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May Issue

Brisbane | Free


Up close and personal at Groovin The Moo Dog art, music and... superpowers? Basically, we go the whole hog on dogs.

Alex Lahey finds empowerment through adversity

Insta thirst traps: how the app is steaming up our screens

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WITH SPEC I A L G U ESTS E VES K A RY DAS & SA N M EI 1 8+ (AUS) Fri 31.05.19








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new album




NEW ALBUM OUT 10.05.19 The Music

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OUT JUNE 14 The Music


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Credits Publisher Handshake Media Pty Ltd Group Managing Editor Andrew Mast National Editor – Magazines Mark Neilsen Senior Editor Sam Wall

Game of Auspol

Editors Daniel Cribb, Neil Griffiths


t the time of writing there are two big unknowns that will be revealed by the end of May. At the end of the month we should know who has won both the federal election and the battle for the Iron Throne. Strap in for epic drama in both #Auspol and the final season of Game Of Thrones. The election is currently playing out as the bigger soap opera of the two. Like many poll watchers I would struggle to name many policies promised by either of the major parties if I was subjected to a pop quiz. However, I could definitely list off a handful of election-related scandals and Twitter trending topics. Finally Australia got its own ‘watergate’ in the election lead-up (it’s about water buybacks, see what Twitter did there?). It’s the biggest 2019 Auspol scandal (so far) so, of course, it involves Barnaby Joyce. It seems like just yesterday since his last scandal, but it’s actually been over a year. We’ve also had Peter Dutton apologise for accusing his opponent of exploiting her disability (she lost a leg in an accident trying to protect her son), plus there was a lot of grief about Bill Shorten dodging a question from a Channel Ten reporter. As I write, trending on Twitter is the hashtag #ILikeBillShorten. It seems the opposition leader’s fan club felt it needed to stand up to what they perceive as the ‘mainstream media’ narrative that Shorten is unlikeable. Kinda sweet. But also kinda like having a parent come to your school to beg the other kids to stop picking you last for sports teams. Game Of Thrones has been experiencing its own unexpected Twitter trends this final season as well. There’s been wild reactions to Bran’s cold stare, Daenerys’ DGAF reaction to Jon’s ‘ew’ reveal and Brienne’s moving knighthood. And, while there’s a possibility that the election result may leave some of us feeling underwhelmed, the outcome of the battles of Westeros is without doubt going to leave most of us devastated. Not only are we going to lose beloved characters, after the finale we are going to be left with dragon-sized holes in our lives without any more Game Of Thrones to watch (even when we eventually get HBO’s GoT prequel, it won’t be the same). Well, we have plenty of content to distract you from contemplating the outcomes of these important events. Most importantly we have doggos. Skip straight to our Your Town section and lose yourself in dog tales. Happy reading.

Assistant Editor/Social Media Co-Ordinator Jessica Dale Editorial Assistant Lauren Baxter Arts Editor Hannah Story Gig Guide Henry Gibson 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, Samuel Leighton Dore, Keira Leonard, Joel Lohman, Alannah Maher, Taylor Marshall, Anne Marie Peard, Michael Prebeg, Mick Radojkovic, Stephen A Russell, Jake Sun, Cassie Tongue, Rod Whitfield 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, Hayden Nixon, Angela Padovan, Markus Ravik, Bobby Rein, Peter Sharp, Barry Shipplock, Terry Soo, Bec Taylor Advertising Leigh Treweek, Antony Attridge, Brad Edwards Art Dept Felicity Case-Mejia Admin & Accounts Distro Subscriptions Contact Us Melbourne Ph: 03 9081 9600 26 Napoleon Street Collingwood Vic 3066 Sydney Ph: 02 9331 7077 Suite 129, 111 Flinders St Surry Hills NSW 2010

Andrew Mast Group Managing Editor

Brisbane Ph: 07 3252 9666

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Our contributors

This month 8

Editor’s Letter

This month’s best binge watching


Shit We Did: Screen Abstinence


Guest editorial: Chief Executive of Live Performance Australia Evelyn Richardson



The Arts The best arts of the month


Film & TV reviews


Brisbane Street Art Festival



Romeo And Juliet Bringing the Bard into the 21st century

D y l a n Ev a n

Laurel, Z-Star


Pic: Mrs Jone



Tami Neilson Feedback from fans makes it all worthwhile

OnlyFans Is this the natural evolution of Insta thirst culture?


Evelyn Richardson


: K a n e H i b b e rd Pic

Evelyn Richardson is the Chief Executive of Live Performance Australia (LPA), the peak body for the live performance industry. LPA has over 400 members nationally, including music promoters and festivals.

Your Town Gone to the dogs The muses, sidekicks and emergency responders who happen to be on the furry side




This month’s local highlights


Your gigs

Alex Lahey From mental health to masturbation

comes from composing his own bios. His ers Bloc, and this very magazine.


The Big Picture: Samuel Luke

Joel Burrows is a writer whose greatest thrill work has been published by Tone Deaf, Writ-


Kate MillerHeidke Her plans to milk the Eurovision experience


Album reviews

Joel Burrows


The end


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Samuel Luke Samuel Luke is an emerging artist who works with traditional and digital illustration. His practice uses storytelling and graphic narratives to discuss the complexities of gender identity in relation to his own experiences as a transgender man.





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Due to overwhelming demand after playing Unify Gathering and a string of WA and SA sideshows back in January, Aussie legends Karnivool are heading out on their first full national tour since 2016. The shows begin on 16 May.

Dead & Buried

Roger that After wowing local crowds with her Splendour In The Grass slot and sideshows in 2017, Maggie Rogers’ Heard It In A Past Life tour lands Down Under this 21 May. The acclaimed US artist wiil play five headline shows as well as taking part in Vivid LIVE.

Podcast of the month: Dead & Buried

Screaming Females. Pic: Grace Winter

On award-winning local podcast Dead & Buried, Carly Godden and Lee Hooper take a deep dive into Melbourne’s hidden history and bygone true crime stories. After an extended break, the second season started this year and is as delightfully disturbing as the first.

Maggie Rogers.

Shoutout The Marissa Paternoster-fronted Screaming Females are coming back to Australia from 22 May. It’s been nearly three years between Aussie tours for the New Jersey punk group, who made their debut run back in 2016.

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BEE stings

Stream dreams

Love him or hate him, Bret Easton Ellis has had an undeniable effect on the literary scene, and now the ultra-violent satirist has turned his hand to nonfiction. You can judge the results for yourself when White drops in hardback this 2 May.

Breat Easton Ellis, White

This month’s best binge watching

Catch-22, Season 1

Graves ituation Kacey Musgraves is here with fourth studio album Golden Hour for her first-ever Australian headline tour.  The American pop-country artist will kick off the run at The Tivoli in Brisbane on 10 May before heading to Enmore Theatre in Sydney and Palais Theatre in Melbourne.

One of the 21st century’s most significant novels, Joseph Heller’s 1961 satire made such an impact it joined the English lexicon. Executive produced and partly directed by George Clooney — who also stars alongside Hugh Laurie, Christopher Abbott and Kyle Chandler — the adaption follows a group of American soldiers stationed on the island of Pianosa during World War II.

Streams from 18 May on Stan

iZombie, Season 5

iZombie returns this month for its final season with the promise of a “grave new world”. Inside New Seattle brains are running dry and the dead are getting hungry. Ravi (Rahul Kohli) is still racing to crack a cure as the US government threatens to bomb New Seattle off the map, while Coroner/brain eater Liv Moore (Rose McIver) continues her work as Renegade.

Streams from 3 May on Stan

Tuca & Bertie, Season 1

Ruel the day ARIA Award-winning singer Ruel gets rolling on his huge headlining Aussie tour this month. The run starts this 5 May in Brisbane before before making ten more stops around Oz, including a show at the Sydney Opera House.

Tuca & Bertie is the latest show from the team that created BoJack Horseman. An animated series about the eponymous besties, a care-free toucan with a lust for life (Tiffany Haddish) and a songbird with anxiety


problems (Ali Wong), the show is giving off

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strong Broad City with birds vibes. Streams from 3 May on Netflix



Everybody knows Godzilla’s the kaiju GOAT — everybody except Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah apparently. The people’s favourite beastie shows them who’s boss in CGI battle royale, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, out 30 May. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters

Brisbane dream-pop prodigy Hatchie,  aka  Harriette Pilbeam, is taking a running start at launching her debut album in June, with an east coast tour for the lead single Without A Blush beginning 17 May in Melbourne.

Legacy artist

Jamila Woods. Pic: Bradley Murray

Hatchie Pic: Sophie Hur

This month, Chicago-based American singer, songwriter and poet Jamila Woods releases her first full-length album since 2016 debut Heavn. Legacy! Legacy!, with songs inspired by artists like Eartha Kitt and James Baldwin, is out this 10 May.

I would like to… Rage 2

It’s been nearly ten years since gamers cut a path through armies of mutants and bandits with a just handful of murder frisbees and a can-do attitude. This 14 May they’ll get a chance to return to Rage’s post-apocalyptic wasteland in the sequel, Rage 2.

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Sh*t we did With Maxim Boon

Screen Abstinence It may be hard to imagine, but there was once a time when the full sum of all human knowledge wasn’t sitting conveniently in our pocket,

Alice Ivy

when limitless entertainment wasn’t just a few swipes away, and when unfolding events on the other side of the planet weren’t tracked by the second. This sad, strange, under-stimulated era was the time before the advent of mainstream screen culture, and to think of it

Close encounters

now, it seems almost inconceivable that the world ever functioned at all. And yet, for all the advantages that smart

Melbourne singer-songwriter Alice Ivy will hit the road this month with her recent single, the Flint Eastwood-featuring Close To You, in tow. Like A Version collaborator Miss Blanks is coming along for the “monster Australian tour”, which starts 17 May.

devices have gifted us, has our dependency on them gone too far? Excessive screen time has been linked in recent years to a range of maladies from weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer, with several factors – disturbed sleep patterns; poor eating habits while binge watching – exacerbated by screens. Some experts estimate as little as just

Club fandwich

two hours a day of screen time could be harmful, but with so much of our lives inexorably entwined with our devices, is it possible

To celebrate the release of their new tune, Get Better, Aussie favourites Press Club are taking it out on an east coast tour of Australia. The first date is 31 May and the four-piece will perform shows in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne with special guests Mid City.

to break our screen addiction?

The Verdict Courtesy of the usage app on my phone, I can reveal that my average daily dose of screen time is around 7.5 hours. Now, I don’t see myself as especially afflicted by screen addiction, which probably shows how widespread the issue is. So, how to release myself from screen time’s iron grasp? There are two main

Press Club. Pic: Ian Laidlaw

protocols: daily limits or 24-hour screen fasts. In the interests of science, or something, I gave both approaches a red hot go. Because my professional life dictates that I sit in front of a computer screen all day, the 24-hour cold turkey approach has to be a weekend experiment. In what some might call cheating, I select the Sunday after a boozy night of 3am Karaoke for my 24-hour screen fast, mainly because I’ll be unconscious most of the day. Cunning as this was, what I hadn’t banked on was just how crucial my phone is for hangover management; after a few hours

Deal with the Devil

of dusty boredom, I buckle, order some pizza, and get stuck into a Candy Crush marathon. Daily limiting proves equally ill-fated,

After a massive fan movement to save the show when it was axed by Fox, Lucifer is back for season four at its new home on Netflix this 8 May. The first three seasons will also move across for anyone looking to get caught up.

