Weekend Wind Down
I must admit I’ve really gone well beyond my threshold for the slow and quiet Canberra life. It is very secure, peaceful, and I’ve met people who have changed my life forever and for the better. But they also come and go, and in that sense Canberra continues to move beneath me, more than I’d like.
What I desperately want though, is to go to more gigs, mid-week, weekends, whenever I want… It’s a shame that there are so few in Canberra because the venues cater to it all. Recently I saw Disclosure at Canberra Uni (not a bad venue but a disappointing ‘play and go’ set). It really drew the uni types, the stage viewable no matter where you stood.
The top Canberra performance was the dramatic and dynamic Jack Colwell and the soothing songstress Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens, who played the Polish Club; an almost jazzy set up, lounges and tables facing the stage, room to stand and jiggle about a bit, and high in alcohol Polish beer (probably didn’t need to qualify that as ‘high in alcohol’).
Lately, most performers are being hosted by Trinity bar in Dickson, which by 10 pm is sardined with coke-angry shovers, the stage somewhat of a mirage swallowed by the din. The audience is never really present, they’re on display and they want to hate you. It’s an unusual adjunct to the music scene (which has always attracted me as a welcoming and open community).
Ultimately I don’t go to gigs for the venue, I go for the performer. But between a room full of dickheads and the comfort of my own home, I will go with the latter. While my hope rests in the Polish bar, the Front, the Phoenix and Transit, I really feel I need to pull my finger out and make the move to Sydney.
Remember Copenhagen’s Agnes Obel? She released the album Philharmonics, which soared from one ditty to the next. And they really were very pretty ditties (try saying that ten times, fast).
This time Obel has opted for the sad and slow, still with plenty of imagery of natural beauty. But she seems to be in a darker place this time.
This Swedish lass has already soared high with No Gun, hitting the Hype charts some time ago. She needs no push from me. “I’ve got tons of bullets but no gun…” I hear ya, Naomi.
There is definitely an ‘Aussie edge’ to Kate Martin. But the determination and strength in her voice reminds me more of Fleetwood Mac. Surrounded by strings and a decisive beat, Martin is a paragon of chill pop.
This is the kind of song that could very well be accompanied by a video of drapes hung high in a mansion, blowing in the wind. So yeah, it’s a bit like Lana Del Rey but perhaps less contrived.
And speaking of contrived (but not really), this Vaults song is highly emotional. I haven’t, for ages, heard such desperation and loneliness; there’s an almost alarming neediness. And we’ve all been there so it’s really nice to hear such an earnest London group. I don’t know much else about Vaults but I can’t wait to find out.
Another break-through (break away?) hit from a new group, CATHEDRALS. I’m not even sure what to say. It’s got some of the most beautiful guitar and echoey vocals; lovely harmonies… Plus there’s a great contradiction and possessiveness in the line, “When you come around I’ll nurse you back to pieces.”
This guy has a lot of promise, and it’s evident in two songs up on Soundcloud. This one, Gen V and the more recent, Firechild. There’s an Active Child, James Blake and Bon Iver feel going on, but his (their?) sound almost bubbles over to World music. I’m not sure how but I could just see some of this music being used for an SBS commercial.
I feel like Moby was overlooked on his recent release; Moby seems to captures the mood evoked in his album Play. Is he still sampling that singer? Is Moby that singer? Is Moby even a real person? There is still an air of mystery to this… muso… Or do I mean, ‘concept’?
The obvious comparison for me is Dirty Projectors, but Sonsick is structured perfectly in its vocal arrangement and progression from start to finish. This is definitely a ‘sit up and pay attention’ song. So so impressive! I haven’t gotten my hands on the LP but digging around on Youtube pulled up a lot; San Fermin are pretty special!