THE THIRD ANNUAL SPOZ'S RANT AWARDS / PART THREE
ADELAIDE MUSIC SCENE / January - December 2010 /
Hi everyone and welcome back again to
The Third Annual Spoz's Rant Awards:
the most hilariously pretentious, self indulgent and utterly superfluous "best of awards" for 2010 you'd ever care to read on the internet as judged by ME,
the one jackass who should never be judge to anything!
(and I so gotta stop linking to that Spoz doco too before it comes back to haunt me). Celebrating everything "stupidly awesome" there was to find in the one laughable excuse for a live music scene no one outside the city of Adelaide would likely give half a gargled goat's nutsack for
if it wasn't for the Hilltop Hoods ruining it all for everyone
, or for Triple J for openly encouraging it.. "FUUUCK YOU AUSSIE HIPHOP!!" (oh and hi to MC Suffa if you're tuning in!) and blah blah BLAPPITY BLAH BLAH yeaaah let's face it
you've pretty much read all this gibberish before haven't you?
So to cut a long winded introduction short here.. this is Part Three. There's also a
available (obviously) which you can read by following the none too subtle links (and then foregoing a good deal of your sanity). And so to set the scene for what will surely be a crushing disappointment and damning confirmation
for just how hideously biased I really am in judging any of this shit
*cough* I mean what will surely be an epic culmination in celebrating every single reason why 2010 was one of the best years we've ever had in the Adelaide scene (and how!)
here's a photo of Brendan Shaw from Lady Strangelove
(who totally didn't get nominated for anything this year for reasons that are totally beyond me!) having a quiet beer and basking in all the "head exploding brilliance"
that a Saturday night in The Ed Castle beergarden can bring
(what? noooo.. I'm not being sarcastic!?) *ahem* oh yes Adelaide.. stand tall and be proud, it truly don't GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS!!
DEMO OF THE YEAR
Aaaah demos! there's something to be said for a "well crafted" demo. Sounds like an oxymoron I know, as demos are by their very nature the most stupidly half-arsed of studio productions; and that's if they even use an actual studio or anything approaching a "production" (
short of a pirated copy of Cool Edit Pro
and a few too many spliffs shared around a tool shed on a Sunday of course) to the point you might be wondering why I'm giving out awards for this crap in the first place!? But the fact is making a solid demo is a bit of a "lost art" and not one to be underestimated either (dare I mention
that infamous Lumonics demo from 2008?
Humble Bee's "album" from 2009?
) in fact in ways you could consider them the most honest portrayal of a band before the bullshit takes over: all the qualities, all the faults brought to sharp relief like a charcoal sketch, duuude what's not to love!? just as they quickly become the rarest of the rare because of that fact, since most bands the minute they release a "proper recording" tend to bury them as little more than an embarassment. But when you DO come across one
with just the right combination of lo-fidelity shonkiness and a grade inspiration?
and you're one of the first few people to discover it?
AND NO SHIT, THEY'RE JUST GIVING THEM AWAY!?
duuude it's like all your Christmases come at once! Yup and as much as all four of these fine selections in following are well worth collecting (although admittedly
some might be easier to track down than others
) the one that totally killed it for me in spades in 2010, in exemplifying everything ridiculously awesome (and hilariously "amateur") in a demo
was none other than The Aves
. Maaan they had it nailed! I mean just look at that spastic stack of CDs there.. is that simultaneously the stupidest/coolest fucking thing you've ever seen!?
Yup given away at select gigs this year
, just from the packaging alone you KNEW you were in for something special. Each coming with its own individually hand crafted coverart:
scribbled tracklisting on the back in ballpoint
(complete with an utterly incomprehensible sketch "thingamajig" spouting a gibberish speech bubble off to the side on some copies) and spray painted pattern on the front
with what appeared to be aerosol'd pigeon shit;
and all that before you gave the accompanying burnt CD a spin!? OOOOH FUCK YEAH!! Featuring five songs (with the one in the middle not even listed on the coverart!? genius!) and equal measures unmastered, blissfully unfettered, artfully articulate and endlessly whimsical in goofy asides.. it's everything you could ever ask for out of a demo
to the very cliche encapsulation of demo "trash" aesthetic
(and how!). But what really shines are the songs themselves, absolutely bursting to life in their rough-as-guts production values and tongue in cheek loopy lyricism. Rife with an easy going slacker cockney swagger and a swinging beat like
Patti Smith fronting The Libertines or The Kinks over a few too many pints at The Exeter;
a veritable dog's breakfast of guitars, bass, drums, honky tonk piano, acoustic and salt shakers; dipping in and out of performing loose covers inbetween originals like they're freebased mashups? sheeeiit how could you not be endlessly inspired by this junk!? And then you hit track four, where (I'm guessing) both
drummer Florentina Pergoleto
bassist Tasman Strachan
(or perhaps it's
guitarist Tom Williams?
