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Lawrence Arabia (NZ) The Frowning Clouds | The Twerps
RRRâ€™s JGV Radio Method live broadcast plus RRR DJs Fee B Squared, Jonathan Alley and Richard Watts Spend the (second) last day of summer at the NGV for a celebration of art and free live music in the dappled shade of the Grollo Equiset Garden. RADIO PARTNER
Auguste Rodin Balzac 1898 cast 1967 Felton Bequest, 1968, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
WED 16 FEBRUARY
THU 17 FEBRUARY
HEATHER STEWART NICK VAN BREDA + DAVE ANDERSON
6pm 8.30pm, $10
FRI 18 FEBRUARY
QUINCE 6pm PEAR + THE AWKWARD ORCHESTRA + LADY GREY 8.30pm, $12 SAT 19 FEBRUARY
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WEDNESDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2011
Thursday 3, 10, 17 & 24
Sweet Jean Original roots duo of Sime Nugent & Alice Keath 7.30pm
Sat 5, 12, 19 & 26 February ARVO SESSIONS
Chris Wilson Harmonica and blues legend plays a highly entertaining month of Saturdays 5pm EVENING SESSIONS
I AM KLOOT
INPRESS 16 18 18 20 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 38
Who’s playing what with Charts; the week’s best and worst in Backlash/Frontlash The Front Line brings you the hottest industry news In The Studio keeps you turned on to your fave band’s movements Foreword Line brings you all the latest tour announcements The Hold Steady sing the praises of the redemptive power of rock’n’roll Foster The People are no one-hit wonders The Getaway Plan ignore the haters M Ward loves a collaboration PJ Harvey’s latest is being called the best record of her career Tunng long for drunken sing-alongs at their shows On The Record rates new releases from White Lies and Mother And Son Queens Of The Stone Age hope to see some request-banners in the crowd Mayer Hawthorne would love to record with Smokey Robinson
FRONT ROW 40 40 42 42 42 43 44 44
This Week In Arts lists the must-see events of the upcoming seven days John Waters gets his Lennon on – again – in Looking Through A Glass Onion The touchy subject of incest is tackled in ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore The Menstruum takes a dive The Freak & The Showgirl is one tough show to describe Film Carew rates Certified Copy and Rabbit Hole Trailer Trash bars up over the Logan’s Run remake An opera singer takes the lead role in ace flick Certified Copy
BACK TO INPRESS 46 47 48 49 50 50 50 50 51 51 53
The Books want your least popular records I Am Kloot are finally being noticed Roy Ayers wants to hear more scatting We struggle to hear Four Tet over a crying child Buried Horses are big fans of Cormac McCarthy The Like dig on those old Motown sounds Floating Me are a hard rock supergroup The Woohoo Revue love a bit of horn Toro Y Moi is livin’ back with his folks You won’t see no fancy visuals at a Tricky live show Our LIVE section gives you the best of the week’s live music! 53 Gig Of The Week reacquaints itself with Swervedriver 53 LIVE:Reviews dons the Warpaint 64 Sarah Petchell will Wake The Dead with her punk and hardcore talk 64 Andrew Haug takes us to the dark side in The Racket 64 Kendal Coombs leads the under-18s boardroom in the Department Of Youth 65 Pop culture happenings in The Breakdown 65 Dan Condon blues and roots in Roots Down 68 If you haven’t appeared in Fred Negro’s Pub, your mother probably still speaks to you 68 Jeff Jenkins gets down and local in Howzat! 69 Plan your month with Fred’s calendar 70 Our Gig Guide fills your diary for the weekend 76 Gear and studio reviews in BTL 78 Find your new band and just about anything else in our classy Classifieds
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The title character in Ruben Guthrie is no Don Draper knockoff
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Gleny Rae Virus & her Playboys (NSW) Don’t miss the fiddle-playing, accordion-squeezing queen of western swing hillbilly & cabaret 9pm
Sun 20 February
King Cake (TAS) All the way from Tassie, King Cake with Pete Cornelius plays New Orleans funky blues 6pm
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ON THE STEREO Deerhoof Vs Evil DEERHOOF Anna Calvi ANNA CALVI Majestic Silver Strings BUDDY MILLER Natural Disasters D ROGERS Sweet Inspiration: Songs of Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham VARIOUS ARTISTS Swim Remixes CARIBOU I Still Hear Your Voice At Night THE PARADISE MOTEL Unidentified Flying Collection Of Songs MY OWN PET RADIO We Are The Lilies THE LILIES The People’s Key BRIGHT EYES
3RRR SOUNDSCAPE James Blake JAMES BLAKE In The Cool Of The Day DANIEL MARTIN MOORE Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will MOGWAI Dereb The Ambassador DEREB THE AMBASSADOR Star Of Love CRYSTAL FIGHTERS Scissors EP LANEOUS & THE FAMILY YAH Deerhoof Vs Evil DEERHOOF No More Idols CHASE AND STATUS Computer And Blues THE STREETS This Old Leather Heart SILENT FEATURE ERA
FRONTLASH Gaga at the Grammys
THE GRAMMYS Arcade Fire win Album Of The Year and Lady Gaga locked in a cone of silence? This is our kind of awards show!
ERYKAH BADU It’s a shame the Good Vibes festival wouldn’t let any of its acts play sideshows, as Badu’s afternoon set of super-soulful R&B would have been amaaaazing to witness in a club.
BOOMGATES This indie supergroup played a storming show at a Clifton Hill warehouse party on the weekend, with at least a couple of songs destined to be HUGE. Give us an album already.
BACKLASH Tinman - more heart than our pollies
BILLBOARD’S TOP TEN CHRISTIAN ALBUMS Until We Have Faces RED WOW Hits 2011 VARIOUS ARTISTS Dominionaire CANTON JONES And If Our God Is For Us... CHRIS TOMLIN Born Again NEWSBOYS Awake SKILLET Leaving Eden BRANDON HEATH Rehab: The Overdose LECRAE Move THIRD DAY Church Music DAVID CROWDER BAND
SYN TOP 10 The Bust [ft. Dialectrix] BINGETHINKERS Jawbone BURIED HORSES I Am A Nightbird CAITLIN PARK Don Juan COLLARBONES 98 Til Now LADI6 You’re Always SALLY SELTMANN All That You’ve Got THE BIG SCARY The Owl THE HONEY MONTH In The Summer CRYSTAL FIGHTERS Baby Don’t You Cry FERGUS & GERONIMO
GIVEAWAYS Alpine formed in 2009 and have gone from strength to strength ever since. Likened to Phoenix, Lykke Li and The XX, the six-piece are now about to embark on their first headline tour. Fusing synths with honeyed harmonies, hypnotic rhythms and bright beats, Alpine appeared on the scene with a set of demos that quickly caught the attention of music lovers across the country. To celebrate their first headline tour, Alpine are giving away a remix of their track Heartlove by former tour buddies, dynamic Sydney duo Fishing. Grab it for free from Alpine’s Soundcloud page: soundcloud.com/alpineband. We also have two double passes to give away for their Melbourne show at the Corner on Friday 25 February. Triple J Hottest 100 winners Angus & Julia Stone are playing the 3630 Festival at the Shepparton Showgrounds on Sunday 13 March. This will be one of their last performances in Australia before they head off to Coachella Festival and performances in Paris and Berlin. Joining the duo on the impressive bill are Clare Bowditch & Her Lady Garden, Briggs, Muscles, The Verses and more. Tickets are just $65 and available from riverlinksvenues.com.au/3630festival. html, but we have one double pass to give away. UK artist Gabby Young will be bringing her enchanting live show to our shores for the first time to perform at the Toff In Town on Thursday 24
FUN POLICE Was it really necessary for two cars of cops to roll up to the same party – in the middle of the afternoon, in a dead-end street, after the bands had finished – to stop people drinking outside? Dudes, relax!
BEYOND BELIEF The State Government is preparing to wind back Victoria’s anti-discrimination laws to allow religious groups to discriminate against anyone with beliefs contrary to theirs – y’know, gays, lesbians, etc. Victoria, on the move – back to the dark ages…
BEYOND BELIEF II While we’re on pollies, what the fuck is up with the federal opposition moaning about the government paying for some relatives of those refugees killed in the recent Christmas Island boat tragedy to attend their funerals? Are these people actually human? Email email@example.com from 5pm Wednesday February. Young’s new album We’re All In This Together is a genre-bending explosion of gypsy folk, pop, rock, jazz, cabaret, and a whole lot of soul. We’ve got three double passes to give away to the Toff show. Armourdillo was launched at the turn of the century in Melbourne by a group of blokes who were not satisfied with the accessories available to them at the time. In establishing their brand they decided to never compromise on the things that matter most; design, colour, leathers and build quality. Skaters such as Corey Duffel are ambassadors for Armourdillo, and the company’s belts are some of the sharpest we’ve seen in a long time – categories include the signature collection, classic, slim, life, reptile, bullet, metal and genuine leather. Thanks to the generous folk at Armourdillo we have five belts to give away. The second Karavan! International Gypsy Music Festival is on the way, bringing with it some of the greatest gypsy music from Australia and the world. Karavan! will be headlined by two outstanding international acts: Gipsy.CZ (Prague) and Harem’de (Istanbul). From Australia there’s the incredible Russian sounds of Vulgargrad, the raw emotive power of Australia’s leading flamenco ensemble Arte Kanela, Lolo Lovina with the best Balkan stylings around, and the unique Middle Eastern/ Balkan fusion of Babaganoush. All this plus two
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IN THE STUDIO WITH BRYGET CHRISFIELD
Speaking to Troy Van Leeuwen from Queens Of The Stone Age recently, the guitarist/keyboardist shared his thoughts on where the quintet are at in terms of the follow-up to their 2007 longplayer Era Vulgaris. “We’re in the very early stages of putting the songs together,” he told In The Studio of how album number six is coming along. “There’s a lot of ideas – we’re just sifting through what they are right now to figure out what’s the best and we’re not really pushing for it, you know, we’re letting it sort of come out of us. And that’s why it’s good for us to get out on tour again and play as a band, ‘cause that’s really a big part of it. We are a live band at the end of the day and so usually our record’s just capturing a live moment that’s sprinkled with magic fairy dust.” QOTSA are scheduled to hit our shores at the end of this month for Soundwave and a handful of sideshows.
ANOTHER DOOR OPENS
Having just departed this country after their final Laneway festival appearance in Perth over the weekend, Two Door Cinema Club have had a long stint of international touring off the back of their debut album. The Irish trio, who have all now turned 21, told Triple J that they have been working on the follow-up to Tourist History with “three or four songs” already written. Those lucky to be in the crowd taking in their latest performances were treated to one new song and one of the lads revealed to the radio station, “After this, once we get back, we’re gonna slow things down a little bit and take some time to write and record.” Since some of the songs on the band’s first release were written when they were 17 years old, Two Door Cinema Club admitted, “The new stuff we’ve been writing – we’ve tried to experiment a lot more than we did on the first album in terms of things like structure and different sonics and things like that… we’re just trying to improve and progress.” The band’s frontman Alex Trimble offered, “For me the big difference is the lyrics, because we’ve done so much travelling and we’ve met so many different people and I’ve got a notebook that I keep with all these memories of the stuff we’ve done in the past two years. It’s pretty fun to be able to turn all those experiences into songs and stuff.” Although the band admitted to having a producer wishlist in their heads, they haven’t actually approached anyone to man the boards for their second set as yet. They also said they’re definitely looking forward to trying out a few different producers this time around now that their resources are not as limited.
CUTTERS MIX UP
Cut Copy’s third album Zonoscope has landed, and came in at number three in this week’s ARIA Albums Chart. The schmick Melbourne band has also made a mixtape, entitled A Tale Of Two Journeys, and physical copies of this are available as a bonus item with your purchase of Zonoscope from select record stores. If you’ve already made the purchase, you can stream A Tale Of Two Journeys at soundcloud.com. The Cutters tracklisting competition will be over by now, but you’ll hear a mix of tracks as varied as a jukebox on shuffle within the selection, including The Rolling Stones (Undercover Of The Night), Fleetwood Mac (Tusk) and Happy Mondays (WFL). Among the many comments posted underneath, most of which are complimentary, ‘Heyboy’ labels this a “Gran Mixtape”.
The final show of Metallica’s Death Magnetic tour took place in Melbourne on 21 November last year and you’d think after two solid years of touring that the veteran heavy metal quartet would be up for some R&R. However, guitarist Kirk Hammett told Rolling Stone that his band have booked some studio time in May. “We want to record it in two weeks,” he said of the future output. “We had planned on doing it in March, but we pushed it back to May. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s not really 100% a Metallica record. It’s a recording project, let’s put it that way. Without getting too deep into it, it’s more a recording project than a bona fide Metallica album. Whether or not we can pull it off in just two weeks remains to be seen.” Before then, Metallica are preparing to share the stage with the other three bands that make up The Big Four – Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax – on 23 April at the Coachella site.
INDUSTRY NEWS BY SCOTT FITZSIMONS Top: Strangers V Strangers - Bottom: Strangers (we think)
ROOM TO GROW
Applications for The Seed’s seventh year are now open and will be so until Friday 8 April. With new categories this year, opportunities include the management workshop, a publicity grant of up to $5,000, a visual art grant in conjunction with the Next Wave festival, and a grant for remote indigenous musicians in conjunction with Skinnyfish Music. Co-founded by John Butler, the grant program has a range of industry partnerships and opportunities, so to apply or for more information head to theseedfund.org.
ON THE LOOKOUT Guitarist Noah Grosz had five guitars stolen from his Bendigo home two weeks ago. He’s put the call out for anyone with information on a 1932 National and a 1948 Maton, among others. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any information.
WARNER’S REVENUE DOWN 14% More gloomy numbers for a major label as the Warner Music Group posted a 14% drop in its quarterly revenue on Tuesday, sending their share price into free-fall. Despite releases from Josh Groban, Michael Buble, James Blunt, Kid Rock and Bruno Mars, Warner cited the dwindling physical sales that were once again not offset by digital sales. In a conference call to analysts, company chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr said, “While industry pressures and a highly competitive release schedule limited our results in the first quarter, we’re confident that our disciplined A&R investments, successful revenue diversification and innovative digital strategies will drive WMG’s long-term growth.” The next day, Warner’s share price was down as much as 9.8%. Only last week did Citibank take control of embattled UK major EMI.
FOALS DEMO IN SYDNEY While in Australia for Laneway, Oxford’s Foals have spent time recording new demos at Sydney’s 301 Studios with Jono Ma, the brother of Dave Ma who works on the band’s video clips. Their label is angling for the band to release a new album by September, but keyboardist Edwin Congreave told The Frontline that it will take “as long as it takes” and a January 2012 release is more likely. Ideas are at a very early stage and it is not clear to the band whether they’ll be making a progression as large as the one from their debut Antidotes to Total Life Forever was. They have started a wish list of people they’re hoping to have produce the record, though. As for the new songs, they say they haven’t been affected by their change in location. “The guy we’ve been recording with in Sydney [Jono Ma] listens to a lot of dance music and has a lot of expertise in synthesisers and drum machines and within a day of being in the studio everything instantly has this house feel to it,” said Congreave. “And it also had a summery edge. People will assume that you record in Australia and things will sound more summery and people in Australia listen to house music, but before we’d even got here it sounded like that anyway.”
JOVI B-SIDE BECOMES NRL ANTHEM The song was a bonus track with his latest Greatest Hits compilation and was written with commercial sporting opportunities in mind, and now the NRL has seen fit to license Bon Jovi’s track This Is Our House as the new official song for the league. It has featured in NFL broadcasts prominently, with the New England Patriots also using the track when they score a touchdown. NRL marketing manager Paul Kind said of the deal, “I spoke to Paul Dainty, who was the promoter of [Bon Jovi’s recent] tour, and we have since been in negotiations with Universal management and Bon Jovi’s US management about the rights.” Notoriously a sports nut, Bon Jovi released a statement via the NRL saying, “‘Having led an American Arena League football team from inception to championship and as a lifelong sports fan, I know the intensity and dedication that goes into cheering on your team. We wrote This Is Our House to be a sports anthem and House has found a home in the US on the playing fields of the New York Rangers, the New England Patriots, and the NFL.” A report of the NRL’s website described it as “the biggest advertising coup in Australian sport”.
T-PAIN’S RANT TO FAKE MUSIC ‘LOVERS’ Frustrated with the increasing decrease in CD sales, T-Pain took to his Twitter – and the Twitlonger service to fit it all in – to rant on “respect for the form of art” and threaten to leak his album. “Since nobody wants to respect this form of art that you all say we ‘love’ so much,” he wrote, “I’m just gonna go ahead and start leakin’ the album myself tonight. Well maybe I shouldn’t rant but everybody was lookin’ at me strange when I said I didn’t wanna drop my album, it’s not that album sales weren’t doin’ good for hip hop and R&B, it just felt like no one respected ‘music’ anymore.” According to Rolling Stone, he then posted two tracks from RevolveR, but these have since been taken down. After pioneering the modern AutoTune fascination with his previous records and working on hits with Akon, Kanye West and Lil Wayne, his new material hasn’t broken through like previous singles did. Since 2009 singles rumoured to be from his forthcoming and fourth album have been released and reworked after flopping in an attempt to regain chart positions.
A WORLD OF STRANGERS Sydney-based Strangers have changed their name to Strangers V Strangers to avoid confusion with new NSW Central Coast-originating Fiftysixx reincarnate Strangers after a show at Sydney’s Spectrum caused confusion last week, with some suggesting that the newer Strangers were gaining traction due to the work of now-named Strangers V Strangers. Manager of Strangers V Strangers Kimberley Galceran told The Frontline the name double-up was likely an “innocent mistake”. She said, “It’s a shame that the Strangers I work with have started to get airplay and have been around for more than a year and have played gigs and this Strangers are fairly new out on the scene and they’re already headlining their first show.” An ad which appeared in The Drum Media listing Strangers as performing on the night, but with a picture of the incorrect band (Strangers V Strangers, meant to be Strangers), caused further confusion. “I think the reason they got the gig at Spectrum is probably because of the Strangers I work with, because they played Phoenix (downstairs at the Exchange Hotel, which also houses Spectrum) two months ago,” said Galceran. “I think there’s been a mix-up and possibly they have been given some opportunities because of the other Strangers.” Venue booker Rob Giovannoni, from Select Music, assured The Frontline that the right band was booked, and it was just confusion within the art itself. The two bands have been in contact about the name clash, and the Sydney outfit opted to rename. Tom Larkin, Strangers’ manager, told The Frontline, “We’ve had correspondence from the other Strangers’ manager pointing out the sharing of the name but saying that she was changing their name anyway so we regard it as a non-issue.” “I think regardless of whether the other band decides to change their name or not,” said Galceran, “there are too many bands called Strangers anyway. We’re not changing the name because of this Strangers at all, it was already decided beforehand. This has just made it more complicated now.” A statement from the band released late last week, confirming the name change, read, “We could try to take them on but we can’t afford the five leather jackets we’d need for that battle.” In another name change last week, Ballarat’s Triple J Unearthed High winners Howl have changed their moniker to Hunting Grounds.
GUITAR HERO ACTUALLY A LOSER
Perth – now London – noise-rock outfit Snowman are about to call it quits, but not before they release their next record. In an interview with website Life Is Noise, the band’s frontman Joe McKee revealed, “We’re actually splitting up, which is why we’re not playing shows. Ross [DiBlasio, drummer] and Olga [Hermanniusson, bassist] have moved to Iceland and they’re having a child and they’re focusing on that so were not really a band any more. Other than the fact that we’re putting out another record.
Video game publishers Activision Blizzard have pulled the plug on their pioneering Guitar Hero series as another ‘saviour’ of the music business proves to be a flash in the pan. As part of a disappointing first quarter report, the company said that it would be disbanding the Guitar Hero unit and stop development on the next in the series because the popularity of it had faded. Included in the cut are the DJ Hero and Band Hero titles as well as 500 people from the global 7,000 workforce. The company is now realigning itself to focus on more successful titles, like Call Of Duty. The latest edition Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock sold poorly worldwide, while the new Call Of Duty title made $1USD billion in its first six weeks of release in America alone. “Demand for peripheral-based games declined at a considerable pace,” said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg in a statement. “Given the considerable licensing fees… we simply cannot make these games profitable.” Video games like Guitar Hero and Harmonix’s remaining Rock Band title were once touted and the next saviour of the music business, with some artists and labels choosing to premiere the tracks on the format.
“It’ll be a kind of a posthumous release in the same way that Tupac started releasing records! It’s something that we’ve been working on for the last three years and it’s our best record without a fucking doubt, in my opinion. I’m really proud of it. But we just can’t push it uphill with a pointy stick any more, we all need new people to work with and we all need to feel the spark again and I think that for some of us that spark was dampened.”
FERGIE’S BOWL BLAST Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie has admitted the band were off-key during their half-time performance at last week’s Superbowl and believed Christina Aguilera was overawed by the occasion. Talking to sportscaster Dan Patrick on his radio show, Fergie said, “Some of my notes were pitchy to me.” Their performance featured cameos by Slash and Usher in a medley of their own singles and those of their guests, with AutoTune and a pretty static performance from the four members. Regarding Aguilera – who messed up the lyrics to the national anthem – she said she empathised with the pop star, who was feeling the pressure of the concert. It was watched, incidentally, by 111 million television viewers in 53.3 million households making it the most watched television program of all time. “You know what?” Fergie said, “It’s such a huge venue, your nerves take a hold of you. I completely understand.” In a statement issued to America’s Associated Press Aguilera said, “I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through.” At least we know the artists weren’t miming. Tweeting from afar, Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas wrote, “black eyed peas are doing the best visual thing i’ve ever seen. the sound guy is fucking them” (sic) on his account.
BATTLES’ FIGHT TO ALBUM #2 The long-anticipated and awaited second album from math-rock masters Battles is finally done, after arguments and being “pissed-off” following vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Tyondai Braxton’s departure from the group. The band were last in Australia in 2009 as part of the Brian Eno-curated Vivid Festival at the Sydney Opera House, still as a quartet and in the middle of recording new ideas that were yet to take form, as the band told Street Press Australia at the time. Talking to Pitchfork, bassist Dave Konopka said that the record was completed and tentatively due this winter. Regarding Braxton’s walk-out in the middle of a studio session last year he said, “The three of us argued and were pissed off after Ty left but we were like, ‘Fuck that. That’s chapter’s closed. Let’s move on.’”
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DAN WHITFORD from CUT COPY takes us behind the scenes of the national Laneway Festival tour and their own after-parties. Sordid stories ensue. was almost too much for most of the members of Cut Copy. When we arrived at the Brisbane fest, suddenly we weren’t festival headliners, we were just gushing fanboys with our attention bouncing from one record collection favourite to another. “Sign my tits Ariel…” an anonymous member of CC (ie. me) shouted as he headed to the stage. The set from Cutters’ favourite DJ, Nile Delta, was incredible – a sprawling house-a-thon so charged with emotion it brought the first row of girls in the crowd to tears. We bottled those tears for the making of our next record. Midway through the festival when the fandom died down, I remembered that our new record Zonoscope had come out that day, so I snuck out of the festival to pick up a copy of our record from JB. It was good, but probably a bit expensive and I thought some of the songs were too long and weird. I like the last one better… Dark descended. Our band room became available. Mango daiquiris arrived and we started into our pre-show ritual of NBA hangtime and psychedelic karaoke. Show time was epic. So much anticipation, and so many new songs to remember. I was so nervous that I didn’t make it out onto stage until 15 minutes into our set, forcing the others to reinterpret the first three songs as instrumentals. Things picked up after that, thankfully. Tim and Ben brought the crowd to their knees with an extra ten minutes of improvised percussion jam dressed as monkeys from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Backstage Cutters karaoke
CUTTERS RECORDS PARTY BRISBANE
DAY 1 – BRISBANE LANEWAY We kicked off our Laneway experience with the East Coast leg of the festival. Not only is it the first chance for us to play a set full of Zonoscope tunes, it’s also the best festival line-up we can remember since the
ill-fated but rather excellent and indie-star-studded Summersault in the late ‘90s. The opportunity to listen to bizarre rambling stories about German prostitutes and cowboys of the old west from Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox or see Ariel Pink sporting a red polka-dotted pair of women’s flares reminiscent of Bianca Jagger
In true Cutters form, we finished the show and headed straight to the club with bouquets of flowers and a trolley full of 45s. Nile Delta had somehow beat us there and stole our DJ slot. The crowd was full of freaks. A lot wilder and artier than I remember the Valley being last time. Foals and Warpaint were at the bar drinking shots and talking about Fluxus art and I saw a dead ringer for Grace Jones making a sexy strut across one corner of the dancefloor with the Rio Lobotomy lads. It was like being at the Paradise Garage, except in a parallel reality where disco started in Brisbane rather than New York and Larry Levan was actually Nile Delta. Cut Copy DJs pushed the
bar higher with some late-‘80s piano house then slowed it to half-tempo with Primal Scream’s Come Together. Then Edwin from Foals brought it home with some off-beat, up-tempo disco jams, featuring the absent but eagerly anticipated Japanese Cutters records hombre, Das Moth.
DAY 2 – LANEWAY MELBOURNE Ariel Pink kicked his set off riding a boa constrictor onto the stage. In true Melbourne fashion, the extreme rainfall was replaced by extreme winds. Shit was blowing all over the place. Jonathan, our guitar tech, had to be taken to hospital with an eye injury after the sharp end of his veggie ‘not-dog’ blew up into his face. It’s a jungle out there. “He was a good man, one of the best.” Somehow the band seemed to harness these ominous weather conditions and channeled it into performance vibes. We were like shaman, summoning up the wind spirits and the spirits of the crowd. As the last chord of the set was struck, the rains poured down on the crowd, like the poetic waterfall from the Zonoscope cover.
DAY 3 – LANEWAY SYDNEY Spirits were buoyed by East Brunswick Project coffees on the way to the airport. It was a necessity. Browning had been out all night. It was commented that he looked and smelled like pub carpet. Mitchell had disappeared the previous night holding a slab of Asahi and woke up empty handed on the couch in some person’s house with Wheel Of Fortune running on the TV. Having gotten in early, I finally got to catch Beach House’s set. They looked pissed off, but they sounded spectacular. I wish I had a voice like her’s. Danny Rogers, the director of Laneway, was in the crowd for our set. In an inspired feat of timing, he somehow managed to crowd surf to the front of the stage and give me a high five right at the final breakdown for Hearts On Fire. It didn’t connect properly, but I felt the vibe. One awesome week down, one awesome week to go. Still waiting for that perfect high five. Dan and Tim from Cut Copy DJ at the Cutters Records party at the Order Of Melbourne this Saturday.
NEWS FROM THE FRONT
WOMEN SKY HIGH
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, Half The Sky features some of Australia’s finest artists in a night of acoustic rhythms, sublime folk, outlandish brass and high-voltage cabaret. Artists performing include Clare Bowditch, Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier, Stiff Gins, Sally Dastey, Lucie Thorne, The Red Brigade and The Town Bikes. All proceeds will go to International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA), which works to create positive change for women and their communities in Asia and the Pacific. From a safe house in Cambodia to radio programs in Fiji, IWDA’s partners implement projects that directly address poverty, discrimination and oppression. This event will be held on Tuesday 8 March at the Thornbury Theatre. Tickets are on sale now from thethornburytheatre.com and Oztix.
T EN S E PR
DOA IN OZ WEDNESDAY 16 FEBRUARY
LOVETESKYLAWRENCE HAILEY CRAMER DJ EDD FISHER
ENTRY $12 FULL PRICE, $10 CONCESSION, 8.30PM
THURSDAY 17 FEBRUARY
SEX FACE APACHE MEDICINE MAN ENTRY $5, 9PM
FRIDAY 18 FEBRUARY
MARSHALL & THE FRO BROTHERS GRIM & THE BLUE MURDERS
DOA have been at the forefront of punk rock counterculture for more than 30 years, happily slashing away at their philosophical enemies with scathing punk anthems and furious live shows since 1978. Now, led by the inexhaustible Joey ‘Shithead’ Keithly, DOA return to Australian shores in March for a killer tour to celebrate 30 years since the release of the genre-defining album Hardcore 81. Don’t miss Canada’s kings of punk rock, hockey and beer when they team up with Sin City, Scratch N Sniff and The Tearaways for a show at the East Brunswick Club on Thursday 10 March. Tickets are available now from Oztix.
COCKER WINES AGAIN
Joe Cocker and George Thorogood’s concert at Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley has been rescheduled for this Sunday. Both artists have agreed to stay in Australia for one extra day to allow the rescheduled show to be added to the end of the tour. Ticket holders are asked to retain their tickets from the original date as these will be valid for the rescheduled concert. If patrons are unable to attend the rescheduled date, full refunds are available from point of purchase. A final allocation of tickets will also be made available from Ticketmaster. Guests on the show are Diesel and The Dingoes.
ENTRY $15, 9PM
SATURDAY 19 FEBRUARY
THE PAPER KITES
AVALANCHE CITY CHARLIE LIM
ENTRY $15 DOOR, $10 PRESALE THRU MOSHTIX, 9PM
SUNDAY 20 FEBRUARY
HUNTING FOXES THE YOUNG FAITHFUL GUESTS OF GHOSTS
ENTRY $8, 8PM
MONDAY 21 FEBRUARY
PROJECT PUZZLES SEX ON TOAST
ENTRY $5, 9PM $2 POTS!
TUESDAY 22 FEBRUARY
RAW COMEDY PRELIMINARY HEAT ENTRY $15 FULL, $12 CONCESSION, 7PM
ENTER STAGE LEFTFIELD
ARROW MINDED Children Collide toured 2010 effort Theory Of Everything extensively, the album spawning the two huge singles Jellylegs and My Eagle, both of which charted in the most recent Triple J Hottest 100. The latest single lifted from the album is Arrows, and in true Children Collide style, the band are taking to the stage to get their point across. Joining the band on the Arrows tour are Sydney’s Red Riders, who are making their much anticipated return to the live stage after their brief break. Also on board for the run of shows are Perth’s Young Revelry, who will be getting a taste of the East Coast before relocating later this year. This tripletreat tour hits the Prince Bandroom on Friday 22 April and the Ferntree Gully Hotel on Saturday 23 April.
MASEO AND PRINCE PAUL HIT DECKS
DJ Maseo is known all over the world for his precise skills as a DJ; his natural ability and immense talents on the turntables have enabled him to become a living part of hip hop history, both by his own merits and as a member of one of the most highly respected and critically acclaimed rap groups, De La Soul. Since gaining fame as a member of Stetsasonic and producing what is universally considered one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time, the classic 3 Feet High And Rising by De La Soul, Prince Paul has been constantly been on a path befitting a true hip hop legend, with collaborations and critical acclaim aplenty. While his production work is virtually unmatched, Paul is still a DJ that can rock a party, having jumped on the decks at age ten and battled some of the world’s best along the way. Check out Maseo and Prince Paul in the Espy front bar this Thursday. Entry is free!
Memphis five-piece Magic Kids are bringing their heartfelt, joyful music to Australian audiences for the first time this March, and have announced Woollen Kits and Chook Race will support them when they play the Northcote Social Club on on Friday 11 March.
A STRANGER REVUE
In news that’s certain to have discerning dance music fans and old-school party people alike jumping for joy, the UK’s legendary Leftfield have announced that they’ll be laying down a live show in Melbourne on Friday 18 March, as well as rocking crowds around the nation on the Future Music Festival tour. Widely regarded as one of the most influential acts in dance music history, Leftfield came back with a vengeance in 2010 and their hallmark blend of house, dub, progressive and blissful electronica is laying claim to the dancefloors and iPods of an entirely new generation of international clubbers and electronic music lovers. Joining Leftfield on support duties are two of Australia’s finest exports: New South Wales all-conquering live act Infusion and Victoria’s very own progressive house kingpin Kasey Taylor. For lovers of the genre, this is a show not to be missed, so head to the Palace on Friday 18 March. Tickets are on sale this Thursday through Ticketmaster.
After a show-stealing cameo in support of Dawn Penn last year, Stranger Cole returns to Australia with his own show of his foundation hits backed by the Moonhops (Melbourne’s rocksteady kings reunited for one night only). In honour of the Jamaican recording superstar, five of Australia’s top ska, rocksteady and reggae bands plus DJs will join in for one gigantic summit of swinging off-beat and hypnotic rocksteady grooves. Kicking off at 7pm, The Melbourne Rocksteady, Ska & Reggae Revue will present a feast of the finest Jamaican music played by famed local exponents including The Ska Vendors, Judge Pino & The Ruling Motions, Johnny Longshot and Skazz. Between bands, PBS DJs Mohair Slim and Jesse I will maintain the vibe with vintage vinyl sounds. After the bands, Canadian DJ Mossman will transform the venue into a Kingston dancehall with a killer two-hour set of Jamaican oldies. The dress code is “sharp as a ratchet knife”. It all happens at the Corner on Saturday 5 March. Tickets are $35+BF from the Corner box office.
DARWIN DEEZ = BEES KNEEZ The delightfully bohemian Darwin Deez are returning to our shores after entertaining audiences with their deliriously fun, lo-fi tunes at Parklife last year. In 2011, Darwin Deez will be playing a Melbourne headline show as well as performing at Groovin’ The Moo nationally. Darwin Deez’s blend of pop and indie dance has made for spectacular live shows, extravaganzas bristling with energy and positivity. Catch them on Friday 29 April at the Hi-Fi. Tickets are available through Moshtix.
DAN WEBB ARCHER & BOW
ENTRY $7 DOOR, 9PM $10 JUGS!
$2 CARLTON POTS EVERY MONDAY
DAN WEBB (TUES IN FEB) ELLA THOMPSON (WED IN FEB) HUNTING FOXES (SUN IN FEB) INNERSPACE (24 FEB) JASON WEBLEY W/ EVELYN EVELYN – SELLING FAST (25 FEB) HUSKY (SINGLE LAUNCH) (26 FEB) THE HARLOTS (3 MAR) MELODICS (4 MAR)
FRIDAY 18TH FEBRUARY
TORO Y MOI
FRIDAY 25TH FEBRUARY
LUKE LEGS & THE MIDNIGHT SPECIALS SATURDAY 12TH MARCH
THURS 17TH FEBRUARY
SEE HEAR SAY SINGLE LAUNCH + THE MESSENGERS + SO MANY VOICES THURSDAY DJS: DJ DAN BLOCK
SAT 19TH FEBRUARY ARVO
FRI 18TH FEBRUARY
TORO Y MOI (USA) + MAGIC SILVER WHITE SAM CLARK + THE TOWNHOUSES + NEARLY SOLD OUT
FRIDAY DJS: TWO BRIGHT LAKES SAT 19TH FEBRUARY NIGHT
ALPS ALBUM LAUNCH + HORSE MACGYVER + ABSOLUTE BOYS + BEAR GRILLZ
SATURDAY DJS: ICE CREAM DJS MON 21ST FEBRUARY
KRISTINA MILTIADOU MONDAY RESIDENCY W/ THE PRETTY LITTLES
$2 ENTRY, $4 PINTS & $8 EATS
+ SARAH K BEES
SUN 20TH FEBRUARY SUMMER SERIES PRESENTS:
SUPERNATURALIST + QUA + AOI + EV & SHAGS + ANGEL EYES
TUES 22ND FEBRUARY
(JAGJAGUAR/BLACK MOUNTAIN) NICCI@GETNOTORIOUS.COM
NEWS FROM THE FRONT
DON’T HOWL AT THE HUNTING GROUNDS
WHITE LINE FEVER
Another act has succumbed to Triple J Unearthed High name-change syndrome. You will all likely remember Howl as those rambunctious upstarts from Ballarat who claimed the crown back in late 2009. Well, times have changed and Howl are no more – the band formerly known as Howl now answer to Hunting Grounds. Now they’re much more Google-able and will no longer be mistaken for a doom metal band hailing from Rhode Island, USA. Hunting Grounds are currently working on new material, which means a break from the road to record their debut album. Before they do that, however, they’ll be playing this Thursday at the Johnston and Sunday 13 March at the Push Over Festival.
Bonjah’s new single The White Line is another example of the band’s masterful songwriting that has seen them previously nominated for APRA and AIR awards, and independently sell more than 20,000 albums. Recorded at Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne in collaboration with producer Steven Schram (Little Birdy, The Cat Empire, Little Red), The White Line is Bonjah’s second single from their second album, due for release in May. See for yourself why Rolling Stone nominated Bonjah for the 2011 Artist To Watch award when they play the Northcote Social Club on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 March..
Australia’s hottest unsigned artists have the opportunity to kick start their careers and showcase their music with the return of Nova’s I Am With The Band. Last year’s inaugural event saw more than 1,000 Australian bands entering, with Adelaide group The Touch taking out top honours. In 2011 Nova has secured support from the Australian Government’s National Drugs Campaign to give a new round of up-and-coming bands the opportunity to score airplay and cash. If you’re part of an emerging band or know someone who’s in one, you can enter I Am With The Band at novafm.com.au by simply registering an original song. Ten shortlisted bands will be selected by an industry judging panel to receive radio exposure on Nova and perform in front of a live crowd at Nova events. The winning band will be determined by popular vote, registered through novafm. com.au, and will score $10,000 cash for their efforts. Registration close on 13 March. The ten finalists will be announced on 21 March.
HAVE YOU HERD THE WORD
UNKLE’S COMING TO VISIT Touring on the back of their fourth studio album, Where Did The Night Fall, UNKLE will bring their unique live sound to Australia for the first time since the 2008 Big Day Out. The tour will include appearances at Groovin’ The Moo nationally, as well as their own headline shows. Led by James Lavelle, UNKLE are known for a constant evolution in tone and style. The most recent incarnation of UNKLE contains influences from psychedelic rock to Afrobeat, and continues their outstanding history of collaboration. Recently named one of Dazed Digital’s Best Artists of 2010, and with a mini-album of all new material due to drop in advance of their arrival, UNKLE play Billboard on Friday 29 April.
The Herd are a culturally diverse expression of modern Australia, but they bring with them that grand Aussie tradition of storytellers ready and willing to question authority. If you’ve seen them live, you’ll also be familiar with their ability to laugh at themselves and bring the whole crowd together. Now they’re set to celebrate ten years since their debut with a new single and tour with their first live show in two years. The single, Sum Of It All, drops in March from their fifth album, due August 2011. Help them mark the occcasion when they play with special guest Joelistics on Friday 1 April at the Corner. George Clinton
KIWIS ON THE LAST DAY OF SUMMER
DEAD KEEN FOR DEAD KENNEDYS Dead Kennedys, widely regarded as one of the most popular and important American punk bands, are returning to Australia this April. Live, Dead Kennedys are a combination of chaos and theatrics. With their current line-up – Klaus Flouride, East Bay Ray, DH Peligro and Ron ‘Skip’ Greer – they still perform with the same thrills that made Dead Kennedys the name that it is. See them perform on Wednesday 6 April at Billboard. Tickets available from Moshtix and Ticketek. Also, two new Dead Kennedy DVDs are out now: The Early Years, which is a collection of live footage filmed between 1978 and 1981, and In God We Trust, which features footage from the lost recording session of In God We Trust Inc., between-song banter, outtakes and rescued multi-track recordings.
