Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bands 'n Stuff: Jan 31 to Feb 6

After an enormous long weekend including a huge number of international touring acts here for the BDO and other stuff, there appears to be a relatively quiet week of live acts to welcome in the 2nd month of 07. Neko is here of course with a couple of shows (BTW if anyone's keen I need to get rid of my ticket to the Prince show. Send ATR an email) and there should be a bagful of goodies at the Damo Suzuki extravaganza at the Rob Roy on Thursday. For the whole family we welcome the return of the St Kilda Festival on Sunday with a variety of different stuff, although remember to slip, slop, slap because it looks like it will be another scorcher. One other act which I'm definitely keen on catching is Julian Nation who will be entertaining the Click Click crowd on Saturday. Apparently Crouchy from Candle has slated Jules for big things in 07.

Gig o' the Week...

Blue Ruin
+The Kill Devil Hills
+Black Pony Express
+James McCann and the Dirty Skirts
@The Corner, Saturday 8pm, $26
Here is a bunch of quality acts headlined by Blue Ruin who are celebrating their 20th anniversary. I would love to go to this gig but unfortunately can't make it so please can someone go and let us know how it was. Don't let the price tag put you off. This will be worth it.

And now for the whole weekly shortlist...

Wednesday the 31st

New Here, Now Live
Downhills Home, D. Rogers, Marcel Borrack
@Rob Roy, 8:30pm, $7

Scott Edgar and the Universe, Mike Noga and His Gentlemen of Fortune
@Spanish Club Front Room, 9:30pm, Free

Thursday the 1st

Neko Case, Emily Ulman
@Spanish Club Salon, 8pm, $44

Damo Suzuki, Radiant City
@Rob Roy, 8pm, $12

Macromantics, DJ Amy, Rucl
@NSC, 8:30pm, $10

Lisa Miller
@Spanish Club Front Room, 9:30pm, Free

Friday the 2nd

Neko Case, Jon Langford and the Bronte Pool Cosmonauts
@Prince Bandroom, $46 (SOLD OUT)

Holly Throsby, Dan Kelly, Princess One Point Five
@NSC, 8:30pm, $15

The Kill Devil Hills, Clinkerfield, Silver City Highway, Jacky Winter
@The Tote, 8:30pm, $12

Gaslight Radio, Ben Birchall and the Corrections, Alex Jarvis Band, Oh Mercy, Derbyfield
@Espy Front Bar, 8pm, Free

Saturday the 3rd

Click Click
Julian Nation, Popolice, Muscles, Streetparty DJs
@Brown Alley, 9pm

Holly Throsby, Dan Kelly, Princess One Point Five
@NSC, 8:3pm, $15

Sunday the 4th

St Kilda Festival
Dallas Crane
+The Audreys
+Tobias Cummings and the Long Way Home
+Blue King Brown
+The Bamboos
+plenty more
All Day, Free

Monday the 5th

Night in

Tuesday the 6th

The Arcades, Tim Vann, Solla Sellew
@The Tote, 8pm, $4

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AMP Final 8. Ish.

This is what I call announcing your Final 8:

Augie March - Moo, You Bloody Choir
Bob Evans - Suburban Songbook
Gotye - Like Drawing Blood
Howling Bells - Howling Bells
Jackie Marshall - Fight 'n' Flight
Lisa Gerrard - The Silver Tree
Sarah Blasko - What the Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have
The Drones - Gala Mill
The Grates - Gravity Won't Get You High

That's right, for those of you who can count you'll notice there's actually nine there. But they've changed the name to a shortlist, so that's fair enough I guess. (And if you're a pedant, you'll notice the official announcement still has Gotye's album name wrong. Hope they get it right if he wins.)

The more pertinent question is: how did we go? Drones, Augie, Bells, Gotye were in our lists. Surprised to see the Hoods miss out. One of us had Blasko, one had Grates. No love for Dappled or, in a fucken travesty, Sodastream. We mentioned Gerrard and Evans as being a chance. Jackie Marshall is the only real surprise. So we didn't win but it's pretty close, innit?

And the state-by-state breakdown, for Sean, and other Sydney-siders who think I'm obsessed with the rivalry. It's true, I am. There's four Victorian artists out of eight in the list, if you count Gerrard as Victorian despite living overseas. Two Queenslanders, two from NSW if you count the UK-based Bells, and one from WA. We rock!

Anyway, congratulations to all listed.

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Avalanche of Bees!

That buzzing you can hear in the background is a hype machine, just idling at the moment, but nearing the point where it will spin up to 12000 rpm, leaving smoking rubber clear across the soul of the internet.

It's the return of The Avalanches.

Or at least, the foreshadowing of such. Pitchfork have it, stereogum are echoing; there's been a sample cut released from a forthcoming Avalanches album, the second ever and first in six-plus years:

[mp3 from their site] The Avalanches - Brains TEAZER

Why does anyone care? Mainly cause of Since I Left You, the ultimate party soundtrack which Pitchfork gave a 9.5 in those halycon days before cynicism (it was 2001).

The album lit a lot of fuses, creating the mashup boom by taking use of samples to its logical extreme; though it apparently took the better part of a couple of years to get the samples cleared for release, signalling the boon it would be for copyright lawyers the world over. It was also the release that launched Melbourne behemoth Modular Records, not to mention the career of world DMC championships runner-up turntablist DJ Dexta.

So when they say there's a new album coming out, the world listens.


