Friday, 30 November 2007

Weekly News - November 30th

New segment coming at y'all! This one's fairly self-explanatory.

  • Post-punk revivalists Yves Klein Blue have signed to Brisbane's foremost independent record label, Dew Process. Apparently the label was attracted by Yves Klein Blue's "clashy blend of classic pop, old punk, gypsy jazz and indie rock." Personally I'm a little skeptical about Yves Klein Blue's "gypsy jazz" origins, but you can find out for yourself December 11th when the band plays The Zoo alongside The Grates, Dr Dog, and Whitley for the Dew Process Xmas Party.
  • Virgin has announced the first lineup for 2008's V Festival. The list is short but sweet, including luminaries like Smashing Pumpkins, Jesus And Mary Chain, Queens of the Stone Age, Duran Duran, and Air. Unfortunately the only Australian acts announced are Sydney's The Presets, and Melbourne's Plug In City, so fingers crossed some Brisbane acts fit into the final lineup. The local leg of the tour occurs March 30th on the Gold Coast, with tickets on sale next Thursday.
  • December is a month of birthday celebrations for Brisbane's musical institutions. 4ZzZ is in line for a mid-life crisis at 32, while The Zoo ups the ante with some teen angst 15 years after they opened their doors. Both 4ZzZ and The Zoo will be holding shows to celebrate so keep an eye on Cam's gig recommendations.
  • Local folk-poppers Rialto Decibal Choir are set to drop their debut release, The Parade EP, in January next year. Head over to their MySpace page to check out the first offering from the EP, 'Four Posts'.
  • Tragic/Athletic are also gearing up for their latest EP, Brakes, which will be available sometime in December (or possibly June/July 2008 as I've heard elsewhere, I'm going to give December the benifit of the doubt though). Two of the four tracks, 'Three Months At Sea' and 'We Set Sail When The Wind Came', are available on their MySpace so I recommend investigating.
  • If you can't wait for the above two releases then be sure to pick up Joel Saunders Girly Music EP which will be launched at Lofly Hangar tomorrow night. The EP features Joel covering songs by female artists, including an impressive remake Rihanna's 'Umbrella' (To the point were the song is no longer annoying!). As a lead up to the launch Joel has been blogging about his favourite cover songs, among which sits local band Shakes' cover of Cyndi Lauper's 'Time After Time'. I recommend having a look at the post here.


Thursday, 29 November 2007

Review: Yeo - Trouble Being Yourself

No, you haven't imbibed to much cough syrup, the above image features the multi-talented Yeo who has just dropped his debut album. Yeo has been steadily making a name for himself locally and nationaly as a prodigous talent (Zan Rowe of Triple J has touted him as Australia's answer to Phoenix and Cornelius) and, with Trouble Being Yourself, Yeo has definitely stepped up to meet those expectations.

The album is a fresh change from the usual fair coming out of Brisbane, combining a number of influences not usual touched on by local artists. Yeo tackles genres as diverse as R'n'B, French touch, reggae, funk, and electro-clash. While this may seem to be a course for disaster, Yeo never feels out of water on any of the tracks. From the basketball-sampling 'The Score' and the Specials meets Architecture In Helsinki 'Fishin' With Aidan', to the twee acoustic number 'My Greatest Fear' or the electro-funk freakout that is 'Backflips In The Kitchen', Yeo has crafted a sensationally eclectic album. There is no doubt that there are tracks on Trouble Being Yourself to suit any musical taste.

On stage Yeo employs a backing band, The Fresh Goods, to recreate his expansive sound. While no future gigs are confirmed at the moment, keep an eye out for an album launch in December. In the meantime you can grab Trouble Being Yourself from Rockinghorse, Butter Beats, or The Outpost Store. As a primer here's 'Study Buddy' of the album. It's a track that sits somewhere on the scale between George Clinton and Prince, so you're sure to enjoy.

Yeo - Study Buddy off Trouble Being Yourself


Cam's Gigs of the Week - November 29th

Apologies to Chris Perren & The Wicky Massive for not posting your gig last night. Err, I'm sure it would have had a massive effect on the turnout.


