skills and intuition; someone with great taste and style. “It was great to combine the two – I wish they’d make a record together. Lydia was, admittedly, someone I didn’t know all that well when I reached out to her – it was definitely a risk, because I didn’t know how she would respond. You never know if someone will just be about the money, or only interested in their former glories. That wasn’t her at all – she was hilarious, really switched on and kinda scary. It made for a great combination.” As for Hunter, the writer formed a connection with Korvette after the two expressed mutual appreciation of one another’s work. “I initially reached out to her to perhaps write something for the liner notes of the record,” he says. “I changed my mind after thinking that whatever she

“Our challenge every time that we make a record is to be a better version of ourselves.”

“We wanted to make an album where every song was one that we could 100 per cent get behind. That was fine with us – we weren’t in any rush.” would have contributed might have been buried or ignored – no-one reads the liner notes anymore. I saw what she’d been working on and asked her to read it over this track. It came together so quickly, and we were so excited by it – I mean, I found it genuinely shocking. It was perfect, how scary it was.” This December will see Pissed Jeans, at long last, making their maiden voyage to Australia. With headlining dates booked in to coincide with their appearance at the Meredith Music Festival, this long-overdue visit is one that’s hotly anticipated by long-time fans – as well as those recent converts who may have discovered the band through Why Love Now. “We’ve never been there before, so we’re just really excited to see everything,” says Korvette. “We were so happy to see such a positive response to the announcement that we’d be coming down your way, so hopefully the shows are just as exciting for everyone else as they will be for us.”

Where: Oxford Art Factory When: Wednesday December 6 With: Batpiss, Low Life BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17 :: 11


King Parrot: A Feisty Feast Natalie Rogers learns the secrets of writing a good grindcore song – not to mention the key to staying fit on tour – from the gentlemanly Matt Young of King Parrot


hey say there’s no rest for the wicked, and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to Melbourne’s kings of grindcore, King Parrot. “I’m doing okay, but it’s pretty early here,” says a surprisingly chipper Matt ‘Youngy’ Young, the band’s lead singer, particularly given it’s six-thirty in the morning when he calls in from London for a chat. “It’s alright: at least this means I’ll be getting my fair share of breakfast at the hotel. I usually just sleep right through it.”

going to do some writing and record some new tracks down in New Orleans when we caught wind that Eyehategod and Crowbar were playing a show around the corner on Halloween,” Young says. “We know those guys, so we just made a couple of calls and within half an hour they added us to the line-up – and it was awesome. The people there really embrace Halloween and it was quite a spectacle: some of the costumes were incredible, and the show was amazing in and of itself.” Since the release of their third LP Ugly Produce in September this year, Young says the whole band have noticed a renewed sense of energy radiating within the crowd at their overseas gigs. “Injecting a fresh batch of songs has been a real boost for our live set and the response to the new album has been great, which is so gratifying because you never know how people are going to take it, really.

Melbourne’s own Goatsound Studios with Blood Duster’s Jason Fuller at the helm. “Jason’s awesome – we love working with him and he’s a really good friend of ours,” Young says of the engineer extraordinaire. “I’ve known him since I was a teenager and he’s one of the founders of the Melbourne grind scene. We did our first album [Bite Your Head Off, 2012] with him so it just felt like the right thing for us to do, to go home and record an album in a studio where we feel really comfortable, with the person that we know. “Blood Duster have done so many different things over the years and have been a really big influence on us, and his studio down at Goatsound is really cool. There’s a really great little community that’s building down there, with lots of cool bands coming out of it as well.”

After a mammoth run of dates across the US and UK, I’d say the hardworking frontman deserves a lay in, but instead Young, and his fellow bandmates Mr White, Squiz, Slatts and Toddy have been setting themselves challenges and seeking out more shows to play, including an impromptu gig at a club in The Big Easy to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve.

“I mean, it’s sort of strange because the music we play is very in your face, it’s very full on. Grindcore is not really an easily accessible genre – you either like it or you don’t,” Young adds. “I’ll admit we find it challenging to write songs that are really nasty, angsty and aggressive that are still kind of catchy, and have something to sink your teeth into as well, but we’re committed to the craft and are willing to put everything on the line.”

As the metal and grindcore scene continues to grow at home, King Parrot have been embraced by their US counterparts and were welcome house guests after their recent tour. “It was a strange set of circumstances,” Young explains. “We’d just been on tour with Superjoint and we were supposed to do a European tour but it got cancelled, so we had two weeks off and we didn’t really have anything to do.

“We’d just finished our tour with Superjoint and Devildriver, and we were

King Parrot’s Ugly Produce was brought kicking and screaming into the world at

“So we went to our friend Phil Anselmo’s place down in New Orleans and

“Grindcore is not really an easily accessible genre – you either like it or you don’t.”

“Injecting a fresh batch of songs has been a real boost for our live set, and the response to the new album has been great.” decided that we would set a challenge for ourselves. We just said, ‘Let’s try to write and record four brand new songs in the space of a week’, and we just did it! He actually wrote some lyrics and did the vocals on one of the songs as well, which is going to be awesome – and that’s actually an exclusive.” Playing his cards close to his chest, Young wouldn’t confirm if the band will play the newest King Parrot songs at their upcoming show at The Factory Theatre. However, he did confirm that they hand-picked their supports, Brisbane’s Disentomb and Pagan from Melbourne, and he also revealed his secret weapon for combating fatigue after raising hell night after night on tour. “Touring in the US and UK, there’s no shortage of sweets and other culinary delights that we can indulge in, so our drummer and I have been trying the ‘Seven Minute Workout’ every day to stay in shape and warm up for the show. It sucks and I never wanna do it, but at the same time you don’t really have an excuse because it’s only seven minutes. Once you get into it, it’s done, it’s over,” Young laughs. “Actually I just realised you could listen to our whole album in seven minutes!” Where: Factory Theatre When: Saturday December 16 With: Disentomb, Pagan

King Parrot photo by Rod Hunt

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Acclaimed producer and musician Greg Walker lets David James Young in on the secret to his sound


017 marks 20 years since Greg Walker – also known as J Walker – first recorded under the Machine Translations name. Originally the title of a record he made for a musical project named Shed Method, Walker has since taken up the mantle of Machine Translations permanently. A myriad of other musicians have joined him along the way for a spell, but the project has remained the sole focus of Walker for nearly its entire lifespan. With the ninth Manchine Translations LP, however, Walker presents it as a band record, with the behind the scenes line-up rounded out by bassist James O’Brien, keyboardist/guitarist Robin Waters and drummer Ralph Rehak. “It’s a great lineup,” says Walker, taking the call on tour from Thirroul on the south coast of New South Wales. “I’ve been playing music with Ralph since we were both about 13 years old, and both James and Robin have been playing with us for the better part of a decade. I feel like, with this album, it’s really become a band – not just the guys I have playing with me live. It’s been a gradual process for me, opening myself up to other people’s input. It definitely felt like this record was the perfect kind of inroad for the other guys to get more involved in recordings. These songs are a lot more rock’n’roll oriented, and I feel as though it’s the closest parallel I’ve ever had with the studio and the live versions. There’s a real connection there.”

The new album, simply titled Oh, is the first Machine Translations record in four years. While that may seem a lifetime for some bands – look how many records King Gizzard have made in that exact time period, for instance – it’s a considerably faster turn-around as far as Walker is concerned. “The last record took me seven years to make,” he says, alluding to his 2013 album The Bright Door. “I’m really proud of that record and what I was able to achieve with it, but I also know that it was far too long. Going into this album, I knew that the spirit of it was best honoured by recording it quickly. That’s how the record started, but it ended up being one of those classic things where you have two-thirds of a good record and you’re just waiting for the rest of the songs to present themselves. It took about 18 months longer than it should have, but that spirit of doing it quickly was still very much a part of it.”


Walker has certainly kept himself occupied in the intervening years between Machine Translations records. You may have seen him on lead guitar duties for Paul Kelly during his national tour in support of the Spring And Fall album – which he also produced and helped to arrange. More recently, Walker was enlisted by Jen Cloher and her


Machine Translations: Life, Oh Life “There’s a couple of songs on Oh that were done in the first or second take – it didn’t require any labouring. For me, that’s really exciting.” band to record her self-titled album out in Jumbunna, a regional town out in Victoria’s South Gippsland. “That was a really fun record to make,” says Walker. “It was really focused on being a live band record, and I definitely took a bit away from that in making my own album. We recorded a lot of that album live to tape, and I did the same with Oh. After maybe ten to 15 years of working on music digitally, I’ve found myself really drifting back to analog. I’m loving where it’s taking me – I mean, purely on a process level, it helps that you’re not just looking at a screen as much. You’re staring at the space between the speakers, and you really start to listen to it in a different way.” Walker is someone who has filled his days with music for over 30 years. Whether it’s through Machine Translations, his production work or his time creating soundtracks for shows like Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Walker is continually going between projects and ideas. As a musician, a songwriter and a composer, Walker can best be described as the sum of his parts – everything he learns from music outside of Machine Translations goes right back into Machine Translations itself. “For me, one of the great joys of producing is getting an insight into other people’s process,” he says. “Every band works together differently, and every band gets different sounds out of their instruments. You always learn something – you’ll watch someone play, and you’ll be like ‘I never knew you could get it to sound like that.’ When you’re producing, you learn so much about the little details. I’m really into the idea of capturing energy on tape.” Seemingly on a steady train of thought, Walker continues to discuss the concept of recording a band live in the studio. “It almost feels like there’s ghosts in the room,” he says. “The energy between people gets on tape a lot easier than it would if you were recording digitally – because you’re capturing everything. That’s something you might not even think about when you’re listening to an album, but if you’re recording it then you notice everything. There’s a couple of songs on Oh that were done in the first or second take – it didn’t require any labouring. For me, that’s really exciting.” What: Oh is available through Spunk now

“Going into this album, I knew that the spirit of it was best honoured by recording it quickly.”

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Tommy Stinson: Irreplaceable Tommy Stinson, founding member of The Replacements, tells Paul McBride he’s keen to come to Australia – and soon


s a founding member of legendary alt-rock pioneers the Replacements, Tommy Stinson has cemented his place in music history and folklore, and had a hand in influencing artists as diverse as Green Day, Wilco, The Hold Steady and Lorde. Described variously as “best band of the ’80s” (Musician magazine) and “the greatest band that never was” (Rolling Stone), The Replacements were critical darlings during their lifetime, yet achieved little commercial or mainstream success. Following a much-lauded and somewhat tumultuous Replacements reunion, a new line-up of Bash & Pop, a full-band vehicle for Stinson’s solo work, was formed last year. The group’s first album in 24 years, Anything Could Happen, was released in January, and marked a return to the spontaneous recording methods that were a feature of early Replacements records. Now 51, the amiable and self-deprecating Stinson is enjoying making music as much as ever. “We’re going to keep fuelling [Bash & Pop] and moving forward,” Stinson says. “When we started The Replacements,

we would record in a particular way. Paul [Westerberg, The Replacements’ singer/guitarist/songwriter] would show us the basis of a song, either in our basement or in the studio. He would say, ‘Hey, play the melody like this,’ and we would record it, getting the best recording we could in as few takes as possible. “I took that template and applied it to my new record. When you’ve got a whole band in the room, they’re there for a weekend only, they’re sleeping in your house with you, and you’re getting all stinky together, you can maybe capture something great in that moment.” Amid much music industry fanfare, Stinson and Westerberg reunited for tours of the States and Europe from 2013 to 2015. Fans couldn’t buy tickets quickly enough and shows received rave reviews, but Westerberg, ever the contrarian, made sure that the merch he sold on tour revealed his true feelings: a not-so-coded message printed on shirts read, “I have always loved you. Now I must whore my past”. “I don’t know if Paul wasn’t having fun with it, but dude, if you’re so not into it, then why the fuck did we do it?” Stinson says. “When we did the reunion, I thought it would make people happy, it would be super fun, and we’d maybe make some money. We did it, and I thought it was fun, but if it wasn’t fun in [Westerberg’s] head, then why the fuck did we do it? I don’t know if that was directed at me, or who it was directed at, but he kind of made a statement with his shirts that meant the tour

fi nished up with a negative purpose and we should have stopped when we were ahead. The t-shirt thing bummed me the fuck out.” For that reason, Stinson responds with bite when asked about the likelihood of playing with Westerberg again. “Not if he pulls out another t-shirt message – fuck that!” he says, takes a moment, then laughs, a little ruefully. “No, I’m kidding a bit. I never say never – but it would have to happen only if the stars aligned in the perfect way, where we thought we could have fun with it and not get caught up in the bullshit.” Despite continuing acrimony that has dogged the Replacements’ existence, Stinson is clearly proud of the band’s musical output – even if he is much more concerned with looking ahead than back. “I can’t listen to any of [The Replacements records], but if I were going to be straight-up honest with you, the one I can listen to the most is All Shook Down. It didn’t sell as much as Don’t Tell A Soul, but I think that’s when The Replacements were appreciated in a greater realm because of the songwriting. Paul wrote some great songs on that record. It’s dark as fuck, though. You don’t know want to throw on your headphones on a sunny day and go for a walk in the park with that one on, because you’ll want to fucking slit your throat.” After the band’s 1991 implosion, Minneapolis native Stinson added an

“When we did the reunion, I thought it would make people happy, it would be super fun, and we’d maybe make some money.” 18-year stint as bassist of Guns N’ Roses to his rock and roll résumé, becoming a bonafi de rock stalwart in the process. Stinson says he was happy to see the original line-up reform. “They’re all my friends and I’m glad they’re all out there, working their butts off and having a good time,” he says. “I’ve got nothing but good things to say about them. Unless Duff quits, and he was the last man standing the last time, there’s a pretty good chance they’re not going to need my fucking bass-playing skills any time soon. Just sayin’.” As a friend and co-writer on a track on Anything Could Happen, You Am I’s Davey Lane could be the guy to open a door for an Australian visit. “I’ve been talking to Davey about it a lot, and trying to get You Am I to be my backing band for a trip to Australia,” he says. “Maybe I can go over myself, although I hate doing the solo acoustic thing by myself – I like to have someone I can spitball with, and make shit up or whatever. I’ve always had a good time in Australia, so never say never. I can do a whole bunch of things that’ll either be completely fun or completely fucking disastrous.” What: Anything Could Happen out now through Fat Possum

“I can do a whole bunch of things that’ll either be completely fun or completely fucking disastrous.”

