Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bands 'n' Stuff: March 28th to April 3rd

Welcome back football!

It is, of course, the first week of the AFL season. Awesome. Carna Saints. New coach, coupla new players one of whom may or may not have extensive drug problems, optimism optimism optimism, just like at every club at this time of the year. This weekend a dose of reality hits and eight teams get their first loss on the board. Fuck yeah!

In other news, there're three awesome gigs and some merely very good ones this week.

Gig o' the Week (I)

Rand and Holland (NSW)
album launch
+ The Crayon Fields
+ Grand Salvo
+ Pikelet
@ The Northcote Social Club
Thursday, 8:30pm

Rand and Holland have a new album called Caravans and it's way awesome. I know they're from Sydney but their beautiful post-folky tunes are irresistible. And look at those supports - the cream of the Melbourne gorgeous twee set. This will be a gig and a half. No pre-sales so get there early.

Gig o' the Week (II)

Aleks and the Ramps
album launch
+ Because of Ghosts
+ Plastic Palace Alice
+ Flying Scribble
@ Salon at The Spanish Club
Friday, 8pm

Aleks and the Ramps are releasing an album of weird-pop; expect theatricality and animals. Support from the always excellent Because of Ghosts and two of the biggest up-and-coming indie-pop combos. I can't get there till after the football but if we're losing by enough I'll be there at 9!

Fest o' the Week

Black Rabbit, Brian Hooper, Crystal Thomas and Les Fleurs Du Mal, Downhills Home, Dynamo, Get Go, GUT, James McCann and the Dirty Skirt Band, Jimmy Stewart, Joni Lightning, King Felix, Ninetynine, Ross Cottee, Screwtop Detonators, Spencer P Jones, The Crackwhores, The Idle Hoes, The Mystaken, The Palenecks, The Vandas, Van and Cal Walker, Wagons, Wrong Turn
@ IDGAFF, Abbotsford
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
$40 for three days / $15 per day

Well, I mean, seriously. Anything else you want? Highlights include Wagons and Ninetynine and James McCann and Spencer Jones and The Vandas and... Well, you get the message. But, I pray, don't try to go to all three days.

Wednesday March 28th

The last of Tobias Cummings' residency at the Rob Roy, Modular kids at the Softlightes show, anger at Helmet and nice simple songs at the East. Or The Wellingtons, for a good old-fashioned guitar pop show.

Tobias Cummings and the Long Way Home, Plastic Palace Alice
@Rob Roy, 8pm, $5

Helmet (US), The Nation Blue, Rook
@Corner, 8pm, $48+bf

Indie Initiative
House of Slunk, From the Ashes, Calling All Cars
@Greyhound, 8pm, free

The Kindness of Strangers album launch, Emma Heeney, The Raylenes
@East, 8pm, $8

Soflightes (NSW), Muscles, The Sly Hats
@Ding Dong, 7pm, $15

The Wellingtons
@Brunswick Hotel

Thursday March 29th

Dimi Dero have got a bit of a live rep since they've been in the country, or you could stand outside Bar Open and listen to some noise (don't go inside, you'll be too close). The wonderful Silver City Highway as well, but best could be Joel Plaskett - or maybe that's tomorrow night.

Agents of Abhorrence, Ryokuchi, Firewitch, Spider Goat Canyon
@Bar Open, 9pm, free

Anthony Atkinson and the Running Mates, Darn Thorn and the End of the World, Johnny Livewire, The Shimmering Bulbs
@Old Bar

Dimi Dero (FRA) album launch, James McCann's Dirty Skirt Band, Black Pony Express, Electra Jean (FRA)
@Tote, 8pm, $10

The Joel Plaskett Emergency (CAN), Goodnight Combat Fighter
@Front Bar, Espy, 9:30pm, free

Silver City Highway
@The Retreat, 9:30pm, free

Friday March 30th

Joel Plaskett again. He did a great show in trying circumstances before Augie March last week, and I think he deserves your time. Though if you wanna be cool you'll be at Dappled Cities at the East - they haven't had much of a reception down here yet, but this gig could break them through. Songs at the Rob Roy or ROCK at the Gay Sauna.

Zac Brennan, Black Pony Express
@Palookaville, 416 Brunswick St

Bruce (NSW) album launch, Amaya Laucirica, The Vandas
@Rob Roy, 8:30pm, $10

Dappled Cities Fly, The Dardanelles, Tobias Cummings and the Long Way Home
@East, 8:30pm, $12+bf

The Joel Plaskett Emergency (CAN)
@Retreat, 10pm

Six Ft Hick, Intoxica, The Whiskey Priests, Gut, Screwtop Detonators
@Greyhound, 8pm, $15

Saturday March 31st

Another sterling lineup at the Tote, or our favourites, Little Red at Click Click. They'll all take an indie-chick home, I guarantee it. But The Drones with their last Melbourne show for a while rule this night, really. If you missed Dimi Dero the other night, this could be even better.

Black Cab, International Karate, Sun Blindness
@Tote, 9pm, $12

Click Click
Little Red, The Sundaes
@Brown Alley, 9pm, $14/$10

The Drones, Dimi Dero (FRA), Shooting at Unarmed Men, Silver Ray, Electra Jean
@Corner, 8:30pm, $20+bf

Legends of Motorsport, Assassination Collective, The Focus, Kids With Guns for Hands
@Arthouse, 8pm

Jon Michell, Francis Plagne, Anonymeye
@Hell's Kitchen, 9pm, $5

Redfish Bluegrass Band
@Edinburgh Castle, 5pm, free

Telecom, Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!

Sunday April 1st

One last chance to see Joel Plaskett while he's in the country. You really won't regret it. Though you might be feeling a little the worse for wear from the Berry St Benefit, with lots of great bands (yep, Little Red again, man those boys work hard - I guess crack is expensive). Get there early for the transcendent voice of Ollie Mann, while you recover from Saturday night.

