THE 4TH ANNUAL SPOZ'S RANT AWARDS / PART III
ADELAIDE MUSIC SCENE / January - December 2011 /
And now for the final chapter. Part III of
The 4th Annual Spoz's Rant Awards:
the epic conclusion, the business end, the shit that REALLY matters...where it all gets deadly "serious" and decisive and down to the wire and perhaps
you'll even shed a tear over the sublime beauty of it all
because I truly did leave the best till last; HELLS YEAH I DID!!...or perhaps not *ahem* but it does begin with an apology of sorts;
and one that's perhaps long overdue.
And not just for the awards themselves: YES they're a joke, yes I'm well aware of that fact (
especially a good portion of Part II
) that's kinda the point. "Best-of awards" are by their very nature inherently idiotic, self indulgent, stupidly biased and in the end laughingly inconsequential (
to anyone outside of the Adelaide scene
). No it's more for my jokey demeanor in general. How I'll take the absolute piss out of pretty much everything on this blog (
HAHAHA and how!
), and maybe you've misconstrued it as me
possessing a mean streak bordering on misanthropic;
or worse that I simply don't care; and for THAT I apologise. I'm so very sorry! I seek only to misbehave, to cause mischief NOT malice! it's one of the main reasons I got involved in this nonsense in the first place! I mean isn't the whole point in starting a band or being a rock & roll journalist writing about it,
to AVOID taking your life seriously?
to avoid responsibility? to extend one's "adolescence" well beyond the point it gets all "Mick Jagger/Hunter S" ridiculous!? I mean
if you're not laughing at the inherent comedy of it all,
then the joke's on you! and I'm DEAD serious maaan...I'm doing you all a favour: LAUGH YOU IDIOTS, LAUGH!! (
you'll feel better for it!
). Just as some of you might confuse these "jokes" for me not giving a shit...I DO! I just have a silly way of showing it. You're my chosen family
each and every one of you freaks!
I mean...why else would I devote
all this time and energy making FUN of you!?
You're not just names and numbers in a running tally each year "245 covered in 2011!? yipeee!". You're not just downloads on an ipod, facebook event invites
or emailed press releases
that I rarely if ever read. You're fellow artists and musicians, people that I collaborate with...you keep me INSPIRED maaan!
You're everything music SHOULD BE in a rich humanity,
and not a Pitchfork 8.0 and a circle jerk of tumblrs. And so with that in mind and in the finest (read: cheesiest)
of Hollywood "dead actor" traditions?
lemme just give a moment's tribute for all you live bands that meant so much to me in 2011...that alas,
for whatever reasons,
are no more. Ones that
in all my raging sarcasm, in all my "jokes",
I never quite told just how I felt (damnit!). So long you magnificent bastards, I'll miss you more than you'll ever know!
*Sniff* WHY DAMMIT, WHHHY!? Yup...best be warned: shit's gonna get real emotional in this one!
DEMO OF THE YEAR: THE HONEY PIES "THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND"
Or at least it WILL with the possible exception of this award..."demo of the year, WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT!?". Because yup, I'll be the first to admit that its intrinsic value might be lost on a great many of you people.
Or worse it'll make me sound retardingly "hipster"
in presenting an award and showering countless accolades on what amounts to little more than a "bedroom recording" or an after hours studio "brain-fart" (
although perhaps not so much in Ride Into The Sun's
case: that was a full studio album they logged some serious hours on THEN shelved...hmmm) which unless you happen to work for community/student radio, street press, book for a venue, or run a music blog? (
) wouldn't have ready access to
or possibly even have the slightest inclination in ever wanting.
So why am I dishing out this award anyways? "HAHAHA BECAUSE YOU'RE A TOTAL SHIT MAGNET FOR THE ADELAIDE SCENE!?"
yeah well *ahem* that goes without saying
(to be honest I just need people to get drunk with; I get lonely!) but more because in celebrating all these rare and largely unreleased "demos"? I'm giving you a teeny tiny insight into what might be worth "celebrating" in the near future. Or...as happens all too often in the Adelaide scene when it turns out a band HAS no future? (ie:
) "guh dammit! WHY LUMONICS, WHY!?": they're all we'll have left to remember 'em by (
what? after all these years I still haven't gotten over that crap!? FAAARK!!