Tommy Stinson photo by Steven Cohen

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“Our only real goal is to make music together and whatever happens, happens.”

Letters to Lions: Sea Change Allison Gallagher talks beach life with Letters To Lions, a four-piece of truly immeasurable talent


ydney’s coastline is well known for boasting some of the most gorgeous beaches in the country. But what might be less well known is its proclivity for producing bands that perfectly capture the carefree attitude of the sun and surf. However, thankfully, over the past few years there’s been an increasing spotlight on bands from the beach, as acts like Winston Surfshirt and Ocean Alley prove that one doesn’t need to be from the bustling inner city to find an enthusiastic audience. Whether it’s a certain lack of pretension that comes from living a little removed from the metropolis or simply being the product of the very ocean itself, music produced by those from the coast feels a little more focused on a good time, rather than climbing the ladder of success.


One such band that keenly reflects their coastal surroundings is indie-rock quartet Letters to Lions, who are about to embark on a national co-headline tour with Brisbane pop outfit Zefereli, in support of their excellent sophomore EP Grays Point. “I guess the ‘beach culture’ is ingrained in us”, the band explain, pointing out that their surf-tinged sound is less of a conscious decision and more a natural influence of their environment. They haven’t chosen to be this way;

their music has simply evolved in this manner, freeform, growing and expanding like a vine. The band, whose music is a hazy wash of jangly guitars, infectious melodies and laid-back, danceable rhythms, were introduced through mutual friends in their last years of high school and began making music together with the intention of playing house parties and friends’ backyards. As offers to play more “real” venues and audience sizes increased, the outfit grew from a relaxed jam band to something a little more serious. But even then, they made sure not to lose their heads, or, perhaps as importantly, their sound. “We’ve always played that sparkly sort of indie rock’n’roll – it’s just evolved over the years from improvising at a backyard party to writing real songs.” And while their attitude towards making music may have matured, the group are reticent to indulge in lofty ambitions of chasing rockstar glory, expressing only a desire to continue playing shows and visiting other parts of the world. “Our only real goal is to make music together and whatever happens, happens. Our most notable highlight was going to Canada for a national tour. When we started this, the dream was to travel the world playing music, and now it’s starting to happen.” With the impending approach of summer and the promise of warm nights ahead, it seems only natural that the band are about to head out on tour. And that they’ve paired up with Brisbane’s Zefereli seems like a perfect fit: that act, which features ex-Cairos member Alistar Richardson and collaborator Clea, are a reverb-soaked haze of guitars and vocal harmonies.

“We’ve always played that sparkly sort of indie rock’n’roll – it’s just evolved over the years from improvising at a backyard party to writing real songs.” The two bands have already shared a couple of bills together recently, including a hometown gig as part of Hi Fi Days, an outdoor festival that took place against the backdrop of the Cronulla beach. “Zefereli are great,” say the band. “They’re lovely guys who aren’t afraid to get grubby, and that’s what we are all about”. The two bands will play a slew of shows together across the country throughout December, including consecutive dates at the Chippendale in Sydney, as well as a stop in Wollongong – another beachside location that’s been consistently producing great acts for years. When it comes to coastal acts that are currently kicking goals, the band point out punk outfi t The Ruminaters as well as good friend Ruby Fields – an artist whose vibrant indie-pop has seen her blow up over the past 12 months. “She has turned it up over the last year, so we are frothing for her. I guess all the coastal bands are doing it in their own way. If you’re making music you’re kicking goals in my eyes.” After all, the retreat to the coast could be an understandable effect of Sydney’s city and surrounding suburbs being in a unsteady period of economic and cultural stress – particularly as

more and more venues for mid-level acts are forced to close amidst the ravages of the lockout laws and lack of council support. Letters to Lions agree. “Sydney’s city scene seems to be in a bit of turmoil for bands at around this kind of level in their careers. I mean, over the last three years the local scenes in small coastal towns seem to be almost tripling in size.” The communal aspect of the beach environment could likely be another factor in the success of Sydney’s beach bands. Letters to Lions – a band whose genesis largely stemmed from seeing each other at all the same backyard parties – suggest that, rather than vying to compete with one another for a moment in the spotlight, acts from their area focus on their personal connections with one another. “The vibe is that everyone that plays music locally is mates with each other. It’s sick.” Whatever the cause for the sudden buzz surrounding these bands, now seems like as good a time as ever to escape the inner-city bubble and turn your attention to the coast. Where: Chippo Hotel When: Friday December 1 – Saturday December 2 With: Zefereli BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17 :: 15





f you’re a fan of Dan Treacy, you’re probably used to him disappearing off the face of the Earth. The lead singer of the British post-punk game-changers Television Personalities went rogue for a full six years in the late ’90s, and rumours of his death have surfaced online more than once. Treacy is the very definition of a troubled genius, a mastermind subject to both strange insinuations – in the past some suggested he was the secret songwriter behind the Arctic Monkeys, for example – and personal demons. Yet when Treacy fell off the radar again in 2011, the man’s supporters were more concerned than usual. Vague details were released to the press about emergency surgery, and before long it was revealed Treacy had needed treatment to remove a brain clot. Admirers started to worry; rumours started to swirl. Finally, following months of silence, verified statements from his family revealed Treacy was alive, if still unwell. He was receiving treatment, reports said. He was on the mend. 16 :: BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17

Fans eagerly waited for more news, endlessly hoping for the return of one of the UK’s finest singer-songwriters, an obscure genius who spent a career taking the magic of ’60s psych and infusing it with a particularly distinct brand of surrealism, in the process paving the way for everyone from MGMT to Beat Happening. But no news came. Starved of information, the fan sites began to stop posting, eventually becoming defunct and dated. Domain names were bought out by spammy click-bait sites; hyperlinks stopped working. Before long, hope of a triumphant Television Personalities return began to dwindle, and suddenly, the lines Treacy had written about his idol Syd Barrett some 30 years before became eerily portentous. “He was very famous once upon a time,” goes the chorus of ‘I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives’, one of Television Personalities’ first singles, carried by Treacy’s youthful, twangy falsetto. “But no-one knows even if he’s alive.”


“We never had a setlist to follow at a concert. Dan would not announce the titles, so I would have to listen carefully to his intro on guitar, and identify the song so I could join in.”

iven Treacy’s status as an enigma, it seems fitting that his very first release under the Television Personalities name was based on a deliberate mistruth. The title of the band’s debut single, ‘14th Floor’ was an artistic conceit, says Treacy’s long-term collaborator Jowe Head. “I first met Dan Treacy when I visited him at his mother’s flat on the Kings Road in Chelsea, 1978,” says Head. “He was a very polite, insular figure with rather modest dress … They lived on the seventh floor, not the 14th, as he suggested on his debut single. “14th fl oor” scanned better in verse of course! One could interpret that song as a satire on punk rock cliches of the time, I suppose.” Certainly, Treacy gained a lot of joy from poking fun at the music world’s plumfaced elite, and Television Personalities’ first full-length album, …And Don’t The Kids Just Love It takes aim at countless forms of sincerity, all the while placing its tongue firmly in its cheek. Lo-fi yet hook-happy, it is one of those rare records that sounds genuinely like nothing that came before it – a new start for an old, increasingly out-of-touch musical cal scene. “The production on that first album is relatively primitive, but the songs are very memorable, and the arrangements are often clever and varied but never too cluttered or over-ornamented,” says Head. “Of course, that kind of sound became more and more fashionable: listen to all those early singles on the Creation label, and then The Smiths, The La’s, and so on. Alan McGee of Creation was quite honest about Dan’s influence on his label’s sound and image. So, paisley shirts became more trendy, and that hippy look became more marketable again.”

Eve en without drink spiking, Television Personalities gigs were shambolic, unique e affaiiirs. “We never had a setlist to follow at a concert,” says Head. “Dan would not a announce the titles, so I would have to listen carefully to his intro on guitar, and identify the song so I could join in. Sometimes we would launch into an imprrrovisation, working as a creative team, making up songs on the spot. We would some etimes make a piece out of a strange collage of fragments of disparate cover e versiiions. It was like a continuous art project.” Equa ally distinct was Treacy’s unwillingness to practise. “I remember us rehearsing a once in late 1983,” says Head. “We did another one five years later, and that was aboutt it. … Sometimes we would develop a song live, when we were actually playing in fron nt of an audience. Dan was very off-hand about the whole music business, and n scorn nful of conventions.” n

“Alan McGee of Creation was quite honest about Dan’s influence on his label’s sound and image.”

Nonetheless, despite the artistic impact of …And Don’t The Kids Just Love It, it was hardly an economic success. Low sales would dog Treacy’s career, as would the band’s ever-fluctuating lineup. Not many musicians have lasted long in the Personalities, and though that first album was recorded with Ed Ball and drummer Mark Sheppard, the group has always been Treacy’s baby.

That spontaneity is evident across a lot of the early TVP records – particularly the jangly, unhinged Mummy Your Not Watching Me. But as the ’80s progressed, Treacy became increasingly hardened. The Thatcher years affected him, and though 1984’s The Painted Word was peppered with the band’s trademark rubbery choruses and sly literary references, by that stage the light had been filtered out somewhat for Treacy.

It’s an irony not lost on Head that the band’s darker turn happened to coincide with a broader musical movement in the opposite direction. Treacy has always been an outlier – he started out singing about paisley shirts when nobody else was, and stopped singing about them when everyone else began to. “Audiences in the early 1980s were not accustomed to songs about psychedelic experiences, and to retro references to 1960s swinging London,” says Head. “That became more fashionable after a few more years, by which time Dan’s writing had moved on and was less concerned with looking back to the past.” It was during this time that Treacy’s own demons began to amass. Though he was still releasing music throughout the ’90s, the band was still ever-affected by members of the group coming and going. Head departed in 1994, and Treacy recruited Liam Watson in his place. All the while, Treacy’s drug habit was taking its toll. Don’t Cry Baby, It’s Only A Movie is a strange, bloated document of a singularly destructive time in Treacy’s life.

“The TVPs functioned as a vehicle for Dan’s songs and his imagination,” says Head, who would hold the distinction of joining the band twice, the first time at a gig in 1978 during which Treacy experienced an odd turn. “Dan ran away through the crowd,” Head says. “Stories vary – he either got acute stage fright, or his drink was spiked! [But] my first proper gig with the band was five years later, when [bassist] Mark Flunder left the band after a traumatic Italian tour. I was

askkked to join … to replace him, for an upcoming tour of Europe.”

