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SECRET SOUNDS PRESENTS
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS STRANGE TALK
AUG 3 METRO THEATRE TIX: BOX OFFICE 02 9550 3666 | TICKETEK.COM.AU, PH 132 849
TICKETS ON SALE NOW SPLENDOURSIDESHOWS.COM 4 :: BRAG :: 414 :: 30:05:11
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SECRET SOUNDS PRESENTS
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
T H E G R AT E S
T H U R S D AY J U LY 2 8 HORDERN PAVILION T I C K E T S F R O M T I C K E T E K , W W W. T I C K E T E K . C O M . A U, P H 1 3 2 8 4 9
TICKETS ON SALE NOW SPLENDOURSIDESHOWS.COM
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Get your free app now! The ever-growing, never sleeping events guide that lives online and in your pocket.
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SECRET SOUNDS PRESENTS
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
TUESDAY AUGUST 2 METRO THEATRE
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS THE GRATES
THURSDAY 28 JULY HORDERN PAVILION
With special guests Husky
Tuesday August 2 The Factory
with special guests WITH GUESTS
E GIANT G TH YOU-NT HE C
AUG 2 Y D ART FACTOR R O F X O 3 G U A
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THURSDAYOUJULY 28 T SOLD THE FACTORY
29.07.11 Metro Theatre
SIDESHOWS ON SALE NOW
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS STRANGE TALK
Wednesday 27 July. Hordern Pavilion
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
THURSDAY JULY 28 ANNANDALE HOTEL
AUGUST 3 METRO THEATRE
DZ DEATHRAYS DEATHRA A AYS
WED 27 JULY THE BASEMENT
JULY 29 ANNANDALE ANNANDALE HOTEL HOTEL
FOR TICKETING INFO VISIT SPLENDOURSIDESHOWS.COM BRAG :: 414 :: 30:05:11 :: 9
Secret Sounds presents
AUSTRALIA 2011 With Special Guests Pulp have decided to get together and play some concerts this year. The shows will involve the original members of the band (Nick Banks, Jarvis Cocker, Candida Doyle, Steve Mackey & Mark Webber) & they will be playing songs from all periods of their career. (Yes, that means they’ll be playing your favourites) If you wish to know any more then please visit www.pulppeople.com where you will be subjected to a barrage of cryptic questions. In the meantime ask yourself this: “Do You Remember The First Time?” Thank you for your attention.
Wed 27 July Hordern Pavilion Tickets from Ticketek, www.ticketek.com.au, Ph 132 849
ON SALE NOW SPLENDOURSIDESHOWS.COM
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WITH SPECIAL GUESTS PURPLE SNEAKERS DJ’S
ALBUM OUT NOW THROUGH INERTIA WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/SELECTTOURING // WWW.DOESITOFFENDYOU.COM
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VILLAGE SOUNDS AND SECRET SERVICE PRESENT THE 11TH ANNUAL ARTS & MUSIC FESTIVAL
FRIDAY 29, SATURDAY 30, SUNDAY 31 JULY 2011 TICKETS ON SALE NOW
3 DAYS U ONSITE CAMPING U MULTI STAGES
WOODFORDIA, WOODROW ROAD, WOODFORD QUEENSLAND 1.5 HOURS NORTH OF BRISBANE U ALL AGES & LICENSED
COLDPLAY (ONLY AUSTRALIAN SHOW) U KANYE WEST (ONLY AUSTRALIAN SHOW) U JANE’S ADDICTION U THE HIVES PULP U THE LIVING END U THE MARS VOLTA U REGINA SPEKTOR (ONLY 2011 SHOW...ANYWHERE) BLISS N ESO U PNAU U MOGWAI (ONLY AUSTRALIAN SHOW) U DJ SHADOW U FRIENDLY FIRES U GLASVEGAS THE GRATES U DEVENDRA BANHART AND THE GROGS U MODEST MOUSE U THE MIDDLE EAST KAISER CHIEFS U JAMES BLAKE U KELE U THE VINES U ELBOW U ESKIMO JOE U NOAH AND THE WHALE CHILDREN COLLIDE U THIEVERY CORPORATION U CUT COPY U ISOBEL CAMPBELL AND MARK LANEGAN BLUEJUICE UÊ THE KILLS U BLACK JOE LEWIS & THE HONEYBEARS (FEATURING THE RELATIVES) ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI U FOSTER THE PEOPLE U THE PANICS U JEBEDIAH U THE VACCINES GOMEZ U BOY AND BEAR U GOTYE U DOES IT OFFEND YOU, YEAH? U CLOUD CONTROL U MONA SPARKADIA U WARPAINT U MUSCLES (LIVE) U FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS U THE JEZABELS DRAPHT U BRITISH SEA POWER U TIM & JEAN U LEADER CHEETAH U GROUPLOVE U SEEKER LOVER KEEPER YELLE U KIMBRA U PHRASE U OH MERCY U DANANANANAYKROYD U THE BLACK SEEDS U MARQUES TOLIVER THE HOLIDAYS U GHOUL U LIAM FINN UÊ THE HERD U YOUNG THE GIANT U GUINEAFOWL HUNGRY KIDS OF HUNGARY U JINJA SAFARI U WILD BEASTS U ILLY U CUT OFF YOUR HANDS GARETH LIDDIARD U ALPINE U WORLD’S END PRESS U MOSMAN ALDER U LANIE LANE PLUS DJ’S THE ASTON SHUFFLE U FLIGHT FACILITIES U D-CUP (WE NO SPEAK AMERICANO) U AJAX (MEGA JAM SET) HOODRAT & DANGEROUS DAN U LIGHT YEAR U HOOPS U CASSIAN U WAX MOTIF U KATO U TONI TONI LEE CHARLIE CHUX U TRANTER U TRIPLE J UNEARTHED WINNER AND LOCAL ACTS TO BE ANNOUNCED TICKETS AVAILABLE ONLINE FROM MOSHTIX.COM.AU
VISIT SPLENDOURINTHEGRASS.COM FOR UPDATES
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rock music news welcome to the frontline: what’s goin’ on around town... with Nathan Jolly
he said she said WITH
MONTE FROM THE DELTA RIGGS
recorded it in seven hours, at 301 Studios in the beginning of May with the help of our good friend and producer Rob Conley.
y parents weren’t super into music, although I do remember my old man telling me about bands like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, trying to drum it in. I was too interested in surfing at the time to pay attention. It wasn’t until my early teen years that I reached out and started searching for all of what music had to offer; I picked up a guitar and that was the end of it, really.
I think the ‘scene’ is way too overpopulated at the moment; there are too many advocates of mediocrity throwing around words like “amazing” and “incredible”. To be honest I’ve pretty much stopped listening to new music, it’s tiring to try and keep up with it all - bands rise and fall before you can even listen to their album. On the other hand, it’s a great thing for musicians to have their music so accessible at the click of a finger. You can upload a track and have it heard around the world within a day. My thoughts are just keep writing great songs and you can’t be ignored. A band with great songs will stand the test of time.
I used to love discovering new music - it was what inspired me. Being the first person I knew who got onto something and then watching it become a massive success was always a great feeling. As a bass player, I draw influences from great rhythm sections. Stu Cook from Creedence Clearwater Revival has been a big influence on my playing over the past couple of years. I’m a bit of a social butterfly, and am known to love a chat, so as a result I’ve become friends with quite a lot of awesome people in my time. Everyone has their musical differences - even in the band we all differ in what we enjoy listening to - but music brings us together, and I guess that’s the beauty of it.
Who: The Delta Riggs What: Talupo Mountain Music EP is out now
I’m not really one to pigeonhole bands into a certain genre, especially not The Delta Riggs. We are what we are, and ultimately that is a live band; we record everything live
because that’s how we like to be represented. We’ve recorded two EPs now, the new one is Talupo Mountain Music. I really believe in it, and think it’s hard to fault. We pretty much
Where: Old Manly Boatshed / The Lansdowne Hotel When: Thursday June 9 / Friday June 10 More: myspace.com/thedeltariggs
BAND OF LEONS
PUBLISHERS: Adam Zammit & Rob Furst EDITOR IN CHIEF: Adam Zammit 9552 6333 email@example.com EDITOR: Steph Harmon firstname.lastname@example.org 9552 6333 ARTS EDITOR & ASSOCIATE: Dee Jefferson email@example.com 9552 6333 STAFF WRITERS: Jonno Seidler, Caitlin Welsh NEWS CO-ORDINATORS: Nathan Jolly, Chris Honnery ART DIRECTOR: Sarah Bryant GRAPHIC DESIGN: Alan Parry SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER: Tim Levy SNAP PHOTOGRAPHERS: Katrina Clarke, Ashley Mar, Daniel Munns, Vicky Nguyen, Thomas Peachy, Alicia Starr COVER DESIGN: Sarah Bryant SALES/MARKETING MANAGER: Blake Rayner 0404 304 929 / (02) 9552 6672 firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING: Les White - 0405 581 125 / (02) 9552 6618 email@example.com ADVERTISING: Meaghan Meredith (02) 9552 6725 firstname.lastname@example.org GIG & CLUB GUIDE CO-ORDINATOR: Matt Banham - email@example.com (rock) firstname.lastname@example.org (dance & parties) INTERNS: Sigourney Berndt, Lenny Adam REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS: Simon Binns, Joshua Blackman, Mikey Carr, Oliver Downes, Max Easton, Tony Edwards, Christie Eliezer, Murray Engleheart, Lucy Fokkema, Max Easton, Mike Gee, Thomas Gilmore, Chris Honnery, Nathan Jolly, Alex Lindsay Jones, Peter Neathway, Romi Scodellaro, Rach Seneviratne, RK, Luke Telford, Rick Warner Please send mail NOT ACCOUNTS direct to this address 153 Bridge Road, Glebe NSW 2037 ph - (02) 9552 6333 fax - (02) 9552 6866
Kings Of Leon, the band whose hit ‘Sex On Fire’ paved the way for similar acts like Noiseworks and the John Stevens-fronted INXS, have announced labelmates Band Of Horses as the special guests at all of their Australian shows, including the only two you closeted city-types really care about: November 4 and 5 at Sydney’s Acer Arena. There are tickets still available, so beg, borrow or use somebody.
Teeth & Tounge
Showdown At The Annandale has put together eleven awesome acts on one bill, and it has been confirmed that yes, this is a showdown, and it’s happening at the Annandale. On June 11, you can expect to share the questionably-carpeted room with Melody Black, Self Is A Seed, Engine Three Seven (VIC), Geminine, The Dead Love, Red Remedy, Marlow, Dumbsaint, Beggars Orchestra, Kaleeko and The Wire. Boom.
When you land a Mercury Prize nomination for your debut record and spend the rest of your year playing around the world to adoring crowds like it ain’t no thing, then the only way is down ...under - for Splendour In The Grass! I’m talking about Glasvegas, and the sideshow I mentioned (pretty sure I mentioned it) takes place on July 24 at The Metro Theatre. Let’s totally go up the front.
SEEKER LOVER KEEPER DO A SECOND SHOW
Turns out that if you put Sally Seltmann, Sarah Blasko and Holly Throsby together and
There’s something about a boy/girl musical duo that is, in every way, perfect. The symmetry, the clash of the sexes, the female member’s fringe (usually). Teeth and Tongue are one of these boy/girl/fringe duos, and they are launching their hypnotic, dark, layered second album Tambourine at GoodGod this Thursday June 2, with Magnetic Heads and Melodie Nelson in tow. It’s a brilliant album. You should buy it.
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 : email@example.com ph - (03) 9428 3600 fax - (03) 9428 3611 Furst Media, 3 Newton Street Richmond Victoria 3121
Pets with Pets isn’t an in-depth exposé on why Pluto was kept in a kennel while Goofy had a house and a vehicle licence; it’s actually a very good psych-band whose debut record Saturday Aquatic Pixie Acid is both brutal and sparkling – kind of like Passion Pop. They (finally) launch it at Dirty Shirlows on June 10.
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 distribution@furstmedia. com.au or phone 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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book a venue one hundredth of the size of their combined fanbase, people are interested enough to promptly see the show sell out. That’s exactly what happened to the Seeker Lover Keeper show at The Factory on Friday July 8, so the trio have kindly added a second show set for Saturday July 9, with tickets on sale now.
GHOUL + COLLARBONES = YES PLEASE
Experimental bands are usually a bunch of old toss (citation needed desperately), but Sydney four-piece Ghoul was a successful experiment - so much so that they almost trumped Seekae at their +DOME album launch in April (which could have had something to do with what shall from now on only be referred to as That Unfortunate Fire Alarm Incident). Ghoul are playing GoodGod Small Club on Friday June 3 with Melbourne’s very special Collarbones, as part of a co-headline tour where they’ll be showing off their own releases; Ghoul’s Dunks and Collarbones’ Iconography. They are both brilliant albums. You should buy them.
Gurrumul has a voice that defies description (extremely convenient for anybody reporting on his upcoming live show), but Sting has given it a go, and came up with “the sound of a higher being.” A bit pedestrian and overly dramatic, but hey, this is Sting - a guy who thought three hours of Police songs in symphony mode was a winning idea. Still, he’s correct when he says that Gurrumul is freaking amazing. He’s embarking on a rare tour in August, playing the Opera House on August 29. Tickets go/went on sale Wednesday June 1 – and they will sell out.
THE CIRCLES TOUR 28TH MAY Victoria Park, Camperdown SYDNEY
4TH JUNE Elwood Park, Elwood MELBOURNE
5TH JUNE Veludo, St Kilda MELBOURNE With The Moon Project & Shane Walters Band
9TH JUNE Vanguard, Newtown SYDNEY With Bob Stamper
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rock music news
welcome to the frontline: what’s goin’ on around town... with Nathan Jolly
five things WITH
The Music You Make We recorded our forthcoming debut album Love Your Demons in three days including overdubs, and mixed it with Greg Clarke at Audio Boffin Productions. Our debut iTunes single/video ‘Pretty Ugly’ is out now. Our stuff is direct, melodic and powerful, with all lessons learnt from classic songwriters - elements of punk, hard rock and pop are in the mix, along with a dark edge. Think in contemporary terms, like Alkaline Trio, Foo Fighters, AFI, Amen etc. Live is where we excel, it’s a live SHOW. I can listen to music at home but live, I wanna be entertained. This is the band we wanted to see.
Growing Up They say the first cut is the deepest. An older friend played me a song by The Sweet and then showed me their pic, and I was gobsmacked! Slade, KISS, Cheap Trick and The Pistols followed, among others. My parents listened to ‘parents’ music - Tom Jones, Elvis, Beatles, Stones etc - and that didn’t hurt. As a kid I just practiced and dreamed of growing up and doing it for real, and spent all my allowance on music magazines and records...
Inspirations I was well and truly infected by the
POLAROIDS OF BANDROIDS
Polaroids of Androids, the music website that contains almost no instant photography of cyborgs of any type, are putting on a party this Thursday at OAF. With Dead Farmers, The Fighting League, The Nugs (check out these guys, possibly the best scuzzy-rock band in the country), Marf Loth and Karoshi, it’s well worth the $5 entry fee.
