Posts Tagged ‘Songs’

Finds

May 12, 2018

I’ve been trying. Like, for real this time, and slowly but surely one might say I am truly starting to “get the hang of things.”

I’m talking about finding and listening to new music, of course.

Here are a few that I have stumbled across, mostly by accident, which makes them that much better. My writer friend Nathan Jolly (of whom I am insanely jealous) wrote an article “on the unexpected joy of random Spotify discoveries“, and he is most definitely right. He’s also just released his second novel, so fuck that productive ambitious guy, amiright?  definitely give him a read. He’s also very prolific within the pages of Australia’s better music press, so there is a decent chance you already have.

This all started with Guided By Voices, as I was on the hunt trying to unearth more of those very special & amazing (to me) tracks that leave me stunned. Thanks to the internet, rabbit holes are now easier than ever to dive into, so it was almost immediately hit by this gem from Robert Pollard’s side project, Boston Spaceships.

It kind of swaggers like cock rock but has the shuffling nonchalance of my favourite kinds of shambolic indie, so of course I’m going to like it.  Since Spotify is like an A.I. Forrest Gump, it keeps on playing things in the same (kinda) vein, which is how I stumbled on this:

First up…how the hell had I never heard Archers Of Loaf? I mean, I heard the name years ago back in the states, but I think I must have just brushed them off because the moniker reminded me of a bastard child of Meatloaf and Captain Beefheart. Just the name, mind you, I mean….fuck it: I missed this one bad. Wait….THEY HAVE BOWLING IN THEIR VIDEO?!?!?

I could stop now and say, “that’s it I’m done”, then storm off and do something useful like take up smoking, but I feel compelled to bring this to your attention:

Yeah. That’s my kind of jam right there.

Stumbling onwards, I came across Superdrag for the first time

I have no idea where to place this in time. Is this an also-ran from the post-Nirvana label feeding frenzy? I had no idea what they looked like or how they dressed, so this video gave also gave me the idea that they were a byproduct of the pop-punk wave and missed it by a country mile. I dunno, but he goes “Yeeaaahhhh” in a way that doesn’t suck, so I kinda like it.

Also: another video from a band of white slackers featuring white folks dancing badly. This is a thing and has been for some time, but no one knows why.

Here is my personal fav from this little excursion, and another regrettable late first listen:

Everyone who knew about this song and didn’t tell me is guilty of some kind of fireable offense, because this is too good and so effortlessly cool that I am all kinds of jealous and awestruck. Further reading on the band revealed that Robyn Hitchcock was a founding member, so “What the hell music universe?!??!”

I don’t know if the rest of their stuff is any good, but it doesn’t matter: this one song is good enough for a career in my eyes.

I listened to the new Arctic Monkeys LP yesterday, called [insert overly long & pretentious LP title here], and it rather sucked. In reading some other reviews about it, mostly regurgitated and forced positive PR spin by folks who should know better, I was reminded that Liz Phair’s Exile In Guyville was recently given a deluxe re-issue.

Now, I’ll be honest: I have only heard one Liz Phair song in my entire life, and that was from a mixtape that a former partner gave me many many moons ago. So, let me apologize now for missing out on this. Beyond the Guyville LP, I am listening to the expansive Girly-Sounds demo cassettes that would form the basis for the “proper” album as well as subsequent releases. My music library is definitely a sexist cesspool of overwrought male geniuses basking in the pitiful glory of their abundant verbiage, so I am doing my best to make amends.

I will always have a thing for just an acoustic guitar & voice recorded on a 4 track, and this is great not only as a curious artifact of pop music history, but because the songs are genuinely…wait for it….good.

Verdict: old Liz Phair demos > Arctic Monkeys latest

This came to our attention via a press release last week. I remember playing a few shows with these lads many years ago, and they have just announced that they are leaving Oz and resettling in LA at the request of their new manager/filmmaker/friend, which is cool but kinda sad coz all the bands we used to know are either broken up or kinda gone from the scene in one way or another. This came with the helpful title of , “If you like The Strokes then listen to this…”, which is an honest and concise way of putting it. A lovely melody here, and top notch production, if that’s your thing. Good luck gentlemen, we hope LA treats you well.

