July Issue | 2019
Melbourne | Free
S p l e n d o u r i n t h e g r a ss Open your mind to A Swayze, Thelma Plum & Meg Mac Allday: cosmic inspiration meets just getting it done
Come fortify yourself with some serious comfort food
DJ Algorithm: the best of YouTubeâ€™s weird music recommendation AI
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Five artists you need to hear this month.
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MUSIC FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY
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Credits Publisher Handshake Media Pty Ltd Group Managing Editor Andrew Mast National Editor – Magazines Mark Neilsen Senior Editor Sam Wall
Invasion of the pod people.
Editors Daniel Cribb, Neil Griffiths
his month it’s time to take a look at something new that’s happening with The Music. Handshake Media, the company that publishes this masthead, has launched a podcast network, which you can find housed at theMusic.com.au website. While the site has long been home to a variety of podcasts spread across the platform, they have now been relocated to the Podcast home page. They’re now much more easily navigated through and also all living together under the Handshake Media channels on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Our flagship series The Music Podcast has been rebranded as The Green Room With Neil Griffiths (hosted by our very own Head Of Online News & Content) and returned last month with two blockbuster episodes featuring Jimmy Barnes and Dean Lewis. We are also happy to announce that our former digital editor and triple j announcer Uppy Chatterjee has transformed her popular Two Truths And A Lie column into a regular podcast as well. Chatterjee has a way of disarming her guests and getting them to divulge their deepest secrets. If you want to hear Megan Washington spill on the rumour she had to remove from Wikipedia page or Allday confessing to wayward sins of his youth, Two Truths And A Lie is the show for you. Handshake has also picked up Matter Of Faction, hosted by Pricey & Browny, who discuss all things heavy music. And it’s not just the latest release and tour news but all those other music lover topics such as filming at gigs or the worthiness of musical collaborations (fun fact: they don’t always see eye to eye). And our WA-based digital editor Dan Cribb has teamed up with Troy Nababan to launch the That Sucks! series. Together they explore the bad side of things people love. Each episode introduces a guest who is encouraged to gripe about a topic that they normally love. Yep, there’s a lot of quality what-grinds-my-gears whining. Coming back soon will be the critically acclaimed The Lashes (well, it got a rave review in the Herald Sun). If you missed the first two, highly unhinged seasons, they are still available for streaming. There are also plans for more of our Producers series as well continuing to podcast from various musical events around the country. We plan to be back ‘casting from both Splendour In The Grass and BIGSOUND this year. With more series in pre-production, expect to hear us veer into some new directions, with immediate plans including series based around sport and booze (as separate topics, we won’t be encouraging you to mix the two). Hopefully these will be making their way to the channel before the end of 2019.
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, 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, Rod Whitfield Senior Photographers Cole Bennetts, Kane Hibberd Photographers Rohan Anderson, Andrew Briscoe, Stephen Booth, Pete Dovgan, Simone Fisher, Lucinda Goodwin, Josh Groom, Clare Hawley, Bianca Holderness, Jay Hynes, Dave Kan, Hayden Nixon, Angela Padovan, Markus Ravik, Bobby Rein, Barry Shipplock, Terry Soo Advertising Leigh Treweek, Antony Attridge, Brad Edwards, Jacob Bourke email@example.com Art Dept Felicity Case-Mejia firstname.lastname@example.org Admin & Accounts email@example.com Distro firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions store.themusic.com.au Contact Us Mailing address PO Box 87 Surry Hills NSW 2010 Melbourne Ph: 03 9081 9600 26 Napoleon Street Collingwood Vic 3066 Sydney Ph: 02 9331 7077 Level 2, 230 Crown St Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Brisbane Ph: 07 3252 9666 email@example.com www.theMusic.com.au
Andrew Mast Managing Editor
T h e Sta r t
Something to kill time before #BIGSOUND19
CLUES: 1. ...... Australia announced a game-changing baggage allowance for musicians at BIGSOUND 2011 2. Brisbane-based songwriter Emerson ..... was awarded the Levi’s® Music Prize at last year’s BIGSOUND 3. Music legend and keynote speaker Paul ..... performed a surprise show at BIGSOUND 2018 4. Risqué signed this Melbourne future pop duo after seeing them at BIGSOUND: .... Kyss 5. You can save $100 on your BIGSOUND Purple Pass by booking before 31 ....
Save $100 BOOK YOUR PURPLE PASS BEFORE WEDNESDAY 31 JULY
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This month 14
Editor’s Letter We predict the major AIR Awards winners
Guest editorial: Executive Chair Of Independent Music Companies Association IMPALA, Helen Smith
The best arts of the month
Pic: Tam Cader
Shit We Did: Making ASMR Videos
Little Simz Spilling her heart out on record
The best of YouTube’s weird music recommendations
Helen Smith Helen is IMPALA’s Executive Chair. One of her pet sayings is all artists are born equal. Originally from Scotland, now based in Brussels, Helen is very happy to live in another country that loves to make whisky (yes it’s true, Belgium is not just about beer and chocolate…).
Film & TV reviews Booksmart and Lambs Of God
44 Kane Hibberd Kane Hibberd is an average photographer at
The Big Picture Defend, Conserve, Protect
P i c : K i i A re n
Mini Mansions Writing and recording in real time
Much Ado About Nothing Okenyo is sceptical of Shakespeare
: Ka t e W i l l i a ms
Adani’s construction Why it’s caused consternation and how the fight against it continues
generally feel sorry for him so most of his
best. He’s been around so long that people work in the music industry is based on pity. His internet presence is unremarkable and
so is his taste in music, but people seem to enjoy having him around. Go figure.
Your Town Winter comfort food
This month’s local highlights
T h e s ta r t
Stephen Amis Stephen Amis is a producer, director, writer, editor and two-time AACTA-nominated cinematographer. Cutting his teeth on childhood Super 8 epics, Stephen graduated from Swinburne Film & Television School and went on to make films including The BBQ, The 25th Reich, Virus and The Real Thing.
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We’ve seen their Endgame but Marvel’s far from finished. This time around your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is going abroad, but Nick Fury and a fractured multiverse aren’t on board with Peter Parker’s chill Eurotrip plans. Spider-Man: Far From Home is in cinemas 1 Jul.
Glow up Starting from 12 Jul, ascendant neosoul star Kaiit is heading on tour with her latest single Miss Shiney. The tour will stop in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, with a quick detour for Splendour In The Grass.
Podcast of the month: The Green Room With Neil Griffiths The Music Podcast is back with a fresh new revamp... say hello to The Green Room With Neil Griffiths. From house calls with Jimmy Barnes to Dean Lewis’ wild 12 months, subscribe to get a peek behind the curtain with the world’s biggest artists.
Stranger danger The kids are back and they’re all grown up in season three of synths’n’scares ‘80s homage, Stranger Things. It looks like there’s a new beastie to battle, besides hormones, as the Upside Down continues to hassle the town of Hawkins. Out on Netflix 4 Jul.
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Something To Believe In
The latest novel from the author of cult fave Pig City: From The Saints To Savage Garden, Andrew Stafford’s Something To Believe In is a must-read memoir detailing a life spent head over heels in love with music. Available from 2 Jul.
AIR Awards predictions
LANY. Pic: Emma n Mo
This 25 Jul Australia’s Independent Music Industry Record Labels Association will come together to celebrate the country’s independent artists. Here’s our tips for who will take what.
Best Artist Nominees
Courtney Barnett | Gurrumul | Julia Jacklin | Laura Jean | Methyl Ethel
After a barnstorming year from Barnett, there’s a strong chance Jen Cloher’s 2018 award will have some company back at Milk! Records HQ.
Best Album Or EP Nominees
Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel | Emma Louise – Lilac Everything Gurrumul – Djarimirri | Laura Jean –
Maliboogie LA alt-pop outfit LANY are back in Australia from 13 Jul with their second album Malibu Nights. Here just last March for a quick three-stop jaunt, this time the trio have shows in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.
Devotion | Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
Gurrumul’s deeply affecting final album Djarimirri has proven time and again that it’s impossible to ignore.
Best Single Nominees
AB Original – Blaccout | Courtney Barnett – Nameless, Faceless | G Flip – About You Laura Jean – Girls On The TV Mojo Juju – Native Tongue
With Native Tongue, Mojo Juju sparked a conversation in a way few artists ever truly manage. It’s also just a killer track.
Breakthrough Artist Of The Year Nominees
Hip to the groove
Confidence Man | Didirri | Emily Wurramara | G Flip | Hatchie
After supporting Matt Corby and Dean Lewis earlier in the year, Eliott heads on her own east coast headline tour this month to celebrate her new single, Shaking My Hips. The run kicks off on 5 Jul in Queensland.
Winner G Flip came in hot with About You. Going from unknown to household name in a matter of months is the definition of ‘breakthrough’.
T h e s ta r t
Moaning Lisa. Pic: Natalie Jurrjens
Moaning Lisa are heading out with their latest grungepop anthem Take You Out this month, with headline shows around the country from 5 Jul, as well as sets at Splendour In The Grass and the Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival.
Gena Rose Bruce. Pic: Tasha Tylee
Tri-umph Acclaimed Australian singers Holly Throsby, Sally Seltmann and Sarah Blasko have reformed their short-lived, muchloved supergroup Seeker Lover Keeper with new single Let It Out, with live dates scheduled from 12 Jul.
Seeker Lover Keeper. Pic: Cybele Malinowski
Now in its fifth year, Bello Winter Music will again take over 14 venues across Bellingen this 11-14 Jul with 70 international and local acts, including Laura Jean, Jess Ribeiro, Nadia Reid and Tammi Savoy & The Chris Cosello Combo.
After their Holiday EP, a joint Lazertits 7” split, and a couple lead singles, Swim Team finally drop a full-length debut on us this month. The Melbourne trio’s jangly, lo-fi pop and everyday lyrics – delivered via clean group vocals º are a delight. Grab Home Time 12 Jul.
T h e s ta r t
Swim Team. Pic: Kalindy Williams
Take a dip
Sh*t we did
With Maxim Boon
Gena Rose Bruce is playing three shows along the east coast to launch her impressive debut record, Can’t Make You Love Me. The tour starts in Sydney on 19 Jul before heading to Melbourne and Brisbane.
ASMR videos If you aren’t familiar with ASMR videos, trying to explain the appeal of this wildly popular online craze is a little tricky. A good place to start is with the science. ASMR stands for autonomous sensory meridian response, or, in layman’s terms, tingling sensations that aren’t the result of any direct touch. What triggers these relaxing and pleasurable feelings, usually beginning on the scalp before spreading down the neck and shoulders, is an unlikely array of sounds
including light tapping, whispering, cutting paper and even the wet sounds of a chewing mouth: Maccas even produced an ASMR ad
Alvvays. Pic: Arden Wray
Indie kids Alvvays are coming back our way for the first time since the release of their second album Antisocialites back in 2017. The Toronto-based outfit have three shows scheduled in Oz, starting in Melbourne on 30 Jul.
featuring John Goodman eating a Big Mac… Now, it’s not exactly clear what bright spark figured out there was a huge untapped ASMR market via YouTube, but whoever it was started a global online trend that has spawned hundreds of ASMR channels to date, attracting millions of hits worldwide, with some individual videos even racking up views in the tens of millions in their own right. And as with any online ephemera worth its salt, the bizarre ecology of different videos this craze has inspired ranges from the quaint to the downright creepy. Most are focused on the various ways of producing different “triggers”, such as make-up brushes stroked across microphones or crinkling plastic bags. But there are also a lot of themed videos and roleplay scenarios – everything from a pampering trip to the spa to outer space sci-fi rescues (at least, very quiet ones). So, with such a huge number of vids already online, and more appearing every day, how hard could to be to make one myself?
Monster sea, monster do
I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a personal devotee of ASMR videos, and have cannonballed my way through a shit-tonne of them. So I was quietly (pun intended) confi-
Explore a unique and beautiful world as Kay, a young woman turned monster searching for her humanity in the submerged ruins of a city. An ambitious and cinematic metaphor for loneliness, the much-anticipated indie game Sea Of Solitude drops 5 Jul.
dent that I could rattle off a few simple ASMR videos, badda bing, badda boom. As it turns out, there’s more skill involved than I realised. You see, there is, it seems, a subtle art to making an ASMR video without sounding like a total sex perv – a skill I do not have. This had nothing to do with the actual content of the video, which was simply me whispering Wikipedia entries about ASMR. But it turns out, my whispering voice is truly haunting. SevSea Of Solitude
eral attempts to make the most innocent of
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ASMR vids produced results that ranged from unbearably cringey to near-criminally skeezy. So, it looks like I’ll be sticking to journalism for the time being.
Making sense of Europe’s copyright debate Ahead of her keynote at the Indie-Con Australia conference, Helen Smith – the Executive Chair of IMPALA, the Independent Music Companies Association, which represents indie labels and trade organisations – explains the impact changes to copyright legislation have had on the independent music sector.
opyright reform to boost the digital music market — what’s next? Few could have missed hearing about the copyright debate in Europe. Amid cries of “upload filters”, “censorship machine”, “robocopyright” and other buzzwords, the move to bring copyright up to date came under heavy fire. The battle raged for nearly three years. The final directive was published in May. It’s an impressive result for the music sector in particular. The legislation marks a turning point for copyright rules in Europe and beyond. All eyes are now on EU member states as they start implementing the directive into their national laws. Of course, this will bring its own share of challenges. We know the lengths some parties will go to try and hold on to the status quo. So what was all the fuss about? It started when the EU decided it was time to clarify what the courts had already been saying about platforms. They provide access to music and other copyright material uploaded by citizens, so they need a licence and can’t rely on safe harbour legislation. As you can imagine, this wasn’t music to everyone’s ears. Citizens and decisionmakers had to endure an unprecedented level of manipulation, disinformation and intimidation. There is only one answer to that. Greater controls and sanctions have already been called for in Europe and elsewhere. Certain players will regret showing just how far they were prepared to go to influence public opinion and democratic processes. But back to the new copyright rules. For the first time anywhere in the world, we have legislation clearly stating that platforms such as YouTube and Facebook are covered by copyright. At the same time, the new regime is nuanced. Non-profit platforms, online encyclopaedia, open source software platforms and online marketplaces are excluded. Wikipedia, for example, will still be there to provide you with a full analysis of Games Of Thrones’ most epic battles when nostalgia strikes, as we move further away from winter (or summer, depending what hemisphere you are in...) Small start-ups benefit from a lighter regime and in certain circumstances platforms can limit liability if they pass the right tests and comply with strict stay-down requirements. The final directive was about balancing the interests of all stakeholders. Citizens are at the core of the new rules and that’s the right approach. The directive ensures people can continue to make and share memes and gifs, listen to their favourite artists and of course watch videos online. Tutorials, movie reviews, music clips — they’ll all still be there once the directive is implemented. The directive also makes it very clear that rules on privacy and personal data will be respected, and that general monitoring is prohibited. This won’t change. So what does change? Responsibility will be transferred from citizens to the platform as licences now cover the user’s uploads. What’s also new is the redress mechanism for citizens to make sure that videos they uploaded are not taken down unreasonably.