Thursday 29th:
Tim Steward, Fi Claus @ Ric's Bar
The Bell Divers, Rooftop Nightwatch, Capital @ The Zoo

Friday 30th:
HumanSixBillion, Greg Brady & The Anchors @ Ric's Bar

Saturday 1st:
Joel Saunders (EP Launch) - featuring Fickle Beasts (but not Illage anymore), Ned Collette (Vic), Pikelet (Vic), Simulcast @ Lofly Hangar (151 Musgrave Rd, Red Hill) - all ages
Laura (Vic), Do The Robot, The Last Great Russian Revolution @ The Zoo
Ramone-a-thon: See the poster @ Step Inn
Sub-Audible Hum (Vic), The Night Terrors (Vic), Stature::Statue, Blue Carousel @ The Troubadour
The Rocketsmiths, Idle Cranes @ Ric's Bar (9pm)
The Westminters, Dan Parsons Band @ Ric's Bar (4pm)
Diamond Sea, Shiver Like Timber, Feathers @ Spring Hill Baths - all ages

Sunday 2nd:
Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade, Legions of Mary, La Cosa Nostra @ The Troubadour
Heavyweight Champion @ Ric's Bar

Monday 3rd:
Buildings Melt, Blendher @ Ric's Bar

That's a pretty busy weekend, especially Saturday night. Enjoy!


Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Cam's Gigs of the Week - November 21st

Wednesday 21st:
Do The Robot, All & Sundry, Space Between Trains, Blendher @ The Troubadour

Thursday 22nd:
Golden Circles, Pear & The Awkward Orchestra @ Ric's Bar

Friday 23rd:
SixFtHick, Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side, Scul Hazzards, Butcher Birds @ The Zoo - SixFtHick album launch
Re:Enactment, Toy Balloon @ Ric's Bar

Saturday 24th:
Federal Election @ nearest polling centre
The Horse You Rode In On @ The Powerhouse - EP Launch
The Scare, Regular John, Veya @ The Troubadour

Sunday 25th:
Live Spark: Ponyloaf, Del Toro @ The Powerhouse (3pm)


Monday, 19 November 2007

Review: Warm Guns - Warm Guns EP

John Lennon once said happiness was a warm gun. Well it turns out he may have been wrong. The Warm Guns' debut release is a 9-track EP released by those local supporters of all things head banging, Mere Noise Records. The Warm Guns are a four piece consisting of Amy Dzufer on guitar, Kellie Lloyd (better known as a member of Screamfeeder) on bass, Mel Lathouras on keyboards, and Murray Pas providing a backbeat. Vocal duties are split evenly among the band, lending a distinctively poppy vibe to the EP.

Opening track 'Even If I Could' starts well enough with grungy guitar and Rhodes keyboard making for an excellent intro but, once the vocals kick in, the song becomes an exercise in mediocrity. 'Bullet For Stu' follows a similar pattern, though the multiple vocalist aspect comes into its own, making for some nice melodies. Again though there is nothing to push the song above average.

'Irene Ballstein' doesn't mess with the band's formula. While musically the track is a little tighter than the previous two, its lyrical subject of rock and roll excess comes off as a failed attempt at irony. 'Breakdown' is more cannon fodder in this musical battle, with its hard rock riffing and 'yeah yeah yeah'-ing coming off a little tediously. The next track 'Gustav Bladivostock' is a little better. Rather than being stuck in the same gear as the previous tracks, the Warm Guns decide to mix up the pace a little here, and it pays off.

'Mr Sleaze' is the redeeming track on the EP. The song takes an entirely different tact to the previous songs. The vocals are brilliant and the track ends up sounding like the Stooges fronted by Aretha Franklin. Musically the track ups the ante as well, with a searing guitar solo mid-song attempting to steal the show. The Warm Guns' return to their old ways on 'Wanna Meetcha', though the song is decidedly improved on the first five tracks, with the vocals again dragging the track across the line.

'Turkey Neck' moves dangerously close to power ballad territory, with a chorus consisiting of the lyrics "Are you ready to die?" repeated constantly. The result is a very forgettable song. The appallingly named 'Suck My Cockney' is the last track on the EP and is almost as uninspiring and repetitive as the previous track. Ultimately the Warm Guns EP is a very shaky start for the Warm Guns. While the band definitely show talent on some tracks ('Mr Sleaze','Wanna Meetcha'), the rest of the EP falls flat.


Thursday, 15 November 2007

Teeming With Wildlife, Do The Robot @ Ric's Bar (9.11.07)

I figured that I should write about this gig today, else it will have been a week since the show which officially makes it old news in the fast-paced world of Brisbane's indie-rock scene. But fear not! For we are nothing if not timely.

