Items filtered by date: September 2013
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:33

Mr Grevis: Ready to Teach

Gary McPhee aka Mr. Grevis is a pretty smart guy.

Patriotic without being racist, profound without sounding pretentious, he's a part of the new wave of Aussie hip hop where being good isn't so bad.

“I touch on some former negative aspects of my life, and I think people like to hear the story of someone doing good that previously didn't do good. It's everything in my life, you know? Most of my music is life related stuff,” Mr. Grevis says.

His debut album, 'Sampler', was recently released via Obese. It’s a broad collection of party songs — including 'Still High' (the sequel to 'So High') — and contemplative tracks, most notably 'The Youth', written in response to a group of teens' lack of respect towards the Remembrance Day minute of silence.

“They were like ‘ah fuck it, we'll just chill up here, I don't fucking know anyone that died in the war’ and I was really, really pissed off about it. I'm pretty patriotic without being racist about it. That's where that track stemmed from, I was up there and I was sort of pissed off at them and just started writing.”

Whether he means to or not, Mr. Grevis’ music appeals to a certain audience.

“My housemate was like ‘you write your music real smart and appeal to a certain crowd’ and I don't intentionally do it, I just hear a beat and I'm like ‘oh this has got to be a weed song’. Like that ‘So High’ beat, I had to write a weed track to that.”

Expressing his desire to teach the younger generation that music is a creative outlet, not a destructive force, Mr Grevis doesn’t mind wearing his geekiness on his sleeve.

“I think it's great what [Seth Sentry’s] music is doing, like he's making it cool to be a geek, he's just being himself, it's not putting on a front for the sake of fitting into things. You should always be yourself no matter what. Just as long as everyone starts slowly taking on these [responsibilities] and then passing it down to their kids, the world would slowly evolve into a better place.”

Mr. Grevis’ album, ‘My Escape’, is out now.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:28

Caravana Sun: Crazy Smiles

Gypsy-ska band Caravana Sun will bring their upbeat and soulful new album, ‘AYA’, to fans during their current Australian tour.

The band's bassist, Ant Beard, says the Cronulla group are looking forward to touring.

“It's a bit beyond music for all of us,” he says. “It's absolutely amazing to see when you give something; when you really give a lot, you really get a lot back and it's been an amazing experience for the four of us.”

Having only picked up the bass guitar in 2009 during the band's inception, Beard says he’s still discovering his own sound.

“It's been a real journey for me with playing and trying to discover my own style in this sort of music and get my head around not only the bass as a guitar, but as a sense.”
The combined lifestyle of playing shows and exploring the local surroundings while off stage contributes to the sound and personality of the band.

“Because we're travelling along the east coast we do a lot of surfing and try to get among anything that's happening in the town; it’s good to try and inject ourself into the community. Without that experience we would truly be missing something in the gig so it's definitely a huge part of our music.”

After recently touring Europe, Caravana Sun are ready to tackle another Australian tour.

“We played in maybe six or seven different countries, travelled by train and had to be constantly learning new languages. It was great to have an audience that might not have necessarily spoken English but still understood the undertones of what we're trying to get across. We want to be able to do what we love live and take it around Australia and the world.”

With their carribbean vibe and light, punchy rhythm, Caravana Sun like to engage with their audience by dancing.

“Usually it's a lot of dancing; a lot of crazy smiles and laughing and jumping up and down and we really try to incorporate that side to our music. Just the whole experience of really trying to move people from the inside out and the effect we’ve had on people is a really humbling experience.”

Caravana Sun play the Beach Hotel, Byron, Sept 29, Caloundra Music Festival Oct 5, The Joynt Oct 10 and Solbar, Maroochydore, Oct 11.

Published in Reggae/ Roots
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:23

Jazz On Sunday: Live Review

Within the original Spiegeltent, folk would marvel at stained-glass murals, enjoying music and entertainment. In simple terms: a massive yurt. With a bar. And jazz. Marvellous idea, I say.

Shannon Marshall And The Soul Almighty began the final Jazz On Sunday Brisbane Festival session with pieces from their newest release, ‘Sunny’. In the soul and funk tradition, searing organist Dale Rabic, spot-on guitar great Jim Kelly, with Paul Hudson on the kit gave new light to great pieces from Etta James and Bobby Hebb.

