Monday, 31 March 2008

The Brisbane Sound - Adults Today

Just a tad late on this one I know (it was the 7-9 March), a misplaced camera cord was the reason for the delay. This also means most of the details have floated away from me so this will be a little brief. While I did have tickets for all three performances at the Judith Wright Centre, sickness and work meant that I only managed to attend the Saturday night gig. While I caught the rear end of Robert Forster's solid acoustic performance (aided by Adele Pickvance), the next two bands were the highlights.

The first were Adults Today, a band who only played a few gigs in the mid-nineties but are all recognisable faces. Leading the quartet is former Custard drummer Glenn Thompson with the rest of the band essentially comprising of Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side minus Ben Corbett (Dylan McCormack on lead guitar, Trevor Ludlow on bass, Nick Naughton on drums). The obvious reference point for Adults Today would be Custard, and they competently served up a set of pop-tinged slacker rock on par with Custard's best songs (Thompson, who joined Custard for their third album, wrote the Custard track "Music Is Crap" which Adults Today performed on the night).

The last act were The Apartments, who I'll write a little more about once I can get the video of them uploaded. In the mean time here are some photos of the night, as well as a clip of Adults Today performing a song on the night (I'm not certain of its title sorry).


Sunday, 30 March 2008

Weekly News - 30th March

  • 4ZzZ are looking for volunteers for their programming committee. Have a look at their website for more information.


Friday, 28 March 2008

Cam's Gigs of the Week - March 28th

Sorry to Texas Tea for not writing this up in time for their show last night.

Friday 28th:
Nunchukka Supperfly (NSW), Del Toro, Turnpike, No Anchor @ The Zoo - this promises to be LOUD. And probably AWESOME.
Nikko, The Repetition @ Ric's Bar

Saturday 29th:
Paddington Fair: Screamfeeder, Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade, Texas Tea, Ranger, plus more! @ Neal Macrossan Park - It's a real fair! There are bands from 12pm, plus markets and games and all sorts of stuff. Fun for the entire family! And it's free! The fair starts at 10am and goes until 6pm.
The Rocketsmiths, The Gallant @ Ric's Bar
The Hymies, Violent Soho, Vegas Kings @ The Troubadour

Sunday 30th:
Little Lovers, Beachfield @ The Powerhouse - Free, all ages. Sweet. As IF you'd be anywhere else. 3:30pm.


Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Weekly News - 25th March

Not much happening this week, but seeing as I'm endavouring to keep this somewhat weekly I guess i should write something. So for posterity's sake I'll give you a rundown of local releases to expect in April. As I mentioned in the previous article Yves Klein Blue are launching their debut EP on the 5th. Valve Records are also upping the ante with a trio of releases. Del Toro's Hydra LP, Do The Robot's Amp On Fire LP, and An Horse's Not Really Scared EP will all come out on the local imprint in April. Transport, who've been overseas for the last 12 months, will also release their first album, The Inner Chimp. Wind&Brackets are also planning on dropping their as yet untitled debut EP, and, if you're in the vicinity of Paris, see if you can get hold of Scul Hazzards debut LP, Let Them Sink.

And don't forget to check out The Rational Academy's A Heart Against Your Own, after a couple of listens I'd have to say it's probably my favourite album of 2008 so far.


Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Yves Klein Blue - Polka

Everyones favourite purveyors of "gypsy jazz" seem to be the next Brisbane band to hit the big time (or maybe medium time, I don't know). The band have had a pretty successful week, supporting The Vines in New York, playing at SXSW Festival, and now releasing the video for 'Polka'. The video itself looks good (it reminded me of INXS for some reason), however I'm working on dial-up speed at the moment and i only saw the first 20 seconds. Either way, Yves Klein Blue have just finished recording their debut album 'Draw Attention To Themselves' which is set to be released April 5th.


