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Aldous Harding The art of creating Designer music Catch up with Bluesfestâ€™s Julia Stone, Fantastic Negrito & The California Honeydrops
Can we put a halt on the apocalypse? A look at whatâ€™s being done to save the environment
Beyond the bleeps and bloops: The best video game soundtracks you can stream
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Credits Publisher Street Press Australia Pty Ltd Group Managing Editor Andrew Mast National Editor – Magazines Mark Neilsen Senior Editor Sam Wall
Blame it on the juice
Editors Daniel Cribb, Neil Griffiths
izzomania is sweeping our office. And, you can definitely blame it on the Juice. My own first encounter with the Detroit-born artist’s music was via my need to try and watch as much US late night TV as possible. I was googling ‘Lizzo’ just seconds into her 2015 performance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. It seems I was witnessing Ain’t I, from her second album Big Grrrl Small World, and I was struck not only by her socio-political flow (“What was Henry Ford without the cars?/ My grandparents worked at Ford factory/So Henry is nothing without my family tree”) but also the freshness of her beats and production as well as the fact that she featured dancers The Big Grrrls on stage with her as a part of her continued conversation about body positivity. At this point, I added Lizzo to my list of acts to keep an eye on (and, yes, that is an actual list I keep — that obsession with lists has been addressed here previously, so let’s leave that alone). Just under a year later and there was Lizzo on my screen again, this time performing on Full Frontal With Samantha Bee’s election night episode where Lizzo was initially booked to celebrate what was meant to be a resounding win by Hillary Clinton. Instead Lizzo had to play to an audience mourning Donald Trump’s elevation to the US presidency. Lizzo left jaws on the ground with her poignant acapella version of gospel anthem Lift Every Voice & Sing. And then somehow segued into a feel-good finale with, what is now her don’t-let-anything-hold-you-back anthem, Good As Hell. I was hooked. Lizzo’s Coconut Oil EP became a permanent playlist favourite. And Good As Hell became inescapable as it soundtracked various US film and TV show’s ‘empowerment’ moments. What followed was a string of songs that kept the love alive: Water Me, Truth Hurts, Fitness, Boys, Karaoke (with Big Freedia), Juice, Cuz I Love You and Tempo (with Missy Elliott, no less). Now an album is ready to drop on 19 April and we tried hard to land an interview for this issue but Lizzo has been too busy putting the final touches on the release. And, the album is being kept so under wraps that we couldn’t even get it in time to feature in our album review section. So, this little essay is making sure we don’t hit the streets Lizzo-less in the month of her album release. Hopefully her upcoming international tour will feature Australia and we can get some of her wise words into The Music. A great talent we do catch up with in this issue is Aldous Harding. Bryget Chrisfield conducted an engrossing chat with Harding, who has already supplied us with one of the year’s most striking songs and videos in The Barrel. Steve Bell also talks to enigmatic US rocker Van Duren and one of the two Australians who have documented how their fandom has revived the performer’s career. Maxim Boon continues the uplifting vibe as he investigates some of the humans around the globe who are making moves to save our environment.
Assistant Editor/Social Media Co-Ordinator Jessica Dale Editorial Assistant Lauren Baxter Arts Editor Hannah Story Gig Guide Henry Gibson firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Contributors Steve Bell, Maxim Boon, Bryget Chrisfield, Cyclone, Jeff Jenkins Contributors Nic Addenbrooke, Annelise Ball, Emily Blackburn, Melissa Borg, Anthony Carew, Uppy Chatterjee, Roshan Clerke, Shaun Colnan, Brendan Crabb, Guy Davis, Joe Dolan, Joseph Earp, Chris Familton, Guido Farnell, Donald Finlayson, Liz Giuffre, Carley Hall, Tobias Handke, Tom Hawking, Mark Hebblewhite, 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, Yaseera Moosa, Hayden Nixon, Angela Padovan, Markus Ravik, Bobby Rein, Peter Sharp, Barry Shipplock, Terry Soo, Bec Taylor Advertising Leigh Treweek, Antony Attridge, Brad Edwards email@example.com Art Dept Ben Nicol, Felicity Case-Mejia firstname.lastname@example.org Admin & Accounts Bella Bi email@example.com Distro firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions store.themusic.com.au Contact Us Melbourne Head Office Ph: 03 9421 4499 459-461 Victoria Street Brunswick West Vic 3055 PO Box 231 Brunswick West Vic 3055 Sydney Ph: 02 9331 7077 Suite 129, 111 Flinders St Surry Hills NSW 2010 Brisbane Ph: 07 3252 9666 email@example.com www.themusic.com.au
Andrew Mast Group Managing Editor
T h e s ta r t
This month Editor’s Letter
The California Honeydrops
This month’s best binge watching
: C l a re S h i l l a nd
Guest editorial: Sydney comedian Cassie Workman
Aldous Harding Always trusting her instincts
Games soundtracks Which are the best ones to stream?
newcomer to comedy in the country, owing to the fact that she previously performed came out as transgender, and began transitioning. Cassie is known for her heartfelt and emotive storytelling, her incisive wit and brutal deconstructions of the status quo. There is
no other voice like hers in comedy today.
The best arts of the month
Film & TV reviews
Arj Barker, Flo & Joan
Cassie is probably the most experienced
under another name. Earlier in 2017, she
Phill Jupitus Returning to the lone wolf world of stand-up
Pic: Tom Wilkinson
Shit We Did: Guerilla Gardening
Emily Blackburn Emily spends her days as an avid Harry Potter nerd, cat lover and bookworm. When’s she’s not writing, listening or shooting, she’s usually hanging from the ceilings training as an aerialist in silks and hoop, and is currently
B e n G ra v i l
learning Australian Sign Language.
Fat White Family Overcoming addiction and infighting
Your Town Record Store Day The vinyl revival
The Big Picture: Nick Makrides
Keira is a Tasmanian writer in her final year of
This month’s local highlights
Taylor Swift. She’s a sucker for sad songs and
Slowing down the apocalypse How to avoid ecological disaster
Fantastic Negrito, Julia Stone
T h e s ta r t
Keira Leonard university. On weekends you’ll spot her at a local punk gig or travelling internationally for shares 67 house plants with her partner.
BLAK SOUND – 2019 KÕÉʀ÷íėÉúʀíÒʀÖúýĂʀAÉí÷ãÉýʀÁµúúĝÖéÓʀýíéÓʀ ÖéʀĂÕÉʀéíėʀÖýʀµʀýĂíúĝʀíÒʀúÉýÖãÖÉéÁÉȲʀ"ĂʀÖýʀ µʀýĂíúĝʀíÒʀ ãµâʀýĄúĖÖĖµãȲʀʀ"ĂʀÖýʀµʀýĂíúĝʀíÒʀ ýíĄéÅʀĂÕµĂʀÕµýʀµãėµĝýʀÀÉÉéʀÉĜ÷úÉýýÉÅʀ ĂÕúíĄÓÕʀĂÕÖýʀãµéÅȲʀ"ĂʀÖýʀµʀýĂíúĝʀíÒʀýíĄéÅʀ ĂÕµĂʀÕµýʀÖéʀíéÉʀÒíúèʀíúʀµéíĂÕÉúʀÀÉÉéʀ ÉĜ÷úÉýýÉÅʀĂÕúíĄÓÕʀ÷Éí÷ãÉýʀíÒʀĂÕÖýʀãµéÅȲ 3íėʀÖéʀǉǇǈǐȳʀǉǊȷʀĝÉµúýʀýÖéÁÉʀĂÕÉʀ ÀÉÓÖééÖéÓʀíÒʀÁíãíéÖýµĂÖíéȳʀÖúýĂʀAÉí÷ãÉýʀ íÒʀĂÕÖýʀãµéÅʀµúÉʀÀúÖéÓÖéÓʀĂÕÉýÉʀýíĄéÅýʀ ĂíʀµĄÅÖÉéÁÉýʀėÖĂÕʀµʀ÷íėÉúʀµéÅʀ÷Ąú÷íýÉʀ ĂÕµĂʀĄéÖùĄÉãĝʀúÉýíéµĂÉýʀėÖĂÕʀǍǇȳǇǇǇʀ÷ãĄýʀ ĝÉµúýʀíÒʀÕÖýĂíúĝȲ
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ãµâʀGíĄéÅʀµ÷÷ãÖÁµĂÖíéýʀµúÉʀéíėʀí÷ÉéʀĂíʀ VÖÁĂíúÖµéʀÀµýÉÅʀÖúýĂʀAÉí÷ãÉýʀµúĂÖýĂýʀĖÖµʀ ėėėȲĖèÅíȲÁíèȲµĄȿÀãµâýíĄéÅ Applications close April 17 K 2u Ms G i" c ʀ •ȼ ʀ A p Ar D i" l T! h eʀM
Approachable Members Of Your Local Community
Bold eagle There weren’t many Australian artists with bigger years than Adrian Eagle in 2018 and he’s riding that energy right into 2019. His headline east coast tour for jubilant new single AOK kicks off this 5 Apr in Melbourne.
Two dozen Experimental Sydney duo Party Dozen dropped their self-titled new single back in February and after their recent spot at Farmer & The Owl, they’re taking it out for an east coast tour. The first date is 19 Apr in Melbourne.
Thriller of the community Approachable Members Of Your Local Community’s three-date run for their new single One I Need will stop in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney from 25 Apr. Head along for their signature “matching outfits and deeply funky grooves”.
Groovin The Moo heads around the country this month with a string of huge international and homegrown acts including Nick Murphy, Hilltop Hoods, Billie Eilish and DMA’S. The party starts this 26 Apr and runs through till 11 May.
Groovin’s a mood
T h e s ta r t
See you next Blues-day
This month’s best binge watching
It has been months since Bluesfest dropped the first artist line-up for its dirty 30th event and as usual it’s only continued to grow from there. This 18 Apr the wait is finally over. Catch you at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm for everyone from Hussy Hicks to Iggy Pop.
The Ladies Guide To Dude Cinema
The Bold Type, Season 3
Kat Edison (Aisha Dee), Sutton Brady (Meghann Fahy), and Jane Sloan (Katie Stevens) are back at Scarlet magazine for another season of The Bold Type. Just from the 60-second promo video that dropped awhile back, it looks like Kat has become a surprise City Council candidate, Sutton’s leaving Scarlet to become a fashion designer and Jane’s got a new nemesis in the magazine’s fresh head of digital.
Iggy Pop. Pic: Ross Haifin
Podcast of the month: The Ladies Guide To Dude Cinema
Streams from 10 Apr on Stan
The Last OG, Season 2
Sydney comics Alex Jae and Bec Charlwood review the movies men in their lives are appalled they’ve never seen before, like Rocky and Top Gun, in The Ladies Guide To Dude Cinema, with new eps dropping weekly. Produced by Jordan Peele and Tracy Morgan, and starring the later alongside Tiffany Haddish, the first season of The Last OG saw Tray return to his Brooklyn neighbourhood after 15 years in prison to find it gentrified beyond recognition. Now having rebuilt some connection with his ex-girlfriend (Hadish) and two children, Tray’s working on his dream of becoming a chef- with the same deftly balanced mix of comedy and drama praised in the show’s first run.
Streams from 3 Apr on Stan
Killing Eve, Season 2
ARIA award-winning artist Montaigne is on the road again with her latest single For Your Love. The first show is on her home turf in Sydney this11 Apr, before she takes it nationally with another of Australia’s shining stars, Eilish Gilligan.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s wildly addictive cat and mouse series has had a thankfully quick turn around with the second season of Killing Eve back on screens this month. The series follows MI5 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and psychopathic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). The pair’s all-consuming obsession with each other finished up bloody and looks like it’ll start the same way in this one. Streams from 8 Apr on ABC iview
T h e s ta r t
Glower power Fresh from a set at UNIFY Gathering and a massive run late last year, Melbourne hardcore punks Pagan head out on a series of headline dates starting this month. The Evil Eye tour stops in major cities and regional towns starting 18 Apr.
Horizon event Bring Me The Horizon’s three-stop Aussie stadium tour kicks off this 10 Apr in Brisbane before heading down the east coast. Joining the Brits along the way are You Me At Six, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Trophy Eyes. Good Boy
Git gud Good Boy are back and gooder than ever, playing a five-date run of shows across the country. Catch them and their catchy, politically charged latest single CRF from 4 Apr.
Bourne supremacy Winterbourne’s The Much Better tour starts this month in Fremantle before stopping in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. The Central Coast duo have promised “banger after banger” from their “extensive catalogue of bangers”.
Bring Me The Horizon. Pic: Justin Borucki
T h e s ta r t
Sh*t we did
With Maxim Boon
After nearly ten years, the screen adaption of George RR Martin’s murder-happy fantasy epic is coming to an end. The final season of Game Of Thrones screens from 15 Apr on Fox Showcase.
Game Of Thrones. Pic: Helen Sloan/HBO
Guerrilla Gardening It ain’t easy being green, especially in the big city. Fortunately, there are those among us who are taking the matter into their own green-thumbed hands. Guerrilla gardening is a global movement, bringing greenery to urban environments by reclaiming neglected pieces of land, usually owned by local government, for cultivating plants. This horticultural paying-it-forward is also beginning to run in the opposite direction, with hawk-eyed gar-
That’s all folk
deners rescuing plants that are struggling in
Canberra’s National Folk Festival, this 18 -22 Apr, has an endless line-up of top-quality acts including ARIA-nominee Fanny Lumsden, Freya Josephine Hollick, Gawurra, John John Festival, Little Quirks, Mission Songs Project and The April Verch Band for a start.
areas most guerrilla gardening focuses on:
toxic environments and transplanting them to more suitable spaces. There are two main renewal and edibles. For some, the motivation is concerned with improving the liveability of an area, brightening dull sidewalks with flowers and vibrant plants. For others, it’s all about creating open-access kitchen gardens, with herbs and vegetables grown for the good of the neighbourhood. In Australia, guerrilla gardening has also spearheaded a push to bring back indigenous plants, especially in cities where there is a lot of foreign
Revengers The Avengers lost just about everything in Infinity War, including a good chunk of the team. Now they’ve got to get it back. Avengers: Endgame screens nationally from 24 April.
flora. But, while this all sounds wonderfully ‘kumbaya’, there is one sticking point: guerrilla gardening isn’t entirely legal. So, is taking your trowel to town worth doing time over? There’s just one way to find out…
The Verdict I’ve been fascinated with the concept of guerrilla gardening for a while, mainly because of its bizarre juxtaposition of the slightly badass, the pretentiously woke and the adorkably lame. Unfortunately, my skills in the garden are basic to say the least, so to say I’m not prime guerrilla gardening material is a bit of an understatement. Under cover of darkness though, I hit the mean streets of leafy North Fitzroy, a small gardening fork in one hand, a little rosemary bush in the other. I opt for a swap-shop approach, extracting a fine looking succulent from an overgrown verge, replacing it with the aromatic branches of the rosemary. Unfortunately, it turns out my ability to murder plants far outweighs my aptitude for keeping them alive. The poor
Burn baby burn
succulent is the first to bite the dust, which is
Audible kick off their Aussie originals with audio doc It Burns, which sees Marc Fennell follow hardcore heat seekers who compete in competitive chilli eating and breeding. Get it free on the Audible app from 16 Apr.
with my guerrilla debut a few days later, the
pretty impressive in a way, given how hardy
T h e s ta r t
they’re supposed to be. When I check in desiccated-AF rosemary puts an end to my not so promising gardening career. Seems I (grim) reap(er) what I sow.
On stage and off, there are two worlds for trans performers Sydney comedian Cassie Workman knows “you can’t escape the politics of your identity” but that doesn’t stop her claiming her happiness despite it being “fucking hard”.