) pull this paired back acoustic cover of
Dire Straits' "Romeo And Juliet"
singing in group harmony!? no seriously duuude if you don't go all misty eyed listening to it? then surely you have a heart of stone! No really, do what you can to hunt this demo down (
the band's been touring around Europe for the past few months since November
, so that may be easier said than done) spin it on a lazy hungover Sunday, spread eagled on the couch, or lying on the grass in a park (or on a medium strip) wherever you passed out the night before and you'll know just what I'm getting at. The Aves? aaaah shit.. never EVER lose your scruffyarse charm, this demo rules!
NOMINATED: DIESEL WITCH
"BEST OF..." NOMINATED: QUIET IN THE LAB!
"QUIET IN THE LAB!" NOMINATED: TEA
"WHO THE FUCK IS TEA?" SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Is there really such a thing as a "single" anymore?
like in the traditional "bought and sold" sense!?
if you look to all the festering garbage still floating to the top of the charts
for the past decade there IS (and quite literally "garbage" anytime Ke$ha or Lady GaGa releases anything, or more accurately gets skull fuckingly blind, rapes everything that moves, catches a hideous STD from it
and then choose to "write" a song about it
.. yaaay Top 40 charts!). But outside of an itunes $0.99,
a viral youtube
, or high rotation at your nearest trashy fashion boutique it's pretty much gone the way of the compact disc riiight? especially ever since Napster, Kazaa, Soulseek, Limewire, bittorrents
and music bloggers made them effectively redundant
over the years.. or so you'd think. And yet even now ACTUAL singles are being released (
some even on CD with their own whizzbang launch parties and everything!
) and granted in the Adelaide scene it's become increasingly "grey" determining just what constitutes as one, especially when half are simply being dumped onto Triple J Unearthed or bandcamp with little or no fanfare for FREE? duuude it's anyone's guess!? So as such, yeaaah I pretty much figured in judging THIS category,
anything that was "singled" out for special treatment in 2010:
whether high rotated on Triple J, featured in an MP3 blog or released outside of an EP or album in its own right (
and promoted relentlessly in my facebook feed
) was ripe for consideration. And as for what I ultimately picked this year? fuck it.. I simply went with what affected me the most personally: which might make me hideously biased (yes even more so than usual) and this whole awards a bit of a moot point in presenting it, but as a "single"? duuude it still killed me all the same!
Our Husband.. shit what can I say about Our Husband!?
Well for starters I didn't know shit on their band (short of featuring
Freya Adele from Bing Goes To Monaco
Nathaniel Morse from Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!
of course) hell I never even saw them live before they ultimately "broke up" later this year and not entirely on the best of terms either (
or maybe Nathaniel still works under that name as a solo performer
, and wait is he still signed up with that record label too? AAAAH WHO THE FUCK KNOWS!?). Either way, when I chanced upon their single on a blog somewhere (
it might have been Purple Prose?
) it was just the right place, right time, and I was in the right sorry state to appreciate the awesome shit out of it. I mean there I was stuck in the dead heart of winter: June, July, August? (
probably somewhere between the latter two
). It was midweek on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon, chronically sleep deprived, vitamin D deficient, freezing cold,
wracked with writer's block screaming obscenities into a laptop
beating my head into a keyboard over the fact that NOTHING was coming out. Until I thought "fuck this".. loaded up a backlog of songs I had sitting in a pile into my ipod (
I think it was THIS along with Collarbones?
