PHOTOS: Kimbra @ The HiFi Bar Melbourne – 22-10-201424.11.14
FEATURE: Augie March17.11.14
By Alana Mazurke
It’s becoming as adamant as ever that there’s this looming feeling that Australia is losing more and more of its much loved branded bands; the one’s that give you that nostalgic feeling from their profound singles and memorable live shows. Fortunately it seems we’ve been able to attain one of those bands with the return of Melbournian five piece Augie March. Drummer David Williams answered a few of my questions in regard to the new album, tour and comeback.
“The band’s inner curmudgeon/misanthrope is off the leash a little more these days. We are 16 years weirder.”
Since the release of first album Sunset Studies in 2000 the band have released three more studio albums including the infamous Moo, You Bloody Choir. After 2008’s Watch Me Disappear the band went on a hiatus. “Glenn who was looking to make a record with his brother and some mates initiated it, which coincided with us needing a break from one another and the circus.” During the five years apart the band spent a lot of their time continuing to make music and take refuge in the break. “All members collaborated with other musicians, recording and touring throughout time away from Augie March.”
“If we listened to people’s opinions when we first started we would have chucked it in. No reason to start that practice now.”
This year saw the release of the band’s fifth studio album as well as the announcement of a return to national touring, seeing the band sell out numerous shows around the country. The bands hometown of Melbourne saw them sell out five shows alone. Despite the bands solidarity of fans there were no preconceptions of what the announcement of their return would hold. “I leave trying to predict things to the bureau of meteorology and reading peoples’ minds to Criss Angel.”
2014’s Havens Dumb is an exceptional album easing the band straight back into Australians line of sight. Its fluidity start to finish makes you want to leave the album on repeat; in its entirety Havens Dumb solidifies the bands musical abilities, Glenn’s unquestionable knack for lyricism and enforces this want to see it performed live. “We have never been good at doing singles but plenty refined at putting together a record with a narrative running throughout. Have not worked out the ‘how to make the thing shorter’ though.” The album was produced by long term friend and notable production engineer Paul McKercher. “Paul is a colleague who is well credentialed, well read and a spring of wisdom.”
Listen to the album here.
Listen to first single “After The Crack Up” fromt he new album below:
PHOTOS: I’lls – Workers Club – 06-11-201413.11.14
PHOTOS: Holy Holy – Northcote Social Club – 08-11-201412.11.14
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PHOTOS: BRITISH INDIA @ THE CORNER – 25-10-201429.10.14
Melbourne Zoo Twilights Series 201529.10.14
By Alana Mazurke
Returning again for another year of splendour in the heart of the Melbourne Zoo, the Twilight Series kick off last week of January and proceed through to early March making it all the more easier not to miss. The shows this year are even more diverse spanning from Australian hometown royalty with Bernard Fanning and Paul Kelly to the delightfully surprising return of the renowned Village People. Whether you have a pre-picnic dinner on the lawns, watching the sun slowly go down whilst Conor Oberst performs his lyrically outstanding and emotionally driven folk tunes or grab a beer and walk around the zoo before coming back to the stage to sing along to “that Black Betty song” as Spiderbait play it live or dance like no one’s watching (although we are) to The Cat Empire, Melbourne Zoo Twilights 2015 offers up more than just another live event. Full program details are listed below as well as links to all ticketing details. There’s also some links to pictures and interviews from last years series to give you some idea of what you could be experiencing.
Friday//January//30th James Reyne Plays Australian Crawl
Doors open 5.30pm With special guest Jack Carty
Saturday//January//31st Bernard Fanning
Doors open 5.30pm With special guests Little May
Friday//February//6th Sarah Blasko
Doors open 5.30pm With special guest Luluc
Saturday//February//7th Paul Kelly presents the Merri Soul Sessions
featuringClairy Browne, KiraPuru, &Vika and Linda Bull
Doors open 5.30pm With special guests Hiatus Kaiyote
Friday//February//13th Dan Sultan
Doors open 5.30pm With special guest Benny Walker
Saturday//February//14th Boys In The Band
Doors open 5.30pm
Friday//February//20th The Budos Band and The Bombay Royale
Doors open 5.30pm
Doors open 5.30pm With special guest Jen Cloher
Friday//February//27th Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks
Doors open 5.30pm With special guests Twerps
Saturday//February//28th Conor Oberst
Doors open 5.30pm With special guests The Felice Brothers
Friday//March//6th Village People
Doors open 5.30pm With special guest DJ Andee Frost
Saturday//March//7th The Cat Empire
Doors open 5.30pm With special guests Dorsal Fins
Info: 1300 966 784
Q&A: The Smith Street Band28.10.14
By Alana Mazurke
I first noticed The Smith Street Band when I moved to Melbourne because Smith Street was the only street I had really ventured to and found the name quite humbling. Turns out it was more ironic than first thought, the title deriving from a usage my fellow old mate route 86. They’re known for their ridiculous on stage energy and off stage antics, solidifying their name as time goes on as an iconic Melbourne band. I managed to get some answers from Chris Cowburn whilst in the midst of the lengthy drive from France to Germany; the band is currently on their massive European leg of their tour and has some interesting comparisons.
