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Not just another bedroom singer-songwriter
The Annual Power 50
Australian Musicâ€™s Most Influential
FINALISTS METRO VENUE OF THE YEAR
THE TRIFFID THE ZOO REGIONAL VENUE OF THE YEAR
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JON STEVENS & VANESSA AMOROSI DEAN LEWIS
THUNDAMENTALS + QSO
THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN
DEAD OF WINTER FESTIVAL
BABY ANIMALS & KILLING HEIDI
TOWER OF POWER
FASTLOVE: A TRIBUTE TO GEORGE MICHAEL
THE DOORS ALIVE
THE SISTERS OF MERCY
ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES
THE SMITH STREET BAND
A CONVERSATION ON NARCOS
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
Credits Publisher Street Press Australia Pty Ltd Group Managing Editor Andrew Mast National Editor – Magazines Mark Neilsen
Senior Editor Sam Wall
’m one those people who wasn’t that impressed with Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much for screaming along with Don’t Stop Me Now as the next person. Also, the film looked great and, the now Oscar-winning, Rami Malek pulled off an impressive impersonation of Freddie Mercury. But, let’s face it, the film was homophobic (Mercury was only allowed redemption once he kowtowed to the heteronormative values of ‘settling down’ as predicated by the straight band members), was flexible with timelines (Mercury was not the first member to go solo) and omitted some of the band’s uncomfortable history (that’d be like the time they didn’t join the Sun City boycott). But you get the feeling that the film was made with only one thing in mind: a future of eternal singalong screenings. There are more rock biopics on the way but the most satisfactory one of recent years would have to be Nico, 1988. Never widely released in Australia, the 2017 film explores the last years in the life of singer-actor-model Nico (you know, she who performed featured vocals on the Velvet Underground’s debut album). Director Susanna Nicchiarelli wisely chose to only depict Nico’s final years before her death in 1988 (according to Nico’s biographer Richard Witts, the singer played fast and loose with her origin story, which led to his book The Life & Lies Of An Icon being both a wild and wildly lengthy tome). Nico, 1988 is the complete opposite of Bohemian Rhapsody. Where the Queen film plays like an overblown caricature, the Nico biopic is intimate, raw and honest to a fault. The performances in Nico, 1988 are as intense as they were in reality (I was lucky enough to see Nico on her solo tour of Australia). Currently, I’m reading Grace Jones’ autobiography I’ll Never Write My Memoirs. Now, it would make the kinda biopic that I’d line up at the box office for. It could work as either a big budget singalong event film or a lo-fi portrait (like Nico, Jones spent a lot of time hanging with the Factory crew, so maybe it would naturally lean in a similar direction). Until then, this month’s issue features acts whose possible biopics also lie in the future. Hannah Story spent some time with Pond’s Nick Allbrook, not only discussing the band’s new album but also how he goes about coping with the kind of fame that brings tabloid attention. Sydney’s Dean Lewis has also found himself catapulted into fame with the success of last year’s single Be Alright, Anthony Carew chats to him about what’s next. Speaking of fame, we also look at how our current obsession with true crime is making stars of podcasters and police. And, if you flick to the centre of the mag you can find the annual Power 50 - a list of the most influential people in the Australian music industry last year. And this year’s number one has already been lucky enough to have seen themselves portrayed in a biopic (hint: he was played by Aaron Glenane in the made-for-TV Molly).
Editors Daniel Cribb, Neil Griffiths Assistant Editor/Social Media Co-Ordinator Jessica Dale Editorial Assistant Lauren Baxter Arts Editor Hannah Story Gig Guide Henry Gibson firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Contributors Steve Bell, Maxim Boon, Bryget Chrisfield, Cyclone, Jeff Jenkins Contributors Nic Addenbrooke, Annelise Ball, Emily Blackburn, Melissa Borg, Anthony Carew, Uppy Chatterjee, Roshan Clerke, Shaun Colnan, Brendan Crabb, Guy Davis, Joe Dolan, Joseph Earp, Chris Familton, Guido Farnell, Donald Finlayson, Liz Giuffre, Carley Hall, Tobias Handke, Tom Hawking, Mark Hebblewhite, Kate Kingsmill, Samuel Leighton Dore, Joel Lohman, Alannah Maher, Taylor Marshall, MJ O’Neill, Anne Marie Peard, Michael Prebeg, Mick Radojkovic, Stephen A Russell, Jake Sun, Cassie Tongue, Rod Whitfield, Debbie Zhou Senior Photographers Cole Bennetts, Kane Hibberd Photographers Rohan Anderson, Andrew Briscoe, Stephen Booth, Pete Dovgan, Simone Fisher, Lucinda Goodwin, Josh Groom, Clare Hawley, Bianca Holderness, Jay Hynes, Dave Kan, Yaseera Moosa, Hayden Nixon, Angela Padovan, Markus Ravik, Bobby Rein, Peter Sharp, Barry Shipplock, Terry Soo, Bec Taylor Advertising Leigh Treweek, Antony Attridge, Brad Edwards, Thom Parry email@example.com Art Dept Ben Nicol, Felicity Case-Mejia firstname.lastname@example.org Admin & Accounts Bella Bi email@example.com Distro firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions store.themusic.com.au Contact Us Melbourne Head Office Ph: 03 9421 4499 459-461 Victoria Street Brunswick West Vic 3055 PO Box 231 Brunswick West Vic 3055 Sydney Ph: 02 9331 7077 Suite 129, 111 Flinders St Surry Hills NSW 2010
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Andrew Mast Group Managing Editor
T h e s ta r t
This month Editor’s Letter
This month’s best binge watching
Shit We Did: Entomophagy
Charlotte de Witte
Bryget Chrisfield A lifelong love of music and writing consolidated when Bryget Chrisfield started penning live reviews for Inpress (now The Music) while studying professional writing and editing at RMIT. After graduating, Bryget was initially employed as full-time staff
writer before being promoted to Victorian editor of this national street press publication where she remained for over ten years. She is currently a freelance journalist as well
Dean Lewis Creation comes naturally
Will live music be resurgent on Australian TV this year?
Pond Solemn and scared, but also stanky and joyful
The best arts of the month
Film & TV reviews
85 Becky Lucas Booted off Twitter and into the real world
The Power 50
True crime stories On their rise and their players becoming celebrities
Bryget finds true happiness.
86 Rod Whitfield
Guest editorial: Co-founder of The Seed Fund, Danielle Caruana
through interviewing musical geniuses that
The 2019 edition The Music presents its annual countdown of the biggest influencers in Australian music
as a journalism lecturer at Collarts and it is
Rod has been a music journalist since
former drummer, he retired from playing in
1995, when he started at Forte Magazine in Geelong. Since then he has written for The Music, Beat, UK Prog and many more. A bands in 2015 and turned his hand to writing books and screenplays.
Your Town 23 Today years old Everyday stuff that blindsides us
The Big Picture: Amanda Palmer
Code Orange, Slaves (UK)
Taylor Marshall When he isn’t heading to live shows, Taylor
This month’s local highlights
A Swayze & The Ghosts, VOIID & Crocodylus
T h e s ta r t
spends time in his Gold Coast home with his two Labradors and is studying Business Management and Entertainment. He also fronts and self-manages his solo project Messycable.
Us of aaahh! The trailer alone had us hiding behind a pillow so chances are Jordan Peele’s mind-bending new psychological horror Us- starring Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke - is going to be pure nightmare fuel. The writer-director’s Get Out follow-up hits cinemas nationally 28 Mar.
In their biggest headline tour to date, this month electronic duo SLUMBERJACK are heading ‘round the country to share their recent EP, with stops in Adelaide Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The Sarawak tour kicks off 8 Mar.
The legendary Kylie Minogue’s first Australian tour in four years starts 5 Mar! Minogue will be playing four headline shows and three A Day On The Green shows during the run, marking her first time performing outdoor headline concerts in Australia.
Charles chance Oraght oraght oraght Pop superstar Rita Ora’s biggest ever Australian tour gets rolling 1 Mar. The run is in celebration of the British singer’s recent second album, Phoenix, and stops in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane before wrapping in Perth.
T h e s ta r t
Coming to Netflix this 15 Mar, Turn Up Charlie stars Idris Elba (swoon) as a struggling DJ who finds an unexpected lifeline babysitting his megastar best friend’s unruly 11-year-old daughter, Gabby (Frankie Hervey).
This month’s best binge watching
American Gods, Season 2
Based on Neil Gaiman’s book of the same name, American Gods focuses on the story of a recently released ex-convict named Shadow who becomes involved in a war between
the old and new gods of the world. Sounds a bit like WWE if you ask us! If the end of season one was anything to go off, the second coming of this series will be just as fucking mental as the first.
Streams from 10 Mar on Amazon
Secret City: Under The Eagle
“Kroongbin” After selling out their debut Aus tour months in advance, adding shows and upgrading venues, Khruangbin are finally on their way. The psychedelic American trio’s east coast run starts in Melbourne this 12 Mar.
Secret City, everyone’s favourite political drama about Canberra, is set to return for a second season of more Parliament House paranoia with political journalist Harriet Dunkley (Anna Torv). In our opinion, a different thriller set in Canberra’s southside would also make for a terrific programme. Meth galore, barefoot muggings in the Tuggeranong mall, loonies forming new rap groups every day: all the ingredients for a delightful romp in the style of Breaking Bad.
Streams from 4 Mar on Foxtel Now
Turn Up Charlie
Baltimore indie rocker Snail Mail is playing her debut Australian shows this month. As well as spots at Farmer & The Owl and A Festival Called Panama, she’ll be playing tracks from her debut LP, Lush, along the east coast from 5 Mar. Snail Mail
T h e s ta r t
Love him or hate him, you’ve gotta admit that old mate Ricky Gervais continues to carve out quite a career for himself. His latest dark comedy series, After Life, is based around the premise of a bloke named Tony (played by Gervais) who decides to say and do whatever he wants following the devastation of his wife’s sudden death. Sounds like typical stuff from England’s favourite atheist, we’re sure it’ll be worth a watch.
Streams from 8 Mar on Netflix
Live nights at Freddy’s
The Internet are incoming from 1 Mar. The Grammy-nominated neo-soul outfit will perform at Perth Festival, Golden Plains and as part of the Melbourne Zoo Twilights series, as well as playing their own shows at Sydney Opera House and The Tivoli in Brisbane.
New Zealand group Fat Freddy’s Drop are back in town this month for their first full Aus tour since their 2016 sell-out run. Ladi6 will be joining the group for the shows, which kick off in Melbourne 15 Mar after their WOMAdelaide appearance.
Fat Freddy’s Drop
Podcast of the month:
With his best friend and co-host Cameron James in tow, Alexei Toliopoulos tries to unravel the mystery of unauthorised Rocky IV spinoff Drago: On Mountains We Stand and its elusive author, Todd Noy. As James himself puts it, “It’s like Serial, but it’s stupid as hell.”
The trip to Australia
To see Lucy Lucy Dacus, acclaimed solo artist and one-third of indie supergroup boygenius, is heading our way for her first-ever Australian tour. She arrives in Sydney on 27 Mar before heading to Brisbane, Melbourne and By The Meadow.
