Features

VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: Sebastian Field

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Illustrations by Lucy Roleff

Sebastian Field is probably best known as the golden-throated front man for Canberra-based quartet, Cracked Actor. However he is also a member of gentle folksters, Burrows and more recently has focused on his solo project, the fruits of which will appear on his debut album, Picture Stone, later this year.

I first became aware of Sebastian’s work via Cracked Actor’s jaw-dropping full-length debut, Iconoclast, a work of majestic beauty underpinned by his distinctive falsetto. The band’s penchant for writing intelligent pop songs with an experimental flair carried through to the two EP’s which followed it; Upstructures, and the stripped-back Duo, both of which were released last year.

On the strength of his work in both bands, Sebastian’s solo outing is shaping up to be a cracker, and certainly one we’ll be keeping a close eye on.

For his contribution to our Virtual Mixtape series Sebastian has selected the incomparable Squarepusher, with an essay titled ‘Squarepusher’s Fantastic Obsession with Science Fiction’. Over to you Sebastian…

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Being a human (a human being) who’s been on the planet for *some* time now, my capabilities to achieve enthusiasm and excitement have deteriorated from the levels that I once used to be able to engage in. It’s a real shame. Things repeat themselves. Disappointments occur. Realities set in. It’s hard to maintain the same heights of vigorous elation that one used to feel. How bleak – but also really interesting and by proxy very exciting and enlivening to observe personally, lolz.

I can remember days when I would get so overwhelmed with anticipation for new Squarepusher music. In particular 2008’s Just A Souvenir. In the months leading up to its release, I was a bottle of bubbly, about to blow (blue tick of verification). I got it while interstate with some friends, detached from them for some time to enjoy the first listen. It was a few hours, I played it back to front a couple of times over directly into my brain through my headphones. I was so happy.

Anyway, for some reason I’ve felt it necessary to prelude this article with that introductory blurb because I think maybe it’s just nice to reminisce, isn’t it – aside from the present, all you have are your memories (which is a nice gift, really, that the experience of consciousness gives to you). Also, in being a bit self indulgent here, I feel I’ve given myself the opportunity to link to a track that has no real attachment to the overall subject, apart from being a track by Squarepusher.

Squarepusher – ‘Tommib’ (Go Plastic)

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A Band From Another Planet

For a while now, Squarepusher (Tom Jenkinson) has had an ever present obsession with concepts of science fiction, permeating them through his releases blatantly. It’s all the way through his releases from 2001’s schizophrenic Go Plastic to 2015’s nightmarish (and unfortunately underwhelming) Damogen Furies. The most obvious of his indulgences hitherto is perhaps the coming-to-fruition of his imagined science fiction future band, initially imagined on the aforementioned Just A Souvenir (JAS) and created in real life on his follow up release, Shobaleader One – d’Demonstrator.

In conversation on JAS, Jenkinson describes that the premise of the album originated from a daydream in which he was visited by a band performing in front of a large, glowing coathanger. The band played abstract math rock/jazz fusion/classical inspired compositions as surreal occurrences took place, such as parts of the drummers kit rapidly switching places with itself and the guitarist harnessing the ability to accelerate and decelerate time. As mentioned before, clearly an indulgence, Jenkinson tries his darnedest to replicate the experience of his daydream on JAS. It’s a lot of fun, you should listen to it if you’d like to. Anyhow, not satisfied with his efforts on JAS, he felt it necessary to have one more stab at directly replicating his vision by putting together Shobaleader One, the real life band from another planet.

Unfortunately, the (as of now) only recording put out by the band is pretty plain and underwhelming. Sorely missing the palette of Jenkinson’s solo studio abstractions, Shobaleader One – d’Demonstrator comes off as emotionless, two dimensional and really, really cold. That might be the point, even, being an alien band from another planet but the experience of sitting through the album is not very pleasant. The first track is brilliant, though, haha. I love it!

(more…)

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LOOK: Golden Plains XI, 2017

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Words and pictures by Bec Capp 


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Golden Plains XI marked my 10th time at the festival (I missed one about 4 years ago when I was doing that thing where Melbournians go live in Berlin). In 2007, when I was 16, my best mate told me about this cool ‘new’ festival her older brother knew about and convinced me to go with her. It probably cost $200 and The Presets were playing so it didn’t take much persuasion. We bought a slab of passionfruit UDLs, traded them off with a girl we knew from a nearby school for some No-Doz, and I never looked back.

Be it noted that I don’t condone underage drinking and neither does Golden Plains. There is a strict “No Dickheads” policy in force at the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, which helps make this festival so special. GP XI was particularly dickhead free. Thanks Aunty (and maybe Pitch).

While the place is always a haven, some things have changed over 10 years. My group of friends (which has solidified and grown substantially thanks to this festival) has moved from screaming at bands on the barrier, all the way back to the fourth lantern on the left. The fourth one – that’s a new level of relaxed. Soon we’ll be sitting on the hill. In fact, I did watch Neil Finn from the hill. The amphitheatre was so beautiful from back there, with the sound of everyone singing along, I actually welled up. Friends I’ve danced with in the crowd are now up on stage. These days I like Bloody Marys, Sunset Strip has become like Bourke Street Mall on the weekend Zara opened, and there are cold showers where you never have to line up (highly recommended).

