Saturday, September 29, 2007

Touch Typist

Last Sunday High Vibes was confirmed to me as the most enjoyable annual music festival in Melbourne with ace performances from Wagons, SubAudible Hum, Mountains in the Sky and The Exploders. Earlier in the day at North Bazaar a small audience of early risers were also treated to great performance from Touch Typist.

Fronted by Nick Huggins, the producer of the Whitley debut which I praised last week, Touch Typist are a three piece who craft soothing cloudy ambient soundscapes which sometimes sound as if they are trapped in a spaceless weightless timewarp. The debut album (of sorts) from Touch Typist You Cannot Kiss A Laughing will be available in November through the POWWOW series, an interesting idea from Feral Media featuring ten releases from emerging independent artists. You Cannot Kiss A Laughing is the fifth release in the series.

Huggins does have a release under his own name though, Shipwreck, released through the Two Bright Lakes label. The show last Sunday seemed to interdisperse songs from this album with those posted on myspace under the Touch Typist moniker. Check 'em out if you like what you see below.

Nick Huggins - The Movie We Made

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bands 'n Stuff: September 26 to October 3


You Will Die Alone + Council of Elders + Ships Piano + Parading
@The Tote, 8pm, $5

Last chance to get along to this residency. More gigs coming up soon though in case you can't make it.


Alex Jarvis + Nick Craft + Hole and Craft
@Palookaville, 8pm

Palookaville seems to be booking some great acts of late. In case you don't know it, it's that saloon looking place at the North Eastern End of Brunswick St. Tonight its Alex Jarvis who hasn't been playing many gigs of late, but did release The New Patriosim back in January. Nick Craft is ex-Sidewinder, while I don't know much about his solo stuff (he also plays with The Zillions), his former Sidewinder bandmate and brother Martin does have a great solo record out.

The Ned Collette Band
@Edinburgh Castle, 8pm, free

I went along to this residency a couple of weeks ago expecting a lot, and I’m afraid that I came away not entirely satisfied. While I was grateful it was a free gig, and thus I expected to hear somewhat of a practice session for Ned and band, my main problem was that I found the new jazzed up jam-band renditions too introspective, unfocused and, quite frankly, a bit dull and boring. Yes, there was a high degree of technical expertise was on display from the band, but the overly long renditions failed to move me like I think they were supposed to.

Ned Collette is undoubtedly a talented musician and, after enjoying the studio version of his new single A Country With A Smile (also dressed up in a fair bit of improv the other night) I’m still looking forward to his new album. I just think the live show could do with some heavy editing, and wish it was a great deal more accessible than what I saw two weeks ago. A long winding journey into the musical abyss is fine here and there, but it only works for some groups, and for me, it didn't work for Ned and co.

On a brighter note, if you do make it tonight though, go with the Wagyu beef sausages. Mmmmm delicious!!!

Spider Vomit + Jarvis + Fearless Vampire Killers + more
@The Espy, 9pm, Free

A night of acidic noise and psychedelic rawk across both the Espy Lounge and Front Bar from three youngish Melbourne bands.

Stephanie Dosen (USA) + Tobias Cummings
@Northcote Social Club, 8:30pm, $15+bf

I haven't heard of Stephanie Dosen before, but her last record was released on Bella Union, home of Midlake, My Latest Novel, The Dirty Three and Explosions in the Sky so she must be doing something right. Support comes from melancholic singsong Tobias Cummings.


Beasts of Bourbon + Magic Dirt + Rowland S Howard
@The Forum, 8pm, $33+bf

Cosmic Psychos + KillerBirds + Bang!Bang!Aids!
@Northcote Social Club, 8:30pm, $17+bf

The Smallgoods Album Launch + Sly Hats + Pikelet
@East Brunswick Club, 8:30pm, $10+bf

The Smallgoods have just released their second album, Down on the Farm, which is quite spectacular. While I’ll save most of my comments to a future review, it’s an wildly imaginative record with a mix of material, often dreamy, sometimes warped and set within a rich, picturesque landscape. Plenty of harmonies of as well which I always like.

I saw The Smallgoods live a few weeks back when they supported The Brunettes. They were pretty tight, but on the whole, they were a bit static, and didn’t convey the same creativity as they do on record. Gus Franklin (also of Architecture in Helsinki) on drums has a lot of fun though. Good to watch also for his interesting grip on the sticks.

