SONIC KICKS: Peabody

Sonic Kicks PEABODY

Peabody are now five albums deep in a career that has seen them become a stalwart of the Sydney indie rock scene over the last 24 years. Their latest, A Redder Shade Of Rust (produced by Jamie Hutchings) finds them in fine form yet again. It’s heady, poetic and a really great balance of melody, rhythm, momentum and knotty guitars. It’s dark and churning one minute, on songs such as ‘Perfectly Fine’, before hitting a spirited punk sprint on ‘Prosthetic Heart’. Elsewhere, ‘Sometimes’ is a murky tumble through post-punk shadows and ‘Too Many Days’ heads to the desert with a Morricone twang and an exquisite chorus.

Singer and guitarist Bruno Brayovic kindly took the time to take a swing through our Sonic Kicks: Albums That Shaped Me Q&A and talks G’N’R, Ween and buying cassettes in Ashfield Mall.

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The first album I bought.

The Divinyls  – What a Life

I bought this on cassette (which I still have) at a small record shop next to Franklins supermarket in Ashfield Mall, when I was in Year 5. I’d seen an ad for it on TV which included snippets of Good Die Young and of course, Pleasure and Pain. I was mesmerised, and if I’m honest, probably quite excited by Chrissy Amphlett. I still am.

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An album that soundtracked a relationship.

The blue album by Weezer was a a favourite of mine and my first girlfriend. I wore Buddy Holly glasses but I’m pretty sure neither of us knew what Mary Tyler Moore looked like.

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An album that inspired me to form a band.

It’s a cliche but Nirvana’s Nevermind really solidified my resolve to write songs and perform them with a band (we’d already performed live at school in some capacity). The simplicity of the songs and Kurt’s vocal approach both appealed to me because they both seemed achievable. I was wrong.

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An album that reminds me of my high school years.

Guns N Roses – Appetite For Destruction

I’d gone overseas with my parents so I managed to get it before it came out in Australia. I taped it for heaps of my friends so I was popular for about two weeks. It’s still the very copy I listen to when I whack it on the record player.

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An album you’d love to hear live and played in full.

I thought Kell’s (from Singing Skies) suggestion of John Cale’s Paris 1919 was awesome. I’d love to hear that. But if I have to choose something different I think I’ll say Ween’s Chocolate & Cheese.

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My favourite album cover art.

So many to choose from. Hard to go past Midnight Oil’s Red Sails in the Sunset.

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A guilty pleasure album.

The Traveling Wilburys self-titled debut album. Is this cool again, or is it still daggy? I dunno, but I do know there are some killer songs on it. Some of Bob Dylan’s best songwriting moments are on here, too, including ‘Tweeter & the Monkey Man’, which George Harrison said was actually largely written by Tom Petty. Each song is better than the last, with the exception of ‘End of the Line’ which is still passable.

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The last album I bought.

A vinyl reissue of Paul Kelly’s Post.

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The next album I want to buy.

Piss-Up by local punk band C.O.F.F.I.N. The vinyl is sold out but I’ve been streaming it like crazy. Anyone wanna sell me a copy? Will drop pants for food… or album. These guys are insane live.

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SONIC KICKS: The Singing Skies

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On the eve of the Vivid launch show for the new LP from The Singing Skies, the main creative figure behind the band, Kell Derrig-Hall, takes us on a tour of his record collection and a few of the albums that shaped his musical life.

Head In The Trees, Heart On The Ground (via Preservation Records) is Derrig-Hall’s second album and it’s quite the immersive, mesmerising and atmospheric listening experience – of which we’ve said:

“Evocative moods via a lush and swooning sonic palette afford Derrig-Hall the ability to paint stately and ornate folk songs of the English variety. Everything is considered and most of it is gently presented with strings, guitar, shuffling drums, soft bass and a warm dose of ambient reverb giving the songs a dreamy, pastoral quality.”

You can catch The Singing Skies launching their album live at Golden Age Cinema & Bar in Surry Hills, Sydney on Saturday June 3rd, in collaboration with Vivid Sydney.

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The first album you bought.

I bought Metallica’s Ride The Lightning and Guns N’ Roses’ The Spaghetti Incident on cassette from a mall near my house. The Guns N’ Roses tape was all covers which I didn’t realise at the time. I think there was a Cosmic Psychos cover on there which is pretty cool. I’m still a pretty big fan of Ride The Lightning when I’m in the right mood.

An album that soundtracked a relationship.

My partner Lia and I listened to a lot of Red Apple Falls by Smog early in our relationship. It’s a lovely record to sleep in and create your own world around.

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An album that inspired you to form a band.