). But also because, thanks to their scruffy
"diamond in the rough" charms,
they still shine through as being all kinds of skull fuckingly dope; which is pretty much why all THESE nominees were worth celebrating to begin with. Take away all the "studio spit and polish" and you're still left with exceptional songwriting;
and also why The Honey Pies score the award
because they've well and truly nailed the SHIT out of writing one. Now admittedly it's not their first demo...it's their third
after their "xmas demo" (don't ask),
just as they also have this habit of releasing one between each album (this one was made available as "bonus material" when you pre-ordered their
second album "Carpe Carp"
as part of their
"Pozible" studio fundraiser back in September
) but the particulars don't really matter...nor the fact that this is the first time they've thrown a piano into the mix (
I've heard it's a hint of what's to come for their third album...in 2012?
) it's more for the songs themselves. There's only four to choose from here, but each and every one is gold-spun genius. From the instantly catchy upbeat melancholy of "Drinking Alone", to the heartbroken Thom Yorke meets muted John Lennon styling of "Falling For You" and "Poor Michele" (working very much as bookends to each other) to the jaunty ukulele of "You Were Wearing Red" in closing, you'd be hard pressed to forget ANY of these songs in a hurry. Shit, even after extensive psychotherapy you'll still be singing the words to the first with a drunken stupor to match (and I should know, I've been guilty of that at least once meself...). So deceptively simple, direct, yet emotionally complex? it's everything a demo should be
in giving that teeny tantalising glimpse of what's to come.
So much so in fact? I'm probably just annoying you in talking about it if you don't already own a copy; because
good luck finding it online
(and HAHAHA how brilliantly crap is that cover art!) or yeaaah hmmm fuck it...perhaps bribe one of the band members a beer some time and they'll fix you up with one? or better yet, bribe them TWO...you'll thank me afterwards!
CESARE "BLACK THE PANES"
GOLD BLOOM "GOLD BLOOM"
RIDE INTO THE SUN "RIDE INTO THE SUN"
SINGLE OF THE YEAR: STEERING BY STARS "COLLISION/INK"
Now...I'm well aware
what many of us would consider a "single" nowadays;
especially in regards to anything approaching a "Top 40" or a top tier in a Triple J's "Hottest 100 of Aussie hiphop, dubstep
and former Australian Idol contestants"
is more an act of cold calculating commerce: a crass exercise in Pavlovian social conditioning (through maddenning repetition) via mass marketing youtube viral campaigns (selling ipads, tampons or Volvos) than anything we once mistook for
"music" or "art" or "culture" or "genuine heartfelt human expression"
...or at least save for the occassional "glitch in the Matrix" that propells an awkward break-up ditty cribbing
"Baa, Baa, Black Sheep"
into instant ubiquity (or perhaps it was more a near nude Kimbra in the music video?
HAHAHA nooo, it was SHEER DUMB LUCK!
). I mean there's nothing new to this shit; I'm clearly not shocking anyone in saying it...pfft it's been that way for decades!
It's what our fast food, Micky Ds, mass produced "music" industry is verily founded on!
It's our MTV without the "M" and the TV part's just advertising now! (or worse
it's a fifth season of Jersey Shore
...EGADS!!). In fact I even bought and read a book about it once "The Manual: How To Have A Number One The Easy Way" written by
KLF back in 1988:
that details in the most sly, satirical, step-by-step and cynical of ways how to get a number one hit single in the UK charts "...no previous musical experience necessary" (
and yes I totally recommend you go read it, it's freaking hilarious!
). My point being? me attempting to judge "single of the year" here by any "objective means"? ie: by picking a winning combination of hooks, riffs and choruses all crunched into a radio friendly sound bite, a youtube ticking over six figures,
and accompanying Kingsmill kudos;
is only gonna lead down a very dark path. Nope, as much as the Adelaide scene
is increasingly coming up with some quality tuneage?
I mean all you nominees have truly outdone yourselves in 2011 (
Sincerely, Grizzly's "21" single for one
sure as shit hit ME like a sledgehammer first time I heard it back in April). I'd rather follow my "instincts" instead, my gut-feeling and if it weren't for this
one double A-side by Steering By Stars?
(and dont you just love that bands are releasing more "double A-sides" now?
HAHAHA DOUBLE THE AWESOME!!
