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SAMMYJ & RANDY winner, best show 2010 melbourne int’l comedy festival
IN RICKETTS LANE
from 11 November studio at sydney opera house tickets from $35* *TRANSACTION FEE OF $5-$8.50 APPLIES TO ALL BOOKINGS
[ NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNGER AUDIENCES ]
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“ Gleefully raucous, meticulously crazy, charmingly revolting, achingly funny” Beat Magazine
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rock music news
welcome to the frontline: what’s goin’ on, down and around town. With Nathan Jolly and Cool Thomas
he said she said WITH
OWL EYES (VIC)
y household was far from musical. I got into music at the age of 12, after my parents told me to choose an activity to gain confidence. I chose singing lessons and fell in love with music and the feeling I got from being on stage, able to convey an emotion for people to interpret and feel for themselves. I started off singing covers, and at 15 I branched out into writing. I kept little notebooks of writings, like little songs or poems - the natural progression from that was to start working with others. At 17, I started working in studios and recording demos.
PUBLISHERS: Adam Zammit & Rob Furst EDITOR IN CHIEF: Adam Zammit 9552 6333 firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR: Steph Harmon email@example.com 9552 6333 ARTS EDITOR & ASSOCIATE: Dee Jefferson firstname.lastname@example.org 9552 6333 STAFF WRITER: Jonno Seidler NEWS CO-ORDINATORS: Nathan Jolly, Cool Thomas, Chris Honnery ART DIRECTOR: Sarah Bryant GRAPHIC DESIGN: Dara Gill SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER: Tim Levy SNAP PHOTOGRAPHERS: Lauren Johnston, Patrick Stevenson, Tom Tramonte, Maja Baska, Sofii McKenzie SALES/MARKETING MANAGER: Blake Rayner 0404 304 929 / (02) 9552 6672 email@example.com ADVERTISING: Les White - 0405 581 125 / (02) 9552 6618 firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING: Sara Golchin - (02) 9552 6747 email@example.com GIG & CLUB GUIDE CO-ORDINATOR: Christian Moraga - firstname.lastname@example.org (rock) email@example.com (dance) INTERNS: Liz Brown, Rach Seneviratne REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS: Joshua Blackman, Mikey Carr, Bridie Connell, Bridie Connellan, Benjamin Cooper, Oliver Downes, Tony Edwards, Christie Eliezer, Murray Engleheart, Lucy Fokkema, Mike Gee, Thomas Gilmore, Alice Hart, Kate Hennessy, Chris Honnery, Nathan Jolly, Alex Lindsay Jones, Andy McLean, Amelia Schmidt, Romi Scodellaro, Xanthe Seacret, RK, Luke Telford, Caitlin Welsh, Beth Wilson, Alex Young Please send mail NOT ACCOUNTS direct to this address 153 Bridge Road, Glebe NSW 2037 ph - (02) 9552 6333 fax - (02) 9552 6866 EDITORIAL POLICY: The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Publisher, Editor or Staff of The Brag. ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE: Stephen Forde : firstname.lastname@example.org ph - (03) 9428 3600 fax - (03) 9428 3611 Furst Media, 3 Newton Street Richmond Victoria 3121 DEADLINES: Editorial Wednesday 12pm (no extensions) Art Work, Ad Bookings Thursday 12pm (no extensions) Ad Cancellations Tuesday 4pm Published by Cartrage P/L ACN 104026388 All content copyrighted to Cartrage 2003 DISTRIBUTION: Wanna get The Brag? email email@example.com or ph 03 9428 3600. PRINTED BY SPOTPRESS: www.spotpress.com.au 24 – 26 Lilian Fowler Place, Marrickville NSW 2204 Win a giveaway? Mail us a stamped and addressed envelope, and we’ll send your prize on over...
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I’m so inspired by strong female artists, particularly ones who keep the visual and musical level on par. I love artists like Bat For Lashes, Kate Bush and Emiliana Torrini. A big inspiration for me is Australian women doing beautiful things, like Sarah Blasko and Clare Bowditch. I reference animals a lot, and love finding metaphors for feelings and thoughts. A lot of song ideas come from people-watching, or just life in general. My band is still under construction; Owl Eyes is me. I like using a stage name - it helps me separate myself from myself, and lets me be creative. It’s also really visual, which I love. My guitarist Geordie has been with me for a while now, and I really enjoy working with him. When you’re around someone all the time they become your safety blanket on stage, and one of your best friends. I would describe my music as alternative pop. It’s definitely pop, but it has substance behind it; it’s a mix between light and dark. I wrote and recorded the five tracks on the EP in five days with Jan Skubiszewski (Jackson Jackson/Cat Empire/Phrase) - it was really rare that the whole five songs made the cut
ARIA AWARDS: THE STORY SO FAR
with hardly any changes. It was so great, Jan really got my direction and we had a really great musical connection. I’ve just started putting together a band, which makes the songs sound amazing live. Up until now I’ve been performing acoustically - the songs are strong enough to stand up on their own - but the band definitely gives them that extra kick. I’m really looking forward to the Faces EP launch. It’s going to be my first proper headline show, and I can’t wait! I think the Australian music scene is amazing at the moment. There are so many talented artists and amazing bands rising. I’m in love with Boy And Bear and was lucky enough to support Oh Mercy at The Toff earlier this year. There are so many strong Australian female artists doing great things at the moment, too; for a female, it’s just all about finding your place and holding your own in a unique bunch. What: Faces EP is out now Where: Melt Bar, Kings Cross When: Friday November 19
Keep art-pop in the family, that’s what we say – because that way you have a chance of being compared to the great sister duo CocoRosie. If you wanna see what your future stripped-back art-pop family project is up against, head down to the Concert Hall at the Sydney Opera House on January 25 and get some Coco-Rosie up your (proverbial, please) goat. Tickets on sale already, from $49.
Congrats to Yolanda Be Cool and Dcup for scoring Best Dance Release, M-Phazes for Best Urban Album, Dan Sultan for Best Blues & Roots Album, James Morrison & The Idea Of North for Best Jazz Album, The Wiggles for Best Children’s Album, triple j for their tribute to Paul Kelly which claimed Best Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show, Mamadou Diabate, Bobby Singh & Jeff Lang for Best World Music Album, Sound Relief for the Best Music DVD, Crowded House for Best Adult Contemporary Album, The Blow Parade for Best Comedy Release, The McClymonts for Best Country Album, Paul Dyer and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra for Best Classical Album and Parkway Drive for Best Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal Album. Thankfully we don’t have all the winners’ names at time of print, or we’d need an extra page of news…
It is getting pretty close to that New Pornographers show at Manning Bar (THIS WEDNESDAY, MOFROKKA) - and if you don’t have your tickets, go and get them now from the Moshtix website. With support from Little Scout, this should be a killer show. (Check page 29 to find A.C Newman’s happy answer to the question you’ve all been asking: “But will Neko Case be there?”)
CLEAN UP, AUSTRALIA: “YAY!”
I was around at your house the other week and noticed that your Leunig calendar is still on ‘October’, so I thought I’d remind you that you only have til November 15 to vote for your favourite from the Top 4 Channel [V] Oz artists of the year. As for whether you vote for Short Stack, Amy Meredith, Bliss N Eso or John Butler Trio; well I understand that this is deeply personal, and respect your right to privacy.
New Zealand’s Flying Nun had a run of releases throughout the ‘80s that’s comparable to any label, anytime, anywhere in the world, ever. Big contributors to this hot streak were Velvet-y, Arthur Lee-ish, Syd Barrett-y legends The Clean - and now they are touring Australia for the first time since 1989, playing the Factory on March 9. It’s a way off yet, but tickets are on sale now, and will sell fast.
With the absence of Homebake this year, The Annandale Hotel is doing what it can to help you stop just getting baked at home. On Saturday December 4, head along to DALEBAKE. Over three sexy stages you can expect to see Dan Kelly, Custom Kings, Fergus Brown, Keiran Ryan (Kid Sam), Songs, Leena, Spookyland and a whole heap of More! Keep your eyes peeled for further announcements – tix are $20 presale, $25 on the door (or if you arrive before 5.30pm on the day, you pay $15 - sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet).
GANG OF FOUR
On the official Sliding Scale Of Gangs, Gang Of Four are not a big gang - but if you read the article about the seminal post-punk group on dopegangs.com/articles, you’ll find that they’re “hella dope dezpyte bean a small gang.” Which is why it is cool to have them roll around Australia battling all of the other gangs - which is what we imagine they’ll be doing in the downtime between their string of shows. The band are hitting up The Gaelic Club on March 1 after their appearance at Soundwave Festival on February 27, with tickets on sale through Moshtix, and guests to be announced. (Apply online at dopegangs.com/register-for-battle/ for your chance to battle them and claim the crown. Good luck!)
CUSTOM KINGS ON THE ROAD
‘Sunday’ by Custom Kings is a perfect poppy blast of summertime - and unless I’m mishearing the lyrics, it also has a sweet third-person abbreviated reference to “CK on the road.” CK plan to hit that very same road throughout December, and will be at Manly Boat Shed December 3, and The Annandale the following night. Oh, and Dan Kelly will be in support at the Annandale show. Awesome! Tickets are on sale now.
GIG OF THE WEEK
GHETTO BLASTER vs. KPOP
WED 10 NOV
FORMER LOVE PIRATES RADIO NATIONAL 8PM - $10
THUR 11 NOV
CITY ESCAPE + SPARROWS STARTING SUNDAY + EVELYN 8PM-$12/$15
FRI 12 NOV
PRIVATE FUNCTION N/A
GhettoBlaster runs wild throughout Q Bar with it's signature house party chaos and Live art, while &Dimes DJs battle against our guest DJs hosting an all out KPOP night next door in 34b. Test tube shots, KPOP videos and hella fun tunes vs red cups ﬁlled with beer, art and wild antics.
SAT 13 NOV
CHICKS WHO LOVE GUNS
THE GO ROLL YOUR BONES FAMILIA AFTER 11:30
P*A*S*H IN PHOENIX 8PM - $10/$12
WED 10 NOV WTF! WITH DJ'S
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THUR 11 NOV
HOT DAMN SARAH SPANDEX HEARTATTACK MARK C NAT NOIZE
EVERY FRIDAY MEMBERS ONLY EVERY SATURDAY MEMBERS ONLY
THUR 11 NOV
OLD SCHOOL PUNK/HARDCORE STRAIGHT UP, NO BULLSHIT
FRI 12 NOV
BU BURLESQUE 5th B’DAY! GHETTOBLASTER WESTERNSYNTHETICS 5 9PM-$12/$15
FRI 12 NOV
9PM - $10
SAT 13 NOV
HOODLMZ JAMIE WHAT DAN AT NIGHT LONEWOLF DJ S&M STICKY BEE CHRIS LASEK
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rock music news
welcome to the frontline: what’s goin’ on, down and around town. With Nathan Jolly and Cool Thomas
five things WITH
CHRIS PICKERING (QLD)
MUSCLES in other places too. I wish all my friends from everywhere could all get together just once. We’d all have a great time.
Growing Up My parents weren’t musicians, but they were both great music lovers; their record collection was what made me want to be a musician. Those records were transferred from vinyl to cassette, which let us to listen to them on our little one-speaker cassette player in the kitchen. I distinctly remember waking up at ridiculous o’clock with my dad and lying on the kitchen floor wearing out these old cassettes and singing along, most likely horrendously out of tune. My dad was a good sport for putting up with it.
The Music You Make I made my most recent album 4. in Memphis, Tennessee with Don Nix and a bunch of veteran musicians that had played on old soul records recorded at Stax and Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I tend to play live with just a drummer and bass player though. I love three-piece bands; it’s powerful, everything’s distilled down to the absolutely necessary, and you can’t hide behind layers of production.
Inspirations My first inspirations on those 2. old cassettes were The Beatles,
Music, Right Here, Right Now Life is not easy for the aspiring musician. So maybe it’s better to not aspire to much, other than rewarding yourself by making music you want to make, and satisfying your own musical needs without wanting or expecting anything superficial in return.
10cc, Paul Simon and older stuff like that, but as I became more interested in music I started to follow the musical family trees and develop a record collection of my own, from second hand vinyl stores. So I’ve ended up being inspired by all kinds of things, from older stuff to really old stuff to new stuff I just heard last week. It all goes towards developing ideas, I reckon.
What: Work Of Fiction is out now
Your Band Splitting my time between the US and Australia means I have crew everywhere. I have a band here, a band there, and bands
With: Catherine Britt Where: The Vanguard When: Wednesday November 10
GRAND JURY WIN
Vok’s Beverage Ruski (yes, them delicious lemon ones) has teamed up with DJ Havana Brown to offer the most ridiculous and fun girls’ weekend since your last hen’s night. By buying any Ruski product at participating bottle shops, nightclubs or bars you can go in the draw to win a weekend with Havana Brown including flights, hotels, limos, shopping sprees, exclusive dinners and personal makeup artist for you and three friends. Arguably the sexiest DJ out (except for maybe Carl Cox), DJ Havana Brown is a bombshell with some bomb mixes, evident in her Crave compilations. To enter the competition, visit thenightstartsnow.com.au. But for a taste, win one of three copies of her new 3CD compilation Crave 5, by telling us about your last girls’ weekend. Even if you’re a dude.
EXPERIENCE JIMI HENDRIX
I’m sick of people raving about how good the likes of Nathan Cavaleri, Kevin Borich, Grant Walmsley, Phil Emmanuel and Dave Leslie are at guitar. We need some sort of definitive proof… something like a huge Hendrix-off on stage, lets say November 20 (assuming everyone is free?) - maybe at The Enmore Theatre? It’s called Experience Jimi Hendrix, that list of guitarists plus many more are playing, and tickets are on sale now.
TANGLED UP IN BLUES(FEST)
TRIPLE YAY’S NEXT CROP The Chemist
This could well be the only chemist that doesn’t try to sell you a generic version of a product when you go to pay your money... The Chemist’s second EP Lullabies (“golden slumbers to gently tucking the listener in, before terrorising the child in us all”) is seriously hot - and it’s finally time for it to be played to you live. Be at Melt Bar in Kings Cross on Friday November 26.
“Going To The Casino”), two ARIA noms for Breakthrough Act and Most Popular Australian artist (fingers crossed at time of print), and an Inside Film Award nom for best music videos. Head to the Metro on Saturday November 13 to watch them celebrate – and flick a couple pages over to read our cover feature.
(go you!), you should apply for the role of Sound Summit Co-Director (for This Is Not Art 2011), where you’ll be working alongside
Swervedriver are touring Australia and, Wow. Just in time for the Creation Records film to shine some well-deserved light on this sludgy, hazy band - and not a moment too soon for fans who’ve been waiting for the band to return since their last 1998 tour, during which they broke up (in Margaret River, WA - the home of so many rock tragedies...). Gulp! Let hope their February 18 show at the Metro isn’t as dire… Tickets on sale from November 16.
CO-DIRECT SOUND SUMMIT!
Ex-BRAG editor Kirsty Brown is a talented, awesome, incredible person to work with. So now that you’ve done your background research
When triple j say it is Aus Music Month then it really is Aus Music Month, because they’re pretty much in charge of Australian music. And when they deem twenty acts as the ones to watch then you’d best watch them, or risk slipping into the abyss of uncool and spending the rest of your life making awkward circles around Mathew Newton, and exchanging unpleasantries with Kyle Sandilands. Here is the jjj ‘next crop’ list - ready, steady, MySpace! : Ball Park Music, Seven, Flight Facilities, Super Wild Horses, Eagle & The Worm, Big Scary, Kimbra, Gypsy & The Cat, Yolanda Be Cool, The Mission In Motion, Dialectrix, Papa Vs Pretty, The Jezabels, Stonefield, Kyu, Ngaiire, Daniel Lee Kendall, The Salvadors, Young Revelry, Emperors.
GOLDEN PLAINS = FULL OF WIN
her and the ever-delectable Chris Hearn. Visit soundsummit.com.au for details on the role, which we guarantee is a lot of fun (unless you’re into pure mathematics; there is very little of that in this job.) You have until November 15 to apply - so get cracking.
Philadelphia Grand Jury are kicking major goals at the moment, and we love ‘em for it. First, their track ‘No You Don’t’ featured on the final episode of this season of Entourage, then they snared I Heart Hiroshima’s Susanna Patten as their new drummer, and now they’ve picked up six awards nominations, including Three AIR awards nominations (Most Popular Independent Artist, Breakthrough Independent Artist, and Best Independent Single for
Bluesman Robert Zimmerman (aka MOTHERFLIPPIN’ DYLAN, people!) is amongst the cats announced as part of the Bluesfest 2011 lineup. B.B King will be coming out too, with 85 years of stories to tell - plus Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Ben Harper, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Blind Boys of Alabama featuring Aaron Neville, and many, many, many more local and international acts. And by local we mean The Cat Empire, Xavier Rudd, Kate Miller Heidke; we’re not talking small-time arts collectives with djembes. Best festival ever? You decide, from Thursday April 21 through to Monday April 25. Tickets on sale now.
After blinding everyone with a clusterfuck of fluoro electro happy beats back in the summer of ’07, whirlwind party nerd Muscles vanished off the face of the earth. And it’s like he was never gone – the colourful hyperactive electro and inimitable vocal style are still hallmarks in his new EP Young & Immature and its lead single ‘Girl Crazy Go!’. The dancefloor has felt a little empty for the past few years without that Muscles banger in the mix, so here’s your chance to make up for lost time when he launches his EP at The Gaelic on November 12. We have two packs to give away, including a double pass and a copy of Young & Immature. To win, tell us the last young and immature thing you did.
Well, The Hold Steady blabbed about being part of the lineup already, but even that couldn’t take away from the awesomeness that is the Golden Plains first lineup announcment. We have the Dylan and Brenda of the indiepop scene, Wavves and Best Coast, Hawkwind and Os Mutantes for those old acid casualties, pretty quirky folkface Joanna Newsom plus The Clean, Architecture In Helsinki, Jamie Lidell, Boy And Bear, Robert Forster and many, many more. It’s at the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre on March 12-14, and tickets go on sale very soon.