Member of Josh Pyke’s fanclub? Then this news concerns you. (The rest of you, chat amongst yourself.) Pyke is playing GoodGod Small Club on June 23, to preview tracks from
KISS bug. Gene Simmons on the cover of KISS:Alive! made me wanna be a bass player - “whatever the scary guy does, that’s what I wanna do” - he’s still my biggest influence! But to this day, nothing inspires me as much as getting on stage; our tunes are written to go over live. Your Band My band would be my partners in crime, 3. and a crack squad they are too - Tubby Wadsworth on drums, Johnathan Devoy on vox and Phil Bowley on guitar. We have some great history between us, so we have some great chemistry too.
his new album Only Sparrows, and he’s giving his fan club the chance to pre-purchase tickets already. The rest of you (come back, you guys) will have to wait til Thursday June 2, at which point it may have sold out - so go to joshpyke.com and join the fanclub already.
MUSIC VIDEO MASH UP
Are you the kind of video producer who meticulously auteurs your creation over months, from initial conception through to the finished product? Well a) no you’re not and b) this competition won’t suit you at all. Music Video Mash Up pairs off bands and filmmakers like that’s a normal thing, and gives ‘em three days to put together a film clip. There are over $10,000 worth of prizes, and entries close on June 3. Eek. Visit mvmu.com.au for more details.
RED BULL GIVES YOU WINNINGS
Missed Red Bull Bedroom Jam phase one? Melbourne band Welcome Wednesday didn’t, which is how they won the chance to fly to London to record and to perform at the UK
Music, Right Here, Right Now The scene is forever changing. Venues 5. close, but new venues always seem to open up too. Bands need to work hard to get people along to shows these days, and they need to be professionally minded about every move they make.You might only get one shot, so make it count! What: Love Your Demons is out now Who: Melody Black, Self Is A Seed, Engine Three Seven, Geminine, The Dead Love, Red Remedy, Marlow, Dumbsaint, Beggars Orchestra, Kaleeko, The Wire Where: Showdown @ The Annandale Hotel When: Saturday June 11
Melbourne songstress Owl Eyes has been hard at work in the studio completing her second EP, and the 20-year-old hit the road late last month to celebrate the launch of the single and title track of the release, ‘Raiders’. Her sultry voice has been winning hearts and impressing audiences round the country, not to mention that of New York hep cat Darwin Deez. Your chance to check out her skillz is this Friday June 3 when she hits The Gaelic for Last Night, alongside New Navy, Brackets, your fave Purple Sneakers DJs and party legends Shimmy Up Top. Oh yeah, and she’s totes babin’. Win a double pass by giving us the name of Owl Eyes’ first EP!
An Horse – proper grammar? Perhaps. Proper indie rock? Yes. They’ve been proving it across the US with a bunch of performances, including one at SxSW in Austin, Texas and another on the Late Show with David Letterman. We reckon they’re pretty great and you will too when you hear their new album, Walls - our indie album of the week. Get down to the Annandale Hotel this Friday June 3 to catch them live supported by The Gold Coats, before they head off to New York and Europe. You can win a double pass courtesy of BRAG by telling us what you reckon is the best name for a [sic] horse...
Download festival. So don’t miss round two. If you are between 14-19 (age, not Final Fantasy hit points) and have a webcam (as all teenagers should), then perform a song in front of it and upload it to redbullbedroomjam. com.au, and you could be recording in LA. Visit said site for more info.
There’s a scene in the documentary of the making of Diorama where Daniel Johns stands on a cliffside overlooking LA with a crown on his head and jokingly declares, “People think I’ve changed…” While we would dearly love to pinpoint this as the moment where the trio encountered their insurmountable differences, truth is it’s just a pretty funny moment. Anyways, as Uncle Internet may be broken to you already, Silverchair have effectively split. (Like when they split after Neon Ballroom. Or after Diorama.) We are sad, but also excited to see whatever it is that Daniel Johns comes out with next. Farewell, Silverchair - BRAG will miss you. ‘Paint Pastel Princess’ is an underrated song.
CHANGING TUNES FESTIVAL. DO IT.
Changing Tunes is happening at Tone on Sunday June 5 and seriously, check this lineup: Billie McCarthy, Dylan HoganRoss, Cafe Of The Gate Of Salvation, The Green Mohair Suits, Maxine Kauter Band, Daddy Long Legs & The Swamp Donkeys, Brian Campeau, Mr. Percival, Ngaiire and Marcello, The Concious Pilots and Alphamama & The Love Drug. They are all brilliant. The thing starts at 2pm and runs ‘til midnight - kinda like the ‘just a couple of Sunday arvo drinks’ you have each weekend...
FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out, and should never be confused for MOFO, which is a phrase native to the Jersey-region of America. FOMO is also the title of Liam Finn’s second album, and the reason he is bothering to trek out to Oxford Art Factory on August 26. (You may know his dad from that old TV show, Hessie’s Shed. He was also in some band or something?) Tickets to the album launch are on sale now, the new stuff is better than the old stuff, and the old stuff was amazing.
SOUNDWAVE REVOLUTION ON SALE THIS WEEK!
If you’re planning to surprise your girlfriend (or somebody else’s) with a romantic picnic on September 25 at Old Kings Oval, Parramatta Park then you should move it. That’s the day and place Soundwave Revolution is happening, and it’s totally going to ruin the vibe you were going for. American rockers Alesana have been added to the huge bill that already included Van Halen with David Lee Roth, Alice Cooper, Bad Religion, Machine Head, Hole, Panic! At The Disco, Thursday, Dashboard Confessional and maybe fourteen hundred other huge acts. Tickets go on sale Thursday June 2 - so get ye to an internet.
LOOKING FOR DANCE NEWS?
BRAG’S got a whole new section! Flip to the back for it, foo’.
“I’m inbred, mothers milk fed, i was born with no brain in my head. When I say head I mean heads cos theres two of them.” - THE NATION BLUE 16 :: BRAG :: 414 :: 30:05:11
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The Music Network
Industry Music News with Christie Eliezer
Lifelines Arrested: Former Kiss guitarist Vinnie Vincent, for allegedly assaulting his wife and dragging her over broken glass in their home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, after a drunken argument over a woman that Vincent was talking to. Died: Joseph Brooks, 73, Oscar-wining songwriter of ‘You Light Up My Life’, committed suicide in his New York apartment while awaiting trial on charges of sexually assaulting over a dozen women. Died: former Legion of the Damned bassist Twan Fleuren, committed suicide.
MORE MUSIC ON TV We might be losing Spicks and Specks, but music lovers still have enough reasons to watch TV. Channel 9 picked up talent quest The Voice, a show which began in Holland and has been adapted in the UK and the US to big ratings. And from China comes Rockband, as show which follows bands out of the garage and into stadiums. It gets 150 million viewers in China on TV and online.
BUTLER LEADS APRA NOMINATIONS John Butler leads the list of nominations for the APRA Music awards with five mentions. His ‘Revolution’ is up for Song of the Year, he has two songs - ‘Close To You’ and ‘One Way Road’ - up for Most Played Australian Work, and a nomination in the Blues and Roots category. Birds of Tokyo are up for four different awards, and Powderfinger, Kasey Chambers and Jet for two apiece. Also nominated are Bliss n Eso (who have two mentions in the Urban section), Hilltop Hoods, Guy Sebastian, Catherine Britt, Tame Impala, Angus & Julia Stone, Sia, Lee Kernaghan and Art vs Science, who get their first APRA nomination. Also in Song of the Year are Kasey Chambers’ ‘Little Bird’, Sia’s ‘Clap Your Hands’, Angus and Julia Stone’s ‘Big Jet Plane’ and Birds of Tokyo’s ‘Plans’. The Breakthrough Songwriter section, introduced last year, has some exciting names including Birds Of Tokyo, The Jezabels, Kevin Parker of Perth outfit Tame Impala, Dan Sultan and co-writer Scott Wilson, and Megan Washington. The APRA awards are being held on Tuesday June 21 at Carriageworks, and Paul Kelly has already been announced as the recipient of this year’s Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music. MAX will film the night for a special to be broadcast on Thursday July 7. Full list at apra.com.au
SALTWATER FRESHWATER HEADS TO TAREE The nomadic Indigenous Saltwater Freshwater Festival, which draws 10,000 a year, lands in Taree in 2012 on Australia Day. It will offer a mix of local, regional and national Indigenous music, dance, workshops, art and market stalls showcasing Aboriginal culture. The Saltwater Freshwater
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Arts Alliance has contracted The Dreaming festival founder Rhoda Roberts as its artistic director for 2012 - she will rejoin festival producer Sharna St Leon and the team behind the creation of the Sydney Dreaming Festival.
STAGEIT AIMS AT AUSSIE MARKET
and artist management companies representing three or more Australian acts to apply to have their music promoted and distributed free through its AirIt service (airit. org.au). So far only 100 record labels have been awarded free business accounts, says Amrap Manager Chris Johnson.
TOURING PROGRAM GRANTS
StageIt is a web-based platform free service that enables artists to stream and make money from live performances via webcam. Artists can choose when they want to perform and how much they want to charge. StageIt has put together a contest geared directly toward Aussie artists that closes on June 30, which gives you the chance to win $250 by performing from your laptop if you sign up now. Among acts that have used it are Korn, Lisa Loeb, Jimmy Buffett and Plain White T’s.
‘DARK SIDE’ COVER IS THE BEST, SAYS POLL A poll of musicians and fans on British music site MusicRadar.com.au chose Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon (1973) as the greatest album cover of all time. The simple image by design team Hipgnosis features a ray of white light being split by a prism, which represents Floyd’s stage lighting and lyrics. Prisms traditionally have seven colours, but Hipgnosis left out indigo. Second in the list was Nirvana’s Nevermind, depicting the joy of a baby thrown into water, followed by The Beatles’ collage of famous people on Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Clash’s picture of Paul Simonon smashing his bass guitar on London Calling. #5 is Rage Against The Machine’s Rage Against The Machine, followed by Iron Maiden’s The Number Of The Beast, The Beatles’ The White Album, Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, King Crimson’s In The Court Of The Crimson King and Pink Floyd’s Animals.
AMRAP EXPANDS TO PR, MANAGEMENT, FIRMS
Minister for the Arts Simon Crean announced 23 successful applicants with funding totalling $294,000 for Round 21 of the Contemporary Music Touring Program. Eight came from NSW, with a total of $104,730.54. Recipients from this state were An Ocean Awaits Records ($14,754) for a five state/territory run in support of Catherine Traicos and the Starry Night’s Gloriosa album; Kiama-based rock/roots/ reggae fourpiece Penny and the Mystics ($15,000); Music NSW for a two-week ‘Indent Tour,’ to do 16 shows and six workshops ($15,000); The Strides for 17 shows and six workshops ($15,000); Sydney experimental jazz trio Roil for 11 shows and three workshops ($10,000); and Wyndhambased solo blues artist Hollerin’ Matty Southon, to do 25 shows over 12 weeks ($5,000). NSW-based management also got funding for Adelaide’s The Beards ($15,000) and Perth’s Young Revelry ($14,976.54).
NEW SIGNING #1: THE RAPTURE JOIN MODULAR The Rapture have signed with Modular for Australia and New Zealand. They release their third album In The Grace Of Your Love on September 2. They cut it with French producer Philippe Zdar (Phoenix, Beastie Boys, Chromeo).
NEW SIGNING #2: CAMERAS HEAD TO SPEAK N SPELL Sydney band Cameras have joined Speak N Spell’s roster, and will release their debut album later this year. The band, formed in 2008 by Eleanor Dunlop (vox/keys) and Fraser Harvey (vox/guitar/bass), are about to tour the US.
The Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap) will now allow publicity agencies
THINGS WE HEAR * As this column bids farewell to Silverchair and thanks them for some awesome shows and records (in particular, who could forget their teaming up with Tim Rogers on a ferocious Radio Birdman toe-tapper for the ARIAs?), 30 Seconds to Mars’ refusal to make another video fuels rumours they too are planning an extended, or permanent, break. * Things got hectic at Parkway Drive’s show at Byron Bay High School. Fans, knowing they were being filmed for a DVD, stage dived with rubber boats and surfboards, and one even did some streaking. * Justin Bieber faced a mutiny from his road crew about going to Japan. But he insisted, and has become something of a
GLOBAL AWARD FOR SOUNDS AUSTRALIA Australian music export initiative Sounds Australia has won a global award for its work in raising the profile of Australian music and musicians at industry events around the world. It took the peer-voted Best Export Office award at the YMCA (Yearly Music Conference Awards) held at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton, UK. Sounds Australia beat nominees from the UK, Canada, Poland, Norway and Finland. Last week Sounds Australia was at Liverpool Sound City in Liverpool UK, and in Singapore for Music Matters.
BEHIND THE WARNER SALE The new owner of Warner Music Australia, Access Industries, did not come up with the highest bid; that came from a consortium that included Sony Music, Guggenheim Partners and MacAndrews & Forbes, says Billboard magazine. But the consortium’s offer was conditional on Sony’s ability to sell the Warner Music recorded music operation to MacAndrews & Forbes, which could have caused problems getting regulatory approval as Sony is also a major label. Warner’s directors decided to go for Access’ less stressful bid. 17 parties were interested in Warner; ten came up with bids.
CALLING MUSICIANS AND FILM MAKERS The Music Video Mashup arrived last year in Brisbane, and in its second year it has expanded to Sydney and Melbourne. Bands with a recorded original song and filmmakers with a camera and crew register at mvmu. com.au, and will be paired up randomly on June 10. They are given three days to create, shoot, edit and submit a music video. All clips will be screened in the first week of July in respective cities; the prize includes airplay on Video Hits.
BIG PRIZES FOR FM99.3 North Shore community radio station FM99.3 certainly pulled out the big guns when it came to prizes for its recent radiothon. It gave away $80,000 worth of 3energy Solar systems to ten new subscribers over ten days.
national hero as a result. He donated part of the proceeds of his sell-out shows to Japanese relief, and visited the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo where he met with children from the town of Otsuchi, which was destroyed by the tsunami. * Gwyneth Paltrow’s talks for a record deal and a country album have gone kafooey. * Blue for you: to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Blues on Broadbeach Festival, the Broadbeach area used lights to turn its building blue. Even the trees went blue, courtesy of LED lights. * Tinie Tempah sets a new US record for his single ‘Written In The Stars’. He is the first British rapper to sell a million copies there with a debut single.