The Sparrows + Sailors and Swine + Chase Ego + The Galvatrons
@The Evelyn, 8pm, $8

I've plugged the damaged raw blues of Sailors and Swine before. Eighties revivalists The Galvatrons seem to be pulling some reasonably good gigs of late.

Treetops Single Launch + 16mm Album Preview + Fearless Vampire Killers
@Roxanne, 9pm, $8

Often there's not enough variation in gig lineups in this town, but here we get some nice soulful pop from Treetops, dense and dramatic melancholy from 16mm and classic Led Zeppish rock from FVK all on the same bill.


Princess One Point Five + International Karate + Amaya Lauricia
@The Tote, 9pm, $12

Princess One Point Five, the solo project of Sarah-Jane Wentzki has had some mild indie success over the past couple of years. In 2005 she was awarded a significant grant and international travel vouchers through the Spirit of Youth Awards and last year her sophomore album The Truth scored a nomination in the Australian Music Prize long list (Top 25). The Truth was a bit too bleak for me, but it did include It’s All Gone to Hell, a very good track which scored some airplay on both JJJ and RRR.

Tonight she is launching her follow up record, an EP called Lolita

Tonight’s gig is also worth a look because of support from International Karate, who are a pretty freaking good band. Support also from Amaya Lauricia who also could be freaking good but I aint seen her before.

Spencer P Jones + James McCann
@Palookaville, 9pm

While many will be looking for somewhere to continue our grand final festivities elsewhere, the dose of the blues at this gig might just be what’s needed for some supporters mourning the ending of another season This will be a low-key Saturday night gig, but a good one nevertheless, as both of these Spooky Records labelmates are great solo performers.

Spencer Jones backs up from the Beasts of Bourbon show at the Forum on Friday.

Spider Vomit
@Pony, 2am, free

A reasonably high profile act for the late slot at Pony

The Temper Trap + Mission Control + Bird Automatic + Major Major
@The Espy, 9pm, Free

Might be bit of a hipsterish here, but another option worth considering for your post Grand Final celebrations.


Silver City Highway
@Standard Hotel, 8pm, Free

If you've been reading this blog for a while you would know that we like this band a lot. They've a single launch at the Tote in about a month, but if you've nothing to do tonight, then sample them here for free before they become a household name amongst twenty to thirty something year old Melbourne giggoers.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Farewell to Batrider

After moving to Melbourne from New Zealand earlier this decade, and having released this year’s Tara (with bonus disc Pink Guitars, Yellow Stars), Batrider are moving on again - this time to London - to find further inspiration and to seek a wider audience for their primal and damaged sound.

Tonight at the Empress is their final gig in Melbourne before they leave. This will be packed so get along early if you're heading here.

Support comes from everywhere men You Will Die Alone as well as Tetrode Kink and Three Months Sunset. Doors at 8:30

This is a live performance of Drought from the Pitz in Marrickville. This track can be found on the new album.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Pitchfork does New Buffalo

However silly it may be, I always feel bit proud whenever I read praise for local artists from international critics.

This time my somewhat irrational patriotic pride is due to this review for Somewhere, Anywhere, the second album from New Buffalo. As they often are in Pitchfork, it’s a well balanced and well-written review. Sally Seltmann’s profile is already on the rise thanks to the song she wrote for Feist, 1,2,3,4, and this review should provide a welcome additional boost.

Here’s Cheer Me Up Thank You , the first video from Somewhere Anywhere .

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Skipping Girl Vinegar - One Chance

Here's a sweet animated clip from Skipping Girl Vinegar. A cool track too - a rootsy singalong romp.

Didn't quite have time to get this into the gig guide earlier in the week, but Skipping Girl Vinegar are launching this single tonight at the Toff. Definitely worth considering along with the other couple of gigs mentioned in the earlier post.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Whitley - The Submarine

As you would have noticed, most of the plugs in this blog are normally confined to our weekly gig preview, but every so often, something comes along that’s deserving of an extra special mention. So even though young singer-songwriter Whitley was previewed in yesterday's Bands ‘n Stuff, his debut record The Submarine deserves an extra plug here.