THE AMBASSADOR JUMPS
Save the (second) last day of summer for an afternoon of free live music with a Kiwi flavour at the National Gallery Of Victoria. Kick back, take along your picnic rug and enjoy the live music and delicious food and drink on offer. This is also the final chance to see Unnerved: The New Zealand Project, featuring the outstanding work of 26 contemporary New Zealand artists. Last Day Of Summer will feature the sweet melodies of Kiwi indie superstar Lawrence Arabia, the head-bopping and heartfelt songs of The Frowning Clouds and warm-hearted Melbourne pop scallywags The Twerps with their own brand of incredibly infectious pop. Last Day Of Summer will run from noon until 6pm on Sunday 27 February in the Grollo Equiset Garden at NGV International.
Ever noticed how band names come in waves? Like in 2006 when everyone had Wolf somewhere in their name. Well it seems the hottest name right now is John and two of the most promising acts to be sporting the moniker, John Steel Singers and Jonathan Boulet, are teaming up for the Here’s Johnny tour, taking in educational institutions along the East Coast. Every ticket purchased to any date on the tour will come with two exclusive free tracks; a Jonathan Boulet remix of John Steel Singers’ forthcoming single, You’ve Got Nothing To Be Proud Of, plus a JSS cover of Boulet’s You’re A Animal. The tour brings the madness to Ballarat’s Karova Lounge on Friday 25 March and the Corner Hotel on Sunday 27 March.
BLUESFEST NEWS Byron Bay’s Bluesfest (Thursday 21 April to Tuesday 26 April) has unveiled its next artist announcement. Acts joining the 2011 line-up include Leon Russell (on his first Australian tour), George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic, Luciano & Jah Messenjah Band, Imogen Heap, Buffy SainteMarie, Ernest Ranglin, Raul Malo, Michelle Shocked, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, Eli Paperboy Reed, The Bamboos, The Mad Bastards, Warrior King & Bonnie Casey, The Hands, Bobby Alu and Hussy Hicks. They join a bill that already includes a huge list of big names, including Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello, with more acts still to come. There will also be fundraising events for those affected by Cyclone Yasi and the Brisbane floods. Tickets are available from bluesfest.com.au.
Dereb The Ambassador’s much anticipated debut album is set to be launched on Friday 4 March at the Northcote Social Club. Backed by a seven-piece band of Sydney’s finest musicians, Dereb covers many of the vintage Ethiopian soul masterpieces made famous by artists from the 1960s and ‘70s such as Mahmoud Ahmed and Mulatu Astatke, given wide exposure through the Ethiopiques compilation series and the soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch’s film Broken Flowers. Dereb Desalegn is well known on the streets of Addis Ababa as one of Ethiopia’s most respected singers. After moving to Australia he has performed extensively with his group Lion Of Judah and he now heads up his latest project. Catch him on Thursday 31 March with guest DJ Jumps (The Cat Empire). Tickets are $12 from nortchotesocialclub.com and Moshtix or $15 at the door.
BEST COAST WITH THE MOST
Best Coast shows are selling out like nobody’s business but a new one has just been announced! Best Coast will play the National Hotel in Geelong on Saturday 12 March. The East Brunswick Club show on Sunday 6 March has sold out but you can still catch the band supporting Os Mutantes on Friday 11 March at the Forum.
FOR TODAY AND ALL ETERNITY
Since 2005, For Today have clawed and scraped their way into the spotlight, paying their dues on the US live circuit. Now, with said dues paid, the band are set to hit Australia on the back of their third album, 2010’s Breaker, for a run of shows. For Today have become widely known as one of modern metal’s most technically proficient bands. As forthcoming about their faith as they are about their musical prowess, For Today make no secret of their religious leanings. Supporting For Today will be Sydney Christian metal/hardcore band For All Eternity. Catch them on Thursday 24 March at Pony, Sunday 27 March at Mustard Tree (Lilydale, all-ages) and Tuesday 29 March at Bendigo’s Musicman Megastore (all-ages). Tickets are available now from Oztix.
GRAND SLAM On 23 February 2010, around 20,000 music lovers marched through the streets of Melbourne and then on to Parliament House as part of the SLAM (Save Live Australia’s Music) Rally, a protest over draconian liquor licensing laws killing live music venues. One year on from the event, noted as the largest cultural protest in Australian history, organisers plan to dub next Wednesday 23 February SLAM Day – a day aimed at getting people off the couch and into Melbourne venues to show their support for the local live music scene. This year, SLAM are taking it back to where it all began, hosting a benefit to raise money for Victoria’s flood victims at the Tote. The night’s musical theme will be the Tote Jukebox, where unholy musical collaborations from some of Victoria’s best musicians will create the type of live magic and mayhem that only happens in small venues. The SLAM Anniversary ‘Tote Jukebox’ Unholy Collaborations fundraiser will kick off at 4pm on Wednesday 23 February, with performances from Angie Hart, Dan Sultan, Even, Glenn Richards, Gun Street Girls, Kim Salmon’s Precious Jules, Oh Mercy, Paris Wells, Spencer P Jones, The Panics, Wedgetail, Wolfgramm Sisters and more. There will also be a charity auction held at the event, which will see the guitar used by Nick Cave on his most recent Grinderman tour auctioned off, with proceeds being donated to help the flood victims. Tickets are $20+BF and go on sale today (Wednesday) from the Corner Hotel box office and the venue.
NEWS FROM THE FRONT
MAKE IT LAST
From humble beginnings 12 years ago, the Sustainable Living Festival has grown into a state-wide event, celebrating sustainability in Melbourne and beyond. This year the Festival will feature events in Melbourne locations including the Royal Botanical Gardens, Yarra River, National Gallery Of Victoria, RMIT University, Melbourne Town Hall and Federation Square. Speakers appearing include David Suzuki and Michael Reynolds AKA Garbage Warrior, with the free, Zero Carbon Concert featuring Alex Gow from Oh Mercy, The Orbweavers, Dick Diver and Acequia, taking place on Federation Square’s main stage this Saturday from 4pm. This is followed at 8pm by Salt Water Rhythms, which features indigenous performers from coastal and saltwater country communities facing the potential impact of climate change and rising sea levels. Acts performing include King Kadu, Andrew Manok and Joe Gela.
WHAT A CATCH Norway’s red tracksuit-wearing party masters Datarock have announced they will be returning to Australia in May for Groovin’ The Moo and will be partying it up with headline shows along the East Coast. Datarock will play the East Brunswick Club on Thursday 12 May. Tickets go on sale Tuesday 22 February. For the past decade Datarock have melded indie dance, new wave, pop, and funk into a sound responsible for a steady stream of unforgettable tracks and performances. The band release their new single, Catcher In The Rye, next month. It will come as a designer toy with a USB stick that features 110 tracks, 1,500 photos taken at their shows in 33 countries, 20 music videos and a brand new hour-long concert film. The single will also be released as a digital five-track EP. The USB features the EP, the new album Music For Synchronization, both of their previous albums with bonus tracks, the new Lost And Found b-sides and rarities compilation, 15 new instrumentals and the 40-track remix album Mixed Up.
SAINTS AND SINNERS
Already announced for Bluesfest, Cuban-American musician and singer/songwriter Raul Malo has announced headlining side shows while he is the country. With his band Malo serves up a combination of Latino, rock, Tex-Mex, country, blues, jazz and vintage rock’n’roll. On these solo shows Malo will draw heavily from the most recent album, Saints And Sinners, perhaps the album most in touch with his Cuban roots. Raul Malo and band play the East Brunswick Club on Monday 25 April and supports Los Lobos in acoustic mode at the Prince Bandroom on Wednesday 20 April.
HELLO OH NO
The say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and that is certainly the case with Los Angeles-based MC and producer Oh No. His father is Otis Jackson, a cult ‘70s soul singer, his uncle a renowned jazz trumpeter and his brother is the iconic hip hop producer Madlib. That being said, Oh No is very much his own man. Making beats since age 11, Oh No has been one of the most prolific producers on LA hip hop label Stones Throw Records. The beats prodigy will perform at Roxanne on Friday 25 February.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Barry Manilow concert dates originally planned for April have been postponed. The Melbourne show was scheduled for Monday 11 April at Rod Laver Arena. Future plans are presently under discussion and will be released when they are finalised. Refunds will be available from the point of purchase or ticket holders can hold on to them until the new dates are confirmed.
T EN S E PR
DUAL VIRGIN VOYAGE From their perch in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, The Felice Brothers have patiently been preparing Australian audiences, tantalising us with a handful of albums of rollicking, swashbuckling folk/country tunes. They have proven that the live show more than lives up to their recorded output with multiple tours across America with Old Crow Medicine Show and Dave Rawlings Machine. Finally Australian audiences have been deemed ready to experience the band live and The Felice Brothers have announced they will be gracing our shores in April. Joining the band for the tour will be Nashville songstress Caitlin Rose, who is also making her virgin voyage to Australia. This double bill hits the Prince Bandroom on Thursday 21 April and Meeniyan Hall on Saturday 23 April, with The Felice Brothers also playing the Boogie Festival on Friday 22 April.
RICHARDS MARCHES ON
Glenn Richards (Augie March) and his bandmates Dan Luscombe and Mike Noga (The Drones), Steve Hesketh (You Am I), Ben Bourke (Ned Collette) and Chris Richards (The Beautiful Few) are returning to the stage in March. Late 2010 saw the release of Richards’ critically acclaimed debut solo album Glimjack, with a handful of shows to celebrate the launch. Richards and his band will be ably supported by Amaya Laucirica, straight off the back of her tour with Blonde Redhead. You can catch them on Thursday 17 March at the Karova Lounge in Ballarat and on Friday 18 March at the Northcote Social Club, and at the Mossvale Music Festival on Saturday 19 March.
NASH YOUR TEETH WITH EXCITEMENT The outspoken and much loved UK songstress and Brit Awards winner Kate Nash has announced supports for her Australian tour this week. Supporting the Brit songstress at her Melbourne show this Friday at Billboard will be Tessa & The Typecast. Tickets for the show are available through Moshtix.
EVERY THURSDAY LATE
EVERY SATURDAY LATE
No brainers and guilty pleasures
THE HOUSE DE FROST
FREE ENTRY - From 11.30pm
FREE ENTRY - From 9pm
with JOHNNY T & RAMONA STAFFELD Classes at 6.30pm, 7.30pm Social dancing 8.30pm Tickets $13.30 on door / $22 for 2 classes
Liverpool trio The Wombats will soon be back on Australian shores, performing at the Groovin’ The Moo Festivals and their own headline shows around the country. Their ridiculously catchy single Let’s Dance To Joy Division won the 2008 NME Award for Best Dancefloor Filler and was the 12th biggest song in the 2007 Triple J Hottest 100. In amongst their festival performances, the band will play the Palais Theatre on Wednesday 11 May. Tickets go on sale Tuesday 22 February. The band’s eagerly anticipated second album, This Modern Glitch, is out in April.
EVERY MONDAY Swing dancing classes
All presale tickets available through MOSHTIX: Phone: 1300 GET TIX (438 849) on-line: www.moshtix.com.au, or at all Moshtix outlets, including Polyester (Fitzroy & City)
GOING IN TO BAT
with 1928 (STROBE)
w/ Dr Phil Smith
EVERY SUNDAY FROM 4PM
THE SUNDAY SET
w/ AndyBlack & Haggis
w/ Andee Frost FREE ENTRY - From 12 Midnight
This weeks theme: GO FREE ENTRY - In the Carriage
WED 16 FEBRUARY
THURS 17 FEBRUARY
SAT 19 FEBRUARY
SUN 20 FEBRUARY
SISTER FOR SISTERS
TORO Y MOI (USA)
OZ SOUL SUNDAY
with VIDA SUNSHINE, NAI, CANDICE MONIQUE, IDA, SISTA ITATIONS and many many more..
THE VAUDEVILLE SMASH
with LOVE CONNECTION HAMMOCKS AND HONEY
with THE STOICS
Tickets $10 on the door
Tickets $15 +BF / $20 on the door
Tickets $10 +BF / $12 on the door with EP
Tickets $10 +BF / $8 on the guest list
TUE 22 FEBRUARY
WED 23 FEBRUARY
THURS 24 FEBRUARY
SAT 26 FEBRUARY
MAGIC MOUNTAIN BAND STEPH HANNAH
GABBY YOUNG (UK)
SAN FRAN DISCO
FEBRUARY RESIDENCY with, SPENDER (SOLO) & LUKE HOWARD ENSEMBLE
DEBUT EP ‘MOUTHFUL OF WATER’ LAUNCH with MEGAN KENT
SINGLE LAUNCH with SPECIAL GUESTS
Tickets $10 on the door
Tickets $10 +BF / $15 on the door with EP
Tickets $20 +BF
Tickets $10 on the door
SUN 27 FEBRUARY
WED 2 MARCH
THURS 3 MARCH
SAT 5 MARCH
DAVE MCCORMACK AND HIS MIGHTY POLAROIDS
Presented by Faster Louder & Soundwave
JUNGAL, ANDY BULL THE ANN VRIEND DUO (CAN) & OWL EYES & DANIEL REEVES
THIS TOWN NEEDS GUNS (UK)
with special guests TREVOR LUDLOW & THE HELLRAISERS and ROLLER ONE
with ARROWS (BRIS) and TO THE NORTH
Tickets $10 on the door
Tickets $28.60 + BF
Tickets $14.20 +BF / $20 on the door
WITH ELLA THOMPSON, ABEL, KILLBOT KINDERGARTEN, LOTEK, SARITAH, IDA, QUASHANI BAHD, YOU & YOUR MUSIC, SIMONE GILL, GINGER VAN ES & WHISPER, LOTUS, THE CHARLIES, MZ RIZK AND THE SAVANTS
Tickets $12 + BF
NEWS FROM THE FRONT
T EN S E PR
Tim Barry has been kicking around the musical underground for nearly 20 years, first as the frontman for Virginia punk heroes Avail, and more recently as a singer/songwriter with a penchant for constructing beautiful folk and country tunes. Always on the go from gig to gig, Barry has still found time to generate a steady stream of recordings, such as his most recent release, 28th And Stonewall, his third full-length recording. Barry will return to Australia this April to perform at the Arthouse Hotel on Friday 8 April along with guests Chris Wollard and Addison Burns.
DAN THE MAN
This week Daniel Lee Kendall hits the road following the success of his recent Lost In The Moment release. Kendall has been chosen as the support act by Passenger and Old Man River and will join them on their One For The Road tour. Kendall will pull into town on Friday 25 February to perform at the East Brunswick Club.
JORDIE DOES JOSHUA
Jordie Lane and his band play their first official headline show since November 2009 when they take to the stage at the Famous Spiegeltent on Thursday 10 March. The performance will feature interpretations of a bunch of new Lane tunes which were written and recorded in Room 8 at the Joshua Tree Inn in California late last year. This will be the very first preview of such material and a not-to-be-missed event before Lane returns once again to the USA. Tickets are selling fast and are on sale now from the Arts Centre Box Office and online at theartscentre.com.au.
Every Sunday this month the Fairfield Amphitheatre will come to life with an outdoor summer concert, featuring a range of local world and jazz musicians live in the surrounds of Fairfield Park. Funded by the City Of Yarra, the event will run from 5pm each Sunday. This Sunday will feature performances from Mesopotamia, Konviction Family (K-Fam), The Tiger & Me and The Nymphs. For further information about the Fairfield Amphitheatre Summer Concert Series Program head to culturalinfusion.org.au.
In 1991 a crew of rowdy Irish-American friends with a penchant for hip hop formed House Of Pain. One year later they were household names as people worldwide blasted out their party jam Jump Around. The group disbanded after three albums in 1996 and it seemed like House Of Pain had had their day. That was of course before last year’s reunion show. With a fresh perspective MCs Everlast and Danny Boy have teamed up again to celebrate their 20th anniversary with the He Who Breaks The Law tour. You can jump around with the duo at the Prince Bandroom on Friday 29 April.
Flying Nun proto-punk-pop legends The Clean have announced an extra show at the Corner on Sunday 13 March. Formed in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1978, The Clean are touring in their classic line-up of brothers Hamish and David Kilgour plus bassist Robert Scott (also of The Bats). The extra show features special guests San Francisco garage-pop revellers Sonny & The Sunsets plus beloved hometown lo-fi crooners Panel Of Judges. Tickets are on sale now from the Corner box office. The Clean show on Friday 11 March with Sonny & The Sunsets, Gary Olson and Actor/Model has sold out. You can also catch The Clean at Golden Plains on Saturday 10 March.
GO TEAM GO!
Brighton’s sonic patchwork-pop juggernaut The Go! Team will be returning to Australia in May for Groovin’ The Moo and will also be bringing the party to the Corner Hotel on Thursday 10 May. Playing tracks from their inspired new album Rolling Blackouts, don’t get left behind when The Go! Team take audiences on an epic audio adventure. From Sao Paulo to Seoul and everywhere in between, the world is The Go! Team’s playground and their infectious and notoriously fun live shows have galvanised the band’s reputation as an unmissable live experience. The Go! Team’s first single from Rolling Blackouts, Buy Nothing Day, is currently enjoying rotation on Triple J. Tickets are available this Friday via handsometours.com, the Corner box office and Polyester Records.
JUSTIN’S COMING TO TOWNE
Justin Townes Earle, the large-livin’ troubadour who combines Texas blues, honest folk, honky-tonk, cosmic country sounds and traditional Appalachian mountain music, has announced supports for his upcoming March tour. Joining Earle at the Forum on Friday 18 March will be his pal from Chicago, Joe Pug, whose heartfelt tunes are delivered with honesty and passion and hit the mark each time he steps on to a stage, and local gal Lanie Lane. Earle also plays the Golden Plains, Port Fairy Folk and Mossvale Music festivals. Deadmau5
HITTING ON THE DRUMS
MORE OF NEVERMORE
New York indie pop trio The Drums are set to return to Australian shores in April and May, performing nationally on the Groovin’ The Moo tour and in their own headline shows around the country. The band’s self-titled debut album claimed the number ten spot in NME’s best records of 2010 list and the fifth place on the BBC’s Sound Of 2010 shortlist. On their last visit to Australia, The Drums gained a new legion of fans. See how much they’ve grown at their show on Friday 29 April at the Corner. Tickets are available this Thursday from the Corner box office.
Seattle’s Nevermore have ensnared and entertained metal minds the world over for nearly two decades. With a string of seven critically acclaimed studio albums, Nevermore have etched out their own legend into the metal mythos. This June, Nevermore will bring their impassioned brand of uncompromising heavy metal to Australian audiences. This will be the first chance for Australia’s metal maniacs to hear material from Nevermore’s latest release, The Obsidian Conspiracy, live in concert. They play Friday 10 June at Billboard. Angus & Julia Stone
HOW ABOUT THIS WEATHER?
Throughout 2010 local duo Big Scary (who are neither big, nor scary, but talented providers of indie rock) released The Big Scary Four Seasons, a yearlong season project comprising a series of concept EPs – Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer – which have now been re-packaged as a whole and released on vinyl. Now that the year is complete the band are touring the project retrospectively, providing a year’s worth of weather each night as they play the East Brunswick Club on Friday 1 April.
IN THE PINES
WE CREAM FOR CREAMFIELDS After its launch into Australia last year, Creamfields is back bigger and better for Easter 2011. This year’s headliner is Deadmau5 with a full live show, designed by the folks who brought the world Daft Punk’s legendary stage extravaganza. Other acts on the bill include Martin Solveig, Skrillex, Chuckie, Simon Patterson, Gabriel & Dresden, Wynter Gordon, Hi Tek Soul (Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May), Bingo Players, Skazi, Surkin, Dada Life, Umek, Nadastrom, Round Table Knights, Tim Green, Bart Claessen and Mumbai Science. Creamfields runs from noon until 10pm on Monday 25 April at the Melbourne Showgrounds. Tickets are available from this Thursday through Moshtix.
The Pineapple Lounge is the Woodford Folk Festival’s fabulous new bar, and they are taking their name, reputation and funky vibe on the road for a national tour down the East Coast to raise money for victims of the recent floods that hit Australia. From 8pm on Friday 25 February, artists including The Skylinez, Golden Sound, Mikelangelo & The Tin Star, Cam Butler & The Shadows Of Love, Mal Webb, and more hit new venue Revolt (12 Elizabeth Street, Kensington). Tickets are $20+BF from Ticketek.
SCOPING IT OUT
Following on from a stunning and very rock’n’roll showing at the 2011 Melbourne Big Day Out, Gyroscope are now primed to take over stages in Ferntree Gully and Frankston this month. These two suburban shows will be the last opportunity for Melbourne audiences to catch the band in action for quite some time. Local upstarts The Fangs will also be along for the ride on these two shows. Gyroscope play on Thursday 24 February at the Ferntree Gully Hotel and Friday 25 February at the Pier Live in Frankston. Tickets are selling fast and can be purchased through Oztix and Ticketmaster.
3630: SMALL TOWN, BIG NAMES Triple J Hottest 100 winners Angus & Julia Stone will headline the 3630 Festival at the Shepparton Showgrounds on Sunday 13 March. This will be one of their last performances in Australia before they head off to the Coachella Festival in the US and performances in Paris and Berlin. Joining the duo are Clare Bowditch & Her Lady Garden, hip hopper Briggs and Muscles, off the back of his Go Crazy Girl release. Local fave Ryan Meeking will be there, as will The Verses. But the fun don’t stop there – a swag of local acts will represent rural Victoria at the event. 3630 Festival organisers have also just announced that half the profits they make will go to non-profit organisation Reconciliation Australia. Tickets are just $65 and available from riverlinksvenues.com.au/3630festival.html.
THE HOLD STEADY’s songs are populated with characters fumbling their way through those difficult years before adulthood, “Sniffling at crystal in cute little cars/ Getting nailed against dumpsters behind townie bars.” SCOTT FITZSIMONS talks to frontman and lyricist CRAIG FINN about the redemptive power of rock’n’roll. Cover and feature pic by ANDREW BOYLE.
e’ve all been to the world of The Hold Steady. It’s the transition from childhood to adulthood, where the wrong decisions are usually made, where molehills become mountains. It’s the world of tight-knit scenes, lapsed Catholics and nights you’ll never forget because you can’t remember them. The Hold Steady – specifically their frontman Craig Finn – tell the tales of this world better than anyone at the moment, channelling the American spirit of Springsteen with their own punk upbringing thrown into the mix. After five studio albums, they’re a band that inspire intense fandom from all across the board. The recurring and empathised characters that Finn creates to tell his tales are examined and discussed on forums much like The Mars Volta’s own used to be in their early days. But if you’re not this dedicated to the cause, there’s also an instant connection and relevance within Hold Steady lyrics. “Do you want me to tell it like boy meets girl and the rest is history?/Or do you want it like a murder mystery? ” sets the scene in Charlemagne In Sweatpants on the 2005 album Separation Sunday, while “Dad, do you know where your kids are?/Sniffling at crystal in cute little cars/Getting nailed against dumpsters behind townie bars,” sums up the frustration in One For The Cutters on Stay Positive (2008). On We Can Get Together, from latest record Heaven Is Whenever (2010), undercurrents rarely acknowledged are evident in, “He wasn’t just the drummer/He was the singer’s younger brother.”
wouldn’t have been when you were 17. Something that seems devastating at 17 can seem really funny at 35. So I’m seeing it as a 35-year-old on all sides of it, you know? But yeah, there is something really magnificent about that age. There’s not only a lot of great songs written about that age but there’s also a lot of great movies that take place at that age too because you’re old enough to walk around and get around and maybe drive or have a little bit of money in your pocket. But you’re also dumb enough to make some real big mistakes,” he laughs. “And also I think that that kind of plays into how rock’n’roll fits in my life. I always feel like some of the dark times of those early ages, I do think I really got through with rock’n’roll. It meant something. I don’t know, it got me through some dark times, so I’m kind of spreading the gospel, a little bit of that. I think with The Hold Steady that’s part of our MO is spreading the gospel that rock’n’roll can be a really positive and beautiful thing.” That spread has grown to be quite influential, right from the critic-loved 2004 debut Almost Killed Me. Heaven Is Whenever wasn’t received as widely, partly because of their change in direction due to an increasingly aged and weary-sounding narrative and decreasingly guitardriven sound after the departure of keyboardist Franz Nicolay, but for those who subscribe they remain vital. “It’s an amazing feeling, it’s overwhelming and it’s a real honour,” says Finn of the response to the band. It’s less surprising after seven years, but he still appreciates every
I always feel like some of the dark times of those early ages, I do think I really got through with rock’n’roll. It meant something… so I’m kind of spreading the gospel.”
“It’s these tiny things you’re thinking about,” says Finn from his home in Brooklyn. “That line really speaks to me as what a rock’n’roll person really meant to me at 16 to what it means at 39. A rock’n’roll person seemed like a real deity, untouchable, when you’re 16 and then you realise this could be a really sensitive person with their own… you know, it isn’t, for everyone, a real lucrative business,” he laughs. “So some of the things you charge it with when you’re a bit younger are deflated or demystified when you’re older. In some ways that increases the beauty; someone who’s really passionate and playing rock’n’roll for the love of it.” But writing on reflections means there may not always be new material to draw upon and the last two albums Stay Positive and Heaven Is Whenever have started to move away from the original characters. Finn, however, looks at new experiences through the eyes of the past and so he’s always generating content. “There’s tonnes of it in the bank and, thinking of that era or that age, you’re thinking of that mindframe,” he reflects. “When I experience new things I can put myself into that world, ‘Well, how would I deal with this when I was that age?’ “But, I really think one of the things about all those sort of teenage small-town stories, the thing about writing those at my age – which is now late 30s – is there’s perspective on it. So you’re able to see what’s kind of funny or interesting about that age, in a way that you
OLD HEADS AND NEW FACES
drop of it. “People have come up to me after the shows and just said, ‘You got me through things and thank you,’ and I’m overwhelmed but I also do understand; I understand where they’re coming from. In 2011 it’s maybe further away – I think we’ve lived through 50, 60 years of rock’n’roll – but when I was growing up I think it was really considered to be all black leather jackets and juvenile delinquents. Now my parents and all that are at an age where they understand rock’n’roll, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But their parents might not’ve.” When Nicolay left the band, he’s quoted as saying that he looks at the band now as a “closed book” and, given their narratives, it’s a strangely fitting description. That said, for the rest of the members (which will likely include new guitarist Steve Selvidge in Australia) there’s still many chapters to go. “There’s plenty of rock’n’roll artists that make great records 30 and 40 years apart,” Finn muses. “Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, who haven’t necessarily changed their sound, but still have just kept being vital. And Neil Young is another, so I believe there’s a fairly simplistic idea that there’s always a lot to be explored and one of the things it explores is the relationship between people and the relationship between artists. And it’s not necessarily about making an opera record, it’s exciting to me to have four or five people keep going on and doing this and building not just as musicians or a music act but as people.”
strong aspect of The Hold Steady’s appeal are their lyrics and, within them, the recurring characters and themes. “Well, I think Hallelujah/Holly is my favourite, just because I think she’s done the most,” laughs Finn. “I feel like I’ve put her through the most. She’s kind of the protagonist throughout Separation Sunday and I think she’s the most dynamic character, so I think that that’s my favourite. But I think I have a special place in my heart for all of them.” Hallelujah – called Holly by her friends – was the typical Christian girl gone bad, living a life of drugs and promiscuity throughout 2005’s Separation Sunday, the band’s second album. She hasn’t been as prominent since then though and with other characters fading in and out, the band’s forthcoming material is pretty open. The Hold Steady hope to have a new album out this year, but the writing and recording process is going to have to fit in with their busy schedule. January of this year was one of their rare months off, but 2011 isn’t likely to remain like that. “Well, I think at some point we’ll probably have to come up with a new record so we’ll probably spend a little more time at home, but we’re gonna be in the UK for most of February and then obviously in Australia in March and we’ve got some US dates I think in April. So the first part of the year will be working pretty hard,” Finn says. As for new tracks, “It’s pretty much ideas sketched out; we don’t write ideas often. We usually have ideas but we need to get off the road to really get them into place. We’ve got a lot of ideas but they need to get shaped into something else. I guess there’s some chance we’ll do this month and, who knows, we could have some stuff before we get down there.”
Touring solidly – especially at their age – can be a demanding proposition, but there are the advantages of experience and perspective of mid-life. Much like the stories Finn sings. “Not many of us really have kids or anything, but it is absolutely a strain and it’s something we’ve had to learn to get better at,” he concedes. “I think that informs my life on tour. I’ve learnt what I can get away with and what I can’t. Certainly dialled down the partying from where we were five years ago, but I think also it informs us as people and as a band to understand what we’re able to do and what we’re getting to do. I think the way we treat people around us and our gratitude towards this whole thing is greater than it would have been had we been doing all of this when we were 22.” Even the characters themselves are aging and that’s where the next chapters of The Hold Steady’s own story
are. “I always like to be able to revisit a ‘where are they now?’ kind of angle, but particularly in the newest record a lot of the people I was writing about are older and at my age that’s in some ways what’s exciting to me right now, just because even from when the band started, I’m a different person and I have different things that excite me. One of the ideas I’m really fascinated by is ageing gracefully and staying true to oneself and one’s beliefs but also kind of not hanging on to something that’s dead.”
WHO: The Hold Steady WHEN & WHERE: Friday 11 March, Hi-Fi; Saturday 12 March, Golden Plains, Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre
PUMPED UP KIDS With their first single amassing close to a million hits on YouTube, LA’s FOSTER THE PEOPLE have already had every hype and cuss word thrown their way. Frontman MARK FOSTER tosses a few back at MARK HEBBLEWHITE.
he buzz surrounding LA outfit Foster The People is huge. As well as being press darlings (recent cheerleaders have been the NME and The Guardian), they get shout-outs from the likes of Mark Ronson. So just what’s all the fuss about? Well, for one, the group have effortlessly collected a couple of gazillion hits on YouTube for the infectious Pumped Up Kicks. Indeed, at this point they’re so relaxed about it all that fading away isn’t considered an option. “Look, because of the YouTube thing there are always going to be critics,” laughs frontman Mark Foster. “People will think that we’re just another fad that people will get sick of. But that’s just not the case. For one, Pumped Up Kicks has been around now for a year and the hits aren’t slowing down. What’s more, it’s not like we only had one song and nothing else. I would understand it if we only had one song, but the other tracks we’ve released from our three-song EP have proved just as popular
on YouTube, so it proves we have something to say musically.” There are no reservations at all about the ‘YouTube sensation’ tag, then? “We’ve been really happy that we could use sites like YouTube to get out our music to people. It’s also helped us show that we aren’t just a one-trick pony. After Pumped Up Kicks people were wondering whether everything we do was going to have that same weird new wave surfer vibe, but our other tracks proved we had something more to say.” Foster The People may be at the very beginning of their career but artistically they boast the confidence of seasoned veterans. And well they should, the ride has been relatively easy to this point. The name was decided upon as indicative of the group’s original vision as a soul project, but stuck through their changing musical evolution. Pumped Up Kicks took hold quickly and the band’s self-titled EP is gaining vital word of mouth recognition. But the group hasn’t been content to leave it there. Over the last few months they’ve been hunkered down in the studio working on a full-length record. Foster is happy to dish the dirt to Inpress. “Today was actually the last day of mixing and we’re done tracking as well,” he admits. “I can tell you that it will be called Torches and will probably feature somewhere between 11 to 13 songs, depending on what makes the final cut. There are a couple of tracks we’re actually on the fence about as we speak.” And will Torches offer us some continuity in terms of musical style? Or will it reflect the diversity of the EP? “That’s actually a good question,” offers Foster after a long silence. “The record is definitely versatile because I never write the same song twice. That said there is definitely a ‘through line’ with this record. It’s a fun record – a joyful record – and I think that’s where the through line is. Yeah, there are some musical differences, but these are all songs that will make people want to dance. There’s also an amount of grittiness to the songs in terms of lyrical content. There’s some deep stuff there so I guess that represents a bit of theme across the tracks as well. But again, most importantly, this is a record that will make people get up off their seats and dance. If we can do that for people, we’re happy.” Part of the buzz surrounding Foster The People can be put down to the group’s refusal to be pigeonholed into any one genre. As the creative force behind the group’s sound, Foster himself admits that he draws from many stylistic wells – a fact that means he himself finds it difficult to categorise the monster he has created. “Oh I hate this question,” he laughs. “How to describe what we are as a band? Well I’ll put it like this – if you imagine that Brian Wilson and Aphex Twin had a man baby and he grew up listening to Motown and then rushed out and bought a drum machine, that’s what Foster The Children sounds like.”
There’s an amount of grittiness to the songs in terms of lyrical content. There’s some deep stuff there…”
Strange enough for you? Good – because Foster is unrepentant. In fact, the man doesn’t point to any one genre as much as he points to a certain location as a huge influence on his musical style. “I’ve lived in LA now for about eight years,” he says. “I recently just moved out of this place I lived in on the Sunset Strip, Hollywood – an old and basically rundown building which I shared with all these weird and wonderful people. “LA definitely informs my music, even though I’ve had a lovehate relationship with the place since I got here. But since I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the States and see other places it really made me appreciate LA. So I guess for the first time in my life it really feels like home.” Foster is adamant his music would be different if he took himself out of LA though. “Definitely, there’s no question about that,” he admits. “And do you know what? It’s something I actually like doing. In the lead up to writing for the first record I actually did this – got out and soaked up the culture and the vibe of different places. It may surprise people that although my music is steeped in the LA vibe, I actually listen to more European music than bands from the West Coast where I live. Recently I’ve been listening to ELO and The Zombies more than anything else. I doubt people would have picked that in a million years.” Foster The People are now about to leave their LA bunker to soak up some culture in our neck of the woods. It’s a first for Foster, who plans on carrying out the band’s stated musical manifesto. “I’ve never been to Australia but I’m looking forward to seeing you guys. The thing is – and I’m not just saying this – I’ve never met an Australian person I didn’t like. You guys are fun to be around and have a great, relaxed view of the world. So we’re going to come down there and give you guys a good time. Our live show is so energetic; we’re all multiinstrumentalists and we’ll each be jumping on a range of different instruments. You guys will have no choice but to get up and dance.” WHO: Foster The People WHAT: Foster The People EP (Sony) WHEN & WHERE: Tonight (Wednesday), Northcote Social Club
PLANNING THE FUTURE Two years ago THE GETAWAY PLAN called it quits. Drummer AARON BARNETT tells DANIELLE O’DONOHUE why they’ve almost finished writing a new album.
ife for the four members of Melbourne’s The Getaway Plan wasn’t exactly supposed to turn out like this. Two years ago, the band were done. They played their final shows and the four musicians – singer Matthew Wright, guitarist Clint Splattering, bassist Dave Anderson and drummer Aaron Barnett – moved on. The four all started playing in other bands, with Splattering joining post-hardcore rockers The Amity Affliction just as their star began to rise. Wright was already recording with Kitty Hart as Young Heretics and Barnett sat at the Deez Nuts drum kit for several tours. But the idea of being in The Getaway Plan never really went away. “When we were broken up we got a lot of offers to do shows,” Barnett says. “We just didn’t really want to. We didn’t really talk much after [we broke up]. We just did our own thing. But after a while we just started talking and hanging out, trying to hang out as friends again. A show
came about and we didn’t expect it to go as well as it did.” The show the band played last year was a benefit for youth depression. Held at Billboard, it sold out the day it went on sale and got the group thinking that maybe the time was right to start thinking about being The Getaway Plan again. After all, the band certainly didn’t break up through lack of interest. Their debut album, Other Voices, Other Rooms, peaked at number one on the AIR Independent charts and debuted at number 14 on the ARIA charts, and there were more than a few teary fans spotted at shows on the band’s final tour. “Someone threw it on the table: ‘Let’s do a tour,’” Barnett explains. “Some were keen, some weren’t. I think me and Clint pretty much said, ‘Look, if we’re going to do this, we don’t want to be like Johnny Farnham and come back every two years and make some money and piss off again.’ Me and Clint sat down with Dave and Matt and said, ‘If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it properly.’ Then Matty sent us a couple of song ideas.” Though the band are tight lipped about the initial break-up, Barnett says there was no Metallica-style therapy session needed to clear the air before version two of the band. Instead, it’s simply been a matter of growing up. Four mates in a band in their late-teens take a very different approach to four 25-year-olds realising that this is their life. “I think we sort of individually got everything off our chests over time,” Barnett tells. “Of course with the idea of us reforming again, we all sat down and said, ‘If anything’s going to happen or someone’s going to leave or someone’s unhappy, bring it to the table’. Because this is a business for us now. We’ve all got to think about our futures. If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this properly. And everyone was all for it. The relationship we all have now is better than it ever was in the five years [before the break-up].” Barnett says that good feeling and camaraderie has spilled over into the studio. In the second half of last year the band went straight back into a rehearsal room to begin writing again – well, everyone minus Splattering, who’s off touring the world with The Amity Affliction, one of last year’s break-out bands. Splattering is providing his input via modern technology. “We got in here and knuckled down and everything’s flowing really well. At the moment we’ve pretty much got a record that we’re excited on,” Barnett says of the band’s writing
Look, if we’re going to do this, we don’t want to be like Johnny Farnham and come back every two years and make some money and piss off again.”
processes. “We’ve still got a couple of months to do whatever else we can do to it before we head over [to Toronto].” The band will be recording in Toronto in the middle of the year with acclaimed rock producer David Bottrill, who has worked with Tool, Muse and Silverchair to name just a few. Even without Splattering right there in the room with them, the band are setting a cracking pace getting songs written to take over to present to their famous producer. “Matt talks to Clint a whole bunch, music-wise,” Barnett reveals. “It’s not that hard to do, I guess. It’s just having that vibe in the room is probably the main thing that sucks not having Clint there. We’ve just got to keep doing the internet thing. Matt writes the majority of the core of the songs with us and then Clint listens to them and writes his little parts to it. It can work pretty easily. It’s not that big a deal for us really.” Coming out of the punk and post-hardcore scenes, the band have always had to deal with plenty of internet chatter. It’s the nature of the music beast these days – for every music fan that passionately loves your music, there’s an equal and opposite hater, ready to spew forth with their rage on anonymous forums. Barnett laughs when the topic of “haters” is broached. “There’s always that. We got that when we made the transition from the EP to the album. Then we broke up and we got our haters then and then we come back and you’ve got your haters and now the new record’s coming out and I know a lot of people are just waiting for it to fail so they can hate on us again. It’s always going to happen. I don’t look on forums. If I do see or hear anything I just laugh. There’s just people really that have nothing better to do but bag out bands. Back in the day when we were younger we’d read it and it would get us down, but now it’s like, ‘Who gives a crap?’ If you don’t like my band, don’t listen to it.”