“He laughed at accidental sirens that broke the evening gloom” - DAVID BOWIE 12 :: BRAG :: 387 : 08:11:10
triple j and Till Late Productions presents
on sale now
Saturday November 20, 11am - 10pm
Coffs Harbour Showgrounds all ages licensed event
*The Living End* *Birds of Tokyo* * Grafton Primary * * Hungry Kids of Hungary *
* Horrorshow * * Behind Crimson Eyes * * City Riots * Metals * Skryptcha, Cabins Bonjah, The Barons of Tang Ebb n Flo, The Moniters, Thad Lester Motion Poets Art, Twisted Funk www.openarmsfestival.com
BRAG :: 387 :: 08:11:10 :: 13
dance music news
welcome to the frontline: what’s goin’ on around town... with Chris Honnery
he said she said WITH
Electric Wire Hustle
RABBO FROM THE PHONIES
We make Casio-powered smash hop, straight up. Our latest single ‘Douche Bag’ sounds a bit like Outkast, a little bit like Phil Collins; whateva it is, it seems to get people shaking their shit. If you happen to catch us on this east coast tour you’ll be confronted with some classic Weekend At Bernies-style leisure wear, and some of the best boogie box beats on offer. Don’t be afraid to throw tinnies at us... We’ll go harder.
ad use to pump Deep Purple and Skyhooks records on the weekend. As a result, I learnt about all the important things in life: side burns, sik solos, boss riffs, air guitar, spandex, turning it up to 11, women from Tokyo, space truckin’ and all that kick-arse turbo shit. I also wore out my Michael Jackson Thriller tape – it’s a shame he turned out to be a bit of an egg. Oh yeah, and the theme from Thomas The Tank Engine is one beat not to be F’d with.
We’re inspired and humbled by all of the bands we play with here in Sydnerz, and on the east coast. If not for them we’d be like heavy metal without the blue notes. Big ups go out to the Big Village family (especially Daily Meds with their party-pumping throb hop), Brisbane croon punkers Laneous & The Family Yah, our Mexican space-mates from south of the border The Melodics, and the electric-rainbow musics of idea idea & MoR. We’re also partial to a bit of Aussie soft cock-rock from Jimmy Swouse and The Angry Darts.
Some of the things that inspire the Phonies are leisure wear, free parties, hard liquor, yachts, paint stripper… One thing kind of leads to another and before you know it, you’ve got a song on your hands. One thing that’s always kept us pushing forward as a band is our desire to move people, and to one day play on an aircraft carrier. At the moment our lineup consists of me, Rabbo Cop, on bass wobbles, Cam Slice on Casio crimes, Christi Wristi on tha boogie stix, Billie Rose on backups and Joel Wincaport on the axe and mic. We like to change our names all the time because it distracts us from the fact that we’re a pack of arseholes - and like all good bands (ie Guns’n’Roses), we fight all the time.
What: ‘Douche Bag’ single launch With: Daily Meds, Nikkita, Massema Where: Freshly Squeezed - Newtown Festival After Party @ The Sandringham When: Sunday November 14
only a few tracks - all of which he thought were covers. Hawthorne’s maiden album A Strange Arrangement did the business when it dropped late last year, entrenching his standing in the soul world with the help of catchy single ‘Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out’, which caught the ears of Gilles Peterson and Mark Ronson. This time around, Hawthorne will be previewing material from his forthcoming second album with his live band – tickets through manningbar.com from Wednesday.
CUT COPY’S ZONOSCOPE LP
Finally. Melbourne synth-pop outfit Cut Copy are getting set to release their third, and apparently their most ambitious album to date, Zonoscope. The album was recorded over a six month period in a warehouse space the band rented in Melbourne, and mixed in Atlanta by Ben H. Allen – who’s lent his touch to acts like Animal Collective in years gone by. Reflecting on the creative process, Cut Copy frontman Dan Whitford revealed, “All the way along we had this weird vision of a tropical, jungle, tribal sound. A place or an idea that we wanted to reach with some of the songwriting; to explore a looping hypnotic trance and revise the whole palette of what Cut Copy was about.” ...Zonoscope will be released on February 4 in Australia through Modular.
FOUR TET & CARIBOU
Two of the more forward-thinking figures in electronic music, Four Tet and Caribou, will throw down at The Metro on Thursday February 17 - ahead of their performances at Playground Weekender. Both artists have significant crossover appeal, and are fresh off releasing landmark – dare we say career best? – albums earlier in the year. Canada’s Caribou (formerly ‘Manitoba’) is the brainchild of Dan Smith, who purportedly set out to create ‘liquid dance music’ – “dance music that sounds like it’s made out of water, rather than made out of metallic stuff like most dance music does” – with his recent LP, Swim. Spawning reworks from James Holden, Junior Boys and Gavin Russom, the release preserved the flashes of almost Brian Wilsonesque influences that were so apparent on the preceding Caribou album, Andorra - while
Having seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth, enfant terrible Muscles is back. Always one to have his tongue somewhere near his cheek, Muscles’ new EP is entitled Younger & Immature and was released only last week. Described as a “no fuss collection of deep techno swirls, lushus (sic) indie sensibilities and driving beats all wrapped up in the Muscles brand of classic pop”, the Melbournian is performing a series of nationwide dates to get reacquainted with the Australian public. Together with Cassian and Purple Sneakers DJs, Muscles is giving Sydney two bites at the cherry this week - playing The Mona Vale Hotel on Thursday November 11, before backing up on Friday night at The Gaelic Club.
New Zealand is really pulling its weight musically of late - and you can add Electric Wire Hustle to the list of pretty young things from across the Tasman. With a fresh approach to electronica, modern hip hop, psychedelic and soul, Electric Wire Hustle are launching their self-titled debut this November 17 at Tone. Having shot to number one on music blog aggregator The Hype Machine, and being featured in BBC Radio 1, the world is slowly picking up on their dynamic sound; a blend of thick percussion, guitars, synthesizer and soulful jazz. We have just one double pass to give away for their show at Tone. To win just tell us how many members there are in the band... Easy.
BOUNDARY BONDS WITH...
KEISHA GALBRAITH, MISC. MAGAZINE
Tell us about Misc? Misc. Magazine is a new publication offering up-and-coming and amateur designers, photographers, writers and artists the opportunity to have their work published and distributed throughout the Sydney inner city and online. Why did you want to start a mag? I’ve wanted to make a magazine for a while now, as I have quite a dorky love of publication design. I’ve always had a huge collection of magazines and would fawn over their beautiful layouts, their use of space and typography. I worked for a magazine on the north shore for a while and enjoyed it, but realised I would enjoy it so much more if I wasn’t confined by templates and style guides - I wanted to make my own! …All my wanting finally turned into a reality when we saw a gap between young, up and coming creatives and published artists. Where do you find your contributors? I originally wanted the magazine to be a place where my friends could publish their works, as a gift to them and their creativity - but once we started, it became so much bigger. All kinds of people have been emailing us asking to contribute to issue #2!
the single ‘Odessa’ has seen Caribou garner unprecedented airplay. Not to be outdone, Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet has followed up his There is Love In You album with a serene remix of The xx, and returns to Australia following a performance at The Sydney Festival a few years back. Presale tickets to this doublebill go on sale from November 16.
Having wowed Aussie audiences earlier in the year, Mayer Hawthorne & The County return to our shores in February to play The Manning Bar at Sydney University on Saturday February 19. The adopted moniker of Andrew Cohen, a “white suburban boy” (thankyou SMH) raised in the outskirts of Detroit, Mayer Hawthorne was signed to Stones Throw by head honcho Peanut Butter Wolf after hearing
ELECTRIC WIRE HUSTLE
When & where can we get our hands on a copy? Issue #1 lands on November 19. It will be available to view and download online at misc-magazine.net, and at various locations throughout inner western Sydney - distribution sites will be posted on the website closer to the date!
“A cop knelt and kissed the feet of a priest. And a queer threw up at the sight of that” - DAVID BOWIE 14 :: BRAG :: 387 : 08:11:10
PROUDLY PRESENTS NOVEMBER 2010 FEBRUARY 2011 FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT NICHEPRODUCTIONS.COM.AU
dj support: Huwston + James Locksmith
BECOME A FAN OF NICHE ON FOLLOW US ON @NICHEPRODUCTION
ELECTRIC WIRE HUSTLE SYDNEY — TONE
AND STAY TUNED FOR MORE ANNOUNCEMENTS VERY SHORTLY
Tickets now on sale: www.metrotheatre.com.au & www.ticketek.com.au
Wednesday 17th November 16 Wentworth Avenue Surry Hills (8PM) Tickets from moshtix.com.au
for more info: nicheproductions.com.au myspace.com/femikuti afrobeatmusic.net
myspace.com/electricwirehustle | electricwirehustle.com nicheproductions.com.au
uctio Prod e h c Ni
ns, FBI &
SPA are proud to prese
SATURDAY Y 19 F R EBRUA R MANNING BA
Tic ket so
and m.au m o c . x i t o . 10 Nove , mosh nesthrow.c mber through manningbar.com sto e n r ni ho
le We d
cheprodu ctions.com.au myspace.com/mayerhawt
ets utl o ix sht mo
SOLA ROSA 2010
FRIDAY 3 DECEMBER THE GAELIC THEATRE
SATURDAY 4 DECEMBER SUBSONIC FESTIVAL
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dance music news welcome to the frontline: what’s goin’ on around town... with Chris Honnery onthefly.com.au WITH
ALISON WONDERLAND (SOSUEME)
DAN FROM RED BANTOO born Akshay Kalawar on basuri (indian flute). A big feature of Red Bantoo is our brassmasters: Stu Currie on ‘bone and Jimmy Howard on tenor, mingling freshly composed riffs with sample based beats. The Music You Make Stylistically Red Bantoo draws from 4. strong hip hop, Latin, as well as drum and
Growing Up I grew up in the country, Wagga, in a very musical household. At one point in time, three members of the house used to DJ radio shows; classical, pop and jazz fusion. Influences from my stepfather were in the realm of classical brass playing. I also enjoyed making bits of electronica with my brother on old Juno and DX7 synths that my stepfather borrowed from the local Con...
Inspirations As an organ enthusiast (I use a lot of 2. Hammond in Red Bantoo), seeing the late Jimmy Smith in London around 2000 was definitely an inspiring moment. The guy was in his 70s and funky as hell, hobbling down the stairs and cursing at the B3 to get it started. Living in the Byron area now, it’s also pretty hard not be inspired and humbled by the natural splendour of the landscape. The
glorious beaches and ocean is always great for a sense of perspective. Your Crew Red Bantoo is spearheaded by 3. producer/MPC-operator SiFixion. We started collaborating about two years ago, laying down the beats and beds of the first album and live shows. The music has always flowed easily; Si has a great sense of style and knowledge of grooves, and I come from a more traditional jazz and classical background, which brings harmony and melodic dimensions. These are usually then passed on to our two formidable singers - Sonia Leeson and Shelly Hughes, who work in tasty and soulful vocal lines. Red Bantoo also calls on a greater crew of great muso’s nationally and locally; our latest single ‘Green Honey’ features some killer work from Melbourne MC Chapter1 as well as Mumbai-
RAP CITY SUMMER THROWDOWN
Last June saw the inaugural Rap City Tour; a concept event bringing some of hip-hop’s finest together on one stage. Come Thursday December 16, Rap City returns for a Summer Throwdown featuring Blackalicious, Murs, 9th Wonder and MC R.A. The Rugged Man, who will all perform at The Forum. Boom. Over the course of their accomplished career, Blackalicious have collaborated with the likes of DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, Chali 2na and Gil Scott-Heron, and return to Australia for the first time since Parklife 2008. There are also apparently further announcements in the works for this summer throwdown, so watch this space…
Swedish-based four-piece Little Dragon are touring Australia for the first time next month in support of Gorillaz, and will also play a sideshow at GOODGOD Small Club on Wednesday December 15. Apparently drawing their name from the short-temper of their SwedishJapanese front woman Yukimi Nagano, Little Dragon met at Gothenburg High School in the mid 90’s - but it wasn’t until 2007 that they released their first self-titled LP on the hallowed Peacefrog Records imprint. After touring the album, the band adopted a more upbeat sound on their second LP Machine Dreams, which has just been released in Australia and was preceded by the lead-off single ‘My Step’ - a cut that’s been on heavy rotation on triple j.
LCD’S LONDON SESSIONS
Indie/dance crossover troupe LCD Soundsystem are set to release The London Sessions, an album of songs recorded live in studio as a digital download, available exclusively through iTunes from November 9. The nine songs were recorded in the English capital earlier this year, evidently in the spirit of the BBC’s much-missed Peel sessions. It includes older hits like ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’, ‘Us v. Them’ and ‘All My Friends’ alongside more recent cuts like ‘Pow Pow’ and ‘Drunk Girls’ - all of which were subsequently mixed by James Murphy in New York and mastered by Bob Weston.
bass beats - layered with funk/jazz/electro keys and mixed with female soul vocals and brass. Sounds a bit like Bonobo, Mo Horizons, St Germain, Alice Russell, Resin Dogs and The Bird. At the moment, we’ve just completed our second release ‘Strip Club Etiquette’, out through Hydrofunk Records. James Boundy did most of the recording - a local sound engineer of high calibre, and a pleasure to work with. Music, Right Here, Right Now I feel we’re living a time with 5. unprecedented diversity and enthusiasm for big live gigs - and festivals are on the up and up. We’re looking forward to playing a few spots at Woodford this year, and I’m keen to be heading down to play at Sydney’s Drum and Bass BBQ. What: Strip Club Etiquette is out on November 5
Longtime buddies and part-time collaborators The Tongue and Spit Syndicate are proud and pumped double headliners for ‘The Wildside Tour’ at The Gaelic Theatre on November 27. The show will be an electrifying hip hop evening; DJ Skoob and Joyride will join the Tongue on stage, and Spit Syndicate will show you why they’ve received big ups from da one and only Cypress Hill. We have a special prize pack to give away to one lucky dude/dudette, containing a double pass to the show and a signed copy of both The Tongue…Is Dead mixtape and Spit Syndicate’s limited edish ‘Starry-Eyed’ single. To win, tell us the name of Spit Syndicate’s most recent album. One runner up will get a double pass to the gig.
Australia’s hip hop darlings Hilltop Hoods have released an innovative music video release – entitled Parade Of The Dead after recent album State of the Art’s song of the same name. From the cover art one could assume that this was a morbid 90s horror film – and turns out, it kind of is! The Hoods have have written, filmed and starred in their own ‘zombie flick’ - to coincide with the single release. Described as a mix of Shaun Of The Dead with Fade To Black, this very ‘un-Hilltop Hoods’ release reaffirms their status as enigmatic pioneers... To win one of five DVD copies of Parade Of The Dead, tell us what your favourite zombie movie is and why.
With: Makoto (Japan), Lynx & Kemo (UK), Dub Terminator (NZ) Where: Drum and Bass BBQ @ Manning Bar When: Saturday November 27
Basement this Saturday November 13 in her first appearance on our shores. Over the course of her decade-long career, Kalolo has worked alongside the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Hollie Smith, Nathan Haines and The Pink Floyd Experience. Kalolo will be supported by the Aboriginal songwriter Nadeena Dixon, a former member of Aboriginal hip-hop crew South West Syndicate, while Perth-based funk band, Randa & The Soul Kingdom will also take to the stage along with DJs Ayesha, That Ruse and JC of Funkdafied.
CANYONS SINGLE LAUNCH
Perth duo Ryan Grieve and Leo Thomson, collectively known as Canyons, celebrate the launch of their new single ‘My Rescue’ this Saturday at GOODGOD Small Club. A harbinger for their forthcoming debut album, ‘My Rescue’ follows previous releases ‘Blue Snakes’ on Cosmo Vitelli’s esteemed Parisian Label, ‘I’m a Cliche’, and the deep, jamming epic, ‘Fire Eyes’ - which was pressed by none other than DFA Records. Canyons will be flanked by Simon Caldwell, Steele Bonus and Michael ‘Cue It Up’, with entry $10 from 10pm.
DJ KRUSH SUPPORTS ANNOUNCED
Hideaki Ishi, aka Japanese instrumental hip-hop king pin DJ Krush, plays The Basement on Friday November 26, and Niche Productions have wheeled out a solid support cast for the icon. Sydney-based turntablist and producer Dizz1 (who’s received airplay from the likes of Gilles Peterson and Benji B on BBC Radio) will be representing in the leadup to releasing his debut album early next year. Tigermoth and MC Tuka will be playing the night too. Tigermoth has had experience playing alongside De La Soul and Gaslamp Killer, while Tuka had the honour of supporting the legendary A Tribe Called Quest earlier in the year. Presale tickets are available through thebasement.com.au
Massive Attack’s Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja has announced in an interview with Spinner that we can expect a number of new EPs from the pioneering group over the next year - as “it’s more fun putting things out randomly”. The first release will be Atlas Air, a four-song EP that includes two new mixes of the song ‘Atlas Air’ and a new track called ‘Redlight’, which features Elbow’s Guy Garvey, which will be out on November 22. “We got quite a bit of EPs out next year,” Del Naja said. “We’re tired of the cycle of album, tour. It’s more fun putting things out randomly, sort of spontaneously. We’ve done it quite traditionally this year, so maybe next year, a bit unorthodox.”
Described as “one of New Zealand’s most exciting artists” and a finalist for the best Female Vocalist at the 2010 Pacific Music Awards, Bella Kalolo performs live at The
GOOD VIBRATIONS’ LOCAL ANNOUNCEMENT
There may be no sideshows – you got that?! – but there will be locals aplenty at the Good Vibrations Festival 2011. Touring nationally with the festival are New Zealand’s Fat Freddy’s Drop (that’s really stretching the ‘local’ tag, but we aren’t complaining!) and Sydney’s own Bag Raiders, fresh from finally unveiling their debut album. Yolanda Be Cool, Koolism and Tim & Jean will be joined by triple j Unearthed winners Jinja Safari in Sydney, while hip hop outfit Thundamentals, the Bang Gang DJs and Anna Lunoe are all sharing a lineup with names like Faithless, Phoenix and Nas et al. Good Vibrations is slotted for Saturday February 12 at Centennial Park, with tickets available online.