At the centre of the debate was what became known as the “value gap”. That’s the difference between the economic value produced by a creative work for a platform when it’s uploaded, compared to the money that trickles back to its creator. The debate in Europe wasn’t just about money of course. It is equally important to have a say in how your music is used online, and the new rules do that. Artists are direct winners. By tackling the value gap, the directive will ensure that revenues increase. Authors and performers will also benefit from new rules to improve their relationship with their contractual partners through new reporting requirements and a contract adjustment mechanism, among other provisions. IMPALA supported this, in line with the commitments the independent sector already made nearly five years ago with the WIN digital deals declaration. One of the directive’s leitmotifs is levelling the playing field and that extends to music services. Competition between user-generated content platforms and services like Spotify and Deezer will be fairer as a result of the new rules. And that’s good for everyone — fans, artists, labels, publishers, platforms. No more claims about safe harbour, no more “take it or leave it” deals, more accountability — that’s how to have an ecosystem that’s sustainable for all. The sale of UMG is also a key issue here. Google, Tencent and others have been talked about as potential suitors. That level of vertical integration would pose considerable risks for competitors and citizens. The good news is that we can’t imagine any regulator in Europe or Australia or elsewhere approving such a move. It’s the last thing we need if we want to maximise the boost for the digital market that the copyright directive promises. The new copyright regime in Europe is an opportunity to grow the digital market in a way that’s fair and sustainable. Of course this isn’t just an issue in Europe. Other countries are also looking into the same questions. Wherever you are, the storyboard for the independents remains the same. We have embraced the user-generated economy for 20 years and it’s time for the legal framework to catch up with the market. As legislators rose to the challenge in Europe, IMPALA’s sister organisations like AIR and others spread the word about how the eyes of the world were on the EU. This was an important factor that encouraged decision-makers to see it through. Imagine how powerful we are when we speak with one voice and learn from everyone’s experiences. This is why events like Indie-Con Australia are so important, and we look forward to continuing the debate in Adelaide, 25 & 26 Jul. This is ultimately about boosting the digital market and working together with all music services who foster unique relationships between fans and artists. Music lovers in Australia and across the globe, watch this space.
The new copyright regime in Europe is an opportunity to grow the digital market in a way that’s fair and sustainable. Of course this isn’t just an issue in Europe. Other countries are also looking into the same questions.
Indie-Con is on 25 & 26 Jul at Lot Fourteen, Adelaide.
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Bryget Chrisfield hears from Splendour In The Grass rising stars Meg Mac, Thelma Plum and Andrew Swayze (of A Swayze & The Ghosts) about chance backstage meetings that turned into collabs and more. Cover and feature photos by Kane Hibberd.
uring set-up for The Music’s Splendour In The Grass cover shoot at photographer supreme Kane Hibberd’s Cremorne studio, Andrew Swayze wanders out and settles into a booth in the office next door for this interview. “I’m pretty hungover, to be honest,” he confesses. He’s scrubbed up alright, though. “Have I? Good,” he chuckles. “Yeah, a bit of eye make-up and a shower can do wonders.” The band he fronts, A Swayze & The Ghosts, played their first-ever Corner Hotel show last night supporting West Thebarton (“Slayed it, it was a sick show”) so obviously post-show celebrations were in order. Speaking of firsts, this will be A Swayze & The Ghosts’ debut Splendour In The Grass performance and Swayze enthuses, “It was definitely part of our goals that we sorta defined a few years ago... When we found out, we were pretty elated to be able to tick that off — I think it’s a bit of a rite of passage for up-and-coming Australian bands.” “This’ll be my third Splendour,” another of our Splendour cover stars, Meg Mac, wearing her trademark wide-brimmed hat, reveals. “My first Splendour was just after my first EP [MegMac] had come out and I’d never seen that many people in my life! I didn’t look out in the audience before I went on and I was like, ‘Woah!’ She is all set to grace the GW McLennan stage in 2019 and Mac explains, “I’ve played the same stage each time, but the time slots have changed.” Her increasing popularity sees Mac edging closer to headliner status with each passing Splendour appearance. “I remember last time, I played towards the end of the night so I was too nervous to watch anything before and then everything was kinda over by the time I ended up getting backstage, and I didn’t get to watch anything.” She usually likes to “hop around” the festival site wearing her artist lanyard, though: “It’s fun, ‘cause you can kind of see things from side of stage and you can get to see a lot more and get a different perspective.” Mac has never attended Splendour In The Grass as punter, but Swayze certainly has. “It was wild,” he recalls. “I’ve never been to a festival with that many people [in attendance] before and it took me, like, a day, I reckon, just to get my head in it, the seas of people moving between stages and things like that, but, yeah! It was great. I had a sick time. I loved it. I saw The Cure play and, like, I’d always wanted to see The Cure.” When Swayze graced Splendour with his presence in 2016, he “stayed at a friend’s aunty’s place and caught the shuttle in and out”. Thelma Plum, who rounds out our Splendour cover shoot trio, recounts the “most epic” camping experience occurred after a “really last minute” decision to attend the festival. “The Skaters boys, from New York, were playing and I’d met them the night before in Melbourne, and they were like, ‘We’ll give you tickets to Splendour if you come.’ And I was like, ‘Great!’ But we hadn’t organised any accommodation so me and my friend — we had a friend there and the three of us stayed in the back of his ute, and it had no cover over it and I remember just being so cold [laughs]. Yep, we did get rained on and it was pretty wild,
but, yeah! It was pretty fun — we had a really good time that year.” Having grown up in nearby Brisbane, Plum is a bit of a Splendour regular and admits, “It’s pretty exciting being on the bill, that’s for sure. For years I’ve wanted to play at Splendour, but I guess now’s just the right time. I’m gonna release my album [Better In Blak] only a couple of days before Splendour, which is really exciting and so I was like, ‘Thank you very much!’” The title track from Plum’s forthcoming debut album was released in April and the Gamilaraay woman acknowledges she noticed this song in particular, and its accompanying music video, “resonated with people”. “I had people messaging me and being like, ‘We saw your film clip on Channel [V] and MTV and stuff,’ which is awesome, ‘cause that’s something that I don’t think has happened to me that often.” Of the video, Plum tells, “I had a lot of my friends in it who are Aboriginal women, and my two sisters were in it, and I feel like that was quite special.”
Splendour in the grass
Even though Mac’s second album, Hope, only dropped last month, her postSplendour plans include “recording and writing the next record”: “I got back from LA yesterday, so I’m still a bit wired,” she shares. “I had a break so I just went over and I was meeting producers, doing some sessions and working with people.” It was actually at Falls Festival 2015/2016 that Mac met Leon Bridges and his band, which inspired her to make her 2017 debut Low Blows in Fort Worth with the very same people with whom Bridges worked on 2015’s Coming Home: “It only lined up in Marion Bay, in Tasmania, that he was on the same day as me and we were sort of, like, backstage in the same area. They watched my set and then, yeah! It just went from there.” When asked whether she’s ever met an artist backstage at a festival that she’s gone on to collaborate with, Plum shares, “One of my really beautiful friends, Emily Wurrumara — whenever we’re in the same city she gets up and sings with me in my set — I met her at Woodford [Folk] Festival, back-
What kind of setlist can we expect from you at Sp lendour and your sideshow? “Bringing the heat and nothing less at all of our performances!” — Elbee Thrie
Phony Ppl’s sideshows are from 23 Jul
stage. We had our tents next to each other and that’s kind of how we met and started singing together.” Splendour In The Grass tends to lure its fair share of surprise guests to the stage — hello, Client Liaison featuring Tina Arena (2017) and DZ Deathrays featuring Murray Cook aka the OG Red Wiggle (2018) — and Plum muses, “Maybe this year there’ll be some good ones. Maybe I’ll have a few people come up...” On whether she’s ever done a guest spot during someone else’s set, Plum enthuses, “Yep, I sure have; I love doing it... Mostly just with my friends and if we’re on the same bill, or if we’re in the same city at that time.” When asked whether any particularly memorable performances spring to mind, she offers, “I guess Briggs is always a good one. I get up quite often with him and with AB Original ‘cause we have a song together [I C U].” After discovering she’s never invited a guest artist to share the stage during one of her previous Splendour appearances, we suggest now is the time for Mac to start
considering the possibilities. “Maybe,” she hesitates, “maybe I should plan something special.” “I don’t think we know enough big, famous people to be able to pull that kinda shit off, you know?” Swayze laments. “Maybe we’ll bring out-who would I bring on? Ah, I dunno. A hologram of Tupac?” A Swayze & The Ghosts are no strangers to sharing a stage, though, and Swayze reckons his band has become a bit of a magnet for stage invaders. “I never really invite anyone, they just get up and do stuff — pick up the tambourine or whatever — which is ok,” he says. “I mean, it’s fun as long as they don’t get in the way. Henny [Hendrick Wipprecht], our guitarist, he’s averse to it — if you get in his space he’ll just hit you with his guitar, like, me included! We’ve gotta tape up all our pedals; every lead that we have [has] gotta have tape around it, ‘cause I just kick stuff out, you know? And Henny will just whack me with the guitar. So if it’s some random person, like, they’re putting their lives at risk by getting on stage with Henny on the stage, I think.”
After playing a series of club shows all around the globe, Swayze says he’s definitely looking forward to performing on a bigger stage at Splendour In The Grass. as well. “For someone like myself who’s fairly uncoordinated but likes to move around a lot, it’s good to have some space. I fully slid off stage the other night,” he laughs. “It was the first song and seriously — these shoes, right? They’ve got no grip and I just slid off, fell off the end.” Did he somehow manage to turn his stack into a crowdsurf? “No, there was nothing cool about it, it was just lame, hahaha. It just sucked.” Sounds pretty punk-rock, though. “Yeah, that’s the good thing about branding yourself as a punk band is you can just get away with anything. It’s good. Handy.”
Splendour In The Grass is on from 19 Jul at North Byron Parklands.
Splendour in the grass
Will you get much time in Australia beyond Splendour and your sideshows? “Yes! We’ll have a few days off and we are desperately hoping to hold a koala and visit the Bondi Beach Icebergs pool!” — Eva Hendricks
Charly Bliss’ sideshows are from 19 Jul
C h a r ly B l i s s
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
tella Mozgawa, the Sydney-born, LAbased drummer for indie-rock band Warpaint, recalls going to Splendour In The Grass when she was younger. She also vividly remembers her band’s first set at the muddy winter festival, back in 2011 — the headliners were Coldplay and Kanye West — when the venue temporarily shifted from the NSW coastal town of Byron Bay to Woodford in Queensland, about an hour out of Brisbane. “I was hyping up Byron Bay to my bandmates,” Mozgawa begins, referring to Warpaint guitarists Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman and bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg. “It’s the most magical place, and we’ve been there a couple of times as a band just to have a holiday. So I just kept talking it up and then when we got there it wasn’t terrible or anything, it just wasn’t a classic Byron Bay experience. “I was wearing a blue sweatshirt with horses on it, that’s what I remember. I did a really silly photoshoot with Jen [Lee Lindberg] — looking back at those photos I always regret it.” Warpaint finished off a tour supporting their friends MGMT in May, and return to Australia this July with a string of dates in support of Foals: “We’ve been friends with those guys for a long time,” Mozgawa says, adding that the two bands met on the touring Laneway line-up, also in 2011. “We’ve seen them grow into this massive, massive band, and that’s just really exciting. I’m really proud of them,” Mozgawa gushes. She won’t be pressed on any potential guest appearances over their run of shows — whether Warpaint in Foals’ set, or Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis in theirs. “I wouldn’t be surprised if something fun happens that we figure out when we get together.” Last year, the band opened for One Direction’s Harry Styles for his world tour dates in Asia. Usually, Mozgawa says, Warpaint’s tour offers make sense: “This one was one of the first to be quite surprising. Then we just decided, why not, why wouldn’t we do that?”
