The Middle East call it quits…again

Today Townsville band The Middle East announced that they were playing their final show during their set at Splendour in the Grass today.

It isn’t the first time they’ve called it a day: in 2008 they broke up and reformed one year later to release The Recordings of the Middle East EP. It’s unclear how likely this latest announcement is to be serious seeing that the band released their first official album I Want That You Are Always Happy earlier this year.

It’s a shame really. While their album was long and bloated, their EP hinted at amazing potential even if they will never reach the heights of Blood again.

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Harvest Festival Line-Up

 

Australian music festivals have some serious work to do. For too long we’ve had to deal with inflated ticket prices, repeated Big Day Out bands and those local acts who  you don’t really want to see but somehow make it onto every single line-up ever.

Things are looking up, however with another quality festival making its way to our shores this year. Harvest Festival, promoted by Soundwave’s AJ Maddah, takes the quality above quantity approach and although the clashes will make you cry, it’s set to be completely awesome.

The Flaming Lips
Portishead
Bright Eyes
The National
Mercury Rev
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Family Stone
Holy Fuck
Death In Vegas
The Walkmen
Dappled Cities
This Town Needs Guns
Foxy Shazam
PVT
The Holidays
Phosphorescent
Kormac’s Big Band
with more to be added

The dates are:

Saturday 12th November – Werribee Park, Melbourne
Sunday 13th November – Parramatta Park, Sydney
Saturday 19th November – Botanical Gardens, Brisbane

Early Bird tickets go on sale Tuesday 26 July at noon til sell-out or Friday 29 July at 5pm.
$135 inc GST + Booking fees

General Public tickets go on sale Thursday 4th August at 9:00am
$150 incl GST + Booking Fees

Buchanan Q&A

 

Buchanan (pronounced bew-cannon) were one of my Laneway Festival highlights and their No Photo EP has been getting quite a workout on my stereo in recent weeks. I did a quick Q&A with lead singer Josh Simons ahead of their shows with Jinja Safari this weekend.

 

How would you describe your sound?

The perfect balance between the Spice Girls and Radiohead! Or rather, soft rock at its heaviest.

How did the band form?

An attempt to salvage another band turned into the formation of this one. It happened kind of unplanned after a small jam session where we tried to get some production ideas down which ended up being some of our earlier songs.

 What was it like playing Laneway Festival?

Incredible, nerve-wracking and fun all bundled into one. Probably one of our best shows to date. We’re very grateful to Triple J for that opportunity.

Is the title of the No Photo EP a response to hating publicity photos?

The idea behind the name was kind of a response to social media where if you don’t have a picture that represents you, some guy in some office somewhere has designed this graphic of a silhouette which usually has the words “NO PHOTO” printed over it. So we thought, what if this relatively new idea existed sometime in the 18th century, what photo might they use to represent someone who hasn’t got around to choosing their favourite photo of themselves. I think that makes sense!

 

What’s next for you guys?

We’re in the middle of a tour that has us playing in Sydney and Adelaide, as well as supporting Jinja Safari and Trial Kennedy back in Melbourne. We’ve also just started recording our follow-up to No Photo. We’re not sure whether it will be another EP or a full length record, but it’s sounding good!

The No-Photo EP is avaliable now. Buchanan will be playing at the Corner Hotel on Sunday supporting Jinja Safari. Tickets avaliable from www.cornerhotel.com

 

Okkervil River Are Coming To Melbourne

I’ve spent just over a week in Sydney and I’m already missing Melbourne. On the first night I arrived, I walked around the city thinking I was in another suburb, mostly because of the lack of laneways, public art and anything that vaguely resembles decent coffee.

While the Sydney Festival always attracts massive names, Melbourne is starting to catch up and tonight’s announcement of the musical program at the Melbourne Festival is quite impressive.

MONO, Kimya Dawson, Aseop Rock and Jello Biafra will all be down here for the festival, however the most exciting act is Okkervil River who’s most recent album I Am Very Far showcased a bigger sound for the band. Will Sheff will also be playing an acoustic set at The Toff which only has a capacity of 300.

