Category Archives: music

The song in the “There’s Nothing Normal About Asthma Symptoms”, TV commercial

ImageIf you’ve been watching the Olympics in Australia on Channel 9, you may have seen an ad about asthma. Seems to be some type of asthma awareness/subliminal “buy our meds” thing AKA “There’s Nothing Normal About Asthma Symptoms”.

Anyhow, in case you were wondering what the song that the woman is listening to on her iPod is, it’s by Melbourne band Minibikes. The song is called (slightly ironically) “Kill to Feel”. It’s on an album called For Woods or Trail.

There are only a few bars in the advertisement (which is probably a good thing), but you can listen to the it or the whole album, on Soundcloud, courtesy of their PR agency:

The CD isn’t out until September, but you can already get it on iTunes.

My previous post has their video for “Oh Japan”, which is on the same album.

I’m putting this up here because the actual video doesn’t seem to be on the site that is promoted in the advert, and there seems to be no mention that I can find about the song.

And yes, I do know the band.

Update – I tracked down the advert on Vimeo, and you can see it here.

Update – the album was officially released on 14 Sept. The album launch is at the Northcote Social Club on 6 October.

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Minibikes – Oh Japan

Oh Japan by Minibikes

The Meanies

I was listening to 3RRR’s show, The Golden Age of Piracy, a couple of weeks ago, and heard Link McLennan AKA Link Meanie, run through his “Formative Five” songs. For the record, they were:

  • Dudley Moore Trio – Song for Suzy
  • The Beatles – Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite
  • The Royal Guardsmen – Snoopy Vs The Red Baron
  • Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 – Mas Que Nada
  • Jesus & Mary Chain – Taste the Floor

You can listen to the show via Triple R’s on demand service.

This reminded me about the interview that I did with Link, back in the day, around when the 10% Weird album was out. In case you didn’t know, The Meanies are the doyens of Melbourne’s indie/punk scene. You can see the video for the song, 10% Weird at the bottom of the blog post.

For the interview, I ventured out to Pascoe Vale, in Melbourne’s north. Link was living in a bungalow in a cul de sac street that ended at the perimeter fence of Essendon airport. It was a little bit like the movie, The Castle.

Driving back home, I popped the tape in the car stereo, and to my horror, discovered that the batteries in the recorder had cut out. At the same time, I went past a speed camera, and in my agitated state, was pinged for traveling a couple of kilometres over the speed limit. Not great.

So I traveled back to Pascoe Vale, and did it all again. The results appeared in Blast Issue 3 (The One With the Purple Cover), I think. Thanks to the wonders of OCR, here it is.

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The Meanies – Big in Spain

LINK MEANIE spends a pleasant afternoon with Ed. He chats about music, touring, pinnies and Jake and the Fatman.

“In Spain they loved us, as far as we can tell. Maybe it’s just their way of showing us that they hated us? No, we got a good response in Spain. Spain just stood out like a sore thumb when it came to response and excitement. We’re doing six shows in Spain this time, at the end of the tour and that’s just perfect, to end on a high note.”

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The Steinbecks

Here’s the latest of the retro music posts from Blast! Magazine.

The Steinbecks

The Steinbecks 1994. l-r Josh Meadows, Robert Cooper, Joel Meadows, Bianca Lew, Adam Dennis.

Melbourne’s Josh and Joel Meadows had made inroads to jangle pop notoriety with The Sugargliders by releasing music on Sarah Records, home to such luminaries as Tallulah Gosh!, The Field Mice, and Heavenly. They are also cousins of Tali from The Lucksmiths. From the smouldering ashes of The Sugargliders, rose The Steinbecks.

I met up with Josh in early 1995, just after the release of the first The Steinbecks album, At Home and Abroad with the Steinbecks (Summershine). They had launched the album at the now defunct Carlton Moviehouse by screening Head by The Monkees and then playing tunes from their album.

Here’s the song “Apollo” from At Home and Abroad with the Steinbecks. People who like the previously mentioned Sarah Records bands will most likely have already heard of The Sugargliders and The Steinbecks. For readers that haven’t, if you who enjoy Camera Obscura, The Bats, or Belle and Sebastian, then you may find The Steinbecks to your liking.

