gotta catch 'em all!

Scouring the cd bins at Savers today I picked up the official soundtrack to that 1999 epic, Pokémon: The First Movie, a $1.99 artifact that gathers up movies, music, animation and video games into one complete bubblegum wrapper of cultural amazingness.

The movie itself is a both a sophisticated commentary on contemporary bio-politics (Mewtwo is a genetically engineered super-being - much like the soundtrack! - controlled by the military-industrial complex, ie. Team Rocket); and, ultimately, a celebration of the redemptive power of emotion (the collective Pokémon's tears bring Ash back to life after he weighs in on a battle between Mew and Mewtwo).

Apart from this brief mention (after which everyone has likely quit reading this post), I'll stay away from the movie itself, and instead stick to talking up the first track from this recording, Billy Crawford's heartfelt rendition of the ubiquitous Pokémon Theme.

As the song begins a wave of synths burst forth, before insistent, crisp keyboards stand to attention, underneath which forms a heroic reappropriation of action-movie guitar wang (the kind often heard behind shots of helicopters over cityscapes), itself then segueing almost immediately into a rapid, 300bpm drum roll which announces the youthful, endlessly versatile and buttery voice of Billy, who, channelling all the
poké-catching passion of protagonist Ash, sings "I wanna be the very best / Like no one ev-a was / To catch them is my real test / To train them is my cause". Each line is interspersed by some unbelievably metallic synths, pulsating behind the rhythmic, heartfelt vocals of Billy - just try not being swept away by that accenting of 'ever' in the second line.

And all this in only the first twenty seconds! Mums and Dads are sitting in their loungerooms, with this blared by their schizophrenic ten-year-old, and they're happy - why? Not only because of Billy's effervescent, heart-stopping vocalising, but because they know that little Jimmy will be positively fucked by the time this song has worked itself over him, and Mum and Dad will be able to enjoy the ensuing delights of the rest of the soundtrack alone. You could eat a whole tub of Sara Lee Triple Chocolate Chip and after one subjection to Pok
émon Theme you will have worked off every single calorie from it. Sun0)))'s effect might by physical, but damn, this song is physiological!

Back to the track - by the time Billy reaches the ecstatic chorus ("Pok
émon! / It's you and me! / I know it's my desta-neee! ...") a veritable church choir has joined in on backing vocals, punctuating all the most important lyrics ("Power inside", "Pokémon!") and adding an almost evangelical quality to the proceedings, along with the rising star synths, cathedral bells and that incessant beat.

Further sonic bombshells await, however, as what might be the fiftieth musical element joins in at the 1:10 mark for a 'blink and you'll miss it' YACHT-style 8-bit organ jam, until that's curtailed by those cheeky 300bpm drums and Billy's now grinding, soulful vocals which seem to reach the pits of your soul, or waters, depending on your preference.

But the best soloing work is saved for after the second chorus, as an actual musician, the illustrious Jeff Golub joins in around 2:18 for a guitar solo that is best described by borrowing from the man himself's website: "a little groovy, a little sexy, and a whole lot of cool!" This dude's steez wafts over the entire song, arguably it's best moment (in close competition with Billy's harmonies!), as he coaxes a clean and fast funk from his axe, before stretching the guitar to its limits up the neck to bring in the final, triumphant chorus, itself rumbling to a finish when all instruments suck back to let the choir and Billy soar one last time as they bellow the final line: "Pok

The rest of the soundtrack takes off from this absolute gem, with M2M's timeless paean to romantic procrastination, Don't Say You Love Me; some affirmative balladry from Xtina (We're A Miracle), positively dripping with pathos - "no one knew that all the tears in heaven / would bring me back to you" (a poignant reference to Ash and Pikachu's fraternity); Britney Spears getting her groove-thang on with Soda Pop (winning candidate for upbeat credits-roll music); the bubbly, super effusive Get Happy courtesy of those crazy wiccans B*Witched (who could forget their appearance at Westfield in 1997?); the postmodern posturising of Angela Via's Catch Me If You Can (directly appropriating Nintendo sounds); and many more.

