EIGHT DAYS A WEEK: September 20th, 2013

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Another week of shake-ups in the local festival scene here in Australia with the cancellation of Harvest Festival and the probably not coincidental announcement that AJ Maddah (Soundwave, Harvest) had become a partner in Big Day Out with Ken West and US company C4. It seems a bit strange that one week Maddah is bemoaning the indie-centric BDO lineup as one reason for Harvest’s slow ticket sales and then the next week he cancels the Harvest dates and the BDO partnership is made public. Obviously the deal would have been in negotiation and discussion for a long period and Maddah would have been privy to the BDO line-up a long time ago. Regardless it could be a good thing in the long run. The BDO assimilates more indie type acts to balance the rock elements and Soundwave becomes the premier hard rock/metal touring festival. Laneway is growing every year and that too should benefit from Harvest being off the calendar. Speaking of Laneway, their first line-up announcement happens next Tuesday.

In terms of new releases this week there only a couple of notable ones that have caught my ear. The wonderful folk voice of Nathaniel Rateliff, Elvis Costello & The Roots’ LP sounds like it might deliver, Mark Lanegan’s covers album Imitations (he should be singing the Great American Songbook, not Rod) and Crystal Stilts maintain their quality output on Nature Noir.

In my daily trawl of the net and via the deluge of band, record company and publicist emails there are often bands that jump out as having something that catches your ear before you have a chance to hit delete or skip. Two in particular stood out this week in The Golden Awesome out of Wellington, NZ and The Grand Rapids from Melbourne, AU. Both deal in psychedelic flavoured rock and shoegaze but they’re coming at it from different angles. See what you think.

Next week Swervedriver kick off their Australian tour playing their seminal album Raise in full plus various other highlights from the back catalogue.

Thu 26th – Brisbane – The Zoo
+ support We All Want To / Mosman Alder
Fri 27th – Sydney – Metro Theatre
+ supports Charlie Horse / Greta Mob (Bom Aterg)
Sat 28th – Melbourne – Corner Hotel
+ supports Iowa / White Walls
Sun 29th – Melbourne – Northcote Social Club
+ supports Infinite Void / Lunaire
Wed 2nd – Adelaide – The Gov
+ supports Horror My Friend / No Action
Thu 3rd – Perth* – Rosemount Hotel


EIGHT DAYS A WEEK: September 13th, 2013

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The big single released this week was Reflektor, the title track to the new Arcade Fire double LP due out on October 29th and it sees the band stretching out into a more rhythm based realm. James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) is all over the track with its indie disco vibe and its nod to bands like Talking Heads. I’ve got to say the first time I heard it I didn’t think much but it has really grown on me. Live it’ll be a monster of a track.

Other notable releases this week were Body/Head’s Coming Apart the new collaboration between Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth, Free Kitten) and guitarist Bill Nace, Wolf & Cub’s Heavy Weight, Willis Earl Beal’s Nobody knows, MGMT’s new self-titled LP, the final album from Ministry called From Beer To Eternity, Nightmares on Wax with Feelin’ Good, Sebadoh’s Defend Yourself, Manic Street Preachers’ Rewind The Film and Bill Callahan’s Dream River. 

The big news on the Australian live scene is the likelihood that this years Harvest Festival is going to be cancelled based on slow ticket sales. AJ Maddah has attributed this in part to the big hitting lineup announced for the 2014 Big Day Out with Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire and Blur leading the charge. It’s a shame really as the first Harvest boasted an incredible lineup that included Mogwai, Portishead, Flaming Lips, Phosphorescent, The Walkmen, Mercury Rev, The National and more. Last year’s was pretty great too. It does feel though like the left of centre musical audience is pretty well catered for with Laneway Festival, Sydney Festival, elements of the BDO and indeed some of the acts that booked on the Future Music Festival. Maddah is probably best served sticking to what he has built his name on – Soundwave Festival.

Next Tuesday at 4pm the lineup for next year’s Future Music Festival will be announced and I’m getting pretty excited about the rumoured inclusion of Depeche Mode on the bill. If it happens it’ll be their first visit here in twenty years and the final box to be ticked on my ‘must see’ list after being a fan for thirty years.

If you are in the Enmore/Newtown area of Sydney tomorrow night I’ll be playing some records at The Green Room Lounge from 11-1am. Vinyl only and i’m aiming for a 80s indie and pop feel with everything from Teardrop Explodes to Nik Kershaw, New Order to Altered Images going under the needle.


NEWS: Harvest Festival 2012 first line-up announced

The Harvest Festival is back for its second year after proving to be the perfect middle ground between the likes of Splendour In The Grass and Laneway Festival in 2011. With such a stellar list of bands in its debut year (Portishead, Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, The National, Mogwai etc) it was always going to be a hard act to follow but the initial announcement today of some of the bands that will be appearing shows that 2012 is looking pretty impressive.

  • Beck
  • Sigur Rós
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Liars
  • Fuck Buttons
  • The War on Drugs
  • Beirut
  • Mike Patton’s Mondo Cane
  • Ben Folds Five
  • Santigold
  • Cake
  • The Dandy Warhols
  • The Black Angels
  • Chromatics
  • Ozomatli
  • Dark Dark Dark