Review: The Young Liberals - It's The.../Dick Wolf

As promised I'm going to do a run down of The Young Liberals first two releases, It's The... & Dick Wolf. I'm not sure if these could be considered 'proper' releases as the are very lo-fi recordings, but the songs are solid so the point is moot. My details on the band are a little sketchy, the only member I can confirm is Ben Salter (of the Gin Club) and I definitely recognise the other members from different bands. I can tell you that they plan on recording an album for every month of 2008, a commendable effort indeed.

It's The... begins with 'Hayfever', and the songs starts like any good garage song should; with a blistering guitar solo. From there on in it's all catchy hooks, slamming drums and some very melodic vocals which I can't actually make outs. Next up is the brilliant ode to my favourite drummer, 'Oh! Ringo'. Short and too the point, a simple chorus is aided by some excellent couplets ("While John was high, and Paul retired/Well you learnt to play chess."). The Young Liberals keep the Nuggets-style rockers coming with 'Medieval Dress', with romance at a Renaissance Fair providing the perfect foil for Ben Salter's brilliant vocals. A thumping cover of the Small Faces' 'What You Gonna Do About It?' keeps things flowing along, however the next track, 'You Better Have My Money' feels a bit limp after the previous songs. The Young Liberals through a bit of psychedelic rock into the mix with 'Out Of Focus', before following it with a searing cover of MC5's 'American Ruse'. The last two songs, 'The Bucket's In The Sink' and 'Measure Once Cut Twice' are run of the mill garage rock, catchy yet ultimately forgettable.

Dick Wolf is a somewhat more memorable effort. The album kicks off with the explosive 'Hello Nitro!' which combines the garage rock of It's The... with shambolic vocals and a Hendrix-style guitar line buried beneath the distortion. While I couldn't pick up on the lyrical subject of 'Hello Nitro!', second track 'French Literature' is fairly self explanatory. You have to give kudos to a band who can incorporate Rimbaud and Balzac into their lyrics, however the track is a little lacking musically. The next track, 'The Roads Are Paved With Robbie Williams', has no such problems. Combining a bouncing riff and hilarious lyrics about unsold Robbie Williams CD's being used to pave roads in China, this track is the highlight of Dick Wolf. The title track, an ode to the creator of the Law & Order series, might also be funny but the vocals are rather distorted and all I could make out was "Dick Wolf's gonna wolf you down." I leave the judgement on that one up to you. '(He's A) Moshdog' is the only rock song I can recall being entirely dedicated to a dog, and it does it fairly well too. 'Joanna Says' is the runner-up for best song on Dick Wolf. Sounding something akin to what the Velvet Underground would have done if they'd hailed from the North-Western United States, 'Joanna Says' is easily the most diverse sounding song of the Young Liberals, and, given a proper recording, would probably be their best. 'Whippets' and '1 2 F U' continue with the garage rock theme, though the edge close to being filler. The Young Liberals then go on to cover the Velvet Underground's 'What Goes On' competently, but don't really depart from the original in a big way. The closing track, 'We're In A Band' is a satirical, foot-stomping country-rock number about being in a band. The song sounds something like the closing song for a non-existent TV show band like the Monkees, but don't consider that an insult as this track is the perfect end to the CD (and to live sets too).

Both albums are strong efforts given the means and time used to make them, but at the same time the listener will be left wanting more from the production. It's a little harsh to dismiss the records on those terms though, as the Young Liberals have quite a number of gems in the mix here. As I mentioned previously these guys (and girl) put on a great live show, so I suggest seeing them live first before getting the albums (chances are you won't find the CD's anywhere but at their gigs so you won't have much choice!).


Cam's Gigs of the Week - March 19th

Some gigs for the long weekend. I'll be out of town, so I'll miss out on all this sweet action (except tonight, obviously).