Cult comedian Rob Brydon is taking his new stand-up show I Am Standing Up around Australia this month, starting in Brisbane at the QPAC Concert Hall on 12 Mar. Expect wry asides and a lot of spoton impressions. Rob Brydon
T h e s ta r t
Odette Era of Ignition: Coming Of Age In A Time Of Rage & Revolution by Amber Tamblyn
Sh*t we did With Maxim Boon
Following her sell-out album run for To A Stranger, and with her debut headline Europe/UK tour coming up fast, ARIA-nominated breakout artist Odette will be heading around the country from 27 Mar for the Lotus Eaters tour.
Entomophagy Most Westerners baulk at the thought of chowing down on creepy-crawlies, but raiding nature’s larder for insects has provided a dietary staple for humans since prehistoric
Lit Out 5 Mar, Era Of Ignition examines the fractious metamorphosis of a country “actively confronting our values and agitating for change”. Through a personal lens, actor and activist Amber Tamblyn’s book gives scope to some of the largest issues of our time..
times. For billions of people, bugs are still on the menu, and in many cultures, even held up as coveted delicacies that can sell for prices far in excess of meat. And yet, Western eating habits have all but completely rejected insects as a viable food source; we’re more likely to gag than gorge when a plate of bugs is served. However, there is a growing movement of grassroots gastronomes working to raise the profile of edible insects and the many advantages they offer. A growing population coupled with inefficient farming techniques means our world is fast approaching a tipping point, when our ability to produce food will be surpassed by the number of mouths to feed. Space and resources needed to raise livestock are hugely damaging to the environment. Bugs on the other hand, in addition to their nutritional value – a low-fat, carb-free source of protein – are far less impactful. Farming them requires a fraction of the
space, feed and water of their mammalian counterparts, and even raised as a source of feed for animals, insects offer better nutritional quality for lower ecological cost. It seems inarguable that recognising insects as a food source is something the West should embrace. So, why do most of us still find the concept hard to swallow?
The Verdict I consider myself pretty adventurous when it comes to food but I spend a not insignificant amount of time trying to avoid being in direct contact with insects, so the notion of putting them in my gob is a big fat nope. However, this month I have faced my phobia, all in the
App of the month: Reigns + Reigns: Her Majesty bundle From the same people that published Hatoful Boyfriend (the beloved pigeon dating sim), the Reigns series has been described as light RPGs played with Tinder mechanics. Swipe left or right to become a hated tyrant or benevolent ruler. Die lots either way.
BACK in town Australian legend Tim Minchin’s first national headline tour since 2012 starts this 5 Mar. The WA-raised comic and musician will premiere his new show, BACK, in Adelaide, followed by performances in Canberra, Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
name of quality journalism. Crickets are one of the most widely farmed insects, owing to their size, nutritional value and flavour, so this seemed an ideal place to begin this culinary torture. Flash fried and well-seasoned, to my great surprise my cricket experience wasn’t entirely horrific. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say I enjoyed it but I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a total convert. It seems the biggest barrier to entry for edible insects is psychological. If bug farmers can overcome this sticking point, they could very well be on the front lines of a much-needed food revolution.
T h e s ta r t
Dean Lewis’ highly anticipated debut album might have some thinking they know exactly what it’ll sound like, but the Be Alright singer-songwriter assures Anthony Carew he has unknown depths.
“I want to make more of a band thing, this big festival sound. I always wanted it to be so much bigger than one acoustic guitar.”
ean Lewis’ Be Alright is the kind of song where the phrase ‘hit single’ doesn’t quite capture its success. It’s probably more apt to say the 2018 jam is a ‘monster smash’. It sat at #1 in Australia for five weeks, going six times platinum. And it became a global calling card, introducing the 31-year-old Sydneysider to an international audience when it cracked the top ten throughout Europe. And, Be Alright also meant that Lewis’s debut album, A Place We Knew, was going to arrive as a much anticipated first LP. “I thought Waves was a life-changing song for me,” Lewis says, referring to his debut 2016 single that hit #12 on the local charts. “But this has gone way beyond that. Waves was big in Australia, this is big all over the world. Even now, it’s Top 40 in America, man, it’s mental. I feel very lucky, because I know a lot of great songs get put out and then nothing happens. [But] straight away I knew it was a good song, because the first time that I played it, people came up to me and were like, ‘That song about the phone, that’s a good one, are you gonna release that?’ So, the reaction was good straight away.” So, then, the question begs: why does Lewis think this particular song has so struck a chord, with listeners far and wide? “What I can guess,” Lewis says, “is it’s about the vocal, and the emotion of the voice moreso than the melody or the production. A lot of songs that I’ve done, it’s been about that; you can chuck in a lot of production, double-track your voice, make the chorus sound ‘big’. But, Be Alright is a song that’s so dependent on the vocal that the arrangement could’ve been just a piano. There’s also something universal
about a song where it’s someone telling you, ‘It’s going to be ok.’ But, I wish I knew exactly why [people love it]. That’d be awesome.” When Lewis was releasing Be Alright, he harboured genuine ambitions: “I had this goal of, ‘I wanna hit 200 million streams,’” Lewis says. These are big dreams for someone who — as a kid, bouncing between Cammeray, Cremorne, and Mosman in Sydney — didn’t grow up dreaming of making music; instead, he was more into basketball and video games. Wanting to make music was never his ambition until that dream came to life, in an instant, when he was 18, when his dad showed him a DVD of Oasis playing live. “I remember the way that [the Gallagher brothers] walked on stage, it was just, ‘This is what I wanna do.’ It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” Lewis recounts. So, he asked for a guitar for Christmas, and after that “spent [his] time watching The Kooks and Oasis on YouTube, learning how to write songs”. Of course, the idea of playing stadiums seemed utterly unattainable, but songwriting itself came quickly. Lewis felt, instantly, that it was a natural artform for him. “The first song I wrote, well, it was terrible, but it came very quick,” he recounts. “The creation of ideas was there from the start. I feel very lucky. Idea creation is something that feels very natural to me, I pick up a guitar and ideas flow out. It’s like a tap. Maybe it’s all the time I spent listening to Oasis, but there’s just all these melodies in my brain, and they just keep flying out. I just have to make sure I push record.” Lewis, at first, thought he’d find a music career as a songwriter-for-hire, working in the backrooms of the pop industry, penning songs for others. But, he always kept some songs for himself, and harboured dreams of a solo career. Given how he’s wired, it made sense for Lewis to take control of his own songs. “I’m a bit of a control freak,” he admits. “With everything about songwriting and music, I’m just so involved in every element, it’s all I think about. I feel the need to take control of that. I feel it so strongly, in my personality, that things should be a certain way, and no one can tell me differently.” The success of Be Alright means, for many listeners, Lewis will be personified as a sensitive balladeer. But, beyond his ambitions for play counts — which were blown away, Be Alright has been spun, as of press time, over 630 million times, globally — Lewis has big ambitions for his music.
“I don’t wanna make singer-songwriter, just-a-guywith-a-guitar-in-his-room [music],” he says. “There’s so many of those guys out there. I want to make more of a band thing, this big festival sound. I always wanted it to be so much bigger than one acoustic guitar. I remember when I did the Mahogany Sessions in the UK [in 2016], and saw how everyone else was doing it, I thought, ‘That’s not me, I’m going to get off the acoustic guitar, get off the piano, and try and build it bigger, be a real festival act.’” After releasing his debut EP, Same Kind Of Different, in 2017, Lewis set out to make his first album, which took him to various studios, in various countries, working with various producers. He was, always, chasing musical dreams. “I’d just work on something, over and over, until it sounds like the song that I imagined in my head. I’d listen to [other people’s songs] and say, ‘That sounds insane, the production level!’ And then I’d think, ‘Why doesn’t [my song] sound as good as that?’ And then I’d just re-record it until it did. That kind of pissed everyone off, because you might end up recording a song four times, and it’s a lot more expensive.” But, Lewis continues, “I know [what] I sound like. I know what a Dean Lewis song is. It’s, like, first-person lyrics, telling a story, raw. Usually some sort of loud, prominent acoustic guitar in there. All my songs have a very distinct approach, this first-person storytelling... Half A Man and Don’t Hold Me, both of those are about actually not feeling good enough. There’s songs about relationships. Then there’s Hold Of Me, where I really felt, like, ‘I don’t wanna write another sad song.’ So it’s kind of about me saying to this girl, ‘Just trust me, I know you’ve been hurt, but everything is gonna be ok.’” In bringing together these songs, Lewis eventually settled on a title for this debut that seemed evocative of the whole, and — to the songwriter — a micro-narrative unto itself; inspired from a phrase he heard via an in-flight radio station, no less. “A Place We Knew, it tells a story in a single sentence,” Lewis offers. “To me, it [evokes] that I recorded these songs in all these different places around the world. And, secondly, it has this specific feeling to it. You know when you drive past an old house you used to live in with an ex-girlfriend, or whatever, and it’s two years later, and everyone’s moved on, but there’s all those feelings, and emotions, and memories of that place, and it’s quite a bittersweet feeling. A lot of the songs have that longing to it. That’s so powerful to me. It sums up everything.”
A Place We Knew (Island/Universal) is out this month. Dean Lewis tours from 6 May.
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Will live music make a grand recovery on Aus TV in 2019?
“Maybe the tide is turning.”
Live music on Australian TV has been an important part of the country’s cultural history. This year, stations are offering new programs with the promise of putting greater focus on local content. Jessica Dale investigates what this could look like.
ustralia has a long and rich history of live music on TV. The ‘70s and ‘80s saw Countdown as king, the ‘90s were all about Recovery, and the ‘00s saw Foxtel’s local music programming skyrocket with channels [V], Music Max and MTV, and quiz shows viewed in a different light thanks to RocKwiz and SBS. For the past ten years though, it would be easy to only think of reality singing competitions as the country’s default setting when it comes to live music on our screens. But with such an impressive back catalogue of band performances being broadcast into lounge rooms across the nation, is it perhaps time for a less manufactured format to return to its glory days? Looking at 2019’s local programming schedules, it looks like it may already be happening. Mid-last year, MTV Australia announced they would be launching their own localised version of MTV Unplugged, the much-loved and revered format made famous in the ‘90s by acts like Nirvana and Eric Clapton. The local version launched with Gang Of Youths, giving the show a strong and anticipated local debut. Since, Amy Shark and DMA’S have scored episodes, while there’s a show from The Rubens expected to drop soon. MTV Australia followed the MTV Unplugged news, and its successful launch, with an announcement that its Total Request Live (TRL) program would make a comeback in early-2019, after going off-air in 2006. When asked if the strong reaction to Unplugged spurred on the decision to bring back TRL, Simon Bates, Vice President and Head of MTV APAC, shares that the show’s return was always on the cards. “TRL was always a part of the plan, but yes, the success of MTV Unplugged Melbourne in Australia definitely gave us confidence that the strategy is right,” he says.