Hailing from Sydney, the Gai Bryant Quintet present a Cuban/ funk/ gospel feel, featuring a flighty Gai Bryant on the saxophone and awesome trombone from Jeremy Borthwick, truculent double bass from Brendan Clarke, Cameron Read driving the train on kit, while the ribald guitarist Jeremy Sawkin rounded out the group.

The musicianship of these groups is astounding, dynamic freedom of solo evident, striking out in visceral ways. Both add to the usual modus: a dash of kookiness; a solemn approach, while totally pouring it on from the heart.

Jazz On Sunday was at the Spiegeltent 22.09.13

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:21

Martha Baartz: Live Review

A dazzling pinkish dusk settles over the river and the Brisbane Jazz Club lights up against the skyline. A performance of soft funk-jazz by the Martha Baartz Quintet (sans vocalist, Leigh Carriage) with a new album from a group that goes right to the borders of jazz world. Dig it.

A master of performance, saxophonist Martha Baartz co-led the Baartz Freeman Sextet, also performing with many awesome Australian and international artists.

Martha et al demonstrate great improvisational expression which, cast along with real dynamic and tonal impact, follows a traditional but meandering line. Martha arranges a standard by a conventional feel, then trims and sets to the solo with brief intensity rarely found in the not-so-concise wind fraternity.

The solos were diverse and surprising as the influence of other styles came into play. Loose and awesome free-work from Steve Russell on keys, with boisterous and powerful backline from double bassist Thierry Fossemalle and drummer Dave Sanders.

The intimate Brisbane Jazz Club room lent a fine warmth, as Martha invoked other times and places in life; shadows passed and the heart of music. Martha has the gift of great composition alongside recognisable, yet original lines otherwise known as great jazz.

You feel that?

Marth Baartz Quintet’s ‘Dream Drops’ is available online now.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:18

An Idiot Abroad 3 DVDs

In the third instalment of the hit series ‘An Idiot Abroad’, Ricky Gervais has managed to cajole the anything-but-intrepid Karl Pilkington into attempting to follow explorer Marco Polo's historic route from Venice, through Eastern Europe and India, to China.

Karl will not be travelling alone, however, as Warwick Davis has been roped in to keep Karl company along the way - all 5000 miles of it!

To win a DVD copy of ‘An Idiot Abroad 3’ This competition has closed.
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Published in Competition
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:11

Woolpit: Meant To Be

Collectively they’ve been in over ten bands, but it was from a relaxed jam among friends that Woolpit emerged.

A cycling accident that saw Skritch (Mary Trembles, Tex Perkins’ Dark Horses) break his hip resulted in a long break from the business. When he began to mend, he called on friend and Mary Trembles bandmate Tony McCall to show him what he'd been working on. It wasn't long before Pete O'Brien, Skritch's friend of 15 years joined in.

“He started playing this song. As soon as he started playing it, Tony and I just looked at each other and said that's amazing. The kind of sound coming out of his guitar is the kind of stuff Tony and I had talked about getting for years and it was coming out of the fingers of this great friend of mine.”

Counting Shellac and Neil Young as shared influences, the songwriting process was organic and very quick.

“It all shares a rawness and a real value of a simple song, done simply with all the elements locked together. The songs are normally finished by the second play through.”

The band name, too, came together almost as seamlessly Skritch admits. 

“We were desperately trying to think of a name and we were coming up with all sorts; we'd all look at each other and say 'nah'. Pete came in one day and said he'd had a dream and in the dream we were called Woolpit. Tony and I looked at each other and said that's a great name. Then we thought, hang on, what is Woolpit?”

As it turns out, it is a fabled village from the 12th century where two green children were allegedly found.

“One day they asked them, 'where did you come from before we found you?' and they just said 'perpetual twilight'. That story just sealed the deal. So Woolpit it is.”

Woolpit will play for the first time later this month and Skritch can barely contain his excitement.

“Music is strange, it's never quite complete until it's had an audience. The idea of fulfilling that cycle, playing it to other people and seeing them react is really, really exciting.”