WHO: The Getaway Plan WHEN & WHERE: Saturday (under-18 arvo, 18+ evening), Hi-Fi
APPLES AND ORANGES He’s the best wingman in the music business, but M WARD is riding solo to Australia for the first time in years. By GISELLE NGUYEN.
Ward released his last solo album, Hold Time, in 2009 and the entirety of 2010 was dedicated to She & Him, his folk pop side project with whimsical screen queen Zooey Deschanel. The year before, he toured extensively both solo and with Monsters Of Folk, the supergroup he formed with fellow indie heavyweights Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis (both of Bright Eyes), after their debut album dropped that year. Last year Ward played only one show under his own name, supporting Yo La Tengo in December, so his upcoming gigs will be a change from his recent activities. “I’m looking forward to getting back to the way things used to be,” Ward says from his home in Portland, Oregon. “The last few years have been incredible and I love playing with Monsters Of Folk and She & Him just as much as I love playing the songs from the records that I make. Something that’s great about all of my projects is that we all have so many different
things going on in our lives that we’re not bound by just having one project, which I think would put a lot of pressure on a single project.” Ward’s career started in 1999, with six solo studio albums released since. He has always thirsted for collaboration though, appearing on albums by artists such as Cat Power, Bright Eyes, Beth Orton and Neko Case in between working on his own music. So it was really only a matter of time before actual bands formed out of the friendships he’s created with so many different musicians. As such, his solo career has been on the backburner for a while. “I am starting to record another record very, very slowly, but I’m playing a few solo shows and just changing gears a little bit,” Ward explains. “I’m always writing, but I have recorded a few songs that I’m listening to. I’ve just started the recording process. I’m kind of seeing where it takes me. At this stage it’s too early to say.” She & Him have been a big focus for Ward since the project began in 2006. They released their second album, Volume Two, in early 2010 and have spent the better part of the last year touring Europe and North America. Ward has long been known as a very private performer, often requesting no photography during his shows, so you’d assume that working with a big-name Hollywood actress would be a nightmare in that sense. “Zooey feels the same way as me,” Ward clarifies. “We hope that when people come to see a show that they come to have a musical experience and we both know how it feels when the person next to you can’t stop taking flash photographs. It’s frustrating and it’s a distraction, but nobody is pulling their hair out over it. It’s just something that most of my friends and I request whenever we play live shows.” Deschanel is the primary songwriter in She & Him with Ward taking over production duties and Monsters Of Folk’s songs are a collaborative process between the four members. Because these projects have been a main focus recently, does Ward ever wish for more of a creative stronghold? “Every project is so different,” he emphasises. “I love my role in She & Him just as I love my role in Monsters Of Folk just as I love what I’m doing when I make my own records. They’re just so different and that’s what makes them so interesting. It’s really difficult to compare them; it’s kind of like comparing apples and oranges.”
We know how it feels when the person next to you can’t stop taking flash photographs. It’s frustrating and it’s a distraction…”
In all his pursuits, Ward has been known to be a fan of including cover songs on his albums, from David Bowie’s Just Dance to The Miracles’ You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me to an instrumental version of The Beach Boys’ You Still Believe In Me. “The way you make it your own song is to just start playing it and you realise that you can’t do certain things that the other recording did and you start seeing it as a strength rather than a weakness,” he explains. “I’m pretty much always learning other people’s songs. That’s the way that I’ve been learning to play guitar since day one and nothing much has changed.” In the decade-plus that he’s been making a living from playing music, Ward has never become complacent about his musicianship; quite contrarily, he says, it’s all still just as intriguing as it’s ever been. “The biggest thing that has changed since 2000 is just the amount of things that I’m influenced by. It’s still mainly music, but the guitar is a very powerful instrument and it has the ability to play pretty much any kind of music and so I guess, ever since I started playing guitar in high school, it’s always been a pretty mysterious instrument and nothing’s really changed. I still don’t really know everything that it can do. It serves so many different kinds of music and so many different kinds of artists – and it’s been my foundation.” Though She & Him has been thriving lately, Monsters Of Folk only played two shows in 2010. The idea for the group first came up around 2004, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the album actually materialised. “We were building the anticipation, I guess, for ourselves and we really wanted to see what happened if we just got into the studio together with new song ideas and we love how the record turned out,” Ward explains. “At the moment we’re just hibernating. We’re all working on different projects right now. We don’t have any concrete plans, but we get together in the same way that any four friends do and we just sort of see what happens.” For all three of his projects, despite the years between them, Ward says that things have stayed basically the same in terms of his approach. “You can’t help but be influenced by all the new music that you’re discovering along the way; you can’t help but be influenced by your friends and that continues to grow. My process is still basically the same, which is never stop writing and pay a lot of attention to the demo and listen to the demo over and over again until it tells you where it wants to go, and that process of sketching hasn’t really changed much for me.” WHO: M Ward WHEN & WHERE: Friday, Palais
ON THE WAR PATH PJ HARVEY’s latest album, Let England Shake, is a meditation on war, with reviewers calling it the best of her career, writes SASHA PERERA.
n her new album, Let England Shake, PJ Harvey’s beguiling inner-angst has been temporarily set aside in favour of a more outward-facing contemplation. Far different to the ethereal, otherworldly soundscape of her last album White Chalk (2007), her new record focuses its lyrics on a more jarring and newsworthy theme. Despite the title of the album, it isn’t so much about England as it is about the human consequence of war in the Middle East, and the resonance of its effects throughout modern society. It is a very presentsounding album and sees the singer take centre stage with her lyrical prowess and unique arrangements. Sitting in a dimly-lit library and in the glow of a warm fireplace when Inpress catches up with her, the enigmatic and fairy-like Harvey wants to make it immediately clear that this new album is anything but a work of protest. According to the esteemed songwriter this isn’t an album that preaches politics, but is more of an observational work of art. However,
while this may have been the original intention, Inpress points out that surely she must concede that her words will now resonate with her fans, and in turn then begins a political work of art. Less inclined to go along with that, Harvey explains herself slowly and very deliberately. “It meant that I had to spend a lot of time because I was very aware of trying to get the balance right. I didn’t want to dip into using language that was too dogmatic or self-important, finger-pointing or opinionated. I wanted to present quite an ambiguous narrative that could be read in different ways and leave an openness; basically I wanted to work towards what’s not being said as opposed to what is said.” The embryo of the new album can be traced back to April of 2010 when Harvey debuted the title track on British current affairs program The Andrew Marr Show – albeit with a strange, off-kilter and off-key sample of Take Me Back To Constantinople, which has since been axed from the final recording (YouTube it). Fortuitously enough, she appeared on the very same program that then Prime Minister Gordon Brown was on. As the Prime Minister looked on, Harvey sang, “The West’s asleep/Let England shake/weighted down with silent dead/I fear our blood won’t rise again.” Just a few months later Gordon Brown departed Downing Street. Was Harvey to blame? “I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because of me,” she laughs. “It was a wonderful opportunity to be asked to do that show. The request came out of the blue – I had no idea it was going to happen, I was just asked a couple of weeks beforehand by the host Andrew Marr. I didn’t even know Gordon Brown was going to be on, but I said yes immediately because I really like that show. What an opportunity – it was amazing. I was so grateful to be able to play for them.” As for Gordon Brown’s response, “There seemed to very little from him at all – I didn’t see him tapping along,” she smirks. Harvey’s lyrics paint pictures and capture moods. One minute she’s talking evocatively about date palms and orange trees, the next she’s jolting the listener with a soldier’s experiences of decapitation and death. In researching the lyrics on her new album, Harvey actively spent a large amount of time researching as many aspects of her theme available to her. “I tried to seek out as much first-hand information as I could, and I also sought out as much written information as I could. I always tried to look for people’s first-hand accounts, and people’s writings, both civilians and soldiers. I looked at blogs, interviews, documentaries, all of these things, as well as talking to people who’d been there as well.”
I didn’t even know Gordon Brown was going to be on that show… I didn’t see him tapping along.”
In the lead-up to the album’s release, Harvey released a series of short films on her website that accompany the songs on her album, in collaboration with award-winning photo-journalist Seamus Murphy. The first two works – for the songs The Last Living Rose and the contagious first single The Words That Maketh Murder – are beautifully striking representations of the over-arching theme of the new album, mixing together footage of modern Britain and the war it has involved itself in. A film is planned for release for each of the songs on Let England Shake. “I came across Seamus Murphy’s work in 2008 and that was an exhibition of his called A Darkness Visible, which covered the last ten years of his photo-journalism in Afghanistan,” Harvey explains regarding the collaboration. “I was so affected by his photographs that I got in touch with him then, and sent him the words to this record, which hadn’t been recorded at that point. I asked him whether he’d ever consider working with the likes of me – I don’t think Seamus had ever really heard of me or knew what I did. He read the words and said he would like to work with me, and that’s how it began. I wanted these films to be very much his interpretation of what he got from the words and music, and that’s the way it is – it’s very much his thing.” Over the length of her career, Harvey has been described as one of the greatest songwriters in modern-day music. Her striking poems and suggestive wordplay certainly mark her as an original and unique talent. Whilst she appreciates the praise from critics and fans alike, Harvey is adamant that her art is the result of her need to express her truth. “I find when people recognise my work and acknowledge it… I feel that to be very strengthening because to go about one’s work is often a very solitary path; you need a lot of space to go about what you’re doing and you work in your own vacuum. To have that, later on down the line, appreciated and recognised is very helpful to keeping my strength about moving forward with the work that’s yet to come. Having said that, I think I have too much drive anyway to keep expressing things that move me and need saying in some way, and so I’d always do that regardless of the accolades. It’s certainly strengthening for me to continue down that path and feel that sense of recognition from other people. I am thankful for that,” she smiles warmly. WHO: PJ Harvey WHAT: Let England Shake (out Friday through Universal)
YOUR MOUTH, THEY’RE TUNNG With their new album featuring a choir of their drinking buddies, TUNNG’s PHIL WINTER is hoping Australian audiences will help fill the role live, he tells DOUG WALLEN.
ven for a band whose songs can seem in the flux of mid-evolution, Tunng experienced a serious change to its songwriting approach when co-founding songwriter Sam Genders exited the line-up. Last year’s fourth album, … And Then We Saw Land, thus saw co-founding songwriter/producer Mike Lindsay begin to sing lead alongside Becky Jacobs, who shines in Genders’ absence. And so the English group long associated with “folktronica” has come out the other side as creative and fluid as ever, sounding no less inspired. “It was like a slow fade, rather than him suddenly leaving,” observes Phil Winter, who contributes electronics and samples. “But for [this] album, we all took on more lyric-writing roles and obviously Becky stepped up and did more of the vocals. Those are the two main things, really.” Formed in 2003, the London ensemble have managed a rare hat trick of garnering critical acclaim the world over while building their
fanbase thanks to songs being used on various TV shows and ads. Perhaps that dichotomy speaks to the music itself, which is lovely and accessible but also daring and weird. It’s a permutation of old and new, striking out into the unknown using artefacts of the past. The bizarre yet somehow organic juxtapositions of the band’s first two albums, 2005’s Mother’s Daughter And Other Songs and 2006’s Comments Of The Inner Chorus, were rivalled by lyrics at once pastoral and fantastic, confirming the band as a lead voice of folktronica specifically and British folk-based music in general. Tunng has also long since established a reputation for greatness live, which is something they will no doubt prove yet again on their current jaunt through Australia. Only four gigs here are planned, including appearances at NSW’s Playground Weekender and the Perth International Arts Festival, which means Melbourne is lucky to be among that handful of destinations. As for the hopefully titled …And Then We Saw Land, it’s one slippery ride, wending through witchy instrumental runs, fragile acoustic guitar, brightened synths, and severely glitch-y elements. Yet this is Tunng actually reining in their vast range of ideas and instrumentation so that newer songs can be better represented live. “Definitely that was a big motivation of this album more than the others,” Winter says. “But I think with [2007’s] Good Arrows, we realised some of the songs are great, great fun to play live.” With the new record, the band wanted to carry on the live-feeling vibe of Good Arrows’ more dynamic entries, like Bullets and Bricks. An aspect that can be tricky to convey live is the latest album’s 15-person choir, dubbed the Mega Chorus. Appearing on three songs, the choir consisted of not just fellow musos but also drinking buddies, all of whom reportedly assembled in a single rainy night in an abandoned school hall. Some recent Tunng gigs, meanwhile, have enlisted the audience to play that role. “We do encourage it,” confirms Winter, “but it takes a while for these things to kick in. We’re hoping that will be an ongoing thing. Maybe Australia will be where it really kicks off.” Considering how much ground Tunng covers in any given song, is there ever a risk of having too much going on at once? “Always,” he admits. “I think that’s the main thing, really keeping that in our minds. Because there’s six of us in the band, so that’s a lot of potential… knowledge.” Following this pause and choice of words, he laughs before continuing, “It’s something we’re very aware of, definitely. But then it’s really good to have those dynamics, going from very multi-layered parts to almost just one person performing solo.” Asked about the influence of folk music, Winter acknowledges it but also observes that it’s simply a starting point. “I think we’ve come out of that renaissance in folk music that was around in 2005 and 2006,” he offers. “We’ll have things in the context of a folk arrangement, but songs can be performed in so many different ways. You can move it around, really, whether you’re going to more a rock thing or a more electronic thing or a more acoustic thing.” Something else that seeps into the sounds of …And Then We Saw Land, with even more subtlety, is the influence of travels by certain band members in the interim between records. Lindsay ventured through Southeast Asia and India, while the entire band spend ten days on the road with Tinariwen, a group of Malian desert bluesmen. They didn’t just travel together but collaborate as one huge ensemble. So how does all of that come through on the album? “I would say just like any sort of travel affects you,” downplays Winter. “Just having that much time out of the London scene, you get different sorts of motivations or influences for sure. But not directly. Just having that sort of space.” Since the departure of Genders, Winter describes the band’s songwriting process as something like pass the parcel: one person comes up an idea and trades it along. That means lyrics might be started by one member and finished by another, all while Mike Lindsay curates the whole thing in his role as producer and now leader. “So it’s not completely random,” he says. “Someone could come up with almost a complete song, but then other songs are built out of very collaborative exchanges of musical or lyrical ideas.” Collaborative is the perfect word to describe …And Then We Saw Land, which deals in the constant shuffling and reshuffling of divergent instruments, and voices. A song like October will pair Lindsay and Jacobs’s vocals over piano, guitar and other assorted textures, starting like trad folk and ending like electronics-shorted jazz. Hum-like harmonies open These Winds, one of the album’s most straightforward songs, and it’s followed by the stardust keyboards of Santiago. Other tracks resemble a free-for-all odyssey, although still with an almost twee sing-along quality, while the should-be single Don’t Look Down Or Back makes the most of vocal layering and affecting lyrical imagery, only to lurch into Neil Young-ish guitar menace and majesty and back again. As perpetually surprising as the album proves, it’s a fleeting, rub-youreyes reference to the chorus of A-ha’s Take On Me in the song With Whiskey that’s arguably the most left-field moment. “Basically, it was just trying to put that emotion into the song,” argues Winter. “It was more of an inspiration than an influence. You’re trying to convey the feeling that song had at that point, but at a subconscious level. Because obviously it’s a very different song. It’s very subtle.” Quoting A-ha, then, is just part of Tunng’s ever-expanding palette. “At the end of the day, for us, it’s songwriting,” Winter concludes. “It’s song-based music. It’s just whatever’s best for the song.” That’s how the band operates at once inside and outside the context of folk music. “Obviously folk idylls suit our songwriting that happened in the past,” he adds, “and could still do in the future, but it’s very hard to predict.” WHO: Tunng WHAT: …And Then We Saw Land (Inertia) WHEN & WHERE: Tuesday 22 February, East Brunswick Club
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ON THE RECORD
LATEST CD REVIEWS
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
FOUR TET ANGEL ECHOES EMI
FEMI KUTI AFRICA FOR AFRICA Wrasse/Shock
WHITE LIES RITUAL Universal
BRAIDS NATIVE SPEAKER Spunk
In a week like this (see below) – hell, in a world like this – thank god for artists like Kieran Hebden. Navigating minimalism without ever feeling like the genre is an excuse for a lack of ideas, Hebden’s simple, deft arrangements have an emotional impact that artists with everything-including-the-kitchen-sink production values could only dream of. There’s a delicate beauty in Angel Echoes’ slowly unfurling wonders – synthesised twinkles, disembodied voices, elevator chimes and phone tones – that serve to reinforce Four Tet’s status as highly deserving of being heaped in superlatives. And then, just like that, it’s over.
While his father has suddenly gone mainstream – 13 years after his death – via a Broadway musical (which means Will Smith as Fela Kuti isn’t that far off), his eldest son Femi has resolutely stuck to his guns. While the agitation and political content is similar, he not only opts for much shorter songs, but manages to merge his driving Afrobeat with more world music/jazz fusion elements, creating music very much his own.
White Lies are unjustly caricatured as merchants of gloom, but their latest album has style, substance and mystique. Ritual expands on 2009’s debut, To Lose My Life…, with new and sometimes antithetical elements. The Londoners are sounding rockier – dark glam, rather than nu-metal – with tracks like the magnificently brutalist Bigger Than Us, but they also have conspicuously more synths (the atmospheric Peace & Quiet) and programming. (White Lies namecheck cred techno types such as Richie Hawtin in their bio.) Yet Ritual transcends primitivist ‘emotronica’. Instead White Lies reconfigure The Smashing Pumpkins’ dramatically ambiguous grunge, Propaganda’s poetic proto-industrial, and the epic-ness of ‘80s bands like Ultravox, Heaven 17 and Tears For Fears – as much as the inevitable Joy Division.
“Have you fucked all those dragons yet? ” asks Raphaelle Standell-Preston on the opening track of Braids’ debut album, Native Speaker. Braids are a Canadian band currently based in Montreal who make affected psych dream pop full of cascading keys, warbled guitar and dramatic ambience that colour an apocalyptic aural landscape. It is a landscape inhabited by four musicians in their early 20s, and it is drenched in the desperation, euphoria, heartbreak and often hazy experience of discovery.
KE$HA BLOW Sony There’s something truly transcendent about the level of sheer irritation that Ke$ha is about to jam into a single song: from the single entendre of the title to the grinding synthesiser lines to the explosion sound FX to her vocal performance to the lyrics – “We’re pretty and sick/We’re young and we’re bored” – to the unbearable chorus, Blow takes “annoying” to a level nobody ever knew was possible. I’m beginning to suspect Ke$ha is in fact some sort of deep mole for a troupe of Situationist prank performance artists or Dadaist commune.
BEADY EYE THE ROLLER Liberator Where Liam Gallagher’s Lennon-aping felt fresh and even a little bit appealing back in 1996, when it’s devoid of Noel’s ability to pull Liam back from the precipice of self-parody – as it is in this new assortment of Oasis refugees – it’s damn near unbearably awful. Falling somewhere between Instant Karma and that other “hit” that Julian Lennon had that wasn’t Salt Water, The Roller is desperately embarrassing for everyone involved.
Africa For Africa was recorded in Lagos’ Decca Studios, where Kuti’s father recorded many of his albums, yet Femi is very much about the message and this album is a call to arms for Africans to not accept corrupt governments, not to be complacent. And though the message is overwhelmingly positive, the tunes tend to get bogged down behind the political lyrics. Where Fela could be cheeky, Femi is angry. The delivery is straight, and there’s always been an element of preaching, which without the extended instrumental moments his father employed can be fatiguing. Femi’s band, however, is so unbelievably tight, with crisp horns, pumping bass and relentless percussion – this is one well honed machine. Kuti’s songs are titled Politics In Africa, Bad Government, Can’t Buy Me… one of the highlights begins “Nobody beg you to be president,” (Nobody Beg You), which is a really interesting perspective on politics. Coming two years after Day By Day it is similarly a mixed bag – the title track where Kuti wails and grunts earnestly is a little trying – with the more lower-key, gentle tunes tending to be overloaded with lyrics. Yet when Kuti gets a groove up like on the Afro-fusion Can’t Buy Me, and he engages in a little scat or with the crisp charging horns of Now You See, he is simply amazing. Bob Baker Fish
SICK PUPPIES MAYBE EMI HAHAHAHAHA, when did Sick “LOL Free Hugs” Puppies turn into Mike & The Mechanics? Oh, right, when they did the Free Hugs stunt, that’s right. Maybe is a hysterical hybrid of The Living Years and every other semi-listenable Triple M band of the last 15 years and is truly mystifying in its chugga-chugga riffing earnestness. Who listens to this stuff, other than the producers of subpar cricketing montages? I literally cannot believe these guys still exist.
FUNERAL PARTY NEW YORK MOVES TO THE SOUND OF LA Sony Gawd almighty, is the zeitgeist moving so fast these days that the mid-’00s are already ripe for cannibalising? Because New York Moves To The Sound Of LA (which incidentally sounds like neither city’s predominant musical movements) is a frontrunner for the sound-alike soundtrack to the Starz network telemovie House Of Jealous Lovers: The Rapture Story, which stars Luke Wilson as Luke Jenner and the guys from Catfish as the rest of the band, but unfortunately was unable to secure licensing for any of The Rapture’s actual songs.
WAGONS DOWNLOW Spunk Look, this might wash with someone who didn’t spend a good year aged about 16 listening to the Hoodoo Gurus’ Bittersweet on permanent repeat, but since I did and the song has entered my DNA, it’s very difficult to appraise Downlow – an ungodly if enjoyable melange of Petty, Lynne, Springsteen, LRB, Mellencamp and, yes, Faulkner – without using Australia’s Greatest Riff’s name in vain. Pastiche is fine in certain circumstances, but when it’s so audacious that all you can think of is the source material, well, that’s just too, too bad.
JESSICA MAUBOY FEAT JAY SEAN WHAT HAPPENED TO US Sony So I guess it’s power ballad time in Camp Mauboy – that seems to be the generally accepted pattern, right? Two club bangers, one power ballad; two club bangers… – and What Happened To Us is a serviceable but eminently forgettable R&B slow-jam full of obvious lyrics like “Without you there’s a hole in my heart”. Jay Sean phones in an autopilot but undeniably smooth “featuring” slot that pushes the song a little higher than it probably deserves. Bring back the club bangers.
Thematically, main songwriter (and bassist) Charles Cave moves beyond the Freudian pop of Death to question the habits and rituals that comprise a life – chiefly the pursuit of love. Indeed, Ritual follows a break-up and Cave’s disillusionment with romance might be compared to Marx’s pronouncement that “religion is the opium of the people”. Nevertheless, where White Lies are so brilliant is in finding beauty in the bleak, extolling ugly beauty, and transforming the mundane into pop immersion theatre. The opener Is Love is disco minimalism, White Lies at their most ‘light’ and warm. Streetlights channels seminal New Order, with Harry McVeigh delivering the memorable lines, “So tired I’m picking skin/just ‘cause it’s something to do.” It’s almost… funky. White Lies may be enamoured of powerful choruses, but there are subtleties here – and eccentricities. Come Down is White Lies’ quietest song, despite its choral climax. A snowdrift ballad. Ritual’s production – by Max Dingel, who helmed To Lose..., and Alan Moulder – is neither overbearing nor overly polished. McVeigh’s cracked vocals remain. It’s as if White Lies were transgressively allowing their own ambitions to unravel. They’re human, after all. The best song? It’s gotta be The Power & The Glory with its heaving martyrdom and triumphant melody. File Ritual under ‘evensong electro’.
Braids sound like the younger sibling of Animal Collective, and it’s clear the band would not exist if not for Animal Collective’s album Feels. The obvious influences will make many an Animal Collective fan love or hate Braids. However, Native Speaker is still full of moments that go beyond Animal Collective comparisons. Raphaelle’s vocals exude both the post-punk punch of the Raincoats and The Au Pairs while channelling the hypnotic quality of the Cocteau Twins. In Glass Dears she elongates the lyrics “Fucked up, fucked up” in what will surely become the soundtrack to a sunrise spent still partying from the night before. Title track Native Speaker glows and pulsates for more than eight minutes: “Maybe having you inside me/of having you rest inside me/of having you beside me/of having you inside me.” Lyrically, Braids are distinct. In Plath Heart, StandellPreston carefully enunciates “Didn’t do exactly what you told me/When you scold me it leads me to implore thee/ Golden hole which was surely given to make beautiful children/And push and push and push and push…” while band member Katie Lee literally huffs and puffs as though giving birth. Overall, Native Speaker is a promising debut, encapsulating a journey through heady times, by a band who sound like their best work is still ahead of them. Rhiana Whitson
FUNERAL PARTY THE GOLDEN AGE OF KNOWHERE Sony It begins with a growling bass and the clip-clop of a cowbell. And just as you’re bedding down the ‘needs more cowbell’ gags in your mind, a chopping guitar heralds an explosion of vibrant sound and Chad Elliott begins to squeal loudly – very loudly – into your ear. This is the opener, New York City Moves To The Sound Of L.A., and it sets the mood well for the rest of the album. It is loud, fun and frenzied. On no track is this better demonstrated than Finale, by far the standout. It has a great build-up, engineered to get you pumped, and a contagious manic energy. Elliott annihilates his larynx providing shrill vocals that only just scrape over the shimmer of guitars and the machine gun drums. It’s fist-pumping, crowd chanting stadium stuff. I wish this song was around when I was 15. Of course, the guitars and the wails do bring to mind some familiar sounds. It seems like an eternity since that flush of mediocre post-Britpop English bands (think Snow Patrol, Keane or Athlete), and Funeral Party are probably well-served as much by nostalgia as they are by musicality. The similarities with those bands are obvious. Postcards Of Persuasion has the same cinematic sorrow and the title track closes the album on well-trodden ground. But Funeral Party do draw on a broader range of inspirations. Youth And Poverty and Where Did It Go Wrong have flashes of Pinkerton-era Weezer and Car Wars blends the influence of Muse with the wah-wah of funk. It’s an album that feels instantly familiar, largely because it’s been done (better) before. But ultimately, who cares? Sometimes you just want something to scream along with in the car. It won’t change your life but it’s fun. Rob Gascoigne
LLOYD COLE BROKEN RECORD Tapete Records GHOUL DUNKS Speak N Spell/Inertia From the first spark of distortion opening Sydney band Ghoul’s debut record, it’s clear that this will be far from an easy listen. The seven songs that make up the group’s second mini-album Dunks are eclectic, fusing the angular beauty of Radiohead’s Kid A material with Ivan Vizintin’s hauntingly beautiful vocals. Comparisons with Antony Hegarty can’t be ignored, so much so that for the uninitiated, to listen to Ghoul without knowing, a song like Dreambeat or The Slip could easily be taken for an Antony & The Johnsons track. The term “experimental” could be bandied around, but the vast majority of Dunks is a little bit too accessible to the mainstream to be cast into the too-hard basket that so often fills the experimental genre. Alternative? Without a doubt. Artistic? You bet. But to go further leftfield than that would be a discredit to the four-piece. Ghoul will get radio play (they already feature in Triple J’s Unearthed), however, there’s something in their sampled, distorted sound that begs for the live setting. Dunks, it seems, would be best listened to in a dimly-lit bar at three in the morning, sipping a cocktail so fragrant it would make a red rose wilt with jealousy. As a mini-album (that’s seven tracks in total), the one obvious flaw with Dunks is there’s not enough to really sink your teeth into, and having released their debut minialbum in 2008, one can’t wonder what the result would’ve been like had they released the two as an album proper. To read into it too much, however, would be to do injustice to what we have here, a pocket of resistance to the massproduced fare that so frequently gets dished up in the name of music. Dylan Stewart
“Wasn’t I there just to be your beleaguered go-between? ” Lloyd Cole asks in If I Were A Song on this, his first album recorded with a band in more than a decade. And it’s true: a kind of minor Morrissey, the man has made his career out of love-sick wordplay. Lloyd Cole & The Commotions had a poppy sound that was defined by nervy, jangling guitar and jittery lyrics about women who are “sexually enlightened by Cosmopolitan” (as in 1984’s Perfect Skin). Broken Record has replaced the brittle guitars with wailing pedal steel and the reading material has presumably moved on from Cosmopolitan for the highlight track Writers Retreat! in which “you can write a book while falling apart”. Early Cole, who in 1985 sang of “an ashtray heart on my sleeve”, was a poet of the ennui of the 20-something nihilist. His recent solo albums speak more to the frustrations of middle age. On the banjo-smattered Rhinestones he is “looking for trouble with a lazy eye,” and on Why In The World he asks “Stare out into space? Why in the world would I wanna do that? ” That song, which showcases Cole’s rich and rounded voice, is self-pity at its irresistible best: “I was a young and modern guy, wasn’t I?/So when did I cease to see the light?/Maybe you were right, maybe I’m all dried up inside/Maybe I’m not built for these times, maybe I don’t know how to live.” Much of the album is too ploddingly plaintive and daggily country to be all that affecting, and it largely lacks the acid humour of 2006’s Antidepressant. But at their best, these songs are drenched in the most beautiful melancholy, making it impossible to resist joining Cole in asking, “Am I to be condemned to an endless longing? ” Roger Nelson
ON THE RECORD
LATEST CD REVIEWS
MOTHER AND SON MOTHER AND SON Impedance Records
WANDA JACKSON THE PARTY AIN’T OVER Third Man/Nonesuch
FERGUS & GERONIMO UNLEARN Hardly Art/Inertia
DANIEL MARTIN MOORE IN THE COOL OF THE DAY Sub Pop
Wollongong’s pre-eminent garage surfabilly swamp two-piece – let’s face it, Wollongong’s only garage surfabilly swamp two-piece – Mother And Son, comprising vocalist/guitarist Bodie Jarman and drummer Matman Teudt, have cranked out a tidy effort in their debut self-titled long player. Recorded and mixed by Jarman himself and mastered by master-blaster ‘Spooky’ Loki Lockwood, the result is an outing of howling vocals over a grinding, bluesy, quasi-rockabilly soundscape – polished yet still maintaining a lo-fi DIY feel. While their sound is not totally unique it could not be construed as a blatant copy of any particular influence, of which they surely have a few, from The Cramps to old school Link Wray, a touch of The Birthday Party to The Black Lips or even The Black Keys. Their music is individual enough, though, and if any comparison can be drawn to a contemporary they could maybe be labelled a more rockabilly version of Melbourne champions The Stabs.
After 55 years playing music and releasing 31 albums in that time, Wanda Jackson shows no signs of slowing down. The 73-year-old Queen Of Rockabilly has cut an album of covers with Jack White on board as producer and guitarist, backed by the Third Man House Band, which includes Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence (of Raconteurs and Greenhornes fame) on drums and bass, respectively; Jackson Smith (Patti Smith’s son) on guitar and Karen Elson (White’s wife) on backing vocals.
At the outset, Texas duo Fergus & Geronimo seem like more of the pleasantly dodgy garage-pop that’s been springing up all over. A bit Modern Lovers, a bit Black Lips, and lackadaisical as a rule. What separates this debut album from Jason Kelly and Andrew Savage isn’t the music, however, but a decidedly bitter strain of lyrics that’s echoed in the snide commentary scrawled across the sleeve (including emblazoning the disc itself with “You still buy CDs?”). It’s an odd touch that can rub the wrong way.
Daniel Martin Moore has produced an incredibly intimate, slow-burning and thoroughly lovely folk record. There is real genius here. Despite that recommendation, it is appropriate to begin with a warning of sorts. This is a gospel album and some may struggle with the potential hurdle of an album that celebrates (exclusively) Jesus and Christian faith. If that’s a hurdle you can’t overcome, you may be missing out on something really very special.
The instrumental opener Mosquito, which could be torn straight from the playbook of The Tornados or Dick Dale, seems a cleverly ‘puntastic’ prequel to another instrumental, Dengue Fever. The true opener for mine is the single Dead Yellow Moon, and it sets the tone for this release with its scowling, jagged sense of desperation. Whether intentional or not, I can’t help but think of Dead Moon’s Fred and Toody Cole each time I hear it. With the horror of The Hanging Tree, you get the picture: “And I swear I never touched a hair on that girl’s head/I just found her laying there naked, bruised and red,” and, “They put that noose around my neck/and forced me up that ladder step by step.” In the same vein you know exactly what to expect from Creature From The Swamp and Savage. If a track has a moment of pop levity it would be It Won’t Be Long. Interestingly, the pace of the album slows to close, but it seems to somehow suit – dark but delightful. The Boomeister
Wanda Jackson has picked her source material from a range of artists and periods. As a result Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good sits alongside Johnny Kidd & The Pirates’ Shakin’ All Over. Jackson’s cover of You Know I’m No Good sounds like she’s schooling Winehouse in how being wild was done in her day – remember we’re talking about a woman who toured with Elvis straight after graduating and later dated him. She covers Bob Dylan’s Thunder On The Mountain as an energetic, piano-pounding rocker, suitably replacing Dylan’s Alicia Key shout-outs with Jerry Lee Lewis. There’s a great collection of songs here, however, they don’t quite work well together as an album. Some of the songs feel a bit dated too, but it’s hard to say whether or not that’s Jackson’s fault. Dust On The Bible sounds like a leftover from her ‘70s gospel period, while Rum And Coca-Cola is a calypso tune with lyrics based around racial stereotypes that have aged badly. It’s unlikely this album will win Jackson any new fans. Basically, if you already like Wanda Jackson, rockabilly or worship Jack White (as this reviewer does) then you’ll like this. It’s not the most memorable of albums – after listening to the record, it’s a struggle to remember the songs half an hour later. Hopefully an album of Jackson originals, recorded with the same personnel, will be next.
Baby Boomer is a damning indictment of an entire generation and its parenting (“Fill them up with fast food lies/Tiny tears gagged by French fries”), while Forced Aloha features the line “Your life is nothing but a loveless beach house fuck.” Then there’s the anti-critics screed Wanna Know What I Would Do If I Was You?, which harps on the perceived abuse of power (“Your fest press pass is ammo that you aim at bands to end their life”) and before advising a career change (“Pulitzers don’t go to waste on lowly talent scouts”). As a critic, it’s hard not to take that personally – or, well, professionally – but it’s also a bit too dick-hurt to regard with much weight. And really, a music reviewer angling for Pulitzers is as realistic as this band chasing Grammys. Fergus & Geronimo are better when simply getting down to business, kicking out reverbed faux-oldies (Powerful Lovin’ ) and brandishing cool slacker hooks (Baby Don’t You Cry, World Never Stops). Guests provide appealing backing vocals on the title track and sax on When The Walls Are Made Of Grass, taking attention off the duo’s seething. These guys pen lyrics as if they want to forcibly change the world but put it to music that says they couldn’t actually be bothered. Doug Wallen
The album is a blend of traditional standards and Moore’s own compositions. In producing those traditional standards, Moore apparently tried to take an ‘impressionistic’ approach to his performance, playing these songs as he remembered them, and reflecting on spirituality as it mattered to him now as a 20-something musician. That introspection shows. Closer Walk With Thee, a song that is tiredly mumbled in Sunday services around the world, is here reinterpreted as an ambling torch song. The album’s fleeting opener All Ye Tenderhearted, is a quiet genuflection that centres the listener and lays the ground for what follows. However, Moore’s at his best when, in the second half of the album, he shifts into even softer territory. With only the most minimal accompaniment, provided by, among others, My Morning Jacket’s Jim Jones, Moore lets his soothing voice take precedence. The title track, the exquisite It Is Well With My Soul and Moore’s own composition Set Things Alright are almost painfully beautiful. Throughout, the album is welcoming and warm, never preaching. It is simple music but its exaltation and its uncompromising expressions of love and devotion somehow make it greater than the sum of its parts. It is highly recommended. Rob Gascoigne
QUEENS OF NOISE Although he reckons he “didn’t [get] his graduating cap from the School Of Rock”, guitarist/keyboardist TROY VAN LEEUWEN was still invited to join QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. BRYGET CHRISFIELD discovers he’s also an expert on mojo maintenance. you? I need somebody to play these shows, are you available? Let’s get together and have a drink and then play some music.’ It was really informal. It wasn’t really an audition, but it was definitely a lot of music to learn in the least amount of time – to learn three different instruments. So it was kind of a challenge for me, but a good one: one that I keep excelling at, somehow.
f his recent activities, Queens Of The Stone Age’s guitarist/keyboardist Troy Van Leeuwen shares, “I’ve been in the desert of California and then back to Los Angeles and then back to the desert and then back to Los Angeles – and that was just yesterday! So I’ve been doing a lot of driving. And I bought a motorcycle in the desert, so I had to go pick it up.” He imparts his driving soundtrack of choice included “the new Black Keys record, I really like that record, and the latest LCD Soundsystem record [This Is Happening] and a band called Add N To (X).” What? He hasn’t been giving QOTSA’s recently reissued, remastered, self-titled debut album a run? “That’s a good question because I haven’t received my copy yet,” he laughs. “I know, I haven’t made enough of a stink about it. I should probably yell at somebody.” Surely someone needs to go down for this oversight. “I think so, right? But, yes, so I plan on listening to that as soon as I get it ‘cause I miss those songs – I need to hear them again… I can make some
“It was intense pressure, but it was the kind of pressure that you like. Like acupuncture, have you had that?” One needs a finely tuned bullshit detector when interviewing Van Leeuwen and he goes on to claim that he “sometimes” receives acupuncture treatment –“the one where they put it straight in your eyeball. It really relieves the pain of headaches.” Here he erupts into a fit of laughter and admits, “I’m just fucking with you. No, it was the kind of pressure that I like to put myself through. Maybe I’m a little bit – what is it, a masochist or sadist? Yeah, one of them. But I like to play music and I like to be challenged so that was good for me and plus you’re playing with Michael [Shuman, bass] and Josh [Homme, needs no introduction] and the whole gang. And Mark Lanegan [guitar, left QOTSA in 2005] at that time and so it was an opportunity for me to show that I’m one of their peers.” notes and then I’ll give myself a test and then I’ll fail the test and then I’ll have to take it again and then I’ll have to go back to school, and that’s not a good thing.” Re-enrol in the School Of Rock, does he think? “Yeah, the School Of Rock. I’m a failure. I didn’t get my graduating cap and so, yeah! I’m gonna study this time,” he teases. Van Leeuwen wasn’t actually in QOTSA’s line-up when Queens Of The Stone Age was recorded and the album’s re-release got him thinking about what he was up to in 1998. “The first time I heard the record – I mean, I was aware of Kyuss and stuff – and the first time I heard the record I was in a van on tour with A Perfect Circle,” he recalls, “and I fell in love with it immediately so it’s been with me ever since. And it’s kinda nice to be asked to join one of your favourite bands so that’s been my experience with it – it’s been a positive one.” Although the story goes that Van Leeuwen auditioned to join Queens Of The Stone Age, this was more a formality. “It was sort of more like, ‘Hey, Josh.’ ‘Hi, Troy, how are
The current Queens Of The Stone Age line-up also comprises drummer Joey Castillo and multiintrumentalist/keyboardist Dean Fertita and the band will be performing their debut, self-titled set plus “maybe two B-sides” at their forthcoming Sidewave shows. Non-album tracks will be reserved for the encore/s at these shows and fans had better warm up their larynxes if they wish to screech out requests. “Sure, they can yell but it’s gonna be hard to hear them,” Van Leeuwen contributes. What about creating a banner to communicate requests? “That’s a great idea,” he enthuses, “yeah, yeah just [ones] that say random things. Let’s see, like, um, ‘May the force be with you, Luke,’ or, like, ‘I’m your father,’ [laughs] or other things that are totally not related to Queens at all. They can say, ‘Play Your Mama Don’t Dance And Your Daddy Don’t Rock’n’Roll.’ Do you know that song? I mean, if I was going to a Queens concert I would put up that banner.”