) I swear I wouldn't have survived last winter. Or in other words, release YOUR next widescreen cinematic "ode to woe" in July or August?
and chances are you'll win this shit by default.
HAHAHA okaaay, there's obviously more to it than that...but that was pretty much it. It WAS the dead of winter, grey skies end on end, I hadn't seen sunlight in days, dead broke with no sign of improving; I was horrifically sleep deprived, head was a plague of locusts eating me from inside out with harrowing self doubt; I mean I think the short hand for this shit?
was "Seasonal Affective Disorder"
or "sadsack bastard syndrome"...only when I'm surrounded by temperamental artists and musicians 24/7 and all their mood cycles have aligned
like some giant non gender specific "menstral magnet" pointing to hell?
there's no escaping it; at least not until "Collision/Ink"arrived in my email inbox. I added it to my ipod, donned earphones and no shit...
it freaking saved my sanity!
Yup, not only did the first single "Collision" perfectly encapsulate my emotional shit-bricking at the time: like my "cabin fever" had been reinterpretted
as a B&W movie as directed by Darren Aronofsky?
But it was driven to such an intense and ludicrous extreme I was instantly relieved by it; realising no matter how horrid MY shit was? it was nowhere near as hilariously fucked up epic as what must've been
swimming around in Lachlan's head and those of his fellow bandmates
to inspire it. Like equal parts shrieking catharsis and claustrophia all rolled into one? and then when second single "Ink" hits...
it's like all the above dissipating like steam out of a kettle!?
BRILLIANT! I mean it may not be to everyone's tastes and let's face it: that music video with the monster taking turns to drown them all is completely fucking ridiculous (
see Adrian run, comedy gold!
) but it still kills it for me all the same. Single of the year!
LADY STRANGELOVE "SWEET EXCHANGE"
SINCERELY, GRIZZLY "21/SNAKES & LADDERS"
SURVIVING SHARKS "BLEED & SEE/SEVER"
THE AMCATS / MESSRS
EP OF THE YEAR: RIDE INTO THE SUN "GOODBYE HIPSTER, HELLO REALITY"
Aaaah...now if there's one thing that the Adelaide scene
how to rock the a-grade exploding spasgasmical shit out of?
it's the humble EP.
The "Extended Play", the whatever-the-fuck you wanna call it in a 5-8 track expression of artistic intent just DON'T call it a "mini-LP"
you sad sad baaastards!
I mean no offense to either Ghoul or Kins who put out some exceptionally fine mini-LPs in 2011; no really...
I loved the shit outta them! they're were just the right duration and everything!
it's just that yeaaah I find the name "mini-LP" instead of calling it an EP or LP like say...a normal person to be patently ridiculous;
or kinda like all those 450ml sized bottles of Coke we've got now.
What...? you seriously need MORE CHOICE between a 375ml can and a 600ml bottle!? YOU PRETENTIOUS WANKERS!! *ahem* anyhoo...EPs? totally our specialty! Even more so when you consider most of our Adelaide bands only survive just long enough
to release one or two of these "bad boys",
break up, redistribute members amongst OTHER bands that have also recently broken up, form new bands, and then repeat the process all over again:
usually once every eighteen months to three years.
So before too long you become an expert on the EP...because they're pretty much the only physical copies you'll ever own of anything (
I mean pfft...who buys anything other than local CDs anymore!?
), save for all those 7" vinyls you bought just for the download codes. And I should know, I got stacks of them! some I haven't even opened yet (ooops!). Seriously, they're piled so sky high
like hyper-precarious jewelcase "jenga" seismographs:
one teeny tiny hiccup of the richter, a backfiring burrito or a drunken 9AM Sunday stumble to the toilet? and they all go tumbling! it's why I don't own a cat!
which is why I believe I can speak with some authority on the matter.
And as much as I'd happily recommend all four of these nominees equally as a-grade exemplary examples of
and rather like our "Single Of The Year" before it: attempting to pick any ONE of them over the other by any objective criteria for EP Of The Year would only do my head in!? (since by all intents they're equally as good) if I were to go with a personal "gut reaction" instead? yup totally
Ride Into The Sun.
