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FASTLOVE: A TRIBUTE TO GEORGE MICHAEL MAGGIE ROGERS
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Credits Publisher Street Press Australia Pty Ltd Group Managing Editor Andrew Mast National Editor – Magazines Mark Neilsen Senior Editor Sam Wall
Blame it on the juice
Editors Daniel Cribb, Neil Griffiths
izzomania is sweeping our office. And, you can definitely blame it on the Juice. My own first encounter with the Detroit-born artist’s music was via my need to try and watch as much US late night TV as possible. I was googling ‘Lizzo’ just seconds into her 2015 performance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. It seems I was witnessing Ain’t I, from her second album Big Grrrl Small World, and I was struck not only by her socio-political flow (“What was Henry Ford without the cars?/ My grandparents worked at Ford factory/So Henry is nothing without my family tree”) but also the freshness of her beats and production as well as the fact that she featured dancers The Big Grrrls on stage with her as a part of her continued conversation about body positivity. At this point, I added Lizzo to my list of acts to keep an eye on (and, yes, that is an actual list I keep — that obsession with lists has been addressed here previously, so let’s leave that alone). Just under a year later and there was Lizzo on my screen again, this time performing on Full Frontal With Samantha Bee’s election night episode where Lizzo was initially booked to celebrate what was meant to be a resounding win by Hillary Clinton. Instead Lizzo had to play to an audience mourning Donald Trump’s elevation to the US presidency. Lizzo left jaws on the ground with her poignant acapella version of gospel anthem Lift Every Voice & Sing. And then somehow segued into a feel-good finale with, what is now her don’t-let-anything-hold-you-back anthem, Good As Hell. I was hooked. Lizzo’s Coconut Oil EP became a permanent playlist favourite. And Good As Hell became inescapable as it soundtracked various US film and TV show’s ‘empowerment’ moments. What followed was a string of songs that kept the love alive: Water Me, Truth Hurts, Fitness, Boys, Karaoke (with Big Freedia), Juice, Cuz I Love You and Tempo (with Missy Elliott, no less). Now an album is ready to drop on 19 April and we tried hard to land an interview for this issue but Lizzo has been too busy putting the final touches on the release. And, the album is being kept so under wraps that we couldn’t even get it in time to feature in our album review section. So, this little essay is making sure we don’t hit the streets Lizzo-less in the month of her album release. Hopefully her upcoming international tour will feature Australia and we can get some of her wise words into The Music. A great talent we do catch up with in this issue is Aldous Harding. Bryget Chrisfield conducted an engrossing chat with Harding, who has already supplied us with one of the year’s most striking songs and videos in The Barrel. Steve Bell also talks to enigmatic US rocker Van Duren and one of the two Australians who have documented how their fandom has revived the performer’s career. Maxim Boon continues the uplifting vibe as he investigates some of the humans around the globe who are making moves to save our environment.
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T h e s ta r t
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This month’s best binge watching
Shit We Did: Guerilla Gardening Guest editorial: Sydney comedian Cassie Workman
Cassie is probably the most experienced newcomer to comedy in the country, owing to the fact that she previously performed under another name. Earlier in 2017, she tioning. Cassie is known for her heartfelt and emotive storytelling, her incisive wit and brutal deconstructions of the status quo. There is no other voice like hers in comedy today.
The Arts The best arts of the month
Film & TV reviews
33 Bleach* Festival Shock tactics in Throttle, Terror Australis and The Cleaners
rgan Rober : Mo
came out as transgender, and began transi-
Van Duren How a lost musical icon was pushed back into the limelight
Julia Stone From jazz songs and high school big bands to Bluesfest
The California Honeydrops
Pic: Tom Wilkinson
Emily Blackburn Emily spends her days as an avid Harry Potter nerd, cat lover and bookworm. When’s she’s not writing, listening or shooting, she’s usually hanging from the ceilings training as
Totally Unicorn, Spiral Stairs
The Big Picture: Nick Makrides
Slowing down the apocalypse How to avoid ecological disaster
an aerialist in silks and hoop, and is currently learning Australian Sign Language.
Your Town Record Store Day The vinyl revival
This month’s local highlights
university. On weekends you’ll spot her at a
: C l a re S h i l l a nd
The end Aldous Harding Always trusting her instincts
Fantastic Negrito, Vintage Trouble
Keira is a Tasmanian writer in her final year of local punk gig or travelling internationally for Taylor Swift. She’s a sucker for sad songs and shares 67 house plants with her partner.
T h e s ta r t
“A candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long...”
APRIL 17 TThHeE M Mu Us S iI C c
Approachable Members Of Your Local Community
Bold eagle There weren’t many Australian artists with bigger years than Adrian Eagle in 2018 and he’s riding that energy right into 2019. His headline east coast tour for jubilant new single AOK kicks off this 5 Apr in Melbourne.
Two dozen Experimental Sydney duo Party Dozen dropped their self-titled new single back in February and after their recent spot at Farmer & The Owl, they’re taking it out for an east coast tour. The first date is 19 Apr in Melbourne.
Thriller of the community Approachable Members Of Your Local Community’s three-date run for their new single One I Need will stop in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney from 25 Apr. Head along for their signature “matching outfits and deeply funky grooves”.
Groovin The Moo heads around the country this month with a string of huge international and homegrown acts including Nick Murphy, Hilltop Hoods, Billie Eilish and DMA’S. The party starts this 26 Apr and runs through till 11 May.
Groovin’s a mood
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See you next Blues-day
This month’s best binge watching
It has been months since Bluesfest dropped the first artist line-up for its dirty 30th event and as usual it’s only continued to grow from there. This 18 Apr the wait is finally over. Catch you at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm for everyone from Hussy Hicks to Iggy Pop.
The Ladies Guide To Dude Cinema
The Bold Type, Season 3
Kat Edison (Aisha Dee), Sutton Brady (Meghann Fahy), and Jane Sloan (Katie Stevens) are back at Scarlet magazine for another season of The Bold Type. Just from the 60-second promo video that dropped awhile back, it looks like Kat has become a surprise City Council candidate, Sutton’s leaving Scarlet to become a fashion designer and Jane’s got a new nemesis in the magazine’s fresh head of digital.
Iggy Pop. Pic: Ross Haifin
Podcast of the month: The Ladies Guide To Dude Cinema
Streams from 10 Apr on Stan
The Last OG, Season 2
Sydney comics Alex Jae and Bec Charlwood review the movies men in their lives are appalled they’ve never seen before, like Rocky and Top Gun, in The Ladies Guide To Dude Cinema, with new eps dropping weekly. Produced by Jordan Peele and Tracy Morgan, and starring the later alongside Tiffany Haddish, the first season of The Last OG saw Tray return to his Brooklyn neighbourhood after 15 years in prison to find it gentrified beyond recognition. Now having rebuilt some connection with his ex-girlfriend (Hadish) and two children, Tray’s working on his dream of becoming a chef- with the same deftly balanced mix of comedy and drama praised in the show’s first run.
Streams from 3 Apr on Stan
Killing Eve, Season 2
ARIA award-winning artist Montaigne is on the road again with her latest single For Your Love. The first show is on her home turf in Sydney this11 Apr, before she takes it nationally with another of Australia’s shining stars, Eilish Gilligan.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s wildly addictive cat and mouse series has had a thankfully quick turn around with the second season of Killing Eve back on screens this month. The series follows MI5 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and psychopathic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). The pair’s all-consuming obsession with each other finished up bloody and looks like it’ll start the same way in this one. Streams from 8 Apr on ABC iview
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Glower power Fresh from a set at UNIFY Gathering and a massive run late last year, Melbourne hardcore punks Pagan head out on a series of headline dates starting this month. The Evil Eye tour stops in major cities and regional towns starting 18 Apr.
Horizon event Bring Me The Horizon’s three-stop Aussie stadium tour kicks off this 10 Apr in Brisbane before heading down the east coast. Joining the Brits along the way are You Me At Six, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Trophy Eyes. Good Boy
Git gud Good Boy are back and gooder than ever, playing a five-date run of shows across the country. Catch them and their catchy, politically charged latest single CRF from 4 Apr.
Bourne supremacy Winterbourne’s The Much Better tour starts this month in Fremantle before stopping in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. The Central Coast duo have promised “banger after banger” from their “extensive catalogue of bangers”.
Bring Me The Horizon. Pic: Justin Borucki
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Sh*t we did
With Maxim Boon
After nearly ten years, the screen adaption of George RR Martin’s murder-happy fantasy epic is coming to an end. The final season of Game Of Thrones screens from 15 Apr on Fox Showcase.
Game Of Thrones. Pic: Helen Sloan/HBO
Guerrilla Gardening It ain’t easy being green, especially in the big city. Fortunately, there are those among us who are taking the matter into their own green-thumbed hands. Guerrilla gardening is a global movement, bringing greenery to urban environments by reclaiming neglected pieces of land, usually owned by local government, for cultivating plants. This horticultural paying-it-forward is also beginning to run in the opposite direction, with hawk-eyed gar-
That’s all folk
deners rescuing plants that are struggling in
Canberra’s National Folk Festival, this 18 -22 Apr, has an endless line-up of top-quality acts including ARIA-nominee Fanny Lumsden, Freya Josephine Hollick, Gawurra, John John Festival, Little Quirks, Mission Songs Project and The April Verch Band for a start.
areas most guerrilla gardening focuses on:
toxic environments and transplanting them to more suitable spaces. There are two main renewal and edibles. For some, the motivation is concerned with improving the liveability of an area, brightening dull sidewalks with flowers and vibrant plants. For others, it’s all about creating open-access kitchen gardens, with herbs and vegetables grown for the good of the neighbourhood. In Australia, guerrilla gardening has also spearheaded a push to bring back indigenous plants, especially in cities where there is a lot of foreign
Revengers The Avengers lost just about everything in Infinity War, including a good chunk of the team. Now they’ve got to get it back. Avengers: Endgame screens nationally from 24 April.
flora. But, while this all sounds wonderfully ‘kumbaya’, there is one sticking point: guerrilla gardening isn’t entirely legal. So, is taking your trowel to town worth doing time over? There’s just one way to find out…
The Verdict I’ve been fascinated with the concept of guerrilla gardening for a while, mainly because of its bizarre juxtaposition of the slightly badass, the pretentiously woke and the adorkably lame. Unfortunately, my skills in the garden are basic to say the least, so to say I’m not prime guerrilla gardening material is a bit of an understatement. Under cover of darkness though, I hit the mean streets of leafy North Fitzroy, a small gardening fork in one hand, a little rosemary bush in the other. I opt for a swap-shop approach, extracting a fine looking succulent from an overgrown verge, replacing it with the aromatic branches of the rosemary. Unfortunately, it turns out my ability to murder plants far outweighs my aptitude for keeping them alive. The poor
Burn baby burn
succulent is the first to bite the dust, which is
Audible kick off their Aussie originals with audio doc It Burns, which sees Marc Fennell follow hardcore heat seekers who compete in competitive chilli eating and breeding. Get it free on the Audible app from 16 Apr.
with my guerrilla debut a few days later, the
pretty impressive in a way, given how hardy
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they’re supposed to be. When I check in desiccated-AF rosemary puts an end to my not so promising gardening career. Seems I (grim) reap(er) what I sow.
On stage and off, there are two worlds for trans performers Sydney comedian Cassie Workman knows “you can’t escape the politics of your identity” but that doesn’t stop her claiming her happiness despite it being “fucking hard”.
