Thursday, 28 June 2007

The Red Paintings - The Line Between Genius & Madness (Plus Cam's Gigs of the Week)

Hey, it's everybody's favourite art-rock band, The Red Paintings! 'What are those craaaazy dudes up to now, Cam?' I hear you ask. 'Good question', I reply.

The inimitable Mr Trash McSweeney has asked fans of the band to each donate $40 in the hope that the band can catch a plane to New York City (you know, the one in America) to spend three months recording an album. How much money do they need to raise to make this dream a reality? A paltry $40,000. In return for their generosity, fans will have their names listed on the resultant record's cover art.

It's actually not as unusual as it sounds (or so I've been told). Apparently it's been done with a moderate amount of success in the past. However, you have to perhaps question whether the band's sense of worth is perhaps slightly inflated, to be spending all of that money as an unsigned indie band from Brisbane. But hey, if that's what they want to do then best of luck to them. Apparently they have a pretty decent fan-base over in America due to their recent tour with The Dresden Dolls, so there's every possibility that they may succeed in this little venture.

In unrelated news, here's some gig recommendations:

Friday 29th:
The Rocketsmiths, Yves Klein Blue, John Steel Singers, Inntown @ The Zoo - It's the Rocketsmiths' EP launch, so go along if you feel like an evening of lush indie pop. Apparently there will be strings, horns and even a choir.
The Horrortones, Hits, Flying Squad @ The Troubadour - The Brisbane Supergroup's second gig. Nice.
Ponyloaf, Teeming With Wildlife @ Ric's Bar - Electro-rock and shoegaze, respectively.
'Holes & Poles Queer Bandfest' with Dizzy Gotheca, Twist Oliver Twist, Jacob Diefenbach, Master & Stryker, Anal Traffic, Girl With Cake @ The Globe - The name says it all, really.

Saturday 30th:
The Sips, Side Effects @ Ric's - Much loved rockers The Sips play a now rare gig.
Bloon, Hazzards of Swimming Naked, Lawrence English, The Rational Academy, Grids/Units/Planes @ The Globe - Lots of atmospheric indie rock of various persuasions here.
Kate Miller-Heidke, Cuthbert & The Night Walkers @ The Tivoli - The much talked about songstress' album launch.

Sunday 1st:
Intercooler, The Little Lovers @ The Powerhouse - Free!
Dick Desert & The Shotgun Country Club, Texas Tea, Marty Brown, Sugartown @ The Troubadour - The Troub does something a bit different and puts on a night of Would we want things any other way?


Friday, 22 June 2007

I Heart Hiroshima Tour/EP/Album

One of the most important bands in the Brisbane scene in the last couple of years, I Heart Hiroshima are coming out guns blazing in the next few months. First off the ranks is a tour with Sydney boys Regular John. The tour kicks off with a show at Elsewhere on the Gold Coast tomorrow night, followed by a free gig at the Powerhouse Sunday afternoon, and another free show Sunday night at the Great Northern Hotel in Byron Bay. I Heart Hiroshima will be back at the Powerhouse on the 2nd August to support Tilly And The Wall. The band also plan on releasing the Punks EP next month, as well as their debut album (for which a title has yet to be announces) in late July/early August.

As a taster heres a live recording of the title track from the Punks EP. A big thank you to Brendan for providing this recording.

I Heart Hiroshima - Punks (Live @ The Metro - 19-05-07)

Update: The band has posted the EP version of Punks on their myspace. Check it out!


Thursday, 21 June 2007

Cam's Gigs of the Week - June 21st + New Venues!

Another weekend, another round of Gigs to recommend. Unfortunately, due to certain commitments I was unable to attend any of the gigs that I recommended last weekend (except for the gig I played at - Rialto Decibel Choir are awesome as a four-piece!) and this weekend will be the same. So get out there and see something for me!

Thursday 21st:
Scul Hazzards, Quiet Steps, Nightcrash, Ponyload @ The Zoo - requisite loud and abrasive gig recommendation.

Friday 22nd:
Giants of Science, The New Jack Rubys, The Hits, The Beast @ Fat Louie's Pool Hall - The Giants don't play a whole heap anymore so head along and support them at this free venue. Supported by all manner of garage rockers.
Red Paintings, Spazmoo, The Paper & The Plane @ The Globe - Go along so that Trash McSweeney has something to eat (see this week's rave article). Also with popular post-harcore rockers The Paper & The Plane.
The Apartments, Texas Tea, Sue Ray @ The Troubadour - Legendary Brisbane band plays rare hometown gig. If you can go to this I suggest that you do.