Movie soundtracks are so often a cynical exercise in vertically integrated entertainment industry hegemony; even more so when it comes to children's films and the plethora of merchandising that explodes around them. What a refreshing reminder is the Music From and Inspired By The Motion Picture - P
okémon: The First Movie that movies and their soundtracking must not always meet under the sphere of crap. This recording defiantly advocates an alternative position, unafraid to take some Golub gambles and assemble itself from some of the most exciting, and truly alternative music, that was in circulation at the fin de millenium.

For those left wondering, Billy achieved double-platinum status with this theme song. Unfortunately, things haven't been going so well for this ultra-babe since. Soon after, he fell into a river and his last album, 2004's Big City, was only released in France and Asia, the first single didn't break any Top Ten charts, and the anticipated third single was cancelled by his label. But the boy is savvy, and after deciding not to re-sign with the ingrates who denied his third single, he's gone on to write and produce songs for other artists, amongst them Britney Spears. And with that, Billy took his and Britney's conjoined past's (working on this very special soundtrack), and folded them into everyone's present.

Billy Crawford -
Pokémon Theme (from Pokémon: The First Movie official soundtrack)


You know those songs that, even after just one listen, seem to infect your head like a kind of sonic virus? They stay on mental repeat for days after you hear them, interrupting thought when you're engaged in ostensibly far more important things - homework, conversations, eating. The bubbly, vigorous banger that is See A Penny (Pick It Up), by YACHT (one-half of The Blow, Jona Bechtolt, in solo mode) has been swirling around in my head for days, and you should kill some bandwith in order to have it do the same to you, until some day soon it will be like Dawn of the Dead except we'll all be stumbling around, getting down to this insanely catchy and positive song.

YACHT - See A Penny (Pick It Up)


The Black Keys - Hi Fi, 18/5/07

A drum, a guitar and a giant inflatable tyre - that is the essence of rock. Well, at least it is for The Black Keys.

Their set last Friday was amazing, a rampage through mainly older material (which was fine by me), with the time since they were first recorded allowing the duo to work over these songs into intense, smokey numbers. Sure, they didn't have the same sense of rawness that was first conveyed on albums like The Big Come Up and Thickfreakness, but they've saturated their sound in a positive way, this thickness only promoting their intensity.

Anachronism is certainly a 'flaw' often levelled at the Keys too, but tonight they sort of proved that they don't so much strive to recreate the blues past so much as honour it, whilst purposefully wrapping it up in their distinct sound, which itself mostly stems from the chemical exchanges between the two players. And if anyone questions whether its thievery or homage, you only need to listen to the answering message of the late Junior Kimbrough's widow to the pair, congratulating them for their work on the EP, Chulahoma: The Songs Of Junior Kimbrough.

But back to tonight - Patrick Carney belted the skins as if every bash was his last. Most drummers attempts at 'energy' always seem to dissipate somewhere between the intent and the execution, but his beats manage to mean something every go. Coupled with Dan Auerbach's laid-on heavy guitar and wail, they produce a sound that seems more like 5 than 2.

And tonight I'm reminded of the only other time I've seen the band, when they, unbelievably, played at the Narana Festival (set halfway between Geelong and Torquay, at the region's indigenous arts centre) as part of their first tour here in early 2006. They took to the stage after Bomba, and yet before Xavier Rudd - perched awkwardly between such dismal hippy-folk, they truly stole the show; regardless of the clearly un-into-it crowd and the insulting second-last slot, they went full steam ahead and played an amazing set. Being a Torquay local, this was one of my most surreal gig moments yet - watching a fucking brilliant international act play in what more or less amounted to a paddock, about ten minutes down the road from my house. It was a scene from the twilight zone.