Granted they released two EPs this year:
back in February and a second
"Rats, Thieves & Liars"
back in July; which means by law of "Adelaide cliches" they're due to break up ANY minute now; which is why I picked their FIRST EP (
as much as their second isn't to be sneezed at either
) because they actually started recording this soon AFTER a "breakup": when half their band left
due to a "fashion" disagreement.
Okay that's perhaps trivialising matters...but it does explain the title (and an entire album that got shelved), as much as they weren't
the only EP that came from a "divorce"
this year (
dare I mention Mountbatten?
). But it's the raw emotion let loose on THIS: in the simmering rage and regret and a shitstorm in between (
oh it was a bitter breakup alright!
) that gives this EP that "edge". I mean the dust had barely settled when they came up with a lot of these songs...not least of which
their opening number "New Sunday"
(which was written literally the Sunday the day AFTER everything went all "pear-shaped": when their newly enlisted guitarist Todd Lawrie waltzed right into rehearsal, cooked up that mad opening riff on the spot
and then performed it live for the first time the following Saturday
*phew*); while subsequent songs "Detached", "Fool", "Save Yourself" and "Napoleon" deal with all the mad mood swings in between. I mean it's potent stuff, it's unwavering, a raw nerve plugged straight into a guitar amp,
recorded mostly live by Matt Hills
so you don't lose an ounce of its raging volatility (and yes it's no coincidence that he's responsible for half the EPs I nominate each year...
he knows his way around them!
) duuude I could go on about
the apocalyptic grandeur of this thing ad infinitum!
Yup, just as I know the band have long distanced themselves from it after they lost two more members (
both left for Melbourne) then
re-recorded "New Sunday"
with a new drummer. I KNOW!! Still...just for the story alone that surrounds this thing? (and if it helps, they are
in a MUCH happier place now!
) this is one "trainwreck transcendent" I can't help but marvel at again and again...EP of the year!
HAWKS OF ALBA "DEAR PUNK ROCK..."
MOUNTBATTEN "THE NIGHT IS A DREAM"
THE SWEET DECLINE "ECHO OF THE SIRENS"
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: THE DAYLIGHT BRAVES / GÜNTER & THE SAFEWORD
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: LIKE LEAVES "LIKE LEAVES"
Okay, so by this point you're probably starting to pick up on the "pattern" or
underlying "theme" here.
And I don't mean all the incidental shit: like the fact that both single and EP of the year just so happen to sport
B&W cover designs
and deal with
LOOK WHO GOT JUST ALBUM OF THE YEAR?
OH WHOOOP-DI-DO YOU EMO FUCKING BAAASTARD!! (which I swear WASN'T me simply reacting to my awarding
both EP and album
"colourful cover art fuck full of upbeat indie pop"
LAST YEAR *cough* no, not at all! I mean c'mon "album of the year" here totally
has hints of yellow, indigo and magenta and everything
...CONSPIRACY FAIL!!). No it's more that I appear to be picking the "winners" according to base personal preferential, sometimes even cheesingly "sentimental" reasons...rather than being
strictly "impartial and empirical" about it
(ie: 9 out of 10 lab rats totally didn't explode like candy piñatas when exposed to Hawks Of Alba?
but THE TENTH ONE WENT LIKE A CHARM!!
). Oh believe me I know! and as I've somewhat implied already: it's been real difficult (to utterly counterproductive) to be impartial on singles and EPs this year. There's just been too much quality stuff coming out, it's like comparing "apples and oranges" and the only way I could pick just ONE for the prize? was to go the "gut feel"...I freely admit that! Although if it helps? I DID still nominate shit originally
by the strictest of deconstructive analysis
(hell, I'd even fashioned specialised rodent-sized earphones and individual ipod nanos for all the "focus groups") but to attempt the same thing with albums here? would be nigh on impossible. I mean hell just the act of NOMINATING these albums, limiting it to just the "best" four has been an absolute bitch! I thrashed the hell out of
The Honey Pies
for weeks and months at a time; I lived that shit! Collarbones'
was nothing but inspired!
and both albums by
Cheer Advisory Council?
were nothing short of masterstrokes in quality songwriting and production (
and occassionally songs about bicycles
) and they didn't even make the final cut! But you know what? FUCK THAT...buy them anyways! or at the very least
give them a token spin if they're on bandcamp
and you'll appreciate the nightmare I had to endure...or yeaaah perhaps not so much a "nightmare" (
fuck I love my job!