PS: OK, here's a bonus track, from the old old days, now 10 years ago, when they were playing mid-afternoon at festivals as a hip-hop group. Or headlining the Punter's Club. Still the same guys. This is a great track from their 1997 EP, El Producto, which shows some signs of what was to come for the boys:

[mp3 - 4MB] The Avalanches - Run DNA

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Race for the Prize

A couple weeks ago ATR tried to tip the a few second batch of artists for the inaugural Golden Plains Festival. And for those new to our blog, or who can't be bothered scrolling down the page to check it out - how do you think our tip fared?

Answer: Complete failure!

But that doesn't deter us here at ATR. We are resilient. We keep our heads high despite countless body blows. We struggle through adversity. And above all - we believe we are reliable.

So, if you are betting people you should know that the next big collect is only one flutter away and look no further than ATR for the next hot tip. Our target this time - the Australian Music Prize Shortlist 8 which will be announced tomorrow with releases selected from the current shorter longlist of 25.

To me a few Victorian based artists stick out immediately (sorry if we seem a bit biased to you Sydneysiders, but I say this with complete objectivity!). Last year The Drones took out the AMP with their beautifully messy and ferocious dirgey romp - Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By. This year, they released Gala Mill, a record which IMO is better than last year's outstanding release in almost every way. Steeped in Australia's convict past, this record is distinctly Australian (and that is nothing to cringe about) yet so refreshingly original. And the torturous lyrics are stunning. Take I'm Here Now and the stark storytelling of Sixteen Straws for example.

An even more poetic Melbourne band, Augie March, should also be assured of a spot on the shortlist thanks to the bizarrely named yet thoroughly rewarding Moo, You Bloody Choir. Augie's gloriously poignant record is rich full of emotions. Less of a pastiche than Strange Bird and more consistent than Sunset Studies, this record see Augie at their finest, and should also see them rewarded. (And a sidenote to all those %$#& idiots that claim Augie March have sold out - commercial success does not mean inferiority!)

The other Melbourne acts that are a strong chance of being included are Sodastream, thanks to their calm, warm, hushed tones on Reservations; NME favourites, the creepy yet strangely melodic UK based Howling Bells for their self-titled record, and newly crowned JJJ listeners' favourite album for the year, Like Drawing Blood by Gotye.

So if that takes up five of the spots then what will the other three releases be? Although ATR hasn't heard this record, one would be hard-pressed to argue that Hilltop Hoods won't get a nod especially given they took out the J Award a couple of months ago.

Despite a savaging from Pitchfork after Gravity Won't Get You High was released in the US, I think The Grates will get a spot for their exuberant and energetic effort. And for a bit of a smoky I'm going to go with Melbourne alt-country heroes Tobias Cummings and the Long Way Home for Join the Dots.


Bob Evans - Surburban Songbook
Dane Tucquet - Bury Me in My Headphones
Dappled Cities - Granddance
Gerling - 4

So kids, do you think ATR has got it right or will we be facing embarrasment for the second time in almost as many weeks? Let us know!

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Hottest Parochial 100

A beautiful day on Friday, and even though we barely listen to the Js any more, we have a soft spot for the station that started us listening to real music. (Fun fact: I used to listen to TTFM. True dat.) So we sat around and burned sausages and opened cans and talked shit to celebrate Hottest 100 Day.

From an Oz perspective, the list was pretty decent. Here's the Australian sublist:

1 VIC Augie March One Crowded Hour
2 WA Eskimo Joe Black Fingernails, Red Wine
3 SA Hilltop Hoods The Hard Road
8 VIC Gotye Hearts A Mess
10 QLD Grates 19-20-20
11 WA Little Birdy Come On Come On
12 WA John Butler Trio Funky Tonight
17 QLD Grates Science Is Golden
21 NSW Youth Group Forever Young
23 SA Hilltop Hoods Clown Prince
32 QLD Butterfly Effect Gone
33 NSW Cops Call Me Anytime
36 WA Bob Evans Nowhere Without You
37 WA Bob Evans Don't You Think It's Time
38 NSW Josh Pyke Memories & Dust
39 QLD Butterfly Effect A Slow Descent
41 SA Hilltop Hoods What A Great Night!
42 QLD Grates Inside Outside
43 NSW Angus & Julia Stone Paper Aeroplane
45 WA Karnivool Roquefort
51 VIC Something For Kate Cigarettes And Suitcases
52 NSW Herd Unpredictable
53 VIC Living End Wake Up
55 NSW Wolfmother Woman (MSTRKRFT Remix)
56 SA Hilltop Hoods Stopping All Stations
57 NSW Josh Pyke Private Education
58 NSW Sarah Blasko Always On This Line
64 NSW Something With Numbers Apple Of The Eye
68 NSW Darren Hanlon Happiness Is A Chemical
71 QLD Grates Lies Are Much More Fun
72 VIC Jet Put Your Money Where Mouth Is
76 VIC Jet Rip It Up
77 SA Hilltop Hoods Recapturing The Vibe
79 NSW Sarah Blasko Explain
80 NSW Wolfmother Love Train
82 WA Freestylers/Pendulum Painkiller
83 QLD Butterfingers Get Up Outta The Dirt
88 WA Pendulum Tarantula
94 VIC Gotye Learnalilgivnanlovin
95 WA Eskimo Joe New York
96 NSW Red Riders Slide In Next To Me
100 VIC Blue King Brown Come And Check Your Head

So 42 of the 100 are Australian; looks like the Js are well doing their bit to promote homegrown stuff, as we'd hope. Good to see some lowish profile groups in there: Gotye, Cops, Something With Numbers, Red Riders, Butterfingers. The state breakdown is interesting:

NSW: 10 groups, 13 entries, avg place 57
QLD: 3 groups, 7 entries, avg place 42
SA: 1 group, 5 entries, avg place 40
VIC: 6 groups, 8 entries, avg place 57
WA: 6 groups, 9 entries, avg place 45

TOTAL: 26 groups, 42 entries, avg place 50

What does that tell us?