And a brilliant one at that. And even though the mainly hippy crowd sorely weren't into the band, impatiently waiting around for Rudd, The Black Keys gave me something which they did again last Friday - true release. It doesn't happen often, and escapism is a debatable solution, but fuck sometimes that's the point of rock'n'roll. That feeling of utter enjoyment, to be in and of the moment, as the duo rip through their hollowed-out, broken down version of Busted, was magnificent. The possibility to forget, ecstatic erasure:

I'll set you free
I'll set you free
I'll set you free
I'll set you free

UPDATE: Head over to The Black Key's Myspace to download a four-track live EP free! Experience the magic by proxy!

The Black Keys - 10AM Automatic


No Cars Go

No Cars Go is the second-last track on Arcade Fire's latest album, Neon Bible. It is my favourite song of theirs, one the few songs to have ever truly moved me, and I'd argue its also their career highlight. I also believe, in the grand arc of Arcade Fire, this song is their most significant and redemptive.

It seems to offer a solution for the absolute mess that Neon Bible's previous nine songs were looking at. For if the impetus behind the elated splendor of Funeral was the magic of childhood and the communal bonds of the 'neighbourhood', most of its imagery inward-looking, then the grandeur behind Neon Bible is a lot less positive, and far more pervasive. The lyrics shift from the personal to the political; the band look out the window they dug their tunnels through as children and realise that everything has turned to shit. Win Butler sums up their mission on Neon Bible:

Take the poison of your age
Don’t lick your fingers when you turn the page
It was wrong but you said it was right
In the future I will read at night in the
Neon bible

Trying to hold up the 'black mirror' of the times, they launch a polemical attack upon religion, media, government, whatever institutions they find in their sights, in an effort to comprehend the dystopia they now face. They retain their epic, electric sound, but this time the music doesn't so much take off as gradually intensify under the weight of the album's themes.

But when No Cars Go rolls around (haha), things once again take off. The song announces itself with a flutter before propelling itself towards the stratosphere, as guitar and drums roll along all the while supported by lifting strings. 'Hey!' yells Win, before he and Reginne join together for the lines:

We know a place where no planes go
We know a place where no ships go

(Hey!) No cars go
(Hey!) No cars go

At this point I'm sitting here listening to it, trying to maintain some sort of critical distance from the track so I can get around to making my point, but I simply can't hold back. The feeling this song gives me is one of the most breathtaking (and I use that word seriously) and exhilarating a song has ever give me. I get swept up in its urgency every time I hear it, and I'm floating. It's so powerful. And I think that's the whole point of the song, for with No Cars Go, the Arcade Fire are offering us a release, a way of leaving behind the nightmare that tracks one through nine waded through.

They are taking us to where "no cars go" - what could be more of a paradise, what could be further from modern worries?

But think about it; this song is less a solution than an escape - because there really isn't a place where no cars, ships, planes, or submarines go - these machines colonise the earth, air and water. On Tiny Cities Made of Ashes, Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse screams "does anybody know a way that a body could get away?" - in a time of pervasive global surveilliance, where are the pure, unbroken spaces?
"If you're looking for an unmarked place, there is no such place" Augie March might reply.

So where does No Cars Go take us? Well there is one place that remains sacrosanct, and that place belongs much more to the temporal ambient of Funeral than Neon Bible - that place is childhood, dreams, memory. Or as Win and Reginne sing towards the climax, "
between the click of the light and the start of the dream" is the only place where no cars go.

It's no coincidence that it is "us kids know" - that the protagonists showing the way out are children. Another layer of significance seems to develop too when you find out that this song was originally recorded for their debut EP, before the dark days of Neon Bible, before even the realisation of adulthood that can be found at the end of Funeral.