The Joel Plaskett Emergency (CAN), Ripe, Durbeyfield
@Rob Roy

King and Lily, Miriam and Wakeli, Tim Downey, Liz Frencham
@Barbukka, $5

Berry St Benefit
Moscow Schoolboy, Tic Toc Tokyo, Bachelor of Arts, Mercy Kills, Winterpark, Little Red, World's End Press, Chainsaw Girls, Houlette, Oliver Mann, Jill Button
@Tote, 2pm, $10, free BBQ

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday's Power-Pop Half-Dozen

It started, at the end of last week, with these guys:

[mp3 - 3MB] The Lemonheads - Down About It
(from 1993's Come On Feel the Lemonheads)

I picked up that album cheap as chips from Goldmine and it jolted me into some sort of melodic guitar-bass-drums place. (Haven't heard the newest one yet but I'm sure it's decent.) This started me on a pile of more-or-less recent releases including

[mp3 - 4MB] Little Athletics - Run Run Faster
(from the Little Athletics EP)

It's a gorgeous clean Yeah Yeah Yeahs-style bit of rock-pop from Melbourne's own Little Athletics, who happen to be bouncing around tonight at the Blue Tile Lounge and Saturday night at The Tote. That polished sound led me to

[mp3 - 5MB] The Wellingtons - Goodbye Heartbreaker
(from For Friends in Far Away Places)

Another smooth piece of pop with harmonies and great riffs and energy, and a pretty fair trucker's key change. Both Little Athletics and The Wellingtons are just waiting for JJJ to grab them and propel them into the mainstream. As maybe has already happened to

[mp3 - 3MB] Motor Vehicle Sundown - At the Beach
(from the Motor Vehicle Sundown EP)

Distinctly Oz female-fronted guitar-pop from the fun Motor Vehicle Sundown. Which is only a little similar to

[mp3 - 6MB] The Vandas - Hours Away
(from the Didn't Come Here To Be Alone EP)

This is more country-tinged but they've still got the riffs and hooks - not to mention harmonies - of their powerish-poppy peers. That's the wonderful Vandas. And last, but not at all least is

[mp3 - 3MB] New Estate - Herge
(from Is It Real?)

If you only download one track today, make it this one. The new New Estate album, Is It Real? seems, after just a few listens, to be an absolute corker. This is power-pop done the Sonic Youth way and while that sounds like a big compliment for a young band, they do a great facsimile. It moves, it shakes, it spins, the lyrics mean nothing but no matter because the band are shouting "if I was you/ I wouldn't go there" and the dance floor in my head is telling me it's Friday.

Phew! That was my week. How was yours?

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bands 'n' Stuff: March 21st to 27th

So, no gig of the week this week. Not cause there's nothing good on - that's way wrong - but because nothing stands out enough. I'd pick Black Pony Express headlining at the Empress, with a coupla other great bands, but the Empress is a shocking venue for live music. Worst PA in Melbourne. Heaps on though, just have a gander.

Wednesday the 21st

Wednesday's just a Wednesday really. For some good old fashioned tunes get down to Geoff Achison and mates at the East, or Tobias Cummings' sweet tunes at the Rob Roy. There's still tickets for Augie at the Corner if you want to brave the JJJ kids - and make sure you watch Joel Plaskett doing support cause he was great last night. Or else there's rock at the Tote (duh) and some pretty sterling comedy at Laundry.

Geoff Achison and the Souldiggers album launch, Chris Wilson, Kerri Simpson, Paul Williamson
@East, 8pm, $22

Augie March, The Joel Plaskett Emergency (CAN), Holly Throsby (NSW)
@Corner, 8pm, $30

Bowerbirds, Hutt River Solution
@Tote, 9pm, $6

Tobias Cummings and the Long Way Home, Dane Tucquet
@Rob Roy, 8:30pm, $5

Great Big Comedy Night
Wilson Dixon, Rod Quantock, Kim Hope, David Quirk, Matt Elsbury
@Upstairs, Laundry, 8pm, $12/$10

Thursday the 22nd

Pretty big for a Thursday. Lady Sov's in town so go see the buzzy midget, supported by bees. Otherwise, the Spanish Club continue their series of great free Front Bar gigs, with ex-Karma County frontispiece Brendan Gallagher taking up the strings. And in other venue news, looks like the Edinburgh Castle's starting to book some pearlers - here it's the post-country of Silver City Highway for free. Post-rock at the Tote, quiet times at the East and some great alt-country at the Rob Roy. Something for y'all.

Brendan Gallagher
@Front Bar, Spanish Club, 9pm, free

Lady Sovereign (UK), Bumblebeez, DJs
@Prince, 8:30pm, $50+bf

Mellow Gold
Ol' Man River, Whitley, Laura Jean, Tom Cooney, Wons Phreely
@The East, 8pm, $15

Potential Falcon mini-album launch, Khancoban, There She Goes Again
@Rob Roy, 8pm, $6

Radiant City, Miyagi, The Black Hundred, Girls and Adam
@Tote, 8pm, $6

Rosie Westbrook album launch, Kim Salmon
@Salon, Spanish Club, 8pm, $12+bf

Silver City Highway
@Edinburgh Castle, 8pm, free

Friday the 23rd

Annnnnnddd... It's the weekend! I'd be seeing Black Pony Express and friends at the Empress cause that'll be great country-blues stylings. But if you want you can watch the Fuck Fucks, and partners, try to turn that gay sauna into a pub, for almost the last time. The noise at the Rob Roy looks good fun, as well - and then there's the Batrider album launch. These guys are improving at a rate of knots and will soon be tearing off heads around the world. Promises a good show.