Saturday 23rd:
Del Toro, Bloon, Vineland, Mass Migration @ The LoFly Hangar (see below) - Post-Rock-athon! Del Toro are one of Brisbane's coolest bands (and are supporting Dinosaur Jr next month), and Bloon are pretty much local instrumental-rock legends (who play far too seldom). Also with IDM/Jazz/Trip-Hoppers Vineland and the Mogwai-esque Mass Migration.
Cosmic Psychos, Celibate Rifles, SixFtHick, Violent Soho @ The Zoo - It will be sweaty (or as sweaty as things can get at this time of year).

Also, this is probably a good place to mention some good news: Brisbane is getting a few new live music venues!
  • The Shamrock Hotel on Brunswick St (which was for a time known as the 'Slip Inn') is changing monikers to the 'Step Inn', and will feature an overhauled live music area on its lower floor with space for about 750 people by the end of the year, along with a second smaller space upstairs for shows with around 150 people.
  • The new Club Phoenix on Edward St in the City (where the former Rosie's / R-Bar was located) has recently become a haven for folks of the metal / hardcore / punk / emo varieties. However, it will soon be welcoming music from other genres, including rock of both the 'straight-up' and 'indie' varieties, folk,, electro, noise, pop... pretty much anything in fact.
  • The LoFly Hangar in Red Hill (located in a warehouse behind an adult shop) is being hailed as 'The New 610', which I guess means it's all-ages and trashy and DIY, all in the best possible way. It's located at 151 Musgrave Rd.


Sunday, 17 June 2007

Pauhaus Festival (9.6.07)

Sorry about the late post on this one guys, I've had a bit of a turbulent week. Last weekends Pauhaus Festival went off with a bang, and I would rate it as the best Brisbane festival I've attended so far this year. The $3.5 million used to fund the Powerhouse refurbishments was obviously well spent and I'm looking forward to the return of the Live Spark series (I Heart Hiroshima & Yves Klein Blue next Sunday arvo!).

Though I arrived at the Powerhouse around 2.15pm (It was scheduled to open at 2.30) there was already a long line outside; complete with numerous people looking to score tickets from non-existent scalpers. After a bit of a delay we made it in to see the first band Violent Soho. The Mansfield lads launched whole heartedly into a set featuring songs from their Pigs & TV EP as well as a number of new tunes. About half way through they were beset by a failing bass guitar. After attempting to fix it for a number of songs, bassist Luke gave in by first passing the bass to the crowd to play, and, finally, got involved in some grunge-friendly trashing of instruments which the rest of the boys quickly joined in with. All in all Violent Soho performed a tight yet exciting set as per usual; further cementing their place as leaders of the 90s revival in Brisbane.

A quick walk found us listening to the post-punk/britpop revivalist strains of Yves Klein Blue and, quite honestly, I wasn't impressed. I had heard all the hype surrounding the MTV Kickstart winners, yet to me they came off as a poor cousin to The Libertines. The entire set seemed too forced to be entertaining, and i found myself sufficiently bored. At the same time however I felt the need to remain and see what the fuss was about. My friends, however, seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. A telling factor in this may be that they were females, as was the entire front row, most who were screaming. I'll leave it until I seem them again next Sunday to cast judgment entirely.

Back in the Turbine Hall we came up against Gold Coast popsters Operator Please. For some reason I have been predisposed to dislike the kids for some inexplicable; I'm guessing it has something to do with lingering resentment due to living on the Gold Coast for 10 years. However I found myself enjoying their ever expanding array of fun pop songs. Vocalist/guitarist voice verges on angelic at times, so surprising for someone so young, while the rest of the band exude similar amounts of confidence. While they may not be the most innovative band in the world they are still young, and Operator Please are definitely a band to watch out for.

Next up was the Temper Trap. While I hadn't previously had the pleasure of seeing these Melbourne indie rockers before, I definitely wasn't disappointed. In spite of a number of technical failures during the set, the Temper Trap played an intimate set. Dougie and co teared through a set comprising songs from their EP and their forthcoming album. A more in depth review is hindered by the fact that the bands sound is indefinable; it sounds so familiar yet so unique at the same time, a rare feat indeed.