Styles’ drummer, Sarah Jones, of Hot Chip and NYPC (formerly New Young Pony Club), is a friend of Mozgawa’s, and Warpaint found they had plenty of mutual friends with Styles’ touring band. “It just actually really felt like another tour with friends, except for the fact that this person is the biggest pop superstar in the world.” Still, Mozgawa does note that Styles’ fans are obsessive compared to Warpaint’s — but it’s the kind of weighty devotion to an artist a young person feels when they’ve first found something they really connect to. She describes people waiting at hotels when they’d return after a show. “Somehow they found out where he was staying and somehow found out when the band was leaving the airport,” Mozgawa explains. But in terms of demographics, the differences between a typical Warpaint fan and the audiences at Styles’ shows didn’t “feel crazy different”: “Music lovers are music lovers wherever you go. It was a pretty interesting experience for us. It was really exciting. The reception that we got was really warm and lovely.” This year, the focus for Warpaint is recording their fourth studio album — their first since 2016’s Heads Up. When The Music speaks to Mozgawa, it’s their first week solidly working on it: “We’ve done a couple of songs already and we’ve got a lot of ideas floating around.” Not touring — “just being domestic and living a different kind of life” — is a form of self-care for Mozgawa. The months earlier this year before the tour with MGMT were “the longest that [she] hadn’t toured personally in 12 years”. “I just realised that I really, really like my life as a non-touring musician and as just a human, living day to day. Being in the same city every day, or being where you have chosen to be every day, is a true holiday for me. “I’ve always loved touring and I enjoy getting better at it, but I think as you get older you have to really be vigilant about taking care of yourself and remembering why it is that you do this thing. It’s not band camp all the time. It is a job and you’ve gotta take it seriously and have fun while you’re doing it.” So what does come to mind when Mozgawa needs to clarify why it is she does this whole working musician thing? “I was obsessed with music — I still am obsessed with music. It’s a complete disease that I’ve had since I was really quite young. I’m just always not even trying. I just am thankfully still excited to play music.” Warpaint tour from 15 Jul.
Splendour in the grass
S i m z p ly
Put iT O n e t i m e at b a n d c a m p
Stella Mozgawa of California’s Warpaint talks to Hannah Story about getting to play gigs with friends, like MGMT and Foals, as well as with one of the biggest pop stars in the world, Harry Styles.
Little Simz aka Simbiatu Ajikawo talks to Cyclone about being more personal than ever on her third, breakout album, GREY Area.
he UK rapper, musician and innovator Little Simz (aka Simbiatu “Simbi” Ajikawo) is on a roll. In 2019, she has unveiled her most high profile album, GREY Area, and hit Coachella for the first time. Now she’s destined for Splendour In The Grass. “I’ll be coming out with my band, which will be fun,” Ajikawo says, from the road stateside. “I haven’t played in Australia with my band yet. All the times I’ve been out there, it’s just been me and my DJ. So I’m really excited to come out with my show as it is now
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
When Bryget Chrisfield sits down with Allday (aka Tomas Gaynor), they discuss the rapper’s ongoing search for “cosmic inspiration”, the prophetic nature of some lyrics and his Guns N’ Roses Appetite For Destruction club.
fter we bags a couple of stools facing the side window of a cafe in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, Tomas Gaynor (Allday on festival line-ups) orders a green juice. The Adelaide rapper is based in LA “at the moment” and enthuses, “I’ll be driving through the canyon [Hollywood neighbourhood Laurel Canyon] and be like, ‘Oh, this is right where Joni Mitchell used to live.’” Still, he admits he would have preferred to call the City Of Angels home circa 1971: “I’m thinking of, like, Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills & Nash — that’s the sort of stuff I like, so...” What about the height of the ‘80s Sunset Strip hair-metal scene? “I was living right in Hollywood when I first moved there,” Allday reveals. “I was a bit into that [music] growing up as well, my friends and I have a Guns N’ Roses Appetite For Destruction club — well, just three of us — and we make sure we meet up once a year and listen to [the album] in full, and usually in a car just ‘cause it was our thing.”
Starry Night Over The Phone (ONETWO) is out this month. Allday tours from 20 Jul.
As such, Allday was stoked to spot Rock N’ Roll Ralphs on Sunset: “They’ve got it printed on the doors... ‘cause that’s where they all used to hang in the hair-metal days and, like, meet up before they’d go to the clubs. I was just like, [snaps his fingers and points] ‘Rock & Roll Ralphs.’” Allday then shares “the main reason” he decided to relocate stateside: “I wanted to learn how to write quicker... They just go in the studio and just make songs and they don’t care if it’s good or bad [in LA], so I wanted to, like, get a dash of that and try to combine it with the cosmic inspiration I’m always searching for.” We discuss prolific Brill Building-era songwriting teams such as Carole King/Gerry Goffin, and Allday offers, “It’s that’s old adage, ‘Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.’” He recently watched Rocketman with his mum and we marvel at the depiction of Elton John’s speedy songwriting process throughout the film. “I mean, sometimes it’s almost like that,” Allday allows. “Sometimes that first idea is ‘it’ — an amazing feeling. Maybe it is like that for Elton John? “I think hit songs — not that I’ve had a hit song, but the thing with hit songs is you feel like you’ve heard it somewhere before; it’s like an instinct. So usually if my brother says to me, ‘I dunno, I feel like I’ve heard this one before.’ I go, ‘Oh, this might be a good one!’”
Little Simz tours from 18 Jul.
So does Allday then Shazam the melody to make sure he hasn’t accidentally plagiarised a famous tune? “I drive myself pretty crazy with that,” he confesses. “I’ve, like, deleted a lotta things that I’ve stolen from other people. I accidentally did a Midnight Oil melody on a song and I was like, ‘This is fantastic! I’ve written a great chorus!’ and then it was just like one of the big Midnight Oil songs.” After an advance listen to Allday’s forthcoming album, this scribe gets the sense that his past relationships may have suffered while he’s “been busy blowing up”. “I haven’t been very good at keeping relationships so far in my life,” he admits without hesitation, “but I’ve been very good at keeping friendships. “The album ended up being more written when I was in a relationship, with lots of negative stuff about the relationship ending. And sometimes I found that you end up writing about stuff that hasn’t happened yet, that you haven’t really accepted is about to happen, in your conscious mind. And then when you look back you’re like, ‘Oh, I was just writing about everything that is about to unfold...’ But the lyrics are really what’s embedded in your mind.”
Splendour in the grass
“Busy blowing up”
and let you guys see what we’ve been doing around the world with it.” Live, she’s favouring GREY Area material, because “the support on it has been so crazy and every song is just so performable — every song is really fun to perform.” The North Londoner launched her career in the performing arts. In 2010, Ajikawo starred in the BBC’s kids fantasy show Spirit Warriors. But she then dedicated herself to music, studying production at college and circulating mixtapes and EPs. Ajikawo premiered officially with 2015’s cerebral album A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons, which housed the gothic Dead Body. Next came the trippy narrative of Stillness In Wonderland, its single Poison Ivy featuring spiky guitar (which Ajikawo strummed on 2017’s Australian tour). Ajikawo ushered a bold experimentation into grime, even as she transcended it. She also challenged hip hop’s gender inequality, declaring herself a “King”. Resolutely independent, Ajikawo received a co-sign from Kendrick Lamar. Still, it’s only with her third outing, GREY Area, that she’s been embraced by wider audiences. Ajikawo cut GREY Area primarily with producer Alex “Inflo” Baranowski, who, on the side, has composed things like the score to the Nureyev documentary. And the music is expansive, spanning electro (Offence, the lead single) and groovy neo-soul. Ajikawo recognises the LP as a watershed. “I definitely feel the change this time around. I think just maybe peeling back more layers and being a bit more direct with what I’m saying, conceptwise, and the production as well — this sound where we chose to go musically with the record — just opened it up and connected with more people in a way that I could only have hoped for.” The response has been “very overwhelming”, she admits, “but good nonetheless”. Indeed, GREY Area is more immediate, and less conceptual, Ajikawo revealing her inner life: the anxieties and frustrations. She simply needed to “vent”. “I didn’t go in the studio with the mentality of, ‘I wanna make a #1 record,’ or, ‘I wanna make a smash hit.’ It wasn’t that at all. It was, ‘I’m just going in the studio to spill my heart,’ kinda thing. I don’t have to pour my heart out every album I do, but I think, at this time in my life, I just had some things I wanted to address.” The affecting closer, Flowers, a duet with London folkie Michael Kiwanuka, is especially sublime. Ajikawo was chuffed that he was already a fan. Ajikawo has other unusual features in her discography. Early, she collaborated with Raleigh Ritchie — who, as the actor Jacob Anderson, is famous for portraying Grey Worm in Game Of Thrones — on his hip hop banger Cuckoo. Ajikawo was familiar with Anderson from Noel Clarke’s film AdULTHOOD. She then discovered his music. “I thought he was sick.” The pair were introduced by their managers. “Raleigh’s really cool. He’s obviously flying right now — he’s doing amazing. So it’s good to see your peers doing great.” More recently, Ajikawo worked with Damon Albarn’s virtual band Gorillaz, blessing their song Garage Palace and joining them on tour. And, while describing Gorillaz as “a very big world to be in”, Ajikawo commends Albarn for giving guest artists space. Albarn reassured her, “We want you as you,” she recalls. “That was really, really helpful. It took the pressure off loads.” Ajikawo is re-establishing a presence in television. GREY Area’s Boss was synced for HBO’s acclaimed Insecure. But she’s likewise auditioned for acting roles. Ajikawo will appear in the cult crime drama Top Boy, which — starring the credible Ashley Walters, onetime So Solid Crew MC, and Kane “Kano” Robinson — was saved by Drake and Netflix when it was canned by Channel 4 in 2014. “I guess my character’s like the love interest of Ashley’s character, [the hustler] Dushane,” she teases. “So, yeah, a lot of my time on set was with Ashley.”
Will you get much time in Australia beyond Splendour and your sideshows? “I’m not sure how much time I’ll have but, if I have time, I do really want to experience Melbourne and Sydney in between shows. I’ve been wanting to go all my life so I’m super stoked.” — Tim McEwan
The Midnight’s sideshows are from 17 Jul
Adani has officially begun construction: what now?
Adani has officially begun construction of its controversial Carmichael coal mine. Maxim Boon takes a step back to ask what Adani is, why the mine has caused such outrage and what is now being done in the fight to stop it. Illustration by Felicity Case-Mejia.
ollywood has long toyed with the notion of a global apocalypse, awesomely captured in disaster-porn blockbusters full of earthquakes and tidal waves and volcanoes. And in those epic cinematic struggles, as humankind faces the bleakest of odds, the solution to the calamity is often doable by a small band of intrepid heroes, who pit their very lives against extraordinary dangers to pluck civilisation from the jaws of doom. But as it turns out, Hollywood is full of shit, at least when it comes to saving the planet. Instead of a thrilling, action-packed adventure starring a buff AF leading man, the reality of the climate crisis is a more gruelling and frankly insurmountable global challenge. Several major ecological nightmares are in the process of converging, as a perfect storm of modern life’s demands — gigawatts of power, an inexhaustible abundance of food, and a culture of constant waste — are finding form at terrifying speed. Global warming driven by greenhouse gas emissions is the undisputed poster boy
for climate change, but plastic is hot on its heels as one of the surprise ecological bogeymen to emerge from this intersection of environmental horror. A study by US scientists in 2017 found that in the past 70 years alone, more than 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic has been created, and of that colossal volume, only 30% remains in practical use today, with just 9% having been recycled. The rest — 6.3 billion metric tonnes — has been dumped into the environment; such a gigantic amount that the geological record marking the Anthropocene period (the one where humans took over the world) will be saturated with the stuff. But it’s not just planet-wide issues that deserve our ire. There are plenty of local concerns that are just as dangerous. In Australia, one in particular has become a lightning rod for eco-activism, but thanks to another of mankind’s toxic inventions, namely the social media hashtag, the enigmatic #StopAdani slogan may have left you scratching your head. So here, dear reader, is everything you need to know about Australia’s homegrown climate threat.
So, what is Adani?
Simply put, it’s the Adani Group’s proposed Carmichael mine in Northern Queensland poised to excavate a massive coal reserve, which was granted the go-ahead by the Government in June. It’s been estimated that the burning of said coal would release 4.6 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, but it’s not just the gas release that has people concerned. Mining activity has been linked to the ongoing decline of the Great Barrier Reef, and the proposed mine would also irreparably destroy sacred and ancestral grounds of First Nations Australians. Between the environmental and cultural costs implicated, the Carmichael mine has become a piping-hot political potato.
Numerous polls have shown that the majority of Australians oppose the mine. But the creation of the mine — which would be one of the biggest ever in Australia — will generate more than “10,000 jobs”, significantly bolstering the Queensland economy (Adani’s own consultant debunked that number in court, stating that the mine would only create around 1,464 ongoing jobs. Pro-Adani Senator Bridget McKenzie went as low as 100). At the Federal Election in May, which turned out to be firmly hinged on the outcome of the Queensland ballot, the pros and cons of the Carmichael mine and the opposing Adani stances of the Labor and Liberal parties (Labor mixed, Liberal very much for) proved pivotal in the eventual outcome.
Australia has a bunch of mines. Why are people so cheesed off with this one?
A combination of factors are in play, but they all come under the umbrella issue of climate change. The coal Adani currently has its eyes on is not the only reserve in the Galilee Basin, so whatever legal and commercial precedents are set by the opening of the Carmichael mine will likely pave the way for future mining, adding to the destruction of the local environment while pumping billions more tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere in the long run. The Climate Council, a peak body representing a collective of Australia’s top climate scientists, say the Liberal Government ignored its findings into the environmental damage the mine would cause, even going as far as to misrepresent approvals and recommendations that were allegedly made to the Adani Group. “Prime Minister Scott Morrison and [former] Environment Minister Melissa Price have repeatedly ignored experts on climate change,” Amanda McKenzie from the Climate Council said. “The
science is crystal clear: we cannot open new coal mines if we are serious about tackling climate change and protecting the Great Barrier Reef. Burning coal drives climate change and Australians are already living with the impact of this. We just endured the ‘Angriest Summer’ with temperatures nudging 50 degrees and bushfires ravaging rainforests. Adani has the potential to be a carbon bomb. It’s time the Federal Government started listening to the scientific experts.”
What’s being done about the situation?
