NEW MUSIC: Jep and Dep – Helpless City

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Sydney duo Jep and Dep are releasing their sophomore album THEY’VEBEENCALLED this week and as well as a release show last The Gaelic Club on Friday (see below), they’ve just released the second single from the album – ‘Helpless City’. Check out the impressive clip – the perfect accompaniment to a song about encroaching gentrification and what happens when the heart of a city is slowly but surely concreted over and the human spirit is dampened and demoralised. It’s all beautifully rendered in intimate and haunting reverb and an eerie mood.

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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…

ShaqDiesel

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.

LIVE IN SYDNEY: Jamie Hutchings Solo @ Camelot Lounge

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Jamie Hutchings (Bluebottle Kiss, Infinity Broke) is playing another of his solo, career spanning shows this Thursday at Camelot Lounge in Marrickville. The solo format of the evening is a great one where he takes a swing at prominent songs from his catalogue plus fan requests and a bit more insight into the songs than you might get at a regular gig.

Camelot Lounge is a great spot too, plenty of seats, food, great sound. Get along early to catch folk noir duo Jep and Dep who will be previewing songs from their upcoming 2nd LP.

Here’s our review of the first retrospective show Hutchings played at Camelot Lounge early last year.

Doors 7PM

Jep and Dep 8PM

Jamie Hutchings 9PM

Check out the Facebook Event for further details.

 

SONIC KICKS: Jamie Hutchings

Sonic KicksHutchings

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.

ALBUM REVIEW: Jane’s Addiction | Live In NYC

by Chris Familton

Rating7.5square-600-8Recorded at Terminal 5 in New York in July 2011, Live In NYC marked the release of Jane’s Addiction’s most recent studio album The Great Escape Artist. As with most live albums you are left with a ‘you had to be there’ feeling but as far as aural representations of live shows go this is a dynamic, visceral and sonically engaging recording.

The band naturally lean heavily on many of their biggest songs with all being essentials in the JA canon aside from the lone track from The Great Escape Artist in Irresistible Force (Met The Immovable Object) though that more than stands it ground amid the classics. It shows the band taking their sound and expanding it to widescreen in an epic grandiose fashion, sounding far superior to the album version. Elsewhere Ocean Size is a battering ram of Stephen Perkins’ superb drumming and finds Perry Farrell at his best, pitching his voice high and far into the audience, laced with reverb and delay. He throws in a “come on motherfucker” before Dave Navarro unleashes another of his wah drenched, cosmic shredding solos. For fans Three Days is perhaps the band’s finest moment and here it is a masterclass in the building and release of tension via a glorious rock n roll climax.

The quartet round out the set with their signature song Jane Says, reminding us again of their ability to combine power and restraint, sex and religion, raw emotion and pretension in rock music. This release is really a document for the fans but if anyone asks if Jane’s Addiction are a great live band this will provide the answer.

this review was first published on themusic.com.au

ALBUM REVIEW: Depeche Mode | Delta Machine

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by Chris Familton

square-600-7Rating7Depeche Mode have had a wonderful evolution and trajectory from their early lightweight disposable pop through the departure of Vince Clarke and Martin Gore’s rapid mastery of the fast changing technology in 80s music, to their peak as masters of psycho-sexual electronic pop music that finely balanced raw emotion and a self-constructed paradigm of art pop and futuristic rock n roll.

Post Songs of Faith and Devotion in 1993 the band settled into a rut of trying to make sense of their music as we all hurtled toward the end of the century. Their conundrum was whether to reinvent themselves or stick to the tried and true. They opted for the latter with minor tweaks but the resulting four albums were the band sounding lost and with only brief flashes of brilliance. Each was hailed in some quarters as a potential return to form but but upon review none of them hit the mark as full-length albums in the league of Black Celebration, Music For The Masses or Violator.

Fast forward to 2013 and the trio appear to be completely resigned to the fact that their ongoing success is down to the template they created on that run of albums and their phenomenal success of their live shows. Hence Delta Machine offers zero surprises in terms of new musical advances or lyrical diversions into new territories. They employ the same balanced mix of retro futurism built on Gore’s masterful songwriting and programming skills and Gahan’s voice that sees him often touted as one of the finest vocalists of the last thirty years, especially his ability to straddle the worlds of electronic, pop and rock music.