Melbourne Festival shows at The Forum:
Friday 7th October – MONO (Japan), Wintercoats (Australia)
Saturday 8 October – Black Dice (USA), Lucky Dragons (USA)
Friday 14 October – Okkervil River (USA), Roller One (Australia)
Saturday 15 October – Aesop Rock, Kimya Dawson ft Rob Sonic & DJ Big Wiz (USA), The Narcicyst (Iraq), Omar Offendum (Syria)
Friday 21 October – Konono No.1 (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Bachelorette (New Zealand)
Saturday 22 October – Jello Biafra (USA)

Melbourne Festival shows at The Toff in Town:
Sunday 9 October – Sulumi (China), Qua (Australia)
Wednesday 12 October – Lucky Dragons (USA), Geoffrey O’Connor (Australia)
Sunday 16 October – Will Sheff (USA), Jimmy Stewart (Australia), Mike Noga (Australia)
Wednesday 19 October – Bachelorette (New Zealand), Rat Vs Possum (Australia)

Melbourne Festival shows at Meeniyan Town Hall:
Saturday 15 October – Okkervil River (USA)

Tallest Man On Earth Tour

 

The Tallest Man On Earth is possible the best thing to come out of Sweden since Ikea and he’ll be visting our shores in September.

There’s not much I can really say about his music that will do it justice. So instead, watch this video, swoon and buy a ticket to one of his shows.

 

Friday 21st October – The Powerhouse, Brisbane
Saturday 22nd October – The Factory Theatre, Sydney
Sunday 23rd October – Earth Station Festival, Belair National Park, Adelaide
Tuesday 25th October – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Wednesday 26th October – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Thursday 27th October – Rosemount Hotel, Perth
Saturday 29th October – Wave Rock Weekender, Hyden

Tickets on sale 15th July

Noah and the Whale Interview

Noah and the Whale are coming to Australia this month for the Splendour in the Grass Festival and will be playing sideshows in both Sydney and Melbourne. I was lucky enough to talk to the band’s lead singer Charlie Fink about their latest album The Last Night on Earth, Filmmaking and a possible upcoming tour.

This interview was brought to you from a shitty Sydney hostel, $8 an hour wi-fi and a ridiculous amount of swooning.

You guys are coming here for Splendour in the Grass. What can we expect from your Australian shows?

Charlie Fink: I think you’re getting us at a very good time, actually. We’ve just been on the road for 16 weeks so we’re a pretty well oiled machine now.

Will we get to hear stuff from your back catalogue as well as your new album?

CF: We try and play a pretty diverse set from all albums. I guess the old songs get re-imagined to sound more like the new record.

 Your new album sounds quite different to your previous work. Did you consciously decided to create a different sounding album, or did it just happen?

CF: I wanted to make a record that tested us as a band. I didn’t want to rely on what I’d previously done and try and discover new ground.

The Last Night On Earth sounds like a complete album, something that is beginning to get lost in the age of mp3s. Was it a conscious decision?

CF: With all of our records I try and make the record coherent where the songs are improved by being together. You know, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I think that’s really important. Pop songs have a lot more weight in that context.

I know you’re a big fan of film and even named your band after one (Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale). You also made a short film for The First Day of Spring. Do you have any plans for more  filmmaking?

CF: Yeah, I really want to do more film. I’m actually writing a short film at the moment that I’m hopefully going to shoot next summer. But yeah, I’d really love to do more film.

Bit of a random question, but how come you’re only doing shows in Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, rather than in other states?

CF: We’re going to come back in February to do more shows because we’ve got the Fuji Rock Festival a few days before Splendour and then we’ve got to do Lollapalooza in Chicago the week after so we’ve got a limited time. But we’re planning to come back.

Do you ever freak out about the big names you play with at festivals? At Splendour alone you’ve got bands like Pulp and Coldplay.

CF: You just have to focus on the time that you’ve got, you’re 40 minutes or whatever the best that you can. I always make a list of all the bands I want to see at the festivals we’re playing at and I never end up going to any of them. Lollapalooza has one of the best line-ups.

Are there any bands you’re hoping to catch at Splendour?

CF: Well, there’s an English band that we’re friends with called The Vaccines and if we’re not playing when they are I’d like to go and watch them.

You guys seem to tour a lot. Do you ever feel like you need a break?

CF: I guess so at some point. But right now I’m enjoying the shows.

Is there anything you’re looking forward to doing in Australia?

We have a new drummer who’s from Australia, near Griffith and he’s always telling everyone that Australia’s the best place in the world. So Australia’s got a lot to live up to. So I’m quite excited.

Do you think your next album is going to be a different sound altogether from The Last Night On Earth?

CF: Um, I don’t know really. I’m not against trying new things but I generally just go with my gut.

Thanks so much for talking to me.

CF: No worries. Take care.

Noah and the Whale are playing:

Tuesday 2nd August – Factory Theatre, Sydney
Wednesday 3rd August – Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Sydney

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I’m going to Sydney for the next two weeks on a work experience adventure. Yay!

In between photocopying, making coffee and pretending I’m a real PR person I hope to male it to a few gigs and hunt down cheap Sydney food (if it actually exists).

If you have any suggestions of things to do or want to keep updated, you can tweet me @eskeletonmusic

Also, Sydney Luna Park gives me nightmares.