And at home there are moments of sweet amnesia, where my body is cast before an illiterate mirror, where how I look means nothing, and more and more those are the moments I seek to inhabit. Outside, the passersby unpick the knots of me, and stare. Eyes are the points of knives, whispering, digging sharp elbows into each other — I see all of you, you know. They hate you when you “fool” them, they hate you when you don’t. This witch floats. I had this desire to be transparent. I didn’t want to simply appear a year or more later as a new person. I think that creates a narrative that is unfair to trans people. I wanted to show the world the stages in between, in the hope others would grow alongside me. I wanted to demystify transition. I wanted to show its flaws and foibles, and I still believe that was the right thing to do. I didn’t realise the toll it would take. I am so tired of being scrutinised, I no longer consent to the humiliation of it, and where I left my old persona behind, there he waits, at the edge of every stage, ready to reclaim me. I don’t want him anymore, I don’t want to go back there. I don’t want to go back there, because I love who I am. Life is hard now, but it’s mine. The fight for acceptance that once took place inside of me, now takes place outside. That’s really the main difference. I am asked what it’s like but it’s not possible to convey. I’ve stumbled upon some astronomical joy and people keep trying to throw blankets over it. I feel sorry for them. There is so much I don’t understand, but I understand this. The shape of it. Every day you choose to keep going, there is resistance, from people who are scared of your power. The cruel ones. It terrifies them that they have gone out of their way to make your happiness such a crime, and yet you claim it anyway. It terrifies them because it means they have no excuse to be miserable but their own cowardice. There is a paradise they are too weak to behold. They will punish you for their failings, but whatever they do, every day a peaceful shore comes into focus, closer, and more familiar.
am asked what it’s like. Every time I go on stage, I plunge into darkness. I no longer know what will happen, how deep it might get. You can’t escape the politics of your identity, and inevitably, the wear of that becomes the centrepiece of your life. The positivity, and the negativity, are indistinguishable, because ultimately they both support the same conclusion. life is harder now, and it probably always will be. I hear it in body language, and in my head. Look at “him” there, guile emerging from polished trauma. Bruises rolled in glitter. Wonderful that it can take the vitriol it’s fed and hand it back as sugar. Parading about in 8-bit femininity, starkly playing charlatan, amusing for the stage, but poorly reviewed in the bathroom. There’s the constant mythologising of struggle, until you disappear under the tide of glances, and understanding smiles, and recoiling hands, and drunken provocateurs, and gentle embraces from friends — they are now all the same to me. I am asked what it’s like, I came out as trans, and honestly, it’s fucking hard. I’m told so much what a triumph my coming out was, and how brave, but it’s impossible to hear the word “brave” and not be reminded that the world is openly hostile toward you. As I write this, I am still reliving today’s narrowly escaped assault. A man in an alley, in broad daylight, his laughing friend, his limp hands pawing towards my breast. In front of heavy curtains I am brave and lauded, but presto, on the bus home I am “just a tr*nny”, because that’s where I stop telling the joke, and instead, become it. The contrast between my two lives is the contrast of how we treat trans people. On our televisions, and in films, and on stage, we are increasingly accepted, our stories are watched and celebrated by millions, but in real life, what becomes of us? The benefits of telling your story are often outweighed by the negatives. Transitioning in the public eye ring-barks you. The stage starts to look like the inside of Shamu’s enclosure at SeaWorld — a viewing window for tourists. I can feel my dorsal fin slowly curling over. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part I think people are supportive and comfortable, but the difference between what is sacred and what is profane, is who is viewing it. There are times when I walk on stage and people are laughing before I’ve said anything, and it’s hard to believe that’s a good sign.
“The fight for acceptance that once took place inside of me, now takes place outside.”
Cassie Workman plays until 21 Apr at Backstage Room, Melbourne Town Hall; and 10 May at Factory Theatre.
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“I’m not used to following” Although she admits to wondering whether the life of a musician is suitable for “sensitive, vulnerable minds” such as her own, Aldous Harding tells Bryget Chrisfield that she always trusts her instincts when it comes to music.
drove my inner child to a show/We talked all the way home...” — these are some of the lyrics that stuck with this scribe after adding Aldous Harding’s new Designer album to high rotation. When we ask Harding to provide additional insight into these lyrics from Zoo Eyes, which also features flute and vocal styles that alternate between verses and choruses, she ponders, “It was very much about imagery, the verses in that song are imagery and the choruses are sort of meant to feel as though they — I dunno, they’re meant to be a comfort; each chorus is meant to be me telling you something about how the world works. I mean, it’s a fantasy... and that line I suppose, yeah! And it’s quite a sad line for me, because, well, I dunno, does it make you feel sad? “It’s not supposed to make anyone feel sad, although it does make me feel a bit sad because... I don’t know why, but sometimes when I picture somebody I love as a child, I get quite sad and I don’t know whether that’s sort of a projection from my own childhood, but, you know, if I think about my partner or I think about my father when they’re children, I get quite emotional. And I think I was just imagining that dark, lengthless car ride home to, you don’t know what kind of home, but there’s this conversation that goes on with yourself. Again, it’s difficult; it’s sort of like trying to describe — it’s kinda like rolling over and telling somebody about a dream,” she laughs. “And then you try to describe the light and the mood and the sounds, but you’re sort of inspired and excited and they’re just going, ‘God, boring.’”
“I will always be questioning my mind and where it’s taking me, but music’s sort of the only thing that I don’t question too much.”
John Parish, who produced Harding’s previous Party album, was also on board for Designer. Harding describes their working relationship as “incredibly focused”. “I don’t wanna use the word ‘tender’, because that sounds [wrong], but it was creatively tender in the sense that we trust each other and... I don’t know that we ever really allow ourselves to be too excited, because we’re very focused, you know, and I’ve spoken to him about it recently and he says the same thing, he says, ‘Well, no, you have a more or less clear idea of what you wanna do and we don’t have a lot of time,’ and I know it sounds really dull to say it: we spend a lot of time in silence — apart from the making of the music.” Fans of Harding may already have heard two tracks from Designer during previous live sets: Weight Of The Planets and the harrowing Heaven Is Empty. After admitting she’s “focused on the live shows at the minute”, Harding says she was unsure about how to present some of this new material in a live setting. “There’s a lot more going on and I needed a kind of attention to detail that I wasn’t used to using on that scale,” she says. “But it happened, it worked out fine, and the live show will be another new experience for me, I think: I’m not used to following. I toured with mostly just one other person for Party so, you know, there’s a lot to do once I’m up there.” She’s an intimidating presence on stage, capable of silencing wayward punters with a withering look (“Sometimes I have to remind people with my eyes,” she acknowledges), but as an interview subject we find Harding ruminative and open. Often lengthy pauses precede her carefully enunciated words, which are sometimes cut short if a more accurate way of articulating what she wishes to say suddenly springs to mind. Harding often plays shows with Laura Jean and recounts the pair’s first meeting at Melbourne’s Yarra Hotel. “I think it was for the rugby or they were holding a night there: they had various artists covering, I dunno, different rugby songs or some kitsch kinda night like that.” Jean performed what was “definitely the song of the night” for Harding and then approached to introduce herself. “She said, ‘Hey, I’m Laura and I love your record,’ and I remember she was wearing this thick old beanie, of her team,” Harding laughs. “And I was, ‘Jesus,’ you know? ‘What’s this?’ And then after I heard her record I felt, you know, it was probably one of my more shallow moments... I was pretty new to Melbourne and, well, I was probably a bit shy, you
know, and after I heard that record I came up to her and I said, ‘I really love your record,’ and I think she made a joke, but anyway she’s a good friend and we keep in touch, [sending] messages back and forth and things like that.” The new album’s lead single, The Barrel, sees Harding starring solo in the song’s accompanying music video, sporting a hat that would make Pharrell’s Vivienne Westwood headwear collection look sensible by comparison. Towards the end of the clip, Harding puts on a mask. She also utilises a mask to great effect throughout the Stop Your Tears music video. Is there anything behind this recurring mask motif? “It’s interesting,” Harding muses. “Somebody asked me a really wonderful question, I can’t remember who it was, but she made a connection between me dancing and wearing a mask... I said, I hadn’t even — ‘cause I’d forgotten about Stop Your Tears and that clip. Then I said, ‘Oh, you know what it is? It’s probably [the fact that] I feel like it makes the dance stronger because perhaps there’s a repression about a masked being, to me. You know, to me, it’s quite a repressive image and perhaps I like the idea of coupling this repression with, in my opinion, one of the ultimate forms of expression’... “But I think I grew up with a lot of masks around, ‘cause my mum was a puppeteer and a mask maker and things like that so, yeah! I dunno, that was interesting. So, yeah, I think that that’s what that is.” Having first been drawn to Harding’s work through her aforementioned Stop Your Tears single (2014), it was intriguing to discover that she wrote this song about her greatest fear: losing her mind. Does Harding have any idea where this fear stems from? “Well, I think...” Harding exhales, slowly and deliberately. “Let’s see: I think there’s always been a fear of massive personal loss — you know, be it real or imagined — and what my mind, or what anyone’s mind, can kind of do with that. And I think that I will always be questioning my mind and where it’s taking me, but music’s sort of the only thing that I don’t question too much; like, I mean, I question it to death, but ultimately I believe in my instinct. “It’s interesting being a sensitive person — you know, a lot of sensitive people do this [make music] — but the irony is not lost on me that sensitive, vulnerable minds choose to get up and express it. I’ve wondered whether it’s the best thing to be doing but, yeah, we’ll see. We’ll see.” Designer (4AD/Remote Control) is out this month.
Back from the brink Documentary Waiting: The Van Duren Story recounts how two young Aussies tracked down a long-lost Memphis tunesmith and pushed him — and his timeless music — back into the spotlight. Steve Bell catches up with filmmaker Wade Jackson and Van Duren himself to unspool this amazing longdistance relationship.
favourite bands for years — and the Memphis connection and Andrew Loog Oldham and everything else. “I’m sure there’s probably thousands of stories like this on fantastic musicians who never made it, but I don’t know if they all have this type of intense, amazing narrative leading to the present day.” Van Duren, for his part, had initially been dragged into the orbit of cult Memphis power-pop icons Big Star having known drummer Jody Stephens at high school. He failed an audition to join the band during its latter stages, but upon its dissolution in the mid-’70s, was soon writing and recording with Stephens and guitarist Chris Bell in their outfit Baker Street Regulars. “I’d been writing songs from the very first band I was in, which was when I was 12, because being a fan of The Beatles that’s where it all came from initially for me — I just assumed you started a band and wrote all your own songs — and boy, they were really terrible for about eight or ten years,” the singer laughs. “About the time I started working with those guys, the songs were getting better, and by the time the three of us actually played together, Jody and I had already done some demos at Ardent Studios, some of mine and some that he and I wrote together.” When that star-studded outfit led nowhere, Duren soon followed his solo dreams to Connecticut, where Are You Serious? was conceived and recorded, teaming up with small independent label Big Sound. However he was about to discover that, as well as making dreams come true, the music industry can be cruel and exacting. “It was like something from a bad movie,” he sighs. “We’d done the first record and everything was great — everybody at the studio was great and I felt that for the first time I had some professional people
hat happens when you discover a musician whose music blows your mind but has been seemingly forgotten by the world? That was the conundrum facing Sydney musician Wade Jackson and his band manager mate Greg Carey when they stumbled upon the 1977 solo album Are You Serious? by a shadowy figure named Van Duren. While Van Duren’s music was undeniably world class — pure, passionate power-pop with a clear lineage to the work of Lennon and McCartney through the filter of subsequent acts like The Kinks and The Hollies — the artist himself seemed to have been forgotten by time. The tale of how Jackson and Carey eventually tracked the singer down, creating new film Waiting: The Van Duren Story, contains as many twists, turns and random happenstances as does the, at times, incredible narrative they uncovered surrounding their subject and his beautiful music. Having been introduced to Are You Serious? by a random Sliding Doors social media moment, the pair of friends finally tracked Van Duren down in his hometown of Memphis and were quickly beguiled by a fantastical tale jam-packed with famous stars, music industry chicanery and even Scientology, all soundtracked by amazing music. “When we first set out to do it, in our minds — from the little we’d heard at that stage — it was just a 20-minute YouTube documentary showcasing Van’s music,” Jackson recalls. “Then we finally got him on the phone, and after the phone call, which was about two hours long, Greg called his wife and said, ‘We’ve got to do this!’ and we bought our plane tickets to the States immediately, because it was, like, ‘Holy dogfight, this thing’s opened right up, this is insane.’ “That’s when we found out about the Big Star connection — Big Star’s been one of my
behind me — even though they were on a shoestring budget as both a record company and a studio. “Then we put out the first album and during the tour, the studio and label came back to me and said, ‘Ok, let’s do a second album,’ because they were selling records: it wasn’t going gangbusters, but they had airplay on over 100 FM stations around the country, so the future looked bright. “So later in ‘78 I got into the studio and started working on the second record and just weeks into that, all of a sudden Scientology overtook the studio and almost every single person working there. So it was high pressure on me for over a year to quoteunquote ‘join’ Scientology, and I knew it was a load of crap — I knew it. So anyway I just kept my head down and finished that record — my only goal was to somehow finish that record — and as soon as I had the whole thing mixed and got it on a cassette, I just walked, I had to. “Then of course [second album Idiot Optimism] stayed in the can for about 20 years, which was heartbreaking. I knew that second album was far better than the first one — it was just a different animal. When you do your first record, everything that you’ve written that’s worth a damn up to that point, that’s what you do on that record. Then you wait one year and you’ve got to come up with that much material again, and it was, like, ‘Oh oh, let’s just see how creative I really am.’ And I just stepped up — I really had it in me — and I’m not one to blow my own horn that much, but in this case that was a great record.”
Waiting: The Van Duren Story screens from 8 Apr. Van Duren tours from 18 Apr.
Beyond the bleeps and bloops After spending a good chunk of the past 22 years playing the damn things, Donald Finlayson emerges from the basement to tell us about the coolest videogame soundtracks available for your streaming pleasure on Spotify. Illustration by Ben Nicol.
Jerry Martin & Marc Russo (2000)
Matt Uelmen (2000)
There’s something very cathartic about drowning your butler
While most Dungeons & Dragons sessions seem to drunkenly
in the pool to the smooth sounds of new age jazz. Now that
veer off into high-fantasy silly buggers at one point or another,
may sound morbid, but it’s very hard to imagine any of the
there are dungeon masters out there who take their role-
The Sims games without the inseparable easy listening/eleva-
playing very seriously. If this sounds like you, or if you’ve got a
tor music that colours its experience as a virtual doll’s house.
group of D&D-playing friends who you’d like to put through
Listening to this soundtrack for too long will probably make
absolute hell, consider the sounds of Diablo II for your next
you go fucking mad, but if you’re in need of a whimsical pick-
game. The soundtrack to Blizzard’s classic hack and slash is
me-up while cleaning the house, this will do the trick.
a nightmare of ritualistic tribal beats and dark folk music. It’s well and truly wicked I tell ya.
Mick Gordon (2016) Here’s one for all you nerds with a New Year’s resolution to get swole. While the original Doom cribbed various iconic thrash riffs and turned them into MIDI-metal bangers, the recent reboot of the series goes straight for the jugular with a soundtrack of dubstep-infused djent. In the best possible way, it sounds like a can of Monster Energy made an album. Not only does the sound of its industrial “djentrification” go mighty well with the rip and tear of Doom’s gory gameplay, it’s also guaranteed to re-fill your stoke tank at the gym.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Jeremy Soule (2006)
Just like its cooler older brother, Morrowind, Oblivion is an endearing mess of an RPG that most players remember quite fondly. Characters look a bit “how ya goin”, crabs can pierce through magical armour and the acting has all the dramatic talent of a GPS voice system. But the soundtrack? Gorgeous. There’s your typically epic battle tracks and all that, but really it’s the ambient medieval pieces with flutes and lutes that’ll make this such joy to listen to on your next walk through
Jet Set Radio Future Various Artists (2002)
A ridiculous mix of Japanese techno, American trip hop and turntable wizardry, the soundtrack to everyone’s favourite dystopian roller-skating simulator is perhaps its greatest strength and ultimate downfall as a videogame. On the one hand, the absolute galaxy of electric urban rhythms on offer here makes it a must-listen for skaters and extreme sports nutters. But on the other hand, the smorgasbord of obscure music means that Jet Set Radio Future is very unlikely to ever receive a modern re-release thanks to the pickle of its licensing. Better dig out that old monolithic Xbox then!