Of course, some things never change: the same friend from 2007 handed me a passionfruit UDL at about 3 a.m. on Monday, and in that moment it was the best thing I had ever tasted. There’s always a band I’ve never heard of that turns out to be a festival highlight (thanks Chain & The Gang). There’s always a great moment when you’re full of love, hugging everyone in your vicinity (thanks Total Giovanni). Pink Flamingos are consistently delicious and I have been camping in pretty much the same place since Golden Plains I.

It might only be a few days, but over a decade those few days every year have had a substantial impact on my life. Thanks to this place for the friendships I still have today and for moments that are unforgettable for many reasons. I would like to thank the Nolan family for making their home my own. RIP Jack Nolan.

See you in the ‘sup come December for MMF #27.

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Naked Tour Diary (Part 3)

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We’ve reached the end of our journey with Hobart band Naked and their buddy Alex Romano, with this, the final installment of his tour diary. I almost feel like I’ve been on tour with Naked this whole time, don’t you? Nah, cuz you’ve been at work still? You work Christmas retail/ hospo but you’ve been getting blind every night anyway (IT’S CHRISTMAS) and you see death’s approach clearer every day? Yeah, me too.

Ah well, get away from it all with these tales of urine, suggested bestiality, brushes with indie movie stardom, hangin with Whitney Houston’s Crypt ( <3 ) and Peak Tour.

Thanks Naked! Thanks Alex! See youse on the road again soon.

(Part 1 HERE Part 2 HERE)

Day 7 – Sydney is hot 2nite

By Alex Romano

I said the boys are back in town boys are back in town boys are back in towwwwwwwn. Thin Lizzy is rockin out in the Juicy Van I’m sure of it! The boys are in the harbor city, and ready to rock out. I’ve been contemplating snorting cocaine all day in preparation to rock out!

8:15 pm

The Marly Bar is just how I remember it from the night before. A tasty mix of people, high class aussie gastro pub fare and chalk board specials.

9:15 pm

Lenin Lennon are playing their first show for 18 months and a lot of people seem very excited for that. They scream into the mic for a bit and appear to forget how to play a song at one point. This is what music is about people! I also have a chat with the Pillow Pro’ers, can’t wait for their set tomorrow night at the Union!  I make the fateful error of telling them that I missed seeing them multiple times in the past. I don’t think it goes across well, but they are really lovely so hopefully they forgive me if I make it in time tomorrow.

10: 30 pm

By the time Naked starts I’m sweating like a Big Kev. It’s an absolute stinker of a night and the boys play such a hot set that my sweaty pits are showing no signs of slowing down. I get a massive shout out from the LADS and awkwardly wave my hand at the crowd and let them know I’m up for a chat and will sell them a record.

11:15 pm

I just sold 7 records which might not sound a lot to you music industry types but it’s a lot in the scheme of the tour so far. It’s actually the most. So cop that. We end up being pretty rock and roll back at the Lenin Lennon’s Whitney Houston’s Crypt house and we are having a couple of cold tinnies and some joints early in the morning. This is fuckin living, and don’t you dare to try and stop us. I go home because my head is spinning from all of the rock and roll, sweat and drugs.

Sydney version 1.0 at the Marly Bar: 5 out of 5 rockdogs – could not have got more rock if we tried. At one point it was getting so out of hand I thought Jordy was going to purposefully and impractically rearrange the van. Fortunately he didn’t.

Day 8 – Sydney is on an Ultralight Beam

11:30 am

My throat stinks of last night’s VBs and Bond Street Gold’s. I’ve never felt quite as alone as I do this morning, soaked in urine with my housemate’s cat licking my toes so lightly we could be lovers. Images of Paul Walker race through my head. Is this who I have become? Fast and the Furious 7 is playing on my television, I have vague memories of queuing up all 7 films before I went to sleep last night…What time was it?! Shit!!! The boys! The band! I scramble out to the microwave, my only source of time. Where the fuck is my phone? Not to worry, it’s 11:30am. Better chuck that sickie at work, it’s time to turn the volume to 11 and tackle another day on the job with Naked.

12:30 pm

I find the boys in a similarly limber state and before we know it we are off towards the great Pacific Ocean. I’m really hamming it up with em now, yeah boys Mackenzie’s Bay is the place to be, it’s really gonna be a great one! There’s a natural water slide! There’s heaps of dogs! Kieran’s eyes light up like a Christmas tree, Rob and Jordy are similarly enthused, like little elves. Here we are bounding down the rocks to another beautiful day but the waves are way too big for these Hobart kids so we kinda just end up rubbing our faces in the water at Tamarama.

