Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Settle The Score.

Them And Us.

So, Leith's auntie or cousin or something calls him up the other day and says "Hey, I was going to give you this cd a while ago. These guys gave it to me when I lived in the states. It's loud music. You should like it."

Leith is hesitant, thinking it would be some nu-metal band or something. But when she eventually hands it over he has a closer look, then sees Al Burian's name on it. Apparently this relative lived in Chapel Hill when all those kids did, and knew Al personally.

So Leith calls me up and tells me he has a cd of Al's pre-milemarker band. I get a little excited.
"Is it fucking hellbender?"
"Uh, yeah, that's right."
"You fucking cunt!"

All of the hellbender cds have, of course, been out of print for some time. Some may disagree, but I'd put the US ebay price of that cd somewhere around 75 bucks.

We listened to it tonight. It's pretty good.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Less I See, The Closer I Feel.

The Diamond Sea, Quebec, Majorca, My Disco and Ampere at Brunswick Arts Space, 24-05-08.

Tash and I had been hanging out all day, drinking coffee and entertaining a revolving cast of drop-ins and swing-bys. A pretty pleasant way to spend the afternoon, but kinda tiring. So when I made it home at around 4.30 I figured that it was time for a disco nap (you know, the nap you have so you won't get tired later in the evening). Bad idea.

When I woke it was around 6, and I was groggy as all hell. Biked up to Brunswick to find pretty much no-one there. Didn't really feel like making polite conversation, so wandered off to Tiba's to find some food. Called my ma on the phone. Sat and ate by myself, listening to Public Enemy on the ipod. Grumpy.

I wandered back to the show as the Diamond Sea were setting up, though at first I barely recognised them, due to an influx of new and amazing hairstyles. While I was disappointed to hear that Alicia didn't actually use a bowl to acquire hers, no one could even dare suggest that it's not a totally awesome 'do. Perhaps the new style has emboldened her, because she's doing a lot more backup vocals these days, and it totally, totally works for them. To be encouraged.

While they were playing I realised my feet were going numb. Fucking concrete floor. It would be a problem I would encounter all night. Should have worn two pairs of socks. And perhaps two pairs of pants. And a beanie.

Quebec were up next and were plagued by PA problems. For the most of their set I stood outside and talked to Riva about the Bill Henson fiasco, which was extremely pleasant. Don't be knocking pleasant in my company - it's highly underrated. I think I went searching for a coffee at this point, eventually finding one - strong, black and sweet - at some Greek cake shop which was playing the football. The Bombers were down by nine. Things are ok.

Majorca played and seemed emboldened by the presence of the American band. Tara holds the mic like it's an ice-cream cone and barrels backwards into the crowd. The new songs have a punkier edge and come off really well. I'm standing next to Zac and he's stoked on them. They play their Portraits of Past cover and everyone goes nuts. After their set I see the bassplayer from Ampere nodding approval at their guitarist, obviously impressed. Bet you didn't see that, did you, TJ.

My Disco start setting up and the place is suddenly crowded. I find it strange that this My Disco era - when they're perhaps the least sonically accessible they've ever been, all minimal and funk-tinged and obviously more influenced by French and German electronica than the Triple J rock they get lumped in with - is their most popular. Strange or not, it's true, and the kids get right into it, bouncing around with difficulty as the changing time signatures throw them out. Ben Andrews seems to be listening more to the rest of the band today, and there is less guitar wankery between songs. It's one of the best shows I've seen from them lately.

I had thought the crowd would thin out once the Disco had finished, but I was wrong - aside from Budge, who was apparently trying to catch Grover's set at the After Dark. They pushed forwards for Ampere, word about their impressive sets obviously spreading. And tonight they really ripped it apart, hurling themselves into things with reckless and often punishing abandon. Stephen crowdsurfs in the first song and gets poked in the eye for his trouble. I see TJ floating above the crowd at one point, reward for all the work and anxiety she put into this tour. The 'pit' is full of kids, and for once I'm not mildly irritated, but kinda stoked. The guitarist is doing guitarjumps and swinging his SG like it's a hammer, belting railway spikes into hardwood. They finish up but are convinced to play two more. As much as I'm totally stoked on it, I kinda want them to finish, as my feet are freezing and I too am keen to catch Grover's set. But some things are just not to be.

I meet up with Tash again later and we wander in to Meyer's Place. I'm still a little grumpy, but the night has mellowed me. We sit at the bar and I drink coffee. She talks to me about physics and I listen and try to understand. Leith texts from a wedding and tells us he's not going to make it. At around two we head back into the cold and go our separate ways. An early night.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Rats On Your Tail.

It also struck me, in my exile from the blogosphere, that I was being altogether too posi of late. So, in the interests of fair and balanced blogging, let me explain exactly why I thought Pathetic Human sucked: because they're a fashion-centric intelligence-deprived hipster band who will break up and be forgotten the day after the resident drug dealer in their lineup gets run out of town for facilitating an overdose. There.

Down By The Schoolyard.

And we're back. I go see a lot of bands, for a variety of different reasons. When I'm feeling angry and self-righteous, I go see punk rock bands. When I'm feeling cerebral and esoteric, I go see noise bands. But when I'm feeling fun, I go see I Heart Hiroshima. Ahh, if only they lived in Melbourne. What's so great about Brisbane anyway?

It's also a shame that IHH always play with such fucking terrible bands. On Saturday night it was Rocket Science, who for some reason have such a legion of taste-challenged fans that the show was sold out. In order to see IHH I was reduced to doing something which I fucking hate doing: asking for a door spot. Don't get me wrong, I love to get in for free, but asking for it feels dirty and wrong. After my pride was sufficiently swallowed and door spot wrangled I skipped straight up the front. A quick exhortation from Susie to "make it 8/10" and they lauch into things.

It's immediately apparent that they have exceeded Susie's expectations. They are playing so well that even they notice, claiming that the version of one song was "the best they ever played". Now, in my forced absence I dwelt long on this blog and its purpose, and couldn't really think of anything. But I did notice that lately I've been avoiding actually describing bands. So here's my attempt at explaining why IHH were rocking it so goddamn hard last night.

A lot of their songs are mid-paced, allowing for optimum head-nodding. Lyrics are mystical, but with an undercurrent of melancholy that makes them seem, you know, meaningful. The guitar interplay builds pressure which is eventually released (indeed, the restraint shown by IHH is an underrated quality) in fully fledged rocking out. They have different amps and different guitar sounds - indeed, one guitar sounds so springy that I'm almost convinced he has broken rubber bands instead of springs, whereas the other guitar is sharp and more traditional. The two - and, on Saturday, sometimes three - voices creates a nice juxtaposition. Their natural focal point sits up high above the drums, cracking jokes, posing out and generally being hilarious and naturally good at life. There's very little pretension here - it's a stripped down sound, with space being as important as notes (like the poets say). That's what they're like. Poppy, angular and sharp. Yep.

So, after IHH finish I split, and eventually end up dancing to Etta James at Gimme Shelter. Which was nice.