EIGHT DAYS A WEEK: August 30th, 2013

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by Chris Familton

Welcome to the inaugural Eight Days A Week column where every Friday morning I’ll round up what caught my ears and eyes over the week, what is coming up in the near future in terms of gigs, new releases, news etc. plus any other goings on in my music dominated life.

This week much of the internet chatter surrounded the flatulence of the MTV VMA Awards where Miley Cyrus got down and dirty in her performance. For my mind it was just a poorly executed attempt at poking fun at the current state of commercial pop and r&b that relies for the most part on sexual imagery and a blatant disregard for intellect and the art of music. Yeah she didn’t pull it off but it was the logical (though unfortunately not the end-point) culmination of what the industry (artists, record companies, PR) has created, plus it probably got more people talking VMAs round the water cooler than recent years.

There have been a couple of new and recent releases that I’ve been hitting repeat on this week and really digging. Austin Lucas, who was in Australia earlier this year doing a solo tour, has released his excellent new LP Stay Reckless and it finds him really coming of age as an Americana songwriter and highlights his superb voice and guitar playing.

Zola Jesus is someone I’ve been a big fan of for a few years now and her new album Versions continues her evolution as an artist, constantly exploring new angles and possibilities in her music. Versions is a collaboration with JG Thirlwell (aka Foetus) who has scored strings beneath a collection of her previously released songs and it works magnificently, amplifying the drama that is always inherent to her work.

The summer festivals are only a season away now and the announcements are coming thick and fast. Big Day Out snared some big names but last week Soundwave Festival trumped it with its mega metal lineup that includes Green Day, Megadeth, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains, Rob Zombie, Placebo, Clutch, Baroness. Soundwave isn’t generally my cup of tea – I’ve only been once when Jane’s Addiction, Faith No More, Sunny Day Real Estate, Anthrax etc played – but it looks like they’ve got a pretty good balance this year between all the different strands of metal. Bluesfest also announced their first batch of acts this week and though it was great to see the likes of Iron & Wine, Devendra Banhardt there, it was outweighed by the beige blandness of John Mayer and Dave Matthews Band sitting on top as two (of what will be many) headliners. Personally I’m hanging to see what Laneway Festival can deliver in 2014…

Speaking of metal/rock I pondered the current state of it on the DS Facebook Page this week saying…

Where are all the great new rock bands?
Looking back at some Lollapalooza lineups (Jane’s Addiction, NIN, Rollins Band, Ministry, Soundgarden, Tool, Alice In Chains, QOTSA) got me thinking about the current state of rock, particularly that sweet spot where brutal riffs, swagger, melody and intelligent ideas all converge. For me the new(ish) bands nailing it are the likes of Baroness, Mastodon, METZ, Pissed Jeans, Protomartyr, Red Fang but it sure doesn’t feel like a deep playing field. Are there any bands of that ilk hitting the mark for you?

On a more personal note, some of you may know that I play bass in the band Charlie Horse. We’ve got a new album out in October with release shows lined up in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane as well as a trip across the Tasman to play a few dates in New Zealand so things are going to get busy with all things band and blogging. Last week we played two support slots for Irish band Ash who were playing their great album 1977 in full. Sydney and Brisbane were a blast and we rounded out the week by playing PJ Harvey’s To Bring You My Love LP in full at the Brisbane Powerhouse. Seeing as this column is intended to cover everything I encounter musically I figured there may be some interest in the occasional insight into recording, touring etc. so I’ll include some highlights every now and then in the Eight Days A Week dispatches.

If you are a fan of Americana music, whether it be alt-country, folk, rockabilly, blues (or like me, all of the above) you should check out my other blog Post To Wire which looks specifically at those musical forms with reviews, news, videos etc. There tends to be a focus on the Australian and New Zealand scenes but I try to cover everything good that I come across from mid century hillbilly boogie to the latest Texas troubadour.