We’ll sign off with a glorious indulgence in nepotism. If you’ve been around or known Royal Chant prior to 2015 then you would have known our lovely James Carthew on guitar, and while he is on perpetual shore leave building robots of the future in San Fransisco he is still very much a part of Royal Chant.

He is also very much doing his own things, including his band Drunk On A Bike. That was “Hugs” off their second EP, helpfully titled Oakland One, because their first EP was titled Oakland Zero, and they have just released their third EP Oakland Eleventeen Two.

It has been a real first-world struggle to get out of my musical rut and get my ears around some new music, but it’s a new habit I am trying to form and I’ll keep plodding along as always. Send me your recommendations if you’re so inclined, because I have started to take these personal suggestions much more seriously these days instead of brushing them off and then annoyingly finally listening to it 6 months later and loving just like you said I would.

Just ask James if you don’t believe me xoxo

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New Music T̶u̶e̶s̶d̶a̶y̶ Wednesday

March 7, 2018

“New Music Monday” sounded waaaaay better, but that didn’t happen, (nor the night after), so this is the best effort from the B squad coming at you. Since it’s not always about me me me I thought I’d share a few tunes from the unheralded underground that exists outside of Australia’s predictable pay-to-play hype-machine.

First up…

“Mantras For A Failed Academic”
Sad Hill (Perth, AU)

This is a new song from a (forthcoming) new album from a new band called Sad Hill. They’re coming in hot with a stellar pedigree, with at least one member (and possibly/probably two but can’t confirm coz they’re so new that info is hard to track down and it’s raining in Port Mac at the moment so the internet is playing up weird), being drawn from the ashes of former WA indie hard rockers Emperors, which means that their entry into the Australian music scene is basically a retread of Lester Burnham applying for a job as a cashier at Mr. Smiley’s. Trust me: they definitely have fast food experience.

They were recently named Band Of The Day (#146, to be exact), over at UK blog Overblown, to which we immediately thought “Oh, good for them!” [Also: “Hey, we’re jealous but gonna a smile through the pain & envy, make it a double thanks.”] Any press is good press, for realz, but they also described the single as “Some very lo-fi and chuggy punk that seems to be inexplicably mixed with Iron Maiden“, to which we internally replied…wait, what? Is this what we’re calling lo-fi these days? Damn. I don’t even want to know what counts as hi-fi then. They also threw us another curve-ball by listing the band members listed as

Jonathan, Anton, Simon & Elias. Charlie Lopez – Drums, 2011-2014

…even though there are only three people in the band pic and I know that my mate’s name is Greg (unless they are operating an entirely different Andy Kaufman-level and I’ve been left out of the joke). But, that’s the sort of new-band hijinx that warms the heart, really. Check it if you like things on the slightly heavier side but still like to use a thesaurus now and again. “Intelligent rock” is probably loaded with negative connotations, but it shouldn’t be.

We’d like to now direct your gaze to our favourite haunt of Sydney, and apologize now for being a few weeks late getting the word out about the latest from Whispering Jackie. This is “Fast Life”, and I knew this song fairly well before I ever heard the recording after doing quite a few shows with them last year. [Full disclosure: yeah, we did quite a few shows with them last year.]

This is a very fast & catchy number, with a chorus in 6/4 that keeps you slightly off balance but still in step, plus lyrics that somehow manage the impossible feat of directly quoting Neil Young yet leaving the listener feeling better, not worse because of it.

Whispering Jackie have become not only one of our most beloved bands to tour with, gossip over drinks with, and generally be part of the scene with, but they are definitely mates and I don’t use that term lightly (coz I’m not actually Australian and am probably using it wrong anyways.) Everything this band touches turns into furious garage-pop gold, and I am envious in so many ways.  Top stuff.

I’ve been meaning to write about Fingermae since our last show together in 2017 at Vic On The Park (ed: it was last May. Damn, I am slow]. I saw a few days ago that they had a new song out called “Not Racist But”, which immediately made me seethe with envy over the title alone.