Martin O’Donnell & Michael Salvatori (2001, 2004, 2007) Trying to choose which of the original Halo games deserved a spot on this list made me feel like a parent being forced to decide which child they love more. It can’t be done! The unique “hard military science fiction-meets-ancient mysticism and space horror” atmosphere of Bungie’s Halo trilogy is ultimately made by the quality of its soundtracks. You’ve got hard rockin’ with Steve Vai, orchestral warmongering, anxious ambient pieces, some sweeping tear jerkers and, of course, the Gregorian chant of its main theme.
Hotline Miami Various Artists (2012)
One of the only games around that will genuinely have you gritting your teeth as you play it, the visceral harmony of Hotline Miami’s synthwave soundtrack and its predatory gameplay is truly a match made in heaven. It’s also one of the only game soundtracks out there that stands just as strongly on its own as it does next to pixilated violence. The sequel was so brutal that it even got banned on Aussie shores back in 2015. Thanks, Abbott!
Jack Wall & Sam Hulick (2007) Plebs will say that the original Mass Effect is the weakest of the trilogy, but intellectuals know that it’s actually the only one good one. HOT opinions aside, I think everyone can agree that the soundtrack to Commander Shepard’s first galactic adventure was pretty tight. There’s a real sense of exploration and wonder to many of these shiny electronic pieces, along with some brooding moments of retro-futurism that recall the work of Vangelis. Overall, a fantastic combination of gameplay and music that was overshadowed by the moral panic surrounding its human-on-alien sex scenes.
c u lt u r e
CAMPUS OPEN DAY 11 MAY 2019
DEGREES & DIPLOMAS FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY FIND OUT MORE COLLARTS.EDU.AU/OPENDAY The Music
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Pic: Sarah Paintadosi
Slanted and enchanted
What’s dangerous now? Fat White Family have traded heroin dirge for white reggae. Frontman Lias Saoudi tells Sam Wall how the South London outfit avoided ending in some “dreadful hangover”.
at in the canteen of a hotel in Lisbon, and feeling like “Julia Roberts in Notting Hill”, Fat White Family frontman Lias Saoudi says that it’s all a bit new. He’s currently on a press tour for the band’s new album, and major label debut, Serfs Up!. It’s hardly his first time around the block, but he’s “never done a record like this” before either. “Where everything’s regimented. Everything’s planned.” During our chat, Saoudi shares that Fat White Family once joked that the path to success was “to ritualistically lower people’s expectations”. “Instead of improving, what you had to do was just lower everybody else’s expectations.” For a long time, expectations were about six feet under. After years of illness, addiction, infighting and controversy, the smart money was never on the Fat Whites surviving themselves, let alone coming out the other end having evolved. “I think, we did a pretty good job of fucking our lives up with drugs and bullshit behaviour,” says Saoudi. “And I think it was kind of, like, ‘Well, what was the last ten years about, if this is just gonna sort of end in a dreadful hangover?’ “For want of other, more meaningful relationships in my life, this is about the only thing I’ve really got that matters. For me personally, I can’t speak for the other guys in the group. But, depressing as that might sound, this is about the be-all and end-all for me, for at least the last five years, anyway. So to see it not go up in a puff of brown smoke was some relief to me. A massive, massive relief for me.” It was a close thing. Towards the end of the album cycle for Songs For Our Mothers two years ago, the Fat White beast was junk sick and tearing itself to pieces. The band splintered, and the main instrumental force behind Fat Whites, guitarist Saul Adamczewski, was given his marching orders, fired from a band widely perceived as malevolent “junkie fuck-ups” for the severity of his temperament and addiction. With things falling apart, Saoudi took his younger brother, keys player Nathan Saoudi, north of London to Sheffield to escape the city’s “distractions and temptation”. They made themselves a “smack fortress” — “beyond this line you do not tread if you’ve got little pinprick eyes” — and got to work. By the time the scraps of Fat White Family started demoing Serfs Up!, they had signed to Domino and Nathan had stepped into the vacuum left by Adamczewski. Then Adamczewski returned, having kicked his habit in rehab, the rela-
tionship “far more professional and far more reasonable”. The dynamic had shifted. Fat White Family had grown up. “We were communicating with each other again, because chemically we were roughly on the same page as each other. So me and Saul weren’t — we didn’t have one bust-up doing [Serfs Up!]. Last album was just one big bust up, the whole fucking thing. But, on top of that, my little brother Nathan, he started writing key songs. And really developing a sense of melody. So, when we sacked Saul off, everybody else kind of had to up their game. And then Saul came back anyway, and had loads of material. So it was kind of the best of all possible worlds, in a way.” As Saoudi says, “You got to survive your own tepid legacy after a while. “You just change as you get older, man, you just change. It’s like, you can’t be in the fucking Birthday Party forever, do you know what I mean? Unless you want to die. “But I mean, the same anger isn’t there. There is anger there, and there’s frustration and it’s all-it’s still there. But it’s not the same, you know? You’ve learned to channel it a little bit. So Fat White Family have returned — reunited, tempered and clean. “That’s a big word, ‘clean’.” protests Saoudi. “I wouldn’t go that far.” He does use the words “competent” and “ambitious” though. And Serfs Up! is ambitious, running through everything from twisted, Marc Bolan glam to digital tropicana. Lead single Feet is an obvious people mover — albeit slightly discomforting sonically — balancing repetitive 808s and industrial percussion with lush strings and a mesmerising bass choir. It still seethes with contempt. Fat White Family haven’t stopped casting stones. But for the first time there’s hope as well, and pop polish, Saoudi citing Wham and UB40 as influences. “I mean, part of us kinda wanted to aggravate the fanbase by making a record like this in the first place,” says Saoudi. “It was like, ‘Well, how do we upset people now? We’ve done, like, heroin dirge, and songs about pedophilia, and bombing theme parks, and love letters to Hitler and all that kind of stuff. Where do we go now? What’s dangerous now?’ And we kind of thought about it for a minute, and it was like, ‘Well, white reggae?’ “Sometimes white reggae is the edge, it turns out,” laughs Saoudi. “Sometimes that’s the danger. “So the original impulse was a little bit like, ‘Come on, let’s make a fucking, let’s try to make a pop album. Then everybody will hate us,” Saoudi laughs again. “But I think we’ve made a good attempt at it.”
Serfs Up! (Domino) is out this month.
P i c:
o r ic i
Scott Kannberg aka Spiral Stairs talks to Anthony Carew about the pervasiveness of nostalgia, and how we as human beings are “built” to feel it.
019 marks 30 years since the formation of Pavement, one of indie-rock’s most definitive acts. After the band got back together for a run of reunion shows in 2010, fans have been waiting for another Pavement tour. The possibility of a 30-year anniversary tour was floated, in advance, by guitarist Scott “Spiral Stairs” Kannberg, but is now definitely not happening, because frontman Stephen Malkmus, as ever, does not want to play reformation shows. “Steve always complains. ‘I don’t want to do these shows, we’re just being nostalgic,’” offers Kannberg. “But, you know what? I love going to see bands that I didn’t get to see when I was a kid. I still have
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
Not going to bite the dust Metal mainstays Sevendust are satisfied to have played the long game, rather than merely tasting fleeting success, as guitarist John Connolly explains to Brendan Crabb.
never seen The Rolling Stones, but I’ll go see the fucking Rolling Stones when they’re 80 years old! And it’ll be great. Nostalgia makes you feel good. Everything’s fucking nostalgic. You drink a Coca-Cola, and you’re remembering what it was like when you were a kid and you [drank] a Coca-Cola. That does something in your brain where it makes you feel good. I love nostalgia, I love history, I love the past. That’s just the way us humans are built.” Kannberg isn’t resting on his Pavement laurels. He’s just released his third album as Spiral Stairs, We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized, the album following on from 2017’s Doris & The Daggers, with Kannberg hoping to make it “sound a bit bigger and better produced”. But the influences on the album were, too, wholly from the past, drawn from “old records that [he] didn’t really get into when they came out”. “I really got [inspired by] Van Morrison; not the popular stuff, more the weird records that he did in the ‘70s, like Veedon Fleece and Wavelength,” Kannberg explains. “There’s a sense of freedom to the way he sings. That’s something I tried to do a little more. I also got really into the first few Nick Lowe records, which I never really did when they were coming out in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Then, there’s definitely a song on this record where it was me trying to write a Go-Betweens song.” Back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Kannberg was all about punk, then post-punk. Growing up in Stockton, California, he wanted to rebel against the rock’n’roll that’d come before. “I was a teenager in the ‘80s, I graduated from high school in ‘84. So, the music from the ‘70s I fucking hated,” Kannberg recounts. “I hated Led Zeppelin, I hated classic rock, all that stuff. For me, The Clash was the best band [in the world], they should’ve been as big as The Rolling Stones. Punk rock was big for me. Then I got into post-punk: Echo & The Bunnymen, Devo, REM. If there was really one band that guided me to lots of other music, it was REM. They’d do a Wire cover, they’d do a Television cover. “Classic rock was all over the radio, so I avoided that. I was about The Replacements, and Husker Du; that kind of stuff appealed to me, more. That’s what was exciting about when Nirvana made it big. Their influences were the Pixies and The Replacements. It felt like we were winning for about five minutes, there, in the ‘90s. Then the major labels took over again, and Pearl Jam became popular, so it was just ‘Ugh, back to classic rock again.’” The persistence of boomer nostalgia — from the ‘70s through to now — is something Kannberg hates: “I can’t fucking stand it. It’s still dominating our culture.” But, it’s informed his personal desire to never be that guy, waxing lyrical about how great, say, 1991 was. “I never think that my generation is better than anybody’s,” he says. “There’s great music now, there was great music then. It’s funny: I love Roxy Music, but you read these interviews with Bryan Ferry, and all he wants to do is make jazz records. He’s like: ‘I know every musician in Cab Calloway’s band!’ It’s like, whoa, what the fuck? What does that mean? I guess it makes sense, that this is the music that came 20 years before him, and he was fed that nostalgia growing up. But, as nostalgic as I am, I don’t ever wanna be that guy.”
here seemed a time when Atlanta metallers Seven-
playing smaller clubs and bars now. You look
dust had withdrawn from more Australian tours than
at a lot of those bands that were really big
they’d successfully completed; an unfortunate reputa-
when we first started out... Limp Bizkit, there’s
tion which doesn’t elude guitarist John Connolly ahead of a
another great example. You couldn’t get a
return to these shores. “It was the most frustrating thing in the
bigger band on earth at one point in time
world,” he says when The Music raises the topic. “This was a
than that band. And now, I don’t even know
couple of different agents and a couple of different managers
who’s in the band. So I’d almost rather have
ago, and I remember having a conversation with them. I was
it be this way.
like, ‘Look, if we’re going to keep doing this, just don’t book the
“There was a point in time where we were
tour. You’re the ones who are looking at the numbers, routing
like, ‘Why aren’t we bigger? Why aren’t we as
and all that stuff.’
big as some of our friends?’ But when I look
“There was always an excuse and a reason, and hopefully
around [now] I go, ‘Where are all our friends
we’ve got all that behind us because we’ve had a couple of
at?’” he laughs. “A lot of those bands are gone.
successful trips Down Under. It looks like we’re going to make
So I’d rather have it this way. I’d rather have a
a habit of this at least once every album cycle. The whole
career and be able to have that consistency,
[music] business is completely different. But the thing that still
that slow burn and slow build. As much as
stays the same is the fans that come to the shows, that sing
anyone wants to have a #1 song, now that I
the songs and want to be part of that live experience. That
look back at it I think, ‘At least I still love what I
part’s never changed — that part is as strong as ever. And that’s
do, and at least I still get to do it.’”
the thing that gets you excited about really being in a band.”
There have certainly been moments
Over the past two decades, the quintet have established
though where they’ve re-evaluated their
a loyal following Down Under and elsewhere, regularly issuing
future. In early 2006, the band were off con-
new albums (the latest being 2018’s well received All I See Is
tract and bankrupt, and guitarist Clint Lowery
War) and delivering energetic live shows. They have Gold cer-
had temporarily left the ranks. The remain-
tification plaques on their walls and are a Grammy-nominated
ing members posed themselves some tough
act, but haven’t enjoyed household name status like some of
questions, namely, ‘Do we still want to do
their late ‘90s/early ‘00s peers.
this?’ After all responded in the affirmative,
Descriptors like ‘consistent’ are often applied to Seven-
they opted to stay the course. “I think once
dust’s brand of melodic metal. Does the axeman ever glance
we survived that, and once we got Clint back
at their contemporaries and wonder why they achieved great-
in and adapted to the new, what the music
er commercial gains? Or is he grateful for the level of success
business is, and once we were writing the
Sevendust have attained? “I think a little of both. Because it’s
songs for the right reasons as opposed to try-
funny, we’re super grateful that we’ve been consistent and
ing to get a #1 song... We were like, ‘Let’s stop
20-some odd years ago we started this thing, [and now] we’re
trying to write a #1 song, let’s just try to write
still the same five guys and we still have that same passion to
a really good one,’” Connolly explains. “And I
make the music.
think everything fell into place.”
“You look at some bands — look at Creed, they’re a great example. The Alter Bridge and the Tremonti guys are dear friends of mine. But you look at Creed, and Creed doesn’t exist anymore. You look at a band like Drowning Pool, who was the biggest band in the world there for a minute, and they’re
Spiral Stairs tours from 20 Apr.
Sevendust tour from 25 Apr.
The Big Picture
Nick Makrides You’ve made a hell of a lot of amazing cakes in your time, how did you choose what made the cut for Sugar Rebels? Oh dear lawd, I have hundreds and hundreds of videos. Over the last six years my skill set has been growing and my frosting has been getting taller, so I knew that only a couple of my really old recipes would come in. They weren’t as crazy as my newer ones and I wanted the book to be full of my most OTT designs mixed with my followers’ favourite recipes. That didn’t stop me from putting over 100 recipes in the manuscript! But we cut it down to 50 and then snuck another ten in there. I started with the basics, and then I chose my audience’s favourite recipes. Then I started thinking of how to organise the rest of the book, and which recipes should be in which part to make it a fun recipe book page turner. There were some we had to unfortunately cut that I wish we could have kept, but the book would have cost $200 if I kept everything! It was tough. Your introduction is a rallying call for readers to “be original”, get in the kitchen and “make something that only you can make”. Which recipe here most embodies that for you? That’s a tough one to answer. I get asked by my audience which recipe is my favourite and that’s hard to answer too, because I love them all! Each one serves a different purpose. I have to say though, it was really important to me that the cover featured a specific cupcake and that one for me was the Choc Mint Freakshake Cupcake. It was one of the first designs that blew up for me on social media. It’s one of my faves! What’s the biggest or most common mistake you find people make when they take up baking? Oh lord! Prepping before they begin a recipe. Read the recipe through first, collect your ingredients and then start creating lol. Baking is a science. Some recipes have steps that happen really quickly and so you should have everything measured really accurately and before you begin a recipe!
Peach macarons. Pic: Nick Makrides
Given that up until only a few years ago Aussies were still using the same style of cake decorating we had been since the ‘80s, what do you think has caused the current creative explosion and rapid style change? Is that a trick question lol? Social media! Specifically Instagram. Instagram is like this visual catalogue of creativity for cake makers and creative people. There’s loads of people on there doing really fun and interesting stuff and so it pushes people to try something they wouldn’t have done before. I have to give a shout out to YouTube too. It all started on there. Creators like Elise Strachan of My Cupcake Addiction and Laura Vitale of Laura In The Kitchen, who were some of the first people to jump online, display their talents and make it fun for people to get into their kitchens and create something new!