Leonard Cohen’s Songs From A Room was a big influence on my songwriting and convinced me that writing songs that centred around lyrics and sincere sounding singing could be exciting. Lia and I formed an ambient noisey drone band called Moonmilk after spending a lot of time with Fripp and Eno’s No Pussyfooting.

An album that reminds you of your high school years.

The Clash – London Calling

I loved this album so much and I made tapes of the double album which gave it a lot of mileage on the bus to school. It really opened me up to a lot different ideas in music.

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An album you’d love to hear live and played in full.

John Cale – Paris 1919. 

This album is just so incredible. Imagine seeing those strings and oboes and wild arrangements. John Cale taking on a character that speaks to ghosts and travels around Europe being mystified by everything and poking fun at the aristocracy. Apparently he was very high and loose during the writing and recording but I think he could pull it off.

Your favourite album cover art.

King Crimson – The Court of the Crimson King

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A guilty pleasure album.

Bob Dylan – Empire Burlesque. 

This is not a celebrated Dylan album, but I think it’s pretty great. The arrangements are creating some sort of new wave/harmonica rock. There are some really great songs on it and he’s really belting it out with the backing singers. It doesn’t always go down well at a party though.

The last album I bought.

Weyes Blood – Front Row Seat To Earth

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The next album I want to buy.

Richard and Linda Thompson – Pour Down Like Silver

Alice Coltrane – The Ecstatic Music Of Alice Coltrane

Heat Wave – Heat Wave

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SONIC KICKS: Witch Hats

Sonic Kicks Witch Hats

Witch Hats have a few very good albums under the collective belt but their latest, Deliverance, is hands down the best thing they’ve done. It’s a blistering set of lurching rock ‘n’ roll and in our review we said “They’re firmly in the realm of The Clash, The Drones and The Gun Club yet they’ve dug their own hook-laden hole and decorated it with all manner of exceptional dark pop and bruised, gutter-punk blues.” They’re currently touring the album (dates below) and Kris Buscombe kindly took the time to answer our Sonic Kicks Q&A where he talks about Wide World Of Sports, arachnophobia, Bon Scott on the Titanic and the albums that shaped him musically.

  • Aug 19th @ Red Rattler Theatre, Marrickville
  • Aug 20th @ Trainspotters, Brisbane
  • Aug 27th @ The Tote, Melbourne

The first album I bought…

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Shaquille O’Neal – Shaq Diesel

 I used to record stuff off TV to VHS tape and nabbed a clip of Shaq Diesel’s lead single – ‘Shoot Pass Slam’ off seminal music show, Wild World of Sports.

It was 1992 and basketball was massive in Australia. I had baggy jeans and a teal coloured Charlotte Hornets jacket and a folder full of basketball cards. A brief and confused few years for me, just before I became a real man and got into rock and roll. But back in the heady days of ’92 it was just a Teac boom box and a whole album of basketball rap songs.

An album that soundtracked a relationship…

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Live – Throwing Copper

I used to go out with a woman named Kylie.  She worked at a slot car racing track where I was spending most of my afternoons. A scale model racing track. Big indoor circuit with 15cm long cars careering off in every direction. An arousing place.

Kylie was mad for Live’s Throwing Copper. I had to listen to it constantly.  It’s a horrible shit of a record. I don’t recommend it and if you’re an arachnophobe I don’t recommend Kylie either. She teased me and put spiders on my face once when I slept.

An album that inspired me to form a band…

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50 Million Clowns – First Class Experiment

I attended a Foo Fighters concert in ’98.  I don’t recall being a fan but my friends and I were Nirvana obsessives. They mobbed Dave Grohl as he crossed the busy highway directly in front of the Hobart Town Hall and chatted with him for a while. I missed out on this interaction – I was glued to my seat inside the hall having corrective ear surgery as three crumpled and shockingly plain looking men changed my life forever with the most atonally beautiful noise I’d ever come across. 50 Million Clowns and their album First Class Experiment re-wired my brain when I was 15. The fact they came from Hobart blew me out hunting headfirst into a small unique scene taking place right on my doorstep. This album holds up. It’s harsh and powerful rock with a thoroughly unique and individual darkness surrounding it.

An album that reminds me of my high school years…

Nirvana-Incesticide

Nirvana – Incesticide

I’d come across a poster of ‘Kurt Cobain 1967-1994’ some place and didn’t know who he was (the end of my Shaq era) and asked chef Raymond at my dad’s restaurant.  He lent me a CD of Nevermind. Great songs for a beginning guitarist.  I was a shy angst-ridden musical misfit in an extremely annoying high school getting up to a lot of mischief and smoking pot. I felt an intense connection to Kurt for a while as some kind of delayed grunge kid in the midst of an anti-establishment, regime change inside my body. ‘Aneurysm’ is their greatest song and closes this disc of rarities. I was kicked out of McCann’s Music store when they caught me hidden in the manuscript section, tablature scribbled in biro across my arms, Incesticide tablature book open on the floor.