“I’d only sung in the shower,” LA-based newcomer MAYER HAWTHORNE tells MICHAEL SMITH of his switch from hip hop producer to buzz-causing Motown crooner. start getting serious about songwriting until he moved from Ann Arbor to Los Angeles in 2005. “I was still trying to make hip hop for a living, but, you know, sometimes things don’t work out like you think they will. I was making these hip hop beats and I was havin’ to pay all this money for sample clearance and it was killin’ my whole budget. So I was like, ‘I play all these instruments and I know all this music, I’ll make my own and then I won’t have to pay anybody to clear the sample.’” For a while he was working the US West Coast under the hip hop name Haircut, though he’d occasionally team up with other DJs and MCs as Now On or Athletic Mic League. Then, when he released A Strange Arrangement, everything changed. As accomplished as he sounds on the debut album, however, Hawthorne believes it’s only now, as he’s been working on the second album, that he’s actually found his voice, both as a songwriter and a singer. “When I wrote and recorded A Strange Arrangement, I really didn’t have any idea what I
“For me, it’s all about creating somethin’ new and different and movin’ forward and makin’ somethin’ for my
generation, not takin’ it back to the old school – I hate that shit. I think it was just growin’ up in that area. My parents were both very musical and I got a really amazing musical education from them growin’ up and then just comin’ up in the hip hop world – I’ve been a DJ and a hip hop producer my whole life, so I’ve come at it from the perspective of a hip hop DJ. I tried to make an album of soul music that hip hop heads would love; that hip hop heads would want to sample. My original inspiration for making soul music was so I could sample it for makin’ hip hop beats.” A multi-instrumentalist, Hawthorne played the majority of the instruments, sang all the vocal parts and produced A Strange Arrangement, yet it seems he’d never intended to be a singer or front a band. In fact, he didn’t really
Since Queens Of The Stone Age decided to have a break from touring in 2009, Homme has been on Them Crooked Vultures duty, Fertita has been hogged by The Dead Weather, Eagles Of Death Metal recruited Castillo as touring drummer and Van Leeuwen and Shuman explored their side projects, Sweethead and Mini Mansions respectively. The QOTSA quintet’s schedules must be a bitch to organise. “You know what’s amazing?” Van Leeuwen muses, “is that this time last year I would’ve said ‘yes’, but in the last couple of months all our schedules freed up from our other projects. So that’s the great thing about taking time to do other stuff: everyone wants to meet at this goal of doing a Queens record and to do some touring and that’s what we do, that’s who we are… It just happens to be serendipitous.” In terms of whether there’s a modicum of fear they may have lost their collective mojo when the band members regroup after making sweet music elsewhere, Van Leeuwen doesn’t miss a beat: “Why, do you have it in a bottle somewhere?” Then he’s on a roll again, playing the wind-up merchant. “I mean, with a good dose of… especially listening to that song I’ve Got My Mojo Working, the Muddy Waters version. I just listened to that today. It’s just one of those things that – you know, you’re supposed to change throughout. You’re supposed to grow and stuff and I think we’re all growing and that’s part of keeping your mojo is just, I dunno, polishing it or getting it muddy – however you wanna treat it, as long as you’re doing something to it then it’s gonna do something back to you. That’s what I read in my witchcraft handbook anyway.” WHO: Queens Of The Stone Age WHAT: Queens Of the Stone Age reissue (Liberator Music/Rekords Rekords) WHEN & WHERE: Thursday 3 March, Palace; Friday 4 March, Soundwave, Melbourne Showgrounds
Queens Of The Stone Age’s line-up has expanded since
WHITE MAN WALKIN’
istening to the debut album, A Strange Arrangement, from Mayer Hawthorne, you’d think that rather than merely recreating the sounds of ‘60s Motown that first captured his imagination as a kid growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Hawthorne seems to have immersed himself in the ethos of the period to understand what made that sound so special. A young white American sounding like he’s channelling Smoky Robinson, Stones Throw label head Peanut Butter Wolf signed him on the strength of hearing just two songs. Yet, Hawthorne’s current sounds are far from those he was creating at the beginning of his career.
their debut album was recorded, which may mean a seat sidestage for Van Leeuwen. “I think that what we’re gonna do is we’re definitely gonna pay heed to the record,” Van Leeuwen offers. “We’re not gonna stray too far off what’s recorded and there are second guitar parts there and there are some leads and stuff that I do live already, but we’re really gonna hone it in and, between Dean and myself, there’s gonna be a lot of keyboards and a lot of lapsteel and tons of percussion, I think, which is gonna be cool ‘cause many times have you seen the Queens where there’s two guys playing percussion?” he laughs.
For me, it’s all about creating somethin’ new and different, not takin’ it back to the old school – I hate that shit.”
was doin’. I’d only sung in the shower! So in the past year and a half, I’ve toured all over the world and I’ve done, like, 300 shows and worked with some really amazing people and I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time that now I’m really starting to feel like I can really write a song and sing a song.
“Now, I still don’t have that much of an idea what I’m doing, but… I’m learning. The new album I think leans more towards my love for Steely Dan and The Beatles and The Beach Boys and The Doobie Brothers. I think a lot more of those influences are comin’ out. The new album is still Detroit soul – I went back to Detroit to record it because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t lose that. I got a chance to work with Funk Brother Dennis Carlton on the new album – he plays guitar on a couple of tracks. That was an incredible experience. And I got to at least perform with Smoky Robinson at South By Southwest last year. That was crazy, too. I would love to record a duet with him.” He may have approached the making of A Strange Arrangement without any real clue as to what he was doing, but he knew enough to draw on what he did know to write the songs. “All of my songs usually come from an instance in my life. I don’t sit down and try to write a song – it just doesn’t work that way for me. My songs just come to me, usually when I’m driving or flying on a plane or something. For some reason travelling really seems to bring them out of me – they just kind of come. It almost feels like somebody else is writin’ ‘em. I just kind of listen to it in my head like it’s playin’ on the radio. The challenge for me is always tryin’ to get it out of my head and onto the tape.” To suggest it’s all happened pretty quickly for Hawthorne would be an understatement. He started getting bookings to play as soon as the first single Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out was released, then Kanye West and Spike Jonze picked up on the B-side, When I Said Goodbye, using it in a short film they made, We Were Once A Fairytale. So almost immediately, the pressure was on to put a band together to take the album on the road. He called them The County Commissioners, but they’ve since become simply The County. “That was really something I hadn’t counted on,” Hawthorne admits. “At the time I figured this would be like a little side project and that would be it and maybe we’d sell a thousand records and I’d go back to being a hip hop DJ. Of course it ended up being much more than I – than anybody – expected. I grew up in the Detroit area and knew a lot of incredible musicians, so I called ‘em up and luckily they were all down to come out and play with me.”
WHO: Mayer Hawthorne & The County WHEN & WHERE: Friday, Hi-Fi
THIS WEEK IN WEDNESDAY 16
Das Boot – the director’s cut of Wolfgang Peterson’s compelling tale of U-boat warfare. Astor Theatre, 7.30pm. Il desert rosso (Red Desert) – Michalangelo Antonioni’s first colour film, a poetic continuation of the wandering protagonist so common in the director’s body of work, in this case following a woman released form hospital after having attempted suicide, who finds herself estranged from her family and disconnected from the world. Melbourne Cinémathèque, ACMI, 7pm. Motive – for anyone that has an idea and is motivated enough to bring it to completion (or at least start); an off-line community made up of creative types of every kind; meeting up regularly to talk about interesting projects they’ve seen, have or want to collaborate on. Loop, 6:30pm.
FRIDAY 18 Apologia – Robyn Nevin stars in this Australian premiere production of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s (The Pride) Apologia, about an art historian noted for her leftist attitude and radical nature, who holds nothing back in her autobiography except that she has two children; on her birthday her sons arrive with their own versions of her life story. Opening night. Fairfax Studio, MTC until 9 April. Colin – micro-budget zombie film in the same vein as Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste, hailed by UK cinema bible Sight & Sound as a film that “merits serious comparison with Romero’s work”. ACMI Cinemas, 9.30pm. (Repeats 25 February.)
SATURDAY 19 Comings And Goings – an allegorical portrayal of solitary man in a transient environment, this exhibition by Andrea Jenkins takes you on a journey through Melbourne’s iconic Flinders St Station and Parliament Station, the underpass, the subway and the Royal Arcade. Closing day. Fortyfivedownstairs. Crowds – exhibition of sketches by Hilary Senhanli, from observations on public transport, whilst shopping, and at sporting events. Closing day. Fortyfivedownstairs. F3 Festival – a fundraising festival organised by Forest Collective showcasing some of their 2011 ideas, featuring chamber music, live bands, visual art, performance art, and theatre. Loop, from 2pm. Mother Of Rock: The Life And Times Of Lillian Roxon – documentary about, and a tribute to, rock’n’roll journalist Lillian Roxon, author of Rock Encyclopedia. ACMI Cinemas, 4pm. (Repeats 26 February.)
SUNDAY 20 Alison Gray: Stasis – exhibition exploring “the motion of Stasis through an abstract investigation into the materiality and substance of paint which drips, dribbles, and runs over the underlying structures before arresting in its flow.” Closing day. C3 Contemporary Art Space, Abbotsford. The Night Of The Iguana / The African Queen – double-feature of Richard Burton and Ava Gardner in
The Night Of The Iguana (based on Tennessee Williams’ play, boasting the tag line: “One man… Three women… One night…”), and the Humphrey Bogart/Katharine Hepburn classic, The African Queen. Astor Theatre, 7pm. Skin Tight – a feverish fusion of intense physicality, daring tenderness, and poetic lyricism set against the dramatic South Canterbury landscape. Produced by SaySIX Theatre and The Groundswell Division. Closing day. Fortyfivedownstairs.
CAPTURING THE VIBE
MONDAY 21 Baraka – the cinematic essay Baraka in all its 70mm glory. Astor Theatre, 8pm. Don’t You Have Docs? – programme of short documentary film screening every third Monday of the month, run in partnership with MUBI Garage, meaning films come in from all over the world. Curated by theme, generally six to eight films screen. Tonight’s theme: ‘Beginnings’. Loop, 7pm.
TUESDAY 22 Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – 2010 Palm d’Or winner, “an alluring proposition, steeped in ancient myth and the wit and wisdom of lives past, present and future”, opens its exclusive season at ACMI tonight. ACMI Cinemas until 14 March.
ONGOING A Behanding In Spokane – Australian premiere production of the latest work from the superb playwright Martin McDonagh (The Pillowman, The Lonesome West, In Bruges), about a man hunting down something that was taken from him as a young lad 30 years prior, leading to a dingy motel room and an encounter with two seedy characters who claim they’ve got the goods. Sumner Theatre, MTC until 19 March. Dreams Come True: The Art Of Disney’s Classic Fairy Tales – exhibition featuring hundreds are artefacts from the Disney vault, or, more specifically, the Animation Research Library. Features sketched, frame cells, drawings, concept art, and more, from the likes of The Little Mermaid, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, and Cinderella. ACMI until 26 April 2011. Ruben Guthrie – Victorian premiere season of Brendan Cowell’s brilliant portrayal of a young advertising exec who spends far too much time at the bottom of a bottle. Red Stitch Actors Theatre until 5 March. Shadow Project – the second installation from the metamorphic collective, featuring street art to performance painting from artists such as Josephine Bradley-Scott, Natt Meow Diamond, Alintalucienne, and SPARCS. For Walls at Miss Libertine until 26 February. ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore – Marion Potts first production as new Artistic Director of Malthouse Theatre also mark her first in the director’s chair for the company. And she launches herself in exciting fashion with a play about the most forbidden of forbidden fruits: star-cross’d siblings. Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse Theatre until 5 March.
JOHN WATERS HAS ONCE AGAIN RETURNED TO HIS JOHN LENNON TRIBUTE PIECE, LOOKING THROUGH A GLASS ONION. MATT O’NEILL CAUGHT UP WITH THE JOURNEYMAN ENTERTAINER TO DISCUSS THE LATEST ITERATION OF THE SHOW AND WHERE IT SITS IN HIS UNIQUE CAREER. Over the past handful of years, there have been an increasing number of attempts to provide a definitive portrait of John Lennon. Whether it’s through films like 2009’s Nowhere Boy and documentaries like 2006’s The US vs John Lennon, compilations like 2010’s exhaustive 11-disc Signature box set or, as seen in a recent Rolling Stone, posthumously published interviews – countless individuals over the past five years have made an attempt to authoritatively define the man’s work.
“In honesty, it wasn’t that I immediately thought of John Lennon to fill the gap but I’d been toying with the idea,” he adds. “After I put those thoughts together with the empty room and some conversations with Stewart, though, it all just kind of evolved. I wrote the show very quickly and put it together very quickly. I think, from getting the idea to doing the show to actually performing the show, it took about four or five weeks.”
At first glance, Looking Through A Glass Onion merely looks like the latest attempt in the series. A homage to Lennon assembled through spoken-word and musical performance by actor/musician John Waters and musician Stewart D’Arrietta, its current touring schedule arrives only months after the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s death. However, the original production actually predates the majority of the above list by nearly 20 years.
Since that inauspicious debut, Looking Through A Glass Onion has enjoyed two sell-out tours of Australia and a critically-acclaimed run in London’s West End. The brilliance of the show stems from Waters’ refusal to pitch the work as any kind of definitive work. Rather than attempting to limply imitate Lennon and deliver a two-dimensional greatest-hits performance, Waters and D’Arrietta merely attempt to provide an impressionistic interpretation of the man’s charisma.
“It was literally written to fill a gap in a cabaret room in a Sydney hotel in 1992,” John Waters admits, mildly sheepish. “The guys who ran the place basically said, ‘Look, we’ve got [a] five-week slot up for grabs, are you interested in taking it?’ and I went, ‘Yep’ – because I’d been thinking about doing some kind of show at the time – and they went, ‘Do you have a show?’ and I went, ‘Yep,’ thinking, ‘Well, I will have by the time this comes around!’
“I never wanted to do a covers act and be like an Elvis impersonator,” Waters explains. “Every time I say I don’t impersonate Lennon, people point go, ‘Ah, but you sound like him.’ But, while I do use the voice – because I think if you’re going to deliver a monologue written as Lennon, it needs to be delivered as Lennon – I don’t dress up. It’s just me on stage. It just so happens that,” the performer adopts a version of Lennon’s working class drawl,
“his voice just comes out of me, somehow.” Crucially, Waters understands that providing an authoritative overview of any individual’s life is almost impossible – never mind one as complicated as John Lennon. Equal parts cantankerous and compassionate, Lennon was, in every sense of the cliché, a mess of contradictions. Musically, his work oscillated constantly between the traditional and vanguard. Known for a mission of peace and love, the legendary musician nevertheless bred acrimony in every setting one could find him. In this sense, Looking Through A Glass Onion – drawn from The Beatles’ song Glass Onion – is perhaps the ideal title for Waters’ work. One of Lennon’s key contributions to The Beatles’ legendary 1968 White Album, Glass Onion is widely believed to have been written by Lennon in response to a myriad of observers and social commentators who felt they knew and understood both Lennon and his fellow Beatles on account of listening to their music. “Yeah, those questions – ‘Will it be right?’; ‘Can he do justice to John Lennon?’ – I’ve never burdened myself,” Waters says frankly. “I’m just a bloke doing a show and I’m using John Lennon because he’s a fascinating guy and I’m using his music because it’s great music. It’s definitely not a definitive John Lennon and if I fall short of people’s
expectations I think of it as their fault. There’s only one definitive John Lennon and he’s no longer with us, unfortunately.” John Waters, meanwhile, is perhaps the ideal performer for such a show. Like Lennon, Waters is a man and performer of many facets and, perhaps more so than most, understands the plastic nature of public perception. Over the course of his career, Waters has been known as a successful musician, a children’s television host, an acclaimed film actor, a soap star, a cabaret performer. In September of last year, he released a debut album of original recorded music, Cloudland. “To those who knew in England in 1967, I’d be John Waters the bassplayer from The Riots. You know, whatever you do at any stage of your life defines in the eyes of those people who see you there,” Waters muses. “I started out as a singer and bassplayer in bands and, when I came to Australia, I auditioned for and got into Hair: The Musical and went from there into film and TV. There are people from your generation who still think of me as John from Play School.” “To be honest, though, I’m happy with all those definitions of me,” Waters laughs. “The more the merrier, as far as I’m concerned.” WHAT: Looking Through A Glass Onion WHERE & WHEN: Regent Theatre Saturday 19 February
I PITY THE WHORE MALTHOUSE THEATRE’S LATEST PRODUCTION LOOKS AT THAT TRICKY LITTLE TOPIC: INCEST. ALEKSIA BARRON CATCHES UP WITH ELIZABETH NABBEN TO TALK ABOUT HOW ONE APPROACHES SUCH A DIFFICULT SUBJECT ON STAGE.
Few plays have retained their power to shock throughout the centuries as effectively as John Ford’s controversial masterpiece ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore. Of course, that’s not exactly surprising when you consider that this particular romantic tragedy centres on a romance almost universally considered taboo. Elizabeth Nabben, who plays the female lead in this latest offering from the Malthouse Theatre, is candid when asked about the heroine Annabella’s greatest flaw: “Sleeping with her brother.” Ford’s script details the forbidden passion between siblings Annabella (Nabben) and Giovanni (played by Benedict Samuel). Set in the upper echelons of Italian society, the brother and sister express and ultimately consummate their love. Naturally, nothing good comes of it, although the purity of the most impure of relationships throws the depravity of the society into sharp relief. According to Nabben, “A brother and sister fall in love, and the brother has to tell the sister because his desire is destroying him. That awakens something in her which she hasn’t let herself feel, and they sleep together.” What’s striking about ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore, she explains, is that this difficult central relationship becomes the most sympathetic aspect of the entire play. “The integrity of that relationship is the redeeming feature for the whole society.” Marion Potts is in the director’s chair, and for Nabben, a recent graduate of the Victorian Colllege of the Arts, the opportunity to work with such an esteemed member of the theatre is an honour. With this set to be Potts’ debut work as the Artistic Director for the Malthouse Theatre, it’s fair to say that there’s much riding on this show for all involved.
According to Nabben, Potts’ very considered approach to the play is what will help the audience connect. “I think she’s really interested in exploring moral boundaries,” she says, when asked how Potts is approaching the text. “[We’re asking] ‘If morality doesn’t lie in religion, where does it lie?’ [Potts is] really interested in exploring the humanity behind something that we would automatically think of as morally wrong, or sociologically wrong.” To aid the audience with the difficult task of identifying with a play first performed in 1633, Potts has created a visual stage scheme that nods to the originating period, but retains modern elements. “It’s not set in period costumes, but not completely modern either,” says Nabben. “There’s this brilliant baroque backdrop, but it’s mixed with the underworld.” For Nabben, who hopes to build a career playing “strong female roles”, and has already turned in a noteworthy performance at the VCA as Twelfth Night’s Viola, the opportunity to play a heroine as complex and conflicted as Annabella is a true gem of an opportunity. She explains that Annabella is more than just a “Juliet” character; that she’s seeking to make her way to higher ground. “I think she’s someone who is trying to take control of her own sexuality, and decide who she wants to be with... and reject this patriarchal order, which is about marrying her off for money and social position. It’s sort of empowering, in a way, playing a women who is using strategy to control her sexuality.” WHAT: ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore WHERE & WHEN: Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse Theatre until 5 March
ONE NIGHT ONLY: WILLIAM SHATNER IN MELBOURNE William Shatner, who first rose to fame as Captain Kirk in the TV series Star Trek, and has more recently graced our screens as Denny Crane in Boston Legal and the titular father in Sh*! My Dad Says, is coming to Australia for one exclusive show each in Sydney and Melbourne. The show will entail an opening speech from the actor, waxing lyrical on his life, before engaging in a Q&A with the evening’s guest host. Plenary Theatre, Melbourne Convention Centre Sunday 10 April. Tickets through Ticketmaster.
THE MENSTRUUM 16: “...MAY BE BENEFICIAL DURING TIMES OF SADNESS.”
one in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. The doors to the rooms are sliding, on rollers not hinges. The gnarled old blokes sit all day on the steps, smoking and sizing you up. But then I met Paige, and remembered how things could be, and I don’t want to end up in a dormitory for widowers and ex-junkies, so I talk to the woman at reception and she tells me to turn the key in the door to the left to get out, I walk the five minutes to the Chemist Warehouse and buy the St John’s wort and I keep moving forward, I buy new jeans on sale. I take the tablets and the tram and I look forward to getting home.
TESS KELLY - POPPY 3, 2010
BY ROBERT LUKINS Can you live forever underwater – how would that work? I know you can dance down there, I’ve seen it. St John’s wort: I’d been buying and eating that junk for 12 years without a break. It has always just been there, going in my mouth with other things, things that have actual medicine behind them, and the wording on the Wort bottles is careful, careful it doesn’t make any claims beyond aspiration. So I keep buying it and keep hoofing it. But seven days ago I ran out and I’ve been a dumb mess for seven days; the whole bit, big crying, starting fights, throwing the cook book across the room. I say certain words and am told to never say them again, that they don’t belong in our world. She’s right, and I will never say them again. I am one lucky fuck. At the end of this, in the rain, I drop the car at the Convent and bus it to Gore Street. It’s empty and the lights don’t seem fully on but I walk into Colour Factory – it’s a photo shop, it’s a gallery, it may or may not be open, and Tess Kelly and Julia Norlander have a joint show until 26 February filling this white rectangle. It makes sense that these photographs are together and paraded like a couple, tangled in a soup. What
we have are bare women and the grey lines of rib you can see from the back. Women shrouded with their own beauty. Landscapes with backgrounds excised – cut out like cancerous noses. There are a garden’s people, flowers, stood tall and caught in the midst of Saint Vitus’ Dance. A woman has appeared at reception and locked the front door – I don’t know if I should be in here, if she knows I am.
A film is rolling against a wall, of a woman and her body under green water, overwhelming and dancing. This show floors me. This thing, Tess and Julia’s things, are a marvel and I have a volley of words in my ear, not mine, buzzing: While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue... I always thought I would end up in one of those boarding houses for single old men; I nearly moved into
FREAKS AND CHEEKS UK VARIETY PERFORMER MAT FRASER HAS TEAMED UP WITH US STRIPTEASE SENSATION JULIE ATLAS MUZ FOR A SHOW LIKE NO OTHER. HE EXPLAINS THE INEXPLICABLE TO ALEKSIA BARRON. Mat Fraser talks a mile a minute, which isn’t surprising for a guy with so much on his plate. After all, anyone described as a “performer/ broadcaster/stand-up comedian/ film and TV actor/punk/martial artist/disabled rights campaigner” understandably has quite a bit to say. At the moment, he’s keen to talk about The Freak And The Showgirl, a cabaret variety show that he’s put together with US neo-burlesque artist Julie Atlas Muz. Having worked together over the years, Fraser explains that The Freak And The Showgirl came about when they were contemplating a very different project. “We were actually working on another piece, a reworking of Beauty And The Beast, which we’re going to be doing in 2012 now,” he says. “It’s quite an involved theatre piece, and we were saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to do a cabaret show, to let off all this steam?’” As a result, they came up with their current show, which Fraser describes as “mixing sideshow, burlesque, and comedy.” The Freak And The Showgirl found
immediate acclaim. “We first did it in Berlin, where it went really well as a concept.” They then took the production to the Amsterdam Fringe Festival, where Fraser was blown away by the eager reception. “The whole run at was sold out, which was extraordinary, because neither of us are used to that kind of interest. So far, it’s been brilliant.” Now The Freak And The Showgirl is in Australia, where Fraser is particularly excited about performing. He describes himself as a “freak”,
referring to the unusual appearance of his arms, which are particularly small due to his mother taking the drug Thalidomide in the ’60s. The nature of his performances with Muz, which venture into incredibly sexual territory, have gotten strong reactions from some audiences. “We have found that mixing disability and sexiness, and the celebration of the freakish, in that sense, disability [seems like] the new black, gay, or feminist. People are still shocked by much of what I do, but to me,
THEATRE REVIEW NO SHOW La Mama Theatre When life hands you lemons, make a gin and tonic. That seems to be what Richard Pettifer is doing. From an unhappy position where the original play with a cast of four he was creating/directing ‘fell over,’ Pettifer rummaged around in the debris to
create a new beastie, with fewer legs but one that definitely stands up. His one-man show called No Show could have been a self-indulgent wallow about creative differences and artistic misunderstandings but it isn’t. Pettifer has an authentic and infinitely gentle conversation, with the audience about how, as a director he doesn’t have a show, reminding
it’s completely normal – even though I know I’m kind of weird.” However, Fraser has always been impressed with Australian attitudes towards disability and diversity, and has high hopes for the upcoming tour. “We’re just really looking forward to playing Australia, because some of the places we’ve played, they’ve been a little more conservative, culturally. What we’re doing is pretty full on, so they’ve not really responded as crazily as we’d like. We’re hoping Australia will be a bit different.” So what exactly can people expect from the show? “Do you guys have the cartoon on TV, Family Guy?” asks Fraser. “Well, [the show] starts with a song, like the beginning of Family Guy – all showbiz, razzamatazz, tells you what you’re going to get.” What follows is a stand-up routine, and then a burlesque act from Muz. “Julie’s style is very skewered from what we call the ‘classic’ burlesque style. It’s much more New York postmodern post-political post-feminist kind of stuff, rather than just trying to look like a pin-up housewife from the 1940s.” Then, audiences can expect some vaudeville, sideshow, and a part where they “...rip the piss out of the local culture. That’s the bit that we have to change every time we do it.” If this sounds good, get ready, because it only gets better. “After that, we have a beer-drinking competition with the audience, and we end with a really quite rude song, which people say is really shocking, and the rudest thing they’ve ever seen.” Fraser pauses. “But I would contest that.” WHAT: The Freak And The Showgirl WHERE & WHEN: East Brunswick Club Wednesday 23 February
us that he isn’t an actor and that he’ll just ‘do some stuff’. He meanders through the process of developing and rehearsing a play with a group of actors, the play that didn’t happen. Pettifer has either a meticulous recollection for detail or an especial facility for recreating tiny moments ... whichever, the result has a singular quiet beauty and keeps your attention and curiosity throughout. No Show is a lovely little piece, and exquisitely self-revealing without that being the intention. In the program notes Pettifer says, once the show’s budget has been balanced, any profits will go to the flood appeal in Queensland. He doesn’t need to be altruistic to get audiences, though; his show is worth seeing in its own right. It is innocent, oddly funny and honest. Let’s hope he continues to write because Pettifer’s work is an example of the simple power of story telling. Season finished
WITH ANTHONY CAREW In the ’00s, no filmmaker made a more artful assault on traditional forms of cinematic structure and storytelling predictability as Apichatpong Weerasethakul. The Thai filmmaker isn’t an avant-gardist, or even some cinematic equivalent of an abstract impressionist; he is an auteur with a very fond, determined sense of narrative. It’s the way he presents those narratives than confounds convention: in Blissfully Yours, the opening credits appear 45 minutes in, and a story tumbling along with folksy leisure suddenly just stops, slowing to something so static it nears total stasis. Tropical Malady ruptures the narrative in half, so radically that you’re forced to question all that comes before, and all after, the divide; forced to wonder what, in this world, is more ‘real’: a simple tale of rural lovers, a bold critique of Thai military practice, or a folkloric tale of a shape-shifting tiger spirit? In Syndromes And A Century, Weerasethakul plays the same scenes, in two separate narratives, over again; such repetition making an assault on traditional narrative whilst artfully illuminating ideas on the cycles of the Earth/moon, and Buddhist beliefs in reincarnation. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives - Weerasethakul’s latest film, and first to ever screen locally outside of MIFF - takes this idea, both in the narrative, and the way the narrative works. The film’s title is literal: it’s based on an
encounter between the filmmaker and a rural monk, who claimed could kind see every prior incarnation of his existence. The picture began life as a short film of a documentary bent, made as part of a series of video-installation works chronicling the Isan region of the Thai NorthEast; from there, things have spun off into something else entirely: six long, slow reels of differing storytelling modes, each connected by a transmigratory path backwards. Tracking back into past life, into death, into myth, Weerasethakul makes a film like a meditation; floating away from linear story into a cloudy, starry spiritworld of ghosts, ghouls, and interspecies love. There’s little in Western storytelling tradition that can prepare local viewers for its odd narrative; for the way ghosts, for example, are a casual, natural part of rural life. But just because it’s, literally, foreign doesn’t mean it’s alienating: Uncle Boonmee may be confounding to watch, but it’s warm, nurturing, profoundly human, and achingly spiritual. Abbas Kiarostami has long been a fan of formalist, game-playing structures, and some of his more interesting works have come from the interaction and reconciliation between imposed form and raw drama. Certified Copy, pictured, his first largely-English-language feature, has the effect of a pretty straight-forward narrative work: Juliette Binoche and William Shimell walk around a village in Tuscany for an afternoon, talking, in close to real
time; leading to easy comparisons with Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset. But the film is, essentially, one long game. Like many masters, Kiarostami has long made films where what is out-of-frame - either audible and unseen, or nevermentioned but ever-present - is as, perhaps even more, important than what is directly happening. Here, the story is almost a theatre-piece, where the conversation is an ever-shifting battle-of-wills, and the undisclosed, unexplained, elusive ‘truth’ of the back-story provides the intrigue. Have these two met before? Are they strangers pretending to be a married couple? A married couple pretending to be strangers? Or, is their relationship something else entirely? It may seem a slight
proposition for someone who made Through The Olive Trees and Taste Of Cherry, but his cinematic style is very much alive in the obligatory scenes-within-an-automobile, and there are instances here where he puts the flat gaze of Shirin into practice: Binoche staring at the camera, the effect transcendent. It’s not one of Kiarostami’s major works, but Binoche is, as ever, a major drawcard. Rabbit Hole is one of those adult dramas about grieving tailor-made for both indiscriminate arthouse audiences and the even less discriminating awards-show voters. Starring the surgical horrors of Nicole Kidman’s pulled-taut visage, it looks at a haute bourgeois suburban couple whose son, eight months
dead, is an absence ever-present. From there, the narrative strands marriage difficulties, sibling rivalries, blame lessened, grief processed - have a feeling familiar: this is what ‘classy’ drama is made of. It’s no surprise that the film feels circumscribed: it’s the work of John Cameron Mitchell, who previously authored the self-satisfied Hedwig And The Angry Inch and the appalling Shortbus. After making two pictures ripe with youthful indiscretion and sexual liberation, here there’s a selfconscious air of being ‘grown up’, a transparent demand to be taken seriously. Forgive me if, in the face of such, I was something far less than impressed. The Red Chapel was the best documentary I saw in 2010; hell, it was close to the best film of any stripe. A regular-release in cinemas appeared not to be in its cards; and, well, I guess it’s not: The Red Chapel has a few select, near-clandestine, non-popcorn-stinking dates at local film happening Speakeasy over the coming week. In this pitch-perfect sustained farce, Mads Brügger with shades of his mentor, Lars von Trier, in The Five Obstructions - is the overseer of a documentary high on the monkeyshines. Leading a pair of Danish-Korean comedians - including one who self-identifies as a ‘spastic’ - on an ironic, troublemaking ‘cultural exchange’ in North Korea, Brügger uses others as pawns as he pushes ever further into the shadows of the lion’s den,
out for first-hand evidence to aid his conceptual critique of the fascist state. Yet, The Red Chapel goes beyond simple subterfuge, becoming one those rare documentaries whose every on-screen act gives rise to its themes: How far does one take a lie? Can you perform 24 hours a day? Can you suppress personal ideals for a greater crusade? These are the concerns of Brügger and troupe as they try to stay ‘on message’ around the omnipresent phalanx of bureaucrats escorting them, but, moreso, these questions are the daily dilemmas faced by Pyongyang’s citizenry; the pic’s pranksterism no match for that ultimate performanceart extreme: Kim Jong-il’s Korea. For all those who view nuclear paranoia as a remnant of Cold War kitsch, Countdown To Zero is on hand to introduce a sense of impending doom to your existence. The Inconvenient Truth-styled documentary by Lucy Walker (who made the awesome naughty-Amishkids doc The Devil’s Playground) catalogues the black-market for enriched Uranium in former Soviet Republics, the newfound nukethusiasm of Pakistan and North Korea, a comic list of bungles that’ve flirted with near accidentaldetonation (boing!), and, then, just for kicks, invites scientists to outline exactly what happens in an atomic blast. It’s not the most meaningful documentary, but as far as scaremongering tracts go, it’s plenty peruasive.
TRASH but often astute online movie pundit Devin Faraci suggested that Justin Bieber would be perfect casting as Logan in a remake. He might be onto something.) Anyway, Bryan Singer was tentatively attached as director as far back as the release of the first X-Men movie, but as of late it’s been shuttled between the likes of Tron: Legacy’s Joseph Kosinski and hot commercials helmer Carl Erik Rinsch as all involved have tried to strike a deal.
WITH GUY DAVIS Well, the crystal embedded in my palm has started blinking red, which means I only have a very limited time to tell you about a very highly-anticipated remake. And if you understood what the hell I meant by that, you’ll get that I’m talking about the latest in the very long line of false starts and name-drops that is the second screen version of Logan’s Run. Something of a ‘classic’ – and I can’t emphasis those quote marks enough – mostly due to its intriguing concept, partially its high levels of ’70s cheesiness and possibly its sizeable amount of Jenny Agutter nudity for a film rated PG at the time, there’s been talk of a remake for not just years but decades now, with seemingly any filmmaker showing any capacity for handling propulsive action with an underlying social component linked with the gig. For those not in the know, Logan’s Run is the story of a futuristic society where everything is perfect
C U LT U R A L
Refn is perhaps best known for his Tom Hardy prison drama Bronson and his bold, surreal medieval headtrip Valhalla Rising (coming soon from Madman, and starring Mads Mikkelsen as the baddest motherfucker of all time), but both he and Gosling seem keen to use their arthouse bona fides to crack the mainstream their way – they’ve already collaborated on a car-chase flick called Drive with an eclectic line-up of co-stars including Carey Mulligan, Christina Hendricks, and Bryan Cranston. I was already keen to check it out but as a potential trailer for what this duo might do with Logan’s Run it’s now become a must-see.
WITH REBECCA COOK There were no birth notices in haiku in the Herald Sun but on Tuesday night before a sold out crowd a new peak body for poetry was born. Weighing in at a massive 13 pounds – this new literary heavyweight is the pride joy of the NSW Poets Union and the Australian Poetry Centre. Thank god it wasn’t announced in the Herald Sun otherwise it would have been spelt ‘Oz-strahyljian Po-etree’ or some such way that is understood by bogans who believe it’s possible to interchange ‘i’s and ‘y’s and ‘c’s and ‘k’s without any phonetic due diligence. Luckily it was announced, or rather launched at the Wheeler Centre where they know it’s ‘i after e except after c’ and therefore it was christened ‘Australian Poetry’. The new body will promote and support Australian poets and poetry locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. It will be based at the Wheeler Centre, while keeping an office in Sydney and a presence in all other states and
and everyone provided for but the citizenship has an enforced lifespan of 30. Once you reach that age, you’ve got two options: try for a second shot at life in a ritual called Carrousel, which tends to end in a fiery demise for all concerned, or go on the run, in which case you’re targeted by a lethal, ruthless ‘Sandman’ like our hero Logan. When the powers that be learn of an underground railroad helping old fogies elude the authorities, Logan’s few remaining years are wiped off the board and he’s forced to become a runner himself to lead his former allies to the resistance. Now, maybe it’s just me, but that sounds like a cool premise for a thriller. (Damn shame the 1976 version botches the bejesus out of it.) And with what seems to be an increasing focus in society on extending adolescence and worshipping youth – excuse me while I yell at some kids to get off my lawn – it’s got some potentially resonant underpinnings. (Grouchy
But some big steps were taken recently, with producer Joel Silver (Die Hard, Predator, the Matrix movies, and general awesomeness) declaring that Ryan Gosling was attached as the lead and Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn was aboard as director. Given their indie cred, it’s a fairly unexpected move and one that indicates that this new Logan’s Run might stand out from the crowd.
territories. Unlike a newborn, who is only really concerned with pleasing itself, the organisation has set itself some tough goals for the next three years including ‘uniting Australian poets and the Australian poetry community by creating opportunities for inclusiveness, involvement and collaboration’. Cringe can just picture it now; the first task for Australian Poetry admin staff is to organise an outback brat camp style love-in with all the different poetry factions. In one corner there’d be the limerick writers dressed in their gang colours greasing off the epic types who everyone knows are always looking for trouble, then there’d be the romantic poets trying it on with everyone meanwhile the poor camp staff would be running around in vain attempting to round up the free versers who simply won’t listen to any form of instruction. Oh to be a fly on the wall when they play that game where you have to blindly fall backwards into an unknown colleague’s embrace! As if this wasn’t enough, the new organisation is also aiming to “have a significant impact in achieving a high level of excellence in the art form” and “create a significant presence for Australian poets and poetry internationally”. At least they’ve started as they intend to go on with their sold out launch event Thousands of sails featuring award winning Aboriginal poet Yvette Holt, German poet Dagmar Leupold, Emeritus Professor Chris WallaceCrabbe and distinguished and prolific writer Ouyang Yu. The title of the event is a phrase from a poem translated by Yu, which alludes to the colour and contradiction inherent in Australian poetry – the new organisation aims to bring together
and embrace those many voices, languages and places as one. How very poetic! In brief, this year’s Comedy Fest is gearing up to be the biggest ever and several well-known names are already confirming their presence. Last year’s Barry Award winners, Sammy J and Randy are lining up for a second tilt at the big prize with Bin Night while Arj Barker (does he ever leave Australia?) returns with a new show Eleven – well it’s better than 10 surely.