The Big Picture
The internet has allowed some truly awful cakes to make their way into the zeitgeist rather than just be relegated to family photo albums. Do you have some tips to help the home baker keep their cake away from #fail Reddit threads? Ok, so people have different skill sets. My very first cupcakes were awful. I practised a lot to get to where I am. But there are certainly some horrible cake trends on the internet. And then, yes, there are some Nailed It-worthy cakes on the internet. Do you know what though? So much of that is because of the way people have taken their photos. Lighting is everything. Take your photos next to lots of natural light. Not under your kitchen light at midnight. I don’t think people should steer away from posting their stuff on social media; even if it looks horrible. If anything, it gives us a laugh and in my case, pushes you to improve the next time you bake!
Sugar Rebels (Hardie Grant Books) is out 1 Apr.
Out of the darkness It’s an age-old question; who got the funk? Lauren Baxter talks to Tom McFarland from UK neo-soul outfit Jungle ahead of their upcoming Australian tour about the Jungle mystique, uniting music with its environment, and a bonkers America.
t’s Sunday evening in New Orleans when we get Jungle’s Tom McFarland on the phone. The band have just released their second album and are really “enjoying having the songs out and just enjoying life”. And enjoy life they have. As they were then known, ‘J’ and ‘T’ were shrouded in mystery when they first burst onto the scene in 2013. The self-titled debut that followed cemented the hype and won the collective — as they would turn out to be — a stack of fans with their neo-soul groove that was unmistakably born in the UK. Album number two, For Ever, sees the group embracing the limelight, somewhat more grown up, and telling more personal stories. “We weren’t really ready for the level it went to that quickly, so naturally I think you kind of shy away from the limelight,” McFarland reflects on the band’s beginnings. “Through that, the media made their own story essentially and probably played into some of the mystique and what people loved about Jungle at the beginning. Everybody wants to know something about something that people don’t know about. It’s a basic human thing. “Now I think it’s a little bit more about the music and the band have grown up a little bit. The band are better and we’re just letting people get to know us a little bit more. Because these stories are now more personal and, you know, it’s kind of like, out of the darkness and into the light.” That natural progress and evolution as a band is an easy conversation point for McFarland and something he thinks “is a beautiful thing”. “Everything kind of works on the ups and downs and maybe on the third record
it will go dark again and on the fourth, it’s light. It’s just a transition, it’s a change and if you don’t change, then you don’t progress. You don’t really grow and I think it’s really important that we did that because we couldn’t still be like, ‘Ahh I don’t really want to put my face to it, I don’t really want to own what I do.’” From that initial sense of mystery, Jungle blew up, igniting festival stages across the world with an infectious energy brimming with personality. “Dreaming of people loving you or admiring your music is one thing but actually having it happen makes you kind of go quite insular in a very weird way. “But it only takes a couple of years to accept that change in your life. Because all these people change, like, everybody talks to you different, even my mum is different to me, you know. “People’s attitudes definitely change and it can be good and it can be negative. People take shots more at you and you just have to be ready for that and that basically means as soon as you achieve something in the real world, there’s a lot more attention on you the whole time.” Because of those natural changes, creating an enduring fanbase is something that plays on his mind. We fanboy out over Radiohead together, with McFarland claiming they are one band where, after all this time, he still buys the hype. “I don’t know why, I just believe it,” he laughs after slagging off more recent albums from other faves Kings Of Leon and The Strokes. Radiohead have “almost got better and I think that’s a very interesting trait because you look at where albums go. And I think that’s what Jungle’s got going
on. I think the records are just going to get better and better and better. I think that’s a very achievable thing to do. I don’t know why that is but like the second one is 100 percent better than the first one and already the stuff we’re conceptualising for the third one seems better than the second one”. Within that conceptualisation is a focus on uniting music with its environment. “You know David Byrne had that book, How Music Works or something, that big white one that’s on every tabletop. It’s a really cool book, and it talks about how music is made for its environment and how music works in its environment. “It talks about how people perceive music depending on mood and openness. We’ve all had that band where you’re sitting in a car, and you’re on holiday and the sun is shining and you’re in a rental car, a tune comes on the radio. Your perception to it is, ‘Oh my God! What’s this tune. Ha ha, Shazam it.’ But if you heard that same tune after you’d just had a shit day at work and you’re in a bar, you won’t connect with it in the same way. And I think it’s all about how people connect with things on their first listen to really fall in love with an artist or fall in love with a musician, you have to have had [that experience].” The problem then, he suggests, is that “everyone is so centred on trying to make
“I think the music that we create, we have to have more. People have to fall in love with the whole record.” money and not just exploring — there’s no money really left in the industry because of streaming — so songs are becoming shorter”. “I read today that that song Gucci Gang is two minutes, four seconds long and it’s a worldwide smash,” he laughs. “It’s that sort of simplicity that seems to cut with the masses.” On the flip side, creating an immersive body of work is something Jungle are preoccupied by. Even if it has had a more per-
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sonal touch on For Ever. “I think the music that we create, we have to have more. People have to fall in love with the whole record. It’s the sound, it’s in the sonic. People fall in love with the sonic and the concept.” Back Down Under in April for a string of shows, McFarland thinks Australia is “a good place for” the band. “People dig the music there and it’s a cool place, we like hanging out. We’ll always come play shows there. The people have a very similar humour to British people and we get along with Australians. It’s really easy to get along with Australians,” he chuckles. More so than with Americans? “America’s different. They’re just bonkers here, but it’s so fun. It’s fun and bonkers. “The people are just so crazy man. Very extreme personalities. Everything’s very extreme in America. It’s kind of like there’s no laws. No regard for morals or society. “Part of your psyche enjoys that and the other part’s questioning it and going ‘This is just mental.’” It’s a nice segue back to the album. The surrounding rhetoric, perhaps sensationalised in the press release, tells a tale of the band following Josh Lloyd-Watson to LA, who moved for love, only to decamp heartbroken. “Yeah, it’s almost trying to submerge yourself in some sort of American dream in a weird way. That’s the weird thing about
America — it’s a fucking escape. Because the reality, like England for us, that’s home. It’s like back to reality. That’s where your life is. That’s where you grew up. That’s where your memories from when you weren’t in a band are. And all the other places are like dreams.”
Jungle tour from 19 Apr.
HEARING THE BLOOD Barney McAll 16 MAY Untitled-3 1
19/3/19 12:17 pm
Who’s your hero now? At times, it can feel just a little like humanity is gleefully racing towards its own extinction — but not everyone’s ready to see the world end with a whimper. Maxim Boon takes a look at some of the work being done to slow down the apocalypse.
oor ol’ Captain Planet. He was the hero who was gonna take pollution down to zero, with nothing more than a spandex suit, a super snatched rig, a green mullet, and five internationally diverse tweens with magical jewellery. But alas, it seems Cap and co just weren’t up to the task; between rising temperatures, extreme weather events, plastic-choked oceans and stubborn politicians, the shiny blue eco-warrior has taken quite a kicking of late. But to be fair to old mate, the issue of ecological disaster is now on a scale so colossal, solving it would be an insurmountable challenge even for a superhero. So c’mon guys, let’s help the poor dude out. Here are some of humanity’s best hopes for saving this lil’ rock we all call home.
The war on plastic
In the not so distant past, politicians were comfortable merely dismissing climate change as a myth, and even today, there are some who still downplay its perils. But given the overwhelming volume of empirical evidence collected by legions of scientific experts, not to mention the disturbing trend of record-breaking weather events in recent years, there’s little dispute that the climate catastrophe is the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. And it’s the youngest among us who will have to live with its full, devastating force unless immediate action is taken, which is why many school-aged kids are making their voices heard through political protests. School strikes have been taking place all over the world, including across Australia, and while it remains to be seen if today’s political leaders heed this outcry, it seems certain that the political heavyweights of the future will come from this more climate-conscious generation.
It can sometimes feel as if the climate conundrum is so complex and enormous, our individual actions could hardly make a dent in the issue. But a surprisingly popular social conscience movement is proving otherwise. The unbelievable journey our junk takes after we discard it has been pulled sharply into focus recently with reports of the incredible volume of plastic that has found its way into the oceans. A dead whale that washed up in the Philippines just last month was found to have more than 40kg of plastic in its stomach, and this is just one of countless examples of marine life being devastated by the dumping of plastics. Now, some of the most ubiquitous single-use plastic items, such as shopping bags and drinking straws, are being phased out around the world. Other prevalent single-use plastics, like coffee cup lids and water bottles, are being sidelined in favour of keep-cups and refillables. But leave it to the boffins to come up with the really exciting stuff. An international group of scientists accidentally discovered a “mutant enzyme” that breaks down plastic in April last year. Beginning the decomposition process within hours rather than centuries, this could prove to be one of the most important new weapons in the green arsenal. And given that it also allows for the byproducts of the process to be recycled into useable plastic, it could also reduce our demand for crude oil (that’s what plastic is made of, for y’all who ain’t in the know).
Fusion power Perhaps the most pressing limiting factor of the climate change debate is the question of energy consumption. Our civilisation guzzles down billions upon billions of watts daily, and our addiction to electricity is only going to increase in the future. Currently, the bulk of our energy needs are met by the most environmentally damaging means, namely fossil fuels and nuclear power, and while huge strides have been made in the past few years to make renewable energy sources more viable, wide-scale implementation is seen as unreliable. There is one source of clean energy, however, that may prove game-changing. Fusion power was once the stuff of science fiction, but teams in Europe and the US have made several major breakthroughs in the past few years. Most notably, the Wendelstein 7-X Stellarator, currently being tested in Greifswald, Germany, not only has a damn cool name, its experimental design has produced extraordinarily exciting results since its completion in 2015, suggesting similar designs could be implemented as viable, sustainable power sources as early as 2021.
C u lt u r e
CO2 removal Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, it’s estimated more than 2,000 gigatons (a gigaton is a billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere. Efforts to reduce the volume of emissions we continue to pump into the sky every day have had little success, given that they demand radical changes to the way we travel, generate power and manufacture all the stuff we spend our cheddar on. Oh, sweet capitalism. So, rather than changing our behaviours, it seems sucking the bad stuff out of the air is fast becoming the holy grail of climate science. And it just so happens that there are several methods to capture CO2 already available, although none as yet that can cope with the sheer global scale of the problem. It ain’t fancy, but planting more trees, particularly wetlands and mangroves, is perhaps the easiest of the various approaches, although intensive deforestation in various locations around the world kind of makes a mockery of that solution. So, what has science got up its sleeve? Well, several start-ups, such as Climeworks in Switzerland and Carbon Engineering in Canada, have proven technologies that can air-capture CO2, but currently the infrastructure costs seem prohibitive. This, however, could ultimately prove a false economy. Between the impact of forced migrations and climate refugees, the impact on agriculture, rising sea levels, and the clean-up costs of weather disasters, many economists have been unable to even roughly ball-park a figure of just how much unchecked climate change will eventually cost. But that fact alone should tell you, it’s a hell of a lot.
Tripping the light Fantastic Fantastic Negrito, aka Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, tells Liz Giuffre about making music that’s honest yet optimistic.
Living in harmony Julia Stone tells Bryget Chrisfield that, although music didn’t make sense to her straight away, harmonising with her brother Angus is “one of the greatest privileges of [her] life”.
ne of the highlights of experiencing Julia Stone — or Angus & Julia Stone — live is when she plays trumpet, usually just spinning her guitar around on its strap to rest behind her back while she plays. Given that it’s probably not the most popular instrument to wish to play, from a kid’s perspective, we wonder what it was that first attracted her to the trumpet. “When we were kids, our primary school didn’t have a music program and our dad is a music teacher, and he decided that he would start a music program at Newport Primary School,” Stone begins. “And so he of course
made sure that all three of us kids were the first members of the school band. So I think the school band started with about ten kids on instruments and it was my sister [Catherine] on saxophone and me on trumpet, Angus on trombone and then about seven other kids that Dad had sort of wrangled in to start this band, and he was the conductor. “And the way that we got to choose our instruments was: Angus and Catherine and I were taken to an orchestra performance, and our mum and dad said, ‘Pick the instrument that you wanna play.’ And so we sat and watched the performance, and I remember looking up and seeing a guy with a spray can who was using it to kind of fix his tuning slides on the trumpet, and I thought, ‘I really would love a spray can, I should probably play that instrument,’ and so I picked the trumpet based off that. And I never got a spray can; I don’t know what he was using a spray can for,” she laughs, “it never turned out to be something that I needed but, yeah! We then continued to play all through school. Angus and Catherine stopped once they got to high school, but I really loved the trumpet and I kept playing and I joined the jazz band and some of the sort of, like, state symphonic wind ensembles and orchestras. And I spent a lot of my teenage years travelling ‘round playing in orchestras and big bands and stuff like that. And my first kind of live singing performances were singing jazz songs with the big band at school.” Here we were thinking that the orchestral performance must have featured a trumpet solo that blew Stone away! She chuckles. “I mean, as a kid I loved music because it was fun to dance to, but it wasn’t something that made sense to me straight away. You know, I was a kid that liked collecting rocks and I was a little kind of collector, and I didn’t find myself drawn to music; I did it because I was told I had to do it and I had to practise and I hated it! I mean, I just hated band [practice] and then slowly, slowly I started to understand and feel the specialness of when groups of people make sounds together, and as soon as I felt that, and I looked at that, I’ve
Pic: Jennifer Stenglein
antastic Negrito is a one-man powerhouse. Fresh from a Grammy win for his album Please Don’t Be Dead (a great follow-up to The Last Days of Oakland — also a Grammy winner), Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz chats from his studio in Oakland, punctuating his speech with little bursts on his beloved “upright, outof-tune piano” and with impromptu, sung walking bass lines. Ever the showman, but with substance, he ensures the music is always central to the conversation. The resulting sounds are eclectic, electric and infectious. The rock/blues single Plastic Hamburgers is a great indication of the record’s appeal, but there’s much more to it. “For example, the Boy Named Andrew is me, growing up in foster care, growing up surviving challenging areas,” Dphrepaulezz explains. Also featuring “a friend who stopped by”, Hannah Levy, the track is a standout. “I think when you write, when you’re honest, you’re writing about the world. Because we all come from the stars, we’re all just cosmic dust, we’re all connected. So when I’m writing about me,
and when I’m being truthful and honest, I’m writing about you.” Why is being honest so hard? “I don’t know — we tend to be full of shit!” Dphrepaulezz laughs. “I mean, human beings, we tend to hide and it’s difficult, it is for me. It can take a lifetime to get to know yourself. And hopefully we evolve, I want music the do that too. I didn’t want to write the same record [as before], when I sat down to write Please Don’t Be Dead, I said, ‘Forget about the Grammy, forget about everything else, do something excellent and great.’” Forgetting the past simply meant that the Grammys came to the party (again). Noting the increased range of sounds and perspectives awarded this year, he gives high praise to the other winners (“You gotta be happy for Brandi Carlile, she’s got three Grammys, it took her 15 years,” he says, while also giving big props to Janelle Monae), it’s clear the awards experience was crazy, but also another chance to expand. Another standout on Please Don’t Be Dead is Transgender Biscuits, a song very much of its time now, but with a unionist spirit that could have originated with Woody Guthrie back in the day. “He’d have sung it a lot slower and he’d have smoked a few joints,” Dphrepaulezz laughs, agreeing. “But I think, I love speaking on things that people feel nervous speaking on. I think, when I’m a little uncomfortable after I write a song, that means that’s a great song. And if people are a little uncomfortable too then that’s great, it means we’re growing. Because growth and evolution is about being uncomfortable a lot of the time, and I think as an artist it’s a great opportunity to speak about these things.”
Despite some heavy themes the overwhelming sound and aim on this record is joy. For this writer, a favourite is Bullshit Anthem, which encourages the listener to “Take that bullshit, and turn it into good shit”. It’s so crazy it just might work. “All my music is optimistic. It’s about solutions, ‘turn the bullshit into good shit’ is about a solution — it’s like, even fashion, I’m into upcycling, take some old jackets and give it to a local designer and let them put their heart and soul into it. And that’s what the Bullshit Anthem is, take the things that aren’t necessarily going well for us, even the legacy of the music that I come from, the tradition of my ancestors — they had to do that constantly, so it’s humbling just upholding that, and it is joy, it is happiness.” Another big kicker is Bad Guy Necessity, featuring the powerhouse vocals of Candice Davis. “You know, when I did the bass line I thought of all the dubious characters that I have known, and that bass line, they’re walking to that. I think the most important thing to remember with Bad Guy Necessity, the polar opposite [to people like Trump] — Barack Obama, Martin Luther King — they were a bad guy to some people. That’s the irony of the song... All I know how to do as an artist is to get on the front line and try and do the thing that music does. Music is universal because it speaks.”