Woolpit play The Beetle Bar Friday September 27 with Deer Lord and The Steady As She Goes.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:04

The Drones: Top Five 20th Century Dictators

1. Joseph Stalin. Although the ‘Boss’ as he was known to his apparatchik friends didn’t score quite as high in the body count stakes as China’s Mao Tse Tung (70,000,000!!!), he still comes in at a healthy 20,000,000 dead and tops our list for sheer unreasonableness, unpredictability and the knack of making Hitler look like someone with principles. It’s always a surprise when dreamy young lefties discover it’s the tip of their wing, not the other one, that made the 20th century the worst thing that ever happened to hundreds of millions of innocent men, women and children. To understand this one only need consider the fact that Stalin’s arrest and deportation of the entire nation of Chechnya was named Operation Lentil.

2. Adolf Hitler. If there was a yardstick for arseholes, Hitler’s would have a stick up its arsehole. The ‘Boss’, as he was known to the boys in Hugo Boss, needs no introduction. His lonely ideological inclusion in this list is proof that right wingers are always completely outgunned by the very ideology they claim is soft.

3. Kim Jong Ill. Demigod, hamburger inventor, golfing genius, author of 1,500 books in three years, opera composer, captain of his own Pleasure Squad, telekineticist, fratricidal short people abductor, corpse… Legend.

4. Saparmurat Niyazov. His Excellency Saparmurat Türkmenbasy, President of Turkmenistan and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers knew how to do it. He named everything (schools, calendar months etc) after himself, banned lip-syncing and banned smoking everywhere (including outdoors) except in houses, bars and restaurants. He also said this: “I watched young dogs when I was young. They were given bones to gnaw to strengthen their teeth. Those of you whose teeth have fallen out did not chew on bones. This is my advice.”

5. Francois Duvalier. He ruled Haiti and admitted to guiding Lee Harvey Oswald with voodoo remote control. What. A. Guy.

The Drones play The Hi-Fi Friday September 27.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 13:34

Spit Syndicate: Money Over Bullshit

Jimmy Nice, one half of Aussie hip hop duo Spit Syndicate, talks about life on the road and how partying with Sticky Fingers inspired their ‘Like A Version’ hit.

“Being with my mates … it's just the best times I have when I am doing dumb shit with [them] on the road.” That's Jimmy's favourite part about touring. His least favourite part?

“Just fucking airports, man. I know I sound like a massive diva but airports in the morning are not a friend of mine … and drunk, belligerent idiots at gigs ... But yeah, beyond that, there's not too much I dislike [about touring]. I'd rather be at an airport hungover then being at work or doing something shitty.”

Their 18-date 'Money Over Bull$hit' tour will have them visiting a fair few airports, but Jimmy is just happy he doesn't have to be touring around the country on a bus.

“I sit here and complain about being in an airport and I say that's the worse part about touring … [people before us] really had to grassroot it to get around, so we're appreciative that we don't have to do that … [so] yeah, definitely no buses.”

Supporting Spit Syndicate on their tour is the duo's 'life coach', Joyride. When asked what exactly 'life coach' means, Jimmy jokes, “yeah, that's probably Joyride being self-proclaimed. I mean, he likes to think that he's the glue in the touring party … ‘cause he does a lot of the driving and I think he thinks that Nick and I should drive. [But] he likes to handle the wheel.

“I don't really know how he's coaching us in life… maybe coaching us in how to drink iced coffee and smoke darts … beyond that, I think we're schooling him.”

There is no doubt that Spit Syndicate like to poke fun at their mates and make the best of times.

“There [are] a lot of things in our lives that we don't take seriously, we like to have a lot of fun but when it comes to making music it's something that we're passionate about,” Jimmy explains.

The ARIA chart success of 'Sunday Gentleman' is a direct reflection of their passion for making music.

“I guess we've had more success off of this album than any other but that's how we want everything to go. We want every release and every tour that we do to step up a notch and reach new ears.

“We've been doing this for a long time … since we were back in school. Nick and I met through a mutual friend who happens to be Solo from Horrorshow … and I met Solo at his 14th birthday party … [and then a few months later] I was introduced to Nick through graffiti.”

Jimmy, now 26, describes that “back then it was never really a conscious decision to start a group … it was just something we did when we jigged school, or when we hung out, it was something we did at parties.”

Jimmy, Nick and Solo are all still close mates. Spit Syndicate and Horrorshow are now a part of an intimate hip hop collective called One Day, alongside the likes of Joyride and Jackie Onassis. The whole crew are “trying to possibly float the idea of of doing a One Day tour some time next year… and [the crew has] some writing trips planned for the back end of this year … That's something that we're working on and just trying to strengthen the whole One Day brand.”

