Monday, July 28, 2008

From One Lover To Another

These last few weeks have been a time of great upheaval, if not for me personally, then definitely for pretty much everyone I know. It seems every second person I speak to has just been sacked, dumped, hospitalized, evicted, or all of the above. Some blame the moon, some blame the season, some blame just plain old dumb luck and coincidence. I don't blame anything at all. There's no real point in searching for a reason. With the weather the way it is, it's bound to rain shit in my particular neighbourhood sooner or later. What I'm struggling with is the language of sympathy. Words - usually my favoured means of communication - tend to fall jarringly short at times like this, leaving me feeling self-consciously useless. The best I can do is nod my head, offer hugs and hot chocolate, and suggest a Roberta Flack record that really helped last time the shitstorm came down on me. I hope, friends, that this is enough.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Black Water.

Despite the fact that no one else seems to, I listen to The Constantines a lot. And it struck me on the way to work the other day that their albums, in terms of quality, pretty much follow the same order as the Indiana Jones movies. The order, should you die wondering, goes 1 - 3 - 2 - 4. The Constantines could switch one and four, depending on mood. This is not to say that any of them are bad records - or bad movies - but rather that similar problems plague both sequels and consequent records. Evolution, changing circumstances, age... Harrison Ford and Bry Webb really need to get together and chat.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We Can Rely On Each Other.

Leith arrived home from Europe last night and brought with him a whole swag of records, including a belated birthday present for me: The Constantines and Feist 7". Their cover of Islands In The Stream is pretty much the cutest thing I've heard on a little record since The Promise Ring's Best Looking Boys.

Monday, July 14, 2008

You're The Best... Around

Holy shit, the Love Me You're Famous blog is up. Get there, get on board.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'll Take My Last Ten Bucks Just As Far As It Will Go.

When I was a kid, growing up in Stawell, a bunch of friends and I used to put on shows. In the beginning my participation in the organizing of these shows was pretty minimal, but as the older kids left, younger kids stepped up. Bands would come up from Melbourne, play the show, and usually drive the three hours back to the city. We'd organize a hall, perhaps run a bus from Ararat, convince the local community health centre to give us some money for a PA. I'm not quite sure why we thought it was important. I guess we'd seen Nirvana and Hole filmclips and somehow got the impression that there was something more out there, that we could begin to create our own community - or at least our own sense of community - by bringing to the countryside bands that gave voice to the way we were feeling. And, for the most part, these bands did. And we pretty much behaved in the way the kids in those filmclips behaved, stagediving, moshing, crashing into each other. Sometimes I feel like that was pretty much all there was to it. I certainly don't ever recall ever thinking to myself, "Wow, things are pretty shit up here in Stawell, what with the rednecks and the lack of decent quality existential angst, but at least there are people in Melbourne who know how I feel. Things are ok after all." But I guess I must've internalized it, somehow. There are, even for me now, times when I'll be considering some new concept, and I can tell I'm viewing it through the lens I've been unable to remove since the age of 14, a lens that was shaped by hundreds of shitty shows and conversations about records and poorly photocopied zines. Maybe stagediving and moshing and crashing into each other is enough at that age. Maybe that's all you need. Maybe that's the kind of elementary dumbness that community is based on, and every show and conversation and zine just builds on that.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

If You're Hurting, So Am I.

When it comes to winter projects, this is surely the best. My friend Nat is collecting love letters written to Daniel Larusso from Karate Kid 1-3. Not to the actor, to the character. If you're interested in participating, leave your email in the comments. I'll be in touch.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Roots! Rock! Reggae!

I'm going to be a little controversial tonight. When you're in a band and playing shows, I guess your number one aim is to share your art with a bunch of people. If you just wanted to create cool stuff you'd keep it in the bedroom. If you're out and about then your intentions are different, and that's ok. Now, surely you want to share your art with as many people as possible - without compromising it, of course (this isn't a major label / indie label rant. It's not 1995 any more, kids). And, if possible, you'd like to be able to make a living off your music, so you could concentrate completely on making kick ass art. Which is also fair enough. But I'm not sure if it's possible to do this as an indie rock or punk band living in Australia. Hell, as I mentioned before, I know a guy who was in both the Triffids and the Blackeyed Susans, and he still works a day job. Because we're such a small market, it's pretty much impossible to live off your music in Australia. And because we're such a small market, you could tour your ass off year round and still only play to a small bunch of people. So, if your aims are to reach a lot of people and to maybe one day live off your music, then perhaps staying in Australia isn't the right thing to do. Perhaps you should move to the US, see what life is like in a bigger pond, and maybe become the biggest fish you can be.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that maybe this is where the Diamond Sea are at. I mean, in saying this, I don't want to define success for them. I'm writing with the aforementioned assumptions in mind, and they may not apply. But their first record is about to come out, and word on the street (from me) has it that it's unbelievable. Their songs are well-written and constructed, their live shows are engaging and, well, they're tight. I know they've got a bunch of other stuff going on in their lives, and that maybe the band isn't their number one priority, but if they're serious about taking the band as far as they can then they should probably be trying to get someone to release that record in the States, then go over there and tour the hell out of it. They're an amazing band, and at times when I'm watching them I feel like Melbourne - and maybe even Australia - is just a little too small for them.