You’ve already sold out 4 shows for your upcoming Throw Me in the River Tour; do you ever anticipate selling out gigs, especially in Melbourne?
Yeah it’s crazy and we’re really excited for the tour. Usually before we announce any tour I think that nobody is going to come and do everything I can to make sure anyone and everyone knows about it, haha. Even when you’ve been at it for a few years and you realise that people like your band and probably will come to the show, I think having any expectation of selling out a show is the wrong way to think about it. The exciting part about going on tour is continuing to push forward, meeting new people, playing with different bands (both locally and internationally) and keeping things fresh so that people will want to keep coming to hang out and make shows fun!
How do you think the Melbourne music scene compares to other Australian cities?
I’m completely biased, but Melbourne has the best scene in Australia in my opinion. There are so many different little pockets of great communities within it, and so many great venues that you can go out pretty much any night and see a great show. That’s not to say that there’s not great stuff going on everywhere in Australia though, we have some incredibly awesome friends/bands everywhere in Australia. I reckon the Australian music scene in general, and particularly the punk community is pretty strong right now!
Your attitude to playing music seems pretty easy going yet you’ve already got two albums soon to be three under your belt and a newly released EP. What’s the band’s writing process when making new music?
Yeah Wil’s a very prolific song writer and is constantly writing. He uses it as a diary or a form of therapy I guess. Wil will usually write all the lyrics and basic structure and send around acoustic demos he’s recorded on his phone. We’re usually always messing around with new stuff between touring, and having so many demos to work on makes things a lot easier.
The film clip for ‘Surrender’ is ridiculously good; how did the band team up with Callum Preston the creator of the masterpiece?
Thank you! Callum’s been a friend for the last few years and has done a few bits a pieces for us. I’ve always been a bit of a design/art nerd and followed him and the Everfresh crew for a long time, so I’ve really wanted to have his creative genius help us out properly for a while now. It was actually myself and Andy Johnson (the amazing man responsible for the vast majority of our photography, and the Throw Me in the River cover photo) who did most of the planning and lead-up work for the clip, but when Callum heard the idea he was totally into it and keen to help out, and some of his ideas and his help with direction on the day was totally invaluable. Both he and Andy are such positive and creative guys and we’re so lucky they’re keen to help us out. Very much looking forward to doing more stuff with both of them in future!
You’re either currently overseas or had just played a string of shows overseas (I’m not sure when exactly you’ll get this) – where are you now and what’s the weirdest thing that’s happened to you overseas?
At this very second I’m sitting in a van on the 9 hour drive between Tours, France and Freiburg, Germany. We’ve had some truly great experiences on this trip so far, the majority of the shows were with the Menzingers and the Holy Mess, both from Philadelphia, and both bands of entirely awesome people – so that was a blast. There’s plenty of weird stuff that happens overseas and if you come at it from the right perspective, it’s usually all good weird! We’ve been in France doing our own shows the last few days. A couple of days ago we literally just played a show on a guy’s farm in a tiny country town and everyone we talked to had either a) never heard of it, or b) never heard of a band playing there. But it’s those situations that you see the real beauty in people… This guy Hervé and his wife opened up their home to us and treated us so well. We played a show to almost no one, but then we ate like Kings, drank red wine and French moonshine and tried to explain Australian slang through a language barrier! I think the best weird experiences I’ve ever had were in China, once a bunch of uni students swamped our van like paparazzi and told us we were “famous like Green Day”… Haha!
How does touring overseas compare to touring in Australia? What are the most notable differences?