Batrider album launch, You Will Die Alone, Mum Smokes
@NSC, 8:30pm, $10+bf

Black Pony Express, Could've Moved Mountains, Silver City Highway

Bohab, Broken Hills, The Boys
@Wesley Anne, 8:30pm, $5

The Fuck Fucks, The Hybernators, Bittersweet Kicks, Bang Bang Bangs
@Greyhound, 8pm, $10

Carus and the True Believers

The Fumes, Whiskey Go Go’s, The Legs
@The East, 8:30pm, $12+bf

Rob Roy Live Compilation Launch
Laura, Grey Daturas, Sinking Citizenship
@Rob Roy, $10/$12

Tecoma album launch, SubAudible Hum
@Spanish Club Salon, 8pm, $10

Saturday the 24th

A funny Saturday night - nothing grabbing me. Though the Edinburgh continues its great week with some hay-balin', fence-strainin', down-home flannie-rock. The cool kids will be at Click Click with Damn Arms making an infrequent appearance - and maybe Pony for the just-signed kids from Little Red - or else at Weekender for the beautiful-looking Hot Little Hands. And some great power-pop upstairs at the Tote.

Bands from the Wetlands
Wayfaring Strangers, Wagons, Black Mumba, Jake Sevona, The Beach Brothers
@Edinburgh Castle, 8pm, $6

Click Click
Damn Arms, Dance with Voices, Gameboy/Gamegirl, DJ Streetparty and others
@Brown Alley, 9pm, $14/$10

House of Slunk, Zeroline, Little Red, Daniel Peterson
@Pony, 9pm

Little Athletics, Tijuana Souvenirs, Kim Volkman and the Whiskey Priests
@Cobra Bar, The Tote, 9pm, $5

Rob Roy Live Compilation Launch
Laura, International Karate, Rhythm Bell
@Rob Roy, $10/$12

The Runaway Boys album launch, The Vaudervillans, Amphetish
@Salon, Spanish Club, 8pm, $8

The Spoils, The Orbweavers, Amaya Laucirica
@Wesley Anne, 8pm, $6

Hot Little Hands, Saint James
@Ding Dong, 8pm, $10

Sunday the 25th

Very quiet this Sunday. Unless you're in the vicinity of Gertrude St in which case you'll be able to hear Hotel Wrecking City Traders, and their mates, doing their best to beat jet planes in the noise stakes. As last week, the pick is the experimental afternoon gig at the Empress.

Dan and Ryan (SubAudible Hum)
@Great Britain, free

Hotel Wrecking City Traders, The Truth, Tetris Nightmare
@Rob Roy, 4pm, $6

Pateras/Baxter/Brown, David Chesworth
@Empress, arvo

Redfish Bluegrass Band
@The Gem, free

Monday the 26th

New York Dolls (US)
@Hi-Fi Bar

Tuesday the 27th

Dimi Dero (FRA), Eleckta Jean, Penny Ikinger, Spirit Store, Alicia C
@Front Lounge, Espy, 9pm, free

Jimmy Clinkerfield, Dan Warner
@Rainbow, 9:30pm, free

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Hot off the Inpress

Just flicked through my lunchtime copy of Inpress and just in case this passes you by, try this on for size cos it's huuuuuuuuuuugggggggggge (OK, maybe not that big. I'm just easily excited at the moment, you know, being at work and all).

  • Pixies are headlining a show at Twister (err, I mean Palace) next Wednesday 28 March. Tix on sale on Friday. (Bad luck if you already bought tix to that crappy Best of the V thingy. Little too impatient weren't you?)
  • Our little bros, Little Red, have just signed to Regal Records in the UK, owned by Parlophone, home of Lily Allen and Babyshambles. (Gee their mums are not going to be happy if they start hanging out with this crowd). Swede indie pop singer/songwriter Loney Dear who just released an album here is also apparently on this label.
  • Eddy Current Suppression Ring have signed a release deal with Mushroom. (Could've been a recording deal though. Would have have improved those budget production values. Might have even got them on Video Hits. Nah, just kidding - well done guys)

OK. That's it for now. Back to work I guess...

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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Nation Blue - Protest Songs

Tell ya what, it's nice to have a bit of anger in music. From Ground Components through Batrider and Witch Hats to Die! Die! Die!, there's plenty of raucous fury in Melbourne music at the moment.

But The Nation Blue have been doing it longer than any of them. To get some sense of the band, their three album titles are A Blueprint for Modern Noise, Damnation and now, the latest: Protest Songs. They're touring with, nah seriously, Helmet.

They're three angry men who rock huge and burning, like caring isn't out of style. Listen to this track, from Protest Songs, and tell me they don't know what's going on. It's got a deep-down detuned drive, huge guitars and Tom Lyngcoln's screams - apt to tear your head off so hang on.

[mp3 - 4MB] The Nation Blue - Sedition from Protest Songs

OK, maybe The Rodent's sedition laws are an easy target ("making fun of a pollie? that's a paddlin'") but fuck they do it well. It's actual real rock without too much of the roll, coming at it from the heavy end of the scale though keeping it way tuneful and even catchy. This stuff, I understand, is less hard-core than the previous recordings (which I missed). It's rock, now, but with so much weight behind the riffs, and then so much restraint in between.

[mp3 - 8MB] The Nation Blue - Devils in Oil from Protest Songs

And so much lyrical substance through it, a message and philosophy which seems strangely rare in Oz rock at the moment. I love Dallas Crane's party-rock after dark at Meredith but sometimes you need some true feeling and that's what The Nation Blue give ya.