2:00 pm

I completely forgot. We went to Gordon’s Bay – now that was a fucking good one. We ignored the sea lice warnings because tbh wtf is a sea lice anyway? We’re swimming and Rob disappears for a bit so I see an in to tell a funny story to Kieran and Jordy about how people drown at Gordon’s all the time! Then Rob reappears so it becomes a really funny story and almost a bit of a gotcha. ☹

3:30 pm

We have now been having a discussion for around 15 minutes about the most equitable way to split our 6 potato scallops between four. We could cut each scallop into four giving a grand total of 24 slices of scallop and each of us getting 6 healthy bits of scallop. But 24 is too close to 23 which is Rob’s favourite number but also his arch nemesis so we try and figure out a way to change it to 23.

In the end we just end up eating the 6 scallops and nobody really paid much attention to who got what but it was really fun and we are sitting in some nice cushy grass in front of a big old house in the eastern suburbs. Doesn’t get much more live than this.

8:30 pm

Woah! This night is cool. I just ran into a girl that I met through the popular dating app Tinder. It was a bit of an awkward exchange but I think that is probably because she was jealous that I was hanging out with my band mates. I smoked a cigarette and felt cool and my anxiety at seeing her was gone pretty soon thereafter.

After the gig Rob got called a hottie! It drew some awkward and nervous laughter but there was not any further rock dogging to be had there. It’s always nice to receive compliments like that though so I’m sure Rob was really chuffed.

12:00 am

I have to leave the gig and try and find my way home now.

Anyways. Pretty pumped for the road trip to Canberra. I am really looking forward to the seat of power and really want to see Lenore Taylor and/or David Marr and/or Cory Bernardi.

Sydney version 2.0: 5 out of 5 rockdogs – I completely forgot that Rob’s dad turned up to the gig! Apparently he never comes to see the Nakeds in Hobart so that’s pretty rock of his dad. Good work Mr Fisher.

 

Day 9 – Canned bears ahh?

11:15 am

We are in the juicy van, on the way to our nation’s capital. The seat of power! There’s a really noticeable buzz amongst the Nakeds and I’m pretty sure it’s because we are all still riding high from the reception Kieran got from the crowd last night when he mentioned Insiders and the fact that he met Mike Bowers. For those of you who don’t know Mike Bowers does the segment on Insiders called Talking Pictures. He is a political photographer predominantly for the Guardian and seems like an all-around top bloke. Some legends in the crowd last night realised that and made a brief woo.

11:30

The highway to Canberra is a desolate wasteland. Wait, I take that back, it starts to look pretty cool once we are out of Sydney, some nice eucalypts and the occasional rolling hill. Oh wait, what the fuck! A fucking windfarm. How hideous. We all collectively vomit and spend 30 minutes cleaning out the van and trying to exhale as much renewable energy as possible.

Those windfarms really hit us hard so we’ve pulled over to take another breather.

2:30 pm

The funniest thing just happened!

If some of this sounds like I’m taking the piss and you don’t believe me then please just believe that this one thing happened and it was seriously warped. Really funny times.

A 12 year old girl just offered Kieran some completely unsolicited advice on his health. We had stopped to have a quick cigarette and coffee, maybe even a vita weat and some avocado and Kieran wandered off a little way as he usually does before turning back to us and saying, “I wish I could have a cigarette!” From the passenger seat of her parked car, this girl turns to Kieran and with a voice barely above a whisper says, “don’t smoke you’ll die.” I honestly don’t know where her parents were but they’ve really drummed a fascist anti-smoking regime into the mind of that poor girl. She probably doesn’t realise that she’s going to die as well, but it sounds like she’d maybe make a good doctor.

3:30pm

Kieran has just confirmed that his Aunty played a character called John in a movie directed by Noah Baumbach. He thinks it was Mistress America and that John was one of the main characters. I haven’t seen the movie so can’t really question Kieran any further but I have a feeling it’s a gotcha. Feel free to leave a comment below if you can confirm or deny whether Kieran’s aunty plays a character called John in Mistress America.

9:30 pm

Canberra ended with a tremendous bang. For anyone who hasn’t been they have really amazing bus shelters and a real great 70s vibe goin through the burbs which quickly degenerates into a pretty vanilla university student urine soaked town. The Phoenix sounded bloody good though and the boys met a true idol of theirs, THAT bloke from TV Colours. He signed a copy of the Monthly. Not just the cover. Literally every page of the Monthly. From the contents to the back cover. It was really nice of him and kind of awkward at the same time but I think we were all friends by the end of the night. True to form the guys rocked the casbah and Kieran even made a few jokes about Canberra.

Kieran: Canned bear a? – [we’re all vegans, but we’ve decided to start a new merch venture and invest in canned wild meat, we’re thinking of selling Canned Bear, ah? .]  ‘ah’ as in , y’see?

Crowd: [largely dumbfounded but some offended silence]

Kieran: We just played in Sydney and they were pretty wild, but not as wild as here.

Crowd: [generally offended silence, a few people laugh and about 6 people exit the bar in protest, someone mutters “aren’t you from Hobart?”]

12:00 am – 4:00 am

A couple of events after the show left me feeling conflicted about Canberra. Firstly, some complete dickhead started talking to us about how he just had sex with an ugly girl in an alleyway. He was complete sludge. SPOILER ALERT part of the reason Massive Cock was written might be that guy.