“I gotta straighten my face. This mellow black chick just put my spine out of place” - DAVID BOWIE 16 :: BRAG :: 387 : 08:11:10
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Industrial Strength themusicnetwork.com
Industry Music News with Christie Eliezer
VALE JAMES FREUD
HOW TO GET A U.S. DEAL
James Freud was the archetypal pop fan who grew up idolising David Bowie, and ended up on tour with him. He changed his name from the suburban sounding Colin Joseph McGlinchey to James Randall Freud, and the 70s punk movement allowed him and school-mate Sean Kelly to form Teenage Radio Stars when he was just 17. When he put together glam-pop band Berlin, he dissed punk in an interview he did with this writer in Juke Magazine — after it went to print, Boys Next Door came to the Crystal Ballroom to throw dog shit at him. After plans for an album and world tour with Gary Numan collapsed, he rejoined Kelly in The Models and turned them into a pop band with his ‘Barbados’ (about alcoholism) and ‘Out Of Mind, Out of Sight’. Projects after included solo album Into The Heat (Mushroom’s most expensive album, which stiffed due to weak songs), playing bass for Kylie, Beatfish and Moondog, a tribute record to footballer Tony Lockett, and managing his sons Harrison and Jackson’s band Attack Of The Mannequins. But heavy drinking on tour took its toll, as he recounted on I Am the Voice Left From Drinking in 2002 (tapped as a possible film by Superman producer Patrick Corken), and I Am the Voice Left from Rehab (2007) - about drying out. When the Models were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, he declined to appear. On November 4, Freud had died by his own hand at his home in Melbourne. He was 51.
Austrade’s latest masterclass is based around how to score a record deal in the US. It will look at the current state of A&R there, how to get their attention at a time when the market is shrinking, how to get to the decision-makers, how to pitch your music, the makeup of a record deal these days, and the difference between DIY and signing with a label. It is held Wednesday November 17, 11:00am—1:00pm, at $55. Register at australianmusicoffice.com. Speakers, from Los Angeles, are Austrade Los Angeles’ Peter Cohen (who was an A&R rep with Sony Music and with the TV series’ Rock Star: INXS & Supernova, and The Road to Stardom with Missy Elliott), music attorney Jeff Levan of Davis Shapiro Lewit & Hayes (their clients include White Stripes, Linkin Park, Paramore, Timbaland) and Michel Howe, who is A&R at Downtown Records (Gnarls Barkley, Scissor Sisters, Mos Def, David Gray).
Life lines Married: R&B singer Jade MacRae and hip hop artist Phrase, at the botanical gardens in St. Kilda, Melbourne. Married: Megan Reeder, Secret Service Public Relations Director, and Ross Hope, APRA staffer and Disco Nap frontman, after a five year relationship. Withdrawing: two months after filing for divorce from Perla, whom he married in 2001, Slash has withdrawn the petition. Injured: a glass shard sliced Devo guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh’s right thumb to the bone, severing a tendon. He’s expected to make a full recovery. Arrested: US rapper Gucci Mane had to be restrained with pepper spray after being nabbed for allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road, running a red light and not having a driver’s licence. Arrested: New York bachata singer Jimmy Bauer, for allegedly trying to smuggle cocaine in his stomach into the US. He fell ill at the airport at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, when some of the 88 pellets he’d swallowed burst. In Court: The Zutons’ singer Dave McCabe has to do 150 hours of unpaid work for assaulting a man outside a Liverpool nightclub, for dissing his girlfriend.
AUSSIE ROCK: WHO THINKS THEY’RE CRAZY? Rose Tattoo looked so menacing that they were continually hassled on the street. They once had cops with shotguns bursting into their rehearsals, musicians got inked just to audition to join them, and the first published photo of them was in Vogue Australia - and not a music magazine. The Angels’ Doc Neeson had his stage suits made by a German tailor who worked for the Munich ballet, while their stage production curiously had its roots in German theatre. Lobby Loyde kept blowing up amplifiers on such a regular basis that equipment had to be specially constructed to withstand the volume he dished out. Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs made history by drawing 300 000 people to the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne in 1972. All this and more from Sydney scribe (and BRAG’s ‘Remedy’ columnist) Murray Engelheart’s second book, Blood, Sweat and Beers – Oz Rock From The Aztecs To Rose Tattoo, out through HarperCollins Publishers Australia. It follows up Engleheart’s 2006 global best-seller AC/DC Maximum Rock and Roll, which sold 150 000 copies.
WE LOVE SOUNDS IN LIQUIDATION The saturated festival market scored another scalp. We Love Sounds Pty Ltd, has gone into liquidation. The festival of the same name in June — headlined by Underworld — incurred major losses and was cancelled in Perth. Its owners Ben Korbel, Declan Lee, Patrick Nash, Wade Cawood and Simon Beckingham, and their business associates, put in nearly $1 million of their own money to absorb the loss, but it was not enough. According to The Music Network, the company owes $430 000 to creditors. It will assist Playground Weekender with its electronic/dance lineup.
ANNOUNCED FOR SXSW Art vs Science, The Holidays, The Jezabels, Kids of 88, The Swiss, The Naked and Famous and Miami Horror are among the first Aussie/NZ acts announced for South By Southwest.
THINGS WE HEAR * Following on from the Future Music Festival, Womadelaide has also introduced a “buy now pay later” scheme for its March shows. * Looks like iTunes is going to extend samples of two and a half minute songs from 30 seconds to 90 seconds. * Rihanna is moving to live in London. * Brisbane’s Troubadour venue is closing down this month. But its social network Myspace continues to lose money, with losses of US$156 million up from $128 million.
AIR MAIDEN! Iron Maiden will do their upcoming world tour in a customized Boeing 757 dubbed
TW LW TI HP P1 P2 P3 ARTIST
1 16 40 69 PINK
RAISE YOUR GLASS
3 10 1 15 28 60 BRUNO MARS
JUST THE WAY YOU ARE
1 12 30 62 RIHANNA
ONLY GIRL (IN THE WORLD)
2 15 46 69 KINGS OF LEON
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COOLER THAN ME
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6 11 28 48 KATY PERRY
7 11 27 46 NELLY
JUST A DREAM
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11 8 14 6 12 38 68 THE SCRIPT
FOR THE FIRST TIME
12 10 18 8 17 36 54 BIRDS OF TOKYO
13 17 19 13 15 32 48 THE TEMPER TRAP
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FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT
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16 12 13 10 14 29 54 GOOD CHARLOTTE
LIKE IT’S HER BIRTHDAY
17 14 7 14 13 44 67 TRAIN
SAVE ME, SAN FRANCISCO
18 13 15 1 14 26 56 TAIO CRUZ
19 19 15 11 11 27 52 B.O.B FT. RIVERS CUOMO
20 20 17 7 14 26 58 THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS
CLOSER TO THE EDGE
21 16 16 2
USHER FT. PITBULL
DJ GOT US FALLIN’ IN LOVE
22 11 23 44
SEX ON THE RADIO
23 29 4
23 13 26 56
ENRIQUE IGLESIAS FT. NICOLE SCHERZINGER HEARTBEAT
24 32 6
24 10 36 66
25 23 12 21 12 25 44
26 25 23 5
IF IT’S LOVE
14 27 57
14 40 61
27 26 18 15 12 39 53
28 21 14 11 13 24 52
TAKE IT OFF
29 33 19 12 11 36 59
30 35 6
31 28 21 18 14 37 64
JOHN BUTLER TRIO
32 34 23 1
14 25 47
33 24 22 1
14 30 56
IF I HAD YOU
34 36 11 30 13 26 40
35 67 2
FAR EAST MOVEMENT
LIKE A G6
30 11 28 56
35 11 23 42
36 27 15 4
14 27 54
DANCE IN THE DARK
37 30 19 7
LOVE THE FALL
SOMETHING IN THE WATER
MYSPACE LOSS GROWS
38 42 3
News Corporation reported a 36% jump in earnings for the first quarter, driven by a strong 17% growth by its Fox News Channel.
39 31 14 21 9
40 40 10 40 6
TOKYO (VAMPIRES & WOLVES) ATUK/WMA
38 11 24 53 13
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* For Kelly Osbourne’s birthday, Ozzy gave her a diamond and pink coral ring shaped as a skull. * Future Perfect Publications’ pop-culture and lifestyle magazine Cream will go digital-only from February next year, while Pacific Magazines has axed TV Hits after 22 years as a regular publication. They’ll bring it out of the mothballs once in awhile. * Hooray! Girls Aloud reckon they’ve patched up their feud with Dannii Minogue.
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The City of Sydney is not closing at midnight. We’re about creating a vibrant and safe city night out. A good night out for you, your friends and the city. And we want you to know the facts about bars and clubs staying open late. Get the long and the short of late night trading at: cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/latenighttrading
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coming out Mega Pop,” Berkfinger says, “and some of our stuff is coming out really wacky, very experimental. But we always like to have things a bit dirty.”
Got Sound, Will Travel By Jonno Seidler
While searching for the perfect harmony between punk insanity and Spice Girls pop, The Philly Jays have not been resting on their laurels: they’ve played over fifty shows in the UK alone, all the more impressive given that when they went over there, no one knew who they were. It helps that they happened to score support slots with surf-wave-postshoegaze favourites Best Coast, as well as “lots of local bands who didn’t really impress me to be honest.” But still, Berkfinger tells me many of the gigs have been their own. “Because they’ve never seen us before, and we don’t have the excitement of the crowd to make it fun anyway, we create all the fun,” he laughs. “We go totally over the top and freak the hell out of people, but they seem to really dig it.” Case in point: Bristol. “There were a couple of hundred art students at this party, and I may have jumped about eight steps into the dancefloor for ’99 Problems’ [a cover of the Jay-Z hit], and then we wrapped them all up in our mic cables and yelled in their faces. And MC Bad Genius hit two different guys in the head with his bass.” After smoothing over any resultant qualms by buying the injured parties some drinks, Berkfinger is pretty sure the Philly Jays’ assault on the UK is working. What was more worrying was when they finally came to lay down the aforementioned Jay-Z cover on wax, as a bonus track for their awesomely-bloated album re-release, Hope Is For The Hopeless... “I think in Australia, we’re allowed to put it on something, as long as everyone’s credited properly,” says Berkfinger. “But the weird thing is, apparently there’s like nine names on there and none of them are Jay-Z’s. There’s no Shawn Carter on there...” Philadelphia Grand Jury have Jay-Z’s lawyers out of the picture for the re-release - good news, because Hope Is For Hopeless really isn’t just some shameless money-grab. “Our distributor called us and said ‘Look, you’ve got a whole lot of stuff here, and the record shops want more records. Why don’t we make a new and more fun one, that has everything on it?’” By everything, Berkfinger literally means everything. There’s not only seven more jams than on the original CD, but they’ve also got a DVD with the now infamous Queensland House Party Special #2 - in which some dude’s share-house got completely obliterated in the name of music. “When we were there, we asked him how many people he thought were coming, you know, like thirty or forty. He said ‘Oh, I’ve invited about sixty’ - and so had all his flatmates. It ended up like, his backyard was completely packed with people, the balcony, every kitchen, room and bathroom teeming with people - all the way out onto the street.” How very punk rock. “Well, the amazing thing was that nothing got damaged,” muses Berkfinger. “...Aside from some of the stuff that we damaged.” Right now, of course, the Philly Jays’ most reported casualty happens to be their drummer. Again. Though everyone’s favourite fifty-year-old Obama-supporter, Calvin, was still in the saddle when I talked to Berkfinger, last weekend they announced that he’s evacuated – making room for tom-beater #653673, Susie B of I Heart Hiroshima fame. It seems that despite their willingness to Party (Party) in every crushed house bash ‘til the end of the Earth, no-one’s blessed MC Bad Genius and Berkfinger with a solid sticksman; even Berkfinger’s dad has filled in for a spell...
he Philly Jays are a band who mean business. So much business, in fact, that they packed up all their shit in April and vamoosed off to the dreary isle of the United Kingdom, to pursue a bit of worldwide domination and nab themselves one of those international fanbases. As the softlyspoken (but loudly sung) Simon Berkfinger tells me from London, things are going well for the band: Berkfinger on guitar and vox, with a day job in Sydney recording and producing; MC Bad Genius on bass, and often mistaken for a terrorist; and yet another recently-evacuated drum stool - quite the regular occurrence for the band... But more on that later.
“We set up a studio in South London, in the really ghetto bit,” he tells me of the move, ”and then we shipped $30k of our own equipment over to ourselves from Australia.” Crazy, right? As fans may recall, these guys are no strangers to pushing the limits of DIY; they launched their debut album Hope Is For Hopers by playing nearly ten gigs in one day around Sydney, on the back of a flat-bed truck. That’s why Berkfinger really didn’t think this scenario would be any different… until British Customs seized his shit, and made him pay import tax on his own belongings. “We had to hand over like 17.5% [tax] for all of our own stuff, and then we’re going to have to ship it back, too. It’s pretty stupid.”
So when you’re on the other side of the world, and you’ve just paid an exorbitant amount to bring all your own gear, what’s the only natural thing to do? “We’ve been recording a new album,” Berkfinger says. “Even though it was a huge hassle to get the stuff over here, it’s still cheaper than hiring some expensive studio.” While assuring me that the new album is still ‘garage-y rock and roll’ in nature, the Philly grand juror is excited to be experimenting with a whole lot of new sounds - especially big keyboards (as evidenced by the press shot above...) “All our stuff at the moment is
In true form, though, the Philly Jays won’t give up without a fight. With three AIR Award nominations, two ARIA noms (fingers crossed) and a track featured on Entourage, the band are about to head off on yet another exhaustive Aussie tour that’ll keep them rolling all the way into the new year… Our golden boys are back; let’s try and keep them here this time. What: Hope Is For The Hopeless is out now through Shock/Boomtown Where: The Metro Theatre (all ages), with Bearhug When: Saturday November 13
“We bitched about his fans, and should we crush his sweet hands?”- DAVID BOWIE 20 :: BRAG :: 387 :: 08:11:10
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My Disco Tension And Release By Mikey Carr
ver since their debut album Cancer dropped in 2006, My Disco have remained a consistent force of musical individualism. Fusing influences from post-punk, art-rock and minimalism into their own finely-honed sound, the Melbourne band are one of Australia’s leading examples of how to achieve success without compromise. Fiercely independent, they release their albums through their own label (Numerical Thief) and plan their own tours, embodying the DIY ethic while existing outside any musical conventions associated with that scene. They’re known by many for playing in unconventional spaces like cafes and art galleries, not only across Australia but through South East Asia, North America and Mexico. My Disco have made an art out of doing things their way, without walking any well-trodden paths.
Their follow-up to Cancer, 2008’s Paradise, saw the band pursue their minimalist leanings even further, working with DIY-legend and Shellac guitarist Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio studio in Chicago. Described as ‘precise’ and ‘tough,’ the record was unflinching in delivering the band’s message, summed up in lyrics like
“the less I see, the closer I feel” (‘/’) - and further explored through the album’s 38 minutes of searing guitar and relentless bass and drums. For their latest effort though, the band have somewhat softened their rigid minimal style. The sound that was stripped bare on Paradise has been added to on Little Joy. Things are fleshed out a little more, with the bones of tracks (recorded once more with Albini) wrapped up in the sinewy production of BJB’s Scott Horscroft. Well known for his work with Silverchair and The Presets, the choice to work with Horscroft seemed out of character for these DIY heroes. But according to guitarist Ben Andrews, it made a lot of sense to the band. “He’s more of a producer, you know, a digital whiz-kid, and we kind of wanted his take on it,” Andrews says of Horscroft. “We didn’t just want the bare bones this time; we wanted it a bit richer and a bit fuller sounding, [with] maybe some elements we wouldn’t have thought of on our own - which is what happened. “Scott’s made all these huge records, and has more of a name as a producer than Steve,” Andrews continues, “but at the same time he really likes My Disco, and he’s liked us for years.” The band met Scott a few years back at the QANTAS Spirit Of Youth Awards. “We entered it as a bit of a joke, but we ended up winning - probably just because Scott was the mentor or whatever of the music department for that year. He was like, ‘Fuck all these shitty commercials bands. I’m going to get a band I like to win, because they’ll spend the money wisely’. And yeah, it worked out for him - we got him to produce Little Joy,” he laughs.