Despite the green light having been given to Adani with construction officially underway, the fight continues on multiple fronts. A land use agreement that would allow the Queensland Government to disregard the native title rights of the Wangan and Jagalingou people, on whose land the mine is set to be dug, was upheld last year. However, the Family Council have said they will be fighting the ruling, and that they are prepared to take the matter to the Human Rights courts in The Hague if necessary. A wave of youth activism has been building in intensity over the past year, in no small part due to the #SchoolStrikeForClimate movement spearheaded by 16-yearold firebrand Greta Thunberg. One group Down Under is the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC). Their strategy has been to flood MPs with demands for action, demanding accountability of political representatives at any public forum. Thunberg’s pioneering face-to-face approach is inspiring a generation of engaged youth to shrug off the ethos of inert armchair activism that has been prevalent in recent years. The result has been a crescendo of passionate, politically informed voices, and today’s schoolage activists will be tomorrow’s leaders, so while the short term may look grim, the future feels a little brighter.
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The Big Picture
Defend, Conserve, Protect Tracking four months of skirmishes between marine conservation group Sea Shepherd and a Japanese whaling fleet, Australian documentary Defend, Conserve, Protect is part-cat and mouse chase, part-passionate activist polemic. Director Stephen Amis shares what it took to bring the film to the screen. Can you describe what’s happening in this image? In regard to the Japanese whaling fleet’s MO in Antarctica, usually it’s their smaller, nimbler harpoon ships that target, harpoon and slaughter the whales. Sometimes the fleet will target the females of the pod first, knowing the males will come to their rescue, which draws them in closer. Once the whales are harpooned (as depicted in this picture), then the harpoon ship makes a bee-line for the gigantic factory ship — the Nisshin Maru — which is essentially a massive floating abattoir. The whales are then transferred to this factory ship and butchered. If the whale isn’t completely dead from the brutal, explosive-tipped harpoon, then the Japanese whalers will use a 22-calibre rifle to finish the job.
Photo by Glenn Lockitch.
What were the unique difficulties faced in capturing what is essentially a prolonged, sea-born guerrilla campaign against the Japanese whaling fleet? The film was shot by a range of professional and non-professional camera people from many different countries. I personally shot much of the underwater footage, interviews and B unit photography. There were ten cameras across each of the four Sea Shepherd vessels including a handful of GoPro cameras mounted in strategic positions. There’s many challenges in shooting on the ocean — from sea sickness when you look through a camera lens, to technical problems with the frigid, hostile conditions impacting battery life, condensation on the lens, and salt and water potentially impacting the equipment.
The Big Picture
You’ve said Defend, Conserve, Protect captures the spirit of global activism — what does that mean to you? The UN recently came out and said we have 12 years to radically overhaul all of our industries if we are to combat climate change. The terrifying thing is a five-year-old child alive today will struggle to make it to retirement — that’s how dire our environmental predicament is. Governments are obviously trying to be non-alarmist, and humans are naturally optimistic, so the real truth of how grave things are is being sugar-coated. Ten years ago it was predicted we’d have a two-degree rise by 2050. It’s now ten years on and we’ve already had a one-degree rise [above the pre-industrial baseline*]. Scientists are now predicting a 3.4- to four-degree rise [by 2100*], which is enough to wipe out most life on Earth. So of course the environmental modelling is underestimating the problem. Defend, Conserve, Protect is as much about the importance of activism as it is about anti-whaling and saving species. It’s going to be up to all of us to get out of our homes and neighbourhoods and go out into the world to make radical environmental change — it takes courage and tenacity to do that, and our film captures the spirit of that determination.’ *UN World Meteorological Organisation Defend, Conserve, Protect screens from 25 Jul
Birds of a feather Olivia Bartley is not Olympia. In fact, she’d rather “move to the country, play Tetris and get fat”. But ahead of the release of her second record, Flamingo, Anthony Carew discovers how Bartley wants to create art that is bigger than herself.
hen I made Self Talk,” says Olivia Bartley of her 2016 Olympia debut, “we just happened across all these synthesisers on the record. It was quite funny that people thought I was a synth artist. I kept saying, ‘Oh, wait, we’re gonna try something different on each record, just you wait.’ And, now, here’s Flamingo.” Flamingo, Bartley’s second album, features far fewer synthesisers and far more guitars. While her lyrics and subject matter still carry complexity and depth, this time around the singer-songwriter wanted to make something less heady, more emotional. This was prompted by a simple question: “How do you make a listener feel something?” “That opened a huge investigation to me,” Bartley says of the central study of the album. “The beginning is obvious: if you want the audience to feel something, then you have to feel something. So, a lot of guitars are forward in the mix, there’s a lot of downstrokes, it sounds more visceral, there’s more of a sense of urgency, almost anxiety... The song Come Back, it’s almost as if those lyrics are being shouted into the wind. They’re like an argument where you’re pleading. There’s nothing passive about the record. There’s no passive lyrics. Everything is strong. Everything is considered.” Bartley recently got to road-test Flamingo’s songs in advance of its release, touring through Europe supporting Julia Jacklin. It’s a long way from her childhood growing up in Wollongong. “Growing up on the coast, you see the best and the worst of people,” she offers. “You see
er deeper ideas. “Everyone wears clothing, and some people take it seriously, some don’t,” Barley offers. “That, in itself, is really interesting. Some people hang all their identity on their clothes. But, there are huge social and cultural issues that underpin fashion. I’d always created, and I’d always kept journals, but it wasn’t until I studied fashion that I really felt committed to music. It shaped my songwriting more than anything else I’ve ever learnt.” In Olympia’s stage presentation and music videos, you can see the influence; both in Bartley’s literal outfits and in her artistic conceptualism. The latter begins with the simple fact of Bartley adopting her romantic pseudonym. “I wanted to perform under something that wasn’t my name, because I didn’t want to create an autobiographical project,” she explains. “I didn’t want to be a folk artist. I wanted to create art that was bigger than myself. Even with Flamingo, it’s a deeply personal record, but I’m drawing in all these other threads that make it more than me. There’s innovation and fantasy there. I don’t think Olympia is a character. “Or,” Bartley laughs, “maybe she is. It’s more just a way to draw parameters around the project.”
“There’s nothing passive about the record. There’s no passive lyrics. Everything is strong. Everything is considered.” Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
people bored, that coastal boredom, it’s hard to get jobs on the coast. People can be living in the most beautiful spaces in the world, but not really be using them, really be in them. But, personally, I have a love of nature, which I’m sure comes from growing up where your daily life is shaped by the environment.” Growing up in a religious family, music was always encouraged, and Bartley picked up the guitar in her childhood. “I never had any lessons, I was always selftaught. It was always a way of trying to recreate what I could hear in my head,” she recalls. “The first song I ever wrote was in primary school, and I had to perform it at school assembly. Could I have been 12? I could probably still play it, off by heart. I think it’s gone deep in there, on a cellular level. It was called Always Keep The Faith. It was in G-major. It was terrible.” Other than guitar, another obsession was going through fashion magazines, cutting out pages, preserving them in plastic sleeves. She thought that was going to be her future career, if only because music seemed unlikely. “I grew up pretty working class. I thought you had to have a job where you have a regular income,” she remembers. “In the Christina Applegate movie Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead, she becomes a fashion designer, or at least a pretend one. I was obsessed with that movie. So, I think that’s pretty much why I went to uni and studied fashion.” But, when studying fashion — and falling under the sway of designers like Vivienne Westwood, Issey Miyake, and Hussein Chalayan — Bartley found herself thinking more about music. The comparisons between clothes and pop are apt: each ultra-accessible, omnipresent parts of society, but also artistic vehicles that can be used to deliv-
Flamingo is a simultaneous study of grief and love (“grief is a lot about love, they sit side by side”), its influences wide and varied: Francis Bacon’s paintings, Natalie Diaz’s poetry, and two books, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts and Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City. All look at both the individual and the cultural; how history connects to the present. Bartley coproduced the album with Burke Reid, challenging herself to learn more about the technical side of recording, while she also challenged herself to make music of more ‘feeling’. “I did a lot of personal excavation,” Bartley says. “If it were up to me, I’d just love to move to the country, play Tetris, and get fat. But [Olympia] is about pushing myself, and everything we’ve done in this project has been about that. On this record, I did a lot more research about production. I wanted it to feel like an immersive experience for the audience, so I had to read up a bit. I used words in the lyrics on this record that I don’t use in my personal life. I’m trying to tap into the unfiltered, or the unhinged.”
Flamingo (EMI) is out this month. Olympia tours from 4 Oct.
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Keeping it real
ressed in full rockstar mode — black pants, boots, shirt with all-over white teardrop print and leather jacket (in the summer heat) plus slicked-back Brylcreemed ‘do and dark shades — Michael Shuman turns heads as enters The Journal Cafe in Melbourne’s CBD. He’s carrying a guitar case, but you’d definitely have him pegged as a muso even before noticing his instrument. Earlier today, Shuman performed a few acoustic numbers — including a cover of Blondie’s Heart Of Glass — in the office of a daily tabloid. On incorporating covers into setlists, Shuman shares, “I think it’s a smart thing to do. We did Heart Of Glass because we were going on tour really quickly after
we started the band and we were, like, having a song that people recognise — even if you do it totally differently — it just subliminally will make them go, ‘Oh, they’re great! I like this song!’” After pouring himself a glass, Shuman offers, “Would you like some water?” The Queens Of The Stone Age bassist is in the country playing as part of Arctic Monkeys’ touring band, with Mini Mansions also scoring support duty for most of the English band’s North American Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino shows as well as these Australian dates. At the tail-end of 2018, Mini Mansions released a four-track EP, Works Every Time, which features a cracking version of Edwyn Collins’ A Girl Like You that soils the classy original with lascivious, rock’n’roll sleaze. It’s so good! “Thank you. I always thought that song was, like, a massive hit,” Shuman recounts, “but it wasn’t really a hit in the States, you know what I mean? And in the UK I think it was massive, obviously, but, yeah! In the States it wasn’t. So I was just like, ‘That song should’ve been a fuckin’ hit. Maybe we can make it a hit?’ And then we didn’t,” he laughs. GummyBear, the lead single from the band’s forthcoming Guy Walks Into A Bar... album, was released just ahead of Mini Mansions’ aforementioned Australian shows. Keys stabs usher in a trippy synth line before subtle hihats underscore Shuman’s sultry delivery. Another of this scribe’s favourite Mini Mansions songs, This Bullet, from their 2018 EP, features a demented-sounding synth solo and has us tipping Shuman rates The B-52’s. “I love B-52’s,” he confirms. “I don’t know if anyone knows this, but on that last record [The Great Pretenders] we had this song called Cheap Leather and it ended up being a B-side — it didn’t make the record — but it’s a real quirky song and it goes like, ‘[sings] Cheap leather!’ And we kept hearing Fred [Schneider, of The B-52s]’s voice so we called ‘im up — or emailed him — and said, ‘Will you sing this song?’ and he did! So we have a song featuring Fred Schneider.”
things were very different, and a lot of the things that I do now
relate to what I’m doing. So I don’t. Some-
I wouldn’t be doing if it weren’t for the people who helped
times it’s hard choosing what songs to sing.”
Pic: Brian Tamborello and Lo Nguyen
Bryget Chrisfield sits down with Michael Shuman of Mini Mansions to discuss his love for The B-52’s, duetting with Alison Mosshart and writing songs based on reallife experience.
Time travel In the lead up to her Bello Winter Music appearance and Australian tour, Tammi Savoy tells Liz Giuffre that while she loves singing songs from the 1950s, she doesn’t feel like she belongs in another era: “I feel like if I would have been born back then it would have been extremely tough.”
paved the way. I feel like if I would have been born back then it would have been extremely tough.” Savoy’s approach is energetic and refreshing, making sure
Savoy as a contemporary woman, is one that
that material from the past remains relevant. Her process of
is settled with a simple test when she and her
selecting work is key to this — all about celebrating the tri-
husband go through old records at home.
umphs of the past rather than just revisiting for no particular reason.
a band out of time. Dedicated to old school American soul, blues and rockabilly, and styled with the gorgeous trim-
mings of the 1950s, the sound certainly is from a pre-digital age. But talking on the phone before their tour, Tammi Savoy confirms this isn’t a heritage or museum piece. “A lot people say to me, ‘I think you were born in the wrong era,’ but I honestly think that I’m not. I think the fact that I am born in this era, I do appreciate all the women that made it possible for me to do what I can do today. Because back then
“We go through and we listen to songs together, and if I feel something from it, then
“A lot of the songs that I do, are more obscure songs that
that’s what I’m going to go with,” Savoy says.
didn’t really get a lot of appreciation when they first came
“Some stations do have songs on there, but
out. And a lot of people now don’t really know a lot about
a lot of the old obscure songs come from
these songs, so I like to reintroduce these songs to people.
records, and if I find something I like then I try
I’m glad that I’m able, and that’s why I feel like I’m born in
to look it up and find it, but sometimes you
the right era because I feel like I’m able to pay homage to
can’t find it. It also makes it hard to try and
the people before me and bring it out now so that more peo-
sing the songs because you have to find the
ple can appreciate it. Back then people couldn’t, but it can
lyrics, so I have to listen really closely because
be done now, so I’m glad that I can help make that happen,
often you can’t find the lyrics online. A lot of
the older songs don’t have the lyrics there,
Particularly important for Savoy is making sure that the music will make sense for listeners now, which could be something of a gamble, as Savoy works with material people may
t’s easy to see Tammi Savoy & The Chris Casello Combo as
The tension between choosing songs that represent a time, but also still speak to
have missed before, potentially because a sound or theme was a bit ahead of its time or not in fashion at its release.
only the newer songs. So I guess there is a lot of work to what I do,” she exclaims. Confession time — has she ever just made up lyrics that she can’t quite make out? “Oh, umm, sometimes! Sometimes it’s
“I know that can be kind of risky, because nowadays
not very clear so I’m like, ‘It sounds like this,
people want to do the songs that people knew a long time
so that’s what it’s going to be,’ and it works,”
ago, and you know, more familiar music, but I just want to do
something different. Because some of the topics from some of the songs from back then were kind of crazy, because it was a different time. They still went through the same things but things were different, and sometimes I don’t want to choose a certain song because it might say something in there that I might not want to really say today, because it doesn’t really
Tammi Savoy and The Chris Casello Combo tour from 5 Jul.