Finally it was exciting to find out Doubtful Sounds (and also Post To Wire) have been included in the 20 finalists of the music blog category of the 2013 Pedestrian.TV Ultrabook Blogster Awards. This the second year running DS has been a finalist so we’re pretty happy just to be one of the blogs in the running for the award. Congrats to all the other finalists too. We’ll be reminding (hassling) you to throw a vote our way over the next 4 weeks and I’ll keep you informed about how we go.

PTW 2013

LIVE REVIEW: St Jerome’s Laneway Festival @ Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney (02/02/13)

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by Chris Familton

The biggest thought on most punters minds as they awoke was how the weather was going to affect the Sydney leg of this years Laneway Festival. Showers and wind were forecast, a contrast to previous years of hot sunny days encased in the sandstone walls of Rozelle’s SCA. The anticipated weather did intermittently sweep through the grounds but as is usually the case it served to galvanise the crowd and create a roll-with-it mood amongst the sea of plastic-clad revellers imbibing cider and sliding down slippery grass slopes.

On arrival one of the first tasks was to orient oneself with the new layout. The site had been expanded outside the immediate college buildings and now included the large sloping field near the entrance housing the main stage and a smaller adjacent one. The Courtyard Stage had always had issues of sight-lines and acoustics for the bigger acts so these changes were an excellent development alongside further diversification of the food on offer.

Much had been said about the curious timetabling decision to have Norwegians Kings of Convenience open the day but they were given a generous hour long set and they proved to be the perfect way to ease into the festival vibe with their sublime acoustic-based folk and endearing sense of humour. They added a full band for the 2nd half of their set, showcasing a wider angle to their sound.

Kings of Convenience
Kings of Convenience
Henry Wagons
Henry Wagons

Henry Wagons, in contrast to the twee openers, was his usual ball of humour and country rock. Playing tracks from his Expecting Company album and a superb Wanda Jackson cover he encouraged audience participation in the form of hangman’s noose death gurgles as he danced and lurched through the first few rows.

Twerps and their jangly US pop cousins Real Estate played back to back and though their music is perfectly suited for outdoor listening Real Estate’s sound mix meant they didn’t quite gel compared to the blissed out guitar pop of Twerps whose Dreamin’ was the first song of the day to hit the audience sweet spot.

Diversity has always been a hallmark of the festival curators and this year the harder, faster and heavier end of the spectrum was filled by The Men, Cloud Nothings and Japandroids. The latter two enjoyed the larger crowds and some fervent crowd surfing and projectile throwing due to their spots later on the bill but The Men were the more revelatory of the three, locking in with a rush of punk and psych-rock intensity and dalliances with country music. Japandroids were suffered a muddy kick-drum heavy mix but the fans were oblivious, caught up in the anthemic punk maelstrom.

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With the larger acts programmed on the new Park Stage it become the focal point for the crowds who draped themselves over the hillsides and it must have been a magical sight for the musicians gazing up the palm tree dotted slopes. In the wake of Hottest 100 success The Rubens, Of Monsters & Men and Alt-J drew predictably large and celebratory crowds. They sat on shoulders, swayed and screamed along but musically he first two offered little in terms of musical highlights. They sounded like generic music for a generic festival audience but that is the whole point of Laneway, it caters to many tastes from people there purely for the music to those there for the communal festival experience.

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Julia Holter

Hitting the smaller stages meant discovering artists with a smaller core fan-base. Julia Holter’s sublime voice cut a path through the drizzling rain offering respite from some of the grand gestures on the main stages while EL-P showed just why he is so respected as an underground hip hop artist with his intense rapid fire rhyming over a live band that created some futuristic and often dystopian beats. Jessie Ware was probably the oddest inclusion on the line-up in the sense that hers is a contemporary R&B sound but she proved another highlight with a voice that killed it live and a band that knew the importance of less is more and the power of bass. The crowning glory of the Future Classic curated stage came late in the night with Nicolas Jaar who drew a surprisingly large crowd seeing as he was up against local hero Flume. The sonic clarity of his futuristic electronica made for a wonderfully immersive set that impressed with its musical details rather than big beats or crescendo build-ups.