I first saw Do The Robot... oh, I don't know... a while ago. Let's say it was about 9months previous. Anyway, I distinctly remember being really impressed with them, especially considering it was one of their first shows. Their shoegaze-inspired guitar parts mixed with interesting, energetic drum parts to create a really catchy sound that, while it wasn't really original per se (in fact it's actually very 'retro'), certainly had enough of its own character to help the band stand out as One To Watch. Fast forward to around 2 months later and I was watching the band play sans-drummer at Ric's Bar. It was... really boring. Without the energy provided by the drums things just seemed to drag on and on, compounded by the fact that most of their songs consist of one or two variations on a single chord progression.

After a few months break I had the chance to see them again this past Friday, this time in full-band mode. The consensus? They're really good, and certainly one of the more promising acts in Brisbane. I still think their songs are a bit long for what they are (stretching things out is great, but 5 songs in a 35 minute set when said songs are pretty much straight-forward pop songs is maybe pushing it a bit), but other than that there's a lot to like about the band. As I mentioned moments ago, their songs are pretty catchy and their sound is engaging. One thing I really appreciate about the band is their realisation that good 'shoegaze' isn't built solely on one man, a fender guitar and a whammy bar. In fact, while the whirling guitar parts in their songs have a certain lethargy, the drums and vocals are often quite insistent and lively. In summary, I'm really looking forward to seeing the band develop over the next year or so - I'm hoping that they can turn into a really interesting pop group. There aren't enough of those in Brisbane, most of our indie-rock bands seem to either be pop in a really obvious way, or they're completely un-pop (exceptions being bands like I Heart Hiroshima and The Rational Academy, who tend to do a good job of balancing the two elements).

Teeming With Wildlife mine similar territory to Do The Robot, but they replace the previous band's shimmering grace with huge amounts of fuzz and massive riffs. They have a real love of effects (mostly distortion), and a wall of amps to deliver them through. They also have that burried vocals thing going on - in fact, the vocals were so burried that I don't think I heard them once in the entire set. Most of their songs were either of the linear-build or the verse-chorus-verse varities, so being able to hear some vocal lines might have added a beneficial extra dimension. They're enjoyable if you're into listening to really really big riffs being played really really loudly. I don't think they're going to blow anyone's mind (well, they might do so through pure volume and guitar tone, I guess), but I don't think they're really aiming to rewrite any rulebooks. In fact, I'm pretty sure they've achieved exactly what they wanted to, that being to write songs that involve (as I said just two sentences ago) playing really really big riffs really really loudly. Basically, if you're into that sort of sound (and a lot of people are, myself included) they're a fun band to see.


Cam's Gigs of the Week - November 15th

Thursday 15th:
Warm Guns, The Confessions @ Ric's Bar - Warms Gun have a new CD out, in case you weren't aware.

Friday 16th:
Ohana (NSW), To The North, Let's Not (But Say We Did) @ The Troubadour - Intricate post-hardcore meets intricate folk. Not as uncommon as you might think.
Ghosts of Television, Secret Birds @ Ric's Bar - Bands playing at Ric's.

Saturday 17th:
Seaplane (video shoot), Nova Scotia, Teeming With Wildlife, ReStream @ Lofly Hangar - Gig of the week.
Dick Desert & The Shotgun Country Club, The Re-mains, Bob Weatherall, Sue Ray @ The Troubadour - Country/rock at The Troubadour. Can anyone notice a pattern?
Mass Migration, The Strange Attractors @ Ric's (4pm) - 'Art rock' (apparently), but coming at the term from completely different directions.
Idle Cranes, Wind & Brackets @ Ric's Bar (9pm) - It's, like, psychedelic, man.
The Pints (CD Launch), Sydney City Trash, The Disables, Spent Shells, Bad Moon Company, The Black Market, The Wayne Keys Show, Jack Flash, Insurgents, Ringpull, Seedy Gringo @ Jubilee Hotel - That's one hell of a lot of garage rock.

Sunday 18th:
Agreeable Kids Social Club: BigStrongBrute, Joel Saunders, Monster Monster @ Brisbane City Library (4pm, All Ages) - Thoroughly nice kids, in name and in nature.
Live Spark: The Boat People, The John Steel Singers @ The Powerhouse - pop music on a Sunday afternoon.


Andy Warhol Exhibition

The Queensland Art Gallery isn't usually part of our territory but, with the event of the forthcoming Andy Warhol exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art, they have managed to catch our eye with something a little special.