In The Backseat
, the only song sang fully by Reginne on their first album, is a beautiful and heartbreaking vignette, of sitting in the car and coming to grips with the passing of time and with it the maturity it brings to yourself, and the things it takes from you as well ("My family tree's losing all its leaves"). I think when you're a child and you're sitting in the backseat you kind of experience that - an overwhelming serenity and feeling of security ("I like the peace, in the backseat"), but also, as you watch the wind push the raindrops back over the windowscreen and the lights flash past, a recognition that everything moves on.

But back to No Cars Go - through this song, Arcade Fire take the present, and fold it in their (both as a band and as children) and our past. And why not regress? Why not focus on the joyous time of childhood when it seems that a solution, or a true physical escape, is likely impossible nowadays?

Because Arcade Fire, whilst they offer us an escape, know that it's only really an imaginary solution, in the purest sense of the word 'imaginary'. And as I said at the beginning, No Cars Go is the penultimate song; Neon Bible actually finishes with My Body is a Cage.

Arcade Fire - No Cars Go


My Disco - National Hotel, 10/5/07

Geelong doesn't have much to its name musically. There's Brandon Burns, that guy who came somewhere in the top 40 of Australian Idol's first season. For a small time, Geelong was rife with fiery banners declaring 'Vote For Brandon' etc., but the public weren't really up for it, mainly because he couldn't sing for shit. And I think Magic Dirt are from around here, too. That's about it.

Last Thursday, however, Geelong was bestowed yet another musical accolade: My Disco played there, at the National Hotel, one of the last stops of their national tour. Their set was excellent, possibly even better than a Brandon / Adalita duet!

As Dylan said to me afterwards, in Melbourne there is a particular expectation from the punters regarding the band's performance - we take for granted the opportunity to see them, and since they've developed a particular performance aesthetic over their gig history, this is more or less expected of them (only white lights onstage, short sets, little movement, etc.). In regional Victoria, however, My Disco relaxed a little, even tolerating the schizophrenic lighting effects for the whole set.

The band talked inbetween songs, seemed genuinely happy, and even moved around a fair bit (Liam could be seen pushing up against the speakers and playing against the air vent). When I say relax, though, I don't mean to say their were lax, or meandering. No, they retained their characteristic deadly precision, but tonight were happy to carry experimental elements through the otherwise unaltered structure of their songs. Ben Andrew's guitar-work was particularly varied, even coming close to shredding at some points.

I went expecting maybe 10 people to show up, and to see a closed and concise set from the band. Instead the venue was almost at capacity (which still only means maybe 35-40 people, it's quite literally a shed out the back of the pub) and the band gave us their most free-flowing and yet still intensely charged show I've seen yet. It was brilliant, best I've ever seen them.

I'd been fretting over their new material after having heard it tested out in support of Deerhoof and at their show at East Brunswick Club, things seemed to be tightening to the point of exhaustion and I wondered whether My Disco had backed themselves into a corner. Turns out these new songs are only sans-lyrics for the time being, and if tonight was anything to go by, their next lot of material should resolve the tension between almost fascist precision and explosive force to the point where they'll perfect their singular sound.

My Disco - In Figures of Speech (from the Language of Numbers EP)


let's get physical

The physical dimension of music is awesome, its ability to envelop space and work over your body, and I think it’s where the pleasure of the live act comes from. I got to thinking about this when I went to see doom metal band Sunn0))) play the Hi Fi Bar last Wednesday, with support from Japanese metal band Boris. The bottom-end sub-bass of Sunn0))) is simply the most physical sound I’ve ever felt. And I say felt because that’s how the experience went – you didn’t so much register them aurally as physiologically. And Sunn0))) are something that must be seen to get this all this, recordings can't even hold a candle to the live show. This band, however, are just an extreme example, because all music, fuck all sound is an inherently material thing – resonating through matter, whatever it may be. We ‘feel’ sound before we ‘hear’ it:

And it’s the pre-processed moment of sound that can sometimes be the most affecting. Its somewhere between the tips of a musicians fingers and the bit in your brain that goes “I do/don’t like that” – before you rank it on a scale, before you say “it sounds like…”, before it gets re-looped back into the indie/pop/rap/whatever culture it came from – before all that crap is the pure physical experience.

