Posts Tagged ‘Music’

I Get A Kick Out Of Being Kicked Around By You

April 19, 2017

Nobody pays, nobody minds
Everyone’s game every once in a while
You radium girls, that’s quite a smile
Nobody came, and nobody tried

I gave you my heart and you gave me the boot
I get a kick out of being kicked around by you
I get a kick out of being kicked around by you

What would you trade to taste it all?
We got a day to waste and a bottle of panadol
What would you pay for some piece of mind?
Nobody came, and nobody smiles

I gave you my heart and you gave me the boot
I get a kick out of being kicked around by you
I get a kick out of being kicked around by you

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Good morning,

I should be out surfing, being the holidays and all and given how much I complain, but it seems a bit on the cold side, so I’m going to wait just one more minute, just one more cup of tea. I’m gonna go, I swear.

While I’m in this holding pattern, now is as good a time as any to let you know we’ve got another new single out, and it’s short and sweet and doing about as well as most Royal Chant singles seem to do (read: not well enough).

Our bassist, Adam Murray, came up with a film clip for it using old Super-8 footage from his parents and violá: we have another small piece of noise to add to the monstrosity this is, has always been, and always will be the “music industry”.

 

As usual, you can grab it for free from Bandcamp

Or maybe SoundCloud is your thing….

Or, if you wanted to be a super trooper you could hop on over to our Triple-J Unearthed page and get it that way. If we thought it would work we could try and bribe you into leaving a review or rate it to help us keep up with the young whipper snappers (let’s face it: Royal Chant ain’t exactly a collection of Spring chickens anymore, if we ever were in the first place), because HOLY HELL HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MANY PLAYS AND LIKES AND REVIEWS AND SHARES THESE YOUNG BANDS HAVE?!?!?! I’m so happy for them I stand in awe, then shame, then quietly sneak out while everyone politely looks away.

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/5860751

And that, as we say in the business (claps hands), is how it’s done.

We’ve got some more dates to keep us busy until the end of May, and then it’s time to rest, collect our marbles, and get the record ready so we can do it all again.

.:: Royal Chant Tour Dates ::..

Saturday, April 22 – Meatstock Melbourne
Saturday, April 22, Retreat Hotel, Melbourne
Sunday, April 23 – Meatstock Melbourne

Friday, May 5 – Vic On The Park (Sydney) w/Fingermae
Saturday, May 6 – Meatstock Sydney

Sunday, May 7 – Meatstock Sydney

Saturday, May 20 – Ric’s (Brisbane)

Friday, May 26 – Town Hall Hotel (Sydney) w/Wasters
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

That’s all the news from here. Remember: nobody pays, nobody minds

xoxo

-M

OMG! Are you on Facebook? coz we’re on Facebook, and we should, like, totally be friends.

the Yada Yada Yada….

January 18, 2017

So yes of course it’s been ages since I wrote and yes of course I feel guilty and yada yada yada…

And yes of course that is the name of the new Royal Chant single. Yada Yada Yada.

Although it’s not part of my normal vernacular it used to come up from time to time in my stage banter.  Some of the lyrics I poached from a previous song that never got finished, and the chorus, is, of course: Yada Yada Yada.

We’ll see what Australia thinks of it, but if previous performances are any indication it’s probably safe to assume…we have no idea. Probably not much.  You can get your hands on it through all the usual.  Some folks really like bandcamp….

While others prefer to get their kicks through SoundCloud…

There’s always our Triple-J Unearthed page where you can have your say by leaving a rating or review, but we’re not Spring chickens anymore and the youngsters have really changed the game. If I sound jealous, don’t worry: I am.

And yeah, that’s how we roll. We’ve got a stack of tour dates kicking off on Australia/Invasion Day, and then we’ll see if we’re still in one piece at the end of it all.

And lastly, just so I don’t lose sight of my roots…

See you out there xoxo

..:: Royal Chant – Yada Yada Yada National Tour Dates ::..