As part of the opening night celebrations for the exhibition Robert Forster (of the Go-Betweens if you didn't already know) will perform a set featuring the music of the Warhol-associated band, The Velvet Underground. Accompanying him will be fellow Go-Between Adele Pickvance on bass, Dylan McCormack (brother of Dave and member of his band, The Polaroids), Susie Patten of local favourites I Heart Hiroshima on drums, and Karin Baeumler (of Baby You Know, who I've never heard of, please enlighten me if you could). Unfortunately they are only scheduled for a thirty minute set, which is a little bit restricting considering the length of some of The Velvet Underground's music ('Sister Ray' clocks in at 17 and a half minutes!). Nonetheless, this is sure to be an unmissable event.

Tickets go on sale on Monday (19th November) for $25, which gets you into the Andy Warhol exhibition also. For those in the dark about The Velvet Underground I have to say shame on you. But we all have to learn from our mistakes, so here's a live cut to listen to.

The Velvet Underground - Some Kinda Love off 1969: The Velvet Underground Live


Friday, 9 November 2007

Cam's Gigs of the Week - November 9th

Friday 9th:

Teeming With Wildlife, Do The Robot @ Ric's Bar - I hope they're wearing interesting shoes.
Exile: Witch Hats (Vic), Scul Hazzards, Violent Soho, Liars Hate Liars @ Rosie's (Upstairs) - Some loud rock music of the indie persuassion.
Butcher Birds @ QPAC Courtyard - You know, where that restaurant thing is, next to the bus stop. Convenient!

Saturday 10th:
Twangfest: Halfway, Inntown, Texas Kate, Sugartown, Duke Wilde & The Shotgun Hillbillies, Marty Brown, Cori Scanlon, Chris Dale @ The Troubadour - festival.
Schlockfest - Darling Downs (Vic), The John Steel Singers, Mercy Dolls @ The Globe - Brisbane's Best B-Grade Short Film Festival. Apparently.
Glasshouse, Rocketsmiths, Black Market Rhythm Co, The John Steel Singers, Black Mustang @ Keating Park, Indooroopilly - a whole day of fun, starting mid-morning.
Lime Spiders (NSW), Hell City Glamours (NSW), Pineapples From The Dawn Of Time, Devilrock Four, Hits, The Sips @ Step Inn - Seminal?

Sunday 11th:
Space Between Trains, In Sepia, Shakes, Carrs Park, Dan Rogan @ The Alley


Sunday, 4 November 2007

Review: New Jack Rubys - Death To The Weird

The New Jack Rubys' debut LP is a strong, yet eclectic, beginning. The band is named for Lee Harvey Oswald's killer (which makes me curious as to who they believe to be the new Lee Harvey Oswald) and this, along with the album title, Death To The Weird, lays the groundwork for a doom-laden heavy rock affair.

The opening track, the eponymous 'Death To The Weird' is unashamed desert rock, from the slightly corny, slightly ambiguous lyrics ('The banshee screams for buffalo meat') to the surprisingly melodic chorus which is reminiscent of some of Josh Homme's best work.

The title track sets a strong pace for the album, a pace picked up by 'Miss Teen USA'. The spirits of long forgotten punks are somewhat-ironically evoked in a sleaze-ridden 3 minutes. The New Jack Rubys clean up the act for the slower 'Silver Tongue', which drops the faux-punk act to return to the favoured stoner rock genre. While 'Silver Tongue' drops the ball a bit lyrically, the grinding guitar solo towards the end of the track drags it kicking and screaming across the line (not to mention some sweet harmonica action). Simple yet effective.

'Warship Colossus & Me' is next, and here the band takes a stab at imitating Black Sabbath. They do well until the chorus kicks in and things get a lot too Wolfmother-y. The manage to salvage the shipwreck with a grimy brass section and some face melting guitar work.

The appropriately titled 'Speed Queen' puts Death To The Weird back on track. Moving and at a breakneck pace and kicking off with a couplet as irreverent as 'I'm hunting for white goods babe/You wanna get out of my way', 'Speed Queen' sets the stage for a run of the album's three best tracks. The final minute of the song which begins with a key change and ends with a screaming thrall of dirty noise is the aural equivalent of a molotov cocktail being thrown at your face. Its only fitting that the next track is the ominous 'Tesla Coil'. Only a fool would not think of Nick Cave on first hearing this song, but to say that the New Jack Rubys are simply aping Cave on this track would be entirely unwarranted. An organ plucked straight out of hell drives the song along, with cryptic lyrics ('The dead can laugh 'cause they are well fed/At least thats what the dead man said.') making the song even more frightening. The upbeat 'Swallow My Pride' switches things around with its 60's garage rock sound and a chorus that for some reason reminds me of Robbie Williams (no, really, thats not such a bad thing).