“We chose to focus on TRL and MTV Unplugged for very different reasons. MTV Unplugged is global. It’s a completely unique opportunity for Australian artists. Not only does it have the incredible legacy, it is arguably the most iconic music show ever created. It’s an opportunity to showcase Australian music to a global audience. Australian Unplugged Melbourne shows have been broadcast globally on MTV, followed by the opportunity to release an MTV Unplugged Melbourne album, which we have seen from Gang Of Youths. “TRL is more of a local show for Australian and NZ audiences only. It’s a party and performance every week at the MTV head office and studio in Sydney where we are ultimately filming a show. We will also have the opportunity to distribute our content into other global markets, and across all our digital platforms - YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.” Along with the return of TRL, this year sees the launch of Chris & Julia’s Sunday Night Takeaway - with Dr Chris Brown and Julia Morris - and Saturday Night with Rove McManus, which are all set to host regular musical performances. The Feed has introduced a live musical appearance as part of its new weekly format, while 2018 saw strong debut seasons from The Set and All Together Now. Hosted by Julia Zemiro, All Together Now launched with 813,000 viewers and had a consistent first season. Only weeks ago, it was announced that the Zemiro-hosted RocKwiz would not return to SBS after an 11-year run. The show had not released any new episodes since 2016 and its future remained unclear for fans and the show’s stars alike. Zemiro is understanding and gracious when she speaks of the show’s time with SBS ending (its live format continues with
shows scheduled in Melbourne and Byron Bay this year). “Every TV station is allowed to do what they want with their money. And I will say this, Matt Campbell, who now works at CJZ that makes Home Delivery [Zemiro’s show with ABC], who commissioned our show back then, he was someone who was in a position of power and luckily he chose our show and SBS have been magnificent over the years, in nurturing us and pretty much letting us do what we want and I think that’s a big plus.” So what was it about RocKwiz that made it become so beloved and successful with fans? “I think Brian says it best when he says, ‘These are people, the people who get up on stage to answer the questions, they’ve been waiting for this show their whole lives’... With us it was, because Brian picks the best four of a group of 24, the ones that get backstage are pretty great and I simply can’t do the show without them. I can’t. So when you need your punter as much as they need you, it’s a beautiful combination because you have to make each other look good, you just have to.” Throughout the discussion, Zemiro comes back to the same word - kindness and believes that this could be the shift for the future of music programs on Aussie screens. “There’s going to be more shows in the future, and I’m thinking of Julia Morris and Chris [who] are going to do a tonight show [Chris & Julia’s Sunday Night Takeaway], and I remember reading somewhere her saying, ‘We want it to be a kinder space.’ So maybe the tide is turning.”
RocKwiz Live tours from 19 Apr.
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Stanky and joyful Pond frontman Nick Allbrook tells Hannah Story about overcoming a crisis of confidence, the impending doom of climate change, and having his privacy invaded by the Daily Mail. Pic by Kane Hibberd.
ick Allbrook, the 31-year-old frontman for Perth psych-rock band Pond — made up of Allbrook, Joe Ryan, Jay Watson, James Ireland and Jamie Terry — can come across as a kind of cult leader during their expansive live sets, seeming to almost proselytise to his followers as he jerks and kicks across the stage. For his part, Allbrook sees that interpretation as a matter of perspective: “I’m sure other people would just think I was a bit of a little quince dancing around on stage... I reckon some people probably think I look like a wanker, and some people maybe think it’s all real good.” He appreciates the crowd’s response — expressing itself as a ritualistic, physical outpouring of emotion, bodies hurling against each other, arms outstretched: “I definitely wouldn’t be making music and playing live if it wasn’t for that.” After the band took a break from touring and releasing music, Allbrook says he suffered from a crisis of confidence as a set of live dates loomed. “I thought everyone was gonna see me and be like, ‘Oh, he’s different! Fuck this band, I’m out of here!’ But it was like the opposite. We are fragile little wimps and we need constant reassurance that we’re doing something ok, so crowds responding to us positively is essential to us making music.” What got him through that experience were “beta-blockers” — drugs that inhibit the effects of adrenaline, often prescribed to beat anxiety — and the crowds themselves: “People’s actual faces and bodies and voices right in front of me. I didn’t need to block the beta for very long because seeing people physically react to your music is pretty powerful.” While Allbrook is flattered by the image of himself as the enigmatic front-
man, he doesn’t see himself as a “massive voice to the people”: “This idea of the artist as being a prophet isn’t true with me.” But it’s still important to Allbrook that he uses his music to approach difficult subjects like climate change and national identity, as he does on their new record Tasmania, out this month, and on “sister album” 2017’s The Weather. In the intervening two years Allbrook says the topics — especially around our obstinance in the face of man-made climate change — have “gotten more real and more scary”, and what
Psychedelic Mango, first as their drummer and then producing since 2012’s Beards, Wives, Denim. “We were getting more into [electronic music] gradually as the albums went on, sort of following this path down that kinda sonic territory and we just kept following it. I think we got a bit better at being honest lyrically and it’s also a progression just as far as your outlook and what’s consuming your brain. “It’s just moved on, I like to think you’re always learning and always progressing your views and stuff like that.
“Seeing people physically react to your music is pretty powerful.” his music offers is a “different, progressed take on them”: “It’s harder to be like an angry, tub-thumping left-wing type guy and you start just feeling sad. Sad and desperate.” What is a musician and writer’s role in tackling issues like these? “I think it’s essential if you’re actually concerned about it because otherwise you’re not speaking your mind. And really, it’s pretty important and I think whatever makes it louder, whatever makes people’s dissatisfaction and fear and confusion louder and more visible is probably a good thing in the end.” As an evolution from The Weather, Tasmania sees the band getting older and more honest lyrically, as they continue to explore the sonic textures of 808s and sequencers. They’ve reunited on the record with producer Kevin Parker (Tame Impala), who has worked with them on almost all of their albums except 2009 debut,
I think it’s a little bit more diverse in it being a bit more solemn and scared and resigned but also then stanky and joyful.” That urge to be completely honest is, for Allbrook, “the only way to be truly satisfied with art or music you’re making”: “I just wanted to make something that was gonna make me feel good instead of feeling like there’s still something clogged up inside of me.” Allbrook became gossip fodder in September last year, when the Daily Mail cottoned on to the fact he had been dating Tiger Hutchence-Geldof since mid-2017. First, they used photos from Instagram to write about Allbrook and Hutchence-Geldof’s relationship, before going on to publish intimate pictures of the couple together in Birmingham, England. He says he only found out about the articles because his manager sent them
through to him: “It was pretty creepy because I had no idea that someone’s taking a photo of me.” And while he knows it’s just a reality of our age, where everyone has a smartphone with a camera, he still thinks it’s “fucked up”: “Having a zoom-in across the street on an intimate moment is real weird, yeah — it’s quite creepy.” The frontman says that invasion of privacy was part of the reason he pulled back on using Instagram, that and the socalled “perils of social media”: “I don’t use Instagram anymore for anything other than music information and I delete it again as soon as I’ve put that shit up. It’s a scary place. “I’m not fuckin’ Jay-Z, but you do get people you will never know — you don’t know and will never know — telling you you’re a piece of shit or something like that.” Ultimately, Tasmania, while bristling with desperation, takes on a hopeful tone — helped by its glam-pop aesthetic. It’s an album that, in touching on difficult issues, is also made for dancing: “There’s something nice about having the body part of it being really visceral and physical and dance-y, and the brain part of it being less so.” Allbrook, in the end, connects that embodiment to a feeling of “optimism and love”: “Part of the whole resignation towards bad things happening is that you’ve gotta make the best of your time and appreciate things that are physical and tangible. And when real big things are threatened to be taken away from you, like the water and the trees and stuff like that, it’s like you want to try to enjoy the music [and] dancing.”
Tasmania (Spinning Top) is out this month. Pond tours from 3 Mar.
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Truth is stranger than fiction Hannah Story talks to David Rudolf, the lawyer from The Staircase, Trace journalist Rachael Brown and Josie Rozenberg-Clarke, host of All Aussie Mystery Hour, about the rise and rise of true crime stories, and turning their players into celebrities.
rue crime stories seem to be having a bit of a moment in 2019 — a kind of cross-medium mass saturation. There are investigative and chatty podcasts; a seemingly endless stream of documentaries on Netflix, HBO, everywhere, illuminating implied miscarriages of justice or trying to reveal something about killers’ inner psyches; and even big budget movies about some of the 20th century’s most horrific crimes. It’s been a long time coming — every year it feels like we reach another zenith. Last year The Australian’s podcast The Teacher’s Pet won the highest accolade in Aussie journalism, the Gold Walkley. The year before, the ABC released their first true crime podcast Trace. 2016 was the year FX dropped The People V OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, starring Cuba Gooding Jr and John Travolta, picking up nine Emmys. In 2015, Making A Murderer and The Jinx blew up. And it feels like the current wave started in 2014 when the object of our obsession was Serial. Josie Rozenberg-Clarke is one half of PEDESTRIAN. TV’s All Aussie Mystery Hour, where she and her co-host Mel Mason chat about unsolved mysteries close to home — both gruesome crimes and the strange and fantastic, like the Lithgow Panther. She disputes that the public’s interest in true crime is a new phenomenon at all, and instead points to a change in the way we consume those stories. She sees the cases of JonBenet Ramsey and OJ Simpson in the ‘90s as examples of true crime stories that generated huge amounts of media interest — it’s just that we only had newspapers and TV. “Now there’s different ways to watch TV, there’s different ways to get movies. and podcasts are so easily available and I just think, yes there’s a lot and it seems like it’s a new trend, but kinda not really, it’s just that it’s available in more places.” Well before Serial, in 2004, the original The Staircase documentary was released, before two followups in 2013 and 2018. The complete 13-episode package landed on Netflix last year — and this month, the lawyer at its centre, David Rudolf, arrives in Australia to talk about the case and the man he represented, novelist Michael Peterson, who was tried and convicted in 2003 for the murder of his wife Kathleen. After years of ultimately successful attempts to have his conviction overturned, and with a retrial approaching, in 2017, Peterson entered an Alford plea — a guilty plea where the defendant acknowledges there’s enough evidence to convict him while still maintaining innocence. Rudolf, along with Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin, two post-conviction lawyers for Making A Murderer’s Brendan Dassey, are speaking across the country as part of Inside Making A Murderer & The Staircase. Rudolf says the events will be an opportunity for people to have their questions answered “about things they might not understand or be confused about or just what to know which we’re not covering in the documentaries”.