And at home there are moments of sweet amnesia, where my body is cast before an illiterate mirror, where how I look means nothing, and more and more those are the moments I seek to inhabit. Outside, the passersby unpick the knots of me, and stare. Eyes are the points of knives, whispering, digging sharp elbows into each other — I see all of you, you know. They hate you when you “fool” them, they hate you when you don’t. This witch floats. I had this desire to be transparent. I didn’t want to simply appear a year or more later as a new person. I think that creates a narrative that is unfair to trans people. I wanted to show the world the stages in between, in the hope others would grow alongside me. I wanted to demystify transition. I wanted to show its flaws and foibles, and I still believe that was the right thing to do. I didn’t realise the toll it would take. I am so tired of being scrutinised, I no longer consent to the humiliation of it, and where I left my old persona behind, there he waits, at the edge of every stage, ready to reclaim me. I don’t want him anymore, I don’t want to go back there. I don’t want to go back there, because I love who I am. Life is hard now, but it’s mine. The fight for acceptance that once took place inside of me, now takes place outside. That’s really the main difference. I am asked what it’s like but it’s not possible to convey. I’ve stumbled upon some astronomical joy and people keep trying to throw blankets over it. I feel sorry for them. There is so much I don’t understand, but I understand this. The shape of it. Every day you choose to keep going, there is resistance, from people who are scared of your power. The cruel ones. It terrifies them that they have gone out of their way to make your happiness such a crime, and yet you claim it anyway. It terrifies them because it means they have no excuse to be miserable but their own cowardice. There is a paradise they are too weak to behold. They will punish you for their failings, but whatever they do, every day a peaceful shore comes into focus, closer, and more familiar.
am asked what it’s like. Every time I go on stage, I plunge into darkness. I no longer know what will happen, how deep it might get. You can’t escape the politics of your identity, and inevitably, the wear of that becomes the centrepiece of your life. The positivity, and the negativity, are indistinguishable, because ultimately they both support the same conclusion. life is harder now, and it probably always will be. I hear it in body language, and in my head. Look at “him” there, guile emerging from polished trauma. Bruises rolled in glitter. Wonderful that it can take the vitriol it’s fed and hand it back as sugar. Parading about in 8-bit femininity, starkly playing charlatan, amusing for the stage, but poorly reviewed in the bathroom. There’s the constant mythologising of struggle, until you disappear under the tide of glances, and understanding smiles, and recoiling hands, and drunken provocateurs, and gentle embraces from friends — they are now all the same to me. I am asked what it’s like, I came out as trans, and honestly, it’s fucking hard. I’m told so much what a triumph my coming out was, and how brave, but it’s impossible to hear the word “brave” and not be reminded that the world is openly hostile toward you. As I write this, I am still reliving today’s narrowly escaped assault. A man in an alley, in broad daylight, his laughing friend, his limp hands pawing towards my breast. In front of heavy curtains I am brave and lauded, but presto, on the bus home I am “just a tr*nny”, because that’s where I stop telling the joke, and instead, become it. The contrast between my two lives is the contrast of how we treat trans people. On our televisions, and in films, and on stage, we are increasingly accepted, our stories are watched and celebrated by millions, but in real life, what becomes of us? The benefits of telling your story are often outweighed by the negatives. Transitioning in the public eye ring-barks you. The stage starts to look like the inside of Shamu’s enclosure at SeaWorld — a viewing window for tourists. I can feel my dorsal fin slowly curling over. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part I think people are supportive and comfortable, but the difference between what is sacred and what is profane, is who is viewing it. There are times when I walk on stage and people are laughing before I’ve said anything, and it’s hard to believe that’s a good sign.
“The fight for acceptance that once took place inside of me, now takes place outside.”
Cassie Workman plays until 21 Apr at Backstage Room, Melbourne Town Hall; and 10 May at Factory Theatre.
Pic: Hebbufer Stenglein
Living in harmony
Wide open blues
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
Pic: Clay Patrick McBride
Julia Stone tells Bryget Chrisfield that, although music didn’t make sense to her straight away, harmonising with her brother Angus is “one of the greatest privileges of [her] life”.
The odyssey that is Bluesfest can be overwhelming. Our hot tip? Make sure you tick these living legends off your list.
Norah Jones Never mind being the daughter of sitar mas-
ne of the highlights of experiencing Julia Stone — or Angus & Julia Stone — live is when she plays trumpet, usually just spinning her guitar around on its strap to rest behind her back while she plays. Given that it’s probably not the most popular instrument to wish to play, from a kid’s perspective, we wonder what it was that first attracted her to the trumpet. “When we were kids, our primary school didn’t have a music program and our dad is a music teacher, and he decided that he would start a music program at Newport Primary School,” Stone begins. “And so he of course made sure that all three of us kids were the first members of the school band. So I think the school band started with about ten kids on instruments and it was my sister [Catherine] on saxophone and me on trumpet, Angus on trombone and then about seven other kids that Dad had sort of wrangled in to start this band, and he was the conductor. “And the way that we got to choose our instruments was: Angus and Catherine and I were taken to an orchestra performance, and our mum and dad said, ‘Pick the instrument that you wanna play.’ And so we sat and watched the performance, and I remember looking up and seeing a guy with a spray can who was using it to kind of fix his tuning slides on the trumpet, and I thought, ‘I really would love a spray can, I should probably play that instrument,’ and so I picked the trumpet based off that. And I never got a spray can; I don’t know what he was using a spray can for,” she laughs, “it never turned out to be something that I needed but, yeah! We then continued to play all through school. Angus and Catherine stopped once they got to high school, but I really loved the trumpet and I kept playing and I joined the jazz band and some of the sort of, like, state symphonic wind ensembles and orchestras. And I spent a lot of my teenage years travelling ‘round playing in orchestras and big bands and stuff like that. And my first kind of live singing performances were singing jazz songs with the big band at school.”
Here we were thinking that the orchestral performance must have featured a trumpet solo that blew Stone away! She chuckles. “I mean, as a kid I loved music because it was fun to dance to, but it wasn’t something that made sense to me straight away. You know, I was a kid that liked collecting rocks and I was a little kind of collector, and I didn’t find myself drawn to music; I did it because I was told I had to do it and I had to practise and I hated it! I mean, I just hated band [practice] and then slowly, slowly I started to understand and feel the specialness of when groups of people make sounds together, and as soon as I felt that, and I looked at that, I’ve loved that feeling of creating with other people. There’s nothing like the feeling of being in harmony, you know, like, singing in harmony with Angus is one of the greatest privileges of my life; just to have two voices from the same family... and then you get to make sounds kind of a third apart and it just feels so cool!” After admitting she’s witnessed overnight success stories in her “world of music” struggling to come to terms with how much their lives have changed, Stone describes the path to success she and her brother Angus paved as “paced out”. “We have both had that gradual journey and also we’ve had each other through it all so that’s also something that we’re really fortunate for, ‘cause you have someone who’s known you since you were a kid and there’s no — you can’t trick them, you can’t all of a sudden be a different person. It’s, like, you know who they are and they know know who you are. Angus and I know each other so well that there’s no hiding and there’s no pretending to be, you know, a famous person, whatever that may be; you’re just two kids from the Northern Beaches who love making music.”
“There’s nothing like the feeling of being in harmony, you know, like, singing in harmony with Angus is one of the greatest privileges of my life.”
tall on its own. Norah Jones has flourished as a ballad singer over the past 20 years, her live performance both poised and finessed. A set for those craving an escape from the five-day madness to a more subdued dimension.
Kasey Chambers No stranger to Bluesfest, Kasey Chambers’ set should be compulsory viewing for all attendees. After all, you don’t get inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame for no reason. Paul Kelly said it best at the ceremony last year: “All those fires burn fierce in you, Kasey, they’ll never call you tame. That’s why you live right here, in my own Hall of Fame.” And, tbh, same.
Pic: Mike Downs
ter Ravi Shankar, this is one name that stands
Mavis Staples Performing three sets just a few months shy of her 80th birthday (what a legend) Mavis Staples’ voice is one so powerful that, when he was 12 years old, Bob Dylan had to “stay up for a week” after he heard The Staple Singers sing Sit Down Servant. If you don’t want to witness that live then I’m sorry,
Julia Stone plays Bluesfest on 22 Apr.
there’s nothing we can do for you.
Back from the brink Documentary Waiting: The Van Duren Story recounts how two young Aussies tracked down a long-lost Memphis tunesmith and pushed him — and his timeless music — back into the spotlight. Steve Bell catches up with filmmaker Wade Jackson and Van Duren himself to unspool this amazing longdistance relationship.
favourite bands for years — and the Memphis connection and Andrew Loog Oldham and everything else. “I’m sure there’s probably thousands of stories like this on fantastic musicians who never made it, but I don’t know if they all have this type of intense, amazing narrative leading to the present day.” Van Duren, for his part, had initially been dragged into the orbit of cult Memphis power-pop icons Big Star having known drummer Jody Stephens at high school. He failed an audition to join the band during its latter stages, but upon its dissolution in the mid-’70s, was soon writing and recording with Stephens and guitarist Chris Bell in their outfit Baker Street Regulars. “I’d been writing songs from the very first band I was in, which was when I was 12, because being a fan of The Beatles that’s where it all came from initially for me — I just assumed you started a band and wrote all your own songs — and boy, they were really terrible for about eight or ten years,” the singer laughs. “About the time I started working with those guys, the songs were getting better, and by the time the three of us actually played together, Jody and I had already done some demos at Ardent Studios, some of mine and some that he and I wrote together.” When that star-studded outfit led nowhere, Duren soon followed his solo dreams to Connecticut, where Are You Serious? was conceived and recorded, teaming up with small independent label Big Sound. However he was about to discover that, as well as making dreams come true, the music industry can be cruel and exacting. “It was like something from a bad movie,” he sighs. “We’d done the first record and everything was great — everybody at the studio was great and I felt that for the first time I had some professional people
hat happens when you discover a musician whose music blows your mind but has been seemingly forgotten by the world? That was the conundrum facing Sydney musician Wade Jackson and his band manager mate Greg Carey when they stumbled upon the 1977 solo album Are You Serious? by a shadowy figure named Van Duren. While Van Duren’s music was undeniably world class — pure, passionate power-pop with a clear lineage to the work of Lennon and McCartney through the filter of subsequent acts like The Kinks and The Hollies — the artist himself seemed to have been forgotten by time. The tale of how Jackson and Carey eventually tracked the singer down, creating new film Waiting: The Van Duren Story, contains as many twists, turns and random happenstances as does the, at times, incredible narrative they uncovered surrounding their subject and his beautiful music. Having been introduced to Are You Serious? by a random Sliding Doors social media moment, the pair of friends finally tracked Van Duren down in his hometown of Memphis and were quickly beguiled by a fantastical tale jam-packed with famous stars, music industry chicanery and even Scientology, all soundtracked by amazing music. “When we first set out to do it, in our minds — from the little we’d heard at that stage — it was just a 20-minute YouTube documentary showcasing Van’s music,” Jackson recalls. “Then we finally got him on the phone, and after the phone call, which was about two hours long, Greg called his wife and said, ‘We’ve got to do this!’ and we bought our plane tickets to the States immediately, because it was, like, ‘Holy dogfight, this thing’s opened right up, this is insane.’ “That’s when we found out about the Big Star connection — Big Star’s been one of my
behind me — even though they were on a shoestring budget as both a record company and a studio. “Then we put out the first album and during the tour, the studio and label came back to me and said, ‘Ok, let’s do a second album,’ because they were selling records: it wasn’t going gangbusters, but they had airplay on over 100 FM stations around the country, so the future looked bright. “So later in ‘78 I got into the studio and started working on the second record and just weeks into that, all of a sudden Scientology overtook the studio and almost every single person working there. So it was high pressure on me for over a year to quoteunquote ‘join’ Scientology, and I knew it was a load of crap — I knew it. So anyway I just kept my head down and finished that record — my only goal was to somehow finish that record — and as soon as I had the whole thing mixed and got it on a cassette, I just walked, I had to. “Then of course [second album Idiot Optimism] stayed in the can for about 20 years, which was heartbreaking. I knew that second album was far better than the first one — it was just a different animal. When you do your first record, everything that you’ve written that’s worth a damn up to that point, that’s what you do on that record. Then you wait one year and you’ve got to come up with that much material again, and it was, like, ‘Oh oh, let’s just see how creative I really am.’ And I just stepped up — I really had it in me — and I’m not one to blow my own horn that much, but in this case that was a great record.”
Waiting: The Van Duren Story screens from 8 Apr. Van Duren tours from 18 Apr.