Wednesday 19th:
Mass Migration, Fickle Beasts @ Ric's Bar

Thursday 20th:
Quebec (Vic), To The North, Secret Birds, Turnpike @ The Troubadour - Gig o' the week.
Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side @ Ric's Bar
Lullatone (Japan), Dollface @ Judith Wright Centre - actually I'm not 100% sure about this one, I know that Lullatone are playing this show and I know that Dollface are playing with Lullatone on this tour, but I'm not 100% that they're both playing on this particular night (Dollface: get a myspace or something!).

Friday 21st:
Quebec (Vic), To The North, Good God @ The Russian Club

Saturday 22nd:
Violent Soho, Denzel @ Ric's Bar
Twist Oliver Twist, The Sea Shall Not Have Them, Shishkin'n'Choomby, Ichabod's Crane @ Lofly Hangar

Sunday 23rd:
The Art of the State @ Ric's Bar
Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side, The Cairos @ The Powerhouse
- Brizband School Challenge winners get a lesson in rock from veterans.


Monday, 17 March 2008

Weekly News - March 17th

  • The Gin Club have released their latest album, a double LP by the name of Junk. Keep an eye out for a review in the near future.
  • Garage-punk's Feelin' Lucky have released their debut, self-titled LP with local label Swashbuckling Hobo.


Sunday, 16 March 2008

The Rational Academy, Do The Robot (supporting Mum) @ The Zoo (15.3.08)

I had been looking forward to this show for quite a while, and not only because of the headliners (to be honest, I don't own any of Mum's album and really only have a passing familiarity with their music - I just figured that they'd be a fairly safe bet for a quality gig, and I was right). Both Do The Robot and The Rational Academy are among my favourite local bands, so I was keen to see them on The Zoo's stage (with accompanying sound system).

I entered the venue just after Do The Robot started their set. The band has now been officially drummer-less for a while now, sticking with the basic lineup of Matt on guitar & backing vocals and Kathleen on lead vocals, keys and second guitar. However, this evening was the first time I've seen the band use a drum machine (or, more accurately, the drum rhythms that came supplied with their keyboard). The drum machine gives their music an interesting spin - back when they had a live drummer they had the vitality and energy of a rock band (albeit a repetitive, dreamy rock band), while when they were just playing as a percussion-less two-piece there was a stripped back, almost folky vibe to them. With the new mechanical beats their sound falls somewhere in between those two points, and yet also ends up somewhere entirely different. They seem even dreamier, more aloof, more austere, more ethereal than they used to. They're kind of the aural equivalent of an ice sculpture - beautiful, cold and fragile. A repetitive ice sculpture, at that. Indeed, I can imagine that a lot of people will find Do The Robot kind of boring, as enjoyment of their music largely comes down to whether you can get yourself into the somewhat trance-like stated required to appreciate the repetition inherent in their music, as most of their songs consist of a verse and maybe a chorus repeated ad infinitum.

I haven't managed to see The Rational Academy in a while (they haven't really been playing much, as far as I've been aware), so I was hoping the band would put on a quality show. This they did, and more (and all without their bassist... then again, they've had more than enough practice at playing sans bass). In fact, I would say that it was one of the very best shows I've seen them play - a pretty impressive feat when you take into account they took the entire set from their forthcoming album 'a heart against your own' (with the exception of the closer, 'Turin') and eschewed their relative hits such as 'Beach Party', 'Pop Repeats' etc. Considering most of the songs on the new record are still comparatively new, if I wasn't already sold on the album then this show would have sealed the deal (luckily I was pretty in love with the album anyway - review coming soon!). They pulled off every song perfectly - of special note was their performance of 'Squid & Whale', which came across as much more cohesive than it does on record, and the aforementioned 'Turin', which was transformed from a pristine electronic number into a visceral guitar epic.

I should also mention that this was my first time seeing the band with new recruit Ollie Makay on drums. I'm generally pretty picky when it comes to drummers, especially new drummers in my favourite bands, so I'm happy to report that Ollie fits in with the band perfectly. His playing has just the right mix of simplicity and complexity, and he gives the songs the degree of heft mandated by the huge twin-guitar attack. He also jumps out from behind the kit to add some extra guitar-noise when Ben and Meredith head off on their between-song feedback sessions (because we all know that what The Rational Academy needs is more guitars).