JUNE 18 With Special Guests:
FDEL (DJ Set) DJ Frenzie (Groove Therapy) www.soulcityproductions.com.au | www.ticketek.com | www.lyricsborn.com SoulCity Productions
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FIRST CLASS By Kelly Griffin
ld is in the It’s the early 1960s and the wor It’s a time al. eav uph grips of socio-political and the Civil filled with hope, thanks to JFK e of heightened Rights Movement; it’s also a tim , the Space anxiety, fuelled by the Cold War is. Escalating Age and the Cuban Missile Cris Soviet Union is the and US the tension between – and the world threatening the entire planet ce of m utants. ten has just discovered the exis
n X-Men: First Class, producer and story creator Bryan Singer, who directed the critically acclaimed first two X-Men movies, takes us back to the origins of the X-Men saga, when Professor X was the naïve and idealistic Oxford student Charles Xavier, and Magneto was Erik Lehnsherr, an angry young survivor of the Holocaust. Talented Scottish actor James McAvoy is outstanding as the young Xavier, a character originally played by sci-fi stalwart Patrick Stewart. Lauded for his work in Atonement and The Last King of Scotland, McAvoy says this film “isn’t just about how Professor X became Professor X or how Magneto became Magneto, it’s about how their relationship was born and broken.”
themselves, rather than it being so straightforward.” Fassbender and McAvoy first met a decade ago on the set of the Steven Spielberg-produced miniseries Band of Brothers. “I was watching him at that point and thinking, ‘This guy is interesting, I think he will do well,’” recalls Fassbender. “I always liked his sense of humour, and he has a bit of mischief to him, and he’s a very talented actor – and one of the contributing factors in me deciding to do X-Men.”
I’m speaking to McAvoy, his co-star Michael Fassbender (Hunger; Inglourious Basterds), and producer Bryan Singer at the British press junket for X-Men: First Class. Fassbender, who is sporting a fake tan and bottle-blonde hair today for his lead role in Prometheus, plays Erik (a role formerly performed by Sir Ian McKellen).
While frenemies on-screen, the two hit it off after hours, as McAvoy recalls. “Fassbender and I ended up playing a hell of a lot of pool and getting exceptionally drunk – he’s a fucken shark, he’s a shark. I beat him maybe like four times out of twenty, but I can hold my drink better than him,” boasts the Scot. “That’s probably half true,” replies Fassbender. “I think we had some pretty good pool games. He’s exceptionally talented on the pool table as well, but his driving skills leave a lot to be desired. I have to say, he managed to write-off a buggy at Pinewood (Studios),” he smiles.
“The interesting thing [about First Class] is that you have an ambiguous feel to the characters,” Fassbender tells me. “The villains have the potential to do negative and positive things, and the heroes likewise. It’s not so black and white.” Fassbender worries that audiences tend to get spoonfed these days. “I think the audience should have to work a little bit in the cinema. They should definitely leave the cinema asking themselves questions and trying to come up with the answers
Fassbender and McAvoy star alongside an impressive lineup of emerging talent that includes Academy Award-nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), Nicholas Hoult (Skins), Zoe Kravitz (yep, Lenny’s daughter) and Australia’s Rose Byrne (Get Him To The Greek). Meanwhile, Madmen’s January Jones goes from ‘60s housewife to 60’s badgirl Emma Frost, and Kevin Bacon is brilliant as Sebastian Shaw – both members of the nefarious Hellfire Club.
Besides writing and producing, Singer was involved with the casting and some of the design elements – and, most importantly, bringing British director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) into the X-Men stable. Singer had been set to direct X-Men: First Class himself, until a schedule clash with another project (Jack The Giant Killer) forced him to step aside. “I’ve made other X-Men films before,” he shrugs, “and I thought it might be interesting to see someone else realise my ideas.” Convincing Twentieth Century Fox to take Vaughn on wasn’t easy, however – even with the success of his previous films Kick-Ass, Stardust and Layer Cake. As Singer explains, the studio were holding a bit of a grudge against Vaughn, who had been attached to direct X-Men: The Last Stand (the third film) but dropped out at the last moment, citing a schedule clash. It was only a chance meeting between Singer and Vaughn at London’s Soho House, and some smooth talking from the New York born-and-bred producer, that got Vaughn a second chance with the X-Men series. Singer even suggested that they shoot the film in the U.K., catering to the fact that Vaughn and his wife were expecting a baby. As far as tension between Vaughn, Singer and Twentieth Century Fox, Singer assures me there was “terrible blood between all of us”, but that the studio “was able to patch up the bad blood with me to make this movie, and it was only poetic that they would patch up the bad blood with him.” He recalls the first conference call between him, Vaughn and Fox’s Chief Executive Officer, Tom Rothman. “It was very funny… and it was a little emotional, actually. It was nice, but Tom said to Matthew: ‘you can’t leave this one.’” While die-hard fans of the comics may be disappointed by the film’s deviation from established storylines, Singer argues that all the X-Men films have been original stories. “The characters may have been based on the comics, and some of the drama that happens in them, but what I’ve always tried to do is tell an original story – but also maintain some faithfulness, and capture the essence of the characters.”
X-MEN CHEAT SHEET Publisher: Marvel Comics (Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, The Avengers) Created by: Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby First appeared: September, 1963 X factor: At first, the ‘X’ referred to extra powers – but later it came to stand for a mysterious gene that the mutants had, which accounted for their superhuman abilities. Good guys: Charles Xavier (aka Professor X) started the X-Men as a league of mutants who would use their powers for the good of humanity. At Xavier’s college, young mutants are taught how to harness and hone their abilities. Baddies: Magneto, the chief archnemesis of the X-Men, created the League of Mutants to fulfil his anti-human and pro-mutant agenda. Their activities range from general mischief-making to terrorist activity and plots for world domination. The Hellfire Club (named after the popular 18th century gentlemen’s clubs) is an elite secret society for the wealthy and powerful, with a nefarious Inner Circle – lead by Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw (pictured) – who seek to influence world events to meet their own agenda for power.
McAvoy is also very aware of the comics’ fan base. “The reason they exist is because the X-Men world is so rich – you can understand why they care about it so much. The one thing X-Men has always had in every single generation and every single medium it exists in, is that no matter what’s happening politically or actionwise, or who the bad guy is, the key characters are always outsiders that are persecuted or on the run or being bullied; [or] they’re scared of themselves, they’re self-loathing… And I think that appeals to a hell of a lot of people. It makes people feel not alone in their criticisms of themselves or the fact that they stand on the outside of a group, whether it be a social or a political group. So you can understand
why people really affiliate themselves to it strongly. There’s definitely going to be things in here that not every fan is going to like,” the actor acknowledges, “but hopefully they can see past that and see it as a new, fresh beginning.” As for what the future holds, Singer admits he is already toying with an idea for the next X-Men film - and most of the key cast are signed on for potential sequels. But whether another will be created, naturally, depends on box office sales. If people want more X-Men, then that’s what they’ll get. What: X-Men: First Class When: Opens June 2
“Were gonna burn down your town. Were gonna burn your fucking whole town down. Hot stepping on toxic ground, Damnation. - THE NATION BLUE 20 :: BRAG :: 414 :: 30:05:11
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The Kills Blood Hungry By Alasdair Duncan
he first time I try to call Jamie Hince, he doesn’t answer his phone. All kinds of possible rock star scenarios run through my head – I picture him passed out in a flophouse somewhere like a dissolute French poet, or maybe held up by customs agents. Half an hour’s worth of worried calls to managers and record label people later, I manage to get hold of him, and the truth of his whereabouts turns out to be a little less debauched than I’d imagined. “I’m in a record shop in Portland, Oregon,” he admits, somewhat sheepishly. “I was so into looking at all the old 45s that I forgot I had an interview!” Did he at least manage to find some good bargains? “Well actually, I’ve just bought a jukebox, so right now I’m buying 7” singles for it. My plan is to make it the greatest jukebox in the world. So far today, I’ve picked up Althea & Donna’s ‘Uptown Top Ranking’, The Wailers’ ‘Road-Runner’, a bit of Sonics, a bit of Small Faces, some Toots & The Maytals, some Yardbirds and a Led Zeppelin single!” This one is the pride of his purchases so far. “I never knew they released a 7”, but I managed to find one of ‘Whole Lotta Love’, which I’m very happy about.”
Based in London, Hince and his Kills partner Alison Mosshart have been making music together for nearly ten years now, but unlike a lot of bands at this point in their careers they’ve lost none of what made them so vital in the beginning. The same dead-eyed cool, the same sense of menace that hummed through their earliest records and live shows remains today. For want of a better way to put the question, I just flat-out ask Hince: what is it that’s stopped The Kills from slacking off and getting shit like so many other bands of their era? He laughs heartily at this. “I don’t know,” he says. “I think we want to be strong, which sounds like a stupid thing to say, but I’ve thought about it a lot. We’ve been through quite a lot and we’re still great, great friends and creative partners. I think that’s because we want to be – we want to be the one creative being, and we want to be going strong. You have to want it and I don’t know, for some reason I’m still really hungry when it comes to writing songs. It’s a life or death thing for me.” It also helps that he and Mosshart are kindred spirits, complementary souls. “We rarely clash when it comes to writing songs,” he says. “I think she’s a good antidote to me, and I’m a good antidote to her, and we fit together like that. She comes up with a lot of ideas very quickly but can’t always finish the songs musically, which is what I love to do. On the other hand I’m very slow when it comes to songwriting, so her persistence with me helps add a bit of spontaneity. When she presents her songs to me, she’s always happy for me to tinker with them, to change the arrangements around, sometimes change them beyond recognition.” One such song is ‘The Last Goodbye’, the heartbreaking waltz that forms the centrepiece of the latest Kills album, Blood Pressures. “When Alison first wrote that, it sounded kind of like a Velvet Underground ballad,” he says. “I loved it, but it occurred to me that we have one of those slow, ballad-y songs on every record – ‘Gypsy Death And You’, ‘Ticket Man’ and ‘Goodnight Bad Morning’. Whenever we do one of those beautiful, slow songs we make them lo-fi and scratchy, so I just thought it was time to try something a bit different, and I turned the song into a waltz. I tried to take it out of my comfort zone, if you like.”
“We want to be the one creative being, and we want to be going strong. You have to want it. I’m still really hungry when it comes to writing songs. It’s a life or death thing for me.”
When I think of The Kills I’m often reminded of The Fall, a band who’ve continued releasing great records, unconcerned with prevailing musical trends and doing things their own way (or at least Mark E Smith’s way) for going on thirty-five years. I ask Hince if this is the kind of career trajectory he’d like for his own band, and he says it absolutely is. “I see The Kills unfolding over a long period of time,” he says. “Decades. Bands like Sonic Youth and The Fall inspire us most of all. It wasn’t about making a buzz with a debut record and then going mainstream; every record of theirs is just a snapshot of where the band happens to be at the time.” What: Blood Pressures is out now on Domino Records, through EMI Where: The Metro Theatre When: Tuesday July 26 More: Also playing at Splendour In The Grass in Woodfordia, Queensland with Kanye West, Pulp, Coldplay, The Hives, The Mars Volta and more 22 :: BRAG :: 414 :: 30:05:11
The Kills photo by Sean Black
Mosshart has taken time out of The Kills in recent years to play with The Dead Weather, the scuzzedout Nashville-based rock band whose lineup also includes one Jack White. As Hince tells it, the tricks she picked up there were tremendously influential in shaping Blood Pressures. “The Dead Weather are a nothing-spared, balls-out heavy rock band,” he says, “and Alison had to sing over that every night, so her voice got really strong. There’s much more of a confidence about her voice now, an American rock swagger to it. When we went into the studio we’d go into decompression time almost, to get her back to a Kills place. I like all the cracks and squeaks in her voice, I like when it breaks into a whisper – I like that stuff just as much as the powerful vocal technique she picked up with [The Dead Weather].”
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Battles x By x Fit By Luke Telford Fighting works!’” he laughs, “Or, ‘This part isn’t working. We need a wrench thrown into the works!’ The stresses interplay there.” The most impressive achievement of their 2007 debut Mirrored was that it managed to crook the discrete musical agendas of four such stronglywilled individuals into a series of coherent and cohesive narratives, that worked on a very fundamental level: it was intoxicatingly weird and dextrous, but it was, essentially, pop. The live show this writer witnessed shortly thereafter was a different story altogether. The tension that haunted the record was palpable on stage, apparently magnified in some instances by a sly pre-show stimulant or two. Each member seemed to vie to keep afloat in the maelstrom. They played like drowning men clawing at the shore, while the heavily
inebriated audience fought to keep upright on the floor of the steamy Auckland venue. When Konopka describes the working atmosphere for the band’s second album Gloss Drop, it becomes apparent that Battles has always been a stressful act to be part of. For one, they entered the studio a quartet and left as a trio, with multi-instrumentalist Tyondai Braxton walking out just as the record was nearing completion. “We were trying to adhere to deadlines and we forced ourselves to go into the studio,” he explains. “I think we were pretty unprepared but for the most part, as a four piece, we were just not gelling. Sometimes, in the past, trying to play two different songs within the same song was cute and interesting and stuff, but there was way too much of a difference in what we [each] wanted to do.” In order to streamline the writing and recording process, and bypass any personal tensions, the band committed parts to disk in isolation, each packed away in their own booth recording themselves, and passing their pieces on to each other remotely. The results were unsettlingly incoherent. “We were sitting in the control room, and listening to these songs and I’m like, ‘Wait, who’s that?’, and they’d be like, ‘That’s my part.’ ‘Really? I’ve never heard that before. That’s really bizarre,’” relates Konopka. “And that was across the board for everybody. It was not the best way to make an album.”
All good rock bands argue, and Battles is no exception. Guitarist/bassist Dave Konopka confirms that arguments are an important part of how the NYC group writes. “There’s a lot of differences of opinion over which way a song should go, how much to overdo it, or how minimal to keep it. The three of us are very opinionated people as far as the creative process goes. Sometimes it’s just about trying to find that compromise. I think that becomes the most stressful part of being in the band,” he says. “For the most part, I can’t say that it’s ‘I want to write a love ballad, and you want to write a metal song’. It’s more along the lines of, ‘Oh God that part was working so well, and you just threw a wrench into the
The band literally lived in the studio, and the production line approach to writing was doing little to soothe the growing schism. “A lot of that had to do with this disposition between us. There was this huge separation that was happening and I think it was in the vein of multitasking, but it just seemed like some people weren’t into
“For the most part, as a four piece, we were just not gelling ... Ty made the call that he didn’t want to do this anymore.” it, for real. That became evident after a while, and Ty made the call that he didn’t want to do this anymore,” Konopka says. “As corny as this may sound, it was super dark. It was the summer and we’d already been there for three months when Ty quit … But really, when you’re faced with this obstacle, it allows you to rise to the occasion.” The resulting record, then, represents something of a triumph. Featuring vocalists like Gary Numan, Kazu Makino from Blonde Redhead and Boredoms’ Yamantaka Eye, Gloss Drop manages to be infinitely more playful than their first, without jettisoning any of the cerebral appeal. It’s less weighty, almost saccharine, shifting the focus from the mathy abstraction of their previous work to a surreal strain of futuristic prog-pop. “I like prog a lot better than math rock,” laughs Konopka, apparently relieved to have changed topics. “At least progressive rock has some goofball sensibilities. There are some fun things associated with it.” It’s no surprise that as a point of reference he singles out Yes, one of the most absurdly whimsical bands in music history. Battles may not give in to the heady stylistic excesses favoured by bands of that ilk, but the playfulness of Gloss Drop certainly feels akin to them. “Math rock - nobody really associates ‘fun’ with that,” he ponders. “I think that an important part of Battles is that we’re actually kind of fun.” What: Gloss Drop is out June 3 on Warp, through Inertia
Death Cab For Cutie There’s No Place Like Home By Christine Lan
ou know today, when I went to the sandwich shop, the guy didn’t take my order right away. He froze up and asked if I was who I was and in the band that I was in, and he said, ‘Can I please buy you a sandwich?’ I said, .‘ ..Sure!’” chuckles Jason McGerr. The drummer of Death Cab For Cutie sounds flattered, but a little uncomfortable. In building their foundation on a rare depth of emotional sincerity wrapped in superblytextured, melancholy alt-pop, the Seattle-based group have spent over ten years acquiring one of the most loyal fanbases in modern rock. But it still hasn’t quite sunk in. “I still feel like I’m a little guy in a little band from a little town.”