) and then I stepped out of the house and went for a fucking long walk with it. And half an hour later? there I was standing on a deserted beach, squinting out in the overcast skies and ocean like an extraterrestrial, horizon to horizon grey gloom stretching out before me, nothing but seagulls and pelicans squawking as company,
when "Villages" hit me like a mad burst of sunshine
. Those simple bright chiming chords, like a bouncing ball to the beat in the introduction, Nathaniel's world weary but euphoric vocals lifting that impossible weight off your shoulders, and then when Freya's ethereal vocals hit? *bam* it was like shit didn't seem so bad anymore, I was off in the clouds! in fact the sun may even have chosen that exact moment to break through those clouds and warm my face too, like every fucking cliche you'd picture it to be, or perhaps I was simply imagining it (as admittedly I hadn't slept for days), either way it got me like a sledgehammer.
And everytime I've played it since then it's given me that same buzz!
So as much as this IS unashamably a personal choice and you'll just as likely think it's crap (ooooh I dare you to tell me that!) I can't help but praise it all the same.
The band may be no more and the moment may've long passed
, but I'll still have this song to remind me.. and isn't THAT what all good singles should aspire to!?
NOMINATED: THE KILLGIRLS
"I LOVE YOU" NOMINATED: LYLA
"IT AIN'T RIGHT" NOMINATED: RIDE INTO THE SUN
"I'M JUST DANDY" EP OF THE YEAR
20TH CENTURY GRADUATES
"PARKING INSPECTORS ARE PEOPLE TOO!"
Up until quite recently it used to be common knowledge (
or perhaps just a running joke of mine
) that almost every single band in the Adelaide scene would either gig solidly for eighteen months (
to crowds of no more than twenty of their fellow friends/band geeks/rent-a-crowd
all stifling yawns) or until they'd released two EPs, at which point they'd promptly break up (
to the biggest crowd they've ever seen at their farewell show
), reform two other bands from the ashes (usually featuring former members
from other bands who'd also recently broken up
) only to repeat the whole process again and again until everyone collectively realised just how utterly futile it was trying to break into the music industry in Adelaide (
when said "music industry" doesn't actually exist in this city
) only to move all their shit to Melbourne or Sydney, only to be never heard from again (
and do they ever learn!? NOOOO!!
) or fuck it maybe they simply all got fulltime jobs. Either way after a few too many years of this crap? all we generally had to show for it was a fat stack of EPs, like badly printed "four colour" epitaphs to our early 20's collecting dust on a bookshelf somewhere (and believe me I've got hundreds, and no I rarely play them all either.. ooops!).
It's all we've ever known for years and years
, we're freaking retarded for this shit, it's been a pissing contest royale TO END ALL PISSING CONTESTS in coming up with the best one (
or at the very least the best launch party to promote it
) and as such me attempting to judge between any of them NOW is going to be no easy task; in fact it's almost cruel and unusual to do so. So I tell you what, if you've been nominated here? screw it.. you're all winners! YOU'RE ALL WINNERS!! YAAAY!! (
yes even YOU Radio Spectacular!!!
). Please don't break up on my account, seriously, it's depressing
when that shit happens again and again around here
, MAKE MORE EPS! No better than that, suck up the courage, save some money and release a fucking album.. YEAAAS!! You'll totally feel better for it, record labels will totally show interest in you, you'll totally get signed, win scores of wide-eyed screaming groupies at every show, and you won't have to move to Melbourne or Sydney
or end up starting a cheesy indie disco act to score festival supports or regular airplay
(aaaah who am I kidding?). Still with all that being said, 20th Century Graduates cooked up one HELL of an EP for 2010. Duuude it rocked my teeny tiny peanut brain like Christmas Day everytime I heard it! And no this isn't me making an objective critique here, pfft.. what am I nuts!? I'm no music critic HA HA HA *ahem*
for as much as I could choose ANY other of these nominees
for numerous legitimate reasons like their eye for production quality, cohesive artistic vision, experimentation,
smooth complexity/accessibility of their song writing BLAH-DI-BLAH BLAH
(even I can't believe I'm saying this crap with a straight face) BLAH, "Parking Inspectors Are People Too!" was simply the one I kept coming back to for the sheer shit grinning enjoyment (as much as they arguably nailed all the above too). Produced by Matt Hills (
he who practically produces everything around here
) at Hillside Studios, and clocking in six songs: every one of them in all their sunshine cheesiness never fails to have you beaming ear to ear, it's
classic 90's indie pop at its finest!