But he also hopes he and his fellow speakers will be able to talk about the “deeper lessons” of the documentaries and “talk about the systems and what the problems are in the systems and how those problems could be addressed in some way going forward”. There’s something interesting about the public’s interest not only in true crime, but in the people close to them — whether lawyers like Rudolf, or journalists like The Teacher’s Pet’s Hedley Thomas, or cops like Ron Iddles, the homicide detective who investigated the murder of Maria James, the subject of ABC’s Trace podcast. They’ve each been elevated almost to a level of celebrity, speaking at panel events, or in Iddles’ case starring in a new Foxtel series titled Ron Iddles: The Good Cop. Rachael Brown, the journalist behind Trace, says that in the case of Iddles, it’s less about “celebrity” than finding “valuable education opportunities”: “Some policing organisations have become stuck in their ways. But [Iddles] recognises times have changed, audiences get their news in different ways, [and] so too must policing strategies change.” She references Iddles speaking at a recent Melbourne conference about what podcasting offers investigators: “’Why wouldn’t you want to reach into 2.5 million houses? You might actually touch the killer, or you might touch someone who knows.’” Generally, Rudolf says people have been “respectful” of him when they’ve recognised him in public, but admits that it’s been strange to be asked for autographs or selfies. Rozenberg-Clarke is reluctant to say that All Aussie Mystery Hour is generating a fandom around it, but acknowledges that much of their audience comes from people who “like us and like the way we present things. A lot of our reviews are like, ‘These girls are like talking to friends’”. It’s tempting to think that the public’s interest in these stories comes in some part from curiosity about their more grisly aspects. But when asked what it is about these stories that captures people’s attention, Rudolf, is more optimistic about viewers. “I don’t think it’s the grisly part of this that really fascinates people — this is not like a horror film or a voyeuristic documentary, nor are any of these that have been popular. I
think it has to do with people’s desire for and expectation that justice is gonna be done in these kinds of cases. “Really the driver here is getting this inside, behind-thescenes view of a system that people thought they understood, and now found out that they really had a false view of. I think that’s a real eye-opener.” Brown too sees that an interest in true crime might provide a kind of learning opportunity — she notes that an ABC survey recently found true crime addicts crave ‘insight into the legal system’: “[Speaking tours] could help raise community awareness about the justice system, how to navigate it and where its weaknesses are.” While Rozenberg-Clarke sees an interest in the “dark side of humanity” as definitely part of the cultural fascination in true crime, she also lands on ‘learning’ as something that piques people’s interest. “It’s also that interest in learning more, especially when it’s Australian, learning more about your own culture and things that you might not have known. It’s like a history lesson and a humanity lesson all at the same time.” Often at the core of these stories is a tragic loss of life — a loss that’s been turned into something to be binged, consumed, into a form of entertainment. Brown says that kind of “slippery slope” was at the forefront of her mind when making Trace. So to negate that possible impact, she made sure both to get the full blessing of Maria James’ sons and of Iddles, and to follow up all leads around potential ‘persons of interest’, “to give listeners/readers all the facts and let them make up their own minds”: “I wanted Trace to be both a forensic investigation and respectful of all those caught up in this case.” Rudolf believes that people, for the most part, don’t see true crime as a form of entertainment in the same way as comedies or romantic movies: “This is entertaining because it illuminates things that people didn’t realise. “I think all of these documentaries are quite respectful of the people in them. Obviously there might be some people who are viewing it on a level of pure entertainment and don’t really care about what they’re learning or what the message is, but I think for the most part what people are getting out of this is the real purpose of the documentary, certainly The Staircase, was to shine a light on the criminal justice system.”
“It’s like a history lesson and a humanity lesson all at the same time.”
Inside Making A Murderer & The Staircase tours from 21 Mar. Disclosure: Hannah Story has written for PEDESTRIAN.TV
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
C u lt u r e
Can you share a bit of history behind this series of images at the beach? With pleasure. When I hired Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, this photography/design duo from my neighbourhood in upstate New York, to shoot album artwork, I offered a really simple core concept for the photographs: theatrical, but real. This record deals head-on with the darkest subjects: death, abortion, cancer, miscarriage, grief. I didn’t want to just shoot grim, grown-up portraits of myself, I wanted to
Amanda Palmer wasn’t really interested in making “a hyper-personal, accidentally feminist, extremely direct record or book”, but she has done exactly that with the release of album There Will Be No Intermission and accompanying photo book. Photos by Kahn & Selesnick.
The Big Picture
shoot photographs that somehow captured the complexity of the feelings that the songs contain. We ended up shooting so much beautiful material that I decided to collect it in a book, with essays, instead of relegating it to vinyl and CD art - there just wasn’t room there to fit the enormity of what we’d created. Those shots on the beach were a wonderful alchemy: that’s a spot on Cape Cod, right near where I grew up, where Kahn and Selesnick have shot landscapes for years; they already had a deep working
To read the full story head to theMusic.com.au knowledge of the topography; the beaches, hills, and dunes. You regularly release music collections with some form of book. Outside of “extended liner notes”, what do you think this adds to your albums? Absolutely. I have never been an “enigmatic” artist, and I prefer to overload my audience with optional context; they can pick and choose how deeply they want to travel into the backstories, but the backstories
them even wound up becoming retroactively profound: like the beautiful pregnancy portrait that now lives as a rare document of the baby I lost. It felt like a very powerful choice to include that portrait in the book; because it sort of fixed the complexity of that experience in reality. I really was very pregnant, and I really did miscarry that baby, and it was all a part of my journey and reality. I am not going to hide and tuck those photos away into a box of locked grief, I am going to celebrate them for the moment they
are always there, on offer, like a curational map-guide through the museum of my album. I always love being able to dig into the backstory of the works of my favourite artists; to me, it never lessens the emotional experience, it only amplifies. You’ve said that “most of these songs were exercises in survival”, can the same be said of these portraits? Well, not exactly. These photographs were incredibly therapeutic to create, and some of
The Big Picture
were, and for the strange, empowering gift that miscarriage gave me. But these photographs feel more like the supporting actors in the play of this album. The songs themselves, and writing them, and performing them for my community, were the true life rafts in my life while I was going through the storm of all these experiences. There Will Be No Intermission (Cooking Vinyl) is out this month
Fight for your right Ensuring their gigs are a safe space for everyone is of primary importance to Slaves. Singer/drummer Isaac Holman tells Bryget Chrisfield that, like Beastie Boys, the duo just wanna have fun and do what they want.
Download Code Jami Morgan of Code Orange explains to Rod Whitfield that for these hardcore punks playing festivals is all about making new fans.
ittsburgh-based noise merchants Code Orange have only toured Australia once previously in their decade-long career and that was back in 2015 when they ventured Down Under to plug 2014 record I Am King. Now they’re returning as part of Download Festival. Little can prepare the average punter for the catastrophic onslaught that is Code Orange live, however drummer and vocalist Jami Morgan has a few choice words that attempt to do exactly that. “We’re going to bring it, 100%. Especially with the shorter [festival] set, you’re going to get a lot of blistering intensity, but also a lot of dynamics, not just ‘Ra-ra-ra!’ You’re going to feel scared.” That said, they are actually a band that is difficult to categorise, combining elements from right across the broad spectrum that is heavy, metal, hardcore and punk music. The end product is something really quite unique, and this manifests itself palpably in their live show as well as on their records. “We bring it, like I said, but I think we bring it in a very different way than most bands, and especially most bands that you’re going to see playing at this festival. I don’t think there’s anyone playing there that’s similar to us, and that’s really cool. We have our own lane that we drive in, and I think we’re going to be in a really nice spot for a lot of new people, and hopefully there’s some people familiar with us there too. “We try to paint a whole landscape with our live set, whether that’s through the electronics that we thread through the songs, or just the general way we approach it all.” According to Morgan, this festival tour, which includes a sideshow of their own in Brisbane, has come at a great time for the band, as they try to make new fans across the globe. “We love doing sideshows, but what we’re trying to do is try to wheel new people in. While the sideshow allows us to play for a bunch of our fans, we want to get in front of new people... I love playing those shows, but we want
those shows to grow, and the only way to do that is to put ourselves in new positions. “That’s why we waited a little bit. We knew 100% that we’d get there to play for all of our fans in all the different places, but this time we need to get out there and get in front of new people.” It is obvious that this growth strategy is already working. By the time the band reaches our shores, their last album Forever will be just on two years old — and its popularity goes partway to explaining demand to see the band live. “I think the record definitely took us to a different level, and that’s what the record needs to do every time. It more than did its job and got us some mainstream recognition too, whether than means getting nominated for a Grammy or getting played on WWE. The main reason that stuff is cool is, again, trying to get exposed to new people, and I think that the record really did that.” Morgan is very confident that it won’t be too long after Download before we see them in Australia again — maybe off the back of a new record. “Probably not, but the next record will probably be here sooner than you think, so I wouldn’t worry about it, we’ll be back soon.”
“You’re going to feel scared.”
Code Orange tour from 9 Mar.
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
ast year, guitarist Laurie Vincent stopped a Slaves headline show, mid-song, when he noticed a girl in the front section looked “a bit distressed”. After asking her what had happened, it was soon discovered that she had been sexually abused at their gig. When we ask singer/drummer Isaac Holman to share his memories from this incident, he elaborates, “We’ve always really kept one eye on the crowd the whole time, and our shows have always been like that, and I guess because we have a lot of time between songs in which we talk to the crowd, or tell stories, we always kind of make sure people are ok. I’m glued to my drums so I’m kind of static — I’m looking forward — but Laurie moves around the stage and he looks at the crowd a lot. He noticed this girl who was looking a bit distressed and he just told me to stop. So we stopped the show and I went down and just spoke to her, and asked what was goin’ on, and she told me and then, yeah! They got the guy! The security got the guy — he was trying to make his way out of the gig after they called him out. And the security came up
to me after the show and they were like, ‘We caught the guy, by the way. He’s been arrested.’ So, you know, it was both a good thing and a bad thing.” The lack of female representation in the moshpit is also something that doesn’t sit well with Holman. We discuss how an intentional grope can easily be explained away as an accident within the commotion of a mosh. “I hate all that, it’s horrible,” Holman stresses. “It’s so hard and it’s so fucked up as well, but we’re just trying to create a safe space, basically, where everyone feels like they can — yeah! We just want everyone to feel safe and have a good time.” For the pair’s latest and third album Acts Of Fear & Love (2018), Slaves returned to producer Jolyon Thomas (who also produced their debut Are You Satisfied? set). During softer moments on tracks such as Daddy and Photo Opportunity, Slaves show they’re not afraid to express vulnerability through lyrical content and definitely give listeners something of substance to mull over. “I think maybe now we’re more established — and we’ve been doing this for a while now — it’s kind of like: you just don’t really care anymore about what people think of you,” Holman shares, “and you wear your heart on your sleeve a li’l bit more and, yeah! I think it is just about time — now more than ever — [that] people, especially men, need to be talking about their feelings a lot more openly. So I think we tried to do that with this album.” On their previous album, Take Control, Mike D of Beastie Boys sat in the producer’s chair and Holman confesses, “Even now, when I think about that whole situation, I can’t believe it happened. It was mental. Mike D just called Laurie and was like, ‘Hey, it’s Mike D,’ and Laurie was like, ‘What the fuck?’ [Mike D] was meant to be working with someone else on our label, but they didn’t really work out and then he heard our music and just wanted to work with us and, yeah! We were just blown away. It was a real, like, pinch yourself moment.” His dad (“an obsessive vinyl collector”) often played Beastie Boys records at their family home and Holman enthuses, “I love Beastie Boys. It’s such a huge deal for both of us [in the band]. In many ways, we feel a little bit similar to [Beastie Boys] — like, our attitude towards music and the industry and everything — they were just havin’ fun and they were doin’ what they wanted, and I kind of like to think that that’s what [Slaves are] all about as well.”
de Witte to it DJ, producer and Belgium native, Charlotte de Witte sits down with our resident techno expert, Cyclone, to discuss her nation’s electronic history, industry sexism, upcoming projects and her upcoming Aussie tour.
echno is back big time and Belgium’s Charlotte de
from Plastikman (Richie Hawtin), Luke Slater
Witte is one of the movement’s most buzzy new figures.
and others. And de Witte herself is recep-
The Ghent native has enjoyed a rapid — and smooth —
tive to the idea of cutting an LP “someday”.
ascendance in dance music since 2010, working intensively.
