SPECIAL SOUNDS FOR STRANGE TIMES: Romy Vager (RVG)

Over the last few months, one of the things many people have been turning to during periods of isolation during the pandemic is music. Music for distraction, companionship, solace and joy. Whatever the reason, putting on a favourite album or discovering something new that pulls you in and hits the spot, intellectually or emotionally, can be a great and wonderful experience. In this series we check in with musicians, journalists and broadcasters to see what has inspired repeat listening and provided some special sounds for these strange times.

RVG have always garnered great reviews but they’ve hit the jackpot with the recent release of their album Feral, gaining stellar reviews locally and internationally. Romy Vager, the creative force behind RVG (Romy Vager Group) kindly took the time to give us an insight into what records she’s been listening to and loving over the last few months.

Read our review of Feral.

“On Feral, Vager’s dissection of how it feels to be sidelined and disenfranchised is treated poetically and ultimately there’s a sense of hope and resilience that rises from the near perfect musical backdrop.”

Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains (2019)

“I’ve been forced to watch my friends enjoy ceaseless feasts of schadenfreude”. That’s a magic line, it’s a line Leonard Cohen could’ve written. The whole album is killer but those first three tracks, they’re like Harry Dean Stanton smoking bongs with the four horsemen of the apocalypse. 

I really also love the song ‘She’s Making Friends, I’m Turning Stranger’. I feel that one in my soul. Sometimes it feels as if some people are Eloi and some are Morlocks and there’s not a lot anyone can do about it. 

Daisy Chainsaw – Eleventeen (1992)

I’ve been listening to this again because it reminds me of a dear friend who passed away recently and who I always thought was the personification of this record. She liked this band and I feel the connection to her when I play it. Music’s good for that. I love how unhinged this record sounds. It’s like nothing else. I love the childlike language of it. It’s like a fucked up Alice In Wonderland but in a good way, not in a Tim Burton way. 

The Kinks – Face To Face (1966)

I keep thinking about when we were in London, we went to listen to Ray Davies in conversation at Rough Trade. You had to buy his new record to speak to him afterwards so instead we just stood in the corner and silently stared at him. We were in awe. I mean there was THE Ray Davies. He’s better than the fucking Beatles! 

Every Kinks record before 1974 is my favourite record but Face to Face is hitting me the hardest in quarantine. ‘Too Much on my Mind’ is the song I keep singing to myself in the shower. I love the simplicity of it, it’s beautiful and it’s true.

Sleaford Mods – Eton Alive (2019)

“He’s dead, yeah, he died. Can’t you remember? That’s what you’re here for”. I love that delivery. Adelaidians have a similar deadpan reaction to death as British people do. People from the East Coast are taken back by it. I guess that’s why they think we’re all serial killers.

This record has barely left the turntable since December of last year. One thing I’ve learnt about punk music, if you don’t have a touch of humility and tenderness then it’s just vanity and posturing. Unrelated but there’s a line from The Residents that says “ignorance of your culture is not considered cool”. I can almost hear that sentence in Jason’s voice. I love this band. 

FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2019

DS Favourite Albums 2019

Another fine year of music (isn’t it always?!) and one where we found ourselves heading in multiple directions with the kind of things we were seeking out and listening to. From metal to ambient, electronic to country music – there were aural gems to be discovered across the musical spectrum in 2019. Here then are 50 of our favourite albums from the year. The ones that we returned to the most, the ones that made us think, shake our heads to in physical release, or records that cut deeply and wisely, in a lyrical sense.

50. Pitch Black – Third Light
49. Tyler, The Creator – IGOR
48. J Majik – Full Circle
47. Sunn O))) – Life Metal
46. Lankum – The Livelong Day
45. Caterina Barbieri – Ecstatic Computation
44. Amyl & The Sniffers – Amyl & The Sniffers
43. Ryley Walker & Charles Rumjack – Little Common Twist
42. Moon Duo – Stars Are The Light
41. Warmduscher – Tainted Lunch
40. Baroness – Gold & Grey
39. Pixies – Beneath The Eyrie
38. Lambchop – This (Is what I wanted To Tell You)
37. HTRK – Venus In Leo
36. Cass McCombs – Tip Of The Sphere
35. Tony Molina – Songs From San Mateo County
34. Beastwars – IV
33. David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights – Bobbie’s A Girl
32. Underground Lovers – A Left Turn
31. Mannequin – Pussy Patience
30. Big Thief – Two Hands
29. Underworld – DRIFT Series 1
28. Earth – Full Upon Her Burning Lips
27. Tool – Fear Inoculum
26. The Chemical Brothers – No Geography
25. Sturgill Simpson – Sound & Fury
24. Jamie Hutchings – King Hits & Goldfish Memories
23. Chris Forsyth – All Time Present
22. Orville Peck – Pony
21. Sean McMahon – You Will Know When You’re There
20. Bruce Springsteen – Western Stars
19. Justin Townes Earle – The Saint Of Lost Causes
18. Lost Ragas – This Is Not A Dream
17. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
16. Tindersticks – No Treasure But Hope
15. Big Thief – U.F.O.F.
14. Aldous Harding – Designer
13. Mark Moldre – Fever Dreams
12. Bill Callahan – Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest
11. Eilen Jewell – Gypsy

10. Leonard Cohen – Thanks For The Dance
9. Neil Young with Crazy Horse – Colorado
8. Skyscraper Stan – Golden Boy Vol. I & II
7. Jake Xerxes Fussell – Out Of Sight
6. Omni – Networker
5. The Felice Brothers – Undress
4. The Delines – The Imperial
3. Ian Noe – Between The Country
2. Fontaines D.C. – Dogrel

  1. Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains

An exercise in arch self-analysis, Purple Mountains poses as many questions as it answers. It’s both universal and nakedly personal. It’s funny and entertaining too. It’s also a faultless and highly compelling record and the towering pinnacle of Berman’s work.