Friday, 22 August 2008

Gigs of the Week - August 22nd

Friday 22nd:
ii (Vic), Blank Realm, Yeow Meow, Lawrence English / Leighton Craig / Eugene Carchesio @ Tongue & Groove
The Boat People (Album Launch), The Rocketsmiths, Skinny Jean, Dash & Will @ The Zoo
Hungry Kids of Hungary, Little Scout, Buick Six @ The Valley Studios
Mr Rascal, Mojo Webb, Doug Wilshire & The Tailspinners @ The Globe

Saturday 23rd:
Tragic/Athletic (EP Launch... Mk II?), Stature::Statue @ Ric's Bar
DZ, The Shrewms @ Ric's Bar Cheeseboard (4pm)
The John Steel Singers, The Gallant, Yeo & The Fresh Goods @ QPAC Cascade Court
Hungry Kids of Hungary, The Grove, Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade @ Tongue & Groove

Sunday 24th:
Live Spark: Ben Stewart (Album Launch), Mt Augustus @ The Powerhouse (3pm)


Monday, 18 August 2008

Stranded Launch Wrap-Up

We launched our Brisbane Music compilation 'Stranded' at The Zoo on Friday night. The evening was a great success, all of the bands played fantastic sets (I believe I actually used the phrase 'everyone brough their A-game' on the night, which I'm pretty sure I nabbed from a Dark Knight review). Brendan aka Ex-King-John recorded the majority of the night (with the exception of Monster Monster and the very start of The Rational Academy's set), so head over to his blog to download the mp3s and read his thoughts on the evening.

For those who couldn't attend but still want a copy of the compilation, there's a 'Buy Now' link on the right-hand side of the blog. That'll take you to a page where you can either pay by via your Paypal account (if you have one) or Credit Card (if you don't). We will then send your CD out in the mail. The CD is $20 from now on (though if you're in one of the contributing bands then send us an email and we'll get one to you at the launch price). It should also be in stores such as Rockinghorse pretty soon.

Again, thanks to everyone who helped with the CD, whether they be the bands who contributed, the people who helped with art and photography, 4zzz and the street press for the promo, The Zoo for giving us the night, and of course everyone who come to the launch and bought a copy. Also, special thanks to Ash, Dan, Nathan, Ben and Amy (I think that's everyone?) for helping us with madly putting the discs together backstage on the night.


Thursday, 14 August 2008

No Anchor, Lawrence English, Innig, Secret Birds @ The Hangar (08.08.08)

This is the sort of night that The Hangar is made for. Four local acts with a central core aesthetic but that each have their own unique sound. Two of the bands were launching new albums - in one corner there was Lawrence English, the old stalwart and Brisbane's ordained king of all things glitchy and synthetic, while in the other corner were the new kids on the block (at least in terms of their current project, though in truth both members of the band have been a part Brisbane's music community for many years) in No Anchor.

Secret Birds started the night with gradually increasing volume. I've already written about this band a few times recently, so I'll keep this brief. The group on this occasion consisted of the seemingly regular guitarist and bassist, two drummers (this time being Susie of I Heart Hiroshima and Ross of The John Steel Singers) and a dude on keys and electronic noises (Tom Hall I believe, though I may be incorrect on that). Friday's set seemed to lean more on the band's recent fixation on classic rock noodling, instead of the more sludgy and 'experimental' sound that they showcased earlier on. Nonetheless, it was still a long way from Wilco, with plenty of repetition and noise which resulted in some slight prodding of the rock'n'roll envelope.

Innig followed, and it was my first time seeing them (indeed I'd never heard of them until they were announced on the lineup). After being warned off them with the remark 'they sound like what people who don't know what experimental music sounds like think experimental music sounds like', I decided to check them out regardless. And I didn't hate them. Far from it, in fact. While I didn't love them either, but they did their ambient soundscapes pretty well and provided an interesting atmosphere. They reminded me of the bits of Set Fire To Flames records where there are no strings, all scrapes and drones and quietly minimalist percussion.