That there's a New South Welsh bias. Look at Something With Numbers, Cops and Red Riders. Three low-profile semi-indie acts who each get a song in the list thanks to a fair bit of JJJ airplay. Take nothing away from the bands, especially Red Riders who I reckon are quite good, but there are plenty of bands as good as them in other cities. OK, they have to be in the right place at the right time, but it appears that the right place is the Annandale... And this is not surprising, because most JJJ programming comes out of Sydney.

Cause they're pretty much the only bolters on the list. Well, apart from the continuing saga of Gotye's amazing success. All the other Melbourne bands (Augie, Jet, Living End, SFK!) are pretty established.

Anyway, it's not that bad, I suppose. Just disappointing. At least we've got RRR and PBS.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bands 'n Stuff: Jan 24th to 30th

If you're not planning on skipping town for a dirty/boozy weekend or the gluttonous BBQ season has your calendar chockers , I suggest you step out of the front door and find a nice bit of sticky carpet somewhere because there is a enormous amount of live musical options to enjoy in Melbourne town over the next seven days.

Talented foreigners are some of the highlights for me (Bird, Callahan, Newsom), but there are also are a number of huge multi band extravaganzas to coincide with the public holiday and eve festivities. If you are still in a reasonable state on Friday evening Collingwood looks like it will be the place to be. Those who like their tunes a little darker should head to the Tote where Jarvis, Witch Hats, Because of Ghosts and a few will be cranking up an indie rock feast, while across on Exile on Smith Actor/Model will play their last show before their debut EP is released. Iberian electro popsters, The Pinkertones headline. But for gig 'o the week there should be something for everyone down at the Espy on Thursday night. Check it out!

Gig o' the week

Midnight Juggernauts
+ The Vasco Era
+ My Disco
+ Jarvis
+ Love is Science Fiction
+ Little Red
+ Riff Random
+ Batrider
+ The Casinos
+ The Suits
+ Young and Restless
+ Panel of Judges
Thursday night
Only $12
@ The Espy

Also on:

Wednesday the 24th

Andrew Bird (USA), J Walker
@ NSC, 8:30pm, $27

Royal Chord
@Retreat Hotel, 9:30pm, free

Thursday the 25th

Youth Group, Children Collide, Operator Please, Young Lovers
@Geddes Lane, $20

Clinkerfield, CWQ, The Space Cadets
@The Old Bar, 8:30pm, Cheap

The Shine, The Five Venoms, Million Dollar Whores, Sinatra's Eyes
@The Tote, 7:30pm, $8

The Good Intentions, Learn the Splits, The Gingers, Dukes of Windsor
@Royal Melbourne Hotel,

The Spoils, White Swan Black Swan
@Bar Open, 9pm, Free

Friday the 26th

Witch Hats, Alex Jarvis, Because of Ghosts, St Helens, Deaf Albert
@The Tote, 7:30pm, $10

The Pinker Tones (ESP), Actor/Model, Little Athletics, Applecross
@Exile on Smith St, 10pm

Dan Luscombe, Brett Polliness, Sir, The Beautiful Few
@ Espy Front Bar, 9:30pm

The Smallgoods, Amaya Laurcirica, The Downhills Home
@Salon, 8pm, $8

Saturday the 27th

Catnip, All India Radio
@NSC, 8:30pm, $10

Emma Heeney, Anthony Atkinson, Emma Dean (QLD)
@East Brunswick Club, 8:30pm, $8

The Dumb Earth, White Swan Black Swan
@Wesley Anne, 8pm, $8

Sunday the 28th

Some festival.

Monday the 29th

White Swan Black Swan (busy weekend!)
@Retreat Hotel, 9pm

Mark Lanigan (Well, it's a similar name), Evika
@The Empress

Tuesday the 30th

Joanna Newsom + others
@The Forum, 8pm, $58

Hot Chip + others
@The Corner, 8pm, $38.50

Cam Butler
@The Retreat, 9pm

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Little and Red and Awesome

Sometimes we here at ATR fall in love. This doesn't happen so often that it means nothing, but the hope of it keeps us trudging along to A Bar Near You, searching for that sweet sensation amongst the dross of stilted, pretentious art-wave and soporific singer-dirgewriter.

And actually, it's probably too early to profess our love for Little Red, but we've certainly got a crush on these barely-legal kids. It's mainly cause of their sweet-as-candy four-part pop harmonies, backed by simple 60s-style garage rockin'.