I mean suuure it wasn't the most uber indie relevant "Pitchfork recommended" shit going on this year. You wouldn't have looked boss rocking it from your vintage foam domes on your fix gear bike
like a fashionable wanker
.. and yes I'll probably lose "street cred" for dishing out praise on it but fuck 'em I say! THAT'S WHY THIS EP IS SO AWESOME!! It's
unashamably dorky and eager to please
, you'll happy as a pig in poo cranking it on the bus on the way to wherever-the-fuck feeling "five pounds lighter", you'll probably keep cranking it for years to come, duuude what's not to love!? If you haven't got it? get it! (
it might only be available at their live shows
but feel free to
ask around on their facebook
) and if you do? blast it loud and proud and throw yourself about the room arms and legs akimbo like a spastic muppet.. feels real good don't it!? Well with THIS 20th Century Graduates EP.. you can feel that good ALL THE DAMN TIME!!
NOMINATED: BOX ELDER
"REWIND THE FALL" NOMINATED: JAY WALKER & THE PEDESTRIANS
"THE RISE AND DECLINE OF THE SUN" NOMINATED: RADIO SPECTACULAR!!!
"SUGAR BABY, HONEY CHILD" ALBUM OF THE YEAR
THE HONEY PIES
"THINK OF ENGLAND"
Ok choosing this one was nigh on impossible.. IMPOSSIBLE!! you can't imagine the hours upon hours (nay days, weeks, months!) of eye gouging, teeth gnashing, head exploding torture I put myself through here
just so one of you "Anonymous" shitweasels can proceed to abuse me
in the comments for making what will likely be the WRONG choice (
whilst simultaneously enjoying some really ridiculously good music!?
) GUH!! THE PAIN!! THE MAD EXCRUCIATING (
very easy on the ears
) PAIN!! WAAAUUGGHH!! *ahem* Seriously, I could've gone with any one of these albums,
I could've nominated so many more too
, for any number of reasons, as much as the one I finally settled upon for "album of the year" I'd happily choose again both a "critic's choice" and as a gut instinct. But still?
FUUUCKING HELL was 2010 totally retarded for albums!
duuude it was practically gargling in a near vegetative state unable to cope with just how much a-grade awesomeness was on offer. I mean suuure
the Adelaide scene has presented its fair share of exceptional albums
in years past, there's clearly too many to mention right now (
many of them independently released too!
) but the calibre on offer this year was truly stupendous. I feel like a total arsehole in only singling out one, let alone the three I nominated, or the three extra I gave honourable mention to (
plus that music video hinting at another
). All of them are fiendishly brilliant, all of them are well worth buying, in fact you should have every one them right now in your collection. No excuses.. hunt that shit down!
SUPPORT QUALITY MUSIC YA FUCKING ARSECLOWNS!!
(because who else is gonna support YOU when you're suffering through your next ugly breakup, quarterlife crisis or midmorning commute? huh? HUH!? yeaaah dont you fucking know it!). So why did I pick
The Honey Pies and their album "Think Of England"
then? Well let me just reiterate again how difficult this was:
"Sea Priest" by Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!? "Cables" by Steering By Stars"!?
you don't need to tell me twice! I've spun them both ten times over (and that was just in the first week!).
And as for Taught By Animals?
you may not know it yet, they disappeared from the scene for a good eighteen months or more, but duuude you WANT THAT ALBUM!! (
it's like a fullblown mental illness made into a Muppet Show, it's freaking awesome!
). But for me there's something about The Honey Pies album that just nails it, and on so many levels, and on so many "subtle" levels that usually takes till the third or fourth album to achieve; which coming from a debut? makes it truly worth celebrating!
Produced by Tom Barnes at Broadcast Studios
what's most striking from the outset here is the "quality" of the sound, or more accurately how artfully degraded it is: this authentically antique analog style abrasiveness and crackling warmth that gives everything this whacked out "gramophone" feel, whilst simultaneously subverting it with sly a twist of "piss-taking" post modernity. Their arrangements frequently teeter on the brink, a blitheringly batshit explosion of gnashing junkyard guitars, gutteral screams, smashing honky tonk keys, barbershop style harmonies, swinging britpop and the most haunting of midnight serenades that literally stops you dead in your tracks mesmerised until the very last minute (
song six on the CD.. trust me, you'll know it if you've heard it!