Thursday, Jan 26 – El Grotto, Scarborough WA
Friday, Jan 27 – The Fly Trap, Fremantle WA

Saturday, Jan 28 – Babushka, Perth WA

Saturday, Feb 11 – The Factory Theatre, Marrickville NSW (Elliot Smith Tribute show)

Saturday, Feb 11 – The Town Hall Hotel, Newtown NSW (midnight show)

Wednesday, Feb 22 – Lass O’ Gowrie, Newcastle NSW

Saturday, Feb 25 – Meatstock NZ, Auckland

Sunday, Feb 26 – Meatstock NZ, Aukland

Friday, March 17 – The Pier, Port Macquarie

Saturday, April 22 – Meatstock Melbourne

Sunday, April 23 – Meatstock Melbourne

Saturday, May 6 – Meatstock Sydney
Sunday, May 7 – Meatstock Sydney

Hype

June 5, 2016

We might be rolling into the dead of Winter (since we’re talking about Australia that might not exactly evoke massive swells of pity), but it’s as good a time as any (read: very, very dumb) to climb into our tour wagon and head out there to hawk our latest wares that no one asked for.

In this case, we’ve joined forces with our favourite Sydney band Wasters and released a split 7″ on vinyl for all those people who still care to listen to their music the same way their grandparents did.  The good news is that since we only pressed 50 copies total we stand at least even odds to sell out and then never do this again.  If my time in the music industry has taught me anything, it’s to keep one’s expectations incredibly low and to call it a victory as soon as possible before your fortune has a chance to reverse itself.

So now we’re headed out the on the road, with a local show in Port Macquarie on Wednesday followed a trip up to the slightly warmer climes on Brisbane on Friday to take the stage at The Bearded Lady, with Wasters, The Bear Hunt, and Mudshadows. An awesome line-up to be sure, but what made my heart glow was waking up to find that Mudshadows had done a up a cool DIY promo video for the night, which made me very, very ashamed. For all of my DIY ramblings and rah-rah cheering from the sidelines (or underlines, really), there are times when I take shows for granted and forget that this is, as it always has been, a shit-ton of fun and should not to be taken so lightly (as backwards as that sounds). Yup, you have to work & care to have such fun.

People don’t just magically appear at your show because you hope they do. They need a good reason, any reason, and if making a cool & funny video is what it takes then I need to be out there on the front lines with my handycam streaking in traffic to get my point across. Luckily for me, Mudshadows have done the heavy lifting for me this time, but consider it a lesson well-learned: don’t take the good stuff for granted. Even when it’s fun, it’s still work.

In other self-promoting news, we reached out to Ted’s Records when we read they were looking for bands who would be interested in doing an acoustic session to be filmed.  They responded by letting us know that they had completely forgot that they had done that, which is how all awesome independent projects should start: ambition mixed with equal parts amnesia.

We got to the top of a beautiful spot in Sydney and did three numbers, one of which didn’t turn out because of the wind, but we still got two other numbers that made the cut, so all in all it was the start of a good week of productivity (for us). The first was for “I Can’t Make It On My Own”…

Followed by a stripped back version of “Dick Move”

Sadly, “Sight For Sore Eyes” was the one that got mangled by mother nature, but that only makes sense because of course that’s the one we used for our side of the split 7. I like how fate kind of keeps our expectations in check.

Anyways, if you are in Brisbane on Friday you should come out, and if you’re anywhere else in the world you should have a poke around the Ted’s Records site and check out all the cool snaps and vids and write-ups that are very much a part of Sydney’s mal-nourished-yet-still-amazing underground music scene.

Believe the hype xoxo

Dick Moves: A Musical Collection

January 31, 2016

As some of you might know from my various FB posts, tweets, & Instagram shots, I host the local Open Mic Night here in sleepy Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia every Tuesday night at a lovely little (dive) bar. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, but the longer I am there the more I can feel it turning into my kind of place. Things have settled into a nice groove of sorts (pun intended), but of course, like any job, it is not without it’s own perks and particulars.