Sounds simple, like it's been done before? Well, it probably has, but I haven't seen a band have as much fun with it as these guys. There's four of them ranged across the front of the stage, each taking the lead in turns, while the others jostle to a mike to provide the harmonies. It's all very egalitarian and they seem to know what they're doing, despite their baby faces and school uniforms making them look way too young. Here's a pretty good track:

[mp3 - 3MB] Little Red - Waiting

Check it out, it'll go well for you with a sunny day and your nice pants. Look past the garage-quality recording. Listen for the stomp of the rhythm, the hand-claps, the bouncy pluckd guitar - but mostly, for the pretty harmonies. This is what the band's about. Beach Boys-revival with simple rockin' beats behind it. Though at various other points they get a bit R&B, listen to Speedo on their myspace.

Now, that recording, and the others on their page, don't quite capture the good clean fun of a Little Red show. It's like a refreshing reaction to the hip scene, with influences worn right on their sleeves and barely a trace of irony. Hey, they might get sucked into drugs and women and fall in a heap, but if they keep improving (EP out soon!) then I can almost hear the girls squealing now.

[stream Coca Cola and Speedo from myspace - you won't regret it!]

[catch them at The Espy on Australia Day Eve or, in a nice gig, with The Basics at The Empress on Feb 8th]

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Witch Hats - Wound of a Little Horse EP

Yeah, I know it's 2007 know but I'm so not ready for it; far too many great 2006 releases still to suck in. Luckily it's January and no-one really releases much at this time of year.

Witch Hats - Wound of a Little Horse EP

Witch Hats are way scary 'n' shit, mainly cause of Kris Buscombe's vocals. How creepy's this, from Ma Birthday: "I'm currently President of the Alphington Junior Football Club/ I'll have a kick with your kids if they're not too buggered". It's delivered with a leery wink like that pissed fat guy wearing shorts in that dingy old-man pub in the suburbs. But it's a corker of a track, have a listen:

[mp3 - via the band's myspace] Witch Hats - Ma Birthday

It's reminiscent of some of the good stuff on The Ground Components' album of last year, but while Joe Groundie's vocals are angry, Kris Witch's are completely fucking unhinged: "I'm currently living in your grandmother's flat, the one out the back/ I'm the one wearing the shorts and rubbing your children's legs". The chorus, a screamed "It's ma birthday" sounds like a horror movie bad guy on a hunt. Don't forget, as well, the swampy rhythm section, the bass right at the front of the mix, and the caterwauling guitars. It's a tour de force and I can't turn it off.

And the rest? Pepperman and Jock the Untold are both very good, maybe without the depths of malevolence but great blues-punk drive and more screaming. The last couple of tracks are solid but don't grab in the same way.

But it's a grand EP and a way impressive debut release, grab it for whenever you feel kinda wrong and want someone to sympathize - Kris Buscombe feels that way all the time.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Real Gold Shows

Well, turns out we were wrong about the second batch of Golden Plains bands, unfortunately. No Calexico, no Dears, nothing remotely similar in fact. Here's the deal:

The Presets
Mad Professor (Jamaica)
George Rrurrambu and Birdwave (NT)
Sebastian and Kavinski (France)
Darren Hanlon
Dudley Perkins and Georgia Anne Muldrow (US)
Riot in Belgium
Jamaica Irie feat. RuCL and Jigzie Campbell (Jamaica)
Muph and Plutonic
Sunwrae Ensemble

Some good stuff there, to add to The Bellrays, Fat Freddy's Drop, Yo La Tengo, !!!, Gotye, The Avalanches, Comets on Fire, The Slits, The Drones, Ground Components, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Mountains in the Sky... But nothing in this lineup really seals it for me. Still, it's not so much about the music up there, is it? As long as it's not so hot, it'll be good.

Other news.

Wilco are touring! Tickets tomorrow morning at Ticketmaster. They were awesome at the Palace a few years ago, let's just hope they can do a similar great show in a seated venue.

Pitchfork announce Australian Deerhoof dates (though we knew they were playing the Great Escape). The Corner down here, 7th April. They did a great show at the NSC last year, so looking forward to them returning as well.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Gigs: Jan 17th to 23rd

It awakes! Slowly, despite two hundred degree temperatures ("that's why they call me Mr Fahrenheit" - small prize for correctly sourcing that lyric), the Melbourne music scene is stirring, creaking back into its standard liver- and eardrum-destroying whirlwind.

Saturday, especially, is ridiculously huge. Look at the Super 8 Diaries Fundraiser, in obvious top place as gig of the week. Also Saturday afternoon is Sneak Peek at the Rob Roy, ten good young bands for twelve bucks. And then that night is Because of Ghosts at the East, for some instrumental post-rock cleverness, or The Bakelite Age at the Tote for rockin' out just a little more. Deloris on Friday night will be very good, and the gig next Tuesday with Laura Veirs supported by Jen Cloher and Emily Ulman is another corker.


Gig o' the Week

Eddy Current Suppression Ring
with The Tigers (WA)
and Tucker Bs (NSW)
also Witch Hats
plus bang!bang!aids!
and Fabulous Diamonds
and Batrider
and Pikelet
and Aleks (without The Ramps)
and Quebec
and DJ Matt Blackman
what? Super 8 Diaries Fundraiser
at Wooden Shadow Gallery
where? 49 Coppin St, Richmond
on Saturday 20th January
from 3pm till midnight
for $10
with all ages allowed

Um. Yeah. 10 bucks. 10 bands. And a Blackman. Not sure what else can be said. It'll start out pretty mellow with Aleks solo and Pikelet before building into screechy steel guitars and belted tom beats. You may need to sleep in before this one, and after, cause it'll take it outta ya.

