Thursday, 30 August 2007

Cam's Gigs of the Week - August 30th

More gigs.

Friday 31st:
Do The Robot, An Horse @ Ric's Bar - Shoegaze-pop and solo-on (in duo mode).
Texas Tea (Single Launch), Granite Lakes, The Smoking Muskets, Secret Squirrel Band @ The Troubadour - Premier band releases more music at Troubadour.
Shiver Like Timber, Ambitious Lovers (solo), Let's Not (But Say We Did), Genevieve Graves, Deerfolk @ Oriel Gallery, Ascot - Art exhibition opening night. Co-GotW.

Saturday 1st:
I Heart Hiroshima (Album Launch), Turnpike, Scul Hazzards, Frou Frou Foxes @ The Zoo - Local heroes release album. Co-GotW.
New Jack Rubies, Side Effects @ Ric's Bar - Much recommended band plays show, blog-writer still unable to see them.

Sunday 2nd:
Formations, Yeow Meow @ Ric's Bar (3pm) - A nice afternoon with pseudo-experimental popsters.
Live Spark: Peter Loveday @ The Powerhouse - Still seminal.

If you're wondering why BH has been quiet lately... it's because we (or at least I, Cam) haven't been going to a huge amount of gigs (or at least gigs that I feel like writing about... maybe 50% of attended gigs are written about here). There are still a few gigs from a few weeks back that I had intended to write about (Peter Loveday, Narcotics EP Launch), so they may or may not appear on this hallowed page in the near future. I'm going on holidays in 3 days though, so things are probably leaning towards 'may not'. I believe Gav will have to pick up my slack for the immediate future.

This also means that you'll have to do without these informative weekly posts next week. However, I do have the following quick recommendations:

Wednesday 5th:
The Night Crash, Go Go Go Go! @ Fat Louies

Saturday 8th:
Del Toro, Turnpike @ Ric's Bar

There are likely HEAPS of others but those are some that have caught my eye.


Friday, 24 August 2007

Review: Wind & Brackets - Nu Nu (Za Za) / Words of Decarabia

Wind & Brackets are getting close to being a guilty pleasure for me. I realise that they are just another band in a seemingly endless line of 80's revivalists, however they do it with such flair that I can't help enjoying their work. This two song CD doesn't quite do the band's live show justice, however it is enjoyable enough, and it could be a sign of bigger things to come for the band.

'Nu Nu (Za Za)', the oddly named first track, picks and mixes from numerous influences. In order, the track managed to bring the likes of The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, XTC, The Libertines, U2, Joy Division/New Order, The Human League, and the Manic Street Preachers to mind. The chopping and changing of styles through the track bogs it down a bit, however the band performs it well enough to keep the listener on side. While Wind & Brackets are not blatantly plagiarising, it is clear that they have yet to develop their own unique sound.

'Words of Decarabia' is more cohesive then the previous song. Although the subsequent parts of each band member are more underwhelming then on 'Nu Nu (Za Za)', they all fit so well together on this track that it actually exceeds the first. Ivo's vocal performance on the track is worthy of special mention, as is Andrew's lead guitar work. All up this is a none-to-shabby first release from Wind & Brackets.


Thursday, 23 August 2007

Cams Gigs of the Week - August 23rd

This week's GotW are brought to you by the letter 'y'.

Thursday 23rd:
The Brunettes (NZ), The John Steel Singers @ The Troubadour - JSS get their first international support. Poppy.

Friday 24th:
Batrider (Vic), Scul Hazzards, Butcher Birds @ The Troubadour - Noisey.
Twist Oliver Twist, Dizzy Gotheca @ Ric's Bar - Angsty.
To The North, Gift Horse, Quiet Steps, Dan Rogan, In Sepia @ Fat Louie's - Angular-y.
Dead Frenchmen, Stature:Statue, Tyrone Wright @ The Transcontinental - City.
Tim Steward @ The Shire, West End - Hobbit-y.

Saturday 25th:
SixFtHick @ Ric's Bar - Residency.
Dick Nasty, RAD, Insurgents, One Shot Salute @ Fat Louie's - Punky.
I Heart Hiroshima, Scul Hazzards @ Great Northern (Byron Bay) - Hippy.
The Rational Academy, Nova Scotia, Aheadphonehome, Do The Robot, Zoe Porter @ Lowfly Hangar - It's at 7:30pm, 151 Musgrave Rd in Red Hill. Gig recommendation of the week. DIY.
Blue Carousel, Mt Augustus, Sleep Tempest, Matchless Armada, We Become Ghosts @ East Brisbane Bowls Club, Mowbray Park - Elderly.