The Submarine effortlessly breezes through ten tracks of earthy and poignant folk. While it’s a relatively short record at just over half an hour, it’s such a smooth and comfortable listen that it feels much shorter than that as you become whisked away into Whitley’s intimate and presumably personal tales. I’m not too familiar with Conor Oberst’s extensive back catalogue, from what I have heard, with his bittersweet alt-folk, Whitley displays a maturity but modern pop sensibility that will no doubt prompt some inevitable Bright Eyes comparisons.

The simpler heartfelt finger-picked ballads such as I Remember and More Than Life are probably the sweetest and most memorable tracks on the record and, from what I understand, the former has (deservedly) got a fair bit of airplay on JJJ. But, it’s the arrangements on some of the other numbers that provide additional confirmation of Whitley's talent (and also suggest he has been provided with a helpful budget from Universal Music).

The folktronica elements of the record are most evident on first single Lost In Time, the airy title track, and trippy White Feather, Strange Sights. While the arrangements are soft and unabrasive, and thus unlikely to upset conservative 'alternative' tastes, they sound fresh enough and vary extensively enough to ensure The Submarine still sounds interesting with multiple plays, but maintains that high degree of intimacy and catchiness that is necessary for a gentle record to catch the attention of a national audience.

Other memorable injections of smart production arrangements (kudos to producer and engineer Nick Huggins) include the sparse plucky banjo that opens on Cheap Clothes, the wistful strings that float around at the end of Lost In Time, the deep soulful shots of ‘Hey-ya’ in A Shot To The Stars, and the pious choir in All is Whole. All weave, bind and deliver each of the tales in fresh textures that experiment and deliver beyond the beautiful yet relatively risk free steel stringed barnyard balladry of the songs in their rawest forms.

A slight downside to me though is the Jeff Buckley cover, Mojo Pin. While it’s a decent stripped back rendition, I just don’t see the point of it amongst the great original compositions. Perhaps, like Jose Gonzalez, it's there to draw in the listeners who wouldn't otherwise be buying his records.

But regardless of whether or not you averse to this cover version, it's still a fantastic debut. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a simple folk tune, but also wants to be taken into the exciting new territory that pop music occassionally offers. I think there seems little doubt that Whitley is destined for big things.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bands 'n Stuff: September 19 to September 25


You Will Die Alone with Popolice + Van Diemen's Band
@The Tote, 8pm, $5

I saw these guys last week, and despite a crap Wednesday night crowd, musically, they gave a reasonable performance. Their epic grungey noise-rock creates an imposing wall of sound and Predators and Villains from their debut EP sounded particularly impressive.

The mix was a little muddy though, which I guess wasn’t entirely surprising. It must be difficult to mix their songs when there are three droning unhinged guitar riffs all competing for love at the same time. Also difficult I guess given that the focus needs to be altered so frequently over the course of one YWDA song. (Disclaimer: I know nothing about mixing, so bear in mind I could be talking absolute rubbish here)

This week the support comes from Popolice (Marc Regueiro-Mackelvie, who is also of New Estate). Popolice delivers smart catchy indie pop tunes amidst a sea of fuzzy feedback and homespun instrumentation. If you haven’t heard him before check out either of his EPs, last year’s Forceback or this year’s Middle Ground. If you have to listen to only one track of his, I'd go with Be Like Me.



The Ned Collette Band (two sets)
@ The Edinburgh Castle, 8:30pm, free

Another week, another look at The Ned Collette Experience as they continue to get their band chops together over a couple of sets up at the Edinburgh Castle. We've talked about this residency a bit, so there's not much more to say. Neddy and the boys are consummate musos and take you pretty comfortably through a good couple of hours of music, with extended full-prog-jam edits of just about everything. My one criticism is that this sometimes leads to them getting a touch carried away and losing a little focus, but it's not hard to enjoy Ned's slashing axe work over Ben and Joe's gorgeous rhythm section-cum-gig highlight underpinnings.

And I have to add: try the pork belly - it's divine.


Thousand Cuts
The Paper Scissors Album Launch with Plastic Palace Alice + Y
@Ding Dong, 8pm, $8

Sydney bloggers, A-Reminder, Polaroids of Androids and The Sandwich Club have all talked up this band at one point or another, and from what they say, it appears they are one of the best live bands in Sydney at the moment. I don’t know much about them, but recommendations from these other bloggers is enough to get me along tonight. I expect fun ‘n funky.

