Monday, December 26, 2011

Best of 2011

This year, the local standouts for me have been …

1. Unicycles, Tiger Choir (Hobart)
2. Hunter's Moon, Feathers (Brisbane)
3. Meditations On The Sun, Melodie Nelson (Sydney)
4. Hurtsville, Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders (Sydney)
5. They Will Run, The Sea Thieves (Adelaide)

Dreams, Oliver Tank (Sydney)

Heavy Owen (Sydney)

Hookz 4 by Fishing (Sydney)

1. "The Summer Is Done With Us", Palms (Sydney)
2. "Late and Sedated", Noceans (Adelaide)
3. "Last Night I Saw Everything In Slow Motion", Oliver Tank (Sydney)
4. "Over Under", Magic Silver White (Melbourne)
5. "Waiting", Melodie Nelson (Sydney)
6. "Horses", High Highs (Sydney/Brooklyn)
7. "Cold Feet", Jack Ladder (Sydney)
8. "Bird on Shoulder", Tiger Choir (Hobart)
9. "Alisa", Cut Copy (Melbourne)
10. "Coast To Coast", Twerps (Melbourne)
11. "All Night Long", The Frowning Clouds (Geelong)
12. "Your Love", Peak Twins (Adelaide)
13. "Japanese Cymbals", White Palms (Brisbane)
14. "Keys and Locks Don't Work" Cat Cat (Canberra/Melbourne)
15. "Starting At The End", The Sea Thieves (Adelaide)
16. "Romulus", Voltaire Twins (Perth)
17. "Speak of the Devil", Hermitude (Sydney)
18. "Big Cats", Outerwaves (Brisbane)
19. "Left To Fight", Oblako Lodka (Melbourne)
20. "A Boat?", Caitlin Park (Sydney)

Also noteworthy: "Tuki Bird", Flwrgn (Sydney); "Carpet Rash", Total Control (Melbourne); "Ghostwalking", New War (Melbourne); "Hell & High Water" by A Casual End Mile (Sydney) and "Masaya", Taku (Perth).

Fishing (Sydney) on one end of the spectrum and Royal Headache (Sydney) on the other.

High Highs (from Sydney, now based in Brooklyn - started out the year giving out tracks for free on Bandcamp and now they're looked after by Elton John's management company).

Noceans (Adelaide)

Twerps (Melbourne) - "Dreamin'" and "Coast To Coast"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interview with Al Grigg (Palms)

Local Fidelity Thurs July 21 gig poster

The very charming, witty and "literal" Al Grigg (ex-Red Riders, now of Palms) dropped by the FBi studio on Sunday. You can hear my interview with him right over here.

He was also kind enough to play a song live in the studio:

Here are some of the songs he guest-programmed:

My Pal, God
Beginning And The End, Circle Pit
Girls, Royal Headache
Love Goes On, The Go-Betweens

And yes, Live It Up, Mental As Anything was one of the featured tracks.

Check out Palms' first gig this Thursday at FBi Social, presented by Local Fidelity, and also featuring Melodie Nelson and The Desks live. And me causing some low-level musical havoc by my entry-level DJing (non) skills. See you there!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Seekae to debut new music tonight on Local Fidelity!

Photo by Will Reichelt,

Tonight, Sydney beat-blitzers Seekae will be dropping on Local Fidelity to chat about what they've been up to & also debut snippets of their new album - never-before-played on-air! Huddle by your radio after 7pm (AEST), with the dial set on FBI 94.5FM to hear it, or stream from

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Seja, Brisbane

Current band rollcall?
Seja Vogel (keys,vox, guitar), Meredith McHugh (guitar, vox, keys) and Renae Collett (drums, keys).

Seja has been around since …
10-ish years? Starting playing in Sekiden when I was about 17. But, solo, Seja has only been around for a year or so.

Let's play Six Degrees of Seja. What are some interesting musical links you could come up with?
I played in a band with Stella Mozgawa, who once had a jam with Flea, Slash, Perry Farrell and Tom Morello.