An album I’d love to hear live and played in full…

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Every ‘band perform album’ gig I’ve attended has failed to please me. There’s too much excitement and spontaneity in a gig if I’m not aware of the set list in advance. It’s a fair-weather music fan’s thing.

To be a good sport I will say The Doors in 67 at the Whiskey doing their first self-titled album. Or Hendrix doing Axis Bold As Love, The Birthday Party doing Junkyard back in ’82, Dylan doing Blond On Blonde in 1955 or AC/DC with Bon Scott playing Surfer Rosa on the Titanic.

My favourite album cover art…

Hans Bellmer – La Bouch

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A guilty pleasure album…

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Most of my favourite music could fit in here.  Cheap Trick’s Heaven Tonight is pretty great.  Everyone I try to put onto it makes a gross face and I have to turn it off. I put on Aerosmith’s Rocks album at a party a while ago and got in trouble. Steely Dan’s Aja record. Dylan’s ’80s albums.

The last albums I bought…

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Dr. John – The Sun, Moon & Herbs and Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts of Highway 20

 

The next album I want to buy…

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The Aggravators – Dubbing At King Tubby s Vol. 1

I started getting into Dub music about a year ago.  It’s my favourite stuff to listen to at the moment and anything involving King Tubby is the greatest.

SONIC KICKS: Show Me Where It Hurts

Sonic KicksSMWIH

Show Me Where It Hurts are a Rhodes electric piano, drums and vocals duo from Auckland, New Zealand. Both musicians have been key players on the Auckland scene for the last two decades with Josh Hetherington fronting Thorazine Shuffle and Ronny Haynes drumming with bands such as Pash and Fagan And The People.

The pair have just released their debut self-titled EP (stream/buy below) which follows their 2014 7″ single ‘Show Me Where It Hurts’/’All I Ever Need’ (included on the EP). This time around they’ve built on the one-two punch of the drums/Rhodes combination, adding harmonies, guitars, percussion and keys to the mix with players such as Salon Kingsadore’s Hayden Sinclair on bass, Tom Rodwell (‘Sheffield’s answer to Lightnin’ Hopkins’: NME) on guitar, legendary double bassist Peter Scott, Finn Scholes (Carnivorous Plant Society) on trumpet, and Cam Allen on baritone sax. The results are a richer, more textured and nuanced set of recordings that drip with sweet soul, humid grooves and Hetherington’s voice which soothes and strains in equally rewarding amounts.

Hetherington – songwriter, singer and the man on the keys in SMWIH – kindly took the time to reminisce, enthuse and wax lyrical about some of the important albums that have shaped his musical life.

The first album I bought…

Kiss – Unmasked (1980)

MI0002326466Not their greatest, but as an eight-year old turned on to Kiss by their Australasian pop smash ‘Shandi’ (and Dynasty’s ‘I Was Made for Lovin’ You’), along with an older friend’s encouragement, and, yeah, the make-up, mystique and all-out cartoonish-ness of the whole thing, then you couldn’t go wrong with a comic book cover, the original line-up – at least in name (there was a notable session player in place of Peter Criss on the drums) – and the pop accessibility of many of the harmony laden, yet still riff-heavy, tunes (many co-written by producer Vini Poncia). It all made for a perfect entry point as far as these ears were concerned, at very formative stage. Their concert at Western Springs (Auckland, NZ), in December 1980, was my first and was also highly formative.

Gene Simmons’ standouts ‘Naked City’ and ‘She’s So European’ are big-ass, pop metal tunes, Paul Stanley’s ‘What Makes the World Go ’Round’ and ‘Tomorrow’ fill the same sort of bill, but it’s the Ace Frehley tunes, ‘Talk to Me’, ‘Torpedo Girl’ and ‘Two Sides of the Coin’ – along with several of his killer solos – which hark bark to the grittier era of their early-mid ’70s oeuvre, and which always stood out to me.

An album that soundtracked a relationship…

Nick Cave – Your Funeral, My Trial (1986)

MI0003093418Your Funeral, My Trial is an album I gave to my wife early in our relationship, and it holds a special place for me. The doomed, world-weary romance and weighty carnival-esque feel of the record, with its heavy Hammond use (often played by Cave), not to mention a song called ‘The Carney’, provided a beautiful, dark and contrapuntal soundtrack to a happy and exciting time, and proved not at all prophetic for us in its foreboding atmosphere (16 years on!).