Sunday, 19 August 2007

The John Steel Singers EP Launch, with The Bell Divers & Inntown @ The Troubadour (14.8.08)

If you couldn't understand what the hell the Rave review of this gig was going on about, well... here's another take.

Inntown started things off. Here are a few terms that came to mind during their set: '', 'slick', 'Ryan Adams', 'bar', 'sleeping in', 'washing basket', 'pancakes'... err, in other words they didn't really hold my attention, and I ended up thinking about what I was going to do the following day. They're that thing that many of us have seen before: the Brisbane band playing at The Troubadour. Yeah, they're good at that sound. If you like that sound you will most likely like them. It would seem that a lot of people DO like that sound. But for me, I found their songs to be a bit samey (despite them switching singers for a few songs). There weren't enough hooks for it to be successful pop music, but it wasn't emotive enough to get me to like it as Maybe it's just me; I've never really gotten into Ryan Adams either, and this band was definitely mining that same vein of music.

They did play a cover of U2's 'Desire' though, which was cool.

The Bell Divers had the middle slot for the evening. As far as I can remember it was my first time seeing them, but some part of me thinks that I've seen them before. In any case, I thought that they were a definite step up from Inntown. Their tunes pulled me in to a much greater extent than the previous band's, and they seemed to have more of their own personality. The singer reminded me of a more nasal Paul Banks of Interpol (kind of halfway between Banks and The Gin Club's Brad Pickersgill), with the music being an at times atmospheric but always melodious and poppy kind of indie rock. I don't know, maybe kind of Go-Betweens-esque? Kind of maybe but not really?

Lastly came the headliners, the band that everyone had come to see (and I mean everyone, they sold the damn place out!), The John Steel Singers. In my previous review I had mentioned that sometimes the band can lack a bit of energy on stage. This was DEFINITELY not the case on this evening. Maybe it was the full house, maybe it was the sense of occasion, maybe they've just become a much more energetic band in recent months, but this show was by far the most energetic I'd seen them. Almost every song was drastically sped up from usual, and Tim and Scott's vocals were almost yelled at times (which is a pretty big deal when compared to their usual semi-crooning style, which works well on layered recordings but can come across a bit flat live).

The band started with a new song that was full of delayed guitars and washes of distortion - it was almost shoegaze, and showed that the band are still moving forwards (well, you'd hope they would be, as they've only just released their first EP). Combined with their final song (which I believe is called 'Poor Rich', and featured another fantastic chorus, with dueling horn parts and a pretty amazing chord progression to finish... probably the best JSS song yet), it showed that the best from the band is still to come. The set regulars were all delivered with an optimal mix of raw grit and tightness, and really, I think that it was pretty much the perfect John Steel Singers set.


Saturday, 18 August 2007

Cam's Gigs of the Week - August 18th

So, I'm really late with this one. It's a real shame, because there were some really good gigs over the last few nights. Examples?

  • The Narcotics launching their EP, 'A Town Called Bastard', with Rialto Decibel Choir and Rooftop Nightwatch at The Troubadour on Thursday.
  • The Pineapples From the Dawn of Time album (re)launch with The Jennys and The Wayne Keys Show at The Troubadour on Friday.
  • The Rational Academy and Beep Test at Ric's on Friday.
  • Turnpike and more at Fat Louie's on Friday.
  • 'Carpark Carnage' at The Jubilee on Friday, featuring The Dreamkillers, Disables, Blowhard, Scul Hazzards, etc.

So, to the bands playing these shows and to the readers who actually use this gig guide, I apologise.

Still, better late than never, right?

Saturday 18th:
Peter Loveday, The Dustbin Hoffmans, Peter Charles MacPherson, A Man Called Son @ The Troubadour - (seminal) Brisbane ex-pat comes back to play a show. Recommended gig.
SixFtHick @ Rics - yep.

Sunday 19th:
City On Film (USA), The Paper & The Plane, To The North, Let's Not (But Say We Did) @ The Troubadour - The street press says that it's The Rational Academy playing instead of To The North, but myspace and Yeow Meow disagrees.
'Bowerbird', featuring Yeow Meow, mapping.26.nappings.cats, Aoi @ The Substation (Paddington) - For those who are into things that are a little bit more 'experimental'.


Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Shiver Like Timber, Joel Saunders, Rialto Decibel Choir, Night Crash @ Metro on Gipps (10.8.07)

Friday 10th saw a fundraiser for The Lifted Brow zine, featuring a few of my personal favourite local acts. Arriving at Metro on Gipps at about 9pm meant that I saw Harriet, the second of two Melbourne groups (the first being Rainbow Brite). They (or she) were fairly good, reminding me of Ambitious Lovers style folk mixed with the dramatic vocal style employed by Rialto Decibel Choir (who were playing later that evening).