For starters, there was….the start.

I was riding my bike out to school one fine sunny morning, perhaps last April, maybe May, when I get a phone call from a person whom I had never received a call from before. It was the owner of the venue. My mind immediately went into a state of worry, and anxiety took over as I waited for the inevitable. You see, a few days prior I had actually been at the venue, and somehow on my ride home I must have crashed into something, because I woke up the next day with a fairly dinged bicycle and a shoulder injury that still isn’t quite right.

Mark, you blew it. You are in trouble for sure.

I assumed he was calling to tell me that I had crashed into a car in the street or something like that, and that I’d have to pay for damages and that I would be banned for a year or…you get the idea.  You can imagine my relief when he merely wanted to talk about Open Mic Night. That was all. No need for panic.

So, yada yada yada, he gets to the point which is this: “We’re looking for someone young, who’s talented, who’s got the personality, who’s going to help bring all the hot girls in on Tuesday nights, and I was thinking…”

Yes? Go On.

-“That you could help us find someone?”

Oh.

Long story short, I did help them find someone young, talented, & good looking, but he was kind of boring so they eventually asked me to take over and here we are.

Of course, I have a habit of overdoing things, and this is no exception. Instead of simply bringing a guitar and setting up the PA and making sure the night runs smoothly, I’ve started bringing in more gear like drums, a bass amp, & a guitar amp in the hope of fostering more of a musical community and generally just trying to make things a little better. After all, if someone is blowing chunks on guitar and destroying a song on stage, it can make things a little better if they’ve at least got a steady beat behind them.  Not a lot better, mind you, but better nonetheless.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of Dick Moves that appear from time to time…

1. Don’t ask to go up again: you’ve already played once. You’re not going to get any better. I’m sorry there are more people here now than there were before. Life is very unfair. You should know that by now.

2. Don’t hop on the drums and tune them up and change everything around. This is not a “gig”, you are not a superstar, and none of this shit matters. If you can’t make music on what is already there, you can’t make music period.

[As a rule of thumb, the more uptight and wanky someone is about their gear, the more likely they are to suck as a musician.]

3. Don’t try and bring your own drums in either. No one cares. It’s a beat. Play it.

4. Don’t murder well known songs. Seriously, this is not practice time. This is a chance to show the world a new song you’ve been working on, or show off an old favourite. Whatever, just don’t turn someone’s delight at hearing the first chords of “oh, this is a song I like” into “What the fuck is he doing?!?!”

5. This is not art, but it can be. If you don’t know how to walk that fine line, best not to try. [Trust us: you probably don’t know how to walk that fine line.]

6. Don’t sit in the front row and sing along to shit you don’t know. Best not to sing along at all, really, but some forms are acceptable.

7. Wonderwall: Just. Don’t. Do. It.

I bet there’s more than I’ve drunkenly scribbled down somewhere and lost, but all of this is really just a lead-up into posting a video that we did for the latest Royal Chant LP and forgot to post it for you all to see.

It’s called “Dick Move”, of course, and was created, filmed, and edited by my very good friend Matt Clements who is a film-maker living in NYC. I’ll spare you the details on how we managed to appear in the video without leaving Australia, but you can probably figure it out on your own (if you haven’t already).

[FYI: this video was banned from ABC Television here in Australia because “it contains excessive commercial branding.

As stated in the ABC Editorial Policies:

11.7 Product Placement must not be unduly frequent or prominent

12.2 Commercial references must not be unduly frequent or unduly prominent]

Seeing as how we’re a broke-ass indie band, all we can think is A) give us a break. No one cares, and B) what else we were supposed to use? Geez….