Listen to those tracks and then get out there and get the album, it's the best Oz release of the year thus far. And then see them, either touring with Helmet in a couple of weeks, or breaking minds in their special own way across Oz:

30th March - National Hotel, Geelong
31st March - Cherry Bar, Melbourne
7th April - Crown and Anchor, Adelaide
12th April - Oxford Tavern, Wollongong
13th April - Spectrum, Sydney
14th April - Northern Star, Newcastle
20th April - Columbian Bar, Brisbane
21st April - Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta
24th April - The Tote, Melbourne

[buy Protest Songs direct from Casadeldisco Records]
[visit the boys at their myspace]

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bands 'n' Stuff: March 14th to 20th

A big week to follow up from the Plains of Gold. St Patrick's Day is as good an excuse as any to have a huge Saturday night - but watch out cause you need to see Clinkerfield on Sunday, along with their good mates. And try to catch Alps of NSW while they're here if you want something a bit different.

Gig o' the Week

Festa el Cheapo
Gaslight Radio
Grand Salvo
J Walker
Single Twin
Chefs de Mission
Emily Ulman
Laura Jean
Alex de la Rambelje (magician)
The Town Bikes
@The Retreat
Saturday 17th March
12pm till late
$20 - tix from Polyester or The Corner

Um, yeah. Twenty bucks for about thirteen hours of entertainment. It's very hard to go wrong. A significant acoustic/country/great song bias to this bill. If you're a devotee of real music or just a cheapskate, get on down here. Magic and bikes as well!

Wednesday March 14th

Tonight is quiet, relaxed, mid-week. Well, except for the frankly weird spazz-break-hip-core gig at Bar Open. Talkshow Boy is the most normal of that group which says something about the rest. Get wid it. Otherwise go for smooth guitars 'n' fine voices at the Rob Roy for cheap.

Bowerbirds, Mum Smokes
@Tote, 9pm, $6

Tobias Cummings and the Long Way Home, Mid-State Orange
@Rob Roy, 8pm, $5

Jae Laffer (The Panics)
@Front Bar, Spanish Club, 9:30pm, free

Kate Miller-Heidke, Ol' Man River
@Manchester Lane, 7:30pm, $25/$10

Ove Naxx (JPN), Toxic Lipstick (QLD), Talkshow Boy, Mollinger
@Bar Open, 8:30pm, free

Thursday March 15th

Indie guitars at the Tote - Sparkadia's EP is a really nice little package of sweet indie-rock and Souls on Board are great as. Or, if you want a quieter night, The Small Knives and friends at Bar Open will be a tuneful folk maelstrom. And New Buffalo's back at the much-hyped new venue at Curtin House. But the most interesting gig is at the Afterdark, with some more experimental loopy samply stuff from a couple of visiting bands and one of our own. It's a long way north but that might just be gig of the day.

Alps of NSW (NSW), Shiver Like Timber (QLD), Fulton Girls Club
@Afterdark, 8:30pm, donation

New Buffalo, Ned Collette
@Curtin House, 9pm, $12+bf (here)

The Re-Mains (album launch), Dan Warner, Spoonful
@East, 8:30pm, $12

Shake Some Action
Young Lovers, Boy + Girl, Clack Train, DJ Streetparty
@Onesixone, 9pm

The Small Knives, The Holy Rose, Pikelet
@Bar Open, 9pm, free

Sparkadia (NSW), Souls on Board, Window, Gameboy/Gamegirl
@Tote, 8pm, $8

Friday March 16th

Not sure where The Shaft actually is; this one sounds like a house party and it'll be another interesting gig, the second and last of Alps of NSW's tour. Other good things: quiet stuff at The Afterdark; young rockers at The Greyhound; weird guys at Gertrudes; alt-blues heroes at The Spanish Club; cool kids with guitars at Miss Libertine.

British India, Young Lovers, nevereleven, Skybombers
@Greyhound, 8pm, $10

Ch-Ching Live Recording
Hot Little Hands, Little Red
@Miss Libertine, 8pm, $10

Could've Moved Mountains, Alps of NSW, Shiver Like Timber, Flying Scribble, Bianca Natasha
@The Shaft, 124 Shaftesbury Parade, Thornbury, 7pm, donation

Camille Deane, PD Riches, Gluefoot

The Holy Rose, Hugo Race, Cam Butler, The Orb Weavers
@The Afterdark, 8pm, $10

Les Fancy Boys, Aleks and the Ramps, Chris Chinchilla
@Gertrudes, 8pm, $7

New Buffalo, Ned Collette
@Curtin House, 9pm, $12+bf (here)

Pull Shapes
Belles Will Ring, Sparkadia, DJs
@Laundy, $9/$7

The Spoils (single launch), James McCann's Dirty Skirt Band, Dan Luscombe, Black Pony Express
@Tote, 8:30pm, $10

Saturday March 17th

St Patrick's Day

An enormous St Patrick's Day. There's the undisputed gig of the week, at the top of the page, but that aside still many good things. If you want a beating, go to The Tote and hurt your spleen with Agents of Abhorrence and "friends". Or you can have songwriting at the Rob Roy, dancin' kiddies at Ding Dong, rock 'n' fucken roll at The Spanish Club. And Sneak Peek at The Old Bar's worth a run as well.

A Death in the Family, Motor Vehicle Sundown, Donnie Dureau
@Rob Roy, 8:30pm, $8

Agents of Abhorrence, Schifosi, Roskopp, Breathing Shrine
@Tote, 9pm, $8

Blessington, Matt McBeath, Chalga Party
@Wesley Anne, 8:30pm

Durbeyfield, House of Slunk, Nicky Forte

Offcutts (album launch), Plug In City, Little Red
@Ding Dong, 8pm, $10

Shooting at Unarmed Men, Gut, Killer Birds, The Get Go
@Salon, Spanish Club, 8pm, $10

Sneak Peek
Major Major, The Rye Catchers, Cross Eyed Mary, The Fearless Vampire Killers, Free 2 Run, Chronokarma
@Old Bar, 4pm, $10

Sunday March 18th

A quiet Sunday. Start out watching a couple of acts at The Tote, then hightail to the Empress for some mind-bending experimental work from Melbourne's best, back to the Tote for the barbie, then sway on over to Bar Open. Clinkerfield are one of our best, most hard-working bands and always give money's worth. They've lost a guitar and they're prepared to make monkeys of themselves to get it back. Along with three other great bands (and Owls of the Swamp who I don't know), it's a great bill and a great Sunday night.