First of the local bands were the inimitable Night Crash. This was the first full show I'd been able to see with their new bassist - I had caught them at Ric's a few months back but I only saw them play a single song as 3-piece before they reverted to their old 2-piece lineup for the rest of the show. On Friday the three members all played for the entirety of the set. The first song lead me to think that the new bassist (Luke, also from Shakes and Blank Page) would have a negligible impact on the band's sound, as he pretty much just strummed root notes while Dan riffed over the top. However, subsequent songs had much more involved bass parts, which (I'm happy to report) fit in perfectly with Dan's complex guitar playing and Leigh's insane drumming. The band played their usual Dan Caballero-esque hardcore-jazz-punk-math-rock as well as I'd ever seen them, with the Metro's boxey concrete walls not having a huge impact on their sound (although maybe that was because they set up on the floor in the middle of the venue and had the entire audience crowd around them, not giving the venue's poor acoustics a chance to adversely affect things). Their set was perhaps even more concise than usual, with it all being over within 15-20 minutes.

Next was Rialto Decibel Choir. Last time I wrote about them they were still playing as a 2-piece, however they have now been playing as a foursome for a few months (and I have actually managed to catch them in such a format previously). Where they definitely used to be a folk band, these days they have much more in common with a band like The National, who combine a folkish aesthetic with an almost post-punk band sound, all slicing guitars and intricate rhythms but still with Ashleigh's dramatic vocals over the top (sounding kind of like Marissa Nadler, but shifted down an octave or two). Theirs isn't a sound that is necessarily immediate or catchy, but that is nonetheless engaging. I would love to have a good quality recording of their music, as I imagine that it is the sort that gradually sinks in over time. However, that's not to say that they're not enjoyable to watch for someone who isn't intimately knowledgeable with their music, as they exude a kind of restrained energy from the stage, best exemplified in the song they closed their set with, where the music became its most urgent and straight out 'rock'.

Joel Saunders followed on from Rialto. Some people may know Joel as one half of 'junk-folk' duo Ambitious Lovers. In solo format, Joel is both similar to his band (musically ragged, occasionally emotionally devastating) and completely unlike it (backed by laptop beats with dancers from Illage, doing covers of hip hop hits in addition to his own songs). Sometimes it works brilliantly - personally I think that 'Porch Song' is the best (if decidedly rough) song I've heard come out of Brisbane this year. Sometimes it can be too much of a mess to really be 'enjoyable' - at least live. Mostly this is because Joel still seems to be working out how to pull off the 'live instruments with electronic backing' thing; sometimes the machines are working for him, and sometimes he's struggling against them. When it works, though, it's really cool.

Finishing things off was Shiver Like Timber, aka Bettony Dircks (who is also the band-mate of the three members of the Night Crash - along with a violinist - in Shakes). She's pretty much become the indie-folk songstress of the moment, seemingly playing at every second such gig. This is no bad thing, because she's pretty damn good at what she does. Her music is all stark, cleanly played electric guitar lines and her emotive voice. She's generally a reliable act, the only real difference between a good Shiver Like Timber show and a bad one being the degree to which her guitar can stay in tune. I saw her on a Sunday afternoon at Ric's a few weeks ago and thought it was among the best shows of hers I'd seen. The reason? She'd borrowed the headlining band's guitar, which stayed beautifully in tune. At the Lifted Brow Fundraiser she played well, keeping things at a good ratio of musicality to endearing rawness.

Ultimately, though, the thing about Shiver Like Timber is the voice, and the words that the voice sings. In the reverb soaked room of the Metro on Gipps her voice sounded as ethereal as ever, like some ghostly lost child (cliched description alert!). The words were kind of lost in the wash of sound, which was kind of a shame as I find her lyrics to be amongst the most interesting around, far removed from the stretched wordplay of many other would-be troubadours from around the place, and somehow managing to achieve an effortless gravity. Betony has often been compared to Joanna Newsom, and while there are certainly similarities in their vocal styles and tones, for me the main commonality between the two is the strange mixture of a maturity and wisdom coming out through such a thin, childlike voice.


Review: I Heart Hiroshima - Tuff Teef

More I Heart Hiroshima here for you. The band's debut album was released on Saturday, and it is quite the banger. Tuff Teef serves up more of their unique sound, however the band mixes up that formula a few times, and some of the new tracks have a few surprises in store for the listener.