MY BLOODY VALENTINE
UNDER THE TUSCAN SPELL OPERA SINGER WILLIAM SHIMELL MAKES HIS FEATURE FILM DEBUT OPPOSITE JULIETTE BINOCHE IN ABBAS KIAROSTAMI’S LATEST, CERTIFIED COPY; THE BRIT TAKES SELFDEPRECATION TO A NEW LEVEL WITH IAN BARR. “If you were thinking of somebody to be in a film, an opera singer would probably be at the bottom of your list. Acting in opera is not the best preparation for film work, really.” That’s British opera singer William Shimell, taking a self-depreciating view of his screen debut in Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy, opposite arthouse goddess Juliette Binoche. He goes further: “Can you imagine, this poor woman, who has worked with the greatest actors and the greatest directors in the world, working with someone who doesn’t know anything.” Despite his lack of formal experience, Shimell was unphased about his participation in the project, and collaborating with Kiarostami. “You have to go back a few years, 2008 I think it was. I was in the South of France doing Così fan tutte and Abbas Kiarostami had been asked to direct the opera. We got on very well, and it was only the second day and
he asked me, ‘Have you ever been in a film?’. I didn’t know what he had in mind, but I said ‘Yeah’.” Binoche won the top prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival for her characteristically electric performance, but contrary to what his modest attitude suggests, Shimell more than holds his own as her male counterpart, a British author arriving in Tuscany to give a presentation on the value of artistic frauds; the ‘certified copies’ of the film’s title. There, he meets Binoche, playing antique dealer, and the two discuss the subject of his lecture, before testing the universality of some of those concepts in increasingly fascinating ways. Throughout the film, constantly asked to call in question the reality of the relationship we’re witnessing blossom. The nature of Shimell’s character – a man playacting a character assigned to him by Binoche – was something of an entry point for the non-professional performer into his character. “In the very first scene, I’m giving a lecture. So in a way, I was presenting myself. And he’s playing the role assigned to him by Juliette Binoche.” He credits much of the success of
his performance to both Binoche and Kiarostami, the latter perhaps the most reknowned of Iranian filmmakers, and a legendarily astute director of non-professional actors. “I didn’t know anything,” Shimmel says. “In a way, it was better than knowing a bit. One of the reasons I accepted was that I knew [Kiarostami] was used to working with non-professional actors, so he wasn’t going to be phased by my complete incompetence. He would’ve had to find ways around it.” On Binoche, he effuses: “She was so kind, and she was so helpful, and she really worked hard to give me the opportunity to work to the best of my abilities. I’m not saying it was any good, but it was the best I could do.” Rest assured, Shimell’s beating up on himself is largely flippant, and has even spoken to his director about future film collaborations. “There are possibilities. I keep going on to Abbas about making another one, but I’m not sure if that’ll happen, he’s a very busy man. There are other possibilities, but I don’t want to jinx them.” WHAT: Certified Copy WHERE & WHEN: Screening in cinemas from 17 February
COMEDY REVIEW ARAFAT IN THERAPY Not only is Jeremie Bracka, a nice Jewish boy from Caulfield, a skilled mimic with an acute evil
ear for detail, nuance, dialogue, and accent, he also boasts an outrageous, campy talent for inhabiting the physicality of his characters. The play consists of a series of sketches ranging from
CREATION RECORDS STORY TO SCREEN AT MIFF The first film screening at the 2011 Melbourne International Film Festival has been revealed – unintentionally, thanks to the film’s website, not the festival itself. Upside Down, a documentary telling the story of Creation Records, one of the most important record labels of the 1980s and 1990s, will make its (at this stage) Australian debut at the festival in July. Creation Records was the baby of Alan McGee, who brought forth to the world shoegaze through bands such as My Bloody Valentine, pictured, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Ride and Slowdive, before exploding into Britpop with Oasis. Other acts associated with Creation include Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, Teenage Fanclub and The Boo Radleys. For those who can’t wait the extra two months, according to NME the film will be released on DVD in the UK in May. Further info about the film can be found at upsidedownthemovie.com.
DAWN CONSPIRACY FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY This year, International Women’s Day turns 100. In the lead up to the significant milestone (which takes place on Tuesday 8 March), a three-event series called The Dawn Conspiracy will explore Australian feminist culture, bringing together performers, writers, poets, musicians, comedians, and thinkers. The first event, the monthly pop culture digest known as Cherchez La Femme: Feminism And The Brand, will feature Monica Dux, Chrissei Feagins, Alicia Sometimes, and host Karen Pickering, will explore how the feminist brand was trashed and how it’s being rehabilitated. Cherchez La Femme will be held at Fox Hotel Thursday 3 March. Next, The Dawn Conspiracy Variety Night will celebrate feminist thought through host Clem Bastow and guests Helen Razer (journalist, radio presenter), Linda Beatty (The UnChanted Princess), Susan Carland (Salam Café), musician Emilie Zoey Baker, and more. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to WIRE and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. The Variety Night will be held at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, Victoria Room Friday 4. Finally, HERoes at Grace Darling Hotel on Saturday 5, a panel of women will present their female heroes and explore the issues around heroism and the feminine. This will be paralleled by an exhibition of video art celebrating female heroes through music and performance. For more information visit thedawnconspiracy.tumblr.com.
Bracka’s international travels and life in Israel including studies in Arabic and work with the UN. Arafat In Therapy is clever, funny, light in tone and packed with one-liners. Here is his mother teaching him the alphabet: “‘A’ is for Auschwitz. ‘B’ is for Büchenwald. ‘C’ is for a country to call our own’. “Don’t mention Interflora,” says socialite without borders, Doreen Kugelmanne. The play is culturallyspecific; be aware you might not get some of the jokes if you’re not ‘a Jewsh’ (as one of the Arabic personalities puts it). Bracka, a comic genius is in the same league as Chris Lilley, Sean Micallef and John Safran, has a wide variety of experiences to draw on and characters to portray against the backdrop of the most highly contentious international issue there is. His characters are pragmatic and philosophical (“we have a saying in Hebrew: it is better to be clever than right”). The tragedies of the conflict are encapsulated with immense poignancy at the end of the show when one character asks another “How can you shake the hand of a man who killed your son?” “I have another son,” replies his companion. “And I don’t want to lose him.” Season finished
LIFE OF A MADMAN AFTER TWO SELL-OUT SEASONS IN SYDNEY, RED STITCH ARE TAKING ON THE CHALLENGE OF RUBEN GUTHRIE. DANIEL FREDERIKSEN SPOKE WITH ALEKSIA BARRON ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF PLAYING A HARD-DRINKING, HARD-LIVING AD MAN.
once again in the director’s chair, which, according to Frederiksen, has been quite a draw. “Brendan’s a bit of an old mate, so it was good to work together again. And the role is pretty bloody good.” Frederiksen explains that Ruben Guthrie centres around a successful advertising executive whose drinking is causing concern amongst his family. “It’s about a guy who’s quite successful in his job, but is having some issues with drinking too much, taking too many drugs. He gets dragged along to an AA meeting by his fiancée and his mother.” Once there, he’s forced to confront the possibility of his success resting on substance abuse. “The play begins with him trying to figure out what level of a problem he has. Through that journey, he’s trying to discover who he is.” According to Frederiksen, the beauty of Ruben Guthrie lies in its examination of self-awareness versus outside perceptions. “It’s about identity; how we define ourselves. We often become how other people see us and how other people treat us,” he says.
Brendan Cowell’s play Ruben Guthrie sounds, from its description, rather a lot like one of the more acclaimed television shows of our time. According to the press release, “Ruben is a precocious player at the top of the high stakes advertising industry with an innate wit and charm fuelled by endless parties and high octane benders. But does his talent lie exclusively at the bottom of a bottle?”
However, according to Daniel Frederiksen, who is playing the titular role in Red Stitch Theatre’s new production, Guthrie is a very different beast to now-iconic ad man Don Draper. “It’s quite different,” he insists. “What I love about Brendan’s writing is that he writes Australian stuff.” Ruben Guthrie, according to Frederiksen, is far removed from the smoky, stylised world of Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men, and instead looks
at the relationship between success and the bottle in a far more visceral way. Fellow actor and emerging playwright Brendan Cowell is the pen behind Ruben Guthrie, and directed the play throughout two sell-out seasons in Sydney for Company B. Now, Red Stitch is taking on the script, with Frederiksen stepping into the shoes vacated by Toby Schmitz. Cowell is
The issue of substance abuse, particularly in the lives of people considered successful, is a layered and complex issue, and it’s Cowell’s writing that saves it from becoming preachy. Frederiksen genuinely admires the script: “What I love about Brendan’s writing is that it only really seems to work when it’s performed in a naturalistic way; however, what you’re doing and what you’re saying isn’t necessarily naturalism. In doing that, what you get is the use of metaphor and parable to
demonstrate this quite intense, large stuff in an accessible way.” He pauses. “I can’t speak more highly of his writing. I’m jealous of him, the cunt.” Of course, Frederiksen’s resume isn’t without its own list of considerable achievements. A member of Red Stitch since 2002, his credits with the company include the touring production of The Shape of Things, The Day Room, and Lobby Hero. He made his way into many an Australian living room (and heart) as Leo Flynn in Stingers, and recently appeared in the Australian festival gem Summer Coda. However, right now, his principal focus is on Ruben Guthrie. There’s always an inherent challenge in creating a new production of a previously successful play, although according to Frederiksen, Cowell has been a little cagey about what’s changed. “Brendan was obviously involved in both productions, and he’s not telling us too much, because that’s not too helpful when you’re in the process.” However, audiences can expect a more intimate production. “One of the key things, though, is that at Red Stitch, we have a small theatre. We’re able to produce work in a small space for a small audience, so they’re really able to feel in a much more direct, in-your-face way the story that we’re going to tell. That’s one of the things that excited Brendan about working here.” Immersing himself in Guthrie’s world, of course, has not been without its challenges. “You do, as an actor, even by default, kind of wind up living, to a certain extent, what your character
lives,” Frederiksen says, sounding a little tired at the conclusion of the play’s run-through. “There’s been a lot of drinking on this set.” It’s an aspect of the play that’s provided him with a fair bit of food for thought. After all, the relationship between Australian masculinity and drinking is a constant source of national examination – and alarm. “It’s very Australian. What is universal, but even more profound in Australia, is males’ inability to interact with each other emotionally, and how alcohol can be a real lubricant for that. There’s a lot of father-son stuff in the play, which is fuelled through alcohol.” Despite the fact that Ruben Guthrie tends to deliver a lot of laughs, according to Frederiksen, the central issue is “complex stuff. To think that you’re going to nail it all in an hour and a half, and wrap it up, is a bit delusional.” However, he hopes that the play might help people think a bit more closely about their habits involving drugs and alcohol, and where those habits could lead. “It would be nice if, at the end of it, they can’t help but be slightly selfreflective about their own lives and those of their loved ones. Most of us know people with substance abuse issues on some level or another, and most of us try and put it in a pretty simple box, like, ‘Just don’t fucking drink.’ It is often much more complex than that. Someone gets sober, and someone else doesn’t. There’s not often a very clear definition of what those reasons are.” WHAT: Ruben Guthrie WHERE & WHEN: Red Stitch Actors Theatre until 2 March
WAYS AND MEANINGS With a habit of seeking out the “leftovers” at record markets, PAUL DE JONG is furthering THE BOOKS’ position as the music world’s eccentric archive diggers, DOUG WALLEN discovers.
ere’s a challenge: name one other band thing like The Books. That is to say, consists of a cellist/curator and guitarist/ vocalist, recontextualises found music and words, and then plays and sings over it. Even like-minded artists like the Glasgow duo Vernon & Burns are obscure to the point of being kept secret. The Books, on the other hand, are celebrated worldwide. Since 1999, Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong have made striking collage compositions that dwell between the accessible and esoteric. And they’ve been away too long: last year’s The Way Out was their first proper album in half a decade. “It takes a good while to make a new album, and this album was a real big step,” notes de Jong, the aforementioned cellist/curator. “We had worked together for five or six really intense years, and you hit a wall together where you don’t want to do the same thing. You want to transcend it all in a meaningful way. You have to
sort of use force with yourself, but it shouldn’t sound forced.” Luckily, it doesn’t. Like the pair’s 2002 debut Thought For Food and breakthrough The Lemon Of Pink, it flows as naturally as a babbling brook. It feels less like a static puzzle than a lively continuum, with ideas and influences crossing at every turn. And making considerable progress from the arguably glitch-folk or avant-classical leanings of early albums, The Way Out is more rhythm-based, flirting with the influence of funk, hip hop and forms of electronic music. There are also more “song-based” moments, like We Bought The Flood, where Zammuto sings for such a sustained period that we nearly forget we’re listening to a Books record. That said, the collage approach remains. “I think that’s 50%, at least, of what we’re doing,” de Jong admits. “Finding all these old sources that are almost the detritus of our society and finding the stuff in there that we really feel is worth preserving because it has a universal value. Then make it into a universal voice, or our voice, and representing it back to the audience. That’s how a lot of people relate to what we do. We try to avoid the egocentric side of artistry.” In other words, the two men tend to disappear into their work. It’s certainly neither member that’s ever in the forefront for long: it’s the source material, and its newly transformed DNA, that reigns supreme. In that sense, The Books – especially de Jong – are almost as much archivists as musicians. “Yeah, it kind of comes with the job,” he states. “I just love collecting this stuff: imagery, moving image and sound clips. If you get to a point where your collection goes beyond what your memory reasonably can contain at any time, you’ve just got to get a system together.” Still, he makes clear, “I’m an artist in the first place, so I won’t call myself an archivist. But as an artist, I have to maintain a good archive of my stuff. Every artist needs to define what it means for them to be an artist, and this is my job.” There’s a transporting quality to what The Books do, making The Way Out quite aptly named. Beyond that, the duo juxtapose not just different sounds but mediums and genres. There’s a psychedelic transcendence at work in the closing Group Autogenics II, which ends with the phrase “You’re becoming the world and everything in it,” while The Story Of Hip Hop is something DJ Shadow might have once come up with. Like many Books compositions, it features bizarre spoken-word portions and blurs the seams of its creation so that the final product is utterly new and whole. It also defies categorisation, and other tracks recall everything from ambient to trip hop. So an obvious question: how the hell do they find these sources? “My father was a doctor,” shares de Jong, “so I got records with like heartbeats on them, or instructional records or quizzes. I was drawn to that spoken word stuff over music. I started going to markets and thrift stores. I’ll ask, ‘Where are your leftovers? Where’s your spoken word and instructional stuff?’ By now I’ve got a huge, huge collection of basically the stuff that nobody else seems to be want.” Laughing, he adds, “I’m happy with it. You’ve got to have quite an appetite to go through all that stuff, but I do.” On a practical level, de Jong first digitises everything he collects before properly listening to it. Then he begins the process of selecting resonant fragments from which to build a Books track with Zammuto. Picture a living, breathing library of inspiration. While the duo do eventually hone a track to the point where it’s finished, their first album was never mastered until it came time to prepare for upcoming reissues of the first three albums by US label Temporary Residence, Ltd. (The band’s signed to Spunk here.) In the recent mastering process, Zammuto changed some aspects of Thought For Food, which once earned a 9.0 from Pitchfork. “We [originally] just burnt it to a CD,” reveals de Jong, “and if it held up over our car stereo, it was okay.” De Jong developed his approach in the late ’90s, when he began haunting the VHS collection available for loan from the Performing Arts Library of the New York Public Library. He was already gigging as a cellist, writing music and teaching, but still he found time to obsess over videos, recording the most interesting parts to MiniDisc. Soon he had stacks of archived MiniDiscs. Given the obscurity of most of these sources, The Books have never run into legal troubles due to sampling. They’ve obtained permission a few times for slightly betterknown things, but usually it doesn’t come up. “We’re not interested in using someone else’s intellectual property,” says de Jong. “We’ve got plenty of our own intellect. We’ll just move on to the next idea.” Another obvious question: how does all of this work in a live setting? “That’s a completely different story,” he begins. “We can’t reproduce what comes out in the studio. It’s impossible. That’s why it took us five years to develop a live show: we needed to reorchestrate and rethink our songs in a pretty radical way. We are not the greatest virtuoso performers, and it’s not the kind of music that calls for that. So we saw it as an opportunity to bring in our interests in the visual arts and moving image.” Thus the video screen at Books gigs, its images painstakingly synced to the music being played live. Like beholding film clips spontaneously in the making, it was worth the years it took to perfect. As for the half-decade gap between the last two albums, de Jong calls it a break he and Zammuto needed to start their families. They both married and had children, and now each has a studio in comfortable proximity to his home. “It shows in our music that we’ve settled down,” he beams. “It took us a few years to create that life for ourselves, and to get grounded. It has done us both incredibly good.”
WHO: The Books WHEN & WHERE: Sunday and Monday, Thornbury Theatre
ELBOW GREASE JOHN BRAMWELL explains to PAUL SMITH how time and the Elbow connection have finally brought notice to I AM KLOOT.
espite being together for more than ten years, it was only in 2010 that the UK media really took much notice of Manchester’s I Am Kloot. It may have been the fact that their fifth studio album, Sky At Night, received a prestigious Mercury Music Prize nomination (eventually losing out to The XX), or the fact that very much in-favour Elbow members Guy Garvey and Craig Potter assisted on production duties, or it may have just been the fact that is was a beautifully arranged album of poetic imagery that suddenly made everyone sit up and take notice. Most likely it was a combination. The band’s frontman, John Bramwell, admits that even he isn’t too sure exactly why it happened. “It’s difficult to know because it actually charted before the Mercury nomination. It went in at number 18 and we’d never even got in the top 50 before,” he laughs. “It was getting very good reviews and I think for the first time we were really played on radio. We released this on our own label with our new manager and we started working with different people and I think the vibe of the LP is just more easily digestible than anything we’ve done before.” As a result of the band’s newfound success, increasing numbers of fans have been turning up to see them play live, although Bramwell remains self-effacing about the fact. “Well from my perspective it never really felt like that because basically wherever I was going there was an audience, so I always felt busy and I always felt, well, it’s alive and it’s happening, you know,” he says. “It’s difficult for me – I’m somehow weirdly not the person to ask about it because a gig is a gig to me. Also I’m pretty short-sighted – I can’t even see the fuckers!”
that Bramwell felt would work for the best. “We wanted people to feel that it was an album, not just a collection of songs,” he reasons. “And we’re pretty sure that if they get to hear stuff for free they will go and buy it, or they’ll come to the gig. I think the internet is a way of hearing it, but saying, ‘Now go out and get the real item.’ You want to know what you’re getting. So we didn’t really have any problems with that and I think it’s borne out.” So much so that the band are about to even play their first ever dates in Australia as the rest of the world wakes up to Manchester’s best kept secret.
WHO: I Am Kloot WHAT: Sky At Night (EMI) WHEN & WHERE: Thursday, East Brunswick Club
After discussing the matter further, Bramwell does acknowledge that the most likely factor in their change of fortunes is down to the way that they recorded the album and the contribution that the Elbow duo made to that process. They were hardly strangers to each other beforehand – Bramwell reckons the Elbow lads have been to more I Am Kloot gigs than anyone else. Guy Garvey also produced the band’s debut album and as Bramwell puts it, “It’s not so much why did we go back to working with him, it’s more like why didn’t we carry on working with him? We wanted to carry on recording with Guy from the first album really.” It was all a matter of logistics, as he continues: “We were going to do our third album together but their release dates and our release dates were always such that whenever we were wanting to record they were doing their touring and then whenever they were free to record us, we were doing our touring. So it’s taken about four years for that to kind of kick back into sync. They were winding down from their last LP just as we wanted to start this one, so it clicked beautifully.”
I’m somehow weirdly not the person to ask about it… a gig is a gig to me. Also I’m pretty short-sighted – I can’t even see the fuckers!”
Despite the prolonged gap between production duties, the extra experience that Garvey and Potter had gained during that time was invaluable according to Bramwell. “I think in that intervening period he and us and Craig especially have learned an awful lot about recording and so we were able to pull together quite a lot of good ideas about how we’d like to record. We essentially like to do things all together in the same room, at the same time and Craig especially – just by using rooms and reverb that’s in the room and a lot of different microphones for the one take – was able to get extra clarity and freshness.” With the occasional other commitment sometimes getting in the way, it was an enforced longer recording period than the band were used to, with just three or four days a month available. Bramwell though reckons that actually turned out to be a good thing. “In those gaps I came up with a lot of extra melodies for these songs which we then used and I found other instruments to play them,” he recalls. “The feeling is about the night and it’s a very reflective record and I think that was because I was around in Manchester for a year, whereas for the last ten years or so I’ve been roaming around a lot with gigs and everything. It’s the first time we stood still for any length of time back home, so in many ways it’s a more cohesive record than ever before.” Certainly the theme of the night is rampant throughout, but it’s something well-suited to Bramwell’s uncanny knack of creating songs full of atmosphere. That’s an ability that has also developed over time, as he explains. “We don’t do songs usually unless they work with me on my own with guitar and then they have to work with us as a three-piece. And also the way I play guitar, the melody and the lyric remain very strong and a key thing has always been finding space for that. We’ve been playing together 11 years since we first started rehearsing and I think it’s become very instinctive now. When I have a song we come to the right decisions about it quite quickly and that frees me up as far as writing lyrics goes, because I know that I can take it somewhere and we’ll still be able to deal with it. I think when we started I wasn’t quite as adventurous sometimes with the arrangements, because I wasn’t convinced that we’d be able to play it.” Once the album was finished, the band adopted a try-before-youbuy philosophy by streaming it free online in its entirety rather than just offering a couple of songs. It was a way of using the internet
THE VIBE IS HIGH Septuagenarian jazz man ROY AYERS may be cynical about business and politics but he still loves the music, as PAUL RANSOM recently discovered. hip hop and Latin are very strong right now. After all my years in the business and always having a label to do stuff this is something I have to get used to,” he adds. “I have to do everything myself now.” Suffice to say, Roy Ayers is doing just that – releasing records on his own label and playing the shows he chooses. Indeed, on the night we speak he takes time out to plug his latest single Everybody’s Groovin’ and his upcoming album For Sentimental Reasons. “The industry has changed considerably,” he says, reflecting on the passing decades. “Musicians have to be prepared for the change otherwise it can be very discouraging. I always tell people that they just have to do it themselves, they can’t expect record companies to do it for them anymore. And remember, when you do it for yourself, you make it work for yourself.” With a deep sigh he goes on, “The really disappointing thing is that folks like Sony have made so much equipment for people to record stuff themselves that they have done themselves out of business. Y’know, a new U2 record comes out and I can go down to the street and buy it on the black market for just five dollars.”
t’s the night after the mid-term elections in the US and 70-year-old Roy Ayers has just returned from another sell-out week in New York, and the legendary vibraphonist and all-round jazz guru is in verbose form. Ayers, who returns to Australia this month for a series of shows with Kool & The Gang, is a man rooted in the rich soil of West Coast jazz, funk and disco. Having played with the likes of Curtis Amy, Chico Hamilton, Herbie Mann, Fela Kuti and even Masters At Work, he has seen and heard it all. Known to be cynical about the industry, Ayers is still avowedly passionate about the sound. “More so than anything else, it’s my love of music and my desire to perform,” he says by way of answering the obvious ‘what keeps you going’ question. “I’ve always had that desire, that energy, that love, ever since I can remember. I don’t
even try to make it happen, it just happens naturally.”
MP3 and label laments aside, Roy Ayers is quick to say that live music is still where it’s at. “The best thing for both the musician and the person that really enjoys the music is to go and see the musician live. That’s really the wonder of it. I still love it.”
And it’s been happening naturally since his South Central childhood days, where his trombone player dad and family friend Lionel Hampton converged to steep young Ayers in the groove. Over 50 years in the biz Ayers has released a veritable truckload of records, with standouts being his oft-sampled, much name-dropped 1972 hit Move To Groove and 1976’s Everybody Loves The Sunshine. Today, Ayers is probably best known as one of the godfathers of acid jazz and hip hop.
In an era overfed with choice and blink-rate trends, American jazz, according to Ayers, is thriving. “People are still enthusiastic, the music is still strong and the music is still groovy,” he reports. “There’s still a great vibe between the musicians and the listeners. I just played a week of sold-out shows in New York; we played two shows a night and the vibe was hot. I even sold a few records there.”
From the loungeroom of his LA home Ayers not only exudes a veteran disquiet about all the fuss but a much burned lack of love for industry machinations. “I’m very disappointed in the record companies because they have just about dropped everybody,” he starts. “The only people on record labels now are people like Alicia Keys and big stars like Elton John, and of course
However, even at 70, Ayers is committed to progress. There’s no trading on nostalgia for this vibesman. (Well, not much anyway.) In something of a veiled warning he declares, “Jazz musicians have to become even more innovative and creative. I believe they have to incorporate different sounds into the music. I also think that scatting should be more employed in jazz, and even in hip hop.”
For himself he simply adds, “Oh me, I’ve been trying to create something called hip hop jazz; it’s more creative and technical and has more intricate melodies.” It would not surprise anyone to learn that a man like Roy Ayers is always looking to learn new tricks. Furthermore, he is fortunate to have such a wealth of knowledge behind him. When tempted to roll call the big names he’s played with as sources of inspiration he opts instead for less obvious shout-outs. “There was a saxophonist by the name of George Braithwaite,” he recalls. “He’s about 65 now and he was on Blue Note Records years ago and he was very innovative. He thinks futuristically and reminds me of Roland Kirk because he’s plays two saxophones at the same time. I also learned a lot from Wayne Henderson. He was trombonist with the Jazz Crusaders but he was technically brilliant at recording and mixing. I thought I was good but he was excellent.” All this talk of cool jazz and music industry myopia inevitably leads to a conversation about politics, especially as the bulldust of the populist Tea Party stampede is still fresh in the evening-after air. You can hear Ayers exhaling long as he prepares his response. “I just hope they get together to make things happen, y’know. It was all messed up before the election because Bush spent all the money and nobody wants to recognise that. I think that’s being totally dumb,” he groans. “When I was working with Fela Kuti in Nigeria I remember he said to me, ‘Everything is politics. The food you eat, the road you walk, everything’,” he continues. “I just wish politicians would engage more with people’s lives. I mean, people can’t work, man. We just want all Americans to be able to work and have a happy life, and if everybody’s workin’ that means more money is circulating. To me it’s just common, basic sense.” Looking back over a lifetime in music, Ayers is well aware of his own tremendous good fortune. More than simply doing something that he loves he has been able to do something that other people love too. “That’s the real beauty of it,” he glows. “When you do something you love and other people love it too and you’re all enjoying it with great passion – man, it’s wonderful.” It’s what you might call good vibes. WHO: Roy Ayers WHEN & WHERE: Tonight (Wednesday), Espy; Thursday, Palais
TÊT-À-TÊTE It’s all about family and fans when KIERAN HEBDEN, AKA FOUR TET, puts down the baby and gets on the phone with SEVANA OHANDJANIAN. really think about it in those kind of terms, like peaks of career,” he admits. “I think it just feels nice to have been putting out records for so long and people to still be interested in things. But the nicest thing is the sense of freedom, the sense that things have built up to the point now where I can make any kind of music I want and people would give it a listen – they’ve got some respect for what I’m doing and that feels very nice and flattering. “It feels good to see people I know reference the music a lot… that definitely feels very, very nice, to be considered some sort of pioneer in any way or anything like that. You couldn’t hope for more than to put forward ideas and people see those as important ideas.” Four Tet fans will understand the intricacy in Hebden’s ideas; endless layers of samples, beats, sound and noise experimentation culminate in seamlessly constructed pieces of music. One has to wonder from where the inspiration appears. “Sometimes I’m making a track because I can really imagine it in my mind and I’m trying to realise it, sometimes it can be messing around with a couple of sounds or something that forms into a little small idea and I sort of build on that,” explains Hebden. “Sometimes it’s a trick of my imagination that I think, ‘Oh, that’s really good’ or, ‘I can take that further’.” Hebden works from home, meaning inspiration struck there can instantly be realised with his simple set up of PC and digital software. It is a factor that he attributes as having an obvious and important impact on why his music is what it is. “Music just sort of ties in with my everyday life. I like that I can get up and brush my teeth then work on the music for a little bit, have some lunch and see a friend and then work on the music for a little bit,” he muses. “It just becomes part of my life; always happening around everything else.
npress is talking to Kieran Hebden (also known as Four Tet) from London and it’s a little difficult to understand what he’s saying over the sounds of a baby that seems to be very close to the phone. A couple of minutes into the conversation (during which we’ve been politely ignoring the assorted gurgles and cries) Hebden interjects; “Sorry, I’ve got a baby strapped to me here. She’s just getting a little bit grumpy.” The phone is put down, there’s shuffling and then he’s back, sans toddler. “I have a little eight-month-old daughter
and she just got up and is totally confused that I’ve been talking on the phone all morning,” he explains. It seems last year was a game-changer for Hebden both personally and professionally, especially considering his record There Is Love In You lifted him into the upper echelons of electronic music, with his and Dan Snaith’s (Caribou/Manitoba) names upon all lips. Ask Hebden if he thinks his career has hit a new peak and he’s humble to say the least. “I’ve put out so many records now, I don’t
“I think that way the music becomes a lot more tangled up with me and what’s actually happening with me, rather than it being, I go to the studio for very focused kind of work bursts all of the time. I think for me it’s a different thing.” Not that Hebden slacks off – between touring his live show and DJing, along with his prolific work with electronic artists like Burial, it’s unsurprising that he decided to take the pressure off when creating 2010’s There Is Love In You. “I’m quite a workaholic in lots of
ways. I’m always at it without having to think; I just naturally want to do stuff all the time,” he says. “One of the things with the last album was I didn’t want to have any kind of deadlines or goals or anything set, so that I could just naturally keep working on it until I had a feeling that it was done and right and ready. “I didn’t even play anything to any record company or anything ‘til it was totally, utterly finished. I don’t think I even told many people I was working on it, just to get away from any pressure like that.” Of course the record has seen him become a popular gentleman on the live circuit, having been performing steadily throughout last year in both DJ and live guises. Hebden draws a clear line between the two: “The DJ thing, you play longer and more relaxed, a little more spontaneous and it varies depending on the environment,” he says. “Whereas the live stuff I do is all my own music and I usually only play for an hour or so – it’s much more intense and a bit more experimental. I’ll spend a lot of time taking elements of my music and trying to deconstruct them and make something new all on the spot. I think maybe half the crowd is there because they want to have a party and there’ll be half the crowd there who wants to hear my new music or ideas.” So as a critically acclaimed and much loved electronic artist who straddles both sides of DJ and live performer with finesse, what could possibly irk Hebden before going on stage? “I get very nervous if my family are there. They are the one exception,” he laughs. “I do shows in London and all my aunts and uncles and cousins and my parents turn out in force and then, for some reason, I’m terrified. It puts this weird kind of pressure when you know all the people in the audience.” But if not anyone else, surely you needn’t worry about the people who’ll definitely applaud at the end? “Oh yeah, it’s ridiculous. Of all the people there, they more than anybody are going to tell you how brilliant they think it is at the end of the show,” he concurs. “For some reason it’s more nerve-wracking! Even though you’re going to get this incredibly biased praise at the end of it. “They see me do everything; you just want them to think it’s cool.”
WHO: Four Tet WHEN & WHERE: Tonight (Wednesday), Hi-Fi
UNDERGROUND SOUNDS STREAKS OF MOTOWN BURIED HORSES, formerly The Swindlers, pushed themselves to the limit recording their debut album, singer MARK BERRY tells SAMSON MCDOUGALL.
THE LIKE’s frontwoman ELIZABETH ‘Z’ BERG takes DOUG WALLEN on a musical trip back through time.
will) things to behold. The songs have this playfulness about them even though the thematic content is dense and stormy. “I’m influenced by a lot of different things,” continues Berry, “especially painting and books. A lot of the songs end up being about death and can be a bit morbid, but it’s just the nature of it. We’re all influenced by writers like Cormac McCarthy, so in a lot of ways we’re writing soundtracks for books and such. Subconsciously we definitely follow a few themes though we never really discuss it that much.”
hen I got my filthy little hands on an EP release by local band The Swindlers in 2009, I had no idea what had hit me. The thing performed acrobatics in my brain; it dived, flipped and contorted through its five short songs and left me in a kind of awe of appreciation. Then they up and disappeared. It turns out they hadn’t vanished as I’d thought, but pulled the old switcheroo with the name thing and left this listener in the dark, none the wiser as to the why and where of their existence. Despite my ignorance (or perhaps in spite of my stupidity) the same outfit, now called Buried Horses, have been subsisting with their ripper live shows around town for the interim and are now set to release their debut album at the Tote this month. It begged the question: why, at the peril of disconnecting with a swelling support base, would you go through with a name change at all? “In our minds our sound matured as we became better with our instruments and the sound just changed,” hirsute vocalist Mark Berry explains. “The name didn’t suit any more so we tried to come up with something that described what our sound was about. The influence of country gets thrown around with regards to our music quite a bit, but even though I listen to it the boys don’t actually listen to that much country at all. When you think horses, you think country but this is more about a powerful and majestic animal being underground and coming out – that’s the imagery we were looking for.”
These common motifs – barren landscapes, the disconnection of life and relationships – allow narrative to run through their work in such a way that I wondered whether a concept album could be on the horizon? It turns out their songwriting is far more conventional than I’d imagined. “I can definitely see the next incarnation being maybe not as aggressive and a bit more spatial,” continues Berry. “It’s just our musicianship progressing. The guitar part always comes first, usually already very developed, then drums and bass over the top. They record a rough demo and give me a feel for the song, then I write the lyrics. We changed a lot of things when we got in the studio – we could tell that certain things just wouldn’t work.” With the album out this week (complete with beautiful artwork by landscape artist Anthony Day), Berry remains reticent about the recording experience, explaining it was at times gruelling with local producer Loki Lockwood pushing them hard. “It was our first time in a professional studio, Atlantis Sound,” Berry continues. “We had to practice and get the songs ready, but it still doesn’t prepare you for the recording process. It was a challenge for a lot of us, a real experience. Loki was really passionate about the album; he had a fair idea of where he wanted to go with it also. We didn’t want too many overdubs, we didn’t want too many layers, we wanted it raw. Essentially we are a live band; we wanted that to come through. It was amazing really. He pushed me, pushed me to the limit.”
WHO: Buried Horses WHAT: Tempest (Spooky) WHEN & WHERE: Saturday, Tote
The Buried Horses live act, at least The Swindlers shows I remember, are wild, bucking (unbridled if you
all to tape, with one microphone on the drums and the great vintage gear. And also the very complex back-up harmonies.”
he last time The Like came to Australia, they were supporting The Strokes. The tour was also a pit stop between tour dates in Asia, and frontwoman Elizabeth ‘Z’ Berg was waylaid in Korea by passport issues, making it to Sydney just in time for a full day of press. “It was complete madness,” she recalls. But that didn’t colour the band’s experience: “That was one of the most fun trips of all time,” she confirms. “Sydney and Berlin are the only two cities where I thought, ‘Oh shit, I could move here.’” Returning seven months later as headliners, The Like are still touring last year’s Release Me. Recorded with Mark Ronson, Phantom Planet leader Alex Greenwald and members of The Dap-Kings, that second album saw the all-female band realise the Motown-inspired girl-group sound they’d always idolised. Coming nearly a decade after The Like’s formation as mere teenagers, it was a sweet experience indeed. “It was like being thrown in a room with the most musical and inspiring people you’ve ever met,” beams Berg, who co-founded the band with drummer Tennessee Thomas and bassist Charlotte Froom. No stranger to musical people, all three have fathers in the biz: producer Tony Berg, Elvis Costello’s long-running drummer Pete Thomas, and producer Mitchell Froom, respectively. Following a trio of EPs, Froom departed after the 2005 full-length Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?. These days The Like are completed by bassist Laena Geronimo and keyboardist Annie Monroe. In other words, they’re a girl group. “Any tag can be limiting,” notes Berg, “but we love girl groups and Motown. We made [Release Me] exactly the way they made records in Motown: everything live,
So Floating Me have been floating around, as an idea mainly, for quite some time, and as Borich says, it’s really only been in the past two years that it’s become a viable project, even though Cog were still functioning at that time, as were (and are) Karnivool. Now that Cog are done, however, Borich has launched himself into this band with everything he’s got, and as a result, they’ve released (late last year) a single (Sugar), and are a hair’s breadth from releasing their debut LP. It’s been a long time coming, but Floating Me are just about there.
“Well, I’d known Andrew [Gillespie] the singer, Toby [Messiter] the keyboard player and Antony [Brown] on guitar from Scarymother for a long, long time,” he tells on how this group, rounded out with Karnivool bassist Jon Stockman, came together. “When I moved to the US to start Cog, to get the idea for that, I actually went over there to meet Andrew, he was living in LA… so we started hanging out and trading musical ideas, formulating an idea to put something together. But he just wasn’t quite ready yet to venture into anything as full-on as I was, so I moved back to Australia and obviously went on and pursued Cog. “But he came back not long after and hooked up with the Scarymother guys again and started writing some music and called me and asked if I wanted to come and play some drums on it,” Borich continues. “So it was quite a
The band have been on tour since the album was finished, writing all the time. Yet the girls have made time for a cameo on 90210 last October and working up a few choice cover songs. Having once appropriated Split Enz’s One Step Ahead, The Like finish Release Me with a hidden-track take on the Isley Brothers classic Why When Love Is Gone. As they’ve also been doing The Rolling Stones’ Let’s Spend The Night Together on the road, no one’s going to accuse them of not knowing their history. But being young females with parents in the industry, The Like arguably had the odds stacked against them when supporting the likes of Muse, Arctic Monkeys and Kings Of Leon. “Well, I think there’s always something to prove,” argues Berg, “if you’re trying to make people like your music.” That said, she adds, “But definitely the thing I hear the most after a show is: ‘I really thought you guys were going to be terrible, but you were great’.” WHO: The Like WHAT: Release Me (Universal) WHEN & WHERE: Saturday, Northcote Social Club
THE WOOHOO REVUE are as influenced by big-band swing as they are Balkan gypsy music, writes BOB BAKER FISH.
slow process – it took a long time to get nine or ten songs or whatever, so that was the backbone of all the music. So whenever I had some time off from Cog, I’d check in with them and we’d do some recording. So it’s been quite an organic, slow process. Especially in the last two years… and I rang Jon and asked if he wanted to have a listen to this stuff, and fortunately for us, he said yes.”
The first Like album was a bit more grounded in alt.rock than the starry-eyed pop heard on the second. “It’s very different,” muses Berg. “It’s still my songs and comes from the same people fundamentally, but I think [the first] was a lot less focused. I mean, I wrote those songs when I was 15 and we recorded right out of high school. I’m proud of both, but I’m happy with this one so much because I feel like it’s the record I’ve always wanted to make.”