Anyway, if you like the video please show the director some love, because in a cruel twist in the ways of the world, the band always gets credit for a film clip, even though all they did was write the song and then stand around for a bit in front of the cameras. I’m not saying that writing a song is no big deal, but in terms of man-hours that go into a music clip, the people involved behind the camera are the only ones doing any actual work.

Here’s the album, if this is your kind of thing. It’s free, because of course.

That’s all from here. It’s Sunday AM. The cat is awake. I’m on my third cup of tea already. I’m going surfing.

xoxo

 

 

Torture Diary

September 9, 2014

It is week 9 of the current school term. One week to go. The sun is shining, it’s a nice day out, and there is nothing especially wrong in my little corner of the world.  Just my usual litany of envy, first-world complaints, and generic disgruntlement.

With that in mind, I’ve decided that today I will torture my students, one by one, by making them learn beats and then playing along to the worst recorded examples of them. First up…

Period 1: Too-Much-Basketball Kid

Despite the fact that he spends too much time on the basketball court and doesn’t really practice all that much, I rather like this student.  A nice kid with good manners who usually pays his tuition fees on time is A-OK in my books.  He’s got a decent enough dose of musical ability to kinda be OK at anything he tries his hand at, so overall we have enjoyable lessons.  But I can’t let my emotions get in the way of my objective. I give him a two-fer, starting off with “Word Up”, by Cameo.

That’s 4:39 of pain.

Just to make sure he never forgets who is in charge, I make him play “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. I have never heard this song in its entirety nor seen the music clip, but sometimes we all have to make sacrifices to inflict a little pain.

Neither his feet nor his hands can keep up, but I make him keep trying and failing just for the sake of it.

Period 2: Cool Afro Kid

We usually work on snare drum technique or mallets or something else that will sound like nonsense to your ears, but since most of our equipment is currently being used at another school we were forced to work on congas today. Other than “Oye Como Va”, there wasn’t anything especially tortuous about this lesson.  I let my guard down. Am I getting soft?

Here’s a clip of of the late, great Tito Puente acting like a total goofball in his later years. Of course, he was making gazillions of dollars at this point of his career, so I’d probably be smiling like that too. Bless him.

We finished our lesson by checking out the insane solos on “Ti Mon Bo”. The bongo solo is my favourite (that’s the first one), but the conga solo (second), and Tito’s beautiful phrasing in the final solo are all something special.

I need to recalibrate and find my focus, but there’s no time before….

Period 3: Sucky-Know-It-All-In-Year-7 Kid

Like most know-it-alls, this kid know doesn’t know his ass from his elbow, which means that he’s playing random definitely not-in-time shit while a metronome blasts away to seemingly no avail. I spend today’s lesson banging out the correct rhythms on a cowbell while he keeps shaking his head and acting like he doesn’t know how to FUCKING. COUNT. TO. 4.

Pure torture. For me. This is all going downhill. I take some consolation in knowing that he’s not enjoying himself and is just starting to realize how much he really doesn’t know.  Convinced I see the beginnings of tears welling in his eyes before the bell goes, I give myself a bonus point.

RECESS: I go to the teacher’s lounge and just hate everyone for no good reason.  They are all very nice. I get a cup of tea. I scurry back to my room. Here’s “Teenager Of The Year” by Lo-Tel, also for no good reason.

Period 4: The Metal Kid

Alright, I know I’ve got to turn this ship around, but he comes out firing and catches me off guard with “The Beast and the Harlot” by Avenge Sevenfold.

At no point in my life have I ever felt my existence was hollow due to a lack of metal. Do you have any idea what’s it’s like trying to explain a shitty drum transcription of a shitty song to a kid who has shitty reading skills? It sucks, but only gets worse because I’m dumb enough to put on the video so not only do I have to hear this shite I now get visual proof that this goth-pop is made by wankers who should have stopped shopping at Hot topic a long, long time ago.  I double-down by listening to the lyrics and that’s when I really start to lose it.  Right before the bell goes I cue up this tasty 4-on-the-floor number, but he is out the door before he feels anything.