Tuff Teef kicks of with the slow paced 'Lungs', a track which is probably the closest I Heart Hiroshima will ever get to a ballad, at least until Matt's accusingly shouty vocals kick in and the Susie goes into overdrive on the drums.

Next up is 'Surgery', a song which I have been waiting to be recorded since I heard it a year ago. The transition to vinyl is excellent, the songs infectiously danceable beats and riffs come across extremely fresh, and, thus, I find it highly difficult to sit still while I listen to it.

'Punks', the next cut on Tuff Teef, is the only song to previously be released by the band (check out the review below). Following on is the semi-title track, 'Teef', a pounding song which appears to be about teeth (sorry, teef) funnily enough. Subject matter aside, the song drives along repetitively, a trait that will most likely be the main criticism leveled against the album. The band are unashamedly repetitive, however the excellent drumming and guitar work on show means that the parts being repeated make up for it. Repetition can be good if used correctly, and I Heart Hiroshima are doing just that on Tuff Teef.

Having said that, the next track is possibly the least repetitive one on the album. It also happens to be the least compelling. The lack of a decent hook on 'Crook'd' to tie the song together means that the song floats by the listener without much attention. The next song, 'Electric Lake' starts off a little bland as well. The off kilter vocals and repetitive sound lead the listener to believe that the song is the same as any one of the previous songs on offer, at least until Susie's solo vocal kicks in towards the end of the song. Her vocals, reminiscent of early Courtney Love, make the song, and on a second listen 'Electric Lake' stands out as one of the best songs on the album.

Susie's riot grrl-style singing continues on 'Crime', a song which features an excellent chorus, as well my favourite lyrics on the album. The run of good songs continues with 'Wires', a song which epitomises the beauty of I Heart Hiroshima's repetitive style. One of the things that become apparent on this track is the emotiveness of the band's vocals. While in most bands the singer tends to keep a standard level of emotion in their voice the entirety of a song, I Heart Hiroshima possess the ability to show a lot of emotion in their singing/shouting (which is helpful as many of their lyrics are indecipherable).

'Got Bones' and 'Throw That Metal' continue with the formula, both to an average result. The last two tracks, however, are some of the strongest on the album. 'Captain To Captain' possesses an urgency to it, and, similar to 'Surgery', is impossible to sit still to while listening. The song also features the best drumming on the album, quite an achievement when your drummer has such commendable skill. Closing track 'Stop That' is a perfect choice for the final song. The buildup to the chorus is preformed beautifully, while said chorus is a magnificent mess of no wave-style riffing. A glorious conclusion to a great debut from I Heart Hiroshima.
A final mention goes to Cam for the very cool artwork on the album.


Saturday, 11 August 2007

Pineapples From The Dawn Of Time - Shocker LP Re-release

The Pineapples From The Dawn Of Time have been given an extension on their lifespan in recent years, and anyone lucky enough to catch their set at Pig City would understand how justified this is. The bands only album, Shocker, was released in 1987, and twenty years on it is finally making the move to CD. Shocker has been remastered to make the songs as quirky as ever, and beautifully repackaged and adorned in some of the best/strangest artwork to come out of Queensland. The Pineapples' are an acquired taste, but if you can handle the faux-psychedelia and gratuitous name checking of sex, drugs, and poultry on offer here then you're in for a treat. Along with the original tracks comes an alternative version of 'Too Much Acid', as well as film clips for 'Too Much Acid' and 'Charlie'. The album is available to purchase in most local music stores.

To prepare you for whats in store, here is the video for 'Charlie'.


Friday, 10 August 2007

Mt. Augustus, Rooftop Nightwatch @ Ric's Bar (9.8.07)

Quick disclaimer on this one; one half of this blog is the creative talent behind Mt. Augustus, the other half of this blog is the author of this review however, so no bias I swear.

This was the debut performance of so-called 'Brisbane super group' Rooftop Nightwatch. Sporting members of John Steele Singers and Roman History, I had reasonably high expectations for the band, however I was blown away by how tight the band was for their first show. Visibly nervous about their debut, the band showcased a sound somewhere in between alternative-country and indie-pop and came off something akin to The Lucksmiths or Augie March. Having said that, they didn't stick with any one formula for a song. The constant switching of instruments and vocalists (Pat E and Melissa both sung beautifully) left each track feeling as fresh as the previous. While there were stand out songs, the lack of titles as of yet makes them hard to identify; the second song (which the band claims was an attempt to channel Burt Bacharach)was an excellent piece of pop songwriting, while a later track had Pat M switching bass for guitar and producing a sound Stephen Stills would be envious of. With such an excellent start for the band I can only see Rooftop Nightwatch becoming a scene staple.