Guy Walks Into A Bar... (Fiction/Caroline) is out this month.
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
Pic: Dannika Horvat
The second single to be lifted from Mini Mansions’ upcoming set, Hey Lover, is a duet with Alison Mosshart (The Kills). Shuman points out he prefers duetting with friends so that “they’re not coming in there to just do their part and get the fuck out”. “She cared about the song, she liked the song,” he stresses. “That song in particular... It’s a conversation back and forth... And it’s, yeah, a male and female talkin’ to each other,” Shuman explains. “We’re singing, but it’s a dialogue.” Guy Walks Into A Bar... was “recorded and written basically in real time”, Shuman says. Over what period of time? “It was about a year and a half. So I met this woman and we got engaged halfway through that time... It started awesome and then, you know, ended. “I just happened to be starting to make the record so it worked out for me, I guess; I got a lotta good material out of it... It was real, so, like, ‘Ok, let’s do something real not just put out songs just to put out songs.’” So has Shuman played these songs to the woman who inspired Guy Walks Into A Bar...? “She hasn’t heard the final versions of some, because, ah, they were demoed in a certain way and then when it started to end, and we broke up, I changed the lyrics... She’s heard a few, though. [EP track] Midnight In Tokyo’s about her, too, and... What are you gonna do? It’s real.”
Seasons change Ahead of the release of her fifth album Winter Blues, Emma Russack tells Steve Bell that the only way she knows how to write songs is from a position of vulnerability.
inger-songwriter Emma Russack is in
“I guess I’m fairly confused at the moment about a lot
the process of wrapping up her law
of things going on in the world, I find a lot of the songs tap
degree at a high-profile Melbourne
into that,” Russack muses. “Especially, for some reason, social
university but at the same time she’s jug-
media is really getting to me — and it always has, I’ve always
gling the myriad obligations surrounding
written about it — but I guess a lot of the songs come from
the release of her beautiful fifth album, Win-
a place of distress actually, but I’m trying not to be too emo
The songs were recorded to tape over
“I’m just putting it out there and saying, ‘I feel a bit strange
the course of a year in the studio of producer
about this but maybe that’s ok?’ The hope being that maybe
John Lee and captured in single live takes.
a few people will listen to it and go, ‘Yeah, I feel a bit strange
Not even Russack’s band were shown the
about that happening too and that’s ok.’”
songs until the day of each session, the singer
Alongside Be Real, songs like the title track and album
firm in her belief that the resulting immedia-
closer Never Before are rife with heart-on-sleeve vulnerabil-
cy atoned for any little imperfections that fil-
ity. “Every album cycle I get asked the question, ‘Do you find it
tered through as a result of this unorthodoxy.
hard to be vulnerable?’ and maybe I do, maybe that’s why I’m
“I find from past experience that the
such a fucking mess, I don’t know,” she sighs. “It’s the only way
more takes I do, the more detached I become
I know how to write songs: that’s my style. I didn’t study poetry
from the actual song. I become really con-
when I was growing up and I read my first novel when I was 21
scious of tiny mistakes and continually start
so I’m not using metaphors and I’m not talking about pigeons,
over again,” she reflects. “So if I’m feeling it
I’m just really saying all I know — I’m just talking about what I
and the band are feeling it — even if it’s a little
know and that’s all I can do.
bit crap — we’ll keep that take. On the Winter
“Maybe my decision to go into law and get some more
Blues album there are heaps of little mistakes
stability and security in my life is a result of me being a little
throughout, but I’m willing to overlook them
spent — I’ve kind of given it my all, and the fact that I am so
because it felt right and I know I won’t feel
vulnerable in my music means that it kind of matters so much
better with any other take.
to me because I do put so much of myself into it.
“It’s kind of a risk that I’m willing to take.
“So I’ve gotten to a point where I do feel pretty worn out
I don’t know if it comes down to being a bit
by the whole thing, but that’s not enough for me to go, ‘I’m
lazy and not very dedicated, but I’m not aim-
going to start writing top lines and work with big producers.’
ing, I suppose, [for] technical perfection — I’m
I don’t want to do that. I know that everything I do is my own
not going for an overproduced sound, so I’m
decision and that comes with consequences I have to live
not aiming for perfection in that sense — I
with, and that’s fine.”
just want to feel good about how I felt in that take. I’m all about the feeling, because you gotta be real.” Be Real is appropriately a track on Winter Blues — an entrancingly catchy slice of agit-pop that encapsulates the mood of the album perfectly with its analytical lyrics and assured delivery.
Winter Blues (Spunk) is out this month. Emma Russack tours from 7 Aug.
Secret algo-rhythms Regular internet user Donald Finlayson dives deep in the ‘Up Next’ wormhole to bring back some long-lost gems uncovered by YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. Illustration by Felicity Case-Mejia.
Mariya Takeuchi — Plastic Love (1984) In the world of Youtube algorithm-core, no song is a bigger meme than Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love. With over 12 million combined views, it’s a perfect example of the internet’s weird power to resurrect dusty and forgotten pieces of media for our present enjoyment. We’ve even heard it playing at H&M! A slick piece of Japanese city-pop, a fad genre of ‘80s Japan, Plastic Love easily could’ve been the theme song to a Tokyo spinoff of Miami Vice. This one is definitely best heard while cruising through the city in a classic Supra on a rainy night.
Ryo Fukui — Scenery (1976) Turtlenecked jazz gatekeepers will tell you there are much better hard-bop albums out there than Ryo Fukui’s Scenery. And they’re right, but that doesn’t mean that this ‘70s Japanese piano LP isn’t worth your time as an uplifting piece of background music. An album of covers and standards, the main appeal of Scenery lies in just how charming these classics have been arranged and performed. With only six years of self-taught piano experience under his belt (that’s six months in jazz years), Fukui’s melodic yet modest playing is what makes this such an appealing entry point into one of music’s more inaccessible genres.
Mort Garson — Plantasia (1976)
ost of the time, the algorithm for suggested videos on YouTube can be a real annoying bastard. There you are, minding your own business, just trying to watch a video of a Japanese man making a knife out of pasta, and YouTube has the audacity to recommend you something like UK’s Scariest Debt Collector (Full Length), or Why Star Wars: The Last Jedi Is A Complete Cinematic Failure. It’s all so tiring. But then, possibly in an effort to redeem itself, the invisible, time-wasting hand of YouTube also manages to take us to places of ancient musical wonder. A world of forgotten J-pop hits, smooth ‘70s jazz numbers, early progressive electronics, bizarre vaporwave rappers from the distant past and so much more. With no one truly knowing how the recommendation algorithm works or why it continues to bring us these obscure gems, we’ve decided that it’s a mystery best left unsolved. Not all recommendations are created equal, however. So next time you sense you’re about to go down a recommendation wormhole, we recommend you click on these classics instead of that Mac Demarco imitation horseshit that YouTube also keeps trying to push.
A quietly influential album of whistly electronic tunes, Mort Garson’s Plantasia sounds like the soundtrack to a Super Nintendo RPG that never was. Unlike the cold and futuristic soundscapes that haunted the work of his early electronic peers, Garson used the synthesiser to craft a warm and colourful album that feels like getting a hug from Mother Nature. Listening to it now makes you wanna replay EarthBound and start a vegetable garden. Basically pornography for people with a fetish for Moog synths, rarely do bleeps and bloops ever sound this earthy and comforting.
Lonnie Smith — It’s Changed (1977) Talk about smooth, baby! A buttery work of easy listening and jazz fusion, a song like this is probably what plays on loop when someone with mutton chops dies and goes to ‘70s purgatory. Though written by American jazz organist Lonnie Smith, it’s the guitar playing of the legendary George Benson that really makes this so enjoyable in a The Sims 1 soundtrack kind of way. Of course, it’s been sampled to hell and back by hip hop producers ever since it popped into the YouTube sidebar a few years ago. Why go crate digging like one of the Amish when you could just disable auto-play and let the algorithm find a new beat for you?
Spooky Black — Without You (2014) If you muted the audio and just watched the video by itself, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Spooky Black’s Without You was just one really long Tim & Eric skit. Dressed in a white turtleneck with gold chains and a durag, the video features Corbin, who used to go by the name Spooky Black, softly singing his way through the pain of a breakup while wandering through the woods and posing on his couch. A visually ridiculous piece of cloudy R&B that can also become genuinely affecting should you ever stumble upon it at 3am in your underpants.
Allensworth•Alysha Brilla•Amaru Tribe Ash Grunwald•Brekky Boy•The Cat Empire Charlie Collins•Claire Anne Taylor Clare Bowditch•The Delta Riggs Dubarray•Fools•Hiatus Kaiyote Merpire•Missy Higgins•Newton Faulkner Paul McDermott&Gatesy•Steve Poltz•Stevie Jean Tim Finn•Troy Cassar-Daley•The Waifs
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Highly anticipated is an understatement when it comes to the debut album from Aussie singer-songwriter Angie McMahon, whose past singles have left fans constantly craving more. In the last two years we’ve witnessed the impressive rise of the Melbourne artist; the release of her now Gold-certified debut single Slow Mover in 2017 setting her on a trajectory that’s led to sold-out international shows, appearances at huge festivals including Splendour In The Grass and Laneway, and, earlier this year, the prestigious Grulke Prize for Developing Non-US Act at SXSW. Previous releases set the bar high for this record, but for those who got hooked on songs like Missing Me and Keeping Time, the additional tracks that make up Salt will not disappoint. She doesn’t deviate from her tried and tested recipe for great songs, with strummed electric guitar, warm bass, simple drums and her unique, low vocals the sole ingredients. It’s a combination that’s fairly simple but incredibly effective. That said, 11 songs occupying the same sonic space does become a little monotonous. While the album as a whole might lack a bit of light and shade, every song individually is notably dynamic, with hushed, intimate verses swelling into punchy, soaring choruses. It’s hard not to be drawn to McMahon’s
Angie McMahon Salt
Dualtone / AWAL
Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? Dead Oceans / Inertia
HHHH There is a distinct push and pull between dynamics and attitude on punk sister-act Bleached’s latest. It’s always been there, since their 2013 debut and now in their third LP. The Clavins straddle upbeat poppunk and gritty, raw rock housed beneath arching, melodic vocal lines, giving much of their output a grungy late ‘80s/early ‘90s vibe. Lyrically things haven’t always been as strong, but this album pulls their more visceral songwriting into sharper focus, capitalising on introspective battles and melodies that are fun but still edgy. Carley Hall
voice, which is left isolated and exposed within the sparsity of opener Play The Game and Push, while gritty production adds to the rawness of Soon and Mood Song, their deeply personal lyrics softly crooned as sweet melodies. Pasta, a carb-heavy lethargy anthem, provides a welcome gear change, building perfectly to express an experience shared by many 20-somethings — feeling lost and unmotivated, but still trying. Honest storytelling coupled with McMahon’s powerful voice make slow burner And I Am A Woman, her favourite song on the album, a standout. McMahon sings with soul-baring hurt, anger and frustration about the idea that “our bodies and the spaces around us are our homes, and that everyone deserves to feel safe and respected in theirs”: “You are in my home now/And I am a woman.” Beautifully unpolished If You Call offers something different; the almost eight-minute long lo-fi closer softly lulls the listener with a whistled melody and gentle vocals. McMahon’s long-awaited full-length release meets all expectations. Her relatable lyrics and emotive vocals make connecting to her music easy. Madelyn Tait
Smooth Big Cat
Starry Night Over The Phone
Dope Lemon strikes again with the aptly named record Smooth Big Cat. Opening singles Hey You and Salt & Pepper are a warm introduction to the album with Angus Stone’s voice both whispering and speaking on top of a mellow lead line. While the album may not provide the same echo-like experimentation on the vocal and instrument mix of his earlier work, it still showcases the same relaxing persona of old. This is an album that will have people picking up acoustic guitars for the foreseeable future. It’s layered yet simplistic, creating a relaxing vibrancy
Starry Night Over The Phone shows a maturity of soul and sound without washing out Tomas Gaynor’s signature hybrid of hip hop and pop. Ultimately though, he does very little to shine on his own. Gaynor’s choice in collaborators brings a certain depth to his music, and there’s a sleek and steady simplicity to be appreciated here, but it gets repetitive. This record does what it says on the tin — puts down some bittersweet sentiments with a maturity we’ve not seen from Gaynor, but without the cameoes it would be pretty bland.
Emma Russack Winter Blues Spunk / Caroline
Emma Russack is asking a lot of questions on Winter Blues. Her fifth album spends a lot of time investigating core drives without getting answers. That’s the point — Russack is too savvy to think the answer to What Is Love is more interesting than the question. By framing these philosophical inquiries using her trademark slow-mo, blue-tinted chamber-pop, Russack takes the sting out of self-interrogation. This record is another win for an idiosyncratic artist exploring her angst without histrionics. Its minimalist approach is striking, creating a beautiful fragility which underlines Russack’s openness and trust. Matt MacMaster
For more album reviews, go to www.theMusic.com.au
Transgressive / [PIAS]
Fiction / Caroline
The debut album from this Melbournebased five-piece is brutally, blisteringly heavy. It pounds the listener into happy submission with its relentlessly crushing although interestingly off-kilter grooves, enormous guitar and drums sounds and throat-ripping vocals, which are delivered with angst dredged up from the darkest part of frontman Dylan Gillies-Parsons’ soul. Gravemind display a maturity lightyears beyond their relative newcomer status. There is a nous in the songcraft and a sense of dynamics here that should elevate them above the cookie-cutter crew.
The dance music collective bring together traditional polyrhythmic beats and flourishes of hip hop - with plenty of raw grit and an exuberant energy. It sounds like KOKOKO! make music from whatever they can get their hands on, which gives it an organic electro-acoustic vibe. Much of this album feels like improvisation edited into something tighter. French producer Debruit adds polish to the mix while framing everything within a slick European electronic aesthetic. There’s also a euphoric post-punk bounce to many of these tunes that brings to mind ESG.