Pateras/Baxter/Brown, Joe Talia
@Empress, 4:30pm

Razor Cartel, The Codebreakers, The Good Intentions, The Wellingtons, Vacant Lanes
@Tote, 3pm, $7, free BBQ

Clinkerfield Benefit
SubAudible Hum, Clinkerfield, Silver City Highway, Wellyn, Owls of the Swamp
@Bar Open, 7:30pm

Monday March 19th

Do some washing for fuck's sake, you smell like an ashtray. What's that in your hair? Is that a stubbie cap? When did you last shower?

Tuesday March 20th

Augie March, Joel Plaskett, Holly Throsby
@Corner, 8pm, $28+bf

Jimmy Clinkerfield, Ben Mitchell
@Rainbow, free

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Golden Debut

The inaugural Golden Plains music festival has been run and won over the long weekend out at the site of the Meredith music festival on the Nolan family farm. The atmosphere felt similar to Meredith and the venue looked and felt the same. By reports from Meredith veterans (I’m not one of them), there was a slightly younger, less alternative crowd. Food options were pretty much the same and in the same location, the relatively new compost toilets a huge hit with the fans (if that’s possible with toilets???) and the Pink Flamingo Bar still there. No Meredith Eye though. Apparently it was unavailable given all the other carnivale type activities around this time of year. While there were smaller numbers at the festival than recent Merediths, ATR is happy to report that the festivities were every bit as enjoyable as the December version with a smorgasbord of different musical treats keeping the punters happy over Saturday and Sunday.

There were many acts worth talking about, and opinions will obviously differ between the diverse group of campers, but there were three acts who I found particularly engaging.

A clear number one highlight was eight piece indie dance act !!! who generated plenty of much needed heat late on a cool Sunday night with a fun, pulsating hour and a half show. The band’s earth shattering four man percussion assault and infectious disco grooves provided the impetus for serious some limb shaking down at the farm, while frivolous front man Nic Offer pranced all around (and all over) the stage in a brilliant performance involving fans, security guards, and a plastic inflatable crocodile. I would have loved to catch these guys again at their side show on Monday night at the Prince.

Apologies to French DJ duo Sebastian and Kavinsky and soul rockers, the BellRays (the latter whose set I largely missed, but did appear to spark the crowd), but the second international act who did it for me were psychedelic freakout noise rock prog jammers, Comets on Fire. These boys barely drew breath in their reverb-sodden cathartic performance. I also wonder if this set also saw the beginning of the first Golden Plains tradition when one punter removed his shoe and held it aloft in the air and was promptly mimicked by around a hundred others.

The last major musical highlight for my weekend was Melbourne’s Eddy Current Suppression Ring. While these guys have a reasonable amount of hype around them regarding their latest release and live performances (see Mess and Noise ‘06 critics and fans polls, and also feature article), I had only caught snippets of their garage punk/pub rock from the radio and their myspace page prior to Golden Plains. But this was a quality, kickass, rock and roll performance; energetic, tight, riff-a-plenty. Lead Brendan Suppression continuosly paced back and forth like a kid deprived of Ritalin, black leather gloves adorned his hands like an underworld standover man. Making the most of the occasion he finished off the set by scaling the crowd barrier and immersing himself in small group of enthusiastic moshers at the front of the stage. In true rock ‘n roll style the group lifted Suppression up on their hands and returned him to back behind the barrier after the completion of the performance.

While there are plenty of other things I could mention, there were a couple of things that I was disappointed with. The first was Yo La Tengo. I saw them play on Tuesday night and was really impressed, but at Golden Plains on Saturday they sucked. They seemed like they didn’t adapt their show at all to suit a festival crowd. The second was the scheduling of dubsters Fat Freddy’s Drop. While their music isn’t really for me, and I didn’t mind their set, I can’t believe they were allocated the prime position of a 8:00pm start on the Sunday night – and not only that – it was 100 minutes long!

But, hey, these are just a couple of gripes, and if Golden Plains returns, I’ll be back, and I think others will agree. ‘Cause two Merediths are definitely better than one. Right?

Footnote: As you are all probably aware by now, a 21 year old guy from Prahran tragically passed away on Sunday night/Monday morning at the Golden Plains Festival. Deepest sympathy to family and friends.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Finally, the AMP

We've written enough about this, so the announcement couldn't come too soon:

Augie March Win the Australian Music Prize

@mess+noise | @undercover | @fairfax

Indeed, as we predicted, it was Augie March winning the $25,000 for Moo, You Bloody Choir. Second, effectively, was Gotye, who takes home $15,000 worth of Red Bull for Like Drawing Blood.

Is it just? Yeah, I reckon. Both had huge years - Augie topping the JJJ Hottest 100 and Gotye exploding into prominence - so this seems like a fair way to round it off. And, while neither album is a masterpiece, they're definitely both very good pieces of work with a couple of great standout tracks.

So congratulations to both. Early tips for next year? The Art of Fighting album is sounding pretty great to me at this point... Get it Saturday in shops near you.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Bands 'n' Stuff: March 7th to 13th

A funny weekend this one, what with everyone and her brother up at Meredith for Golden Plains. Still tickets available for that, I understand. If you're not heading up there, though, there's still plenty on, natch. Thursday night this week is huge with heaps of special gigs - Kilgour at Cloud City and the old-skool post-punk CD launch at the Exford sticking out, but also Play Like a Girl at Northcote and the Garage to V thing at the East.