This interview appeared in the first edition of the fanzine, and I was lucky enough to have the The Steinbecks play at its launch gig at The Lounge. As I remember, it was a really warm December night with a good turn out. The band image that you can see at the top of this post and the start of the Youtube video is the promo shot that I used in the article.

Later, I used to pop into the RMIT University book shop to say hi to Josh, when he worked there. I lost contact with him, but do seem to remember that he went off to do some work in Papua New Guinea. I also caught up with some of their subsequent releases on Summershine and then Microindie Records. It seems that their last release was 2005’s Far From the Madding Crowd.

July 2013 update – and they’re back with this single:

[soundcloud http://soundcloud.com/matinee-recordings/the-steinbecks-at-arkaroo-rock]

The Steinbecks.

Josh Meadows tells Ed that “Fresh is the vibe. Fresh and up and fizzy” in The Steinbecks camp.

Josh – We’ll just test if the coffee sounds good…(slurps)…Ahh!

Ed– (Laughs) What’s the vibe in The Steinbecks at the moment?

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Even

This will be the last of my retro blog posts about Australian, indie bands for the year.

I nearly stopped after the Glide post, but decided to press on to get the Snout one up and also this one about Even, because of this week’s Xmas Even gigs.

I’ve written about Even before. They are a band I have been into since their first EP came out, at about the time this article appeared. It was in the same issue as the Glide interview, which dates it in the first half of 1995. Even are still going strong, with their sixth studio album of 60’s drenched, power pop, being released recently and available through their website. In addition, many of their records are available digitally, at your favourite download store.

Even’s Last.fm profile

Even’s website

My friend Al did the interview and the write up, but I was there at the Black Cat café on Brunswick St, during the interview and I took the photo that you can see below. It was the afternoon of launch gig for the In Stereo EP; their first record.

I am going to put up some more retro articles in 2012, including Rail, The Steinbecks, Snout – talking about pinball, The Meanies and You Am I. It won’t just be old school stuff though; I will be blogging about some more recent bands, as well 🙂

Happy Festivus.

Even

An Interview with Ashley Naylor from top Melbourne “groop” Even. By Al Marshall.

Ash Naylor. Fitzroy 1995

If you’ve seen power pop trio Even live, then you’ll know Ashley’s manic guitar wrestles demand your attention. If you’ve heard “24 hour cynic”, the four minute chunk of minor key magic that leads off Even’s debut EP, you’ll know Even demand your attention. If you’ve seen their EP In Stereo gracing CD racks, well it’s equally attention grabbing. So meeting Ash, the mastermind behind this barrage of in-your-faceness, was something of a revelation he’s a pretty regular, twenty-something, bashful sorta guy…

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Snout — Demolition Men

Hot on the heels of the post regarding Glide, is another one from the archives about a band dear to my heart – Snout. I went to school with Greg who played guitar in Snout and I used to do stuff like go on tour to Adelaide (the glamour!) with them, lugging gear, selling shirts and so on. I also did two pieces on them for my fanzine. The first, you can read below. The other one was about rock music and pinball, which will probably surface on this blog at a later date.

After Snout finished in 2002, Ross went on to release solo albums. Most notably being nominated for the 2008 Australian Music Prize (equivalent to the Mercury or Polaris prizes) for Sympathy for the New World. Ewan drummed with Dan Brodie and the Broken Arrows, amongst others. While Greg put out a hip-hop inspired EP but then retreated from the music world.

This post is timely, as they reformed for a gig at The Tote on Melbourne Cup Day, in November this year, with perennial local favourites, Even. They have been persuaded to play with them again at one of Even’s Christmas gigs on Thursday 22 December at the Phoenix Public House. I’ll be there. I wonder what happened to Ross’ song “Stuntman”?

PS – Guess what? I have an Even archival article too.

PPS – If there are any typos, it’s the OCR software’s fault!

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/31479790 w=450&h=281]

SNOUT – DEMOLITION MEN

Ross McLennan and Greg Ng signing CDs at the Big Day Out

There have been some pretty reasonable musical groups that have performed at the Evelyn Hotel over the years. When you get to read this magazine, it will have just been reopened after renovations. Ed speaks to Ross McLennan (bassist, singer and songwriter) who started the demolitions…while on stage.