) but it was still a hard task! And as for the final four nominees? I consider 'em equals. EQUALS!! To say anything to the contrary? would be like splitting those proverbial hairs to the subatomic with a supercollider. No really! just YOU try and measure one as being superior to the other. Between
Coerce's "Prince Welfare"
Leader Cheetah's "Our Love"?
The Sea Thieves' "Focus The Stars"
Like Leaves' "Mercy Sound" ?
HAHAHA you can't! you're just being a dick, like a pack of geeks fighting over Captain Kirk vs. Jean-Luc Picard, DON'T EVEN GO THERE!! So...*ahem*
Like Leaves huh?
how bitchingly dope is that cover art?
(it's Ross Paxman's handiwork by the way:
former bass player for Young And Restless
). Secondly if ever
they made the song "Mercy Sound"
into a movie? you could pretty much shut Hollywood down for good and sink California back into the ocean; every story worth telling would've then been told. And thirdly...yeaaah it's my personal choice. Tomorrow I might choose something different! Isn't choice awesome!?
HAHAHA YOU BETCHA IT IS!!
(please don't make me choose this ever again).
COERCE "ETHEREAL SURROGATE SAVIOUR"
LEADER CHEETAH "LOTUS SKIES"
THE SEA THIEVES "THEY WILL RUN"
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: OH BELIEVE ME, IT WAS A BITCH JUST NOMINATING FOUR!
LIVE VENUE OF THE YEAR: THE JADE MONKEY
Now there's a great many things that go into making a "great venue"...nay an EXCEPTIONAL one (
or at least the kind that wins goofy little awards like these
). An exceptional stage setup is one: high enough to give a band its commanding presence and easy enough to access
without having to climb three flights of stairs hauling instruments to get there
(but only after spending a good half hour convincing the bouncer that you're actually playing tonight, and your headlining, and it's your album launch
AND you're on the poster art that's plastered on the wall behind him
). A stage that's large enough to accomodate your full lineup: including second drummer, organist, glockenspieler, horn section (clarinet, oboe and french horn),
preening douchebag doubling as your "lead singer"
who's just necked a bag of shrooms who you've only just met (he's also your new band manager) and Dave Blumberg;
because yup he'll pretty much join anything if you let him
...without spilling out onto the floor; or worse spilling that one jug of rider you're sharing between the 15 of you onto the floor (oh and add "generous rider" to that list too...
that shit's important!
). An exceptional sound is another: with exceptional PA, and foldback and an exceptionally patient sound engineer
who'll put up with your frequent "upwards pointy finger" requests for MORE foldback;
without simply cranking the reverb, the bass, and everything else into the red and then leaving the room laughing (it's how they audition mixers at Fowlers!). And last but not least? (
besides a beergarden that most of your audience will ditch you for
) is of course exceptional stage lighting, LOTS AND LOTS of stagelighting: operated by someone who actually HAS half a fucking clue what they're doing and not just the "DJ" who seriously thinks that
"pitch black with epilectic bursts of red"
does anyone any favours (so the gig photographer doesn't have to resort to spending the majority of a "live review" bitching about just how shit it is
instead of waxing lyrical over how shit the BAND is
). Now if we took all the above into consideration? Jive would obviously it win every year almost by default (
and have done so for the past two years running
) because Matt Hills
is a freaking genius/borderline shut-in
for this shit and their proprietor frighten me; just as Format will immediately disqualify itself (
cheap long necks and cheese toasties be damned
): simply on the grounds that their proprietor Stan Mahoney once vowed to shut the joint down in protest if ever THEY won (which kinda tempts me to give it to them anyways just to spite him!). So this year...
I'm giving it to the Jade Monkey!
WHY!? well as much as they never quite excel at any of the above; they DO win in one respect: a-grade creature comforts.
Duuude they rock the shit out of that junk!
For one? they've never had to hire shithead bouncers, thanks to the "90" capacity: they're actually too tiny to qualify. Instead they've got Zac: proprietor, musician and Adelaide's
most affable (possibly psychic) bartender;
who hires like minded barstaff; also musicians, musicians in his band
The Sea Thieves
(yes they were nominated for "album of the year"...
and quite rightfully so!
