poison to the mind

26Sep/052

kinda shoulda sorta

One-time Lemonheads bass player Bill Gibson pointed us in the direction of this fansite download of a pick-up band rendition of the classic It's A Shame About Ray album, for the Don't Look Back series of gigs in London this month. Of course, given the record was only 29 minutes (before dead-eyed commerce tacked their "Mrs Robinson" cover onto the end of CD copies), there's a mini-greatest hits set filling out the rest of the hour, too.

In slightly less spurious tribute to that period (the musicians in the above aren't even the players with whom Dando is currently recording a new album under the L'heads name), here's a couple of radio-session tracks from the period: Dando playing an acoustic solo version of "Confetti" from the album, and Sydney's Glide proving their cred by covering "Ride With Me" from the less-famous-but-still-major-label previous record, Lovey

Evan Dando - Confetti (acoustic)
Glide - Ride With Me (acoustic)


Buy:
These are both taken from a compilation titled Tota11y Wire1ess, which is totally out of print. Remarkably, so is pretty much the whole Lemonheads catalogue in Australia, with the exception of this Atlantic best-of jobbie. There's a load of acoustic versions on the end, so it's kinda appropriate. Most of Glide's output is similarly unavailable, but this tribute site to their late singer has a bunch to sell you, including an exclusive final album.

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21Sep/053

we’re not using titular punctuation

More live bootleggy* stuff with girls singing; we'll get back to out-of-print records and such in a day or two.

Australian twee-core band Frente managed to blow their career by being associated with a novelty song twice, in different countries and with different songs. Their big hit at home, a bouncy piece of fluff with a Play-School video, brought them broad commercial success for a time, but also had them unfairly tagged as bright and cartoony kiddie music in the mind of the general public. After this, they managed to break overseas in a minor way with a cover of New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" (or of Even As We Speak's cover of New Order's etc, but never mind that), only to - of course - then be thought of as "that band that did that acoustic version of Bizarre Love Triangle..."

They regrouped, shifted line-up and recorded a more "mature" follow-up album with Booga Bear and Cure producer Dave Allen, but it was too late to redeem their reputation, and sank like a stone under the weight of a massive, advance-gobbling array of limited-edition multi-formats (no shit: 7"s with individual polaroids by each member of the band, shaped CD singles which form a foot when you buy all three versions, all kinds of nonsense). And then seven years later they reformed! and did a new EP! and a sold-out tour! And then started hibernating again.

But lead singer Angie Hart is actively playing solo and with other bands in LA and Australia, and is doing the Annandale TONIGHT in Sydney. So here's some stuff from Frente's own turn at the same venue nine months ago.

This is from their "naive period", when Hart and co-writer Simon Austin were cranking out songs that strained to break one minute and eschewed any faffing about with choruses or repeated motifs or anything like that. See the EP Whirled for more:
Frente - Risk (live at the Annandale 2005)

"Labour Of Love" was the medium-sized hit off that EP, and a re-recording later headlined an OS compilation that took the New Order cover to the world. Probably sums up their aesthetic better than anything else:
Frente - Labour Of Love (live at the Annandale 2005)

"Sweet" is a new song, that gave 2005's Try To Think Less EP its title. A return to core values!
Frente - Sweet (live at the Annandale 2005)

In its original form (as a between-albums single), "Lonely" swirled into a sample/singalong of Barry White's "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe" in its latter minutes. Here they extend the appropriation, spinning off into a few other tags, starting with Ol' Dirty Bastard's classic "Got Your Money":
Frente - Lonely (live at the Annandale 2005)

(Said interpolation induced bouncing and shouting delight in FBI's Levins, incidentally)

I was actually thinking they might shun this like they shunned (and mocked calls for: "What? No, we don't know any Kenny G") "Accidentally Kelly Street", but then it was hardly a surprise for it to turn up as the final song of the night:
Frente - Bizarre Love Triangle (live at the Annandale 2005)

Buy:
There's not a lot of choice, really - the band (or Angie or her website bloke or something) had arranged to buy up the stock of their two albums from the Australian record company, so said company promptly remaindered the lot through two chains of $10 shops. The comeback EP is available by mailorder from label Popboomerang, though. And while you're there,they've also got an EP by Angie Hart's band Splendid, featuring a song by Simon Austin.
ALSO! or for furriners: get these plus others from Angie-Hart.com

Bonus:
These two sound a good bit rougher than the tracks above, due to enhanced instrumentation and audience enthusiasm overwhelming the recording equipment, but if you're still hungry: biggish hit "Ordinary Angels" (from first album Marvin The Album - really, you can see how people got put off), and "Sit On My Hands," from the second album Shape
Frente - Ordinary Angels (live at the Annandale 2005)
Frente - Sit On My Hands (live at the Annandale 2005)

*not that this is dodge or anything, all legitimate and above-board, just recorded by a mini-disc perched atop the soundboard stack

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12Sep/050

“…FEIST!”

Producing and arranging Feist's Let it Die seems to have set off a new phase in Gonzales' creativity (though, interestingly, he hasn't changed his name this time around), going on to perform similar behind-the-scenes roles on records by Jane Birkin, Jamie Lidell and Buck 65 (not to mention his solo piano album). But putting these tracks together for you lovely people, while listening to "Salieri Serenade", I found myself wishing that he'll go back to rapping one day. There's such glee in his wordplay and rhythms that it would be a shame to only have one real album of his own beats and rhymes...