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Television Personalities photos by Rafa Skam

Above left: Treacy at a festival in Spain, Above right: Treacy, Skam and friends, Below: ...And Don’t The Kids Just Love It

“Monsters hiding in my kitchen cupboard / Satan must have eaten Mother Hubbard,” Treacy sings on ‘My Very First Nervous Breakdown’, his voice warbly, the guitars behind him as insistent as a curse. Not long later, he was in jail.

continued to receive tributes from a host of sources, finally cashing in on so much goodwill he had sent out through the world. Rafa Skam, the lead singer of the Spanish band The Yellow Melodies and a particularly diehard fan, released an entire tribute album dedicated to TVP.


“Their whole discography is absolutely brilliant,” says Skam of the Personalities’ appeal. “They don’t have a bad song. They don’t have a perfect sound either, but I think that even that ‘unclean’ sound increases the beauty of their tunes. And also their lyrics and attitude are remarkable. They are all elements that make you fall in love with them.”

hoplifting was the crime that kept Treacy at Her Majesty’s pleasure for some six years – he’d had to resort to stealing in order to pay for an increasingly unmanageable drug habit. Though he began his stint behind bars in Brixton, eventually he was transferred to a prison boat, a vessel he called ‘The Good Ship Lollipop’. Throughout it all, Treacy remained connected to the outside world. “There were computers,” he told an interviewer after his release. “I found fan websites … One of the nuns brought me a guitar. I was supposed to give it back at lockup in the evenings but they let me keep it in the cell with me.” When Treacy was finally released, he returned to the world an affected but unbowed man. “My first impressions [of Dan] were that he was funny,” says Victoria Yeulet, a TVP fan who connected with Treacy following his release, and would end up playing with the band for more than three years. “Obviously he’d just had a troubled few years so I knew that, but he was enthusiastic, and quite complex. “I first met [him] as I was working in a record shop in Soho,” she goes on. “He became a regular customer and I would chat with him a lot. I didn’t recognise him as being Dan Treacy – he looked quite different from when he was younger.”

“Dan was very off-hand about the whole music business, and scornful of conventions.”

Despite the fact he had spent so long out of the limelight, Yeulet says Treacy was eager to get back into making music. Ed Ball, the bassist who appeared on the very first Television Personalities record, rejoined the band. “It was a very simple thing – with just him, me and Ed Ball initially,” says Yeulet. “[Ed and Dan] were obsessed with Joe Meek recordings, old soul records, freakbeat, [and] ’60s mod stuff like me. [And they] were film freaks: always quoting lines together. Him and Ed had known each other since they were kids, so I think it was a great point for Daniel then. He was just getting the chance to be creative with people he trusted. We became a little mod gang really. It was very friendship-based.” It was a time of healing for Treacy. “We played what Daniel called the ‘comeback’ gig at Bush Hall … for a Chickfactor magazine weekend event,” says Yeulet. “It was really fun. Everyone really enjoyed it. People had travelled from other countries to see it. I was fully aware of how shambolic TVPs shows could be, so was prepared for the ad hoc nature of it, which was part of it all. “Many of Daniel’s songs are extremely raw,” she adds. “[They] take in sensitivities and really dark realities too. People connect with the songwriting, but the sound is also really important, I think. I think the combination of darkness and then lightheartedness that he manages to encompass throughout the years and lineups is quite unique.” Suddenly, Treacy was a cult hero again. Over the years his reputation had been bolstered by praise he received from a multiple of alt rock sources, chiefly among them Kurt Cobain. The Nirvana frontman had once called …And Don’t The Kids Just Love It one of the greatest records of all time, and lavished praise upon Treacy in a number of interviews. Cobain wasn’t the only one either – though jail had kept him from the public eye, he 18 :: BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17

Not too long after the release of the tribute, Treacy travelled to Spain to play a show and Skam got the opportunity to meet his hero for the first time. “Before the gig, the guy from the label which distributes their music in Spain invited me to meet Dan at his hotel,” says Skam. “Dan was on the bed, drinking some beers, and listening to music … We showed him some remarkable Spanish music and he liked it. Then he went to the venue, took his guitar, and started to play. It was very special. After the gig, we spent the whole night talking about music. It was an unforgettable time.” Suddenly, Treacy wasn’t a con anymore. Nor, somehow, was he even an ex-con – his time behind bars no longer defined him. After years of hardship, Treacy had come into his own: he was, first and foremost, a musician, a genius finally getting his due and travelling the world while the tributes began to trickle in. And then, just as everything seemed to be going well for Treacy, things took a predictably unpredictable turn. He was rushed into emergency surgery for a brain clot on the brain, and then disappeared, gone from the world once again.


or a Television Personalities fan searching for clues about Treacy’s whereabouts following his 2011 surgery, his Wikipedia page provides no reassuring answers. Indeed, there is something distinctly haunting about the entry’s last line. “As of 2016, no further updates to Treacy’s condition have been made and Television Personalities has remained inactive,” it says. Reading that, one could be forgiven for worrying that Treacy might well have passed away – after all, the statement has the eerie ring of the obituary about it. But Dan Treacy has not passed away. Treacy is healing, still bouncing back from the brain surgery he had some five years ago, cared for by professionals and by his colleagues and compatriots. He lives now in a nursing home. Talking to those who know him well, it is obvious that he still has some way to go on his road to recovery, but, thankfully, it is also true he has a thousand hands to help him. “I’ve always remained friends with Daniel,” says Victoria Yeulet. “I sent him a birthday card only last month actually. I really hope his recovery enables him to make more art.” It’s a sentiment Rafa Skam echoes too. “I hope he gets well soon,” says Skam, “and starts writing new songs and playing live.” Maybe the ‘I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives’ connection isn’t so apt after all. Barrett lived out his last years alone, seemingly uninterested in making music again. Treacy is surrounded by friends, still fuelled by the desire to make art. “Although [Dan] is unwell, and being looked after in a nursing home, I try to visit him every month, if I can,” says Jowe Head. “He still has ambitions to make music and record songs again. I shall help him, if I can.” ■


Midnight Oil

Cold Chisel

On Rocky Ground: The Aussie Anthems That Took A While To Click Belinda Quinn looks back at the songs now considered classics that failed to find their audience for years upon years


he rock ‘n’ roll of the ’70s and ’80s gave us what are now considered to be some of our country’s most iconic rock anthems. You know the ones; they’re the staples of every Australian white dad’s dusty record collection.

Cold Chisel’s ‘Khe Sanh’, Ganggajang’s ‘Sounds Of Then (This Is Australia)’ and Midnight Oil’s ‘Beds Are Burning’ are considered by many boomers to sit at the very core of our national identity. But did you know that at their year of release, none even hit over 30 in national charts? These songs were met with radio bans, rejection or were totally looked over and misunderstood by audiences.

1. ‘Khe Sanh’ - Cold Chisel


“In 2015, Barnes had to call out radical right-wing group Reclaim Australia for using ‘Khe Sanh’ in campaigns that evoked hate crimes against Islamic communities.”

Believe it or not, Ganggajang’s ‘Sounds Of Then (This is Australia)’ wasn’t written in an attempt to romanticise Australian landscapes and promote imagery of early colonisation; it’s actually about Mark Callaghan’s parent’s divorce, and the painful memories that linger in what are stereotypically considered Australian moments. Ganggajang formed in the 1980s, but their success was a bit of a slow burner. The song started out as a poem, wherein Callaghan reflects on the time his family moved from England to Bundaberg in Queensland, something he has since described as a major culture shock. ‘Sounds Of Then’, while released in 1985, didn’t really become successful until Coca Cola snagged it for a commercial in 1988. The song was then re-released in 1996 and propelled further to fame when it was used by Nine Network’s station as promotion the same year — its initial release only saw it rise to 35 on the charts.

Anyone who has heard ‘Khe Sanh’ has felt that burning urge to harmonise with Barnsey’s gravelly vocals, cathartically belting: “You know the last plane out of Sydney’s almost gone”. The words were scribbled down on a piece of paper in a café on Kings Cross by Cold Chisel’s keyboardist Don Walker in 1978, and the song is an attempt to tell the tale of an Australian veteran who has returned from the Vietnam war stricken with post-traumatic-stress disorder and looking for fulfi lment and escapism via need for speed, novocaine and sex. Only making it to number 41 on national charts, the saucy (albeit problematic lyrics) in ‘Khe Sanh’, asides like “their legs were often open, but their minds were always closed” inevitability led to a radio ban. Walker has said of the lyrics, “That was the reason they told us, which wasn’t necessarily the real one,” and Jimmy Barnes has added his

2. ‘Sounds Of Then (This is Australia)’ – Ganggajang

own two cents, saying, “They had to ban something once a week to keep the Catholic Church happy.” In 2015, Barnes had to call out radical right-wing group Reclaim Australia for using ‘Khe Sanh’ in campaigns that evoked hate crimes against Islamic communities.

Callaghan has commented on his decision to stay true to the real heart of the song by selecting ‘Sounds Of Then’ as its title. “It’s one of those songs where if your goal was only to sell records, whatever it took to do it, then the song would have been called ‘This is Australia’,” Callaghan has said. “But it’s not about that.”

3. ‘Beds Are Burning’ – Midnight Oil “People think ‘Beds Are Burning’ was a big hit, but it actually wasn’t a popular song,” Midnight Oil’s frontman Peter Garret told the ABC. Certainly, the song has since claimed its place in the Australian consciousness; it is now comfortably seated in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s ‘500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll’. The song was first released in 1987, just a few months before the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet, an anniversary that serves as a day of mourning for many First Nation peoples. “Radio weren’t playing it because of its ‘political’ nature,” Garret explained. “There was a lot of ‘hang on, why are you talking about that’? It took a while to catch on.” Soon after Yothu Yindi released the epic ‘Treaty’ in 1991, a firm address to the Hawke government’s broken promise to Indigenous people; Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly wrote ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’, a story of the Gurindji people’s struggle for equality and land rights in the ’60s and ’70s, and today many Indigenous artists such as A.B. Original, Thelma Plum, Baker Boy, Dispossessed and so many more continue to push for land rights, native title, recognition and visibility. So even now, 30 years on, songs like ‘Beds Are Burning’ are still delivering the message – even though, ashamedly, it’s one that often continues to go unheard. ■

“The rock ‘n’ roll of the ’70s and ’80s gave us what are now considered to be some of our country’s most iconic rock anthems.”

That said, on a second look, the song does have some racist undertones — the lyric “There ain’t nothing like the kisses, from a cheated Chinese princess, I’m gonna hit some Hong Kong mattress all night long” could be interpreted as sexualising and fetishizing women from Asia, and championing travelling to Asian countries for sex tourism — and you could argue that its emotional resonance in a country-rock form appeals to a nationalist sentiment. Walker has since commented on the lyrics of ‘Khe Sanh’, saying, “If I had imagined anybody would see [them], I probably would have written them a bit differently.”


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18:11:17 :: Red Rattler :: 6 Faversham St, Marrickville 9565 1044

sad grrrls fest sydney 2017

19:11:17 :: Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice :: 50 Hunte St, Sydney


What we’ve been out to see this fortnight. See full galleries at

s n a p s

sad grrrls fest sydney 2017 18:11:17 :: Red Rattler :: 6 Faversham St, Marrickville 9565 1044

clowns 19:11:17 :: Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice :: 50 Hunte St, Sydney

18:11:17 :: Red Rattler :: 6 Faversham St, Marrickville 9565 1044

19:11:17 :: Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice :: 50 Hunte St, Sydney

sad grrrls fest sydney 2017


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Failure By Design Pop Punk, Internalised Misogyny and Me BY GISELLE AU-NHIEN NGUYEN


he day I turned 15, my sister gave me a copy of Deja Entendu, the second album by Long Island band Brand New. Up in my bedroom, I listened to it for the first time, and I felt my world shift, somehow, as I heard the thoughts I could never articulate myself from the mouth of a stranger. I went downstairs for dinner a different person. Six months later, I won a competition to meet the band when they were to come to Sydney with my other favourite band, Blink-182. I wrote a letter to Brand New, specifically its singer, Jesse Lacey, thanking them for everything. Much to my heartbreak the show was cancelled, but I got a signed Deja Entendu poster instead, with “Giselle, I love you” scrawled on it. I had

it laminated immediately and stuck it on my bedroom wall. Over a decade later, in a different city, the poster hung, framed, in my apartment. I had plans to get the astronaut from the album cover tattooed on my forearm. The years had passed, I had changed, but the memories were steadfast. The day after I turned 29 – two weeks ago – Jesse Lacey was accused of grooming and emotionally abusing minors in the mid-2000s. The girls are the same age as I am now – were the same age as I was then. While I sat in my bedroom and my life changed, so did theirs, but in the worst possible ways.

