Thursday, 31 May 2007

Review: Nova Scotia - Bear Smashes Photocopier EP

For Before Hollywood's first record review, I thought I'd post my impressions of the Nova Scotia EP I picked up at their show last Friday. 'But Cam', I hear you say, 'Cam, that EP was only a limited release and you and your friend got the last two copies'. 'True', I reply. Still, as the owner of a blog, if I can't hold things like this above your head to taunt you then what's the point? And anyway, I'm hoping that the band will put out a more widely available release in the not-too-distant future.

To quickly sum up the sound of this EP in the context of a handful of the band members' past groups, Nova Scotia are more melodic than Eat Laser Scumbag, more straightforward than Toadracer, more musically accomplished than The Sips. There's also a touch of other Brisbane bands such as Sekiden, Special Branch and Iron On in their sound. If you've never heard of any of those bands, however, I'll say that it's reminiscent of Pinkerton era Weezer fronted by a singer who sounds like Wayne Coyne* trying to outscream Frank Black. Come to think of it, at times the band also reminds me of The Flaming Lips mid-90's sound (the Transmissions / Clouds Taste Metallic period). But enough of lazy comparisons - basically it's big drums, rock solid bass lines, three distorted guitars riding over the top of everything and some real MELODIES. There's a great playfulness in the songs that I really enjoy - from the 'brrrrrrrup' noises in 'Cat's Out of The Bag' (you'll know what I'm talking about when you hear it), to the references to Metallica, to the band members talking before 'Stunted Rabbits' kicks off. On the other side of things, the band can really up the ante when they want, such as in the extended breakdown-and-build-up-again of the 7minute closer 'Stalin's Holiday Bungalow'.

As you would probably expect from an EP with a pressing of only 50 copies, it's a pretty rough recording (my favourite bit is when one of the guitarists misses his distortion pedal in 'Stalin's Holiday Bungalow'). However, I don't think this hampers things in any way; it's not like the recording is full of string quartets and horn sections - it's straight up pop-rock with a focus on melody and energy, and it comes through as well as you could want it to. Obviously it's not perfect (they have a bit of a way to go until they can better Toadracer's 'Wandering Star' EP) but it's certainly a very promising start from a very promising band. Let's just hope they stick around long enough to let things develop.

Anyway, enough of my incomprehensible ramblings. It's a good EP and you'd do well to either attempt to track down a copy or just go and see the band play these songs at a venue near you (as long as 'near you' encompasses The Valley).

Have a listen... here.

* I'm aware that trotting out the old Wayne Coyne comparison to describe someone with a slightly nasal voice is pretty much record review sin #2 (right behind 'Band X sounds like Band Y fronted by Singer Z'... oh shi..).


Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Cam's Gigs of the Week - May 30th

Ok, so each week I'm going to post a list of gigs that are 'Before Hollywood' approved (or at least approved by half of Before Hollywood)... assuming I can be bothered. I'll try to do this each Tuesday or Wednesday.

This week we have...

Wednesday 30th:
Capital, Shakes, Rialto Decibel Choir @ The Zoo - I don't really know much at all about Capital, but this gig is well worthwhile to see the supports, Shakes and Rialto Decibel Choir.

Thursday 31st:
Tenniscoats, For Barry Ray, The Deadnotes @ Judith Wright Centre - No, they're not from Brisbane. In fact, they're from Japan. I saw the Tenniscoats last time they came to Australia, and I can't really think of any way to describe other than 'awesome'. I guess they're somewhat 'experimental', but what they play definitely still falls within the realm of 'pop music'. Very dreamy pop music, but pop music nonetheless*. Check out their myspace and have a listen to some songs.

Also consider To The North, Quiet Steps and Orlac's Hande @ Club Phoenix for something loud and screamy (and definitely NOT dreamy or pop).

Friday 1st:
Grey Daturas (VIC), Scul Hazzards, Look!pond @ The Troubadour - This will be LOUD. However, it's at The Troubadour so hopefully it will be LOUD while still being sonically defined. If you like your music distorted beyond all hell, this is the gig for you.

If you missed the gigs from the night before you have a second chance: Tenniscoats @ Bon Amici's in Toowoomba (with one of my very favourite Brisbane bands, The Rational Academy... hell, I'm considering going back to Toowoomba for this), and Quiet Steps @ Ric's Bar.

Lastly, Beasts of Bourbon play The Tivoli with local legends Six Ft Hick and Butcher Birds.

Saturday 2nd:
Mere Noise Meltdown @ The Globe - see Gav's post below (although I would like to add that Texas Tea are playing, who are in no way affiliated with Turbonegro, and are, in fact, really freakin' good folk/alt.county).

Pay Colour (NSW), Seaplane, Turnpike, Nite School @ Fat Louie's - I'm not familiar with Pay Colour or Nite School, but Seaplane and (especially) Turnpike are some of the best noisey bands Brisbane has produced in the last decade.

That's about everything that grabs my eye. Happy gig-going, people!