All in all they stack up fairly similarly in the end I think. It takes a little while to get the hang of touring somewhere new, but that was the same as early Australian tours, and that’s exciting. No matter where you are, there are people who are excited about seeing live bands and hanging out and having a beer. Places like Europe and the US tend to be a little bit easier travel-wise because there’s so many options for cities you can play in, and promoters in Europe particularly are really great and always provide great (and free) food and accommodation. Each place we go tends to have its positives and negatives, but it’s kinda always a positive at the end of the day because were travelling the world playing music.
If people hadn’t heard of the Smith Street Band, how would you summarize your music to them?
Ahhh I always struggle to answer this question… Even after 5 years! I guess these days it’s folk, singer songwriter type stuff, but with a more sonic and dynamic thing going on. Wil also sounds very Australian and sings exactly how he talks. I always laugh when I read a review or hear someone say that he sounds too British or American or that he’s putting the accent on too thick. He sounds like him and it’s awesome.
‘Throw Me in the River’ is set to be released soon; where did you first meet Jeff Rosenstock and how did you know he would be the one to produce the album?
Jeff’s the best – we first met in early 2012 when we toured with him doing Bomb the Music Industry solo around Australia! Since then we’ve been lucky enough to tour, play shows and hang out a bunch in both Australia and the US. We’re all very passionate about the band and usually every decision we make has to be carefully navigated because we all have differing views. Asking Jeff to produce was the opposite of that. Not sure who first had the idea, but instantly all of us were on board and knew it was what we wanted to do. We’ve never had a “producer” before, so it just needed to be someone positive who we knew we’d get along with and who’s opinion we trusted. Jeff was all those things and is an incredible thinker with an amazing sense of melody to boot. I reckon it made the process a whole lot more production (duh!) and less stressful for us, having the fresh opinion of someone who wasn’t so emotionally attached to the songs ruled.
How do you decide the band is ready to make another full length rather than opting for another EP? Alternatively, why release ‘Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams’ rather than waiting to release it as a long play?
That’s all just a case of timing. As I said earlier, Wil is always writing and there are always new songs about, but it ebbs and flows in terms of when we have the chance to jam them around touring and whatever else is going on. We generally push ourselves to schedule recording time though – it keeps us on our toes and keeps things productive. There’s also the thematic aspect of it. “Dreams” was a conscious decision to do an EP because the songs were all written in the same time period and roughly based around one event – we wanted it to be raw and immediate, so we recorded it live over a few days and released it as soon as we could.
PHOTOS: Public Opinion Afro Orchestra @ The Howler – 27-09-201429.09.14
PHOTOS: REMI @ The Howler 27-09-2014 w/ POAO29.09.14
FEATURE: Steve Smyth25.09.14
By Alana Mazurke
Last week Steve Smyth released his new album Exits to acclaimed reception from critics. The debut features already released singles ‘Shake It’ and ‘Written or Spoken’ as well as nine brand new tracks all recorded live in Echo Park, LA.
“A lot of the tunes are all very diverse in their stories but it’s the underlying tales that try to bring them all together.”
Listening to the album you get a great sense of consideration to the arrangement of each song; there’s present day notoriety in listening to an album start to finish as it’s rarely done and yet Exits beckons listeners to do just that. “Trying to achieve that…the industry is very fast and very single orientated and that was the last thing that was on my mind making this record. I really tried delving as deep as I could into the two elements – on one hand there’s this raw and gritty, quite bluesy side of things and then click to the next tune and its straight into something tender and careful and more fragile.”
2012 saw the release of Smyth’s’ debut album Release which he states was an extremely humbling time for him as a musician. Two years on and his modesty continues with an almost disbelief in peoples admiration to his music. “It’s a great opportunity; that’s the first thing…which is being fortunate enough to be able to make another record and then it’s nice that there are people excited about it too.” Whilst the pressure of following up a commended album with a second LP can be felt, Smyth seems to take it on the chin. His lack of arrogance and abundance of praise toward everyone bar himself when making Exits makes the album all that more perplexed. Yet Smyth summons up perfectly just what really sets the new release apart from his back catalogue. “…I think even if I did re-record the last album it would be completely different in the sense that times moves on and changes the person you are. You don’t know what kind of record gets made until it’s done; you can go in with all these pre conceptions but it’ll slap you across the face and tell you exactly when it’s going to be its own beast.”
“I’m taking every opportunity I can…I don’t know where I am and it’s been like that for quite some time. Home is the road and I’m happy about that.”