Brand New in 2003

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Brand New

grew up in the leafy hills of suburban Sydney, where everything looked the same and very little happened. Maybe that’s what drew me to pop punk in the first place – many of the songs were about a yearning to get out of these dreary places. They were full of possibility, and so, I hoped, was my future.

never rendered as whole or autonomous – just fantasies or bitches who dared to make their own needs and thoughts known. They were the Manic Pixie Dream Girl with heavy eyeliner and studded wristbands. I was a teenager who had never even been kissed, but desperately wanted to be desired by the boys with guitars and swoopy hair and tattoos; to be good enough for them. The anger and pain of these men’s romantic failures felt like they were made for me, even though they were about girls just like me.

I was an awkward teenager: bespectacled, acne-ridden, mute with terror. All my romances happened online with faceless American boys, who made me feel like maybe there was someone out there who could love me. In the years before I discovered feminism – discovered myself – when I thought about the girl I wanted to be, or should strive to be for these boys to love me, my points of references were the songs the boys like them sang. On Good Charlotte’s 2002 album The Young And The Hopeless, they sang about a “riot girl” l who liked the punk bands Minor Threat and Social Distortion, so of course, I sought out music by Minor Threat and Social Distortion. She hated Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, which was code for the boys also looking down on those types of girls – the pretty ones, the prim ones. She was a riot girl, and I wanted to be one too. When Good Charlotte sang about murdering a girl’s boyfriend to be with her on ‘My Bloody Valentine’, I thought it was hopelessly romantic. All my crushes were never returned, or they went for girls that weren’t me, so when The Ataris sang songs like ‘Your Boyfriend Sucks’, where they insisted that the girl didn’t know what was good for her (“you’re “ better off without him, don’t call him, he’s breaking your heart”) t and ‘The Last Song I Will Ever Write About A Girl’, which was much more blatant (“girls are fucking evil”), l I wondered why these girls would spurn the sweet, sensitive boys who were giving them the love I craved. How dare they. I hated the girls. I wanted to at once be them, and destroy them.

“The men in these bands fought over women like they were property.” crashes tonight she’ll find some way to disappoint me, by not burning in the wreckage or drowning at the bottom of the sea”). He sang that he’d do anything she said, and I felt the same way about all these poor boys. I’d never hurt them. I’d be their perfect girl. In 2003, music commentator Jessica Hopper wrote of a new phenomenon in the emo/pop punk scene where “every record was seemingly a concept album about a breakup, damning the girl on the other side” – that the music had “become another forum where women were locked out, observing ourselves through the eyes of others”. The girls in these songs were either put on pedestals or thrown under the bus. They were

For many, pop punk was a gateway to emo, where fantasies of revenge became more graphic: “You know that you are worthless,” Buddy Nielsen sang on Senses Fail’s ‘You’re Cute When You Scream’. “I’ll take you to the top of this building and just push you off, run down the stairs so I can see your face as you hit the street.” Few women were visible on stage in this era. When Paramore burst onto the scene in 2005, it was exciting to see Hayley Williams, a girl my age, fronting a band. But even then, she was positioned as being one of the boys – she wasn’t thatt kind of girl. On their breakout single, ‘Misery Business’, Williams sang with glee about stealing a boyfriend from a girl: “Once a whore, you’re nothing more, I’m sorry that’ll never change.” (In 2015, Williams wrote a Tumblr post admitting that the song had been from a “narrow-minded perspective”.) In ‘Sk8er Boi’, Avril Lavigne mocked the other girl, the one who did ballet, for becoming a single, stayat home mum – a life she was damned to for daring to turn down the titular boy. Avril was a cool girl, not one of those girls. We laughed along with her. Even the women we were meant to look up hated other women. No wonder I did, too.

The men in these bands fought over women like they were property. Brand New and Taking Back Sunday’s infamous feud over a girl resulted in the songs ‘Seventy Times Seven’ and ‘There’s No I In Team’ respectively, without ever once asking the woman in question how she felt. Lacey, a self-confessed “broken-hearted loser”, wished death on his ex-girlfriend for leaving him in ‘Jude Law And A Semester Abroad’ (“even if her plane

In these examples, the men were not always obviously physically violent, but what they were was more insidious than that. They were entitled – women existed for their consumption and pleasure, as sex robots to be disposed of should they stop working the right way.

“When you spend so long hearing your idols sing that you’re worthless unless you fuck them, you can begin to believe it yourself.”

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The Ataris

“We were young girls who didn’t know better. They were older men who did, and didn’t care.”



here were priceless things about pop punk – the way everything felt infinite, captured in The Ataris’ ‘In This Diary’ (“being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up”) and Mest’s ‘Rooftops’ (“up on the rooftop listening to punk rock, nobody believed that this would be our one shot, that was all we had”); the bright-eyed dreams of escape and subsequent realisations of belonging, like The Rocket Summer sang on ‘Brat Pack’ (“I stand back to refl ect in this town I hate, and at least just for a second I think I might stay”). Two of my closest friends to this day met on a Good Charlotte message board in 2003. I met one of them on LiveJournal a year later when we bonded over New Found Glory, and the other outside a Brand New show in 2007. She called me after the show was over and I’d already gone home, and put Jesse Lacey on the phone for me. I squealed for weeks.

Brand New


esse Lacey is not the first man in this scene, or adjacent ones, to be accused of such crimes against women.

In early 2014, Bright Eyes singer Conor Oberst was accused of rape by a fan, Joanie Faircloth. The allegations were soon after recanted, and a libel lawsuit planned by Oberst dropped – Faircloth claimed that she had invented the whole story. Oberst’s career continued as though nothing had happened. In my late teen years, I heard that one of my punk idols, Greg Graffin of Bad Religion, had exposed himself to a teenage girl via AIM. Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz manipulated a 15-year-old girl into dating him when he was in his early twenties: “the best ones are crazy,” he said of her to Rolling Stone. “There are parts of me that are like, ‘Yeah, we could get married,’ but there are parts of me that couldn’t spend tonight with her.” His was

“I was a teenager who had never even been kissed, but desperately wanted to be desired by the boys with guitars and swoopy hair and tattoos; to be good enough for them.” 24 :: BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17

the first penis I ever saw, via shaky Hiptop photos leaked on LiveJournal. All of these allegations are sickening, but considering the scene that nurtured the perpetrators, they hardly come as a surprise – they are the most monstrous manifestation of the entitlement that was drilled into these men all along. In the weeks since Lacey’s crimes came to light, other women who grew up in the scene have come forward with their own stories of their treatment at shows, or online, at the time. Reflecting on her adolescence in the Long Island scene, Jenn Pelly wrote for Pitchfork: “Bubblegum emo needed its female fans, as evidenced by the swaths of girls who screamed this music back, who took photos, who muscled against stages to get as close as possible without being crushed. But the scene did not really want us.” And Australian writer Sophie Benjamin wrote in a viral Medium blog post: “These men don’t want grown women. Grown woman see through their bullshit tortured genius messiah act. They want girls—in many cases, literal schoolgirls who are legally unable to give sexual consent.” At their tamest, the lyrics of these bands were whiny thoughts from the mythical “friend zone” – why won’t she love me? But the horrors that have both physically and emotionally traumatised women in real life find their roots in the way in which these men were permitted – encouraged, even – to think about, and act towards, women in their music. When you spend so long hearing your idols sing that you’re worthless unless you fuck them, that you’re a piece of shit if you break their heart, you can begin to believe it yourself. The girls were damned either way.

So much about this music and this scene made me who I am today, but looking back on it now in my late twenties, I feel for teenage me who resented her femaleness because of these very bands. I was friends with some girls in the scene, but only the ones who weren’t “sluts”, the ones who knew as much about the music as I did. I was a girl who wanted to be one of the boys. I thought that they’d love me if I was what they wanted me to be, so I twisted myself, hoping that the unnatural shape would stick. I accepted less than I deserved when it came to relationships because my blueprint for love was based on a toxic, entitled male point of view. I devalued myself because I thought I had to. I hated other girls because they were my competition. The unlearning is still ongoing. We were young girls who didn’t know better. They were older men who did, and didn’t care.


t’s a horrible thing to learn that a person who made your teen years destroyed someone else’s. It’s worse still to imagine what it’s like to be one of the women who has to live with that trauma daily – whose hero betrayed them in unforgivable ways. My relationship with Brand New’s music doesn’t matter anymore. These women’s stories, and lives, do. ‘The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot’ was a confessional track on Deja Entendu in which Lacey sang about his misgivings to an ex-lover, begging for absolution. The lyrics are hard to stomach now, with the knowledge of what he was doing at the time. “If it makes you less sad, I’ll take your pictures all down,” he crooned. “Every picture you paint, I will paint myself out.” Half a lifetime after excitedly putting it on the wall, I took the poster down. ■

arts in focus


“My installations are mainly driven by my philosophy that noise music is far more fun to make than watch.”

Lucas Abela: The Cutting Edge [ART] Zanda Wilson discovered appearances can be deceiving when talking to the blood-smeared, glass wielding Lucas Abela, a noise icon who also turns out to be a lovely, gentle interview subject


ucas Abela is a pioneer of the Australian experimental subgenre, and has been a driving force in its scene for decades. He founded experimental music label Dual Plover in 1996 and today continues to create incredible interactive sound and light installations around the world – although he is probably still best known for the grisly work he does with mic-ed up sheets of glass that he plays with his mouth. Abela is gearing up to bring his latest installation to Sydney Festival next year, this time turning a series of pinball games into interactive noise machines. He explains that the idea came from a previous installation he created a few years ago. “The idea evolved from the Vinyl Rally, which was initially an instrument idea that got out of control and became an installation,” he explains. “That work centres around two old video driving game consoles which are rigged up to control remote control cars so you can remotely control them on a racing track made from vinyl records.” Abela says he was particularly inspired by how the arcade style format of Vinyl Rally made

audiences comfortable interacting with the installation. “Already being familiar with the tools meant they could get straight into it and play, no instruction necessary,” he says. “I then thought I should continue using arcade formats to take advantage of this but, wanting to steer away from screen culture, my mind turned to pinball – and an image of Pinball Pianola appeared.”

the in-the-round multiplayer machine Balls for Cthulhu, which has a pentagram shaped cabinet formed by ten guitars, played by five people, one at the end of each point. Meanwhile, Flip-off is more a cross between pinball and foosball, and is also a Toecutter remix machine, as each pop-bumper and slingshot in the game also triggers samples of his tracks.”

Each of the pinball machines has been constructed differently, with Abela deciding to explore how different aspects of existing musical instruments could be incorporated into the machines. “I didn’t just want to make straight-up pinball games, and thought straight away I should mess with the format’s conventions,” he says. “I started off by making Pinball Pianola, which has 20 flippers presented as a wide smile controlled by a piano keyboard, so you have to explore the keyboard and find the right keys to volley the ball between the flippers and the exposed piano strings.

The participatory element of his installations is key when it comes to deciding how to create and execute each new design. “My installations are mainly driven by my philosophy that noise music is far more fun to make than watch, so I use them as a tactic to lure people into inadvertently performing noise music,” says Abela. “I create situations for them to play with audio effects that are so fun they forget that at the same time they are doing what they thought they could do themselves, when they first went to a noise concert and accidentally stumbled onto the idea that anyone can do that.”

“This meant making an extremely wide pinball body – something unlike anything the pinball industry ever devised. After that, I made

Outside of his many incredible installations, Abela continues to pioneer what noise musicians can do onstage, in the process creating

some truly unique sounds. After all, as anyone who has witnessed the man taking his mouth to a shard of glass can attest, there are few as boundary-pushing as Abela. But although what Abela does with glass might seem outlandish and strange, for him it was pretty much a natural progression; par for the course for someone who experimented as much as he did in his early career. “Throughout the ’90s I experimented with a lot of ideas for sound creation, instrument building being a large part of the noise music culture. “Most of what I was doing revolved around the turntable, which is where I started with the typical bedroom experiments teenagers do, cutting up records and drilling holes in them for fun. Anyway, my needles evolved into knives and my decks into industrial motors and so on, until finally I stripped the instrument down to the bare essential element of the styli, which is how I see the glass. To me it’s a magnified stylus that I vibrate with my mouth instead of a groove.” Recently Abela and American experimental outfit Death Grips revealed they have been working

on a collaboration together. Abela explains that he had known Zach Hill previously, but is cagey on when we could expect to hear the finished result. “I did a set with Zach in 2010 when he was in town with the Boredoms so earlier this year, seeing I was passing through his home town of Sacramento, I dropped him a line asking if there was any possibilities of getting a show there. There wasn’t, but instead he said I should come by the studio and record some stuff for Death Grips. “Now this is a little embarrassing but at the time I had no idea who Death Grips were,” he continues. “So as I set out from Oakland I decided to take a listen to some Youtube clips and was amazed not only by how good it was, but that people were viewing the clips in the millions. They were popular! The session ended up being great: they had a PA set up, so it was more like doing a private gig than a recording session.” What: Lucas Abela And The Temple Of Din Where: Sydney Festival Village, Hyde Park North When: Friday January 5 – Sunday January 28

“I see the glass as a magnified stylus that I vibrate with my mouth instead of a groove.”