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although I can proudly report that I have Lucifer

successfully reintroduced reading to my


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tram journeys (albeit via my kindle… so, partial credit?)

Why it’s time to make some noise in this election campaign In the lead-up to the federal election, Chief Executive of Live Performance Australia Evelyn Richardson wants to know where our politicians stand on supporting Australia’s live music industry — and you should too.


recognises the industry’s broader economic and cultural contribution to the nation. There are some good targeted initiatives, but despite promising nearly $28 million in new spending, it is similarly modest in overall dollar terms. Sounds Australia will receive over $10 million to showcase Australian music to international markets. The Live Music Office will work through Sounds Australia to engage state and local governments on reducing barriers to live performance. Labor will double the Australia Council’s New Recordings Program and provide $5 million to support the establishment of community music hubs to provide places where younger musicians can practice. There is a $7.6 million investment in youth music programs, and support for mental health programs delivered by non-government organisations. An additional $4 million will be provided for cultural diplomacy programs, as well as funding for the training of music managers and the ARIA music teacher award. Labor has also pledged a nationwide ban on ticket buying bots as part of a crackdown on scalping and to consult on any changes to copyright reform. Labor says there will be more announcements in the election lead-up. So, there is some welcome but frankly long overdue recognition of the importance of nurturing and nourishing Australian music. But both sides of politics have a long way to go in putting in place long term strategies for Australia’s live music industry, and arts and culture more broadly, that match its current economic importance, as well as realise its full potential. Australia desperately needs a National Cultural Policy. We also need a National Music Strategy that can address the various barriers and take advantage of the opportunities for industry growth. Some of the priority areas in this strategy would include providing greater access to live music across the community, including in regional and remote areas. We need policies and programs that promote the music industry talent pipeline, for musicians and managers. For example, at home one of the biggest constraints on the industry is rising red tape for live music. There are numerous inefficient, inconsistent, overlapping and burdensome regulations at the local and state level that impact on live music at both indoor and outdoor venues. Live music businesses are hurt by convoluted and cost-prohibitive regulations such as the recently introduced festival regulations in NSW, which were imposed without any industry consultation. While many of these are state and local government issues, there needs to be a national approach so that live music can thrive for the benefit of all Australians. If our artists can’t perform at home, their chances on the global stage are seriously limited. We also need to do more to ensure that all Australian communities can enjoy the live music experience across all genres, from our metropolitan centres through to regional towns and remote communities. This means better support for regional touring programs through the Australia Council and tax incentives for live music venues. We have already demonstrated our global capability, but we need a strategic focus that harnesses our music talent and seizes the opportunities for Australia in the international market. Our physical distance from the world’s biggest music markets makes it even more difficult and expensive for Australian artists, but with the right support, we can see even more Australians headlining international festivals and growing their audiences. We also need more investment in the people who make the music and present the live performances. Starting with music programs in schools through to talent development and industry skills, there is huge scope to grow the talent pool and ensure the industry’s diversity and sustainability into the future. We celebrate our past and present icons, but who is guiding the development of our future talent and leaders? In this digital era, we need to be focusing on the new skills and expertise required to take the Australian soundtrack to domestic and international audiences. We also need a world-first benchmark of not less than 20% for all locally curated streaming playlists. As we go to the polls on 18 May, we should be asking all of our candidates for public office where they stand on supporting Australia’s live music industry as a significant contributor of jobs and economic opportunity, as well as making up an integral part of our social and cultural DNA.

ast weekend as our federal politicians were on the campaign hustings, Tame Impala was headlining on the main stage at Coachella, one of the world’s biggest and most influential music festivals. They were among several Aussie acts performing over two weekends in front of around 250,000 people on the polo fields at Indio in one of the world’s biggest music markets. More Australian musicians will be on stages around the world in coming months, from smaller clubs and venues through to the main stages at big international festivals. Our politicians are quick to don the green and gold when our athletes and sporting teams are doing well in the international arena. Greater recognition and celebration of our Australian artists taking on the world on the stages of Coachella, Bonnaroo, Primavera or Fuji Rock, or even here at home at our own festivals is long overdue. It’s not just a matter of national pride in the musical talent of our fellow Australians and their cultural contribution, although that’s important. Live music also drives job creation and economic activity at home and overseas and is an increasingly valuable Australian export to the world. Yet, it’s woefully overlooked by government in terms of meaningful support compared to many other industries. A recent parliamentary inquiry crunched the numbers. Live music contributes $15.4 billion to the Australian economy, generating 65,000 full and part-time jobs, and is forecast to achieve a compound annual growth rate of almost 3% over the next couple of years. Ticket sales to live events reached almost $2 billion in 2017, with the largest proportion coming from contemporary music ($826 million). More than half of all Australians attended a live music event during 2016, while the number of Australians who attended a live music event at least once a month almost doubled from 10 to 18%. The music industry has always beenintensely competitive and challenging, but it is also going through major changes, particularly as a result of digital disruption. The rise of streaming, as opposed to the sale of physical recordings, is changing the way many artists earn their income, creating challenges as well as new opportunities. It’s also getting harder to find a space to perform or be heard on radio. Our musicians need to be more innovative, agile and resilient than ever before in order to survive, let alone thrive. When you add up the contribution the live music industry makes to our economy, and the world-beating talent we have to offer, the level of support provided by the government for live music is paltry by comparison, whether it’s policy direction or actual funding. By comparison, the Australian Government has a $385 million National Sport Plan (Sport 2030) and even a sports diplomacy strategy. $54 million is being provided over the next couple of years to support Australia’s preparation for the 2020 Olympics. So, what’s on the table for the music industry at this election? Neither of the major parties are really turning up the volume, although there are some notable differences in approach. The Coalition announced a $30.9 million Australian music industry package as part of this year’s Federal Budget. It includes $22.5 million over five years to Live Music Australia to help small businesses with grants of up to $10,000 each for artist costs and investment in equipment or infrastructure to upgrade live music venues and support performance. There’s $2 million (over five years) for a Women In Music mentor program, and $2.7 million in funding for a national Indigenous contemporary music development program. The Australia Council will receive $2 million over four years to increase performance opportunities for musicians, including in regional venues, and an additional $1.6 million for Sounds Australia to promote the Australian music industry in emerging Asian markets. These are welcome steps, but very small in their scope when stacked up against the multi-billion contribution the industry delivers for the economy. They don’t do much to really shift the needle in helping the industry address the issues which will impact on its longer-term potential . The ALP has also released its package for music, Soundtrack Australia. It’s a more comprehensive approach than put forward by the Coalition, which also

“The level of support provided by the government for live music is paltry.”

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MØ, aka Karen Andersen, tells Cyclone about turning fans of her guest work into fans of her solo output, and how she’s getting into the art of collage now.

Check The Guide on for MØre details.

“I’m obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race, like completely obsessed.”


he Danish electro-popster MØ (aka Karen Andersen) has emerged as a megastar on the back of song features — notably leading Major Lazer’s Lean On. But now she’s reclaiming her own identity, promoting 2018’s bittersweet album Forever Neverland. And Andersen is touring. The singer-songwriter is on the phone from her Copenhagen base, sipping coffee at what she insists is a “not crazy” 9am. Andersen is anticipating an imminent Australian tour with Groovin The Moo, plus sideshows alongside Californian rapper DUCKWRTH. “I’m very excited to see Billie Eilish, as most people probably are,” she enthuses. Andersen is unusually chatty for a star, defying the ‘question and answer’ interview paradigm. She exudes a natural amiability, exuberance and candour, frequently laughing. It’s no wonder Andersen is in such high demand for collaborations: she’s fun. While Andersen’s ambitious new live production is “focused on” Forever Neverland, it spans all facets of her career — with “blasts from the past”. She loves performing. “I tend to be very energetic and, I guess, kinda dramatic on stage.” Andersen semijokes about every vocalist’s anxiety, blanking on the songs. “That’s my worst nightmare: forgetting lyrics on stage. Lucky me, it hasn’t happened a lot of times, but I’m so scared of it!” As early as 2013, Andersen appeared at the Sydney Opera House — a guest at the Danish Crown Prince Couple’s Awards, coinciding with the building’s 40th anniversary. “I just remember that I was so excited to go to Australia, because I’d been to New Zealand as a kid, but we flew right over Australia. I was like, ‘No, I wanna go there and see it!’” She felt at home. “Sydney reminds me a little bit of a mix between actually New York and Copenhagen. It was like this weird, familiar mix for me.” Andersen tasted kangaroo. Two years on, she hit Splendour In The Grass. Andersen then supported Sia here in 2017, herself surprised by the Adelaidian’s contentiously obscured stage presentation, where she employed dancer Maddie Ziegler as an avatar. “I loved that show,” Andersen raves. “I am such a big Sia fan. I think it’s so cool that she’s doing this, kinda like, artistic way of doing her show, so I was completely blown away. I was just like, ‘Oh!’” Andersen grew up outside Odense in southern Denmark — her first musical fix the Spice Girls (she has covered Say

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You’ll Be There). As a teen, Andersen fully embraced punk. She formed the electronic noise combo MØR with a pal before going solo. Signing to Sony, Andersen collaborated with Diplo on 2013’s buzz XXX 88. It was the beginning of an enduring creative partnership, the DJ recognising Andersen’s nous as a songwriter. In 2014, Andersen debuted with No Mythologies To Follow, bringing her Scandinavian countercultural cool into popdom. She also contributed to others’ tracks. Andersen featured on Iggy Azalea’s hit Beg For It and Avicii’s album True. She again linked with Diplo (and DJ Snake) to cowrite and sing on Major Lazer’s trop-house banger, Lean On, a streaming sensation. The next year, Andersen graced Major Lazer’s Cold Water with Justin Bieber, boosting the Canadian teen idol’s club cred. In 2018, she rocked the defiant We Are Fucked with the “dope” Noah Cyrus. “I went into the studio, I cut my parts, then I met her — she had, I think, a show in LA. I hung out with her and she was just so lovely.” Andersen even blessed Jack Antonoff’s Never Fall In Love for the Love, Simon soundtrack. Between collabs, Andersen did air her own material — like the Diplo-helmed Kamikaze. But, in transitioning from indie-pop rebel into dance bohemian, she struggled to adjust. In October, Andersen issued the conceptual Forever Neverland, allegorising JM Barrie’s Peter Pan for herself as a Lost Girl. She teamed with Diplo for Sun In Our Eyes, but her primary studio cohort was Stint. Andersen personalised her curation, recruiting friends Charli XCX and Empress Of. Still, Forever Neverland was among 2018’s most underrated pop releases. How does she feel about it retrospectively? “I think, because it did take me a really, really long time to write that album and to do that album — like four-and-a-half years — it was a very up-and-down process. It really took a long time. It was a bit insane, alMØst — that was how it felt a little bit. So I love that album so much but, when you ask me what I feel, I will say I’m just so happy that I finally managed to finish it, because I was really stuck from time to time during making the album.” In fact, the single Blur deals with writer’s block. Andersen’s US label suggested that she remix the song with Foster The People frontman Mark Foster. “I love Foster The People, but I hadn’t really thought about taking it in that direction,” she admits.



