NEW MUSIC: Alex Cameron – Candy May

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Alex Cameron has a new album called Forced Witness coming out on September 8th via Secretly Canadian and here’s the first single from it – ‘Candy May’.

Cameron and sidekick Roy have been traveling the US-of-A for a while now, spreading their electro-croon lounge music from coast to coast on the back of the successful debut LP Jumping The Shark.

LIVE REVIEW: Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders, Alex Cameron @ OAF, Sydney (16/05/15)

Alex Cameron | photo by Chris Familton
Alex Cameron | photo by Chris Familton

Alex Cameron’s (Seekae) saxophonist and off-sider Roy Molloy arrived first, setting up his instrument, pacing the stage with Corona in hand and chatting to the front rows. Cameron’s strikingly skeletal frame joined him, his designer suit a couple of sizes too small, hanging from his lanky bones. He has a commanding stage presence, throwing Nick Cave-styled poses and dance moves that alternate between mid-period Bowie and Elvis in Las Vegas mode. Musically the pair played and sang over backing tracks of minimal synth and electro that brought to mind Kraftwerk and Suicide laced with Scritti Politti, enhanced by Molloy’s sax solos. There’s a fair amount of schtick going on but Cameron plays the role convincingly as both a songwriter and performer and it’ll be interesting to see how he evolves his solo career.

Jack Ladder’s career has also undertaken a number of transformations with last year’s Playmates album finding him settling into his most comfortable stylistic zone. It’s hard to go wrong with a band like the Dreamlanders. They seem like a composite scene from a David Lynch cabaret scene: Kirin J Callinan’s borderline psychotic stage personae, all twitches, lunges and futuristic guitar flourishes, Donny Benét’s exceptional bass playing that saw him play a consummate solo intro at the start of the encore, keyboardist Frank Sutherland and drummer extraordinaire Laurence Pike (PVT). Out front Ladder commanded the stage during the songs but seemed, as usual, strangely distant, aloof and subtly cynical between them. Playmates provided the bulk of the material with the dark and sleazy Depeche Mode glitter stomp of Reputation Amputation and Neon Blue working particularly well. The Hurtsville album also got a look-in with the graceful airiness of the title track resplendent in its melancholic grandeur. It was an evening of absorbing and emotive post-modern art rock.

Chris Familton

SONIC KICKS | BAD DREEMS

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Bad Dreems are one of the essential bands emerging out of the growing Adelaide scene with their lo-fi, melody-rich guitar songs. 2012 was a big year that saw them release the brilliant single Chills and before dropping Tomorrow Mountain with its darker and moodier undercurrent and the infectiously melancholic Too Old. We caught up with guitarist Alex Cameron to find out some of the albums that shaped his musical life so far.

 

The first album I bought – Nirvana | From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah

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The cool high school kids were either into Guns ‘N Roses or Nirvana. I took a punt and bought this because the ones that were into Nirvana seemed cooler. It was a good punt I guess. This is still my favourite Nirvana album. A lot of their studio recordings don’t really float my boat. I prefer the US punk bands that preceded them like Black Flag, The Minutemen and other SST bands, The Replacements and Husker Du.

 

The album that soundtracked a relationship – Bob Dylan | Blood On The Tracks

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If ever I feel down about this type of thing I always listen to this album. It has a song for every sort of broken heart. I think it is the Dylan album that offers the best glimpse behind the shades. Hard to pick favourites but I love Shelter From the Storm, If You See Her Say Hello and Idiot Wind – “You’re an idiot babe, it’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe”

 

The album that inspired me to form a band – Scott and Charlene’s Wedding | Para Vista Social Club 

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I moved back to Adelaide from Melbourne after 7 years. All my old friends had gone and I spent a long summer working in a hospital in an outer suburb, on the way to Snowtown. Sort of near Para Vista actually. I bought this album and listened to it ever morning and night on the drive there and back. It’s honest and unpretentious but really powerful songwriting and anyone that’s lived in Melbourne with little money and big hopes can relate to the subject matter. It reminded me of what I really liked about music so I found some new friends and we started a band. We did our first recordings with Jack Farley who recorded Para Vista Social Club along with heaps of amazing records out of Melbourne over the past few years. He’s best pals with Craig Dermody and they used to live in his warehouse together. Jack has big hands and a big heart.

 

The album that reminds you of my high school years – Patti Smith | Horses

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I was lucky to inherit my parents’ record collection as I got more and more into music. It got me into stuff like MC5, The Rolling Stones, Roxy Music and Tom Waits – and so all this music still reminds me of that time. The album that I probably played the most was Horses – I couldn’t believe that my dad was ever into anything so cool!

 

The album I’d love to hear live and played in full – Sea Scouts | Beacon of Hope

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I love the aura that surrounds this band. Despite their relative obscurity, everyone who knows them holds them in such high regard. Bird Blobs were also great, as well as Degreaser. As much as I would have liked to watch Sea Scouts I’m sure that the legacy is best kept alive by the recordings and grainy super 8 footage. My friend Darren Cross toured with Sea Scouts and he has awesome stories about Tim Evans’ homemade guitar and the amps that he made out of cardboard boxes to take on tour.

 

My favourite album cover art – Roxy Music | Country Life

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Another album from my parents’ collection. This appealed to me as a 15 year old (and still does) for obvious reasons.

 

My guilty pleasure album – Bruce Springsteen | Born To Run

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The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves, the magic rat, wrap your legs round these velvet rims, a real death waltz, show a little faith there’s magic in the night. It’s a town full of losers and i’m pulling out of here to win. THE BOSS!!

 

An album I loved but now have no idea why I bought it – Dylan & The Dead

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For completists only.

 

The last album I bought – Blank Realm | Go Easy – Woollen Kits | Four GirlsThe Mark of Cain | Songs of the Third and Fifth

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There is so much good music being put out on Australian independent labels like RIP Society, Bedroom Suck, Negative Guestlist and Chapter. Blank Realm’s album is awesome psych-pop with Berlin-era Bowie, Flying Nun and Fleetwood Mac influences. Woollen Kits write amazing garage guitar pop songs. I saw them supporting Home Blitz last year in Melbourne and they stole the show. The Mark of Cain are our heroes from Adelaide. Their new album is awesome. Mathematical outsider rage.