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arts in focus


“We don’t want to make people feel bad about what’s happening.”

Tribunal photo by Heidrun Lohr

Tribunal: Australia On Trial [THEATRE] Brooke Gibbs chats to Karen Therese and Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor about the signifiance of Tribunal, a brand new Australian play


irected and co-conceived by Karen Therese, artistic director of Powerhouse Youth Theatre Fairfield, political production Tribunal sees artists, lawyers, leaders and activists unite together to put Australia’s colonial past and murky refugee policies on trial, allowing the audience to be the judge. The play will feature Afghan performer Mahdi Mohammadi and Indigenous activist and Elder Aunty Rhonda Dixon-Grovenor. Each performance of the show is set to be different, with guests airing their lived experiences and making

public the issues directly affecting their communities from human rights violations, detention centres and strained friendships. In that way, Tribunal has been designed to provide a space where the truth can be told, connections can be made, and intimacies shared. Therese originally wanted to create a work that addressed both sexual and racial discrimination, and she explored the potential of working with human rights lawyer Joe Tan in a creative capacity. Tribunal is long gestating: it has been in the works since 2013, when Therese and Tan commenced work on

“A lot of people haven’t even met an Aboriginal person, let alone know about the history of what happened with colonisation and the Aboriginal protection board.”

the idea of love and boats before turning to statistics for inspiration.

migrant background. It was really disturbing.”

In the same week their research was beginning to take off, an asylum seeker boat crashed near Christmas Island, killing 25 people. The government decided to leave the bodies in the water and not retrieve them, simply because the boat crashed just outside of Australian waters.

The need to tell the story of asylum seekers as truthfully as possible led Therese to recruit a small army of professionals and refugees, rather than actors. “Everyone in Tribunal is a legitimate lawyer,” she explains. “The two boys in it were asylum seekers. Everyone in Tribunal has a significant, real world experience in their history, as well as some kind of human rights expertise as well.”

“It was really traumatic,” Therese recalls. “It was the first time that I’d really emotionally connected to the crisis of asylum seekers, even though I come from a

One of the key performers is Aunty Rhonda, who will serve as Tribunal’s judge. “I hope the

audience will understand more deeper and listen with their hearts,” Aunty Rhonda explains. “A lot of them will be surprised, because they don’t know about our Aboriginal history. A lot of people haven’t even met an Aboriginal person, let alone know about the history of what happened with colonisation and the Aboriginal protection board. “My father was a political activist and I talk about him, because to know where we are today, you have to know what happened. [Tribunal] is all about the question and answer time after it has finished; when people sit down and come up with plans and programs together for healing.” For her part, Therese says theatre is the most effective way to get a political message of this kind across. “I just think no other medium has theatre’s direct impact. When everyone’s in the room together, we can talk to them; really talk to them.

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Tribunal photo by Alex Wisser

“Tribunal isn’t just a legal proceeding. It breaks down into a cup of tea with the audience, where we all become a part of this issue that we try to work out together. It’s designed to be very kind, and it really requires people to listen. We don’t want to make people feel bad about what’s happening. We just want to point out that this is what is happening, and to ask what are we all going to do about it now.”

arts in focus


“I’ve shot a lot of sex scenes in my career before The Girlfriend Experience, and I have no interest in anything that’s titillation or salacious.”

The Girlfriend Experience: Partnered Up [TELEVISION] Lodge Kerrigan is a modern master, the filmmaker behind cult classic Clean, Shaven and the co-showrunner of The Girlfriend Experience. Ella Donald chats to him about his show’s provocative new season


fter pushing boundaries with its first season, The Girlfriend Experience has returned for an excellent second outing. Instead of following the exploits of season one’s law-student-turned-sex-worker Christine (Riley Keough), the show unravels twinned narrative threads. Showrunners, writers, and directors Amy Seimetz and Lodge Kerrigan take a story each, with one episode from both creators dropping every Sunday on Stan. While Seimetz’s story follows former sex worker Bria (Carmen Ejogo), who has escaped an abusive relationship and entered into the witness protection program, Kerrigan delves deep into the cold corruption of Washington, D.C., where lobbyist Erica (Anna Friel) falls into a complicated relationship with sex worker Anna (Louisa Krause). Kerrigan’s season two episodes resemble the first season more closely than Seimetz’s, but they nonetheless delve into a territory that the first season didn’t, investigating the emotional fallout that occurs when a transactional relationship develops into something distinctly more messy. Kerrigan

explained his writing process, his background, and his creative aims over the phone: the following is the transcript of the interview, which has been edited and condensed for clarity. After you and Amy Seimetz were thrown together as cocreators for season one, what was it about the prospect of a season two that made you want to do this different format and work quite independently?

they wouldn’t know what to expect, so it would really keep it alive. I know you read each other’s scripts once they were complete, but how much consultation did you have with each other in the planning stages?

Our backgrounds are as fi lmmakers and as writerdirectors, so I think as directors we tend towards working individually. But also Amy and I wanted to push the idea of the traditional format of television; to show many variations of the format that could potentially work. I love the potential it allows – you could watch either Amy’s episodes or mine, and then the audience can draw their own connections between the two as they watch those storylines.

We were pretty involved in the discussion of the themes of the storylines. Then, once we really had the format and the main themes down we went off on our own and did our own work. We sent each other drafts, and we’d send each other cuts of scenes as we shot them so we could all take a look at how it was going. It wasn’t really that one storyline would dictate another in any way. We were completely, completely free, but it was just a way to see what the other person was doing and how the storylines related. It was never, ‘Oh how could we change this and make it more refl ective?’

I think there’s some thematic mirroring going on, particularly the themes of power and control. In a lot of ways it’s really a conversation between Amy and myself, and Steven [Soderbergh] also … We felt that it would engage the audience because

The thing I fi nd really interesting is that I think human beings, by nature, tend towards wanting to fi nd a narrative connection in everything, just in terms of consequences and causality. I think the audience will draw certain connections that weren’t

even intended; they’ll be able to really freely read into and connect the two in their own individual way. Obviously the show is a lot about sex and intimacy. We’re used to everything to do with sex on fi lm and TV being shot in a very specifi c way, but here this really plays with expectations of how sex is shown. I think of the sex scene between Erica and Anna in episode three, and it’s almost uninviting; you feel like you shouldn’t be there because it’s such an intimate moment. When I write a sex scene I’m focused on the subtext of it. I’ve shot a lot of sex scenes in my career before The Girlfriend Experience, and I have no interest in anything that’s titillation or salacious. What’s interesting to me is what’s happening psychologically in the scene; how the characters are connecting. Something that really struck me about settings in the D.C. storyline is how dystopian everything looks; how empty the spaces the characters inhabit are. Erica has the corner office but the rest of the fl oor is empty; characters sit in restaurants with no one

else at the tables…. On some level, the idea is that they live very isolated, lonely lives. But for me, it’s also about trying to push minimalism to an extreme, almost like theatre, so you can see how performative we all really are in our daily life. I’m not saying it’s necessarily duplicitous, but I just think when you want something you really try and convince the other person of it as best as you can. Particularly with the world of politics, it becomes even more of a performance. Also, by stripping everything away, it means focusing more on the characters. We all know this, but fi lmmaking, it’s all so artifi cial. So I always fi nd it really interesting for people to watch something and go, ‘Well, that wasn’t really real.’ Filmmaking isn’t meant to be an accurate refl ection of society. I think what’s interesting is that you can create something completely fake, and it still has an emotional and psychological resonance. What: The Girlfriend Experience season two is available weekly on Stan

“Filmmaking isn’t meant to be an accurate reflection of society.”

BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17 :: 27

arts in focus


“Humans – only 200,000 years old as a species – may not survive the devastation we’ve wrought on the planet.”

Sea Sick photos by Chloe Ellings

Sea Sick: It’s The End Of The World [THEATRE] Mike Louis Kennedy learns the brutal truth about where humanity is heading from climate journalist Alanna Mitchell


f everything on land were to die tomorrow, everything in the ocean would be fine. But if everything in the ocean were to die, everything on land would die too.” It’s this dire warning, first communicated to journalist Alanna Mitchell by one of the scientists she met while researching her best selling book Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, that neatly sums up the theatrical version of her novel, a powerful, confronting look at global environmental trends. Sea Sick’s transformation from book to play was comparatively quick and painless: the original

work spawned a series of public talks, and ultimately Mitchell’s charisma and powerful message caught the attention of the Theatre Centre in Toronto, with the company commissioning her to turn the work into a non-fiction play alongside directors Franco Boni and Ravi Jain. As a passionate orator, Mitchell recognises the value the new format has brought to her message. “Sea Sick,” she says, “is about the marriage of art and science. I say in it: ‘Science gives us knowledge, but not necessarily meaning. Art gives us meaning, and it’s meaning we respond to’.” She also acknowledges that the transition to stage has likely

attracted another audience to her work, a crowd that might not have been exposed to the book. “The glorious intimacy of the theatre not only explains the information in a new way, but allows audiences to become immersed in another world, and to feel the emotion of it.” However, for Mitchell’s part, the process was as terrifying as it was exciting. “My biggest challenge was conquering my own fear of being on the stage to perform the play. I loved the writing. I loved the psychological excavation with Franco and Ravi of what it means to be a journalist, and why I deal with all this difficult information.”

And the information is certainly difficult. During her extensive research she began to hear the same three pieces of information repeated: that carbon is making the ocean warm, breathless and sour. If this is allowed to continue, Mitchell warns the results will be devastating for all life, above and below the surface; stressing “plankton provide every second breath of oxygen we breathe. The global climate is driven by interactions between the two liquid media on our planet – the air and the water of the ocean. Each of the five times life on the planet

“Each of the five times life on the planet has undergone a mass extinction, changes in the ocean’s chemistry have been a critical trigger.”

has undergone a mass extinction, changes in the ocean’s chemistry have been a critical trigger.” Of course the most obvious example of these changes in Australia is the Great Barrier Reef, currently experiencing a major coral bleaching event. However, when asked what Australia stands to lose, Mitchell has two answers. “If it dies, it will be a signal that the ocean as a whole is becoming inhospitable for life as we know it. And the ocean contains the switch of life on Earth. It’s not about what Australia stands to lose, but what the planet stands to lose. So that’s the scientist’s answer. “The artist’s answer is that the Great Barrier Reef is a metaphor. It is nature’s holy ground. It represents the awe and wonder of the world. Even if we destroy it, the corals that created it will likely still survive in some form or another, as they have for half a billion years, and eventually return to create a new reef somewhere. Humans – only 200,000 years old as a species – may not survive the devastation we’ve wrought on the planet. So it is also a metaphor for humility, for sorrow, for human hubris, for human absurdity.” When asked how anyone can avoid despairing over the complexity of the problem, she has only one thing to say: “Come see my play!” What: Sea Sick Where: Carriageworks When: Friday January 19 – Monday January 22

28 :: BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17

arts in focus


Shouldn’t We Be Sick Of Superhero Movies By Now? Zanda Wilson explores our seemingly limitless appetite when it comes to the exploits of caped crusaders


he dominance of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and, more recently, the attempts made by the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) to catch up has seen a glut of high quality superhero movies hit our screens over the past decade. As audiences, we don’t seem to care much that three or so decent films come out each year based around heroes with superhuman abilities – although it must be said, prior to 2008’s Iron Man, the first film in the current MCU, superhero content on the big screen produced just as many misses as hits. Since 2008, Marvel have amassed 17 films in their complicated universe, and these are being dropped with an ever-increasing delivery speed. If you include the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy that preceded the official establishment of the DCEU, DC have released seven of their own, with their response to Marvel’s Avengers hitting cinemas this fortnight in the form of Justice League. Oh, and don’t forget the X-Men franchise, which barring some early films of mixed quality, has released seven largely well-received films since 2009 (including Deadpool). Across these three franchises, there are 16 more planned releases between now and 2020 – so, why aren’t we sick of the ever-flowing and seemingly infinite amount of superhero content? At this point one may well say, “Well, just because the quantity of films is increasing, that doesn’t mean the world cares and is going to see all these films.” However,

the fact is this year has seen the Disney-owned Marvel Studios becoming the first movie studio in history to release three films with US $100 million openings in a single calendar year: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and more recently, Thor: Ragnarok. It’s not only the box office popularity that shows how superior these films have become, but also their critical reception. Movie critic website Rotten Tomatoes recently updated its rankings for the best superhero movies of all time, and according to its metric, five out of the top ten superhero movies of all time were released this year. It’s easy to see why some of these films have produced such great responses. Hugh Jackman has just about been the only constant character in the X-Men franchise over almost two decades, and Logan, his farewell to one of the greatest superheros ever, was always going to draw crowds. Similarly, Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins and starring the incredible Gal Gadot, is another film one can easily pick apart and discover the factors that made it so well-received both critically and at the box office. Boldly going where not even Marvel had gone before, DC featured their first femaleled and directed superhero film, garnering favourable reviews from critics and from fans – at the time of writing, the film has grossed over US $800 million. So, this is where we turn our attention back to Marvel, and their record setting 2017. The early films in the MCU, especially those