I love the title track, and the prototypical, Cave-ian ‘Sad Waters’ which features a character called Mary (no less), with hair of gold and lips like cherries (natch!), who seduces the protagonist’s soul, wading the aforementioned waters with her dress up past her knee, turning them into wine under weeping willow trees, whose vines she plaits.

It still makes me want to drink too much vodka.

An album that inspired me to form a band…

Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)

MI0001996061Nevermind showed the way for rock music post its ’80s nadir, I think, tearing back the curtain to reveal the possibilities of combining a vital and uncompromising, underground punk spirit and sound with the ’70s metal and rock ’n’ roll of this teenager guitar player’s high-school years and the high (’60s-based) art-pop and rock of his childhood (early ’80s Beatlemaniac that I was).

Teenage angst had arguably never sounded quite as raw, exciting, honest, vital, uncompromising or as inspiring as this. Inimitable as it was, it was the intent and the perfectly executed, and infectiously simple idea that provided a way forward, when one had otherwise seemed unforthcoming, much in the same way I’m sure punk in the ’70s did for so many young players and bands.

I got in touch with a drummer I knew from primary school who suggested I bring my guitar along to the rehearsal of a group he was playing with, and I joined my first proper band (Thorazine Shuffle).

Albums that reminds me of my high school years…

MI0002960634Led Zeppelin – II (1969), The Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed (1969), The Beatles – White Album (1968), The Who – Quadrophenia (1972), David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust (1972), Lou Reed – Transformer (1972), Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde (1966), The Clash – London Calling (1980), Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True (1977).

I dug pop radio, too, but as a guitarist and nascent songwriter I was immersed in another era, educating myself (in a certain area, anyway), somewhat out of time and out of step with contemporary mores. But I also loved The Cure – and Licensed to Ill and Appetite for Destruction came along at about the right time, too!

An album I’d love to hear live and played in full…

You Am I – Hourly Daily (1996)

Album330_HDr-363x363I’d love to have caught one of these shows in 2013 with all the live horn and string arrangements, when You Am I performed the album and Hi Fi Way (1995) in their entirety.

Hourly Daily is a beautiful, evocative and poignant record, that makes me feel as sad as it makes me happy. Though I’m not Australian, there’s a spirit, sound, sense of humour and sensitivity to this band and Tim Rogers’ songs – as optimised by their mid 1990s output – which has always appealed to me and to which I really relate – making me wonder if perhaps the suburban New Zealand childhood I experienced wasn’t so different from that of many of our Australian cobbers.

The Triple J documentary on the making of Hourly Daily, which originally aired in the early 2000s, was recently posted at the station’s site, and is a compelling listen, with the multi-tracks revisited, and drum, keyboard, guitar and vocal parts re-examined, soloed, marvelled at and celebrated by the band.

Personal note: Having shared Auckland Big Day Out festival bills on a number of occasions in the 1990s, my then band (Thorazine Shuffle) finally got a chance to share a stage in support, on the night You Am I debuted their new guitarist Davey Lane at Auckland’s Powerstation in 1999.

My favourite album cover art…

The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street  (1972)

MI0000035025‘They’re gonna love it!’ Mick Jagger was quoted as saying upon seeing the design from beat photographer (and subsequent director of infamous Stone’s verité film Cocksucker Blues), Robert Franks. And by they, he meant the kids, legions of them, Stones fans all, who would understand implicitly, in the monochromatic murkiness of the sleeve and the music, this perfect representation of the marriage of art and commerce, music and money, the band and the record.

The front cover isn’t simply the collage of freaks, strongmen, dancing girls, ventriloquists, b-grade movie stars and billiard ball eaters, which it initially appears to be. Rather, it’s a single photograph of a wall covered in postcards, cigarette cards, snaps from a bygone era (covering all of the aforementioned material and a great deal more).

The distinction is important, as interest lies not only specifically in the strangeness of the images themselves, but in the strangeness of the world they represent in the photograph’s entirety, and the unease and loneliness it (and the realisation of its nature) evokes.

As with the album itself – a sprawling yet somehow highly successful, evocative, moving, inspiring and ultimately cohesive (in its whole) exploration of rock ’n’ roll, Gospel, blues, country and Americana – the photograph is greatest as the sum of its parts.

Franks was heralded by none other than King of the Beats, Jack Kerouac himself, who wrote the introduction to the photographer’s iconic collection of photographs, The Americans, first published in 1958. His employment by Mick Jagger was in part testament to the lineage (that bona-fide Beats connection) that his involvement would lend. But it was mostly due to the greatness of his work – Franks clear understanding of, and eye for, the magnitude and unknowingness of his greatest subject matter (in America and Americans), in harmony with the greatness of the singer’s and his band’s own work (and their understanding of their own often overlapping subject matter) – not to mention Jagger’s own impeccable instincts and taste.