Lawrence English was up next to launch his Kiri No Oto album (Kiri No Oto translates to 'Sound of Fog' in Japanese, a pretty apt moniker). Huddled over his machines to the side of the room, he started so subtly that I didn't even realise he'd started until 30 seconds into his set. Gradually the PA filled with layers of tones and drones and textures. The volume was wonderfully high, but the nature of the sounds English was producing was far more soothing than piercing. The end result was incredibly calming, and one look at people's faces around the room was enough to raise a smile; people staring blankly into space, people leaning back with their eyes closed, people with their heads resting in their hands. All totally still. All in a trance. I can't imagine that anyone would have attempted to have a conversation at that point in time, but it would have been a fruitless exercise if they had, so loud was the music coming from the speakers.

Towards the end of the set another sound entered the pallet that English had created - a cymbal wash. Turning to the main stage, one saw Alex Gillies of No Anchor adding extra texture to English's compositions. As Gillies began to increase the volume of his cymbals and added some tom rolls to the mix, Ian Rogers joined in on bass, strumming out a single chord with increasing vigour. As the band gradually began to overtake the electronic artist in volume, all noise suddenly stopped for a second or two before No Anchor launched into the extreme air-pushing power of 'The Seam', the closing track from their debut album 'Fire, Flood And Acid Mud'. It's about the most intense song you'll hear from ANY band this year, and here it was, blasting out from a couple of speakers and a drum-kit in a DIY venue in Red Hill. The rest of the set continued in kind, whether the band was playing breakneck punk songs ('A Complicated Web Of What-The-Fuck-Ever'), extended stoner-rock jams (the new song which I can't remember the title of) or the show-stopping 13 minute closer, 'Drone Me Out'. It wasn't a perfect performance - there were various times where the band stumbled for a moment or two before correcting themselves, and Rogers' Adam-King-esque mic technique meant that his vocals fluctuated wildly in the mix - but the band gave so much energy that it didn't really matter. They had the kind of intensity that only Turnpike, The Night Crash and To The North (and maybe Stature:Statue) have regularly displayed in recent years, which is no mean feat considering how lethargic their music can get at times. And it all ended with a touch of humour - Rogers looped the final riff of the 'Drone Me Out', while Gillies pushed over an item of his kit with each iteration of the riff. When one solitary cymbal remained, he picked it up and walked through the crowd and out of the room, playing it the whole time. Rogers remained for a few seconds before picking up his amp and attempting to follow... until the still-plugged-in power chord rudely stopped him in his tracks.

Full Disclosure: I recorded No Anchor's album. I did it after offering my services after seeing them play for the first time. I thought they were amazing then, I think they're even more amazing now. I don't think my recording their album affected my opinion of them in that regard, other than the fact that I have a pretty all-encompassing knowledge of the songs on their record.


Gigs of the Week - August 14th

Ok, it's the weekend of the big gig.

Thursday 14th:
Adelle, Art Vandelay, Ryu Vs Ken @ The Zoo

Friday 15th:
Stranded Compilation Launch: The Rational Academy, Tragic/Athletic, Nova Scotia, Ambitious Lovers, Monster Monster @ The Zoo - It's the launch of our triple-CD Brisbane Band compilation. Entry is $8, CDs will be $15.
Robert Forster @ The Powerhouse - I suppose that this is an acceptable reason to miss the Stranded launch (although this starts pretty early so you could well do both).
Blackmilk (WA), Granite Lakes, Idle Cranes @ The Troubadour

Saturday 16th:
Little Scout (EP Launch), Idle Cranes, Fun At Sea @ Rosie's Upstairs
The Lifted Brow Magazine launch: Joel Saunders & Crazy Hearse, Blue Carousel, The Estates, Monster Monster @ The Troubadour
Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade, Blackmilk (WA), The Fricken Hecks @ The Valley Studios
SixFtHick @ Ric's Bar
Calvara, Tim Loydell @ Rics's Bar Cheeseboard (4pm)

There's also the Sideshow Valley thing at The Jubilee on Saturday.