While Bat For Lashes entranced the majority of the audience with her elegant and creative pop music, Divine Fits were putting the exclamation mark on the festival playing their superb debut album and musically summing up the sounds of the day with their mix of pop melodies, inventive rhythms and an equal dose of rock. The twin vocals of Britt Daniels and Dan Boeckner rang clear into the night and their last song, a cover of Rowland S. Howard’s Shivers felt like the perfect conclusion to a day that saw the expansion and improvement of the Laneway Festival while still retaining a firm hand on the pulse of eclectic contemporary music.

this review was first published on FasterLouder

NEWS: Laneway Festival sideshows announced…

They’ve been coming thick and fast all morning so here is a summary of the Laneway sideshows. As per usual there are the horrible clashes like The Horrors and Girls playing the same night as well as Yuck/EMA, M83 and Austra all on the same night in Sydney…

GIRLS

  • Thursday, 2nd February 2012 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
  • Wednesday, 8th February 2012 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne

THE HORRORS

  • Thursday, 2nd February 2012 – Metro Theatre, Sydney

YUCK + EMA

  • Friday February 3rd – East Brunswick Club, Melbourne
  • Thursday February 9th – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney

ANNA CALVI

  • Friday 3rd February 2012 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne (18+)
  • Wednesday 8th February 2012 – Metro Theatre (18+), Sydney

THE DRUMS + CULTS (CO-HEADLINE SHOWS)

  • Friday 3rd February 2012 – Palace Theatre, Melbourne (18+)
  • Wednesday 8th February 2012 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (All Ages)

FEIST

  • Wednesday 1st February 2012 – Palais Theatre, Melbourne (All Ages)
  • Tuesday 7th February 2012 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (All Ages)
  • Thursday 9th February – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide (All Ages)

GLASSER

  • Wednesday 1st February 2012 – The Toff in Town, Melbourne (18+)
  • Wednesday 8th February 2012 – The Standard, Sydney (18+)
GIVERS/PORTUGAL.THE MAN/GUINEAFOWL
  • Tuesday 7th February 2012 – Metro Theatre, Sydney

SBTRKT (LIVE)

  • Friday 3rd February 2012 – Metro Theatre, Sydney

M83

  • Friday 3rd February 2012 – The Prince Bandroom, Melbourne (18+)
  • Thursday 9th February 2012 – Metro Theatre, Sydney (18+)

TWIN SHADOW

  • Wednesday 1st February 2012 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne (18+)
  • Monday 6th February 2012 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (18+)

WU LYF

  • Thursday 2nd February 2012 – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne (18+)
  • Monday 6th February 2012 – Metro Theatre, Sydney (18+)

ACTIVE CHILD

  • Sunday 29 January – Oxford Art Factory – Sydney
  • Wednesday 8 February – East Brunswick Club – Melbourne

AUSTRA

  • Thursday 2 February – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
  • Thursday 9 February – The Basement, Sydney

NEWS: Laneway Festival 2012 line-up announced…

Laneway today announced its line-up for the 2012 event and it’s a damn impressive one. Sure there are the buzz bands of the moment like Washed Out and Active Child who don’t don’t really measure up to the hype tossed their way but the list of bands promises to be one of the best that Laneway has hosted to date. Note to organisers – make sure Girls are playing at sunset, The Horrors are playing after dark and M83 finish the night on the main stage.