Feist & Gonzales - Salieri Serenade (live at the Big Day Out)

The next two both feature Feist in the torch singer role taken by Sticky on the Gonzales Uber Alles album, and the rearranged versions both cropped up after this tour on Z. Sadly, that collection of re-recordings didn't feature the fantastic rawked-up version of major-label lament "Candy" which tour-partner Taylor Savvy jizzed guitar all over at both the shows. If the radio version wasn't so thin I'd post it, and if it hadn't blown out the levels on my recording, I'd post that... maybe I'll pull some more tracks for a Gonzales feature anyway.

Not a lot to say about Feist this time. She sings on all these songs, you know. Will that do?

Feist & Gonzales - Why Don't We Disappear (live at the Big Day Out)
Feist & Gonzales - You Are (live at the Big Day Out)

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9Sep/051

“No! NOT Fist!…”

Last time Leslie Feist performed in Sydney, it was as sidewoman to Chilly Gonzales in January 2003. After an hour and a half of coming on and off to sing, banter and play occasional children's instruments, Gonzo stepped down from the stage of the Annandale, she climbed aboard his shoulders and the towering combination made its way through the sweaty, clamouring crowd while "Made It Through" played unassisted from the soundboard CD deck. As they passed by our spot, Feist stared at me and reached down from her perch to poke my nose with one extended, golden-gloved finger. I swooned gleefully as the pair moved on.

In two weeks, she's coming back to play one solo show on my birthday. What a nice present.

The show had opened with them both on stage in matched safari outfits, performing a duet on melodicas. The song is probably yet another variation on the "Chilly in Bb Minor" theme that recurs through most of his records, but I'm musically crippled and can't identify notes by ear, let alone keys. Retag it yourself if you know better:

Feist & Gonzales - Melodica Duet (live at the Annandale)

Next for you is her subsequent return to the stage, after a couple of show-off turns on the piano and rapping for Gonzales, and a costume change for her. Wonder if the story she tells to introduce "Shameless Eyes" here will recur at the Hopetoun gig?

Feist & Gonzales - Shameless Eyes (live at the Annandale)

Gonzo's apparent non-sequitur in the aftermath here (referenced in the post title) was actually addressed to a young lady down the front wearing a Bloody Fist t-shirt.

When I was creating the files for this Feist-fest, I found it frustrating how so many of the French phrases in the next song seem to turn up in a lot of different songs in Google. Then yesterday I saw Let It Die in a record shop here for the first time (it's just been released - US cover and tracklist, not the original) and too late saw that there's a song called "Tout Doucement" on it. This one I reckon you can retag with confidence, given the 'tout doux, tout doux, tout doucement, toujours...' refrain.

Feist & Gonzales - Tout Doucement (live at the Annandale)

Buy:
You can get Let It Die quite cheaply, or a redundant Mushaboom single quite expensively, from Sanity. The same chain also has an odd array of Gonzales records - you can hear Feist on Presidential Suite and Z. Get tickets for the show in advance from the Hoey.

Today's tracks are all from my own recording of the gig - come back on Monday for another selection from their Big Day Out festival appearance the same week, taped off the radio: trade boomy for tinny!

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7Sep/050

at @

Saw Martha Wainwright on Saturday night, her third show in Sydney: presumably on the strength of a Leonard Cohen tribute at the Opera House (and one show supporting her family) in January, as I didn't even know the album was out here until Friday. Her voice is obviously the major feature of her recordings, but it's even more remarkable live. It's allowed to be at the front of the sound there, too - she was accompanied only by herself on acoustic guitar, and sometimes her producer Brad Albetta on double bass, baby grand or bass guitar - but her singing is noteworthy in and of itself, plus she shows off a little, jerking away from or panning across the microphone to get interruption or tail-off effects.

For someone on their first album, she's got plenty of material to perform, too. we missed support Josh Ritter (the Herald said good things) just because she went on early enough to accomodate a 2½ hour set. Loads of low-key banter, joking with the sound guy (who'd convinced Albetta to wear a fishing hat strung with corks at one point), covers of her dad, her mum, Laughing Len... like you'd expect. I haven't listened yet myself, but check out this session for Radio National, recorded during the week.

Martha Wainwright - live on The Deep End

Buy:
The album's actually cheaper in shops than it is at the gigs (though there was a sign promising she'd come out and sign it). You can't get the EPs out here at all.

Bonus:
Here, for no particular reason, is a song by a band that don't exist anymore. The song was on their first album, but this is a different recording from the Cop It Sweet compilation. Indie pop with girlie vocals, we're keeping it female this week. Big update tomorrow.

Half Miler - Another Relationship Fatality

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2Sep/050

the bible would be a lot whinier

In the '90s, Greta Gertler kicked about Sydney, playing the odd gig, doing the occasional collaboration, forming a band to complement her piano-led songwriting here, self-financing an album there. At the end of the decade, she lifted roots for New York, just in time to miss being beatjacked for the most-played Australian song on national radio. Since settling in NYC, she's played the odd gig, done the occasional collaboration, self-financed an album or two... but it's taken her until recently to form a regular band to back her up.

Greta Gertler & The Extroverts have been playing over the last year, and did a radio session on WVUV a couple of months ago. You can go here to download the entire program with chit-chat and intros and other peoples' records, but we've got a few otherwise unrecorded songs from the session, plucked out for you.

Greta Gertler & The Extroverts live on WFUV:
Veselka
Uniform
If Bob Was God

And just because those are more or less on the gentle singer-songwritery side, something a bit more upbeat and silly: a version of AC/DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)" - followed promptly by another one, as the program's host Vin Scelsa is roped in to jam on glockenspiel.

There's another live version of this on Greta's Myspace page right now, and I'll dig up some older soundboard stuff with her old band Peccadillo before she comes back to Sydney to play in December.

It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll)
It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Glock 'N' Roll)


Buy:
CDs in America, CDs in Australia, and .AACs in America.

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