Secondly, we reached peak tour for a couple of hours when we got back to our friend Kieran’s place (no I knowwwwww what you’re all thinking, not Kieran Sullivan! Another Kieran!). For those of you that aren’t really big on rocking, peak tour is when you reach a point where your brains are kind of fried and think that jokes that make no sense are hilarious; also Powderfinger becomes the best band in the world.

Being on peak tour this night is like being on the set of Rage in the late 90s. I’m so proud to have been involved. It was really the Everest of tour moments and I wish more people could have been there soaking up the rays of good times that soaked us all like a super soaker won during a Cheez TV giveaway.  There is a recording on Kieran’s phone of every song that got sung but here is a rough track list. All acoustic cover versions.

Champagne Supernova

Wonderwall

Black Fingernails, Red Wine

These Days

My Happiness

Funky Monks

Under The Bridge

Canberra: 5 out of 5 rockdogs – we reached peak tour – I felt like Sherpa Tenzing.

Saying goodbye to the guys is like losing my appendix. It really hurts and I have a scar that will last forever but in a good way. It’s 7am and I’m on a Murrays bus really hungover.

After a couple of valiums I am back home, I don’t really know how, so I flop onto my mattress.

All I have to say now is that Naked deserve significantly more recognition than they have currently received but they were named “Triple J Unearthed artist to watch” and that’s a step in the recognition direction.  They’ve also been played on Triple J which means that Naked is one step closer to their dreams of being aussie pop punk starlets. Go Naked good luck on the pitchfork review.

Alex Romano graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts/Law. He lives in Sydney and works as a solicitor. He never wears a suit to work.

Pink Quartz is available now through Tenth Court.

Oh also we got sent this video from Kieran – if you were wondering if they were joking about the Powerderfinger.

 

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Naked Tour Diary (Part 2)

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Hobart band Naked went on tour in February, with their buddy Alex Romano along for the ride! Yesterday we brought you part one: the shocking beginning, tomorrow: the thrilling conclusion. Today though it’s The Middle Bit! Ft: Australia’s second greatest city (Newcastle), Kanye West and the opposite of Reggae.

 

Day 3 – Jammin Part 1

By Alex Romano

Waking up was fun. Lennox Head was even better than advertised with a couple of absolutely jammin locals camping on the headland next to us! They really blazed it up and after the fourth remix of Bob Marley’s Jammin we had became fast friends. Not! More like fast asleep friends! When we woke up they’d gone.

6:15 am

With our brothers in arms gone, we mulled on our night of ‘pretty good but not great’ sleep.

It’s really early so I can’t believe that we are meandering to the top of the headland because it’s actually still 6:15 am.  What else are we going to do? Oh well. Worse things have been happened I guess but the headland actually had a worse view than where we camped, but fortunately we got to see a number of bush turkeys in the bushes. I’m not sure if they are native to Australia…Probably introduced from Polynesia like the Dingos. I just thought of a great band name, the Introduced Dingos. If the Native Cats can be a band name then surely the Introduced Dingos could garner a similar level of hype. I’ll run it past the boys when I get the chance. Also I really got the hang of the walk by the end, think I am prepared to start taking regular morning constitutionals.

6:40 am

As we descended from the headland I realised why those jammers had left so early. A couple of Ballina Shire council men were having a sniff and a poke around our Juicy van. Those Jammin’ bastards might have tipped them off about us! Nah bro that’s just the weeds talking to you… but I can see them…high as fucking kites on their third J-bar of the day. They’re already deep into the tasty flavouring of a box of pizza shapes. Laughing their fuckin asses off as they say “there is no such thing as being too high.” Dunno what’s really happening in this paragraph, think I’m a bit out of it. Cheers

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8:00 am

We’ve pulled over at a Lucky7 convenience store and Rob’s gone for a walk to the bathroom. He’s toying with our emotions at this point, it’s been almost 30 minutes. We’re going to find him…wait…yep…there he is.

11:00 am

Yamba has got tofu and avocadoes in the Coles so now we’re setting up the stove on the beach and making an absolutely ripper brekky. I feel like a salty sea dog after the swim but I keep that to myself.

11:45 am

This part of the trip I will tentatively title “Love Lockdown” because we are listening to Kanye West’s album Love Lockdown in the order which Jordy knows it. It certainly doesn’t flow as nicely as the original Kanye curated version but Say You Will into Robocop into Amazing was pretty sweet nonetheless. Good work Jordy’s itunes. It’s also given me a moment to pause and reflect on the subjective nature of the interpretation of albums. Like, imagine if you made an album that automatically rearranged itself everytime a person bought it. That way everybody’s interpretation of it would be different and influenced by the amount of people that had purchased it, it would be influenced by every individual purchase. But like, imagine if it was still something you could connect with but on a different emotional level on each new listen. Like in one way it is a really sad breakup album, but in another way it is a coming of age story, or in another way it is a really vivid re-telling of 1990s Australia. I think this will be the first record of the Introduced Dingos and I’ll call it, Commercial Failure but it would be an ironic name because it would be a commercial success.

