Why You Should go to the Maths and Magic Showcase

1.It’s on tonight on the Grace Darling. A band with terrible banter once informed me that the Grace Darling was named after a lady who saved 13 men from a sinking ship in the 1800s. So that’s pretty cool.

2.How often do you get to see a showcase, a single launch and a homecoming gig all in the same night? Probably not often enough.

3. The bands are all awesome. All of them.

4. Owls of the Swamp has just returned from Europe. It’s his first show back in Melbourne which means new songs and interesting banter. Not that his banter is ever boring. He brings the dad jokes.

5. Elephant Eyes are fantastic live and just keep getting better and better. It’s their single launch and it’s an awesome song.

6. Siobhan is scarily young and talented. You should see her now to say otu saw her first to impress your super indie friends in a year or so.

7. It’s only $10 and for the cost of a pizza, you really can’t go wrong.

 

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Splendour Sideshows

Splendour in the Grass sold out in 42 minutes this year. And while most of the exciting bands (well, pretty much all of them really) were only playing the festival, some of the bands further down the poster announced sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne.

My personal picks for sideshows are The Shins (tickets went on sale today), former Fleet Fox Father John Misty and Youth Lagoon who was here only a few months ago.

All tickets are on sale at 9am on May 4.

The Afghan Whigs Splendour sideshows:
Wednesday July 25th – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne
Thursday July 26th – The Factory Theatre, Sydney

Band Of Skulls Splendour sideshows:
Thursday July 26th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Friday July 27th – The Factory Theatre, Sydney

Michael Kiwanuka Splendour sideshows with Ben Howard:
Tuesday July 24th – The Factory Theatre, Sydney
Wednesday July 25th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Django Django Splendour sideshows with The Cast Of Cheers:
Tuesday July 31st – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Wednesday August 1st – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

Howler Splendour sideshows with Zulu Winter:
Tuesday July 24th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Wednesday July 25th – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

Friends Splendour sideshows:
Wednesday July 25th – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Thursday July 26th – The Standard, Sydney

Electric Guest SPlendour sideshows:
Tuesday July 31st – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Wednesday August 1st – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne

Father John Misty Splendour sideshows:
Friday July 27th – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Saturday July 28th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Youth Lagoon Splendour sideshows:
Saturday July 28th – The Factory Theatre, Sydney
Sunday July 29th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Seth Lakeman Interview

Long before Mumford and Sons were winning the Hottest 100 and Laura Marling was being a teenage prodigy, Seth Lakeman was being dragged to his parents’ folk club every Sunday. Since then he has been nominated for a Mercury Prize, sold thousands of albums and played some of the biggest festivals in the UK. Despite this, he recorded his latest album Tales From the Barrel House in a mine using tools and chains as percussion.

“I wanted to play all the instruments on the album because there are all these stories of people who worked with their hands, and I wanted to do it with my own hands” says Lakeman, “The album has defiantly got an edge to it that is cohesive and it continues throughout the whole record. But there’s no doubt you can add other stuff to it a background singer and some conventional percussion but I think it’s left at a place where it represents the songs really well.”

However despite his enthusiasm for the record, his first since leaving EMI, he was hesitant to release it commercially. Instead he made it available as a limited edition release from his website.

“We sold 10,000 within a month and a half and then we released it here again commercially and digitally. Thankfully it’s spreading out to other areas. I’m really happy the happened”

It isn’t just his recorded output that’s been making waves. Having played almost every major UK festival, and an endless list of venues, we’ll finally have a chance to witness his live show this month as he tours Australia for first time. But he’s quick to warn me that it won’t a formal, sit-down affair.

“Over here we like to play stand up shows and people want to dance and drink and enjoy it.” He laughs, “It’s really driving and all the stories are there from the couple of records that we’ve got, but also we try and give people a really good time.”

The venues on this tour are a far cry from the large ones Lakeman and his band play in the UK, with many half the size. But rather than seeing this as a downside, Lakeman is excited about how it will sound.

“Thankfully because we play acoustic instruments they translate better on a smaller stage or pub than a bigger venue. We don’t like playing in this country to 900 people because with the instruments we’ve got we can only get so far with them. We’ll be ripping them apart when we play and shredding them but there’s no doubt it works really well in a smaller, intimate environment. Much better, I think.”

 

Local troubadour Carus Thompson will joining Lakeman along for the ride after spending a lot time touring around Europe. It seems the two of them have quite a history.

Me and Carus have known each other for about 10 years. He comes over here a lot performing and he’s come along as support about three or four times. So it’s about time,” Lakeman laughs.

While his Mercury Prize nomination marked a turning point in the mainstream success of folk, he doesn’t feel threatened by other artists stealing the limelight. In fact, he believes it is a good thing.

“In the UK folk music has always been pretty steady of a genre and the way it’s broken out in this country and has spread to other territories is definitely a trend thing I think.” He pauses before adding “. But it’s exciting for folk music because you can ride the coattails of that.”