Fantastic Negrito tours from 14 Apr.
loved that feeling of creating with other people. There’s nothing like the feeling of being in harmony, you know, like, singing in harmony with Angus is one of the greatest privileges of my life; just to have two voices from the same family... and then you get to make sounds kind of a third apart and it just feels so cool!” After admitting she’s witnessed overnight success stories in her “world of music” struggling to come to terms with how much their lives have changed, Stone describes the path to success she and her brother Angus paved as “paced out”. “We have both had that gradual journey and also we’ve had each other through it all so that’s also something that we’re really fortunate for, ‘cause you have someone who’s known you since you were a kid and there’s no — you can’t trick them, you can’t all of a sudden be a different person. It’s, like, you know who they are and they know know who you are. Angus and I know each other so well that there’s no hiding and there’s no pretending to be, you know, a famous person, whatever that may be; you’re just two kids from the Northern Beaches who love making music.”
A decade of making sweet sounds After a decade of relentless touring, from street corners to bars and festivals, The California Honeydrops have forged a strong bond with their audiences. Ahead of the band’s return to Australia, drummer Ben Malament discusses their achievements with Chris Familton.
his will be the third year in a row that The California Hon-
for Dr John at Tipitina’s, which was kind of crazy! We opened
eydrops have played Byron Bay Bluesfest. They’ve clearly
doing our own version of Champion Jack Dupree’s Junk-
forged a strong connection with Australian audiences
er’s Blues mixed with Professor Longhair’s Tipitina and we
— this year they’ll play four sets across the festival, before an
played that at Tipitina’s before Dr John! People liked it and
appearance at The Gum Ball festival and a headline show in
so we played some street parties there and we managed to
Melbourne. “Australia honestly has a real excitement for music
capture the spirit of the music without bringing ego to it and
and we always get a great response,” enthuses drummer Ben
Malament. “We’re lucky to call Australia one of our fanbases
The California Honeydrops always work hard to convey
and it’s obviously grown a lot over the last few years, and to be
the essence and soul of the band in a wide range of differ-
able to get back to Byron Bay for a third time is pretty special.”
ent settings. “We don’t make setlists and we always make sure
A decade ago in California, the band came together
we play to the room. That includes; volume, dynamics and
around songwriter, guitarist and trumpeter Lech Wierzyn-
the energy. That’s how we go about it. It’s hard for us to play
ski and drummer Malament. They started busking in an Oak-
an hour set and compact our music and the experience. We
land subway station and very quickly their holistic sound,
like to stretch out. We have to plan out the shorter sets to get
which embraces a number of American musical forms such
the direction of it right but at our own shows we don’t plan
as soul, jazz and blues, began to take shape. As Malament
anything and we can play for three hours at a time. Wherev-
remembers, the way the group’s music came together was
er we are we always try to read and feed off the audience,”
“It came out of a natural thing, the kind of music that we
The band recently dropped a five-track live EP, and are
like and appreciate. Most of it comes out from Lech, our lead
currently working on new material. Those new tracks, and
singer, and then it all ends up being a blend of music that we
additional songs from their last double album Call It Home,
recognise in our gut. We don’t go for anything that is too far
will be considered for a new album. On a personal level, Mala-
out of our comfort zone. We just want to make what we know
ment is keen to get a bit more work-life balance, particularly
really good. We don’t want to half-arse any of the music,” says
as a father. “We’ve been a really hard working band for ten
Malament. “Sure we can play blues or R&B or second line, but
years and I’d like to balance it a bit more — but when people
we don’t really know how to play that stuff, we just want to do
want to pay money to see you play and you’re doing the thing
the best we can to honour it, do it justice for the audiences
you love, it’s a hard thing to say no to. It’s a challenge but it’s a
and make a living out of a kind of music that none of us were
really born into, other than being born in America I guess. It’s just us trying to do it right.” Malament mentions ‘second line’, the informal and celebratory musical sections of New Orleans brass band parades that follow the ‘main line’, the parade leaders. For a band like
The California Honeydrops tour from 18 Apr.
The California Honeydrops, who are heavily influenced by the sounds of New Orleans, it must have been a daunting experience taking their music to the Big Easy for the first time. “It was a beautiful reception,” marvels Malament. “It was awesome because the first time we went there we opened
Julia Stone plays Bluesfest on 22 Apr.
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In a world where Steely Dan memes are exploding across Instagram and “Essential Yacht Rock” playlists are all over Spotify, it was only a matter of time before soft-rock got its own big comeback album. Enter Sydney quartet I Know Leopard and their sparkly, rhinestone-encrusted debut album, Love Is A Landmine. And you know what? It’s pretty darn good. The 11 synth-pop songs on here range from decent to genuinely great, which is a pretty impressive turnout for a debut album. With influences like the Electric Light Orchestra, 10cc and The Alan Parsons Project, it’d be easy to write the group off as some nostalgia wanking in the vein of all that Greta Van Fleet horseshit. But nah, these are real deal tunes with their own identities, despite all the influences. There are certainly some Tame Impala comparisons to be made, but really, you could say that about 80% of modern indie-synth-pop, so we’ll let it slide. The production, handled by The Preatures’ Jack Moffitt, is fantastic across the board. Everyone loves a good analogue synth, and boy does this lot make good use of ‘em! And like all great music that’s heavy on the electronics, there’s little sounds and moments here that’ll only reveal themselves to the listener after a few repeated spins too. But none of those flourishes would matter if the songwriting talents of lead singer Luke O’Loughlin weren’t so genuinely promising. The chord changes in the verses of album opener Landmine are immediately affecting, and by the time you get to the tightly wound second track, the
I Know Leopard
Love Is A Landmine Ivy League
very Bowie-esque Everything Goes With You, you’ll realise that this dude means business when it comes to the craft of a good pop song. Heather boasts the strongest commercial potential of any track on the album, and it’s tough to think of anyone we wouldn’t recommend it to. It’s a bummer that there are some fairly mundane moments too, like the predictable near-instrumental of Mums And Dads Of Satanists or the lengthy repetition of Evergreen. And despite the importance of emotional guitar solos to glamorous rock such as this, none of the extended fretwork here really tugs at your heartstrings. But when we’re given songs like Seventy Lies, All That She Cared About and 1991, it’s hard to stay mad. After all, it’s a bloody debut album! And the fact that you often forget about that really says a lot about the quality of their craft. The trap that most of these retro-sounding records fall into is how badly they inspire you to just listen to the classics instead. While I Know Leopard may wear their sequinned influences on their sleeves with pride, Love Is A Landmine has more than enough personality and promise to make it an exciting listen, rather than just a nostalgic one. Donald Finlayson
Catfish & The Bottlemen
Island / Caroline
Barely Dressed / Remote Control
Damaged Records / Caroline
HHH It’s been three years since we’ve heard anything from Welsh indie-rockers Catfish & The Bottlemen, and they’re finally back with rough and ready, The Balance. Catfish do what Catfish do well throughout, each chorus anthemic and loud. While it’s easy to call The Balance a continuation of 2016’s The Ride, there’s a slight disappointment in the lack of dynamics and variety in tone and progression, as the majority of songs use similar chords, vocal tones and running drum beats. Regardless, the songs are rough, incredibly catchy as always, and most definitely killer additions to the band’s live show.
You know when it’s a ripper of a day, but there’s that cloud looming overhead that makes you think it won’t stay like that? That’s the mood of We Are A Team, in a not literal way of course. Though a little less morbid than their prior releases, this is a Ceres album through and through. The developing sincerity and maturity in the band’s sound become more evident from track to track. Intricate details bind the album together, such as lyrics interwoven or the subtle sounds of a creaky floorboard. We Are A Team sees Ceres creating an intrinsically beautiful record highlighting self-doubt in the midst of happiness.
Jess Ribeiro’s last album — 2015’s Kill It Yourself — was a banger, and now she opens up a new chapter of her music journey. The Melbourne singer ponders the metamorphosis of love in Love Is The Score Of Nothing, while the synths in Young Love take you on a dark journey before Ribeiro’s angelic vocals bring you back to earth. The three vignettes show off her varied talents, Cry Baby giving ‘50s rock vibes. Her trademark vocal delivery makes this a mellow outing, but Love Hate is lyrically brilliant with humorous wit and indie-rock tunes that will make anyone love Ribeiro.
Ah, Clowns, you’ve done it again! The Melbourne punk outfit provide nothing but the most raucous of rhythms, gritty of guitars, and volatile of vocals in their new album, Nature/Nurture. Not ones to be pigeonholed, Clowns take the wheel and drive you on through a riveting amalgamation of passionate punk and poignant tales, touching on psych and hot hardcore where you least expect it. Left, right, up, down, back and forth, Clowns swing you around on their out of control merry-go-round — a punk ride that’ll leave you happily dizzy when you get off.
We Are A Team
For more album reviews, go to www.theMusic.com.au
Fat White Family
4AD / Remote Control
Prolifica Inc. / [PIAS]
Intricately layered, wistful and unassuming, Designer has obvious nods to ‘60s British and Americana folk plus contemporary influences from Sharon Van Etten, Cass McCombs and Joan As Police Woman. However, it is Harding’s knack for making everything sound new, fresh and interesting that makes album three something special. Lyrically engaging and produced with a less-is-more approach, each song seamlessly flows into the next and although the album satisfies as a nine-part play, there are plenty of individual highlights to satisfy during a short commute.
This dastardly act have been around for quite some time now, and their new, selftitled record proves they definitely know what they’re doing and where they’re going. This is a band absolutely set in their direction. They just get on with pursuing it — with infectious gusto and great skill. They have really nailed the production too, striking a fine balance between human realness and the robotic assembly line sounds required from industrial heavy music. Aussie heavy music is alive, well and kicking heads, and this is yet another fine example.
Serfs Up! is a stylistic devil-may-care freefor-all featuring the seasick cocktail reggae of Rock Fishes, sinister lounge-core and the lush yet creepy chamber-pop of Oh Sebastian. It’s the kind of ‘clever’ approach that screams, “Come back to mine and check out the size of my - record collection. Isn’t it exotic?” The risks pay off on Kim’s Sunsets and Fringe Runner, which retain Fat White Family’s patented seediness in wonderfully disgusting smears. But too often they sound out of their element. Serfs Up! is a record that only occasionally plays to Fat White Family’s strengths.
Christopher H James
Circa Waves have unshackled themselves from their traditional sound and taken a leap forward with third album What’s It Like Over There?. The four-piece from Liverpool have stepped away from the darker and heavier sound of 2017’s Different Creatures, as lead singer Kieran Shudall explains, “The pop will not hurt you, it’ll set you free!” Times Won’t Change Me is so delicious you’ll want to sink your teeth into it, thanks to its soaring piano and Shudall’s smooth vocals. Circa Waves aren’t messing around, they’re here to show they can change their sound and still bring out a banger of an album!
The Chemical Brothers
Rough Trade / Remote Control
Astralwerks / EMI
Farmer & The Owl
What’s It Like Over There?
After an auspicious debut, the Derry native returns with a handsome follow-up with plenty of upfront appeal, hoisted on the back of enormous natural talent. Before We Forgot How To Dream was a valiant (and largely rewarding) attempt to explore innocence and youth, and her new record Grim Town feels like a concentrated effort to confront the realities of being an adult. It’s dystopia-lite, a side-eye to existential dread. Its stylish melancholy is buoyed by exuberant, whimsical arrangements, recalling older masters of flippant romantic nihilism like The Clientele, or Tindersticks, sung with the glossy-lipped chutzpah of Lykke Li
There’s several entry points to the Chemical Brothers’ ninth long-player but the traditional album experience is the one that pays off. Eve Of Destruction is the beefy belter that assures us everything is all good on Planet Dust, flowing into a flawless run with the slightly Basement Jaxx-flavoured Bango and the title track. But be prepared to totally spill your bloody drink on the dancefloor as Got To Keep On’s inspires gleeful misbehaviour. Only the squawky Catch Me I’m Falling fails to meet the high benchmark the Brothers have made over their 20-plusyear career, but still, No Geography is as robust as they’ve been since Come With Us.
Totally Unicorn have described Sorry as a more direct, honest album, but its tone and delivery sound more like an avalanche of sarcasm. A Song For The Dead Shits is an encouraging example of their development, showing they’re not afraid to drop the volume to allow Drew Gardner to expand on his storytelling. But metalcore-style rhythmical mauling may still be the thing they’re best at (see the moshpit mayhem of Grub). ‘Maturing’ might not be the right word for it, but Totally Unicorn appear less hell-bent on ripping out the control console, intent instead on finding new ways to explore 21st century anguish and hopelessness.
Weyes Blood’s fourth album finds the artist behind the project, Natalie Mering, continuing to blossom in the sweet shimmer of her dreamy pop songs. A definite advance on 2016’s Front Row Seat To Earth, Weyes Blood delves into vintage pop influences to deliver a sound completely timeless in its approach. There is a stately magnificence about this album which sees Weyes Blood building ornate orchestral pop symphonies for listeners to drift on. Artfully conceived and constructed, it feels like Weyes Blood has taken more control over Titanic Rising, making bigger and bolder choices on the intricate details.
Christopher H James
FI L M WI T H LI VE O RCHESTRA
26 � 27 APRIL
Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall white
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BIRRARANGGA Film Festival The inaugural BIRRARANGGA Film Festival will feature more than 40 feature-length and short films by Indigenous filmmakers from around the world, including Canada, Peru, Mexico and Greenland. The festival program includes Canadian closing night film Falls Around Her, pictured, from Ojibway director Darlene Naponse, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival last year. The flick follows famous musician Mary Birchbark, played by Tantoo Cardinal, who drops her life in the spotlight in order to reconnect with her First Nation, retreating to a cabin in the woods – where her fame follows her. Another highlight is the the opening night film Sgaawaay K’uuna (Edge Of The Knife) by Haida artist Gwaai Edenshaw and Tsilhqot’in filmmaker Helen Haig-Brown, another Canadian flick, which also debuted in Toronto in 2018. The first movie to be entirely made in the Haida language, it features Tyler York as a Gaagiixiid (wildman) living on the farremoved island in the mid-19th century.
The Birrarangga Film Festival runs from 26 Apr at ACMI.
The best of The Arts in April
The Miser Bell Shakespeare’s The Miser sees Justin Fleming update another Molière, with the company’s founder John Bell in the title role. This production ends up becoming more than just a ribald comedy, but an excoriating take on generational inequality. Pic by Prudence Upton. From 25 Apr at Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne
Film With Live Orchestra
Try not to get slimed as you’re immersed in 1984 cinema classic, Ghostbusters, thanks to the performance of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, who are set to perform Elmer Bernstein’s Grammy-nominated score as well as Ray Parker Jr’s iconic theme song. Pic by Daniel Aulsebrook.
From 26 Apr at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Monty Python’s Life Of Brian Celebrate 40 years of Monty Python’s Life Of Brian – and having a totally respectable reason to write Biggus Dickus in print – by heading along to an anniversary screening. Tix include a special edition poster, song lyrics, stickers and more. 18 Apr at selected cinemas
Spectral Spectral invites artists to explore the interplay between light and sound, featuring Robin Fox’s Quadra exhibition, pictured, and installations from Meagan Streader, as well as works from Hanna Chetwin, Jannah Quill and Kusum Normoyle. From 11 Apr at Arts House
Revolutions: Records & Rebels London’s Victoria & Albert Museum has collected more than 500 objects – film, music and rare artefacts – to provide insight into the transformative period of the late 1960s, exploring everything from Woodstock to the recognition of Australia’s First Peoples in 1967.