Friday it's our gig of the week as well as lots of Rawk, what with Budd and the Beasts and RTX headlining shows. But keep an eye on that gig at Noise Bar - it'll be raucous and energetic and just plain weird. Saturday's unexpectedly quiet but see Spargo headline at the Empress, cause this week Sunday is Saturday, what with the Day of Labour. Sunday the gig of choice has to be Zulya and the Children of the Underground.

And that's a long long weekend!

Gig o' the Week

+Black Pony Express
+Matt McBeath
from 8pm
for $10

One of my favourite releases of last year was Khancoban's self-titled debut mini-album. It's really good alt-country work evoking its namesake country town, all mountains and isolation, with Andre's vocals soaring across the landscape. And Black Pony Express also gave us a great album, Love in a Cold Place, tingeing to the blues side of country; though the standout is Resurrection Blues, an almost gospel number. It's all great. And Matt McBeath from The Initials is playing solo with the wonderful Jemima of Khancoban to open. (Solo, yet also with someone? Yeah, that's right, got a grammar problem?)

So be at Gertrudes on Friday night.

Wednesday March 7th

The Dears (CAN), Dappled Cities Fly
@Prince, 8:30pm, $38.50

Tobias Cummings and the Long Way Home, Underminers
@Rob Roy, 8pm, $5

Jae Laffer
@Front Bar, Spanish Club, 9pm, free

Yo La Tengo (USA), David Kilgour (NZ)
@The Corner, 8pm, $42

Thursday March 8th

C’mon C’mon
The Basics, Little Red, Rocket Queen
@Evelyn, 8:30pm

Comets on Fire (USA), My Disco!, Grey Daturas
@The Corner, 8:30pm, $35

Garage to V
Children Collide, The Capitals, Ouch! My Face, The Inkrements, Young Divorcees
@The East, 8pm, $5

Joint CD Launch
launching Can't Stop It! Vol 2 - Australian Post-Punk 1979-84 and Primitive Calculators and Friends 1979-82
Glitter Kids (supergroup), Fabulous Diamonds
@Wintergarden Room, Exford, 8pm, $5

David Kilgour, Crayon Fields, Panel of Judges
@Cloud City, 14 Prentice St, Brunswick, 8pm, $12

Mike Noga and His Gentlemen of Fortune
@Front Bar, Spanish Club, 9pm, free

Play Like a Girl
Dallas Frasca, Monique Brumby (trio), Liz Stringer, Ella and Jesse Hooper, Lisa Miller, Rebecca Barnard, Milk, MC Lindy Morrison
@NSC, 8pm, $20+bf

Friday March 9th

Beasts of Bourbon, Double Agents, Legends of Motorsport
@The Corner, 8:30pm, $27.50

Budd, Actor/Model, Assassination Collective
@The Tote, 9:30pm, $10

Elbow (UK), Sparkadia, SubAudible Hum
@Prince, 8:30pm, $38.50

Kirsty Lewis and the Wretched, The Wellingtons (acoustic), The Gems, Kathematics
@Old Bar, 8:30pm, $6

Lou Bennett and the Sweet Cheeks
@Lomond Hotel, 9:30pm, free

The Low Priests, Byrna, Talkshow Boy, The Fit
@Noise Bar, 291 Albert St, Brunswick, 8:30pm, $8

RTX (USA), Shooting at Unarmed Men, Kamikaze Trio
@Ding Dong

Hell Is Other People
The Rumours, Bachelor of Arts, Good Intentions
@Eurotrash, 8pm, $10

Tim Steward (album launch), Ben Birchall and the Corrections, Oh Mercy
@Rob Roy, 8:30pm, $10

Saturday March 10th

Golden Plains Festival

Dardanelles, Hancock Basement, Popolice
@Click Click

The Deloreans, Immolate (NSW), Hotel Wrecking City Traders
@Old Bar, 9pm, $5

DJs - Linton Carr, Richie Campbell, Neill Stafford, Declan Kelly, Harry Humphrys
@Marquis of Lorne

Owls of the Swampland, The Boy Who Spoke Clouds, Aleks Taylor, Chalga Party
@Wesley Anne

Spargo, The Wellingtons, The Basics

Sunday March 11th

Golden Plains Festival

Dukes of Windsor, Souls on Board, Dead Frenchmen, La Strada
@Geddes Lane, $18.50

Champagne Party
Dance With Voices, Gameboy/Gamegirl, Mission Control, Boy + Girl
@Miss Libertine, 9pm


Dudley Perkins (US), Georgia Anne Muldrow (US)
@The Espy, 8pm, $26

Ed Bangers Party
Sebastian & Kavinksy (FRA), Acid Jaxx, Andee Van Damage, Agent 86
@Prince, 9pm, $30

Redfish Bluegrass Band
@The Gem

Psycroptic (TAS), Terrorust, Daysend, Captain Cleanoff, Five Star Prison Cell, Choke, The Abandonment, Darkest Dawn + more
@The Corner, 8:30pm, $18+bf

Joel Silbersher

Zulya and the Children of the Underground (two sets)
@NSC, 8:30pm, $12+bf

Monday March 12th

The Bell Rays, special guests
@The Tote, 7:30pm, $20

!!! (USA), The Cops
@Prince, 8pm, $35

The Gotan Project
@Hamer Hall

Tuesday March 12th

Jimmy Clinkerfield, Ben Mitchell
@Rainbow, free

The Slits (UK), Japanther (USA), Fabulous Diamonds
@The Corner, 8pm, $38

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sodastream - The Final Hurrah

It’s now over for Melbourne duo Sodastream, who played their last gig ever in front of a full house at the East Brunswick Club on Friday night. Once again, Karl and Pete (and regular drummer Marty Brown from Art of Fighting) treated their fans to a live performance full of the rich, gorgeous melodies and quiet hushed tones the boys have become known for over their ten year career.