Indeed, unlike most world-touring bands, Death Cab don’t feel like successful musicians. “The only thing that ever indicates that we have a bigger audience and career is when we’re having to book things out six to eight months in advance, and I’m doing interviews with a country that’s an 18 hour flight away,” McGerr says (before hinting that they might be making that flight before the year is out). “But none of us really think about [how] much has changed since the early days, other than that we get to ride in a nicer bus - or just a bus in general.” Death Cab For Cutie’s following grew stronger with each of their first three releases, but it was the group’s fourth, Transatlanticism (the first to feature McGerr, their third drummer), that would cement the band’s significance. Along with increased media love, Transatlanticism won them enough commercial appeal to attract Atlantic Records, who offered the most artistic freedom of all the majors and released their fifth LP, Plans. If its follow-up, Narrow Stairs, was the band’s darkest and most experimental release, their seventh album, Codes And Keys, may be their most warmly explorative. A cohesive album of impressive sonic and emotional scope, Codes And Keys embarks on a journey through building atmospherics, soaring orchestral grandeur, stirring emotional poignancy and hook-laden pop. It’s a brilliantlycrafted record that revolves around themes of
displacement and self-discovery, finding one’s home and one’s inner peace. “It’s funny how we all kind of arrived at this title at the same time,” McGerr recalls. “All of us were thinking about Codes And Keys because of how much it had to do with all the themes in the record. It was Ben (Gibbard – vocals, guitar, piano) and Chris (Walla – guitar, production) who decided first that that’s what it should be called, and they texted Nick (Harmer – bass) and I at the same time, and we both wrote back: ‘Of course!’ “[The title] meant a lot, not only in the context of the themes of the record … but because we travel so much, we have a lot of different meanings for home,” he explains. “It seems like all of us need to enter some kind of a code or key to access that home ... and there’s an emotional code to unlocking where you consider home to be and sometimes it’s not always apparent, you need to search for it.” The past few years have marked a profound period in the lives of the band members. Gibbard and Harmer married their partners, and McGerr’s wife gave birth to their second child. “Narrow Stairs was mostly written while we were on tour, and it was a long tour,” McGerr says. “Transatlanticism through to Plans was like one big run – we were living on the road and it was difficult to maintain relationships because there wasn’t one place that you called home. A lot more stability was able to be in place while we were writing for Codes And Keys. “Overall it’s a more positive record, because all of us are in a more positive place,” he continues, “because we get to have both of those things. I can be in a band that can travel around the world and make music for people, and I can have a couple of children and have a wonderful life at home with a family that’s patient enough to let me do my thing. It’s the same with Ben [Gibbard] – he has more understanding and order in his life now, while also being creative.” Gibbard, the group’s frontman, recently tied the knot with actress
and musician Zooey Deschanel. “It’d be funny if we wrote lyrics and music that was really melancholy and sad this time,” McGerr says. “People would wonder what’s wrong.” Codes And Keys is also a distinctive album for Death Cab in that it was the first time they handed the mixing reigns over to someone other than Chris Walla. The role was taken by Alan Moulder, a legendary English producer. Moulder has worked with Depeche Mode, My Bloody Valentine and The Smashing Pumpkins – it’s safe to say he knows how to build a mood. “I think it’s by far our best sounding record,” McGerr says. The first single to be released off Codes And Keys was ‘You Are A Tourist’ and its fi lm clip, directed by award-winning filmmaker Tim Nackashi, made history last month as the first ever single-take music video to be broadcast live during its filming. “Tim made it seem so dangerous and fun that if anything went wrong it would be charming,” McGerr laughs. “45 minutes before we were about to go live to the world there were some problems with the feed and we weren’t entirely sure if it was going to hold up. When we went live, the
“I still feel like I’m a little guy in a little band from a little town. None of us really think about how much has changed since the early days, other than that we get to ride in a nicer bus.” dancers’ costumes were starting to become unravelled, so people were worried and there was this sense of danger,” he chuckles. “We really worked hard three days straight building the set – it kind of looked like a variety show. I think it came across really charming.” What: Codes & Keys is out now through Warner
“Feedback baptise my soul, divorced from rock and roll. Brought up by open chords and endorsed by noise.” - THE NATION BLUE 24 :: BRAG :: 414 :: 30:05:11
Battles photo by Jason Frank Rothenberg
attles make music that is uncompromisingly dense, but their peculiar chaotic matrix isn’t always intentional (although a playful fondness of technicality-for-its-own-sake may have something to do with it). Instead, the complexity seems incidental, as though it’s a reactive byproduct generated by a group of singularly talented musicians refusing to cede too much ground to each other’s ideas. Songs appear to sprout irreverently from within other songs. Keys and time signatures are merely guidelines to be meddled with or ignored completely. Every second of sound conceals layers upon layers, each executed with the exact precision of a fresh razor. Sinewy guitar tendrils and synth stabs – pedantic, staccato – sound as though they’re sparring with one another. And as it turns out, they often are.
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Bachelor Girl Pop’s Not Dead By Mike Gee
hey don’t make pop music like they used’ may be a massive generalisation, but at its heart lies the truth: pop’s blood has been slowly thinning since the 1960s. It might just be that classic pop music is irrelevant in an age of DIY, when record companies can no longer commit long-term to artists’ development – or perhaps a matter of the technology of music production becoming so accessible that it’s splintered the genre beyond recognition. Tania Doko should have some idea: in 1998, she and her musical partner James Roche co-wrote a classic pop song that became a smash Australian hit: ‘Buses and Trains’. By 2003, just over a decade after Doko and Roche formed Bachelor Girl, their band was dead. Now, eight years on, it’s been resurrected around the spirit of their never-released third album, four tracks of which appear on Loved And Lost: The Best of Bachelor Girl. A short tour has been organised, and Doko – who is based in Sweden these days – has returned to her old stomping ground. Even though Bachelor Girl’s debut album, Waiting For The Day, went Platinum, Doko
admits to being unsure about the outcome of their upcoming album and tour. “We’re either going to be irrelevant in today’s market, or wildly successful. I feel now that I’m even more up for it than when we were doing our thing [in the ‘90s], and I was getting itchy feet to try different things.” Taking her publishing deal with her to Sweden, Doko got to try those different things, writing across genres that ranged from dance to electro-pop and rock. “It’s been interesting to see what modern pop has become,” she says. “But I do miss a great guitar pop song, where you can strip it back and play it on just a guitar and piano. It makes me wonder what pop music is going to be remembered from this era in 20 or 30 years time? Lady Gaga, I suppose.” The week of this interview, the cast of Glee spent a show doing Fleetwood Mac’s all-time classic rock and pop album, Rumours – admittedly not that well, but it did underscore the show’s devotion to classic music from the 1960s-1980s, mixed in with a smattering of Britney, Gaga and rap. “You can do Britney pop, but you aren’t going to be moved as much are you?” Doko says. “That’s what we’re trying to achieve … people were moved by the songs [in the ‘90s]; hopefully, they still will be.” It’s all a bit of an unknown. The music industry these days is a vastly different entity to what it
was in the early 2000s: the major record companies have lost the complete control they used to exert; the amount of money they spent on projects, videos and promotion has been cut; and bands can be independent like never before. Yet the situation is far from perfect; success is vastly unpredictable, and for most artists the music industry is a struggle on many levels. Bachelor Girl remember the last years of the majors’ spending spree… “We spent $150,000 on the ‘I’m Just A Girl’ video – one of the most expensive Australian clips ever made,” Doko says. “I don’t know what we were thinking; it was indulgent. I knew it was at the time. That wouldn’t happen today. “You can make great-looking clips for much less – it’s all about the technology these days, and now you have far greater access to a much larger audience. But the basic things are the same,” Doko suggests. “You can reach people far easier if you have a budget. And while there’s not the same amount of dollars that used to be spent on marketing plans, you can do a lot of good things on the internet. You just have to work it all out yourself.” What: Loved And Lost: The Best of Bachelor Girl is out now through Sony Where: The Basement When: Friday June 3
My Friend The Chocolate Cake
Owl Eyes Leaving The Nest By Jonno Seidler
The Carnival Returns By Mike Gee
hen I was kid growing up in England we used to go the seaside in the summer, and on the piers and seafronts there would inevitably be a Punch & Judy show. Children would sit spellbound in front of the colourfully striped tent and watch the knock-medown puppet drama unfold, greeting each blow with howls of laughter. Looking back at eight or nine-year-old me, I think that even then I was aware of the underlying darkness that seeped from each show. Years later, in the mid-’70s, I found the same darkness again in the satire of Aunty Jack – and it doesn’t surprise me when one of Australia’s greatest songwriters, David Bridie, says he found inspiration in that very same show. His fine band, My Friend The Chocolate Cake, embraces a similarly sinister edge.
rooke Addamo is very diplomatic. The one-woman voice behind Owl Eyes has just finished a tour in support of New York hep cat Darwin Deez, and she’s very politely explaining away his on-stage banter during his Sydney show – during which he frequently told the audience how hot she was. “They’re such a fun band, on and off stage,” she says. “Their energy just really lifted us up and they were so welcoming. We had no idea what to expect because it was the first international support I’ve done. The last show he kind of did a lot of shout-outs for me, and it was really lovely…” Those conspiracy theories will have to wait – it seems like that indie match-up made in heaven won’t happening any time soon – but Owl Eyes has got plenty more on the backburner to keep you entertained. The accomplished singer-songwriter is gearing up to release her Raiders EP (and the single of the same name) with a run of shows down the East Coast, and she’s pretty buzzed about it. Raiders follows a different path to Owl Eyes’ first outing, Faces, with Addamo taking a more introspective approach to songwriting. “I really tried to get in there and almost have a monologue with myself,” she says. “I wanted to make it very personal and intense, just to push myself a bit more [vocally] and make it more exciting to the listener.” The sonic template of her new work is also inspired by much of what Addamo has been listening to in her downtime, which includes what she terms “ambient, softer electronic music like Seekae and Oscar + Martin.” The theme, if there is one at all, “is probably more one of ‘space’ – between the music, in the music and also the space in which I’ve had more time to grow. The songs aren’t necessarily diary-like – ideally there’s room for interpretation in my voice,” she says.
The EP brings back multi-instrumentalist, producer and favoured foil of Owl Eyes, Jan Skubiszewski – you may remember him as one half of Jackson Jackson, or as the man responsible for some of the premier productions in Australian hip hop and alternative music. For Addamo, teaming up with Skubiszewski for the second time running was a no-brainer. “I’m really frustrated when people you work with try and change you or put their stamp on your work,” she says. “With Jan, it really fell into place – we wanted to write the same kind of music, and we work so well together.” While Faces was the sound of her experimenting, Raiders is where she really got to concentrate on her songwriting. “I wanted to make a mini-album, so it would really have a flow and a vibe. The bass is something Jan’s really good at, and we got the drummer in from The Melodics to do some live tracking.”
It many ways, it’s all in the character of the carnie, of the circus clown, of even the carnival itself. Almost 22 years and seven studio albums since Bridie and cellist Helen Mountfort formed the band as a side project to the seminal ensemble Not Drowning, Waving (NDW), the band’s latest LP, Fiasco, may well be its best yet. Rollicking romps, ballads and heartfelt stories set on bed of acoustic alchemy. A carnival of emotions. Bridie started as a schoolboy musician, playing in a nameless band at underage gigs. “My oldest sister was responsible for my music taste. She introduced me to Aunty Jack – I loved those Errol and Ned songs, especially,” he says. “I remember when I was 14, every time I heard the theme to Aunty Jack I would get up and go to the piano and sit down and try to play. You get your inspiration
from different areas. For some reason that song, the melancholy of it, enthralled me. I liked the feel of the song, which considering the absurd comedy is kind of strange.” Bridie hears an echo of that mood in the music of MFTCC. “We have so much darkness in our songs that we always need a counterpoint. At one gig, we did a cover of Billy Ocean’s ‘Love Really Hurts Without You.’” No. Really? “Yeah, we slowed it right down so it was like we were playing ‘Hallelujah’. “We did a gig in Adelaide on the Hotel Radio [a Bridie solo album] tour and the guy supporting us finished with Sam Fox’s ‘Touch Me’, and did it in a similar style. You could slow down most songs and most would sound deeper, meaningful,” he says. “On the next solo album I’m going to do The Only Ones’ ‘Another Girl Another Planet’, and I’ll probably do it that way.” This strange collective of brilliant musicians really have few limitations. Bridie talks long and fondly about the birth of Fiasco; the collective family Chocolate Cake came back together in the band’s 21st year and decided that such a celebratory album couldn’t be safe. To Bridie’s ears, the end result is perhaps as good as that classic self-titled first album from 1991. “I think with Chocolate Cake, even more so than with Not Drowning, Waving, that idea of ‘no limitations’ is true; the band started as a side project and the members have different musical tastes. So it goes from Miles Davis to Snoop Dogg and pretty much everything in between, [and] it even happens on stage. I can be singing on stage looking really serious and I look across and there’s Helen and Hope Csutoros [violin], laughing away…”
Having just come off the bandwagon with the all-singing, all-dancing Deez, Addamo’s learnt a thing or two about how to survive the rigours of touring. “I’ve been getting pretty sick lately,” she reveals. “It’s a lot of running around, doing gigs late at night and then on normal days, when you actually get to bed at a sane hour, you just can’t get to sleep because everything’s out of whack!” But true to her stage persona, Owl Eyes is always up for trying new things. “Next tour we’re driving to some places, which is new because I’ve only caught planes so far,” she laughs. “So that should an be interesting experience!” What: Raiders EP is out July 1 With: New Navy, Brackets Where: Last Night @ The Gaelic When: Friday June 3
What: Fiasco is out now through Shock Where: The Basement / Lizottes, Newcastle When: June 4 / June 5
“Bastards bowing to the rot uprisings off. For every soul in hell plant sugar in the crops.” - THE NATION BLUE 26 :: BRAG :: 414 :: 30:05:11
THE ROCKS POP-UP PROJECT 4 BUILDINGS, 6 MONTHS LIMITLESS THINKING Feel the pulse of a new level of artistic energy in The Rocks as an ever-changing mix of creative minds take up residence in four vacant heritage buildings.