A couple of JJJ Unearthed acts are filling the support slots tonight. Grandiose glam noir rockers Plastic Palace Alice have been hyped up quite a bit this year, and, while I agree that they promise exciting things, it’s good to see them working hard, and playing plenty of local gigs to increasingly build their capability in a live setting.



Whitley Album Launch with Seagull + Tom Cooney
@The Toff, 9pm, $10+bf

I had the chance to see Whitley back in March when he supported Calexico, but unfortunately a Saturday afternoon session at the pub left me feeling quite snoozy, so snoozy that a wake up alarm failed to wake me from my drunken stupor. I spent fifty bucks on that ticket too. Goddammit!

After giving Whitley’s excellent debut disc The Submarine quite a few spins this week (A review will be posted later this week), I’m looking forward to see if he can be as intimate in a live setting as he is on record.

There’s also quite a range of instrumentation on the new record so I wonder by what means he will choose to deliver these effects. Will there be a band? A string section? Or just Whitley, a twelve string, a banjo and a backing tape? Has anyone seen him live before?

Support comes from local folktronicists, Seagull, and a singer-songwriter from Brisbane, Tom Cooney. A reader of this blog recently tipped us off about Tom live so it might be a good idea to get to the Toff early if you’re heading along to this gig.



Barrage 7" Launch with You Will Die Alone + Das Butcher
@Gertrudes, 8pm, $8

Right now everyone loves Muscles, and along with recent visits to Melbourne from Yacht and Panther, drawing a fair crowd, it appears budget indie electro is taking off.

While I didn’t previously think that one guy with a microphone and some pre-programmed laptop beats would always be the most interesting live experience, Yacht certainly challenged my prior assumption with his fun and hyperactive performances here a few months ago.

Another act who fits into this categorisation is Barrage. Supporting You Will Die Alone last Wednesday, Barrage’s performance wasn’t as confident as Yacht, but he does have some similarly catchy, energetic scratchy beats. Only Only, available on his myspace is a particularly good track.

You Will Die Alone return the favour to Barrage by supporting him tonight so if your’re interested, it’s also a good chance to see them if you can’t make it to The Tote on Wednesday this week or next.


Anonymeye (with band) CD launch with Francis Plagne + Y35.3 + ii
@ The Afterdark, 8:30pm

Your fill of experimenta this week is here, at this nice little venue north on High St. Semi-unpronounceable names to start us off: first ii, filling the venue with their pedal-riding soundscapes; then Y35.3 doing a similar yet different line in loopy noise. Francis Plagne follows, the latest from Melbourne's never-ending production line of broken-pop wunderkinds, playing some tunes from his recent album - it's sweet-as in places, yet a little too unfocused to really stick with me for long. Catch his riffs and croons and make up your own mind.

And at the top, the circling country-tinged guitar of Anonymeye. This Brisbane-boy-cum-Melburnian-guitar-god is releasing a three-inch, single track recording made at the exceedingly rock-'n'-roll time of Saturday morning - hear an excerpt on his myspace. Getting all broken on both country and western, his first Melbourne show with band (the boys from ii) promises to be a mind-expanding experience, even for those who aren't stoned.



The 7th Magnificent Annual High Vibes Festival
@High St, Northcote, from 10am, Donation Entry Fee,

High Vibes probably draws the best combination of local acts out of any festival or gig in Melbourne. And it’s all for free, with about a dozen venues throwing open their doors for the occasion.

For readers of this blog many of the musical highlights this year are likely to be found at the Regal Ballroom and of course the Northcote Social Club.

This year the Regal Ballroom will be hosting one of my favourite live bands, country rockers Wagons, who will presumably be previewing new tracks from their forthcoming third album. The lineup also includes atmospheric rockers SubAudible Hum, J-rockers British India and the pulsating dreaminess of drums and electronica from Mountains in the Sky.

Over at Northcote Social Club, Love of Diagrams will play a set late in the evening. While, earlier we get to hear from Kim Salmon’s Darling Downs, Baseball, and a dose of garagey rawness from both The Exploders and The Specimens.