Spiderman: Homecoming

“This year’s incarnation of the Spiderman story cycle, the third reboot since 2002, felt as far away from the traditional MCU style as it is possible to get.” before the first Avengers film in 2012, copped criticism for being a little too formulaic. Films like The Incredible Hulk, the first Thor film and Captain America: The First Avenger were so instantly forgettable that we seem to have a generalised cultural amnesia about their plots: thinking back it’s hard to even recollect what happened in these films, and what relevance they had other than to provide hastily written origin stories. Fast-forward to 2017 and to Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol: 2, Spiderman: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok and it’s clear to see that Marvel has strayed from this path of keeping to tried and tested plots and character arcs. James Gunn’s second Guardians film mirrors the hugely successful first instalment, using music as a plot device and to develop its characters, not to mention its own distinct mood and tone that totally

distances it from the other films in the MCU. Similarly, this year’s incarnation of the Spiderman story cycle, the third reboot since 2002, felt as far away from the traditional MCU style as it is possible to get. Rather than being stock standard superhero fare, it had the distinct vibes of a teenage coming-ofage film with superhero elements inserted into it care of sporadic appearances by the MCU’s highest paid actor, Robert Downey Jnr. Similarly, Thor: Ragnarok forged its own path under the direction of the delightful Taika Waititi and his Australasian cast of Cate Blanchett and Chris Hemsworth, with the talent taking the script to hilarious new places. The success of these films and the way that Marvel has made them feel unique, yet still connected to the MCU, cannot be

separated from the bold choice of directors. James Gunn, Jon Watts and Taika Waititi were relative unknowns on the international stage, and had certainly not directed anything close to a high budget before. Given how well these new directors have done, we can only hope that upcoming epic Avengers: Infinity War can bring together the ever-expanding roster of MCU characters in a way that pays tribute to the directorial styles of Marvel’s most recent films. That it’s not being directed by serial Avengers director Joss Whedon, but rather Anthony and Joe Russo – the pair behind Captain America: Civil War – is promising. We’ll also see Black Panther and the next Ant-Man film released next year too. So who knows? 2018 could see even more records smashed. Looks like we’re not over superhero movies quite yet.

Hela in Thor: Ragnorok

“According to Rotten Tomatoes, five out of the top ten superhero movies of all time were released this year.”

BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17 :: 29

arts in focus ■ Television

The pilot episode of Sea Oak is pitch perfect television By Joseph Earp


arlier this year at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, George Saunders told a story about the development process behind Sea Oak, the pilot episode of a prospective television series based on his short story of the same name. He was agonising over a particular scene, he said; scared that, if he and the pilot’s director, Hiro Murai, took the wrong approach, they could ruin the whole thing.

habitual quirks of speech. Adapting that kind of nuance for the significantly more direct medium of television could have been an exercise in futility then – like restoring a faded Rembrandt with a gallon of house paint and a roller.

“You know, there is a really bad way that we could do this,” Saunders told Murai. “Well, then,” Murai responded. “Let’s do it the good way.” Thankfully, against the odds, the pair have. Adapting a short story like Sea Oak was always going to be a challenge: Saunders is an exhaustive self-editor, and reveals his characters slowly, through the slightest of touches. His heroes don’t monologue endlessly about their intentions, or their histories. They are not their backstories: they are their pauses, and their everyday,

Glenn Close in Sea Oak

“Saunders’ anarchic, existentialist slapstick streak – rather than being watered down or simplified – is instead communicated in a series of striking, perfectly realised shots.”

The enjoyably misguided heroes of Saunders’ story are here brought to life as bumbling, callous yet oddly endearing misfits, Jane Levy’s gratuitously self-involved Min proving a particular highlight. And Saunders’ anarchic, existentialist slapstick streak – rather than being watered down or simplified

■ Film

The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is a fable on acid By Joseph Earp permanently dying their skin pitch black. It is a series of moral stories told in the most amoral way imaginable; Aesop’s fables rewritten by Charles Manson. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, the new film by arch surrealist Yorgos Lanthimos, is in many ways the spiritual successor to Struwwelpeter. Ostensibly a story of revenge conducted by a young, charming sociopath (Barry Keoghan’s Martin), it is both intensely concerned with the distinction between right and wrong, and distinctly, unbearably wrong itself. There’s a reason that esteemed British critic Mark Kermode called the work “Saw for the arthouse

crowd”: it has the same kind of gristly relish in dealing out punishment that defines James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s horror franchise. The players are uniformly excellent – Colin Farrell as a hapless, heart surgeon who only realises he is in over his head far too late; Nicole Kidman as an icy matriarch, a nice mirroring of her role in this year’s significantly less impressive The Beguiled; Raffey Cassidy as the doll like object of Martin’s affection, a fragile pre-pubescent who speaks as though hypnotised. And yet the movie belongs to Keoghan more than anyone else – his spaghetti

Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan in The Killing Of A Sacred Deer


here’s this old, horrifying book from the late nineteenth century that was designed to teach children

manners, and which became inexplicably popular amongst a lot of British households during the late sixties. It’s called Struwwelpeter, and it’s

a collection of nightmares, full of stories about longlegged men with scissors that jump out of the walls and snip the thumbs off

unsuspecting youngsters, and gnarly old wizards who teach racist children the importance of empathy by dipping them in ink and

“Sacred Deer is both intensely concerned with the distinction between right and wrong, and distinctly, unbearably wrong itself.” 30 :: BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17

Sea Sick photos by Chloe Ellings

And yet somehow, Saunders and Murai avoid every sensationalistic turn the pilot could have taken. The story of a poor, saintlike old woman named Bernie (Glenn Close, having the time of her life) who suffers what, in the interest of preserving the show’s central twist, it is worth referring to as an “unfortunate turn of events”, Sea Oak distils Saunders’ wit, and empathy, and warmth down to its purest form.

arts reviews

The Defender B Y N AT H A N J O L LY In The Defender, the BRAG’s writers pick out a pop culture artefact they feel has been hard done by. This issue, Nathan Jolly makes the case for oft-derided oddities the Madden Brothers.

Close and Jack Quaid in Sea Oak

“Saunders is an exhaustive self-editor, and reveals his characters slowly, through the slightest of touches.” – is instead communicated in a series of striking, perfectly realised shots: a children’s toy duck smoking, a section of its head blown off; a gaggle of pensioners being led around an abattoir; an old dishevelled woman, gripping the arms of a chair, spitting obscenities. Part of the show’s success must be attributed to Murai then. He and Saunders

are, after all, perfectly suited: Murai’s work on the excellent comedy series Atlanta was more indebted to Bruno Schulz than to Seinfeld, and he has a knack when it comes to nailing gentle absurdity without ever seeming over the top, or too crudely revealing his directorial hand. Of course, the Sea Oak pilot is only a taster of

what is to come; a starter rather than a main course. But if the show continues on its current track, it may well prove to be one of the most thrillingly unique series of recent years – a true, lopsided, intensely loveable original.

Joel Madden


f all the relics from the year 2000, I’d have predicted the Madden Brothers would last slightly longer than Y2K panic, and disappear around the time of Wheatus’ follow-up single.

What: Sea Oak is available to stream via Amazon Direct

Yet it’s a good 17 years since we were first introduced to Joel and Benji Madden, the two brothers that are surviving and thriving across numerous facets of the entertainment world – and have been for close to two decades. They are multi-hyphenates. They are quadruple threats. Triple double, no assist. Time to give the Madden brothers some well-deserved props. That’s all.


Killing is quite determinedly not for those easily offended: it opens with open-heart surgery and only gets more psychologically unbearable from there.

Moreover, Lanthimos is uninterested in resolving his horrors with any real sense of fi nality – like a sugar-hyped child, he pokes at an ant hill for a little while before growing tired and moving on, and the fi lm’s white knuckle conclusion has all the logic of a sick, sad joke. There will be those who cannot stand Killing then – those who fi nd it an exercise in suburbanset barbarity about easy to stomach as a walking tour through an abattoir. But for those sick sadists amongst us, there is a lot to love here. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you, hey? What: The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is in cinemas now

Joel Madden photo by Amanda Moore/Flickr

Keoghan in The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

“There’s a reason that esteemed British critic Mark Kermode called the work Saw for the arthouse crowd.”

Punk is winning the Best New Talent Logie. Punk is having Benjamin Franklin’s face tattooed on your entire back. Punk is releasing an album under the name The Madden Brothers despite it sounding like a Good Charlotte album. Punk is shouting out “reduced lunch” in your debut single like you’re Flavor Flav or something. Punk is hanging out with your twin.


Nicole Kidman in The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

chewing, Groundhog Day watching, monstrous young antagonist is part giddy Dennis The Menace-type troublemaker and part dead-eyed, Jason Vorheesindebted killer. Between this film and Dunkirk, 2017 has very much been Keoghan’s year.

Now, the improbability of Benji ever sizing up and intimating anyone on the street aside, this line is quite true. No, really, it is. At first you wanna laugh at them being punk, then you start to think. Maybe they are punk. Do you know what punk is? Punk is doing a PETA campaign, then doing a KFC commercial. Punk is dating Nicole Ritchie, Hilary Duff, Sophie Monk, Paris Hilton, Cameron Diaz, and Holly from that Girls Next Door series about Hef’s girlfriends (Kendra was the best).

Now, I’m not really a fan of their music. They have about half a dozen songs that I enjoy, most of which lift the melody from ‘Forgotten Years’ by Midnight Oil. They write earnest songs about being angry with their father — with lyrics such as “I’m angry at my father” — and seem to momentarily forget during photo shoots that they weren’t ever in the Crips. All their album covers look like self-published YA novels, and their debut single was named ‘Little Things’ and came months after ‘All The Small Things’. But still...

Australia loves the Madden Brothers. While many bands tour and tell us they think of Australia as a second home, and we roll our eyes and cheer anyway, it’s quite true when Joel and Benji do it. They’ve won Logies! Joel has appeared on five series of Australian TV, which is more than Isla Fisher did. I think he still lives in Sydney. Maybe he is reading this. If so, sorry about the YA joke (but they do).


There’s a line on the title track of ‘The Young And The Hopeless’ where Benji sings, “These critics and these trust fund kids try to tell me what punk is, but when I see them on the street they got nothing to say.”

You know those early press shots of fellow twins The Veronicas where they stand, limbs akimbo, fists victoriously thrust into the air as if to say, “We are the shit”? That’s the stance the Madden brothers should be permanently in.

BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17 :: 31

book club ■ Book

Armageddon And Paranoia will terrify the living shit out of you By Joseph Earp


rima facie, there is really no reason to read Armageddon And Paranoia, the new non-fi ction tome by Rodric Braithwaite. After all, the 450-something page book tells a story that is becoming distressingly familiar to us these days: namely, nuclear war, and an increasingly apocalyptic showdown between the United States and the Russians. If we really all are about to be blown to a cinder by a grubby-fi ngered orange gameshow host turned nouveau-Hitler and a man-child with bad hair, who wants to spend the last few weeks of their life luxuriating in a novel about how horrendous it will be if we all do go out in a wave of nuclear fire? Why not just turn off, tune out, and read The Bachelor recaps before radiation poisons our body and melts our minds?