Out of the darkness It’s an age-old question; who got the funk? Lauren Baxter talks to Tom McFarland from UK neo-soul outfit Jungle ahead of their upcoming Australian tour about the Jungle mystique, uniting music with its environment, and a bonkers America.
t’s Sunday evening in New Orleans when we get Jungle’s Tom McFarland on the phone. The band have just released their second album and are really “enjoying having the songs out and just enjoying life”. And enjoy life they have. As they were then known, ‘J’ and ‘T’ were shrouded in mystery when they first burst onto the scene in 2013. The self-titled debut that followed cemented the hype and won the collective — as they would turn out to be — a stack of fans with their neo-soul groove that was unmistakably born in the UK. Album number two, For Ever, sees the group embracing the limelight, somewhat more grown up, and telling more personal stories. “We weren’t really ready for the level it went to that quickly, so naturally I think you kind of shy away from the limelight,” McFarland reflects on the band’s beginnings. “Through that, the media made their own story essentially and probably played into some of the mystique and what people loved about Jungle at the beginning. Everybody wants to know something about something that people don’t know about. It’s a basic human thing. “Now I think it’s a little bit more about the music and the band have grown up a little bit. The band are better and we’re just letting people get to know us a little bit more. Because these stories are now more personal and, you know, it’s kind of like, out of the darkness and into the light.” That natural progress and evolution as a band is an easy conversation point for McFarland and something he thinks “is a beautiful thing”. “Everything kind of works on the ups and downs and maybe on the third record
it will go dark again and on the fourth, it’s light. It’s just a transition, it’s a change and if you don’t change, then you don’t progress. You don’t really grow and I think it’s really important that we did that because we couldn’t still be like, ‘Ahh I don’t really want to put my face to it, I don’t really want to own what I do.’” From that initial sense of mystery, Jungle blew up, igniting festival stages across the world with an infectious energy brimming with personality. “Dreaming of people loving you or admiring your music is one thing but actually having it happen makes you kind of go quite insular in a very weird way. “But it only takes a couple of years to accept that change in your life. Because all these people change, like, everybody talks to you different, even my mum is different to me, you know. “People’s attitudes definitely change and it can be good and it can be negative. People take shots more at you and you just have to be ready for that and that basically means as soon as you achieve something in the real world, there’s a lot more attention on you the whole time.” Because of those natural changes, creating an enduring fanbase is something that plays on his mind. We fanboy out over Radiohead together, with McFarland claiming they are one band where, after all this time, he still buys the hype. “I don’t know why, I just believe it,” he laughs after slagging off more recent albums from other faves Kings Of Leon and The Strokes. Radiohead have “almost got better and I think that’s a very interesting trait because you look at where albums go. And I think that’s what Jungle’s got going
on. I think the records are just going to get better and better and better. I think that’s a very achievable thing to do. I don’t know why that is but like the second one is 100 percent better than the first one and already the stuff we’re conceptualising for the third one seems better than the second one”. Within that conceptualisation is a focus on uniting music with its environment. “You know David Byrne had that book, How Music Works or something, that big white one that’s on every tabletop. It’s a really cool book, and it talks about how music is made for its environment and how music works in its environment. “It talks about how people perceive music depending on mood and openness. We’ve all had that band where you’re sitting in a car, and you’re on holiday and the sun is shining and you’re in a rental car, a tune comes on the radio. Your perception to it is, ‘Oh my God! What’s this tune. Ha ha, Shazam it.’ But if you heard that same tune after you’d just had a shit day at work and you’re in a bar, you won’t connect with it in the same way. And I think it’s all about how people connect with things on their first listen to really fall in love with an artist or fall in love with a musician, you have to have had [that experience].” The problem then, he suggests, is that “everyone is so centred on trying to make
“I think the music that we create, we have to have more. People have to fall in love with the whole record.” money and not just exploring — there’s no money really left in the industry because of streaming — so songs are becoming shorter”. “I read today that that song Gucci Gang is two minutes, four seconds long and it’s a worldwide smash,” he laughs. “It’s that sort of simplicity that seems to cut with the masses.” On the flip side, creating an immersive body of work is something Jungle are preoccupied by. Even if it has had a more per-
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
sonal touch on For Ever. “I think the music that we create, we have to have more. People have to fall in love with the whole record. It’s the sound, it’s in the sonic. People fall in love with the sonic and the concept.” Back Down Under in April for a string of shows, McFarland thinks Australia is “a good place for” the band. “People dig the music there and it’s a cool place, we like hanging out. We’ll always come play shows there. The people have a very similar humour to British people and we get along with Australians. It’s really easy to get along with Australians,” he chuckles. More so than with Americans? “America’s different. They’re just bonkers here, but it’s so fun. It’s fun and bonkers. “The people are just so crazy man. Very extreme personalities. Everything’s very extreme in America. It’s kind of like there’s no laws. No regard for morals or society. “Part of your psyche enjoys that and the other part’s questioning it and going ‘This is just mental.’” It’s a nice segue back to the album. The surrounding rhetoric, perhaps sensationalised in the press release, tells a tale of the band following Josh Lloyd-Watson to LA, who moved for love, only to decamp heartbroken. “Yeah, it’s almost trying to submerge yourself in some sort of American dream in a weird way. That’s the weird thing about
America — it’s a fucking escape. Because the reality, like England for us, that’s home. It’s like back to reality. That’s where your life is. That’s where you grew up. That’s where your memories from when you weren’t in a band are. And all the other places are like dreams.”
Jungle tour from 19 Apr.
Why the long face
Louder than you think
Renowned for their madcap, clothing-optional live shows, heavy-hitters Totally Unicorn have refocused with new record Sorry. Vocalist Drew Gardner attempts to make amends with Brendan Crabb. your life out there for people to hear. But I just felt like it was something that I needed to do.
as vocalist Drew Gardner rants, swears,
I think the last song on the album is about my
shrieks and roars his profuse apologies, a pri-
break-up with my wife, and that was the scari-
mal scream punctuated by what soon segues
est one for me, just putting that all out there.
into an appropriately abrasive musical attack.
But it was more for me in a way I guess, it’s
Although the album overall is less chaotic
kind of selfish, but for me to heal in a way.”
than the noisy, time signature-bending metal/
When writing such personal songs, was
hardcore for which they’ve been renowned,
there a degree of anxiety for Gardner as he rea-
there’s still plenty of fury, anguish and idio-
lised that the people he’s affected along the
syncratic touches instantly recognisable as
way, or have been part of his journey, would
the same Sydney group behind 2016 debut
hear it eventually and would have their own
Dream Life. Remarking that “this is the best
perspective? “Yeah, that’s the thing I’m most
the band has ever been as mates and musi-
scared about. It’s not like I’m trying to be nasty
cally”, Gardner is audibly enthused by the now
about it or anything, I’m just telling this story
quartet’s new material. “I still listen to a lot of
and it’s mostly about myself and how I was
heavy music, but definitely my tastes have
feeling. There’s no hard feelings on it or any-
changed. I wouldn’t say matured, but changed
thing, but a lot of my friends who were there
a lot. I listen to a lot more grungier, punk stuff
at the time have heard the album, and I want-
like Pissed Jeans... So a bit more straightfor-
ed to get their opinion on how they felt about
ward kind of stuff.
it. It’s all been positive, so that was a massive... I
“It’s always going to sound like us I guess,
was very nervous about it all.”
especially vocally. But definitely, this album
Formed in Wollongong nearly a decade
for us was a pretty big one because we’d
ago, Totally Unicorn established much of their
lost a guitarist, so we only have one guitarist
reputation via manic and injury-inducing
now. And also we had a new drummer [for-
live shows full of audience interaction, with a
mer Robotosaurus member Adam Myers] for
perennially sweaty, clothes-shedding Gardner
the first time writing. It was definitely a mas-
the burly ringleader. It will be a curious propo-
sive focus to change it up a bit. Be a bit more
sition to witness how some new songs trans-
straightforward with the songwriting, not be
late to the live environment. The vocalist says
as spazzy and technical, and have bits that
they’ve played a few of them at recent shows,
people can actually bop their head to. That
“and they’ve come off so well, people are so
definitely was a focus for us.”
fucking stoked on them. I think the live aspect
The end result is bruisingly heavy sonically
will never change. Musically obviously we are,
and thematically, as Gardner doubled down
but it’s always about having fun. Obviously the
and delved deep into his personal life, includ-
song content is a bit more sad, but I think it
ing divorce and drug abuse, for lyrical fodder.
definitely doesn’t take away from the crazi-
“Everything else that we’ve ever done, all my
ness of the live show”.
lyrics have always been kind of metaphori-
“While we were on tour with Frenzal
cal, a ‘You work it out’ kind of thing,” he says.
Rhomb, I was talking to Jay [Whalley, vocals]
“Whereas this one I was, ‘Fuck it, I’m just going
about it. He was like, ‘Mate, what are you fuck-
to put it on the table, and talk about what’s
ing doing to yourself? You’re too old for this
going on in my life, or what has been going
shit.’ As much as the people expect me to go
on in the past two years.’ It was therapy for me
as crazy as I do, the music still means so much
in a way, to talk about it and get it out
Pic: Jo McCaughey
orry, Totally Unicorn’s second full-length,
opens with the memorable title track,
Slanted and enchanted Scott Kannberg aka Spiral Stairs talks to Anthony Carew about the pervasiveness of nostalgia, and how we as human beings are “built” to feel it.
to me, and I still want to go wild when I play.”
019 marks 30 years since the formation of Pavement, one of indie-rock’s most definitive acts. After the band got back together for a run of reunion shows in 2010, fans have been waiting for another Pavement tour. The possibility of a 30-year anniversary tour was floated, in advance, by guitarist Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg, but is now definitely not happening, because frontman Stephen Malkmus, as ever, does not want to play reformation shows. “Steve always complains. ‘I don’t want to do these shows, we’re just being nostalgic,’” offers Kannberg. “But, you know what? I love going to see bands that I didn’t get to see when I was a kid. I still have never seen The Rolling Stones, but I’ll go see the fucking Rolling Stones when they’re 80 years old! And it’ll be great. Nostalgia makes you feel good. Everything’s fucking nostalgic. You drink a Coca-Cola, and you’re remembering what it was like when you were a kid and you [drank] a Coca-Cola. That does something in your brain where it makes you feel good. I love nostalgia, I love history, I love the past. That’s just the way us humans are built.” Kannberg isn’t resting on his Pavement laurels. He’s just released his third album as Spiral Stairs, We Wanna Be
there. I’m very bad at communicating my emotions to other people, and this was, like, a scary thing. But I was just like, ‘Yep, this is what’s going “I guess it’s scary to put your emotions on the table and say the shit things that are happening in
Sorry (Farmer & The Owl) is out this month. Totally Unicorn tour from 21 Apr.
Pic: Sandra Markovic
on,’ and put it on the record.
Spiral Stairs tours from 20 Apr.
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ill a P ic
when Nirvana made it big. Their influences were the Pixies and The Replacements. It felt like we were winning for about five minutes, there, in the ‘90s. Then the major labels took over again, and Pearl Jam became popular, so it was just ‘Ugh, back to classic rock again.’” The persistence of boomer nostalgia — from the ‘70s through to now — is something Kannberg hates: “I can’t fucking stand it. It’s still dominating our culture.” But, it’s informed his personal desire to never be that guy, waxing lyrical about how great, say, 1991 was. “I never think that my generation is better than anybody’s,” he says. “There’s great music now, there was great music then. It’s funny: I love Roxy Music, but you read these interviews with Bryan Ferry, and all he wants to do is make jazz records. He’s like: ‘I know every musician in Cab Calloway’s band!’ It’s like, whoa, what the fuck? What does that mean? I guess it makes sense, that this is the music that came 20 years before him, and he was fed that nostalgia growing up. But, as nostalgic as I am, I don’t ever wanna be that guy.”
Kurt Vile tours from 15 Apr.
Hyp-No-Tized, the album following on from 2017’s Doris & The Daggers, with Kannberg hoping to make it “sound a bit bigger and better produced”. But the influences on the album were, too, wholly from the past, drawn from “old records that [he] didn’t really get into when they came out”. “I really got [inspired by] Van Morrison; not the popular stuff, more the weird records that he did in the ‘70s, like Veedon Fleece and Wavelength,” Kannberg explains. “There’s a sense of freedom to the way he sings. That’s something I tried to do a little more. I also got really into the first few Nick Lowe records, which I never really did when they were coming out in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Then, there’s definitely a song on this record where it was me trying to write a Go-Betweens song.” Back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Kannberg was all about punk, then post-punk. Growing up in Stockton, California, he wanted to rebel against the rock’n’roll that’d come before. “I was a teenager in the ‘80s, I graduated from high school in ‘84. So, the music from the ‘70s I fucking hated,” Kannberg recounts. “I hated Led Zeppelin, I hated classic rock, all that stuff. For me, The Clash was the best band [in the world], they should’ve been as big as The Rolling Stones. Punk rock was big for me. Then I got into post-punk: Echo & The Bunnymen, Devo, REM. If there was really one band that guided me to lots of other music, it was REM. They’d do a Wire cover, they’d do a Television cover. “Classic rock was all over the radio, so I avoided that. I was about The Replacements, and Husker Du; that kind of stuff appealed to me, more. That’s what was exciting about
nerves go away, and I would say that when you just play a gig it makes you crazy, in a good way. Ideally, when you mix alcohol with that or whatever, you’re like loud and being crazy.” Vile’s music has always had a humorous element to it, throwaway jokes marked by his droll delivery sitting amid sprawling psychedelic guitar lines. One such line is impossible to miss in Hysteria, a song about fear, and love, and also about “being hypersensitive to all kinds of things going on in the world”: “Girl you gave me rabies/And I don’t mean maybe.” Vile confirms that lyric is funny, and deliberately so. “That’s definitely a big part of my personality. I think humour’s so good — things are so funny that they make you cry sometimes, what a good feeling to laugh so hard at something that you’re tearing up. That gives you chills. “Humour and joy, love and sadness, terror, they’re all very real and I think they’re all necessary — you gotta include ‘em all. It’s tough to meet somebody who has zero sense of humour, you know? I’m all for the comedy whenever possible. We need it.”