“We’re doing things we haven’t done before - and that’s always been our goal. We never wanted to repeat ourselves, and we’ve never stuck to a formula.” The result is an album that sounds a lot poppier than what you might expect from My Disco. “I’d agree with that, in a way; in a kind of classic sense, where it’s a bit more song-orientated, and there are more vocals. That’s about as poppy as we get,” Andrews says. “It’s definitely not as ferocious sounding. There are a lot of sounds on Paradise that are pretty harsh, but this record has a bit more lushness, you know? And I think that’s really Scott’s touch - putting ambient reverb on the drums, and cleaning the vocals up. Like I say, he approached it from a different perspective.” While on Paradise there was a constant sense of tension built through mechanic repetition, the more varied and fuller arrangements on Little Joy manage to inject release into the tension, without loosing the momentum of the escalating and repetitious instrumentation. It’s a difficult idea to convey, but it’s almost as if after each new part is introduced, it’s brought back into line – and then used to further build on that tension once more. By softening the sound of the band overall, the points of release blend seamlessly in with the rest, allowing the music to dance from harsh noise to joyous chords and back again. Don’t think though that this is a move on the band’s part to try and gain wider appeal. If it was, it would be somewhat misguided; as softened as Little Joy is, it’s still likely to send your standard Bloc Party fan running for shelter underneath a copy of NME. Little Joy instead represents a logical progression of the band’s sound, discovered through collaboration and improvisation rather than calculation. “We don’t consciously think about progressing,” Andrews explains. “I just know that this one is different, and I know it’s going interesting places and that we’re doing things we haven’t done before - and that’s always been our goal. We never wanted to repeat ourselves, and we’ve never stuck to a formula. We just jam, and the only intention is to make something different and exciting.” You can only take minimalism so far before you’re left with nothing. Just as Phillip Glass returned to more conventional song structure after Music In Twelve Parts, so too have My Disco moved on since Paradise - continuing to build on a style that’s as exciting as it is all their own. What: Little Joy is out now, through Shock With: Dead Farmers and Laurenz (PVT) Where: Manning Bar, Sydney University When: Friday November 26 22 :: BRAG :: 387 :: 08:11:10
Major Lazer Climbing Up The Walls By Dan Watt
Jing is kind of like being a fashion designer; in order to stay relevant and financially viable, you’ve gotta be a step ahead of the trends and work out what’s going to be hot next summer. Thomas Wesly Pentz is a 31 year-old American DJ who, by way of a good ear for talent, has managed to become one of the world’s leading producers and DJs - Diplo. Diplo started collaborating with Britain’s DJ Switch in early-2009 and as Major Lazer, the duo creating a genre-defining hybrid of reggae, dancehall, cumbia and heavy bass genres like dubstep and breakbeat. As is common by those who shape rather than create though, Pentz is hesitant in taking credit for Major Lazer’s music, preferring instead to name-drop like crazy, or just start smack-talking about spending time on DMT inside a platypus nest... Read on. In August this year, Major Lazer released the Lazers Never Die EP which, as well as featuring remixes from their debut album Guns Don’t Kill People, Lazers Do, also featured some new mixes like ‘Jump Up’ by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. “We didn’t actually work with him in the studio, I just met him a couple of times and hung out with him in LA,” explains Pentz. “Last time I hung out with Thom Yorke, I was high on mushrooms he gave me at a party at Drew Barrymore’s house. I said to him, ‘I really like that song ‘Climbing Up The Walls’, I used that midi file to make a beat’ - and he said, ‘that song fucking sucks’. I was like, ‘okay, can I have more mushrooms?’” says a laconic Pentz. “Sometimes I send him tracks, like the songs from [my] regular records. Basically when he’s in LA I just kinda find him, we have similar friends.”
“I will give you $50 if you dose my tour manager with DMT,” Pentz says. The hallucinogen, found in the Amazon jungle and traditionally used by native Indians to find their spiritual animal, joins our conversation when Pentz brings up his own spirit animal - the platypus. “It’s really weird. As they’re laying eggs, you just contemplate what it all means. They have poisonous spurs in their platypus hand!” he laughs, rapturous. “I spent a bit of time in a platypus nest when I was in Australia - I buried myself inside of a platypus’ mound and nursed its baby eggs,” he says, before explaining: “This was all on DMT.” Wouldn’t it have been a bit confusing for the baby platypus, once they finally hatched? “They climbed in my pants actually, I warmed them up.” Diplo hasn’t got away with any of this; he tells me he’s now on a “world platypus sex tourism watch list.” ...So pretty much don’t do drugs, you guys. With: Tiesto, Calvin Harris, Carl Cox, Ricardo Villalobos and more Where: Stereosonic 2010 @ Sydney Showgrounds When: Saturday November 27
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The topic of Thom Yorke ends, but the fungal thread continues… “The best magic mushrooms are in Bali; it was pretty hardcore, I had this orange milkshake mushroom death drink… I don’t know how I felt, but I can’t remember much. I was just really nervous and had to go into the water, and the water was just so dirty and it sucked, and then I was just waiting for it to end and it did, and I was happy.” According to Pentz, sobering up is the best part... “Yeah, that’s the good thing about drugs - you can always expect to sober up. Unless it’s like Inception and you go down three levels and never wake-up… If you eat mushrooms and you’re tripping and you dream about yourself eating mushrooms, then you would just die.”
“Last time I hung out with Thom Yorke, I was high on mushrooms he gave me at a party at Drew Barrymore’s house. I said, ‘I really like that song ‘Climbing Up The Walls’, and he said, ‘that song fucking sucks.’ I was like, ‘okay, can I have more mushrooms?’” It’s Pentz’s combination of technical DJ skills, live production abilities and ear for music that’ve won him acclaim around the world as a DJ and producer - but you can’t discount his ability to launch groundbreaking new talents, either. His Mad Decent label broke acts like Bonde Do Role, Boy 8-Bit and Buraka Som Sistema, who Diplo’s all helped to produce. The most famous of his production exploits is of course his former partner M.I.A; Pentz provided much guidance and production assistance on her first two albums Arular (2005) and Kala (2007) - although his involvement slackened for this year’s Maya. Diplo’s Major Lazer partner Switch, on the other hand, remained very much at the forefront of M.I.A’s production team. While being regarded as a formidable producer, Switch [David Taylor] is often derided for his DJing skills - or lack thereof. Pentz discusses the accusations that his friend and colleague isn’t actually that great a DJ: “That’s probably true, that’s why he never goes on tour with me,” he says. “People always ask me ‘where’s Switch?’ - and I’m like, ‘come on, are you serious?’” Pentz does disclose that Switch will be coming to Sydney, for the Stereosonic tour - “but he will only be drinking.” They’re also bringing out Skerrit Bwoy and one of his ballerinas for the Major Lazer show. Also joining the stage? Their Australian tour manager, if Pentz can get some DMT involved.
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Glenn Richards Taking A Break From The Crowded Hour By Caitlin Welsh
he first verse of the first song on Glenn Richards’ album Glimjack refers to the titular affectations of ‘Torpor & Spleen’ – torpor being a state of inactivity or lethargy, and spleen (as in venting one’s) referring to anything in the range between fury and melancholy. It’s actually a pretty telling moment; Richards, an undeniably sincere and emotional songwriter, seems to have a particular distaste for anything done half-heartedly or for the wrong reasons. He’s quick to insist that Glimjack ought not to be called a “solo” record; he bemoans the limited studio time allotted to Augie March, and their inadequate US tours; he hints at a political being that lurks knowingly outside of his songwriting persona. Away from the increasingly commercial adventures of Augie March – though they’re hardly Short Stack, Richards has felt the cold hand of the Man and his Money interfering in latter years – he and a small troupe of musicians have crafted a lovely and strange little record, which reeks of Richards’ hyperliterate sadness and bush-Goth imagery. Working with his older brother Chris on guitar, bassist Ben Bourke, and drummer Mike Noga and Dan Luscombe (both Drones alumni), they knocked the record together in slightly less than a month.
“We probably needed a bit of a break before we went in and made the last Augie March record. I’ll take the blame for that; I should have just called it time.” But Richards, who reveled in the autonomous, small-scale recording process, had been working away long before this year. “There are maybe three or four [tracks] that predate the last Augie record,” he says. “But they’re ones that probably wouldn’t have made it past the demo stage – just because of my feelings about what the band would do justice to, and what they wouldn’t.” Still, the bulk of the release was written over the last five months. “I gave the guys about a week to listen to it, then we just went in and hammered them out without overthinking anything.” Overthinking may have been one of the factors that led to the subtle, slow implosion of the little Augie March universe. While Richards says he’s confident of a comfortable reunion in the near future, their current hiatus was apparently long overdue. “We probably needed a bit of a break before we went in and made the last Augie record. I’ll take the blame for that; I should have actually seen what was happening a bit earlier and just called it time. “I don’t think many people knew we were doing quite a lot in America at the same time,” he continues. “We’re more like a family than anything, and you know how it is to constantly go away on holiday with your family...” He adds that the kind of music they play takes an emotional toll as well, night after night - it was well past time for a break. “It was a pretty easy decision, in the end, for everyone to go off and do something else.” While Augie’s Dave Williams and Kiernan Box have been off dreaming with Dan Kelly, the frontman and his new band locked themselves in a freezing warehouse in the Melbourne suburb of Fairfield to put Glimjack together. After catching himself a nasty chest infection in the dust and cold, Richards actually ended up recording most of the vocals later, during a New York heatwave. It was a much more productive visit than the soul-crushing 2007 US tour he undertook with Augie March; a gruelling schedule and lacklustre crowds, combined with deteriorating relationships within the band, created a lot of tension. It was here that some of the darker songs on Glimjack began to take shape. “There was one [song] that developed during the worst period of [that tour],” he says with a wry laugh. “In that song [‘The Drive’] I just tried to get a sense of being sick, a million miles from home… We just had one of those tours where we were like, ‘bloody hell. We’re going to die on the road.’ There was an Australian band that died on the road while we were there [Melbourne group Electric Jellyfish lost their guitarist and his wife in a crash near Cleveland], and it was like, ‘oh man, why are we doing this? I wanna go home!’” The song in question is a perfect example of how Glimjack builds on the unmistakeable, dense songwriting that Augie March fans already expect from Richards, while being at once simpler in its execution, and more intricate conceptually. It’s hard to pin down exactly what the differences are – but somehow, it doesn’t sound like an Augie album. One thing that has clearly shifted is Richards’ aversion to getting political. While never overtly pursuing an agenda, the songs on the album are often concerned with the challenges facing Australian identity and environments – from the references to “the trophy wife of a magnate’s only son” (seeming to hint at those great straddlers of American and Australian existence, the Murdochs), to the wry grumblings of ‘They Hate Us’. The latter song, he tells me, came out of a minor occurrence at Neil Finn’s studio during the 7 Worlds Collide sessions, where Richards was the only Australian. “I walked into a room full of people, and this one Kiwi bloke was holding court with a bunch of guys from Wilco and Radiohead, and he was just slagging off Australians basically, and they’re all agreeing and saying ‘Yeah, man!’ And I walked in and said, ‘You know I’m from Melbourne?’ … and there was just silence! And then a bit of laughter...” He’s chuckling now, but he says it was definitely a bit of an eye-opener. “Since the Howard era… I dunno, you could even put it down to our international sporting prowess or the way we carry ourselves, that sort of thing - but we’re not a special favourite of anybody’s anymore.” What: Glimjack is out now through Sony Who: Glenn Richards & The DSM Brothers Where: The Metro Theatre When: Friday November 12
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Metronomy Imaginary Places By Alasdair Duncan
or all intents and purposes, Metronomy are a pop group: they make tightlywound, catchy and eminently danceable synth-based songs about going out, picking up and striking out; they went down a treat at last year’s run of Parklife festivals; and their singles – ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘A Thing For Me’ amongst them – have landed the band on all sorts of compilations, from the boutique Kitsuné Maison series to the super-mainstream Chillout Sessions. Frontman Joe Mount, however, doesn’t feel he’s arrived as a pop star just yet. “In England, what constitutes pop in the eyes of people is whatever gets played on Radio 1, which is the big pop radio station,” he tells me. “We don’t get played on that, so here the opinion of us would be that we’re a bit of an ‘interesting, edgy’ band. I aspire to be in a pop band, but in saying that I don’t mean I want us to change what we do or compromise on how we make our music – I hope that people in England will come to see what we do as making pop music. “It’s a bit of a generalisation,” he continues, “but most bands I see who have some level of success, who’ve managed to become popular just doing what they do, manage to go and fuck it up in some way. I can’t really think of many [pop] bands that would be good points of reference, who have never compromised or let their standards drop.” In explaining the kind of group he’d like Metronomy to one day be, Mount asks me how popular Kings Of Leon are in Australia. I tell him, very - and he says that while he wants some success for the band, he hopes they never experience it at that level. “I heard the first Kings Of Leon record and absolutely loved it,” he says. “They were young, and writing about their experiences in a really open way. Then suddenly they had that ‘Sex On Fire’ song, and everything after that, as far as I’m concerned, has just been awful, sub-U2 stuff.” Mount, all of a sudden, starts sounding a little down. “I think it’s really difficult to become popular without compromising in some way – maybe an intrinsic part of becoming popular means that you just start making bad music. Maybe I’ll find out one day...” Irrespective of Metronomy’s place in the pop landscape, Mount’s love of the classic pop albums of the ‘70s – big, slick and impossibly glamorous-sounding albums like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours – continues to inspire him. In fact the studio sheen of those albums has proven to be the inspiration behind Metronomy’s forthcoming third record, The English Riviera. The band’s previous albums, including their 2008 breakthrough Nights Out, were pieced together in various bedrooms and rehearsal spaces, but Mount was determined to do things properly this time around.
where I grew up as if it was a sophisticated, affluent area. This album’s not about going back to my roots, so much as exploring the idea of an imaginary place that exists in my head.” Nights Out had a great cover – a sort of riff on the nerdy-guy-with-a-cool-car theme of Back To The Future, by renowned airbrush artist Philip Castle. Is Mount seeking out a similar coverstyle for The English Riviera, I wonder? “All that stuff has to come together pretty soon now,” he says. “I’ve had an idea for the cover for quite a while, and it kind of involves the sea and a beautiful model - but that’s as far as the idea’s gone. I’m struggling to find the right picture. I’ve been getting my mum, who’s a photographer, to take pictures of the coast around where I grew up – that’s part of the idea... Still,” he laughs, “deadlines are fast approaching, so maybe the cover will end up as a big yellow smiley face or something like that.” With: World’s End Press Where: Oxford Art Factory When: Tursday November 23
“This new album is the first record that we’ve made in a real studio,” he tells me. “I’ve left the bedroom recording environment behind for a proper mixing desk, and things like that!” The biggest difference between this album and what’s come before, Mount says, is that there is no programming or digital trickery – all the songs are played, from start to finish, by musicians. “We’ve gone into classic album territory – I’ve always loved the sound of Steely Dan records, so I’ve been thinking really hard about how to make it that kind of album.”
“Maybe an intrinsic part of becoming popular means that you just start making bad music. Maybe I’ll find out one day.” Mount acknowledges, though, that working this way has put him on a bit of a learning curve. “When I was studying, I learned a lot about studios,” he says, “but after spending years recording on computers and things, I lost a lot of that information. I’m working with an engineer to help me out with some of the technical stuff, but for the most part it’s just me producing the record. Working in a real studio environment has been amazing.” The title of the new record is a cheeky reference to the part of the UK where he spent his formative years. “I don’t know if you know about the English Riviera,” he says, “but it’s a small bay in the south-west of Devon. To people who are unfamiliar with the area, it might sound like Miami or something, but believe me, it’s not – it’s actually just a sleepy country town.” The difference between the fantasy and the reality of the English Riviera is partly what inspired the record. “It’s about imagining the part of the world BRAG :: 387 :: 08:11:10 :: 25
Superchunk Indie-pendent Mikey Carr
he question of what the term ‘indie’ actually refers to nowadays has been one that’s plagued music fans and critics since the mid 1990s. Originally coined in reference to bands working in the late 70s, 80s and early 90s without major label backing, in recent years the definition has been broadened, to describe more of a genre: major label bands like MGMT and The Killers are described as indie these days.
The Melodics The Colour Of Sound By Birdie
t’s always important for us to have the producer understand exactly what we’re aiming for,” The Melodics’ frontman Jeremy Koren tells me, as we discuss their brand new EP Paint Me Gold. “And we’ve actually gotten a lot better at explaining ourselves.” The Melodics’ production team - Jan Skubiszewski (Jackson Jackson, Phrase), Russel Fawcus and Forrester Savell - was given a very specific idea of what the Melbourne band wanted. “That old quote ‘talking about music is like dancing about architecture’ is true,” Koren continues. “So I decided to use imagery-based stuff to get across what we wanted in the sound. “I was working with Jan on a track, and he’s a very visual person as well, so I said to him, ‘At the moment this track feels like it’s a deep shade of red, but I want it to have strikes of electric blue in it’… And he totally understood what I was talking about straight away,” he laughs. “The outcome he came up with was exactly what I wanted and pictured in my mind! And all three of those guys – Jan, Russell and Forrester – they’re all different cats, but they all had this thing in common that helped us to create our vision.” Koren tells me that The Melodics always start from a visual feed, and the music just grows from there. “In this case, the concept of the EP cover came from the image in my head of maybe getting some friends together and taking some photos, just as gold paint was falling on their heads… That’s also how we found the sound of the record – it was within that concept. That gold paint visual really struck us, and gave us a point to work towards sonically.” Paint Me Gold is not only the name of the new EP, but also the name of a track which will make
its debut on The Melodics’ sophomore album in the near future. While the release date is not yet known, Koren says the new material is slowly but surely coming together. “You know, our first album (4D) took us close to two years to make, so it was a bit of a relief to be able to bang out songs like this and just put them on an EP… It’s just made us even more excited about doing our next album. [The EP is] definitely an introduction of what’s to come on the album, too.”
Superchunk are one of the first fleet of the indie bands, so who better to talk to about this confusing (and often frustrating) conundrum? “[These days], it’s somehow applied to a sound other than actual indie-ness, which is weird,” bassist Laura Ballance remarks, on the seemingly unavoidable paradox. “I’m going to date myself here, but having been in this business for 21 years I’ve seen the labels that people put on bands change radically - and have just come to the decision that it doesn’t mean anything.” The media and public seem so obsessed with labeling music that one of the highest goals of a modern music journo seems to be to come up with a new genre-term that sticks. Ballance has a few thoughts on the matter: “I
guess everybody wants to make their mark, or be famous for something. That’s what it’s come down to; there’s this weird obsession with celebrity now that there didn’t use to be. The internet has brought everyone that much closer to their little 15 minutes of fame - and they want it.” Co-founder of both Superchunk and the band’s own self-run label Merge Records, Ballance has seen her fair share of bullshit tossed up by the music industry. Forming in 1989 in Chapel Hill North Carolina, the group watched first hand as the business chewed up indie bands and spat them out. As a result, Superchunk chose to remain independent and release through indie imprint Matador, before going back to Merge after Matador signed a distro deal with Atlantic Records. “At that time we came up, it seemed like [whenever] a good band got on a major label... 99% of the time they would put out one record that wasn’t necessarily as good as what they’d been doing before, and then they’d get dropped. They were just, like, tainted,” she says. “Going that route back then just seemed to ruin bands, break them, and that’s when the opportunities presented themselves to us - and we were just like, ‘no thank you, not even worth considering.’ “Jon, our drummer who joined us in ’91, was in another band who’d had that happen to them - and from the very get-go he was like, ‘what happens is you get that advance and then it’s all over, that’s it, that’s the end of your band.’ And we didn’t want that. That was like someone coming in and taking away your fun, and - I mean we take it seriously and everything, but for us the band has always been about fun.”