With its distorted bass lines and playful melodies, Mini Mansions’ third LP mixes ‘80s synth nostalgia with modern rock’n’roll. Guy Walks Into A Bar... follows the story of a whirlwind romance, which begins playful and fun before quickly getting cheeky. We fall harder and love burns strongern and before you know it things have taken a turn and hearts are breaking in Time Machine and Works Every Time. Tears In Her Eyes is the perfect slow-burn ending to an album of ups, downs and in betweens that perfectly depicts the soul-crushing voyage of falling in and out of deep love.
Flamingo is a creature that mildly saunters along then dazzles with colourful, slightly avant-garde displays, without stepping too far away from the herd. The Wollongong artist originally carved a neat little niche within the indie-pop realm. There Olympia hung her hat on her stark but feminine vocal and guitar nous, making debut Self Talk an underappreciated success. Where that debut pleased with angular, resonant guitars amid uncomplicated, upbeat motifs, Flamingo adds a little more lacquer by slightly glossing over these elements. A polished if not perfect second album.
Thy Art Is Murder
Lachlan Denton & Studio Magic
Rice Is Nice
Well here’s a blast from the indie ‘90s and ‘00s. Wonderfully weird and weirdly wonderful, the one-man band (with a few mates) is back, as he puts it in the final track, “to have one more Golden Gaytime”. The resulting album, Adult Fantasy, will satisfy fans from back in the day, and likely confuse those who weren’t there. Not that this is a bad thing — young kids, go back, google and see what you missed. Think Unit-era Regurgitator but with a rougher edge. To be fair, this album probably won’t win any awards, but if the listener gets half as much fun listening as it seems Spod had making it, then that certainly is a win.
Punk rock? Punk not! Canadian band Sum 41’s brand new album Order In Decline is their darkest, heaviest release to date, one that puts its foot down on an accelerator that drives unapologetic lyrics, gnarly riffs and an unsuspecting beauty. It’s all a rush of fervent emotion and magnificent melodies, compiled in such a way that you won’t miss any of the juicy elements that make this album such a great listen. It’s a strong case of Stockholm syndrome here — the longer Sum 41 have you in their grasp, the more likely it is you’ll fall in love with this beastly side of the band.
Human Target is a record that largely continues, rather than reinvents, what the band is all about. Drawing from previously mined sources, such as Behemoth’s blackened fury and Decapitated’s proficient battering, Human Target will be familiar to their dedicated audience but nonetheless packs a brutally satisfying sonic gut-punch. Lee Stanton’s distinctive drumming is missed somewhat, although new sticksman Jesse Beahler injects tangible groove and technical sensibilities. Thy Art Is Murder have honed their material in such a way as to streamline the group’s vision. This ensures Human Target hits its mark.
Guy Walks Into A Bar...
Order In Decline
HHHH½ There are millions of songs about love and loss, each of them seeking to express a feeling that ultimately seems inexpressible. Rarely are they as heartfelt and direct as the songs on Lachlan Denton’s latest album, A Brother. The loss of a loved one is enough to render anyone speechless, and the sudden and tragic passing of Denton’s brother and bandmate, Zac Denton, last year is an experience of grief that seems incomprehensible. Denton doesn’t burden himself with understanding though. Instead, his response is to love and remember. Roshan Clerke
AS GIBARIAN �VIDEO�
28 JUN � 21 JUL
Malthouse Theatre, The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and the Lyric Hammersmith present Solaris.
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Em Rusciano: The Rage And Rainbows tour The infectiously funny Em Rusciano brings an eight-piece band to theatres across the country on her The Rage And Rainbows tour. Rusciano’s career – from Australian Idol contestant to radio host to best-selling memoirist to TV personality to stand-up – has seen her earn a fiercely loyal social media following. This is their opportunity – and yours, future fans – to bask in Rusciano’s glitter-soaked energy. The show is billed as a celebration of female empowerment, motherhood and the power of rage (and sequins), and allegedly features four costume changes, as well as original songs crafted with a little bit of help from Kate Miller-Heidke and her partner Keir Nuttall. It’s set to be brutally honest, deeply revealing and a whole lot of raucous fun. Get ready to sing along.
Em Rusciano: The Rage And Rainbows tour plays 19 Jul at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne.
The best of The Arts in July
Shakespeare In Love Melbourne Theatre Company present the Australian premiere of the theatrical adaptation of the Oscar-winning 1998 film, Shakespeare In Love. Directed by Simon Phillips, this is the joyful story of Will Shakespeare finding his inner Romeo. Costume rendering sketch by Gabriela Tylesova. From 15 Jul at Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne
The Finders Keepers Satiate your urge to nest when design market The Finders Keepers returns to The Royal Exhibition Building this month, offering over 270 stalls of bespoke wares from local artists, including Shuh., pictured, Connie And Luna, Kingston Jewellery and SKINTRADE. Pic by Samee Lapham.
From 12 Jul at The Royal Exhibition Building
An Idea Needing To Be Made: Contemporary Ceramics Heide Museum Of Modern Art celebrates ceramics, specifically clay vessels with an eye to function, display and purpose, in July, with this exhibition featuring Pippin Drysdale’s Splendour At Black Rock, East Kimberley, pictured, and work from Kathy Butterly, Kate Malone and more. From 27 Jul at Heide Museum Of Modern Art
Melbourne Documentary Film Festival The Melbourne Documentary Film Festival at Cinema Nova boasts some of the most interesting and provocative new doco releases, including the confronting Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, pictured, narrated by Alicia Vikander, and music doco Waiting: The Van Duren Story. From 19 Jul at Cinema Nova
Bring It On: The Musical Bring It On: The Musical, featuring music and lyrics from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, high-kicks its way onto the Melbourne stage this month, starring Kirby Burgess and Jasmine Smith as rival cheerleading captains, Campbell and Danielle. Pic by Nico Keenan. From 11 Jul at Athenaeum Theatre
SBS World Movies SBS launch a new free-to-air, 24-hour TV channel this month, dedicated to world cinema. The first month of programming features cult hits from Japan’s Studio Ghibli like My Neighbour Totoro, as well as subversive Kenyan queer romance Rafiki, pictured. From 1 Jul on SBS World Movies
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This brilliant homage concert features gems from Dark Side Of The Moon, The Wall and Wish You Were Here
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Film & TV Lambs Of God
HHH½ Airs from 21 Jul on Fox Showcase
Reviewed by Guy Davis
ustralian-made but set in England, the four-part Foxtel miniseries Lambs Of God at first seems to be an enclosed story about the Sisters Of St Agnes, living an isolated existence on a small island, when their primitive but idyllic life is turned upside-down by the arrival of a young priest ordered by the Catholic Church to evaluate the property for sale. As one might expect, complications of all kinds ensue. What one may not expect are the twists, turns and swerves taken by this tale as the characters wrestle with secrets, scandals, trauma, repression and redemption, and the story itself veers from moody Gothic thriller to indictment of the Church’s patriarchal structure to missing persons investigation to family melodrama. This switching of lanes isn’t always successful — the first few ventures away from the island and its inhabitants is necessary for the story to progress but slacken the tension established so well by screenwriter Sarah Lambert and director Jeffrey Walker — but
the assembly of talent on both sides of the camera must be praised for their deft balancing of Lambs Of God’s myriad tones. It’s a story that captivates and carries the viewer along, sometimes offering surprises and more often than not delivering satisfaction. In keeping with recent homegrown Foxtel productions such as Picnic At Hanging Rock, it’s technically superb — veteran Australian cinematographer Don McAlpine deserves kudos for the visual palette that conveys the beauty and menace of the nuns’ island home. And it’s tremendously acted: the supporting cast is studded with quality performers (Damon Herriman continues his run of sterling work as the Church’s unscrupulous fixer), and the core quartet of Essie Davis (The Babadook), Jessica Barden (The End Of The F***ing World) and the ferocious Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale) as the trio of Sisters, and a very impressive Sam Reid as the self-righteous interloper, make nary a false nor predictable move.
HHH½ In cinemas 11 Jul
Reviewed by Anthony Carew
f The Breakfast Club is the definitive teen movie, it’s no surprise the genre has been built on stereotypes. Echoing the way teenagers search for self-identity and belonging by adopting (and often discarding) guises, teen films have been a world filled with freaks, geeks, and cliques. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut, Booksmart, initially feels like a new polish-up of those old ideas, the simple jocks and nerds of yore swapped out for self-branding hypebeasts, theatre gays, and non-binary skaters. But the charm of the film is the way it becomes an examination of those stereotypes, its great lesson being that to judge or pigeonhole is perilous to both those judging and those being pigeonholed. Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever play a pair of overachievers who’ve spent their high school years in isolation from, and opposition to, their peers. They’ve avoided the regular rites of passage — sex, drugs, socialising with anyone outside their two-person bubble — in favour of a devo-
tion to good grades and future careers. But they discover that all the kids who did the sex and drugs ended up at prestigious colleges too. So, on the eve of graduation, they pledge to cram a whole high school of partying into one night. The result plays like a female spin on Superbad (Feldstein is even Jonah Hill’s sister). There’s comic hijinks, lawlessness, and misadventures, but also a surprisingly deep study of a somewhat obsessive platonic friendship, wavering in the face of that great teen movie separator: going off to college. Our heroines have to learn who they are when apart, and in the world beyond high school. That discovery mirrors the great revelation that other people are complex, not so easily dismissed. It’s an empathetic approach to a familiar tale, illustrated by the fact that there’s no antagonist, no generic mean girl or jock bully. Where so many teen movies are built on hostility, Booksmart abounds with empathy.
Boroondara Arts presents
8PM, SATURDAY 27 JULY KEW COURT HOUSE
ORCHA’s universe of unique sound and visuals are a treat for all the senses. For this special show, the usual trio of drums, synth bass, violin and vocals will be joined by a string ensemble, performing a mix of old favourites and new material from the upcoming album.
Tickets: $28/$24 www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/arts or call 9278 4770 The Music
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still happening today with pretty much those same exact lines. We hear that in the media. You can’t actually shy away from that at all.” The question posted by Beatrice to Benedick is then whether or not he’s going to be complicit in the shitty behaviour of his toxic mates. Is he going to allow it to keep happening, or is he going to call his mates out? It’s another area that Okenyo notes men today find it difficult to come to terms with: “I don’t know why, but men find it really difficult to do, today, to not leave that pack mentality.” That problem, of truly making a story like the one told in Much Ado About Nothing — with characters like Hero, who is “slutshamed at her own wedding” — resonate with contemporary Australia, is another thing that drew Okenyo to the role. “I think that [Shakespeare’s] work is full of problems when you do it today, but they can be really incredible opportunities for creative problem-solving, because you can always flip things. It’s interesting — how do you make a young, contemporary woman like Hero relevant and also have a voice when she has no voice?” Still, there is a reason why Shakespeare remains so revered. Okenyo observes that the playwright is “exquisite” at “capturing humanity and what it is to love and hate and feel jealousy and sex and violence... Within this beautiful, strange poetry.” In May this year, Okenyo dropped a new single Buckle Up, the second since the release of her debut EP, The Wave, in May last year. The hip hop track bursts with a sense of joy, complete with a bright, flirty and emphatically queer video clip. “Girl, you know I’m always down for something, all you have to do is call my name/By the way, you’re cute as fuck, so if you’re down at the green light, go and buckle up,” Okenyo sings in the chorus. “Buckle Up I think is definitely an explosion of expression and fun,” Okenyo says. That flirtatious element, the joy of it, seems to go hand in hand with the silliness of Shakespeare’s comedies, like Much Ado About Nothing. It also feels like the musicality and wordplay of Shakespeare — which comes out in this play through the banter between Beatrice and Benedick — could be something that comes naturally to Okenyo, the artist: “I guess I understand wordplay from coming from a hip hop, rap background,” she acknowledges. We ask Okenyo how she juggles making work with a celebratory tone with the impulse to address darkness, as she does on single Hang Your Hat, which dropped in October last year and addresses the issue of casual racism in Australia. “It’s definitely not sustainable if you’re in that dark stuff all the time,” she begins. “Why I think it’s gonna be really great to do this play now is that it has so much joy and it is fun and funny and a bit stupid and
“Still, we’re dealing with toxic masculinity and unpacking those aspects of society today.”
there’s frivolity and all of that stuff. I think if we can really amp that up and make that a really enjoyable thing then the darker stuff will really stand out.” Okenyo says she’s in a different place now to where she was when she was working on The Wave, and that shift has becoming apparent in the type of songs she’s writing for her next record. She’s consciously giving herself the space to play around. “I want to still say a lot with my music but I want it to be this space where I can definitely not be intellectual. “I also realised that a lot of the stuff I do as an actor is pretty dark and it’s pretty emotionally taxing and even the act of doing a show eight times a week for seven weeks or whatever, that in itself is quite exhausting — thrilling but quite exhausting.” The timing, where she’s starting work on this production just a month after the release of the ebullient Buckle Up, Okenyo resolves is pretty uncanny. “Funny things happen, like the timing of things, and I feel like very ready to just play this character and have a lot of fun with it. “
Kind of a big deal Zindzi Okenyo speaks to Hannah Story about addressing modern concerns around toxic masculinity in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
Much Ado About Nothing plays from 17 Jul at Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne.