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Glide

Cool as three Fonzies.

Glide’s Jason Kingshott and Marc Lynch 1995

Early in 1995, William Arthur (guitar, vocals), Marc Lynch (bass) and Jason Kingshott (drums), were good enough to meet with me over pizza, beer and a tape recorder on Brunswick Street in Melbourne. This was in advance of a gig at the sadly missed Punters’ Club, in the almost tropical heat of a humid Melbourne night. They chatted about their album Open Up and Croon, upheaval in the band and the coolness of Fonzie, amongst other things.

The original interview appeared in issue 3 of Blast!, a fanzine that I was involved with at the time. I’ve republished some of the articles I did for the zine on this blog previously, with only slight editing. However, rereading this interview, I wanted to rewrite the piece as it didn’t really seem to do justice to the music of Glide, so I didn’t want to republish my juvelinia verbatim, but to try and put more context to their story.

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“Right Here” — a Tribute to The Go-Betweens

Here’s part 2 in my (ahem) Blast! from the past. Regular readers would have noticed the Flying Nun Records article that I republished from Blast! Magazine, a Melbourne fanzine I was involved with. I wish I could say that we were inspired by the early 20th Century, modernist journal of the Vorticist movement in the UK, but that would be a lie. I think we just liked the “vibe” of the name.

The Go-Betweens.

Better writers than I have lionized the works of Robert Forster, Grant McLennan and co. They had a storied past which began in Brisbane in the late 70’s and ended with the untimely passing of Grant McLennan in 2006, with a hiatus from 1989-2000. For the full story, there is the great, in-depth biography of the band by David Nichols, published by Verse Chorus Press.

Here is what is commonly regarded as one of their best songs, “Cattle and Cane”. In 2001, it was voted one of the Top 30 Australian songs.*

In 2007, a tribute album appeared, as reviewed on Mess+Noise.

A lesser known tribute was realeased in 1996 on Hippy Knight Records. I commissioned an article about the making of this album for Blast! #5. It was written by a chap named Craig Barnes, who was more commonly known as “Cousin Creep”. I would see him around town at gigs and he also went on to present a show on Triple R. When I heard that he was putting together the record, I asked if he would write a piece chronicling how he did it.

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Flying Nun Records’ 30th anniversary

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Back in the day, I was a co-founder and contributing editor for a local fanzine called Blast!, We were  essentially a small group of University of Melbourne students with some (emerging) Quark Xpress and Photoshop skills, who threw together a publication about culture, music, art and so forth. I pretty much concerned myself with the music articles, interviewing (mainly) Australian bands and reviewing (free!) CDs. I also organised launch and benefit gigs to help to fund our shoestring operation.

Issue number four, happened to coincide with a trip to New Zealand. Ostensibly, a trip to the ski fields of the South Island, it also provided me with the opportunity to harass Paul McKessar, at Flying Nun Records HQ, which at the time was in Auckland, to give me the contact details of some of his charges who lived in Dunedin, the spiritual home of the label. As I said in my editorial for that issue:

From New Zealand with love…As regular readers would know, I love to promote the local scene and Australian artists; just look at…the back issues of Blast! However this edition has interviews with Robert Scott of Magick Heads, The Bats and the Clean fame; David Mitchell and Denise Roughan of the 3Ds; Alf Danielson and Norma O’Malley from Chug; and David Kilgour of The Clean and Stephen.

November 2011, is the 30th anniversary of Flying Nun records. So in recognition of that, I have iPhone OCR’d my article from August/September 1995 and grabbed some photos from my photo album. Reading the article now, I realise I didn’t actually describe what the music sounded like. This is probably why my music journalism career didn’t take off. So I’ve added some 2011 notes and embedded some examples of songs, along with some minor copy edits.

For an overview of Flying Nun Records, here is their Wikipedia entry.
Here is a 2009 article from The Guardian about the label.
Here is an Oz/NZ playlist I have on Youtube which has a Flying Nun Records documentary on it.
Finally, here is FN’s “Greatest Bits” compilation. 30 years, 40 tracks, 20 NZ dollars!

I give you “A Pilgrimage to Aotearoa”. You can read it “after the jump”

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Snout memorabilia

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