Wednesday 17th January

Pinky Beecroft and the White Russians, Dukes of Windosr
@ The Northcote Social Club, 8:30pm, $9+bf

Andrew McCubbin and the Hope Addicts
@ The Retreat, 9pm, free

Ash Naylor
@ The Rochester Castle, free

Mike Noga
@ The Spanish Club Front Bar, 9:30pm, free

Poly and the Statics (SA), Red Ink, Whitley
@ The Greyhound, 9pm, free

Thursday 18th January

Clinkerfield, Chinook, Light Says Solo
@ The Old Bar, 8pm, $6

George Kamikawa (The Japanese Blues Cowboy)
@ The Rainbow, free

Emily Ulman, The Rich Family
@ The Spanish Club Front Bar, free

Friday 19th January

Dallas Crane, Airbourne, The Vandas
@ The Prince, 8:30pm, $20

Deloris, Tucker Bs (NSW), The Tigers (WA)
@ Revolver Upstairs, 9pm

Grey Daturas, Fabulous Diamonds, Magnetics, Aganhym
@ The Tote, 8:30pm, $8

Wayfaring Strangers, Justin Walshe (The Woulds), Kristin Mizzi, Big Boy Lemonade, Solid Gold
@ Wesley Anne, 8pm

Saturday 20th January

The Bakelite Age, Gareth Liddiard, Hutt River Solution, The Russian Roulettes
@ The Tote, 8:30pm, $10

Because of Ghosts, Ned Collette, JP Shilo
@ The East Brunswick Club, 8:30pm, $10

Broken Flight, Tobias Cummings, The Steadfast Shepherd
@ The Old Bar

Registered Nurse, King Daddy, The Laurels (NSW), Starstream
@ The Spanish Club Salon, 8pm, $10

Sneak Peek 2: Spargo, Master Cardinal, A Mapmouth Exploder, Little Red, The Jades, Strip for Cash, Richie and the OGs, The House of Slunk, The Threads, The Sound Debate
@ The Rob Roy, 2pm, $12

Telecom, The Ca$inos
@ Bang!: Royal Melbourne Hotel

Tucker Bs (NSW), Shooting at Unarmed Men, Black Level Embassy
@ The Northcote Social Club, 8:30pm, $10+bf

Sunday 21st January

Dallas Crane, Airbourne, The Vandas
@ The Peninsula Lounge

Spencer P Jones
@ The Gem

Joel Silbersher
@ The Labour in Vain

The Justin Walshe Players
@ The Old Bar

Tuesday 23rd January

Jimmy Clinkerfield, Andy Wiffler
@ The Rainbow, free

Laura Veirs (US), Jen Cloher, Emily Ulman
@ The Corner, 8pm, $32+bf

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Art of Fighting - Back, Down, Forward, High Punch

Art of Fighting have finally set the title and release date for their new album (thanks to mess+noise).

March 10th: Art of Fighting - Runaways (Remote Control Records)

Ollie says it's "more intimate, lyrically and sonically, than... Second Storey"; it's more the close-miked, straight-recorded style they pulled off so beautifully on Wires than the fully-produced, lush sound of the also gorgeous Second Storey. The single, Eastbound, was one of my favourite songs of last year, and judging from the single and the b-side, Night on Night, that's about right. The songs come out pretty much as they're played live, with the baby-bum smooth tones that the band are renowned for and just about one level of keyboard highlights.

I'm listening to the single now but after this it goes at back of the drawer until the album comes out - don't want to ruin it.

But I'm damn excited!

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Golden Batch?

Well, after months of agonising, I've finally bitten the bullet and purchased my entry ticket to the Golden Plains festival to be held at the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre on the Labour Day long weekend.

Before you rush out and go and purchase your ticket in the knowledge that you could be in the vicinity of one of the guys from ATR (OK, maybe not), you might be asking yourself who else is on the lineup. No, actually the second batch of artists hasn't been announced just yet. IMO only Yo La Tengo are a must see of the bands that are confirmed.

But if you are feeling too despondent and are seriously asking yourself if a second Meredith festival in a year is actually worth it, it might be worth making note of the news that eclectic alt country experimentalists Calexico have just announced a National tour around the start of March. (mp3: Calexico - Across the Wire), while moody intense Canadian collective (not another bloody Canadian collective some might say) The Dears have been announced on the bill of the Playground Weekender festival in Sydney (here's The Dears' myspace).

As of now these bands do not appear to be busy in the second weekend in March so hopefully we'll see them down at Nolan's farm. I'm sure there'll be several other top acts announced on the bill, but with these two as additions, it will pretty hard for many decent music loving Melburnians not to live the Meredith experience all over again.

(Give in to your temptations and buy a ticket now!)

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Quote of the Week

I was at a gig the other week and was amused by this comment I overheard. It went something along the lines of...

"I, like, don't have a wonderful voice, but, like, the acoustics of my girlfriend's bathroom is so great man, I, like, sound exactly like Mark Lanegan."

The man with the deep dark baritone voice was in town last week with the Twilight Singers wasn't he? Maybe he should have paid a visit to this guy's girlfriend's place and recorded a few numbers. He might be able to find a whole new vocal range.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Second Soul EP

Souls on Board - Blood Face EP (Low Transit Industries)

I wasn't sure about Souls on Board's debut EP. It was very short (three real tracks), and while there was the surfed-out drive of How to Make a Fire, there was also unconvincing alt-rock (Hand) and kinda gimmicky Doors-style in Oh These Walls!