Another band that Spit Syndicate found themselves (albeit, unorthodoxly) inspired by was Sticky Fingers.

“We've been partying a lot in the previous [months] … We had a night with Crabs from Sticky Fingers, and we were just fucked up listening to [Disclosure's 'Latch'],” Jimmy laughs.

“We had a little lightbulb go off , 'yeah let's do this as our 'Like A Version'!' So the idea just came from being faded [with Sticky Fingers] and loving to dance to that song.”

Spit Syndicate play The Solbar Sept 28, The Loft Oct 10, Woodys Surf Shack Oct 11 and Alhambra Lounge Oct 12.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 13:24

My Fiction: Bringing Their A-Game

My Fiction do not sound like an Australian band. In fact their music would be right at home on a rainy New York sidewalk rather than a sun-drenched Brisbane street.

“We probably haven't sat comfortably in the Brisbane music scene or even necessarily in Australia but we've found it helped us immensely over in the States and gave us a little bit of traction there,” lead singer Eric Robinson says.

Set to launch their second album entitled ‘Shallow Highs’ this weekend, the record looks to build upon the groundwork laid by their debut ‘FIREROMANCEFIRE’.

“With the first album, it's a combination of songs written over probably a longer time and then it all just clicks together, [while] there's probably a stronger theme across all the tracks in this second album. We're a bit more clear with our message in the second album. There's lots of sleepers on that album that unless you've sat down and listened to it quite a bit they're slow burning.”

However, success hasn’t made them complacent. Well aware of the quality of music being produced by the industry, they were determined to make their second release an album that had impact and would solidify their growing reputation.

“I think competition breeds quality in a way so people were all looking at each other. There's so many impressive bands you've got to bring your A-Game, and when you're writing and you're going to release an album it's got to be quality because you know there's so many fantastic bands out there producing such great music that the bar is really high.”

With the new album having evolved significantly from their debut, My Fiction are aiming to make every song better than the last.

“Every song we've written, we want to make the next song better and we want to be better at what we do, it's just human nature. Do you want to develop? Sometimes that means you're going to go kind of left. We write a lot of stuff while we're rehearsing — we didn't try to replicate anything from that first album.”

Significant developments were made in the way the music was written for the second album. While they initially wrote most music during rehearsals, there was slightly more structure to their method this time around.

“The way we write is, we don't write to formulas and there's no standard thing for us, we let it just roll. But on the second album we ... [sent] each other audio files, bouncing them off each other and throwing around ideas, but obviously there's some tracks that just came to you and were done in 20 seconds.”

Now they’re looking to play bigger shows, with an eye to the summer festival season.

“I know the bigger stages are better for us. Particularly with this latest album, the production is really big ... Obviously you've got to cut your teeth but our experience, particularly festivals are so fun, the hype, the buzz.”

With the album launch at their home ground, The Zoo, they’re approaching the show head on with energy and fervour.

“We've had some fantastic nights at The Zoo so that'll be great. Obviously we love shows interstate, they're always a lot of fun because you're playing to usually lots of new people but big shows in Brisbane are great, you have a couple of those a year, really big shows and they're fantastic.”

Coupled with the album launch is a run of shows around the country promoting ‘Shallow Highs’, and they’re eager to be on the road again.

“It's very freeing being on the road, I think, leaving all that other stuff behind. I love it when bands come out and say how much they love touring and they love playing stuff, rather than dragging their feet. I think it's a real honour to go and play to a whole heap of people you don't know in a foreign city and get a great response, that's pretty special.”

Praised by the likes of Rolling Stone magazine, My Fiction are focusing on making music that they love.

“It’s something that I think anyone who's played in a band or written their own music, it's kind of addictive and there's something about writing a song that's just completely unique to any experience. For us, it's always a gamble but you're not always in it to get money. It's got to be true to what you're trying to do.”

My Fiction launch ‘Shallow Highs’ at The Zoo Sep 28. Mosman Adler, Mega Ogre and The Familiars support.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 13:19

Simple Plan: Any Suggestions?

Simple Plan is one of the world’s only interactive bands.