Last night’s weed is really hanging around

Jordy and Kieran tell me that rock and roll is a lot less about cocaine and Keith Richard’s penis than it is about expertly packing a vehicle and maintaining a dossier of all relevant interviews, money transactions and other important items. The car is packed to perfection and we are all really comfortable and sober and having a great time playing games like where you come up with band names using multiple band names.

Names of bands that should be bands

Millencollinhay

PattiSmithStreetBandofHorsesintheSkyhooks

Frank Ocean Party

Eddy Current Suppression Ringo Starr

Five….For fighting

Backstreet Boys II Men

Alan Jonestown Massacre

Alanis Morrissetey

1:20 pm

That game really took it’s time and now we are at Coffs Harbour airport where I have to leave everyone. Fingers crossed they make it to Newcastle and we can continue to rock out in Sydney and Canberra.

Day 4 – I’m back in Sydney

I gave the boys some tips of places to see, it included Valla Beach. Hoping it all goes well for them! For breakfast this morning I ate a piece of toast with vegemite and listened to Pink Quartz, it actually was really good and I’m shocked Pitchfork hasn’t reviewed the record yet. But now I’m listening to Kanye’s record, it’s also pretty good and Pitchfork has reviewed and given it a 9 which is a pretty massive call if you ask me. Like, where are your priorities Pitchfork? They are basically the Marina Abramovic of the music “journalism” world, get big and then forget about the little guys hey.

Day 5 – Nakeds in Newcastle, Alex in Sydney

The Nakeds are in Newcastle tonight. I hope it’s better attended than their previous gig at the Croatian club. I believe they had one payer last time they were in Newy but I’ve got a good feeling about this one.

I listened to the record a couple more times today and it is a real grower! Think about Death is pretty awesome but now my co-workers think I’m depressed. I’m not that much!

Day 6 – Wollongong was shit but Naked played well

Ron has been sending me texts and gifs all night so I assume the bar has been a little bit quiet. Maybe they have made heaps of friends in the gong though.

Rob has just mentioned that there was an old fella jamming away in a Bob Marley shirt. What is it with Australians and Rasta culture!! Two peas in a pod ay man we should just move Australia to the Caribbean!

Apparently the bloke is not quite sure why he’s just paid 10 bucks to see a band called Naked. He thought they were reggae but they are actually close to the opposite of reggae.

Woollongong: 1 out of 5 rockdogs – I wasn’t at the show and Kieran said to me that it was shit but the band played well. That’s all you really need though I guess if you’re really about “the music.”  Jordy also turned away a few people who couldn’t be bothered to pay 5 bucks. It’s fair enough I think, like wtf if you aren’t gonna pay five bucks to see some aussie have a go then go and have your Victoria Bitter with jatz and spring onion dip somewhere else. There’s actually a bar in Sydney that sells that to people for something like 8 bucks. Shove your irony up your arse.

Pink Quartz is available now through Tenth Court.

Alex Romano graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts/Law. He lives in Sydney and works as a solicitor. He never wears a suit to work.

Part 3 (Naked storm our nation’s capital, tour takes a horror movie twist when these poor sweet boys stumble upon A WIND FARM)

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Naked Tour Diary (Part 1)

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Hobart three-piece Naked turn grim irony about the general hopelessness of everything into short, strangled shouts of songs, dredging up all the bad feelings with jagged driving guitar and smartly pointed lyrics.

They’re also extremely funny. There’s something about the crisp air/high unemployment in Tasmania that makes that kind of acidic self-depreciation come as second nature maybe, cuz Hobart tends to bat way above average in likeable ratbag population. So you know a tour diary by the band’s good mate Alex Romano is gonna be worth reading. Alex tagged along for most of the shows on their album tour earlier in the year (following the release of the scathingly wonderful Pink Quartz), to sample the rockdog lifestyle and small-town vegan food.

Naked’s recently released video for the catchy but uncomfortable ‘Blepharitis’, showcases some of the beauty of Australia’s landscape – deep brown earth and rocky bushland, soft winter sun hitting dew-sprinkled leaves. This tour diary does the same – Juicy vans, Grinspoon on the radio, crystal shops, vita wheats.

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Alex reckons Naked deserve a Pitchfork review. I’m sorry this isn’t that site, but here goes!

[Long opening paragraph of mostly irrelevant biographical details] [speculation about the band member’s mental state while writing the song/record] [made up genre] [word no one knows, possibly accurate possibly not, who cares?] [backhanded compliment] [7.7 stars].

Naked is a band from Hobart and they deserve a review on Pitchfork

By Alex Romano

On 12 February 2016, Kanye West released his 7th studio album, the Life of Pablo. This will be just a minor footnote in history compared to the fact that the Hobart band, Naked landed in Brisbane to begin a series of dates that rocked the east coast of Australia. Naked is Kieran, Rob and Jordy and I was lucky enough to see most of their shows on tour so I prepared a record of what is probably the greatest Aussie victory since Shane ‘Warnie’ Warne won took a world record breaking 709 Test wickets.