The back cover and gatefold spread are balanced with additional Franks images from his ’50s America – a box office showing a Joan Crawford film, a small-town parade of saluting servicemen and civilians, lonely juke joints, a desert road – and augmented with Super 8 stills shot by the photographer of the Stones, surrounded by the decadence of some of the gardens, streets, studios and porno theatres of L.A – Mick, Keith and Charlie, Bobby Keys, Jim Price, Marshall Chess, Mick Taylor, Bill Wyman, a sleeping man (one eye open), an unidentified woman, bystanders, hangers on, mugging for the camera, smiling, pouting but mostly looking bored, yawning, self-conscious – the ennui of the ’70s having well and truly set-in.

‘They’re gonna love it’, and indeed they did. I do, too.

A guilty pleasure album…

Dire Straits – Making Movies (1980)

MI0003515822Another formative album from my childhood, so there’s a strong nostalgic element. That said you can’t really go past the melodrama or whirligig-ery of ‘Tunnel of Love’ for a song.

And how about ‘Romeo and Juliet’? That picked Dobro intro always grabs me, and Mark Knopfler’s film noir, street-wise patter, always impressed me as a kid, too. Come to think of it what am I apologising for? It still impresses me. Plus he plays guitar on Dylan’s Slow Train Coming (another guilty pleasure!)

The last album I bought…

Sly Stone – Listen To The Voices: Sly Stone In The Studio 1965-1970

ListenToTheVoicesSlyA killer collection of often rare, formative-era, Sly Stone produced cuts as Svengali-style producer and hit man.

Tracks include unreleased demos, nuggets and gems from the Family Stone along with songs Sly wrote and produced for artists such as (Nuggets-era) Beau Brummels, Billy Preston, 6IX, Joe Hicks, Little Sister, The French Fries and Sly himself – and many have been excavated and in some instances mixed for the first time for this release, by compilation producer Alec Paleo.

It’s a master class in pop, soul and funk production with heavy signposts along the way telegraphing Sly’s production peak (and personal nadir) in ’71’s dense, claustrophobic, and sometimes downright paranoid There’s a Riot Going On – both his biggest album to that date, and the record which saw the dissolution of the original Family Stone line-up.

Tracks by 6IX, Joe Hicks, Abaco Dream and Sly himself often point the way towards Riot’s infamous and hypnotic, narco-funk minimalism – with tracks often sparsely yet powerfully furnished with early drum machine, direct and extremely up-front bass, harmonica, effected keyboards and guitar, not to mention Sly’s own unique and unselfconscious singing and vocalisms.

Earlier tracks often reflect the more raucous, upbeat R&B and soul of The Family Stone’s earlier breakthrough hits (‘Want to Take You Higher’ and Dance to the Music’) – and the joie-de-vivre of Beau Brummels’ ‘Underdog’, The French Fries’ own ‘Danse a la Musique’ and Sly’s cover of The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ are infectious and irresistible.

The Paleo’s access to master tapes sees studio banter included on many of these cuts, adding further insight into the fertile, creative and vital period for Sly Stone at the height of his popularity and burgeoning production prowess.

Another, more recent release I’m Just Like You: Sly Stone’s Stone Flower 1969-70 is a more focused look at productions specific to his Stone Flower label, and cuts which more directly point to the iconoclastic minimalism of Riot. Many tracks appear on both compilations and each release is great, though the former offers more surprises and a broader palette, while the latter is also available on vinyl.

The next album I want to buy…

Shayne P. Carter – Offsider

a2976649321_10I can’t wait for Shayne Carter’s new piano-driven album Offsider. In fact I’ve been looking forward to it since I heard about it from Carter’s drummer Gary Sullivan (JPSE, Dimmer) some years ago. So it’s been sometime in the making and on the strength of the first two singles (available to hear at shaynepcarter.bandcamp.com) it’s going to be a cracker!

I’m a fan of Carter from across his career (Double Happys, Straitjacket Fits, Dimmer and solo), and this change of angle in his decision to learn, write and perform on piano promises intriguing new musical possibilities from a true, original and uncompromising composer and writer (and also intrigues and resonates with me in terms of my own, more recent, piano-based approach to writing and performing with Show Me Where It Hurts).

Apocalyptic first single, ‘We Will Rise Again’ is as tense as can be in its foreboding waltz-time verses, and almost overwhelming free-time, feedback- and string-drenched refrains, which it dissolves into repeatedly.