Andersen’s dilemma has been how to reconnect with pop fans as an individual act. “I guess I am very famous for being a featured artist, because of Lean On, for instance. I think those kind of things take time, because you cannot expect everyone to just love your solo stuff as well. So it’s something that takes time and hard work. You do good music and then, hopefully, eventually one day they’ll know you for both.” Late last year Andersen revealed that, being on a roll, she was keen to commence album three. She laughs now. “Honestly, actually, I have been writing quite a bit,” she shares. “I’ve written, like, maybe ten songs or something that I like.” Nonetheless, Andersen ponders if it’s “too early” to return to the studio intensively. “But who knows? I don’t know! I try to take it day by day.” Andersen enjoys downtime. Lately, she’s been listening to music. Andersen is “obsessed with Lana Del Rey”: “I love all her new songs.” And she’s pursuing activities outside music. “Obviously, I love hanging out with my friends and my family and my boyfriend — that kinda social stuff. But, if it’s more hobbies or TV, I’m obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race, like completely obsessed. Then I love cooking and I love running. Another creative thing is I’m doing collages. And then I’m also knitting.” Andersen follows world events, too. Many pop acts are wary of making political statements. Indeed, Taylor Swift was roundly criticised for her supposed neutrality. However, as a sometime punk, Andersen considers it obligatory. “I think people should definitely speak up, especially if you have a big platform, because, again, this political scenery in the world, to me it seems pretty messed up at the moment. So I think it’s good that people use their voice. But my one thing that I always say when I get asked this — and that counts for myself, of course, as well — is that I really wanna make sure that, before I make heavy statements or anything, I am aware of the whole situation. Because if I’m like, ‘Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,’ but I don’t know the depths of an issue or a situation, then I think I’m contributing to a culture of just talking without knowing what the fuck you’re talking about.”

MØ tours from 2 May.

Australia’s past efforts Since our debut in 2015, four Australian artists — all former TV singing comp finalists, except now for Kate Miller-Heidke — have competed in Eurovision to mixed results. Guy Sebastian

Gravity defying Sebastian sang Tonight Again for the 60th

Representing Australia in Eurovision 2019 might be a “life highlight” for Kate Miller-Heidke, but the singer-songwriter tells Daniel Cribb she doesn’t want to be defined by it.


ore than 100 million people tuned into last year’s Eurovision Song Contest — a daunting figure for Queensland-born powerhouse and Australia’s 2019 entry Kate Miller-Heidke. “It makes me feel slightly ill,” Miller-Heidke laughs. “I just have to focus on my own performance and try to shut everything else out.” The singer was selected to represent Australia after being crowned the champion of Eurovision — Australia Decides, beating out artists like Courtney Act and Sheppard when she won over the public and a panel of judges with her song Zero Gravity and its accompanying production, which has been altered quite a bit already in preparation for her time in Tel Aviv this May. “We’ve sort of streamlined it and there is this striking simplicity and elegance about it now,” she explains. “That’s the idea anyway, but there’s also a technical aspect to it, which requires a fair bit of rehearsal. “I’m not going over thinking about winning or getting a high place or anything like that that’s out of my control. I just want to go over there and do a performance that I’m proud of; this is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced and beyond anything I’ll ever get to do again. So I just wanna milk it.” Although an important chapter in her career (“It’s going to be a life highlight”), to describe it as the most important would be reductive. “I would not like to be defined just by Eurovision,” Miller-Heidke stresses. “I mean, certainly in terms of audience, it’s massive, but the reason that I feel confident and good about it is I’ve had a lot of experience leading up to this point and done a lot of different challenging things.” Zero Gravity and its accompanying stage production bring together different elements from her eclectic career to date, with a strong focus on theatrical and operatic themes. “That is what I love about your Eurovision — they embrace theatricality and I love the more sort of bonkers, extreme end of Eurovision. This song was written to be experienced with a visual component on the Eurovision stage.

anniversary of Eurovision, and Australia’s first in 2015, placing fifth in the final in Vienna.

Dami Im

“It’s not a song that was written for the radio or any other stage really except the Eurovision stage. I’m sure I’ll end up singing it a lot outside of that stage. But it’s where the song was designed to be. “This poor old bloke got fired for playing it on a Christian community radio station in WA [laughs]. I don’t know if that’s a good sign. It’s creating a strong reaction in eople.” The song itself is about a deeply personal time in MillerHeidke’s life, with the singer touching on her battle with postnatal depression. “Music has always been a kind of therapy for me. And singing is like a beautiful physical thing,” she says. “But I mean that song was written when I was in the clear and tries to capture that feeling of coming out into the clear, and that feeling of a weight being lifted off. The song couldn’t have been written if I hadn’t found my way out of that fog. “Any song that does have a personal meaning, you do feel vulnerable when you share it for the first time, but the reaction seems so positive and people in my online community have been sharing their own stories and I’ve found all that very amazing. In my experience, the most powerful songs do contain some kind of true emotion and that’s what I wanted to achieve with this song.” It’s been a hectic couple of years for Miller-Heidke, following her work on Muriel’s Wedding and now Eurovision, but after May, she’ll be getting stuck into her own music again. “I’m kind of halfway through writing a new album, so when I get back I’ll be focusing on that,” she reveals. And I can’t wait ‘cause the last few years have been very taken up with Muriel’s Wedding The Musical and some other theatre project. But I’m looking forward to writing more stuff for my own voice.”

In 2016, Dami Im came out strong with Sound Of Silence, coming second overall, and stunning Stockholm.

Isaiah Firebrace

Then-17-year-old former X Factor winner Firebrace performed Don’t Come Easy in Kiev in 2017, but wound up in ninth place.

Jessica Mauboy

With We Got The Love, Mauboy came in at

Eurovision Song Contest airs on SBS from 15 May

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number 20 out of 26 countries in the final, held in Lisbon in 2018.

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M ay

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The big picture

Samuel Luke Emerging artist Samuel Luke features in the third edition of Meet Me In The Pit, an anthology of comics about music by young Australian creatives. We ask Luke about comics, Phoenix and telling personal stories. What made you want to be a part of Meet Me In The Pit? When [editor and publisher] Chris Neill approached me about contributing to Meet Me In The Pit number three, I was so excited to share my comics alongside so many incredible Australian comic creators. I have made some great friends through the zine and comic community, some of whom have been in Meet Me In The Pit, and I knew it was a great opportunity to share my story with them and be a part of it too! What was your inspiration to make this comic? I had wanted to make a comic about If I Ever Feel Better by Phoenix for a long time now. If I Ever Feel Better is the only song I’ve ever heard where I can relate every lyric to how I feel about my gender transition. I see it as coming full circle: I’ve drawn key moments of my transition in the comic, set to the song’s opening line. It’s a very intimate comic, for a very special song to me. Your work is so personal — what about the comic form gives you the space to express difficult things? I’ve found that comics allow me to dive deeper and unpack a narrative more than a standalone image can. In comics, I’m able to fully explore a story, and I feel safer to be vulnerable, knowing that my personal stories are given space and time to breathe and be developed over the coming panels. I love how comics can also show ‘moments’ in one’s personal life, or a larger narrative (especially in autobiographical comics). I find the slow, often carefully considered pace of comics to be a therapeutic platform to express personal difficulties I’ve faced. Separating panels often means breaking down a concept into easily digestible snippets of a story. It allows me, the creator, to reflect on the story or experience, and gives the reader time to go through the story at their own pace. How does If I Ever Feel Better by Phoenix speak to and about you? I didn’t realise I was holding onto so much tension and trauma surrounding my transition, until I heard Phoenix narrating my life back to me, ha. I only discovered If I Ever Feel Better during my honours year of Fine Arts — during that time I was developing a research practice around being transgender, while also not being able to medically transition. The song was playing in our shared studio space by a friend who shared a partition wall with me. I found myself listening to that song on repeat for months on end, becoming immersed in the lyrics and listening in awe to how much they reflected my personal struggles around transitioning genders. To me, the opening line acknowledges that as I transition from female to male, a part of me is ending in order for the other part to start living authentically. Transitioning for me was mentally/physically/emotionally exhausting and allconsuming. But I’m still here. The entire song also speaks to moments where I’ve been so engulfed in feeling intense gender dysphoria, feeling out of control of my body, and putting my life on hold because of those feelings. I wouldn’t go out in the world because I wasn’t comfortable in my own body. But I knew I’d be comfortable one day, and I’d catch up with people, and the rest of my life then, if I ever feel better.

The third issue of Meet Me In The Pit launches at Other Worlds Zine Fair at Marrickville Town Hall on 26 May and Goodspace Gallery on 5 Jun.

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The big picture

Resting on your Laurel Laurel Arnell-Cullen — known monomyously as Laurel — tells Liz Giuffre about the beauty and intimacy in stillness.


Laurel tours from 22 May.

Pic: Kamila K Stanley

ogviolet is the debut album for UK singer/songwriter/producer Laurel Arnell-Cullen, known mononymously as Laurel. Fresh from SXSW, Arnell-Cullen speaks to The Music on an early morning London phone call, while on tour in the UK with KT Tunstall. Laurel’s work is minimalist but purposeful — there’s clear comparisons to be made with some of the best lady-led folk in the business, but there’s also an edge we’ve not heard before. “You know, I really don’t mind comparisons that much, I think it’s really interesting to hear what people think,” Arnell-Cullen says. “This record has been compared to Florence & The Machine a lot, and I think she’s fucking incredible, and an amazing woman, so it’s always quite nice. I get Fleetwood Mac quite a lot at the moment which is a bit random, but I love Fleetwood Mac, so you know, it’s funny. It’s really interesting hearing what people say, because I can be like, ‘I never thought of that, but you think my record sounds like that.’” Laurel’s artistic aesthetic comes from a healthy mix of new and old approaches to making and presenting music. First sketching ideas in her bedroom on her laptop, she moves to record reel-to-reel, embracing the sound and experience that provides. “With [tape] you can only really get one take, and you can’t as easily copy and paste and save all of the takes, you really just have to wing it a bit more. But I think sometimes that’s what gives it the energy and excitement. It’s what you don’t get if you’ve just sat for hours on one thing. “There’s a lot of times where you do a whole take and it’s great, except for this one little bit. And so actually re-recording that [one bit] means re-recording everything, so you accept it. And those imperfections are what makes music real rather than formulated. So keeping those [little imperfections] are what keeps is authentic.” Also striking about Laurel’s debut are the videos for her singles Lovesick and Same Mistakes. Both are so still as to be almost completely static — an approach that at first

confuses, but then draws the viewer and listener closer. At a time when artists are trying stunts like crazy dances and arresting costumes to get noticed, this understatement is a left turn, and quite the risk in lots of ways. “I’d been watching all of these screen tests in American movies, before we had digital cameras. The night before they would shoot they would do all these tests — they’d roll the tape then send it to the lab just to check the cameras worked — and you can google these, they’re beautiful,” Arnell-Cullen begins. “A lot of the time, in these moments you caught people in their own natural environment, they were just so themselves, so from that we’ve developed a lot of the videos that we made for the album. I thought it might be nice to do something that wasn’t just a static image, but still wasn’t making a full video for it. [And] it’s great because they match the intimacy of the songs too.” Is she concerned that being understated might mean being overlooked? “It’s so funny, people can’t keep their attention on one thing for more than five seconds nowadays. I mean, sometimes you can try making something for that much money or not many resources, but it can end up being not as good. So we kind of just lived within the means of what we had, and I think that’s why these videos are very simplistic but I think they’re very beautiful as well. “It happens at my gigs actually too — I’ve noticed the quieter you play the more people listen. And sometimes you can try and get people to listen by playing really loud when everyone’s talking, but what I’ve started doing is playing really quietly and people shut up. I wonder if there’s something in it. It wasn’t my intention [to make people lean in] — I just made what I felt like making. Which is why it’s so great and so interesting to hear everyone’s takes on it, because of course when you’re making it you don’t have any idea, really.”