I think we’re most attuned to this experience when the music heard is particularly abrasive or extremely fucking loud. I remember Cobra Killer’s set at Meredith a few years back. Even at the crest of the supernatural amphitheatre their screaming was fucking piercing, scarily loud.

But the most widespread experience of music’s physical effect is ringing ears. It happens after nearly every suitably-loud gig, and sometimes, in the case of a rather poorly-tuned Midnight Juggernauts performance at a certain university’s union night, the ring stays with you for days after. Ringing ears are nothing other than the physical trace (or damage) of listening to music, and that’s why they rock. They’re like a constant white-noise reminder of the good times you had and heard.

Olivia Newton-John - Let's Get Physical

For another take: Audio-Oh

For those with serious tinnitus, consult: http://www.noiserelief.com/

Interview - Deloris

A little while ago, I had a chat to Marcus Teague, frontman for Melbourne band Deloris, about the evolution of the band, and recording and playing their latest album, Ten Lives. Marcus is a very intelligent musician, with astounding ambitions for his band. His comments deserved to be shown in full, and so below is the record of our conversation.

So take me through the process of writing Ten Lives, how did you find yourself more or less alone in the studio?
Marcus Teague: The time after we toured Fake Our Deaths we sort of went on a break, during which two of the guys decided they didn't want to be in the band anymore. They wanted to head off into different aspects of their lives … I'd been writing a bunch of songs and doing a lot of demos at home and came up with what I thought was the guts of the album and instead of trying to figure out what was going to happen in terms of live capacity, we just went into the studio and started recording it that way. To get it out rather than sit around waiting for something to happen. Once you start that process, you just continue it's like you've done all the guitars so you may as well do some bass on this one, and it kind of eats into itself and ends up being ... we ended up going back and forth.

And so was that kind of a productive process then?
It's something I've always wanted to do. I think it's a productive thing, but it's sort of 50/50 because, on one hand, it goes quite quick because you're not discussing a whole lot - it's more the music and what you're putting down is actually figuring out for you whether it should be there or not rather than long-winded conversations. Then the flip side is it can make you a bit crazy as well, because you can get a bit lost in it and not being able to be objective about it...

Was it kind of daunting not having a dialogue in the studio?

It definitly would have been handy at some points but overall it didn't really bother me too much. I mean, Deloris have recorded in so many different ways, from as a full band, completely live, to just one or two of us doing nearly everything. From when we started we were a three-piece so I'd write all the guitar parts, so it's pretty easy to apply that to the music stuff all over the place. But that doesn't mean that it can't come to life when you play it live.

Regarding playing live, you don’t find it difficult translating that individual studio experience into a live band setting?
Not at all, in a way it's sort of ... I guess this is a cliché but the songs don't actually kick in or come to life until there's a bunch of people playing it and that's the good thing about the last few months of touring I suppose - the record is nice to listen to but it's more electric live… When you see any band playing you're getting the sentiment of the song backed up by the personalities on stage, so if you have personalities who are all getting into the same thing and feeling what they're doing then it sort of kick-starts a lot of that stuff.

So did [drummer] Daniel [Brimelow] record with you in the studio?
The record was done over a year. There are twelve songs on there and Dan did about nine of them, I think. He had to leave; he was having a baby with his partner. And we had a tour coming up with Okkervil River, so we asked our very original drummer if he'd play for that tour and he agreed. And so we did that and of course a few months of playing and you start writing new songs... So we got that new guy Luke [Turley] to then come into the studio and record those three songs that we'd been playing, and by that time the live band had sort of figured itself out and by then Anthony and Ben were playing and we recorded a couple of songs that ended up on the record, literally all four of us standing in the room at the same time.