I will be rating each important tour event according to the Rockdog-o-meter. 5 Rockdogs is roughly the equivalent of snorting cocaine off Phil Jamieson’s tummy while Mick Jagger claps gently underneath a blue light, 0 rockdogs is giving a 6 second handshake to Andrew Bolt at a Polo match.

Day 1 – Feb 13 – Brisbane – we met a Go-Between (almost)!!!

4ZZZ Car Park Show

Wandering down the street on an overcast Brisbane day, the whirring of a PA pushed to the limits in the 4ZZZ carpark brings visions of a humid and beer soaked Brisbane that more people should be familiar with. It’s my home and I’m fully stoked there’s a real top notch brizzy welcome for the Naked boys on arrival. When I rock in to the carpark the kings of the Hobart experimental punk scene are already here having a great time, throwing a few fists in the air and crushing some XXXX (beersies) like they were reared up on the banks of the mighty Brisbane River. I hi-five Rob and give a solid embrace to Jordy and Kieran. The band on before them is expressly punk, and called Clever. They live up to their name by starting one of their songs to the tune of the Black Eyed Peas ‘Don’t Funk with My Heart’ but they replaced funk with fuck and heart with shard. Very clever boys. I think what they were saying is that when smoking meth it’s not great to fuck with one’s crystal so it was pretty funny coz also it’s like the crystal is my heart and don’t funk with my heart. They exhibit a force like Cadel Evans on his maiden Tour de France victory and whirlwind their way through a set that basically sends everyone’s jaws to the concrete carpark floor.

Kieran’s pretty visibly shaken. I’m trying to calm him down and soothe his worries that Naked will not be appreciated.

“You’ll be right champion!”

The other guys get in on the act and pretty soon we are all pumping his tyres up. Jordy takes a quick break from pumping Kieran’s tyres to be a self-appointed sound engineer and starts inspecting some wires and shifting the location of the monitors. Kieran’s still a bundle of nerves but before I can blink he’s burned down an interview (at 4:20pm!) and then come out and obliterated the eardrums of all before him. The set was relatively light on jokes, but the crowd was still treated to a stirring rendition of Violent Soho’s Bernard Fanning Stole my Girlfriend. It was a real highlight and almost certainly better than the Violent Soho’s original, everyone around me seems to enjoy it, maybe these Hobart kids have got a future in the alternative mainstream of Australian music!

At the end of the set, someone lets it out of the bag that Robert Forster’s son has been milling about with a goon sack and it sends the band frantically searching for the DNA of a Go-Between. The boys begin to ask around, gradually descending into uncontainable rage when it looks as though Forster disappeared into the spring rain of the streets of our town. Please stay safe young Forster, do not lose yourself in a Darlinghurst night. Steal a few bachelor kisses with Lee Remick and Karen but just make sure you don’t end up on your arse in the cattle and the cane but I guess love goes on anyway. [ML: guys I see Louis Forster on the bus every day you gotta relax]

The promise of people and alcohol at 116 (pretty trendy little house in the Brizness) drew The Nakeds away for a quick bevy before the night show. At the 116 the boys took the best photo of the tour, unfortunately for Kieran he didn’t actually feature in the photo. Rob and Jordy are now secretly plotting to have Kieran removed from the band and replaced with Matt Kennedy of Kitchen’s Floor. I will try not to tell Kieran, it will be my cross to bear for the rest of the tour.

naked-tour-1

[Best photo of the tour – Naked on the Kitchen Floor – not Metallica]

4ZZZ carpark gig rating: 4 out of 5 Rockdogs (the only thing stopping it from 5 rockdogs was the PA not quite coping with the iphone beats and the sound not quite being the best. Maybe the band should think about employing a drummer like the guy writing their tour diary – Kieran’s banter was also limited.)

While the guys were having a few more long island ice teas, I had a delicious burger and made my way to the scene of the next Naked gig, Trainspotters. It was mc’d by renowned food and life critic, Aaron Gocs! He made a really good joke about his daughter not loving him and generally hosted a really bonza night, the only thing it was missing was some vegan sangas and it really would have been the best night of our lives.

Also, Aaron (or Mr Gocs) if you are reading this could you please send me the text of the joke that you told on tour about your daughter, I laughed really hard and I’d like to retell it to mates as if it were my own. My favourite Aaron moment was when he leaned over and whispered in my ear that Kieran was reading out Grinspoon lyrics during Run At Me, it sent us both giddy and I had to steady myself on the bar. Phil Jamieson is a serious idol of all Australians and was robbed on season three of the X Factor even though he had serious X Factor as he is basically the face of Generation X.

I got a hi-five and a photo with Aaron after we’d calmed down and I’m really glad that he was who I thought he was and that he also liked Grinspoon, he must really have a (Chemical) heart after all.

I should probably also mention the other bands that played tonight. Pillow Pro played early on in the night but I missed them, I heard they sounded really in tune for most of the set [ML: Is this a diss? Pillow Pro are great [Confirmed: Not a diss. Alex also thinks Pillow Pro are great]]. Cannon played before Naked and I reckon they are gonna be a hard act to follow.