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From A to Z Zee Gachette aka Z-Star talks to Rod Whitfield about getting the seal of approval from Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page.

The Australian market is becoming more of a priority for Tami Neilson, who is returning in May for her second visit this year. Ahead of the Blues On Broadbeach Music Festival, Chris Familton gets the lowdown on her life as a professional soul and country singer.


’ve always been an album a year kind of girl,” says

Before returning to Australia, Neilson

Tami Neilson, from her home in Auckland, New Zea-

is opening for her hero Mavis Staples for

land. It’s been nearly 12 months since Sassafrass! was

the second time, which has her bursting

released and in timely fashion, she reveals that she’s just fin-

with excitement. “I thought last time that it

ished recording her next album. “Because I tour and play

would be a once in a lifetime opportunity

live a lot I want to always keep it fresh for my fans and for

and now it’s happening again and it’s just

myself, introducing new material every time I tour which I


do regularly.”

Only days before that she’ll also be

With the amount of international touring she’s been

attending New Zealand’s prestigious Taite

clocking up in recent years it begs the question of when

Music Prize as a finalist for Sassafrass!.

she gets to set aside the time to write for each new album.

Then it’s off to the Northern Hemisphere for

“I was continually on tour for the year before Sassafrass!

a German tour.

and the only block of time I had was sitting on my arse in a

With Australia only a three-hour flight

van for eight hours a day driving across Germany. I took my

from Auckland, The Music questions why

noise-cancelling headphones and notebook and bunkered

we haven’t seen her touring here on a

down in the front seat and just became very antisocial but

more regular basis. The good news is she

got an album done. My writing process tends to be that I

will be. “I self-manage in New Zealand and

collect this treasure trove of melodies and lyrics and titles

my international management think more

and keep my little arsenal of ideas and then I book studio

about Europe and America and they for-

time and that’s it, my deadline then makes me knuckle

get about Australia a bit. The intention and

down and cook it all up,” she explains.

investment from them in Australia hasn’t

Recently, on International Women’s Day, Neilson

been a priority and so I’ll be running more

released the bold and beautiful single Big Boss Mama

of that myself and getting over there more,”

that proudly flies the flag for the importance of powerful

she reveals. “The audiences are so wonder-

women in society. It’s a characteristically colourful, holler-

ful and they get my music and they get me.

and-stomp rockabilly-soul track in the tradition of her songs

They’re a bit more boisterous and outgo-

such as Stay Outta My Business and Bananas, and for the

ing and I really connect with that so you’re

most part, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

going to be seeing a lot more of me!”

“I love hearing stories, especially from parents with young kids, girls especially, who say that they love the music,” says Neilson. “I like that, with the fun packaging, it’s really connecting, but not just the music, the lyrics too. Hearing feedback like that as a musician, when it’s some-

Tami Neilson tours from 16 May.

times a hard road to travel, really makes it worthwhile and you realise, yes, it is connecting and it is going to hopefully make a difference with the next generation coming up.” Neilson grew up as a country singer with her family band in Canada, and though she’s always loved and listened to soul music, it has taken her a bit longer to blend and incorporate those influences as strongly as she has over her last few albums. “That’s always what I’ve written, the songs that I was writing back early on still had a soul, gospel, rockabilly sound but Dynamite! was the first album where I went into the studio with a full band. I’d never had a full band before and I’d never had studio time like that. Out of necessity and finance I’d always done it with my brother and dad and mostly acoustic,” Neilson explains. “Dynamite! was the first album I could actually hire a studio and musicians! Those things enabled me to develop my sound more. I’d also grown in confidence and knew the direction I wanted to go and what kind of artist I wanted to be.”

Z-Star Trinity tours from 16 May. Check The Guide on for more details.

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Pic: Mrs Jones


h my God, it’s Jimmy Page, and he’s giving me a cuddle!” The international praise for Zee Gachette aka Z-Star, the renowned British-Trinidadian musician, and her many musical incarnations, has come in thick and fast over the course of her career, the most resonant and surreal of which has come from the Led Zeppelin guitar god and other such music legends. You get the feeling Gachette’s head is still spinning over that as she speaks to The Music from the road in rural Victoria. “I got this award for Best Live Act,” she recalls. “Jimmy and Roger Daltrey were giving out the award and they were in the audience. I’d just finished performing my song Murder On My Mind, which is on my new record 16 Tons Of Love. I finished it and Jimmy and Roger just leapt to their feet applauding, and I was just like, ‘Oh my God!’ “Then afterwards, backstage we were talking for quite a long time, and he was like, ‘Did you write that song?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah I wrote it!’ He was super impressed and he said, ‘Wow, you’re a force of nature.’ We’ve struck up a really nice friendship, I know his kids and his ex-wife and stuff. It’s like meeting your god.” Gachette has been in Australia since mid-February, on a lengthy and comprehensive tour of the east coast, which has taken in everything from tiny country pubs to big festivals like Port Fairy and Blues On Broadbeach. The tour takes her all the way through to the end of June, performing as a trio with Beck Flatt and Jez Klysz. “Z-Star Trinity forms one part of the Z-Star universe,” she says. “It’s a power trio, and it’s pretty trashy, big songs, memorable songs. Then there’s Z-Star, the Mothership, which is the full band, and we’ve got Z-Star Delta which is the two-piece, where I play drums and I have my lead guitarist Sebastien [Heintz]. They’re all really different — and all really fun.” The Z-Star Universe’s music transcends all barriers of age, race and religion, and brings people together in that spirit of music and fun. “From Port Fairy to the Blue Mountains, people have been saying, ‘Oh my God, I haven’t danced so much in years!’” she laughs. “And the crowds, it’s a real mix, it’s everyone from great grandmothers to little kids. It’s quite intense, but there’s always a great message in there: it’s uplifting, it’s deeply emotional and it’s going to take you to places.” Gachette feels that this is what draws people to her music: “People connect with it, they connect with the passion of it all — it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you look like.” Another great advantage of doing a tour like this is that she gets to escape a large chunk of the English winter and exchange it for an Aussie summer. “Woo, my God yeah!” she swoons. “I was just speaking to a friend of mine in England this morning, and she was like, ‘It’s still so dark and cold here, I’m so jealous!’ You guys are so lucky here, I love coming over here.” Indeed, Gachette feels a very strong kinship and deep connection with Australia, having toured here extensively over the years. “It’s a great continent, I’ve got lots of friends here, people who’ve moved out here from the UK. The people are really warm, they love music, they still buy CDs, they go out to shows, it’s just a case of stopping the government getting in the way. “It’s so crazy,” she continues, referring to the NSW Government’s crackdown on music festivals, and the impact of policies like the lockout laws on the Sydney music scene. “Music makes people feel good, it’s art, and there should be more investment into that, because we all need it. It’s not just the sunshine that’s going to give us all that buzz. “We all need music as well.”

The life of a big boss mama

Under the influence With Instagram’s stringent content restrictions, OnlyFans seems like a natural next step. Maxim Boon looks at the platform providing influencers and adult performers a direct line to their audiences.


he advent of the digital age has gone hand in glove with an unprecedented evolution in human behaviour, and of the various paradigm-shifting advances to have emerged in recent decades, easily the most powerfully altering to the status quo has been social media. Most of the digital portals we use to document, share and curate our daily lives were founded with straightforward and blue-sky ideals in mind. And yet, from these humbly pure beginnings, it’s no hyperbole to say the major digital networking platforms have become cornerstones of our civilisation, radically shifting the ways we engage with the world, develop our values, and express our beliefs. And oftentimes, in ways that are far less wholesome than their architects intended. TheFacebook was created in 2004 as a way to share photos and digitally connect with friends. Today, Facebook is one of the most potently calibrated marketing tools ever created, with a captive audience of billions of consumers worldwide. Twitter had even simpler aspirations when it was founded in 2006, originally conceived as an SMS-style way for people to keep their nearest and dearest up to date with their experiences. Now, it’s become an unfettered pulpit for world leaders and firebrand antagonists alike, making it arguably the most volatile arena of political and social discourse in human history. The reason that social media’s reality has tended to drift from its original intention is down to one simple factor: humanity’s innate capacity for opportunism. As much as social media has altered our behaviour, our behaviours have also altered social media, as unexpected viral bonanzas have opened up new frontiers for commercial and social gain. Indeed, the most committed social media Svengalis have been able to pioneer an entirely new kind of career, as influencers, literally transmuting popular kudos into cash.