What songs?
Woah Oh and Down the Mountain. There's a couple of songs that are sort of just me and drums, then there's the ones with everyone playing at the same time.

What I found interesting was how you guys have been through so many lineup changes, even in the middle of the album's recording, but you've still managed to make Ten Lives sound so cohesive. Do you think that's because you were always the driving force behind it?
I guess so, to be honest. It's funny, Deloris always has been a democracy but it always has been my songs as well and a lot of it sort of just wouldn't happen without my drive behind it. And that sort of just manifested itself, it made sense with Ten Lives that I would sort of pick up the slack where it was needed, and if anything that allowed me to explore my ridiculous sort of overviewing visions of what the record should be as well.

Regarding those visions, it seems like you’ve moved from more introspective stuff to more universal, expressive themes, would you agree?
Definitly between those two albums [Fake Our Deaths and Ten Lives]. Our first record was almost over-the-top in how loud and all that of stuff it was, so I think we've sort of come full circle in a little bit of a way. We've kind of figured out how to take a lot of the narrative stuff that really was on show throughout older albums and the lyrical emphasis and then just made the music kind of reach up to that level as well, rather than just sitting back expecting that to be enough. And that was quite an exciting discovery, it's like you can write songs about all this crazy shit and have choruses that repeat all the time and yet it can still be a loud three-and-a-half-minute pop song.

That's such a wonderful synthesis.

That's the funnest thing I think - to be able to play gigs where people can just have fun, and yet still address your weird little stories and feelings interpreted that way rather than singing about, I dunno, cars and getting drunk and stuff.

So when you guys do play live, is there a goal, do you conceive it as like a journey or is it more to just have a good time as you mentioned?
I don't think it's either.

Is there an intent?
I haven't thought about that before. I suppose the longer you do it, you go through phases of what you think is the most important thing and you go from your music, to your lyrics, to, I dunno, pants, or something. And at some point you almost get to this sort of headspace where you intuitively expect all those things to come together at the same time and I think if anything that's what we've arrived at, at the moment. Aiming to tick all those boxes, to play something that might mean something to someone and also us, and meanwhile having a fun rock show, meanwhile making it interesting for us in what we're playing and how we structure the set and meanwhile maybe trying to point out the overarching arc of what Deloris has done in the last couple of years as well, if that makes sense.

You said before you realised you could take narrative stuff but fold that into three-and-a-half-minute pop song too, is it then not that the new album is a change in your songwriting or how you view songwriting, but more just like you've sort of realised where you can take what you've already been doing?
Well the smoke cleared a little bit in terms of what the band was trying to do. And for a long time we went through a period where we felt like lyrics that were quite thoughtful had to have music that represented that as well. And that was the big thing with Fake Our Deaths and it's sort of a good headphones record and stuff, but when we came to playing it live we just found that wasn't much fun, basically. We'd play the more upbeat or quicker songs and start seeing the crowd react to that, and then we'd have to play five songs that were all seven minutes long, mid-tempo. So all your grand plans about what you're singing about and the reasons why your band exists and all that kind of stuff - it just didn't translate to having fun. That was a bit of a realisation, and once you accept that, realising you can have fun but with those same themes was, as I said before, a really exciting thing to discover.

So you have you actually set to cast the net a bit wider, create a bit more of a space for the audience?
An easy way to delineate it would be - I'm going to put out a solo record this year, and Deloris have long just had sort of quiet acoustic songs on some of their records as well, that sort of stuff here and there. And I've just realised that that stuff is better on its own, not trying to play a set where someone walks on stage and plays three acoustic songs and the band walks back on and that kind of stuff. So once we took that out of the equation as well, that just sort of meant that all the songs on the record were band songs as well, and had a band driving it. And a weight off the shoulders!