Woah! Hang on! Naked lost control! The show was a really big thrill! Rob banged the cymbal with enthusiasm, Kieran also sung in tune and Jordy rocked out with a beaming smile. Jordy always looks pretty happy during the sets so far which is awesome to see, good onya Jordy. Everyone had an absolute blast and I even got a compliment from a real big chiller with taking photos of the gig who was very impressed by the fact that I knew the band. His exact words were, “that’s sick!”

It sure was sick mate!

Trainspotters ratings: 5 out of 5 rockdogs – the only way this one could have been better is if Robert Forster’s son had turned up. Or if Bernard Fanning and Kieran’s ex-girlfriend had turned up.

Day 2 – Feb 14 – Leaving Home by Grinspoon (Fuck Jebediah) – personal joke fyi

I lost track of times in Brisbane sorry Mum but I’ve kept them from now on. Sorry, just be aware that now each event will have a little time stamp but it doesn’t mean that Brisbane was in some kind of time vacuum.

9:00 am [sorry I was too rocked out in Brisbane to keep track of the time and I didn’t wanna just lie and make up times for my thoughts]

The boys pick me up in a Juicy van. I am begging for the abyss to take me, what is there worth living for anymore? A little voice kicks me in the back of the head and says the Naked tour so I’m back on top. There is some significant discussion about an ABN and whether it is worthwhile for the band to acquire one. I could not want to listen to this any fucking less and neither could Kez. We politely begin to nod off as Rob insists that he is –

“not having a go Jordy”

-he just wants to get to the bottom of it. Fair enough but the bottom of what exactly Rob?

“The pros and cons, that sort of stuff of course!”

I don’t know much about business so I don’t interject, I’m also technically not in the band. Jordy raises his voice slightly, not to a level of anger, but there is clearly something I would maybe classify as “irk.” He basically stares through Rob’s soul and tells him,

“No you are wrong Robert, I am right.”

Kieran is asleep solidifying his role as the most important member of the band but also the most useless. We’re all a little bit tired I think but this glam rock lifestyle will do it to you.

11:30 am

Someone has now whacked on Grinspoon. I have a feeling this tour is going to be full of grinners…Even though I’m really hungry, I hope we stop at Dreamworld and take a photo because I haven’t been there in a long while.

11:45 am

We did not stop at Dreamworld. Or Hollywood on the Gold Coast. Instead we are now driving around looking for a carpark in Tweed Heads.

12:10pm

We’ve found a park. We all just got to piss and swim and eat a bit of a single mushroom panini with some very rustic potatoes. If you didn’t know we were on tour you do now.

2:30 pm

Lismore is pretty much how I remember it! Absolutely chocka block of Grinspoon tribute signs, tempeh burgers and people selling crystals. There were also a lot of funny looking people giving funny looks and sideways glances to Rob. I think they were surprised that a man can still wear a dress and look “sexy.” For the tour record, Rob’s floral number is very cute and I think he has definitely left an imprint on Lismore and definitely left an imprint on the bottle shop attendant who couldn’t stop having a look.

The space where the band is playing is a bit smelly and relatively empty, we all nod in approval at the suggestion that we crash anywhere else but in this room tonight. The exterior of the building reminds me of a youth detention centre cell block like the one sung about in Sprinters of the World Unite, or also a school building (woah!). There are some good vibes and a lot of brick, a real sense that not everything is lost, despite the rugged exterior. I’m sure the guys want to just play the show and move on but they will give a good one for the fans.

5:00 pm

They gave a good one. An angry guy in a Bunnings hat and T-shirt has other ideas though so I asked him for his thoughts.

An interview with “name withheld” regarding the band Naked at See Space in Lismore

Q: What do you think of See space?

I’m pretty much a regular down at See Space, it’s one of the few joints in Lismore that you can really let your hair down.

Q: Cool! What brought you to the gig?

I was a bit sweaty after having gone to Bunnings earlier in the day [points to shirt and hat with toothy grin]. I just think they have a very well curated selection of useful equipment, much more so than Masters, it’s probably why Masters went broke. Fuck Woolworths! Or Coles. I mean fuck em both but yeah especially fuck whichever one of them does Masters.

Q: What did you think about the song Massive Cock?

Yeah sure they have a song called Massive Cock but that sure as hell isn’t about a dick. It’s about some kind of male guilt. I wasn’t particularly interested.

Q: Was there any part of the gig you enjoyed?

Yeah, when I went outside about halfway through the set to finish my glass of Pinot Grigio.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

I think the last song they played was called Critical Arseholes. That one was ok. And so was one at the start that had a pretty punchy rhythm. It had some stupid long jokey kind of title that those guys think must be funny or ironic probably. The youth of today are lost, that’s what just kept going round in my head over and over and it was driving me mental so I had to step outside. The vocals were too out of key as well and I think the singer was trying on some kind of Smith Street Band type of thing. I don’t really know how I feel about them.

5:30 pm

As we drive out of the town there are endless signs essentially saying the same thing “coal seam gas, 96% of people in X town don’t want you.” A wave of disappointment floods over me, why didn’t Kieran make a joke about the previous Naked ep being titled Coal Seam Jazz? Should I have mentioned this connection earlier? Maybe then old mate would have liked the band more. You can’t pander to everyone though. Sorry.