In order of Doubtful Sounds excellence here is the line-up for Australia:

  • Girls
  • The Horrors
  • M83
  • Austra
  • Anna Calvi
  • EMA
  • Feist (except Adelaide^)
  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
  • Pajama Club
  • Yuck
  • Total Control
  • Twin Shadow
  • SBTRKT (live)
  • Cults
  • DZ Deathrays
  • Active Child
  • Bullion
  • Chairlift (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne only)
  • The Drums
  • Geoffry O’Connor
  • Givers (Sydney, Melbourne only)
  • Glasser
  • Husky (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne only)
  • John Talabot
  • Jonti
  • Laura Marling
  • Oneman
  • The Panics
  • Portugal The Man
  • Toro Y Moi
  • Washed Out
  • Wu Lyf

^Feist will be playing a one-off show in Adelaide at the Thebarton Theatre

New Zealand line-up:

  • Feist
  • The Horrors
  • Gotye
  • Laura Marling
  • Pajama Club
  • SBTRKT(Live)
  • Shayne P Carter
  • Washed Out
  • Twin Shadow
  • Anna Calvi
  • M83
  • Cults
  • Girls
  • EMA
  • Yuck
  • Toro Y Moi
  • Wu Lyf
  • Glasser
  • Opossom
  • The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
  • Austra
  • Transistors

Tickets are on sale October 19th.

Brisbane – Saturday 28th January , Alexandria Street, Fortitude Valley
Auckland – Monday 30th January , Silo Park, Beaumont Street
Melbourne – Saturday 4th February, Footscray Community Arts Centre
Sydney – Sunday 5th February, Sydney College Of The Arts
Adelaide – Friday 10th February, Fowler’s Live
Perth – Saturday 11th February, Perth Cultural Centre
Singapore – Sunday 12th February, Fort Canning

NEWS: Dates and venues announced for Laneway 2012…

BRISBANE – SATURDAY 28th JANUARY 2012

Alexandria Street, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

 

AUCKLAND – MONDAY 30th JANUARY 2012

Silo Park, Beaumont Street. Auckland

 

MELBOURNE – SATURDAY 4th FEBRUARY 2012

Footscray Community Arts Centre – 45 Moreland Street, Footscray VIC 3011

 

SYDNEY – SUNDAY 5th FEBRUARY 2012

Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) – Balmain Road, Rozelle NSW 2039

 

ADELAIDE – FRIDAY 10th FEBRUARY 2012

Fowler’s Live – 68-70 North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000

 

PERTH – SATURDAY 11th FEBRUARY 2012

Perth Cultural Centre – Beaufort Street, Perth WA 6000

 

SINGAPORE – SUNDAY 12th FEBRUARY 2012

Fort Canning, Canning Rise, Singapore

 

LINE-UP ANNOUNCEMENT MONDAY 10th OCTOBER 2012.

NEWS: Laneway Festival 2011 line-up revealed…

Les Savy Fav

In our books Laneway is always the most interesting and anticipated Austalia/New Zealand festival of the year and 2011 looks as great as ever with today’s announcement…

  • Deerhunter
  • Yeasayer
  • Les Savy Fav
  • Beach House
  • Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
  • Blonde Redhead
  • Holy Fuck
  • !! (Chk Chk Chk)
  • The Antlers
  • Bear In Heaven
  • Cloud Control
  • Cut Copy
  • Violent Soho
  • Foals
  • Gotye
  • The Holidays
  • Jenny & Johnny
  • Warpaint
  • Local Natives
  • Menomena
  • Pvt
  • Rat Vs Possum (Excluding Perth)
  • Stornoway
  • Two Door Cinema Club
  • World’s End Press

Tour Dates

Monday 31st January 2011 – Aotea Square, Auckland
Friday 4th February 2011 – Alexandria St off St Paul’s Terrace, Brisbane
Saturday 5th February 2011 – Footscray Community Arts Centre, Melbourne
Sunday 6th February 2011 – Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney
Friday 11th February 2011 – Fowler’s Live, North Terrace, Adelaide
Saturday 12th February 2011 – Cultural Centre, Northbridge, Perth

Tickets for the 2011 St Jerome’s Laneway Festival go on sale Wednesday 20th October at 9am.