Think indie rock mixed with electro, throw in some synth-pop plus plenty of hip-hop, and you’ll get the gist of what The Melodics are after. Koren suggests you think of the EP as somewhat of a sampler. “We’ve been together for years now; we’re a really cross-genre band that messes with heaps of different styles… Then one day you come to a point where you want to refine your sound a little more, you want to make things work better as a band and I think the EP defines that aesthetic we’re building towards. It just came out very easy on this record, I can’t explain it.”
Having recently released Majesty Shredding, their first full length studio album in over nine years (and out again on Merge Records), Superchunk are as relevant today as they were 20 years ago - almost more so, if you consider how many of today’s young bands have been copying from their anthemic poppy punk page… But the one lesson a lot of the newcomers have missed is that chasing fame never leads to longevity. Through sticking to their principles, not bowing to trends and keeping control of their output and their image, Superchunk have built a loyal fanbase who both respect and admire them as artists - rather than as fleeting totems of hipdom.
As though it was meant to be, three of Melbourne’s top producers happened to be available to work with The Melodics at the same time as the band were ready to get the EP together. A few months later, and the guys are taking it on the road across the country. “Of course, we’ll still be playing some stuff off our first album too,” says Koren of the upcoming launch. “There are lots of tracks off 4D which we still love to play, so it’ll be quite a big mix.” What: Paint Me Gold EP is out now
What: Majesty Shredding is out now on Merge Records, through Popfrenzy
Where: Melt Bar, Kings Cross When: Thursday November 11
Electric Wire Hustle Finding The Fast Track By Jordan Smith
t’s been barely three years since Electric Wire Hustle’s serendipitous formation, and Taay Ninh (keys/dj/producer of the trio) is currently living the dream. When we talk he comes across as content, gracious and passionate - mixed with that extra-strong New Zealand flavour of Relaxed. Back home from a tour of the US, and EWH are still walking on (long white) clouds. “When you’ve been dreaming about getting over there for so long, and it actually happens… We were so fortunate to work with so many great people over there, that have gone out of their way to support us, spread the music and bring other people on board to help champion it. It’s only just sinking in how amazing it all was.” Electric Wire Hustle’s self-titled debut album, a silky blend of RnB, soul, funk and electronica, is every bit as worthy of the success and attention it’s garnered. Still, everything moved so rapidly for the band that they’ve found themselves in somewhat of a spotlight while still in their formative years. Ninh surprises me by mentioning he still has a “day job” (in a joyous cliché, he works for a merino wool clothing company), and describes the time in the studio as a transitory period for the band. “It was a really interesting process, because while we had a natural click musically, we were getting to know each other on a personal level at the same time as we were creating together.”
When listening to the polished and professional grooves of the album, it’s easy to forget that when they recorded, the trio was still dealing with standard practical difficulties of any unsigned band - like recording space and instrument availability. “Some [of the album] is made purely through the software available on a laptop, other parts are from going to a friend’s studio - who has an actual Rhodes bass keyboard - or recording in a vocal booth outside of the city, cause that’s what was available to us at the time. So it’s quite organic in that sense. “We all love music from that rich era of analog equipment,” he continues, “but the album was [made with] whatever we had at arm’s reach, or whatever we could borrow off friends.” Now at the other side of an international album release, with an impressive string of American, Australian and European tour dates to boot, EWH’s reach is surely getting a little longer... The band are often asked if there’s something in their music that’s unique to New Zealand. Whilst he initially points to their laid-back, behind the beat, island feel, what Ninh seems keener to identify with is the ideology behind New Zealand’s contemporary music culture. “There hasn’t been any hesitation to grab an influence from anywhere around the globe, whether it be a reggae influence from Kingston or a hip hop influence from Brooklyn or whatever, and
mould it into something that’s our own.” When quizzed further on the NZ music scene Ninh eagerly responds, “It’s thriving man, it’s thriving.” While he admits that EWH is looking to spend prolonged periods of time in the northern hemisphere in future, the band is genuinely committed to keeping the kiwi music culture alive. “All of a sudden it seems like [NZ] is giving out a whole lot more shine internationally. Maybe we’re getting a chance to have an influence on what’s happening on a global scale within the soul and beats movement.”
Far from being overwhelmed by this attention, Electric Wire Hustle’s plan for the rest of the year is clear and simple. “It’s time to put our heads down and turn all these experiences into new music. There’s no shortage of inspiration, that’s for sure…” What: Electric Wire Hustle is out now on BBE Where: Tone, Surry Hills When: Wednesday November 17
“We just ball and play and then we move like tigers on Vaseline” - DAVID BOWIE 26 :: BRAG :: 386 :: 01:11:10
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Wons Phreely The Storyteller By Andrew Weaver ustralia’s stock in singer-songwriters have always been happy to pour their hearts out. Folks like Paul Kelly and Paul Dempsey have begun their musical careers telling stories full of ruminations on experiences that have shaped them; not just as songwriters, but as people.
guitar in the park and these street kids came up, and made a big deal because we were playing music in the park,” he explains. “They gathered around us, and before we knew it they were telling us about their lives. It was pretty full-on – some of them were rent boys and they were telling us how it worked.
“I’m really interested in stories - it’s all part of playing music by myself,” explains Perth’s Justin Wonsley, AKA Wons Phreely. “On stage you need to engage people with stories, and talk to them. Sometimes the reality is that you can’t really tell the story without inventing something; it starts off as something real, and then it has other elements thrown in.”
“It crept into the story,” Wonsley continues, “and then it crept into a few stories, and before I knew it, [the EP] became about ways to improve life and make the big decisions. It was an interesting context to have a story about people on the streets.” He tells me his own life is enmeshed within the songs as well, as he writes about how life works - and imagines what direction it can go in but for a simple twist of fate. They’re broad, deep topics for such a young musician to write about, through which Wons Phreely’s talent for storytelling comes to the fore.
Wons Phreely is doing exactly that on his second EP, Tonight. Across the six tracks, he’s assembled a clutch of songs that take inspiration from the homeless on the streets of London’s Kings Cross – the poor, the destitute, the drug-addicted, the put-upon, and the seemingly downhearted. But with moments like the beguiling ‘The World Has A Bank Account’, he offers up something that’s far more uplifting and ultimately life-affirming than expected, inventing scenarios for those that he encountered one evening, while out in the seediest part of town. “I was playing a bit of
It’s a classic style of songwriting which harks back to the likes of Ray Davies in the Kinks, and Wonsley admits that his influences have always been musicians who are able to explore ideas and sounds concurrently. “I was reading a lot about Jarvis Cocker who would work like that, and Billy Bragg as well, who was always telling great stories with good
ideas,” he says. “David Bowie I love because he gets such interesting sounds – I love sounds that I hear where I don’t really know how they were made. He might start off with a bassline but then he’ll mix it in with a sample, and then you’ve got this sound that you can’t really put your finger on.” Tonight stands out because it finds Wons Phreely not just crafting interesting stories, but making a full sound rich with instrumentation. “Sometimes I’d write on a guitar, and then I’d
here’s something about interviewing a band on a couch that somehow makes them seems a bit more famous. Certainly, reclining on the sofa in the guitarist’s living room with a glass of red in hand is way more glamorous than crouching over my desk shouting into my iPhone, as a hungover Californian struggles to hear me over his soundcheck in Toronto… But then, in their relatively short time as a band, Sydney’s Cameras have run the full gamut of rock’n’roll experiences: from Wednesday night support slots in tiny back rooms, to keyboardist Eleanor Dunlop walking in on Karen O on the toilet (at last year’s Southbound Festival).
’ve always got to be on the move whether it’s walking, driving, whatever I’m doing. I’ve never been really good at sitting still.” Jez Mead can be classified quite easily as a chronic tourer. Although most of the writing that’s been done about him alludes to a musician based in Byron Bay, the Perth-born troubadour tells me that for the last five or six years he actually hasn’t spent more than a month in one place. “I’ve got my camper van, I just live in that,” he says, with a deep voice and an audible shrug. Jez, who’s been a mainstay on the Australian folk circuit since around 2001, has recently released his fourth album - the brilliantly titled Beard Of Bees. Although it swirls up in warm roots and sunny folk (see ‘Devil’, a dappled duet with Julia Stone), there’s a raw, gothic undertone that underpins most of the record - the timeless tones of whiskey-fuelled stomping and smoke-ravaged blues.
Outside of the constant move around Australia, Jez has also played abroad. America, Europe - he tells me he’s played Brazil three times now. “It was kind of a bizarre experience going over there, because they don’t have that much to compare me to. Every time I did an interview over there, with the guy from the record label translating for me, I’d just hear this Portuguese and then the words ‘Jack Johnson’, and then Portuguese and then the words ‘Jack Johnson’,” he laughs. “I think he’s one of the only things that they’ve actually got to compare me to.” It’s an easy trap to fall into. When encountering a male musician and his rootsy, bluesy acoustic guitar, it’s simplest to name-check the Jack Johnsons, the Ben Harpers and the John Butlers - but there’s something a little deeper muddled in the raw,
What: Tonight EP is out now Where: The Annandale Hotel When: Saturday November 20
Just Biding Their Time... By Caitlin Welsh
Driving Force By Jess Martin
If his album twists and turns in mood and colour, there’s one thing tying it all together: a thumping, driving force and a feeling of forward movement. So much so that I ask him his writing is actually done on the road. “I do write a lot while I’m actually driving, these days,” he tells me. “Just with that whole rhythm of driving; it takes about an hour after driving before things sort of start flowing… I’ve had to pull over a few times to write stuff down, and then I get about twenty metres down the road and have to pull over again, because I think of something else,” he laughs. Dictaphone, mobile phone, minidisk, digital camera – basically every device he owns has some kind of Jez Mead demo that was hastily recorded in transit. “That’s pretty much the only time I write, really.”
play with it on the computer and layer samples on it, so that it changes the original idea,” he explains. “If you mix a guitar with a sample of a horn or string, then it takes the melody and does something else to it. I’m really interested in trying to write melodies and ideas that I couldn’t think of straight away.”
For now though, they’re ego-free and sticking to the well-worn path of playing, playing and then playing some more. “We’ve played a thousand gigs,” says guitarist and sofa-owner Fraser Harvey cheerfully. “We just played a gig in Melbourne, and it was just shit. A bland room, and everything that could have gone wrong did.”
sparse intensity of Jez Mead’s music that I suggest has more to do with Bill Callahan or Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. “Ohhh mannn, I’m so glad you say that,” he drawls, before laughing with relief. “Look, I do get a bit frustrated in that whole department. When I talk to people doing interviews, and they go, ‘oh you must love... –” he wisely interrupts himself here, before he blurts out a name. “But yeah, it’s those other sort of people I listen to. I love Will Oldham.” Still, it turns out that there’s not a lot of acoustic music that gets a spin in his camper van, anyway. “One of my favourite bands is Cocteau Twins, and Talk Talk… I like to listen to things that are a bit more electronic.” Jez Mead is hitting the road again for a national tour to launch his latest single from Beard Of Bees, ‘Town’s Too Small’. I ask what we can expect from his live show, and he tells me there’ll be a lot of ring-ins (“I’ve got violin players all over the country”), and a lot of energy. “I’ve really been trying to get back into just having things quite upbeat. I’ve always loved having that juxtaposition between [lyrics and music],” he says. “I like getting those [darker] things out in the lyrics, but I like to keep the music a bit more up-tempo.”
“I played a toy piano on stage,” Dunlop interjects, a little indignantly, before Harvey continues: “We were assured Elle would have a full piano, and we get there and it’s like this tiny Casio keyboard, like a toy piano. We’re all like, ‘aw, shit…’ Then I plugged my guitar in, but somehow on the flight all the electronics had died, and so I had to use a solid-body guitar. And I’m rotten with managing all the feedback and everything. So there goes the atmosphere!” Atmosphere is probably the one thing that Cameras don’t actually have to worry about – it swirls inescapably through their sound like cigarette smoke. Described variously as existing somewhere between Cat Power and Interpol, with Harvey and Dunlop sharing songwriting and vocal duties, there’s a constant interplay between the two creative forces that drives each track. Both say there’s equal parts rivalry and telepathy in their musical relationship: “It’s a little bit of a brother/sister thing, I think,” says Dunlop with a laugh. “You don’t want to bring an idea
or a song to the band that isn’t as good as the last one,” Harvey adds. “So there’s always been that competitive thing, where you’ve got to bring something good next week. And that’s how it works, strangely enough.” The two were lucky enough to find their drummer, Ben Mason, just two weeks before they recorded their self-titled debut EP in May of this year. (While they’ve poached their live bassist Kid from cult Sydney post-rock outfit sleepmakeswaves, Harvey plays all the guitar parts in the studio.) The song of Eleanor’s that opens the EP, ‘Polarise’, was little more than a sketch when the three started “mucking around with it” in the studio. “I never really had a structure for it,” she explains. “But I started playing it, and then Ben started this beat... And I just went, ‘Right! We have to record this right now, because something is going on’.” This instinctive approach should continue to serve Cameras well over the next few months, as they pursue their determined path of “support slots only” for a while. “Our thing has been not to headline, even though we’ve released an EP,” says Harvey. “We’d like to be realistic and work on the basis that no one knows us. And no one does. So we’d rather just support people and pinch their – well, not pinch, but be exposed to their crowd.” He admits that their relatively unfashionable sound means that they don’t have much natural kinship with too many local acts. “When we started it was like at the height of the electro thing, maybe it was winding down a bit – is that even still happening? – But we were so different to everything that was out there it was just like, what the fuck are we doing?” he explains, as Eleanor shrugs philosophically while topping up my glass: “Everything comes around.” What: Cameras EP is out now Where: Oxford Art Factory When: Saturday November 20
What: Beard Of Bees is out now Where: Raval @ The Macquarie Hotel When: Saturday November 27
“Jung the foreman prayed at work that neither hands nor limbs would burst” - DAVID BOWIE 28 :: BRAG :: 386 :: 01:11:10
The New Pornographers Put Your Hands Together By Alasdair Duncan
f you have access to the internet and a fondness for obscure news stories, you may already have heard that The New Pornographers were recently involved in a minor kerfuffle, and disinvited from a gig at Michigan’s Calvin College. After cancelling the gig, the school released a statement: “after weeks of discussion and consideration, the irony of the band’s name was impossible to explain to many.” The band’s label Matador put it in simpler terms, their press release headline reading: ‘New Pornographers’ October 15 Concert Cancelled On Account Of AWESOME BAND NAME.’ It seems that everyone was upset by the incident - except for the band themselves. “You know, it’s no big deal,” songwriter and vocalist A.C. Newman says when I bring it up. “It happens occasionally because of our band’s name, and the school ended up being pretty cool to us. I know that, as a Christian college, there was a feeling that hey, maybe we shouldn’t have a group of pornographers come play for us.” A few fans contacted Newman expressing outrage on his behalf, but he’s pretty sanguine about the whole affair. “How outraged can you really get about a rock concert?” he asks. “It’s not like it was the BP oil spill or anything.”
synth-pop tracks like ‘Love Missile F1-11’ - or for that matter, incorporating neon-coloured Mohawks into their style. I ask if they’ve been investing in vintage synths and sequencers? “Nah,” Newman replies, “you can do all that stuff with plug-ins, right? … I think I’ll go ahead and do it that way. Why make your life more difficult?” Neko Case’s commitments as a solo artist mean that she’s sometimes required to sit out The New Pornographers’ live shows, with singer Kathryn Calder filling in for her; but Newman assures me that the full band will be present on their next trip to Australia. “I think it’s the same people that came last time,” he says. “Neko said she’s coming, so as far as I’m concerned, Neko’s coming. She always talks about how much she likes Australia.” I tell him she has every reason to like us; we really are lovely people down here. “It’s true,” he affirms. What: Together is out now on Matador/Remote Control With: Little Scout Where: Manning Bar, Sydney University When: Wednesday November 10
The New Pornographers’ ranks are notoriously stuffed with indie rock talent. In addition to A.C. Newman, who has a flourishing solo career of his own, the line-up includes Dan Bejar (who records under the name Destroyer), Todd Facey (who’s written music for TV shows like The Office and Caprica), Kurt Dahle (who played drums on Chris ‘Death Cab’ Walla’s solo album) and Neko Case, who’s famous for being, well, Neko Case. Rather than something they have to work at though, the band is something of an escape for a lot of its members. “We’ve always been, in our way, a very part-time band,” Newman explains. “For other people who have their other careers, it’s nice. Take Neko for example – she has her solo career where she’s the one in charge and making the decisions, so she likes playing with us because it’s like taking a little bit of a break... She doesn’t have to think about things as much.”