Thanks for having us Lismore. We are going to Bunnings now because Jordy wants coffee in the morning. Apprently Bunnings sells gas for coffee but not sleeping bags? Go figure. I am excited for the coffee though.

6:05 pm

We need a wind down after Bunnings so it’s off to a little slice of heaven known as “Minion Falls.” The only Minions we saw were stuck to the back of a Toyota Tarago though which was a bit of a bum out! The water in the falls was very chill and we got some great piccies courtesy of a couple of lovers who were getting ready to make their own little army of minion loving monsters heh. Anyway, cheers for the photos guys, here is one of them. Strong recommend. Happy Valentines Day.

naked-tour-2

8:30 pm

We’re on the road to Lennox Heads now to camp under the stars. One Love.

Lismore: 2 out of 5 rockdogs – smelly, not enough Grinspoon and too much Bunnings not enough Masters.

Alex Romano graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts/Law. He lives in Sydney and works as a solicitor. He never wears a suit to work.

Part 2 Tomorrow

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INTERVIEW: Em Gayfer of Rock4Renewables

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yes friends

If you’re out and about in Melbourne you’ve probably been touched by the ambition and grace of Em Gayfer in one sense or another; chances are you’ll recognise them foremost as the vocalist for the fearless Chelsea Bleach, but they’ve put their hand to their fair share of grassroots activism too. This brings us to Rock 4 Renewables, a micro-activism festival to push for renewable energy in Victoria. Far be it from me to explain the whole thing – instead, I spoke to Em recently about R4R’s upcoming gig at The Old Bar on 14 August.

What can you tell us about Rock 4 Renewables?

Rock 4 Renewables is a fundraiser event to raise money for Yes2Renewables – a Friends of the Earth collective. The group has been campaigning in Victoria for over four years to ensure legislation around renewable energy is fair in the state. We’ve been able to get the Daniel Andrews government to commit to repealing the worst of the state’s anti-wind farm laws, as well as commit to a Victorian Renewable Energy Target!

After some major wins, however, this grassroots organisation is running low on funds. We’re calling for Melbourne’s rock n roll community to support us in raising some much needed money so that we can keep working in Victoria to secure a 100% renewable future for the state!

The gig will feature some of Melbourne’s great musical talent, including Huntly, Elizabeth Mitchell (Totally Mild), Brat Farrar and Lalic. We’ll also have a raffle with some amazing prizes going on the night.

How did you get involved in the project?

I’ve been volunteering with Yes2Renwables for over two years. This event will be the second Rock 4 Renewables we’ve hosted – we called on the Melbourne music community to help us out a few years ago in raising some funds, so when we were having financial troubles, it was a good first place to start.

I’ve been volunteering with Yes2Renewables for over two years now and am pretty active in Melbourne’s live music scene. Combining two areas I’m really passionate about seemed like a great solution to me!

What can you tell us about the artists on the bill?

We’ve been lucky enough to secure an absolutely amazing lineup for the event, and just goes to show that Melbourne’s musos are ready to rally behind a great cause. We’ve got Huntly, who describe themselves as “doof you can cry to” and who recently released this amazing EP. Elizabeth Mitchell from Totally Mild will be playing a dreamy solo set, Brat Farrar will be bringing his fuzzy new wave style. Lalic will also be joining us with their experimental psych stylings. And we’ll have DJ Nature Girl playing tunes in between bands, so there will really be no reason to leave the dance-floor!

The event mentions the Victorian state government undertaking “ambitious renewable energy goals”, for the uninformed, can you tell us what these entail?

During Tony Abbott’s prime ministership, the renewable energy sector was dealt a harsh blow, with the national renewable energy target slashed by 20%. This meant that in Victoria, the renewable energy sector was stunted and no new projects were being built due to uncertainty over what would happen in the future.

In light of this, the Yes2Renewables campaign worked hard to ensure the Daniel Andrews government committed to renewable energy in Victoria. The main way to ensure this has been through a Victorian Renewable Energy Target. Recently, the Andrews government announced two renewable energy targets for the state: 25% by 2020 and 40% by 2030 – which is a great step towards transitioning to 100% renewables!

What kind of renewable energy mediums (or methods) is the state government supporting?

Plans for how the VRET will be implemented are still underway so we still don’t know exactly what the state’s renewable energy sources will look like. Their plans show so far that the targets will double the amount of wind energy capacity in the state by 2020 and triple it by 2025, not only increasing the amount of renewable energy but also creating 10,000 jobs which is pretty awesome.

Where to from here?

Victoria’s renewable energy targets are an important step in ensuring a clean energy future for Australia, but there are still a number of other steps to take. The VRET has set a strong baseline for Victoria, but across the country we need to see renewables growing. As well as this, across Victoria, communities have been calling for a permanent ban on unconventional gas (fracking) and are currently awaiting a decision from Resources Minister Wade Noonan, so there are still a number of other environmental threats outside of just increasing the amount of renewable energy in the state that need to be addressed.

Rock 4 Renewables poster

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