Posts Tagged ‘Sydney’

Inventing Colloquialisms

September 6, 2017

So….Royal Chant have a new single out, because of course we do. It’s called “Shooting Sparrows”. One student hanging around at school asked me what the title “Shooting Sparrows” meant, to which I promptly replied, “I don’t know”, which is, of course, the only answer one should give when asked about the meaning of anything.

We all have our pet peeves (some more than others), but as a songwriter, telling someone the “meaning” of a song rather defeats the point of writing it in the first place.
Don’t. Do. It.

Singer/Songwriters are probably the most guilty of doing this, as they often perform in small, intimate settings, often in venues devoted to acoustic music or in “songwriters in the round”-type settings, where basically you have to get up there and talk about your songs or share some funny story or explain the irony or witticism behind the title, or whatever: it’s just a shit show.

The 90s probably made things even worse, with everybody getting “unplugged” and the Indigo Girls, Shawn Mullins, Alanis Morissette, and Jewel not only setting their diaries to song but going out of their way to explain what everything means in a helpful pre-song presentation, just in case you got confused and decided to use your imagination.

The term “Shooting Sparrows” doesn’t mean anything that I know of. I think I was trying to lean on some Southern flavour in a “To Kill A Mockingbird” kind of way, but I’m not even sure if they HAVE sparrows in the South. The original line was from another song I wrote over 10 years ago that went:

I’d sooner shoot at sparrows than be kept away from you

That song wasn’t all that good. Maybe this new one isn’t much better. I have no idea, but I invented a phrase that has no meaning but sounds like it might, and that will do for now.

Of course you can hear this meaningless colloquialism of my own invention everywhere and in every way that people are still doing the music thing these days. Downloads, streams….anything but an actual record.

That’s how we do it in Vegas xoxo

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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

 

 

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

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.

Hesitation Kills

May 13, 2012

Heya this is brief but I thought I’d post it anyways.  This song came out last month but I’ve been lazy (I won’t even pretend that I was too busy) and blah blah blah here is the new single from Royal Chant and we like it well enough.  It’s been on the radio a bit but not enough to make us famous, or make much of a difference, really.  If it ain’t a hit then it’s really just in the noise level, but since that’s what we play (noise, of a certain verbal snarled strain), and where we are most comfortable (underground),  it all works out in the end.

Anyway, it’s called Hesitation Kills, and you can snag it for free and blast it to your hearts content, or have a listen here on the blog or here on the Triple J Unearthed site.  Whatever’s clever, my friends.  Let us know what you think if you’ve got a moment to spare.  Feedback = good.  Even if it’s bad.

So that’s pretty much it.  I waited almost 2 months to post something, and all you get is a crappy disposable single.  I’m not even going to pretend that I’m unaware of the delicious irony that the song & this post are called “Hesitation Kills”, so let’s just move on from here.  I’m not dead.

slantrhyme, this malnourished and untended blog of mine, turned 3 years old sometime over the past two weeks, and once again I forgot to notice. The Iron Man Triathlon came and went, and it wasn’t until it was truly over that I recognized that gnawing at the back of my mind.  Ah yes, a beginning of sorts.  To commemorate this non-event I have chosen “Lean Street”, by G.S. Fraser, taken from my Penguin Book of Scottish Verse, (ed. Tom Scott).

Lean Street

by G.S. Fraser

Here, where the baby paddles in the gutter,
Here in the slaty greyness and the gas,
Here where the women wear dark shawls and mutter
A hasty word as other women pass,

Telling the secret, telling, clucking and tutting,
Sighing, or saying that it served her right,
The bitch! – the words and weather both are cutting
In Causewayend, on this November Night.

At pavement’s end and in the slaty weather
I stare with glazing eyes at meagre stone,
Rain and the gas are sputtering together
A dreary tune! O leave my heart alone,

O leave my heart alone, I tell my sorrows,
For I will soothe you in a softer bed
And I will numb your grief with fat to-morrows
Who break your milk teeth on this stony bread!

They do not hear. Thought stings me like an adder,
A doorway’s sagging plumb-line squints at me,
The fat sky gurgles like a swollen bladder
With the foul rain that rains on poverty. 

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

Whenever we are in Sydney we stay at our bass player’s apartment (his name is James and he’s a lovely soul), which is in Kingsford/Randwick.  It’s a relatively short walk from there to the very upper-crust beach of Coogee Bay, but in order to get there I pass by a somewhat disheveled but still quite friendly looking veterinary practice called Struggletown Vet.  Struggletown.  I love it.

I want to know exactly where the term “Struggletown” comes from.  It’s so perfect and real that it begs to be remembered.  I’ve a hunch that it’s a forgotten term for the area in the early 1900s, but rather than Google it or some other short cut I’d like to sit down in some forgotten corner of the local library and meander amongst their local history section.  Even better would be to actually talk to someone who remembers, or who remembers someone who would remember, but the sad thing is that most of those people are long gone, and their stories with them, either dead or pushed out by the ever-rising property prices.  Even if you could find someone, it’s hard to imagine finding the right place to sit and listen to them over a pint, because there’s no proper quiet pubs anymore.  There’s few pubs left in the city that have history written into the walls and where old men gather to pass the time in silence or over well-worn stories.  They’re all gone.

Sorry to end on a bummer.  Things are a bit rough in the world overall right now, but that’s no reason not to smile and carry on, each in our own way.

Write back if it’s been a while.  I do enjoy hearing from you, wherever you are scattered across the globe.  Love & peace to you all…

-M