What: Armageddon And Paranoia is out now

The answer, of course, is that Braithwaite’s historical precision, and skills as both a storyteller and a researcher, means the man doesn’t just rehash what readers already know about the Cold War, or the lingering effects of nuclear proliferation: he tells the story anew, and even armchair historians will fi nd something to gape at on almost every page. It helps that Braithwaite is perfectly suited to tell this story. Not only has he proved his chops via vast, horrendous non-fi ction novels like Moscow 1941 and Afgansty, he also served as British ambassador

“Prima facie, there is really no reason to read Armageddon And Paranoia, the new non-fiction tome by Rodric Braithwaite.” to Moscow at the time of the Soviet collapse in 1991, not to mention as the foreign policy adviser to the Prime Minister and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. Braithwaite’s lived experience adds an immediacy to the book; a sense of alarming, vital urgency, that makes the novel read more like a Tom Clancy-esque thriller than a stuffy history lesson. Not that Armageddon is entirely humourless. Braithwaite has a subtle sense of what I suppose one could be pressed to call “fun”: in the novel’s last chapter, titled “Armageddon Averted?”, he coyly lists the arguments of those who believed that post-Hiroshima, humanity would abandon nuclear warfare all together. Historical inevitability is a bugger, and Braithwaite’s perfect hindsight allows him to paint the efforts of those who firmly believed humanity would stave off warfare altogether as optimistic but ultimately misguided. The arc of history bends towards bloodshed, something Braithwaite understands as both an author and a key historical player himself. So yeah, Armageddon isn’t exactly relaxing reading. In fact, several of its most gripping anecdotes –

from first hand stories about the devastation of Hiroshima, to the baffling incompetence of those charged with handling and protecting nuclear weapons – will scare the living shit out of you. But, still, at its heart Armageddon is concerned with a particularly contemporary kind of horror: it’s a troubling story, perfectly told.

“At its heart Armageddon is concerned with a particularly contemporary kind of horror: it’s a troubling story, perfectly told.”

■ Book

The Brothers Karamazov is the absolute, motherfucking best By Joseph Earp


isten, I’m not gonna fuck around with you here: humans are mostly shit, and are mostly irredeemable, and mostly spend their time hurting other humans and destroying the environment for the sake of convenience, and because they seem incapable of acting gracefully, and with empathy. But there are like, at most, ten or 12 artistic and cultural achievements that are so perfect – so goddamn untouchable, and transcendent – that they make it seem like maybe the human experiment wasn’t just a bloody, pointless mess after all. These achievements are, for my money, Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem; The Wire; The Exorcist; Jeanne Dielman 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels; vegemite; John Gray’s Straw Dogs; Montaigne’s essays; The Drones’ The Miller’s Daughter; Diane Arbus’ Child With Toy Hand Grenade In Central Park; and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. And you know what? Of them all, I think The Brothers Karamazov might be the best. If the human race got invaded by a race of ultra-cultured, ultra-vicious aliens, and I got personally asked to offer something up to them as

“Karamazov is this fucking insane, alien thing: it’s the relic that shapes and guides humanity in 2001: A Space Odyssey.” reason enough that we shouldn’t all get totally obliterated, I would hold my battered copy of Karamazov up high over my head, and say: “Dostoyevsky, motherfuckers.” I just don’t understand how Dostoyevsky even wrote Karamazov, a 776-page-epic that is, if it can really said to be “about” anything, concerned with the story of a dispute between a family that results in a patricide. Some artistic achievements, no matter how great they might be, are traceable, and explainable: you can watch something like Moonlight, and see the references that make it what it is, and understand that it came from a legacy of cultural documents. But Karamazov is not like that. Karamazov is this fucking insane, alien thing: it’s the relic that shapes and guides humanity in 2001: A Space

Odyssey. I mean, sure, it draws on some elements of the Russian novel form that was being perfected at the time, but only some. It is the very definition of a pioneering artwork: full of first person asides, and flashbacks, and carefully constructed narrative tangents that would have been as foreign to Dostoyevsky’s readers as the idea of flying cars. It is insane, and I don’t understand where it came from, and I re-read it maybe once every year just so I can get my head around the fucking thing. I realise I haven’t really explained anything about the novel here, or given any real incentive to read it. But sometimes, sadly, critical writing fails in the face of true greatness: has about as much worth as an attempt to graph the face of bloody God. Just read Karamazov, will ya? All it takes is a few weeks, and all it has the power to do is change the scope of your bloody life.

What: A new Penguin Classic edition of The Brothers Karamazov is available now

“I just don’t understand how Dostoyevsky even wrote Karamazov.” 32 :: BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17

game on Gaming news and reviews with Adam Guetti



New Releases With most of the heavy hitters now out in the wild, December may be relatively a little quieter on the new releases front – but there are still plenty of new games to keep an eye on.

One of the biggest titles of the month DEC finds its way onto store shelves on Saturday December 1. Yes, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 provides Switch owners with a deep RPG experience that will send them searching for humanity’s paradise.


Then on Tuesday DEC December 5, Steep scores its first expansion, Road To The Olympics (PS4, XBO, PC). The add-on will allow you to go for gold at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 in South Korea.


A day later on Wednesday DEC December 6 will be the perfect time to jump into this year’s futuristic hit, Horizon: Zero Dawn. That’s because the game’s new Complete Edition not only includes the original title, but the new Frozen Wilds expansion, a digital art book and more.



Meanwhile, on Tuesday DEC December 12, Resident Evil 7 receives a Gold Edition, ready to scare your pants off with all previously released DLC combined into one bundle. You can find it on PS4, XBO and PC.


Alternatively, enjoy the return DEC of a PS2 classic in the form of Okami HD (PS4, XBO, PC), now sporting modern graphics and an impressive 4K resolution.


Wrapping up the month is DEC the Switch port of WWE 2K18, which suplexes its way into your life just in time for the new year on Thursday December 28.


Review: Need for Speed Payback (PS4, XBO, PC)

By Adam Guetti


espite its clear attempt to reinvent itself, Need For Speed Payback struggles to bring all of its moving parts together. The campaign tries to embrace films like The Fast And The Furious, but neglects the fun and humour that goes along with that mega-franchise. Similarly, many of the new action set-pieces actually 3 remove control from your hands – leaving an experience best suited for hardcore car enthusiasts.

Review: DOOM (Switch)


OOM’s biggest takeaway: it actually works! Seeing the epic monster mash run on the Switch is an impressive feat, and thankfully it plays a dream, too. It might not look as pretty as its PS4, XBO and PC brethren, but this is your only chance to experience it 4 on the move, making it worth a replay.

Review: Super Mario Odyssey (Switch) Review: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (PS4, XBO, PC)


achineGames continues the strong groundwork it established in The New Order, with gameplay that is equal parts zany and brutal. More impressively, it’s backed up by a rock-solid story and great performances that help sell the world and the 4.5 resulting action. One of the best shooters of 2017.


here’s been a lot of love for Super Mario Odyssey already, and for good reason: it’s simply exceptional. The adventure is massive in scope, constantly surprisingly and creatively astounding. Nintendo challenges everything you know about the moustached plumber and consistently subverts it into new and addictive ways for an experience that is unlike any 5 other. Make no doubt about it, this is a modern classic in every sense.

Review: Call Of Duty: WWII (PS4, XBO, PC)

Review: Assassin’s Creed: Origins (PS4, XBO, PC)


fter returning from a muchneeded break, Assassin's Creed: Origins thankfully reinvigorates the killer franchise. The choice to refine the formula leads to a new approach that borrows a lot from action role-playing titles, utilising each aspect for the better. With a bit more attention 4 to combat, Ubisoft has a lot of life left in this blockbuster series.

fter years of future-based warfare, Call Of Duty: WWII is a refreshing change of pace. The campaign in particular operates on a different level, with a story that, although not ground-breaking, forgoes bombastic spectacle for something a little more sombre. Multiplayer, meanwhile, will suck hours from your life, and the latest iteration of 4 zombies is perhaps its creepiest yet. Well worth a look.


Tech Review: Sphero Mini


phero might not be a name that you instantly recognise, but after its more recent forays into Star Wars gadgets like the exceptionally produced BB-8 Droid, you definitely should. Now, the company has introduced the Sphero Mini, offering more robotic fun at a significantly cheaper price (RRP sits at $79.99). Despite lacking a recognisable form factor, the Mini arguably has a lot more going on under its hood. Just pair the tiny wonder with your smart device and you’ll quickly be able to direct it around the

room, either via touch or a slightly less reliable face-reading alternative. Just don’t get too ambitious, as the ball does have the tendency of getting itself stuck on some surfaces or losing its calibration settings after a few heavier bumps. Packaged with the Mini are a few accessories to help vary the amusement, including a set of miniature traffic cones and bowling pins. Both are perfect for quick bouts of fun, whether that be setting up your very

own obstacle course or a makeshift game of ten-pin. On the other hand, you can also use the mini as a controller for a handful of simple minigames (like steering a car around a cylindrical course) that won’t win any awards, but will serve as great distractions. A less than ideal battery life (around 45 minutes for an hour’s charge) is a minor blemish on an otherwise well-made toy that is pretty perfect as a last-minute stocking stuffer. With a wide range of functionality, the Sphero Mini proves that good things definitely do come in small packages. BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17 :: 33


I don’t really wanna talk about new album releases in this column. I know that so happens to be the uh, you know, point of this column, but it feels like bigger things are afoot at the moment; things more deserving of page space. So here, I’m gonna breeze through the new releases real quick: the new Morrissey album, Low In High School, is absolute horseshit, the new Bjork album, Utopia, is meandering and disappointing, the new Tropical Fuck Storm single, ‘Soft Power’, and accompanying B-side (a cover of Lost Animal’s ‘Lose The Baby’) is incredible. Okay. That’s it.


“The new Morrissey album, Low In High School, is absolute horseshit.” so lacking in commitment that even his callousness seems half-cocked: one of the most unfeeling remarks he has ever made slipped past his lips in the form of a crumpled dad joke, as he made a soggy quip about rising sea levels. And yet, following his repeated attempts to underplay the current atrocities being enacted on Manus Island, Dutton has crossed the line from fool to threat. Dutton, like the rest of us, is well-aware of what is going on in the concentration camp over the seas: is well aware that innocent men and women like the journalist Behrouz Boochani are being arrested and beaten, their access to clean water cut, and their welfare directly threatened. Björk

Now onto the other stuff. Evil is a tricky word. It conjures up images so vivid as to be kitsch, prompting us to imagine evil men and women as diabolical dictators, all brutish figure with devil-red eyes. By the same token, it also encourages a kind of moral absolutism: people who are ‘evil’ seem incapable of being moderate, or of living ordinary lives. We struggle to

imagine Hitler painting, or Stalin sitting down for dinner. We like our villains to be pantomime-esque in their depravity; larger than life, leering and lecherous.

‘right’. Evil in its most practical, functional sense is not often enacted by charismatic figureheads: the minutiae of horror requires bland, faceless figures.

Yet if history has taught us anything, it’s that the mechanics of oppression rely not on cartoon characters, but everyday folk convinced what they are doing is

Peter Dutton is such a man. He is the poster child for those who will never be poster children – there is nothing about him that speaks of any great villainy. He is

And that Dutton has become aware of such horrific acts and then felt more rather than less resolute in the need for a place like the Manus Island camp, represents his evolution into a figure full of the kind of everyday, average evil that enables great crimes to be ignored by the populace at large. After all, ignorance has been the key to Australia’s asylum seeker policy for years now – offshore detention holds many perks for a government seeking to enforce tight border control, not least of all because ‘out of sight, out of mind’ can become an actual element of policy, rather than just a motto. An atrocity that the population can’t actively see unfolding in front of them is never treated with any urgency – it’s not a threat, because its effects can only be read about second-hand. Dutton has long played a part in this enforced un-knowing. He is committed to moving the ‘Overton Window’, a phrase given to define the range of ideas that the voting public find rational. By positioning his asylum seeker policies as humane and offshore detention as fundamentally necessary, Dutton is making the very real crimes going on in Manus Island appear hysterical; the evidence to back it up unfounded.

“I don’t really wanna talk about new album releases in this column.” 34 :: BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17

Of course, he has been helped along the way by the sheer volume of atrocities that are going on in Manus Island. Reports from Boochani speak of sick men being denied medication; of the constant threat posed by the army and navy. The level of horror on Manus is therefore in and of itself hard


drawn out 1. Draw you and your band:

2. Draw the cover of your new EP, Sensitivity:

We reckon there are few Wollongong bands out there as exciting as The Nah. Expertly combining the fuzzed-out with the danceable, they are intelligent, mature indie pop songwriters who we guarantee are going to do exceptionally exciting things as the months go on. We chatted to Belinda Quinn, the band’s bassist and vocalist, and she did us some doodles in response.