“There’s an inverse correlation between how I’m feeling in life, and the kinds of records I make... The idea of a happy band making happy music just seems a bit braindamaged to me.” The most recent New Pornographers’ album, Together, sounds a lot more upbeat than their previous effort, Challengers. The lead single was ‘Your Hands (Together)’, a fist-pumping, feel-good song with a video that chronicled a karate class. The Dap-Kings, the virtuosic horn players who worked with Amy Winehouse on Back To B lack, add some of their distinctive colour to the album mix too, along with Beirut’s Zach Condon. But as Newman tells it, the overall cheerful tone of the album doesn’t necessarily reflect how he was feeling at the time. “You know, when we were working on Together, I did consciously want to make a more upbeat record,” he says, “but for me, there’s an inverse correlation between how I’m feeling in life, and the kinds of records I make. The happiest records I make are when I’m miserable, because when I’m miserable I feel like I’m fighting against being depressed, so I want to make happy music. When I’m happier, I just find myself wanting to be a bit more contemplative. “I think it comes down to the fact that the idea of a happy person making happy music just seems slightly brain-damaged to me,” he muses. “That formula doesn’t work necessarily. It’s funny, because people talk about Challengers as a dark record, but it wasn’t really a dark time in my life at all.” This talk of song-writing leads me to Dan Bejar’s Destroyer side-project. Though mainly an indie rock concern, the last Destroyer release, Bay Of Pigs, saw Bejar flirting with what he described as “ambient disco” sounds. It was pretty bizarre stuff - I ask Newman if Bejar has ever tried to inject some of that into The New Pornographers. “No, he’s never tried to slip disco into our band,” Newman laughs. “I have been thinking, though, that I want our next record to sound more like Sigue Sigue Sputnik. That’s what I’m shooting for. I’ll maybe have some Silver Apples in there, too...” I’m pretty sure Newman is fucking with me here; it’s kinda hard to imagine The New Pornographers emulating brash, suggestive BRAG :: 387 :: 08:11:10 :: 29
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brushstrokes WITH LACHIE
this piece (pictured – except, thanks to print, you can’t see the beautiful pink/yellow/brown colour palette). Tell us about this print! 19th century American poet and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes Snr. wrote this quote. (This particular one comes from The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, which is full of so many inspiring quotes.) I chose this particular one because it sums up my life philosophy. It’s better to live a life that’s moving, whether that be forward or even backwards, than to be sitting still doing nothing at all. What is your background/training as an artist? I grew up in the bayside suburbs of Brisbane surrounded by farmland and the bay, which led to a lot of exploring as a kid. My mum’s side of the family all have the artistic gene so I guess picked it up along the way. I could never master painting so I went down the graphic design road and studied that six years ago. Ever since then I’ve been doing the freelance thing, with stints in between working for different companies so I could get regular pay.
o Font Ur Self* Chapter 6 kicks off this Wednesday at a brand new home – Roller, in Surry Hills – but with the same tasty mix of type-based art and Kirin. When it travels up to Brisbane two weeks later, GFUS will be hosted by Nine Lives Gallery, which was founded by Lachie Goldsworthy (and eightor-so other people) in 2008, and has since hosted some of the best street and low brow artists from home and abroad. Lachie is also making his GFUS debut on Wednesday, with
Any particular mentors and/or inspirations? My dad, who taught me the value of hard work; my wife, who has taught me to see value in things, through different eyes at times; Luke Norris (Director of Tuhi Creative) - my first boss in the creative industry and a close friend, who taught me how to properly run a design business and deal with clients; Matt Rabbidge & Sam Beck (Directors of Alps Media) - both have taught me a lot about persisting at what you want to achieve.
What are some key formative experiences for you, creatively? Working with the girls from Duke magazine a few years back on a spread - I got to collaborate with Ms Fitz, who styled an incredible shoot that Thom Kerr shot of Tallulah Morton. That definitely got my work out to a wider audience early in my career, and lead to similar projects. More recently, being involved with Nine Lives - seeing some of the art that we have had the pleasure of exhibiting blows my mind, and being able to take bits of inspiration from different artists here and there definitely helps in shaping my work. What is Era Culprits? Era Culprits started as a daily blog way back, but I canned the blog cause I got over it. After that it sort of turned into an alias I did all my experimental creative work under. So I suppose it could be classed as an ongoing project. What’s your camera/lens of choice at the moment? I have a few that I use, but my favorites are my Olympus Pen-EE, Olympus Trip 35, Russian Cmeha 35 and a Samsung Vega 140S Panoramic. What: Go Font Ur Self* Chapter 6 When: Opens November 10, from 6pm Where: Roller / 6 Lacey St, Surry Hills (entrance through Kippax St) More: gofonturself.com.au
It turns out, the best things in life don’t come free; they kinda need rent, lighting, functioning amenities… And so it goes: Firstdraft Gallery are holding their annual fundraiser this weekend, and there’s three key ways you can support: firstly, if you’re creative, you can submit an original artwork or photograph on paper, to be exhibited (and ideally sold) on November 13, as part of a festive soiree; secondly, those talentless amongst us can buy one of these concoctions; thirdly, if you’re reading this, then you can share your newfound knowledge with a friend or ten. This is not ‘Nam however, and there are rules – so head to firstdraftgallery.com for the details. Deadline for submissions is November 11.
Simon Greiner's Black-Backed Jakal
LIVEWORKS @ P-SPACE
Performance Space are taking over CarriageWorks this week for their Liveworks festival, a collection of fast and furious performance, installations and art, featuring the 'who’s who' of Sydney’s creative troublemakers, including partymakers Team MESS (Killing Don), Brown Council, Brigid Jackson, the Roarawar Feartata Collective, and the fellas from I Can Draw You A Picture, who are bringing their post-apocalyptic zine-making workshop to P-Space, after giving so much joy to so many hands and hearts at Underbelly Arts Festival. Our curiosity is particularly piqued by Talya Rubin’s intriguing multimedia performance work Of The Causes of Wonderful Things, featuring Zoe Coombs Marr (post) and Hayley Forward (Parachutes for Ladies)… it involves photo negatives, dioramas, and disappearing children. Oh my. Liveworks runs from Thursday November 11 – Sunday November 14 at CarriageWorks, and tickets are available for single days or the entire festival. We have one double pass up for grabs to Thursday’s program; to get your hands on it, tell us one other act or performer participating in Liveworks 2010. performancespace.com.au Vamp, Lauren La Rouge, Briana Bluebell, and Baby Blue Bergmann, relative newcomer Lucille Spielfuchs, and recent winner of the Miss Burlesque competition, Rita Fontaine. Popping their 34B cherry are Ladykillers inc., an intriguing double-act that mixes puppetry, fluid dance poise and wild rock attitude. So put Saturday November 27 in your diary, and head along to tenderloins. com.au to reserve the best seats in the house…
BEST OF PLAYTIME
We remember when Playtime was just a glint in Dan Chin’s eye; six months later it’s going strong. Held monthly as part of The Wall night at World Bar, and presented by Actors Anonymous, Playtime is a “tapas” of short plays, held in the Club Room (beer and theatre = awesome), and sprinkled with olive oil and minced garlic. Coming up on Wednesday November 17 is a special celebration of the Best of Playtime - World Bar Club Room (24 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross) from 7.30pm. $10 entry for 8 short plays. Bam. www.theworldbar.com
CAPTURE THE FADE EXHIBITION
Our favourite cultural journal, Ampersand Magazine, have announced the winners of their inaugural photography competition, Capture The Fade. With Bill Henson as the judge, every amateur with a camera (as we predicted) entered – and so did professional locals like Ingvar Kenne and Sergei Sviatchenko (both of whom made Henson’s cut). Other names we recognised were Lucy Parakhina and Sam Hawker – but don’t take our word for it, head to ampersandmagazine.com.au for the full line-up, and images from finalits and runners-up. Winning photos will be shown in the Capture The Fade exhibition, opening Wednesday November 17 at Paper Mill.
Our dear friends at kluster (.com.au) are throwing a party, and you should probably go. State Of The Art is all about cross-creative-pollination, featuring the local newbies Border Thieves and DJs, along with live illustration by Thomas Jackson, Mia Taninaka, Helen Mycroft and Brent Smith – with projection art by Punk Monk Propaganda. There’ll be drinks, giveaways, silent auctions and a whole heap of good-looking people talking about how they’d never even heard of The Helen RoseSchausberger Laboratorium before they read that bit in The Brag. It’s being held there on November 12 from 7.30pm, and the afterparty is LO-FI (above Kinselas in Taylor Sq). kluster.com.au
Launching this week at Firstdraft, Double Glazed is an exhibition of words and art put together by 32 :: BRAG :: 387 :: 08:11:10
the ladies of Even Books – so naturally, you can expect some kind of booze-soaked debauchery, in the name of ‘art’. Angela & Alice have assembled a mouth-watering line-up of writers and artists, who will pair off and create sweet art magic, riffing off each other’s cues – all around the theme of twins/ doppelgangers. If we understand this correctly, it’s some kind of seriously epic, spiralling feedbackloop of cross-pollinated creativity. All culminating in a twin-themed party – of course! Artists include Rinzen’s Karl Maier, photographer Cybele Malinowski, Beefknuckles’ Bryn DesmondJones and pint-sized muso Sui Zhen. Writers include food blogger extraordinaire Lee Tran Lam and playwright Caleb Lewis. On opening night, this Wednesday November 10, head along to Firstdraft at 6pm, and be ready for mirrors, dressed-up doubles, being tied to a stranger, screenings of films and more. Head to evenbooks. tumblr.com for more.
BIG IN JAPAN
Building on the success of the Kirin ‘Big in Japan’ exhibition last year, ksubi are back in the curatorial seat for 2010, presenting an avant-garde selection of artists from all corners of Japan working across multiple mediums including performance, video, music, noise and installation. Kirin ‘Big in Japan’ Sydney will take place on Tuesday 16 November 2010 at The Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park – which suggests a veritable wonderland of poptastic goodness. The artist line-up this year includes music from instrumental krautrock girl group Nisennenmondai, and Kyoto’s Shabushabu and LakilakiwasMaho+ThaiDisco; fashion from acclaimed designer/artist Yoshikazu Yamagata (writtenafterwards), and sculptural surrealism from Yasushiro Suzuki… and heaps more. To get a taste of what you’re in for, head to biginjapan.com.au, the project’s blog.
The Burlesque event of the year is upon us as 34B Burlesque turns 5 – and enters The Golden Age; so come shine like a star of the silver screen, and be beguiled by international burlesque stars, captivating carnival curios, daring divas and hilarious comic artistes. This is a who’s who of the burlesque (under)world; the show that every burlesque star wants to be a part of (but can’t be, coz let’s face it, that would be the longest show ever…) Making the cut, however, are regular 34B beauties Lulu, Tasia, Lola the
CURVY MUSCLES UP
Sydney spawned Curvy back in 2003 as an annual exhibition series and book launch; a platform to foster the latest in creative talent from the better half of society. (Women.) Since then it’s gone all global on us, featuring work by creative ladies from Paris to Serbia, from London to Malta - and this year, the dudes want in on the action. In addition to a new website and a new conference, the Curvy team are launching a brand new book. The Curvy 7 tome (curated by Fafi and Colette Paris’ Sarah Lerfel) will be joined by Muscle Up – an art book curated by Jeremyville, and full of impressive dudes proving their worth against the ladies. Curvy 7 is being launched at LO-FI Collective on November 18, with live art installations by Fafi, Rilla and others; the following night at LO-FI sees the launch of Muscle Up, where the guys will be adding their own stuff over the top of it. There’s also a ‘Creative Conference’, with panels, presentations and over 20 pop-up shops created on site by people like Natalie Wood, Elke Kramer, Lula Magazine, Outre Gallery and Collette Paris. Huge. November 19 & 20 at Parkside Auditorium, Darling Harbour.
Teen Heroines battle Meth Monsters in Debra Granik’s sophomore feature. By Alice Hart
Jennifer Lawrence (centre) stars as Ree Dolly in Winter's Bone
arlier this year, in one of their ‘Summer Movies’ editorials, the New York Times singled out Debra Granik as a ‘Director Ever in Search of Survivors’, profiling her as a champion of working class women on the basis of just two films. Much as you might expect a director to bristle at this kind of pigeonholing, Granik embraces it. When I speak to her, the 47-year-old director is in Sydney promoting her sophomore feature, Winter’s Bone - a thriller set in the methcooking culture of Missouri’s Ozark highlands. While Granik herself comes from a relatively affluent, patrician background, she inherited the liberal-left politics of her parents, and her trajectory as a filmmaker has been tied to the democratic, feminist and trade union movements. As such, she’s almost at the opposite end of the spectrum from the white middle class dramas of Nicole Holofcener (Friends With Money, Please Give) and Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg). “I was talking to a woman who produces films in the States, and she said ‘Well you’ve done two things that are working class’ – as though it was some kind of statistic – ‘don’t you think it’s time to do something in the upper class?’ And I said, ‘You know, that’s the only area that really doesn’t interest me!’ I meant, that’s been so covered; there’s a whole industry that works on the lives of the affluent; that’s been shoved
down my throat since I was born. It’s 270 million people [in America], and a really small percentage of the people in that sprawling, vast nation have their lives depicted in all the TV that’s spread all around the world – it really is the ultimate propaganda.” Instead, Granik has always found herself drawn to the underdog. “I love scrappy survivors,” she admits. “You’re not sure how they’re doing it, but it does always fill me with a sense of admiration, or a kind of awe.” Whereas her debut, Down To The Bone, was based on documentary research of a real-life drug addict, Winter’s Bone is based on the novel by Missouri writer Daniel Woodrell. At the centre of both films, however, are strong, self-sufficient women: a coke addict struggling to balance work, two kids and a string of unreliable partners; and a teenager on a mission to find her missing father, before the family home is repossessed. Another filmmaker might have turned Woodrell’s novel, infused as it is with Gothic fairytales, and the primal force of ancient myth, into Twin Peaks; however Granik’s background in documentary filmmaking predisposed her towards authenticity. As part of her research, she went to great lengths to capture the details and rhythms of life in the Ozarks, spending extensive tracts of time getting to know the residents, even documenting their day-to-day routines. She met with resistance from locals
who were very reluctant to see another film made about the ‘drug problem’, or anything that perpetuated the cultural stereotypes that films like Deliverance built up around ‘hillbilly’ mountain folk. Ultimately, however, it was 17-year-old heroine Ree Dolly that drew Granik to Woodrell’s story, which she and her writing partner Anne Rosselini singled out amongst a flood of scripts that poured in after Down To the Bone won the Special Jury Prize and Director’s Prize at Sundance in 2004. “We didn’t read one ‘intact’ person who was female: either they were overcoming something very traumatic that had been done to them in their childhood – done to them – or they were psychologically very unstable – or it was a story that was considered compelling because it involved representing really gnarly parts of women’s history… What killed me was that there were so few roles for women that were multifaceted and intact,” the director recalls. “[Daniel] was drawing that kind of heroine, and maybe I’m a sucker for that. Ree had all these characteristics that I found inspiring; I was like ‘Where does she get that resolve? Why doesn’t she feel defeated? Why doesn’t she give up? And those are exactly the questions that make me want to follow a story.” Even as she moves up the filmmaking ‘food chain’, and despite her passion for what are essentially feel good, ‘triumphant heroine’
tales, Granik still sees a lot of room for political choices in the films she makes. “The choice of subject matter is inherently political – the idea that a bunch of independent filmmakers are pushing hard and saying ‘the lives of everyday people are worth covering’ – that’s political. And I do think there are still huge inroads to be made into the portrayal of women on screen – as our year of reading scripts proved.” Given her political sensibilities, I ask Granik how she will continue to manage making uncompromising films about the underbelly of America, while reaching an audience beyond Sundance. “To make any small change at all, you do have to reach a larger audience, the films do need to be accessible,” the director agrees. “One way is finding settings that are democratic and accessible – trying to find a way to put an amazing story into a football arena, or a baseball arena… Back in the day, the movement to have girls play sports 'officially' was political, so to have Tatum O’Neal play a batter [in The Bad News Bears, 1976] – that’s an example of the mainstream incorporating an agenda that came out of the women’s movement! For me, a political act is to put as many tomboys up on screen as humanly possible in my lifetime.” What: Winter’s Bone When: Opens November 11
E AY W A
efore Bobby Brown made it his prerogative to do as he pleases, and before Johnny Gill hit ‘The Floor’ in the mid-90s New-Jack Swing hit of the same name, the two of them were part of the teenage R&B sensations New Edition. Put together by Maurice Starr, the same man who created and steered the New Kids On The Block to fame (NKOTB were created as a ‘white’ version of the group), New Edition set teenage hearts afire (before Brown took the whole ‘fame’ thing to a new level).
Win New Edition double passes
Gill and Brown are joined by original New Edition, Ralph ‘Money Can’t Buy You Love’ Tresvant, for their Australian tour, which will feature New Edition songs, Bobby Brown hits and, let’s face it, ‘The Floor’. It all happens December 18 at The Enmore. If you wanna get your New-Jack Swing on the week before Christmas, we have two double passes up for grabs. To get your hands on one, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of New Edition’s 1996 comeback album. BRAG :: 387 :: 08:11:10 :: 33
Angela’s Kitchen [THEATRE] Front-row seats at a family feast. By Holly Orkin
aul Capsis is often described as one of Australia’s best divas. He broke into the mainstream consciousness in 1998, playing a young Greek-Australian transvestite in Ana Kokkinos’ Head On, and his 25-year career in theatre and cabaret has earned him two Helpmann Awards, among other accolades. Next year you can catch him at Sydney Theatre Company, where he takes the lead in Brecht’s Threepenny Opera; in the meantime, he is closing off Griffin Theatre Company’s 2010 season with a very special, highly personal one-woman show: Angela’s Kitchen.
Capsis describes the experience of performing this show as vulnerable, especially compared to his theatre and cabaret work: “A certain amount of it is removed from you because it’s a character or whatever, but with this I'm completely vulnerable, you know? There’s no safety net!” In fact, he might not have ventured in this direction without the influence of director Julian Meyrick (October, Griffin 2007). “Julian approached me about doing this play “It’s just me, a cupboard and a table,” Capsis about 18 months ago, so it was his idea. explains – “there are no helicopters or He just thought it would be good for me to explosions, it’s back to the basics of what do something about her and about Malta. theatre used to be, intimate storytelling.” The There’s no way I would of thought to do it show takes its name from his grandmother, without him because I don’t see myself as who moved from Malta to Surry Hills in the a writer, I see myself as an interpreter of 1940s. “It’s a break away from what I usually songs and a performer. So it took someone do, which is sing. It’s about my relationship like Julian; I have a very long history with him and Paul Capsis in Angela's Kitchen he had actually met my grandmother.”