- Whew. Good title. - Mmm. Yours?

WordPress is being a dick about embedding certain music players coz of blah blah blah I don’t know I’m old and tired and have been trying to finish this post for three days, so instead of embedding a proper music player from Fingermae’s Triple J Unearthed page I had to scrounge up this YouTube clip.

You get the idea.

I can’t say enough about Fingermae’s frontwoman Sally, as she is staple of the Newtown music scene, and thanks to her role as booker and soundie at the Town Hall Hotel in Newtown she has probably single-handedly done more to keep my own band going than anyone, including myself. Beyond that, Fingermae have hit upon that one style of music that no one ever does and no one ever even thinks to do: anti-folk.

Their self-styled description alone ticks all of the boxes for me:

We call it Jazz Punk; there’s lots of chords with unreasonably long names played fast, heaps of sarcasm, adult themes and beats that will compel motion.”

This was literally me for so, so long, and now I want to go back. I remember having so much to say, and it all needing to come out, and watching & listening to Fingermae just makes me straight up…happy. Stupidly, ridiculously happy.

There’s a surfing adage that “the best surfer in the world is the person having the most fun”, and I always think of that when I see Fingermae’s drummer Lauren on stage. Her irrepressible joy behind the kit makes me jealous. I ask myself, “have I ever had that much fun? HAVE I?!?!?”

I honestly don’t know.

We’ll say good night and leave you with a new clip from our mates Wasters, who have joined forces with our fav US director Matt Clements to bring you their new clip for “Keep Me Waiting”.

Again, I cannot say enough good things about this band and their music. They have been great tour mates & given me much food for thought over the last 4-5(?!?!) years we have been kicking around together, and this is another gem in their ever-expanding quiver of impeccable pop-punk hits. Check it.

That’s all from the front lines for now. Blast these loud and show them some love if you feel so inclined. As easy as it can be to get so jaded about music and whatever scene you’re in, trust me: your voice always matters–make yourself heard.

Call/Shout/Complain/Preach/Annoy/Demand Better

xoxo

Pride & Poverty

January 13, 2018

[apologies to my long-suffering blog. I feel like a neglectful parent. So much to write, and yet…]

I guess it doesn’t matter much anyways, as the next post was always going to be this post, which was always going to be about our new record. Over the months there were many things I thought I might write about, but in retrospect I see how much this record consumed my life and yeah, of course nothing got done. So here we are, once again.

Pride & Poverty

YOU ARE HERE

What started as 12 songs has now become 7, because things happen and plans change and ideas that once seemed brilliant suddenly appear as horribly ill-conceived howlers. In the end we are left with a disposable monument that declares: these are some things we thought and this is the best we could express them.

More verbiage is not going to sway anyone’s mind in this day and age (if it ever could), so we decided to take as much control of our music as possible. Rather than lament what is not happening at the hands of other people, we decided to do whatever was within our powers to affect, create, or shape our little universe. Instead of hassling & hustling for meager radio plays that no one hears, or moaning about other bands “getting” what we think we deserve, we channeled our energy into things we could control and into all the various accoutrements surrounding the songs and the record. The artwork comes from the hand of our talented bassist Adam Murray. The layout was kept in-house, thanks to our guitarist (on shore leave) James Carthew. And instead of paying money-we-don’t-have for PR and expensive film clips, we did them all ourselves.

RC 11 B & W

DIY PINUPS

And that’s it. Here is our new record, laid out in 7 clips from the DIY heart of Australia’s underground. We hope you enjoy.

..:: ROYAL CHANT – PRIDE & POVERTY ::..

1. Power Pose
AN ODE TO ACTIVE WEAR

2. Shooting Sparrows

3. Back To Front
SHRED TIL YA DEAD

4. I Get A Kick Out Of Being Kicked Around By You

5. Cargo Cults

6. Yada Yada Yada

7. Slowly, To The End

And with that, we ask ourselves: what next?

Of course we don’t have much of an idea, but it will likely be more of the same, in due time.