t seems strange to call 2015’s B’lieve I’m Goin Down. a breakout moment for prolific indie musician Kurt Vile, but it also feels apt based entirely on its commercial reception, the single Pretty Pimpin’ becoming his first Billboard chart-topper. That success, following critical acclaim on 2013’s Wakin On A Pretty Daze, is likely responsible for Vile and his band, the Violators, being “forced to become professional” and “really come into [their] own” through a punishing touring schedule. Still, despite the sheer number of live shows they’re playing in cities around the world, Vile managed to squeeze in time to record his seventh record, Bottle It In, with a worthy list of collaborators including Kim Gordon, Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa and Cass McCombs, all over the United States, in New York, Los Angeles, Portland and Bridgeport, Connecticut. While Vile likes “the idea of making a record at home”, he says this time around “it was not on the cards for me”. Recording in snatches of time between shows promoting both B’lieve I’m Goin Down. and last year’s collaborative album with Courtney Barnett, Lotta Sea Lice, lent an authentic, live element to Bottle It In. He says that coming into the studio straight from a gig “is actually the best way to sorta be one with the scenario, organic with the music because you just came from actually performing”. One specific live show whose influence was felt on the record was in February of this year, when Vile played two sets ahead of Willie Nelson at Luck Reunion festival, at Nelson’s
275-hectare Texas ranch. He’d finished mixing a lot of the record before he drove into the desert from LA to meet his wife, Suzanne, and two daughters. “We chilled in Palm Springs for a couple days and then we drove through New Mexico and Arizona and up into Texas — Marfa, Texas — all the way through Big Bend [National Park] and then we ended at Willie Nelson’s Ranch [Luck, Texas]. “I played this gig, this awesome gig. They had a festival at Willie’s ranch and his son’s band, the Promise Of The Real, who also back up Neil Young, they backed me up for a couple songs. It’s totally a moment captured, y’know, in front of a music-loving audience. I played just two slots before Willie played on the same stage. “That experience alone affected the recording process. After a few solo gigs I went and finished mixing with Peter Katis [The National, Interpol], so that’s an example of how many different things I did in a row — I just combined my life. I involved every important facet.” Vile returns to Australia with the Violators in April for Bluesfest in Byron Bay, plus headline shows across the country. At one point in the conversation, Vile refers to himself as “introverted” but admits that’s certainly not the case once he’s on stage. He gushes that “gigs are more exciting” and playing in front of an audience “is the most organic thing you can do”: “In my element playing a gig, on tour with all my friends, I’m actually pretty loud once my
r ic i : Ma u
Kurt Vile tells Hannah Story about playing a festival at Willie Nelson’s Texas ranch and letting the live experience feed into his new record.
The Big Picture
Nick Makrides You’ve made a hell of a lot of amazing cakes in your time, how did you choose what made the cut for Sugar Rebels? Oh dear lawd, I have hundreds and hundreds of videos. Over the last six years my skill set has been growing and my frosting has been getting taller, so I knew that only a couple of my really old recipes would come in. They weren’t as crazy as my newer ones and I wanted the book to be full of my most OTT designs mixed with my followers’ favourite recipes. That didn’t stop me from putting over 100 recipes in the manuscript! But we cut it down to 50 and then snuck another ten in there. I started with the basics, and then I chose my audience’s favourite recipes. Then I started thinking of how to organise the rest of the book, and which recipes should be in which part to make it a fun recipe book page turner. There were some we had to unfortunately cut that I wish we could have kept, but the book would have cost $200 if I kept everything! It was tough. Your introduction is a rallying call for readers to “be original”, get in the kitchen and “make something that only you can make”. Which recipe here most embodies that for you? That’s a tough one to answer. I get asked by my audience which recipe is my favourite and that’s hard to answer too, because I love them all! Each one serves a different purpose. I have to say though, it was really important to me that the cover featured a specific cupcake and that one for me was the Choc Mint Freakshake Cupcake. It was one of the first designs that blew up for me on social media. It’s one of my faves! What’s the biggest or most common mistake you find people make when they take up baking? Oh lord! Prepping before they begin a recipe. Read the recipe through first, collect your ingredients and then start creating lol. Baking is a science. Some recipes have steps that happen really quickly and so you should have everything measured really accurately and before you begin a recipe!
Peach macarons. Pic: Nick Makrides
Given that up until only a few years ago Aussies were still using the same style of cake decorating we had been since the ‘80s, what do you think has caused the current creative explosion and rapid style change? Is that a trick question lol? Social media! Specifically Instagram. Instagram is like this visual catalogue of creativity for cake makers and creative people. There’s loads of people on there doing really fun and interesting stuff and so it pushes people to try something they wouldn’t have done before. I have to give a shout out to YouTube too. It all started on there. Creators like Elise Strachan of My Cupcake Addiction and Laura Vitale of Laura In The Kitchen, who were some of the first people to jump online, display their talents and make it fun for people to get into their kitchens and create something new!
The Big Picture
The internet has allowed some truly awful cakes to make their way into the zeitgeist rather than just be relegated to family photo albums. Do you have some tips to help the home baker keep their cake away from #fail Reddit threads? Ok, so people have different skill sets. My very first cupcakes were awful. I practised a lot to get to where I am. But there are certainly some horrible cake trends on the internet. And then, yes, there are some Nailed It-worthy cakes on the internet. Do you know what though? So much of that is because of the way people have taken their photos. Lighting is everything. Take your photos next to lots of natural light. Not under your kitchen light at midnight. I don’t think people should steer away from posting their stuff on social media; even if it looks horrible. If anything, it gives us a laugh and in my case, pushes you to improve the next time you bake!
Sugar Rebels (Hardie Grant Books) is out 1 Apr.
Who’s your hero now? At times, it can feel just a little like humanity is gleefully racing towards its own extinction — but not everyone’s ready to see the world end with a whimper. Maxim Boon takes a look at some of the work being done to slow down the apocalypse.
oor ol’ Captain Planet. He was the hero who was gonna take pollution down to zero, with nothing more than a spandex suit, a super snatched rig, a green mullet, and five internationally diverse tweens with magical jewellery. But alas, it seems Cap and co just weren’t up to the task; between rising temperatures, extreme weather events, plastic-choked oceans and stubborn politicians, the shiny blue eco-warrior has taken quite a kicking of late. But to be fair to old mate, the issue of ecological disaster is now on a scale so colossal, solving it would be an insurmountable challenge even for a superhero. So c’mon guys, let’s help the poor dude out. Here are some of humanity’s best hopes for saving this lil’ rock we all call home.
The war on plastic
In the not so distant past, politicians were comfortable merely dismissing climate change as a myth, and even today, there are some who still downplay its perils. But given the overwhelming volume of empirical evidence collected by legions of scientific experts, not to mention the disturbing trend of record-breaking weather events in recent years, there’s little dispute that the climate catastrophe is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. And it’s the youngest among us who will have to live with its full, devastating force unless immediate action is taken, which is why many school-aged kids are making their voices heard through political protests. School strikes have been taking place all over the world, including across Australia, and while it remains to be seen if today’s political leaders heed this outcry, it seems certain that the political heavyweights of the future will come from this more climate-conscious generation.
It can sometimes feel as if the climate conundrum is so complex and enormous, our individual actions could hardly make a dent in the issue. But a surprisingly popular social conscience movement is proving otherwise. The unbelievable journey our junk takes after we discard it has been pulled sharply into focus recently with reports of the incredible volume of plastic that has found its way into the oceans. A dead whale that washed up in the Philippines just last month was found to have more than 40kg of plastic in its stomach, and this is just one of countless examples of marine life being devastated by the dumping of plastics. Now, some of the most ubiquitous single-use plastic items, such as shopping bags and drinking straws, are being phased out around the world. Other prevalent single-use plastics, like coffee cup lids and water bottles, are being sidelined in favour of keep-cups and refillables. But leave it to the boffins to come up with the really exciting stuff. An international group of scientists accidentally discovered a “mutant enzyme” that breaks down plastic in April last year. Beginning the decomposition process within hours rather than centuries, this could prove to be one of the most important new weapons in the green arsenal. And given that it also allows for the byproducts of the process to be recycled into useable plastic, it could also reduce our demand for crude oil (that’s what plastic is made of, for y’all who ain’t in the know).
Fusion power Perhaps the most pressing limiting factor of the climate change debate is the question of energy consumption. Our civilisation guzzles down billions upon billions of watts daily, and our addiction to electricity is only going to increase in the future. Currently, the bulk of our energy needs are met by the most environmentally damaging means, namely fossil fuels and nuclear power, and while huge strides have been made in the past few years to make renewable energy sources more viable, wide-scale implementation is seen as unreliable. There is one source of clean energy, however, that may prove game-changing. Fusion power was once the stuff of science fiction, but teams in Europe and the US have made several major breakthroughs in the past few years. Most notably, the Wendelstein 7-X Stellarator, currently being tested in Greifswald, Germany, not only has a damn cool name, its experimental design has produced extraordinarily exciting results since its completion in 2015, suggesting similar designs could be implemented as viable, sustainable power sources as early as 2021.
C u lt u r e
CO2 removal Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, it’s estimated more than 2,000 gigatons (a gigaton is a billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere. Efforts to reduce the volume of emissions we continue to pump into the sky every day have had little success, given that they demand radical changes to the way we travel, generate power and manufacture all the stuff we spend our cheddar on. Oh, sweet capitalism. So, rather than changing our behaviours, it seems sucking the bad stuff out of the air is fast becoming the holy grail of climate science. And it just so happens that there are several methods to capture CO2 already available, although none as yet that can cope with the sheer global scale of the problem. It ain’t fancy, but planting more trees, particularly wetlands and mangroves, is perhaps the easiest of the various approaches, although intensive deforestation in various locations around the world kind of makes a mockery of that solution. So, what has science got up its sleeve? Well, several start-ups, such as Climeworks in Switzerland and Carbon Engineering in Canada, have proven technologies that can air-capture CO2, but currently the infrastructure costs seem prohibitive. This, however, could ultimately prove a false economy. Between the impact of forced migrations and climate refugees, the impact on agriculture, rising sea levels, and the clean-up costs of weather disasters, many economists have been unable to even roughly ball-park a figure of just how much unchecked climate change will eventually cost. But that fact alone should tell you, it’s a hell of a lot.
“I’m not used to following” Although she admits to wondering whether the life of a musician is suitable for “sensitive, vulnerable minds” such as her own, Aldous Harding tells Bryget Chrisfield that she always trusts her instincts when it comes to music.
drove my inner child to a show/We talked all the way home...” — these are some of the lyrics that stuck with this scribe after adding Aldous Harding’s new Designer album to high rotation. When we ask Harding to provide additional insight into the lyrics of Zoo Eyes, which also features flute and vocal styles that alternate between verses and choruses, she ponders, “It was very much about imagery, the verses in that song are imagery and the choruses are sort of meant to feel as though they-I dunno, they’re meant to be a comfort; each chorus is meant to be me telling you something about how the world works. I mean, it’s a fantasy... and that line I suppose, yeah! And it’s quite a sad line for me, because, well, I dunno, does it make you feel sad? “It’s not supposed to make anyone feel sad, although it does make me feel a bit sad because... I don’t know why, but sometimes when I picture somebody I love as a child, I get quite sad and I don’t know whether that’s sort of a projection from my own childhood, but, you know, if I think about my partner, or I think about my father, when they’re children, I get quite emotional. And I think I was just imagining that dark, lengthless car ride home to, you don’t know what kind of home, but there’s this conversation that goes on with yourself. Again, it’s difficult; it’s sort of like trying to describe-it’s kinda like rolling over and telling somebody about a dream,” she laughs. “And then you try to describe the light and the mood and the sounds, but you’re sort of inspired and excited and they’re just going, ‘God, boring.’” John Parish, who produced Harding’s previous album, Party, was also on board for Designer. Harding describes their working relationship as “incredibly focused”. “I don’t wanna use the word tender, because that sounds-but it was creatively tender in the sense that we trust each other and... I don’t know that we ever really allow ourselves to be too excited, because we’re very focused, you know, and I’ve spoken to him about it recently and he says the same thing. He says, ‘Well, no, you have a more or less clear idea of what you
wanna do and we don’t have a lot of time,’ and I know it sounds really dull to say it: we spend a lot of time in silence — apart from the making of the music.” Fans of Harding may already have heard two tracks from Designer during previous live sets: Weight Of The Planets and the harrowing Heaven Is Empty. After admitting she’s “focused on the live shows at the minute”, Harding says she was unsure about how to present some of this new material in a live setting. “There’s a lot more going on and I needed a kind of attention to detail that I wasn’t used to using on that scale,” she says. “But it happened, it worked out fine, and the live show will be another new experience for me, I think, I’m not used to following. I toured with mostly just one other person for Party so, you know, there’s
“It’s interesting,” Harding muses. “Somebody asked me a really wonderful question — I can’t remember who it was, but she made a connection between me dancing and wearing a mask... I said, I hadn’t even-’cause I’d forgotten about Stop Your Tears and that clip. Then I said, ‘Oh, you know what it is? It’s probably [the fact that] I feel like it makes the dance stronger because perhaps there’s a repression about a masked being, to me. You know, to me, it’s quite a repressive image and perhaps I like the idea of coupling this repression with, in my opinion, one of the ultimate forms of expression.’ “But I think I grew up with a lot of masks around, ‘cause my mum was a puppeteer and a mask maker and things like that so, yeah! I dunno, that was interesting. So, yeah, I think that that’s what that is.” Having first been drawn to Harding’s work through her aforementioned Stop Your Tears single (2014), it was intriguing to discover that she wrote this song about her greatest fear: losing her mind. Does Harding have any idea where this fear stems from? “Well, I think...” Harding exhales, slowly and deliberately. “Let’s see: I think there’s always been a fear of massive personal loss — you know, be it real or imagined — and what my mind, or what anyone’s mind, can kind of do with that. And I think that I will always be questioning my mind and where it’s taking me, but music’s sort of the only thing that I don’t question too much; like, I mean, I question it to death, but ultimately I believe in my instinct. “It’s interesting being a sensitive person — you know, a lot of sensitive people do this [make music] — but the irony is not lost on me that sensitive, vulnerable minds choose to get up and express it. I’ve wondered whether it’s the best thing to be doing but, yeah, we’ll see. We’ll see.”