When it comes to writing songs, these French-Canadians want to know what we think. They want to read our tweets, our emails, our thoughts, in the hope that we will inspire them to head to the studio.

The immature 14-year-old inside me wants to call this 'laziness', but it's clearly not. It's about inviting fans into the creative space, allowing them to make Simple Plan their own.

As so many artists fight to stay relevant after their time in the spotlight is over, guitarist Sébastien Lefebvre admits that his outfit places an incredible amount of trust in their core group of dedicated followers.

"We're very relevant in our world. We're very important to our fans, we're very important to ourselves in that we still love what we do and we always decide to do it better. How relevant are we in the music world? That's a hard question to answer. Once in a while you'll hear or you'll read that an artist has been to a Simple Plan show, or they used to be fans. It makes you feel relevant."

The track 'This Song Saved My Life' from Simple Plan's latest LP is the example Sébastien throws in the air as an example of what he's talking about.

"It was co-written by the fans, almost. We took their testimonies and turned it into a song. We were wondering what to write about, and we just had that line ‘this song saved my life’, so we asked on Twitter what music meant to people. When all the comments started pouring in, that's how we shaped the verses of the song.

"We actually invited some fans to come to Vancouver and sing on the track. They were pretty good! When 25 people show up you never know how many of them are going to be good singers. It turns out they were."

All of this interactive camaraderie is well and good, but surely it's more important what the members of Simple Plan think of their music, not what the fans think... right?

Crowd-sourcing for creativity doesn't always have the best results. I'm not saying Simple Plan writes music exclusively through Twitter. What I am saying is that they collaborated with Shaggy, and someone needs to pay for that.

"I wouldn't say it matters more what we think. I think you have to keep both in mind. We have a special relationship with our fans. I don't see a lot of bands that have the same relationship... not that it's good or bad, just that the kind that we do have is different. You know, we involve them in our songwriting, our videos. We've asked their opinions about album covers.

"The fans are the reason that the band exists. If you're putting out music but you don't care about your fans then just stay in your basement and don't put out music.

"When we first started [in 1999] it was the very beginnings of the internet. Our personal emails were on the [Simple Plan] website [but] we would always go out to the merch stand after the show and try to meet people, try to take pictures. We always had meet-and-greets and signing sessions."

But now with the internet Simple Plan never have to meet anyone face-to-face again! Right?

"No! That's not true. The next step to all of that was to use social media to share a bit of our lives. It's actually pretty weird because when the fans come to see you they feel like they know you. They'll be like ‘Hey, how was that thing you did last week?’ and I'll be like ‘What?’ Then I'll remember it was on Twitter and that's how she knows."

I have to try not to laugh every time Sébastien says the title of Simple Plan's last album, 'Get Your Heart On'. Put on your best French-Canadian accent and then say 'heart on' three times fast. I'm not the only one that finds this funny. Eagles Of Death Metal named an album 'Heart On' as a joke, so that Jesse Hughes could say he was getting his 'heart on' all across America. He probably was.

"Whenever we put out an album we always want to make sure it's the best album we ever put out. So 'Get Your Heart On' is a fun album, and we really tried to let loose on it, we really tried to have a good time on it. It makes you wanna smile, it makes you wanna have a good time.

"Depending on what we're going through in our lives, that's what we talk about. So on the first album it was more like 'leave me alone I wanna do what I want'. Then on the second album there were songs that said 'don't try to bring me down, I'm still gonna do what I want’."

Simple Plan can talk about their discography until the cows come home, but let's not forget that this is the band that plays the theme song for ‘Scooby-Doo’. That's much, much more impressive.

An ideal Simple Plan show, in this writer's opinion, would be for Sébastien and his mates to come out on stage and play the theme from ‘Scooby-Doo’... This might sound silly, but Sébastien has arguably done sillier, more hilarious things. For one, he singlehandedly started a rumour that he and his merch guy were starting a band together. They even had t-shirts printed.

"We were on tour a long, long time ago with Bowling For Soup. We kept telling people for no reason that we had a band called ‘Man Of The Hour’. So it was me, Pierre our singer, Jaret from BFS, our merch guy who doesn't play any music at all, and we kept telling people that we were going to get signed. So after all that when we started doing radio we decided to call it the Man Of The Hour show."

Simple Plan play Vans Warped Tour at Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds Friday November 29.

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