). Musicians that run it as a live venue FOR musicians, but never in an exclusionary way. More in a communal, cozy,
"everyone's welcome to join in"
kinda way: like the awesomest impromptu lounge room party you could ever setup instruments in and play if ever the mood strikes you. But it's also in all the little things, in how it's jam packed to overflowing with such warmth and character: from the
ornate chandelier above
creaky floorboards under foot,
the weathered walls, the antique desk lamps, tiny candles placed on each table and all fairy lights; to the fact I saw
The Grates playing here
back in 2005...to only 10 people (
ditto with Temper Trap in 2006
) and they even hosted a
Buddhist wedding here in 2007!?
And did I mention the couches, the gazebo in the beergarden out back, and the fact you can totally order up
a pot of tea over the bar for like $3!?
And yeaaah granted that's gotten it nominated every year by default for the past four years running...so what made it WIN this year? Well first off: it may've had something to do with all the wacky
four album launches
I caught here this year.
Duuude it was the place to be in 2011!
their after-hours lounge bar they opened in the basement. So even when the band finished for the night,
the party didn't have to downstairs?
I rest my case! The Jade Monkey: never ever - even if developers come bulldoze the joint
so you have to up stakes, relocate and start over
- stop being THIS awesome!
THE ED CASTLE / FORMAT / THE WHEATSHEAF
PRODUCERS BAR ( oh so debaucherous, yet oh so fleeting!)
DEBUT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR: THE RULES
Every year I see a lotta new bands. I mean a LOT. Like a ridiculous number of "a lot". No seriously,
don't make me do the "brass tacks" on this thing;
especially not for 2011, it's like fricking huuuge! And I'm not bragging about this either. Far from it! Even when clocked into the hundreds I'm not seeing nearly enough bands on a regular basis
to keep up with your shit:
with all the bands that are forever breaking up to form new bands to all the bands that are just starting out,
to even have an inkling of what the fuck I'm talking about
in regards to the Adelaide scene; I don't have a clue! I am as dumb as they come! And yet I still have the gall to run this awards category
like I'm some kind of expert?
OF COURSE I DO. Because for all the bands I'll go see each year, fuck it...even if it was thousands! millions!
until they exploded out my ears
spastic yammering locked up in a rubber room chasing phantoms with my camera I was THAT mad up for it!? there'd only be a handful that would EVER qualify as bands worth remembering, worth recommending,
worth nominating in a silly best-of award like this.
I mean hey the brain is a beautifully honed instrument for filtering out shit it don't need. Yours is probably hard at work right now reducing this entire writeup
into the one tl;dr twitter post:
"dear Spoz, you're a fucking retard!". While mine has lumped most of the bands I've seen this year into the one amorphous blob playing loop pedals, glockenspiels and Macbook Pros (aaah where would we be in 2011
without our beloved hipster bat signal?
) sounding like a jumbled mix between The Pixies, Vampire Weekend, Sonic Youth and Tool sodomising an angry Scotsman throwing up in a wind tunnel, as covered by an all-star supergroup ensemble
featuring every band that played Laneway this year
...minus the personality (it puts me to sleep at night!). So when you DO happen upon that once-in-a-blue-moon deviation
from a "horse well flogged"
...not only do you feel the irrepressible urge to flying straddle them like a crazy person howling tears of unbridled joy (
I'm sorry Naomi from Gold Bloom...I hope it dry cleaned okay!
), but you also MUST tell everyone else around you about them, yammering bug-eyed superlatives to the point they threaten you with physical violence until FINALLY they see them for themselves and you get to watch as their minds explode, YEAAAS!! I fucking told you! VINDICATED AS FUCK. Or maybe I'm exaggerating just a tad. Still at the very least? all four of our nominees
weren't just bands I remembered fondly from 2011,
they were bands I couldn't imagine living WITHOUT in 2012. Bands you don't just watch passively:
like you're in a dole queue that serves beer,
but LOSE YOUR SHIT TO like a frying pan to the nuts! like your pingers have just kicked in and you dunno whether to be happy or sad or to have a heart attack but you SO wanna see them again and again! Whether it's being moved
by the sweet blues harmonies and syncopated guitar fuzz of Gold Bloom?
deafened spastic grinning by the tonne of bricks dancing in your eardrums that is
or pissing yourself laughing gobsmacked and amazed
by the "happy accident" that is Tea?
they're gut reactions you can't deny! But the one band that really smashed me in the figurative testicles (maybe even literal)
when I first saw them? The Rules.