I’m getting discouraged but enjoy the song anyway.

Period 5: Why-Are-You-Asking-Me-Questions-I-Can’t-Possibly-Know-The-Answer-To Kid

I got my beating stick ready, just in case….

photo

But alas, it was not to be. We instead worked on drum line exercises, which although a noble cause left me feeling defeated, alone, & confused. What is happening to me?

Here’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels” by Tom Petty.  I use this one for the really hopeless kids.  It’s slow, it’s repetitive, it grooves, and I don’t want to blow my brains out. Kind of missing my objective, but what can I do by this point?

LUNCH: I eat an apple and make another cup of tea.  Hiding in my room.

Period 6: Really-Nice-Young-Man-Who-I’ve-Perhaps-Overestimated-His-Musical-Abilities Kid

Doesn’t show up. He’s gone for the day. The final opportunity to make one last stand and redeem my day  has evaporated in the afternoon sun. I tried. I failed. It happens.

Here’s “Teenage FBI by Guided By Voices, because this is about as much of the teenage years as I can handle right now.

Holler back if it’s been a while. It gets lonely out here.

-M

 

So you have to get a press shot…

July 21, 2014

Well, we have good news and we have bad news:

If you are in a band, at some point you will have to have a press photo, whether you like it or not.  The good news is that it will all be over soon. [Maybe]. The bad news is that it still sucks and you’ll feel rather dirty & ashamed for a while. So…yeah. Take as long as you need to get comfortable with that.

Depending on your particular band, your style, your philosophy, your audience, and whatever other aesthetic guidelines you have placed on yourself (or have allowed to be placed on you), this may or may not be the start of a long & tumultuous personal debate that often spills over into using actual words to talk to other people about this very personal yet collective aspect of bandom. Essentially: how much am I willing to feel and act like a total knob in order to not look like one?

There are exceptions to this.  In fact, there are heaps of them. For starters, if you play a genre of music that is not afraid to take itself seriously, then congratulations: you can win this game without fretting over your vanity, your ethics, your principles, or any other inane aspect of your precious & fragile artistic ego. Metal bands? Ace! You win hands down.  You’re SUPPOSED to wear black and look straight into the camera with a scowl. Pop Princess? Winner-winner-chicken-dinner! Spending 2 1/2 hours in makeup and prancing around on a set making fish lips is exactly what you’ve been training your whole life for. Happy-go-lucky-acoustic-storyteller? Go on, wear those floral suspenders and have 3 puppies in your lap! Crack a smile! You’ve earned it!

In a band such as Royal Chant, getting a picture taken has, so far, ranked as one of the most impossible and unpleasant experiences we’ve yet had to face. Essentially, if we’re one of those “ego-less” bands (HA!), then how does one go about getting a photo taken, much less contemplating or talking about the idea?  It’s sort of supposed to be anathema to our very existence, but that still doesn’t change the fact that YOU STILL HAVE TO GET IT DONE.

So….we mostly just have shit photos. Seriously. And the best/worst part is: the shittiest ones seem to circulate the longest. If you don’t bother updating and sending out regular new photos with every press release, then the press/the media/some blogger is just going to google your band and find the first one that comes up, which, as luck would have it, happens to make you look like a bloody hayseed wearing ill-chosen, ill-fitting t-shirts.

Want to know what our conversation turns to when we’re in the van or hanging at the airport?

No? Well too bad, I’m going to tell you anyways.

On more than occasion we have wished that we were a heavy rock act or metal band, coz at least then any questions about fashion, countenance, and attitude would be immediately solved by the very nature of the genre, but noooooo….we have to try and become artistically “transparent”, which I guess means trying to look at the camera without looking at it, or maybe we’re supposed to look away without looking like we’re trying to pose for a Daniel Steele cover, or maybe WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL WE’RE SUPPOSED TO DO WITH OUR HANDS.  It fucking sucks.