Saturday 7 April  Harvester Moon
2330 Portarlington Rd, Bellarine VIC

Sunday 8 April – Bennetts Lane,
25 Bennetts Lane, Melbourne VIC

Monday 9 April – Bennetts Lane,
25 Bennetts Lane, Melbourne VIC

Tuesday 10 April – The Vanguard
42 King St, Newtown, Sydney NSW

Thursday 12 April – Clancy’s Fish Pub

51 Cantonment st, Fremantle WA

Friday 13 April – The Hyde Park Hotel
331 Bulwer St, North Perth WA

Saturday 14 April – Fairbridge Festival
Fairbridge WA

Sunday 15 April – Fairbridge Festival
Fairbridge WA

Music News Round-Up

Did everyone have a good long weekend? I spent mine camping with my family in the rain. Next to a tent that almost exclusively played dubstep and another who had a baby. Never again.

Anyway, here’s some music news to accompany your hangover.

 

After one album and countless drummers, Philadelphia Grand Jury have called it quits for good. The band announced a hiatus is March, but today they revealed on Twitter that the band has broken up:

“After years of touring together, recording together, working together and living together, we’ve decided we need our own space. Big, big thanks to everyone who has supported us and given us the opportunity to have what is pretty much a dream existence. Most of all, thanks to all the drummers that have put up with us both.”

The band were incredibly fun live and Hope is for Hopers, although cheesy in places, still holds up well. It’s a real shame to see them go.

 

This is the first result for the BDO on google images. Yup.

Viven Lees and Ken West, the promoters behind The Big Day Out parted ways after 20 years. Lees has pulled out of the partnership, stating that he wants to spend more time with his family. Ken West will become the festivals sole promoter.

AJ Maddah is continuing his run of being the most frustrating promoter in Australia.

Hole have pulled out of Soundwave 2012, which of course resulted in a spate of hilarious tweets.

As far as Harvest news goes, Kevin Devine’s sideshows were cancelled with no proper announcement (I’m still mad) and festival attendees in Brisbane and Sydney can only bring one sandwich (no word on baguette or rolls).

The full details for travel announcements, etc can be found here.

 

First Aid Kit sideshows

Ridiculously talented Swedish sisters, First Aid Kit will be returning to Australia in March.

The band will be down here for Golden Plains but will also play shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

If their history is anything to go by, this might be the last time we get to see them in such intimate venues. With a Fleet Foxes cover that has over 2,000,000 views on youtube (take that Bieber), an impressive debut album and the ability to move Patti Smith to tears, these girls have massive things ahead of them.

They will also be releasing their second album The Lion’s Roar on the 27th of January.

Their Australian dates are:

Wednesday 14th March – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Thursday 15th March – The Standard, Sydney
Friday 16th March – The Zoo, Brisbane

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Aleks and the Ramps Video

It’s hard to talk about Aleks and the Ramps without using the Q word. Not because they wear fun socks, or exclusively play xylophone, but because you can never quite tell what they’re going to throw at you next.

The band have a new album due out  on the 14 of February and the first single Middle Aged Unicorn on Beach With Sunset outshines it’s terrible name by being ten types of brilliant. The lyrics are witty and the delivery could almost match Stephin Merrit on the sarcastic baritone front. And it’s catchier than herpes.

The video for the song features setting soft toys on fire, trampolines and smoke machines and was made by Aleks himself. Awesome? You bet it is.

 

Short Stack Q&A

One of my favourite things about this blog is being able to interview bands that range from small locals who deserve more recognition to brilliant songwriters who are regarded by many as national treasures. So when the opportunity do to a Q&A with Short Stack’s Shaun Divney come about, naturally I said yes. Firstly I thought it would be interesting to get their perspective on things, and secondly I was curious about their decision to allow interviews with independent music bloggers, because let’s face it, being a little bit snarky is our thing. Nevertheless, they chose not to answer some of my questions, but here are the ones that they did.

The Story of Short Stack is a documentary about the band that will be shown in cinemas for one night only on October 27.  There will be a live Q&A and acoustic set at Event Cinemas in Sydney, which will be broadcast be satellite to selected cinemas in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. Each ticket comes with a free copy of the DVD.

How did the Story of Short Stack Movie come about?

We have always been broadcasting our journey via our Youtube channel since day one, but never actually gone into this much depth before. The DVD is the story we want people to know about us.

 Are you nervous about having the event screened live to so many places are will you just treat it like any other gig?

It’s not at all like a gig, and yeah I do feel a bit nervous as we are out of our comfort zone, but at the same time we love a challenge and this is a whole new and different experience.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The fact we are on our third album now and I’m only 22 is an achievement for me.

Most bands have their first album out in their late 20s and few rarely get a second or third.

I think the fact our music has reached so many people is a highlight for me.

 Where can you see the band in five years time?

We will keep playing music as long as we are enjoying it.

 Do you have any crazy stories?

Yes, once I killed a hooker.

What bands are you currently listening to?

I got the new Patrick Stump CD, it’s awesome.