'Eight Ball' is a slow starter, but its fuzzy psychedelia (though i'm not sure that I know any gurus or mystics that would recommend actually using a magic eight ball) eventually pulls through and results in a cloudy chorus (we're talking good clouds, like rain clouds after a decade of drought) which would almost be at home in a shoegaze or post-rock bands repertoire. 'Roaming Eye' brings back the reliable heavy rock riffs that the band seems to favour. 'Roaming Eye' showcases the New Jack Rubys penchant for the morbid and bizarre, and it appears to be a anthem to the AWACS plane(thus winning my prize for most unique song topic of the year).

'I Am Big Time' is the closing track, and a track that (I hope) contains four tongues fully in cheek. The lyrics are boiling over with self-importance ('Come on and sign/I am big time.'), but I'd like to think that it is reference to the song itself. 'I Am Big Time' contains a chorus that is musically bigger then Ben Hur/Titanic/Lord Of The Rings. A perfect end to an impressive debut album.

If you'd like a second opinion then check out these live recordings, courtesy of our reliable bootlegger Brendan.

New Jack Rubys - Speed Queen (Live At The Troubadour)

New Jack Rubys - Tesla Coil (Live At The Troubadour)


Saturday, 3 November 2007

BigStrongBrute, All & Sundry @ Ric's (2.11.07)

Due to ordering too much freakin' food at The Alibi Room (something I seem to do EVERY time I go there), I missed the first half of All & Sundry's set. This turned out to be a bit of a shame, as the performance of the 4 songs that I caught was much stronger than the previous time I'd seen the band (at Fat Louie's last month) - and this with the band being one member down, since their violinist was unable to make the show. All & Sundry's sound is a ragged inspired brand of indie-rock that still manages to squeeze in a bit of that post-punk thing (mostly thanks to their guitarist/vocalist's style of playing) - it's kind of like rockier Songs:Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co mixed with The National, with the rhythm section (drums, bass, guitar) laying down a foundation that ranges from that modern 'angular' thing through to something more rustic, while lap-steel guitar and (usually) violin add a rough-hewn quality to the songs. Sometimes it all comes together, with the disparate elements melding into a uniform sound. Other times it can come across as though the music is pulling in two separate directions. This was, however, only their 4th or 5th show, and with the improvement evident between this and the last show I saw I have confidence that they'll be able to reconcile the different elements in their sound to create something more consistent. They already have a not-insignificant number of songs that have been able to achieve just that.

I haven't seen BigStrongBrute in a long time. In fact, I had no idea that the (as far as I was aware) predominantly electronic solo project of one Paul Donoughue (of Tragic Athletic / Rational Academy / Yeow Meow fame) had recently morphed into a full band, complete with guitar, live drums, keys, trumpet and female backing vocals. I've been informed that this is a very recent change, so I don't feel quite so out of the loop. Anyway, I like this new setup a lot more than the previous. As with All & Sundry, BigStrongBrute's sound is country influenced indie rock with a modern twist; in BigStrongBrute's case it's a slight noise-rock bent. To be honest I'm not really too sure what to say about their music. There was a gospel song. There was indie-pop. There was a noise song. There was a country duet. There was all of this mixed into the same song. There was certainly a lot of energy on stage - Donoughue in particular came across as a sort of amalgamation of Johnny Cash, Nick Cave and Tim Harrington, though the band's keyboardist/trumpet player seemed to hold his own off to the side of stage.

So, BigStrongBrute... I arrived not really knowing what to expect from them. I got something I wasn't expecting. I'm still not quite sure what to expect from them next time. I just know that I am fairly keen to see them again.


Thursday, 1 November 2007

Cam's Gigs of the Week - November 1st

Friday 2nd:
Bigstrongbrute, All & Sundry @ Ric's

Saturday 3rd:
The Rocketsmiths, The Gin Club @ Ric's
The Gonzo Show, Mass Migration, Chris Perren, Idle Cranes @ Fat Louies
Tim Steward @ Tongue & Groove

Sunday 4th:
The Narcotics, Idle Cranes @ Ric's (4pm)
Ed Kuepper @ Judith Wright Centre