). But once you delve past the surface "sheen" of it all, you'll discover so much more richness in character. From the intricate, insanely complex yet artfully accessible arrangements and how they seamlessly segue from one song to the next. To the sly tongue in cheek lyrics (
and a lot of it's really devilish when you try and pick it apart too
) the wry wit, intelligence and humour of it, it's truly fucked up! To the variety of songs: equally cohesive as they are utterly chaotic in shitcrazy eclecticism. And a lot of them are surefire instant classics too.
"Don't Mention The War"
"Fool In Love"
(again you'll know them if you've heard them) I mean that's just six songs out of twelve, and I could easily mention more, they've absolutely crammed this thing! But the thing I keep coming back to here is just how eerily confident it is, how utterly self assured, yet sarcastically self effacing.. and it's only their debut? and it's already found its own unique identity, this timeless quality, this complexity that reveals so much more with every listen? to the point I literally can't shut up about it!? duuude
GET THIS FUCKING ALBUM ALREADY!!
and while you're at it, get all those others too and then wonder out loud why almost nobody else knows about this yet. Annoying ain't it? tell me about it.. I'm cursed with shit THIS awesome almost every damn day!
NOMINATED: FIRE! SANTA ROSA, FIRE!
"SEA PRIEST" NOMINATED: STEERING BY STARS
"CABLES" NOMINATED: TAUGHT BY ANIMALS
"TAUGHT BY ANIMALS" HONOURABLE MENTIONS: FRIENDS
TOO MANY TO MENTION!! LIVE VENUE OF THE YEAR
Now I realise
on some "level" it might seem a little odd for me
to award this one to Jive this year (as much as I gave them
the same award LAST year.. and deservedly so!
) as to be honest me and Jive don't always see "eye to eye" on this blog. In fact I'm pretty certain they hate me (I've even been told words to that effect) as much as I'm admittedly terrified of them in return,
as we tend to exhibit vastly differing attitudes in regard to the "music industry"
. For me it's a joke, a lark, it's me endlessly taking the piss out of everything and everyone (including myself) and laughing it up over the sublime humour
that presents itself at almost every opportunity
(I mean shit duuude why else would I put myself through this crap each week? for the money!? AAAAHAHAHaHahAhAhahA!!). For them however it's deadly serious, DEADLY SERIOUS!! it's strictly business, and they have little or no regard for nitwits who dare make light of that.. "HI EVERYONE!!". Still as much as I have jokingly called them the
"Soup Nazi of the Adelaide Scene"
for that fact, and wondered out loud if they've ever exhibited a sense of humour for.. well.. pretty much anything!? (I mean would it kill you to smile once in a while? SHEEESH!!) for what they do as a live venue they do exceptionally well, and they keep doing it again and AGAIN.. duuude they kick arse! So as much as
I'd always give mad props to the Jade Monkey for "sentimental reasons"
(duuude they have Adelaide's most affable proprieter/psychic bartender!) or to Format for supporting grassroots DIY arts and culture (
and for throwing the maddest makeshift parties!
) or even give some begrudging praise to The Ed Castle (
despite frequently being the butt of my jokes
) for lifting their game considerably in the past six months
especially in regards to their stage lighting
.. Jive was the undisputed king in 2010. I mean there's simply no contest! It's where you saw the best of the BEST every week of the year, it's verily the beast incarnate for putting on shows, and obviously I don't need to cite examples to support this case.. if you'd been here at all in the past twelve months you'd know full well; but what the hell let's have at it anyways! For how could we forget
Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!'s single launch
The Keepsakes album launch
Lyla's single launch
Philadelphia Grand Jury and The John Steel Singers
The Battery Kid's album launch
Cloud Control and Richard In Your Mind
No Through Road's four band bill "cancer research fundraiser"
Steering By Star's album launch
20th Century Graduates' EP launch
The Honey Pies album launch
Ride Into The Sun's single launch
Lyla's EP launch
Jeff Martin & Terepai Richmond
Lady Strangelove's triumphant homecoming
in December. Most if not all of them "five star" shows, capacity sellout shows, and those were just the ones I attended!? Yup with their imposing sound setup masterfully mixed inhouse by the infamous Matt Hills,
their a-grade stage lighting second to none
, stradling the middle ground between intimate small size venue
and the big end of town?