WHEN// 11am to 7pm Wednesdays to Sundays WHERE// 47, 77, 77½ and 85 George Street CHECK THEROCKS.COM TO FIND OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
SUCK IT AND SEE
THE NEW ALBUM OUT JUNE 3 www.arcticmonkeys.com www.dominorecordco.com BRAG :: 414 :: 30:05:11 :: 27
THE OFFICIAL COMPETITION
Just four years after it was introduced by Festival Director Clare Stewart, it’s hard to imagine the Sydney Film Festival without its Official Competition strand. With a total of 12 films, programmed nightly at the iconic (and desperately romantic) State Theatre, the Competition is like getting the degustation menu at a two-hat restaurant: a taste of unique flavours from the current cinema spectrum, with a special emphasis on the original and the unique.
If you want to explore uncharted territories, and have heated post-screening discussions, the Official Competition is an excellent pathway through the festival. Chosen by Stewart for their emotional power and resonance, audacity, courageousness and unique approaches, many of these films will divide audiences – although there are also some (like last year’s winner, Heartbeats) that are irresistibly charming. Below are four that we’ve seen and can recommend, and three we’re holding our breath for. More at sff.org.au
for humanity, investigating our relationship to nature and our need for guidance from a higher power. For all the buzz which precedes a Malick picture (there have been only five in four decades), his work is singular and not easily accessible. Revered amongst cinephiles and creatives alike, he belongs to that rare breed of artists able (and given the means) to paint intimate stories on a large, Hollywood-scale canvas, to cast superstars in films which are neither commercial nor conventional. His style is unique, and expresses itself here without compromise.
A middle-aged man (Sean Penn) looks back upon his childhood in an effort to understand the man he has become. Growing up with two brothers in suburban Texas, Jack (Hunter McCracken) was constantly torn between the strict, often belligerent teachings of his father (Brad Pitt) and the more harmonious values of his mother (Jessica Chastain). As he comes of age, Jack is challenged by these contradictions, forced to accept
a world that seems unjust and arbitrary. This simple story beslies the incredible philosophical and stylistic complexity of this ambitious, long-awaited new film by American maverick Terrence Malick (Badlands; The Thin Red Line). Structured like a meditative daydream rather than a conventional narrative, Tree Of Life uses this all-American family as a parable
Pitt and Chastain are excellent as the parents, but it’s McCracken – playing Jack as an 11-year-old – who steals the show, his face a subtle mix of resignation, curiosity and interiorized pain. In a mostly silent performance, he magically captures childhood’s vulnerability, contradictions and sense of heightened reality. Encompassing a visual history of evolution, and animated by near-constant philosophical and theological questioning, this is an expansive work sure to baffle as many as it impresses. Those who surrender to its mystical overtones, majestic beauty and languorous tempo will find a way into the narrative and will see their active participation handsomely rewarded. – Mathieu Ravier
Toru Watanabe looks back on his days as a university freshman in Tokyo. The student riots of the late ‘60s are no competition for the inner turmoil of first love. Toru is caught between his relationship with the vulnerable and introspective Naoko (Academy Award-nominee Rinko Kikuchi), born from mutual attachment to Toru’s recently deceased best friend, and his attraction to the gregarious and lively Midori. It’s a choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between losing and finding oneself. Wisdom and happiness emerge as opposites, defining the hard choice one must make at the gates of adulthood. Haruki Murakami’s poignant novel Norwegian Wood was a publishing phenomenon in Japan in the late ‘80s, becoming – like a literary Twilight, perhaps – a generationdefining pop culture reference for millions of young people. Tran AnhHung’s adaptation uses every tool afforded by the medium to capture the sensual and emotional tone of the book: luminous cinematography
by Ping Bin Lee (In The Mood For Love), complex harmonies courtesy of Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood (who also scored There Will Be Blood) and inspired acting from a young and attractive cast. Anh-Hung beautifully captures the melancholy and languorous rhythms of the novel, propelling his narrative by means of voiceover or the reading of letters, punctuated by drawn-out stretches of silence. The emotional impact resides almost entirely in the sensory experience, and viewers’ willingness to read into these images. Mortality casts a shadow on everything, and depression is no easy thing to film, but it isn’t hard to find beauty in this existential pain. Characters appear to float like ghosts hovering across lush landscapes, and their dilemmas feel real and relatable. Like Jane Campion’s Bright Star, Norwegian Wood is a delicate film that will enthral those in tune with its laconic poetry. – Mathieu Ravier
Three films we’re dying to see:
Even before it debuted at Venice Film Festival last year, Athina Rachel Tsangari’s Attenberg had built up a certain anticipation among cinephiles, partly due to her producing credit on Cannes 2009 winner Dogtooth – with whose director, Giorgos Lanthimos, she has a long-term collaborative relationship. It was enough to get some people asking: is this a Greek New Wave? One of those people was Clare Stewart – who, when we spoke to her earlier this year, said she had talked about this with Tsangari, but concluded that it was more of a cell of talent, like Australian collective Blue Tongue Films (Animal Kingdom). If Dogtooth and Attenberg are anything to go by, it’s a cell to watch. Set in a small Greek town at the turn of the 20th Century, Attenberg centres around three lonely individuals who have formed their own social cell: 23-year-old Marina (Ariane Labed – who won best actress at Venice), her father Spyros, and her best friend Bella. Having lost her mother at an early age, and been raised in relative isolation by her father, Marina’s 28 :: BRAG :: 414 :: 30:05:11
approach to other people is more anthropological than social; more scientific than emotional. It comes from too many hours watching David Attenborough programs, and having frank philosophical discussions with her father. With Spyros dying of cancer, however, Marina finds herself making her first – painfully awkward, if it wasn’t for her complete lack of selfconsciousness – ventures into living among others. Attenberg is a slow-burning film with a cool eye for the boxy architecture, whitewashed walls and damp colour palette of decaying small-town Greece. At the same time, it has an almost aggressive energy, and a quirky sense of humour that manifests in slapstick, sight gags, and offbeat flourishes – including the animalistic dance interludes performed by Marina and Bella – and a soundtrack that ranges from the ‘70s protopunk electronica of Suicide to J.J. Johnson’s bebop, and the wistful romance of Françoise Hardy. Tsangari’s abstract point of view on the quotidien is as mesmerising as it is revelatory. – DJ
(USA) WR/DIR JEFF NICHOLS The buzz: Nichols’ debut film Shotgun Stories, which was largely informed by his own formative years in Southeast Arkansas, was a standout of Sydney Film Festival 2008. He returns with a moody, atmospheric feature (once again starring Michael Shannon) about a man whose increasingly violent visions of the Apocalypse begin to fray his sense of reality.
Debuting at the Berlin Film Festival in January, followed by Sundance and South By South West, Miranda July’s The Future quickly flagged itself as one of this year’s most anticipated films. Ostensibly a film about a couple who decide to adopt a cat, it’s about as unusual a creature as you’d expect from the woman who gave us Me And You And Everyone We Know, but less obviously funny. July bravely pitches her tent right on the precipice of her mid-30s, and proceeds to execute an interpretive dance about all the existential angst, self-doubt and disappointment that characterise that moment when you realise you’re not as smart as you thought you’d be, nor as interesting – and you’re probably not going to change the world. Sophie (July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) are 35, live in L.A., have dead-end jobs, and have been together four years – just enough time to think about getting a cat, but also long enough for the shine of romance and the allure of the unfamiliar to have well and truly worn thin. Facing the crushing prospect of disappointed ambitions – a prospect that seems to be drawing them further away from
each other, rather than closer – they decide to adopt the terminally ill ‘Paw Paw’ from the animal shelter. Expected to live for no longer than six months, Paw Paw represents an excuse to procrastinate from selfimprovement, without being too much of a commitment. But when the vet tells them that Paw Paw could live up to five years, suddenly Sophie and Jason feel the finite future closing in on them. “In five years we’ll be 40,” says Sophie. “Forty is basically 50, and then after 50 the rest is just… loose change,” replies Jason. “Like, not quite enough to get anything you want.” With a month left before they can pick up Paw Paw, they quit their shitty jobs, disconnect the internet, and vow to ‘find themselves’ – to make something extraordinary of their lives. Which is when the real stage fright begins. Funny, uncomfortable, heartbreaking and terrifying by turns, the most distinctive and impressive aspect of the film – much like Me and You before it – is the sense of emotional honesty. – Dee Jefferson
(AUS) WR/DIR IVAN SEN The buzz: Word is uniformly positive about Sen’s third narrative feature, which is based in the small, isolated town where he grew up, largely cast with non-actors, and revolves around a small boy who unexpectedly finds himself at the centre of a gang war. It’s been nine years since Sen’s mesmerising debut, Beneath Clouds, and we’re ready to see what he’s been working on.
(AUS) DIR JULIA LEIGH The buzz: Already dividing critics at Cannes, novelist Julia Leigh’s debut feature stars Emily Browning (Sucker Punch) as a young student who participates in an unusual boutique service for gentlemen. With an adaptation of Leigh’s novel The Hunter, starring Willem Dafoe, hitting our screenings later this year, she’s clearly someone to watch.
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Mike Mills has directed music videos for Yoko Ono and Pulp, recorded for Beastie Boys label Grand Royal, designed record covers for Sonic Youth and Beck, and made a feature film with Tilda Swinton (Thumbsucker). In other words, he’s someone you want to pay attention to. His latest feature, which closes this year’s Sydney Film Festival, is worthy of your undivided attention. It charts the hesitant love story between graphic designer Oliver (Ewan McGregor) and French actress Anna (Melanie Laurent). Both are scarred, lonely souls, who haven’t been very good at relationships. Oliver’s father Hal (Christopher Plummer) has just died after battling cancer, adding another weight to the man’s shoulders. Yet it’s in Hal’s story that Oliver finds comfort and, eventually, the strength to confront his demons. Hal, we learn, came out of the closet after the death of his wife, choosing to embrace his sexuality and live it up in his final years. The clever premise of this bittersweet film is to chart the parallel stories of these two men, both beginners in the game of love. A sense of authenticity and emotional
honesty permeates Beginners, even before you learn the story is autobiographical. It helps that the script is served by some great acting. Plummer is excellent, a revelation as a dying man who shirks convention in a last-ditch attempt to be true to himself, and Ewan McGregor gives simply the finest performance of his spotty career. Mills uses a variety of quirky tricks to tell his story, from an adorable subtitled dog to colourful hand drawn illustrations, confidently setting a tone halfway between Michel Gondry and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. More than mere gimmicks, they add layer upon layer of meaning and warmth to the story. Hipster affectations are kept in check thanks to a welcome ban on ironic detachment. Mills displays a true original style, an extension of his experience as an artist – at once personal and authentic – which adds up to something moving, entertaining and entirely of the moment. Beginners is a guilt-free arthouse crowdpleaser: resistance to its charms is entirely futile. – Mathieu Ravier
The chameleon-like Japanese director Takashi Miike is so prolific that this film, made in 2010, is not even his most recent. It’s not even his most recent Samurai film. Best known in the West for shockers like Audition and Ichi the Killer, it’s no surprise that 13 Assassins is a trifle violent. But it’s also an energetic samurai pic with strong echoes of Kurosawa; one that culminates in a 45-minute barrage of flaying swords, rivers of blood and clever character development. While comparisons to The Seven Samurai are obvious (even the structure is the same) 13 Assassins is actually a remake of Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 film. Set just before the Meiji restoration in the 1840s – the twilight of the samurai era – we follow the mid-ranked samurai Shinzaemon Shimada (Koji Yakusho), as he assembles a motley crew of 12 assassins to take down the evil Lord Naritsugu (Gorô Inagaki), brother to the Shogun, ruthless murderer of the people. It’s a film of two halves: from the steady introduction to the characters as they discuss honour and bushido with fierce
Kapadia’s great achievement here is his storytelling. He eschews the traditional talking heads of most documentaries and instead relies on archival footage. In doing so he creates an unnerving first-person experience that’s told largely through Senna’s own words. Newly recorded audio interviews with notable figures such as McLaren boss Ron Dennis and F1 chief medico Sid Watkins fill in the missing details. At the heart of the film is a portrait of a complex and gifted man – a genius driver who was fiercely religious and gently
The 13th assassin comes in the form a wanderer found hanging in a net from a tree, and he gives the katana-swinging proceedings some levity. Almost inevitably some of the characters become interchangeable, but the leads, including Yakusho and Yûsuke
The Western is a genre that has helped shape America’s cultural and political identity. Like Meek, it is more interested in tall tales than self-doubt. In Kelly Reichardt’s minimal, laconic cinema (Old Joy; Wendy and Lucy), stories are moved forward by tiny moments and silent speculations. Hers is a cinema of pertinent questions rather than easy answers.
men with land to conquer. While it seems nothing much happens in Meek’s Cutoff, there’s plenty of gold nuggets to be found if you sift through the silence. One question Reichardt asks – with clear resonance for Australians – is how different the settlers’ story might have been if women had had a role in decision-making. What would have been the fate of Native American tribes had curiosity and dialogue trumped fear and
persecution? How was the West won, and need there have been a fight? Meek’s Cutoff is a delicate gem that invites viewers to read between the lines and wonder what founding myths would have prevailed if the stories they were built upon had been written and told by women? Reichardt’s wise, poetic contribution to an entirely male-dominated genre is very welcome indeed. – Mathieu Ravier
drawn 40-something characters. Hanna and Simon are both open-minded liberal intellectuals, unbound by dogma or hang-ups. Through them, he explores the possibilities afforded to us by true sexual liberation, while painting a convincing portrait of middle-class ennui.
charismatic but would do anything for victory. Later in his career he would grow acutely aware of the dangers of his sport; he was contemplating quitting altogether shortly before his tragic crash at the San Marino Grand Prix in May, 1994. The film spends a great deal of time on Senna’s legendary rivalry with Frenchman Alain Prost, and their much-publicised feud is emblematic of his struggles with the political aspects of his sport. Senna had little patience for the bureaucratic nonsense that robbed him of the 1989 World Championship; he was a born driver who revelled in the on-track experience. Cleverly made accessible to the broadest audience, Senna also benefits from the inclusion of fascinating, unearthed footage of the drivers’ dramatic pre-race meetings. Senna is rather brilliant; exciting, funny, dramatic and ultimately, tremendously moving. Sometimes you literally couldn’t have written it any better. – Joshua Blackman
Iseya as the mischievous Koyata (recalling Toshiro Mifune’s Kikuchiyo in The Seven Samurai), are fine. The story of 13 Assassins is actually pretty simple, but Miike outdoes himself in the finale, an epic showdown that must surely go down as one of most exciting prolonged battle sequences ever filmed. 13 Assassins was already a stylish and moody historical drama; that sequence pushes it close to greatness. – Joshua Blackman
Set in Oregon in 1845, Meek’s Cutoff follows three families and their covered wagons as they attempt to find their way through harsh, barren landscape. Their guide Meek (Bruce Greenwood) seems to have led them astray, more interested in tall stories than in coming clean about his inability to lead them. Soon they run out of water and their lives are at risk. One of the men’s wives (Michelle Williams) seems to have more sense in her than all the men in her party combined, though she’s never asked to contribute an opinion.