Dangerboy and Ivy Ireland in Alchemical Cabaret
[THEATRE] The Bizarre and the Beautiful meet at Peats Ridge Festival. By Barlow Redfearn
Nevertheless: under his ‘Dangerboy’ moniker, Hodgson is part of the massive line-up of arts and performance at this year’s Peats Ridge Festival - none of which will appeal more to our inherent fascination with danger than his Alchemical Cabaret. Performing within the Boudoir De La Fox theatre space, Dangerboy and his glamorous assistant, Ivy Ireland, are a throwback to another era; a time of travelling carnivals, sideshow alleys, freakshows, and circus cabaret. “With the work we do, walking on glass, bed of nails etcetera, it’s very easy to go for the grotesque,” says Hodgson, “so our challenge, creatively, is to find the beauty in [each trick], so we can differentiate ourselves from others in the field. Our routines have the risk element and the grotesque element inherent within the feat - but how do you make that beautiful?” Adam Bull Amber Scottuse andofNoah Through the intelligent musicGumbert and Molto Vivace theming, Alchemical Cabaret isn’t simply a
freakshow of death-defying stunts but more an experiment in the juxtaposition of beauty and the grotesque, traversing disparate art forms - from bardic harp poetry to glass walking; shadow puppetry to razorblade swallowing. “It’s too easy to shock, it’s not very difficult with what we do,” says Hodgson. "If we were to go in that direction, then we’d feel like we haven’t contributed anything new to the art. Incorporating a baroque style helps us; just performing the trick isn’t enough.” At this year’s festival, Alchemical Cabaret will feature two pioneering, world-first routines. The first is a standard bed of nails routine with a tap-dancing twist; the second is a mind-boggling two-person razorblade oral-manipulation act, that involves Dangerboy and Ivy swallowing and regurgitating razorblades. It plays out a little something like this: he swallows five sharpened blades; she swallows three; the two kiss. As they pull away from each other, the eight razorblades are revealed neatly tied to a piece of string dangling between the two performers. “I’ve got no special talent and no genetic advantage. All the things I do can be performed by anyone with the right training and a lot of time on their hands,” Hodgson demurs, modestly. If it’s all right with you, Dangerboy, we’ll just watch.
[DANCE] Three pieces, two birds, one night at the ballet...
Harbour joined the Australian Ballet when he was 19, and danced with the company for 11 years, during which he caught the creative bug through working with choreographers who were commissioned to create new works. In 2005, at 30 years old, Harbour premiered his first piece, as part of the Bodytorque series. Five years later, and having recently retired from dancing to pursue choreography exclusively, Harbour is making his main stage debut, with a piece inspired by the Greek myth of Halcyon and her mortal lover Ceyx, who anger the gods by mimicking them, and are turned into birds. With the story’s potential for strong imagery, Harbour had a clear vision of how he wanted the production to look, even before he started work with the dancers. “There are these key things that happen, so the real challenge was to boil down those elements and condense them into something that can be related in 25 minutes.” 34 :: BRAG :: 387:: 08:11:10
What: Angela’s Kitchen by Paul Capsis & Julian Meyrick, Dir. Julian Meyrick Where: SBW Stables Theatre 10 Nimrod St, Darlinghurst
What: Alchemical Cabaret When: December 29 - January 1 Where: Peats Ridge Sustainable Arts & Music Festival, Glenworth Valley (NSW) More: peatsridgefestival.com.au
Edge of Night ince its inception in 1962, the Australian Ballet has been dedicated to both its heritage, and its horizons. The last 18 months have been no exception, with works ranging from the original Fokine ballet Petrouchka, to Graeme Murphy’s reworkings of The Nutracker and Firebird, and the bi-annual Bodytorque showcase for emerging choreographers. And sometimes, the old and the new collide on the one bill, as is the case with Edge of Night, a triple bill performance involving two existing works by resident choreographer Stephen Baynes, and a new piece by young dancer-turned-choreographer Tim Harbour.
Particularly poignant for Capsis is the interaction between his Maltese heritage and the family of theatre folk he’s built around him over the past 25 years. “At my age, and where I’m at the moment, my family is the theatre and those people are my family. It’s one thing to tell your own story, but it’s another to learn it as dialogue and repeat it and rework it; if it wasn’t for these [theatre] people I wouldn’t have gone there. It’s interesting because I don’t have any children, and that's odd in Maltese culture, you know - children are everything. So this play, it almost feels like I’m telling my story to my children, to my other family, so that they understand too.”
When: November 10 – December 18 More: griffintheatre.com.au
By Collette Swindles Madeleine Eastoe and Ty King-Wall in Halcyon
While Baynes’ pieces Molto Vivace (2003) and At the Edge of Night (1997) use music from Handel and Rachmaninov respectively, Harbour collaborated with composer Gerard Brophy to create a unique score for this piece. “I tried not to be too prescriptive with Gerard,” Harbour says. “He is an artist in his own right. I just talked to him about the concept of the story - six dramatic scenes - and tried to clarify the detail for him. Basically he took away those six different moments and created six musical scenes.” The result fuses electronic soundscapes and orchestral writing to create an evocative soundtrack, which directly influenced the choreography Harbour and his dancers had already accomplished. Apart from the prestige of a main stage debut, Harbour feels thrilled to have worked with a team of top-notch creatives who all embraced his ideas passionately. “That is what has set this creative process apart from anything else I have done before,” he says. “I have always sort of felt like I was on my own, but now I feel like I have been able to collect a team, [and] the more ideas and information I have fed out to everyone, the more they have given me back.” What: Edge of Night When: November 11 - 29 Where: Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House More: australianballet.com.au
Edge Of Night photo by Jeff Busby
ason Hodgson (a.k.a. Dangerboy) swallows razorblades. And even after meeting him, and finding him to be articulate and civil, I still think anyone who swallows sinister objects in the name of entertainment is absolutely mad. Coming from a long line of Sydney suburbanites, Hodgson abandoned all notions of a conventional career after being introduced to the fine art of fire-twirling at the age of 19. “At school I was good at visual arts but I always chose subjects that [I thought] would get me by in the real world,” says Hodgson. “If 15 years ago people had said you’re going to end up being a carny, I would’ve laughed and said, no way.”
and bond with my grandmother and her home country, Malta. Also what life was like for her in Malta and coming to Australia; her philosophies and her ideas about life.”
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Film & Theatre Reviews
At the heart of the arts Where you went last week.
What's hot on the silver screen and the bareboards around town.
IT’S RHYS DARBY NIGHT October 27 & 28 / Enmore Theatre
PICS :: TL
Having one great character define you is a trap that many performers fall into. As Flight Of The Conchords’ star Rhys Darby entered the stage at the Enmore Theatre dressed as a New Zealand park ranger, it was a clear signal that he will successfully avoid the ‘Murray’ tag that would ghost the career of a lesser comedian. ‘Bill’ the park ranger hits early, with a long-winded but hilarious tale about how he gave Darby his first gig, before taking over the role of warm-up guy/stage manager. He then introduced support act Chris Brain, whose stock in trade seems to be self-deprecating New Zealander jokes, ‘Tasmania’s-shitinnit?’ style gags, stoner comedy and profanity. The audience was suitably entertained, although an over-played oral sex joke to end of the set left things hanging on an awkward note. Never mind.
28:10:10 :: Lo-Fi Collective :: L3, 383 Bourke St Darlinghurst 93113100
After a brief respite Rhys is back, this time as Rhys, which seems to be the skin he is most comfortable in. Much like Ricky Gervais’ Fame routine, Darby’s set revolves around his newly-found celebrity, such as the trials of going undercover when ordering pineapple fritters from the local takeaway, and trying to hold his own around Dr. Dré and his posse (during the recent filming of a Hewlett Packard commercial). The stories flowed easily, with the kind of seamless segues that suggest a seasoned comic is at play. Darby is known for his physical comedy, but save for an impressive robot impersonation that no words can aptly do justice to, we were spared an Umbical Brothers-type routine, thank Christ. The major flaw of Darby’s live show is the use of profanity to gain an easy laugh. Granted, he rarely relies on it, but when he does, it’s a notable concession; the only in a wellthought out, entertaining show. Nathan Jolly ■ Film
the loved ones premiere 27:10:10 :: Cargo Bar :: 52-60 The Promenade King Street Wharf 92621777
Arts Exposed What's on our calendar...
GO FONT UR SELF* CHAPTER 6 Wednesday November 10, from 6-9pm Roller / 6 Lacey St, Surry Hills (off Kippax St) If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Go Font Ur Self, it’s that the line-up speaks for itself (not to mention, you know, the name). Nevertheless, we’ll sally forth: the sixth chapter of this typographic arts series drops this week and the line-up is huge: tattooist extraordinaire Mike Giant (USA), Amsterdam underground’s Parra, LA surrealist Travis Millard, illustrator Rick Berkelmans (aka Hedof), Brisbane graf maverick Sofles... And thankfully, GFUS has moved to a bigger (and brand-spanking new) venue meaning more room to hunt art and throw back some Kirin. MIKE GIANT / PARRA / TRAVIS MILLARD / HEDOF / LUKE LUCAS / OZZIE WRIGHT / SOFLES / BONES / SIGGI EGGERTSSON / WELL DRESSED VANDALS / LACHIE GOLDSWORTHY / JOHN SIDDLE ARTWORK BY HEDOF 36 :: BRAG :: 386 :: 01:11:10
PICS :: AM
Opens November 11
For his sophomore film, Dutch director Anton Corbijn (Control) gives us a slowpaced Euro-thriller, adapted from Martin Booth’s novel A Very Private Gentleman. The central character has been changed from British to American, with George Clooney cast against type. Filmed largely in the stunning Abruzzo region of Italy, The American is visually impressive, but light on substance. Jack (Clooney) is a hitman/gunsmith who begins the film in Sweden, where he commits an act of violence that will haunt him throughout the rest of the film. Escaping to Italy, he hides out in a small countryside town and takes on a new assignment for a mysterious client (Thekla Teuten, In Bruges). The town’s elderly priest quickly sizes Jack up as someone whose soul is in torment, and tries to befriend him; Jack is more interested in getting to know Clara (Violente Placido), a beautiful and vivacious local prostitute. However the quaint old town is full of dark, cobbled, maze-like alleyways and Jack, who is unable to escape his past, is constantly on guard for enemies lurking in the shadows.
videos, Corbijn certainly knows how to make a visually engaging film - but he hasn’t quite learned how to tell a good story yet. Beth Wilson ■ Theatre
TRUE WEST Until December 18 / Wharf 1 Academy Award-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman notoriously did a five month run of Sam Shepard’s iconic play in 2000, during which he and co-star John C. Reilly alternated between the roles. Ten years later, Hoffman brings his own version to Sydney Theatre Company (where he directed Andrew Upton’s Riflemind in 2007), with Brendan Cowell and Wayne Blair in the lead roles. With this kind of pedigree, and a director who has the advantage of both intimacy and perspective with the material, you’re looking at a ‘sure thing’; in fact, the only real surprise (for me, anyway) was how funny the writing becomes once lifted off the page – something that that the two leads revel in, with generous helpings of physical comedy. Set in the suburbs of Los Angeles, True West is a duel between brothers Austin and Lee – the former a wannabe screenwriter, the latter a petty thief and booze-soaked hustler. When Lee drops in on Austin, and tries to co-opt his younger brother’s life, the two slowly undergo an inversion of identity: Lee becomes convinced he can write a better screenplay than Austin, and Austin slips into resentful, alcoholic obsolescence. This simple narrative trajectory is interlaced with themes of authenticity, artifice and identity, but takes its real meat from the inherent potential for drama and humour when you put two brothers (who are both opposite and in opposition to each other) in the one room, with the understanding that only one will survive. Cowell and Blair embody their parts from head to toe – the former a picture of increasingly-frustrated middle class domesticity, the latter moving with almost feral animalism; at one point Blair assaults a typewriter with the dumb fury of someone who has been called stupid their whole life. Over the course of the play deals are made and broken, personal space is encroached upon and then usurped, and their mother’s carefully kept, blandly decorated living room deteriorates into an ash-stained, booze-soaked battleground, littered with empty bottles and cans, discarded clothes and dying plants. Any intimations of naturalism that the set may have initially given are belied by the jangling rock-n-roll inter-scene soundtrack, conspicuous stage hands, and lines that are drawn from life, yes, but delivered like jazz. This is real life, held in a head-lock by art, and the result is gripping. Dee Jefferson Alan Dukes, Wayne Blair & Brendan Cowell.
Clooney, rightly or wrongly, is associated with characters that are charismatic and amiable. Jack, on the other hand, is solemn and cold; too hard a character to care about, not because of his immoral choices but because we find out so little about him during the course of the film. The American suffers from being too earnest and relying on a heavy amount of visual symbolism, struggling to find a suitable way to express the film’s message without banging the audience over the head with it. Corbijn’s lack of subtlety as a filmmaker means that when he does make smart choices he is unable to do so without pointing it out to his audience, spoiling the magic somewhat. Coming from the world of photography and music
See www.thebrag.com for more arts reviews
What's been on our TV screens this week Two of this week's best releases (aka Madman does it again)
I Am Love
Madman Entertainment Released November 10. Set at the turn of this millennium, Luca Guadagnino’s sweeping romance stakes out its territory within three generations of the Recchi family, one of Milan’s largest textile producers. As the film opens, family patriarch Edoardo bestows his company upon his son Tancredi, and Tancredi’s son Edo. Meanwhile, the women of the family look on, expected to embody beauty, grace and discretion – a part that Tancredi’s wife (and Edo’s mother) Emma (Tilda Swinton) has been doing for many years; however, even as the family celebrates, a chance meeting between Emma and her son’s new friend, Antonio (a chef) sets in motion a chain of events and emotions that signal the decay of an aristocratic way of life. There are no great surprises in this film plotwise; instead, it’s a magnificent tale of female awakening, simmering with passion (rather than ever boiling over). At its most racy, the film depicts Antonio and Emma’s sexual encounter, naked in the grass, by way of extreme close-ups of sunlight playing on their intertwined bodies, intercut with images of their natural surrounds – impressionistic rather than explicit. Swinton is exceptional. In every shot of her you feel how much she truly is Guadagnino’s muse. Even the clothes, created by Jil Sanders, Raf Simons and Fendi, seem to worship her body. The final ingredient in Guadagnino’s perfect dish is a nervy but exhilarating soundtrack by American avant-garde composer John Adams. Swinton has described I Am Love as “Visconti on acid” – and the stylistic homages to both Visconti and Antonioni are fairly well acknowledged. This disc’s audio commentary by the director and his leading lady elaborates on these inspirations, and the nature of their creative collaboration. Dee Jefferson
Madman Entertainment Released November 10. Earlier this year, two indie rom-coms opened in cinemas on the same day: one was I Love You Too, starring Brendan Cowell and Peter Helliar; the other was Soul Kitchen. Both are about emotionally-retarded 30-something boofhead men who need to get their shit together, in life, love and work. One film is utterly charming, the other is completely charm-less. The difference isn’t budget or big-name actors, it’s just a good script and a talented director. Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin broke onto the international scene in 2004 with Head-On, which won the Golden Bear and the FIPRESCI prize at Berlin Film Festival. At home, however, he was already established as part of Germany’s new generation of filmmakers, with three features under his built each demonstrating his knack for twisting genre conventions to fit the realities of life and love in grungy multicultural Hamburg. After making the ambitious, award-winning Edge of Heaven in 2007, Akin returned to his rom-com roots, with this comedy about two brothers – Zinos (played by Akin’s friend and long-time muse Adam Bousdoukos), a struggling restaurant owner, and Illias (played by Moritz Bleibtreu), Hamburg’s “King of Thieves” – both trying to keep their heads above water in life and love. Birol Ünel plays a temperamental chef who is hired to vamp up the cuisine, and sets in motion a chain of events that transform it from a dingy suburban eatery into a throbbing hub for good music, good food and good people: Soul Kitchen. This film won’t set the world on fire, but it’s charming fun. A decent making-of featurette will also appeal to aspiring filmmakers of the lowbudget variety. Dee Jefferson
Street Level With Kelly Doley from Brown Council
rom Thursday November 11 – Sunday November 14, Performance Space are taking over CarriageWorks with Liveworks - a festival of performance and installations by over 20 groups and artists, including local heroes Diana Smith, Kelly Doley, Kate Blackmore, and Frances Barrett aka Brown Council. How did Brown Council form? We met in 2005 through the COFA Drama Club, which was twelve or so kids trying out performance ideas at clubs and pubs. When it eventually disbanded, the four of us were left and we decided to continue working together. Kate and Di studied Time Based Art, Fran completed her Honours in Performance and Art Theory and I am doing my Masters in Painting. Together we each bring a wellrounded portfolio to the Council chambers. What are your typical inspirations? It always starts with a conversation. Often we begin by making lists of things we like (or hate) or brainstorming around a particular theme. Primarily, works come out of personal experience, or something we want to talk about collectively.
Tell us about A Comedy! Primarily inspired by offensive stand-up comedians and the genius of Andy Kaufman, A Comedy prods around at the thresholds of how far we will go for a laugh, and what we are willing to inflict on others. Since Nextwave, A Comedy has developed from a one-hour number to a four-hour endurance spectacle where comedic genres are performed non-stop by all of us. Expect endless cream pies, tomato throwing, bad stand-up, dancing monkeys, shit, giggles, pity and laughter. It is a great night out. Actually, take a date – you’ll have a riot. Who are your collaborators for this piece? Alia Parker did the costumes; Fred Rodrigues did the sound and sourced amazing, clichéd comedy sound effects that feature heavily in the show, like farts and whistles. Julie Ann Long, a Sydney dance/performance-maker who deals with the grotesque and the ugly in playful ways, was our outside eye on the
process. Adelaide-based director Daisy Brown was our dramaturg. And what about A Portrait…? A Portrait of Brown Council by Brown Council involves Brown Council sitting around a table in ‘work’ coveralls, talking to each other about the experience of performing A Comedy, how it went, what could be improved, as well as fielding questions from the crowd. People often wonder how collaborative groups work. By placing our collaborative practice on display, A Portrait acts as a type of ‘performance demonstration’ of an art practice that is based on conversation, shared ideas and friendship. What have been some of the formative experiences for BC? Completing a two-month residency in the back blocks of Beijing in 40-degree heat, with three single beds and one ‘bedroom’ (labelled ‘The Palace’) was definitely formative. Then there was Tibet, where we witnessed aweinspiring pit toilets, vultures dropping human scalps from the sky, and hospitalising altitude sickness. It was like extreme corporate bonding for artists. The four of us are undeniably stuck together like glue now. What: A Comedy / A Portrait... When: Fri Nov 12 (6pm, 7pm, 8pm & 9pm) / Sat Nov 13 (2-6pm) Where: CarriageWorks, Eveleigh More: performancespace.com.au BRAG :: 836 :: 01:11:10 :: 37
Album Reviews What's been crossing our ears this week...