First song ever written?
I wrote a song about a soy bean when I was 13 or 14.

Music making for you began when …
I started learning the violin and piano as a kid. And then - again - when I learnt how to use Pro Tools in high school.

Most unusual sound/instrument you've used in your music?
I used ripping-paper and sliding-paper on a desk as percussion in A Million Wheels.

Strangest gig you've ever played?
I got sprayed with a fire hose mid Sekiden show once. That was pretty strange. I was worried for my synthesisers.

Do you pin up images when recording to help inspire your songs? (Or put up other things in the studio for the same effect?)
I was surrounded by my little felt synthesisers while I made this album, which was lovely.

Unlikeliest thing to influence your music?
Justin Timberlake.

Most unconventional topic you've covered in your lyrics?
Shhh, they're all secrets.

If you had to offer any of your lyrics as love advice (or life advice), you would offer …
"Sit on the edge of my bed, sing me the song like you said".

Most useful lyrics you've heard in a song?
"Don’t shit where you eat my friend," Ween.

Do you think the country/city/town you live in affects your music in any way?
I think it does to a certain extent. Especially when you are growing up and you're more influenced and excited by bands. I would definitely think differently about music if I hadn't grown up to the local pop bands I listened to when I was in school.

You would love to record with …
Sean O'Hagan from the High Llamas.

Favourite person you have performed with/recorded with …
Being onstage with Spod is always fun because you have no idea what's going to happen.

Outside of playing music, you spend your time …
Sewing little felt instruments.

Next for you is …
The album tour!

If record stores had to come up with a new genre name to file your music under, it would be called …

Seja has just released her excellent debut album, We Have Secrets But Nobody Cares, which features one of her signature felt instruments on the cover. Musically though, proper synthesisers are deployed throughout the album - turns out it only takes 14 of them to sound this good. For more details, visit here.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Britt Daniel from Spoon recommends

Photo by Will Reichelt,

In a feature called "50 Songs Every Man Should Be Listening To" in the latest Esquire magazine, Spoon frontman Britt Daniel recommends Sunday's Coming by Eddy Current Suppression Ring.

He says, "I'm having trouble deciding if Eddy Current Suppression Ring is the best Australian band since AC/DC or just the best rock band since AC/DC".

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Otouto, Melbourne

O letter T Lowercase Letter O on Peeling Plywood (Takoma Park, MD) DSC_0007_5 typewriter key letter T letter O

Current band rollcall?
Hazel Brown, Martha Brown and Kishore Ryan.

Otouto has been around since …

First song ever written?
Probably Autumn.

Music making for you began when …
We all started when we were younger, we all went to Steiner schools (Martha and Hazel in Melbourne, Kish in Mullumbimby) so I (Hazel) played violin and guitar, Martha played viola and guitar, Kish played recorder.

Most unusual sound/instrument you've used in your music?
In a song of ours called Twelve Ten, there is the sound of an amp blowing up on its own. We weren't even in the room but were luckily recording. We ended up keeping it as it was and reckon it sounds pretty nice.

Strangest gig you've ever played?
We played a gig at a university college to these lovely quiet smart kids who were sitting on the ground, I think they were really drunk and eating lolly frogs, also had no idea what we were doing. Martha had to ask one of them for a tampon and then dedicated a song to the girl when we played; we got some strange looks.

Do you pin up images when recording to help inspire your songs? (Or put up other things in the studio for the same effect?)
Nope, we don't but we might start! I had an idea once to draw some patterns and write songs based on the patterns, I drew the patterns but we never ended up using them.

Unlikeliest thing to influence your music?
Margarine. It's shit, but not that shit.

O letter T Caslon metal type letter O letter U letter T scrabble letter O

Most unconventional topic you've covered in your lyrics?
Maybe old age? One of the few songs of ours that is fictional is about old age, it's called Walkie Talkie.