I think deep down, we just want to look OK. Asking to look cool is way, way, way out of our league. What you really need is someone who can look at you, understand you, and then tell you to do exactly what is needed in order to best visually represent yourself and your music to the wider world.  So yeah, that means taking yourself seriously and acting consciously for at least a little while, but at least you have someone holding your hand through and essentially whispering, “It’s OK, this will all be over soon.” If you ever have that opportunity: take it.

Artists are often as guilty of undervaluing or underestimating other art forms just as much as the general public.  Lord knows I’ve been guilty of being visually ignorant, just as much as I’ve seen visual artists be completely clueless as to what is involved with writing or recording music.  It’s cool, it happens, but where musicians get into trouble is when we think that getting a decent press shot is just going to happen to happen by accident.  The word “just” should be banished from that conversation, because if you want a good press photo you actually have to dedicate yourself to that very purpose, which means you have to….[gulp]…care.  About what you look like. About how you will be perceived. Just. Bloody. Care.

Is it any wonder we’re stuck with normally shyte photos? At the very beginning of Royal Chant, we paid a photographer friend $60 and actually lucked out with some decent ones, but ever since then we’ve pretty consistently hit the toilet bowl when it comes to photos.  Bad lighting is often the culprit, but on a few occasions there’s been so much tension in the air that the photographer was afraid to say anything. Sometimes we get really really really close, but we either need just a little direction, (coz we’re not photogenic in any way), or else we quit right as we were getting into the groove.  We are our own worst enemy.

We did mange to wind up with a decent crop earlier this year when it was still just James & I all by our lonesome, thanks to the kind & patient hand of Kate Farquharson….

RC 1  RC 2  RC 3  RC 4

 

It wasn’t until we were faced with the prospect of taking new photos that I really began to appreciate the photos she took (or maybe I was just too smitten with the Designer Mutts photos she snapped in the same session)….

 

DM 1 DM 2 DM 3 DM 4 DM 5 DM 6

[As an aside: those Designer Mutts photos were easy as guts, because it’s a joke, and joking around in costumes is easy. Maybe we should just wear them all the time and be done with it.]

In any case, last week we had to get a new photo done, because now we have Ryan in the band and people get confused when the band photo doesn’t match what they see on stage.  So once again….we were in the same situation as we always were.  Three guys, awkwardly standing in front of a camera, with things unraveling fast.  Now this is what we have to live with until we start all over again.

RC 2014

It’ll do.

In case you haven’t heard, our new album is out now, so if you’re feeling like a modern consumer you can head over to iTunes and pick up a copy.  Technically it is a double EP consisting of Small Town Bruises / A Day At The Wauchope Races, but in this digital age the concept of a double EP is hard to convey so they wound up being separate beings.

You can also head over to our bandcamp site and get it that way, like all the young kids these days. Pay what you like, or else you can put in an order for a hardcopy which we will then lovingly send your way courtesy of Australia Post.

It’s starting to get a bit of airplay around Australia, so if you’re ambitious & drunk you can always ring up any random radio station and yell your request into the phone.  Then, after they say “Wait….what?!?!?”, you can politely explain that you’d like to hear our latest.  A few reviews are coming in as well, one good, one shit, plus I sat down with Mess + Noise for a fun interview where I was clearly out of my depth but did my best to fake my way through it.  You know, all the usual jazz….

That’s all from here. Holler back and let us know what’s going on in your world.

xoxo

God Save The Queen

June 9, 2014

Happy Birthday old girl.