THE SWING SET
FLOATING ME are a new, long-in-the-works group with a fine hard rock pedigree, writes SAMUEL J FELL.
ook out you kids, there’s a brand new band on the scene, one taking the best parts from some of the country’s most successful heavy acts. Floating Me is the sum of these parts, the parts being Cog, Karnivool and Scarymother, a trio of bands who’ve had a huge impact on the way Australian hard rock/metal has been viewed by the rest of the world over the past 15 years. This amalgamation was something almost destined to happen, but as ex-Cog skinsman Lucius Borich tells, it’s not something that’s come together overnight.
The Like certainly don’t shy from influences of old, between Ronson’s vintage drum sound on tracks like Fair Game and the black-and-white, ‘60s-style film clip for He’s Not A Boy. As a whole, Release Me is crafted to be utterly timeless. Call it a throwback if you must, but it’s a spirited and detail-obsessed rendering of one of the most celebrated eras in music history. And yes, you can dance to it. “It’s a very beautiful aesthetic,” agrees Berg. “It’s also just fun.”
“The record was mastered just two days ago and the artwork is being finalised now,” Borich tells on exactly how close this long-time-coming record is to being released. “I guess you could say the record button was pressed quite a few years ago, but really, in the past two years, it’s been pressed a lot more.” Borich then goes off on a tangent about time being, essentially, meaningless – if no one had clocks, would time really exist? Perhaps not, and time isn’t really a factor, because the vision these five have had is finally becoming a reality. In fact, at time of writing, Floating Me had just played their fourth ever show, so even though this has been building for a while, it’s still very much in its infancy. As far as influences go, given the members of the band are from some fairly popular acts, you’d think there’d be a lot of Cog in there, a splash of Karnivool and a hefty amount of Scarymother, but that’s not really the case – Floating Me are very much their own thing, and even though time will tell as to whether they’re received with the same open arms, right now it’s as real as it’ll ever be, which for Borich in particular, is a fine thing.
WHO: Floating Me WHEN & WHERE: Friday, Corner Hotel; Saturday, Ferntree Gully Hotel
he Woohoo Revue make breathless Balkan gypsy music with frenzied strings, stomping bass and searing horns. It’s high-energy party music that has seen them touring relentlessly since their inception nearly three years ago. It’s music inspired by the likes of Romanian brass superstars Fanfare Ciocarlia and the colourful Taraf De Haidouks, yet infused with elements of swing-era jazz, gypsy jazz and vaudevillian cheekiness, and it all comes from the exotic locale of Melbourne, Australia. “It began through playing Irish folk music, and discovering different accompaniments to it. I started getting into Klezmer and Balkan gypsy music and was like, ‘Oh yeah, I want a bit more of that’,” offers guitarist Dannie McKenzie, laughing heartily to himself. It was through this folk music that he ultimately joined the Counterfeit Gypsies and, in his words, “had a ball,” and when that band ultimately came to an end half of them took off and started The Woohoo Revue. While the previous group featured violin, flute, bass drum and guitar, McKenzie was very keen on getting hold of some of that iconic Balkan brass sound, a sound that has since become a signature of The Woohoo Revue. They released their debut album in 2008, capturing the joyous frenzy and hysteria at the heart of gypsy music. It’s a bold and heartfelt album, with stirring melodies and rump-shaking stomps. Musically it’s complex without losing its feel, but most of all it swings, not just in a Balkan way, but also surprisingly draws upon aspects of big band swing from jazz in the ‘30s. “Our original drummer was nuts about swing, Max Roach and the like, he very much brought that,” offers McKenzie. “He’s off in the States now studying at Berkeley following his ambition to be a mofo drummer.”
The combination of these two elements work seamlessly within the music of The Woohoo Revue, despite originally being separated not only by continents but also by time. McKenzie doesn’t see much to differentiate. All he hears is the swing. “Well, a lot of the Balkan gypsy stuff… The feel they get over there, I don’t know how to write it down – I don’t even know how to explain it. The only way you can learn it is the way they’ve learnt, which is to have it around you since birth. And a lot of that lends itself quite nicely to the way they swung in early jazz. It’s all just evolved from the way we played, and all our influences. It’s been very organic with what we’ve been into.” When he began with Counterfeit Gypsies, the world music scene in Melbourne was quite sparse, though in recent years there’s been something of an explosion. Particularly within gypsy music, with the likes of Bizerka, Vardos, Zafara, Rapskallion, The Barons Of Tang, Unified Gecko and even VulgarGrad all carrying the torch. “Maybe its a natural evolution,” ponders McKenzie. “In the ‘80s they were playing in Latin bands eight days a week. Melbourne was apparently Latin central, particularly Brunswick Street. It was the accepted form of dance music. “It’s been amazing to see how this has flourished so much, and audiences, particularly in Melbourne, are really passionate about it, perhaps because they’ve had more access to it. But it just seems to be happening now for some reason,” he continues. “I saw Taraf De Haidouks a few years ago, Fanfare Ciocarlia played in the Melbourne Festival a couple of years back, Gogol Bordello toured recently. I think people hear this great music and just go, ‘Wow.’” McKenzie is honoured to be playing WOMADelaide, Australia’s premier world music festival nestled in Adelaide’s botanical gardens. In fact he’s previously made the pilgrimage as a fan. “[I saw] Toumani Diabate’s Symmetric Orchestra, Billy Cobham, Taraf De Haidouks and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, all in one day. It was just ridiculous.” WHO: The Woohoo Revue WHAT: WOMADelaide Warm-up Party WHEN & WHERE: Thursday, Order Of Melbourne
HOME SWEET HOME
MIXING THINGS UP
In an effort to save money while away touring, CHAZ BUNDICK – AKA TORO Y MOI – bit the bullet and moved back in with his folks, writes TOM HAWKING.
TRICKY’s live show is a good old-fashioned visuals-free concert, the enigmatic singer tells BENNY DOYLE.
in my life, really, I actually got to experience missing people. So I really opened up [on the new album] – I touched subjects that I didn’t think I would. I don’t sing that much about my brother or my parents, their viewpoints and stuff. So it was fun to do that.”
his album literally brought me back home,” says Chaz Bundick, better known as Toro Y Moi, of his new record Underneath The Pine. “I had to move back home to save money while I was on tour – I can’t afford to pay rent somewhere and not live there. So now,” he chuckles ruefully, “I’m back at my parents’ house, chilling. It’s okay; I think every single artist has done it at some point.” Bundick has been on tour pretty much constantly since releasing his debut album Causers Of This early last year, catalysing much debate about the legitimacy of (and actual existence of) the chillwave genre and riding the Pitchfork seal of endorsement to several prominent support slots as well as several headline tours of his own. It’s little wonder, then, that sitting in a downtown New York café with his girlfriend, sipping a much-needed coffee, he looks just a wee bit frazzled. “I started touring this record with Caribou in March and April,” he explains. “That was a full US tour, a fiveweek thing. Then Europe. That’s pretty much all we’ve done all year, just back and forth [between the US and Europe]. I’ve been around the US two or three times and then Europe twice.” He sighs. “Has it been intense? It’s been really intense. And now we’re going to Australia.” Bundick’s lyrics have always been unabashedly autobiographical. As such, family and the geographical removal from those you hold dear are both strong lyrical themes on Underneath The Pine: “I think if anything,” Bundick says, “[the new songs] are more personal. After touring, being away from family for the first time
Released in September last year, the album Mixed Race was another fresh twist in an already refreshingly challenging career. As up-tempo as he has ever sounded, the ten tracks wash through the speakers free of the grit and darkness that have been the staple of his prior releases. Tricky agrees that, yes, these vibes translate on to the stage but the transition is not that simple.
Last year there was talk that Underneath The Pine was to be released simultaneously with another new album. As it turns out, such ambitious plans have had to be put on hold: “When I told the label [Washington-based indie du jour Carpark Records] I was interested in doing that, they were like, ‘Okay!’ But I was saying that in a naïve manner. I didn’t know I’d have to tour them and all that. So when they said yes, I was like, ‘Awesome!’ Before I got signed, that’s how I’d work – I’d do an electronic album while doing an acoustic album and release them at the same time. But I had to record [the new album] pretty much between tours, so they’re a year apart now. It’s all good.” In any case, Underneath The Pine seems to span the two styles to some extent, moving away from the purely electronic flavours of Causers Of This to a more old-fashioned approach. “Definitely the approach and the songwriting,” Bundick agrees. “It’s not sample-based or electronic-based – I did live drums and bass and stuff. That’s a good way to start afresh. I don’t know if I felt like writing two electronic albums in a row. I don’t think I could ever do just electronic music or just acoustic music. I’d get bored. Also, when I wrote Causers Of This, I didn’t have the intention of playing it live in front of people, [whereas] I had that in mind for the second album.” Despite Bundick’s roots in bedroom laptop noodlery, the Toro Y Moi live show – which, as Bundick mentioned above, is coming to Australia for the first time this month – involves a full band. “I made the transition to a full band as soon as I could,” he says. “Causers Of This wasn’t exactly made for a full band or anything like that, so when we play live, we play more songs from the new album, because it’s more intriguing live. We’re trying to learn it as fast as possible.” WHO: Toro Y Moi WHAT: Underneath The Pine (Mistletone) WHEN & WHERE: Thursday, Toff In Town; Friday, Workers Club
“It’s really weird. Now after touring for so long, for so many years, I write with the stage on my mind, even when I’m in the studio. So sometimes I think this is going to be a great live song; like Murder Weapon, I thought that was going to be a stonker live and that was kinda written for the live show but it just doesn’t work. And then things like Every Day, when you think that’s never going to work – that goes down really well. So it doesn’t always go the way you think it’ll go.”
espite a well-publicised, tumultuous relationship with the press, Tricky offers an affable style of storytelling as he discusses the ideals behind his present live incarnation and why it’s just so. “When I left Massive Attack, we did an American tour and a European tour over a month and it was all turntables and I’d find it really difficult – I’d find it really hard. Then when I left them, the new management said, ‘Are you going to perform?’ I said I didn’t want to go out with turntables. So she goes, ‘Take a band.’ And I didn’t really have a clue; I didn’t understand how a band could play my album. So she put a band together for me and ever since I’ve had a live band on stage. It’s a very old-fashioned live concert – I don’t have any TV stuff or visuals. It’s just an old fashioned rock show to be honest with you, it’s like the crowd and the band. It’s that vibe and it’s quite a lot of energy. I don’t know if people realise but it’s a lot of energy and very old fashioned performing. It gets quite tense sometimes, y’know.”
Considering how well Murder Weapon has been received and knowing that many fans would be itching to hear the track, Tricky explained just exactly what the issue is with the song in a live setting. “We’ve tried it and tried it and tried it and it just doesn’t work so really I have to change it, but just change it for the live show. I haven’t had time to rehearse it but we’ve tried it live y’know, we’ve been doing it for months and it’s just very difficult to get across. The crowd’s still feeling it funnily enough, but on stage there’s just no vibe at all.” There is definitely still a vibe with regards to the overall musical vision of Tricky. Even at 43 years of age, the father of one assures that, still, “there’s so much to do”. “Doing the same thing kind of bores me,” Tricky admits. “I get bored within a month of touring, y’know? When I come to Australia now, we’ve had enough time off that I can be enthusiastic about the gigs. But sometimes when you’re four, five weeks into the show you’re sick of the songs, you’re sick of it and you just don’t want to do the songs. So it’s like recording – if I am going to do the same thing then it’s just not worth it.”
WHO: Tricky WHAT: Mixed Race (Domino/EMI) WHEN & WHERE: Tonight (Wednesdsay), Forum
ISSUE 1161 - WEDNESDAY 16 FEBRUARY, 2011
Lamb Thursday Prince Bandroom
I AM KLOOT: February 17 East Brunswick Club MAYER HAWTHORNE & THE COUNTY: February 18 Hi-Fi SWERVEDRIVER: February 17 Espy; 19 Corner Hotel TUNNG: February 22 East Brunswick Club KARAVAN! GYPSY MUSIC FESTIVAL: February 26 Corner Hotel
AXXONN: February 27 Yah Yah’s
CARIBOU, FOUR TET: February 16 Hi-Fi (7.30pm early show; midnight late show) FOSTER THE PEOPLE: February 16, 17 Northcote Social Club BBQ: February 17 Nash (Geelong); 19 Yah Yah’s LAMB: February 17 Prince Bandroom I AM KLOOT: February 17 East Brunswick Club KOOL & THE GANG, ROY AYERS: February 17 Palace MAYER HAWTHORNE & THE COUNTY: February 18 Hi-Fi TORO Y MOI: February 17 Toff In Town; 18 Workers Club KATE NASH: February 18 Billboard SURF CITY: February 18 Northcote Social Club; 19 National Hotel (Geelong) SHIHAD: February 18 Corner THE LIKE: February 19 Northcote Social Club SWERVEDRIVER: February 17 Espy; 19 Corner THE BOOKS: February 20, 21 Thornbury Theatre BLACK MOUNTAIN: February 21 Corner TUNNG: February 22 East Brunswick Club MICHAEL BUBLÉ: February 22 Rod Laver Arena
THE HOLD STEADY: March 11 Hi-Fi THE CLEAN: March 11 Corner Hotel WAVVES: March 14 Corner Hotel
GIG OF THE WEEK SWERVEDRIVER THURSDAY, ESPY
he last time Swervedriver toured Australia, in November 1998 as guests of Powderfinger, the band played their final show for a decade. The Oxford group split following the troubled gestation of their fourth album, 99th Dream (they had signed a multi-album deal with Geffen but were dropped before releasing anything). Swervedriver were one of the best groups of the ‘90s, fusing elements of shoegaze, grunge and alterna.rock (the band always hated their ‘shoegaze’ tag), typified on singles such as Duel and Never Lose That Feeling. Bad timing was largely responsible for Swervedriver not becoming much bigger – along with the ill-fated Geffen deal, the band were signed to Creation in the UK, home of Oasis, the focus of most of the label’s resources, and their sound was at odds with the prevailing chart dominance of Britpop. Swervedriver also play a sold-out show at the Corner Hotel on Saturday.
Warpaint pic by Lou Lou Nutt
BALL PARK MUSIC, EAGLE & THE WORM, WE SAY BAMBOULEE: March 19 Northcote Social Club THE HOLIDAYS: April 9 East Brunswick Club CHILDREN COLLIDE: April 22 Prince Bandroom; 23 Ferntree Gully Hotel DISTURBED, TRIVIUM, AS I LAY DYING: April 24 Rod Laver Arena HOUSE OF PAIN: April 29 Prince Bandroom KYUSS LIVES: May 8 Billboard
Yeasayer’s Ira Wold Tuton doesn’t seem to have a problem and quickly weevils his way into the crowd, which is what’s required in order to find a pocket of air with any kind of view of the stage. Luckily, seeing the women of Warpaint isn’t of much consequence besides the whispered swooning over their hotness from women and men alike. From the beginning of their debut album’s mellow post-punk chant Bees through to the snaking, echoed melodies of Majesty, it’s far more about their instrumental and vocal interplay than visual spectacle, their bodies more inclined towards slowgrooving on the spot than any kind of ‘theatrics’. (Even attempts at speaking to the audience are hampered by microphone reverb, and lead singer Emily Kokal looks slightly confused when she doesn’t get much of a response from the floor.)
POND: February 16 East Brunswick Club THE GETAWAY PLAN: February 19 Hi-Fi (3pm all ages show; 8pm +18 show) TIM ROGERS: February 17 Caravan Music Club (Oakleigh) STONEFIELD: February 17 Tote SHIHAD, FLOATING ME: February 18 Corner; 19 Ferntree Gully Hotel THE GETAWAY PLAN, TONIGHT ALIVE, SECRETS IN SCALE: February 19 Hi-Fi LITTLE JOHN: February 20 Old Bar; 21 Espy
MICHAEL BUBLÉ: February 23, 25 Rod Laver Arena IRON MAIDEN: February 23 Hisense Arena GABBY YOUNG: February 24 Toff In Town AMANDA PALMER: February 26 Forum Theatre CALVIN HARRIS: February 26 Prince Bandroom NEW FOUND GLORY, LESS THAN JAKE: February 28 Billboard SAXON, THE SWORD: February 28 Espy ANBERLIN: March 1 Billboard PENNYWISE, MILLENCOLIN: March 1 Palace PLANET ASIA, COPYWRITE: March 1 Corner ONE DAY AS A LION: March 1 Prince Bandroom BRING ME THE HORIZON: March 2 Hi-Fi SUM 41, THE BLACKOUT, THERE FOR TOMORROW, VEARA: March 2 Billboard GANG OF FOUR: March 2 Corner THIS TOWN NEEDS GUNS: March 2 Toff In Town SOCIAL DISTORTION: March 2 Palace HIGH ON FIRE, TRASH TALK, KYLESA, PROTEST THE HERO: March 2 Espy
THOUSAND NEEDLES IN RED: March 17 Bended Elbow (Geelong); 18 Espy; 19 Ferntree Gully Hotel; 23 Karova Lounge (Ballarat)
LIVE: REVIEWS WARPAINT
NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB
ot long after the Laneway Festival line-up was revealed, promoter Danny Rogers predicted that, by the time the tour rolled around, Australia would have fallen hard for Los Angeles siren foursome Warpaint. Going by the scramble for media passes for tonight’s sold-out show alone – the first of two what-do-I-have-to-do-to-get-tickets gigs – he was right. And, ten minutes before they’re due to go onstage at the midweek time of 9.40pm, the usual doorlist to-and-fro is still in action for a couple at the front of the line – “Are you sure you were meant to be on the list for tonight? For tonight?”
What they produce, however, is surprising and stunning. Jenny Lee Lindberg’s bass playing is steeped in funk and often danceable; Stella Mozgawa’s drumming finds intricate jazz patterns and fills before she trades places with Theresa Wayman on guitar and keys, and Kokal’s vocals are even more denim than on record; flat and hardy and cool. Overall, it gives their songs a lasting weight and reveals their prime source of sound to be the ‘modern rock’ of mid-‘90s college radio over the ‘indie psych’ they’re often lumped with. Like ‘90s soundtrackers The Innocence Mission, theirs is washed-out guitar rock drawn from Joni Mitchell folk. It’s op-shop seductive. If there’s a down moment, it comes with their ‘radio hit’ and melodically simplest song, Undertow, which is played as if it’s been beaten a little too much of late. If it’s the song they needed to write in order to create an entrance to their sonic wandering, though, it’s a worthy detour, especially when the bodyconsuming, group-shouted intro to Composure kicks in, the lyrics to which no one in the world seems to know and aren’t reprinted anywhere findable. Are they yelling, “The click-clack” or, “I can’t talk” ? It’s just another part of the group’s enchanting mystery. Adam Curley
Surf City Friday Northcote Social Club; Saturday National Hotel (Geelong)
THIRD EYE BLIND, THE ROCKET SUMMER: March 2 East Brunswick Club QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, CALLING ALL CARS: March 3 Palace Theatre MXPX ALL-STARS, THE ATARIS: March 3 East Brunswick Club ROB ZOMBIE, MURDERDOLLS, MONSTER MAGNET, DOMMIN: March 3 Festival Hall PRIMUS, MELVINS: March 3 Palais DEVILDRIVER, ILL NINO, ALL THAT REMAINS, NONPOINT: March 3 Billboard ROXY MUSIC, MONDO ROCK: March 3 Rod Laver Arena WE THE KINGS, NEVER SHOUT NEVER, THE MAINE: March 3 Billboard THE BRONX, FUCKED UP: March 3 Corner MAYDAY PARADE, BREATHE CAROLINA, EVERY AVENUE: March 3 Hi-Fi TERROR, H2O, POLAR BEAR CLUB: March 3 Espy SILVERSTEIN, BLESS THE FALL, SEE STARS: March 3 Prince Bandroom MXPX ALL-STARS, THE ATARIS: March 3 East Brunswick Club ANN VRIEND: March 3 Toff In Town; March 12 Wesley Anne (Northcote) DONAVON FRANKENREITER: March 3 Torquay Hotel; March 4 Prince Of Wales NORMAN JAY: March 4 Billboard LES FRERES: March 4 BMW Edge at Federation Square SONNY & THE SUNSETS: March 5 Tote NEIL DIAMOND: March 5, 11, 12 Rod Laver Arena WILDBIRDS & PEACEDRUMS: March 6 Spiegeltent BEST COAST: March 6 East Brunswick Club RIHANNA, CALVIN HARRIS, FAR EAST MOVEMENT: March 7, 8 Rod Laver Arena THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS, ART VS SCIENCE: March 9 Rod Laver Arena KE$HA: March 9 Festival Hall JANE BADLER: March 10 Famous Spiegeltent DOA: March 10 East Brunswick Club PULLED APART BY HORSES: March 11 Tote THE HOLD STEADY: March 11 Hi-Fi IMELDA MAY: March 11 Prince Bandroom OS MUTANTES, BEST COAST: March 11 Forum THE CLEAN: March 11 Corner DEAD PREZ: March 11 Espy BELLE & SEBASTIAN: March 12 Forum BJ THOMAS: March 12 Palms At Crown HAWKWIND: March 12 Billboard THE BESNARD LAKES: March 12 Corner HAWKWIND: March 12 Billboard JAMIE LIDDELL: March 12 East Brunswick Club GERRY & THE PACEMAKERS: March 13 Frankston Arts Centre; 26 Palms at Crown WAVVES: March 14 Corner HORACE ANDY: March 15 Prince Bandroom JOANNA NEWSOM: March 15 Melbourne Recital Centre AFRO CELT SOUND SYSTEM: March 16 Hi-Fi THE TREWS: March 17 National Hotel (Geelong); 18-20 Cherry Bar JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE: March 18 Forum LEFTFIELD: March 18 Palace THE DOOBIE BROTHERS: March 18 Palais CHRIS ISAAK: March 19 Mornington Racecourse USHER: March 19, 20, 31, April 1, 2 Rod Laver Arena JOE PUG: March 20 Toff In Town WEIRD AL YANKOVIC: March 23 Palais EDDIE VEDDER: March 24, 25 Palais FINNTROLL: March 25 Billboard MOTORHEAD: March 26 Festival Hall PAUL COLLINS: March 26 Tote UNWRITTEN LAW: March 27 Billboard LIONEL RICHIE, GUY SEBASTIAN: March 29, 30 Rod Laver Arena BB KING: April 1 Hisense Arena URIAH HEEP: April 2 Palais LUKA BLOOM: April 5 National Theatre
DEAD KENNEDYS: April 6 Billboard THE SCRIPT: April 6 Festival Hall CYNDI LAUPER: April 8, 9 Palais CHERRY POPPIN’ DADDIES: April 9 Corner JIMMY EAT WORLD: April 11 Palace BARRY MANILOW: April 11 Rod Laver Arena GOOD CHARLOTTE, BOYS LIKE GIRLS, SHORT STACK: April 13 Rod Laver Arena GRACE JONES: April 14 Palais BRUNO MARS: April 16 Festival Hall ZZ TOP: April 18 Festival Hall MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD: April 19 Palace RODRIGO Y GABRIELA: April 19 Palais IRMA THOMAS: April 20 Corner BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA, AARON NEVILLE, MAVIS STAPLES: April 20 Palais Theatre FELICE BROTHERS, CAITLIN ROSE: April 21 Prince Bandroom Hotel ELVIS COSTELLO: April 21 Palais TONY JOE WHITE: April 21 Caravan Music Club (Oakleigh); 22 Boogie Festival; May 12 Thornbury Theatre; 13 Meeniyan Town Hall DEREK TRUCKS & SUSAN TEDESCHI, ROBERT RANDOLPH AND HIS FAMILY BAND: April 22 Palace Theatre
LITTLE JOHN: February 20, 27 Old Bar; 21, 28 Espy TIM ROGERS: 24, 25 Famous Spiegel Garden STONEFIELD: February 24 Tote HUGO RACE: February 24 Northcote Social Club GYROSCOPE, FANGS: February 24 Ferntree Gully Hotel; 25 Pier Live, Frankston OLD MAN RIVER, PASSENGER, DANIEL LEE KENDALL: February 25 East Brunswick Club SCREAMFEEDER: February 25 Tote ALPINE: February 25 Corner Hotel LOVE OF DIAGRAMS: February 25 Northcote Social Club BONJAH: March 26 Northcote Social Cub GOLD FIELDS, BLEEDING KNEES CLUB: February 26 East Brunswick Club DAN PARSONS, STEVE GRADY: March 3 Jack Ryan’s Irish Pub (Sale); 4 Kay St (Traralgon); 11 Barwon Club (Geelong); 12 Baby Black Cafe (Bacchus Marsh); 13 Great Ocean Hotel (Apollo Bay) ALTIYAN CHILDS: March 4,5 Palms At Crown WAGONS: March 4 Corner ANDY BULL, OWL EYES: March 4 Pure Pop Records; 5 Toff In Town EVIL EDDIE: March 4 East Brunswick Club 78 SAAB: March 5 Northcote Social Club LAURA: March 5 East Brunswick Club CATHERINE TRAICOS: March 5 Empress; 6 Pure Pop JORDIE LANE: March 10 Famous Spiegeltent MY FRIEND THE CHOCOLATE CAKE: March 3 Famous Spiegeltent; 10 Caravan Music Club (Oakleigh) JORDIE LANE: March 10 The Famous Speigeltent TRIAL KENNEDY: March 12 Northcote Social Club OZI BATLA: March 12 Workers Club DIESEL: March 13 East Brunswick Club THE WAIFS: March 16, 17 Forum THOUSAND NEEDLES IN RED: March 17 Bended Elbow (Geelong); 18 Gershwin Room; 19 Ferntree Gully Hotel; 23 Karova Lounge (Ballarat) ILLY, M-PHAZES: March 18 Corner BALL PARK MUSIC, EAGLE & THE WORM, WE SAY BAMBOULEE: March 19 Northcote Social Club HOUSE VS HURRICANE: March 19, 20 Corner
KARAVAN! INTERNATIONAL GYPSY MUSIC FESTIVAL: February 26 Corner SOUNDWAVE: March 4 Melbourne Showgrounds GOLDEN PLAINS: March 12-14 Meredith PUSH OVER: March 13 Abbotsford Convent FUTURE MUSIC FESTIVAL: March 13 Flemington Racecourse APOLLO BAY MUSIC FESTIVAL: April 8-10 Apollo Bay SOUNDS LOUD: April 9 Queens Park (Moonee Ponds) SUPAFEST: April 17 Melbourne Showgrounds GROOVIN’ THE MOO: April 30, Bendigo Showground
Lupe Fiasco pic by Heidi Takla
to captivate and engage the audience from start to finish. Through the usage of witty anecdotes and comical observation (notably about which guitar has its tongue sticking out at her – it’s her favourite and demands to be played), Arnalds’ effortless energy ensures that the evening is void of dull moments. After her second encore sees her sing a traditional Icelandic folk song completely a cappella, even without a microphone, the audience is left content yet yearning for more as we say good evening to one of the Icelandic’s first exceptional performances in Australia. Jeremy Williams
LUPE FIASCO PALACE After being turned away at the door for wearing flip-flops, we hasten through Chinatown in search of some cheap pumps but, just when an exy pair of Uggs seems to be the only option, it’s Big W to the rescue: fugly, single-use sandshoes for a low $7.97! Making it back to the venue just in time to catch Lupe Fiasco’s opening track Shining Down, it’s immediately worth the effort. Fiasco has so much energy. He’s like a thoroughbred pedigree racehorse that has just burst through the stalls as he directs a lot of his rapping at the wings, bolting across the entire width of the stage. His axe-heavy live rock band, plus wheels of steel, offer a heavy rumble that is welcome compared to the usual DJ-only hip hop backing. A hulking security guard loiters downstage right for added street cred. Fiasco works a version of NERD (No one Ever Really Dies)’s Everybody Nose into the setlist and both acts share lame backronyms, with Fiasco telling us his forthcoming LASERS set stands for “Love Always Shines, Everytime Remember 2 Smile”. The t-shirts for sale at the merch stand tonight read “LOSERS” with the anarchy symbol scrawled over the ‘O’. Whatever you say, Lupe! I Gotcha is melodic and packs some mean rhymes – “Turn that eau de Lupe to Pepé Le Pew spray” – and that’s how Fiasco rolls. He directs the crowd’s arms like a ground-based air traffic controller during Kick Push and the rapper has plenty “swagger in his style”. Scream, a taste of LASERS, is a string-based jam with an epic guitar outro and is enough to make us take heed of Fiasco’s constant, album release date spruiking – “March 4”. Fiasco lobs his sweat-drenched shirt up to the balcony prior to leaving the stage and it seems to be caught by the fanboi he was aiming for. There are too many hits yet to be sung so we just know Fiasco’s off for a few rounds of push-ups in the bandroom. Then he’s back for the winning, well thought out closing trifecta: the victorious The Show Goes On (off LASERS – “March 4”); the seductive Paris, Tokyo and the floating Daydreamin’ with the venomous verses. And then Fiasco’s personal security guard is on hand to whips a fresh, white towel around his charge’s strapping, sweat-soaked shoulders – like a matador – at the conclusion of the show. The only criticism of tonight would be the pre-programmed sung vocals: If you’re sharing the stage with a five-piece band (plus one bodyguard), why not go one louder and add a live vocalist to the payroll? And, yes, we spied a chick in the house clad in flip-flops. Curses. Bryget Chrisfield
HELLO SATELLITES, AINSLIE WILLS, PARKING LOT EXPERIMENTS NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB Though at first they seem an unusual choice to open for a couple of female-fronted folk ensembles, Parking Lot Experiments soon prove that they can take any situation and make it their own. With a manic buzzing energy, the four-piece come across as Ween dressed like the cast of Freaks And Geeks reprogramming a Commodore 64. Seemingly incapable of playing a false note or contriving anything at all, PLE kindly suggest that any reviewers tonight use the phrase ‘PLAYFUL amateurishness’ though I’d also add ‘infectiously gleeful’ and ‘eminently danceable’, with their song Superchug providing the best evidence for all of the above comments. Bringing the mood straight to one of introversion is Ainslie Wills with her stark Liquid Paper – one of the most arresting opening songs in eons. Soon bringing on the band and taking that attention we’ve given her to strange and beautiful places, Wills shows that, for a singer/songwriter, she uses music in the most imaginative ways. Swathes of cymbals, Rhodes piano, cooing harmonies and delayed guitar spread wide, contrasting powerfully with her arresting and remarkable voice. Satellite shines and Half Present glows gloriously as the band pull out their best Grizzly Bear-style chops (hacked jazz chords with heavy reverb, stuttering bass and choppy loose drums) to great effect. Hello Satellites arrive as the audience numbers peak, nearly filling the venue. It’s their last show of a national tour and despite this, singer Eva Popov seems to take until the third-last song to relax. Illuminated by projections of out of focus constellations and material textures, her songs are fleshed out by the prodigiously talented band of bass, accordion, violin and two drummers, one of which was used for the East Coast leg of the tour while the other took care of the west. Popov’s delivery often seems perfunctory, and slightly cold at times, as if she’s disconnected from the scenes she so smartly depicts. Guests move on and off in the form of mesmerising vocal trio Aluka, and a horn section. At one point Popov uses her custom instrument the thong-o-phone (lengths of plastic pipe beaten with thongs), further illustrating her and her band’s (and album producer Nick Huggins’) gift for imaginative arrangements. These skills reach a peak on the sterling tracks Pelican, Out There and the closing Heartbeat Fast As A Rabbit, where the rhythms rise in volume and complexity, matching the soaring vocal work of Popov and Aluka.
TOFF IN TOWN
Three very different acts, three stars in the making.
One of the most versatile venues in Melbourne opens its stage to welcome the multitalented Ólöf Arnalds and her array of instruments to create a most refined and outstanding evening. The evening sees the Icelandic singer seamlessly glide through each song with ease and charm and from the word ‘go’ she has the audience in the palm of her hand.
Starting with the title track from her most recent album Innundir Skinni, Arnalds continues to sing in her native Icelandic tongue before realising she’s playing to an English-speaking audience. It’s obvious that the audience don’t mind listening to her sing effortlessly in the beautiful language, but she still decides to switch to English. From here onwards there is a constant shift between the two languages, but we are never too fi xed on what’s being said being more focused on how it’s being delivered. It doesn’t matter if you understand Icelandic, simply because of the depth of meaning and sincerity that Arnalds creates and portrays in every song, which allows you to somehow understand what the stunning Icelander offers by regardless. As the evening floats by too fast, Arnalds manages to keep the audience on its toes, fitting a mixed bag of covers and original material into her eclectic set. Be it a Bruce Springsteen cover, little known songs from her debut album through to English and Irish folk songs, Arnalds never loses her attention to detail. Despite her flawless musical display, it is between songs that we get to see the true Arnalds. Coy and somewhat awkward, Arnalds keenly partakes in some friendly banter with the audience. Regardless of the obvious language barrier, Arnalds still manages
SUFJAN STEVENS STATE THEATRE For all his intellectualist leanings and devotion to artist over audience, Sufjan Stevens doesn’t despise the cheap seats. With the spectre of Wayne Coyne lingering, a flotilla of balloons come dropping from the ceiling at that peaking moment of Stevens’ 25minute, multi-character, self-examining song-drama Impossible Soul where he and ten-piece backing band (all dudes save for two ‘sexy’ backing vocalist/dancers, we note) are yelling about it being a “long life” and asking “d’you wanna dance?” and generally reaching for those big, fun, ecstatic highs that this one-time banjo-plucking folkie with a boner for academia is hardly renowned for. The crowd, be they in seats cheap or pricey, go crazy, of course: there’s no sourpuss so miserable they would refuse to punch brightly coloured, inflatable objects over and over into the air; and, besides, if you find the show boring, it’s a welcome distraction. And, just between you and me, the show is, a little bit. Boring. Where Soofy’s latest LP, The Age Of Adz, is a bold, brazen, balls-out artistic reinvention, utterly dangerous in the way it tears down all that’s expected of its author, this show is far more safe. As he and band attempt to recreate Age Of Adz jams with ason-the-album exactitude, Stevens needlessly apologises for playing almost all new songs. His between-song anecdotes ramble on, and the excited crowd overlaugh at every mere half-suggestion of humour, then politely applaude when songs end. Stevens is one for costumes and props, but everything else about the
firstname.lastname@example.org stage presentation is banal; even, truth be told, the balloons. It is only once Stevens returns, sans band, guitar in hand, that the balloons become something interesting. No longer being bashed around, they lay still on the stage; the left-behind remnants of some abandoned revelry. As Stevens starts playing quietly, it has a 4am-in-the-morning-and-the-party’s-over feeling, but when he begins singing, they seem more sinister. The tune is John Wayne Gacy, Jr, the songsmith’s ode to the Killer Clown of serial-murderer infamy (and Illinoisan history); and when Stevens murmurs, “He dressed up like a clown for them/with his face paint white and red,” the balloons linger uneasily, lying lifeless as the corpses of 27 young men. Those are the moments of shows that are always the most strange, most unexpected, most transcendent, most eerie: not when hundreds upon hundreds of people erupt into the convention of applause, but when hundreds upon hundreds of people are completely silent. Anthony Carew
GOOD VIBRATIONS FLEMINGTON RACECOURSE Wandering up Epsom Road towards the Flemington Racecourse entrance, it’s remarkable to note how tanned some girls’ legs are in comparison to their hands and faces – the new “Do the curtains match the carpet?” When there are randoms selling VIP wristbands alongside ticket scalpers, you can be sure that the VIP section is bogus. It’s tough doing the early lunchtime slot at a day festival, but 360 gets the crowd jumping, loping around the Roots stage like he was born to be there, with DJ Manchild providing the beats. 360 says you should add him on Facebook, he fucking loves Facebook, so he does the Facebook song. It’s a funny song. 360 is a funny guy. He appreciates the crowd and he also says he appreciates the cum stains on the roof. They are in fact blow up clouds that are there for decoration, but that’s just an insight into the way 360 sees the world. He does Just Got Started and, since Pez isn’t there, he does Pez’s verse too. If 360 has labels in a bidding war, it’s not surprising. Aloe Blacc is a ray of sunshine. He’s got that stylish, old school soul vibe going on, and it’s pretty clear who his influences are: Bill Withers, Al Green, James Brown and Stevie Wonder all get a name check. He and his band The Grand Scheme kick off with the funkiest song on his album, Hey Brother, and damn, this brother can MOVE. You Make Me Smile does just that, and it’s also Blacc’s excuse to lead a great big hug-in, and then a great big soul train. The whole set exudes pure happiness and positivity and, after a little lesson in soul (including a soul make over of Billie Jean), they end the set with Loving You Is Killing Me. Upcoming electro rockers Fenech-Soler kick off the festivities with an exhilarating showcase of their debut, self-titled album, which was only released in Australia last week. The English quartet comes very much in the wake of acts like Cut Copy, The Temper Trap and Friendly Fires amongst many others of the same ilk. They reflect the influence of their contemporaries but deliver a tight and highly polished electro pop sound that most certainly has commercial success on its mind. Like many artists these days, their set washes over like a slightly more aggressive take on ‘80s electro-synth pop. At times Fenech-Soler could be a stripped-back version of Duran Duran and Ben Duffy’s vocals bring to mind Kids In The Kitchen’s Scott Carne. Every DJ’s ‘sure thing’, Green Velvet’s La La Land, is dropped early in Fake Blood’s set in the Laundry
Friendly Fires pic by Lou Lou Nutt
tent. It’s not very hot in here but there are red faces galore and punters tipping bottles of water over their heads. Altogether now, “Somethin’ ‘bout those little pills…” Ugh, Fake Blood has one of those cheesy, blatant self-promotion shout-out samples à la Carl Cox and, yes! The Melbourne shuffle is alive and well. Fake Blood would be best consumed indoors and after the clock’s struck 12am NOT pm. This track may very well self-destruct in five seconds, but our noggins already have. Terrifying visuals do not equal Good Vibes before sunset and we’re outta here. Hysteria erupts in the Roots tent when Erykah Badu’s band take to the stage and get to work on a pretty mellow instrumental intro that doesn’t manage to chill anyone out. Badu’s career spans almost 15 years and it’s hard to believe that no one has thought of touring this fiery icon of new soul music in Australia before now. Badu most definitely brings the Good Vibes to her fans, many of which look as though they would leave the festival immediately afterwards. So naturally there’s plenty of love in the room when she steps up to the mic to showcase tunes from her ample back catalogue as well as the latest installation of New Amerykah. Her delivery is effortless and flawless. When she launches into a cover of If You Believe, she proves that she can mix it up as well as Lena Horne. Unlike a lot of nu soul artists who deal in nostalgic, pre-hip hop retro, Badu seems conscious of needing to move the genre forward and try something new. This is exemplified by the angular synths and laser beams featured on The Healer. Badu and her band slowly sink into dealing out the most gently rocking and sweetly soulful jams with tunes like On & On, Apple Tree, Back In The Day, Love Of My Life Worldwide and Window Seat. Undoubtedly the best set of the day, the only complaint here is that this short festival set simply isn’t long enough. After surfing the crowd during Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long Badu returns to the stage and dedicates Bag Lady to the people of Egypt. Peace, love and some pretty blessed-out soulful vibes just perfect for a Sunday afternoon. Over at the Good Vibrations stage, Friendly Fires open with Lovesick, and who isn’t lovesick for this band’s energetic frontman Ed Macfarlane? He sways from side to side like a bored caged galah on its perch and appears simultaneously horny and spastic. The trio has been fattened up to a sextet today – with an extra drummer and two injections of brass – and sex is definitely on our minds as Macfarlane all but humps his keys/sample station. New festival rule: if you’re gonna be in front five rows, you must dance. Macfarlane remarks toward the end of their set, “Now we’re slowly getting there.” There’s a definite that those assembled are waiting to be transported to Paris, but they must wait until the penultimate track and it doesn’t explode as much as the anticipation demands. A fun band who also boast masterful instrumental props plus a singer who would be undefeated in any dance-off. Just the Kiss Of Life we need to get the party started.