The night started up with two fantastic support acts. First it was Paddy Mann (aka Grand Salvo) who treated the small crowd who had rocked up early to his gentle reflections on domesticity. I’ve never seen Mann play live before but I adore his 2005 release The Temporal Wheel and was just as captivated listening to the highlights of this record live.

Note: Grand Salvo’s next gig is at the Northcote Social Club on Thursday March 29 supporting the CD launch of Sydney duo Rand and Holland with The Crayon Fields and Pikelet. R&H have just received a first class review in Mess and Noise, the Crayon Fields were loved by many in 06, and the wonderfully named Pikelet is an intriguing performer with enormous promise. This should be a great night.

Buy your ticket here.

Also visit these links to read Mess and Noise feature articles about Rand and Holland and Pikelet.

Anyway back to the gig. Next up was Anthony Atkinson with his band the Running Mates. I really enjoy Atko’s live performances, and Friday was no different. A couple of weeks ago I praised ‘She Let Him In’ but I have since purchased Loyalty Songs and I now think ‘Sunday Drives’ is as good if not a better tune. I kind of wished the crowd would have sparked up a bit more for Atko’s toe tappers because I think Atko thrives off a bit of crowd movement, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be tonight.

Then it was Karl and Pete’s turn. Before the gig I was debating the circumstances which they decided to call it quits. I try to imagine Pete and Karl having a fist fight, but quickly realise this is probably off the mark. When they step on stage they still seem the best of friends. Then I think that perhaps I’ve watched far too much shit TV and also that my prediction of a sordid love triangle ripping the band apart was also not likely to be accurate. Comments by Karl actually suggest that relentless unenjoyable overseas tours and a family issue may have been deciding factors in the break up.

As always is the case, the guys deliver a near faultless performance. The sound is lush as their records, Karl’s beautiful wail floats above Marty Brown’s brushed snares and Pete’s fingers slide and bow glides around and across the double bass. And they are fascinating to watch as well. Especially Pete, as he closes his eyes, drifts away and sways and jolts with the mood. He is so involved, and clearly still moved by the music he writes and performs.

It is neither celebratory nor funereal atmosphere, but this doesn’t detract from the gig at all. In fact it all feels very genuine. There are few amusing anecdotes from the past and few thankyous, but definitely no bells or whistles, no guest appearances, no melodrama. It feels like a night to remember Sodastream for how they really are, not by some super duper finale which is unrepresentative of how they performed across their career. And the fans are relatively polite too - no drunken requests, just appreciative of the music and the moment.

There is a hint of sadness as Karl quivers when he speaks towards the end. There is a thankyou to a few people and the fans, and then an announcement that this is the end. There is no encore because they are in need of a drink. Just before they walk off there is a warm embrace between the pair. The crowd smiles, there is maybe even a wet eye or two. It is a quite a touching moment and will leave a lasting impression from a great Melbourne band.

Below is a tracklisting from the gig. Note there are only two tracks from Reservations, which was a bit of a surprise, and no ‘Fitzroy Strongman’ – my favourite Sodastream song. :(

Keith and Tina
Chorus Line
Charity Board
Fresh One
Wedding Day
Let It All Turn Black
Warm July
Lushington Hall
Otherwise Open
Constant Ships
Mood in the Bunker

Some of these tracks and more are available to stream and download here

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Monday, March 05, 2007

AMP Week

It's Australian Music Prize announcement week this week. Memory destroyed by drugs and alcohol? Here's the shortlist:

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

What's gonna happen? Well, today they're announcing the winner of the "Myspace Public Vote", a pretty crappy concept where you "vote" by myspace-adding a special page for the bands you like. Nothing to stop you voting for all the bands, of course. Seems like this was added partly for reality-TV led democracy's sake, but mostly because myspace are a sponsor of the prize.

Luckily, it's extremely transparent, so here are the votes, since voting closed yesterday:

Augie March - 80
Bob Evans - 225
Gotye - 291
Howling Bells - 110
Jackie Marshall - 100
Lisa Gerrard - 20
Sarah Blasko - 105
The Drones - 63
The Grates - 158


Gotye wins the AMP Public Vote!

Hmmm, turns out it includes the whole long list of 25. Thanks to someone smarter than me for pointing it out. So add in:

Tobias Cummings - 22
Amanda Handel/GL Seiler - 42
Black Cab - 15
You Am I - 98
Brendan Gallagher - 17
Dane Tucquet - 8
Dappled Cities Fly - 91
Fourth Floor Collapse - 61
Gerling - 118
Princess One Point Five - 16
Sodastream - 18
Something for Kate - 54
Tim Steward - 161
The Knives of Neptune - 78
True Live - 41

And also:

SCOOP! (again)

The winner of the AMP Public Vote is Hilltop Hoods with 582 votes!

That's pretty amazing, winning by almost 300 votes clear over Gotye. Not surprising really, the votes seem to go roughly in order of JJJ airplay, though the Augies did worse than I would have expected. Not enough fans in the myspace set, I suppose. Tim Steward did very well to be outright fourth - my bet is he had a bit of a campaign going on.

Pretty tiny totals across the board, though, about 2600 votes all up, of which the Hoods got 23%. The shortlist of nine got 45% between them. And look at great artists like Sodastream, Lisa Gerrard, Brendan Gallagher and Black Cab, all with less than twenty votes.

Still, now we don't need to bother attending today's press conference.

What else?

Well, there's a new award announced as part of the AMP. The Red Bull Award will "recognise outstanding potential" - it's a $15,000 prize which seems to mostly be in-kind support: studio time, video clips and stuff. Presumably includes a few slabs of the sponsor's product as well.

Who's gonna take this? Won't be The Augies or The Drones or Blasko or definitely Gerrard, they're all too old. Bob Evans is probably out as well cause Mitchell's been around for ages. That leaves Gotye, Howling Bells, Jackie Marshall and The Grates. Given that The Grates and Howling Bells would barely get change out of 15 grand, with their bigger labels and international touring, it'll be out of Gotye and Marshall.