Bit By Bats
are a never band I haven't previously seen live, and by all accounts they played an exciting, if a little non-descript, set. Hits "Go!Go!Go!" and "One Six One" were well received by the crowd who were soon moshing away to the energetic garage punks.

Apart from the Grates, Macromantics was the act I was anticipating the most, and I was duly rewarded. Kicking off with new track "Physical", Miss Macro flexed her lyrical skill. The former Noise Addict member is indefinitely Australia's preeminent MC, and she showed why at the Powerhouse. DJ Amy kicked up a storm on the decks, showcasing her skill on Macromantics' cover of Justin Timberlake's "My Love", and showing why she's is a vital partner in the Macromantics show.

The next band was Red Riders. Red Riders seem to be one of the buzz bands in the Australian music scene at the moment, and I can't for the life of me see why. This band exudes averageness; average songwriting, average sound, average members, and, overall, an average set at Pauhaus. Expect them to be massive by the end of 2007.

Now nearing the final stretch of the night we headed to the Powerhouse Theatre to catch Dappled Cities (Fly). The Sydneysiders performed an atmospheric set comprised mostly of material from recent album Granddance. Comparisons to the Arcade Fire are appropriate, and the guys ripped through songs such as "Fire Fire Fire", "Vision Bell", and set highlight "Holy Chord" with ease and skill.

Back in the Turbine Hall, The Panics had already began their set. Their country-tinged indie rock proved a crowd pleaser, with a surprising number of patrons singing along. A technically faultless set was backed up with an excellent set of songs. The new material on offer was particularly promising; their next LP is now one of my most anticipated.

A general disdain of Expatriate and the fact that I did not want to see Ed Kuepper play before I see The Saints next month meant that The Grates would be the next, and final, band of the night. A packed out Turbine Hall erupted in screams as Patience, John, Alana, and Panda Dan took to the stage. Although they lacked the intricate set design of their previous shows, the band put on an amazingly energetic set. Constant touring has obviously paid off exponentially, and many of the songs had subtle changes which improved them. The highlight of the set, however, was the inclusion of two new songs; "Hide & Die" and "Blue November". While the songs contained the components that made previous songs by The Grates so exciting, their songwriting has obviously improved in leaps and bounds. The new songs left the crowd salivating for more, and The Grates finished off with the one-two punch of "Trampoline" and "Inside Outside" which inspired what was probably the first ever occurrence of crowd surfing at the Powerhouse.

Overall the Pauhaus Festival went off a storm, and I am yet to hear a word of criticism. I'm also yet to hear any word of a return for the festival next year, but if there is I will be first in line for a ticket.

Thanks goes out to Charlyn Cameron who provided the awesome photo of The Grates above. Check out her website here.


Friday, 15 June 2007

Cam's REALLY REALLY QUICK Gigs of the Week - June 15th

Ok, haven't had much time to post gigs of the week this week, but here's a speedy list.

Friday 15th:
Grand Atlantics, The Wellingtongs, The John Steel Singers @ The Troubadour - Lot's of 60's influenced pop.
No Through Road, Seaplane @ Ric's Bar - Seaplane have a new album coming soon, hear songs from it when they play with Adelaide band.
Ambitious Lovers, Yeow Meow (aka Benjamin Thompson of The Rational Academy), Blank Page, The Tricycle Fair, The Superfriends @ The Jubilee Hotel - My Gig of the Week. Folkish.

Saturday 16th:
The Wellingtons, Scul Hazzards, Nova Scotia, Nite School @ The Alley Bar - Assuming the Alley doesn't cancel this one.

Sunday 17th:
The Gin Club @ The Powerhouse - Apparently a DVD taping for their forthcoming third album.

Wednesday 20th
Mt Augustus, Joel Saunders (of The Ambitious Lovers), Rialto Decibel Choir @ The Troubadour - Self promotion ftw.

Sorry, but you'll have to find your own links this week. Gotta go, bye!


Thursday, 14 June 2007

Blue Carousel, Rialto Decibel Choir @ Rics (12.6.07)

I (being Cam) went to a whole bunch of gigs this past weekend. However, this particular gig is the only one I attended where I was present for more than half of the event, so it's the one that I'm going to write about. Luckily for me (and for you), it was really good.