Meanwhile, the Laundry tent is bouncing to Rusko’s post dubstep beats. One of the most amusing DJs I have seen in a while Rusko, on occasion, looks like he is doing the chicken dance as he works the wheels of steel. His tunes drop typically serious and aggressive boombastic dubstep beats into tutti-frutti, electro pop contexts to achieve a party vibe. Dubstep may be the beat du jour but surveying the room it becomes clear that it elicits some pretty hilarious dance moves from punters. ‘This is my new single,” screams Rusko like a shonky salesman on the home shopping channel before dropping a hard, grinding dubstep beat that dissolves into beefed-up happy hardcore breaks and helium voices. By the end of the set, Rusko has us on spin cycle and is getting ready to hang us out to dry. Introduced as The Magnificent Seven for 2011, next up on the Roots stage is Fat Freddy’s Drop. The air is fragrant, as it should be, and you can feel the bass in your bones. They kick off with Pull The Catch, then new song Black Bird, which is, typically, awesome. Roady elicits an absolute frenzy and we’re treated to a bit of Joe Dukie (AKA Dallas Tamaira) freestyle. Shiverman is their last song, but goes for over ten minutes and is built up with layers of live samples of harmonica, melodica and beatboxing, recorded onstage, and added to by the magnificent horn section. Fat Freddy’s Drop is a juggernaut of awesome. It was from behind banks of synthesisers that Modular darlings Bag Raiders emerge to impress with their light and breezy, feel-good electro pop confection that goes down easily on a hot summer’s day. Their lush synthetic sound teams with acid basslines, sweet pop hooks, vocodered vocals and squelchy Moog madness but it’s the beats that draw the crowd and keeps then dancing. It’s not like Nas & Damian Marley need a hype man, but the jam tight crowd is whipped to tipping point before they’ve even hit the stage. As We Enter is first up then Tribes At War. They’re a phenomenal combination, giving each other respect, love and space onstage. They do Represent and Hip Hop Is Dead, and If I Ruled The World sends the crowd mental. Count Your Blessings is a funky ass jam, Dispear is enormous, and the lighters come out for Land Of Promise. There are a few Bob Marley fans in the house, so they do an immense version of Could You Be Loved to finish off a phenomenal set. In the past 12 months Kelis has made the transition from an urban diva into a disco-dancing club diva and has made quite a name for herself appearing in some pretty eye-popping outfits. This afternoon is no exception and jaws drop as she struts onto the stage in black sequined hot pants, glittering tails and matching bustier. “She’s got legs,” someone exclaims and for the few songs the music seems irrelevant as Kelis simply goes for ‘shock and awe’. “I’m here to pleasure myself, but it would be fun if you joined in,” she says with a laugh. She’s had her hair done and looks a bit like Whitney Houston. Dripping in gold (and, yes, that includes the nose ring), Kelis is pure eye-candy bling as she gyrates confidently on cherry red stilettos without worrying about taking a fall. Despite the energy of it all, it’s kind of disappointing that she is dishing out rather formulaic commercial club muzak. When her DJ slips in a few bars of Pon De Floor we can only hope that Diplo gets the message and produces her next album. Milkshake and Trick Me are well worth the wait, however.
there. A massive black backdrop banner drops with various silver fabric swatches appliquéd onto it to form a jackalope. These Swedes are committed to putting on a show! Similar to Friendly Fires, Miike Snow expands from a three- to a six-piece incarnation live and all emerge through a blanket of smoke sporting matching black jeans, bomber jackets and silver masks that are akin to Bicentennial Man. Burial is sublime. There’s an overriding pathos in Miike Snow’s sound despite some pretty melodies. A few ignorant punters get the most out of the band’s Vampire Weekend remix (The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance). Once masks are removed, the bomber jackets are fairylit from within somehow and we’ve never seen so many knobs onstage (not in the band, on Christian Karlsson’s console)! They punk us for the end of Slain – Andrew Wyatt thanking us, waiting for our applause before the band crank back in unison. Animal is presented differently live, which disappoints some but not us. Phoenix hit the stage to a light show that looks like aliens landing. They start with a double whammy of their two catchiest tunes, Lisztomania and Lasso, getting the good stuff out of the way first. Long Distance Call, Fences, Girlfriend and Armistice all seem to blend unremarkably into each other after that. If I Ever Feel Better ups the ante a bit, and they do well to end on the punchy 1901. They have a cool light show, artfully shaggy hair and well-cut shirts, but all of these things don’t help them connect. Perhaps it’s something to do with Faithless killing it on the stage next door, or the fact that Erykah Badu performed earlier in the day and so everything else pales in comparison, but these fey indie boys from Paris don’t make much of an impact. The Friendly Fires/Miike Snow double-drumming theme is continued by Faithless. Maxi Jazz strikes an imposing figure onstage – his serene presence gazing over the congregation a contrast to the annihilating sounds pumped out via Sister Bliss and co on belters such as God Is A DJ, Mass Destruction and Insomnia (“Makin’ mad love to my girl on the heath/Tearin’ off tights with my teeth”). Salva Mea opens with ethereal calm and then explodes, causing many to place their bags and jackets on the ground for maximum worship. Actor Dan McPherson is viewed with his gym-ified arms in the air and our collective muscle memory conjures the appropriate moves. Harry Collier from The Hempolics crew possesses pipes that leave us spellbound. I Want More is an understatement and thankfully Faithless return to the stage for an encore, Maxi Jazz telling us they forgot to play One. Our preacher, Maxi Jazz, concludes with a blessing, “Peace, look after yourself.” A douchebag who’s ‘on the mobile’ yells, “Fuck off!” And so concludes our Sunday sermon. Bryget Chrisfield, Guido Farnell and Kate Kingsmill Faithless pic by Lou Lou Nutt
Why is a stage called Mr J? We got nothing. Even watching the set-up for Miike Snow is engrossing as five instrument stations are rolled out onto the stage, each framed by a pair of jackelope (the band’s mascot for the uninitiated) antlers. And it doesn’t end
GAY AT THE OLDIE
The dynamic and outrageous Gay Paris are taking over the coastline and we will be joining them to the drunken end. The combination of bands that has been pulled together for each show will leave your ear holes feeling like they need a cigarette and a shower. Need proof? They play the Old Bar this Sunday with Little John, Brothers Grim & The Blue Murders and Plague Doctor. Entry is $10 from 7pm.
Orpheus launch their new album this Friday at the East Brunswick Club. HOW DID YOU GET TOGETHER? Chris Themelco, guitar/vocals: “Joao [Goncalves, guitar] and I met at uni through a mutual friend sometime in 2007, I think. We were both very much into our metal at the time, and after Joao introduced me to a lot of Scandinavian acts, we started talking about starting a band of our own. And so at the beginning of 2008, we did. We asked my brother Matt to join on drums, and after looking for opportunities to get together and play in the past, Milky [bass] and [former keyboardist] Sasha were happy to jump straight in. From there, I guess you can say it’s all history.” HAVE YOU RECORDED ANYTHING OR DO YOU PREFER TO TOOL AROUND IN YOUR BEDROOM? “We’ve recorded two CDs so far. Our EP So It Begins… was released independently in the middle of 2009 and helped gain a lot of attention for us in the form of fans, endorsements, opening for Amon Amarth in Melbourne and, of course, signing to Rock Star Records. In 2010 we spent over a year writing and recording what will be our debut album, Bleed The Way, out Friday. It’s definitely going to kick some arse around here, and hopefully the world too, ha ha.” CAN YOU SUM UP YOUR BAND’S SOUND IN FOUR WORDS? “Melodic, aggressive, energetic, rifftastic.” IF YOU COULD SUPPORT ANY BAND IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? “Children Of Bodom. I’ve been a huge fan for years now, and I’d love the opportunity to play alongside them, and to see just how hard those guys can drink!” IF A HIGHER POWER SMITES YOUR HOUSE AND YOU CAN ONLY SAVE ONE RECORD FROM THE FIRE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? “Ohh… umm, so many… but I’d say Children Of Bodom – Hatebreeder.” DO YOU HAVE A LUCKY ITEM OF CLOTHING YOU WEAR FOR GIGS AND WHAT IS IT? “Not really, but I find myself wearing my pantschain a lot. Habit, I guess.” IF YOU INVITED SOMEONE AWESOME ROUND FOR DINNER WHAT WOULD YOU COOK? “I can’t cook for shit… so I’d just take them out somewhere cool, or do a Simpsons and just fake the cooking and actually have fast food. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO DRINK IN MELBOURNE? “There’s a lot of great places to go, but I’m beginning to find myself at the Prague a bit these days.”
Sorted for E&Ps
EP Reviews with Bryget Chrisfield
GOLDEN REVOLVER Independent
SIKAP SEMPURNA Independent
If a band is brave enough to tackle a Tame Impala cover on their debut EP (albeit a ‘secret’ track not on the tracklisting), it’s straight to the top of the pile. This quartet hail from Perth, all band members have barely graduated from high school and there’s a chick drummer – it just keeps getting better! Jordi Davieson has an earnest vocal tone and, when sunny harmonies are added, you can’t help but be enthralled. The title track is the highlight here with its rollicking guitar riffs and cowbell. Menacing artwork featuring a smoking pistol could not be further away from these charming melodies. Do wait beyond the dead air following Spangled Streets and check out their commendable attempt at Solitude Is Bliss. San Cisco hit the Tote tomorrow night (with Stonefield and Immigrant Union), but maybe check their IDs before offering to shout them a beer.
This Melbourne four-piece incorporate some interesting instruments – such as glockenspiel, violin and didgeridoo – into their rock sound. Christian Catania’s guitar work is steadfast and Adrian Thomas’s vocal graduates from hard rock ballad school with flying colours and there’s a touch of Eddie Vedder to his tonal quality – “When you fall you get back up and find a reason why it hurt so much.” Reason will lodge itself deep in your grey matter for days. Endless hours of rehearsal goes into sounding like this and these six tracks demonstrate attention to detail and a passion for the lyrics, particularly during Be The Man. A heart beating closes the EP, but is then unfortunately invaded by THE single most annoying sound in the world – a baby crying. They play Noise Bar in Brunswick this Friday.
After watching this quintet perform a support slot at Northcote Social Club, it was very exciting when this arrived on my desk. Francesca Mountford’s cello transports you to a place of yearning but doesn’t launch the outfit into whimsy. This self-produced seventrack EP sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before, which is a win for a band who have only been together since March 2010. Healing Hail is divine, sounding just like the song’s title – equal measures solace and sting. A Minor Episode would perfectly accompany a scene in which a Skins character does just about anything life-changing. Any of these songs would be perfect accompanied by time-lapse nature projections. Hankering to hear Sikap Sempurna play an early afternoon slot at Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, or perhaps they should go on tour with The Dirty Three. You’d never remember this band name in a million years, but jot it down somewhere because they’re worth it.
CASS EAGER & THE VELVET ROPE
LIGHT LIONS MYSTERY Independent
DOWN ON MY KNEES Little Bliss Records The funky guitar and filthy bass of Get Me Loose channels Use Me by Bill Withers and celebrates bad boys – “I like it when you treat me oh so mean!” Truck Driving Cowgirl features Suzannah Espie on BVs and sees Eager really let her larynx loose. You can tell Cass Eager & The Velvet Rope are experienced players and have spent ample time honing their craft and perfecting the material. Closer Long Way ‘Round demonstrates the band in full swing – locked in a groove and loving it. When you head down to one of their gigs, be sure to ask Eager whether Prince Harry really asked her to give him guitar lessons.
Mystery’s very DIY recycled paper CD sleeve probably took longer to make than the halfhour it took for Timothy Brown (guitar/organ) and Noah Symons (drums) to record these four tracks. There’s enough interest to punctuate the drone and something tells me these dudes own a My Disco record or two. It’s definitely freeform and you can imagine some major extended freak-outs going on during live interpretations of these tracks. Let There Be Mystery is a standout, during which Symons satisfyingly clicks his sticks at a pace that would be demanding for your feet, and this duo definitely have a lot of sonic chemistry going on. The mix of instruments is interesting. Let’s see where Light Lions are this time next year, shall we?
SNAGS FOR PUSSYCATS
PURPLE PARTY HOUSE
Summer sun means it’s time to flame up and BBQ away ‘til you grow man boobs from too many sausages and all that mayo’d up salad. Digger & The Pussycats are two boys who know how to slot snags into their gobs, so they’re gonna have a BBQ party at Bar Open this Sunday – without actually having a BBQ. Go figure. Joining them on this joyous occasion is a smattering of the sickest shit going around this summer, namely Constant Mongrel, The Beat Disease and Thee Mighty Childish, a new band solely committed to genocide-ingly recreating the musical catalogue of Chatham’s favourite son, the one-and-only Billy Childish. Oh what a night! And it’s free for all you poor scabs out there, so you can save your pennies for beers and the hot three-for$2 potato cakes across the street. Doors at 5pm.
If you think your house party days are over, you’re wrong and Purple Sneakers has enlisted the help of riotous rockers Northeast Party House this Friday at Miss Libertine to prove it. According to legend, the band formed out of the mess and ruin of a two-week-long house party and has been blowing the minds of house guests and critics alike. Supporting them are Snakadakal, whose captivating vocals will have you whipping your necks around to catch the indie quintet faster than you can stash your goon bag. Holding your hair back and hitting the decks this week are Backyard DJs, Wildlife DJs, Black Olives, Etta Curry Suppression Ring, Shaky Memorial and James Kane. This week is also the launch of the self-titled album from Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings thanks to Inertia. For more details and to find out how to win a copy head to boundarysounds.com.
AUBURNLIES GET NOISY
Melbourne four-piece rock outfit Auburnlies are set for another big show this Friday supporting Wingman at Noise Bar in Brunswick, on the back of the launch of Auburnlies’ second EP, Odyssey. The EP was recorded and co-produced by ARIA Award-winning songwriter/producer Peter ‘Reggie’ Bowman, following on from the band’s 2008 debut EP Sol. Auburnlies are in the midst of a busy 2011, with plans to further showcase Odyssey and their distinct rock sounds across Melbourne, regional Victoria and around Australia. Be sure to catch them at their best: loud, live and cutting loose. Entry is $10 from 8.30pm.
BISCOTTI ON THE SIDE After an explosive performance at the Falls Festival and a detour through the Australian desert, Biscotti is back, bringing with her to the stage a group of talented musicians to match her kookie computer beats and bags of tricks. Biscotti has a unique style that crosses many genres. Inspired by old cassette tapes, roots reggae pop music from around the world and her personal travels, she plays the Builders Arms on Saturday 26 February with She Hunter and White Minus Red. Entry is $5 from 8.30pm.
THE MELODICS PAINT ME GOLD Independent There’s something about Paint Me Gold that feels a little overdone, as if all elements have been fully utilised at the expense of the essence of the songs. There are three producers and four songs on this EP and lead singer Jeremedy also raps, but it’s when he sings that he truly shines as demonstrated in Afterlife – a direction I would say The Melodics should pursue. When Jeremedy does the rapped verse/sung chorus thing, his voice doesn’t soar as it does during the aforementioned song. The artwork’s rad and this band’s sound is obviously created from a hotchpotch of influences. Catch The Melodics at the Evelyn on Friday 4 March.
ELLA GOOD TIME Ella Thompson plays Wednesday nights in February at the Evelyn Hotel in the first series of shows debuting her new material. Joined live on stage with collaborators DJ Able (FlowlabThe Collective), Dustin Mclean (keys/synths), Leigh Fisher (drums) and James Gilligan (bass), the group plays a mix of live and electronic sounds. Thompson is steeped in beautiful and edgy sounds and her sound is influenced by: the lyrics of Leonard Cohen; the vocals of Bilal, Jeff Buckley and Feist; and the production of Little Dragon, Sia and others. Tonight’s support comes from LoveTeskyLawrence, Hailey Cramer and DJ Edd Fisher. Doors at 8.30pm.
FRIENDS OF THE SURF
TIM ROGERS SINS
The famous Friends Of The Earth biannual fundraising ball is back, and this year’s beach party theme is going to be hot, hot, hot! On Saturday 5 March at Collingwood Town Hall, the Surfi n’ Safari Ball will feature Johnnie & The Johnnie Johnnies’ instrumental surf jams gone wild; The Reefers, with their high-energy Middle Eastern surf tunes; Beachy Boys showcasing the music of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys; a mesmerising surf shadow performance from Girl Happy & The 2 Clams; The Great Gondos and their circus variety mayhem; the serenading love songs of Hawaiian Supremes; and DJ Pipeline playing tunes to jive the night away to. Get your boardies and swimming costumes out for a colourful evening of theatre, dance, and surfin’ safari music! Tickets are $40 concession or $50 full from Friends Of The Earth in Colllingwood. Go to melbourne.foe.org.au for details.
The Caravan Music Club (located at the Oakleigh/ Carnegie RSL in Oakleigh) continues its showcase of musical delights over the next couple of months. This Thursday night, Tim Rogers performs in Saligia, a piercing treatise on the seven deadly sins written by Tim and Melanie Robinson and accompanied by a seven-piece ensemble. Rogers tempts you to leave your soul at the door and join him on an archeological expedition into the murky realms of sin! Also coming up at the Caravan Music Club are Kieran Kane & David Francey with special guest Jordie Lane on Friday 25 February; Rebecca Barnard’s Sing-along Society on Wednesday 2 and The Backsliders on Saturday 5 March. See caravanmusic.com.au for show and ticket details.
BITE THE TIGER
DIRTY SANCHEZ Raul Sanchez, guitarist for Magic Dirt, Midnight Woolf and River Of Snakes will strap on his axe, plug in his effects and turn up his amp, for a solo performance of eclectic covers and original songs at the Sporting Club Hotel in Brunswick this Friday. Giving him a hand will be Mourning Sons frontman Dave Fazza and DJ Dirty Britches Boy. Entry is free from 9pm.
The official unofficial launch party for Ghostsoul’s debut EP, Broken Symmetry, with new tracks and guests, happens at Miss Libertine on Thursday 24 February. Ghostsoul is a true underground producer that you need to watch! The EP is composed of five glitched and dubbed-out hip hop tunes featuring Ghetto Arts MC Dyzlexic. Support on the night comes from Able & Manix, DJ Sizzle and DJ Pauly Fatlace. The EP is being released with support from the Ghetto Arts crew and is truly an independent release. The first five people through the door will receive a free copy of the EP. Entry is $5 or $10 with a copy of the EP from 8-12pm.
Previously described by Inpress as “cabaret/circus/ Euro indie folk pop wunderkinds”, The Tiger & Me exploded onto the music scene in 2010 with performances at Port Fairy Folk Festival followed by the launch of their debut album in April. Emerging from Melbourne’s northern suburbs, they have enjoyed high praise for both their album and live performances following a national tour towards the end of last year. This weekend they play the Wesley Anne two nights in a row. Catch them on Friday supporting Pear & The Awkward Orchestra (doors at 9pm), then again on Saturday free in the front bar from 6-8pm as part of their month-long residency.
Mesa Cosa are playing with friends Velcro Lobster and Snappy Yabby & The Snag Party at the Arthouse tonight (Wednesday) for a fun night of messy music, live soy sausage cooking, fuzzy dancing and more. First up, Snappy Yabby are a beautiful musical two-piece creating Hawaiian sea shanty pop. Then Velcro Lobster, who are back from the grave – awesome babes playing inventive punk and making raucous madness. Wrapping up are messy garage rock maestros Mesa Cosa playing fuzzy jangly madness that you will not be able to help but party to.
THREE MINUTE MEN In September 2010, Minute 36 launched their debut album An Argument Between The Taste And The Feeling with national distribution. The band toured all over WA promoting the release (including a tour supporting Karnivool, from Broome to Geraldton) and more recently they supported international great, Amanda Palmer. The trio is now off to spread their creepy jazz rock charm in our part of the country. They play the Brunswick Hotel on Tuesday 22 with BoyRed and Kane Muir from 8pm; and the Edinburgh Castle on Friday 25 February with BoyRed from 8pm.
GOTTA NEW ROSE Folk rocker Julia Rose will launch her debut EP in Melbourne this week with shows at the Drunken Poet tonight (Wednesday), Open Studio and Pure Pop Records this Saturday, and the Bendigo Hotel this Sunday afternoon from 3pm. Renowned for her soaring vocals and heart-wrenching melodies, Rose left fans stunned at her first launch show at the Gold Coast Arts Centre last week. The shows are part of a six-week tour for Rose and her other band Anarchist Duck, which will include performances at Adelaide Fringe Festival and Nannup (Western Australia) and will take them through NSW, Victoria, South Australia and WA.
BETTY DRIVES YOU HOME
The term “the blues” refers to “the blue devils”, meaning melancholy and sadness. While its origins lay in the south of the United States, with the lack of sun we have seen around these parts the past 12 months it could easily be native to Melbourne. Perhaps that’s why we have so many kickass blues players in this town. This Saturday night at the Drunken Poet sees one of our finest purveyors of the blues hit the stage for, well, the delivery of the blues, but with a little sunshine in the sadness. Ian Collard (of Collard Greens & Gravy) be his name and he takes the stage at 9pm.
Betty’s Driving Force features Betty’s heartfelt vocals and cool-as-a-uke grooves, subtle bass and drums. This ukulele-driven groove is nothing too strenuous. Betty and her boys invite you to join them for lazy afternoon drinkies at the Builders Arms this Sunday from 4-6pm. Relax to some rockin’ blues and laid-back jazz, some pop and a sprinkle of originals. They draw from the magic of Nina Simone, Mose Alison, Tom Waits, Bonnie Rait and Rose Royce amongst others. Head down for a beer and make the most of the tail end of the weekend.
DELUSIONS OF NIGEL
ARMS POP SINGLES
Nigel Wearne and Maree Daffy return to the Retreat Hotel tonight (Wednesday) for their second appearance this month. Expect harmonies, stories and a continued travelogue of songs from recent travels around the world. Wearne’s current album, Sweetest Delusion, is available at Polyester Records Fitzroy and The Last Record Store in Collingwood. Stay tuned for more gigs and a live appearance on Acid Country, PBS in March. Entry to the gig is free.
BUCK FOR HORSES
This Saturday, Buried Horses will launch their debut album, Tempest‚ at the Tote Hotel with some very special guests. Released by Spooky Records, Tempest is a collection of beautiful songs that depict both an intimate knowledge of the desolate Australian landscape and a dark vision of the wider world. Buried Horses will be joined by The Spoils (playing as a trio) who will make one of their all-too-infrequent outings to deliver their internationally acclaimed countrynoir ballads, as well as Brian Henry Hooper and his five-piece band, adding a touch of rock royalty to the occasion. Opening the night will be Perth expats Jack On Fire. Entry is $10 from 8pm.
The annual Melbourne Adventure Travel & Backpackers Expo is on once again this Saturday and Sunday at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton. Entry is free! Talk to over 100 exhibitors from all over the world who are here to give the lowdown on all that’s happening out there: where to go, what to do, where to stay, how to get there. Plus information on working overseas – paid or volunteer work. Listen in on the free travel talks; get great deals and specials and win prizes and enjoy the freebies on offer. The Expo is open 10am-4pm. More details, including a list of travel talks and prizes, can be found on myadventureexpo.com.
A FINE PENO
With work on their debut album almost complete, Ron S Peno & The Superstitions hit the stage for an alltoo-rare headline show this Friday at the Retreat Hotel. Peno received rave reviews for his recent performance at the Forum for The Ghost’s benefit show, and the band are ready to hit the stage for their first show of 2011. Joining them for the night and taking the stage at 9.30pm will be Melbourne’s magnificent Little John, who are wowing audiences all over town. Entry is free.
Clawing their way across town all month are Melbourne’s young, corrosive rock four-piece Dirty F. North Melbourne’s Public Bar will be playing host to their energetic and sexually wired rituals this Friday. These less than gentlemen have been showing no signs of yield in their consistent string of shows since the launch of their self-released EP, Washed Up, in August 2010. Joining Dirty F will be supports from blues bandits Kashmere Club and Torquay rockers The Thousands. Doors open at 8.30pm and entry is $7.
GOLDEN FLOODS This Friday night, the Pineapple Lounge at Revolt in Kensington is holding a flood relief benefit from 8pm, featuring Brisbane dance funk outfit Golden Sound and Melbourne’s revered (and handsome) Mikelangelo & The Tin Star, as well as Cam Butler & The Shadows Of Love, Go Girl Gadget Go Go, Florielle, Blair from Straightup plus a host of DJs and a few more acts to be announced. Add to that some always welcome burlesque and never-ending Champagne cocktails and you’ve got yourself a good night for a good cause. Entry is $20 and 100% of all funds go to the Victorian Flood Relief Appeal.
DIRTY F UP
KYLIE MUCKS AROUND Music For Muckaty is a benefit to support the growing campaign against a radioactive waste dump at Muckaty in the NT. Happening at the Northcote Uniting Church Hall on Friday 25 February, the gig will introduce Kylie Sambo and Kelisha Green, young hip hop artists from Muckaty/Tennant Creek, NT, as well as featuring sets from Combat Wombat, Actual Factual, Johnny Mac & Meriki Hood, MC Ollie showcasing his debut EP Battlefield Of Distraction, Sleepercell and slam poet and MC Lesson. Doors open at 7.30pm, vegetarian food is available and entry is $15/$10 concession.
The Bible Bashers head east from Perth to peddle their filth deadly dose of Australian swamp rock, influenced by such iconic acts as The Beasts Of Bourbon, The Stooges and AC/DC. Famous for their audacious, no-prisoners live performances, they’ve been a persistent thorn in the side of the Perth local music scene. The five-piece take over the Arthouse this Sunday with The Dead South, Jack On Fire and Harvest Smoke. Entry is $8 from 7pm.
BEAT AND HOWL
Purveyors of smart, moody rock, Howl At The Moon will be playing their songs of self-despair, abandon, murder and camaraderie at the Retreat Hotel Brunswick this Sunday. Supported by the ‘60s pop textures and early-‘70s country grooves of Jane Dust, this will be the show to alleviate any post-Saturday brain and the rigours of boozedom. Bands start at 7.30pm.
ONLY CHERRYWOOD Straight off the back of their successful tour to Tamworth, Cherrywood continue their Sunday residency at the Great Britain Hotel this weekend. Expect country, a little bit of rockabilly and a lathering of blues to be mashed up with frontman Tim Durkin’s verbose diatribe. Get up and boogie, have a few beers, watch strings get broken and fingers bleed as you get loose. Entry is free so there are no excuses for all you tightarses. Get there by 7.30pm.
Straight outta Queensland, Hussy Hicks hit Melbourne this week with every intention to bring the good times. From Glastonbury, Dubai, Woodford and Tamworth to jamming on the Great Wall, Hussy Hicks make an impression wherever they roam. It has been suggested that Julz may well be Australia’s top female player, even alleged that Leese is Robert Plant in female guise, a curious but certainly impressive plaudit. Tonight (Wednesday) they hit the Drunken Poet in West Melbourne for the much respected Wine, Whiskey, Women night from 8pm. Following the Hicks at 9pm will be the Julia Rose Duo.
HIGH AS KITES
Fresh back from their New Zealand tour, The Paper Kites play one of their last Melbourne shows before the band retreats to the studio to record a new EP. Following up from their performance at the Corner Hotel in December, the popular folk outfit will be playing for the first time at the Evelyn Hotel this Saturday. Support comes from their New Zealand tour friend Avalanche City, who in his own right has been making big waves all the way to Melbourne. With this line-up including Charlie Lim back from his Singapore tour, this will be a truly special night of music. Tickets are $10+BF from Moshtix.
Up-and-coming songstress Steph Hannah launches her debut EP, Mouthful Of Water, at the Toff In Town on Wednesday 23 February. After years of performing her piano-driven music solo, Hannah will be backed by her newly formed supporting band, bringing to life her left-of-centre, catchy, jazz soul-infused pop songs. Her captivating live performances move seamlessly through an array of moods and genres, from upbeat and infectious pop melodies to sultry, bluesy ballads. With a voice reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald and comparisons to contemporaries such as Alicia Keys, Regina Spektor and Sia, Hannah is one to watch. Megan Kent supports and entry is $10 or $15 with an EP from 8pm.
GOLDEN ALBARE Known as one of the early pioneers of acid jazz in Australia in the early ‘90s, recent critical praise for Melbourne-based jazz artist Albare has been unanimously glowing, with the release of two studio albums in 2010 and a run of mesmerising shows in Melbourne and Sydney. And now, Albare will showcase his new album, Travel Diary, with a national tour encompassing no less than six shows in Victoria throughout February and March at some of this city’s favourite jazz venues. Catch him at Spenserslive on Friday 25, Dizzy’s on Saturday 26 February, Bennetts Lane on Tuesday 15, Thursday 24 and Thursday 31, and a very special Sunday afternoon concert at Tahbilk Winery in Nagambie on Sunday 27 March.
This Saturday night at the Builders Arms in Fitzroy sees the last gig for the first dorks of Melbourne, Pop Singles, before a short Ballarat/Canberra/ Sydney tour and new recordings on the way. Joining them will be The Motifs, back for their first show of 2011 – a sickeningly talented, charming and catchy band – and Full Ugly, who are surprisingly attractive. Ripples will open with improvised magic. All good bands. Entry is $6 from 8.30pm.
Adam Rudegeair launches his new solo album, Bayou Tapestry, at the Paris Cat on Wednesday 23 February. As pianistic maestro in Henry Manetta & The Trip, Glasfrosch (with Justin Ashworth), and his own projects including Songs Without Worlds, Rudegeair has brought forth enviable keyboard and compositional gambits. Now, on this forthcoming release, he will hip you to the adventures of Yam Man and his sidekick Bayou Boy. An oleaginous gumbo of New Orleans-inspired Chlorkinesis, the launch of Bayou Tapestry aims to turn your cities to jungle.
A LITTLE SIXTIES
This Saturday, Little Murders return to the stage of the Great Britain Hotel in Richmond for a night of sizzling pop action along with one of Geelong’s most happening young bands, The Livin Eyes. Little Murders have just released their fi fth album, Dig For Plenty, on Off The Hip Records. Meanwhile, The Livin Eyes have been Triple J Unearthed High finalists and play R&B circa 1964 sounding like a young Pretty Things. So a brilliant night of ‘60s-inspired rock and it’s totally free! Be there from 9pm. You can also catch Little Murders at Off The Hip Records on Flinders Lane this Friday at 7pm with Harvest Smoke.
GRUNT AT CHERRY
Gruntbucket take their wild and crazy psych rock show to Cherry every Wednesday this month! They’re playing tunes from their smash debut album Receiving as well as previewing tracks from their soon-to-be-recorded Difficult Second Album. The entry is free, the drinks are cheap and the music is loud. Head on down from 9pm on Wednesday to experience one of Melbourne’s best rock bands in one of Melbourne’s finest rock establishments. Tonight they’re joined by special guests Spacefarmers. Receiving is available now in good indie record stores.
TESS DOES EVERYTHING
Indie singer/songwriter Tess McKenna will cross the creek to launch her latest album, The New Everything, this Sunday at the Northcote Social Club. McKenna and her band The Shapiros will play it as they like it: three-piece garage. Expect a dynamic live set of bare-faced folk rock and dirty bang-bang blues. Special guest power duo Native Plants will contribute musical gifts as support, with more guests to be announced. Doors open at the matinee time of 2pm and entry is $12. The New Everything is out on Head Records/MGM.
POWERFUCK TO THE TOP One would expect that a reputable, culturally rich city like Melbourne would beget a flock of classy, palatable, upper-middle-class bands with acutely tuned senses of fashion and couture. Meet Powerfuck, a bunch of no-good-nicks whose music sounds something akin to a dinosaur singing for Red Hot Chili Peppers who are scoring the soundtrack to Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey while Slayer beats the shit out of all of them. Powerfuck have been wreaking havoc everywhere from the typical Melbourne circuit to house parties to Falls Festival in Tassie. This March however, they will be causing a ruckus every Wednesday at the Evelyn Hotel.
ELEPHANT GETS THE BLUES
BUNCH OF SONS
Did someone say blues rock with political undertones and guitar solos a plenty? Well, coincidentally The Ivory Elephant fit that particular neglected mould. Joining the modern day blues renaissance of bands such as The Black Keys and The White Stripes, The Ivory Elephant put their own branding on the style with soaring guitar riffs, bluesy lows, thumping delta and the occasional psychedelic freak-out. Catch them free this Sunday at IDGAFF from 7pm with Catfi sh Voodoo.
This Saturday, the Bendigo Hotel will roll out its dirty red carpet for Son Of Set. Head along for another night of chaos from Son Of Set and hear the awesome aural attacks from Bombing Angels, No Love For Lexi, Let Them Eat Cake and mad tunes from DJ Tommy Rotten. Doors open at 8pm and entry is $10 – that’s some good bang for your buck!
JIMMY’S A GEM
LIFE AS A NEGATIVE
Sister Jane launch their new album at Cherry Bar this Friday. HOW DID YOU GET TOGETHER? Dan Davey, vocals/guitar: “Three (out of five) of us worked together in a suburban retail store (for real), surrounded by daily drudgery and dreaming about the land of milk and honey that is rock’n’roll.” HAVE YOU RECORDED ANYTHING OR DO YOU PREFER TO TOOL AROUND IN YOUR BEDROOM? “I do lots of tooling around in my bedroom (being a lonely single guy and all). Apart from that we’ve got this little album to show for ourselves called Mercy, recorded in our guitarist Liam [Judson]’s home studio, along with a few other pet projects he’s produced and mixed like Cloud Control and The Lovetones, and ready to be launched throughout February.”
Attention fair-weathered indie rock cognoscente and cult tribesman of the fine state of Victoria: this Sunday at Yah-Yah’s, Negative Guest List Fanzine & Records will be launching their first interstate showcase/release party, appropriately dubbed “Let’s Get Rid Of Melbourne”. Marvel at the degeneracy and flange guitar styling of Sydney’s Low Life (not to be confused with the Scottish dream-pop band of the ‘80s/’90s). Scratch your mild-mannered Aryan blonde dome as one of Brisbane’s most genuinely demented individuals performs tunes of corporate slagging, adult romance, and “piss fisting” under the Wonderfuls moniker. Bits Of Shit will be defending the honour of Melbourne with loud punk thrashing and heckles of the highest order. Grab the new issue of the Negative Guest List zine and some choice 7”s while you’re there.
Marshall & The Fro are a household name these days, on the festival circuit and in their home, the North Coast surfing mecca of Lennox Head, NSW. They have made a name for themselves as raucous purveyors of roots music with a harder twist, known for their powerful, pulsing, roots rock music, the soundtrack to the summer for many a carefree festival freak or surfer. The band have just completed their new album, Friends For Life, and head our way to play the Evelyn Hotel this Friday with Brother Grim & The Blue Murders and Gay Paris.
CAN YOU SUM UP YOUR BAND’S SOUND IN FOUR WORDS? “Ten million dune buggies.”
DO YOU HAVE A LUCKY ITEM OF CLOTHING YOU WEAR FOR GIGS AND WHAT IS IT? “I seriously have a thing about making sure I wear one of my four pairs of black undies, as opposed to my white or blue or red ones. No real reason – just superstition I guess.” IF YOU INVITED SOMEONE AWESOME ROUND FOR DINNER WHAT WOULD YOU COOK? “I’d cook my world famous spaghetti bolognese, except that most awesome people I seem to meet nowadays are vegetarian.” WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO DRINK IN MELBOURNE? “Nami’s house.”
On 18 February in 1979, snow fell over the Saharan plains of northern Africa for the only time in recorded history. On the same day in 2011 – this Friday – local weird beards Chotto Matte, Vodnik and Little Killing will get together at the Builders Arms to indulge in musical reflection on the ephemerality of existence and the sublime offerings of the known world. This event is presented by members of Spectral Collective, a group of experimental musicians and performers who have been brought together by a common desire to tear away at the boundaries of form and plunge into the darkness of the unknown. Expect quirky pop, sonic landscapes and shamanistic invocations. Entry is $7 from 8.30pm.
SALMON SOUNDS BETTER One of Australia’s leading punk rock specialists, Kim Salmon, is dropping into the PBS studios with The Surrealists as part of Live Music Week on Wednesday 23 February. Joined by the super charged roots rock’n’roll of Wrong Turn, this is a double not to be missed, broadcast live during City Slang on 106.7FM from 5pm. If you’re a PBS member, check out pbsfm.org.au to find out how you can get down to the show. If not, what are ya waiting for?
The Brass Monkeys are a reassurance of diversity from the average teen rock band. Playing at the Great Britain Hotel this Thursday in the ranging genres of funk, ska, reggae and rock’n’roll, they have an undeniable groove supported by their musicianship and onstage energy. As the new year dawns on their fourth year together as a band (and an outlet to vent their creative rage from the stresses of Year 12), their fat horn sound and catchy riffs are unlikely to disappoint. Entry is free from 9pm.
REPAIRS GET LISTED The crew who make the Negative Guest List zine outta Brisbane are heading south and hosting a night at the Grace Darling Hotel this Saturday. Featuring tri-state picks from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane respectively, getting on stage will be Repairs, Low Life and Wonderful I’s, plus a new collaboration by members of Zond and The UV Race. Entry is just eight clams on the door from 9pm.
DUCK, DUCK, SKA
Anarchist Duck are renowned throughout Queensland, ACT and New South Wales for their house-shaking danceadelic hugeness, driven by Arno’s body-rockin beats, Flawless’ boundary-smashing guitar style and Jules’ infectious bass grooves. They are now ready to unleash their amazing and unstoppable live show onto Melbourne with a huge show at the Bendigo Hotel this Friday with ska legends Area 7 and The Resignators. Doors at 8pm.