Yup this is one band you SO don't forget in a hurry! with a lead singer Carla Lippis who
not only SINGS, but actually LEADS
(and not simply fight a losing battle with their cardigan sleeve, fifty effects pedals and a bad batch of sinus tablets).
But also it's in their brilliant yet deceptively simple instrumentation.
Just one guitar and drums, just Adrian Zammit and John Russo playing a gentlemen's game of ping-pong, brutally loud, with chainsaws and crowbars
while Carla goes a full diva spectrum of fucking beserk in between!
Bass? fuck the bass! Additional horn section? synths? laptop? don't make me laugh! More than 10 songs to a setlist? WHO NEEDS IT!! They are nothing but the bare bone essentials,
like a 40ft body popping skeleton with a whiskey bottle beating your brains in!
Nothing but 100% energy, animal instinct and a reason to drink, fight, howl at the moon and fuck your consensual until there's nothing left
but chance dentals to identify your remains with
and a knowing thumbs up from forensics! It's people when they see this band live for the very first time, eyes bugging, teeth shattering to the floor utterly dumbstruck and me laughing...because I know!
I did the same yo!
Yup, The Rules. If you haven't already? JUST GO FUCKING SEE THEM!!
NOMINATED: GOLD BLOOM
NOMINATED: SURVIVING SHARKS
BAD DREEMS / DANVERS & GHOST KNIFE /
DOE / MAX SAVAGE & THE FALSE IDOLS / POPY JANE / SWIMMING
ARTISTS OF THE YEAR: THE HONEY PIES
So yeaaah, let's just cut straight to the chase shall we? (or at least as much
as my "mental illness" for purple prose will allow *ahem*
). To all the bands that I've nominated here according to my own misguided superlative opinion of them; to all the bands EQUALLY as brilliant but glaringly omitted
for far too many stupid reasons to mention,
but two immediately spring to mind (and not just the fact I love to drink myself stupid to the point I forget you) firstly:
for being so fuck-off awesome at your shit
that you spent most if not all of 2011
touring everywhere in the country and the world
BUT Adelaide to even qualify in my books...and secondly: for being in a band "foolish" enough to ask me to manage them
and thus disqualifying themselves from ever being in the running
...yes even if said role as "manager"
was mostly token to laughably negligent at best
(sorry Quiet In The Lab! you guys rocked but it just wouldn't be right of me...oh but do you
still have some of that jam?
); and to all you bands simply doing what you're doing in your own a-grade yet unassuming way that I'm clearly being nothing but a total fuckwit
for NOT featuring you on the blog enough?
keep doing what you're doing! don't ever stop on my account! don't go leaving for Melbourne in protest! don't go sending me death threats just yet!
I'm only ONE person:
hopelessly outnumbered, outgunned, overworked and tragically underfunded to do you all justice...no really! you're everything that made this city the vibrant, inventive and insanely well beyond prodigious (
yet woefully underappreciated
) music scene in 2011, BUT?
The Honey Pies
are artists of the year (ooooh those fucking jerks!). I'm so sorry! there was just no contest here...they absolutely nailed it!
or at least according to my own misguided opinion.
WHY!? Well before you dismiss me outright and go "LULZ ur a fag!" (and good luck with that you anonymous c*nts...
I DISABLED COMMENTS MONTHS AGO!!