Royal Chant
Small Town Bruises/A Day At The Wauchope Races double EP
July 7, 2104
courtesy of Dirty Mab Records

tour dates and other banal minutiae on their way….prepare for lift-off

See you soon xoxo

sincerely,

Your Loyal Subjects

Collisions this & that

July 28, 2013

Thank you everyone for your kind words regarding the passing of producer, engineer, & legendary studio owner James Bentley.  As well-known and respected as he already was, I can’t help but think that in another world, set amongst a different musical landscape, his name would have been even more widely recognized.  Yesterday, James Carthew (Royal Chant bassist), came across a very good article on James, written by David Weiss for Sonic Scoop.  At nearly the same time, I came across this home-made video set to a Creeper Lagoon song that I had previously never heard.  In a sad collision of sorts, they seemed to fit together, so I thought I’d present them to you as our own requiem for someone halfway around the world.

Death of a Studio Owner: RIP Jim Bentley of The Fort Brooklyn

My favourite line from the article is from Bones Howell, when he finishes his remarks with, “He was servicing the garage and indie rock community with a high degree of low fidelity, if that makes sense somehow.”

Yes. Yes it does. That was exactly what we’d been searching for by the time we hit Brooklyn, and we walked out with a single was as close as I’ve gotten to the sound in my head.  We had a laugh when only weeks ago, a DJ from one of Australia’s “big” stations (and no, it was not Triple-J), wrote back regarding the track. “Hey ______, had a listen and it’s a good track! It feels like it needs a better mix / master though. Is it a demo?”

No, you sad corporate twat, it’s not a demo. That’s how music actually sounds. A high degree of low fidelity indeed.

Be extra nice to each other this week…let’s see what happens.

-M

4 minutes of forever

May 21, 2013

I’m still doing lots of trips back and forth to Sydney, so not much has changed much over these past few years.  That may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.  Sometimes it’s not so much, and other times it seems like I’ve got the details of the F1 highway memorized down to the last white line and the shape of every roadside pebble.  Time is, of course, slipping, but taking a tattered page from Dylan Thomas I am doing my best to rage against the eventual and keep up my trips to the library, poking amongst the books and CDs in hopes of finding something new to help me battle brain fade and ennui, to delay that slow descent into jaded middle age and cynical detachment.  Basically just trying to keep up the spirits, if you will.

When it comes to finding joy, I must report that, alas, I did and I didn’t.  I’ll spare you the minutiae of the entire cache I waltzed home with, but on a drive down to Sydney I eagerly cracked open Badly Drawn Boy’s It’s What I’m Thinking (Part One: Photographing Snowflakes).  I had been a fan of his in the past, and although I lost touch with most of his work following Have You Fed The Fish?, that was really because I decided to fall off the earth when it comes to much of music and music journalism.  Badly Drawn Boy doesn’t seem to be spoken of much Down Under, and if he is then it is simply my fault for being oblivious.  It happens.

My hands aren’t exactly shaking as I put the CD in, but darn near close enough, and I was ready for his slightly bored delivery and subtle anti-pop to take me away.  It didn’t.  It was rather underwhelming, with songs that went nowhere and seemed really naff & muddled and I couldn’t find a song or a point or whatever. I was not mad, but I was pretty bummed out.  I gave it about 1 1/2 listens before admitting defeat and moving on.  Radio in Australia is not particularly my cup of tea, but that doesn’t keep me from trying.  I tuned into amongst the white noise of rural NSW and got on with the drive.

It wasn’t until I returned home that I gave album another try, and this had a slightly different result.  I was still pretty underwhelmed, but from the remembered drear came an ascending melodic line of violins that sprang from my speakers and grabbed me for the better part of two weeks.  For the next 12 days or so I had this song blasting on repeat in the car, lulling me away from the cold sunshine and discontent, my slight aches and complaints, and whatever general unpleasant humanness I generally bring to the party.  It is not a perfect song, but “Too Many Miracles” was perfect, for me.