Friday, 8 August 2008

Cam's Gigs of the Week - August 8th

Woah, it's the 8th of the 8th of the 8th. That almost never happens!

Also, it's the Ekka holiday next Wednesday so there are a few shows the preceding night.

Friday 8th:
No Anchor (Album Launch), Lawrence English (Album Launch), Secret Birds, Innig @ The Hangar (151 Musgrave Rd, Red Hill) - GotW.
Kill Devil Hills (WA), Halfway, At Sea @ The Troubadour
8 Ball Aitken (Album Launch), The Reversals, The Long Green Beans, Jackie Marshall & The Black Alles Band @ The Globe

Saturday 9th:
Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side, Houlette (Vic) @ Ric's Bar
Bonefinger Masked Ball: Grand Atlantic, Idle Cranes, Skinny Jean, Drawn From Bees, The Surgeons @ The Zoo
Dirty From Dusk: The Fumes (NSW), Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade, Black Mustang, The Hits, At Sea, Numbers Radio, The Blackwater Fever, The Fuss @ Step Inn
My Fiction (EP Launch), Captains (NSW), Art of the State, Impossible Odds @ Valley Studios

Sunday 10th:
Houlette (Vic), Table & Chair, To The North, Dan Van Zutphen, McKisko, Mapletons @ The Old Musem (3 - 8pm) - there have been a few changes to this lineup so I'm not totally sure who's playing as of right now. It's a cool venue and there are some cool bands though, so head along.
Live Spark: The Bell Divers (Album Launch), Carry Nation @ The Powerhouse (3pm)

Tuesday 12th:
Twist Oliver, Twist (EP Launch), Hunz, Blue Carousel, The Repetition @ The Zoo
Wind & Brackets, Deux Garcon @ Ric's Bar
Q Song Awards: The Gin Club, 8 Ball Aitken, The John Steel Singers, Asa Broomhall @ The Tivoli
Pineapples From The Dawn Of Time, Last Night's Tea @ The Pineapple Hotel


Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Anonymeye, Ur @ Ric's Bar (23.7.08)

It's been two weeks since this show actually occurred, so I thought that I should write about it today or not at all.

Ur are an instrumental space-rock trio (comprised of three Rockinghorse staffers) that have been playing around Brisbane for a few months now. Usually they're loud and electrified, fusing almost 'classic rock' guitar with synths and repetitive (though non-standard) rhythms. For this particular show, however, they took a leaf from the headliner's book and played largely acoustic. The result of this was that their usual sound took a turn towards the middle-eastern; Exotic scales and droning riffs were the order of the evening, with clattering percussion underscoring it all. It sounded like some sort of sci-fi inflected ancient Egyptian music, or in other words, the perfect alternate score for the movie 'The Fifth Element'. I had only seen Ur once before (the previous time they played Ric's, supporting Del Toro), and I must say that I much preferred this version of the band; it sounded much more unique, and somehow more cohesive. I did find myself zoning out a little bit towards the end of the show, but that might have been more to do with lack of sleep on my behalf. I can imagine that such an experience would have been quite pleasurable when laying in the comfortable couches of somewhere like The Hangar.

Ur don't have a myspace or anything like that, but you can listen to their previous Ric's show via the awesome Brisbane bootleg blog at Turn It Up To 10.