So there's the perception that the album's sort of a departure album, but what I'm gathering, in general, is that it’s more fulfilling what you guys sort of thought you could do or meant to do?
It is, but I think in that way it's a departure album as well. Sort of a departure in that we got it right. And I flirted with the idea, for a while, of even changing the band name for this record, toyed with the idea of 'maybe this should be a new band', maybe it's the start of something new rather than the end of it. And I still feel that way.

So why did you choose to stay with Deloris?
I think because I still, I couldn't separate ... all the seams are the same, all we've sung about and what Deloris has always talked about and so I guess I sort of felt like, like we just said, because this was like the sum of all these parts, it made a lot of sense to keep it going. Maybe in a commercial sense as well - it's hard once you've been a band for a long time to let people know that things have changed, or trying to change people's opinions or whatever.

That's the constant struggle isn't it - it'd be nice to constantly change your public face to fit your ambitions, but if you want a margin of success then…
The flipside is, if you've been around for a long time, people write you off having seen you at the Empress seven years ago or something. But I'm glad I kept it the way it was.

Lyrically, it seems you’re dealing with something more collective and inclusive, why’s that?
I suppose a lot of what I sing about on the record are movements, rather than ... it was supposed to be inclusive, it's not just the narrator discussing how he feels.

I noticed you used 'we' a lot.
It's about not being the typical singer-songwriter, like "I love you baby", and it affords you the luxury of quite a lot of different perspectives on what you're talking about as well. Maybe it's more of a literary device to be able to kind of flip back and forth like...

It broadens the field of things to talk about. It seemed to me that those more universal themes just match up so well with the music.
For sure, that's the other thing ... Knowing the songs that I'm going to put out on my own, they are a lot more singular and not that inclusive. And truly it's a really big part of it, to be able to play with a band saying 'we' as opposed to playing own your own saying ‘I’. It's almost like you'd known that in your writing...

Like do you switch between different forms of writing for solo and the band?
That had something to do with it, which direction the narrative is coming from, whether it's singular or plural. For example, just thinking about the 'we' point of view on Woah Oh - the idea, this is going to sound really pompous but, the idea that you can transcend your own time. In my brain, each verse was addressing a kind of thing that exists, like wood, or smoke, or rock or something like that and then seeing how that has existed in the past, referencing that, referencing how it exists now and how it could exist in the future. And, even though that sounds long-winded, if that was something from the singular narrative that wouldn't work at all.

You'd only be looking at it from your milieu wouldn't you?
Exactly, and if you marry that with a slightly ridiculous fast, Irish, almost Celtic rock song, it becomes almost joyous as well.

Like cause for celebration?

And was there a conscious decision to end the album on Woah On?
For sure. Because to me, the whole album has a narrative arc, and that was sort of the logical conclusion where it's like... Well for the whole album you've been talking about different sorts of pockets of things that are happening or could happen and then the last song is about all of it happening all at the same time.

Fairly massive!
The idea that you can do that in a song, I find really funny. And I think that even trying to do that is slightly hilarious.

Because it's a three-and-a-half minute song thinking about everything?
But then you sort of realise that in a 3.5min song you can write about anything and if it has this slightly traditional structure you can do it, I mean anyone can do it. That's why I find it a bit amazing that more people don't try... So that's interesting for me on its own.

When I saw you playing you introduced the songs rather cryptically, which also seems similar to the little blurbs you gave each song on the back of the liner notes, is that sort of stuff planned? Is it almost like a roadmap for your songs or shows?
Not at all, I mean I have signposts for myself about what each song is about. And I've felt in the last six months of playing shows that... I like the idea that you have your set and you have your songs that have a particular structure, and you can carry that through inbetween songs, talking to the crowd. And that whole sort of side of the night where your standing in front of a crowd and they're looking at you for what you're doing. I've realised that like having those signposts in my head and just talking complete shit inbetween songs, that it can somehow sort of blur them together.

