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Brothers Grim and the Blue Murders Blue Collar Murder Ballads By Patrick Emery

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ith a hectic touring schedule and a reputation for exploring the inebriated boundaries of the rock’n’roll lifestyle, local band Brothers Grim and the Blue Murders hasn’t always allowed itself a great deal of luxury in the recording studio. So when the band headed up to the Empty Room studio in Nagambie in regional Victoria for a weekend of recording, it was an entirely new experience. “We wanted to find a completely different head space,” says vocalist James Grim. “We were sleeping in the studio, getting up in the morning and going for a swim and then going to record. It was a different environment – it was a luxury that we didn’t know how to deal with. It was great, but after it was over we thought for next time it’ll be straight back to a concrete box!” Grim laughs.

The brief hiatus from touring also meant that Grim could spend more time creating the lyrics for the band’s songs. “Cathartic is a bit of a horrible word, but in a way that’s what it was for this record,” Grim says. “We finally had time to write after the last tour was finished. So rather than sit down and say ‘this is the album that we want to write’, it was more of a case of ‘this is the story that we want to tell.’” Brothers Grim have made an art form of transposing dark and seedy tales into a confronting punk-blues aesthetic, and as time goes on, Grim feels his own lyric writing is maturing. “With the genre I write in, it’s pretty easy to fall into the misogynist trap, just because of the material you’re dealing with, murder ballads,” Grim says. “But I want to empower the characters that are in the songs, so lyrically I feel that I’m creating characters that both men and women can appreciate – even if they don’t actually like those characters.” Grim’s a huge fan of the late Bon Scott, whose influence can be seen in the final

track on the new record, ‘Baby Girl’. In the song, Grim adopts the position of a father contemplating what would make him turn to violence. “The song comes from a pulp story titled I Killed The Only Man My Baby Girl Ever Loved – when I saw that, I thought, ‘Wow, what a statement’. The novel was written from the perspective of the mother, but I started looking at it from my perspective, and in the context of domestic violence, which I absolutely abhor.” Grim is conscious of the potential for the lyrics to be misinterpreted by the audience, but sees that as an occupational risk. “The person I want to respond to the song is the perpetrator of domestic violence – it’s a veiled threat,” Grim says. Grim started out as an English teacher, and with his band about to return to the road, there’s no immediate need for him to ponder an alternative career outside of music – but he does have a suggestion. “Maybe a cult leader – it’s all about getting laid, but doing it in a way that makes people more peaceful,” Grim says dryly. “But I wouldn’t be wearing sandals!” What: The Steyne, Manly / the Annandale with Blackbear and Frank Sultana and band When: Thursday May 9 / Friday May 10

Julian Marley Jah’s Soldier By Lachlan Kanoniuk

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t’s a surname that doesn’t come any bigger in reggae, but Julian ‘Juju’ Marley has established himself as a formidable talent in his own right, spreading the good word of reggae across the globe. It’s a role he was born to. “From the time I came out of my mother and started to cry, that was the first note I ever sang,” Marley says. “As I child I was grown to be around music and play with instruments all day and night, which made music a very spiritual experience for me from day one. Music is healing, uplifting. That’s why it is important to feed music to all children.” Marley’s career has seen several collaborations with his brothers, including the Awake highlight ‘Violence In The Streets’ with Damian and Stephen Marley. “It is a very natural thing to work with my brothers, we are inseparable,” Marley says. “We grew up together, we play football together, we make music together. It is a very natural and blessed feeling, as we have love and respect for each other, always.” With one of the biggest figures in contemporary music for a father, you could forgive Julian Marley for feeling a familial pressure – he insists this isn’t the case. “I don’t feel any pressure to live up to my father. My father made me, my name is Julian, I have my own genetic make up, I wear size 11 shoes and that’s me, I am myself,” he says. “I stay grounded and not stuck up, I am normal and do not think that I am my father’s ‘shadow’ but instead that he is my inspiration, my teacher.” Joining Marley onstage in Australia will be his 12-piece band, The Uprising. “The band came together around 1994 – there’s wicked talent in the Uprising. Growing up in Jamaica I started to