If you had to offer any of your lyrics as love advice (or life advice), you would offer …
"Go past the pool in the middle of the night and breathe in the swimming smells."

Most useful lyrics you've heard in a song?
"There's hundreds of birds on the roof of the fitness centre, there's one hundred good ways to love" - Nick Huggins.

Do you think the country/city/town you live in affects your music in any way?
I think having lived in the same house for our whole lives (Martha and I), with a very creative mother, has definitely influenced our lyric writing. And being in Melbourne is a huge influence to us all creatively, the culture is so rich and is constantly presenting exciting resources and opportunities, giving rise to exciting artists of all kinds and hosting endless parties, gigs, dance flash mobs and exhibitions to be a part of.

You would love to record with …
Matthew Herbert, Nick Huggins, David Longstreth, Laurie Anderson, Beyonce.

Favourite person you have performed with/recorded with …
Nick Huggins is our favourite person to record with. He has a wonderful way with people and has a gift for guiding ideas. He also has great taste in sweets. The Casiotone For the Painfully Alone/Concern tour we did last year was extremely fun.

Outside of Otouto, you spend your time …
Hazel - works for our record label Two Bright Lakes and Polyester Records, plays in a band with Nick Huggins called The War Diaries of Frank Brown.
Martha - works at a clothing store called Kinki Gerlinki and Loose Joints, a dance night in Melbourne; also writes rounds with Oscar Slorach-Thorne.
Kish - Plays in Kid Sam, Seagull and Where Were You at Lunch, makes great chai.

Next for you is …
We're launching our album in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney and saving money to go to America and tour with Casiotone For The Painfully Alone in September. I think we might make a video clip too, with dancing in it.

If record stores had to come up with a new genre name to file your music under, it would be called …
Birthday Sandwich.

Pip is the name of Otouto's debut album. It's full of zigzagging melodies and eccentric, minimal indie-pop. The vocals of the Brown sisters warm through what's there. Kishore sometimes taps out beats using items found in his kitchen. Read more on the band's MySpace.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

City of Satellites, Sydney/Adelaide


Current band rollcall?
Jarrod Manuel and Thomas Diakomichalis.

City of Satellites has been around since …
2007 – but we’ve played music together in different line-ups since our 1990s high school days.

Let's play Six Degrees of City of Satellites. What are some interesting musical links you could come up with?
Our friend Beth’s uncle plays guitar with Dragon. Yeah!

First song ever written?
Jarrod: Embarrassing - This Is The New Beat, the title says enough, come on people be fair, I was nine years old and obsessed with Michael Jackson.
Thomas: Hmm, probably one of these sombre, minimalist piano pieces I’d write as an angsty teen. Not sure what they were called, probably Untitled #13.

Music making for you began when …
Jarrod: I had always had an interest in music and my parents would have records playing all the time, but it wasn’t until we had a student, John, come and board with our family when I was four. I was annoying him (as usual), so he handed me a stereo speaker and told me to hold it and be quiet; then he played Beat It. From there I became obsessed with Michael Jackson, but more importantly, music/sounds/entertainment (although I didn’t realise it at the time). So while it would be years before I’d actually start writing my own music, I think it all started then.
Thomas: Well, I took piano lessons from a young age, but it all really began when I would set up arrays of empty, upside-down ice cream tubs in my parents’ lounge and try to emulate Def Leppard’s one-armed drummer, or Tommy Lee, circa Dr. Feelgood.

Most unusual sound/instrument you've used in your music?
Probably the warble sound at the end of Machine Is My Animal - the synth had way too many effects on it including a crazy sub-woofer effect (don’t really know why). We thought it sounded like a ghost, if a ghost made sound.

Strangest gig you've ever played?
Strangest AND first gig I believe - as young teens with dyed hair, we played in the front bar of a town called Wilmington in rural South Australia, during their rodeo weekend. We were heckled off stage for not playing enough AC/DC.