ALBUM OF THE WEEK WARPAINT
soaked in reverb, before spiralling into this huge, trip hop beast, like Massive Attack scored for real instruments; or ‘Shadows’, which gradually builds dissonance over a loping guitar line into an anthem you never saw coming.
The Fool Rough Trade/Remote Control Everyone’s talking about the guitars with this lass-laden LA foursome, but if you really want to feel Warpaint in your gut, put it on some decent speakers and turn up the bass.
Believe it: Warpaint are The xx of 2010. And on the same label, too!
There’s so much going on in an average song that sometimes your ears don’t know where to go first; the Frusciante-inspired fretboard wails, or the new convert Stella Mozgawa beating the skins like a man twice her size. Dreamy yet insistent, blissedout yet buzzing, The Fool presents a remarkably assured sound for a band who were being pimped out by music blogs in their relative infancy. Take ‘Bees’, which starts out like a spaghetti Western
Times Fly EP Sony
Everything In Between Sub Pop/Inertia
Georgia Fair spent a while recording this in the US with Band Of Horses’ Bill Reynolds, and his influence is obvious from the get-go. From opener ‘Times Fly’, the Sydney duo revel in the effervescent, folk-infused rock which Band Of Horses thrive on - all wrapped up with a gossamer finish For ‘Marianne’, Georgia Fair steal Dave Hosking and Tim Hart of Boy & Bear for a cameo - but even the discerning listener is left none the wiser. The singers all have similar hushed, pastel voices which act as the perfect guiding light down the path of unembellished, shimmering folk. ‘Float Away’ is the longest track on Times Fly; a steady, meandering song steeped in nostalgia that kind of marries The Shins with Cloud Control. “But I will sing for the time of a happier life” seem like lyrics that were written with ink on parchment in a sepia-toned past. The gorgeous vocal harmonies that glide not just through ‘Float Away’, but the whole EP, are delightful - and in fact on par with those Controllers of Cloud. The short EP’s denouement is the spritely, stripped back ‘Paint A Picture’ - tumbling steel-string guitar, Wilson’s sonorous husk, and Riley’s affection combine to give us a song that’s as simple as it is Australian - and in a cool way, not a Crocodile Dundee way: “Gonna paint a picture and leave it out for you / won’t you come outside?" It's a polished, tender recording, but you’d expect nothing less from a producer like that. Georgia Fair are clearly a talented pair, but I’m interested to see how their live show compares - with only two pairs of hands (and none of them Reynolds’) on deck. Rach Seneviratne
No Age’s musical proposition is a very attractive one, at once trashy poppunk and inventive avant-indie. Their only weakness is that they too often approach this schizophrenia literally, like a two-pieced jigsaw. Their 2009 debut Nouns both mired you in treacly guitar ambience and slapped you over the nose with irritatingly formulaic power-pop; tricks pulled out of the bag consecutively, never quite melding to create something genuinely new and exciting.
That’s the real romance of Warpaint: in every song they save their best til last, and make it hard to believe that all those ideas were part of the same track. Masters of effect-driven manipulation, especially when it comes to voices, Warpaint ensure that even with a scant nine songs they’ll be embedded in your subconscious for a long, long time. They don’t want you to fall for them because they’re girls (although it helps); they want you to fall for them because they’re an excellent band. If all you’ve heard is ‘Undertow’, make an investment that you won’t regret. Jonno Seidler
S/T Universal Maximum Balloon is a lot of hot air and a few decent ideas, but nothing to write home to your folks about. Thanks to Dave Sitek’s TV On The Radio pedigree, his solo record is getting far more traction than it actually deserves, falling into the same trap Mark Ronson’s latest collection did; over-indulgence.
Everything In Between sees them dialing back the extremes of their dual-pronged approach - letting the two aesthetics warm to each other a bit. The guitars in ‘Glitter’ are a can of gristly earworms; the rhythm track on ‘Skinned’ sounds like a sample of a tip-kit being carefully cast down a crooked flight of stairs. ‘Valley Hump Crash’ sounds like a more sociable My Bloody Valentine, stirring some subtly complex changes in with the hazy guitars. And ‘Positive Amputation’ wraps you in a fulgent eiderdown of distortion. They’re so good when they do it like this.
For a man who comes from a band that can make something out of nothing, Sitek spends far too much time screwing around with sounds on this record and forgetting that good songs actually need solid, rather than half-imagined, riffs. The problems are evident in the opener, the snakingly sexy ‘Groove Me' which, if a bit more thought had gone into it, could be a ripper tune. As it stands (and as most of this record stands), it’s no ‘Wolf Like Me’ - and against Sitek's past work, it sounds uninspired. Yeah yeah, it’s not meant to be TVOTR, it’s different, that much is understood. But it’s also the kind of music one listens to in the vain hope that some amazing revelation is going to drop by the next verse… and it never does.
The problem is that they mistake their potent experimentalism as a cureall for some genuinely uninspiring songwriting. ‘Fever Dreaming’ stampedes into the same unrelenting and unimaginative thrashing that littered the last album, unimproved by the delightfully formless peals of guitar that force their way through the muck every second bar. ‘Depletion’ follows, with much the same approach, distinguishing itself with an off-the-cuff hook, saving the mischievous ear-candy ‘til last. ‘Chem Trails’ puns on its own effervescence with textural firecrackers.
Maximum Balloon scores points for the Who’s Who Of Indie Guests factor, but aside from Little Dragon (Gorillaz favourite collaborators) and David Byrne (who must be on every producer’s speed dial lately), none of them sound very comfortable. Karen O makes a valiant attempt with the lacking material she’s given on ‘Communion’, while Katrina Ford ends up murdering the one track that actually has massive potential - 'Young Love’. Producers would do better these days by sticking to spec, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.
Everything In Between gets closer to balancing their polarities, but No Age are still not paying their stranger tendencies enough heed.
Maybe if you blow hard enough… Jonno Seidler
Die Antwoord appear to trade in rave rap; all big hooks, bouncing ‘next level beats’ and aggressive, disdainful South African hip hop spittle. Whether you balk at this or wallow in it, it shouldn’t take long to notice that there’s something subtly awry. Whether it’s the poker-faced crunkby-numbers of the production, or MC Ninja’s first earnest address to the listener (“Used to be a no-one, now I’m the fuckin’ man, with this fuckin’ money to say fuck you ‘cos I can”), it should slowly dawn on you that they might just be taking the piss. But are they? I mean, it’s all so stern-faced… At this point, you should take yourself over to the nearest interweb, and type the words ‘Zef Side’ into YouTube. Zef is a subculture in South Africa that takes its name from one of the favoured lower-class cars of choice. The culture resembles a collision of self-aggrandising, wealth-obsessed hip hop culture and straight-up white trash. By the time you get to the slow-mo close up of Ninja’s Pink Floyd shorts, it should be clear that everything this band says and does is to be taken with a Ford Zephyr-load of salt. It is a joke, but an elaborate and intricate one. It’s impressively watertight, and has to be, in order to work; there’s no official information online that acknowledges that the whole act is a gag. Unfortunately this means that the music is pretty much just a means to an end; a tool to pull the wool over the eyes of straightlaced music critics, while at the same time critiquing a culture. It's uniformly awful, but so densely littered with cultural in-jokes and musical gags that the album ends up quite (unpleasantly) addictive. Gen Y’s answer to Spinal Tap? Luke Telford
INDIE ALBUM OF THE WEEK WORLD’S END PRESS Faithful EP Love + Mercy Few would argue that !!! still slickly style their nasty funk, but it’s fair to say their recent work noticeably lacks their trademark cut ‘n snarl. In their 2011Australian touring buddies, however, we may have an act who don’t care about sounding disaffected or hip. Melbourne’s World's End Press are about to squeeze open the nights
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with brazen and sexy-as-fuck beat-love. You’ve probably already heard the tight radio edits of various tracks by these lads; but if you’re after some real bounce and hustle, immerse thyself in the full-length cuts on this release. Charging flow is built up over the six-minute title number, and the later track ‘Long Live All The Nights To Come’. Co-producer Qua never allows the synthetic to overtake the brash guitar, with restraint that's still flicking flecks of gold in the final seconds. It’s insulting to label as “brave” the group’s cover of Pet Shop Boys’ ‘West End Girls’ - if they’re a bit feeble at performing the work of others, it's surely less than a national tragedy.
Crass electronica is dropped amidst fabricated keys that are both urged and mocked by John Parkinson’s vocals - yet the whole affair never feels disingenuous. This is the sound of a party that has already started, of which not a moment more should be missed. By the time Gloves’ remix drops, lips are beyond wet for the debut album Music For The World - unfortunately though, they must remain chaffed, as it won’t be out till early next year. My mum has decided this is music to "get the trendy types into their boutiques”. No doubt, mum - but it’ll also get a whole lot of asses giggling and swiveling across the floor. Benjamin Cooper
The Key Of Sea MGM The Key Of Sea offers a concept which has been explored before in this country, but never to the same extent or quite as believably as this. Matching up premier Australian artists, among them Oh Mercy, Sarah Blasko and Tim Rogers, with the sounds of recently-emigrated refugee friends, the record seeks to explore the multicultural music climate of this country and draw attention to the injustices currently being faced by asylum seekers. The danger with these projects is always that expansive cultures become homogenised and Anglicised to treat Western tastes - which is why it’s great that from the opening Greek ballad, through to The Philly Jays team-up with a Polish Klezmer band, this shit is real. The stunners of course belong to Blasko, whose vocal trade-offs with Sudanese singer Ajak Kwai are literally spine-tingling, and Oh Mercy, whose visceral collaboration with Pakistani-born Nadia Omar results in a song so visceral it should belong in a film. But it’s not a competition: each of these artists have given freely of their time and should be commended for what was, I’m sure, a culture clash that some of them weren’t quite expecting. Most at ease are The Cat Empire and Blue King Brown, both of whom incorporate world music into their repertoires anyway, and Old Man River - whose adept kinship with any musician, no matter where they come from, shines through on his sweet tune ‘Merry Christmas Island’. The Key Of Sea’s organisers want to get this to No. 1 on the ARIA charts, to challenge people’s perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers. Here’s hoping they can hold off The Black Eyed Peas - because this is a truly unique record. Jonno Seidler
OFFICE MIXTAPE So here are the albums that have been filling our earholes all week.
THE ROOTS - How I Got Over ABE VIGODA - Crush THE HOLD STEADY - Stay Positive
SUFJAN STEVENS - The Age Of Adz V/A - One Big Trip
live reviews What we've been to see...
MIRAH, SHIVER LIKE TIMBER, THE SMALLGOODS The Red Rattler, Marrickville Thursday October 21
‘Was, was that a plane?’ asks Betony Dircks, AKA Shiver Like Timber, in the mildly timorous tones of one who's not as yet quite comfortable stage-side. The rumbles of the flightpath overhead provide permanent competition with tonight’s performers; The Red Rattler has the most appropriate name of any venue in Sydney. Under such circumstances, Dircks’ slight hesitance is unfortunate - her carefully picked guitar lines and striking lyrics (‘Arctic Esplanade’) are delivered in permanently breathless vocals, only building up a real sense of conviction when fed through some enticing loops. No such difficulties for Melbournites The Smallgoods, the hirsute trio filling up the warmly lit, milk crate-strewn space, with their simply fashioned, richly harmonised old school pop. Songs such as ‘Traipse Through The Valley’ are suggestive of ploughman’s lunches and smoking mugwort, harmonies reminiscent of The Byrds or (lord help us) Simon & Garfunkel enveloping a rapt audience with a sense of ruminative stasis. Particularly entrancing was ‘City Full Of Sky’, a captivating chord sequence washing away the occasional twee lyric. Aeroplanes were the cause of more amusing difficulties for an extremely jetlagged Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn (observed pre-show enjoying a sack-of-potatoes style cat-nap back stage), who repeatedly, and with effortless charm, forgot the lyrics to her own songs - calling on an extremely well-informed audience for prompts. Although Mirah has now been recording for well over ten years, this gig marks her first Australian visit, numerous requests for older material being cheerfully deflected with a variety of creative excuses. Her back catalogue was nonetheless widely traversed, more recent material from (a) spera being mixed with much-loved songs like ‘Cold, Cold Water’ or crowd-favourite ‘The Garden’. Her firm and sassy vocals were overwhelming, even with the low thunder provided courtesy of Qantas. A left-field cover of ‘Changes’ rounded out a buoyant night; with luck, she'll return soon.
MOUSE ON MARS, QUA, SEEKAE Oxford Art Factory Saturday October 30
I’ve waited a long time to see Seekae, and their set tonight justifies the hype. It’s always entertaining to watch how electronic musicians interact with the sounds they’re creating, and whilst there isn’t much in the way of visual cues with these Sydney guys, the music is inventive enough to compensate. What immediately strikes you is the nature of its volume; it’s really loud, but also marvelously replete. You can feel each aspect of it – hi hats, bass synth, kick – resonating throughout your body. The material is gloriously intricate and restless, never settling for too long on one idea, organically shifting from being clean and straight to dirty and wonky within a couple of bars. The band’s good-humoured on-stage bopping disperses through the mostly-empty room.
Mouse On Mars photo byAshley Mar
This is the third time I’ve seen Qua at the Oxford Art Factory, and they’ve become a little less enthralling with each performance... Not so long ago Cornel Wilczek added a live percussionist, and he's here this evening, pummeling absent-mindedly away at a small cluster of drum pads. After Seekae, these guys sound a little stuck in the form that the
Daedelus’s and Boards of Canada’s of the world wore thin around 2005. Ironically it does pick up a bit when the drummer retires for a moment, and Qua reverts to more reserved, cerebral electro-pop. Given space to breathe, and without risk of galloping over itself, Qua’s music is much easier to like. A battery runs out, cutting the set short - a mixed blessing, as although the music was warming up, Qua are notorious for overstaying their welcome. The curtain draws back to reveal Germany’s Mouse On Mars barricaded by desks swathed in wires and countless devices. Behind them is what appears to be an airraid horn, which they proceed to fire up until its ungodly wail pierces every corner of the room. This is then sampled into a glowing chord which serves as the only respite from an hour long set of relentless, stomping experimental dance pop. The wonderful thing about this duo isn’t just that they manage to combine so many disparate elements into their sound (twisted vocal samples, challenging electronic textures, balls-to-thewall dance structures, wry humour) - it’s that each of these aspects fits so fluidly with the others. Provided you don’t mind your music uncompromisingly loud, it’s damn near impossible to dislike.
EP3: STICKY FINGERS, THE FUTURE PREHISTORIC, THE COLT 44S The Annandale Hotel Saturday October 30
On Halloween eve, the Annandale is already half full with drunken chatter and a few costume attempts by the time the first of tonight’s EP launchees, The Colt 44s, take to the stage. Of the evening’s triple EP launch, the band are by far the heaviest in sound, producing some nice Morello-inspired moments throughout an overwhelmingly loud set. The band’s energy is nothing out of the ordinary, but they attract a few nods, perhaps a few hand bangs, and open the night pretty strongly. Next on the bill is The Future Prehistoric, who also take a turn down the overwhelmingly-loud route. With their unique brand of soul-searching psych rock, the band tend to drown out the vocals of James Mor Klotzy – an unassuming but surprisingly commanding front man. There are some great Sonic Youth references and intense changes in pace that keep their dedicated following engaged, and warrant a serious second-look for newcomers. Closing out the evening – which has doubled in drunken banter and ridiculous costumes – are Sticky Fingers, long time favourites of both the ‘Dale and tonight’s loyal crowd. To the eye, the reggae-meets-psychedelic act seems an unlikely headliner, but Sticky Fingers engage; if you’re not lost in a lazy, goofy-grinned groove, you’re likely to be furiously nodding and dancing to the fasterpaced, guitar-driven interludes. A naked man jumps on stage; the band are unphased. Sticky Fingers will undoubtedly draw comparisons to The Beautiful Girls – which, on a basic level, are warranted – but it’s the hazy flavour that produces their finest moments, setting them apart from those who've come before. Vocalist Dylan Frost plays the ever-tortured frontman, full of youth and aggression, his voice a contradiction with its sickly honey sound. A cover of Pink Floyd pre-empts a fight down the front which threatens to dampen the final moments of their set - but it’s too late. I’m already a convert.
Mouse On Mars
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The Minor Chord The All Ages rant bought to you by Indent.net.au. By Kate Dean
Hungry Kids Of Hungary
HUNGRY KIDS OF HUNGARY
Around eighteen months ago, there was a little band from Brisbane who won a triple j Unearthed comp and scored a slot at the Gold Coastâ€™s Big Day Out. The rest is history, with tours around the UK and US, a huge local fanbase and constant radio play. They just released their highly anticipated debut album Escapades, and have been touring relentlessly to support it. We caught up with the harmonious Dean McGrath, lead singer and guitarist, about all things music. Take a look at how it went: TMC: Youâ€™ve been touring pretty extensively for your album. How is it all going? Weâ€™re having a great time! The shows have been heaps of fun, and off stage itâ€™s been just as enjoyable. Ball Park Music are good pals of ours, and we became fast friends with Jo and Tom from Big Scary, so thereâ€™s plenty of laughter and hijinks along the way. TMC: This Friday is the only show thatâ€™s all ages on the tour; do you get the chance to do many all ages gigs? Unfortunately, all agesâ€™ shows arenâ€™t always easy to organise... We love giving our younger fans a chance to get to the shows, but the sad fact is a lot of venues wonâ€™t put on all ages gigs. TMC: Do you notice a difference between underage gigs as opposed to over 18? Younger crowds definitely seem to be more excitable at shows, compared to your more seasoned gig-goers.
THE SOFT PACK (USA)
TMC: What was the first live gig you went to, and how old were you? I went to Homebake festival back in â€˜99 - when they still held it at the Gold Coast Parklands in Queensland. I was 14. It was amazing.
ALL AGES GIG PICKS
TMC: So tell us a little about the album? The album was recorded pretty sporadically
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Hungry Kids Of Hungary, Big Scary, Ball Park Music The Factory Theatre
SAT NOV 13
Philadelphia Grand Jury, Howl, Bearhug The Metro Theatre
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