The first sign of rebellion against the dogma of the American Western is the 4:3 aspect ratio. The squarish image reflects the point of view of the women, whose sightlines are limited by the bonnets they wear. Gone are the customary widescreen vistas, the point of view, perhaps, of
Winner of the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for documentary, Senna is a riveting snapshot of arguably the greatest racing driver who ever lived: Ayrton Senna. Whether you’re a rev head or a Formula 1 newbie, there’s much to enjoy here as director Asif Kapadia charts the Brazillian’s career, from his formative go-kart days to his superstar status at the peak of motorsports.
conviction, to the fury of battle, when Shimada’s warriors trap over 200 of enemy soldiers in a small township.
Germany’s Tom Tykwer made a big splash in the ‘90s with fast-paced thriller Run Lola Run, which propelled him into the ranks of A-list directors. After a few underwhelming high-profile English-language projects (The Princess and the Warrior, Perfume, The International) Tykwer returned to Germany to shoot a low-key, intellectually playful relationship drama called Three. The result is a true return to form.
extent, replaced by true complicity and a sly, intimate friendship. Both have rewarding jobs in creative industries, yet something appears to be missing from their comfortable lives. Hanna begins an affair with Adam (Devid Striesow), a professional acquaintance. Simon – much to his surprise – also lets himself be seduced by Adam after an encounter at the pool. Neither know about Adam’s other lover.
Simon (Sebastian Schipper) and Hanna (Sophie Rois) have been together for 20 years. The passion has subsided to some
This bizarre love triangle, however, is more than a gimmick or a high-concept premise. Tykwer has a real interest in his well-
Three is a conventional European drama and all the better for it; at heart, Tykwer is a master storyteller. The rare times the film goes off the rails is precisely when he indulges his appetite for stylistic flourishes. And if it can sometimes be hard to sympathise with these somewhat cold-hearted characters, who intellectualise every emotion, the three titular actors eventually win us over with charisma and candour. Well cast, smartly written and putting its Berlin locations to great use, Three makes up in honesty with what it lacks in warmth. It’s an elegant drama for grown-ups, sophisticated but sincere, with an optimistic conclusion that really satisfies. – Mathieu Ravier BRAG :: 414 :: 30:05:11 :: 29
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brushstrokes WITH BECK
eck Cole is part of a small cell of filmmakers who are bringing tough Indigenous stories to the big screen. Her debut feature, Here I Am, brings some of these filmmakers together: it’s shot by Warwick Thornton (Cole’s husband) and produced by Kath Shelper – the director/producer team behind Samson and Delilah. Set in suburban Port Adelaide, Here I Am follows a young woman’s struggle to rebuild her life and her family after being released from prison. We spoke to Beck and Kath in the week following the film’s premiere at Message Sticks Film Festival. Beck – where did you get your start in the industry? I started at Imparja (an Aboriginal television service in Alice Springs) as a cadet journalist, and then from there I went to Bathurst and studied Communications. [After that] I went to the ABC and ended up at the Indigenous unit there, under Rachel Perkins (Radiance; Bran Nue Dae). That was when I made my first documentary – maybe 13 years ago?
Messr Bublé and his troupe of lovelies have decided to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday the only way they know how: an evening of royal entertainment, 34B Burlesque-style. Holding court are Holly J’aDoll, Donna Dynamite, Kira Hula-la, Charlie J, Prince Harry, Evie Va Voom, Electric Dreams, MC Drew Fairly and DJ Goldfoot. It would kinda be unpatriotic not to go. Saturday June 11, at 34B (The Exchange).
Was it luck or purpose that took you to Imparja in the first place? You must have been quite young… I was, I was 16. And I didn’t want to go back to school – I was over school. So they said, ‘well you’ve gotta get a job then’. I did [the cadetship] for a year, and then I went back and did year 12 – because I’d decided I wanted to be a journalist – and worked in the newsroom after school. I guess it was pretty ambitious for a young girl, but it was fun – and there’s not a lot to do in Alice Springs! How did journalism lead to filmmaking? I started doing journalism [at Bathurst University] and didn’t particularly like it – and then the Media Production course was introduced and I said ‘I’ll do that!’ I’d always grown up with cameras around me, and influenced by Aboriginal media. [My family] has always been involved with CAAMA (the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association). After I joined Imparja (I think the following year) my father became the director of CAAMA. Funnily enough, Warwick’s mother had just left that position! Small world! BC: Yeah well in Alice, Aboriginal media, for people my age, has been a big influence – and I think these films that are coming out now are a direct result of that. What was your first strong connection with cinema, growing up? [Alice Springs] didn’t have even a cinema, so cinema wasn’t a huge influence – there wasn’t
even a drive in. [But] I remember seeing Tracy Moffat’s Night Cries when it was first released [in 1990], and that was pretty amazing. I loved the film, I thought it was beautiful and intriguing. And I remembering seeing one of Warwick’s early films, Payback, which one of the lecturers showed us. Those films were quite influential – and I thought ‘yeah, I can do that!’ Kath – how did you and Beck come to work together? I was working on a film in Alice Springs that Beck also worked on – Cold Turkey (2003), produced through CAAMA – so we spent lots of time together. It was a very tough shoot. And one day Beck said ‘I’d like to make a ghost story.’ And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll produce it!’ [Ed note: that film was Plains Empty, a 28-minute drama]. Beck – why did you feel so compelled to make Here I Am? It was just this character [of Karen] – she got under my skin. She came from a concern I have about [the fact that] so many of those sorts of women are in prisons. I was possibly interested in exploring that through documentary, but then I thought [as a drama] it could be a good character study; telling the story within a set time gives you a beautiful opportunity to be observational, and really get to the heart of the matter.
We’ve all done it – in fact, frankly, we live for it: the all-day, all-weekend TV marathon: just you, your lounge, an endless pot of herbaltea/chocolate/cookies and the boxset of Madmen/TwinPeaks/ArrestedDevelopment/ TrueBlood/TheWire. Sydney Film Festival understand – they just want to cultivate your habit, broaden your horizons, and perhaps get you out of the house… They’re screening two all-day TV Marathons this year, bringing the best of international cult television to the big screen: This Is England ’86, created by director Shane Meadows and based on his cult film This Is England (screening Saturday June 11 from 2pm at AFTRS, Fox EQ); and Dreileben, Germany’s answer to Twin Peaks, in nine glorious, chillingly atmospheric episodes (screening Sunday June 12 from 1pm at AFTRS). Thanks to Sydney Film Festival, we have a double pass to each of these TV Marathons up for grabs. To get your hands on one, head to sff.org.au/public/films/program/ tv-marathons and tell us which one you want to see!
What: Here I Am, Dir. Beck Cole When: Opens June 2 More: hereiamfilm.com
It’s that time of year when we get invited to go ice skating (and discover that despite the fond childhood memories, we're actually pretty shit on skates.) Luckily, the Australian Winter Festival celebrates winter noms and mulled wine just as much as it celebrates feats of icy athleticism. The Festival kicks off on July 28, bringing its massive 1000-square-metre ice rink to Cathedral Square in the CBD, plus an assortment of bars, food stalls and live entertainment. Entry to the festival is free, but 45-minute skating sessions start at $20 – and the slots at any time after 6pm sellout in advance, so be organised and head to winterfestival.com.au
Running for the next six months, The Rocks Pop-up Project is an incubator program linking emerging designers, artists and creative groups with space (in The Rocks!) where they can create, sell and perform. The four organizations taking part in the project are: Gaffa (an independent artists’ collective committed to nurturing cross-platform collaboration); Western Sydney’s Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE); The Red Room Company (a non-profit proponent of new Australian poetry); and The Rocks Markets – a longterm incubator for Sydney’s creative talent. The venues can be found along George Street at no. 47 (The Rocks Markets & ICE), 77 (Red Room’s Poetry Clubhouse), 77.5 (clothes and coffee from Son of a Master Tailor) and 85 (Gaffa artists) For more deets, see therockspopup.tumblr.com
FIRST & LAST LETTERS
Typographic artist and illustrator Helen Mycroft (aka Les Pretend) is opening a show of new work at The Wall this week, called First & Last Letters. Previously featured in the Go Font Ur Self and Don’t Go Into The Attic group show at LO-FI, this will be Mycroft’s first solo show, and she says it’s going to be heavily typographical, with a mix of personal projects, posters and EP artwork that she’s been working on in recent months. On her process, Mycroft says, “Everything is print-based but most of the work I have drawn or made by hand before editing on screen.” First & Last Letters opens this Wednesday June 1 at 7.30pm as part of World Bar’s weekly arts night, The Wall.
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Imagine watching Bladerunner from the vantage point of a rooftop cinema, backgrounded by a slice of Sydney skyline; imagine you’re sitting in a deckchair, beverage in hand, bathed in Sydney’s balmy summer night air. Melbourne got their Rooftop Cinema in December 2006 – so where the fuck is ours? That’s what Sydney’s Right Angle Studios are wondering, so they’ve come up with a diabolical plan to bring Rooftop Cinema to Surry Hills, alongside a restaurant and bar. Unfortunately, not everyone likes awesome, so you need to sign a petition supporting their development application. Head to gopetition.com and search for ‘Rooftop’.
At time of print, GetUp had only got a depressing 3,440 RSVPs for their climate rallies across Australia this weekend. GetUp's Sam McLean writes: "I just finished reading the Australian Climate Commission's new climate science report – and frankly, I'm scared. The risks have never been more clear and the case for action has never been more urgent. Scientists know this, you and I know this, but the rest of Australia still needs to hear it." Ok Sam. Prince Alfred Park, Sunday June 5, 11am.
LOVE STREET BANDITS
LO-FI Collective is back for the winter months with a series of group shows planned for June and July – starting this week with Love Street Bandits, an exhibition showcasing the times, trials, and misdemeanors of three dysfunctional roommates living down the dusty end of Brunswick street: SOFLES, Fintan McGee and Scott Marsh. With quite divergent graf styles, it will be interesting to see what these fellas get up to. As always, free Asahi for those who arrive in a timely (and over-18) fashion. wearelofi.com.au/collective
A4 PAPER FESTIVAL
The Paper Convention Collective – a group of Sydney-based artists “dedicated to the documentation of paper expressionism” – are launching their papery revolution this week: The A4 Paper Festival. Designed to ‘highlight the diverse creative applications of paper,’ the festival will showcase twelve Australian and international paper artists, including Yoshinobu Miyamoto (JAP), Hattie Newman (UK), Benja Harney (AUS), Jesse Brown (US), Emma van Leest (AUS), Anna Gleeson (HK) Trial+Error (AUS), Matthew Roland Bannister (AUS), and Bianca Chang (AUS). For more info, and to RSVP for their opening night at (appropriately enough) The Paper Mill, trot long to blog.paperconvention.com. The A4 Paper Festival runs May 31 – June 5.
SONGS OF LOVE & TORTURE Sarah-Jane Norman launches a brief season of durational performance at Serial Space this week, called Songs of Rapture and Torture. Each performance involves Sarah-Jane singing her interpretation of an iconic love song on loop for an extended period; more importantly, she will be singing this work personally for you, if you choose to book in for one of her intimate, one-on-one performances. The idea is to explore the intimacy, desire and longing that exist between audience and performer. First up is ‘Never Tear Us Apart’, from 8pm this Friday June 3. The following Wednesday, June 8, Sarah-Jane will pose as a singing mannequin for the pleasure of passersby (6 Botany Road, Alexandria) and perform ‘Walk On By’. For the rest of the cycle, check out serialspace.org
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SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL: YOU’LL BE CRUSHED IF YOU MISS OUT 33 SERENE MOMENTS 113 PASSIONATE KISSES 8 BLOODY REVOLUTIONS 99 SCARY MOMENTS 200 LITRES OF BLOOD 143 BELLY LAUGHS 14 SCREAMING CAR CHASES 765 DEADLY BULLETS 58 EPIC JOURNEYS 22 BLISSFUL REUNIONS
This year SFF introduces new venues into the mix including expanded screenings at Events Cinemas George Street, international television marathons at Australian Film Television and Radio School, a new talks and festival club venue at Grasshopper Bar in George Street, a big screen in Martin Place and the iCinema experience at UNSW and more. See it all at sff.org.au and check out some of the highlights below.
161 FILMS 42 COUNTRIES ONE FILM FESTIVAL
EVEN THE RAIN
POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS: THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD
TAMBIÉN LA LLUVIA
SUN 12 JUN 9.35PM WED 15 JUN 9.00PM
STATE THEATRE EVENT CINEMAS
SAT 11 JUN 8.45PM TUE 14 JUN 5.25PM
STATE THEATRE EVENT CINEMAS
FRI 10 JUN 9.15PM SAT 18 JUN 4.15PM
STATE THEATRE EVENT CINEMAS
Director: Miguel Arteta
Director: Icíar Bollaín
Director: Morgan Spurlock
Ed Helms (The Ofﬁce) stars as a stunningly naïve small-town insurance agent headed to the ‘big city’ in Iowa for an insurance convention in this riotously funny comedy. John C Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr (The Wire) co-star.
Gael García Bernal (Amores perros) stars as a director on location in the jungles of Bolivia who is shooting a ﬁlm about a 16th-century Indian uprising.
Morgan Spurlock’s documentary about branding, advertising and product placement is ﬁnanced and made possible by brands, advertising and product placement.
SING YOUR SONG
THU 9 JUN 9.00PM THU 16 JUN 4.00PM
STATE THEATRE DENDY OPERA QUAYS
WED 8 JUN 8.45PM MON 13 JUN 9.35PM
DENDY OPERA QUAYS STATE THEATRE
Director: Susanne Rostock
Director: Tom Tykwer
This inspiring documentary about musical legend and political activist Harry Belafonte is puntuated by outstanding archival footage.
Tom Tykwer’s (Run Lola Run) stylish drama (and visual tribute to Berlin) centres on a 40-something couple who separately fall in love with the same man.
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TUE 14 JUN 9.30PM SUN 19 JUN 1.45PM Director: Tom McCarthy
STATE THEATRE EVENT CINEMAS RATED M
Paul Giamatti is at his angst-ridden best as a blundering attorney suddenly stuck with a client’s runaway grandson in the new comedy from Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent).