There’s plenty on at other venues also, including Touch Typist at North Bazaar at 12pm. (Incidentally this is the band of Nick Huggins, the producer of the new Whitley album), Ned Collette and Tobias Cummings are back to back at Punch in the mid afternoon, while Aleks and the Ramps hit the stage at Wesley Anne at 8pm.

You can find a complete timetable of High Vibes here.


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Monday, September 17, 2007

Little Red - Waiting

Here's another vid from a local group. In case you haven't seen it, it's the debut video from Little Red.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Art Of Fighting - Mysteries

Second single from the best local release of the year so far. This one rocks out a bit, which is a bit of a change for the normally placid group

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bands 'n Stuff: September 12 to September 18


You Will Die Alone with Pets with Pets + Barrage
@ The Tote, 8pm, $5

The Wednesday residency at the Tote looks like the perfect slot for up and coming local bands at the moment. Little Red and Good Intentions have both previously played in this slot, while it's Spider Vomit's turn next month.

In September, You Will Die Alone are the lucky residents on Wednesdays at the Tote. A couple of months ago I praised their blistering debut EP, Duets, a triple treat of epic axe driven journeys through groundbreaking lo-fi indie rock territory. Think Built to Spill meeting Dinosaur Jr. Tonight they kick off the residency, and preview material from their forthcoming second E.P, Treasure Kingdom.

Disturbed 'n eerie drums 'n keys from Pets with Pets as support, along with the seriously talked up Barrage first up - don't miss him.


Mist and Sea with Pretty Boy Crossover
@ The Toff, 8pm, $10/$8

This is a nice, a really nice gig. We've talked up this semi-residency the last couple of weeks, so there's little more to say really. I wandered along last week and my impression of The Toff as a nice little venue wasn't altered. It wasn't packed, yet very comfortable semi-empty with tables 'n' chairs. This week's incestuous gig, with one band supporting both band members' other band (makes sense?) promises to suit the space nicely; a swirling mass of pretty sounds filling the room without blowing the roof off.



Albert's Basement Fundraiser
It's So Fucking Great to Be Alive, Humansixbillion, Rainbow Brite, TeamYes!
@ Glasshouse, 8pm, $6

OK, so I'll come clean here. I really like what Albert's Basement do, sure; they've got their clever, whimsical little fingers in a whole lot of Melbourne's tastiest musical pies; I'll surely pick up the compilation they're fundraising for here. And TeamYes! are intriguing; their loopy, lyrical freak-folk is much more similar to the ultra-amazing Animal Collective than much on the Melbourne scene. Rainbow Brite's twee-drone is, similarly, really worthy of your attention. And It's So Fucking Great to Be Alive, apart from an evocative band name, do bent, heavy folk with aplomb.

Yeah, I'm sure they're all great.

But I'll come clean. The only reason this gig's here is because I've listened to a track called Gathering Steam about fifteen times in the last week, since I saw humansixbillion support Mist and Sea at The Toff. Peter Head's band blindsided me that night; but oh so well. Go to their website - they've been generous enough to give you, and me, a full EP; it's hyperbole to say it's one of the best releases I've heard this year but it's also true. It scratches all my indie-pop-folk itches, a little bit twee, a little bit rocking, a little bit just fucking ace. I'm not even writing any more. Just go there and listen and then go to this gig, OK?


Little Red EP Launch with Spun Rivals + Carnation
@ Revolver, 8:30pm, $6

Coca Cola, Waiting, Lil' Jackie Cooper. Yep, by now, we've all seen them umpteen times so we can all sing along their material. Now's your chance to singalong on CD because Melbourne's favourite and funnest allboy doowopping harmony group are releasing their first EP. It's a UK release though (out through Parlophone spin-off, Regal Recordings), so it won't make it into stores. But if you're like me and not really keen on journeying across the River for this gig, I'm sure given their hectic gig schedule there'll be plenty of opportunities to pick up a copy at another show. Try the East on Saturday perhaps. Otherwise, a national tour with Art of Fighting is next on their agenda.


The Ned Collette Band (two sets)
@ The Edinburgh Castle

Pat wrote last week about ol' baby-face Collette, and I can only agree with his words. The new single, The Country With a Smile, is frankly stunning; the gorgeous, smooth seventies synth layered throughout is magic, yet kept restrained so it never wears out its welcome. The song far surpasses anything on his impressive yet kinda patchy and monotonal debut album.