Meanwhile, she’s just aired a hot remix of UK
Indeed, if de Witte has made mistakes, she has no regrets — or
houser Eats Everything’s Space Raiders on
admissions. “I don’t think I would change anything,” de Witte
says. “For what it’s worth, I believe everything happens for a
In March, de Witte will return to Austra-
reason. We all need our time to grow, get to know ourselves,
lia for festival appearances. “I absolutely love
and evolve. There have been many eye-opening experiences
Australia! I love the people, the vibe, the food
that mainly had to with my own perception of things. Growing
and nature. Australia blew me away the first
up, and being in this scene for over nine years now, has taught
time I was touring there and has continued
me a lot.”
doing so. I’ve made friends for life there as
Her supportive father employed in EMI’s sales department, de Witte was clubbing in her teens, discovering under-
well. Australia holds a very special place in my heart.”
ground electro and techno. The aspiring DJ played her inau-
As for de Witte’s techno predictions? “I
gural gig at a youth club. Honing her skills, she won a DJ
feel that techno is still growing on a world-
competition, securing a slot at the Tomorrowland festival and
wide scale, which is a very cool thing to see.
the opportunity to broadcast on Studio Brussel. Inevitably,
Continents like Asia and North America are
de Witte ventured into production. Initially, she assumed the
also much more techno-focussed than they
handle ‘Raving George’ so as to obscure her gender because
were a couple of years ago. As for Australia,
of industry sexism. And it was under that alias that she crossed
they always had a couple of key markets with
over with 2015’s banger You’re Mine (featuring Oscar And The
good music where techno is now definitely
Wolf), a throwback to DJ Hell-mode electroclash. However, as
her identity became known, de Witte determined that Raving George was superfluous and switched to her real name. Beguiled by the Berghain-affiliated Len Faki, she also gravitated towards a forceful, hard and dark style of minimal warehouse techno.
Charlotte de Witte tours from 8 Mar.
Today, de Witte negates any genre distinctions between her alter egos. “I was already playing techno as Raving George, so that is something I continued doing when I started playing as Charlotte de Witte,” she notes of her evolution. “[But] I think the reason why some people refer to my music as dark is because the underground culture isn’t always easy to put down in words. My music is far from ‘dark’ and ‘hard’ if you compare it with artists such as Paula Temple or AnD.” The Detroit techno pioneer Jeff Mills speaks of techno in appreciates. “I don’t think there’s a strict definition of techno. Music is a very subjective thing. To me, techno is a very pure and stripped form of music — not related to BPM.” Like the American Midwest and Germany, Belgium has an important legacy of electronic music, beginning in the ‘80s with the influential electro-pop outfit Telex as well as the industrial EBM (electronic body music) explosion. “I’m very proud to be Belgian and of what my country meant for electronic music back in the ‘80s. It’s pretty cool to realise we have had such a big impact on electronic music on a worldwide scale. It’s a never-ending source of inspiration to go digging in our history — and that’s something we should cherish.” There has long been disquiet over a gender imbalance in the techno ranks. But de Witte belongs to a fresh wave of female techno DJs, together with Nina Kraviz and Nastia. She’s optimistic about change in the culture. “There are definitely more female DJs around nowadays compared to when I started. Things are moving in a good way.” Having inducted ‘Charlotte de Witte’ with her Weltschmerz EP on Tiga’s Turbo Recordings, the DJ has steadily issued music. Yet perhaps de Witte’s greatest coup was to sign a deal to release EPs on the relaunched NovaMute Records, an offshoot of Daniel Miller’s Mute. The label’s catalogue encompasses seminal ‘artist’ albums
Pic: Marie Wynants
Slaves tour from 6 Mar.
terms of a nebulous futurist philosophy — which de Witte
Pond have hit the studio once again to deliver a powerful new album in Tasmania. It’s a cinematic experience, and the standard to which all artists should strive when creating their album. Nick Allbrook’s Daisy, describing childhood friends, family and memories in the Kimberley region, opens the album and envelops listeners in an aura of beauty. We’re then exposed to the colourfulness of Sixteen Days, which, with its French pre-chorus of “Je ne travaillez jamais travaillez” - English translation: “I never work” - conjures images of dancing under an array of lights. We’re carried on into Tasmania, which explores issues around Australian identity and the looming impact of climate change. Throughout the track, Allbrook and band show there’s still a flicker of hope left, shouting that they “might go and shack up in Tasmania before the ozone goes”. The Boys Are Killing Me combines the band’s continuing interest in synth sounds with the romping bass lines reminiscent of their earlier work on albums like Man It Feels Like Space Again and Beard, Wives, Denim. The lyrics feel personal and deeply relatable, delving into issues of colonialism and lost youth. The song draws to a satisfying climax as Allbrook sings “By the boys, the boys are killing me” before the track finishes with a brief guitar solo utilising the same Harmonist pedal effect as the band used on The Weather’s Sweep Me Off My Feet. The repetitive synths on Hand Mouth Dancer place listeners in the peak of 1980s glam-rock, and as the album moves along to Goodnight, PCC, the music seems tailored for
Tasmania Spinning Top / Caroline
There Will Be No Intermission Cooking Vinyl
Ten big tracks (often five to eight minutes in length) plus another ten mini-musical moments, There Will Be No Intermission gives an update on Amanda Palmer’s life over the last few years, including life, death and the inevitability of US politics. There’s the blatant honesty of A Mother’s Confession to the heartbreaking and lovely Voicemail For Jill (heartbreaking, lovely). There are others that also demand a lot of the listener (Bigger On The Inside takes some attention), as does Death Thing. Don’t pause, there are no breaks here — but it’s well worth the trip. Liz Giuffre
rhythmic dancing or to a moment of reflection, as acoustic guitar brilliantly fades into the accompanying instrumental section. The mix of guitars, synths and drum sample pads begin to blend together with the lyrics: “Sleep, you can sleep my friend, now that you’ve seen the end, how does it feel?” The track ends with more drum samples, as it transitions blissfully into Burnt Out Star. Jay Watson and Allbrook balance harmonies together, capturing the intensity of their live shows in-studio. Selene brings back the romping bass, with an additional subtle acoustic guitar in the background. It’s another groove-worthy addition to the album, another brilliant track. It’s safe to say that Shame feels like the final scene to a heartbreaking film, with the vast majority of the song sporting only Allbrook’s poetic vocals accompanied by different samples, and finally ends with a subtle synth. Joe Ryan finishes the album with Doctor’s In, an ode to ‘The Doctor’, a WA term for the cooling afternoon sea breeze in summer. Ryan’s track is so loud and enigmatic it may as well have been taken right from the score of classic film Blade Runner. With its array of synths, acoustic guitar and overall ambience, it incorporates sonic elements from across the album, while drawing it to a close. All together, Tasmania is an intimidating work of art - and one of the finest additions to Pond’s discography. Taylor Marshall
Island / Universal
Coolin’ By Sound
Barely Dressed / Remote Control
The first half of Dean Lewis’ emotive and raw debut album is vibrant and exhilarating, as his vocals soar above thumping bass lines and heavily strummed guitars while maintaining its gentle and comforting tones. The repeating of words and phrases become instantly catchy hooks such as in in 7 Minutes (“I forgot to love you/ Love you/ Love you”), highighting Lewis’ infectious and authentic songwriting and musicality. The harrowingly emotional vocals on Half A Man are accompanied alone by a piano as the album concludes softly, like an exhaled breath, leaving us exhausted from the thrashing our emotions have just endured.
Scott Kannberg aka Spiral Stairs’ new album picks up right where 2017’s Doris & The Daggers left off with another mix of indie-rock and his love of early post-punk. The lyrics are mostly plain and inoffensive, with a bit of Stephen Malkmus alliteration here and there. Some of the production can be quite exciting though, especially the big moments that feature brass or keys. But just like his previous two solo albums, it’s the addition of tacked-on lead guitar riffs that distract the listener from any quality vocal melodies that might be bouncing around. But Scott, if you do truly love creating music like you say you do, keep on keepin’ on.
On their debut LP, Huntly find space to expand and refine their emotional and aural palettes. Compared with 2016 EP Feel Better Or Stop Trying’s compellingly bruisedsounding takes on love, lust and loss, the mood of Low Grade Buzz is quite a contrast. For example, Wiggle is as buoyant as breakup songs get, Elspeth Scrine’s warm vocals enriched by contrast with Charlie Teitelbaum’s droning anti-chorus in a song about finding empowerment through separation. At the end of it all, Scrine herself provides a benediction in the form of the stunning title track, a melody-driven confessional pop song, razor-edged with digital textures.
A Place We Knew
We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized
Low Grade Buzz
For more album reviews, go to www.theMusic.com.au
Communion / Caroline
No Words Left
Beware Of The Dogs
No Words Left is Lucy Rose’s strongest album, intensely bundling together emotions, transfixing melodies and intriguing instrumentation. There’s a tension wrapped up in each of these songs and the way they unravel is a powerful pleasure for the senses. While Rose possesses a sweet, sighing warble, her musicality does have some thorns. Conversation has a slight undercurrent of apprehension thanks to some melancholy strings and pulsing guitar plucks as Rose’s vocals weave some breathy magic. Overall No Words Left is a lovely listen that has plenty of unexpected diversions to the indie-rock shtick.
These are pop songs, sure, but there is a journey, there is an enigma, there is an emotion — longing, perhaps? — that carries us through. Alibi is a great example of this. Ostensibly a big, driving dance number it still keeps its distance, leaving us in a state of disquiet, and curiosity. Then there’s Astronaut (Something About Your Love), a pulsing banger equipped with a Daft Punk-style robo-voice. Falling is gentler and more introspective. It’s a tribute to any artist that they made you feel something. Here, by using their otherworldliness to great effect, Mansionair do so exquisitely.
Inferno is underwritten throughout by Robert Forster’s laidback confidence: not only in his deft songwriting chops, but also belief in the versatile band assembled for the Berlin sessions, an unfettered trust in the producer and complete certainty in how these distinct roles converge and complement each other. It’s not an overly laboured affair, recorded in mostly live takes, but the results are spacious and precise, and sonically beyond reproach. The songs shine due to his inherent pop nous and ability to conjure melodies and hooks at will, as well as a consummate vocal performance adding character to this record’s already abundant charm.
Karen O & Danger Mouse
Age 101 / AWAL
Columbia / Sony
Inside Out / Sony
In their first collaboration, Danger Mouse situates Karen O’s vocals in a luscious mix of electronica and orchestral arrangements that have a lot of cinematic intent. In this context, Karen O is unable to rock out, Yeah Yeah Yeahs style. Rather, at times, this album feels like she’s guesting on an Air album. The cinematic aspirations of this album will leave you feeling that these songs belong to a narrative which isn’t quite articulated. As a duo, Karen O and Danger Mouse exhibit a refined pop sensibility, each song laden with accessible hooks to reel in loads of listeners. Lux Prima is a delightful swirl of refined pop confection to be savoured.
Weaving soul rhythms with lo-fi leanings so that a jazz flute can somehow thrive alongside bass that could burn a discotheque, Little Simz’ latest is immediately enthralling. Produced entirely by Inflo, GREY Area has the authenticity of a garage auteur and the feel of a seasoned studio master. The whole album is relentlessly deft and punches harder than a prizefighter fending off personal demons. GREY Area is intense, inventive, and earnest, a rare rap album where bluster gives way to bluntness and bravado isn’t bragging but actually brave. Little Simz deserves her self-proclaimed place among the greats.