Mt Augustus kicked off with 'The Warmest Winter', a track which is my favourite of the bands, and proved straight off the mark why they are one of the best bands kicking it around Brisbane at the moment. Cam vocals sound like some sort of unholy union of Jeff Magnum and Gareth Liddiard, while Pat E (also of the aforementioned Rooftop Nightwatch), Daniel, and Simon, back him up with a sound that channels but never clones the sound of the bands main influences, Neutral Milk Hotel and Okkervil River. The bands set was almost chronological, with earlier tracks such as 'Edith' and 'Mt Augustus' being brought out earlier. Towards the end of the set the band delved into tracks of their new EP, Monolith. It was hard to pick my favourite songs of the night, however new track 'Club Soda', the epic 'Reverend Storm', and the musical saw-accompanied '12 Hour Trip' were all excellent.

Keep an eye out for a review of Mt Augustus' Monolith EP. as soon as I can get my hands on the damned thing!


Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Review: I Heart Hiroshima - Punks EP

I was a bit slack on this one, it's been out for around a month now and I hadn't got around to reviewing it, but the imminent release of I Heart Hiroshima's album has forced my hand.

I Heart Hiroshima have, in the space of two years, evolved into one of Brisbane's most talented bands. Anyone who has witnessed their live shows knows how dynamic the band can be. Often in the music industry, however, bands like this have trouble making the transfer to the studio and reproducing their live sound on record. Thankfully I Heart Hiroshima is not one of those bands.

The EP kicks off with the title track, possibly the best (and longest) cut I Heart Hiroshima have recorded so far. The stomping beat, topped off with Susie's half-sung, half-yelled vocals, drives the song along until Matt's excellent chorus (accompanied later in the song by Cam) brings the song home. As always the intertwining guitars are present, but rather then repeating as in most of the band's previous songs the boys continuously alter their riffs and hooks. The result is a song that at times sounds wrong but constantly sounds great.

The second track is 'The Cover', a song which has become my favourite I Heart Hiroshima song (at least until I hear the recorded version of 'Surgery'). A much more upbeat, and, funnily enough, punkier song then 'Punks', it features some of the best (and more discernible) lyrics of their small back catalog.

The next two tracks hark back to the early days of the band. 'Instrumental1' is a bare bones track recorded prior to the bands lineup change. It is definitely a weak link on the EP though it is interesting to hear how similar the band sounded to a number of other bands around town who share a similar instrumental post-punk sound. The last track is a re-recording of 'London In Love'. The track is an improvement on the previous recording, with the guitars beefed up and the track sounding decidedly less 'lo-fi'.

While the band is sticking to their basic formula, it is also obvious that they aren't resting on their laurels. 'Punks' and 'The Cover' are both big steps forward for the band and hopefully their album, Tuff Teef (which is being released on the 11th of August), follows suite. As a taster here's the video clip for 'Punks'.


Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Turnpike & Del Toro Split EP Launch with Mass Migration @ Fat Louies (3.8.07)

This was an 'unmissable gig' for me. Why? My favourite Brisbane band, Turnpike, was launching a new release after a bit of an absence from the live scene. Furthermore, the release was a split EP with the fine Del Toro. Lastly, the show was at the somewhat revamped Fat Louie's, who have recently replaced their old PA and cleaned up their live music area, so I was keen to see how things had improved.

So, we'll start with the last point and make our way back to the first. The new setup at Fat Louie's isn't hugely different, the main difference being that the stage and old carpet has been removed, leaving a polished wooden floor that puts the band and audience at the same height. Personally I like having the band on the same level (though I imagine it might be a pain at a much busier gig), and the wooden floor gives the venue a more sophisticated look (not too sophisticated, mind you - this is still a relatively DIY venue). I wasn't really able to judge the improvement in the PA, since two of the three acts were instrumental guitar bands.

Now to the bands. First up was Mass Migration, a band that I've seen twice previously. Ultimately, they're a fairly traditional post-rock band - pretty guitar bits transforming into big riffs, massive bass chords and crashing drums, ebows, the occasional piano-based song, no vocals. If you don't know my views on post-rock (and why would you?), have a quick read of this gig review. My thoughts on Mass Migration are pretty much the same as my thoughts on most bands who play that Mogwai-esque, guitar-based, crescendoing post-rock; it's enjoyable while I'm listening to it, but doesn't really satisfy in the long-term and soon starts to sound kind of one-dimensional and stale. That said, there are a lot of people who are still really into that sound, and for those people Mass Migration will most likely be an enjoyable band to listen to. I must admit that I did enjoy their set, even moreso than I have on previous occasions.