But potential, and a solid live show, got me into the next EP. And from the first track, that's a good decision. Where the Dance Is may be an unwieldy name but it's a really good track, a perfectly produced almost-krautrock stomper with excellent guitar lines; just psychy enough while retaining a beautiful tone.

This guitar sound, drawn out of the instrument by Finn Keane's recording and Anthony Petrucci's deft fingers, is the icing the EP. Just to the cleaner side of psych-surf, with enough reverb to fill the mix, and some great chords - I love the up-and-down progression of the chorus in Fingers. Underneath, it's the seething rhythm section, Simon Edwards' pacy drums and some bubbling bass lines, as we see in the garagey speed-punk of This City's Full of Spies. At less than two minutes, it's completely different from the full-bodied jams of previous tracks, but pulled off with simple panache.

There's blissed-out keyboard crawl in Souls on Board before kicking back hard into Don't Let Them Say It Be So, another quicky punky track with a new-wave shouted chorus. Ignore the self-indulgent though strangely appropriate closer, a self-recorded noodle from Petrucci.

Melbourne has plenty of buzz bands but Souls on Board actually know chords, crafting songs rather than dumping energetic disposable pap. I'd compare them with Yo La Tengo if that wasn't a ridiculous and onerous comparison for a young band. But good things will come from these minds.

[got to their myspace and listen to Where the Dance Is]

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Hanging up the Boots

After 1 EP and 3 albums, effervescent indie popsters Ruck Rover have decided to call it a day. In the Candle Records newsletter this week, the boys cite ‘chronic inactivity’ as their primary reason for splitting up. Rob Clarkson will continue his solo career as will Stanley Paulzen under the guise of quirky lo-fi singer-songwriter Fred Astereo. The last chance to see them will be at the Candle Records Farewell Concerts in Feb. (Buy your tix for the Melbourne show from The Corner.)

While I’ve only seen the wiry onballers play a couple of times (sorry, I had to get another footy reference in there somewhere), and I’m not that familiar with their stuff (apart from Thornbury which had quite a high rotation on JJJ a few years back), it will be sad to see them go, and really brings perspective to the departure of Candle. While no doubt many of the popular artists on the label such as The Lucksmiths and Darren Hanlon will be able to find homes elsewhere, some others may not be so lucky. I guess we will just have to look forward to the release of the Small Knives’ new album in Feb, and then hope some other label gives a go to all those indie kids (Actually, a lot of them are men around thirty. but you can't have indie men, can you?) who can write a literate lyric, and a melodic catchy tune.

Here's a couple of otherwise unreleased Ruck Rover tracks from the latest and last Candle compilation, Hamper:

[mp3 - 4.1MB] Ruck Rover - New York
[mp3 - 3.5MB] Ruck Rover - Prague

[buy the compilation from Polyester or the Candle site]

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Bands 'n' Stuff: Jan 11th - 16th

Quieter than the Marie Celeste round these parts as January lassitude settles in for the long haul. At least it's getting cooler. Until next week. Tuesday, Wednesday? 39 fucking degrees. Centigrade. So that's gonna hurt. But in the mean time, make the most of a weekend right in the sweet spot. Plenty of options for Friday and Saturday:

Gig o' the Week

The Sand Pebbles
with Heligoland
and International Karate
also The Black Hundred
on Saturday 13th
at The Tote
doors 8:30pm
costs $12

Four bands, a good night's entertainment. The Sand Pebbles have just released an acclaimed album of psych rock, Heligoland have their last show in Melbourne before pissing off overseas, International Karate have their first show for the year, pending the release of their album in February, and I don't know much about the Black Hundred. Whaddya want? Get to their site and check 'em out. Then get to The Tote. Don't worry, Collingwood's not dodgy these days. Except the football team.

Thursday 11th

Clinkerfield, Seconds, Little Red
@ The Old Bar, 8pm, $6

The Mexicans, Hutt River Solution, The Argyles
@ Bar Open, 9:30pm, free

Emily Ulman (two sets)
@ The Spanish Club, 9pm, free

Friday 12th

The Morningbirds, Hugh McGinley, Majorchord, The Darling Buds
@ The Evelyn, 9pm, $10

Ripe, Kim Salmon, Treetops, Blue Sunshine Mind
@ The Tote, 8:30pm, $12

The Sailors, The Pink Fits (NSW), Mink Jaguar (NSW)
@ The Tote Upstairs, 9pm, $9

The Smallgoods (duo), Blessington
@ The Afterdark, 9pm, free

Snowman (WA), The Temper Trap, Second Viennese School
@ Northcote Social Club, 8:30pm, $15

Saturday 13th

Bit by Bats, The Dead Frenchmen, The Dead South
@ Ding Dong, 8pm, $10

Kamikaze Trio, Group Seizure, Souls on Board, Motor Vehicle Sundown, The Legends of Motorsport DJs
@ The Rob Roy, 7pm, $10

The Legs, Deniro, Hellbent Revelators, Hotel Wrecking City Traders
@ The Old Bar, 9pm, $7

Mountains in the Sky
@ Section 8

Sunday 14th

Spencer P Jones
@ The Gem

Tuesday 16th

Jimmy Stewart (Clinkerfield), Justin Walshe (The Woulds)
@ The Rainbow

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

AMP 06 Long Short List

The Australian Music Prize has only had one year thus far, but it seems to have some cred around the traps.