Anonymeye (aka Andrew Tuttle) could technically be labelled as a Melbourne artist these days, but since he spent his formative years and started this project in Brisbane (as well as playing and organising many events here, such as last week's Decline Of Modern Civilisation show at the Tongue & Groove), I figure that we can stretch our metaphorical pages to talk about him [update: apparently he moved back to Brisbane a few months ago]. Tuttle mixes intricate bluegrass fingerpicking with sound manipulations to create a fairly unique atmosphere, since when the two are combined it creates a strange balance between comfortable familiarity and otherworldiness. This evening's set started with more acoustic melodies than electronic drones, easing everyone into Anonymeye's world. After a few minutes of this the electronic elements began to creep in, but they were still in the relative background and served more as a bed of noise on which the guitar lines sat. Gradually the drones took on a more upfront role, with Tuttle alternating between a few bars of picked guitar and a few bars of sound manipulation. I got the feeling that he was having a few technical difficulties, as the electronic elements of his sound weren't coming through clearly and at times the two disparate elements were not gelling - it almost seemed like two parallel sets that were competing for the audience's attention. At other times it all managed to fall into place, but these moments tended to make the more awkward parts even more frustrating. Ric's is also often not the best location for a show like this - as great as it is for a sweaty rock show, the chatter from the mall (and in the room itself) tends to distract when there's more subtle music coming from the stage.


Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The Smokestack Orchestra, New Jack Rubys, Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade @ The Troubadour (02.08.08)

Last night saw an explosion of psychedelic blues rock with three of Brisbane's loudest bands doing their thing in the small confines of The Troubadour.

First up was Little Vegas & The Fuzz Parade, a band who seem to develop exponentially each time they play. Their combination of sixties-style blues rock (especially Big Brother & The Holding Company) and the sound of the desert rock bands of mid nineties. The most obvious standout of this five piece is vocalist Sabrina Lawrie, whose vocals are some of the most intense I've heard from any singer. Unfortunately, during this set, her vocals were too low in the mix and didn't cut through the music like they usually do. On the bright side, this technical fault meant that the rest of the band were able to showcase their increasing musical skill. Guitarist's Will O'Brien and Byron Dean had some excellent riffs and winding solos in their repertoire, while the rhythm section of Pete O'Brien on bass and Jordan Miller on drums had the punters go-go dancing around the Troubadour. 'Gifthorse' and 'Only Say It Once' were set highlights with their soaring vocals and breakneck rhythms, but the newer tracks Little Vegas were also a sign of how quickly this band can potentially grow.

The ever entertaining New Jack Ruby's were next. Their Cream-via-Mudhoney noise has a way of turning the listener comatose for 3 and a half minute, with the inability to focus on anything but the music. Older songs like 'Warship Colossus and Me' and 'Silver Tongue' were pulled off excellently, while new songs like 'Big! Sexy! Party!' show that the New Jack's aren't going to be taking their collective foot off the accelerator anytime soon. Closing song 'Tesla Coil' proved to be the highlight of the night however. Sounding like The Drones fronted by Nick Cave, drummer Doug's doom-laden monologue and apocalyptic vocals perfectly complement the screaming guitars and organ.

Headliners The Smokestack Orchestra are a band I hadn't previously had the chance to see previously. While song's like 'Girl' and 'The Wreck', as well as a cover of Dr. Dre and Tupac's 'California Love' (Or possibly Ronnie Hudson's 'West Coast Poplock' seeing as they only sung the lines sampled from that song') pleased the crowd, I personally was a little underwhelmed. Smokestack Orchestra's clean-cut blues-rock came off a little tame after Little Vegas' and New Jack Ruby's psych-freak outs. The band were undoubtedly tight, however, with Tal Wallace doing his best Joe Cocker impersonation vocally, Dean Hunt channeling the style of late 60's Jimmy Page, and Skritch (of Mary Trembles) banging away joyfully at the skins (he didn't stop grinning once!). Thus my opinion is torn on this band. While I constantly hoped for them to get a little messier as I heard the faint undertones of Hüsker Dü and Big Star, maybe on a different night I would have enjoyed the clean ring of their Led Zeppelin-style blues riffs. Smokestack Orchestra are definitely one for my "seek a second opinion"-pile.