Pic: Pierre Toussaint
hen The Music speaks to Zindzi Okenyo, she’s just hopped off her bike at Sydney’s Bell Shakespeare for week two of rehearsals for their production of Much Ado About Nothing. The Kenyan-Australian actor and musician stars as the headstrong Beatrice, who refuses to acknowledge her feelings for Benedick, and even calls him out for the way he and his friends treat and speak about her cousin Hero. She’s basically the closest Shakespeare gets to writing a character who is outspokenly feminist. Okenyo really wanted to play Beatrice as she sees the character, played in the 1993 film adaptation by Emma Thompson, as a “contemporary voice in a world of men”: “She’s really fun and she’s really smart and witty and she really knows herself, which I think is a beautiful quality. “[Beatrice] seems like a very modern, contemporary feminist,” Okenyo says. “Her level of intellect, wit and ideas about the world and specifically how men behave, she often expresses them to people, especially men, and they almost understand her — but not quite. “Her big thing is that she can’t foresee being married or being with any man until men as a whole behave differently... Still, we’re dealing with toxic masculinity and unpacking those aspects of society today.” Okenyo is sceptical of the habit of holding Shakespeare up as an almost “holy” figure. “We just say he’s the best writer and he can do no wrong or whatever,” she notes. It’s hard to figure out whether Shakespeare meant for Beatrice to be a progressive figure or the subject of derision. “Sometimes you look back and go, ‘Wow, this does seem quite contemporary for the 1600s,’ but I don’t know whether he was that radical. “I don’t know if he was so conscious of it and so ahead of his time, because you’ve also got to take into account how the audience is reading the piece, and the audiences weren’t up for feminist dialogue — hence the reason why I think there’s not a lot of that stuff in there.” It’s important to Okenyo — and the creative team behind Bell’s Much Ado About Nothing — that their production addresses “the fact that the men behave abhorrently... Because audiences see that stuff now, because of the conversations that we’ve had, [and] even how much it’s evolved in the last five years.” Director James Evans reassured Okenyo when she came on board that the production was not going to “let these men off the hook”. “It’s all about this boy culture, boys will be boys, and that no one is accountable. The father of Hero very directly says — which is such a classic thing that gets said today around men who have assaulted women, raped women, sexually harassed women — he says something along the lines of, y’know, ‘This man wouldn’t lie, he wouldn’t lie, these are honourable men, they wouldn’t lie.’ “Those are the moments where I think, ‘Wow, that is actually extraordinary that it was written in the 1600s.’ Maybe it is extraordinary or it isn’t, but it’s definitely
T h e at r e
Paul Stillen, Annie, 2019. Photograph courtesy of Lekhena Porter.
TATTOO + IDENTITY 24 MAY — 6 OCTOBER Immigration Museum
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TRIVIA w SPARKS MONDAYS, 6.30PM
THE BLUE TWO FEW RESIDENCY Tue 2 July
Sun 14 July
Moulin Beige band room 7:30pm $20 conc /$30 full / $40 meal and show
Maddison Carter Trio band room 3pm $10
Thu 4 July
Tue 16 July
Nina, front bar 6pm free
Story Wise Women band room 7:30pm $15 adult, $10 conc+BF
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Fri 5 July Quadrifid front bar 6pm free
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Thu 18 July Dealing With Dinosaurs front bar 6pm free
Graeme James band room 8pm $15 pre
Rebecca Barnard School of Music Recital band room 8pm $10
Sat 6 July
Fri 19 July
Sam O’Halloran front bar 6pm free
The Peacocks front bar 6pm free
Thomas Keating band room 8pm $15 pre
Chalouche band room 8pm $15
Sun 7 July
Sat 20 July
Lucy Wise SvG Trio band room 3pm front bar 6pm free $20 waged, $15 unwaged, Milne/Attiche/Flenady front bar 6pm free
Sun 21 July
Mandy Connell + Liz Frencham band room 3pm $15
MRS SMITH’S TRIVIA THU 4 JULY
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JAMES GUIDA THE IRONBARK 6:00pm BROTHERS 6:00pm DJ CHIPS DJ LUCKY DAY & SALAD 9:00pm
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FRI 12 JULY
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Fri 26 July
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Fri 12 July
Will Povey band room 8pm $10
Jess DeLuca front bar 6pm free
Sat 27 July
Grace Turbo Album Launch band room 8pm $10
Sat 13 July Matt O’Brien front bar 6pm free
Colvin Brothers front bar 6pm free Banbury Cross band room 8pm $10
Sun 28 July Esstee Big Band band room 3pm $10 Bob Hutchison front bar 6pm free
250 High st, Northcote Hill Open from 12pm every day wesleyanne.com.au /9482 1333
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Yarra City Council’s defiant splash of light and sound in the midst of Melbourne’s coldest months, Leaps & Bounds Music Festival is back this 5-14 Jul. There’s a whole lot new stuff to enjoy, as per usual though the main attractions are the countless local faves playing some of the city’s most beloved venues. Girls Rock! Melbourne are putting on a fundraiser at The Tote with 21 acts in all, including Racerage, El Tee, Ruby Soho and All Cats Go To Heaven. Piss Factory and Moaning Lisa are are both playing launch shows. Regurgitator are celebrating ten years of PBS’ Rock-A-Bye Baby at Corner Hotel with their Pogogo Show. It’s all going on.
Left to right: Claire Westover (All Cats Go To Heaven), Racerage. Pic by Naomi Lee Beveridge.
Leaps & Bounds
Out to lunch The middle months of the year are tough. The weather blows, work’s hectic, holidays are long gone, and they’re not coming back anytime soon. It’ll all pass of course, but until then it might be time to indulge in some creature comforts.
A lot on your plate Practised eater Sam Wall chews the fat — a look at food that makes you feel good. Illustration by Felicity Case-Mejia.
ometimes you just need a nourishing plate of indulgent eats. A solid blend of carbs, calories and convenience, with maybe a touch of nostalgia, to trip the pleasure centres of the brain. After throwing the topic to an office vote, we’ve compiled a list of the most effective comfort foods and where to find them.
Lamb shanks with mash
Pad Thai’s got a surprisingly similar history to ramen - they’re both thought to have been introduced by China, they both jumped massively in popularity due to rice shortages during and after WII, and they’re both crazy delicious. The textural contrast between the bean shoots and the rice noodles, the light sweetness backed by a rich aromatic punch - it can’t be beat.
In this writer’s opinion mash potato is bland, starchy nonsense. You’d be better off eating handfuls of ceiling insulation. But The Music is a democracy and the people have spoken - bland, starchy nonsense for the win. Lamb shanks I’m all for, but if you’ve got your hands on some maybe consider throwing them in a slow-cooked casserole till they’re fall-off-the-bone tender.
Staff pick: iAbsolute Thai, 651 Nicholson St
Staff pick: Queen Victoria Market, Queen St
Everything is better between two bits of bread, and since pretty much anything can go in a burger if you’re brave enough, it’s essentially the perfect meal. Fried chicken, portobello mushrooms, haloumi, pulled pork - all delicious, all elevated when slapped in a brioche bun. It’s like the food pyramid has fallen into perfect harmony just to give you a triple bypass.
Every couple of years someone writes an article about the weirdest inventions to ever come out of Japan, always careful to include the baby mop/onesie. But in the country’s own opinion, by poll, the greatest creation to come out of 20th century Japan are instant noodles. Throw them in tonkotsu broth with half a boiled egg and some bamboo shoots and we’re inclined to agree.
Staff pick: Beluga Fish & Chippery, 39 Toorak Rd
Staff pick: Shop Ramen, 329 Smith St
What’s more wholesome and comforting than soup? Not to mention versatile. Laksa, minestrone, gazpacho, borscht, bouillabaisse, solyanka, miso, tom yum - liquid gold, the lot of them. You can make it out of anything too. Throw the smell of an oily rag in hot water and so long as there’s half an old potato about you’re laughing.
You’ve got to love a meal with depth, and lasagne’s got layers for days. Break the crispy surface and marvel at the glorious pasta strata, alternating with saucy beef mince or some fresh butternut pumpkin and run through with rich cheese deposits. Creamy carb-loading at its absolute finest, just like mama used to make.
The Soup Place, 258-260 Flinders Ln
Staff pick: Tiamo, 303 Lygon St
Don’t play with your food. Wear it.
oup didn’t help? Best double down. The internet is chock-full of snack-based clothing, and a lot of it is very on point for sinking ass-deep in a couch and having a ‘me’ day. Get dressed to the teeth and take a bite of your chosen comfort food in some comfortable food. It’s what Xzibit would want you to do.
Cupcake beanie Universally regarded as the cutest baked good, wearing a muffin on your head instantly raises your kawaii rating from ‘hopped-up kid talking smack after a dentist visit’ to ‘otters holding hands while they sleep’. Especially if it’s got little knitted sprinkles and a pom-pom ‘cherry’ on top.
It’s winter! Let’s gets shitfaced by the fire. What else are you gonna do, huh?! We love a bit of alliteration, so here are the best whisky winter warmers we’ve got.
$39.85 @ neffheadwear.com
The luck of the Irish
Hamburger earmuffs Sure, Gordon Ramsay might call you an idiot sandwich if he saw you out in bread-themed headwear. And maybe he’d even be right. It doesn’t matter. Your ears are safe, hidden away from cruel winds and words, toasty and happy beneath a couple of cotton burger buns.
Coffee and alcohol together. What genius thought up that combo? So what if it’s a bit naff? So what if the cream is going to wreak havoc with my digestive system? So what my anxiety levels are through the roof and I’ve got the shakes…? I’m buzzing in all the right ways.
$9.95 @ ebay.com
Pepperoni pizza print hoodie And not just hoodies. Track pants, singlets, T-shirts; you can skip by-slice and get the whole pie. Why? Couldn’t tell you. Pepperoni pizza is delicious but it isn’t attractive. It looks like you’re wearing a blown-up forensic photo of someone who got stabbed to death with a greasy cigar.
Hot enough for you? It’s the miracle drink. Have a cold? Hot toddy.
$84 @ getonfleek.com
Feeling cold? Hot toddy. The science is there. Whisky is a decongestant and helps fight off infection, so put down the NyQuil and reach for the bourbon. Or use bourbon to
Novelty slippers are a predictably massive market. You can get lego blocks, Chewbacca booties, all of the emojis - but woollen tortillas for your tootsies are by far the best. Problem is, they only make them in baby sizes right now, so if you want tacos for your feet meat keep an eye out for the petition we’ll be sending around.
wash the NyQuil down. I don’t care, I’m not your mother.
$50.80 @ uncommongoods.com
French fries gloves You might remember these things from a Macca’s promotion a couple years back. The hands were red and the fingers were yellow. Made your mitts look like French fries, which is fun. They also had the golden arches on the back, which is less so. Anyway, you can get them minus the advertising now.
Old habits die hard Ahh, the humble Old Fashioned. It’s good at any time of year to be honest. Some websites would have you add spices and whatnot to make it wintery, but we say stick to the classic. After all, it’s one of the first ‘cocktails’ to have ever been documented, dating way
$8.15 @ asos.com
back to 1806.
For the latest live reviews go to theMusic.com.au
“Van Etten is masterful at creating moments.” – Joel Lohman
Sharon Van Etten @ Hamer Hall. Photos by Joshua Braybrook.
Bringing her enviable songbook to
Australia, Sharon Van Etten floored crowds around the country and
Melbourne was no exception. Van Etten’s Hamer Hall set was com-
manding, hopeful and poised. We won’t be shocked when it shows up in end-of-year lists.
“The songs get better, the stage show gets bigger, and the energy that pours off the stage when they play becomes more and more infectious.” – Rod Whitfield
Make Them Suffer
Washington @ Howler. Photo by Renee Coster.
@ Max Watt’s. Photos by Clinton Hatfield.
Washington’s long-awaited third album had us
excited enough to include it in our ‘Albums To Look Out For This Year’ list in January. This tight and
polished show from the singer-songwriter only ramped up the anticipation.
“Dirty Churches feels like a turning point for Washington.”
In the wake of Make Them Suffer’s Max Watt’s show last month,
the general feedback seemed to be, “Dude. So. Heavy.” And it was. Backed by After The Burial, Saviour and Gravemind, the Perth
– Guido Farnell
outfit put on a truly crushing performance.
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Howzat! Local music by Jeff Jenkins
Demystifying Michael Michael Hutchence once hung up on me.
t was 1989 and I was meant to be doing a phone interview with Ollie Olsen to chat about the Max Q album. But with the album stalling on the charts, Michael decided he would do the interview. I was working at The Sun at the time and my tabloid instincts kicked in. If I could get Michael talking about his blossoming relationship with Kylie Minogue, I’d have a world exclusive. After exhausting my questions about the record, I launched into the Kylie questions. “I don’t want to talk about any of that,” Michael replied emphatically. I tried asking the same question in a different way. “If you’re going to keep asking about Kylie, I’m going to hang up,” he said. I persisted. He hung up. I’m not particularly proud of that interview, but as Richard Lowenstein’s brilliant new documentary, Mystify: Michael Hutchence, shows, Michael suffered much worse treatment from the UK tabloids when he was dating Paula Yates. Just like last year’s excellent biography Michael, My Brother, Lost Boy Of INXS by Tina Hutchence and Jen Jewel Brown, Mystify: Michael Hutchence humanises the late rock star. Lowenstein — who ranks alongside Russell Mulcahy as Australia’s greatest music video director, and should be in the ARIA Hall of Fame — met Michael when he made the clip for INXS’s Burn For You in Mackay in Queensland in 1984. He recalls being a “pale Melbourne punk in the Queensland sun”, but he quickly bonded with the band. He cast Michael as the lead in Dogs In Space and went on to make 18 INXS videos. The intimate documentary has a sensitive, feminine touch, focusing on the women Michael loved, who offer rare insights into Michael’s world, going way beyond the blokey persona of rock’n’roll. One of his first girlfriends, writer Ananda BraxtonSmith, says Michael had no rules — he just wanted everyone to be happy. His long-term love Michele Bennett reveals that Michael hated being alone; Helena Christensen talks about Michael’s “special light — people were drawn to him”; while Kylie speaks lovingly of Michael’s “insatiable curiosity” and how he helped introduce her to a world of sex, love, music, travel, books and drugs. Michael and Kylie would fax each other “’90s love letters”, she as “Gabby Jones” (named after the Minogue family’s dog and Kylie’s mother’s maiden name), he as “Swordfish”. Michael Hutchence was a great rockstar. Michele notes he could be pretentious, quoting Sartre, while Chris Bailey explains that he “wanted to be an artist, not a sex god”. What is rarely acknowledged is Michael’s knack for writing clever, succinct and direct lyrics. There’s genius in lines such as “Sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked” (Kick), “You are all you need” (Listen Like Thieves), “And if you’re looking, you will find it” (Shine Like It Does), and “Every single one of us, the devil inside” (Devil Inside).