For now, we’re at that point in our trajectory where we’re too old, too proud, & too lazy to keep asking our fans to participate or initiate a never-ending obstacle course of promotion on our behalf. Not only is it annoying to all involved, it’s also downright embarrassing, (and a bit sad). All we want to do is make music, and we assume that the listener would rather just, you know: listen to music, instead of texting and sharing and tweeting into the void.

In the spirit of simplification, and as a reflection of the new landscape of the modern digital music biz, we thought it worth mentioning that the easiest way to support us or any other band you love is by following us on Spotify.

That’s it.

We’re heading out to play some shows around Australia, (because of course), so come out and have a shake with us if we make it to your neck of the woods.

Holler back if it’s been a while, and I promise to write more soon.

xoxo

 

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.

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

 

 

Shocked & Shaking

May 2, 2015

I don’t know if it happens to everyone, but do you ever get those phases of sheer music fatigue? It’s not as if you’ve fallen out of love with your favourite music, but it’s just those rare times when everything loved & familiar suddenly become too familiar? It may only last an hour or a few days, (although I do recall one friend who seemed struck by the apathy virus for a few months), but either way it both a sign and symptom of weakened spirits that only compounds the problem.  If music is your bedrock, best friend, & bible, how cruel is it to be unable to turn to it when you need it most.

Of course I am well aware that “there is a world of music out there at your fingertips”, and this is certainly not a post about how “there just isn’t any good music out there!”. That’s complete rubbish, as anyone involved with music in any way, shape, or form can attest. The problem is simply that sometimes you don’t have it right here and now. Sometimes we find music, sometimes it finds you, and sometimes those paths are circuitous and meandering since we all don’t have access to an amazing radio station or a best friend or an older sibling to guide us in this wide world of musical thorns and wilderness.

And really, this has been one long introduction when all I really meant to say is that I stumbled across a song that has shaken me to the core and made all of the above somewhat irrelevant. I don’t know how long I’ll feel this buzz, but it’s wonderful while it lasts, and it’s amazing that when your spirit gets shaken out of its slumber that the rediscovered rosy glow is cast over your entire world, INCLUDING YOUR RECORD COLLECTION THAT YOU WERE JUST MOANING ABOUT.  Like a music rebirth or sonic baptism, all is right with the world.  All it took was the right kick and you were away and running.

I was wasting time over at Grantland, which would seem somewhat odd since I don’t much like Sports and have little idea about what constitutes Pop Culture, but….they seem to write about it so well.  Writer Steven Hyden had a piece on Titus Andronicus which I initially didn’t click because I’m a jerk (and probably jealous in some irrational way even though I’d not heard much of the band aside from the name), but once I had read anything that looked like it might interest me, and then everything else, I eventually got hit over the head with this:

What does one say to that? I wanted to hug the band. I wanted hug Steve Hyden.  I wound up hugging the cat instead, and then just sat there in awe, reeling in the beauty and steeped in envy. A simple (but amazingly clever) song, a simple  (But cleverly amazing) video that brings the brilliant verbal barrage to the front, and a voice that punches and aches at the same time.  The second verse killed me to the point that I felt like a helpless fraud. I don’t want to dissect it much more than that, because it’s enough that it just is. 

It’s hard to say why this song made me so happy, not just because of the thing itself, but I suspect it’s because I find comfort in knowing that people are still writing songs like this and are unafraid to say it in such a straightforward manner.  Instead of couching ourselves in modesty and self-deprecation (whether real or not), it would be nice to simply say Yes: this is me and this is it.

On a final note, I felt like a complete tool for not knowing what the term “Dimed Out” meant, but thankfully by the end of the song they had explained it so easily and obviously that even I managed to get it. That’s rare.

I Forget, I Forgot…

February 27, 2015

Huh.

It hasn’t been unusually busy nor quiet so far this year, but somehow it slipped my mind that Royal Chant released a new single a week or so ago and I forgot to do my usual half-baked blitz of DIY promo & pseudo-hype. So, yeah, this happened:

We recorded the drums and the original guitar track at the only studio in Port Macquarie, which has now (recently & sadly) shuttered its doors. We finished the rest in James bedroom because that’s what bands do these days, due to the fact that nobody has any money and we’re not likely to make any at this game.  But, since we’re too stupid/stubborn/proud to quit, we released it like a proper band without being very proper about it at all.