“I will always be questioning my mind and where it’s taking me, but music’s sort of the only thing that I don’t question too much.” a lot to do once I’m up there.” She’s an intimidating presence on stage, capable of silencing wayward punters with a withering look (“Sometimes I have to remind people with my eyes,” she acknowledges), but as an interview subject we find Harding ruminative and open. Often lengthy pauses precede her carefully enunciated words, which are sometimes cut short if a more accurate way of articulating what she wishes to say suddenly springs to mind. The new album’s lead single, The Barrel, sees Harding starring solo in the song’s accompanying music video, sporting a hat that would make Pharrell’s Vivienne Westwood headwear collection look sensible by comparison. Towards the end of the clip, Harding puts on a mask. She also utilises a mask to great effect throughout the Stop Your Tears music video. Is there anything behind this recurring mask motif?
Designer (4AD/Remote Control) is out this month.
Tripping the light Fantastic Fantastic Negrito, aka Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, tells Liz Giuffre about making music that’s honest yet optimistic.
Asking for trouble Vintage Trouble lead singer Ty Taylor recounts their rise to global dominance to Bryget Chrisfield.
ou’ve got me at a really good time,” Vintage Trouble’s effervescent lead singer, Ty Taylor, enthuses. “My friend just walked in — she’s my friend from college — and I’m making dinner for she and my other good friend right now. I’ve made my own cakes from scratch and I made some Indian food from scratch and as soon as I hang up the phone with you, I’m about to celebrate life with two of my favourite women, so you’re gettin’ me at a goooooood time. How are you doing? What are you up to? Where in the world are you?” When Taylor learns this scribe is Melbourne based, he admits of Victoria’s capital city, “Oh, my favourite!” before explaining, “Whenever I think of Melbourne — and people don’t think about me with this, but I was in a band before and the first time I came to Melbourne it was for Hey Hey It’s Saturday...
I was in a band called Dakota Moon and we were on Elektra Records, and we actually played that show twice.” Taylor goes on to describe Melbourne as “not pretending to be cool, not pretending to be stylish, not pretending to make good food — it just is all those things; that’s what I like about Melbourne.” On whether he freaked it when Dickie Knee or Ossie Ostrich popped up during his former band’s Hey Hey It’s Saturday appearances, Taylor chuckles, “Yes, that was so funny! I think a lot of people didn’t do research, but I was a big fan of the show ahead of time — for some odd reason — and so I knew what was gonna happen. I think my face would’ve looked more crazy if they didn’t pop up, like, they would’ve been saying, ‘Thank you,’ and walking me off the stage and I would’ve been going, ‘Where the fuck is Ossie?’ Ha ha.” Vintage Trouble are managed by legendary music manager Doc McGhee — best known for working with KISS, Motley Crue and Bon Jovi — and Taylor reveals McGhee actually also wanted to manage his previous band, Dakota Moon, adding, “So I’d known ‘im for a long time. Many things had gone by, I’d done this television — also a big Australian show, Rockstar: INXS. You saw that show, right? You’re about to freak out, girl: I’m the black guy with the mohawk! “So I’d just done Rockstar: INXS and I’d finished that show, and I was sending stuff around to different managers in town and it had been my first reason to get in touch with Doc and I felt, at some level, that he would answer a call — not that he wouldn’t have anyway, but, you know, sometimes our egos don’t allow us to do things. So I called ‘im and he was like, ‘I’ll send someone down to see the band,’ and he just came himself to see the band Vintage Trouble; we were playing at a place called Harvelle’s and The Tar Pit at the time, small little places in LA. He saw the band and then he asked me to call him on Monday. I called him on Monday and he was like, ‘Brother, you know, I’m sorry, this is not gonna work; I’m not really into it,’ and it got silent. And then he was like, ‘I’m just joking, I LOVE IT! I wanna take the band, bring ‘em in,’ and I was like,
Pic: Jay Gilbert
antastic Negrito is a one-man powerhouse. Fresh from a Grammy win for his album Please Don’t Be Dead (a great follow-up to The Last Days of Oakland — also a Grammy winner), Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz chats from his studio in Oakland, punctuating his speech with little bursts on his beloved “upright, outof-tune piano” and with impromptu, sung walking bass lines. Ever the showman, but with substance, he ensures the music is always central to the conversation. The resulting sounds are eclectic, electric and infectious. The rock/blues single Plastic Hamburgers is a great indication of the record’s appeal, but there’s much more to it. “For example, the Boy Named Andrew is me, growing up in foster care, growing up surviving challenging areas,” Dphrepaulezz explains. Also featuring “a friend who stopped by”, Hannah Levy, the track is a standout. “I think when you write, when you’re honest, you’re writing about the world. Because we all come from the stars, we’re all just cosmic dust, we’re all connected. So when I’m writing about me,
and when I’m being truthful and honest, I’m writing about you.” Why is being honest so hard? “I don’t know — we tend to be full of shit!” Dphrepaulezz laughs. “I mean, human beings, we tend to hide and it’s difficult, it is for me. It can take a lifetime to get to know yourself. And hopefully we evolve, I want music the do that too. I didn’t want to write the same record [as before], when I sat down to write Please Don’t Be Dead, I said, ‘Forget about the Grammy, forget about everything else, do something excellent and great.’” Forgetting the past simply meant that the Grammys came to the party (again). Noting the increased range of sounds and perspectives awarded this year, he gives high praise to the other winners (“You gotta be happy for Brandi Carlile, she’s got three Grammys, it took her 15 years,” he says, while also giving big props to Janelle Monae), it’s clear the awards experience was crazy, but also another chance to expand. Another standout on Please Don’t Be Dead is Transgender Biscuits, a song very much of its time now, but with a unionist spirit that could have originated with Woody Guthrie back in the day. “He’d have sung it a lot slower and he’d have smoked a few joints,” Dphrepaulezz laughs, agreeing. “But I think, I love speaking on things that people feel nervous speaking on. I think, when I’m a little uncomfortable after I write a song, that means that’s a great song. And if people are a little uncomfortable too then that’s great, it means we’re growing. Because growth and evolution is about being uncomfortable a lot of the time, and I think as an artist it’s a great opportunity to speak about these things.”
Despite some heavy themes the overwhelming sound and aim on this record is joy. For this writer, a favourite is Bullshit Anthem, which encourages the listener to “Take that bullshit, and turn it into good shit”. It’s so crazy it just might work. “All my music is optimistic. It’s about solutions, ‘turn the bullshit into good shit’ is about a solution — it’s like, even fashion, I’m into upcycling, take some old jackets and give it to a local designer and let them put their heart and soul into it. And that’s what the Bullshit Anthem is, take the things that aren’t necessarily going well for us, even the legacy of the music that I come from, the tradition of my ancestors — they had to do that constantly, so it’s humbling just upholding that, and it is joy, it is happiness.” Another big kicker is Bad Guy Necessity, featuring the powerhouse vocals of Candice Davis. “You know, when I did the bass line I thought of all the dubious characters that I have known, and that bass line, they’re walking to that. I think the most important thing to remember with Bad Guy Necessity, the polar opposite [to people like Trump] — Barack Obama, Martin Luther King — they were a bad guy to some people. That’s the irony of the song... All I know how to do as an artist is to get on the front line and try and do the thing that music does. Music is universal because it speaks.”
Fantastic Negrito tours from 14 Apr.
‘Muthafucker!’ And I was like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I just called you “muthafucker”!’” he laughs. He credits McGhee (“because he’s Doc McGhee”) with getting the group on Later... With Jools Holland, the appearance that launched their career. “Well, it’s electrifying ‘cause here’s the deal: the song was supposed to be about ten beats per minute slower than that, but because we were so nervous it was fast and that worked in our favour, you know? Also, I hadn’t even planned on doin’ those spins that I did at the top of the show, but something told me to just go ahead and spin. I’d never done it before with Vintage Trouble and I just started spinning — I didn’t know if I was gonna be too dizzy. It was this live TV show, the biggest one we’d ever been on; I don’t even know what made me think, ‘Try and do some spins,’ I coulda busted my ass, but it worked really good!” Taylor offers, “Well, literally, here’s the deal: we left the parking lot at Jools Holland and then when we got to our bus we were the number five tweeted thing in the world! So it was crazy.”
A decade of making sweet sounds After a decade of relentless touring, from street corners to bars and festivals, The California Honeydrops have forged a strong bond with their audiences. Ahead of the band’s return to Australia, drummer Ben Malament discusses their achievements with Chris Familton.
his will be the third year in a row that The California Hon-
for Dr John at Tipitina’s, which was kind of crazy! We opened
eydrops have played Byron Bay Bluesfest. They’ve clearly
doing our own version of Champion Jack Dupree’s Junk-
forged a strong connection with Australian audiences
er’s Blues mixed with Professor Longhair’s Tipitina and we
— this year they’ll play four sets across the festival, before an
played that at Tipitina’s before Dr John! People liked it and
appearance at The Gum Ball festival and a headline show in
so we played some street parties there and we managed to
Melbourne. “Australia honestly has a real excitement for music
capture the spirit of the music without bringing ego to it and
and we always get a great response,” enthuses drummer Ben
Malament. “We’re lucky to call Australia one of our fanbases
The California Honeydrops always work hard to convey
and it’s obviously grown a lot over the last few years, and to be
the essence and soul of the band in a wide range of differ-
able to get back to Byron Bay for a third time is pretty special.”
ent settings. “We don’t make setlists and we always make sure
A decade ago in California, the band came together
we play to the room. That includes; volume, dynamics and
around songwriter, guitarist and trumpeter Lech Wierzyn-
the energy. That’s how we go about it. It’s hard for us to play
ski and drummer Malament. They started busking in an Oak-
an hour set and compact our music and the experience. We
land subway station and very quickly their holistic sound,
like to stretch out. We have to plan out the shorter sets to get
which embraces a number of American musical forms such
the direction of it right but at our own shows we don’t plan
as soul, jazz and blues, began to take shape. As Malament
anything and we can play for three hours at a time. Wherev-
remembers, the way the group’s music came together was
er we are we always try to read and feed off the audience,”
“It came out of a natural thing, the kind of music that we
The band recently dropped a five-track live EP, and are
like and appreciate. Most of it comes out from Lech, our lead
currently working on new material. Those new tracks, and
singer, and then it all ends up being a blend of music that we
additional songs from their last double album Call It Home,
recognise in our gut. We don’t go for anything that is too far
will be considered for a new album. On a personal level, Mala-
out of our comfort zone. We just want to make what we know
ment is keen to get a bit more work-life balance, particularly
really good. We don’t want to half-arse any of the music,” says
as a father. “We’ve been a really hard working band for ten
Malament. “Sure we can play blues or R&B or second line, but
years and I’d like to balance it a bit more — but when people
we don’t really know how to play that stuff, we just want to do
want to pay money to see you play and you’re doing the thing
the best we can to honour it, do it justice for the audiences
you love, it’s a hard thing to say no to. It’s a challenge but it’s a
and make a living out of a kind of music that none of us were
really born into, other than being born in America I guess. It’s just us trying to do it right.” Malament mentions ‘second line’, the informal and celebratory musical sections of New Orleans brass band parades that follow the ‘main line’, the parade leaders. For a band like
The California Honeydrops tour from 18 Apr.