Oh, and I just wanted to make mention of the fact that for once The Rational Academy didn't have any technical difficulties, except for one little hiccup with the drum stool (which the sound guy hilariously tried to fix with gaffa tape).


Thursday, 13 March 2008

The Paddington Fair

I forgot to mention this in the news post so this gets special billing. The Paddington Fair is an event aimed at celebrating one of Brisbane's most tight-knit communities (I'm sure non-Paddo residents are welcome though). Screamfeeder and Texas Tea are obvious attractions, but I also recommend catching Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade if you can. Apparently Ranger (which includes members of the Go-Betweens and Regurgitator) are another band not to miss so it should be a great day of entertainment. Check out their website for more information (when they update the website that is).


Saturday, 8 March 2008

Weekly News - 8th March

  • The Grates will shortly be heading to Connecticut to record their sophomore LP. The chosen producer is one Peter Katis, a man responsible for recording The National's last two albums, Interpol's first two albums, forthcoming albums from Mates Of State and Tokyo Police Club, as well as mixing on The Grates' debut.
  • Wind&Brackets have won the Queensland leg of the Garage 2 V competition, beating out other locals the John Steel Singers, Grand Atlantic & Mikowai.
  • Those disappointed buy the imminent end of Milton's The Alley Bar won't have to look too far for a replacement. The Russian Club is a new all ages venue being run out of Woolloongabba. Keep an eye out for shows there (there's one on tonight actually).
  • It looks like the venerable 610 may be back in action. The Ann St venue is now being run by the 4C Arts Collective under the name the Valley Studios. I have no idea whether they will hold regular shows, or if it will be all ages still, but I have my fingers crossed.


Thursday, 6 March 2008

Cam's Gigs of the Week - March 6th

Thursday 6th:
Garage To V: I Heart Hiroshima, The John Steel Singers, Wind&Brackets, Grand Atlantic, Mikowai, @ The Troubadour - support your favourite Brisbane band in their quest to play at the V Festival... assuming that band is one of these.
Candy Falls, Idle Cranes @ Ric's Bar

Friday 7th:
Andy Warhol Up Late: Ed Kuepper @ Gallery Of Modern Art
The Horrortones @ The Troubadour - another performance from the local supergroup.
Where's Jerome, Twist Oliver Twist @ Ric's Bar
Connect Fo(u)r Art: Black Mustang, The Black Arts, Villains of Wilhelm, My Fiction @ Valley Studios
The Brisbane Sound: Small World Experiences, The Deadnotes, Peter Charles MacPherson, Ian Wadley, Gary Warmer @ The Institute of Modern Art - A celebration of this city's cultural past.

Saturday 8th:
Secret Birds, No Anchor @ Ric's Bar - sludgey doom rock.
The Understudy (NSW), Ambitious Lovers, Let's Not (But Say We Did) @ Club Russian - it's going to be hard for me to decide between this show and the one above.
The Brisbane Sound: The Apartments, Adults Today, Robert Forster & Adele Pickvance, Trevor J Ludlow and The Hellraisers @ The Institute of Modern Art - of course, any sane person should be attending this.

Sunday 9th:
Live Spark: An Horse, Feathers @ The Powerhouse - The street press says it's Iron On, but TOMB says otherwise.
The Brisbane Sound: Ed Kuepper @ The Institute of Modern Art - What better way to end such an exhibition?


Tuesday, 4 March 2008

SixFtHick @ Brisbane Sounds (02.02.08)

It's a little late for a review, so here's some footage of SixFtHick instead.

I also took some pictures of the rest of the night which are available here.