From 27 Apr at Melbourne Museum
Nina Ross: That Takes Balls This new video work from Nina Ross projected onto CCP’s Night Projection Window confronts audiences with the names of the 69 women murdered due to violence in Australia last year, interrogating women’s safety and visibility in public space. From 6 Apr at Centre For Contemporary Photography
O n IN A p r i l
Film & TV Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina
HHH Streams from 5 Apr on Netflix
Reviewed by Guy Davis
ou turn your back for one second and, all of a sudden, the Archie Comics universe becomes. somehow, cool? Of course, this evolution of the amiably dorky teen saga had been happening on the page for some time but it’s only recently that this new attitude has taken hold on screen as well, thanks to Riverdale and its equally slickly made supernatural companion, Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, which launches its second season this month. The first season of Sabrina concluded with wraps up both typically teen (Sabrina, played with confident flair by former Mad Men star Kiernan Shipka, split with beloved boyfriend Harvey) and less so (Sabrina embraced her dark destiny by signing her name in the Book Of The Beast, tapping into her witchy powers), and this new season sees her steering into the spookiness by forgoing regular high school in favour of tutelage at the Academy Of The Unseen Arts, which is basically an all-Slytherin Hogwarts.
Shockingly, an affinity for the dark side doesn’t necessarily equal social enlightenment, and Sabrina finds herself having to dismantle the mundane black magic patriarchy one incantation at a time (the male staff and prefects at the Academy get to hang at a gentlemen’s club where Salome herself provides the evening’s erotic entertainment), all the while wrestling with forces much more sinister and powerful that want to use the young half-human, half-witch and her nascent abilities for their own evil ends. Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’s combination of old school supernatural chills, teenage melodrama and 21st century wokeness (when a character announces they are transgender, their friends are appropriately chill about it) is a surprisingly smooth mix - the storylines are engaging if a tad familiar, and the darker elements are just creepy enough to induce a shiver or two without truly getting under the skin. When it comes to tales of the eldritch and arcane, this is a nicely murky cauldron into which to dip your toe.
HHHH In cinemas from 18 Apr
Reviewed by Anthony Carew
urning, the international breakthrough for veteran South Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong, is, in many ways, a strange film to break through. His sixth flick — and first since 2010’s Poetry — ended up all over Best Of lists at the end of 2018, including Barack Obama’s, even though it’s the kind of movie — long, slow, drifting, totally open to interpretation — that rarely finds such approval. Looked at in one light, it’s a thriller: a love triangle in which a woman goes missing, her romantic rivals the rich cad who may’ve done her in and the earnest lover out to know the truth. But Burning defies simple readings, let alone categorisations. Anyone who takes this as a tale of an honest guy with a crush on a cute girl who falls in with a bad man, can’t see the woods for the trees. Adapting a brief short story by Haruki Murakami — which is, in itself, a story about telling stories — Lee takes the scant handfuls of source text plot and pads them out with aching, telling silenc-
es. It’s slyly a film about both an unreliable narrator and the unreliability of cinema. Lee employs a super handsome cast (Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong-seo) and a disarmingly beautiful photographic approach (he and DP Hong Kyung-pyo routinely shooting in the golden glow of magic hour), as a kind of sleight of hand; Burning is a work of quiet disorientation camouflaged by its attractive facade. As whole, it’s a movie that truly embodies the notion of being a ‘mystery’. That’s because what’s mysterious is, essentially, everything. Its central puzzle — what happened to Jeon’s character — is never solved; she simply vanishes, leaving behind a cavernous hole, and endless questions. Those questions are left to linger, in the minds of viewers more than anything. Burning is ultimately about how we can never know, really, anyone. And, in turn, Lee makes his characters as distant, difficult to read, and inscrutable as the people we puzzle over in real life.
Go with the Flo (& Joan) In the comedy box with:
Why did the comedian cross the road?
Talk is cheap Arj Barker chats to Hannah Story about why, as a society, We Need To Talk.
he title of Arj Barker’s returning show, We Need To Talk, is ominous. It’s the phrase you hear when you’re about to receive bad news — usually in the realm of dating and relationships. Some people have gone so far as to ask Barker point blank, “Are you gonna break up with us?” “It sounds like a break-up conversation or other things, it’s usually bad news, right?” Barker begins, on the phone from a run of Adelaide Fringe shows after staying up playing music until the early hours of the morning. Barker says he doesn’t remember if anyone has ever used the line on him. “I think in terms of relationships it’s possible, but I’ve probably been ghosted more than had actual mature discussions. I’ve said it to someone. The problem is when you say it right away they know it’s gonna happen.” We Need To Talk traverses developments in Barker’s life — he got married in mid-2017 — as well as the direction he sees humankind moving in, particularly in regards to technology and how we relate to each other: “There’s one section early on that’s about how technology’s getting better but we’re actually, I think, maybe getting worse. “Then there’s also a part later in the show about how people aren’t particularly honest with each other, and especially with children: people they just love their kids too much to be honest really. And so I propose radical honesty for children, and it’s pretty absurd because I don’t have kids, so it’s pretty ridiculous that I can be the one giving advice.” While feedback for the most part has been positive, Barker says one attendee in particular thought he was being too “cynical”. “I talk about how it’s nonsense to tell a child that you can be anything you want when you grow up — you can do whatever you want — ‘cause I just point out that there’s many other factors involved, like their ability level and physics and all this stuff. “I think he felt like I was being discouraging because he was an ‘emerging artist’, we’ll say. He thought I was trying to kill his dream, which I wasn’t at all, but I was just talking about the realities. You can try to do anything in life but you may not succeed necessarily, y’know?” Still, while it sounds like the subject matter could get a little dark, “ultimately it’s all gags and it’s all about having a good time and getting laughs, but there’s a few interesting
“Look, to be perfectly honest, it’s really hard to say. For a lot of comedians this is a really personal and touchy subject to talk about, especially because of the political climate we’re in at the moment. But I’d say from our perspective... it’s to get to the other side.”
Flo & Joan aka Rosie and Nicola Dempsey tell Joe Dolan about taking their deadpan UK-viaCanada musical comedy Down Under for the first time.
Jake & Ella play until 7 Apr at The Melba Studio.
points that I make. If I make an interesting point, so be it, but my priority is to entertain people and make them laugh”. The adopted Aussie — the Californian comic divides his time between Australia and the United States — toured the show regionally across Australia last year, and even took it to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. While he’s not necessarily suggesting punters should come again, “for anyone that’s on the fence, this show is in its most ›- it’s truly evolved and it’s in a very tight, I’d almost say remastered, condition. So if you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely the time”. “When I first put out a show, a year later it’s evolved a lot. It just has, y’know, ‘cause eventually something might bug me and I’ll think, ‘That joke, it never does as well as it should so maybe I’ll drop it and replace it with one that works better.’” Barker’s also taken the show to North America in recent months, but he doesn’t see too many differences between international audiences. No matter where in the world he’s performing, “people sit there and they laugh and have a great time. I do my job and I dance around like a monkey and everyone goes home happy hopefully”. If a fan was to look up Barker’s Instagram page hoping to find info about his comedy, they might come away more bemused than informed — the comic largely uses the social media platform to indulge his other keen interest: nature photography. “I’ve always liked the outdoors a lot — my grandma would always take us to natural places, so thanks to her we learned to appreciate it pretty good. I’ve always liked nature. I’ve loved animals my whole life. “Then I like photography too... Eventually those two interests I wouldn’t say collided, that sounds a little dramatic, but they fit well with each other. And now I have an adult camera, and I take it out in the woods sometimes. “I can probably use [Instagram] more effectively to promote myself but I just can’t be bothered and I like trying to take beautiful photos, and that’s just a hobby that I enjoy, so why not?”
Arj Barker plays from 9 Apr at Athenaeum Theatre
M IC F
usical comedians Rosie and Nicola Dempsey, better known as Flo & Joan, have made a solid name for themselves as a comic duo. However, the siblings never really intended to jump into the business together. “We hadn’t planned it at all,” says Nicola. “We’re actual sisters, and I guess we weren’t really friends growing up. We were very different. I think a lot of people think we started as some sort of five-year-old double act, but it only really happened a couple of years ago. I moved to Canada to work with the theatre group Second City, and Rosie came out to join me, and while we were there we tried stand-up and improv and all kinds of stuff. We decided to give musical comedy a go there because we’ve always enjoyed it and appreciated it, and we wanted to try it to see if we were any good at it. Canada just seemed like an ideal place to do it, because if we were rubbish than the Canadians wouldn’t care and no one back home would have to find out about it.”
Rosie says the decision to start out in the Great White North had some unexpected drawbacks. “Because we started in Canada, we picked up on the Canadian vibe and what their audiences like. Then when we came home we realised there were subjects and words and things that didn’t really land in the same way. Probably because Canadians just like listening to our funny accents.” Nicola laughs, “One thing that we found was the tolerance levels of Canadian audiences were so high — they were willing to go on a much longer journey than they were in the UK, so it’s going to be interesting to see where Australian audiences fit in with that. But yeah, we initially had songs that were around seven or eight minutes long, and UK crowds after about five were like, ‘No, we get it now. No more, thank you.’ It’s been interesting to see how much we can test people’s patience, but British people, in all aspects of life, seem to be a lot less patient than the rest of the world.” The duo will hit MICF with their internationally acclaimed show, Flo & Joan: Alive On Stage. Rosie says of their debut trip to Aus: “A lot of comedians tell you if you get asked out to Melbourne you’re doing something right, so it’s a nice confirmation of where we are as performers. It’s like when you’re a kid going, ‘I’m ready now! Let’s go now!’ and when you do get asked to Melbourne it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, we weren’t ready. We’re not garbage now.’ So, it’s nice to know that we are coming down.” The performance boasts not only a gaggle of catchy tunes, but plenty of clever lyrics from the witty wordsmiths. “We’ve always been interested in that kind of thing; we like words a lot,” Nicola says. “That’s stuck with us from the very beginning and we even had stuff like beat poetry in our first few shows, so wordplay is something we try and put a lot of effort into. Our points of view have stayed the same, but you tend to find shortcuts and certain ways of saying things if it’s not working for an audience. “Sometimes we do the show word for word, and other times we’ve been a bit loose and some weird stuff has come out. But since we did the Edinburgh Fringe it’s been basically the same show. We’ll have to change a few little things for you guys, there’s some stuff in there that barely makes sense to a British audience, but on the whole, we’re ready to go.” This sense of confidence comes with the seal of approval of US comedy legend Nick Offerman, who recently tweeted about his love for the British two-piece. “I told my mum about it the other day,” says Rosie, “and she didn’t know who he was. I’ve never been more upset with her.” Nicola adds, “I accidentally punched a wall when I saw that. I suddenly had no control over my limbs — it was crazy. He’s the coolest guy in showbiz. Especially because we question every day whether we’re cool enough for this job, that moment was like, ‘You know what? Maybe we’re ok.’”
Flo & Joan play until 21 Apr at Powder Room, Melbourne Town Hall.
Lone wolf world Phill Jupitus tells Maxim Boon about the ‘misanthrophic inner voice’ that demanded he return to stand-up comedy.
ritish comic Phill Jupitus has just made a comeback, which may come as a surprise to his many fans given that in his native UK he’s been an evergreen presence on TV and radio for years. But while Juptius may be firmly ensconced on the airwaves, most notably as a team captain on the BBC’s nowwrapped pop music quiz Never Mind The Buzzcocks and as a regular guest on the Stephen Fry-helmed trivia show QI, there’s one corner of his career that until 2017 had been on a hiatus for almost eight years: stand-up comedy. Not that Jupitus had given up the stage completely. For much of the past decade he’s been a leading man (and on one occasion a leading lady) in top West End musicals including The Producers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and in full drag as Edna Turnblad for Hairspray. In fact, while he initially hung up the stand-up mic to host BBC Radio 6 Music’s breakfast show (late night gigs and crack o’ dawn wake-ups proved too incompatible), it was the comradery of ensemble productions that ultimately kept him away from live comedy for so long. “Being in a theatre and working with large companies is just so different from the lone wolf world of stand-up. And it’s a very social world too, you know? You’re with other people and performing with a band, you get to sing; it’s just a world away from that very isolated world of being a solo comedian,” he explains. “And for a really long time I enjoyed that, I enjoyed being in the group and working with an ensemble. But then there came a time when I just thought, ‘I just want to be on my own again.’ Because, there is, I think, at the core of every solo performer a deep and true vein of misanthropy that they can’t ignore. You’ve got this inner voice that demands to be heard, but it needs solitude to be able to fester and come to the fore!” The product of that return to festering alone-time was Juplicity, a wild hybrid of a show combining several of Jupitus’ talents, including providing his own warm-up act in the guise of a character revived from his early career, Porky The Poet. During his most recent touring, Jupitus has upped the ante as a one-man marvel, this time both in front of and behind the scenes. “On the tour I’ve just done in the UK I did everything, truly, on my own. So no tour manager or stage manager or PA or anything like that. Just me, turning up at venues at four o’clock saying, ‘Hello I’m here!’ Then getting set up and working with crews at the venues. And that’s not the norm. You usually have someone babysitting you extensively, so you never really deal with people.” The next two years will be dominated by touring, bringing live comedy front and centre in his professional life once more. This includes an Aussie tour of his latest show Sassy Knack, building on the momentum of Juplicity’s barnstorming outing Down Under in 2017. The new set will once again feature several strings of Jupitus’ comedy bow, with more poetry, plenty of his trademark audience repartee, and “adult themes and situations but delivered childishly”.
M IC F
Being such a creative polymath might seem scattergun to some, but for Jupitus, it’s the natural evolution of his life as a performer. “I love the fact I can do loads and loads of different things. As a stand-up comedian, the freedom, the latitude you have as a performer, there is no performing framework like it in terms of personal freedom in any other creative discipline. I talk to musicians, I talk to actors, and they all say they’re jealous because of the freedom you have as a stand-up. But it’s all relative, you know? “I was working with some actors on a project and we were talking one night in the wee small hours about who had the more difficult job? And they were saying, ‘I just don’t know how you can walk out and just stand behind a mic and come up with two hours of talking, that just seems impossible.’ And I was like, ‘No no no. What’s impossible is saying the same thing, in exactly the same way, in exactly the same physical position every night. That’s impossible.’ Just the freedom you get as a comedian, there’s no other feeling like it.”
Phill Jupitus plays from 17 Apr at Max Watt’s.
To read the full story head to theMusic.com.au
Istituto Italiano di Cultura Melbourne Lectures Concerts Movies Exhibitions Performances Italian Language and Culture Courses/Certification Library Venue Hire Discover Italy in the heart of South Yarra iicmelbourne.esteri.it
9 1 4 0 09 Music i s u F o c Mar 9 1 4 0 5 2 Music a n a i l a t Bandi
Angie McMahon. Pic: Paige Clark
APRA Music Awards 2019 is certainly off to a good start for local act Angie McMahon. She’s just returned from a stint in the US, where she scored a very prestigious award at SXSW and supported Pixies. McMahon’s also been nominated for Song Of The Year at this year’s APRA Awards, alongside Mojo Juju, Amy Shark, Ainslie Wills and Paul Kelly. The awards take place at Melbourne Town Hall on 30 Apr.
Give it a spin
The vinyl revival has shown that records still hold a solid place in people’s hearts, and the best way to get them is undisputedly thumbing through crates at your favourite local. So on Record Store Day this 13 Apr, do yourself a favour.
In the groove
Record Store Day means limited edition vinyl and one-off reissues and as usual there’s a whole mess of them to pick from this year. There’s no wrong choices obviously, but a few of them might be particularly heartbreaking to miss out on. Illustration by Felicity Case-Mejia. Courtney Barnett Everybody Here Hates You
Seriously, CB is dropping her first single of 2019 as an exclusive Record Store Day vinyl release with a hand-drawn cover and Small Talk as a B-side. There’s only going to be 2,000 copies of the Everybody Here Hates You 12”, so, ah, move quick.
The Birthday Party Mutiny/The Bad Seed
The last word from the seminal Australian band before they imploded in 1983. Nick Cave described Mutiny, “A document of the group in utter collapse,” while historian Clinton Walker called The Bad Seed,“The definitive Birthday Party record.” Here’s your chance to snag them both.