But as with any process of evolution, the rules of survival of the fittest apply, or as has proven the case for photosharing site Instagram, survival of the thirstiest. Less than a decade since its launch in October 2010, Instagram has become the kingmaker for influencers, catapulting its most-followed users to celebrity status. A sure-fire method for cultivating the global following essential to an influencer’s cache has capitalised on the evergreen marketing maxim: sex sells. Instagram has strict content rules prohibiting overt eroticism, but this hasn’t stopped millions of influencers from flashing some flesh, using sexually suggestive images as bait for potential followers. However, a new commercial opportunity has entered orbit around Instagram, taking the “thirst-trap” phenomena to the next level. OnlyFans is, in some respects, not unlike Instagram; a platform for sharing photos and videos with followers. Where it differs is in the nature of its content and how that content is monetised. Subscribers to individual profiles pay between $5 to $20 a month to access pics and vids too risque for Instagram, ranging from softcore naughtiness to hardcore kink. A relatively new addition to the social media ecosystem, launched in 2016, OnlyFans was not originally developed as a porn portal. But as has been the case for almost every social media platform, opportunism altered its DNA; for sex workers and performers working in the adult entertainment industry, the synergies were self-evident. What has been more surprising, however, is how widely it has been embraced by social media influencers with no prior experience of producing adult content, with fitness professionals in particular peddling X-rated content alongside their family-friendly gymspiration. A perfect example of this is OnlyFan’s highest earner. Jem Wolfie is based in Perth and began her online career as an influencer on Instagram, attracting more than 2.5 million followers with her fitness and vegan diet blogs. While her OnlyFans following may be smaller, it is wildly lucrative; more than 10,000 subscribers pay $US9.99 a month for access to her channel. Far from being explicitly pornographic, most of her posts are just slightly racier versions of her Insta-content, but on both platforms, critics could call foul of the objectification of a young woman’s body. Wolfie, on the other hand, disagrees, citing in several interviews that being in control of her content, understanding what her viewers want and how far she is prepared to go, is in fact empowering. For the porn industry, OnlyFans is yet another blow to its economic stability in the digital age. Yet for adult performers, it has created a means of attaining professional agency in a way that would have been unimaginable a decade ago. Whereas sets, crew, editing and production costs required the backing of moneyed studios, today, anyone with a decent smartphone can be their own pornographer, in control of their content and its distribution. Adult performers have flocked to OnlyFans, and unsurprisingly, competitor sites riffing on the OnlyFans model have also proliferated over the past couple of years to support this boom. However, while the advantages of OnlyFans for its content creators appear numerous, there are certain question marks over its business model, how it protects its consumers, ensures quality control, avoids infringing international laws and how its “earners” (as OnlyFans content creators are tellingly known) declare their income to various tax entities. Largely, these unanswered questions exist in the fog of an uncharted digital territory. What does seem clear, however, is that the next major digital trend will emerge from somewhere quite unexpected.

“Uncharted digital territory.”

The Music


C u lt u r e

Looking after number one As a songwriter, Alex Lahey says she’s often complimented for being “so open and honest and relatable”. She sits down with Bryget Chrisfield to discuss seeing a psychologist for the first time in her life, self-care and writing a song about masturbation. Feature pic by Kane Hibberd.

“You increase your level of vulnerability, but then you also feel quite empowered by doing that — the catharsis of it is quite empowering.”


hinking back to typical questions she was asked in interviews conducted around the release of her debut album, 2017’s I Love You Like A Brother, Alex Lahey recalls, “The last cycle was like, ‘[puts on dweeby voice] What’s it like being a woman in the music industry?’ and that was sort of like the discourse a couple of years ago, which every single female artist got so fucking sick of! You know, everyone was like, ‘Oh, reeeeaaally?’” Now that promo for follow-up album The Best Of Luck Club is in full swing, Lahey observes, “I feel like the conversation this time ‘round, for me, is more — self-care is a real topic... I think also, like, Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself is kind of lending itself to that, too, so it’s been an ongoing discussion. “Sitting at a table inside The Mess Hall, a restaurant at the top end of Melbourne’s Bourke Street, Lahey looks content and speaks excitedly between sips of beer. Lahey has previously said that the ten songs on The Best Of Luck Club document 12 months during which she navigated “the highest highs and the lowest lows” in her life to date. When asked whether she would care to elaborate, Lahey pinpoints track three, Interior Demeanour, as “the flagship song for the lows” of said year. “I wrote that after going to a psychologist for the first time ever in my life and I was going through a break-up at the time, which was... particularly hurtful and, like, it was quite bruising. “And I knew — you know, having gone through an experience like that before, on paper — that it would all be ok, and that I would get through it, but I just felt so low at the time, which was out of character for me because usually my emotions are pretty balanced... I was like, ‘I just feel like I wanna check in and I might wanna do this for myself,’ you know? So I went to my GP and did the mental health [plan] thing, which is really great — it’s such a wonderful benefit. And I was like, ‘Look, I’m going through this thing at the moment; I feel like I really wanna go get some advice or guidance.’ And he was really helpful and I ended up getting paired with a psych who, luckily, was a really good fit for me. Because that doesn’t always happen, like, sometimes it takes a few goes. But I got paired up with someone and ended up seeing her for a few sessions. And it’s a funny experience, because you increase your level of vulnerability, but then you also feel quite empowered by doing that — the catharsis of it is quite empowering. “And so that song [Interior Demeanour] is what that is about. And it’s actually the first song that got written for the record, and I remember writing it and being, ‘Oooooooh,

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haha, this is a dark song.’ Also, musically, it’s very angular and, like, super grungy and quite dissonant and I was like, ‘This is quite a change!’ from, you know, the stuff that I’d done before. And I’d written it long before I Love You Like A Brother actually came out and I was sort of like, ‘This is interesting.’ I sort of surprised myself with it.” Did Lahey surprise herself with how much of her own personal experience she was prepared to share through song? “Yeah, I did,” she acknowledges. “It was really cool... People are sort of like, ‘Oh, the songs that you write, you know, you’re so open and honest and relatable’ — whatever that means — and I was sort of like, ‘Oh, yeah, ok,’ like, I never really thought about it that way. And then I wrote that song and I was like, ‘If people thought I was putting myself on the line then...’”’ she laughs. “But it’s also important to talk about; you never want those sort of things to be stigmatised so, yeah! “And then on the other side, a song like Isabella is — I feel every good rock artist should have a song about masturbation and that’s mine... I get asked like, ‘Oh, Isabella, who’s Isabella?’ And I’m like, ‘Well, there’s a popular vibrator on the market called Izzy; so Isabella’s Izzy, yeah.’ And Isabella’s an independent woman who, you know, is highly capable to do whatever she wants and don’t need no one to tell her otherwise. And I feel like if you were gonna personify a vibrator in any way, it’s as that, that person. So Isabella’s that person, yeah.” Earlier on in the day, Lahey caught up with The Best Of Luck Club’s producer Catherine Marks (who she labels “the best engineer in the world”) for the first time since they finished the record. “There’s nothing formal about the way that she works, technically,” Lahey commends of Marks. “So, because of that, she’s so creative and she just has this beautiful sonic palette.” A candid photo of the pair in a recording studio, which Lahey posted on Instagram to mark International Women’s Day this year, speaks volumes about their close working relationship. “The record is just built out of fun,” Lahey enthuses. “I was showing Catherine a video that I had taken of her that she didn’t realise I was taking... There’s a lot of this instrument called Mellotron on the record and she was trying to find, like, the right chords to play, and she kept on fucking it up. And then, at the end, she just lifts up her hands and looks at it and goes, ‘[glances around at our neighbouring tables and whispers] Cunt!’ [laughs]. I showed it to her and she’s just pissing herself... So that’s what we were laughing at.”

The Best Of Luck Club (Nicky Boy/Caroline) is out this month. Alex Lahey tours from 6 Jun.

Alex Lahey is managed by Leigh Treweek who is a director of Handshake Media, owner of this magazine.

Check The Guide on for more details.

Album Reviews

If you’re not familiar with The National, we’d advise you to start with Boxer. Then if you’re after something a little more raw, High Violet. A little more produced? Trouble Will Find Me. Synthy? Sleep Well Beast. Promise us you’ll give them more than one listen — we’re talking about growers here. It’s a hallmark quality that has endeared The National to so many, soundtracking everything from tender Sunday morning moments to red wine-fuelled debauchery. So where then does I Am Easy To Find slot into the mix? Some fans have speculated it’s a companion piece to Trouble Will Find Me and, with its similar artwork and motifs, they wouldn’t be too far off. In true conspiracy fashion, both albums even have 17 May as their release date. Whoa. But this is an album that asks a broader question: what does it mean to be human? It is a grand statement in the same way it is not a grand statement. It finds beauty in the monotonous and banal, in unwashed dishes and nights spent in front of the television. Yes, there are the autobiographical moments we have come to expect from Matt Berninger and his frequent lyrical collaborator, his wife Carin Besser — look for the inner monologue moment in Not In Kansas — but they’re just part of the album’s inherent humanness. There’s a variety of female vocals in the mix for the first time; most notable Bowie’s longtime collaborator Gail Ann Dorsey. This choir of voices help to reinforce that these are universal themes, universal problems, universal growth. The tender moments on the album — Quiet Light, Light Years, Roman Holiday — are bound to please fans of I Need My

The National

I Am Easy To Find 4AD / Remote Control


Frank Iero & The Future Violents Barriers UNFD

HHHH Heavily distorted guitars and harsh vocals bring punk to the forefront in Frank Iero & The Future Violents’ new album Barriers. As a soulful organ coats opening track, A New Day’s Coming, it soon explodes into an anthemic chorus that is just the beginning of this violent record.Young And Doomed kicks it up a notch with its classic punk tonality and thrashing guitars, while Iero’s vocals are forceful and maniacal in Fever Dream. The frazzled melodies are overflowing with an aggressive energy that throws vivid images of ‘70s punk into our minds. Emily Blackburn

Girl-era National. Eve Owen’s floating vocals over the skittering drums and urgent strings in Where Is Her Head grab you immediately. When Berninger comes in with a frenzied, “I think I’m hittin’ a wall/I hate loving you as much as I do,” we feel our ribcages cracking open, hearts beating bloody on the floor. Dating back over a decade, the presence of Rylan in the accompanying film’s trailer — the film was directed by noted auteur Mike Mills — was enough to send longtime fans into a tizzy. The reenergised version found on the album is a stadium anthem if anything — more Dessner wizardry well worth the wait. Mills’ film, starring Alicia Vikander, and the album don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand however. They are, as Mills suggests, “playfully hostile siblings that love to steal from each other”. Or as Berninger writes, “featherless ideas. and at the end it was a turkey”. Much like the fact we are the sum of our parts, this is an album that speaks volumes as a whole. It is a singular apocalypse. Music that, once again, gets inside your bones, laying down roots. So while questions of humanness might be too vast for a 68-minute runtime, here’s to long drives with Berninger’s baritone soundtracking our individual search for answers. Lauren Baxter

Alex Lahey

Bad Religion

Nicky Boy Records / Caroline


End Of Suffering


International Death Cult

The Best Of Luck Club

Age Of Unreason


The Best Of Luck Club feels like a haven of sorts — somewhere to go, no matter your mood. The versatility in sounds, styles and stories will have you swept up in the glory of Alex Lahey in no time at all. The unpredictability throughout each song becomes an entertaining ride. What we love about Lahey is the authenticity and relatability of her songwriting. She doesn’t over-romanticise her stories, they tell it how it is, and The Best Of Luck Club is testament to that and more. It’s indie-pop versus rock, created by a powerhouse of an artist, who appears to be simultaneously the coolest and daggiest person you’ve ever met.

Let’s not pretend that Bad Religion’s 17th LP is much different than the 16 that came before it (Into The Unknown excluded, naturally). In fact, most noticeable is that the band haven’t lost a step despite losing both Brooks Wackerman and Greg Hetson in the lengthy gap between now and 2013’s True North. Age Of Unreason sticks to the Bad Religion formula with 14 cuts of gloriously melodic, hard-driving punk rock interspersed with a few mid-tempo stompers. It’s a cliche, but Bad Religion don’t make bad (ahem) records. Age Of Unreason is another entry in what must now be considered the greatest back catalogue in all of punk rock.