Do you pin up images when recording to help inspire your songs? (Or put up other things in the studio for the same effect?)
Jarrod: No, never - just listening to music is the best source of inspiration, but for me, it’s probably more based around emotion. Having said that, my recording room looks out over a garden, so I find nature can be very inspirational too.
Thomas: Don’t pin anything up, but I’ll sometimes indirectly use an image as inspiration – almost try to provide a soundtrack for the scene or the impression it’s left on me. My studio is pretty stark and looks onto Harris Street in Ultimo, so no inspiration in nature for me unfortunately, unless broke drunks stumbling away from the casino count as “nature”?

Unlikeliest thing to influence your music?
Jarrod: Guy Sebastian (no offence to the man, but it’s just very unlikely).
Thomas: Any track/album – whether I like the music or not – that’s obviously just a great performance committed to “tape”. Always serves to remind me that great music doesn’t need to be complicated.

Most unconventional topic you've covered in your lyrics?
Talking to Ian Curtis while watching skeletons and sketches in some other world …


Do you think the country/city/town you live in affects your music in any way?
Maybe not the country/city/town itself, but our geographical situation most definitely affects our music; in fact, with us living in entirely different cities, it is a significant defining factor in our songwriting process. What began as a technical nightmare of sending works in progress to one another through the mail, wrestling with incompatible plugins, and juggling files between PC and Mac, we finally got it all together, and now enjoy and even exploit the serendipitous nature of working on a track up to a certain point, and then releasing control of it to the other member to work on in isolation. Tracks often develop into things we couldn’t have conceived alone, or maybe even achieved if we were working in the same room together.

You would love to record with …
Skywalker Sound – we’re both suckers for new technology, and well, if anyone would have ALL the latest gadgets it would have to be George Lucas and crew! Also, Tony Doogan at Mogwai’s Castle of Doom Studios; Mogwai have been a big influence over the years, and Tony and Mogwai’s recordings strike a beautiful balance of raw guitar and drum sounds with an open-arms embrace of newer digital techniques/synths/plugins. Brian Eno. Iva Davies.

Favourite person you have performed with/recorded with …
Kathy Naunton at dB Mastering. She interprets our sounds and overall vision precisely, and is a really nice person to boot!

Outside of City of Satellites, you spend your time …
Working too much, and wishing we had more time for music. Jarrod works as a cinema usher and budding projectionist in Adelaide, and Thomas works as a PS3 video game designer in Sydney. We’re both football fans and watch games when we can - Jarrod is mildly obsessed with the Eagles in the SANFL, while Thomas is a passionate advocate of The Beautiful Game (aka soccer).

Next for you is …
We have the official CD release of our debut album Machine Is My Animal in late January; we're having a video for BMX directed by our friend Dael Oates, and we're working out how the hell the two of us are going to actually perform the music from our releases live. Having recorded both our EP and album totally independently in bedrooms and basements on opposite sides of the country, we suffered some pretty severe cabin fever, so we’re really eager to get back to (relative) basics, stand on the same stage, and play music live again!

If record stores had to come up with a new genre name to file your music under, it would be called … (feel free to come up with the craziest-sounding-yet-most-accurate name)
Hard to answer, as our music is basically just rock music. So no new genres, just put us under Rock’n’Roll - we know, boring, but that’s just what it is!

One of the first nights I played a track from the City of Satellites EP, my guest happened to be Aaron Curnow, who runs the Spunk record label (best-known for introducing bands like The Middle East and The Arcade Fire to Australian audiences). When he got home, he emailed me wanting to know who the track was by. I think City of Satellites' sleepy-eyed electronica has that definite "who was that?" effect on people. I've been playing the album, Machine Is My Animal since November, and it's nice to see that it's starting to get some fanfare, now that it's had a proper physical release. It'll be interesting to see how music – originally created as well-travelled 1s and 0s sent across two different states – will get translated onstage. Head to the band's MySpace for more info.