There’s no easing of the tension in second single, ‘I Know Not Where I Stand’ either, where strings, synths and Carter’s strident yet delicate piano line marches in lock step with Sullivan’s four-on-the-floor, bass-drum driven groove, which is punctuated by an ever growing crescendo of driving, swinging brush-strokes predominant on the snare, and Carter’s own anxiety ridden vocals, cushioned occasionally in chorused harmony with himself.

SONIC KICKS: J M S Harrison

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James Harrison is a busy musical man. When he’s not writing, recording and performing solo or with bands Charm and Old Etiquettes he’s putting together great bills for tribute shows (Bowie, The Smiths, PJ Harvey). He’s about to release his debut solo LP Tales Surround The Lighthouse Lamp and to celebrate that he’s heading up the Hume to play a show at The Vanguard on Friday, April 8th on a superb bill that also includes The Tall Grass (Jamie Hutchings + Peter Fenton), Peg and Sam Shinazzi and Mark Moldre with full bands. Harrison kindly took the time to answer our Sonic Kicks Q&A ahead of the Sydney show this weekend.

The first album I bought…

I started off buying lots of singles as a kid that I don’t care to mention, high school was a little blurry but probably the Deftones album Adrenaline was the first. After high school the first album I bought was XO by Elliott Smith. Things really changed from there…

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An album that soundtracked a relationship…

Automatically I’d say The Cure’s self-titled album. Renewing a love flame around 2004 that still remains. I think it was ranked their 2nd worst album by Stereogum but I was 19 at the time and a new fan so I loved it and still do.

An album that inspired me to form a band…

Dead Air by Heatmiser inspired me in my first band Charm. Funny how Elliott Smith inspired me to pick up both an acoustic guitar AND an electric guitar.

An album that reminds me of your high school years…

Given all the Brandon Boyd comparisons I got definitely Make Yourself by Incubus.

An album I’d love to hear live and played in full…

One of my favourite shows ever was seeing Something For Kate do their 10 year anniversary for Q&A with Dean Martin so think I’m sorted!

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My favourite album cover art…

Hmmm big fan of Doubt Seeds by Bluebottle Kiss artwork. And Come Across. I’ve always loved Drive-By Truckers artwork as well.

My guilty pleasure album…

I’m a sucker for Belinda Carlisle’s greatest hits!

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The last album I bought…

Had to buy The Smiths’ album The Queen Is Dead because I’d lost my old copy. (Shameless plug…I’m putting on a 30 year anniversary show for that album Friday April 29th at Corner Hotel)

The next album I want to buy…

Richmond Fontaine – You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To. I can’t wait to get my hands on their last album.

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SONIC KICKS: Jamie Hutchings

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Earlier this year Jamie Hutchings (Bluebottle Kiss, Infinity Broke) marked twenty years in music with a retrospective solo show at Camelot Lounge in Marrickville. With a such a strong back catalogue that spans both solo and band releases it was an impressive and rewarding trawl through his discography and a remarkable overview of the evolution of his songwriting craft.

Hutchings chatted more than he probably ever has on stage, giving an insight into the genesis and inspiration of the songs and experiences that surrounded them with self-deprecating humour, dedications and some healthy sarcasm. That personal interaction was crucial to the success of the evening and connected Hutchings to his audience who showed genuine love and passion for his body of music.

The success of the evening has resulted in an invitation from the venue to repeat the event on Thursday, August 27th. This time Hutchings will be supported by his sister Sophie Hutchings, an acclaimed pianist and composer whose 2010 album Becalmed was a real favourite of ours.

Thursday August 27th

Jamie Hutchings, Sophie Hutchings

Camelot Lounge, Marrickville

Doors 7pm

Jamie was kind enough to answer our Sonic Kicks Q&A plus a few other questions relating more directly to the upcoming show. Read on to find out which album inspired a switch from drums to guitar, the band that leaves him breathless, the soundtrack to his teen surfing years and his next musical plans.

The first album I bought.

Probably something by Split Enz. I was a huge fan from around nine years old and I started randomly buying their albums from there on in. I still dig Dizrythmia out sometimes. It’s pretty fantastic.

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An album that soundtracked a relationship.

Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. It makes me dizzy and reminds me of stuff.

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An album that inspired me to form a band.

I’d been playing drums in bands but it wasn’t until I heard You’re Living All Over Me by Dinosaur Jr that I felt I really had to teach myself to play guitar. I’ve never been as immediately effected by an album as that one. It just sounded like the best concoction ever and totally inspired me.

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An album that reminds me of my high school years.