FREE TALKS PROGRAM MEET THE FILMMAKER SFF AT THE APPLE STORE
FILMMAKER STUDIO SERIES
To celebrate the SFF and the spirit of ﬁlmmaking, the Apple Store will host free events including the popular Meet the Filmmaker series, where you can hear the ﬁlm industry’s leading writers, directors, producers and actors discuss their latest projects, and answer your questions.
SFF partners with Metro Screen, the leading independent screen learning and development hub in New South Wales, on an exciting series of ﬁlmmaker workshops. The guest ﬁlmmakers, all of whom have ﬁlms screening at SFF 2011, share their knowledge and insight about the creative process and establishing a career in the ﬁlm business. Workshops include ﬁlm clips and Q&A sessions. Check our website for the full talks schedule and updates
Virgin Atlantic’s Hong Kong Hideaway @ Grasshopper Temperance Lane, Sydney. As well as a venue for relaxing and getting to know other festival-goers, Virgin Atlantic’s Hong Kong Hideaway @ Grasshopper is the location of SFF’s Extended-Mix Q&A series, where many of the festival’s guest ﬁlmmakers will talk about the making of their ﬁlms.
ELITE SQUAD: THE ENEMY WITHIN
TROPA DE ELITE 2: O INIMIGO AGORA É OUTRO
MON 13 JUN 3.30PM THU 16 JUN 9.15PM
EVENT CINEMAS STATE THEATRE
THU 9 JUN 4.00PM SAT 18 JUN 9.15PM
EVENT CINEMAS STATE THEATRE
FRI 17 JUN 9.30PM
STATE THEATRE RATED M
Director: José Padilha
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
This nail-biting action/thriller about corruption in Rio’s police and intelligence services is the highestgrossing Brazilian ﬁlm of all time.
Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle are the perfect odd couple as an acerbic Irish cop and an uptight FBI agent in this wickedly funny, action-packed caper ﬂick from Ireland.
Cary Joji Fukunaga (Sin Nombre), breathes fresh air into this modern telling of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, with Mia Wasikowska starring as the governess heroine and Michael Fassbender as the master of the house and romantic foil.
THE WHITE BALLOON
ZHAO SHI GU ER
WED 15 JUN 8.50PM SAT 18 JUN 2.00PM
STATE THEATRE EVENT CINEMAS
SUN 19 JUN 12.45PM
MON 13 JUN 12.20PM
Director: Chen Kaige
Director: Asif Kapadia
Director: Jafar Panahi
This historical blockbuster directed by Ofﬁcial Competition Jury President Chen Kaige is adapted from the ﬁrst Chinese opera to become known in Europe and is about a doctor who sacriﬁces his son to protect the last of a noble clan.
Buckle up for an adrenalin-fuelled ride in this thrilling documentary about Formula One champion and Brazilian sporting hero Ayrton Senna.
Bring the kids along to this charming Iranian classic about a young girl’s quest for a goldﬁsh. Directed by Jafar Panahi, it won the Camera d’Or at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and screens as part of our Panahi and Rasoulof tribute program.
BOX OFFICE (02) 9690 5390 BRAG :: 414 :: 30:05:11 :: 33
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.
mca annual zine fair
PICS :: TL
Here I am
HERE I AM
22:05:11 :: Museum Of Contemporary Art :: 140 George St The Rocks 92452400
Released June 2 Beck Cole’s directorial debut is an ambitious film that looks at redemption through the spectrum of Aboriginal women’s experience. Showing plenty of potential, this South Australian film is pulled short of its high aims by its clunky dialogue. Here I Am is the work of the team behind the award-winning Samson and Delilah (2009), with Warwick Thornton (Cole’s husband) acting as cinematographer, and Kath Shelper producing. Shai Pittman stars as Karen, a recently released inmate who goes to live in a women’s shelter as she tries to put her life back on track and reconnect with her estranged family. PICS :: TL
jay collier exhibition
Offering an alternative view of the Indigenous Australian experience, Here I Am is populated by Aboriginal women and set in urban Port Adelaide. This contrasts with traditional tropes that imagine all Aboriginal people live in the Red Centre or ‘the bush’. It is also a pleasant change to have a female lead, with the film proving to be a celebration of the strength and resilience of women.
17:05:11 :: Bandstand Café Darlinghurst :: 01 Victoria St Darlinghurst
The cast, which includes many non-actors, is a mixed bag. While some of the first-time actors prove to be naturals others fail to shine, with the dialogue often feeling more read than acted. Some of the responsibility for this must fall on Cole as the writer. The earnestly didactic nature of her script proves infuriating at times. One potentially powerful scene, where the women of the shelter are sharing their life experiences, is jolted out of authenticity when one character starts rattling off statistics of Aboriginal incarceration.
PICS :: TL
Here I Am is a good film, but too often it feels like a read-through. Certain filmic aspects seem to have been sacrificed to the greater desire to get across an important message. On the flipside, however, it is a credit to Cole’s seriousness that the reality of redemption is treated with gravity. Pittman brings an important believability to Karen, who is not given an easy road to a new life.
18:05:11 :: Firstdraft Gallery :: 116-118 Chalmers St Surry Hills 96983665
The film represents a fresh new perspective that, though not wholly successful, suggests that there are still very exciting things to come from Beck Cole. Beth Wilson ■ Theatre PICS :: AM
[TITLE OF SHOW] May 24-29 / Sidetrack Theatre
18:05:11 :: The Dip @ GoodGod Small Club :: 53-55 Liverpool St 92673787
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Tasty new section coming 13.06.11! For advertising rates please call Meaghan on (02) 9552 6333
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There’s something truly joyous about this satirical one-act musical. Originally conceived and written by one-time Broadway nobodies Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell, and brought to life here in Sydney by Squabbalogic Productions, [Title of Show] is a must-see production for aspiring theatre creators and lovers of musical theatre. The show’s creators, Bowen (played by Blake Erickson) and Bell (Jay James-
Moody), are the chief protagonists in this ‘true to life’ account, which begins with the two budding writers deciding to write a script for entry into the New York Musical Theatre Festival. With only three weeks until submissions are due, and struggling for ideas, the two musical theatre geeks decide to write a musical about two men writing a musical… It’s part of [Title of Show]’s irony that even as a musical, and even though it originally ran at the Lyceum on Broadway, in essence it is the antithesis of Broadway. With only four cast members, one piano, and four chairs, the show is modest and resourceful, and the most small-scale Broadway production I can think of. [Title of Show] is also absurdly reflexive. Along the lines of the hit US television series Glee and Community, Bowen and Bell’s script is heavily laced – to the point of almost being weighed down – with intertextual references, and in-the-know references to musicals past. But like everything in this production, it somehow works. Barlow Redfearn ■ Theatre
ONCE UNDER A SKY Until June 4 / Old Fitz I was full of hope as I entered the Old Fitz, which had once again (see Trapture review) been transformed. An imposing, bandaged wall formed the backdrop of the set, whilst strips of sandy-looking lino stretched out across the floor. Above my head were two large nets with painted water bottles attached. In the middle of the stage were the two performers, Kate Sherman kneeling over Freya Sant’s sleeping body. I love it when performers start on stage at the Fitz because it means they have to sit through the box office attendant delivering the “thank you for supporting independent theatre” speech. The payoff is usually large when they do finally come to life. Disappointingly, Once Under A Sky never lives up to this excitement. The story of August (Sherman) and May (Sant), a classic ‘odd couple’ who both love the sea yet find themselves lost in a desert, failed to provide a reason to watch. The heart of the problem was the story’s complete lack of stakes: nothing was important, and so I wasn’t invested in the characters’ journeys. At times it felt as if that were meant to be the point – that we were in absurdist territory, and the futility of it all was meaning enough in itself; however, this was then contrasted with a very clear narrative, which constrained the meaning of the work without providing a reason to care. There were some nice images, most stemming from the pair’s physical work, and it seems that this is where the duo is strongest. My favourite moment of all was when a serious August packed the childlike May into a bag, out of frustration. It was hilarious and intriguing. I wonder if the show would have been more stimulating if it was stripped of script and presented as a physical work. Henry Florence
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Film & Theatre Reviews
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What's hot on the silver screen and the bareboards around town. ■ Film
THE HANGOVER PART II Released May 26 This sequel to the 2009 smash-hit is little more than a rehash of the original. In the world of sequels, it’s another Home Alone 2 – a remake of the first film transplanted to a vibrant, zanier setting – this time sprawling, grimy Bangkok rather than the decadent squalor of Las Vegas. This Hangover finds Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug in Thailand for Stu’s wedding to a beautiful bride (Jaime Chung). Stu (Ed Helms) is adamant there will be no bachelor party, lest they slump into the madness that previously got them involved with a tiger, Mike Tyson and a hooker with a heart of gold played by Heather Graham. Inevitably, Stu gets his arm twisted into having “just one” beer by a beach campfire, and the next morning they find themselves awakening in a dingy hotel greeted not by a giant stripykitty, but a chain-smoking, drug-dealing monkey. Overnight Stu seems to have taken a trip to the local tattoo artist, while Zach Galifianakis’ Alan is now missing a head of hair. Naturally, the boys must find out what the heck has happened – and rescue the bride’s missing brother (Mason Lee), a teenage prodigy and his father’s favourite son.
What made the first Hangover great, aside from being a rather hilarious, was the ingenious flashback structure and the element of surprise. You can’t blame director Todd Phillips for thinking “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but would it have killed him to come up with a more risky variation on the theme? Still, what worked the first time around works to an extent here. The first film’s breakout star, Galifianakis, gets most of the best lines, though his confusing man-child act here crosses into oh-pleaseare-you-really-going-to-do-that territory, as if he had stumbled into an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Hunky Bradley Cooper continues to prove he’s movie star material as the de facto leader of the group, and Ken Jeong (Community) is back too as the occasionallynude gangster, Mr. “bitches!” Chow. Compared with the (brilliant) upcoming Bridesmaids, the film feels like a sausage fest – even, perhaps, when you don’t expect it – and Heather Graham’s bubbly presence is missed. While sporadically funny and of brilliant technical cred, it’s ultimately lazy and cynical, something that doesn’t seem lost on the characters either, who frequently exclaim something to the effect of: “How can this be happening again?!” You’ll be asking yourself the same thing. Joshua Blackman
THIS WEEK! 86-:'sMON & TUES 7.30PM
456%*0s5*$,&54 THEIR M USIC IS GORGEOUS , EVOCATIVE AN D HAUNTING MAKING POP M USIC SOU N D VITAL AN D N EW AGAIN .
With Dave Harmon
hen Dave graduated from the NIDA Directors Course in 2008, he and his five classmates decided that rather than going alone, they’d pool their talents in a group called Theatre Forward. The sextet aimed to challenge and inspire each other to exciting new theatrical heights, with innovative projects and interesting ideas. It was a far cry from the Sydney University comedy shows and arts revues where Dave got his start; however, that love of comedy has never left him – and you could see that in his musical version of Dr Strangelove, which toured to the Melbourne Comedy Festival. An interest in cult cinema also culminated in an internet adaptation of The Big Lebowski, which went viral. His latest project, Sam Shepard’s Tooth Of Crime – which Dave describes as “part rock concert, part poetry slam, part death match” – continues this interest in an underground style of art. What was it about Tooth Of Crime that really got to you? It’s a post-apocalyptic, rock’n’roll Western, which I think is really exciting. A friend of mine had told me about the play years ago and Sam Shepard is one of my favourite writers – it’s really electric and this is one of the plays he wrote when he was younger, living in the Village in New York, performing in rock bands and hanging out at the Chelsea Hotel with all these crazy people. On top of that it’s kind of like a live rock show. Who’s in charge of the music? Basil Hogios. He is a fantastic composer who I met a couple of years ago and he recently worked on Trapture at the Old Fitz. He’s very good at ambient, sinister music, which is a perfect fit for this... Basically the play’s a brawler. There’s this old rocker Hoss who’s a superstar cowboy gangster, and then there’s an outsider, this gypsy called Crow who comes to take it all away from him. The whole thing is the looming threat, and Basil gets that perfectly – covering everything from Lou Reed-inspired numbers to Massive Attack and Die Antwoord. But it’s not musical theatre? It’s not musical theatre because it’s not underscored. The band aren’t sitting there in isolation up the back behind a scrim, or down below, underscoring every moment with emotional significance. Rather, it’s a bear pit play where two people circle each other and the songs
#"5'03-"4)&4s'3*4"51. $0/$&35)"--s5*$,&54'30. TH E M ERCU RY PRIZE WIN NING SONGSTRES S B RINGS H ER BEWITCHING INDIE-POP TO AUSTRALIA FOR THE FIRST TIME.
HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE SAT 8.30PM 01&3"5)&"53&s5*$,&54'30. THIN K TRADITIONAL N EW ORLEANS B IG - BAN D JA ZZ WITH A NOD TO HIP- HOP ’S RHY THMS .
$)3*4$6//*/()".s46/1. 1ST SHOW SOLD OUT, 2ND SHOW SELLING FAST! 01&3"5)&"53&s5*$,&54'30. A VIDEO ART PION EER WHO HAS WORKED WITH B JÖRK , MADON NA & APH EX T WIN .
Director Dave Harmon
smash right out of it – sometimes so that people will be talking and then the lights change, they hit the microphone, do a big rock number and then go back to the play.
THE SONY LOUNGE 6PM TIL LATE
What kind of experience can punters expect? I think people don’t go to shows, they go to ‘nights out’ – and the bar that you go to beforehand and afterwards is part of the whole experience. I really like it when a show fits into that in a way you’re not expecting; when you walk into a space and you’re suddenly confronted with a wall of musicians tuning, or you’re taken into a strange location that you don’t expect to see theatre in… that’s the type of theatre that we’re trying to do, something that is much more an event than a theatre show. If you’re a fan of music you’ll get something out of it… It’s exciting, loud, young and raw. What: Tooth Of Crime by Sam Shepard; Dir. Dave Harmon When: From June 2 - 25 Where: ATYP / Wharf 1, Hickson Road More: www.atyp.com.au
SOAK UP THE VIVID LIVE VIBE AT SYDNEY’S NEWEST POP-UP BAR. FEATURING A ROSTER OF DJS PICKED BY CURATOR STEPHEN PAVLOVIC, IT’S A DESTINATION IN ITSELF. DOWNLOAD THE VIVID LIVE IPHONE APP
27 MAY – 5 JUNE TICKETS AN D FU LL VIVID LIVE LIN E- U P
SYDNEYOPE RAHOUSE .COM/ VIVIDLIVE * T RA NSAC T I ON FEE O F $ 5 - $ 8.5 0 A P P L I E S TO A L L B O O K I N G S, E XC LU D I N G I N SI D E RS.
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Album Reviews What's been crossing our ears this week...
ALBUM OF THE WEEK PAPA VS PRETTY United In Isolation Peace And Riot / EMI Papa Vs Pretty’s debut record is so good both in the writing and the raw, thrilling way it makes you feel - that the band deserve every superlative and lofty comparison thrown their way. They sound like an army and may be the next Silverchair, but they’ve skipped all the way to Neon Ballroom.