Saturday, 1 March 2008

Favourite Brisbane Bands - Gav's Top 5

I'm a sucker for a list so here's my side of this rundown. A quick disclaimer before we start however, this list is a) lacking bands which are older (Go-Betweens, Saints, etc.), b) lacking bands which most people already now about (The Grates are the only casualty here), c) lacking bands who have recently moved (Scul Hazzards), or disbanded (Night Crash, Shakes) and d) lacking bands which Cam has already listed. On top of all this I am an extremely fickle person and this list will most likely have no meaning to me come tomorrow, but for now it is today so here goes.

I Heart Hiroshima

This was the easiest pick of the lot. I Heart Hiroshima are a band who I'm proud to say come from Brisbane. From the quirky name and off beat lyrics, to the slamming drums and repetitive riffs, Matt, Cam and Susie have been the soundtrack to the last two years of my life. While many are quick to whack the generic indie band label on the trio, I am of the opinion that I Heart Hiroshima are quite possibly the most unique sounding band in Australia. I constantly find myself trying to play spot the influence while listening to IHH, and yet I fail miserably each time. Instead I usually end up dropping the music geek shtick and losing myself in the sea of catchy yet discordant music they produce.

And while each one of IHH's releases has been a highlight for me, it is on stage that the band really shines. The constant energy the band puts into their music, not to mention the sheer joy that constantly emanates from Susie when she's behind the kit, propels the band from good to great in the live setting. I've now seen the band perform close to 20 times and I can still vividly remember each one (though I have to admit, the Skinny's in-store where a drunken hobo attacked a bunch of teenagers stands out). While the band may have to refine their style to make it internationally, half of me hopes that they don't so they stay in Brisbane.

Violent Soho:

Oscar Wilde once said 'Talent borrows, genius steals.' If this is true then Violent Soho may just be the next Beatles.

Okay so Violent Soho may not be geniuses, but the four boys from Mansfield have taken the almost deceased sound of grunge and beaten it into submission. Having missed grunge the first time around, I feel like I can somehow vicariously live that life via Violent Soho. And why not when they channel the sound of bands such as Mudhoney and Green River so perfectly? Indeed one of the corner pieces of recent sets has been their searing cover of Melbourne band GOD's 1989 song 'My Pal'. While their debut EP was catchy as hell, it had a feel of youthful ignorance to it that stopped it from being the great release it could have been. Recent tracks may signal an improvement however, with 'Son Of Sam' and 'Jesus Stole My Girlfriend' both showing signs of the band finding its on niche within grunge.

Del Toro:

When ever Del Toro comes up in conversation it seems unavoidable that words such as 'cinematic', 'western', and 'desert' will be used. And while their is a huge Morricone vibe running through most of their songs, Del Toro turn it into The Good, The Bad, And The Acid Casualty. Indeed if they were to score a film it would be a western, but one set in space or a post-apocalyptic setting (a la Firefly).

The trio have just finished recording their debut album with Casey Rice (Dirty Three, Tortoise, Veruca Salt) which should be released sometime in the near future.

The John Steel Singers:

JSS are probably the band most likely to succeed in Brisbane at the moment. Anyone who has seen them live or heard their debut EP will testify this. The six lads take every current musical trend and throw them out the window in favour of a classic 60's pop sound drawing straight from The Beatles and The Beach Boys. That said they never fall into the trap of being derivative, rather they keep things fresh via unique melodies, quirky lyrics, and the ability to take a song in the opposite direction from what you're expecting, even if you've just listened to the it a dozen times. They've also just finished recording an new EP, so keep an eye for that one.

Young Liberals:

The Young Liberals are the dark horse of this list. Indeed they've only played live once (their second gig is tonight), yet they have already recorded two albums. The reasoning behind this is a goal to record an album for each month of 2008, and so far so good. The band combines the sound of 60's garage rock with lyrics reminiscent of David McCormack (E.g. A song about Robbie William's CD's being used to pave roads in China). The result is some of the most entertaining music I've heard in recent times. I won't go into much more as I'll be posting a review of the albums soon, but if you get the opportunity to see the Young Liberals play I couldn't recommend it more.