Maybe the first Midnight Oil album. Everyone used to call it Powderworks or The Blue album, the first song has such a great high energy guitar riff, lots of surfers were into them and I was a pretty hardcore surfer so it was the perfect soundtrack. MI0001759825

An album I’d love to hear live and played in full.

Mariposa by Rein Sanction. They’re a lost early ’90’s Sub Pop band with an incredibly claustrophobic playing style. There’s some rough live footage on Youtube, I’d have loved to have seen them, I kind of forget to breath when I hear them.

My favourite album cover art.

Warehouse Songs And Stories by Husker Du. I bought it on gatefold vinyl back in the day, it look amazing. There’s no text on the cover which was pretty unheard of back then. The colours are so rich, crazy and explosive but it’s kind of ethereal too.Husker-Du-Warehouse-Songs-and-Stories-Front

A guilty pleasure album.

I don’t know…Tapestry by Carole King? It’s kind of classic AM radio stuff, such a amazing songs though.MI0001534574

The last album I bought.

Tea Time for Those Determined to Completely Exhaust Every Bit of This Body They’ve Been Given by Keiji Haino/ Jim O’Rourke/ Oren Ambarchi. It’s with the mail man but technically it’s my most recent purchase. They release a live album each year edited from an improvised set they perform annually. They really reach way out and bury me every time.BT012LP_CU

The next album I want to buy.

I’ve been trying to find the first Faust album on vinyl at a normal price which has been tough. When I do that’ll be it. I’m a huge Can fan but haven’t heard much of Faust, I recently watched a Krautrock documentary by the BBC and these guys really intrigued me.

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What are the BBK/solo/Infinity Broke songs that get requested or referenced most by fans?

It depends, when people are requesting stuff on social media or by email it tends to be album tracks or more obscure songs. At Infinity Broke shows people always want to hear ‘Monsoon’ which is fine because we love to play it. Solo if someone yells out stuff it’s usually stuff like ‘Fathers Hands’ or ‘Last Playboy in Town’. It really varies though, I think people that listen to my projects are pretty across most of the stuff which is nice.

If you had to choose between Neil Young, Tom Waits and Greg Dulli covering one of your songs, who would it be and which song would you be most interested to hear?

Geez…what a conundrum! Who to choose! Yes I’d allow Tom Waits to cover me I guess. I think he’d do a good version of ‘The Judas Hands’.

With a 20 year career, do you ever see your influence in younger bands on the Australian scene?

Not that I’m aware of, the best ones probably hide it I guess. On the rare occasions I have heard an overt influence I feel really embarrassed.

Playing a retrospective show, does that conjure up certain emotions, memories, people and places via the range of songs you play?

Not specifically or consciously, but there are some songs that suddenly put me in a spin out of nowhere emotionally and I have to try and hide it somehow. What I found about some of my really old songs when I was relearning them earlier in the year for my January show was how uncanny some of them were. It was like they were mini self-fulfilling prophecies.

How close is your songwriting style and process now compared to your 20 year old self?

I was very inside my songs when I was younger, often pretty earnest and naive which isn’t always the tastiest combo. Apart from becoming a better and hopefully more imaginative musician, the main difference is that I began to stretch myself way more lyrically. I began to feel like I could fly around and inhabit different worlds lyrically whereas in my ’20’s I was really stuck inside my own head. I still am a bit but I don’t feel disingenuous when I attempt to write outside of that little universe.

After looking back, what are the next steps forward for you musically?

Infinity Broke will hopefully start to play live again sometime, it’s been really difficult since our album tour to get everyone together, but it’s a blast when we do. I’ve been recording an album with Peter Fenton from Crow. We’ve got a collaborative project called The Tall Grass. We’re about two thirds of the way through. It’s been really humbling and refreshing working with him, sometimes we wonder where the music’s coming from! It’s sounding great. I’m also planning on recording a very bare solo album soon. Probably just acoustic guitar, double bass and vocals. Hopefully I’ll start working on Mark Moldre’s next album soon too.

SONIC KICKS: Deaf Wish

Sonic Kicks DEAF WISH

Melbournians Deaf Wish have a new album Pain out via Sub Pop/Inertia on August 7th which finds them striking a rich vein of tangled careering avant-rock, genre-splicing its way through the history of post-punk, post-rock, no-wave and hardcore. It harnesses their propensity for tension, both its formation and release as well as the juxtaposition of atonality and dissonance that bands such as Liars, Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü and the 3Ds have mastered in the past. Guitarist Sarah Hardiman kindly took the time to answer our Sonic Kicks Q&A and give us an insight into the some of the albums that shaped her.


The first album you bought. 