And it's a whole different gig these days, to see Neddy with band as opposed to just with trusty loop pedal. They sounded sweet in that nice room upstairs at Gertrudes in their first public outing together, though they hadn't yet gelled, and I expect they're gonna be a fair bit smoother and more compelling with practice. He's gonna be back overseas soon enough; see him now while you can.



Talamere with Light Music Club + Look Bird! Lament
@ Afterdark, 8pm

All manner of low-key singer-songwriter stuff going on this night at the Afterdark, as befits its couches-and-beer feel and semi-suburban location. I don't know Look Bird! Lament, but their myspace stuff reveals some impressively assured low-key production under classic sad-bastard vocal stylings. Worth turning up on time for this one, I reckon.

And you definitely won't want to miss Light Music Club, in the middle slot. Zoe Jackson's semi-divine voice and clean-yet-not-disposable classically-tinged piano lines are worth stopping your conversation for. You're gonna have to listen to Song for Sunday and just try, try your hardest not to be charmed.

And at the nominal top of the bill, another charming female voice, though a completely different one. Talamere - Vic Roberts - has a breathy contralto and simple guitar lines that are much more than a simple sum of their parts would suggest, as with all real songwriters. She draws you straight into her morose, shadowy world and lets you out, begrudgingly, leaving a pleasing tinge of melancholy. Good fun, in a perverse way.



The Small Knives album launch with Sly Hats
@ The Toff, 8:30pm, $10

The Small Knives are criminally underrated in this town. Straight up and down calm n gentle acoustic country pop it is, but they've a penchant not just to write a beautiful melody but a memorable hook as well. Top it off with Leo Mullins' voice which has great pitch and carry and you have the makings of one of the most accomplished bands in Melbourne. No on stage theatrics in their live show because, well, they all seem like pretty sensible guys, but Mullins is a passionate singer and their live sound is very tight.

This show is launching their second record, Smoke and Ribbons. While I'm yet to hear it, they did preview several of the new tracks in their support for Deloris a few weeks back. The rousing Hey can be found on their myspace, while another track sounded very Buckneresque.

Introverted DIY Calypso-ish pop from Sly Hats as the only support in his first trip back to Aus after a brief international tour.


Silver Ray album launch (2 sets) with Oliver Mann
@ NSC, 8:30pm, $12+bf

Luscious rich and rambling instrumental rockers Silver Ray are launching their fourth album tonight, Homes For Everyone. So far there's been almost universal praise for this record. While my final judgement of this record will unravel to myself after future listens, at this stage I can say that it is undoubtedly a pleasant and relaxing record with no shortage of beautiful compositions, and one that I can recommend.

Start off the evening in the company of operatically enhanced solo artist Oliver Mann.


Wireless Bollinger '10 Bands to Watch' Showcase with Downhills Home + Little Red + Hot Little Hands + Good Intentions + Oh Mercy
@ The East, 8:30pm, $12+bf

A few months back local e-mag Wireless Bollinger published a series entitled '10 Bands to Watch' where ten up and coming Australian indie artists were featured. Tonight, five bands featured in the series audition their credentials together in front of an always criticial Melbourne audience.

Despite the series' heavy Melbourne bias, and a couple of questionable selections amongst the group, as a whole they made some good choices, and the series was a very well written and interesting insight into the motivating forces driving these bands, and some of their key members. It was very surprising to read that Matt Kulesza, lead singer and songwriter of Good Intentions is only 20 years old!

Tonight Byrsdian/early Wilco influenced country rockers Downhills Home head the lineup, with poptacular percussiony goodness from Good Intentions and the effervescent Little Red amongst the great local lineup.


Shooting at Unarmed Men album launch with Actor/Model + A Friend of Mine + The Jacks
@ The Tote, 9pm, $12

Look, I have to say. I think Shooting at Unarmed Men are this year's My Disco, for me. Both bands are good, even great, in the live setting. They can hold a room and really tear up a stage; different methods to that end, admittedly, but with plenty of similarities in volume and intensity. But. Last year's My Disco album, Cancer, failed to impress me. It just didn't get that volume and intensity, sounding flat and empty on disc. And I think the same has happened to Shooting at Unarmed Men. Their new disc, Triptych, has frankly annoying packaging (three EPs for twelve tracks? why not one LP?) and seems to alternately grate and bore - sometimes, in a feat, both at the same time.