The California Honeydrops, who are heavily influenced by the sounds of New Orleans, it must have been a daunting experience taking their music to the Big Easy for the first time. “It was a beautiful reception,” marvels Malament. “It was awesome because the first time we went there we opened
Vintage Trouble tour from 20 Apr. To read the full story head to theMusic.com.au
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
In a world where Steely Dan memes are exploding across Instagram and “Essential Yacht Rock” playlists are all over Spotify, it was only a matter of time before soft-rock got its own big comeback album. Enter Sydney quartet I Know Leopard and their sparkly, rhinestone-encrusted debut album, Love Is A Landmine. And you know what? It’s pretty darn good. The 11 synth-pop songs on here range from decent to genuinely great, which is a pretty impressive turnout for a debut album. With influences like the Electric Light Orchestra, 10cc and The Alan Parsons Project, it’d be easy to write the group off as some nostalgia wanking in the vein of all that Greta Van Fleet horseshit. But nah, these are real deal tunes with their own identities, despite all the influences. There are certainly some Tame Impala comparisons to be made, but really, you could say that about 80% of modern indie-synth-pop, so we’ll let it slide. The production, handled by The Preatures’ Jack Moffitt, is fantastic across the board. Everyone loves a good analogue synth, and boy does this lot make good use of ‘em! And like all great music that’s heavy on the electronics, there’s little sounds and moments here that’ll only reveal themselves to the listener after a few repeated spins too. But none of those flourishes would matter if the songwriting talents of lead singer Luke O’Loughlin weren’t so genuinely promising. The chord changes in the verses of album opener Landmine are immediately affecting, and by the time you get to the tightly wound second track, the
I Know Leopard
Love Is A Landmine Ivy League
very Bowie-esque Everything Goes With You, you’ll realise that this dude means business when it comes to the craft of a good pop song. Heather boasts the strongest commercial potential of any track on the album, and it’s tough to think of anyone we wouldn’t recommend it to. It’s a bummer that there are some fairly mundane moments too, like the predictable near-instrumental of Mums And Dads Of Satanists or the lengthy repetition of Evergreen. And despite the importance of emotional guitar solos to glamorous rock such as this, none of the extended fretwork here really tugs at your heartstrings. But when we’re given songs like Seventy Lies, All That She Cared About and 1991, it’s hard to stay mad. After all, it’s a bloody debut album! And the fact that you often forget about that really says a lot about the quality of their craft. The trap that most of these retro-sounding records fall into is how badly they inspire you to just listen to the classics instead. While I Know Leopard may wear their sequinned influences on their sleeves with pride, Love Is A Landmine has more than enough personality and promise to make it an exciting listen, rather than just a nostalgic one. Donald Finlayson
Catfish & The Bottlemen
Island / Caroline
Barely Dressed / Remote Control
Damaged Records / Caroline
HHH It’s been three years since we’ve heard anything from Welsh indie-rockers Catfish & The Bottlemen, and they’re finally back with rough and ready, The Balance. Catfish do what Catfish do well throughout, each chorus anthemic and loud. While it’s easy to call The Balance a continuation of 2016’s The Ride, there’s a slight disappointment in the lack of dynamics and variety in tone and progression, as the majority of songs use similar chords, vocal tones and running drum beats. Regardless, the songs are rough, incredibly catchy as always, and most definitely killer additions to the band’s live show.
You know when it’s a ripper of a day, but there’s that cloud looming overhead that makes you think it won’t stay like that? That’s the mood of We Are A Team, in a not literal way of course. Though a little less morbid than their prior releases, this is a Ceres album through and through. The developing sincerity and maturity in the band’s sound become more evident from track to track. Intricate details bind the album together, such as lyrics interwoven or the subtle sounds of a creaky floorboard. We Are A Team sees Ceres creating an intrinsically beautiful record highlighting self-doubt in the midst of happiness.
Jess Ribeiro’s last album — 2015’s Kill It Yourself — was a banger, and now she opens up a new chapter of her music journey. The Melbourne singer ponders the metamorphosis of love in Love Is The Score Of Nothing, while the synths in Young Love take you on a dark journey before Ribeiro’s angelic vocals bring you back to earth. The three vignettes show off her varied talents, Cry Baby giving ‘50s rock vibes. Her trademark vocal delivery makes this a mellow outing, but Love Hate is lyrically brilliant with humorous wit and indie-rock tunes that will make anyone love Ribeiro.
Ah, Clowns, you’ve done it again! The Melbourne punk outfit provide nothing but the most raucous of rhythms, gritty of guitars, and volatile of vocals in their new album, Nature/Nurture. Not ones to be pigeonholed, Clowns take the wheel and drive you on through a riveting amalgamation of passionate punk and poignant tales, touching on psych and hot hardcore where you least expect it. Left, right, up, down, back and forth, Clowns swing you around on their out of control merry-go-round — a punk ride that’ll leave you happily dizzy when you get off.
We Are A Team
For more album reviews, go to www.theMusic.com.au
Fat White Family
4AD / Remote Control
Prolifica Inc. / [PIAS]
Intricately layered, wistful and unassuming, Designer has obvious nods to ‘60s British and Americana folk plus contemporary influences from Sharon Van Etten, Cass McCombs and Joan As Police Woman. However, it is Harding’s knack for making everything sound new, fresh and interesting that makes album three something special. Lyrically engaging and produced with a less-is-more approach, each song seamlessly flows into the next and although the album satisfies as a nine-part play, there are plenty of individual highlights to satisfy during a short commute.
This dastardly act have been around for quite some time now, and their new, selftitled record proves they definitely know what they’re doing and where they’re going. This is a band absolutely set in their direction. They just get on with pursuing it — with infectious gusto and great skill. They have really nailed the production too, striking a fine balance between human realness and the robotic assembly line sounds required from industrial heavy music. Aussie heavy music is alive, well and kicking heads, and this is yet another fine example.
Serfs Up! is a stylistic devil-may-care freefor-all featuring the seasick cocktail reggae of Rock Fishes, sinister lounge-core and the lush yet creepy chamber-pop of Oh Sebastian. It’s the kind of ‘clever’ approach that screams, “Come back to mine and check out the size of my - record collection. Isn’t it exotic?” The risks pay off on Kim’s Sunsets and Fringe Runner, which retain Fat White Family’s patented seediness in wonderfully disgusting smears. But too often they sound out of their element. Serfs Up! is a record that only occasionally plays to Fat White Family’s strengths.
Christopher H James
Circa Waves have unshackled themselves from their traditional sound and taken a leap forward with third album What’s It Like Over There?. The four-piece from Liverpool have stepped away from the darker and heavier sound of 2017’s Different Creatures, as lead singer Kieran Shudall explains, “The pop will not hurt you, it’ll set you free!” Times Won’t Change Me is so delicious you’ll want to sink your teeth into it, thanks to its soaring piano and Shudall’s smooth vocals. Circa Waves aren’t messing around, they’re here to show they can change their sound and still bring out a banger of an album!
The Chemical Brothers
Rough Trade / Remote Control
Astralwerks / EMI
Farmer & The Owl
What’s It Like Over There?
After an auspicious debut, the Derry native returns with a handsome follow-up with plenty of upfront appeal, hoisted on the back of enormous natural talent. Before We Forgot How To Dream was a valiant (and largely rewarding) attempt to explore innocence and youth, and her new record Grim Town feels like a concentrated effort to confront the realities of being an adult. It’s dystopia-lite, a side-eye to existential dread. Its stylish melancholy is buoyed by exuberant, whimsical arrangements, recalling older masters of flippant romantic nihilism like The Clientele, or Tindersticks, sung with the glossy-lipped chutzpah of Lykke Li
There’s several entry points to the Chemical Brothers’ ninth long-player but the traditional album experience is the one that pays off. Eve Of Destruction is the beefy belter that assures us everything is all good on Planet Dust, flowing into a flawless run with the slightly Basement Jaxx-flavoured Bango and the title track. But be prepared to totally spill your bloody drink on the dancefloor as Got To Keep On’s inspires gleeful misbehaviour. Only the squawky Catch Me I’m Falling fails to meet the high benchmark the Brothers have made over their 20-plusyear career, but still, No Geography is as robust as they’ve been since Come With Us.
Totally Unicorn have described Sorry as a more direct, honest album, but its tone and delivery sound more like an avalanche of sarcasm. A Song For The Dead Shits is an encouraging example of their development, showing they’re not afraid to drop the volume to allow Drew Gardner to expand on his storytelling. But metalcore-style rhythmical mauling may still be the thing they’re best at (see the moshpit mayhem of Grub). ‘Maturing’ might not be the right word for it, but Totally Unicorn appear less hell-bent on ripping out the control console, intent instead on finding new ways to explore 21st century anguish and hopelessness.
Weyes Blood’s fourth album finds the artist behind the project, Natalie Mering, continuing to blossom in the sweet shimmer of her dreamy pop songs. A definite advance on 2016’s Front Row Seat To Earth, Weyes Blood delves into vintage pop influences to deliver a sound completely timeless in its approach. There is a stately magnificence about this album which sees Weyes Blood building ornate orchestral pop symphonies for listeners to drift on. Artfully conceived and constructed, it feels like Weyes Blood has taken more control over Titanic Rising, making bigger and bolder choices on the intricate details.
Christopher H James
Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour A selection of short films from Canada’s nine-day international mountain film festival, including RJ Ripper, pictured, tour to Brissie as part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour this month. RJ Ripper follows mountain biker Rajesh ‘RJ’ Magar as he mountain bikes around Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, including on the rugged trails of the Himalayas. Other flicks airing at the festival include This Mountain Life, about a 60-year-old woman and her daughter on a six-month traverse through the Coast Mountains of British Columbia; Break On Through, following 19-year-old rock climber Margo Hayes as she tries to become the first woman to ascend both La Rambla in Spain and Biographie in France; and Skier Vs Drone, which sees Olympic bronze medallist Victor Muffat-Jeandet race drone pilot Jordan Temkin in a slalom ski course race at Snowbird in Utah.
Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour runs from 1 Apr at Brisbane Powerhouse.
The best of The Arts in April
Cinderella Aussie playwright Matthew Whittet reimagines Cinderella as a rom com for adults trying to find love in the digital age, where our titular hero is a single woman desperate to be freed not from domestic drudgery but drab first dates. Pic by Dylan Evans. From 26 Apr at Cremorne Theatre, QPAC
Jurassic Park In Concert The Queensland Symphony Orchestra perform John Williams’ iconic score to 1993 classic Jurassic Park in full, which, along with the film being projected in HD, is likely to very dramatically amp up the tension at dinosaur-jaw-dropping moments. 27 Apr at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
Supanova Comic Con & Gaming Riverdale stars Camila Mendes, pictured, and Jordan Connor join other pop culture icons like Napoleon Dynamite’s Jon Heder and the two Tylers of Teen Wolf, Posey and Hoechlin, for panels, photo opps and autographs at this year’s first run of Supanova dates. From 12 Apr at Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre
Cluedo! The Interactive Game Take the skills you learnt over endless afternoons deducing who killed whom (Miss Scarlett), with what (the candlestick), and where (always the Conservatory) and apply it to this immersive theatrical mystery set in 1930s high society. From 17 Apr at Baedeker
A Flowering Tree Opera Queensland opens the 2019 season with a contemporary work by John Adams, A Flowering Tree, an adaptation of a traditional Indian folk tale about a young woman who can transform herself into a blossom-covered tree at will.
From 2 Apr at Concert Hall, QPAC
Monty Python’s Life Of Brian Celebrate 40 years of Monty Python’s Life Of Brian – and having a totally respectable reason to write Biggus Dickus in print – by heading along to an anniversary screening. Tix include a special edition poster, song lyrics, stickers and more. 18 Apr at selected cinemas
O n IN A p r i l
Film & TV Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina
HHH Streams from 5 Apr on Netflix
Reviewed by Guy Davis
ou turn your back for one second and, all of a sudden, the Archie Comics universe becomes. somehow, cool? Of course, this evolution of the amiably dorky teen saga had been happening on the page for some time but it’s only recently that this new attitude has taken hold on screen as well, thanks to Riverdale and its equally slickly made supernatural companion, Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, which launches its second season this month. The first season of Sabrina concluded with wraps up both typically teen (Sabrina, played with confident flair by former Mad Men star Kiernan Shipka, split with beloved boyfriend Harvey) and less so (Sabrina embraced her dark destiny by signing her name in the Book Of The Beast, tapping into her witchy powers), and this new season sees her steering into the spookiness by forgoing regular high school in favour of tutelage at the Academy Of The Unseen Arts, which is basically an all-Slytherin Hogwarts.
Shockingly, an affinity for the dark side doesn’t necessarily equal social enlightenment, and Sabrina finds herself having to dismantle the mundane black magic patriarchy one incantation at a time (the male staff and prefects at the Academy get to hang at a gentlemen’s club where Salome herself provides the evening’s erotic entertainment), all the while wrestling with forces much more sinister and powerful that want to use the young half-human, half-witch and her nascent abilities for their own evil ends. Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’s combination of old school supernatural chills, teenage melodrama and 21st century wokeness (when a character announces they are transgender, their friends are appropriately chill about it) is a surprisingly smooth mix - the storylines are engaging if a tad familiar, and the darker elements are just creepy enough to induce a shiver or two without truly getting under the skin. When it comes to tales of the eldritch and arcane, this is a nicely murky cauldron into which to dip your toe.