Considering the impression Idles made on Australian crowds during their recent tour, we’d be pretty shocked if this wasn’t a hot ticket item. It’s the first time the four-track EP has been issued on vinyl and features the EP Meta with remixes on the B-side.
Green Day Woodstock 1994
The Fall Medicine For The Masses (The Rough Trade Singles)
A rowdy, mud-soaked set that propelled Dookie into the mainstream, this performance is perhaps most notable for bassist Mike Dirnt losing a tooth after getting spear-tackled by security after they mistook him for a stage-climbing fan.
TOTALLY WIRED FOR MASS CONSUMPTION OF ALL THE MOST GROTESQUE SINGLES FROM BRITAIN’S THE FALL, NORTHERN WORKING CLASS TRACKS THAT FIGHT BACK. MADE WITH THE HIGHEST ATTENTION TO THE WRONG DETAIL, FUCK-FACE. That’s our best Mark E Smith impression, hope you enjoyed it.
Bob Dylan Blood On The Tracks (Original New York Test Pressing)
Aretha Franklin The Atlantic Singles Collection 1967
If you know your Dylan lore, you’ll know that many of the original, bootlegged New York recordings of Blood On The Tracks outshine the revisions that Dylan made to the already incredible album in Minneapolis. This is a big deal for Dylan fans who love their vinyl.
So much soul it’ll make your turntable come alive. This new compilation collects all of the 1967 singles from The Queen Of Soul’s I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love Youera in one tidy little boxset. R-E-S-P-EC-T that!
Van Morrison Astral Weeks Alternative
Weezer Dusty Gems & Raw Nuggets (The B-Sides)
We dare you to listen to the original Astral Weeks and not feel moved by it, we DARE you! An album that can only be described as truly magical, this release compiles a few extended tracks and bonus songs for their first appearance on wax.
A quality collection of “Blue Album”-era B-sides including Susanne, Mykel & Carli, Paperface and more, this is peak Rivers Cuomo. Any of these terrific songs could have sat on their 1994 debut, so we’re excited to finally have them on vinyl too.
Various Artists Lost In Translation OST
Ever just wish you had some music for like, I dunno, chilling out but, like, also having sex, but while being depressed, you know? Ever just been feeling a lot of kind of, existential ennui? Oh, the Lost In Translation soundtrack is on vinyl now? That’s chill.
X-Ray Spex I Am A Cliche (Anthology) There’s many a great band out there with a singer that either makes or breaks the music for new listeners. X-Ray Spex’s Poly Styrene is one of them, and the band’s new vinyl compilation is bound to divide audiences all over again.
Jeff Buckley In Transition
Normally we’re against the continuous milking of a dead artist’s archives — but this is Jeff Buckley we’re talking about! With seven previously unreleased studio recordings from 1993, we’re stoked to hear the demos of originals like Mojo Pin and Last Goodbye as well as an early rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
Wax on, wax off
For the record
Since it is Record Store Day and all, we asked some of the city’s finest wax slingers a couple questions about their collections.
A brief and subjective history of vinyl.
What’s the record no collection can go without?
Basement Discs, Suzanne Bennett: Miles Davis, Kind Of Blue. Whether you’re a jazz fan or not — this one is truly a classic and should be in everyone’s collection. Groundbreaking, yet supremely accessible. Cool, cool jazz at its most sublime from the undisputed master of cool. (And, as far as I know, still the biggest selling jazz album of all time — because it is, quite simply, GREAT!)
Wah Wah Records, Ben Treyvaud: I don’t think any collection can be complete without a Beatles record. Each one takes you somewhere else, and that’s why a ‘best of’ doesn’t really fill the scope. Start from the beginning and enjoy the ride. If pushed for a specific one, I’d say Rubber Soul.
248 to 65 million years ago
Dinosaurs roam the earth. Records from this period are scarce. 1857
Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville invents the phonautograph. It’s not great. 1877
Famous bastard Thomas Edison ‘invents’ the phonograph, which can both record and reproduce sound on wax cylinders. He’s
Quality Records, Matt Griffiths:
Dixon Recycled Records, Julie Wakefield:
If you’re asking me, everybody needs Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On. It doesn’t matter if it’s the standard issue or a UHQR supermega audiophile pressing, you just need this album in your life. The story in the lyrics is so powerful and the music and vocals are so on point it can’t be beat.
No record collection can go with out The Beatles, Abbey Road – on vinyl, CD and even cassette! Why? Because it is the perfect pop-rock album from start to finish.
not great. 1887
Emile Berliner’s first markets the ‘flat disc’ format in Europe. Edison eats disc. 1925
Western Electric develop the first electrical recordings. I said high voltage. Rock’n’roll. 1931
RCA Victor launched Program Transcription discs, the first commercially-available LP. 1939
Columbia Records wants a slice of that pie, baby, starts developing LP technology.
What absolutely classic record have you never properly given a listen?
Columbia introduce the 12” Long Play, 33 1/3 rpm microgroove record, aka the vinyl LP we know and love today.
Basement Discs, Suzanne Bennett:
Wah Wah Records, Ben Treyvaud:
Pink Floyd, The Dark Side Of The Moon. Despite personally having sold literally thousands of this album on all formats over the years, apart from the singles, I can’t recall ever listening to this classic all the way through! (Maybe because everyone else was?) Clearly an embarrassing gap in my musical ‘education’!? Ya can’t love everything, right?
I would say Queen’s Greatest Hits. I would listen to the three hits then go, “Meh,” and it was because I just didn’t really understand this cabaret-operatic trip they were on. Then I realised I didn’t have to really understand it to enjoy it, and to leave my trip at home. Great record.
Philips’ cassette is released. Vinyl takes a hit.
Philips start working on Compact Discs. Things are not looking good for our hero. 1988
CDs outsell vinyl for the first time. RIP, records. 2008
Record Store Day event begins, woot woot. 2016
Quality Records, Matt Griffiths: You know I’ve never got the hype around Meat Loaf, Bat Out Of Hell. Apparently it’s sold  million copies worldwide, that’s no flash in the pan! I guess I just don’t trust artists named after lunch meat.
Record sales see their ninth year of consecu-
Dixon Recycled Records, Julie Wakefield:
tive growth, even reaching a 25-year high. The vinyl revival is on. 2017
The classic record I have never given a proper listen or chance – Pink Floyd, The Dark Side Of The Moon – because everyone else has.
Records represent 14% of all physical album sales in the US. 2018
An estimated 9.7 million million records fly of shelves, setting yet another consecutive annual increase. Wax is hot property.
Cookin’ On 3 Burners
Cookin’ On 3 Burners are doing a full-on funk crawl, playing Greville Records, Rocksteady Records, Record Paradise and Northside Records throughout the day.
The line-up is stacked at Basement Discs, with a legendary triple bill of Deborah Conway & Willy Ziegler, Foot (Tim Rogers, Davey Lane and Shel Rogerstein) and Mick Thomas and then some.
Pic: Rex Kane-Hart
Pic: Georgia Wallace
An added benefit of hitting the crates this 13 Apr is that there’s gonna be some killer performances. Here’s a taste of the town’s line-ups.
Pic: Robin Sellick
Record Paradise’s stage goes live from 3pm, with sets from local art rockers U-Bahn, Perth mainstay Rabbit Island, Jess Ribeiro, Truly Holy, Bob Evans and Synthetics.
Head down to Polyester Records for in-store shows from two badass local singers, Laura Imbruglia and Jess Ribeiro, as well as techno-pop trio Huntly.
bar & live music venue
303 high street northcote
on in april M O N D AY 1 S T A P R I L
W E D N E S D AY 1 0 T H A P R I L
303 YARRA BANKS JAM NIGHT
ENTROPY QUARTET + MOTIV
T U E S D AY 2 N D A P R I L
T H U R S D AY 1 1 T H A P R I L
7:30PM, FREE W E D N E S D AY 3 R D A P R I L
ENTROPY QUARTET + LIJUKA + MONTY SHNEIR ENSEMBLE 7:30PM, DONATION
T H U R S D AY 4 T H A P R I L
HAWKER HEIGHTS HAMMOND COMBO 8PM DOORS, $10
F R I D AY 5 T H A P R I L
THE ONE TWOS + THE RAMSHACKLE ARMY + SOCIAL HAUNTS + RAVINES 8PM, $7/$10
S A T U R D AY 6 T H A P R I L
ENDREY + LAURA INGRAM 8PM
S U N D AY 7 T H A P R I L
DAREBIN SONGWRITERS GUILD
THE MONTGOMERY BROTHERS 8PM, FREE
F R I D AY 1 2 T H A P R I L
THE COLBY’S EP LAUNCH 8:30PM
S A T U R D AY 1 3 T H A P R I L
HEADLINES + GUT CUTTAZ + NEHI & BEN BINARY + ODDSOX + MONO + TOMMY CHONG + TEEPZ & DJ DEKTEKTIVE 8PM, $10
S U N D AY 1 4 T H A P R I L
T U E S D AY 9 T H A P R I L
SLIPPER + MICK POWER BAND + CASEY BEBENEK 7:30PM, DONATION
T U E S D AY 2 3 R D A P R I L
STEVE HENSBY BAND 7:30PM,
W E D N E S D AY 2 4 T H A P R I L
ENTROPY QUARTET + KOI KINGDOM + COALESCENCE QUARTET 7:30PM, DONATION
T H U R S D AY 2 5 T H A P R I L
F R I D AY 2 6 T H A P R I L
SEAN SULLY 7PM
M O N D AY 1 5 T H A P R I L
303 YARRA BANKS JAM NIGHT 8PM, FREE
JONATHAN COOPER QUINTET
BROTOWN + LAZY SIDEKICK + THE FLYIN’ SAUCERS + NEWTOWN STORY
WILLIAM ELM + XANI + JUSTIN ASHWORTH M O N D AY 8 T H A P R I L
S A T U R D AY 2 0 T H A P R I L
T U E S D AY 1 6 T H A P R I L
JOHN WILLIAMS DOUBLESHOT OF BLUES
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SKY EATER + ERIK PARKER
WASTELANDS + GREASY PALMS
W E D N E S D AY 1 7 T H A P R I L
ENTROPY QUARTET + BIRD CONFERENCE 7:30PM, DONATION
T H U R S D AY 1 8 T H A P R I L
TRAUTONIKS: TRAUTONIUM / VIBRAPHONE / SYNTHESIZERS
8PM DOORS, $10
SLOMO + WINTERNATIONALE + TINA GROWLS 7PM, $5
S A T U R D AY 2 7 T H A P R I L
HOMEBASS: ALPHA CHANNEL EP LAUNCH 8PM, $10
S U N D AY 2 8 T H A P R I L
HANNAH POTTER 7PM
M O N D AY 2 9 T H A P R I L
GOODSPORT + SULO 7:30PM, $5
T U E S D AY 3 0 T H A P R I L
SMILING POLITELY COMEDY 7:30PM, DONATION
7:30PM DOORS, $20/$15
303 net au
RSD 19_The Music_153 x 117_RSD Basement 153x117mm ad 28/03/19 6:19 PM Page 1
MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC ALL DAY... SO COME ON DOWN & JOIN IN THE FUN!!
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WITH CELEBRITY MCs BRIAN NANKERVIS (ROCKWIZ), NEIL ROGERS & IAN BLAND (3RRR) RECORD STORE DAY, since it's inception back in 2007 has become a day of celebration worldwide–a celebration of both music & independent Record Store culture. Basement Discs has been participating since day one... and it truly is our favourite day of the year!! On SATURDAY APRIL 13th, Basement Discs will host the biggest event on our calendar with special RSD releases, our music trivia quiz, lot's of prizes & give-aways, light refreshments (profits to RSPCA) and some seriously GREAT LIVE MUSIC performances on the Basement Discs stage. Join us for a fun-filled day celebrating great music here at your favourite independent record store!
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Download Festival @ Flemington Racecourse. Photos by Jay Hynes.
Things got heavy as Download Festival rolled
into town and it was glorious. Though Ozzy sadly couldn’t make the trip due to illness, Behemoth,
Ghost, Judas Priest, Slayer and plenty more made sure the devil horns were flying high.
“The talent on display all day across all stages is astounding.”
– Bryget Chrisfield
Golden Plains @ Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre. Photos by Joshua Braybrook.
As usual, the dickheads were few and the highlights many at The Supernatural Amphitheatre’s
annual two-day shindig. Khruangbin, The Internet, Beach House, Liz Phair - if there was a dud all
weekend we must have been in the compost-friendly johns.
“What a damn fine festival this is.”
“A candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long...”
CHARLES WESTON HOTEL
CHARLES WESTON HOTEL
PUB BINGO & DISCO DJ MARNI LA ROCCA W/ TINA
THURSDAY 4 APRIL
BEN DELVES TRIO 6.30PM / FREE
SUNDAY 7 APRIL
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SUNDAY 14 APRIL
THURSDAY 11 APRIL
RHYLEY MCGRATH 6.30PM / FREE
DYLAN GUY PINKERTON
SATURDAY 13 APRIL
LANEOUS SOLO 6.30PM / FREE
THURSDAY 25 APRIL
LANEOUS SOLO 6.30PM / FREE
ROO &WINE $14.99
SUNDAY 28 APRIL
THE MOONEE VALLEY4:00DRIFTERS PM
THURSDAY 11 APRIL
SON OF A GUNZEL 6:00 PM
SATURDAY 13 APRIL
DON MORRISON 6:00 PM
SUNDAY 14 APRIL
THURSDAY 18 APRIL
FRIDAY 19 APRIL
SUNDAY 21 APRIL
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THE LUAU COWBOYS
SATURDAY 27 APRIL
SHANNON BOURNE 6:00 PM
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GEOFF ACHISON 4:00 PM
BEN SMITH BAND 8:00 PM
DON HILLMAN’S SECRET BEACH 4:00 PM
4.00PM / FREE
6.30PM / FREE
THE HORNETS 6:00 PM
SON OF A GUNZEL 6:00 PM
SUNDAY 21 APRIL
SATURDAY 6 APRIL
4.00PM / FREE
6.30PM / FREE
SATURDAY 20 APRIL THURSDAY 18 APRIL
THURSDAY 4 APRIL
SON OF A GUNZEL 6:00 PM
EYES DOWN AT 7ISH
FRI-SUN NOON TO LATE
GLAMGURLZ 6:00 PM
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THE JOURNEYMEN 4:00 PM
POOL COMP MON 7.30pm / TRIVIA TUES 7.30pm / WED OPEN MIC NIGHT 7pm FOOD SPECIALS NOT AVAILABLE ON PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
Mon Roo & Wine $14.99 / Tue $12 Burgers / Wed $12 Pies / Thu $12 Parmas
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SATURDAY 27 APRIL
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Howzat! Local music by Jeff Jenkins
We’ll just say, it’s everything: the return of Motor Ace
One year ago
Top five things you might not know about Motor Ace
Brian Hooper, bass player in Beasts Of Bourbon, dies of lung cancer, aged 55. Wa Wa Nee singer Paul Gray dies of
1. Motor Ace grew out of a band called Snowblind, who released an EP called Lorenzo in 1996. 2. Playing their first gig at the Punters Club in April 1998, Motor Ace took their name from Soundgarden’s Pretty Noose (“Let your motor race”). 3. Damo wanted to call the debut album ‘Lock Up Your Daughters’. 4. Patch’s sister told him to include bagpipes on Death Defy, pointing out that Australian bagpipe songs, such as You’re The Voice, top the charts. The band got Steve Smith, who played on You’re The Voice, but the song failed to crack the Top 40. Though it did become the theme for The Secret Life Of Us. 5. The band shared management in the US with Motley Crue, Blondie and Hanson. Patch knocked back the chance of a writing session with Nikki Sixx.
multiple myeloma, aged 54.
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s posthumous album, Djarimirri
(Child Of The Rainbow), debuts at #1, becoming the first ARIA #1 album in an Australian Indigenous language. It’s announced that Neil Finn has joined Fleetwood Mac.