The list of judges includes real musos - like Blasko, Bridie, Freedman, Geyer, Hirst, Lisa Miller, Reyne, Seltmann (x2) - as well as the standard industry types and critics. And bands are entering, with best part of two hundred on the long list, including most everyone you'd want (though Crayon Fields and Snowman are missing, for a start).

Last year's choice was Melbourne's own The Drones for Wait Long By the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By - an album appreciated by the burghers at Pitchfork and just about everyone else. And they're up there again, in the Shortened Long List, or Longer Short List, release by the AMP today (from Ben Butler at Mess+Noise):

Amanda Handel/GL Seiler Ghosts and Angels NSW (Feral Media/Fuse)
Augie March Moo, You Bloody Choir VIC (Sony BMG)
Black Cab Jesus East VIC (Interstate 40/Inertia)
Bob Evans Friend WA (Capitol)
Brendan Gallagher On Eve St NSW (independent/Vitamin)
Dane Tucquet Bury Me in My Headphones NSW (The Muse Agency/Vitamin)
Dappled Cities Granddance NSW (Speak 'n' Spell/Universal)
Fourth Floor Collapse Books With Broken Spines VIC (Congregation/Creative Vibes)
Gerling 4 NSW (FMR)
Gotye Like Drawing Blood VIC (independent/Creative Vibes)
Hilltop Hoods The Hard Road SA (Obese)
Howling Bells Howling Bells UK (Bella Union)
Jackie Marshall Fight 'n' Flight QLD (Television Records/MRA)
Lisa Gerrard The Silver Tree UK (Rubber Records/iTunes)
Princess One Point Five The Truth VIC (Pharmacy/MGM)
Sarah Blasko What the Sea Wants,
The Sea Will Have NSW (Dew Process/Universal)
Sodastream Reservations VIC (Trifekta/Shock)
Something for Kate Desert Lights NSW (Murmur/Sony)
The Drones Gala Mill VIC (ATP/Shock)
The Grates Gravity Won't Get You High QLD (Dew Process/Universal)
The Knives Of Neptune Lakes VIC (DSTAR/Sony)
Tim Steward How Does It End? QLD (Reverberation)
Tobias Cummings
and the Long Way Home Join the Dots VIC (In-Fidelity/Inertia)
True Live The Shape of It VIC (Shock)
You Am I Convicts NSW (EMI/Virgin)

If you can't be bothered to count but are interested, that's 10 VIC, 8 NSW, 3 QLD, 2 UK, 1 WA, 1 SA. Melbourne beats Sydney again... ;-)

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Monday, January 08, 2007

The Temper Trap - EP

The Temper Trap - The Temper Trap EP (Liberation)

Everyone's talking about The Temper Trap. They've had some peachy support gigs, most recently Modest Mouse at the Palace (incidentally, I hate that venue, can't wait for them to tear it down). They're soon playing four south-east cities with Snowman, another so-hot-right-now Aussie band, then supporting Brits Kasabian. Then playing the Laneway Festivals, the V Festivals and the Great Escape Festival.

Phew. These guys know that when you're a buzz band you've gotta make the most of the hype.

They have released a self-titled EP, though. It's a pretty well-recorded affair which reveals them as mostly what you'd expect. The single's Sirens, a simply energetic piece of indie-wave, with not too many lyrics, a bouncy rhythm section, and an anthemic hook in the unearthly vocals. It's fun, and My Sun does it all again, though a bit more rock in execution, with some crunching stop-start chords but mostly zipping along.

While the music is decent, Dougy's wailing vocals are the band's standout characteristic on these tracks. So when he drops back to singing on the slower Peter Parker Alter Ego, restraining himself, it's a bit of a disappointment. And the lyrics are a bit crap - "I'm stripped down and open and naked/ And noone even seems to care/ Apparently you know the difference/ Between money and a millionaire" - the kinda rhyming non-sequiturs that aren't quite as insightful as they sound. The music, too, gets a bit ponderous; the guys are so light on their feet in the quick numbers that it seems a shame to slow down for the sake of it. Sunday Painter falls somewhere in between; a decent album track but nothing special, sliding maybe a little emo in places.

But the first two tracks are fun. Let's hope the band make the most of their ubiquity to be seen in the right places and meet the right people, and impress with their energetic live show. And then write some great songs for the debut album.

[hear every track from the EP at their myspace]

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tours in January

January's a little quiet for local gigs, but internationals from the Northern Hemisphere love wandering down to sun themselves on our gorgeous women, and chase our beautiful beaches. Here's some things you may want to get tickets to right now:

Colin Hay, two sets
@ The Corner, Friday 12th, $27.50+bf

- I know, he's not international. But he was on Scrubs! And he wrote some song called Land Down Under. But don't crucify him for that.

Kaki King w/ Emily Williams
@ Northcote Social Club, Saturday 13th, $20+bf

Tenacious D
@ Festival Hall, Friday 19th, $72+bf

- The gags are still funny, believe it or not.

Laura Veirs w/ Jen Cloher
@ The Corner, Tuesday 23rd, $32+bf

Andrew Bird
@ Northcote Social Club, Wednesday 24th, $25+bf

- Great songs, apparently amazing live.

Lupe Fiasco w/ Foreign Heights
@ The Prince, Friday 26th, $44+bf

Joanna Newsom
@ The Forum, Tuesday 30th, $50.50+bf

- I know, you can't stand her voice. Try listening to Ys. And Bill Callahan may appear - his other show's sold out, you know.

