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.