Already one of Australia’s sharpest and unflinchingly direct songwriters, here Stella Donnelly has sharpened her searing wit to the point that it feels like she’s wielding a surgeon’s knife, dissecting cultural landscapes with ease. The strength of the record lies in its affecting storytelling and in its dichotomy of pleasant, gentle compositions, which accompany the rage of a woman who has been let down by misogynist men. Beware Of The Dogs feels like the embodiment of a movement of young artists in Australia who are refusing to let this oppressive behaviour slide. Belinda Quinn
Hozier effortlessly blends blues, gospel and folk-rock with tasty pop hooks on his soulful second album, Wasteland, Baby!. He’s joined by a gospel choir on strong opener Nina Cried Power, the soulful track setting the album up well. Even on the poppier tracks like Almost (Sweet Music), Hozier’s powerful, deep voice provides a welcome edge. From belted references to political issues on Be, to crooned lines of love on Nobody, the quality of the album’s lyrics rarely wavers. Covering a broad scope of genres and styles, Wasteland, Baby! remains a consistently interesting and engaging album from start to finish.
Almost career encapsulating, Empath goes from insane extreme metal to musical theatre. Orchestral/movie soundtrack to the big anthemic rock of Devin Townsend’s recent output. Floyd-ian moments to the wistful ambience of Casualties Of Cool, plus plenty more across the course of its epic 74-minute length. It is breathtaking in its conception, head-spinning in its scope and both meticulous and joyous in its execution. Closing with the 23-minute conceptual piece Singularity, it is impossible to do justice to this track with words; it simply has to be experienced to be believed. Empath is a modern masterpiece of pure musical genius.
STREAM IT ON APPLE PODCASTS & SOUNDCLOUD EVERY WEEK
Curiocity The inaugural Curiocity program snakes its way through Brisbane this month, featuring the World Science Festival, tech and innovation event, QODE, and a trail of more than ten interactive installation works along the Brisbane River and in public spaces, including Astronauts, pictured. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission landing men on the moon – yep, that’s Neil Armstrong saying, “This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – larger than life astronauts will take up residence near the waterfront. The work, which comes via January’s Sydney Festival, is a kind of tribute to the heroes of space travel – not just astronauts, but the mathematicians and people who worked behind-the-scenes to launch humankind into the stratosphere. The installation joins works like Ross Manning’s Wave Opus IV, a large-scale self-playing instrument shaped like a waveform, and an immersive sound sculpture, Scatter, which explores human responses to the Doppler effect.
Curiocity is on from 15 Mar.
The best of The Arts in March
Hydra Queensland Theatre premiere their coproduction with State Theatre Company Of South Australia, Hydra, starring Anna McGahan, pictured - photo by Tim Jones, which tells the story of when two Aussie authors attempted to retreat to a seemingly idyllic Greek island in the 1950s. From 9 Mar at Billie Brown Theatre, Queensland Theatre
Alliance Française French Film Festival The 30th annual Alliance Française French Film Festival brings the best French auteurs into local cinemas, including Jean-Luc Godard and Olivier Assayas, as well as the Silver Lion-winning The Sisters Brothers (Les Frères Sisters), pictured, starring John C Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix.
From 14 Mar at Palace Barracks and Palace James Street
Dangerous Liaisons Queensland Ballet and Texas Ballet Theater present the world premiere of choreographer Liam Scarlett’s interpretation of Dangerous Liaisons, exploring the sexy and hedonistic lives of French aristocrats in the 18th century. From 22 Mar at Playhouse, QPAC
GC Laughs Festival GC Laughs brings comedy festival fever down to the Gold Coast, and features international acts like Scotland’s Daniel Sloss and New Zealand’s Guy Montgomery, as well as locals like 2018 Barry Award winner Sam Campbell, Becky Lucas and Anne Edmonds, pictured. From 17 Mar at Home Of The Arts, Gold Coast
This Young Monster Brow Books, a publisher based out of Melbourne, this month release This Young Monster by Charlie Fox, which sees the young London writer search across art forms - from Twin Peaks to Harmony Korine to Alice In Wonderland - to learn what makes a monster.
Out 4 Mar
The Book Of Mormon The musical from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone finally premieres in Brisbane this month, and is likely to have you crying with laughter, deeply uncomfortable, and feeling a little bit insulted all at the same time. From 16 Mar, Lyric Theatre, QPAC
O n IN M a r c h
Film & TV Now Apocalypse
HHHH Streams from 10 Mar on Stan
Reviewed by Guy Davis
ike ecstasy and rave culture, we dabbled in a bit of Gregg Araki back in the ‘90s. There was something bold, distinct and sorta outlaw-ish about the American filmmaker’s view of a world populated by hot young things responding to the uncertainty of a new millennium with uninhibited sexuality and a kind of chill nihilism. And even though Araki never really broke through to the mainstream — maybe coming closest with 2004’s Mysterious Skin — he always remained a person of interest. Someone with so clear a voice tends to. Watching movies like Totally Fucked Up and The Doom Generation, one mightn’t have thought the small screen would ever be Araki’s metier. But the 10-episode Now Apocalypse, premiering 10 Mar on streaming service Stan, shows that the filmmaker’s energy remains vibrant, vital and relevant. The half-hour episodic format really suits the sprawling story of twenty-somethings exploring sex, creativity, love, paranoia, simply making the rent and extra-
terrestrial conspiracies, and the increasing latitude that television seems to be offering artists ensures Araki’s approach remains, shall we say, undiluted. Let me be perfectly clear: in addition to its other virtues, Now Apocalypse is sexual and sexy as hell. Is it a tad self-indulgent? Perhaps. But Araki has made his living in recent years directing TV like 13 Reasons Why, and this series — co-developed with Karley Sciortino of Slutever — feels like an opportunity to let his own freak flag fly, and the result feels ambitious, unfettered and fun rather than overblown or out of control. As its title indicates, Now Apocalypse does feel very tuned into the zeitgeist but it also feels like a fondly nostalgic ‘90s throwback — it has episodes titled The Downward Spiral and Where Is My Mind?. What you get in the end is a candid, clever and erotic slice of the here and now, cut with a nicely disquieting sense that all those pre-Y2K jitters we had back in the day are now starting to pay off.
HH In cinemas from 14 Mar
Reviewed by Anthony Carew
his decade has found a run of films in which acts of real-life tragedy/ heroism are turned into popcorn entertainments, large-scale event movies that are some strange mix of action-thriller, disaster flick, ‘inspirational’ true story, and icky muckraker. Hotel Mumbai is a local (well, local by way of international Australian/Indian/American co-production) riff on such a theme: a film about the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, set almost entirely in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The set-up is familiar disaster movie stuff: quirks of fate lead a host of name actors (Dev Patel, Nazanin Boniadi, Armie Hammer, Jason Isaacs, Tilda Cobham-Hervey) into being in the wrong place at the wrong time, the audience’s great desire, thereafter, to see these people coming out alive. It’s loosely based on a memoir, by Victoria Midwinter Pitt, that puts this simple set-up into simpler words: Surviving Mumbai. As terrorists lay siege to the hotel, every passing minute ratchets up the danger, and the drama.
Debutante Australian director Anthony Maras stitches real-life news coverage and video footage into the narrative, and the real people involved are shown in the closing credits — hopefully a grand tribute to heroism in the face of unimaginable horrors. But, in blurring the lines between real events and ‘based on a true story’, Hotel Mumbai blurs the lines between tragedy and entertainment, memoriam and money-maker. In an age where original storytelling has been farmed out to television, cinema is built on known intellectual property, where familiar characters are a ‘safe bet’ for conservative film financiers. Movies about events that dominated news bulletins feel weirdly similar, recent round-the-clock coverage making for a weird kind of brand recognition. With Hotel Mumbai, the branding gets even weirder: by turning the flick into a grand shrine to the titular hotel, its unimaginable luxuries, its brave staff, and its grand reopening, the film essentially plays as bloody tribulation turned into opportunistic spon-con.
Extremely offline Since a joke about beheading the PM got her kicked off Twitter, Becky Lucas has taken a break from joking about the more controversial topics going around. She tells Joe Dolan about the relief that comes in not having an agenda and caring less about what people think of her.
hile many would consider being banned from social media to be a bad thing, comedian Becky Lucas sees the positives in a reduced online presence. “I’ve always sort of resented the fact that people look to comics to have an opinion about something,” she says. “Like, what the fuck do I know? The smartest comedians, the ones that do real political jokes and stuff, are still sort of the dumbest people. We don’t have any real-world credentials, and there’s a weird irony in that no one takes comedy seriously, but as soon as you have a ‘wrong’ opinion about something in the news, people take everything you say so seriously. “Part of me never wants to comment on anything important ever again, because people will always find a way to make you sound awful. That’s what I’ve learned since being off Twitter - it’s the best! I don’t have to immediately know what’s happened
and quickly formulate an opinion of a really complicated issue. I just sit back and let one of [my] friends tell me what to think.” This reflective process led Lucas to pen her new show, Um, Support Me?!, which sees the comic shunning the topical in favour of the personal. “It’s just different now,” she says of the transition out of current affairs. “Now I tend to save my opinions for people I trust, and I’m less inclined to discuss things in a nuanced way on stage, because it just feels like people don’t want to engage in that stuff in the same way anymore. If you say anything that remotely critiques the left or the right, it feels like you’re leaving yourself open to be attacked. So, I am still being myself on stage, but it’s been really fun to write about trivial stuff and not attacking anything that I honestly don’t know anything about. I am kind of stupid, truth be told. “I think comics have a different way of being intelligent. There are people who know all about policies and factual events and stuff, and then there’s comedians, who are good at releasing tension and making comparisons. Or even just lightening the mood, you know? Being able to read the tone of a room and go with that is just a different form of intelligence. I don’t understand why it has to be both - that you have to have a PhD-level understanding of everything and also work hard to be funny.” Lucas also says that there’s a freedom to her new approach, and that, for better or worse, she’s done with trying to change people’s minds about her. “It can be hard because you can never control someone’s perception of you,” Lucas admits. “Even someone you know quite well might get it wrong - you know, you know yourself and your friends have a pretty good hold on who are, but even then there are inconsistencies. So it goes out further and further the more exposure you get, and suddenly there are people who see one snippet of you somewhere and they’ve completely made up their minds about you. It’s really bizarre. “You just have to be ok with it; you have to go, ‘Ok, this person is going to hate me based on this one thing I did on stage and there’s nothing I can do about it.’ I used to be really quite obsessed with it: I wanted to sit people down and be like, ‘Listen! Listen to what I’m saying! You will like me!’ But you just can’t do that apparently.” Whatever the case may be, Um, Support Me?! is clearly a turning point in Lucas’ approach to writing and performing. “There were times when I’d resent stand-up, and I think it came across on stage. But at the moment I’m into it... It’s just dumb shit I’m doing at the moment. Dumb shit is fun.”