This was actually the first time I'd seen Rialto Decibel Choir live (which is somewhat embarassing to admit). I'd heard some recordings and the continuous praise for the band in certain circles, so I was definitely keen to check them out. This show was one of the band's final shows as a two-piece (as of their show on Wednesday they will be a four-piece, adding bass and drums to their current guitar-and-vocals lineup). As a counterpoint to Gav's previous review, personally I think they're one of the better bands in Brisbane's (very talented imho) folk-inspired indie scene. James is quite an accomplished guitarist and Ashleigh can really sing; I've heard of her voice being likened to Joanna Newsom's, and while the comparison is somewhat warranted I find Ashleigh's voice to be much darker and more gothic in nature - there's certainly very little about her voice that could be described as 'girlish' or 'pixie-ish'. It's a deep and dark sound that lends the band a sense of gravity that other similar bands perhaps lack. Admittedly their set at Ric's was quite short (and I missed a few songs at the start... since when do bands at Ric's start before 9:30?), so perhaps their music might become somewhat one-dimensional over a longer period of time, as Gav mentioned a fortnight ago. Personally I could have listened to them for twice as long as I actually did, but for those who find their music somewhat 'samey' I would imagine that the expansion of the band will add some diversity. Seeing as I'm pretty smitten with their music as it is, I'll certainly be very keen to hear how their sound progresses over the coming months.

As opposed to Rialto, I'd seen Blue Carousel twice previous to this show. After the first show I was pretty much in love, but after the second show I was unsure if they really were as good as I had initially thought. This show proved to me that my instincts were correct - they're a pretty great band. Imagine Mercury Rev's love of bombast and synths combined with the noisey lead guitars and oblique songwriting of Sunset Rubdown. The band managed to put on a quality show despite a faulty bass lead and an aborted attempt at a new song (or perhaps because of these things - I'm a sucker for bands triumphing over adversity). The keys to Blue Carousel's sound are singer Valdis' high-pitched, other-worldly voice and the way their lead guitarist's trebly, scratchy, noisey melodies back the smooth synths. The band have a well developed sense of drama that (at least to my ears) never descends into melodrama - the best example of this being the epic closer that features a tense four-chord progression that eventually builds up to falsetto vocals, wailing synths, crashing drums and two guitarists wringing some glorious noise from their guitars, before disintegrating into a wash of white noise to finish. It can be pretty affecting stuff. If the band can manage to tighten things up ever so slightly (ie: tune those guitars and tighten that rhythm section) without loosing that slightly ramshackle energy they could grow into something really great.

My personal highlights for the night:
- the way that Blue Carousel's drummer would count the band into every song:
1 2 3 4 *half a beat pause* *band starts*
- the nu-metal Axl Rose (dreadlocks era) and David St. Hubbins lookalikes in the front row who seemed rather unimpressed by Blue Carousel, and left with a shouted "you're shit!" and middle fingers pointed at the band (which was received with hearty laughter from both the band and the rest audience).


Thursday, 7 June 2007


Just a quick reminder that this coming Saturday will see the Pauhaus Festival occurring at the newly renovated Powerhouse. Tickets sold out yesterday (I should know, i got the ninth last one!) and the lineup is finalised. Checkout the Pauhaus website for more details. I'll post a review of the day, including pictures, sometime next week. Hope to see you all there!


Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Cam's Gigs of the Week - June 6th

Another round of Gigs o' the week. Enjoy!

Thursday 7th:
Ranger, Ben Salter @ Ric's Bar - Ranger is something of a local supergroup, with members of The Go Betweens and Regurgitator / Night Stick (that is, if you haven't guessed, drummer extraordinaire Martin Lee). Ben Salter (he of Gin Club and Giants of Science fame) is always an entertaining fellow to see play.
Tim Steward @ Satchmo's - Singer from Screamfeeder goes it alone.

Friday 8th:
Shakes, Do The Robot @ Ric's Bar - Two of the best new bands in Brisbane. It's a night of swirley, somewhat shoegaze-inspired, distorted pop.
The Villains of Wilhelm, Guns of Sebastian, The John Steel Singers, Little Vegas and the Fuzz Parade @ The Globe - Lots of bands with long names. Personally I'm only familiar with The John Steel Singers, but they're always worth catching. I believe it's also the EP launch for The Villains of Wilhelm.

Saturday 9th:
Beachfield, The Little Lovers @ Ric's Bar - I mentioned this show last week, so go and read about it in my review of The Little Lovers from last week.