* people have been known to say that my definition of pop music is pretty broad.


Pig City: The Saints

What is there to say about The Saints? They are a band that has been credited as the first punk band by some sources, and not punk whatsoever by others. What can be said is that they, along with the Go-Betweens, have been the most influential band to come out of Brisbane. The Pig City show will feature the original lineup of The Saints performing properly together for the first time since the band splintered in 1979.

The Saints were formed in 1974 (previously under the moniker Kid Galahad and the Eternals). Taking their cues from the Detroit proto-punk of the Stooges and MC5, as well as earlier rock'n'roll and R'n'B' artists, they soon developed a sound of their own. The original lineup of Ed Kuepper, Chris Bailey and Ivor Hay were soon joined by Kym Bradshaw. In September 1976 they released their stellar debut single '(I'm) Stranded' followed by an album of the same name in February 1977 (Both of these releases predated releases by bands such as the Damned and the Sex Pistols).

Following the release of their debut album they moved to the UK where they quickly become disillusioned with the emerging punk scene. This lead to a more R'n'B sophomore effort later that year, the explosive Eternally Yours, which introduced a brass section to many of their songs. This shift in genre continued with their third album, Prehistoric Sounds, released in 1978.
The continued commercial failure of the band and the pressure of the UK punk scene led Ed Kuepper and Ivor Hay to leave the band in 1979, with Kuepper going on to form jazz-punk legends the Laughing Clowns, while Chris Bailey continued on as The Saints, with a constantly rotating lineup, to this day.

A quick look at the people who cite The Saints as an influence will demonstrate why they were so important. Apart from basically every Brisbane band, musicians as far flung as The Hives, Bob Geldof, the Birthday Party, Phoenix, and Fu Manchu have been inspired by the music of The Saints. So now you know a bit more you have no excuse to miss what could be the final time the original lineup of The Saints ever play together. As a teaser here are some tunes:

The Saints Myspace
The Saints Myspace #2

And an awesome promo clip for Know Your Product circa-'77. Where's the professor!?!


Pig City

This year's Queensland Music Festival will feature a unique one-off event showcasing the history of rock music in Brisbane. Pig City, to be held at the University Of Queensland, will see performances by bands who have shaped the Brisbane music scene. The lineup features the quintessential line-up of The Saints, The Riptides, The Apartments, Kev Carmody, Screamfeeder, David McCormack, Regurgitator, the Ups and Downs, the Pineapples From The Dawn Of Time, and Kate Miller-Heidke. Tickets are going for $60 and can be picked up from Rocking Horse or the University Of Queensland Bookshop.

Now this is sure to be a once in a lifetime event so I made sure to get my ticket this week. I was, however, greeted with surprise by the lady at the UQ Bookshop. Apparently i was the first person under the age of 30 to purchase a ticket (she had sold about 100). Come on kids! What are you doing?! Obviously you are all poorly educated so over the next week or so we here at Before Hollywood will be giving you the juicy goss on the acts preforming at Pig City. First up will be the Saints so keep an eye on this space!


Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Little Lovers, Nova Scotia @ Rics (25.5.07)

First live review!!

This past Friday evening I, Cam, did something very unusual for someone who frequents the Brisbane live music scene; I went to Ric's Bar to see some bands. But not just any bands, oh no, I went to see a band that almost never plays at said establishment. I went to see The Little Lovers.

So yeah, The Little Lovers seem to play Ric's about once a fortnight. However, that's no bad thing at all because they ARE one of Brisbane's best bands, and Ric's IS a lovely little (free) venue. Better yet, they were being supported by a really cool new band that I had yet to see, Nova Scotia. If you're not aware, Nova Scotia features (ex) members of a lot of awesome local bands, amongst them Toadracer (one of the most underrated Brisbane groups from the last few years), Eat Laser Scumbag, The Sips and more. Judging by the songs available from their myspace I was expecting this band to deliver a lot, especially for one so young, but they definitely delivered. They were tight, energetic, melodic (most important) and managed kept things moving along at a good pace throughout the gig, despite some issues with new guitars and broken strings. Their songs are simple and catchy while still managing to consist of more than just two chords and a (misplaced) attitude, unlike too many bands in this city. As can be expected from their lineage, they definitely sound very 'Brisbane indie-rock', ie: big, fast drums and guitars, with synth lines cutting through the songs alongside jangly Fender guitar solos. About the only negative to their show was that the room was pretty empty for a Friday night at Ric's.

In the time between Nova Scotia and The Little Lovers, however, the room filled right up. It's a well known fact* that even if you see tLL's on a bad night you're still in for a good show, and this night proved that point beyond a doubt. Guitarist Wintah seemed to completely forget every second riff he tried to play, and spent most of the night following the other two members for cues (which is somewhat funny when you consider that their bassist, Dan, has only been in the band for a few short months). Furthermore, from where I was standing (right next to the 'main' doorway) I could barely hear Dan's bass, except for when everything else cut out. Despite this, it's pretty safe to say that everyone in the room had a great time. The Little Lovers are owners of some of the best pop songs going around Brisbane right now, so it takes more than a bit of sloppiness to ruin one of their shows (hell, would you really want these songs to be played note perfectly?). It won't go down as their most triumphant show ever, but who cares? It was still highly enjoyable.