they set the bar ridiculously high! they were the ultimate challenge set for any Adelaide or interstate band! If ever you score a headlining slot, fill the floor, get them to open up the balcony then FILL out the balcony, pack out all four walls to capacity to the point they post the "sold out" sign outside, and maybe if you're really REALLY lucky Tam their owner and proprietor breaks an actual teeny tiny SMILE of begrudging "appreciation" moments before rushing you off stage
lest you cut in on Gosh's all important DJ dancefloor every Saturday night
11:30PM on the dot? (or better yet she actually lets you play a few seconds overtime!? egads!) THEN YOU ARE A GOD!! you have truly conquered the impossible! and one day they will totally build statues in your honour (or maybe Tam will actually let you play another show but only on condition you sell it out two weeks in advance) that's what it means to truly triumph here! Yup they run a tight ship at Jive, they're more brutally disciplined and hardline than a crack SAS unit deep behind enemy lines, with the surly dispositions to match,
but the results truly speak for themselves!
So for showing us just how it's done in 2010, with the utmost prostrate fear and cowering respect? WE SALUTE YOU!!
NOMINATED: THE ED CASTLE NOMINATED: FORMAT NOMINATED: THE JADE MONKEY HONOURABLE MENTION: THE GRACE EMILY
THE METRO NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
HAWKS OF ALBA
As much as I'm aware, this band never headlined a show in 2010. Not even once; or at least none I can recall (
like if a tree falls in the woods and Spoz isn't there it blog it, did it REALLY happen?
). They never launched a demo, single, EP, album or seven inch vinyl. They were never ones for wild theatrics, whizzbang explosions, smoke machines, confetti cannons,
belly dancers or outrageous horn sections
. They weren't really known
for their mad moshpits, stage invaders or crowd surfers
. Shit they barely even promoted themselves at ALL
outside of facebook or twitter
, they had fuck-all merchandising, "image", ego or gargantuan 10ft stage persona to project.. in fact short of winning
a teeny tiny spot on this year's Adelaide Big Day Out courtesy of Triple J Unearthed
(and high rotation airplay to boot)
and a spot on the Coopers Alive lineup?
it could be argued that they didn't draw ANY attention to themselves at all: short of that one time
singer Sarah Masters rocked up in a goofy "Darth Vader" outfit (with a cape!)
or that time
guitarist Hannah Fairlamb's "space invader" t-shirt malfunctioned
(HA HA HA duuude it made beeping noises and everything!) but to their infinite credit? it's not like they ever needed it! Humble almost to a fault, Hawks Of Alba are simply put the closest thing 2010 ever had to a slam dunk, a bona-fide, no brainer kickass live performer! They're a guarenteed crowd pleaser.
Not once did they ever have a dud show. NOT ONCE!!
Not once did they fail to reel us in hook line and sinker with their infectious sound! In fact on more than one occassion I could've sworn they were actually robots sent from the future to kill us all.. only at the last minute they formed a goofy 90's guitar pop band instead (and yet they're simultaneously the nicest people you'd ever damn near meet? weeeird!).
Yup originally formed as a geekrock "power duo"
between husband and wife Aidan Moyse on drums and Sarah Masters on guitar back in 2006 (
Running With Horses anyone!?
) they all but disappeared when they went to live in Glasgow for a few years running (go figure?), only to return in late 2009, bringing Hannah Fairlamb in on guitar (with Sarah swapping over to bass),
changing their name to "Hawks Of Alba"
at which point pure awesomeness was born! And yes I can appreciate in saying all that: that this might disqualify them from winning "new artist of the year" for having such "history", as much as I could just as easily argue that leaving the Adelaide scene for well over three years only to change your name and add an extra guitarist REQUALIFIES you.. but all this is merely moot
when you consider just what they brought to a live stage this year
. Yup Hawks Of Alba played EVERYWHERE in 2010, to pretty much everyone, every week, almost to the point
of being a "Mona Lisa Overdrive" in raging scenester omnipresence;
and yet no matter how many times you saw them live you NEVER got sick of them. For one they had that damn near impossible not to love "90's nostalgic" sound: equal parts The Breeders, Veruca Salt, Magic Dirt and PJ Harvey.