Keira Leonard

Mark Hebblewhite

The Music



Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes


To paraphrase Tywin Lannister chastising Joffrey, anyone who tells you they’re punk are not actually punk. Such is the case here, or at least in the band’s present incarnation. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes’ third album is a meat-and-potatoes collection of alt-rock that offers no real challenge to any sort of establishment. While it’s undeniably easy to listen to and is extremely competent, it has the listener drifting off to other farbetter bands. You wish their songwriting abilities rose to meet their ambitions — the results would’ve been stellar. Matt MacMaster

For more album reviews, go to

Amon Amarth Berserker

Metal Blade Records / Sony


Take a gander at that cover. Utterly ludicrous, yet it captures Berserker’s conviction perfectly. After 27 years of their melodic death-tipped Viking swords striking directly at the heart of heavy metal, one shouldn’t expect otherwise from Amon Amarth. These Swedes rarely stray far from a wellworn template, but have created some of their most epic and melodramatic music in recent years. Fans can thrust drinking horns skywards, as Amon Amarth have unleashed further battle-ready anthems bustling with riffs weightier than a busload of sumo wrestlers and Johan Hegg’s troop-rallying roar. Brendan Crabb

Rosie Lowe

Vampire Weekend

Mavis Staples

Wolf Tone / Caroline

Columbia / Sony


Father Of The Bride


We Get By



There’s a deftness of touch on Rosie Lowe’s second album which, considering the heavy feting her debut, Control, attracted in 2016, will be a relief to those already on board. And for newcomers, it’s easy to slink in on her vibes. Here, Lowe’s headspace is steeped in nostalgia for ‘70s funk and soul, with a lyrical hint of Stevie Wonder-ment in Birdsong. Add the down-tempo disco humidity of UEMM, the three 90 second-or-so sketches and ghostly closer Apologise, and YU proves to be a richly atmospheric experience.

Are Vampire Weekend the greatest? Maybe not. But maybe so? Few artists seize and retain our attention as effectively as these children of the Rotten Apple. Then there’s the consistency. At their strongest, Vampire Weekend is the most compelling (ie broad) and insightful (ie deep) band out. To combine breadth and depth is some trick. But to do it as reliably as Koenig’s clan? That’s some feat. This record is incredible, yes. It is also more that that. It is an artistic touchstone. It stands as an example of how great art should make you feel, of the line between accessibility and profundity.

“What good is freedom/If we haven’t learned to be free?” sings the glorious Mavis Staples in opener Change. It’s bookended by the closer, One More Change, where she pulls back to optimism, backed with glorious gospel support. Even when Staples shows signs of being a little weary — proof that she is human like the rest of us — the power in her voice brings her back up again swiftly. Staples’ music remains a blueprint for how to make art true to yourself as the world evolves. In short, this one doesn’t just get by, it gets you up, on your feet, and into many a mood.

James d’Apice

Liz Giuffre

Mac McNaughton


Jamila Woods

Sunbeam Sound Machine

Mac DeMarco

Little May

Jagjaguwar / Inertia

Dot Dash / Remote Control

Mac’s Record Label / Spunk

Dew Process / Universal


Goodness Gracious



Jamila Woods celebrates her idols on her second album, with each tune bearing the name of a legend she admires. Woods’ response to each of these people is articulate, personal poetry that’s wrapped in honeyed R&B and soul that oozes thick, luscious, deep jazz grooves. Her distinctive vocals are supported by some fine flow from Nitty Scott and Saba. SUN RA rather delightfully embraces an Afrofuturistic attitude as Woods seemingly grows wings and heads out into deep space with co-pilots theMIND and jasminfire. There’s a layering of ideas on this album that blends the past and present to pave the way for the future. Guido Farnell

Here Comes The Cowboy

Blame My Body



Melbourne songwriter Nick Sowersby’s second long-player plants a foot firmly in the chillwave camp, the lo-fi movement whose wave broke nearly a decade ago, but whose torchbearers still noodle away in garages here and there. The record is a drone from front to back, with woozy, overlapping sounds lazily swarming together to invade your headspace, each element repeating ad infinitum until the song simply gives up. Sowersby has made a very pretty album, but one without any real, discerning features beyond the familiar accoutrements of the genre.

Jizz jazz troubadour Mac DeMarco returns with a borderline comatose fourth album, Here Comes The Cowboy. The bright moments on this album (and there are a few) feel like a victory lap for 2017’s excellent This Old Dog rather than fresh ideas, and the rest of the album is unfortunately too sluggish to compensate. The 13 tracks lean so far into his cheerfully phlegmatic persona, his shtick can’t help but draw comparisons to Bernie, the grinning corpse from the titular film. Whether or not you’ll vibe with this McConaughey-like tone depends on the strength of your relationship with the man.

It’s amazing the deep fallout that can come from something seemingly sweet and simple, but that’s just what you get from Little May’s second album. The ghost-folk duo make an impression with gentle indie beats, light guitars, and cutthroat lyrics in what is an unapologetic and powerful release. Velvety vocals and cool percussion maintain your focus throughout Blame My Body, invoked by Little May’s beautiful and brutal power. They have a powerful method of storytelling that, combined with such an experimental approach to sound and textures, means it’s not difficult to get lost in the wonderful intricacies of their world.

Matt MacMaster

Matt MacMaster

Anna Rose

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Bill Frisell

Established 2015







“The most innovative DQGLQÁXHQWLDO guitarist of the past 25 years”



(Remote Control/Inertia)

(Spunk Records/Caroline Australia)

(Nicky Boy Records/Caroline Australia)

Third album from highly-touted New York quartet Big Thief focuses on owning the randomness and impermanence of life, their folkimbued indie rock both sonically refined and soulfully reflective.

The stripped-back fourth album from heartfelt Canadian goofball Mac DeMarco finds him musically at his lackadaisical best, but lyrically not shying away from some dark and desolate places.

Burgeoning Melbourne singersongwriter Alex Lahey’s second longplayer ups the ante on both songcraft and production, the instantly relatable narratives augmented by the abundant hooks and melodies.


The Wall Street Journal


Here Comes The Cowboy

The Best Of Luck Club






(New West)

(Flightless Records)

The Saint Of Lost Causes


Eighth album from prolific Americana prodigy Justin Townes Earle finds him casting his gaze outwards at society atop a typically diverse batch of roots songs dripping with authenticity.


OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK 12/360 Logan Rd Stones Corner (In car park of Stones Corner Hotel)


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Amyl & The Sniffers

Debut album proper for throwback Melbourne punks Amyl & The Sniffers is the sound them harnessing the intensity and abandon of their renowned live shows in the studio, no mean feat.


(07) 3397 0180

Anywhere Festival The ninth annual Anywhere Festival boasts 400 performances in unexpected places across Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Noosa. The full program features works like The Nomi Show, pictured, an art-rock party from Lightning Bolt Creative, which celebrates otherworldly characters like Klaus Nomi, known for his theatrical live performances, David Bowie and Madonna. The event features stand-up from Cecile Blackmore, live music tributes and a prize for the best dressed, with all proceeds raised going to the Queensland Aids Council. Other pieces include physical theatre artist and poet Scott Wings’ new show Whiplash, a journey through the rabbit hole with Alice in Mira Ball Productions’ Wondered and In Bloom, a show from Underground Productions about art, sex and nature, featuring anonymous submissions from the audience.

Anywhere Festival runs from 9 May.

The best of The Arts in May



English Baroque With Circa Australian Brandenburg Orchestra celebrate their 30th anniversary by collaborating with contemporary circus ensemble Circa to create a work which combines period music and acrobatics in one thrilling show, also featuring guest artist, soprano Jane Sheldon. 21 May at QPAC Concert Hall


Griffith Review 64:

The New Disruptors

The latest edition of Aussie lit journal Griffith Review deep dives into the impacts of technology on our lives, its ethical, moral and social consequences, featuring work from Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Scott Ludlum, Mark Davis and more. Out 7 May 2.



Barbara And The Camp Dogs Full of pain, passion and punk, Barbara And The Camp Dogs explores the ties of family and the tensions that strain them. Through music that ranges from raging bangers to tender ballads, this glorious gob-spit of a show has its Brisbane premiere this month. From 1 May at Billie Brown Theatre


German Film Festival This year’s German Film Festival features Balloon, pictured, a true story about two families fleeing East Germany in a homemade hot air balloon, and Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years Of Bauhaus, a documentary about the highly influential architectural school.


From 30 May at Palace James Street & Palace Barracks


Tim Minchin: Back Straggly-haired musical comic Tim Minchin returns to live comedy, after years working on musicals Matilda and Groundhog Day, with comeback tour Back, which hits the Gold Coast this month, featuring “Old songs, new songs [and] fuck you songs.” From 3 May at The Star, Gold Coast




The Masters Series Queensland Ballet continue their 2019 season with triple bill, The Masters Series, featuring George Balanchine’s gorgeous Serenade, Jiří Kylián’s devastating Soldier’s Mass, and a new work exploring human nature from acclaimed choreographer Trey McIntyre. From 17 May at Playhouse, QPAC

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O n i n m ay

Film & TV Dead To Me

HHH½ Streams from 3 May on Netflix

Reviewed by Guy Davis


ure, your typical white-bread, uppermiddle-class suburb may seem to have it all, but TV has been teaching us for a while that there are stories of desperation, despair and ennui behind the tasteful fañade. And the most engaging of these stories tend to be enlivened and enhanced by a healthy dash of bracingly black wit. Take the new ten-episode Netflix series Dead To Me, which uses the grieving process as an entry point to explore frustration, friendship and female fury in a funny and honest fashion. And as a bonus, it’s wrapped up in a platonic love story that’s built on a great big lie. When the widowed Jen (Christina Applegate) attends a support group meeting for those who’ve lost loved ones, she’s not really looking for a new best friend. But she finds one in Judy (Linda Cardellini), who muscles her way through Jen’s defences with a combination of dry, goofy humour and heartfelt sympathy. The simpatico pair’s friendship is tested, however, when it’s revealed Judy’s husband Steve (James Mars-

den, delivering a fun and nuanced depiction of entitled douchebaggery) isn’t quite as dead as Judy implied. A plausible explanation later, and the women’s relationship is back on the rails... but one revelation soon leads to another, then another, and that’s not even including the biggest, baddest secret the sweet but screwed-up Judy is keeping from Jen. Let’s be honest, Dead To Me hangs on a plot hook that’s kinda obvious but irresistible nonetheless. And while it’s sharp, insightful and engrossing, it does at times feel like a 90-minute screenplay that’s been padded out to fill ten half-hour episodes. But spending extra time with the dream team of Applegate and the never-better Cardellini is the pay-off for that added length — they’re such a terrific pairing, with complementary comedic chops and the dramatic skills to really illuminate some of the story’s darker and more complex turns. Together and individually, they breathe life into Dead To Me.