Del Toro were next. I suppose that Del Toro are also a 'post-rock' band, but they're somewhat unlike any other such band that I can think of. Sure there are big riffs and nimble guitar lines in equal number, and the band utilise repetition and buildups to provide a big musical payoff, but to my ears their sound owes a lot to that other 'post-' genre, post-punk. I've always thought that they sound like Love Of Diagram's rhythm section backing a mexican mariachi-band guitarist who has fallen in love with delay and flanger pedals. The drums are more cutting than crashing, the bass more driving than crushing, and the guitar more fluid than airy.

With that said, at recent Del Toro shows I'd begun to think that the band was turning into a one-trick pony. Half the time I have been unable to tell if the song I was hearing was new or old. When they begun their first song on Friday my first thought was 'here we go, another Del Toro song that sounds like every other Del Toro song'. But in the second song things were different - the bass was lighter, and the song didn't so much break out into a wall of noise as much as gradually and gracefully unravel and then return from where it came. Over the course of the set the band unveiled many songs that somewhat surprised me in one way or another. Some of the songs were even *gasp*... happy! Hell, some of them could even have been mistaken for some sort of post-rockified pop songs (if they had some sort of vocal over the top). I was pleased to see that the band have begun to widen their range.

When Del Toro were done it was time for the main event, as far as I was concerned (although I guess that other people didn't agree, as the venue emptied out fairly considerably - it was approaching midnight, though). Turnpike ripped into their music right from the start, singer/guitarist Adam King being drenched in sweat before the end of the first song. That's pretty much why I love the band - I've never seen them be any less than completely into the music they're playing, and they always put out a huge amount of energy from onstage. Friday was no different, though the band were admittedly somewhat under-rehearsed (as evidenced by the aborted second song... although they replayed it much more successfully towards the end of the set). To be honest, they seemed to have their regular mix of crazy tightness mixed with an endearing looseness - the band members seemed to be able to read each other minds in terms of moving the songs through their different sections. As a fellow audience member said after the show, if you think you can play guitar, after watching Adam you'll realise how boring your parts are. Similarly, if you think your band has chemistry, after seeing Turnpike you'll realise you have years of playing to reach their level. The way that Tim anchors the band on bass while Adam rips out dissonant riffs and squealing lead lines, with Chris moving somewhere between the two on drums. It wasn't the best ever Turnpike show I've seen, but it was a damn good one, and considering they haven't played all that much in recent months, that made it very satisfying.

Turnpike's set was also the first chance to hear the venue's new PA in action. Despite some feedback issues (which were mostly sorted by the second half of the set), the sound seemed pretty good, with Adam's vocals being as loud in the mix as I've ever heard them (no mean feat, seeing as he has a tendency to shake his head from side to side from about a foot away from the microphone). It will be interesting to see how the new sound system handles a more complex setup than those on show this particular evening.


Spirit Of Youth Awards 2007

The team at, in conjunction with Qantas, are again running their Spirit of Youth Awards. The winner gets the opportunity to interact with one of Australia's top producers (who is yet to be announced), as well as a $5000 prize money and another $5000 worth of flights. Past winners of the award for music have included Wolf & Cub and Princess One Point Five. It'd be excellent to see a Brisbane artist win this time so definitely get your submissions in.


Cam's Gigs of the Week - August 7th

Woah, earliest gigs of the week ever! I have an ulterior motive, though...

Thursday 9th:
Mt Augustus EP Launch with Rooftop Nightwatch @ Ric's Bar - ...and here it is. Indie/folk band releases EP.
The Exploders (VIC), The Incredible Strand, Black Mustang @ The Troubadour - rock'n'roll!!

Friday 10th:
Electric Palace: Night Crash, Joel Saunders, Shiver Like Timber, Harriett, Rialto Decibel Choir, Rainbow Brite @ Metro On Gipps - A fundraiser for The Lifted Brow zine. Gig recommendation of the week.
Exile: Dardanelles, Yves Klein Blue @ Transcontinental Hotel - Gav was going to review the Dardanelles, but then he didn't. Second chance?
New Jack Rubys, Warm Guns, Lords of Wong, Legion of Mary @ Step Inn (Shamrock) - The New Jack Rubys have been highly recommended to me, though I haven't seen them as yet.