I am not a massive music sleuth, nor do I make any claims nor have any aims at music journalism.  I’d like to think that I’ve remained as much of a fan of music that being a musician will allow, and I think I’ve largely succeeded, (although not entirely, to be sure.) By the time this song had run its course I still did not really know what exactly he is singing, and rather than bother to look up the lyrics I decided I might as well see if any PR had accompanied the song.  Sure enough, there was the music clip (that’s the sucker above), blessed with sound that was much clearer that what is heard on CD.  Besides smiling at the fact that at least someone or some label was still putting money behind him, I noticed that there was a live clip of him performing at a slightly sparsely attended in-store at Rough Trade records.  I post it here just as way of pulling back the curtain, as it were.  Not to say, “Hey look! He’s just a guy with an acoustic guitar! See?!?!  It’s not that hard!” But rather, to see and hear what a song is like in it’s simplest form, performed in the simplest manner, much like a journeyman in any other occupation.  It’s a glimpse of someone getting along with it as best he can, with quiet dignity and not much pomp and fanfare.

And that is the sound of 3 minutes and 46 seconds that filled my life, seemingly without end.  Happy listening, say hi if it’s been a while.  Is it just me, or are we all seeming just a little bit weary?

To close, I’ll leave you with the rich sound of Dylan Thomas, reading his work as no one else can.  We all rage, in our own way.  Keep it up.

peace & love,

M

Looking up

March 7, 2013

Been rare around these parts lately, but that’s gonna change.  I swear.

Things are looking up.  Like anything they could always be better, but take the fun and good times when it comes and we’ll deal with the comedown and fallout later.  Always later.  We got some very welcome yet unexpected news a few weeks ago:

We’re opening for Bob Mould.

THE Bob Mould.  Of Hüsker Dü fame, along with much, much more.  That raw, fuzzy, earnest yet melodic sound that I keep trying to capture in Royal Chant?  He pretty much created that savage strain of alt-rock, and whether knowingly or unknowingly I’ve been walking in his footsteps for a long while now.

So….in the rare event that you happen to read this and live in Sydney, Australia (or within driving distance), we’ll be opening up for him when he hits town on Saturday night at the Factory Theatre.  Come say hi if you do.  We’ll be the ones looking sheepish next to our dwindling pile of CDs, probably giving them away as well as trying to press a flyer for our next show into your hands.

I’m more excited than I’ve been in a long, long time, and I’m already dreading the moment when it’s over. Still, I guess bracing myself for one heck of an emotional hangover doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the moment while it lasts, and soak up every minute of adrenaline-fueled anticipation to mix with the stories I’ll no doubt be telling in 17 years to some bored kids who wish I’d get to the point.

I’ve been blasting Zen Arcade and Flip Your Wig non-stop for 3 weeks now, even before we got the gig and it was only just a maybe.  I kept thinking that if there was a chance we could get it, then maybe creating some fuzzy vibes would be a way to move the powers that be to cast their indifferent glance upon us and grant us this favour.  This massive, massive favour.

I’m a geek, and yeah, I’ll probably dork it up if I get the chance to see him.  I found the score of the century on Saturday when I rushed into a Bellingen record store 5 mins before closing and searched through their meager vinyl collection…looking for….FOUND IT! Flip Your Wig on vinyl! Brand new, and only $30.  To give you some sense of perspective on the one-in-a-million chance of this happening, pick any small town with a population of less than 2,000 people, give it a record store (even more rare these days!) and then pick an obscure album by a somewhat fringe band and hope that they have it.  On vinyl.  I did a bit of a dance, I confess.

Unreal.

I’ll get back to work now (sorta), and leave you with my two favourite songs that I’ve been working on this past week.  One is my favourite Hüsker Dü track (and possibly their best known), called “Makes No Sense At All”.  The second is also by Hüsker Dü, but this live version features Dave Grohl guesting on guitar.  I’ll leave a lot to your imagination, but let’s just say that I’ve been working on both of these songs in the rare event that somehow, someway, he needs another guitarist on the night.  Maybe he saunters into the backstage area and says, “Hey…kid.  Yeah, you.  Grab your guitar.”

 

A boy’s gotta dream….

Love for now.  Talk to you all after the show.  Hopefully I’ll manage to get a pic or something, either on stage or off.