Midnight Oil receive the Ted Albert Award at the APRA Awards. Paul
Kelly’s Firewood & Candles (written with Billy Miller) wins Song Of The
Year, while AB Original is the first hip
hop act, and Briggs and Trials the
first Indigenous artists, to receive the Songwriter Of The Year award. Five years ago
The reborn Double J starts broadcast-
Motor Ace play 170 Russell on 12 & 14 Apr.
ing, with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ Get Ready For Love its first song. Ten years ago
Keith Urban scores his first US #1 album with Defying Gravity.
Nathan Seeckts —
The Heart Of The City Nathan Seeckts’ first album reminds one of Steve Earle’s debut from many years ago. Whereas Earle was singing about Guitar Town, Seeckts (pronounced “Seeks”) is singing about G-town — Geelong. “The only stars Motor Ace
n 2001, Motor Ace singer Patrick ‘Patch’ Robertson and drummer Damian ‘Damo’ Costin were asked where they’d be in 20 years. “In some corny car yard, selling secondhand caravans, in a nice brown suit,” Damo replied. Patch initially dodged the question, but later addressed it when the band broke up: “I know I’ll be writing music, whether it’s for elevators or blockbuster films, who knows. I’d like to be making music and still enjoying it. But I don’t think I like to project like that anymore. I prefer less projection and more enjoying the moment. Hopefully I can do that.” Nearly 15 years later, Damo is one of the most powerful people in the music business (#40 in The Music’s Power 50 of 2018). And Patch has rediscovered his love of music. In fact, he’s put the band back together, to celebrate 20 years since Motor Ace’s self-titled EP. Patch, a prodigious talent, remains one of Australian music’s most intriguing people. Despite being articulate and engaging, he never enjoyed the razzle-dazzle of the music industry. His internal struggle — “Looking for a single thread/ Of melody to help me get by” — was documented in Motor Ace’s songs. When it came to the music business, he loved the music and hated the business, a predicament succinctly explained in Hey Driver: “We’re having fun, not having fun.” Between their first and second albums, a stressed Patch sought answers from non-traditional medicine. The diagnosis? “Patrick, you think too much, that’s your problem.” The remedy? “Ping pong.” Patch became an avid player during the making of the band’s second album, Shoot This. “I’d almost go so far as to say that I enjoyed the table tennis more than the making of that record.” Indeed, the band enjoyed a “pong-off” with You Am I, who were recording in the next studio. “We kicked their arses,” Motor Ace bass player Matt Balfe recalls. Patch has now found peace in a day job — “It’s been good, forcing me to interact with people.” Despite their internal struggles, Motor Ace had significant success. They were in Adelaide on a Sunday night when a roadie came on stage and yelled: “You guys are number one!” Shoot This had debuted on top. “It was a very Spinal Tap moment, but it was good. It’s nice to be able to say one of our records did that.” At their peak, the Motor Ace rider demanded “a fresh pair of black socks for each band member”. Patrick admitted he’d miss the rider when the band ended. “Having a crate of alcohol thrown at your feet every night, not many jobs in the world provide that.” For the reunion tour, the guys joke that they’ll be requesting single malt whisky. Motor Ace announced their split in September 2005, a month after the release of their third album, Animal. “We could probably go on,” Patch said at the time. “We’re all on good terms, and musically we’re more experienced. but I just didn’t want to dilute what we’d done by petering out. At some point, you have to make a choice. Ultimately, you’ve got to be happy. As much as I think there’s still a hell of a lot of music within me and within the band, it can’t work. It just can’t work.” The liner notes for their debut album, Five Star Laundry, ended: “Don’t know if they’ll save your soul, but they’ll definitely save today.” Motor Ace remain one of Howzat!’s favourite bands. Who knows if they will make more music or do more shows beyond this tour. Patch has a new band with Damo, Nighthawk, with plans to release an album later this year. But the Motor Ace music — and memories — will live on. As the Animal bio concluded: “Perhaps in life there are no real endings. it is possible Motor Ace was never in any serious danger of coming to an end.”
Milestones and memories
‘round here played football,” he sings in Old Blood. “I wrote songs ‘bout gettin’ out.” An important new voice in the country scene.
This month’s highlights
Skye high Dylan Alcott
Melbourne-based Indigenous singer-songwriter Alice Skye will be hitting the stage of Kew Court House on 13 Apr, performing new material as well as familiar favourites from her debut record, Friends With Feelings.
Willing and able
Last year’s Dylan Alcott’s Ability Fest raised almost $200,000 in donations for children with disabilities. We wanna see that number go even higher when acts like Rudely Interrupted, The Presets and E^ST hit the Coburg Velodrome 7 Apr.
And you may ask yourself! The mysterious Martika (no, not that one) will be launching her debut single, How Did I Get Here, a song that details her troubles as a new face in the music world, on 11 Apr at The Toff. She’ll be bringing her full band line-up along for the show too.
All that jazz
A vocal powerhouse of jazz-pop and all things R&B, Melbourne’s Chelsea Wilson will be launching her new album, Chasing Gold, at Howler on 12 Apr. To celebrate the release, Howler will be shifting into full-blown Studio 54 mode, complete with sequins, lights and disco classics.
Shrimpwitch. Pic: Kalindy Williams
Roll in the hay
Cosmic Kahuna describe their music as “dim-witted, amoral exploitation”, and are playing a headline gig at The B East on 18 Apr. They’re bringing Wollongong garagepunks Hoon with them, and it’s free, so go nuts.
Chelsea Wilson. Pic: Michelle Grace Hunder
Head on down to the barn at Collingwood Children’s Farm on 17 May for Cans And Bands 2019! In addition to a stellar lineup of brewskies and bevvs, garage-rock duo Shrimpwitch and alt-pop threepiece Loose Tooth will there to raise the roof until the cows come home.
FROM THE TEAM THAT BROUGHT YOU THE B.EAST
. h g u a l l l ’ u oY You’ll cry. hurl. l l ’ u Yo
Party Time. Excellent!
LIVE MUSIC, FREE ENTRY, BANGING BURGERS, VEGAN TREATS, SWEET TUNES, VIBING DJ'S, POOL TABLE, SMOKING AREA, FRIENDLY SECURITY, COCKTAILS, MOCKTAILS, DUCKTALES. STARRING: FRIED CHICKEN, BEER, JALAPEÑO POPPERS & CLARK. ZANG The Music
This month’s highlights Sean to be wild Great Brit Anne You can catch breakout English singer Anne-Marie at 170 Russell on 2 Apr; and The Prince on 3 Apr. After supporting Ed Sheeran in stadiums across Europe and the US in 2017-18, you can bet she’ll be bringing her polished best to the stages of our humble local venues too.
Alt-country singer Sean McMahon will be hitting the Wesley Anne on 13 Apr. Inspirations for his new record, You Will Know When You Are There, include Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks and Neil Young’s On The Beach. In other words, his performance is sure to be a bummer in the best way possible!
Heartbreak hotel Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird have a new album on the way by the name of New Romancer. Could that be a nod to a certain William Gibson cyberpunk novel? No idea, but you can find out when the indie-pop group perform at Corner Hotel on 27 Apr.
Come celebrate the launch of Sydney muso Rainbow Chan’s new single Love Isn’t Easy with help from some yet-to-be-announced special guests at Horse Bazaar on 27 Apr.
Love lifer Legendary Aussie singer-songwriter and former frontman of The Sports Stephen Cummings will be playing at Memo Music Hall on 12 Apr with an all-star cast of musicians. This tour comes in support of latest album, Prisoner Of Love,and will feature Dave Graney & The Mistly as guests.
Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird
XANI. Pic: Michelle Grace Hunder
What are you doing 7 Apr? Is it going on a transcendent sonic journey with otherworldly musical acts like William Elm, XANI and Justin Ashworth at Bar 303? Yeah, I knew you’d be coming, see there you there, brah!
BUUIFHBUFTUIFIBVOUFE XJUDIFSZ GSJEBZNBZ
NFMCPVSOFTLBPSDIFTUSB Ä˜POFZFBSPGTLBÄ™ TBUVSEBZNBZ
DISJT)PMNFT &98"41 UIFNFBONFO
ANNE MARIE (UK)
KERSER (18+) KERSER Uâ€™18â€™ EVENT 12PM TO 3PM This event is a smoke free (+ drug free) event
30 MARCH 3 APRIL
GOOD FRIDAY - JOHN COURSE
SUPPORTED BY GLADES LIC/ALL AGES EVENT 7PM TO 10PM
MAGIC MIKE XXL POP EVIL (U.S.A) WINE MACHINE
This event is a smoke free (+ drug free) event
DOM DOLLA SOLD OUT DOM DOLLA DENNIS LLOYD (ISR) DOM DOLLA THE ORIGINAL WAILERS (JAM)
5 APRIL 6 APRIL
FEAT. HOT DUB TIME MACHINE
PRINCE BANDROOM 27 FITZROY ST, ST KILDA
LIC/ALL AGES EVENT 7.30PM TO 10PM
2019 OFFICIAL AFTER PARTY
8 HOUR CLASSICS SET - 2PM TO 11PM
This event is a smoke free (+ drug free) event
SYDNEY HOTSHOTS PRESENTS
JOHN CORABI & BAND (U.S.A)
IVHIDPSOXFMM IFMMJPOT SVFBMCVNUPVS
3 MAY 4 MAY
8 MAY 10 MAY
the best and the worst of the month’s zeitgeist
The lashes Front
Trial by doco
Gunning for it
If you haven’t seen English
Keanu Reaves corralling an
R Kelly, Michael Jackson,
One Nation are a pack of
57 countries signed the UN’s
There really isn’t enough
comedian James Acaster
airport full of strangers after
Fyre Fest’s Billy McFarland,
corrupt, paranoid delusion-
International Women’s Day
space here to fully break
butcher a flapjack on The
his flight was grounded in
Lou Pearlman (aka the
al, NRMA-courting snakes in
statement seeking to make
down the wild finale of Get
Great British Bake Off yet,
Bakersfield was the pure,
the grass. Surprise! Hold up,
safe abortions easily ac-
Krack!n (check out Benja-
take a couple of minutes
wholesome content we
manager) - the broader
our mistake. They were just
cessible, as well as remedy
min Law’s Twitter for that
out of your day and give it a
didn’t know we needed.
conversation’s been chang-
“on the sauce”. Better give
other “human rights viola-
if you don’t have time to
look. “Started making it, had
Neo reading out facts about
ing around a lot of creeps
Mark Latham a seat in the
tions of women and girls”,
watch it right this second).
a breakdown, bon appetite,”
the “ninth most populous
lately, including some that
upper house then.
and Australia wasn’t one of
Suffice to say the Kates’ lat-
is a mood.
city in California” to keep
seemed nigh untouchable.
them. Sick one, ScoMo.
est triumph is gone forever
everyone entertained is just
Keep the docos coming.
and the world’s a sadder place for it.
impossibly dorky and sweet.
The final thought
Words by Maxim Boon
In a country starved of political leadership, Egg Boy is no yolk.
n recent years, geopolitics has devolved into such a Kafkaesque farce, barely a day goes by without some inexplicable political screw-up dominating the headlines. And with such a seemingly inexhaustible supply of blustering buffoonery, day in and day out, the default response for most of us has become a generous eye-roll with maybe the occasional Pelosi clap-back, just to switch it up.
But clownish as many of our leaders may be, occasionally there are moments that remind us just what true leadership looks like. One of the most striking examples recently emerged in the wake of a horrifying act of terrorism: the extraordinary grace, compassion, fortitude and empathy shown by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, following the shocking murders of 50 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch last month. As an unthinkable tragedy engulfed a community already demonised by the racebaited scaremongering that has a disturbingly secure foothold in mainstream politics, Ardern offered powerful gestures of consolation and solidarity. Her head covered by a simple scarf as a sign of respect and sensitivity, pictures of her meeting survivors and the families of the dead, her face filled with sincere sorrow, offered an all too rare foil for the usual parade of political idiocy. Meanwhile, Australian pollies did what they do with alarming frequency: they got it totally fucking wrong. Pauline Hanson proved what a reptilian husk of a human she is by taking to breakfast TV with the same dog-whistle anti-Muslim hate speak that inspired the attack in the first place, without the faintest hint of common decency or restraint. Prime Minister Scott Morrison spat the dummy
over reports that he had once pitched anti-Muslim fear tactics as a useful campaign message, choosing tantrums, soliciting fake alibis and shutting down press conferences over offering any actual kind of apology or acknowledgement of wrongdoing. But thanks to Australia’s latest larrikin folk hero, one of our most repulsive political mouth-breathers at least got a dressing down. I’m talking, of course, about Will Connolly, or as he will ever be known, Egg Boy. With just a phone cam, an egg in hand, and a devil-may-care approach to self-preservation, Egg Boy subverted the racist drivel being spouted by far-right nationalist Fraser Anning in response to the Christchurch attack, by cracking a shell on the Senator’s dome. And while the stunt did result in Anning assaulting the 17-year-old, before he was, in his own words, “tackled by 30 bogans at the same time,” it nonetheless revealed what a thuggish bully, surrounded by slack-jawed wannabe stormtroopers, Anning really is. But satisfying as it was to see Anning get egg on his face, there is also something faintly depressing about Egg Boy. In the face of a colossal tragedy, as Arden showed us what true leadership looks like, the best we could summon was a teen with an egg carton. Surely, Australia, we deserve better?
N EE TIO LY FR BI AI D HI N EX E OP
THINK YOU KNOW AUSTRALIAN HIP HOP?
UNLOCK THE STORIES AT THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC VAULT.
PARTNERS M AMAJOR JOR P ARTNERS
SUPPORTING PARTNERS MEDIA PARTNERS ARTS CENTRE MELBOURNE | 100 ST KILDA ROAD MELBOURNE #AUSTRALIANMUSICVAULT AUSTRALIANMUSICVAULT.COM.AU @AUSTRALIANMUSICVAULT AUSTRALIAN MUSIC VAULT
FESTIVAL ON NOW! Com^ edy!
THE AMERICAN DREAM WITH STARS FROM
CONAN * KIMMEL FALLON * SNL
SIMON AMSTELL .....
W H AT I S T H I S ? CHRIS REDD
JOEL KIM BOOSTER
MAX WATT’S • UNTIL 21 APR • SEE WEBSITE FOR LINEUPS & SHOW TIMES
‘Wise and funny… a lovely hour that strikes a beautiful balance between perky and pained, anxious and ironic’ GUARDIAN
ARTS CENTRE MELBOURNE • 9–21 APR • TUE-SAT 7PM, SUN 6PM
ImAgE CoNsCiOuS ‘A dErAnGeD ‘fLaT OuT gEnIuS’ hIlArIoUs’ ++++ +++++ SYDNEY MORNING NEW EUROPEAN
‘IT’S LITTLE WONDER THAT MELBOURNE AUDIENCES LOVE MARK WATSON’
THE FAMOUS SPIEGELTENT • UNTIL 21 APR • TUE-SAT 7PM, SUN 6PM
MELBOURNE TOWN HALL • UNTIL 21 APR • TUE-SAT 7PM, SUN 6PM
FLO & JOAN
ROB BRODERICK IS
ALIVE ON STAGE
yyyyy the age
IS THIS RAHUL EVEN SUBRAMANIAN COMEDY? ‘‘TRICKSY LYRICS, PINGING WITH SMART REFERENCES... A MINCHIN-ESQUE TWIST’’ CHORTLE
THE FAMOUS SPIEGELTENT TUE-SAT 8.30PM UNTIL 21 APR SUN 7.30PM
CHINESE MUSEUM 16–21 APR
Eleanor Tiernan Success without a Sextape
TUE-SAT 8.30PM SUN 7.30PM
MELB TOWN HALL UNTIL 21 APR
TUE-SAT 8.15PM SUN 7.15PM
ACMI, FED SQUARE UNTIL 21 APR
TUE-SAT 7.15PM SUN 6.15PM
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The Music is a free, monthly magazine distributed throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From local insights and insider knowledge to in...
Published on Apr 3, 2019
The Music is a free, monthly magazine distributed throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From local insights and insider knowledge to in...