Like it kind of makes it like one big...
And it is for me; the record is like that for me. And I guess there's the suggestion that it can exist that way live as well. It can fall on its arse, like I don't actually have anything planned inbetween songs or something like that, and sometimes it trails off into complete bullshit basically. But even that is sort of interesting, whether it makes a lot of sense or if it's just crap, you just kick into the next song and it can somehow all exist at the same time. And that's so much more interesting than just saying "thanks for coming we've got cds for sale", that's not why we're there really. I think it’s just a personal test for me, as well, just to see how far I can stretch that part of my brain.

And are audiences open to that?
I used to be wary, but I'm not anymore, I got to the point where I was really satisfied with what I was doing and sort of don't really care what I'm doing or thinking about it at the time. Of course it's great, you obviously want people to get something from it. So I'm not really aware, especially when you're talking about all that crap inbetween songs, you don't know what people are thinking - this guys drunk or an idiot - but then you're sort of testing the waters that way as well and seeing if they come along with you. I mean if they don't…

They're still going to get a good rock show.
Exactly. And I feel like the people that know our music that will come to our show, they will be so instep with what they feel in our music as well. So I feel like if they've already come to the show, and if they know even a section of our music...

You were talking about elements in lyrical content, do you feel like you write a kind of Australian music?
I definitly sing in my own accent, on a very base level. Obviously, your surroundings work their way into your songs, if you're at all open to what's going on around you, and that has always happened for us. And even, lyrically, I've got Australian references in there.

Like for example, I definitly pick up on a kind of Australian suburban experience in songs like Birdcatcher Finds a Tail or Where We Already Live...
One of the things about writing narratives and populating it with characters is sort of envisioning them in a landscape and I can only do that with my experiences, especially because there's a domestic thread that runs through a lot of songs. Of course that has parallels to my experiences as well and that's partly the thing about writing narratives, it's almost a vehicle to be able to write about yourself but just dress it up a bit fancier.

It's we but me at the same time?
And maybe it's we, meaning 'me' at the moment, and 'me' then, and 'me' what I want to be hopefully in the future as well.

You sort of fill 'mundane' things with magic and meaning.
The stuff I sing about is always a bit dissociated from reality I suppose, and that's probably why it's imbued with something that isn't quite spot on.

I was actually reading through the lyrics, and was going to ask what authors you were into because to me Tim Winton seems like a perfect corollary to your music. I'm thinking of something like That Eye the Sky in which the narrator envisions the sky as one gigantic eye.
That is a place that I've sort of come from. A lot of the artists and books and things that I like all dabble with that sort of way of thinking, I suppose. But I guess it's like a magic realism sort of thing.

What's your favourite track on the album and why?
Maybe Everything Ever - that's probably the oldest song on the record in terms of its genesis, and that sort of was the spark for the rest of the record in that ... The narrative is about these people sort of fumbling their way through live, and then stumbling upon something that makes them 'click' that maybe they've done this before or there's a slight parallel to what they're already going through. And that for me was sort of the beginning of thinking like that for this record. And the title's sort of funny as well - you know when you sit down to write a song you can literally write about anything at all, and trying to do that is really funny I think and again to do it in a rock song ... I really enjoy that process.

It's such a strange process, but you guys just pull it off so brilliantly.
I think Maybe we only pull it off because no one else really tries that hard.

What's with the hiatus after your next show?
We've toured pretty constantly thus far this year. And we're going to have a small break - Anthony's doing recording with his other band and I think I'm going to try and tie up my solo record and basically not play for a couple of months then going to put out another single. Which is Everything Ever, I think, and do a tour on that in the second half of the year.

And so the Deloris journey continues…


for want of music

There is a lot worth salvaging in contemporary music*.

(con)temporary picks at the fraying seams of popular culture, both local and beyond, to find just those bands, songs, and moments.

Music is a massive part of my life, and so this blog also looks at how music is embedded in the flesh of life itself, and vice versa.

In other words, to talk shit about good music is the real reason.

*A lot worth trashing, too, which will happily coexist with the above stuff.