HHHH In cinemas from 18 Apr
Reviewed by Anthony Carew
urning, the international breakthrough for veteran South Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong, is, in many ways, a strange film to break through. His sixth flick — and first since 2010’s Poetry — ended up all over Best Of lists at the end of 2018, including Barack Obama’s, even though it’s the kind of movie — long, slow, drifting, totally open to interpretation — that rarely finds such approval. Looked at in one light, it’s a thriller: a love triangle in which a woman goes missing, her romantic rivals the rich cad who may’ve done her in and the earnest lover out to know the truth. But Burning defies simple readings, let alone categorisations. Anyone who takes this as a tale of an honest guy with a crush on a cute girl who falls in with a bad man, can’t see the woods for the trees. Adapting a brief short story by Haruki Murakami — which is, in itself, a story about telling stories — Lee takes the scant handfuls of source text plot and pads them out with aching, telling silenc-
es. It’s slyly a film about both an unreliable narrator and the unreliability of cinema. Lee employs a super handsome cast (Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong-seo) and a disarmingly beautiful photographic approach (he and DP Hong Kyung-pyo routinely shooting in the golden glow of magic hour), as a kind of sleight of hand; Burning is a work of quiet disorientation camouflaged by its attractive facade. As whole, it’s a movie that truly embodies the notion of being a ‘mystery’. That’s because what’s mysterious is, essentially, everything. Its central puzzle — what happened to Jeon’s character — is never solved; she simply vanishes, leaving behind a cavernous hole, and endless questions. Those questions are left to linger, in the minds of viewers more than anything. Burning is ultimately about how we can never know, really, anyone. And, in turn, Lee makes his characters as distant, difficult to read, and inscrutable as the people we puzzle over in real life.
When in doubt, freak ‘em out Maxim Boon explores how this year’s contemporary art at Bleach* Festival — including The Farm’s Throttle, Leah Shelton’s Terror Australis and The Cleaners by Shock Therapy Productions — will hijack your senses by defying expectations and harnessing fear.
Terror Australis. Pic: Morgan Roberts
errorist atrocities, climate catastrophes, extremist politics and dogwhistle isolationism: we are living through some desperately troubled times. And yet, instead of the existential dread our daily news cycle should inspire, psychological studies have shown that we’re more likely to feel ambivalence when exposed to such a sustained bombardment of human misery. And it’s not just the peaks and troughs of current affairs that we’re becoming desensitised to. Mainstream entertainment is saturated with violence, abuse, and wholesale death on a scale that has numbed us to even the most extreme depictions. As our metric for both outrage and exhilaration has become ever more anaesthetised, it’s left some artists questioning: is it still possible to shock an audience? The answer to this may well be found at this year’s Bleach* Festival, the Gold Coast’s celebration of site-specific contemporary art. On 2019’s bill, several productions explore the ways performance can hijack the senses, tapping into visceral and psychological responses on the most amped-up end of the emotional spectrum. Co-directors of physical theatre collective The Farm, Gavin Webber and Grayson Millwood, are ideally placed to navigate the changing reactions of contemporary audiences, having built up a body of collaborative work that “shows the fragility and strength of the human condition”. Their latest outing, Throttle, is an immersive melt-
ing pot of pop culture tropes, drawing on the B-grade and cult horror genres synonymous with the drive-in movie experience. From within their own cars, audience members can tune into a specially curated radio broadcast that narrates a story unfolding around them. By drawing on certain psychological cues already innately associated with their drive-in medium, Webber and Millwood can be more subversive with the substance of their art, they explain. “We have a love of that B-grade style of storytelling as well as high art; we like the combination of the two. There’s a great quote from the Wachowskis, who created The Matrix, about loving both highbrow and lowbrow art equally, so they call their work ‘monobrow’. And we’ve decided that we’re pretty happy about embracing that kind of duality as well, even embracing the bogan spirit in Throttle. We’re calling it ‘bogart’,” Webber says. “When you draw on those references and tropes, very quickly the audience understands the context of the show without having to be given a whole lot of additional information. And when we’re able to establish the situation in that way, we can then play with it and mess with the expectation of the audience. That’s a really key component of our work: defying expectations,” Millwood adds. The idea of “accessibility” has often been sneered at within artistic circles, but Webber and Millwood believe such elitism
is an outdated status quo. Their work uses the familiar as a way to introduce more heavyweight concepts to a broader audience. “Physical theatre and dance, which has been our bread and butter for so long, is something we’ve always been attracted to because of the power of it and what it can do. But we’re also very aware that it can be quite an alienating medium for people who don’t have a lot of experience with contemporary dance. So, it’s always been important to us to make work that’s accessible but can also still connect to those high art ideals,” Millwood says. “And I think using contemporary dance and physical theatre can take the audience into a much more abstracted imagination,” Webber continues. “We start somewhere that often feels more concrete, and we journey into this abstraction where there’s more possibility for the audience to imagine. They’re not confined by being told, ‘This is what the show is about.’ It gives them, and us, more freedom.” Cabaret artist and self-styled “psycho-siren” Leah Shelton has also turned to retro cinema for inspiration, in particular the sexually charged exploitation flicks of ‘70s grindhouse, muddled together with the classic Down Under-isms that have defined our national culture in the popular consciousness. Terror Australis is a mercurial hybrid of a production that defies conventional definitions, but Shelton sums it up as a “fucked-up outback Contiki tour,
T h e at r e
a frothing hot mess of black comedy, anti-burlesque, live art and Hills Hoist pole dance”. “There are a lot of references in the show, but you don’t necessarily need to know any of them,” Shelton insists. “What I’m interested in exploring is how those impressions of Australia and of what this place is resonate in the subconscious for both Australians and non-Australians. These are iconic examples of Australiana: some of it we’re really proud of it, some of it makes us cringe, some it makes us feel ashamed. That’s a very complex way to connect to landscape and cultural identity and all the positive and negative responses that link to our history and the way we’ve inhabited this land.” As in The Farm’s Throttle, horror genres have also been a potent muse for Shelton. “I wanted the work to explore the question of Australian culture, and whether we’re actually really afraid of otherness and ‘the outsider’. And I found that horror was a really effective metaphor for that. When you go to the theatre, you don’t often find work that is intended to make you scared or shock you. So I was really interested in how you could take the impact of a horror film or a suspenseful thriller and translate that for the stage, which all stemmed from wanting to explore the scale of the fear and paranoia that seems to underpin our culture even today.” Harnessing fear is not the only shock tactic being wielded at Bleach* Fest. Sur-
Throttle The Cleaners. Pic: Tao Jones
“I was really interested in how you could take the impact of a horror film or a suspenseful thriller and translate that for the stage” — Leah Shelton
prise is also a powerful tool. Sam Foster and Hayden Jones of Shock Therapy Productions, have pushed the boundaries of their practice to offer a unique and unexpected way for their audience to engage with their art. The Cleaners is part improv theatre, part evolving art installation, in which balloons filled with mud are fired at two figures hopelessly attempting to cleanse their once pristine environment of the ever-mounting contamination. Originally created as a three-day art event for Splendour In The Grass, the opportunity to create work for an itinerant audience opened up several creative possibilities for Foster and Jones. “Coming from a theatre background, we naturally brought this theatricality
and performance aspect to the installation. And it was just a great chance for us to think outside of our usual box, in terms of duration or creating a piece of art. What the piece became is both a popup performance and a carnival game,” Foster says. “We very deliberately didn’t call it a piece of theatre. We prefer to refer to it as an experience, because the audience’s participation is absolutely integral.” The Cleaners has developed into a subtle, multi-layered piece, so long in its duration, it’s unlikely any single viewer will witness it from beginning to end. Indeed, many of the people who happen upon the piece during Bleach* may only
engage with the work briefly. Foster and Jones have considered this quirk of the piece carefully. “We always intend our work to have some depth to it; we start with a strong theme or question and build it out from there. But we’re also very conscious of the fact that art cannot, and should not, be just for art lovers or for those who are already interested in our kind of work,” Jones says. “People enjoy this piece on different levels: if someone just wants to come up and hurl a few balloons at us, that’s fine. They’re having a great time, and hopefully that leads them to look beyond the surface of the carnival game and start to think about its meaning.”
T h e at r e
The Cleaners plays from 26 Apr at Bleach* At Burleigh. Terror Australis plays from 26 Apr at The Space, HOTA. Throttle plays from 24 Apr at Mudgeeraba Showgrounds. Bleach* Festival runs from 17 Apr.
THURSDAY 4TH APRIL
SOUL TRAIN FRIDAY 5TH APRIL
TUMBLEWEED, HOBO MAJIC, FROZEN PLANET SATURDAY 6TH APRIL
SAT 6 APR
FRI 24 MAY
8TH ANNUAL RODEO
SUN 7 APR
SAT 25 MAY
FRI 12 APR
THUR 30 MAY
SAT 13 APR
FRI 31 MAY
SUN 14 APR
THUR 6 JUN
SUN 21 APR
SAT 27 APR
THUR 22 AUG
STEPHEN K AMOS
FRI 3 MAY
TUES 3 SEPT
THE ROAD HAMMERS
SOLD OUT GRETA VAN FLEET
SAT 4 MAY
WED 11 SEPT
NEVER ENDING 80’S
BRAVE GOLF THURSDAY 11THAPRIL
ERRAJOTA FRIDAY 12TH APRIL
GOONS OF DOOM, DRUNK MUMS, BLISTER, DICKLORD SATURDAY 13TH APRIL
THE RUINS, GOOBY JIM, NICK CUNNINGHAM FRIDAY 19TH APRIL
SATURDAY 20TH APRIL
BOATKEEPER, THE OCELOTS, THE DREGGS
FRI 17 MAY YBN NAHMIR
FRIDAY 26TH APRIL (07)
BUTTERFINGERS, THUNDERGODS OF THE MULTIVERSE
TICKETS & INFO GO TO: EATONSHILLHOTEL.COM.AU EATONSHILLHOTELPAGE
SATURDAY 27TH APRIL
646 SOUTHPINE RD EATONS HILL
BEDDY RAYS, THE OOGARS, VISAS SUNDAY 28TH APRIL
PAGAN JONSON STREET BYRON BAY
TICKETS AVAILABLE ONLINE WWW.THENORTHERN.COM.AU
Bleach* Festival Bleach* Festival returns again with an array of dance, theatre, live music and opera across the Gold Coastâ€™s key locations including beaches and waterways. On the music side of things you can catch the likes of Montaigne, Kira Puru and Joan As Police Woman among Gold Coast acts Karl S Williams, Eliza & The Delusionals and more. Bleach* Festival runs from 17 â€“ 28 Apr.
Pic: Eliza & The Delusionals
Give it a spin
The vinyl revival has shown that records still hold a solid place in people’s hearts, and the best way to get them is undisputedly thumbing through crates at your favourite local. So on Record Store Day this 13 Apr, do yourself a favour.
In the groove
Record Store Day means limited edition vinyl and one-off reissues and as usual there’s a whole mess of them to pick from this year. There’s no wrong choices obviously, but a few of them might be particularly heartbreaking to miss out on. Illustration by Felicity Case-Mejia. Courtney Barnett Everybody Here Hates You
Seriously, CB is dropping her first single of 2019 as an exclusive Record Store Day vinyl release with a hand-drawn cover and Small Talk as a B-side. There’s only going to be 2,000 copies of the Everybody Here Hates You 12”, so, ah, move quick.
The Birthday Party Mutiny/The Bad Seed
The last word from the seminal Australian band before they imploded in 1983. Nick Cave described Mutiny, “A document of the group in utter collapse,” while historian Clinton Walker called The Bad Seed,“The definitive Birthday Party record.” Here’s your chance to snag them both.
Considering the impression Idles made on Australian crowds during their recent tour, we’d be pretty shocked if this wasn’t a hot ticket item. It’s the first time the four-track EP has been issued on vinyl and features the EP Meta with remixes on the B-side.
Green Day Woodstock 1994
The Fall Medicine For The Masses (The Rough Trade Singles)
A rowdy, mud-soaked set that propelled Dookie into the mainstream, this performance is perhaps most notable for bassist Mike Dirnt losing a tooth after getting spear-tackled by security after they mistook him for a stage-climbing fan.
TOTALLY WIRED FOR MASS CONSUMPTION OF ALL THE MOST GROTESQUE SINGLES FROM BRITAIN’S THE FALL, NORTHERN WORKING CLASS TRACKS THAT FIGHT BACK. MADE WITH THE HIGHEST ATTENTION TO THE WRONG DETAIL, FUCK-FACE. That’s our best Mark E Smith impression, hope you enjoyed it.
Bob Dylan Blood On The Tracks (Original New York Test Pressing)
Aretha Franklin The Atlantic Singles Collection 1967
If you know your Dylan lore, you’ll know that many of the original, bootlegged New York recordings of Blood On The Tracks outshine the revisions that Dylan made to the already incredible album in Minneapolis. This is a big deal for Dylan fans who love their vinyl.
So much soul it’ll make your turntable come alive. This new compilation collects all of the 1967 singles from The Queen Of Soul’s I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love Youera in one tidy little boxset. R-E-S-P-EC-T that!