It’s also important to note the vision of manager Chris Murphy and the work ethic of the entire band. Chris Thomas, who produced Listen Like Thieves, Kick and X, and also worked with The Beatles and Pink Floyd, calls INXS “the hardestworking band I’d ever known”. Michael’s sister Tina says he was always a dreamer, “we just didn’t know what he was dreaming about”. His dreams came true, but he paid a high price. Close friend Bono talks of the “fragility underneath the bravado”, recounting a discussion about olive trees in the south of France. “They’re immortal,” Michael said. “They’re old. And we’ll never be.” Australia has produced just two international rock gods — Bon Scott and Michael Hutchence. And both died tragically. The legendary record producer Mark Opitz worked with both men and says they had a lot in common — they were both gypsies. “If Michael and Bon had known each other, they would have been great mates,” Opitz believes. Mystify: Michael Hutchence had Howzat! pondering: How should we honour our rock heroes? Bon has a statue in Fremantle and there’s AC/DC Lane in Melbourne. There’s now a campaign to erect a Michael Hutchence statue alongside Molly Meldrum’s statue in Richmond, not far from the Dogs In Space house. The proposal has split the music community — is Melbourne the right location for an artist who grew up in Sydney, Hong Kong and the US? — and Michael’s brother Rhett says it’s more “a statue for Tina. Michael shied away from these sorts of public displays”. During the making of the documentary, Lowenstein was struck by the realisation he didn’t really know Michael, despite their long friendship. “And I began to think he didn’t actually know who he was. He would wear different masks, showing different things to different people.” Initially, Lowenstein planned to make a feature film, before deciding that an archival documentary was “more honest and real”. It took nearly a decade to reach the screen — the first interview was with Bono in 2010. Lowenstein says he “was not enjoying the legacy that was being left behind; I owed him a legacy that gave him some respect”. Poignantly, he adds that the documentary is “partly an apology for not taking more notice at the end”. The documentary was, Lowenstein explains, “a slave labour of love”. “I owed that not just to Michael but to his family,” he says. “Michael deserves sympathy and understanding, not tabloid crucifixion.”
Milestones and memories John Farnham turns 70 (1 Jul). Five years ago
Rolf Harris is removed from the ARIA Hall Of Fame after being convicted of sex offences. He had been inducted in 2008.
Sia’s 1000 Forms Of Fear album
enters the US charts at number one. 5 Seconds Of Summer’s self-titled
debut album enters the US charts at number one, selling 259,000 copies in its first week, the biggest first-week sales for an Australian band. Ten years ago
Kev Carmody, The Dingoes, Little
Pattie, Mental As Anything and John Paul Young are announced as the latest ARIA Hall Of Fame inductees.
Mark Moldre — Fever Dreams It’s late at night and you can’t sleep. Your mind is racing. Mark Moldre’s third solo album — his first in six years — is the soundtrack to your subconscious. “These fever dreams, they keep me up at night.” Produced by Bluebottle Kiss’ Jamie Hutchings, it’s hypnotic, rollicking and restless. Fans of Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Dylan should immediately investigate. “And as my mind
Mystify: Michael Hutchence is in cinemas from 4 Jul
fills up with darkness, well, all that I can wish for is the light.”
W H AT ’ S O N I N
ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING
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EYES DOWN AT 7ISH
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JESS MAHLER TRIO
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THU 4 JULY
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THU 11 JULY
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SAMMY OWENS BLUES BAND 4:00 PM
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DYLAN GUY PINKERTON
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BEN DELVES TRIO
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RHYTHM X REVIVAL 8:00 PM
SATURDAY 20 JULY
CHRIS PICKERING 8:00 PM
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TWILIGHT IN4:00 TULSA PM
BEN6:00 CARTER PM
SATURDAY 27 JULY
THE HORNETS 4:00 PM
SUNDAY 28 JULY
THE MOONEE VALLEY4:00DRIFTERS PM
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SUN 21 JULY
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4.00PM / FREE
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THU 18 JULY
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BEN6:00 CARTER PM
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SUNDAY 7 JULY
SATURDAY 6 JULY
THURSDAY 4 JULY
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This month’s highlights Scraping by
Skyscraper Stan’s got a lush new album Golden Boy Vol I And II and he’s hitting the nation with both barrels on a 12-date launch tour. Catch him, along with his regular touring band, The Commission Flats, at Northcote Social Club on 27 Jul.
After a busy festival season, folky singer-songwriter Lucy Wise is returning to Wesley Anne this 7 Jul. Playing a mix of old faves and freshly written tracks, she’ll be accompanied by Mischa Herman on accordion and Dan Witton on double bass.
To the COR Come a round Melbourne’s own progressive rock juggernauts Circles are playing Max Watt’s as part of their Winter tour. Head down on 13 Jul to catch them with special guests Rival Fire, Ebonivory and caution:thieves.
CORIN is launching her debut Bedouin Records LP Manifest at Howler on 20 Jul, with tailored visuals from longtime collaborator Tristan Jalleh to boot. The show will also feature special guests Ptwiggs, Nico Niquo, Lilly Kane, ju ca and Jale.
It’s a hoot Catching Sean McMahon is always a treat, whatever incarnation he’s in. After dropping his solo album You Will Know When You’re There in March, he’s playing Edinburgh Castle with his band The Owls every Thursday this month, starting 4 Jul.
Up high Sunscreen’s new single High Over Love dropped in late June and this month the Sydney four-piece are playing a series of shows to celebrate. The Melbourne leg of the tour takes place this 27 Jul at Yah Yah’s.
Blending neoclassical compositions and electronica, ethereal violin and audiovisual beats, Matt Sheers’ ORCHA project is a genuinely mesmerising experience. Get a taste of something different this 27 Jul at Kew Court House.
ORCHA. Pic: Jeff Andersen Jr.
Sean McMahon & The Owls
bar & live music venue
303 high street northcote
on in july T H U R S D AY 4 T H J U L Y
KICKIN THE B AT 303’ THURSDAY HAMMOND SESSIONS: THE STITCH 8PM DOORS, $10
M O N D AY 1 5 T H J U L Y
303 YARRA BANKS JAM NIGHT 8P M, FREE
T U E S D AY 1 6 T H J U L Y
JOYING 7: 30P M
F R I D AY 5 T H J U L Y
RUSE + DON’T TEXT UR EX + SOFT TACO 8PM
W E D N E S D AY 1 7 T H J U L Y
EDEL PLASTIK + GUESTS 7: 30P M, DO NATI O N
S AT U R D AY 6 T H J U L Y
3CR RADIOTHON PUNK FUNDRAISER 8PM, $8/$12
F R I D AY 1 9 T H J U L Y
THE BEGGARS WAY & FRIENDS 8P M
S U N D AY 7 T H J U L Y
T U E S D AY 9 T H J U L Y
CARNIVAL OF THE IMPOSSIBLE
W E D N E S D AY 1 0 T H J U L Y
BOHJASS + GUESTS 7 : 3 0 P M , D O N AT I O N
T H U R S D AY 1 1 T H J U L Y
WILLIAM’S CAVE + DANIEL COOPER + HOLLAN MORRELL 8PM
VACANT IMAGE + CIRRUS CROWN + FLOGS + VERONA LIGHTS + SEDDON
JUDE JOSEPH 8P M
S AT U R D AY 2 7 T H J U L Y
8: 30P M, $10
THE FAQS + ANTHONY REA & THE CHARM OFFENSIVE + THE GRAVY TRAM 7P M
M O N D AY 2 9 T H J U L Y
7P M, $15
T U E S D AY 3 0 T H J U L Y
M O N D AY 2 2 N D J U L Y
MELBOURNE POLYTECHNIC MUSIC 7P M, FREE
7: 30P M
SMILING POLITELY COMEDY 7: 30P M, DO NATI O N
W E D N E S D AY 3 1 S T J U L Y
T U E S D AY 2 3 R D J U L Y
SHOL + GUESTS
8P M, DO NATI O N
T H U R S D AY 1 S T A U G U S T
SHOL + GUESTS
S AT U R D AY 1 3 T H J U L Y
F R I D AY 2 6 T H J U L Y
CHRIS BIENIEK BAND
LET THERE BE DRUMS
W E D N E S D AY 2 4 T H J U L Y
8P M DO O RS, $10
S U N D AY 2 1 S T J U L Y
TOM FRYER BAND
F R I D AY 1 2 T H J U L Y
KICKIN THE B AT 303’ THURSDAY HAMMOND SESSIONS: WEREWOLVES OF MELBOURNE
S U N D AY 2 8 T H J U L Y
S AT U R D AY 2 0 T H J U L Y
7P M, $10
T H U R S D AY 2 5 T H J U L Y
7: 30P M, DO NATI O N
7: 30P M, DO NATI O N
KICKIN THE B AT 303’ THURSDAY HAMMOND SESSIONS: THE SHACKMEN 8P M DO O RS, $10
S U N D AY 1 4 T H J U L Y
MIM CRELLIN + ALISTER 5PM
303 net au
JORDAN BAILEY SINGLE LAUNCH INFECTED MUSHROOM (ISR)
LIVE PRESENTS CONVERTING VEGETARIANS (5PM)
INFECTED MUSHROOM (ISR) OUT SOLD
THE SCREAMING JETS & ROSE TATTOO - OFF THE CHAIN
HEAD OF NASA LIVE SHOW (10PM)
GWWW PRESENTS SAVAGE VIBES
CALIGULA W/SPECIAL GUESTS
THRASH OF THE TITANS
DEFRYME & MATT DOLL (THE MAVIS’)
QUARTER POUNDER - 25 YEARS OF BEING CONSUMED!
PRINCE BANDROOM 27 FITZROY ST, ST KILDA
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the best and the worst of the month’s zeitgeist
The lashes Front
Pic via Sam Neil’s twitter
Pic: Getty via NC Management
Pic via Miranda Tapsell’s instagram
Pic via Kim Kardashian’s instagram
Twenty to zero
RIP Big Kev
Proud dad Sam Neill
At time of print, Ash Barty is
For the first time, Play
Kim Kardashian drew plenty
Perhaps the way to avoid
Big Kev, the beloved fibre-
acknowledged the efforts
world #1 and top-seeded for
School welcome a First
of ire at the end of last
being bombarded by the
glass brontosaurus on the
of his duck Charlie – who did
Wimbledon. At just 23, the
Nations doll to the toy
month – first for promoting
devoted fan base of K-pop
Stuart Highway in Darwin, is
two flights in one weekend,
true blue sporting legend
chest. Her name’s Kiya, from
full-body make-up, which
superstars BTS, Channel 9
due to be dismantled by its
after years as an earthbound
is the first Aussie woman to
Nyoongar country in Perth,
no one has the time for,
and 20 To 1, was to not air
new owners, Bunnings – and
duck! – with a video posted
cop the top ranking since
and she’ll be introduced to
and then for releasing a
a baldly thoughtless seg-
social media is aflame, with
to Twitter. Extremely whole-
Evonne Goolagong Cawley
Aussie kids by Miranda Tap-
line of shapewear with the
ment about the superstar
locals mourning the loss of a
sell during NAIDOC Week.
boyband being a fad?
The final thought
I’m getting intolerant of the number of times I have to bring up the intolerance paradox.
Words by Maxim Boon
ell, here we are again. A failed attempt by the multi-millionaire Christian fundamentalist and social media troll Israel Folau to raise the $3 million funding for his legal bid to be an anti-LGBTQIA+ hate-monger has once again led us to that dilly of a pickle, the in-
tolerance paradox. This nifty bit of beardstroking intellectual philosophy has become something of a torch song for these troubled times in which we live as freedom of speech, expression and religion has morphed into freedom to discriminate (at least according to Mark Latham, Rupert Murdoch, and that one uncle you try to avoid at family BBQs). So (and probably not for the last time) here are the cliffs notes on why axing a GoFundMe campaign attempting to raise cash for the express purpose of persecuting a minority doesn’t count as an “attack on freedom.” Firstly, you need to know that tolerance is not really a thing. For the absolutely tolerant, tolerance is a binary state; you either are, or you’re not. You cannot be somewhat tolerant, or a bit tolerant, or tolerant every now and then. True tolerance demands that you be unanimously unwavering in your commitment, and this includes tolerance of intolerance. If someone is actively participating in acts of intolerance, like using their celebrity kudos to promote the idea that gay people are going to burn in hell, those who are truly tolerant cannot speak out against this, since to do so would itself be an act of intolerance. Does your head hurt yet? Well it should, because regardless of what a mindfuck this moral Morpheus loop may be, this toler-
ance catch-22 has been conveniently weaponised by the likes of Folau, who hope to defend the indefensible under the banner of free speech. Clearly, this is a model that simply doesn’t function, primarily because it gives one side of the equation all the power while the other is hamstrung by their own principles. Yet, the notion of boiling down ethical choices to their bluntest, most maddeningly simplistic state is one that plays to the antiintellectual sensibilities of arch conservatives. Hate doesn’t have to be logical or stand up to reasoned scrutiny, it can simply be: “I hate the things I hate because I hate them.” And yet, to dispassionately stand by while hate is being promoted is to be complicit in that act, so while total tolerance might be the most zen behaviour, it is the least rational. As summarised by philosopher Karl Popper in The Open Society And Its Enemies: “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.” And there we have it. Nope, Folau, mate, you’re not having your freedoms impinged because your apparent right to attack an entire community does not cancel out their right to live with dignity, equality, and safety. Sorry, not sorry.
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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 Jul 4, 2019
The Music is a free, monthly magazine distributed throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. From local insights and insider knowledge to in...