IF YOU COULD SUPPORT ANY BAND IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? “I’d support a re-formed Smiths, not so much for the chance to support them but just cause its been a life-long dream to see them re-form.” IF A HIGHER POWER SMITES YOUR HOUSE AND YOU CAN ONLY SAVE ONE RECORD FROM THE FIRE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? “Oh, you ask hard questions, man! Geez, well I guess it would be Odetta At Carnegie Hall because it’s so rare and I have an original vinyl pressing. Anything else would be replaceable.”
CHOTTO MATTE EXPLAIN LIFE
Aside from his sneaky little Russian mafia-sponsored Monday night summer residency in New York City, Jimmy Stewart has been bashing out his songbooks at the Gem Bar in Collingwood every Tuesday since 2007 – 122 shows and counting! From 9pm over two sets, Stewart traipses through a colourful repertoire of material that includes his own stuff, plus songs from his bands Clinkerfield and the Miserable Little Bastards as well as weird covers and selections from soundtracks to The Lion King and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. You can also catch him this Sunday at the Drunken Poet playing two sets from 6.30pm.
HOMOH WITH POWERS
DATE WITH DIVORCED Craig Dermody (Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, Spider Vomit, Lindsay Low Hand) has been able to trick another group of amazing Melbourne musicians (members of Beaches, Zond, The Spazzys and producer Jack Farley) to join him as Divorced this Thursday at Yah Yah’s for some scuzzed-out rants with the volume and speed turned to 11. His recurrent themes of dead-end jobs and girls are played out to the backdrop of duelling wah solos, fast drumming and an overall brattiness only found in teenagers or some experienced Melbourne musicians going through a mid-life crisis. Joining them will be the awesome Pearls and Milk Teddy. Doors open at 9pm.
West Australian musicians Mental Powers arrive in Melbourne to celebrate the launch of their new Homoh 12” LP. The band’s live performances are characterised by the chaotic synchronicity of the members, who tumble through hypnotic riffs and commanding vocals with an intensity that’s captivating. Joining them on a night will be guests/ friends Free Choice Duo and Jonny Telafone.
A JONES FOR OLDIES
Every Wednesday through February, Simone Page Jones (Sveta Dobranoch) and Miles O’Neil (Suitcase Royale) play a mixed bag of old heartbreaker country songs and preview new material to anyone that wants to get down the Old Bar. With different supports every week, the night starts around 8.30pm and entry is free. What more do you want kids? Git to the Oldie tonight!
BIG TEETH Teeth & Tongue have been busy in the studio, recording their forthcoming album Tambourine with Simon Grounds (Kes Band, Laura Jean, Bird Blobs). Set for release in April, the album is the follow-up to Teeth & Tongue’s acclaimed debut album Monobasic. Released in 2008, Monobasic combined elements of pop, garage and post-punk with metronomic precision and haunting vocals, resulting in radio favourite There Is A Lightness To My Bones and hypnotic crooner Stacey Come Over. Catch the third week of their residency at the Grace Darling Hotel this Sunday with Laura Jean and The Orbweavers. Doors at 6.30pm.
GO BEHIND THE SCENES OF THEMUSIC TV TEAM WERE ON GROUND TO GRAB FACE TIME WITH THE BIGGEST NAMES OF THIS YEAR’S FESTIVAL: KID KENOBI BAG RAIDERS KOOLISM SOSUEME DJS ANNA LUNOE MIKE POSNER SIDNEY SAMSON RUSKO CASSIAN YOLANDA BE COOL • SATURDAY 12TH FEB, CENTENNIAL PARK, SYDNEY • SUNDAY 13TH FEB, FLEMINGTON RACECOURSE, MELBOURNE • SATURDAY 19TH FEB, PARKLANDS SHOWGROUNDS, GOLD COAST • SUNDAY 20TH FEB, CLAREMONT SHOWGROUNDS, PERTH
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GENTLE BEN PLAYS ROUGH
As far as intimate shows go, you can’t beat Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side, featuring Queenslander Ben Corbett, who alongside his brother Geoff fronts the brutally frenetic SixFtHick. Where the ‘Hick have their cathartic aggression, instead, Ben does indeed pull out his ‘Sensitive Side’, and can best be described as seeing Bryan Ferry perform on the night his wife and kids left town with his best friend and burnt his house down. His powerful vocals ringing out over the tight backing band, all the time oozing suave and swagger. They play the Grace Darling on Friday 25 February with bluesy party band (with the sci-fi twist) Plague Doctor and crowd favourites Buried Horses. Entry is $12 from 9pm.
DESERT ISLAND SONGS WITH CLEM BASTOW LADY GAGA BORN THIS WAY
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who likes a particular song; I feel like that whenever I press ‘Repeat > One’ on Nikki Webster’s Strawberry Kisses or dance around the house to Floyd Cramer’s On The Rebound. This week, however, with each F5 it seemed there were fewer and fewer people out there who weren’t busying themselves spewing bile about Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. Let’s backtrack: I had completely forgotten the song was being “dropped” on Friday last, as I was in the middle of a self-imposed internet detox. Having stepped away from Twitter and Facebook, it was a casual Tumblr browse that revealed Born This Way – which wasn’t meant to hit Australian ears until after 10pm – early that evening. Within mere minutes there were more than 2500 ‘notes’ on the Tumblr post of the song. I popped back onto Twitter to articulate some brief thoughts and watched the internet explode with frenzied link-sharing. It was like being there moments after the big bang; the birth of a meme in the form of a radio release. I found – and find – the song immensely exciting: the perfect melding of the sort of ‘90s dance music I used to rollerskate to at the Fun Factory with ‘80s stadium pop and the grinding synthesisers Gaga has made her thing (even if they were Trevor Horn’s thing long before she plugged one in). That wasn’t the general consensus: “It sounds like Madonna’s Express Yourself,” whined a predictable bunch of armchair critics (it doesn’t; nor does Ke$ha’s TiK ToK, or Katy Perry’s California Girls or EVERY OTHER FUCKING SONG THEY ALL SAY SOUNDS LIKE EXPRESS YOURSELF). It’s true, not everyone wants to be “a queen”, and not everyone was “born this way” – some of us piece ourselves together based on experience and influence; some of us are an ever-shifting work of art, constantly tinkered with. But on some level at least, we were at least born to do that. Most umbrage seemed to be taken, however, with Born This Way’s positioning as an inspirational anthem of personal acceptance. Not because of that fact, but the way Gaga has gone about it – specifically, the lines “You’re black, white, beige, Chola descent/You’re Lebanese, you’re Orient” and “No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgendered life/I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive.” Are these lyrics hamfisted? Sure. Are they a little offensive? Depending on your personal level of sensitivity, potentially. But could they speak directly to a generation of youths who perhaps need a more unambiguous statement of acceptance, who need to feel they’ve been mentioned in the shopping list of life’s glorious rainbow? Yes. What’s wrong with saying it all out loud? It’s worth remembering that it’s been an awfully long time – and no, I don’t count either iteration of I Kissed A Girl – since the pop charts have explicitly celebrated queerness; maybe Tom Robinson’s Glad To Be Gay in 1978, or the Pet Shop Boys’ Go West in 1993? Beyond all this – as it’s a topic that requires more space than Greatest Hit can offer – I just don’t understand the griping and hand-wringing about Born This Way being a bad song. It’s far from it; I wouldn’t stoop to the levels of “instant classic” that some exclamation mark enthusiasts did on Friday night, but Born This Way has plenty of the hallmarks of brilliant pop. It’s huge, exciting and propulsive. On what level did it not deliver? Perhaps because after the deranged melodrama of Telephone and the oddness of Bad Romance (now, let’s talk about songs that aren’t very good), the shock of Born This Way is its very chintz and fizz. And when everyone is expecting a high and mighty dissertation about modern queer life delivered through a fog of avant-garde prog-electro noodling, delivering a great shiny chunk of pop instead is probably the most subversive thing you can do. As the song says: “I love my life, I love this record, and mi amore vole fe yah.”
WOMEN STOP TRAFFIC
GOSSLING FOR THE KIDS Indulge in an afternoon where a string of musicians donate soulful performances to OrphFund this Saturday in the John Curtin Bandroom. OrphFund is a 100% volunteer-based organisation that fundraises for self-sustaining, long-term projects that reach some of the world’s poorest children. With her second EP, Until Then, just released, Gossling prepares to back up what was a beautiful year touring with Lior, The Whitlams and Whitley, in 2011. She’s joined by the massive line-up of The Messengers, Jarek, Nice Boy Tom, Megalove, Warrawee Drummers, The No Real Need, Dalys Hill and DJ Em-Sem. As if the Bandroom could get any hotter! Entry is $15 with all proceeds donated.
VENTURE TO THE ESPY
The Hidden Venture are lighting up the Espy front bar every Wednesday night in February as part of Collage. The band are proud to be setting free their frantic riffs and crazed sonics at this hallowed Melbourne institution of live music. Expect the kind of sounds you might hear if Jeff Buckley gate crashed a jam session between Josh Homme and Jimi Hendrix. Entry is free and the first act starts at 8.30pm.
Sisters For Sisters is a charity event to help raise funds for women who have been rescued from sextrafficking in Nepal, Cambodia and Thai-Burma border. Funds raised will support the operational cost of providing shelter, prevention campaigns, education, legal aid, vocational training and counselling projects. Happening at the Toff In Town tonight (Wednesday), the line-up includes renowned local songwriters, dancers, DJs, spoken word and visual artists such as Vida-Sunshyne (Mista Savona), Candice Monique (Metals), Hailey Cramer (Blue King Brown), Saritah, Sista Itations and many more. Entry is $10 from 7.30pm.
BANGIN’ RACKETTES HIT BALL
Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes could make a blind man stare, a deaf man dance and all the single ladies shake it with their high volume, high hair, ten-piece soul train stage show. Drawing influence from Etta James, Tina Turner, The Shirelles and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the band set their own scene – sweaty, gritty dancehall 1964, big make-up and even bigger hair, late-night dirty dancing, making out in the car park and cigarettes hidden in beehives. After being locked up in the recording studio for the last month, they get back on stage at Bar Open this Saturday with support from Leon Thomas. Entry is free from 10pm.
STILL GOT THE BLUES The fret-burning RAY BEADLE headlines this year’s BRUTHEN BLUES FESTIVAL, Australia’s biggest little blues fest, writes SAMUEL J FELL. back in the day, but I think that’s a good thing.”
hese days, there are a plethora of festivals for the discerning music fan to choose from – perhaps too many. They seem to pop up all over the place, each summer yielding more and more choice, more and more bands, more and more locations. How do you choose? How do you get the best bang for your buck? How do you know what you’re getting yourself in for, particularly with a first time festival? So many festivals, so little time, and they’re getting bigger and bigger, unwieldy things which run for a week and you’re left at the end feeling sated, yes, but also like you’ve been hit by a truck. It’s tough out there. Luckily though, you’ve still got your smaller festivals, the ones that cater to a more specialised audience, the ones that you’d miss if you blinked, and in truth, some of these are amongst the best. If you’re a blues fan in particular, you’ve got a whole host of events to choose from, and one of the nicest is the Bruthen Blues & Arts Festival, held in Bruthen, an unassuming hamlet about 300 clicks east of Melbourne, on the third weekend of February every year. “I see festivals as a win-win situation for performers and public. Because as a performer, when you are starting out playing pubs and clubs, you begin your gig with an ‘I’ve got to get the crowd on side’ frame of mind,” muses guitarist and Bruthen headliner, Ray Beadle, on the appeal of so much choice. “At festivals though, people are there because they love live music and are ready to have a good time. I have been playing festivals here and overseas for the last 16 years and there are more festivals around now then
This year, Bruthen will host its 16th annual Blues & Arts Festival, a three-day romp tagged ‘Australia’s biggest little blues festival’, and one guaranteed to have you dancing in the aisles, cavorting in the streets and generally running amok to some of the finest sounds going around. Artists this year include Beadle, Andrea Marr Band, Robert Owen Campbell, Daniel Champagne and the Rosie Burgess Trio, a line-up boasting quality over quantity in a weekend sure to leave you wanting more. “I have done Bruthen once before with The King Brothers [Ron and Jeff King from The Foreday Riders]. It was at least ten years ago, but I remember it well. It was a great set-up in the beer garden of the pub with stacks of great people, food, drinks and good music. With all of that, you can’t go wrong really,” he smiles. It’s players like Beadle that make festivals like Bruthen so worthwhile. For while the town provides the location, the venues and the manpower, it’s the artists who draw the punters ad get ‘em cookin’ – Beadle is no exception. The last time I saw him play, shredding fretboards aplenty was at Bluesfest last year. I’m interested to see how he’s moved on since then, what he and his band are doing differently. “Well, we were a four-piece with organ, but for Bruthen we will strip back to trio mode which in my opinion is a little more raw in that the fewer musicians that are on stage, the more each individual is revealed.” The more Beadle himself is revealed, the more chance there is of him melting your face with his six-string virtuosity – you can bet Bruthen this year will heave and moan under the pressure. “We are just keen to get down there and make sure everybody is on that dance floor shakin’ everything they got! My mum used to tell me, ‘If the people ain’t dancin’, then you ain’t doing it right!’” WHO: Ray Beadle WHAT: Bruthen Blues And Arts Festival WHEN & WHERE: Friday to Sunday, Bruthen
Hunting Foxes play at the Evelyn every Sunday in February. HOW DID YOU GET TOGETHER? Benjamin James Shields, vocals/guitar: “Through white rum and love. Although I’m starting to think that white rum may have been tequila.” HAVE YOU RECORDED ANYTHING OR DO YOU PREFER TO TOOL AROUND IN YOUR BEDROOM? “If I understand the question, and I believe I do, the answer is yes.” CAN YOU SUM UP YOUR BAND’S SOUND IN FOUR WORDS? “No.” IF YOU COULD SUPPORT ANY BAND IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? “Lady Gaga because I want to poke-her face (this was answered by our guitarist, Jarrad Evans.” IF A HIGHER POWER SMITES YOUR HOUSE AND YOU CAN ONLY SAVE ONE RECORD FROM THE FIRE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? “Club Hits ‘98. There is heaps wicked shit on that album. Rhythm Of The Night gives me a stiffy.” DO YOU HAVE A LUCKY ITEM OF CLOTHING YOU WEAR FOR GIGS AND WHAT IS IT? “We have a jockstrap we share around, everyone gets a turn. Honestly, the smell isn’t great, but there you go.” IF YOU INVITED SOMEONE AWESOME ROUND FOR DINNER WHAT WOULD YOU COOK? “Instead of cooking I’d probably just repeatedly yell, “What’s cookin’ good lookin’?!” until they ran away very fast.” WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO DRINK IN MELBOURNE? “The Evelyn! Sundays in Feb!”
SMASHED ON A YACHT
Melbourne nouveau yacht rockers The Vaudeville Smash return to the Toff In Town this Saturday to follow up on their massive show there in early January. It will be their last headline show before they leave our shores for South By Southwest in Texas in March. In the incredibly short time they’ve been together, The Vaudeville Smash have already established themselves as one of the most exciting, unique and dance-inducing bands in the country. This year has already seen them film their second film clip, finish their second single and travel to Sydney and Adelaide. Supported by The Stoics, tickets are $10+BF from Moshtix or $12 on the door from 8pm.
NEWBIRDS ARE HAWT This Thursday the third issue of Blac Mail at Revolver Upstairs will see the talents of Newbirds, The Greasers and The Kicks on display. Drawing on influences such as Carlton Draught, Vic Bitter, and Melbourne Bitter respectively, Newbirds are sure to impress. Channelling a direct line from The Rolling Stones at their whiskey soaked soul and gospel best through to the harmony-laden tunes of Little Red, the boys make an incredible sound for a primal three-piece. Entry is $10 from 8.30pm
HUMP DAY RIFFS
Tonight (Wednesday), head to Show Us Your Riffs at the Bendigo Hotel and take your guitar and tunes along with you! This is the place for you if you’ve been practising in your bedroom for months and you feel like you’re now ready to perform an acoustic set. Anyone is welcome to use the house guitar, but you can take your own if you want to, otherwise take your plectrums, vocal chords or any other instrument you wish to play. Register online or pre-register at the venue, but get in early as spots are usually filled prior to the event! With free entry, cheap jugs (ahoy!) as well as the new burger menu, this is a pretty sweet midweek fi x.
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HARD TIMES AND NURSERY RHYMES
Iconic rock’n’roll band Social Distortion are back, better then ever, with their ﬁrst studio album in six years, Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes. Catch them live, touring Australia for the ﬁrst time as part of the Soundwave Festival in Feb/March 2011.
The Music.com.au is also giving you the chance to win a signed Epiphone 56 Goldtop from the band. Simply go to the themusic.com.au and ‘like’ the page for your chance to win. HARD TIMES AND NURSERY RHYMES by SOCIAL DISTORTION is on sale Friday 21 January. You can also see the band live at Soundwave 2011 or at one of their many sideshows. Go to www.soundwavefestival.com for more details.
All things under 18 with KENDAL COOMBS email@example.com
Hardcore and punk with SARAH PETCHELL
On a recent booze run to QV (which I enjoyed responsibly like any cool adult) I realised that the QV Summer Series has been happening this year despite being signed up to that particular mailing list and having heard nothing about it in my search for quality entertainment for the allages audience. There are still two weeks of the concert series left, and it seems they’ve kept the best ‘til last. This Friday Push Songs songwriter extraordinaire and Melbourne favourite Charles Jenkins is playing from 5.30pm, this Saturday genre-bending beach boys Custom Kings will be hitting the stage from 2pm, and this Sunday ex-Australian Idol showman Bobby Flynn is set to bring the shopping centre to life from 2pm. Next week the hits keep rolling with globetrotting Melburnian Nicholas Roy hitting the stage on Friday 25 February at 5.30pm, then Saturday 26 February underground favourites Red Ink will impress again, fresh off the heels of a successful St Kilda Fest set, playing QV from 2pm, and finally Sunday 27 February local band on the rise The Hello Morning will hit the stage from 2pm. The QV concert series is a lazy, laid-back event perfect for a summer afternoon/evening, great to set up an epic night, or to enjoy an early one if you’re turning into a nana like me. Make sure you head along to at least one of these gigs, you won’t regret it. Speaking of Push Songs, the 2011 series artists have been announced, and if you were one of the lucky few to be chosen to participate, then you have a lot to look forward to. Push Songs sees participants workshop and develop song ideas and sketches with Charles Jenkins, as well as two special guest songwriters (of their choosing) including Even’s Ash Naylor, Lisa Miller, Mick Thomas, Rebecca Barnard, Monique Brumby, Jen Cloher, Wally De Backer of Gotye and The Basics, Mark Seymour and many others. If some classic Australian songs don’t come out of at least one of these collaborations I will be very surprised. If you are a songwriter and want to get in on the action next year then watch this space toward the end of the year, and get your songs ready now.
Tonight Alive from Sydney are playing the Musicman Megastore, Bendigo, from 5.30pm. Tickets are $15 on the door.
Martin Watkins, in conjunction with CreativeYouth Wangaratta, has organised a gig to pay tribute to local girl Bonnie Howden. This Friday St Patricks Hall Wangaratta will be transformed into a music venue, playing host to the hottest local acts including Soma, Disclosure, Mindless, Vince Vega, Genuine Error, Bronson, Dead Weight and Dethroned. This event is free so make sure you get there early. Doors open at 5pm. Smythesdale Skatepark Action takes place from 5pm, featuring plenty of skating and local entertainment. This event is free. Over Flow, a flood relief concert, is on at the Mooroolbark Community Centre from 6pm. Artists include State Of East London, Beneath The Rising Tide, A Better Place, Restless, Plan The Escape and Glorified. Entry is $10 and all proceeds go to the Premier’s relief fund.
The Getaway Plan play a special underage show at the Hi-Fi with guests Tonight Alive and Secrets In Scale. Tickets are $35.20 through the venue. Doors open at 12pm. Another flood relief concert is on, this time at the Anglican Church Hall in Myrtleford. Artists include DJ Ben, Justin Reed & Jake Bray-Butler and Smokin Aces. It’s a gold coin donation to get in, with all proceeds going to flood relief efforts. Tonight Alive
Also, a reminder that The Getaway Plan reunion shows hit town this weekend. Supported by Tonight Alive and Secrets In Scale, the 18+ show this Saturday is sold out, but tickets to the under-18 show during the day at the Hi-Fi are still available.
Dead Kennedys are touring! Okay, so Jello Biafra is not doing vocals but it is pretty much the rest of the band we know and love from the ‘80s with Klaus Flouride, East Bay Ray and DH Peligro joining forces with Ron ‘Skip’ Greer to bring the DKs to Australia for the first time in a couple of decades. There are only three shows on this tour (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane), so this really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all you young’uns out there to catch this undeniably influential band! The Melbourne show will be at Billboard on Wednesday 6 April and tickets are on sale now. It’s getting very close to Soundwave time so I hope that everyone has all their tickets sorted and their Sidewave schedules figured out. It seems that the Soundwave announcements have stopped, but details about them are constantly being released. For example, the support acts for the intimate This Town Needs Guns Sidewaves: Arrows and To The North will join the line-up at the show at the Toff In Town on Wednesday 2 March. To The North are a fantastic live band, so this is a welcome addition to this Sidewave. Soundwave Touring have also announced their first major tour of 2011. Escape The Fate will be hitting up Australia with progressive-hardcore act Pierce The Veil. I’m not a massive Escape The Fate fan, but I’ve heard good things about Pierce The Veil. The double bill will definitely kick arse, so make sure you pick up tickets for the two shows that are booked –an 18+ show at Billboard on Wednesday 27 April and an under-18 show the next night at the same venue. Tickets are on sale now, so make sure you get in quick! The I Exist and Phantoms Bad Romance 7” tour also hits town this week. You really, really need to get along to one of these shows if you can because both bands are two of the best coming out of Australian hardcore at the moment (in my
This week’s Soundwave Q&A is brought to you by the mighty fine-looking gentlemen in The Bronx. If you don’t check them out at Soundwave, you’re an idiot! That’s all there is to it, basically… What are you most looking forward to about heading to Australia for Soundwave? “Every time we play in Australia is better than the last. This time it’s extra special because Soundwave has gotten so big. We’re looking forward to playing our part in what will definitely be the best festival of the year.” humble and honest opinion). The bands are playing two shows in Melbourne, the first this Saturday at the Arthouse Hotel with Collapsed and Outright supporting. Doors are at 8.30pm and this is an 18+ show, but for you all-ages kids there’s a show at Phoenix Youth Centre this Sunday. Doors are at 2pm and Hallower and Bear Witness will be supporting.
Who are you most eager to check out on the bill?
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Title Fight had signed to Side One Dummy and were heading into the studio to record their debut album, though no details about the record were available at time of writing. Well now, some details have emerged about the release. Titled Shed, it will be released 3 May, and as mentioned previously it was produced by Walter Schreifels of Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools and Quicksand fame.
What is something that no one knows about your band?
In other release news, I’m so excited by the fact that Los Angeles’ Letlive have been signed to Epitaph and that their amazingly explosive third album, Fake History, will finally get a local release later this year. I heard about Letlive late last year and was absolutely blown away after I checked them out. To me, I hear Glassjaw, Refused, The Blood Brothers and even a little bit of Protest The Hero, when I listen to this
Metal, heavy rock and dark alternative with ANDREW HAUG firstname.lastname@example.org Former Emperor frontman Ihsahn has contributed guest vocals to Deconstruction – the third in a series of albums from Canadian musician/ producer Devin Townsend to be made available under The Devin Townsend Project moniker. Commented Ihsahn: “I have been a longtime fan of Devin and his work, and when he asked me to do some vocals for his upcoming Deconstruction album, I said ‘yes’ right away. Devin is one of those few uncompromising artists who goes anywhere with their music, wherever that takes them. Nothing but respect!” Townsend has tapped Jens Bogren (Opeth) to mix Deconstruction. Canadian metallers Anvil will release their new album Juggernaut Of Justice on 10 May via The End Records. The CD was recorded at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606 in Northridge, California with famed producer Bob Marlette (Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper). Commented Anvil singer/guitarist Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow: “I must say that this is by far the best Anvil ever. There will be a few new surprises including bassist Glenn 5’s first lead vocals in Anvil’s history. The production that Bob Marlette has done far surpasses anything we’ve done in the past. The excitement within the band is over the top and we can’t wait to unleash this amazing CD to the fans.” Drummer Robb Reiner concurred, saying “The new album is pure Anvil with a new fresh kick. Looking to rocking with The End, putting the music where it belongs – in everybody’s ears and face!” Swedish band Falconer will release their seventh album, Armod, on 3 June via Metal Blade Records. Armod was once again recorded at King Diamond guitarist Andy La Rocque’s Sonic Train Studios in Varberg, Sweden. Falconer states, “The recording and mixing process went smoother than ever before. The album is embracing the Swedish folk music to a greater extent than before making it sound slightly more down-to-earth. The music spans from acoustic songs with cello, flute and fiddle to songs with blast beats and really heavy riffing. As said before this is a ‘one time only’ album and does not define the future sound of Falconer, but it was about time to pay full notice to the influence that has always made
album, and it’s a combination that continues to blow me away only a few months later. Epitaph’s release of Fake History will include three brand new tracks Hollywood, And She Did, Lemon Party and the Brett Gurewitz (president and founder of Epitaph, guitarist for Bad Religion) produced track This Mime (A Sex Symbol). The album will hit shelves 8 April.
“We have a lot of friends on this tour that I can’t wait to see. Queens [Of The Stone Age], Terror, Trash Talk, The Melvins… But let’s be honest: it’s all about Slayer and Iron Maiden.”
“We sleep naked.” Do you have any rituals or superstitions that you have stick to before you go onstage? If so, what… “We stick to a strict routine of hanging out, cracking jokes on each other and drinking. Works every time!” What was your favourite album of 2010 and your most anticipated for 2011? “Last year was all about Eyes & Nines by Trash Talk, produced by our guitar guru Joby J Ford. This year belongs to us. There’s a new Mariachi El Bronx and Bronx 4 coming this year. Nothing will top it.”
it can only go on if we are lucky to find the right guy. We’re not only searching for a voice which can bring our songs alive again… we are looking much more for a singer who also humanly fits with us with the Gotthard family.” Stated guitarist Freddy Scherer: “For all of us it’s a big challenge and it will not be easy at all. But we have good faith and we do what we do best – make music!” Reactivated late-‘80s/early-‘90s technicalthrash metallers Believer have finished mixing and mastering their new album for an early 2011 release via Metal Blade Records. Los Angeles-based progressive metal band Redemption, featuring vocalist Ray Alder of Fates Warning, have set This Mortal Coil as the title of their fifth album, tentatively due later in the year. The CD will be produced by Neil Kernon (Nevermore).
TOURS, TOURS, TOURS Iron Maiden – Wednesday 23 February, Hisense Arena Saxon, The Sword – Monday 28 February, the Espy Bring Me The Horizon – Wednesday 2 March, Hi-Fi High On Fire, Trash Talk, Kylesa – Wednesday 2 March, Espy Rob Zombie, Murderdolls, Monster Magnet, Dommin – Thursday 3 March, Festival Hall us different. Now we have that out of our system!” Chrome Divison, the Norwegian five-piece featuring Dimmu Borgir frontman Shagrath on guitar, has completed work on their third album for an April release via Nuclear Blast Records. Swiss hard rock icons Gotthard, whose vocalist Steve Lee was killed on 5 October, 2010 in what has been described as a freak road accident in Nevada, have released the following statement: “After the tragic accident of our friend and singer Steve Lee, we withdrew ourselves until after the new year and took a break. Now we are back again with plans for the future and a difficult task to fulfil.” Commented guitarist Leo Leoni: “After the very emotional days after Steve’s death, it was important for us to first of all try and cope with the pain, give it a place to rest and find ourselves again. It was obvious to all of us very quickly that we had to go on – Gotthard is not a job for us, Gotthard is our life!” Added drummer Hena Habegger: “Of course
Devildriver, Ill Nino, All That Remains – Thursday 3 March, Billboard Finntroll – Friday 25 March, Billboard Disturbed, Trivium, As I Lay Dying – Sunday 24 April, Rod Laver Arena Quiet Riot, Warrant, La Guns – Friday 29 April, Palace Alestorm – Saturday 14 May, Corner Hotel Suicidal Tendencies – Sunday 15 May, Billboard Morbid Angel – Friday 27 May, Hi-Fi The Haunted – Saturday 28 May, Hi-Fi Nevermore – Friday 10 June, Billboard Andrew Haug hosts Triple J’s The Racket every Tuesday from 10pm – triplej.abc.net.au/ racket. Email email@example.com
BREAKDOWN Pop culture therapy with ADAM CURLEY ‘Film nights’ can be strange and awkward little ventures. If you don’t know the person running it, or the group of their friends there to watch/drink/ talk Fassbinder, they’re about as appealing as inviting your neighbours over to curl up on your bed and read a book over your shoulder. Okay, it depends how hot your neighbours are, but the point remains: small gatherings of strangers can equal social anxiety to the max. And no one wants to feel self-conscious at the moment James Spader is sticking it into Holly Hunter’s leg wound. On the ‘flip side’, film nights can bring with them a spirit of community and even a level of virtuousness (assuming it’s not a Jennifer Aniston movie or 127 Hours on the screen). Gathering a like-minded group to ‘appreciate’ something with an interesting idea behind it – to ‘share’ in an idea – can enrich relationships and cultures. There’s a reason it’s the basis of ‘underground’ culture. On the whole, it seems that film nights are becoming the ‘thing’ again, as commercial cinemas lose patronage and therefore variety due to the home-viewing ‘revolution’. With no money and nowhere to go besides a handful of festivals, independent film is getting intimate, finding homes in bars and art galleries and lounge rooms thanks to inventive distributors (if the film has a distributor at all). However, that goes double for films connected to music or the ‘music business’. Put it down to the continued meshing of film and music mediums, the availability of technologies or the need for record labels and venues to diversify in order to find audiences. Music peeps seem to be leading the film night revival. In August last year, word came from the US that Jagjaguwar, the Indiana label that houses Bon Iver and The Cave Singers, was dipping its toe into film with a DVD release of The Builder, directed by a guy named R. Alverson, whose old band, Spokane, was also signed to the label. With no experience in film distribution, the label turned to the ways it held gigs to find an interested audience – screenings were held in small bars.
Likewise, Chicago label Drag City bought the distribution rights to Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers, opening up distribution to anyone with money and a screen who wanted to show it. Around the same time, Danish band Efterklang were working with French director Vincent Moon to create a film titled An Island, which they’ve now made digitally available to anyone around the world who wants to organise a screening. The film runs at 50 minutes and is essentially a performative reworking of the eight-piece group’s 2010 album, Magic Chairs (out through 4AD), with the help of an island off the Danish coast and its inhabitants. A website dedicated to it – anisland.cc – has three short (and pretty stunning) previews for streaming. Anyone can apply to host a screening as long as the space the film is screened can hold a minimum of five people, entry is free and the event is public. The website also shows where screenings are taking place, including, so far, a few in Australia. Moon has previously worked with bands around the world on filmed performances, as part of the Take Away Shows project with other directors (go to blogotheque.net to watch films of Yeasayer, Grizzly Bear, Scout Niblett, Sweden’s Wildbirds & Peacedrums – who are heading over here in March – and more than a hundred others) and independently with the like of The National, REM and Arcade Fire, who he’s recently been involved in a public wordbiffo with over really boring business stuff. With REM, Moon directed the ‘90nights’ series in which, for 90 days leading up to the band’s 2008 album Accelerate, a downloadable hidef piece of footage was made available on a dedicated website each day. At the end, anyone could cut together their own edit of the footage. If that project was a sign of the way film and marketing were invading/being invited into home environments and even of the breaking down of the creator-audience relationship, perhaps the Efterklang project is a sign that ideas relating to ‘community’ are slowly making their way back. In Efterklang’s model, there is less ‘us and them’ and more ‘we’; the audience also culturally virtuous by being actively involved in the process and the awkwardness somewhat surpassed by everyone’s innate connectedness to the project. Better change the sheets and get ready for the neighbours.
Blues ‘n’ roots with DAN CONDON firstname.lastname@example.org The third announcement for Bluesfest has just dropped and so has my jaw. Boy, are there some surprises! The legendary Leon Russell heads up the latest announcement and he is very closely tailed by one of the greatest bands in the history of the world in the 32-piece funk extravaganza that is George Clinton Parliament/Funkadelic, who will be playing a three-hour set! If you have seen P-Funk play before then you know that they are absolutely unmissable and if you haven’t then I won’t be taking any excuses for you not seeing them this time around. My only hope is that organisers decide to give both of these artists sets on a day other than the Tuesday so those who can’t afford to get along on this last day can see them. The rest of the bill is solid as a rock too, with my previously suggested acts Luciano & Jah Messenjah Band, Imogen Heap, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Raul Malo, Michelle Shocked and Peter Rowan & The Blue Grass Band as well as Ernest Ranglin (whose set at the festival in 2005 with Monty Alexander was one of my finest ever Bluesfest discoveries), Public Opinion Afro Orchestra, Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed, The Bamboos, The Mad Bastards, Warrior King & Bonnie Casey, The Hands, Bobby Alu and Hussy Hicks. The depth of this festival is mind-boggling. There are already very limited tickets left and I’m guessing there’ll be none at all before long, so hit bluesfest.com.au and grab one right now. The festival hits Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm from Thursday 21 April to Tuesday 26 April. Put a glide in your stride and a dip in your hip and come on up to the Mothership. Chilean folk singer Nano Stern has really taken a shining to life in Australia by the looks of things; he’s been a regular visitor to our shores for quite
some time now and has just announced that he’ll be back in the country next month for a series of shows with his four-piece band. This will be the first time that Stern has brought the band with him, so even if you’ve seen him before this promises to be a completely different experience and if reviews of their performances abroad are anything to go by it looks like we’re in for a treat. Stern and friends will be bringing their blend of Latin American and European folk music with flourishes of modern rock, folk and jazz to the Port Fairy Folk Festival Friday 11 March to Monday 14 March and the Brunswick Town Hall on Thursday 17 March. Last year’s Countryman from Australian roots legend Frank Yamma was another great release from the artist who many consider to be Australia’s most important indigenous singer/songwriter. The traditional Pitjantjatjara man from Australia’s central desert is one of the highlights of this year’s Brunswick Music Festival and when he plays his show at the East Brunswick Club on Sunday 27 March, he’ll be joined by the great LJ Hill. If you’re not familiar with Hill, he’s a part Aboriginal, part Native American, part Irish musician, and once you hear his songs you can really pick up on this mixed heritage. Likewise, his love of artists like Merle Haggard and Bruce Springsteen really comes through in his oft-forlorn songs. This promises to be a magical night of song – grab your tickets from the venue now for $26+BF. It’s terribly sad to hear of the passing of the great Gary Moore while he was on holiday in Spain over the weekend. While Moore was renowned for his work with Thin Lizzy, he did release 20 solo albums that showcase what an exceptional talent he was (even though most of the records he released in the 80s have dated fairly badly). A great blues guitarist in the hard rock style, perhaps the highlight of Moore’s career was 1990’s Still Got The Blues, which saw him shirk away from trying to write hit songs and rediscover his love of blues. Grab a copy, look past some of the awful synth sounds and enjoy some stunning playing. Moore was 58 when he passed.
SATURDAY 19TH LUAU COWBOYS 5 TIL 7 PM
SUNDAY 20TH LARGE NUMBER 12’s 5 TIL 7 PM
TUESDAY 22ND PETER EWING & FRIENDS ACOUSTIC FROM 8.30PM
New electro hip hop rock duo Symbols are set to launch their debut EP, Signs Of Truth, this Friday at Bar 303 in Northcote before heading north for an East Coast tour. Using guitar and electronic instruments to create their own psychedelic sound thatâ€™s both unique and accessible, Symbols have been likened to The Killers meets One Day As A Lion meets Tricky, but they reckon their sound is more like MF Doom and Tunde Adebimpe dancing naked on a highway with heads full of psilocybin.
SYDONIA, JERICCO, EAST BRUNNERS
CAMP WITH RAPSKALLION Lace up ya bodice, strap on ya cutlass, cock ya hat to a jaunty angle and go be a part of Rapskallionâ€™s return to the Spiegeltent on Tuesday 22 February. The band have circumnavigated the globe with their own brand of rustic and romantic Vaudevillian junkyard pirate blues shanties, and have docked back in Melbourne for a short time before they once again succumb to their insatiable wanderlust. Entry to the Spiegeltent show is $20 from 6pm.
Harlott are launching their debut EP at Pony this Friday, so be sure to get down and grab yourself a copy. Opening the night are Diprosus with some serious heavy metal, followed by Naberus with their signature display of melody and brutality. And to finish it all off, Harlott take the stage with their thrash hats on and go ballistic. If you like your metal, whether it be thrash, death or groove, you should definitely be there. Doors at 9pm.
Sydonia and Jericco are smashing it together live across the nation. The two Melbourne alternative rock heavyweights have joined forces for the first time and will be taking over the East Brunswick Club this Saturday night to kick off their tour. Sydonia have just completed an East Coast tour with US nu-metal legends Korn and are currently gearing up for several appearances at the Woodford Folk Festival. Jericco have had a huge 2010, culminating with a spot at this yearâ€™s Pyramid Rock Festival. Their new EP, Nice To See You, is gaining momentum with single number two, B Song, now out. Tickets are $18+BF from the venue.
ALEXâ€™S NEW TONGUE Alex Watts writes character-driven narratives in the form of three-minute pop songs. His characters are both fantastical and everyday; from drunken lovers to marooned spacemen. Having previously fronted Melbourne band Dirty Sanchez, Watts has spent the last two years traversing the globe and writing a new tune or two. Since arriving back in Oz in 2010 he has enlisted a new three-piece band, The Foreign Tongue; together they blend influences of Joe Strummer and Hank Williams, resulting in a sound that is uniquely their own. Catch Alex Watts & The Foreign Tongue at the Edinburgh Castle this Friday night, along with Elk & Whale and Nick Green. Entry is $8 from 8.30pm.
HIGH STANDARDS With the guidance of James Morrison, SARAH MCKENZIE is shaping up as our next big jazz star, writes JEREMY WILLIAMS. Western Australian Academy Of Performing Arts in Perth. She recalls that â€œat that stage I was really sort of playing piano and singing a bit. But he really encouraged me to do the both and to continue writing.â€? While her debut release will focus heavily on jazz standards, she is excited that it will also â€œfeature some of my original tunes as wellâ€?. So, with an album dominated by standards, how did McKenzie set about choosing which of her compositions could stand up against the classics?
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