If Gotye doesn't win the full prize, he'll get this. But Jackie Marshall would be a worthy recipient as well; fifteen grand would be great for her.

And for the full, $25,000 cash Australian Music Prize?

I can't see Gotye getting it. A little too quirky and the album has a couple of flat spots. Marshall and Bob Evans just aren't good enough. Gerrard's music will be too unconventional to get consensus votes. Howling Bells and The Grates are too hip and kid-centric. And The Drones won't win again because that'd make the prize look a tad silly.

Augie March to take to Australian Music Prize, capping off a good year.

The official announcement is Wednesday but remember - you read it here first!

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

March Big Shows

Looks like Metal Autumn, not Metal March as I previously said. Damn wacky Hi-Fi website. But still, this month holds the Mars Volta, Converge and Helmet! And Hatebreed have already played. And coming up in the next little while are some magnificent duets - the Slayer and Mastodon show, and the Sunn 0))) and Boris combo. Not to mention Dragonforce and Nile. And locally, The Nation Blue have a new album on the way out. It is, still, the crown prince of genres.

Also plenty of indie rock as always, leading up to The Pixies, which is actually April. Notice that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have made it up to us for cancelling the last show, by scheduling two dates. And lots of Brits this month, countering the usual flow of North Americans. From The Slits and Lady Sov to Gomez, Eric Burdon and Jarvis - and not to forget The Pet Shop Boys. All right, guvnor? Do you want a cuppa?

And I'm informed that news of a Reel Big Fish show on April 1st is actually kosher, as Christmas. Just that it sounds like a joke, is all.

Calexico (US) - Corner, 4th (sold out) w/ Whitley, Wagons
Calexico (US) - Corner, 5th, $50 w/ Whitley, J Walker

Who Made Who (DK) - POW, 4th, $27.50 w/ Glitch and Quirk, Dardanelles, The Dukes of Windsor, Gus da Hoodrat

Yo La Tengo (US) - Corner, 6th (sold out) w/ David Kilgour (NZ)
Yo La Tengo (US) - Corner, 7th, $42 w/ David Kilgour (NZ)

The Dears (CAN) - POW, 7th, $38.50 w/ Dappled Cities Fly

Comets on Fire (US) - Corner, 8th, $35 w/ My Disco, Grey Daturas

Play Like a Girl - NSC, 8th, $20
MC Lindy Morrison w/ Dallas Frasca, Monique Brumby (trio), Liz Stringer, Ella and Jesse Hooper, Lisa Miller, Rebecca Barnard, Milk

Beasts of Bourbon - Corner, 9th, $27.50 w/ Double Agents, Legends of Motorsport

Elbow (UK) - POW, 9th, $38.50 w/ Sparkadia, SubAudible Hum

Gotan Project - Hamer Hall, 11th, $?

Dudley Perkins (US) + Georgia Anne Muldrow (US) - Espy, 11th, $?

!!! (US), POW, 12th, $35 w/ The Cops

The Slits (UK) - Corner, 13th, $38 w/ Japanther (US), Fabulous Diamonds

Eagles of Death Metal (US) - Palace, 16th, $49.50 w/ The Answer

Mars Volta - Festival Hall, 17th, $?

Augie March - Corner, 20th, $28 w/ Joel Plaskett and the Emergency, Holly Throsby
Augie March - Corner, 21st, $28 w/ Joel Plaskett and the Emergency, Holly Throsby

Lady Sovereign (UK) - POW, 22nd, $50 w/ Bumblebeez, Opulent DJs, Uberlingua DJs

Batrider album launch - NSC, 23rd, $10 w/ You'll Die Alone, Mum Smokes

Kaiser Chiefs (UK) - POW, 23rd (sold out) w/ The Cops

INXS, Simple Minds, Arrested Development - Palais, 23rd + 24th, $?

Converge (US) - Corner, 24th, $27 w/ 4 Dead, The Red Shore, Broderick
Converge (US) - Corner, 25th, under-18s, $25 w/ 4 Dead, The Red Shore, Broderick

Dropkick Murphys (US) - Palace, 27th, $42

Helmet (US) - Corner, 28th, $48

Eric Burdon and the Animals (UK) - POW, 29th, $66

Rand and Holland album launch - NSC, 29th, $10 w/ Crayon Fields, Grand Salvo, Pikelet

Dappled Cities Fly - East, 30th, $12 w/ Dardanelles, Tobias Cummings and the Long Way Home

The Drones - Corner, 31st, $20 w/ Dimi Dero Inc (FR), Shooting at Unarmed Men, Silver Ray, Electra Jean (FR)

Reel Big Fish - Billboard, 1st April, $?

Lee Scratch Perry (JAM) - POW, 2nd April, $66

Gomez (UK) - Palace, 3rd April, $60.50

Ziggy Marley (US) - POW, 3rd April, $70

Best of the V Festival - Myer Music Bowl, 3rd April, $130
Pet Shop Boys (UK), Groove Armada (UK), Gnarls Barkley (US), The Rapture (US)

Best of the V Festival - Myer Music Bowl, 4th April, $130
Pixies (US), Jarvis Cocker (UK), Phoenix (FRA)

The Lemonheads (US) - Corner, 5th April, $42

Deerhoof (US) - Corner, 7th April, $34 w/ My Disco

Ozomatli (US) - POW, 9th April, $55

Sunn 0))) (US) + Boris (JP) - Hi-Fi, 9th May, $38.50+bf

Dragonforce (UK) - Hi-Fi, May 15th, $44+bf

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (US) - Hi-Fi, 21st May, $39.60+bf
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (US) - Hi-Fi, 22nd May, $39.60+bf

Cold War Kids (US) - Hi-Fi, 30th May, $41.80+bf

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