Secondly they cooked up such instantly infectious songs from it:
that metronomic bouncing beat, bass, buzzing guitar and glockenspiel overlaid with Sarah's teeny tiny "twee" vocals. Thirdly it's how its both ever so stupidly light and colourful, yet full of menacing fuzz and charcoal grit when Hannah tears into the solos. Or how all three combine with such eerie precision (
aided no doubt by Aidan's drill sergeant precision in percussion
) and yet seemingly ever so effortless like it's a walk in a park for them in delivery, like they do this simply out of the sheer shit grinning fun of it; and it's that last point that carries over the most anytime they perform live. Every gig feels like it's being hosted in their living room for a kid's birthday party and there's chips and drinks and fairy bread in the corner and any minute now Aidan's gonna bust out with the balloon animals.
Every gig defuses that ticking bomb in your head building all week
, your urge to kill, to explode, to destroy, and replaces it with a dumbarse grin and the inescapable urge to bop about like a dickhead. And I know! I gotta stop praising bands for pulling this shit, for
giving out awards to all these "feel good" indie pop bands
when I should be congratulating artists who push us to the very brink of insanity, to the visceral extremes, who challenge us, who spit in the face of accepted wisdom
and instigate nothing less than all out anarchy!
I mean it all just seems SO EASY to settle for THIS doesn't it!? but that's why Hawks Of Alba are so awesome! It might be all too easy to like them but it's almost impossible to hate them! No really I dare you! no matter how pissed off you are? you'll still leave smiling.. and hey what's not to love about THAT!?
NOMINATED: BIRD WIZDOM NOMINATED: FRIENDS NOMINATED: RIDE INTO THE SUN ARTIST OF THE YEAR
FIRE! SANTA ROSA, FIRE!
Aaaah who would've imagined four years ago,
that a pissy little band like "Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!"
would wind up like FIRE! SANTA ROSA, FIRE!.. I mean seriously!? I mean they might look the same (more or less..
give or take a few band members and some mad fucked up facial hair
) but believe me they are NOT the same duuude.. OOOOH FUCK NO!! For if ever 2010's Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! stumbled upon the
"Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!" of 2006?
they'd surely spit half their drinks out of their nose in a fine "aerosol mist" utterly flabbergasted, continue to laugh themselves silly for a good hour or more
watching them attempt to "play" live
, take them out for drinks (and a few stern words about their
dysfunctional fashion sense and loose approximation for "vocal technique"
) beat them upside the head with a shovel while they're not looking, and then bury them somewhere where the cops can't find them lest anyone ELSE discover
just how far they've truly come:
disregarding any awkward time paradoxes this might cause of course (or the fact you could still read a good deal of their backstory anyways
by sifting through these blog archives.. YEAAAS!!
). Yup it's anyone's guess how this shit happened, how a band like "Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!" could ever aspire to become
THIS ridiculously badass
(especially with a name like that), but in a weird way I can't help but beam with pride that I was right here taking the absolute piss out of them
for all these years documenting it;
I mean shit duuude, maybe I inspired them? *cough* BWAAAHAHaHAhAhAHaHA!! (
or maybe not
). But either way? who would've imagined! Back in 2006 when they were a trigger happy hummingbird head explosion, the very textbook definition of the term:
"what they lack in talent they more than make up for in enthusiasm!"
. But they HAD that mad enthusiasm! they had the crowds packing out every show they played at Rocket Bar! (
back when it used to be cool!
) they were freaking hilarious! All incoherent screaming, chainsaw guitars, hyperventilant rhythms, pogo spastic keyboards: like
"Happy Tree Friends" put through a fucking blender
with the volume turned up! But to surprise of us all, they survived well past that requisite "eighteen months (or two EPs)" in the Adelaide scene without breaking up, no more than that they thrived! They found skills, they got weird creative and imaginative,
they got unearthed by Triple J
, they got
signed to a record label
they got a video clip on Rage (before 3AM!)
an astonishingly accomplished debut album
(and I still can't stop spinning it like a mental illness!), they've been touring the nation next to nonstop for the past year now playing festivals.. they've done what few other Adelaide bands even dare imagine! Yup Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! have gone above and beyond in 2010, they've carved their own niche. I mean
just YOU try and describe what the hell it is they sound like now
, watch and laugh as other journalists (or even the band members themselves) attempt to pigeonhole it: like it's some kinda post punk "monolithic tech pop" math rocking witch house whatever-the-fuck!? And as songwriter's
they're only just hitting their stride:
bridging that apocalyptic divide between juggling fuck off Tetris blocks the size of skyscrapers in guitar, bass and drums with twinkle toe keys and a lead vocalist with the raging temperament of a mouse or a baby deer;
and it's weird how it works.. but it DOES!