The power of words Daniel Sloss tells Hannah Story he never realised “how impactful words can be, especially not my fuckin’ dumb ones”.
e interrupt 28-year-old Scottish comic Daniel Sloss “mid-pat” when we call him at about 4pm in “fuckin’ Baltic” New York where he’s currently touring
X, which he brings to Australia this month. Sloss has recently taken up knitting — even if it’s mostly to prove he’s better at it than his mate and fellow comic Kai Humphries — and is cur-
rently trying to make a hat. He says he’s “lovin’ it”, going on to say he’s spent the last two hours a little stoned, knitting and listening to ABC podcast Finding Drago. The podcast follows Sydney comics Alexei Toliopoulos and Cameron James as they try to find Todd Noy, the elusive Perth-born author of an entire book devoted to Rocky IV villain, Ivan Drago. “I’m laughing my fuckin’ arse off I’ll admit it, I love it so much. I’m just on episode six at the moment so I’ve had the fuckin’ best day today: just a little bit of weed, fuckin’ knitting a
Becky Lucas tours from 2 Mar
hat and listening to Finding Drago.” Sloss uses “fuckin’” as part of the rhythm of his sentences, a form of punctuation. He’s recently risen to notoriety thanks to the release in September last year of two hour-long Net-
Danny doesn’t do Donald Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy explains to Liz Giuffre that while his new show Age Of Fools is a show “about politics”, there’s “no actual Trump jokes” included.
anny Bhoy’s new show, Age Of Fools, does look at the elephant in the White House. And the nasties in Number 10. And lots of other strange happenings in high places. However, like any good comedian, he’s made sure the laughs come first and lectures are left to other folks. “There’s no actual Trump jokes,” Bhoy says. “I’m aware that people are bored and tired, and I mean, people in Britain: some people cannot even hear the word ‘Brexit’. It’s like the word ‘tequila’ for some people — they cannot hear it without being physically sick, so you have to be very careful about how you introduce it. But from the feedback so far there’s nothing that makes
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
people feel like it was preachy or too heavy, so yeah, I think I’ve found the right balance, I hope so.” Chatting from LA during a little break in the schedule, he explains his idea further. “I’ll tell you what I enjoy most about doing this show — I introduce the show as a show about politics, and I love at that point, right at the beginning of the show, where I can feel some people almost sigh with exhaustion. What I like is that over the course of the hour they’re not even going to know that they’re in a show about politics, it kind of creeps up and up. And honestly a lot of what [is in the show] is a story that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be political and then it comes out.” Age Of Fools is Bhoy’s tenth(ish) tour to Australia. We both say ‘ish’ because he wasn’t sure either, and that was number he was happy to settle on. In fact, he’s spent so much time here over the last decade or so that he’s been mistaken for being an adopted Aussie more than once. “I live in Scotland, I live in Edinburgh, and generally speaking it’s where I’m happiest. [But] it’s funny because a lot of people think I live in Australia, and it’s a real problem for me because I end up missing out on work in the UK. People say, ‘Oh, I would
flix specials, Dark and Jigsaw, the first about the passing of
sort of said to myself, ‘If
his disabled sister when he was nine, and the second a self-
you don’t do this, you’re
described “love letter to single people”, which by Sloss’ reckon-
full of shit.’”
ing has caused over 20,000 break-ups, 65 cancelled engagements and 78 divorces so far.
he “can get into a fuckin’ ranty, preachy mode”,
as “flattering and funny and y’know terrifying to find out how
doesn’t want the show
much words do have an impact”, he insists they’re but one
to be an “attack on men”. He wants to “make peo-
“The only [stories] I’ve been pushing forward are the
ple laugh first and fore-
breakups because that’s what I find the funniest. I very rarely
most”, but also to “make
mention the fact that Jigsaw has definitely caused about a
about the stuff that I never
and it’s also strengthened more relationships that it’s proba-
before. There was some
bly broken up. But those statistics aren’t funny so I don’t men-
stuff I was really, really
“Some of the impact is something I’ve never even expect-
“I’m not there to
ed in my life — I got a message from a woman who works in
fuckin’ shit on men, I am
a shelter for abused women and she reached out to let me
one, and even though
know that she’d made a bunch of the women there watch the
the show is about toxic
show Jigsaw and that had kept them out of their abusive rela-
tionships. I didn’t realise how impactful words can be, espe-
dangers of it and what-
cially not my fuckin’ dumb ones.”
not, I am one of those
With X, which he debuted at his 11th Edinburgh Fringe in August, Sloss again confronts a serious subject with his stand-
Danny Bhoy tours from 4 Mar
But Sloss, while he
While Sloss says he’s finding the stories of relationship
“It’s probably saved more marriages than it’s ended them,
are. I have to remember what I’ve done and where I’ve done it.” The new show originally had a long and deliberately incomprehensibly stupid title, but Bhoy changed it to Age Of Fools to better sum up the mood and get on with it. “These are very strange times to be living in, between what you want and what you get,” he says. “I’ve been doing this show for a year and I promise you, no one has come out — it doesn’t feel like a political show at the time, it just feels like a topical show. You won’t get any jokes about Donald Trump’s hair, let’s put it like that.”
admits he’s not proud
breakdowns after watching Jigsaw “fuckin’ hysterical”, as well
piece of the puzzle.
have booked you but I thought you lived in Australia,’ so I don’t know where this started, maybe it’s on my Wikipedia or something, or maybe it’s because for quite a long time I would spend a good part of the year in Australia, but I was working, I was on tour.” Anyone watching summer repeats of Australian quiz shows (hello Spicks And Specks, again!) could be forgiven for thinking Bhoy lives here too — and it’s an interesting little ‘no time, no place’ aspect of comedy that he’s intrigued by. “Well it’s funny, it’s a weird world, all that. There was a clip of mine that over Christmas went viral in Scotland, and it was a very Scottish bit of material, but it was six years old, and I couldn’t even remember the bit of material myself! But it’s funny how that can happen — then I’ll go to the supermarket and someone will say, ‘I’ve just seen your routine!’” While some artists might feel the need to want to move away from such loops, Bhoy takes it in his stride. “Actually I’m [luckily] not typecast in that way, I’m known for different things in different places. If I go to Australia people ask for certain routines, and in Scotland people ask for a different routine, and in Canada it’ll be a certain part about America, so it just depends where you
people that believe most of us are good. I never really wanted
being like, ‘Hey, here’s what happened, and here’s how I dealt
it to feel like a fuckin’ lecture at a rally.
with things,’ and they’ll go, ‘Oh fuck, I hadn’t thought about
up: toxic masculinity and sexual assault. He says that while he
“I don’t want to alienate the men in my room, right, I want
jokes that “there’s always one bit where I do a sad ten-minute
them to be on side [because] I want them to think about this
TED talk at the end”, he’s never made a conscious choice to
stuff... I’ll defend parts of masculinity because I don’t think it is
structure his show that way. It wasn’t even until July last year
all evil — I think a lot of it’s stupid, but just because something’s
that he decided to include “the sexual assault stuff”.
stupid doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.
“Before that it was just a show about toxic masculinity, but
“I think the key is to not tell people what to think but I just
given the climate with everything it felt disingenuous — I’ve
sort of talk about it from my — well here’s my experiences, and
always prided myself on being a truthful sort of comedian and
here’s my conclusions, and if people disagree with me, that’s
then to not talk about what was going on at the time, I just
fine, I’m never going to tell them what to think. [Instead] I’m
that.’ You let people relate to you, you don’t tell them to relate to you.”
Daniel Sloss tours from 15 Mar
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Mel Buttle & Patience Hodgson. Pic: Terry Soo
Queensland Music Awards If we started handing out medals for every great musician in Queensland, we’d have a bloody gold shortage on our hands! But we’ve still got to recognise the fantastic efforts of some of our state’s most enduring industry veterans and shiniest up-and-comers. That’s where the Queensland Music Awards come in. Catch the show, hosted by the ever-entertaining Mel Buttle and Patience Hodgson, 19 Mar at the Royal International Convention Centre.
Everybody has those moments that fly straight over their heads off into the horizon. But some other, weirdly obvious things seem to have blind-sided most of humanity. Here’s a look at the everyday stuff that made us go,“Wait, wot?”
Today years old
Everyday ingenuity In a world full of life hacks and shortcuts, resident nonsense-writer Donald Finlayson investigates the not-so-hidden functions of everyday objects. These are the ingenious features of domestic living that we’ve all been too stupid to take advantage of, that is, until now. Illustration by Felicity Case-Mejia.
1. Bread ties
4. Disposable cup lids
Good people don’t just twirl the bread bag shut once they’ve opened it, they re-use the bread tie. We live in a society of rules, you animals! This is especially important considering the fact that coloured bread ties actually indicate which day the bread was delivered.
A typical scene: you’re at your bro’s mum’s house, chillin’, and sippin’ back on some powerful Fanta in a disposable cup. You set it down on her priceless, mahogany table. Boom, a stain is left behind, Mum is screaming, your bro is throwin’ hands and some old-world craftsmanship is forever ruined. Should have used the inbuilt coaster that is the lid, brah.
2. Spaghetti spoon
5. The tiny pocket in jeans
8. Apple sauce lid
We’re firm believers that the “average serving” size for most foods is complete bollocks. Average for who? A six-year-old on a diet? But if you should wish to know the average adult serving size for spaghetti, look no further than the funny round hole in a spaghetti spoon.
For centuries, mankind has looked down at the tiny little pocket in their jeans and wondered, “Oi, what goes in there ay?” Well, historically they were used for keeping your pocket watch safe while it was chained to your waistcoat. Got a pocket watch at home? Chain it to your nose ring!
Eating straight up apple sauce for lunch sounds like disgusting behaviour, but then again, this is coming from a writer who regularly has unseasoned chicken breast in a zip lock bag as a meal on the go. Anyway, the apple sauce lid folds into a spoon.
3. Juice popper flaps
6. Chinese food boxes
9. The tab on a can of soft drink
Ever accidentally crushed the juice out of your popper while getting angry at something in the newspaper? It happens every day, but there’s a solution. Just start holding the popper by the built-in, extendable flaps on top of the box. Now your golden pash is safe.
Everybody loves MSG, and everybody hates doing the dishes. Chinese restaurants, in their infinite wisdom, have always known this to be true. That’s why those classic Chinese takeaway boxes are ingeniously designed to fold down into the shape of a functional little plate.
Common knowledge says that the tab on a can of soft drink has two uses. Firstly, to pop open the can. And secondly, as scrap metal for weird German artists to create erotic, industrial jewellery with. But there’s a not-so-secret third use too, and that’s to hold your slippery straw in place!
7. The hole in a pen lid If you’re into that sort of thing, choking is all well and good when it’s done with someone who you trust. But when it happens after you accidentally swallow the lid of a pen, it’s definitely not on. Luckily, that tiny hole is there to prevent complete asphyxiation.
Hidden in plain sight Ahh the internet. It’s a simultaneously terrifying and enlightening place. It has also brought to our attention a number of things that have made us feel, well, pretty darn stupid. Maybe you’re a superior being and knew these without needing them to be pointed out, but for everyone else, Lauren Baxter is about to blow your mind.
Don’t play with your food, work it Here’s a hot take — food is delicious. But did you know that it can be functional too? Jessica Dale looks at some ways you can extend culinary delights into other areas of your life.