Saturday 11th:
Music For Ya Park: Vegas Kings, Yves Klein Blue, The Warm Guns, Choking Cats @ Deagon Skate Park - maybe I'll take up skating for a day.
Beasts of Bourbon, Kev Carmody, Banawurun, Indigenous Intrudaz, Dallas Crane, Dick Desert & The Shotgun Country Club, + more @ The Arena - lots of bands play a show.
Dizzy Gotheca, Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade, Emma Dean, Nina May @ The Zoo - it's actually pretty hard to come up with a little blurb for each gig.
Either/Or: Wind & Brackets, Shakes @ Uber - pseudo-monthly nightclub in West End.

Tuesday 14th:
The John Steel Singers, The Bell Divers, Inntown @ The Troubadour - The John Steel Singers launch their debut EP.
Mint Chicks, I Heart Hiroshima, Shy Child, Stature:Statue @ Step Inn (Shamrock) - Craaaaaaaazy rock people.


Monday, 6 August 2007

I Heart Hiroshima, Yves Klein Blue supporting Tilly & The Wall @ The Powerhouse (2.8.07)

Last Thursday Faster Louder put on a free gig at The Powerhouse, featuring the Conor Oberst approved Tilly & The Wall supported by two 'hot new local acts', those being Yves Klein Blue and I Heart Hiroshima. I'd never been to a gig at The Powerhouse before (yeah, I didn't go to any of the Robert Forster shows... I know, I suck), so I was keen to check it out.

Walking into the venue, initial impressions were good. It certainly looked interesting. I was somewhat concerned about how the sound would come across in such a large concrete space, but I was optimistic. After waiting an hour for the first band (seriously, why would you advertise a gig as starting at 7:30 when the first band doesn't even get onstage until closer to 8:45?), Yves Klein Blue finally took to the stage. It was my first time seeing the band, and my initial thought was "hmmm, I can see where that $20k they won from that Kickstart competition went to?". In other words, they were decked out with some nice gear. My second thought was "hmmm, this sound is muffled and thin".

It seems to me that as nice as The Powerhouse is, it's not exactly the best place to see an energetic rock show. The huge space sucks up any energy that the band puts out, and the concrete walls that surround the performance area take care of any clarity that might have been found in the sound (maybe it was just because I was up on the walkways above the stage, out of the direct line of the speakers, but still, 1/3 of the audience was up there with me). Add the fact that the venue was maybe half full, and it became a difficult task for the bands to put on an engaging show. Personally, I thought that Yves Klein Blue struggled. They certainly have that British guitar pop/rock sound down pat, but to me they seemed to lack a bit of energy and spark. I just couldn't hear the hooks in their songs, and with the type of music they choose to play, melodic hooks are vital. Maybe it was just the sound of the venue, or maybe they're just not the next big thing that some people hail them as. I haven't heard their EP, so I'll wait before passing a more definitive judgement on the band. One thing is inarguable: they played for too long. My companions and I all agreed that they played at least three songs too many. For a local band playing first on the bill with only one EP to their name, a 45+minute set is too much. Then again, maybe that was the intention of Faster Louder when putting on this particular show - to put local bands on the same level as an international act. Whatever the reason, my point remains: too long.

I Heart Hiroshima faired somewhat better. Their lack of bass guitar helped to reduce the muffling effect of the venue, and their music is generally more frantic than that of Yves Klein Blue. Personally I've found a lot of the IHH shows I've seen in recent times to be somewhat lacking when compared to their early shows, where they used to rip your heads off with their aggression. While I think that they have undoubtably grown as songwriters over the last few years, live they have seemed lethargic and, at times, somewhat apathetic. This was not the case this particular night - the band was in good form, putting on the best show I've seen from them in quite a while. The only real criticism I have of them is that they had some really long breaks between songs. Their songs are generally quite short anyway, so to have a 1-2min break between them can kind of grind the show to a halt. Still, it was only an issue a couple of times through the set, so as far as the music went it was a good performance.

Tilly & The Wall finished off the evening. I'm sure there will be plenty of reviews of them elsewhere, so since they're not really within the scope of this blog I'll just say that my friend and I left after a few songs. Maybe if a) the venue had sound that was more conducive to their style of music, b) their tap-dancer wasn't sick, c) I wasn't so tired and d) they hadn't taken the stage to repeated calls of 'Brisbane, where the fuck are you!?', I might have stayed.

One thing I'd just like to mention: although I've repeatedly said that I didn't think much of the sound of the venue, I still think it can be a great place to see music. It would be an amazing place to see a more atmospheric band, like Bloon or Art of Fighting. Perhaps if the sound could be dampened in some way, so it wasn't so unclear, it would be suitable for more 'rock' acts too.


Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Wind & Brackets, Stature:Statue, D'arcy @ The Zoo (27.7.07)

Hey readers, sorry about the lack of recent posts but we've had a few extra-curricular activities occurring here (Uni for me, touring for Cam). I'm off to Splendour In The Grass this weekend but hopefully I can squeeze of a few more posts before then. But now to the review.

D'arcy are a member of a crop of similar sounding, but very talented, up and coming southern bands (I was mainly reminded of The Temper Trap). Hailing from Sydney and with indie rock as their weapon of choice they played a tight set comprising of melodic verses and abrupt choruses. Jordy Lane's vocal skills came out the most on 'Great Day', but the set highlight was most definitely the shouty, fast paced 'Abercrombie St.'

Next up were one of my favourite band at the moment, Stature::Statue, who kicked off with the explosive 'Forum Of Wolves'. Trying to photograph the ever-moving proved frustrating so I gave up and just danced after the second song. And that, for me, is the beauty of the band; they have the ability to combine a rhythm section, courtesy of Damien and Ross, that would but Gang Of Four to shame, with the hyperactive, incomprehensible vocals of Luke (Cam's comparison to At The Drive-In is quite apt for the singing), and the heroic guitar work of Dion. I have trouble describing Dion's guitar style, due to the fact that it varies so wildly, but I decided it came down to three things; lots of punk, lots of post-punk and lots of pedals. All of these factors came together perfectly on set-closer 'Make Haste Roman' which got the crowd at The Zoo dancing uncontrollably. Definitely a band to see live if you haven't already.

Finally came Wind & Brackets, a band I hadn't seen live before, and I was immediately struck by how odd the band looked (I was going to say Odd Couple, but there's five of them, Odd Quintet maybe?). Vocalist Tommy looks like a member of a goth or industrial band, lead guitarist Andru rocked a Tupac tee, drummer Wil would have looked more at home playing for Jet, and guitarist and bass players Seagull (That's his name apparently) and Clark come off as run of the mill indie-types. All reservations were put aside as they launched into an energetic set however. The band exuded a very British style of rock, and while the numerous comparisons to The Libertines i'd previously heard were definitely close to the mark, I was reminded of the hardcore influenced sounds of ¡Forward, Russia! and Test-Icicles. Tommy's stage presence and vocal skills, as well as the excellent drumming of Wil, prevent Wind & Brackets from being one of the average indie/post-punk revivalist bands that seem to be flooding Brisbane at the moment. They also have an excellent array of material, with songs such as 'Nu Nu Za Za' and 'Hospitality' certain to stand the test of time. All that said though, the main reason I love these guys is because they closed with an excellent cover of Daft Punk's 'Da Funk'. Enough said.


Cam's Gigs of the Week - August 1st

Some may have noticed that I didn't post any Gig's of the Week last week. The reason? I was sick, I didn't feel like it, and there were only a few gigs on that piqued my interest anyway. This week, however, I'm well and willing to dispense some pearls of gig-going wisdom. For those of you going to Splendour In The Grass... well, I can't honestly say that I envy you (other than for the fact that you can see The Dirty Three, aka: one of the best bands of the last 15 years).

Wednesday 1st:
An Horse (aka Kate from Iron On) Yeow Meow (aka Ben from The Rational Academy) @ Ric's Bar - Strangely named solo acts from Brisbane indie-rock stalwarts.

Thursday 2nd:
Tilly & The Wall, I Heart Hiroshima, Yves Klein Blue @ The Powerhouse - It's a FasterLouder shindig, and I have a feeling you may need an invite to be allowed (have a look at the website for details).

Friday 3rd:
Del Toro, Turnpike, Mass Migration @ Fat Louie's - Del Toro and Turnpike launch their split EP 'Hinge & Pluck / Sell, this Century'. Post-rockers Mass Migration open procedings. Recommendation of the week.
Brand Spank'd: Twist Oliver Twist, Re:enactment, Audio Arrest, DJs and more @ Empire Hotel - A whole bunch of bands and DJs playing two rooms at the Empire.

Saturday 4th:
The Quickening, Knaw, Dick Nasty, The Sips @ Club Phoenix - Fast, loud and rock.
Shooting At Unarmed Men, Vegas Kings, Scul Hazzards @ The Troubadour - Ex-McLusky member's band plays with two of Brisbane's premier rock acts.
SixFtHick @ Ric's - Just another SixFtHick gig at Ric's.

Sunday 5th:
LiveSpark: Fi Claus, Tim Steward @ The Powerhouse - A free gig featuring ex-Gorgeous-now-solo Fi Claus with Screamfeeder's Tim Steward.

There's also Greazefest running at the South Leagues Club (in West End) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, if you're into your dirty rock'n'roll.