I can’t remember but I can remember the first album I found. There was a second hand Salvos donation bin near my house and there were loads of records piled against it. I was flicking through and found this Rough Trade promo copy of the early Raincoats stuff, it is red with like these dark green African silhouettes dancing on the front. I still have it. I had borrowed a book from my library at high school on punk rock and it had The Slits in it – I didn’t like the Slits but I loved The Raincoats and I was obsessed with how cool all the girls looked in that punk scene. I felt blessed that day because I found the record – I felt like I must be a good person – the way you feel when animals like you, hahaha.

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The album that soundtracked a relationship.

I was living in London in the worst relationship I’ve ever been in and we used to play The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Darklands and I’d think, good tunes at least.

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The album that inspired you to form a band. 

That was Bikini Kill’s The C.D. Version of the First Two Records. My friend and I didn’t want songs to go past 2 minutes. We got drunk in my bedroom and wrote our first song which was about 1.5 minutes long. It was called, ‘Inn-Keeper’ after the Australian bottle shop.

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Your favourite album cover art.

I always loved the saturated colours and composition on The Gun Club’s Miami and the artwork for Hüsker Dü‘s Metal Circus. I felt with both records that I had uncovered a secret cult and that it was all for me – no one else knew them. And I would get emotionally bruised when others spoke about them as if they knew what it was about, I’d think, “But that’s my secret, they’re my cult leaders.” I felt I had found punk music that was outside of the prescriptive punk aesthetic. Both covers looked cool and dangerous.

MI0000426596Your guilty pleasure album. 

Spice GirlsSpice. I used to listen to it with my big love all the time before going out. You know, having drinks and dancing and getting in the ‘mood’ to socialise. I didn’t listen to music like that so I thought it was even more fun. I liked being taught how to relax and be silly, I was very serious back then.

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An album you loved but now have no idea why you bought it.

I have this album of Balinese Temple Music and I have no idea how I got into it, maybe in one of those patches I have when I think I’m gonna clean up my act and become peaceful and spiritual, but I still love it. I kinda clean the house and do gardening to it, just reassess.

The last album you bought.

Mulatu Astatke’s The Story of Ethio Jazz (1965-1975) – recommended by someone.

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SONIC KICKS: Lisa Caruso

Sonic KicksLISACARUSO

Lisa Caruso has been playing plenty of gigs lately, on the back of her great 2014 EP Take A Walk. With her distinctive phrasing and soulful voice she blends folk, country, soul and sophisticated pop music into her own distinct style. Caruso has released a new clip for the single ‘My Romantic’ and kindly took the time to answer our Sonic Kicks Q&A about some of the albums that shaped her musically.

Alanis_Morissette_-_Jagged_Little_PillThe first album you bought.
I wondered if it was The Backstreet Boys Backstreet’s Back or Alanis Morrissette’s Jagged Little Pill. It was Alanis. My teenage pop phase was real.

f0e5899aacc37252aa993cf2957eb2288a21c270The album that soundtracked a relationship.
Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black. I had it on repeat in the car. Mainly at the time of the break-up. It was bittersweet, and good therapy. Still one of my favourite albums.

bluemitchell_1341175757The album that inspired you to form a band.
I was at Uni and Joni Mitchell’s Blue first inspired collaboration. I’d sing songs from it with with a friend that played piano. It was the first time I found a genuine connection with another musician. It was very exciting and influenced my writing too. Then came the rest.

The album that reminds you of your high school years.
I wish I could say Silverchair’s Frog Stomp but sorry no. It’d be the 100% hits series. I didn’t discriminate. The Cardigans, Jewel, En Vogue… I suppose The 90’s did alright with the charts.

51AhynGl12LThe album you’d love to hear live and played in full.
The Essential Leonard Cohen. Hands down. That man! Incredible writing and arrangements.

Bjork,_Debut_album_cover,_1993Your favourite album cover art.
Without thinking about it too much; Bjork’s Debut. There’s something very beautiful and honest about it. I like that the photographs not been overproduced. The sweetness in simplicity! A memorable portrait.

0060249860632_600Your guilty pleasure album.
An album my sister and I will turn up real loud (so we can sing real loud too) on long car trips is Hawksley Workman’s lover/fighter. I started my obsession after I saw him play live. So maybe not guilty. Just a pleasure.

An album you loved but now have no idea why you bought it.
That’s a tough one! The entire pop collection from my teens? Though I still can’t part with them, Ha!. At least maybe I can thank them for the pop sensibility in my writing. It’s welcomed.

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 11.49.25 amThe last album you bought.
A local’s! Caitlin Harnett’s self titled. So pleased she is a Sydney-sider. I hear Joni Mitchell and Carol King in her voice and writing. It’s beautiful and timeless.