Look, that sounds a bit harsh, and that's why ya gotta go to this gig to prove me wrong. It really hasn't struck a chord with me but I'm probably wrong. Supports here are good: Actor/Model's synth-punk is very good onstage; A Friend of Mine do a really good job of melodifying their heavy riffs and subterranean groove; and I haven't really heard The Jacks but their pacy garage-rock promises good things. It will be a great gig; I'm just not yet certain about the album that causes it to exist.


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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bands 'n Stuff: September 5 to September 11


Mist and Sea with Humansixbillion @ The Toff in Town, 8pm, $10/$8

Another week of the Mist and Sea residency of course means another support. Tonight the inclusion on the bill is Humansixbillion who, as mentioned a couple of weeks ago, has crafted the soundtrack for the new Aussie comedy Burke and Wills. They're a quirky folk group offering layers of verbose, intricate but rough edged pop songs. Download an EP from them online.

And, tonight is also of interest because it’s at the the most topical live music in town, The Toff. There’s been a massive whingefest over on M+N recently about all things Toff. While, there’s no doubt a night at the Toff is a more expensive night out if you’re a drinker, and that the place is a bit pretentious, IMHO the positives far outweigh the negatives. Not only is the sound system sweet, but you can see the band from anywhere in the bar and there’s always a spare table and chairs for the quieter gigs. I think its opulence also adds some extra variety to the Melbourne scene amidst the plethora of grittier venues like Pony, The Tote and Old Bar. Here to stay, I hope.



The Ned Collette Band @ Edinburgh Castle, 8pm, two sets

Tonight, Ned and band begin their first stint at their Thursday residency at the Edinburgh Castle. Here, for every Thursday in September (for free!) they will be refining their live show before their new record, Future Suture, is released through Dot Dash later this month.

If you want to preview something off this record head to the myspace to hear new single The Country With A Smile. As you would expect, now Ned is with band, the new song sounds less like home studio recording than his previous efforts and is much stronger rhythmically. It still features Ned's throaty vocals at the forefront, but for this track at least, he is backed with a sleek and sparkly synth!

We’re not planning to branch out into culinary reviews at ATR but from personal experience I can also say they do some great meals at the Edinburgh too so having a counter meal is also definitely worth considering if you're heading along to this gig.


Andrew McCubbin and the Hope Addicts album launch with Black Pony Express + Nathan Hollywood @ NSC, 8:30pm, $12

Andy McCubbin and his supergroup are launching their third album, Blue, a really good record full of deep, dark alt-country; summoning up real painful emotions just the way it's supposed to. From the Nick Cave-esque title track to, even, an obscure David Bowie cover, they wander through some desperate, dangerous territory filled with longing and unease. And notably supporting is the ever-wonderful Black Pony Express, a band who stalk similar themes with gusto - their album, Love in a Cold Place, was one of my favourites of last year. If that's what you feel like on a Thursday night then you've got to get down to Northcote and wallow in these exquisite depths.



East Timor Youth Fundraiser feat. Magic Dirt + Young and Restless + Cockfight Shootout + A Death in the Family + A Friend of Mine @ Collingwood Town Hall, all ages, 5pm

This is third all ages benefit gig for East Timor' s youth to be hosted at the Fitzroy Town Hall in recent months.

While Magic Dirt are the headliners for this gig, I'm sure many will be getting along to see Young and Restless. Karima Udomo, the petite and stylish frontwoman of Young and Restless has got a great ability to capture an audience’s attention from the pure power of her performance. Their music's not my thing, but Udomo certaintly can hold an audience's gaze as she screams her way through her fierce and angry chick routine.


Clinkerfield album preview with The Idle Hoes + The Orbweavers + Crystal Thomas @ The Tote, 8:30pm, $12, free CD to first 200 payers

We've talked up Clinkers round here before. The constantly mutating group play a really solid brand of blues-country-folk-rock, behind the one constant - Jimmy C. A frontman par excellence, you know the set's heating up when Jimmy strips down to his bluey and moves from drawling whisky-soaked confidences to belting hoarse rock screams. These guys really are the kings of Melbourne's alt-country scene, and as this is their last gig for a few months, get down to see them this week. Supports, The Orbweavers especially, are no slouches either.