Lily Allen
@ The Metro, Monday 29th, $54.40+bf

- She's not a great performer, it'll be full of pop-kids, you'll feel bad going to the Metro. But LDN is too enjoyable to stay away!

Roger Waters
@ Rod Laver, Thursday Feb 1st and Friday Feb 2nd, up to $350+bf (!)

The best one, which is actually in Feb:

Neko Case
@ The Prince, Friday Feb 2nd, $46+bf

- She was fun with The New Pornographers, but her solo stuff is different; deep, dark and country, it really shows off her huge voice.

And the pick of the BDO sideshows:

My Chemical Romance
@ Festival Hall, Monday 29th, $56.50+bf

John Cooper Clarke
@ The National Theatre, Tuesday 30th

Hot Chip
@ The Corner, Tuesday 30th, $38.50+bf

@ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Wednesday 31st, SOLD OUT!

The Streets w/ Muph n Plutonic
@ The Prince, Thursday Feb 1st, $60.50+bf

So sink your teeth into that little lot.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

007's Gigs: January 4th - 7th

Another year of infinite possibilities! Plenty of internationals coming our way in January, but it's summer; the perfect time to wander out to a local bar and see your new favourite local combo. Some places are closed for a well-earned holiday, but there's still plenty on. And note that The Necks are playing some gigs next week...

Gig of the Week

with Silver City Highway
and Downhills Home
at The Old Bar
on Thursday the 4th of January
starts 8:30
costs $6

Clinkerfield can do any (real) genre - rock, blues, country, folk - with panache. They all play like nothing else, and Jimmy's Waits-esque vocals are perfect for a tiny beer-soaked so-uncool-it's-cool bar. They've got their standard awesome January residency at The Old Bar, but soon after will be disappearing into the studio to record an album, so this year might fall short of the usual hundred shows.

But it's actually the support which are the selling point. Jimmy knows everyone in Melbourne and so can pick and choose from the entire Melbourne music scene; he plucks out the gems. Haven't heard much Downhills Home, the previews give us decent alt-country.

Silver City Highway are a supergroup. Members of SubAudible Hum, Souls on Board, Redfish Bluegrass Band, Three Boys Blind come together behind Ferg McAlpin's pure baritone, giving a wall of bluesy, swampy country rock, with touches of much else. I'm looking forward to this one.

Thursday 4th January

Actor/Model, Ouch My Face, Bukkake Princess
@ The Tote, 8:30, $5

Telecom, The New Black, La Strada, The Rex Wicked
@ Ding Dong, 7pm, free

Emily Ulman
@ The Spanish Club Front Bar, free

Friday 5th January

Le Shlonk, The Dead South
@ The Old Bar, 9pm, $5

Talkshow Boy, Big Strong Brute, Anonymeye, Spider Goat Canyon
@ Pony, 10pm

Saturday 6th January

The Basics, Ben Birchall and the Corrections, The Good Intentions
@ Bootleg, Geddes Lane

Gaslight Radio, Blessington, Royal Chord
@ The Tote, 9pm, $10

Snarski vs Snarski
@ NSC, 9pm, $15+bf

The Sticks, Swayback, Dirty Pink Jeans, Razor Cartel
@ The Espy, 9:30pm

Sunday 7th January

Juan Alban (Epicure), Julia Deans (Fur Patrol), Jaime Robbie Reyne
@ The East, 7:30pm, $10

Monday 8th January

The Necks
@ The Corner, 8:30pm, $25+bf

Tuesday 9th January

The Necks
@ The Corner, 8:30pm, $25+bf

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

SubSecond Album

SubAudible Hum - In Time for Spring, On Came the Snow (Low Transit Industries)

I didn't really quite get Everything You Heard Is True, the first SubAudible Hum album, released in 2005. Puddle of a Nation is certainly a rabble-rouser but little in the rest of the album really tickles the funnybone. It's alt-guitar stuff in the vein of early Radiohead, though occasionally slipping a bit mainstream, like in the sport soundtrack bait Heroes.

In Time for Spring, On Came the Snow, with an unwieldy yet appealing title, is the follow-up, and it's a definite step forward. It's better recorded, for a start, but the songs are also an improvement. The first single Sugarcoat is a standout, a rollicking anthem with full-band harmonies on the chorus, reminding (not for the last time) of Augie March - think "TRAIN!" Unsurprisingly, the second single is also a standout, All for the Caspian building slowly under a yearning melody line and anti-bad people lyrics, invoking Halliburton in the usual derogatory sense.

But these are by no means the sum of the album. Science Maketh the Scientist is Elbow's Leaders of the Free World but upbeat and with real blood in the delivery, into Killer Bees (These Are Not) a fun drive with a bit of The Dears' britpop revival sound. And then the understated Plankton vs Krill, straying once more into a Radiohead vein with touches of studio experimentation; I love the backgrounded fading drums. Strings pepper the album, used to most effect during the quiet-loud thing on Fire Out at Sea.

The album's a really solid work, rewarding more each listen. JJJ-ish guitar rock, but don't be put off; there's depth in these songs and arrangements. It'll reward long after that buzzy new-wave band have faded.

[stream SubAudible Hum at their myspace]
[and see their (ageing and out of date) website]

[GIG: Saturday Feb 24th @ The Northcote Social Club, more dates at Mess and Noise]

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