A note for Sydney readers: The Little Lovers will be the stage of The Hopetoun on June 1st. They're playing with David McCormack & The Polaroids and Beachfield (the new band from Custand member Glenn Thompson). Go along!

In addition to that, both bands have shows in Brisbane coming up in the near future. Check out their myspace sites for dates and songs (non-downloadable, unfortunately).
Nova Scotia - June 16 @ Alley Bar
The Little Lovers - May 31 @ The Tivoli (supporting Cold War Kids) and then various dates throughout June and July (including another show at Ric's!).

Ps: Not every review will be this glowing.

* it totally is.


Monday, 28 May 2007

Mere Noise Meltdown

This Saturday evening will see the Mere Noise Meltdown occur at The Globe. The event is a showcase of Mere Noise Records roster; home to local luminaries such as Vegas Kings and the Butcher Birds. I could really go either way with some of these bands; three of them cite Turbonegro as an influence on their Myspace sites which is a sure sign of mediocrity in my eyes. That said one of the more mouthwatering attractions promised on the evening is Brisbane supergroup the Horrortones which features members from Sixfthick, Little Lovers, Wiseacre and Vegas Kings strutting their stuff. Should be delicious.

As a little taster here is a track from the Butcher Birds recently released Eat Their Young EP. These lads and lasses are at the forefront of what seems to be an early 90s revival occurring in Brisbane so hopefully we will hear more from them soon.

Butcher Birds - Tiger Paw


Write Your Adventures Down

Without wanting to steal Gav's thunder, I suppose it would be apt (given the title of this blog) to have our first real post be about that legendary Brisbane band, The Go Betweens. Specifically, we're talking about the tribute album 'Write Your Adventures Down' which is being released next month (June 16th to be exact). It features a whole bunch of really quite groovy muso-types doing their own versions of GoBs classics (that's generally the way that tribute albums work), including 'interpretations' from Glenn Richards, New Buffalo, Sarah Blasko, ex-members of Custard, Dan Kelly and more, so it should be pretty great for both those who are indoctrinated to the band and those who are yet to be. *Note* I'm somewhere between.

You can go to the relevant myspace page to check out all of the details and listen to the first single from the album, that being Patience Hodgson's version of 'Lee Remick' (after which you can go to TOMB to argue about whether or not you hate either the song or the performer with the fire of a thousand suns). Alternatively you can check out their official website. If you're really lazy then you can just look a few pixels below these very words.

Write Your Adventures Down - A Go-Betweens Tribute Album

1. Lee Remick - Patience Hodgson from The Grates
2. Bye Bye Pride - Sarah Blasko
3. Head Full Of Steam - Dan Kelly
4. Dusty In Here - Youth Group
5. House That Jack Built- Glenn Richards from Augie March
6. Streets Of Your Town - Bob Evans
7. Right Here - Darren Hanlon
8. Bachelor Kisses - Josh Pyke
9. Draining The Pool - Andrew Cox from The Fauves
10. Hold Your Horses - Sarah Blasko and Darren Hanlon
11. No Reason To Cry - New Buffalo
12. Finding You - Adele Pickvance From The Go-Betweens
13. Spring Rain - David McCormack from Custard
14. Dive For Your Memory - Glenn Thompson from Custard


First Post - Part II (The Blog Strikes Back)


And so it goes that I start my blogging career with a dad joke.

Gav is not the only one who will be contributing to this virtual encyclopaedia of Brisbane music. I, Cam, will be attempting to help out and share this heavy burden.

A quick disclaimer about this blog. Firstly, as you well know, this is a Brisbane blog. As you may well also know, Brisbane is actually very small. This means that it's pretty much impossible for us to write about bands that we have absolutely no connection to. Some of the bands we write about will feature our friends. Some of the bands we write about will feature our enemies. Some of the bands we write about may even feature us (though we can guarantee that I will never write about my own bands, and vice-versa for Gav). This is just the nature of the beast.

Ok, with the administration stuff out of the way we can hopefully get on with discussing The Music (but not The Music). Feel free to leave comments suggesting that we are rugby-playing metro-bogans when we endorse the latest safety-rock band. Equally, feel free to call us pretentious scenesters when we sing the praises of some free-jazz-noise-freak-folk-electro-clash group. And if you're feeling really adventurous, feel free to tell us that we're actually doing a decent job.

May the force be with you,


Sunday, 27 May 2007

First post!

Haha, I'm a bit late to this blogscene, but that's cool cos this town is about twenty years behind the rest of the world (I'm actually typing this on an Apple II). The goal of this blog is to act as a source of information for the music scene in Brisbane, with or without the help of its various members, and bring the best of it to you. Fingers crossed I can accomplish this.