Van Morrison Astral Weeks Alternative
Weezer Dusty Gems & Raw Nuggets (The B-Sides)
We dare you to listen to the original Astral Weeks and not feel moved by it, we DARE you! An album that can only be described as truly magical, this release compiles a few extended tracks and bonus songs for their first appearance on wax.
A quality collection of “Blue Album”-era B-sides including Susanne, Mykel & Carli, Paperface and more, this is peak Rivers Cuomo. Any of these terrific songs could have sat on their 1994 debut, so we’re excited to finally have them on vinyl too.
Various Artists Lost In Translation OST
Ever just wish you had some music for like, I dunno, chilling out but, like, also having sex, but while being depressed, you know? Ever just been feeling a lot of kind of, existential ennui? Oh, the Lost In Translation soundtrack is on vinyl now? That’s chill.
X-Ray Spex I Am A Cliche (Anthology) There’s many a great band out there with a singer that either makes or breaks the music for new listeners. X-Ray Spex’s Poly Styrene is one of them, and the band’s new vinyl compilation is bound to divide audiences all over again.
Jeff Buckley In Transition
Normally we’re against the continuous milking of a dead artist’s archives — but this is Jeff Buckley we’re talking about! With seven previously unreleased studio recordings from 1993, we’re stoked to hear the demos of originals like Mojo Pin and Last Goodbye as well as an early rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
Wax on, wax off
For the record
Since it is Record Store Day and all, we asked some of the city’s finest wax slingers a couple questions about their collections.
A brief and subjective history of vinyl.
What’s the record no collection can go without?
Relove Oxley, Jason Fahy and James Lee: David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars. This is the record that killed rock’n’roll. It spawned a generation of musicians ranging from Nirvana to Iggy Pop to Marilyn Manson (who based his album Mechanical Animals on the story of Ziggy Stardust). If you are new to vinyl or an aficionado of amazing music you will definitely want this album in your collection.
Rocking Horse Records, Warwick Vere: No filler on any of these dinosaurs — if you don’t have Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks you are missing out big time. Same could be said of The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street, Gram Parsons’ Grievous Angel, and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks.
248 to 65 million years ago
Dinosaurs roam the earth. Records from this period are scarce. 1857
Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville invents the phonautograph. It’s not great. 1877
Famous bastard Thomas Edison ‘invents’ the phonograph, which can both record and reproduce sound on wax cylinders. He’s
Sonic Sherpa, Steve Bell: Far from my fave, but the one record we really struggle to keep on the shelves is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, the album that has it all: soap opera drama, reckless hedonism bordering on masochism and copious pop nous reflected in the abundant hooks and boundless harmonies.
Phase 4 Records & Cassettes, Donat Tahiraj and Julie Morrison: The Saints, (I’m) Stranded (EMI, 1977). Upon release it was pressed in a dozen different countries and while (I’m) Stranded didn’t sell a lot in commercial terms, it remains one of the most influential albums ever made of the punk era; and it was recorded right here in Brisbane! Such a shame it’s been long out of print on vinyl.
not great. 1887
Emile Berliner’s first markets the ‘flat disc’ format in Europe. Edison eats disc. 1925
Western Electric develop the first electrical recordings. I said high voltage. Rock’n’roll. 1931
RCA Victor launched Program Transcription discs, the first commercially-available LP. 1939
Columbia Records wants a slice of that pie, baby, starts developing LP technology.
What absolutely classic record have you never properly given a listen?
Columbia introduce the 12” Long Play, 33 1/3 rpm microgroove record, aka the vinyl LP we know and love today.
Relove Oxley, Jason Fahy and James Lee:
Rocking Horse Records, Warwick Vere:
Any work from Beethoven. It would be sadly lost on most people but Beethoven has some of the greatest works even written. We love Beethoven’s Rondo Rage Over A Lost Penny. If you are a Black Books fan you will know the piece we are talking about.
Miles Davis’s Big Fun. I’m not old enough for jazz yet… One day maybe!
Philips’ cassette is released. Vinyl takes a hit. 1974
Philips start working on Compact Discs. Things are not looking good for our hero. 1988
CDs outsell vinyl for the first time. RIP, records. 2008
Record Store Day event begins, woot woot.
Sonic Sherpa, Steve Bell: I’ve never really been able to shed my complete apathy about Radiohead so I’ll say OK Computer. The only time I’ve heard any of it was when friends tried to trick me by pretending it was something else or they didn’t know what it was, but I always knew.
Phase 4 Records & Cassettes, Donat Tahiraj and Julie Morrison:
Jeff Buckley, Grace (Columbia, 1994). We get asked for this a lot and because vinyl was the format no one wanted in 1994, it’s a $150 album and none of us here could whistle a single tune from it. Not sure how we missed out, but we did. We do love his dad, Tim — surely that’s a consolation!
Record sales see their ninth year of consecutive growth, even reaching a 25-year high. The vinyl revival is on.
Records represent 14% of all physical album sales in the US. 2018
An estimated 9.7 million million records fly of shelves, setting yet another consecutive annual increase. Wax is hot property.
This month’s highlights
We don’t know if you’ve heard the word, but ol’ Cousin Tony has got a brand new Firebird. Don’t miss Melbourne-five piece Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird as they journey from heartbreak to recovery at Woolly Mammoth this 5 Apr.
Brisbane angels Cub Sport are playing some hometown shows this month including an all-ages gig at The Tivoli on 6 Apr. Celebrating the release of their self-titled album, get down early for support sets from Wafia and Two People and feel the love.
Bird is the word
Return of the Mac
Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird
Vocal powerhouse Meg Mac is heading ‘round the country for an 11-date stint to celebrate the first single off her forthcoming album. Playing The Tivoli on 13 Apr, Mac has said it “will be a powerful new show” and with the promise of new music, we know we’re in for a treat.
Come full circle Back in the country for the first time in five years, Chicago rockers Russian Circles are set to light up The Triffid on 28 Apr with their instrumental jams. The tour also marks 15 years since the band’s first gig, so we’re sure it’ll be a wholesome affair.
Magic touch Craving some more electronica and hip hop in your life? Then get ready to Touch Bass, man. Going down at Eatons Hill Hotel on 21 Apr with sets from REZZ, Zomboy, Rusko and more, it’s going to be, as the kids say, a mood.
‘BEER RIGHT BACK’ AUS TOUR APR 12
633 ANN STREET, FORTITUDE VALLEY 4006 QUEENSLAND FB: /WOOLLYMAMMOTHMANESTAGE W: MAMMOTHMANESTAGE.COM.AU 07 3257 4439
WITH BILLY DAVIS & THE GOOD LORDS
FRIDAY APR 27
SATURDAY PELICANS & GHOSTS ALBUM LAUNCH
SUNDAY ‘ALL YOU WANT’ SINGLE LAUNCH
(USA // ‘XAVIER WULF AUSTRALIA TOUR 2019’)
‘CRF’ NATIONAL HEADLINE TOUR
PELICANS & GHOSTS ALBUM LAUNCH
LOUNGE SECOND SHOW ANNOUNCED!
FOR DAILY UPDATES, FOLLOW US ON TWITTER AT @MAMMOTHALEHOUSE
Thanks to The QUBE Effect initiative, 24 of Brisbane’s most promising up-andcomers have been identified and are set to rock Eat Street Northshore from 12-14 Apr as part of Brisbane Youth Week, like 2018 Innovation Award winner AERBORN, pictured, before them.
Don’t be a square
For the latest live reviews go to theMusic.com.au
“[Seeing Raining Blood] performed as a wash of red lights and rain beats down on a manic swarm of writhing bodies has got to be among the most memorable live metal moments ever imaginable.” – Jake Sun
Slayer @ Riverstage. Photos by Bianca Holderness.
“It’s safe to say the Ghost live show is an absolute package and a half.” –Nicolas Huntington
The Download Festival may not have made its way here in its entirety, but that didn’t mean Brisbane
had to miss out, with some acts playing sideshows.
Foremost of which was Slayer, who Brisbane got to say goodbye to as part of their farewell tour, in a massive bill that also featured Anthrax
Pond @ The Triffid. Photo by Oliver Wolf.
Fresh off releasing their new album Tasmania, psychedelic rockers Pond headed out on the road.
Ghost @ The Tivoli. Photo by Bianca Holderness.
Yet another band jumping on board the Download Festival sideshows train was Sweden’s Ghost, who brought
their masks, face paint, smoke plumes, strobe lights and their rock to The Tivoli.
“Pond jump onto the stage without any big introduction, which feels intimate, like coming to a friend’s show rather than a set from one of the biggest names in Australian music.” –Taylor Marshall
the best and the worst of the month’s zeitgeist
The lashes Front
Trial by doco
Gunning for it
If you haven’t seen English
Keanu Reaves corralling an
R Kelly, Michael Jackson,
One Nation are a pack of
57 countries signed the UN’s
There really isn’t enough
comedian James Acaster
airport full of strangers after
Fyre Fest’s Billy McFarland,
corrupt, paranoid delusion-
International Women’s Day
space here to fully break
butcher a flapjack on The
his flight was grounded in
Lou Pearlman (aka the
al, NRMA-courting snakes in
statement seeking to make
down the wild finale of Get
Great British Bake Off yet,
Bakersfield was the pure,
the grass. Surprise! Hold up,
safe abortions easily ac-
Krack!n (check out Benja-
take a couple of minutes
wholesome content we
manager) - the broader
our mistake. They were just
cessible, as well as remedy
min Law’s Twitter for that
out of your day and give it a
didn’t know we needed.
conversation’s been chang-
“on the sauce”. Better give
other “human rights viola-
if you don’t have time to
look. “Started making it, had
Neo reading out facts about
ing around a lot of creeps
Mark Latham a seat in the
tions of women and girls”,
watch it right this second).
a breakdown, bon appetite,”
the “ninth most populous
lately, including some that
upper house then.
and Australia wasn’t one of
Suffice to say the Kates’ lat-
is a mood.
city in California” to keep
seemed nigh untouchable.
them. Sick one, ScoMo.
est triumph is gone forever
everyone entertained is just
Keep the docos coming.
and the world’s a sadder place for it.
impossibly dorky and sweet.
The final thought
Words by Maxim Boon
In a country starved of political leadership, Egg Boy is no yolk.
n recent years, geopolitics has devolved into such a Kafkaesque farce, barely a day goes by without some inexplicable political screw-up dominating the headlines. And with such a seemingly inexhaustible supply of blustering buffoonery, day in and day out, the default response for most of us has become a generous eye-roll with maybe the occasional Pelosi clap-back, just to switch it up.
But clownish as many of our leaders may be, occasionally there are moments that remind us just what true leadership looks like. One of the most striking examples recently emerged in the wake of a horrifying act of terrorism: the extraordinary grace, compassion, fortitude and empathy shown by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, following the shocking murders of 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch last month. As an unthinkable tragedy engulfed a community already demonised by the racebaited scaremongering that has a disturbingly secure foothold in mainstream politics, Ardern offered powerful gestures of consolation and solidarity. Her head covered by a simple scarf as a sign of respect and sensitivity, pictures of her meeting survivors and the families of the dead, her face filled with sincere sorrow, offered an all too rare foil for the usual parade of political idiocy. Meanwhile, Australian pollies did what they do with alarming frequency: they got it totally fucking wrong. Pauline Hanson proved what a reptilian husk of a human she is by taking to breakfast TV with the same dog-whistle anti-Muslim hate speak that inspired the attack in the first place, without the faintest hint of common decency or restraint. Prime Minister Scott Morrison spat the dummy
over reports that he had once pitched anti-Muslim fear tactics as a useful campaign message, choosing tantrums, soliciting fake alibis and shutting down press conferences over offering any actual kind of apology or acknowledgement of wrongdoing. But thanks to Australia’s latest larrikin folk hero, one of our most repulsive political mouth-breathers at least got a dressing down. I’m talking, of course, about Will Connolly, or as he will ever be known, Egg Boy. With just a phone cam, an egg in hand, and a devil-may-care approach to self-preservation, Egg Boy subverted the racist drivel being spouted by far-right nationalist Fraser Anning in response to the Christchurch attack, by cracking a shell on the Senator’s dome. And while the stunt did result in Anning assaulting the 17-year-old, before he was, in his own words, “tackled by 30 bogans at the same time,” it nonetheless revealed what a thuggish bully, surrounded by slack-jawed wannabe stormtroopers, Anning really is. But satisfying as it was to see Anning get egg on his face, there is also something faintly depressing about Egg Boy. In the face of a colossal tragedy, as Arden showed us what true leadership looks like, the best we could summon was a teen with an egg carton. Surely, Australia, we deserve better?
The Music is a free, monthly magazine distributed throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From local insights and insider knowledge to in...
Published on Apr 3, 2019
The Music is a free, monthly magazine distributed throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From local insights and insider knowledge to in...