If you had any doubts about catching Steve Smyth live, not to worry. He’s playing over 30 shows over the next few months touring the new album. “The amount of shows…there’s so many places. More shows are getting added even! I’m not going to stop until I look after everybody. I’ve tried to stay out of the capitals to the out of the way places; giving the album to Australia first before jumping back overseas.” Showcasing his alternate indie tunes all over Australia begged the question of how exactly he was planning on keeping up with it all and whether he would play the new album from start to finish… “I think it’d be unfair if I didn’t play tunes from the last album, I haven’t really ironed out all the creases on the show and the tracks are never finite or definite. It takes away the spontaneity of the live shows; if it falls flat on its ass or if it takes off it’s nice to create the element of when we’re all in the same room whatever happens, happens.” Steve Smyth will play Shebeen bandroom in Melbourne Saturday 11th October.
You can purchase the new album Exits here.
Tickets and details to shows available here.
PHOTOS: Dreamcoat pics by Blank Tape24.09.14
The Aviary Upgrades And Announces Extension13.09.14
By Alana Mazurke
Sydney band Bluejuice recently announced the deformation of the band by releasing the statement “After 13 years of broken bones, broken hearts, sore heads, passive aggression, regular aggression, several arrests, questionable skin infections, and a busload of infuriated tour managers, Bluejuice are announcing they are calling it quits at the end of 2014″. Fortunately enough for fans the finality of the band doesn’t mean all bad news, with the band announcing a full scale tour around Australia including a last stint at this year’s Falls Festival. I spoke to the ever charismatic Jake Stone about the upcoming tour, making new music and ofcourse the reasoning behind the breakup.
Originally forming in 2001 throughout a 6 month transition of changing members and managers, Jake recalls his first ever ‘not strictly’ Bluejuice gig. “I’d just finished from uni and wanted to do some singing in a band and a friend had said to go play with them –they would play this type of afro jazz and I was basically just shouting for three hours. It ended and we were like ‘well that was fucking weird’. We booked this string of support shows and were playing funk music and smashing glasses on our head and we really loved what we were doing.” 6 years later the band released their first studio full length Problems, commencing their foothold to a notable place within the Australian music industry with the release of singles ‘Vitriol’ and ‘The Reductionist’.
“We got good at making music so we quit.”
2009 saw the bands second album Head Of The Hawk along with the successful single ‘Broken Leg’ followed two years later by the bands, what is now, last LP Company. This year the band will release a compilation album (greatest hits if you will) of the past three albums titled Retrospectable with the new record featuring three unreleased tracks chosen from new material made in the last year.
Announcing a farewell tour to coincide with the bands departure taking place over the next three months, the extensive string of dates have already seen multiple shows sell out. Acknowledging they’re not the most timid band going round, the band will be playing over 20 shows to reinforce their brash yet never disparaging live shows in a way that only Bluejuice can do best is the way they wish to finish. “The plan for the last show is we’ll just play and have a little thing with a crew. It’s not easy, I’m sure I’ll just be processing that our last show will actually be our last…it’s going to be emotional; I’ll have to become a heroin addict or something.”
As for the reasoning behind the split Jake sums it up better than I could ever elaborate on. “It’s either this or to go on the voice as a band…I expect we’d be on either team Madden or Delta; we’re just white enough for her to clap along. Ricky Martin is the only one that seems like he’s actually listening to the music, he’d be okay.” As reluctant a feeling you get from the bands split there is a definite certainty in Jake’s willingness to continue making music. As he states for his future plans…“I will still play anyway, I’ll still play in bands and make music and I hope that people give a shit and I’m not sure if I’ll have anything to offer but I really hope so…Kids are kids; they don’t give a shit. One year they’re like I love ‘Vitriol!’ and then the year after they’re just like ‘die old man!’.”
The band have just released the film clip for their last single ‘I’ll Go Crazy’ featured below.
Tour dates, information and ticketing details can be found here.
PREVIEW: Falls Festival 201409.09.14
By Alana Mazurke
Last week tickets for this year’s Falls Festival went on sale with Lorne selling out once again within minutes of the site opening. Not to fret, tickets for Byron and Marion Bay are still available through their website. It comes with no surprise that the well-known festival is fast selling it’s 2, 3 and 4 day passes with a line up that includes Cold War Kids, The Black Lips, Jagwar Ma, Alt-J, Jamie xx and Tycho to name a few. I’ve comprised a quick playlist of some of the artists involved in this years lineup so if you have a ticket you can begin to look forward to hearing these tracks live and if not, then you can listen to it whilst you weep.