play music with my bass player – Owen Dreadie Reed – who is from the school of [Wailers producer] Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett. I have a wicked keyboardist who has been with me from the start, as well as a wicked guitarist. I love performing with my live band, and the entire crew will of course be with me in Australia, bringing that great live sound, energy, spirit and light,” he says. “The audience can expect conscious music, reggae music, spiritual music. It is an overwhelming feeling every time we perform. I love to play music to a live audience because the heartbeat of the music can be felt, the uplifting and positive messages of the music can be experienced by the live audience.” For Marley, time has not diminished the need for the fundamental messages of reggae music. “There is a new generation that likes reggae music and performs reggae music now, however it is important that our peers and the new generation understand that the foundation of reggae music is in struggle. Reggae literally means King’s Music. Our peers need to understand that in order to perform reggae music, you must perform the King’s Music, meaning keeping with the integrity of the highest quality of music,” Marley says. “Reggae music represents the heartbeat of every person, and speaks of the struggles and ups and downs of life. Regardless of the language that is spoken, reggae resonates globally because its message breaks race and class, and is dedicated to positivity, hopeful times, unity and love.” What: : Julian Marley plays the Metro When: Friday May 10

Truckfighters Swede Jams By Augustus Welby

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wedish rockers Truckfighters have been drawing international comparisons to stoner rock royalty like Kyuss and Fu Manchu since their debut EP came out in 2001, but it’s taken until now for them to find a sizeable audience in their homeland. “We’re getting bigger in Sweden, that’s something we actually noticed lately. I think we passed the point of being totally unknown in Sweden,” guitarist Niklas ‘Dango’ Källgren says. “When we started, the stoner scene [in Sweden] didn’t really exist. There were a few bands playing when we first started, but not so many people actually listened to these bands in Sweden. Because all the bands played more in Europe than in Sweden, we did the same – Sweden is a bit hard because you have to get past a certain level for people to actually think it’s OK to listen to you.”

The creative core of the group is guitarist Dango and vocalist/bassist Ozo, with a lot of their material coming out of casual jam sessions. “In the early days of the band we just jammed and came up with ideas and then tried to make songs out of them. Then, as drummers have been coming and going, it’s become more focused on Ozo and I sitting down in the studio and composing stuff. But even if the two latest albums have been more Ozo and I writing, lots of the ideas still come from recorded jams. We hear a part of a jam and think, ‘Woah, this sounds really cool, let’s try to make something serious out of it.’”

Truckfighters self-produce all their records at their studio in Örebro, but it’s been four years since their last outing Mania, with touring, label duties and line-up changes causing delays in recording.

The band’s sound is particularly indebted to the gritty, fuzzy guitar sounds of the ‘90s, and Dango says he still prefers to listen to his early influences, rather than investigating current music trends.

“We’re ‘do-it-yourself’ guys. We run the label, record everything, write the songs and take care of everything ourselves. Partially because we tour really hard all the time, we don’t really take time off just to sit down and say ‘let’s make an album’. Also the drummer dilemma takes away lots of time, to rehearse with new drummers. Creative energy disappears when the drummer leaves and we have to look for a new one.”

“I’m too old to be excited for new music, unfortunately. I really like the Soundgarden album they released last year. I like the old Soundgarden as well, but I really was impressed that they made a good album 15 years later. One of my favourite bands is Tool. They don’t release that many albums, but Tool is a really big influence for me personally. Although I did get the new Kvelertak album – we toured with them in Europe for six weeks. That’s a good album, it’s like more of a punk-rock hardcore mixture. Their first album is also good. That’s a new band I actually listen to, but mostly I listen to old bands.”

Truckfighters has had a string of temporary drummers over the last four years, and although Dango suggests that Poncho, the man currently occupying the drum stool, is a great candidate he’s reluctant to confirm whether he’ll remain permanently. “Let’s just say I have been through too much to think so, but I really hope so. We’ve been

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playing with Poncho for four months. If he stays for more than a year I think he’s going to stay for a long time. He’s really cool and a really good drummer and we get along really well and it feels good, but you never know.”

What: Truckfighters play Manning Bar with Unida When: Friday May 10

Xxxxx photo by Xxxxx

“The initial plan was always to record an EP. We tour all the time, and we like to have a new product each time we go on tour to feed to the audience. We could have looked at doing a complete album,

which would have meant slamming down 14 or 15 songs and choosing the best ten in a more expansive process. But with a mini-album, it means you can spend more time over the songs.”

The Brag #511  

SYDNEY’S HOTTEST INDEPENDENT WEEKLY STREET PRESS Hitting the streets with the best music, culture and events, every Monday. This week: Local...

The Brag #511  

SYDNEY’S HOTTEST INDEPENDENT WEEKLY STREET PRESS Hitting the streets with the best music, culture and events, every Monday. This week: Local...

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