Acute Misfortune

HHHH In selected cinemas 9 May

Reviewed by Anthony Carew


hen actor Thomas M Wright first read an excerpt from Erik Jensen’s biography of artist Adam Cullen, he wondered: “Why would anybody bother to write a book about this fuckin’ asshole?” And yet Wright soon found himself adapting Acute Misfortune as his debut directorial effort. Dramatically, Acute Misfortune is an arm wrestling two-hander, in which artist and writer grapple in an “unholy negotiation”. Jensen (played by Toby Wallace, last seen on the Romper Stomper TV show) is young and hungry, throwing himself wholly into a brief of his own making, alarm bells ringing not due to his ambition, but his blithe lack of concern for boundaries. He’s egged on, and dragged down, by Cullen (played brilliantly by Daniel Henshall), who’s more a study in the charismatic sociopath than the ‘Great Male Artist’. Across its taut 90 minutes, the downward spiral of this dance summons a horror movie’s sense of slowly mounting dread. As a willing collaborator in the fashioning of narrative, Cullen’s whole life becomes, in turn, a kind of

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theatre; there’s a performative quality to his macho boasts, his endless dick-swinging, his gun-shooting. Rather than making art, Cullen is seen as being more invested in selling a persona, telling a story. “This’ll be good for the book,” Cullen says, both impishly and pragmatically, when he’s about to shoot up heroin in front of Jensen. There’s the obligatory self-destructive drugs and drunkenness, this yet another artist biopic where you know you’re following the subject towards oblivion, and an early grave. But Wright is out to poke at these familiar cliches, to prod at an Australian art world that venerated a man adorned with swastika tattoos. Acute Misfortune’s boxy framing makes the film feel like it’s pressing in on both subject and audience. As its artistic antagonist grows more erratic, horrible, and menacing in behaviour, Wright’s direction effectively imprisons the audience in the middle of a dysfunctional relationship, one thoughtfully addressing the contemporary conversation about conflating the artist and their work.

Street heart Artist and musician Deena Lynch aka Spectator Jonze speaks to Alannah Maher about using music and visual art to talk about mental health, ahead of Brisbane Street Art Festival.


“I shouldn’t have to go through this and neither should anyone else.”

pectator Jonze is the moniker of Deena Lynch, a Brisbane-based artist born in Japan who takes inspiration from her mixed Taiwanese and Australian heritage and her interest in mental health and healing. She has propagated a sizeable online following for her work, a series of digital portraits characterised by bold colours and linework, paired with deeply personal interviews. Jonze says the mission is to “make mental health a little bit more light-hearted and fun and visually appealing”. Lynch explains, “I started to become passionate about wanting people to talk about mental health, but the really cool thing about the Spectator Jonze project is that each person shares with me and I can’t just take from them, I have to give back to them. And that’s helped me practice opening up... [By] allowing these people to properly connect with me as well, I’ve found it easier and easier to talk about my own mental health journey.” Visual art is only a more recent avenue for Lynch, who is firstly a musician. As Jaguar Jonze, she is a self-described “oriental cowgirl howling at the rising sun” performing fragile, dark alternative-rock with a spaghetti western edge. Even more recently she has delved into photography as Dusky Jonze, piercing the veils of masculinity, femininity and insecurities around the body. Lynch describes music as the doorway that allowed her to begin to have conversations with herself, and says visual art

allowed her to have those conversations with other people. “It’s all tied in with mental health and I think that’s something I really feel passionate about because I spent my whole life feeling really isolated with it and unable to talk about it or even see someone about it, because it was almost shameful. So I guess my passion and drive is to unearth that,” she says. When the opportunity to be part of the Brisbane Street Art Festival arose, Lynch was initially apprehensive. “When they asked me to do it firstly I said, ‘No, that’s crazy, that’s insane, I’ve never worked beyond an A4 piece of paper!’” she exclaims. However the festival’s organisers insisted that her work would translate well to the format. “It was that encouragement from them that made me jump over the hurdle of feeling scared that I’m not a street artist, that I’m limited, to instead saying, ‘Cool, this is an amazing opportunity... This is my hometown, this is where I should experiment with that stuff.’ “That’s the cool thing as well, they’re extending beyond traditional street art and looking to different styles. It’s a different and exciting thing — it shows that it doesn’t have to be a particular kind of thing done by a set group of particular people. It’s just the same canvas, as with any kind of art medium.” The wall Lynch is transforming is located in Brisbane’s West End, the home to many of the first venues where she played as a musician, a “melting pot of different opportunities and memories” for the artist.

Spectator Jonze

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C u lt u r e

The piece is a self-portrait, with Lynch turning the lens back on herself, and her own journey, having grown as an artist since she began capturing other people’s likeness. This wasn’t the original plan, however. Weeks out from the festival, Lynch was sexually assaulted. The experience, Lynch says, unearthed past traumas and tested her sense of selfworth and self-respect, and ultimately led her to make some realisations that she feels are important to share in this very public piece of art — for herself and for others. “Once I processed it I realised actually I don’t deserve this, I shouldn’t have to go through this and neither should anyone else. I’ve just grown my awareness of what I will and will not accept,” she says. “I think when you’ve been abused since you were a child those lines get blurred. It really took me until adulthood to realise I’m not a child anymore and I can say, ‘No,’ and I can say, ‘Fuck off,’ to these things and call it out and have way more love and respect for myself, and so should everyone else.”

Brisbane Street Art Festival runs from 4 May. If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit

Shake it up We speak to Jackson Bannister and Darcy Gooda, the leads in La Boite’s Romeo & Juliet, about the way Shakespeare’s “pair of star-crossed lovers” speak to young people today.

know the basic plotline so then they can enjoy it and see how it’s different from other productions. “I think there’s something magnetic about it to me, and like exulted in a sense — when you hear Romeo & Juliet it’s like, ‘Whoa!’” Gooda thinks there’s a good reason why she’s so obsessed with Romeo & Juliet — “I think it’s my favourite Shakespeare” — and why it is one of Shakespeare’s “most ubiquitous plays”. But it’s not the obvious answer: “It’s obviously relevant and pertinent and poignant, but it’s also such good fun. It’s so funny.” She points to the balcony scene — you know the one, “O Romeo, Romeo” — as a particularly hilarious moment, amid all the “hilarious and awkward and fumbly” interactions between the starcrossed lovers. The actress also sees that scene as showing that Juliet isn’t some “cookie cutout, young, naive girl”, but that she is “so headstrong and capable and resourceful”. “When Romeo turns up she’s like, ‘What the fuck are you doing here?’ She’s not like, ‘Oh my God, I love you, you’re so hot,’ and stuff like that. She’s like, ‘What are you doing?’, ‘Who told you how to get here?’, blah, blah, blah, ‘You can’t be here.’” Put that way, it feels like a very modern reaction to a suitor showing up unannounced at your door. It’s

have some crazy pick-up line. He’d just be super confident, he’d be the first messenger, he would hit you up, he would superlike people. I think he’d be very successful on Tinder. He’s a very romantic, smart boy.” Both Gooda and Bannister think the play is particularly pertinent in the way it represents young people, especially in 2019, at a time when they are finding their political power, as seen in the wave of school climate strikes all around the world. “I also really wanna focus on the idea of young people being capable,” Gooda begins. “Because if you look at today, like all these movements are being led by young people and they’re trying to change the status quo and the mistakes of adults. And obviously Romeo & Juliet is very much a play where all the young people are wrapped up in the mistakes of the adults.

“When you hear Romeo & Juliet it’s like, ‘Whoa!’” — Darcy Gooda

the kind of thing Romeo, who Bannister describes as “brazen”, “naive” and “courageous”, would do. “I think that’s something every actor wants to play, because he gets to do things you probably would never do as a person yourself. He’s very, very interesting, brave, kind of someone that I think a lot of people might wanna be. So it’ll be fun to be that for a while and have that level of courage, even if it is just in a play, y’know?” What would Romeo be like on Tinder? “He’d be an absolute catch on Tinder, wouldn’t he?” Bannister laughs. “I think he’s smart, I think he’s really brave, he’d

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I want to bring that kind of side to it because I think that’s immensely relevant right now.” Bannister agrees that seeing young people on stage playing characters “really standing up for what they believe in” is empowering. “Young people are amazing, what they’re doing out there is insane and there’s so much power [there] — it’s the next generation. I think stories like this really empower that kind of movement within young people.”

Romeo And Juliet plays from 25 May at Roundhouse Theatre.

Pic: Dylan Evans


oth the leads of La Boite’s Romeo & Juliet say that they almost had an “aversion” to the Bard when they were made to study his work in school. Darcy Gooda, who plays Juliet, recalls having to read Shakespeare silently as far back as primary school. It wasn’t until later in high school that she “fell in love with it”, when her English teachers encouraged her to “physicalise it and move around the room and shout it at the ceiling”. La Boite’s Romeo, Jackson Bannister, says he too “wasn’t that into it for a while”. For him, it wasn’t until he studied Hamlet in Grade 12 that he understood Shakespeare’s appeal. “I think the way they teach it at schools is not that accessible, because Shakespeare is not really meant to be read — it’s meant to be heard and performed, and it’s quite dry when you just read it. It’s really hard, especially at that age.” Returning to Shakespeare as adults necessitated the young cast — featuring emerging actors from QUT, working alongside senior artists — thinking about how to make the work “accessible” and “engaging”, and above all relevant to modern audiences. “His stories are still relevant [because] they’re about human beings,” Bannister notes. That enduring relevance may go part way to understanding why creatives keep coming back to restage Romeo & Juliet, and audiences back to see new interpretations of the classic text. Gooda and Bannister each hit on the idea that it’s a story everybody knows. “Most people know exactly what happens — they come out at the start and tell you what happens,” Bannister emphasises. “But I think there’s a certain challenge and a certain excitement in seeing what you can do that people haven’t seen before. “It really, really genuinely is an amazing story. It really is a story in which so many things are covered, so many emotions are covered, and so many different ideas and concepts are brought to life — of all Shakespeare plays I think it should be restaged again and again and again.” Gooda spells out further how that basic plot that everybody knows pulls people back into the theatre over and over. “Ok, it’s about a boy and a girl that love each other but their families hate each other, and there’s a lot of killing, and everyone knows that. That’s a huge impetus to see the play because they


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Gold Coast Music Awards

The Gold Coast is a hotbed for fresh and exciting new talent, with artists like Amy Shark calling the coastal city home. This year’s Gold Coast Music Awards aims to celebrate all of that seaside magic this 2 May in Surfers Paradise. While the official event, hosted by Sarah Howells (pictured) is ticketed, music lovers on the coast will be able to revel in all the action with a free concert featuring Casey Barnes, San Mei and Peach Fur.

Every dog in the Art Gallery Of NSW

Power pooches

Joel Burrows undertakes the incredibly important task of cataloguing all the very good boys immortalised at the Art Gallery Of NSW. Illustration by Felicity Case-Mejia.

While ‘shake hands’ and ‘roll over’ are enough for most faithful hounds, some dogs have mastered tricks that are a little more impressive. Here’s a list of some of the best fuzz balls and the extra special things they can do.