If you’re not into Bandcamp you can get your hands on it over at SoundCloud if that’s how you like to roll with your jams

Or you can had over to Triple-J Unearthed and help us participate in the perpetual popularity contest that is Australian radio.  You can download it, and rate it, and I think there’s a place where you can let the station know whether you’ve named any children or pets after your fav band, as well as upload any pics of any tattoos that feature said band.

You’ve probably got the point by now — We want to see what you think and if it manages to find a place in your heart/iPod. We spend so much time with these songs that we really have no idea if we’ve hit, missed, or yawned. You can head over to Tomatrax and read his take on things if you’re keen and have some company time to kill.

We had an official “launch” for this track on Friday the 13th, which of course went about as well as expected, meaning that it kinda became a mess and not many people showed up and then we manged to forgot not only to play the aforementioned single we were launching, but to hand out the free copies afterwards as well. Par for the course.  I suppose I should not be so surprised or feel so wounded when booking agents don’t return our calls or emails.

Here’s what things look like on better days….

We’ve got a few more shows on this “tour”, hitting Adelaide (hello new friend, sorry we misjudged you for so long for no good reason), before heading over to Melbourne for shows with our besties Claws & Organs along with Them Bruins and other cool bands that make the city so damn appealing. They have a Cat Cafe. Enough said.

Before I go I’ll leave you with a final parting number; this is “Sea Chanty” that closed the show on Jan. 8th at our beloved Brighton Up Bar in Sydney. It’s worth making it until the end so you can see possibly the best cymbal smash in recent memory.

Holler back if it’s been a while.  It does get awful lonely out here.

-M

 

 

Old Skool

November 24, 2014

Sometimes it just hits.

Not inspiration, but that something even better….someone else making/doing/singing/being something that strikes you.

This is “Love Shows” by a band/artist/entity called The Gaze. As of right now, she/they have 86 FB likes. That means nothing good nor bad, it just is.  I stumbled upon this piece of perfection on the new Spring Fling 2014 Compilation put out by the fledgling Sydney label Electric Sun Records. [FULL DISCLOSURE: RC’s “I Remember Crescent City” is track #7 on the CD, and “Love Shows” is #8.  It’s not a stretch how I might have found it….coz yeah, I have an ego and get drunk and listen to my own music.]

So there I am, driving along in my usual disgruntled skin, and then this comes on.  I have probably listened to this track 50 times already in a very short period of time, in skies sunny and drear, hours early and late, and I don’t care. I love it. It is 2 minutes and 18 seconds of right on.

I can sing along to every line of this song, but if you asked me to repeat a lyric at random I don’t think I could spit a single syllable. I only know it when it’s on.

In one of my weird moods, I decided to write down the lyrics. That’s what I used to do (and still do, in fact), when I wanted to learn a song.  Rather than look up the chords &/or lyrics on the google machine I used to listen to a song over and over and over and transcribe the chords and lyrics as best I could.  Sometimes I got very close.  Sometimes I got things very, very wrong.  No matter what, I always got closer to the song.

Love Shows
by The Gaze

Heartbreak answers to so many different names
I’d love you if you’d only stayed the same
I studied you until I learnt the game
and sometimes a flame is just a flame
I knew just what it took to make you smile
I haven’t felt that urge for quite a while
I pushed coz I needed to see you cry
I pushed just to see if you’d push me back

Hope grows, only love shows
Love grows, only hope shows

In the end, somebody always pays
It can come out in so many different ways
I was looking for somebody new to blame
When it all falls down it’s such a shame

Hope grows, only love shows
Love grows, only hope shows

I can feel that I’m pushing you away
Though I made up my mind to try and stay
Heartbreak lingers love can creep away
I’m not sure I remember you anyway

Hope grows, only love shows
Love grows, only hope shows

That is all. I found this song and I like it rather much. Let me know what you think, but even more, let them know if it moves you too.

It’s time for bed, so I will catch you all laterzzzzzzz…..

-M

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