Across the album Gahan’s singing is as strong as ever and on Should Be Higher he even makes a bold attempt at pushing his vocal cords high into his range with the notes straining to their limit and peaking into a wonderful brief falsetto. It is his finest moment on the album, almost making up for the album’s average lyrics. The sound of Depeche Mode and its presentation have always been the preeminent keys to the appeal of the band. For the most part their songs never feel like intimate glimpses into the hearts and minds of Gore or Gahan and nothing changes that impression on Delta Machine. The familiar themes of sexuality, sin, guilt and redemption abound with religious metaphors coming thick and fast. Anyone coming to Depeche Mode with fresh ears will probably cringe at many of the lyrics but for those who have a history with the band it will be familiar territory.

Gore almost always gets a solo run on Depeche Mode albums and here he gets that chance in the vocal spotlight with The Child Inside that sounds like a sequel to Little 15 or I Want You Now on a billowing, faintly ominous bed of keys that acts as an an oasis of sorts amid Gahan’s masculine singing.

The first two songs that appeared online are the strongest on the album. Angel is a caustic and dirty minimal industrial groove with Gahan doing his sleazy Dave to great effect. The song kicks and bites yet Gore’s falsetto backing vocals balance it out before the beat doubles mid-song and it takes off. Heaven is almost the antithesis in that it is a slow and stately ballad with a glorious aching quality to the vocals amid some stuttering drum programming and Gore’s guitar phrasing reminiscent of the band Earth.

The most adventurous and contemporary song on Delta Machine is My Little Universe with its use of space and minimal electronics that embrace modern musical trends with retro components. It builds and holds tension without the need for a grandiose chorus and finds them at the most restrained and understated, a quality that is reinforced when they do go for the big glam chorus on songs like Soft Touch/Raw Nerve which comes off as cheap and lacking substance.

Depeche Mode leave us with the obviously titled Goodbye that ends Delta Machine on a high note with its bluesy stomp and twinkling synths. The subdued rhythms strongly recall Behind The Wheel and Personal Jesus but the song possesses quite a different Depeche Mode sounding chorus of uplifting grandeur that will no doubt sound huge live. For an album that highlights the band’s undeniable strengths – and glaring weaknesses, this is ultimately a very good album. It doesn’t get close to their career highlights but it does show that Gore and Gahan still have gas left in their songwriting tank and a reason to keep writing and recording together after thirty three years.

this review was first published on undertheradar.co.nz

 

NEWS: R.E.M. release 25th anniversary edition of ‘Green’.

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Out this week is the latest of R.E.M.’s reissues that have been released on a regular basis since the band officially called it a day in 2011. Green was released in 1988 and here at DS we rate this as our favourite R.E.M. LP with Automatic For The People pushing hard for the same honour. With a raft of singles that infiltrated international charts it saw the band finding a balance between their artier inclinations and the pure guitar pop melodies that permeate much of the record.

R.E.M., Green: 25th Anniversary Edition (Warner Bros./Rhino, 2013)

Disc 1: Remastered original LP (originally released as Warner Bros. 25795, 1988)

  1. Pop Song 89
  2. Get Up
  3. You Are the Everything
  4. Stand
  5. World Leader Pretend
  6. The Wrong Child
  7. Orange Crush
  8. Turn You Inside-Out
  9. Hairshirt
  10. I Remember California
  11. 11/Unititled

Disc 2: Live at the Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC – 11/10/1989

  1. Stand
  2. The One I Love
  3. Turn You Inside Out
  4. Belong
  5. Exhuming McCarthy
  6. Good Advices
  7. Orange Crush
  8. Cuyahoga
  9. These Days
  10. World Leader Pretend
  11. I Believe
  12. Get Up
  13. Life and How to Live It
  14. Its the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine)
  15. Pop Song 89
  16. Fall on Me
  17. You Are the Everything
  18. Begin The Begin
  19. Low
  20. Finest Worksong
  21. Perfect Circle

R.E.M., Live in Greensboro EP (Warner Bros./Rhino, 2013)

  1. So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)
  2. Feeling Gravitys Pull
  3. Strange
  4. King of Birds
  5. I Remember California