Us vs Them feat. Witch Hats + Children Collide + Pets With Pets @ Roxanne, 9pm, $10

Us vs Them just keep on getting the top-notch lineups. This'll be a rollicking, dirty night. The openers seem a little out of place, with their Casio keys, but I'm sure they'll get into the spirit. And then there's the brutally rocking Children Collide. Watch in awe as the drummer breaks large pieces of his kit; squeal at the bass player prowling like a well-coiffed animal; marvel at the dirty grunge guitar, straight outta Seattle. And most of all, move your hips.

And then be ready, coz Witch Hats are a whole nother thing. Their EP was one of the best releases of last year and their new album is set to be the same of this. It's a hard sound to describe; I mean, yeah, there's the Birthday Party influence I guess, but I'm not that familiar with those guys. Let's just say that Witch Hats are bluesy and rocky and swampy and, most of all, completely unhinged. Just wait for the line "I'll have a kick with yer kids if they're not too buggered" and try not to shiver - even if you ain't got no kids. Fun for the whole family. Except the kids, obviously.



My Disco + Love of Diagrams + ninetynine + The Stabs @ Trades Hall, all ages, 8pm, $15

Grinding jerky industrial art-rockers My Disco are one of the best live acts in this country right now. Musically, they are dynamic, confrontational, nihilistic and painfully intense. Texturally they can be quite repetitive also, but their brief sets mean they never approach the boundaries of tedium. Brevity equals maximum impact. It is also a joy to watch a band reach perfect syncrhonicity. No missed notes. No weak links. Tonight is a great chance for underagers to see what live music is all about.

Of course its also a chance for us overagers to see them before they're heading to the States to record their next album. Their only other gigs before they leave are supporting Battles, which if you're unfortunate not to get a ticket, are sold out.

Excellent supports for this gig too.


Cut Off Your Hands with teenagersintokyo + World's End Press + Spun Rivals @ The Tote, 8:30pm, $10

Buzzy and shrill new wave Kiwi guitar poppers Cut Off Your Hands impressed all with their fun and energetic performance at the Laneway Festival back in February. After releasing one EP as The Shaky Hands, they were forced into a name change, where they have since been signed by Levity (a label owned by Levi Jeans) and subsequently released an EP, which got a huge wrap by Mathieson over at Mess and Noise.

Tonight their fashionable indie sounds are on at The Tote, supported by another group of new wave revivalists who also have been talked up by M+N, teenagersintokyo. It's an interesting choice of venue for these two groups. Before i don't think there would have ever been a mass exodus from The Tote heading to Click Click.

Completing the supports tonight are two local groups. World's End Press are up the experimental end of the new wave revival. They have a new single out, Cause and Effect. Brtipop tinged garage rockers, Spun Rivals, are another young band who will be releasing material in the coming months.


The Inches single launch with Plastic Palace Alice + Kamikaze Trio @ NSC, 8:30pm, $10

Travel back to the late 70s with the glitter, glam and power chords of The Inches. Can't say I would get along to this gig based on what I've heard of the headlining act. But, some great supports with the emerging grandeur from Plastic Palace Alice, and pulsating sonic fuzz of Kamikaze Trio.



Touch Typist + The Psuche Ensemble + Shiver Like Timber (QLD) + Patinka Cha Cha @ Irene's Warehouse, 5 Pitt St, Brunswick, 6pm - 10pm, free

To recover from your long, long weekend, and to take your mind off APEC, you've got to have a look at this, the most interesting gig of the week. Touch Typist is really the headline here; a young man named Huggins who writes some cracking indie-pop tunes and then twists them a little sideways, just enough to keep it moving; quite similar to Mist and Sea in some ways, but less dreamy. The others are less obvious, but keep to the low-key folky bent vibe, judging from the little I've heard of them. There will, at some stage in the evening, be a harp on stage, which is fun and important. A quiet, simple way to close the weekend.

NOTE: Venue change from Shingles, which apparently no longer exists, to Irene's Warehouse. Lineup no change. Prognosis still ace.


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Across the Rooftops 2006