3. Draw your ideal rider:

4. Draw your dream audience:

5. Draw your favourite musician of all time:

Tropical FuckStorm photo by Bleddyn Butcher

to believe – anything that terrifying defies understanding. It requires concerted effort to put yourself into the shoes of someone whose experiences you have no equivalent for, and Dutton’s comments have been all about reducing effort. After all, nudging the hard-to-believe into the territory of the unbelievable doesn’t take much work. If the reports coming out of Manus revealed information less abhorrent - or even less of it - then Dutton would have his job cut out for him. But he doesn’t. All Dutton has to do is argue that any attack on the conditions in Manus is a roundabout call of support for people smugglers. All he has to do is promote ignorance and encourage silence. All that he has to do is engineer a scenario

in which “good men doing nothing” becomes the default position. This is his callousness then, crumbled down into comments so understated they seem minor, defensible. And ultimately, more than anything, this is his great, average evil – he has made compassion seem unnatural. Please, please, some time this week let Mr Dutton know what you think of him, and what is going on at Manus. It is not often that there are practical, real-world things you can do to stop evil; it is rare that you are presented with the opportunity to save someone else’s life. But this week, you can: drop Mr Dutton an email here

“Evil is a tricky word.”

BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17 :: 35

out & about Queer(ish) matters with Arca Bayburt

Post-Plebiscite Blues


per cent.

That’s the percentage of Australians who voted for marriage equality in the postal survey. Tony Abbott did say that if the “No” vote reached 40 per cent he’d consider it a moral victory. I suppose he’ll have to make do with a paltry 39 per cent as a consolation prize.


So. What do we do now? After months of being brutalised in every which way, it seems fi tting that we’d cap off our meagre gay victory by throwing massive parties and celebrating; but the relief we’re feeling is, I think, a falsity. I was with my partner and friends when the results were announced. As soon as we heard the “yes!”, we laughed, cried and partied for about 14 hours – yet some of this rang hollow the day after. I mean what have we really achieved? A heterosexual friend of mine excitedly showed me the electoral statistics. I couldn’t give less of a shit. Those stats are irrelevant in a straw poll: we didn’t win anything except another round in the ring.

Then of course, in the wake of the yes result, we were treated to some disingenuous statements from both Turnbull and Abbott, who in a creepy and Gollum-esque manner have both tried to claim credit for facilitating progressive change. What the fuck? If you’re going to have a stance on something, Christ, actually stand up for your small-minded beliefs. Instead we’ve got these two nimrods on the podium, flip-flopping like a pair of dying goldfish.

Now all that aside, I’m not by any means suggesting that we had zero cause to celebrate. If anything, I think the bright side of this is that it’s a nice indicator of where the public is at, so at least the government can’t hide behind the public’s skirt, claiming that it’s not what the majority wants any longer. So, at the very least we’ve won the ultimate destruction of that shitty, worn-out excuse.

Celebrating the yes is celebrating the preservation of the status quo. We haven’t won equality, we have merely edged closer to being allowed to ask for it. You could of course object to that and say that in itself is a win, but I disagree. Nobody without rights has ever been “allowed” to ask for them; it’s always been a gauntlet. By nature, protest requires demand to create change. If we don’t demand anything, we’ll get nowhere real fast. The plebiscite was a decoy and an exercise in inertia. This is why so many people got all fucked up over this stupid vote. Not only was it a huge waste of money and time, but it was also a stalling tactic, a smokescreen and the opening of a hell-mouth that treated us to months of public abuse and pain.

36 :: BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17

Of course, that’s not to say that this silver lining excuses the plebiscite in any shape or form. After all, we could have had a much more productive vote had we skipped the poll and gone straight to a referendum.

Marriage equality campaigners in Adelaide - photo by Flickr/Jenny Scott


It felt to me like the equivalent of being made by the government to bang your head against the wall for three months, then being graciously allowed to stop. Of course you’re going to feel relieved after that. There shouldn’t have been any threat in the first place, particularly not one that caused us such absurd levels of harm!

The Yes victory didn’t erase all the suffering that this vote caused. Months of sustained, concentrated agony didn’t magically evaporate when the result was announced. That damage is done, and it can’t be undone while our civil rights and liberties are being denied. It won’t be undone for a while – it’ll be one of those embarrassing historical scars we’ll talk about long into the future.

Anyway, now that we’ve won the right to um… I don’t know, get showered in the public’s blessing?, I suppose this is when the real work begins. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly done masticating over endless rhetoric concerning civil rights, morality, human rights etc. for the benefit of a government who would do well to learn how to chew on its own. There seems to be little to gain by retching this cud down the throat of any public servant or whatever officious little shit is working your MP’s front desk. Most emails go unanswered; I don’t even get auto-replies anymore.


I’m sure someone, somewhere, right now, is drafting a bill that might mean real equality for us all in the eyes of the law; and, if this mystical legislation is passed – if the marriage laws can be amended to give queer folk equal rights – well, that’s going to be one hell of a party. But I won’t be holding my breath.

g g guide gig g send your listings to :


WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 29 Adrian LimKlumpes + Alister Spence + Mike Nock Foundry616, Ultimo. 8:30pm. $21.50. Hayberry Ilk Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 7:30pm. $7.80. Nicholas Connors + Jep & Dep + Mercurists Leadbelly, Newtown. 6pm.

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 30 Andrew Weather Sydney Opera House, Sydney. 7:30pm. $54.

Cat Stevens

Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park.

Cat Stevens 8pm. $97.20. Feist


Sydney Opera House, Sydney. Sunday December 3. 8pm. $67.50.

Jack Johnson Sydney Opera House, Sydney. 5:30pm. $117.30. Kawehi Leadbelly, Newtown. 6pm. $28.00. Gaspar Sanz and The Phase Vic On The Park,

Gordi Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 9pm. $28.90. Slow Turismo + Library Siesta + Waterford + Briscoe Brighton Up Bar, Darlinghurst. 8pm. $10.

FRIDAY DECEMBER 1 The Cactus Channel Factory Floor, Marrickville. 8pm. $15. The Badlands Captain Cook Hotel, Paddington. 8:30pm. $10. Jack Johnson Sydney Opera House, Sydney. 5:30pm. $117.30. Letters To Lions + Zefereli The Chippendale Hotel, Chippendale. 8pm. $12.25. Mia Dyson Leadbelly, Newtown. 7pm. $25. Shawn Mendes Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park.


Sleepmakeswaves + Rosetta

Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. Saturday December 9. 7:30pm. $45. There’s no doubt that Sleepmakeswaves are one of Australia’s most enthralling post-punk instrumental acts. They’ll be joining American post-metal enthusiasts Rosetta on a national tour for the release of their third album, Made Of Breath Only. Don’t miss out.


Marking a decade since she released ‘1234’, Feist will make her long awaited debut at the Sydney Opera House to tour her fifth studio album, the lush and uplifting Pleasure, easily her most rock’n’roll record to date.

The Badlands + Hello Bones + Wolves In Fashion Waywards, Newtown. 8:30pm. $12.

Marrickville. 9pm. Free.

BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17 :: 37

g g guide gig g send your listings to :

Horrorshow + Taj Ralph Factory Theatre, Marrickville. 8pm. $40.

Sia’s Everyday Is Christmas

Merewether Fats Blues Jam Stag And Hunter, Newcastle. 7pm. Free. Michael Wheatley The Newsagency, Annandale. 7pm. $27.50. The Money War Brighton Up Bar, Darlinghurst. 8pm. $15. Spiral Stairs + Unity Floors + Shrapnel Factory Theatre, Marrickville. 8pm. $30.


Todd Terje & The Olsens Metro Theatre, Sydney CBD. 7:30pm. $79.00

Allianz Stadium, Moore Park. Saturday December 2. 6pm. $99.


Returning home for her first Australian tour in six years, Sia will headline a killer lineup at Allianz Stadium, featuring pop powerhouse acts Amy Shark, Charli XCX and MO.

Anathema Metro Theatre, Sydney CBD. 8pm. $79.90.

7:30pm. $79.90. Slum Sociable + Teischa + Crooked Letter Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 8:00. $23.25. Tash Sultana + Pierce Brothers + Willow Beats Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park. 7:30pm. $69.90.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 2 BANFF Brighton Up Bar, Darlinghurst. 8pm. $15. The Dark Clouds + Creatures from the Black Leather Lagoon + The Craw Stag And Hunter, Newcastle. 7pm. $8. Dog Days 2 Feat: The Sea Gypsies + Les Riggs + more. Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 8pm. $25. Jack Johnson Sydney Opera House, Sydney. 5:30pm. 1$17.30. L.A. Witch + Archy Punker + Velvet Elevator Rad Bar, Wollongong. 8pm. $24.10.

Enmore Theatre, Newtown. 8pm. $50.

Moore Park. 7pm. $112.05.

Polish Club Metro Theatre, Sydney CBD. 7pm. $34.80.


Ron S. Peno & The Superstitions Leadbelly, Newtown. 7pm. $30. Uptown Kings Cross Hotel, Potts Point. 9pm. $10.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 3 Never Shout Never Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 7pm. $46.90. Ratcat + Custard + Ups & Downs + More Factory Theatre, Marrickville. 2:30pm. $30. Tahir Qawwal & Party Factory Theatre, Marrickville. 7pm. $30.

Noname Metro Theatre, Sydney CBD. 7:30pm. $49.

The Shins Enmore Theatre, Newtown. 7:45pm. $89.90. Steve Balbi Leadbelly, Newtown. 7pm. $22. Rennan Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 8pm. $11.50. KLLO Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 8pm. $28.90.

The Church Factory Theatre, Marrickville. 7:30pm. $55. The Saffron Club Leadbelly, Newtown. 6pm. $31.65. Sleepmakeswaves + Rosetta Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 7:30pm. $45.

The Hard-Ons The Bald Faced Stag, Leichhardt. 2pm. $24.50. Late Night Soulection Party Feat: Joe Kay Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 11:30pm. $33.25.

MONDAY DECEMBER 11 Paul McCartney Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park. 6pm. $121.20.

Uptown Kings Cross Hotel, Potts Point. 9pm. $10.



Paul McCartney Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park. 6pm. $121.20.

Acoustic Sessions The Botanist Kirribilli,

Have a gig or club listing to get in The BRAG? You can now submit your gig and club listings, head to

Big Thief

The Cactus Channel Small Ballroom, Newcastle. 8pm. $15.

Darby + Gostwyck + Lachlan X Morris Lazybones Lounge, Marrickville. 8pm. $10.


Downtown Boys + L.A Suffocated + Orion Lansdowne Hotel, Chippendale. 8:00pm. $36.75.

J. Cole Hordern Pavilion,

The Money War + Georgia Fair + Tim Ayre Brighton Up Bar, Darlinghurst. 7pm. $15.

British India Metro Theatre, Sydney CBD. 8pm. $40.10.

Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 8pm. $49.10.


J Cole Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park. 8pm. $112.

Meg Mac

Lagerstein + Darker Half + Kvlts of Vice Factory Theatre, Marrickville. 8pm. $20.

Applebum - Hip Hop House Party Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 10pm. $5.

Ruby May + Ash Hendriks Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 7pm. $15.


Future Islands Enmore Theatre, Newtown. 8pm. $61.60.

George Michael Relived Leadbelly, Newtown. 6pm. $32.

For our full gig and club listings, head to thebrag. com/gig-guide. Kirribilli. 2pm. Free. SATURDAY D ECEMBER 9 Don Broco

Open Road Sounds w/ Primitive + Maia Marsh Factory Theatre, Marrickville. 7pm. $12.

Cursed Earth Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 7pm. $17.75.

Letters To Lions + Zefereli The Chippendale Hotel, Chippendale. 8pm. $12.25.

38 :: BRAG :: 730 :: 29:11:17

The Acacia Strain + Kublai Khan + Relentless + Lifes Ill + Underminer Factory Theatre, Marrickville. 7pm. $45.

Blooming Heck + Conrad Greenleaf + Luke Russell + The Likes Of You Petersham Bowling Club, Petersham. 8pm. $10.

Dean Lewis + Samsaruh + Jack Gray Factory Theatre, Marrickville. 7:30pm. $30.

Big Thief Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. Tuesday December 14. 8pm. $43.50.

ESG + No Zu Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. 8pm. $55.30.

Big Thief’s quartet is arguably made up of folk rock’s most technically prolific, earnest and generally pleasant characters. They guarantee that each performance is unique - a testimony to their dedication to a creative, open hearted and honest expulsion of sound.

Frankie’s Pizza FREE ENTRY. Doors open at 4pm



Brag#730 SYDNEY’S FREE STREET PRESS Hitting the streets fortnightly, with the best music, comedy, food and gigs. This issue: • T...

Brag#730 SYDNEY’S FREE STREET PRESS Hitting the streets fortnightly, with the best music, comedy, food and gigs. This issue: • T...