) I'm just gonna break it down for you point by point. The Honey Pies can write a tune. And I mean that in EVERY aspect:
from the instrumentation to the arrangement to the lyrics;
and yet in such a way that it's always instantly accessible in a 60's pop sensibility, yet reinterpretted
all sped up and crazy like it's punk rock instead
(or kinda like all the best bits of The Beatles and The Libertines thrown into a blender and spat out as 3-6 minute hits of pure gold). The Honey Pies can also play, as in LIVE, as in the purest definition of the term "live". As in they'll rehearse it just enough
to skate the very thin edge of fucking it up:
thrashing it way too fast, too loose, too loud, like they seriously don't give a shit how many strings they'll break (
or more accurately Jon Marco their lead singer will break
) because they know they're accomplished musicians: to the point of being cocky, to the point of not giving a fuck; only to be all the more brilliant because of it. The Honey Pies also have stage presence. And I don't just mean they're allegedly
"easy on the eyes" :
three fine looking gents
and one Jon Marco
looking like a demented love child between Gary Busey, Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres driving the girls wiiild; although it IS awesome that I finally got to use that joke (I've been holding onto it for a while now!) but more they know
how to work that crowd, play off that room and kill
even when nobody's bothered to show up. The Honey Pies also have a sense of humour:
I won't linger on that point for too long;
only it makes a WORLD of difference...the last thing you want is a band taking themselves and their shit SO seriously they forget why they're even in a band in the first place; to escape all that. And yet as much as The Honey Pies have been all that,
all along, for the past 2-3 years:
what's really selling it for them NOW is how insanely prolific, creative and colourful they're being with this shit all a sudden to the point it's almost become annoying...
although possibly only to any other band trying to keep up with it.
Yup we're talking a band that's unleased two full length albums:
"Think Of England"
two demos full of rough cuts (
one for an upcoming THIRD album?
), six music videos:
four of which they made themselves,
and it's all quality shit too I might add, and all in little over a year!? Yup, Jon Marco, Tony Marshall, Tom McCarthy-Jones and Marcus Warnecke: you've truly gone above and beyond.
For showing us just what can be achieved in 2011 simply by nailing the "basics":
writing songs, playing live and releasing records? for being The Honey Pies? you've made a mockery out of all those fools who think it's about anything but!
NOMINATED: LADY STRANGELOVE
NOMINATED: RIDE INTO THE SUN
NOMINATED: STEERING BY STARS
FIRE! SANTA ROSA, FIRE! / THE KILLGIRLS / LIKE LEAVES
And so there we have it. One entire year done and dusted. One 2011 and 131 episodes of Spoz's Rant distilled into a woefully inadequate and ridiculously overworded three part "summary" written 3-6 weeks after the fact and then backdated
to the 1st week of January some time after publishing
(as much as I'm not fooling anyone reading this right now...ooops!). One year of the blog that as much as it may've looked like I was "joking" at the time (
what with that silly seven part B&W photo series in January
oestensibly plotted around
the consumption of mi-goreng
) almost didn't happen. And the only reason it DID happen...the only reason I'm still here? was because of gig advertising. I know, I KNOW! it even sounds filthy
me saying it now
...I acted out of desperation!
I sold my soul to the devil!
and who knew such an insane "leap of logic" would work in the first place!? that a blog devoted solely to gigs in the Adelaide scene, read almost entirely by people in the Adelaide scene (
save for all you labels spamming me Australia-wide; dammit!
) would ever be viable platform for promoting gigs IN the Adelaide scene.
HAHAHA I know riiight!? WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING!?
And believe me it took people a LOT of convincing (still takes a lot!) so to all you brave pioneers who took the plunge and invested in this mad venture?
not to labour to fine a point here:
but you were seriously the ONLY thing that kept Spoz's Rant alive in 2011 and you have my eternal thanks! and I hope in return
I got a few more people out of the house and to your shows;
hopefully even a few hundred more! because pfft...isn't THAT the whole point!? Music isn't an industry! or a bought and sold commodity! or downloads it to the point
it becomes little more than tap water,
little more than ten thousand files on an ipod, numbers in a playlist, spun by a DJ on his phone, playing the dubstep remix, half heard in a drunken haze in a nightclub off in the distance, lost in conversation about Jersey Shore (
no really, a fifth season...what the fuck is THAT all about!?
) until so abstracted it loses all meaning! Music is people. People who make music, live music, interact with it.
People not all that different from you or I!
People playing live in a venue just around the corner where you can drink, get all up in their faces, laugh, applaud, poke, heckle them all you want, tell them they suck then start your own band! And when you remember that? music has meaning again. So here's to you Adelaide scene for giving life THAT meaning; to all you
fellow freaks and geeks constantly creating, collaborating, conspiring and inspiring.
As long as you continue to be people I can relate to even when unintelligibly drunk, 5AM on a Saturday? you'll continue to be the ONLY life for me!
me and that persian rug:
we've had some good times haven't we?
To be continued...in 2012?
Previously on Spoz's Rant:
The 4th Annual Spoz's Rant Awards / Part II