Australian rock may have lost two of their most long-serving groups in the past twelve months, but Papa Vs Pretty have the future stitched up.
From the charging opening ‘Life’s Got A Hold On Me’, which pummels drums and vocals into your ears harder than any major label effort of the last five years, through to the phenomenal choruses of ‘Look For Me’ and ‘Conquistador’, this record is orchestrated and aurally mapped to perfection. The hooks get deep inside and
Screws Get Loose Spunk
Pala XL / Remote Control
The self-titled debut by Those Darlins was a quiet achievement, filled with kick-arse rockabilly and all the hallmarks of girl-punk: three chords, volume and suggested promiscuity. With Screws Get Loose, the Tennessee once-trio (now with an official fourth member, Linwood Rosenburg, on drums) have expanded their sound, taking the narrow power of their debut and treating it with more expansive guitar tones, a greater diversity of influences and a fashionably heavy dose of reverb. The album’s opener, leading single and title track is the first highlight, rolling out of the blocks with one of the laziest, most relaxed timings I’ve ever heard for an anthem. The swamp romp of ‘Tina Said’ is a lethargic, foottapping sprawl with Jessie Darlin’s nasal whine interjecting in all the right places, while the lyrically confused ‘Be Your Bro’ (“I just wanna be your brother, you just wanna be my boyfriend, I just wanna run and play in the dirt with you, you just wanna stick it in”) is another favourite, a welcome respite from the album’s general repetitiveness. While the record offers up the same wild-eyed, tequila-fuelled power of their first, the production and occasionally weak songwriting loses Those Darlins a few points. Each track is so washed with reverb that it’s almost waterlogged, obscuring the artful instrumentation behind walls of echo. If you can get past the cavernous production though, there’s a powerfully cool record hiding within. Screws Get Loose is a typical second record; upped production, artistic progression and a minor loss of the charm of their first. Max Easton
‘Pala’ is a reference to Aldous Huxley’s utopian novel Island, where the island Pala is depicted as a kind of heaven on earth “dedicated to the creation of a psychedelic culture”. Friendly Fires have taken this as a sort of mission statement for their second album; where their self-titled debut saw them craving a new life in Paris or hesitating to jump into a pool, this time around they’ve jumped in, emerged from underwater and found themselves on the shore of a sun-kissed Hawaiian paradise. ‘Live Those Days Tonight’ has a carpe diem urgency to it, with its helter-skelter flurry of percussion and frontman Ed MacFarlane’s bombastic vocal leaps fleshing out the funky backbone of the song. Cascading piano chords reverberate through ‘True Love,’ and the effortless RnB groove on ‘Show Me The Lights’ exemplifies the band’s ability to stretch their style. The slow, ethereal title track flourishes with tantalising, Oriental-flavoured plucks and McFarlane’s breathy falsetto, proving the band is worth far more than cowbell-cluttered dance funk. Having written the entire album in a garage under drab English skies, they’ve sifted through a smorgasbord of instrumentation to take you to a faraway place where they, and you, would rather be. Lyrically, McFarlane gives insight into a gallivanting, joyous world; anthems of escapism and mystical bliss are married to the sexy, tropical, rhythmic shoegaze which the trio have perfected, with producer superstar Paul Epworth thrusting it to even loftier heights. With an appreciation for dynamics, tempo and George Michael, Friendly Fires have taken you to their very own ‘Pala’: a utopian wonderland where everyone is naked, sexy, happy and high.
stay there without needing to revert to simple four-chord, cycle-of-fifths pop. Just take ‘Honey’, which both in tone and composition could belong to The Bends-era Radiohead, but veers in an entirely different direction with the late inclusion of an earth-shattering guitar solo that recalls the heyday of glam. Frontman Tom Rawle is an absolutely peerless performer. Vocally gifted and shredding his axe like a pro across the album, he works off his enviably talented rhythm section to drop songs like cluster bombs. Exquisitely moody in places - particularly the hammering ‘Charity Case’ and pared-back ballad ‘I Felt Nothing’ - United In Isolation is nonetheless a joyous record; it celebrates the power of music created by passionate, uninhibited musicians. Whether it’s the dexterous drummer Tom Myers providing pitch-perfect harmonies across ‘Darkest Way’ or
Start & Complete Domino Records
Bury Me In My Rings Vagrant
Here’s the premise. Get Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor to loosely pen a bunch of songs. Get him to gather up his friends and lock them in a studio for a 24 hour period. Give said friends the basic outline of the songs to jam on for the aforementioned time period. Record the results. Recorded in the renowned Abbey Road studios, the album begins by sounding akin to the pop band who made the room famous. ‘Don’t Worry’ and ‘Repair Man’ are classically Beatles-esque with simple guitarpop melodies and McCartney-style vocals saturated with Rhodes keys and shimmering psychedelic chords. The first half of the album gets you thinking that if they can turn out songs like this in a one-day jam session, then they should definitely put some time aside for an in-depth studio album… But that was never really the idea behind About Group. Delving further into Start & Complete, you're taken deeper and deeper into the experiment. The compact song structures are replaced with meandering jam pieces and hazy, slumbering ballads. Songs like ‘Nothing But Words’ and the title track sound half-finished and unsurprisingly loose in their delivery, and while the eleven-minute lead single ‘You’re No Good’, with its neo-soul keys, funky guitars and irresistible vocal hook, shows the listener just how good this release could be, it’s not enough to carry the overall project. While not a bad album, it’s not especially good either. As an improvisational jaunt, there is unmistakable quality to Start & Complete, but in the end that’s exactly what it is – a successful experiment, but a somewhat hitand-miss LP. Rick Warner
Blake Sennett’s “other” project (“other” meaning other than Rilo Kiley co-songwriter, Jenny Lewis' ex-boyfriend, and appearance as teen boy-witch Michael in Buffy) has always flown further under the radar than it deserves to. This is the outfit’s third full-length, and comes after Sennett took several years away from making music to get over the disintegration of Rilo Kiley. He’s come back at it with apparently renewed vigour, and while Bury Me In My Rings feels almost off-puttingly slick and cutesy on first listen, a poke around under the bonnet reveals that his characteristically sharp, subtly lovely songwriting is still at work. Sennett’s voice is nothing special – a papery, plaintive thing with a sweet falsetto, it nonetheless works equally well when paired with crackling, lo-fi accompaniment (‘Ripchord’, from RK’s near-perfect More Adventurous, is a gem) as it does buried in the stylised, sheeny production on show here. The Elected’s country-folk leanings are still there, in the prominent Bob Wills lap steel twang, ukuleles and audible six-string scrapes, and the cheatin’-heart vernacular of ‘Jailbird’ and ‘When I’m Gone’. The rest of the references are mildly cheesy soft-rock tributes: ‘Babyface’ could be a Hall & Oates deep cut, ‘Go For The Throat’ lays it on thick with mildly grating ELO-style rainbow harmonies, and ‘When I’m Gone’ has a lovely, dark groove that’s part Fleetwood, part Supertramp. But while the sugary ‘70s excursions are a worthwhile experiment, it’s when Sennett gets a little dark and dirty that the genre-play works best: in ‘Who Are You’, there’s a fey spookiness to his delivery that’s both endearing and unnerving.
Walls Mom+Pop Walls opens with its first single 'Dressed Sharply', and it’s a warm and reassuring beginning to a wonderful second album from the Brisbane duo. The record feels immediately familiar - not just because Kate Cooper and Damon Cox streamed it prior to release, but because the tracks seem so much like a natural extension of their first release, Rearrange Beds, that it’s like listening to a tape you’ve just
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An Horse still know how to play to the strengths that they identified on their debut. You’ve got the lovely, messy melodies that make their music so much fun, with the plaintive lyrics about love, loss and distance repeated with different emphasis on each iteration. They also revisit their astute use of silence, which isn’t something everyone can do well in music. For An Horse fans experiencing the usual second-album trepidation, this release will bring a sigh of relief. It’s like coming home.
Codes And Keys Atlantic Death Cab For Cutie have never tried to be anything other than what they are. It’s a talent rarer even than the ability to make seven really good albums in a row: the ability to satisfy the faithful, placate the sceptical and intrigue the uninitiated all at once. For the last several albums, Ben Gibbard’s lovelorn, self-lacerating undergraduate protagonist has been looking outside himself for answers; Transatlanticism was overtly preoccupied with distances, on Plans he sought to make sense of love through pondering death and vice versa, and on the ambitious and wrenching Narrow Stairs, he hovered just outside happiness, alternately bitter, wistful and resigned. Codes And Keys seems to shed the sad-sack overcoat once and for all - Gibbard has stopped attributing every feeling to doom, and has become a more contented agnostic (‘St Peter’s Cathedral’), a beaming lover (‘Stay Young, Go Dancing’), and a newly-minted adult distributing genial life advice to himself (‘You Are A Tourist’). The stylistic expansions that paid off so brilliantly on Narrow Stairs are back in force here as well, to wonderful effect. ‘Some Boys’ has a quirky, cavorting rhythm that recalls Animal Collective, the unabashedly glossy anthem ‘Tourist’ has an unstoppable earworm of a riff, and there are gnarly, earthy guitar tones that are as definitively Northwesternindie as the crisp kraut excursions are not. There is space here, but it’s not all down to Alan Moulder’s trademark aircraft-hangar mixing; it’s the sound of Death Cab politely, but definitively, outgrowing their old pigeonhole. DCFC have emerged into grown-up life with confidence and a thirst for subtle novelty; each new record is a rich, comforting paean to old ways and new prospects.
But Walls isn’t just more of the same; as the album continues, you can hear how the band has developed their sound. There’s a fiercer rock edge to the brave and energetic ‘Trains And Tracks’, and something new in the syncopated drums of ‘Know This, We’ve Noticed’. Harmonies throughout the record are generally more layered, and although the production remains subtle, there’s clearly a bit more happening in each song. While there are no real surprises, there needn't be; this is the sound of a band that trusts itself. An Horse are growing into their sound, not away from it – and it’s working great for them. Romi Scodellaro
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
She & Him & Hall & Oates & Belle & Sebastian – if any part of that little mismatched fondue party appeals to you, give this a spin.
INDIE ALBUM OF THE WEEK realised flips to the other side.
bass player Angus Gardiner arranging the epic string backing on ‘Look For Me’, the talent and scope is all here.
OFFICE MIXTAPE And here are the albums that have helped BRAG HQ get through the week...
BUILT TO SPILL - You In Reverse DAS RACIST - Sit Down, Man BEASTIE BOYS - Solid Gold Hits
SUICIDE - Suicide WYE OAK - Civilian
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The Minor Chord The all-ages rant bought to you by Meg Williams
ALL-AGES GIG PICKS SOCIAL PIONEERS
Applications are now open for the Foundation for Young Australians' 2011 Young Social Pioneer program, but get in quick as they close this Friday June 3. The Foundation for Young Australians is a philanthropic foundation set up to represent young people through advocacy, research, funding and support. Their Social Pioneers fellowship brings 14 â€œchange makersâ€? together each year with the aim of combining like-minded individuals who can learn from each other. Essentially this is 12 months of training and professional development for individuals who have an idea for a project that they think will enact positive social change. Recent alumni include Chris Boyd, who established Australian Youth Against Cancer, and Genevieve Clay, who started Bus Stop Films, a production house working with Accessible Arts to create gateways into the arts for young people living with Down syndrome. Got an idea? Are you passionate about a cause? Then head over to indent.net.au for more information and how to apply.
SEVEN HILLS SHOOT-OUT Besides being a record company, Burgess Bookings are also event managers and they book a helluva lot of all-ages gigs. They are currently taking submissions for the Seven Hills Shoot-Out, an all-ages band competition. Heats are running throughout June and July, with a prize pool of $4,600. Email burgess_ventures@ bigpond.com for more details and how to enter.
While weâ€™re on the topic of band comps: the Fitz Band Competition returns to Fitz Youth Centre in St Ives. Entries are due by July 1, so thereâ€™s plenty of time to get your demo and application form perfected. Heats will be held weekly on Fridays, starting from July 29. A local haven for all-ages gigs, the youth centre is fully equipped to hold everything from the hardest of core bands to the softest of acoustic sets. The annual band comp, whether you are a fan or in a band, is a great opportunity to jump headfirst into a thriving music community. Watch this space for more on the artists entering.
BURIED IN VERONA
Sticking it out on the north side: this Friday June 3, Manly Youth Centre is hosting Buried in Verona, For All Eternity, Pledge This!, To Our Forefathers, My City Screams and From the Sky. Buried in Verona are a hard core six-piece from Sydney who recently released their second album Saturday Night Sever through Riot/Warners Music, and are on the verge of putting out their new video â€˜The Endâ€™. See them live this Friday â€“ and please, stretch out your neck before you start headbanging! Tickets $15 on the door.
LITTLE RED: ALL MINE
This coming long weekend a plethora of all-ages gigs will guide you through the
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Little Red, World's End Press The Metro Theatre
SATURDAY JUNE 11 Come Together Festival: Drapht, Urthboy, Illy and more The Big Top, Luna Park
WINTER CHILLS FESTIVAL
Pumice (NZ), Pets With Pets, Oscar + Martin, Collarbones and more Croatian Club, Newcastle Queens Birthday. Friday June 10, Little Red return home for their All Mine tour at the Metro Theatre. â€˜All Mineâ€™ is the third single from sophomore album Midnight Remember, which recently went Gold! The fellas have been touring relentlessly overseas, picking up tricks and developing their live show even further, so this show falls in the â€˜not-to-be-missedâ€™ basket. Supported by Melbourneâ€™s World's End Press, just to top it all off. (Oh and Little Red will also join The Flaming Lips, Mix Master Mike, Snoop Dogg and The Killers as â€œspecial music friendsâ€? when they support Yo Gabba Gabba! this June in Melbourne.)
On Saturday June 11 weâ€™ll see the return of seminal long weekend festival, Come Together â€“ but in an interesting twist, Come Together turns hip hop this year. Drapht will headline, with Urthboy, Illy, Muph and Plutonic, M-Phazes, The Tongue and triple j unearthed winners Daily Meds. Daily Meds are part of the new hip hop collective/record label Big Village, who are releasing some of the finest and freshest local Sydney hip hop â€“ so definitely one to check out.
For those willing to drive and eager to source some new and innovative tunes, Newcastle is the place to be with the third installation from a series of season specific festivals at the Croatian Club on Saturday June 11. Winter Chills features some of the most innovative acts from around Australia and New Zealand including Melbourneâ€™s Pets with Pets and Oscar + Martin (a must-see, they create weird pop layered over catchy hip hop beats), Collarbones (SA/NSW), Mere Women (NSW), plus so many more. Oh and Pumice, a lo-fi legend from New Zealand (this is his only Australian show!) A licensed all-ages affair, tickets are strictly limited (only 500 available) but are insanely cheap. Find them on Oztix.
For all this and more please tune into FBi Radio 94.5 for The Minor Chord Live, 5pm every Wednesday with Kate and Eva.