Their debut album was only them figuring it out by trial and error and it was already inspiring! But this is a band where I openly wonder what they'll come up with
in album's two, three and four;
and that's rare in an Adelaide band (better yet they're already recording again!? duuude!). And thanks to touring solidly for the past year or more
they've been absolutely killing it live too
, they've been right in the thick of it rocking the shit out of shit destroying everything in their path! Josh Flavel and Sam Stearne lockstep Swiss precision in bass and drum. Dave Williams and Nathaniel Morse bobblehead smashing those guitar lines. Art Zinoviev shit grinning tapping his morse code on keys as Caitlin Duff sings like a bird busting to be loose from her cage?
oh I've seen it jaw to the floor, face in puddle, mind pissing like a balloon out each earhole!
and THAT'S Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! in 2010!? Yup this was their year in kicking arse. They've been nonstop at it,
they've surpassed all punchlines and expectations in attempts to mock them
, and they've only just begun!? Yup for want of a better textbook definition "artist of the year".. seriously, does this band deserve any less!?
NOMINATED: THE HONEY PIES NOMINATED: NO THROUGH ROAD NOMINATED: STEERING BY STARS HONOURABLE MENTIONS: LADY STRANGELOVE
And there we have it: all the Adelaide scene as seen by Spoz's Rant in 2010
"condensed" into three "teeny tiny" installments
of what I laughably considered a "best of awards" celebrating all that this year had to offer us (and then some!), whilst glaringly omitting all the ACTUAL good stuff you'll be sure to remind me about, in the comments, at great length, whilst simultaneously letting me know
just how much I lack in good judgement, intelligence or common decency
in continuing to write this drivel thinly disguised as a "live music blog" in the first place while YOU obviously know "better". Aaaah fuck I love the internet.. let me have it ya baaastards! LET THE BITCHING BEGIN!! But no seriously this blog would be nothing without you,
yes YOU the poor fools who choose to read this crap each week
(or even crazier choose to live it beside me!). And obviously I'd make a mess of things if I tried thanking each and every one of you personally: short of thanking all the bands who've ever put my name on the door and snuck me into shows for free (
or snuck me free CDs
), all the mixers, managers, promoters who've done likewise and all my dearest friends and family who've continued to show great patience and support for what must seem like
every mental illness under the sun surfacing in riotous symphony
whilst attempting to run this insanity 24/7. FUUUCK!! you mean more to me than my hopelessly sarcastic way with words can ever express without due insult or injury (and I truly mean that!). And so in keeping with that ripe sentiment, here's a little tribute (in a crappy photographic montage) to
every one of YOU beautiful freaks who've kept this scene alive, thriving and worth living in 2010
.. it truly wouldn't have been the SAME without you!
Yup this is and was Spoz's Rant.
A rambling non sequitur in binge drinking excess
and existential ennui that over the years had somehow mutated into a "live music blog". One which a great many of you have entrusted
in ways not originally intended, expected or ever hoped for
as a legitimate "source of information" on the Adelaide scene (
but I'm still happy to play my part
). One which has operated on a next to non existent budget: save for the $300 odd I spent on my compact camera (
a Canon IXUS 960 still going strong after two long years!
) beer and taxi fare, and all of it sourced from a near fictional "freelance graphic design" job I've all but neglected and my near depleted life savings (cheers grandpa Ralph, your spirit lives on!). And in running this too I know full well that
I've commited "career suicide" with it
, no one outside of the music industry will likely ever employ me (or should?) thanks to its ongoing infamy, I'm completely fucked.. but perhaps that's for the best (
I mean hell I DO rather like it here!
). I'm only ever a "rant" because I'm forever in search of others to make it into a "conversation":
Rip It Up
we may be rivals but only in the sibling sense. And as I contemplate the end of 2010 and consider my options in 2011
and whether Spoz's Rant will even return
(three words: I'm flat broke!) at least I know I can rely on all YOU to cover in my absence. I mean pfft.. how hard could it be!? It's only a blog!
Previously on Spoz's Rant:
The Third Annual Spoz's Rant Awards / Part Two