Sunday 10th:
Stature:Statue, To The North @ Ric's Bar - Jesus, what is this? Ric's week?! Anyway, loud and fast and aggressive and probably at least a little bit angular. Apparently a bit jazzy, too.
Anal Traffic, The Rational Academy, Jane Woody, Josh Leuner @ The Zoo - One band that will make even the most jaded of hipsters blush (no prizes for guessing which one), another band that is one of my personal favourites (Rat Acad), a girl who has had her fair share of great Brisbane bands playing in solo mode (Jane Woody aka Mel Ralph) and someone I'm not familiar with (Josh Leuner).

Tuesday 12th:
Blue Carousel, Rialto Decibel Choir @ Ric's Bar (just to be different) - What's a great gig like this doing on a Tuesday? I've seen Blue Carousel twice now and both times were pretty darn good. Think Sunset Rubdown with Jonathan Donahue (Mercury Rev) singing. Rialto Decibel Choir have been mentioned here by both myself and Gav (though I think I'm more of a folkster than Gav so I'm probably more susceptible to their charms).


Monday, 4 June 2007

Capital, Shakes, Rialto Decibel Choir @ The Zoo (30.5.07)

Here's another live review for you (hopefully 'you' is a few more people now).

Last Wednesday saw The Zoo hold host to local bands Capital, Shakes, and Rialto Decibel Choir. I must admit that I had never heard any material from any of these prior to the night in question; my only motivation for attending was the juicy description in last weeks Time Off of Capital combining 'good looks and pop hooks in a similar fashion to The Beatles and Franz Ferdinand before them.' Never one to dismiss hyperbole, I made my way over to The Zoo.

As the two-piece Rialto Decibel Choir came on stage, to a crowd of less then a dozen people (including bar staff), my mate and I were queried by the sound techie as to whether or not we were Shakes. While I did entertain that thought of fulfilling my lifelong dream of rock stardom and taking the stage my complete lack of musical prowess persuaded my otherwise and I resigned myself to just watching on. I had heard positive comments about Rialto Decibel Choir before and I found their set to be charming, yet, at the same time, underwhelming. Vocalist Ashleigh came off as a Broadway-style Joanna Newsom which quickly lost its novelty appeal as the set went on. Accompanying guitarist James picked up the slack though with some beautiful melodies that could only come from a Brisbane-bred band.

Next up were Shakes who definitely did live up to the hype I had heard previously. While a comparison to the Arcade Fire on account of the presence of a violinist in their midst would just be plain lazy there is definitely something Canadian about this band. Their songs constantly contained the noise and feedback so many Brisbane bands ply these days, while at the same time combining the melody of a pop song with the calculated sound of post-rock, resulting in a very atmospheric performance. The only negative point in their set was the almost completely static performance. Shakes are definitely one to keep an eye on in the next few months.

By the time Capital was up i had lost my sobriety and was beginning to dance to The Smiths' 'This Charming Man' when the song was switched halfway through to enable Capital to hit the stage to The Libertines' 'Boys In The Band'. Such a move did not endear the band to me, but they soon redeemed themselves in my eyes with a well-placed Might Boosh reference. The four piece came on strong with some tight pop numbers that got many of the patrons dancing around. It soon became clear to me that each of Capital's songs all have an obvious influence; whether it be the Futureheads, Franz Ferdinand, The Beatles, The Libertines, Razorlight or whichever British band they were listening to when they wrote the song. This is not to be taken as a bad thing, however, as the songs they performed were all highly enjoyable (the comparison to Franz and the Beatles was definitely justified).

If you're wanting to catch Capital, hit up Ric's on the 25th June, I guarantee you won't regret it. You can also catch Shakes at Ric's this Friday, and Rialto Decibel Choir will be playing the Troubadour on the 20th June.


Sunday, 3 June 2007

Pig City: The Riptides

Second up in our Pig City are surf-punks The Riptides, a band whose influence on the Brisbane music scene was short but intense. The Riptides (formerly The Numbers) had a rotating membership, based around founder Mark Callaghan (later a member of GANGgajang), during their existence between 1977 and 1983. While they had made the move to Sydney by 1980 it was their energetic live shows and the Sunset Strip EP (released in 1978 on the Go-Betweens' Able Records) that made them Brisbane legends.

Check out The Riptides' Sunset Strip EP on their myspace.