The hypnotist


ometimes choosing between looking at dogs and looking at art can be paralysing. What happens if you want them together? How could you possibly have a fulfilling weekend viewing one and not the other? So for your sake, we went to the Art Gallery Of NSW to find every dog on display. We stared at the background of over 761 artworks. We studied every abstract painting for poochshaped shapes. We even analysed the architecture for any puppers hidden on the walls. All in all, we mapped out 21 dog artworks that featured more than 43 good boys. However, some of you don’t have the time to go look at 43 dogs — so it is vital to narrow down the list to the five best dogs in the gallery. Did we find this task virtually impossible? Yes. Will some of you be angry at this line-up? Absolutely.

1. Town Camp Anywhere –Sally M Nangala Mulda (2018-2019)

Sometimes you go to the galleries for a fun time but instead find an important story to listen to. Town Camp Anywhere is a series that documents how the 2007 NT Intervention, a problematic Federal Government program, impacted the lives of Indigenous communities. Nangala Mulda paints a town afflicted by prejudiced alcohol laws, job cuts and a constant and unjust police presence. There are also two dogs in one of the paintings. These brown dogs stand next to each other with the text, “hangry two dogs”, suspended above them. These dogs symbolise what’s great about everyday life. Their hunger symbolises that normality can be difficult in oppressive conditions. Town Camp Anywhere is a heart-wrenching series — on as part of The National: New Australian Art — that is worth seeing.

2. Requiescat –Briton Riviere (1888)

Riviere’s Requiescat depicts a fallen soldier with his bloodhound sitting patiently by his side. Because this is a painting, the moment is frozen in time. The dog will forever wait for his master. He will sit there, full of hope, for eternity. Shut up, we’re not crying, you’re crying.

3. Portrait Of Miss Suzanne Crookston – Arthur Murch (1935)

In this portrait, we have Penelope graciously allowing a human to pose next to her. That’s right, the terrier deserves

top billing. Or equal billing. Don’t believe me? Then allow me to defer to Steven Miller, AGNSW’s Head of the Edmund And Joanna Capon Research Library And Archive. In a 2015 blog, Give Them Back Their Names And Their Dignity, he refers to this painting and asks, “Has nobody noticed that this is a double portrait, with each subject given equal weight by the artist? The donor of the painting, Miss Crookston, always knew the work as Portrait Of Suzanne And Penelope.” Penelope is a cute dog with the best paws in the game. She does deserve her name in the title. Let’s start a petition and change it.

4. The Railway Station, Redfern – Arthur Streeton (1893)

The Railway Station, Redfern is an impressionistic landscape that evokes a gloomy Sydney day. It’s also a painting of a very good boy if you squint at the background. What we enjoy so much about this doggo is its simplicity. You are unable to ascertain if this pooch was a deliberate artistic choice or if Arthur dropped some paint onto his canvas and ran with it.

5. Study Of A Bloodhound – William Holman Hunt (1848)

Chances are if you’ve ever seen a Border Collie, it’s probably stared you straight in the eyes and looked right on down into the depths of your soul. It’s actually a part of their mad sheep-herding skillz, where their gaze intimidates flocks enough to make them move around. 

Cardio-pup-monary resuscitation Cocker Spaniels were, like a lot of dogs, originally bred for hunting. They’ve eased off the hunting in the past few centuries and now spend their time being full-time legends. We’d like to award Poncho, the eightyear-old Spanish pupper, our top trophy for learning how to administer CPR. Run, don’t walk, to Google that. 

This painting deserves a place on the leaderboard for being the only canvas dedicated to 100% doggo. It features no landscapes, humans or erotic pop art. Instead, we are treated to a smiling bloodhound with the beefiest back legs imaginable. However, this artwork does lose points for being called a ‘study’. Every dog is a masterpiece. William Hunt should feel ashamed. And there you have it, a map of all the dogs and a list of all the best boys.However, this isn’t to say that the other artworks aren’t worth looking at. I think I saw some cat paintings. I found a cute birdie or two. They are all good animals. They all deserve attention. You should go to the Art Gallery Of NSW. You should go see them today. The National: New Australian Art is on now at the Art Gallery Of NSW, Carriageworks and the Museum Of Contemporary Art.

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Spot on Before they were made famous by that much-loved Disney film, Dalmatians  were actually a favourite of fire brigades because their barks were much worse than their bite, meaning they’d help clear the way during an emergency. They also made natural companions with horses. Dog bless you our spotty friends.

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This month’s highlights Too hot to Handel

More like fine-apple

Bands pairing with orchestras seems to be the hot thing at the moment. This 24 May at The Tivoli it’s hip hop trio Thundamentals’ turn as they join the Queensland Symphony Orchestra for I Love Songs: A Night At The Symphony. 

Thundamentals. PIc: Luke Eblen

If you’ve never roadtripped to a novelty-sized fruit, here’s your chance. Broods, Confidence Man, Hatchie and a whole lot more will be playing Big Pineapple Music Festival this 25 May on the Sunshine Coast. Besides the juicy music, it’s a national tourism icon we tell you!

Ground Control to Major Tom

Corey Glover

Broods. Pic: Dana Trippe

For the 25th anniversary of Space Oddity, A Bowie Celebration: The David Bowie Alumni, featuring Bowie’s bandmates and singers, including Living Colour’s Corey Glover, hits QPAC on 8 May.

Tukk in Fresh from a vibrant Coachella set, SOFI TUKKER are bringing the party Down Under this month for Groovin The Moo, playing a sideshow at The Triffid. Meet us on the dancefloor on 8 May and have fun trying to get the Drinkee riff out of your head. SOFITUKKER. Pic: Ekaterina Belinskaya


Feeling blue

Furry fury


Mirrors and Alpha Wolf have new tunes – the Cold Sanctuary and Fault EPs respectively – and are making stops around the country this month in a hardcore triple header with Daybreak. The Brisbane leg hits Crowbar on 25 May.

Australia’s “biggest free music festival”, Blues On Broadbeach, is hitting the Gold Coast this month for those who like their blues with a side of salty sea air. The event, going down 16-19 May, will feature sets from the likes of  Tami Neilson, Harts  and Canned Heat.


MAY 04


MAY 18


MAY 11 MAY 24




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For the latest live reviews go to

Cub Sport @ The Tivoli. Photos

embarked on a national tour to

“This show is cementing [vocalist Tim] Nelson as a pop star, the frontman strutting around the stage like an angel.”

hometown show at The Tivoli.

– Nicolas Huntington

by Bianca Holderness.

Releasing their self-titled album

at the start of the year, Cub Sport spread the word, starting with a

Jungle @ The Tivoli. Photos by Bianca Holderness.

Seven-piece British soul collective Jungle performed to a capacity

crowd in Brisbane, putting on a

slick and well-rehearsed show with

“As live performers, they are polished, carefree and a blast to watch.”

spectacular lighting.

– Zara Gilbert

“It’s music made for dancing and dance is what Brisbane did.” – Lauren Baxter

Middle Kids @ The Triffid. Photo by Terry Soo.

Not long after wrapping up at Laneway Festival, Middle Kids turned around and headed straight back out on the road for their own

headline tour, which kicked off with a sold-out two-night stand in Brisbane.

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the best and the worst of the month’s zeitgeist

The lashes Front

Back Pic via Magda Cieleka’s instagram

Best in fest

Wet work


Paradise lost

Dark AF


Last month was a ripper

Possible spy whale found

The National Museum in

The Bachelor In Paradise

The night is dark and full of

If you’re even five minutes

for festivals across the

by Norwegian fishermen?

Warsaw removed Natalia

blokes are trash - except

terrors. We think, anyway.

late to the party there is

east coast – from a killer

Wearing a camera harness

LL’s 1973 video Consumer

for American Alex. From

Maybe it was a creative

just no way you can use the

Melbourne International

labelled ‘Equipment of St

Art, in which a woman eats

the borderline emotionally

decision but a lot of the final

internet at the moment.

Comedy Festival, to Iggy

Petersburg’? It’s official,

a banana, so as not to “irri-

abusive Ivan, to Bill con-

Game Of Thrones season

That said, there’s probably

Pop and Jack White leading

Putin’s gone full comic book

tate sensitive young people”.

stantly channelling his outer

has been an ink splodge.

no need to actually flog

Bluesfest, to Bleach* up on

villain. He could probably

Protesters then swamped

fuckboy, to Richie’s fear of

’People can’t see shit at

someone who’s given away

the Gold Coast scaring the

find better inspiration than

the gallery en masse to eat

commitment, and Jules’

night’ is a strange thing to

the ending of GoT or Aveng-

shit out of us (in a good way),

Boris Badanov and Natasha

bananas, a great source of

softboi antics, there’s very

get realistic about right at

ers. Like that Domino’s

May has a lot to live up to.

Fatale though.

potassium and an even bet-

few redeemable men

the end of your dragons v

employee assaulted by

ter ‘fuck you’.

here. Aussie women

zombies fantasy epic.

their co-worker. Or the

deserve better.

dude shouting Endgame plot points outside a Hong Kong theatre.

The final thought

Words by Maxim Boon


ith the Federal election on the horizon, every airwave, screen, digital portal and news app is now chock full of political rhetoric. But as Shorten and Morrison face off in their bids for the highest office in the land, Aussie politics can seem a tad dreary compared to the high stakes razzmatazz overseas. The prime example is the American spectacle, with its audacious conventions, sensationalist attack ads, and fever-pitched campaigning. Given the possibility of dethroning President Trump in 2020, things have already

The Music

reached levels of near hysterical hyperbole more than a year and half before any voter steps in front of a ballot box. Indeed, it’s hard to overstate how globally influential the ascent of Trump – a political dilettante who had no discernible qualifications to lead when he was elected – has been on international geopolitics. Take for example the recent elections in the Ukraine, where comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, who famously portrayed the country’s head of state on a popular TV show, managed to defeat the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, at the polls. It’s pretty much how the world would look if Armando Iannucci and Charlie Brooker were running ‘The Truman Show’. It seems the established architecture of our government systems are woefully susceptible to manipulation. So, how can we save ourselves from subverted democracy? Other than getting on board the fascist train to Dictator-ville, another far more blue-sky option is beginning to emerge. Youth activists are becoming some of the most inspirational figures in the political arena. In the wake of the epidemic of school shootings in the United States and the increasingly alarming effects of global warming, some extraordinarily impressive millennial figureheads have


The End

shown themselves to be every bit incisive and reasoned as anyone already walking the corridors of power. Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg is a prime example. After spearheading the school strike movement, in which thousands of students all over the world left their classrooms to protest for climate action, her inspirational speeches have galvanised the voice of her generation: “Adults keep saying, ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope, I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic, I want you to feel the fear I feel every day… I want you to act as if the house was on fire, because it is.” These remarkable words represent one of the most significant political utterances of recent years, and yet, they were spoken by someone who is deemed too young to participate in the democratic process. So, to save our democracy, should the voting age be brought down, empowering a generation who are desperately pleading with their supposedly wiser elders to effect change? When the grown-ups are voting for clowns, maybe it’s time the kids had their say.

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The Music (Brisbane) May 2019 Issue  

The Music is a free, monthly magazine distributed throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From local insights and insider knowledge to in...

The Music (Brisbane) May 2019 Issue  

The Music is a free, monthly magazine distributed throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From local insights and insider knowledge to in...