Every millennial with a pulse will be able to tell you who lives in a pineapple
You go Glen Coco
under the sea. But would they have known that the Krusty Krab was actually a crab trap? Or the main characters were apparently modelled on the seven deadly sins? Or that the 20th episode in the fourth season was titled Best Day Ever? It might be scientifically impossible for ol’ Squarepants to blaze it underwater, but stranger things have happened in Bikini Bottom. To be honest, this entire show is a trip.
Brain freeze How many late night ciggie or hungover Slurpee runs have you made to your trusty local 7-Eleven? Too many to count? Us too. Let’s not even get into what the name itself means (surely 24-7 would be more appropriate for an all-hours establishment), but it turns out the ‘n’ in the uppercase logo has been lowercase this entire time and now we’re going to be mildly irritated every time we see it.
By now, we’re sure you’re already nuts for coconut oil — be it for its healthy saturated fat content or its seemingly one billion beauty uses. There are simple ones like using it as a hair mask and body moisturiser, to more extreme ones like using it for oil pulling — the act of swishing it in your mouth for ten to 20 minutes to rid your teeth of nasties (which we’re honestly not sure we encourage, but more power to you if this is your jam).
Divide and conquer Remember long division? Nah, we’ve blocked it out to be honest. Real world application my ass, Mr Phan. But realising the division symbol itself is actually just a blank fraction? Woah, man. Those mathematicians were genius. This is a way bigger deal than when we realised the arrow on a car’s dash pointed to which side the fuel door was on.
Grin and bear it
Remember excitedly turning up at a rental property inspection and finding that it had beautiful, slick, original wooden floors? Fast forward three months and you might find yourself screaming blue murder every time someone drags their chair in, adding another scratch. Fear nut, friend, because of the handy walnut. Rub one across the scratch and watch it fill the gap. Then watch your bank balance fill when you get your bond back.
Let’s face it, Toblerone have got the airport marketing game down pat. Every
Coff(ee) it up
damn time we hightail it through the departure lounge it seems like every damn person is carrying one of those novelty-sized prisms of nougaty goodness. But apparently there is a bear in the logo? We swear our eyesight isn’t that bad! Hats off to the design team for this one - the company itself is from Bern, Switzerland, aka the City Of Bears.
Watch yourself Okay, we don’t mean to judge, but there are people out there who literally cannot tell the time on an analogue clock. Thank God for smartphones right?
Chances are you’re already drinking coffee anyway, so why not make the most of it and do something environmentally friendly at the same time? Head online and find out how to use your coffee grinds as a garden fertiliser. It saves them going in the bin and may also help those poor, mistreated tomato plants actually sprout this season.
But did you know the clock app on your iPhone is actually a working clock?! We use this app every single day as our alarm and swear we’ve never seen the hands moving. Damn Jobs, you thought of everything.
Call it a good old fashion Aussie urban myth but we’re swearing by it — Vegemite can help heal mouth ulcers. Maybe it’s all that Vitamin B, maybe it’s the gross amount of yeast. Whatever it is, chuck some of the country’s favourite breakfast spread on next time your gums flare up and you’ll be a Happy Little Vegemite soon after. And obviously go to the doctor if symptoms persist, don’t make us tell you twice.
Just desserts One thing’s for sure, we only need two men in our life and their names are Baskin and Robbins. There’s a reason, I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream, right? And that enticing blue and pink logo ain’t just to look good - the pink actually spells out ‘31’ for the famous 31 flavours. But, that has us thinking, did ol’ Burt and Irv realise their initials spelled this when they got into business together? Did they always set out to make just 31? Or is there an elusive 32nd flavour...
This month’s highlights Heres to brew
Let’s be Friends
We dunno about the rise of these selfdescribed “beer nerd” people, but they certainly know how to brew a good beverage. Get among the high-quality drinks and food at this year’s Brewsvegas. Grab a big glass and a quality deso cus it’s all pouring out from 14 Mar.
Breakout star Anne-Marie returns to Oz this March, and with Ed Sheeran and Marshmello on speed dial, this is one pop extravaganza not to miss. The former Rudimentals singer is playing Eatons Hill Hotel on 30 March and bringing Sydney trio Glades along for the ride.
Don’t go fakin’ my heart
We all love a bitta free food, free music and free entry, especially on a weekend! And that’s exactly what The Sound Society’s South Bank series is. Pop on down with some mates to the Rainforest Green starting 2 Mar to see acts like Cheap Fakes, Boatkeeper and Graham Moes.
Psychedelic neo-pop dude Connan Mockasin has a film coming out. The bizarrely named Bostyn ‘N Dobsyn, which features tracks from his last album, Jassbusters, will be premiering at The Tivoli on 20 Mar. We genuinely have no idea what to expect from Mockasin and his new work.
WAAX. Pic: Ian Laidlaw
Mocking bird Hard on Cheers beers The Brisbane Beer InCider festival already gets big ups from us for just how good of a pun its title is. There’ll be beers, ciders and live sets from DMA’S, Something For Kate, WAAX and a whole lot more. And it’s all happening 9 Mar at Brisbane Showgrounds.
Don’t you hate it when your normie-ass friends invite you to a Hottest 100 party? You rock up, already sweating like a pig in your all-black outfit and luxuriously long hairstyle, and then triple j has the AUDACITY to not put any metal on there! If you can relate to this, The Faction’s Hardest 100 Listening Party at Crowbar on 2 Mar is for you.
The A V Cs For the latest live reviews go to theMusic.com.au
A Swayze & The Ghosts, VOIID and Crocodylus are some of the finest live acts coming up right now and are heading out on a tri-headline tour this month. Here’s what they’re hoping to learn from the shows.
Laneway Festival @ Brisbane Showgrounds. Photos by Claudia Ciapocha.
It was another jam-packed crowd full of enthusiastic punters as
Laneway returned for another year Courtney Barnett
with the likes of Gang Of Youths, Denzel Curry, Courtney Barnett, Jorja Smith and many more.
VOIID “We hope the bands can teach us how to do the Cha-Cha Slide, become regional champions of competitive eating and also how to play
“We cannot help but feel absolutely content with this performance.”
Mambo No 5 on alto saxophone.”
Gang Of Youths
– Taylor Marshall
Mountain Goat Valley Crawl @ Fortitude Valley. Photos by
“Most excited to delve more into Tassie! Crocs, VOIID and A Swayze are really different bands but also very similar, so we’re ready to see some
The behemoth that is Mountain
sparks fly on this tour.”
Goat Valley Crawl returned for another epic instalment with
over 50 acts scheduled across ten
venues in the Valley all across one night. It saw the likes of Raave
Tapes, Sunscreen, IV League, San
Mei and many more turn the area San Mei
into a multi-venue festival.
A Swayze & The Ghosts
“It’s safe to say that, once again, the Mountain Goat Valley Crawl has been a huge success.”
– Taylor Marshall
“We actually have a questionnaire for both bands to fill out on arrival at our first show in Melbourne. With the responses to this very specific selection of questions we hope to determine an exact understanding of quantum mechanics and its potential applications to everyday human life.”
A Swayze & The Ghosts, VOIID and Crocodylus tour from 13 Mar.
the best and the worst of the month’s zeitgeist
The lashes Front
Pic: Matt Murphy
You’re a wizard, Harry! Harry Potter & The Cursed Child flew into Melbourne on a broomstick and proved to be as magical as the most devoted Potterhead could hope for, helping cement JK Rowling’s characters into the imaginations of a whole new generation.
Cure to all ills
Steve him alone
Done gone muffed it
Sex ed with Paul Bullen It’s been a month since the
Vivid LIVE announced their
The world was trying to have
Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav
The boss of Muffin Break
first act for this year’s festival,
a nice moment remember-
sent a shoutout to convicted
was forced to apologise
mansplain king reared his
The Cure, playing their
ing Steve Irwin, and PETA
pedophile George Pell via
after she accused millenni-
obstinate head to declare
seminal 1989 record Disinte-
had to piss on everyone’s
the Cameo app, which
als of being “self-important”
that vulvas are in fact the
gration in full. It kicked off a
parade. The response, a
allows people — in this case
and “entitled” because
same thing as vaginas,
mad goth scramble for the
universal fuck you to the
‘Tristan’, later described by
they’re not willing to do six-
and Paul Bullen’s been
ballot and then for tix, which
organisation, seems to have
Flav as a “dirty fuckin’ rat”
month unpaid internships
busy in the interim. He’s
promptly sold out.
brought together people
— to pay celebs to make
at a fuckin’ pastry store. The
just released a 20-page
from all walks of life. Just like
muffins at Coles are bet-
Steve would’ve wanted.
why he’s right and nah nah, you’re wrong.
The final thought
Words by Maxim Boon
There’s no fly in my soup. And that’s a big problem
omething’s been bugging me. And I think it should be bugging you too. A few weeks ago, The Guardian published an exclusive report about the chilling findings of a scientific investigation. It should have been the biggest story in the world. It should have had ‘round-the-clock coverage, front pages, TV debates. It should have had nations marching in their capitals, imploring their leaders to avert disaster. But a few days
after The Guardian story, despite being picked up by a few other media outlets, interest waned, the world turned, and this terrifying discovery slipped out of the public gaze. The report, detailing findings by a global scientific review, found declines in insect populations so drastic that, if unabated, bugs could become entirely extinct within a century. Through a mixture of aggressive agriculture, changing climate, and the widespread use of potent pesticides, creepy-crawlies — a type of life that has existed for literally billions of years — could soon go the way of the dinosaurs. That’s right. Every insect on the planet. Dead. Now, before you assume I’m a bleeding heart woke-AF eco-troll crying snowflakes over nothing, I should point out that my concern about this prediction is entirely selfish. As gross and scary as most bugs are, and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve sprayed many a can of Raid in my time, they play a crucial function in our ecosystem. They breakdown organic materials so they can be reabsorbed into the nitrogen cycle, they are the foundation of the food chain, they pollinate plants and crops. Without them, as the report states, there is a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”. Or put another way: we’re all extremely fucked. Let’s be clear — this isn’t a dystopian future like Mad Max or The Road. This is much worse. This is a fundamental environ-
mental implosion, that will leave both animal and plant life unsustainable. Will it mean the end of humanity? Probably not — we are sufficiently technologically sophisticated that some semblance of our species will likely limp on. But it will mean the end of our civilisation, and the most beautiful but unessential aspects of that — music, art, literature, and much more — will be the first losses when our planet inches towards a sterilised, postbug epoch. The obvious question should be: how do we stop this from happening? And herein lies the rub. The only way for our planet to realistically tackle issues relating to the ecological nightmare unfolding before us, is for our governments to take drastic and immediate action. We know what’s causing this litany of environmental catastrophes, from the CO2 in our atmosphere, to the singleuse plastics clogging up the colons of sea turtles, to the overpopulation that is depleting our worryingly meagre resources. But corporate interests, political pandering, and a blinkered ignorance towards empirical evidence continue to atrophy efforts to slow this world-ending calamity. Without significant intervention and unprecedented international collaboration, meaningful change will remain meaningless rhetoric. I don’t usually like to round off this column with doom and gloom. But let’s be real, the time for quiet optimism is well and truly over.
The Music is a free, monthly magazine distributed throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From local insights and insider knowledge to in...
Published on Mar 6, 2019
The Music is a free, monthly magazine distributed throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From local insights and insider knowledge to in...