Cd Review: SLAM Compilation CD 3

Crawlspace open this compilation with a catchy pop rock tune but has hooks that sound so familar like another perth band.

Phil’s Finest Hour are a piano pop band that could be compared to ben folds – more work on the songwriting and hopefully they’ll quash that comparison. I’m yet to see this band live but i’m told the pianist has some crazy rock moves under his sleeve.

Munky Punch do their funky rock thing. a lazy comparison would be rage of the machine but theres no ranting about politics here just slightly weird ass funk.

Spencer Tracy one of the promising pop rock bands from wa, who write catchy songs…that border on the line of being too annoying. It’s an argument which local music punters have debated are they are good or not? By the way Is this the new singer or not?

TKO sound like they are doing rap rock but a different slant left me not picking the influences…and the choruses can be catchy on this sucker. Lets hope their current set has hooks like this one.

Dyslexic Fishs song is ‘Get Down and Get Funky’ Beginning with a riff that sounds like RATM…before rolling into some seriously proud funk. Guess why they called the song that title…proud of what they do. Not too shabby it either.

Solid State wrote a song about an xpress reviewer who was a little too critical of their music. Sorry but i have to give the lyric a downside..its silly.

Dave Mann Collective are one of the finest roots band in australia right now. Only most people don’t know it. Give them time and as long as they keep working hard they’ll go places.

Bystander a rock band that are tight live. They’ve have been quietly of late, are they still around? This is good…but not great.

Crimes Of The Primary are the odd ones out as the electro band on this compilation. Its hard to imgaine how they transfer this on to a live stage but they do. Playing a kind of music that is out of place in our city, with european management may they dare trek to a place that could possibly appreciate them more?

Trilp play music that is on the rock side of things. Another one i am yet to see live.

Maidstone’s contribution is ‘Bombay’s Night’ a track that got a play or two on nova last year i’m sure, it sounds familar and safe. Nice but i think you could stretch those boundaries a little more.

Supernatural is blending into the some of the territory that the other bands on this compilation are heading.

Zeta Theory – sound on the funky rock side of things, but end up being one of the heavier bands on this compilation.

Mr Sandman have one of the best rock songs on this compilation. Receiving a fair bit of airplay and some decent supports (they’re supporting grinspoon this week) ‘shake me wake me…’ They’ve progressed a lot in the last few years.

Dream Catcha are a band that will struggle on a local alternative scene simply because they have got a very commercial rock sound. A few listen to this…first i was cringing but after a while I’m singing along ‘here i am’…

Tragic Delicate seem to pop on every compilation cd that comes out locally these days. A hardworking band that can fit on a heavy lineup and mix it with an acoustic lineup somehow with ease. Gotta love that cello, tops it off.

The Meaning Of have been getting a bit of a following on the local scene. Good on em they’ve been around for ages, shows if you stick around long enough and dont lose patience, you can get places.

Imprint seem to have taken two styles of music that they love and mashed them into a hybrid which flips from chlli peppers style funk to a love of many things metal. Some shit hot musicianships, good metal screams, guitar solos and a kickass bass player. Pretty cool.

Last Years Hero still sticking to the pop/punk and not ashamed to call it that. They are doing very well around the place. Reaching to a market of teenagers anyone in the late 20s will probably be disinterested.

Sin City – yes formally the local pricks, but they’ve gone more rock’n’roll. A Hardworking band who are nice people. This sounds a progression in songwriting from the band…best thing about them on cd is you dont have to see them in their undies.

Patient Zero?
After 22 track my patience was zero (boom tish…)- Sorry guys but i’ll give more feedback when you’re not last on a long compilation cd.

Fergusons/Snowman/Bank Holidays/The Silents @ The Swan

Friday 19th November – Drappled Cities Fly/Fergusons/Snowman/The Bank Holidays/ The Silents @ Swan Basement

I arrived early and after an early drink, it was time for The Silents. Who proved to quite a mellow set of ear friendly pop.

The Bank Holidays were away from their home turf of the Amplifier/Rosemount and they would have been pleased to playing to a decent crowd down in Fremantle. Playing a set of what are becoming local indie favourites, including the fact they are now have made JJJ high rotation, these guys are perfect for happy go lucky indie types. With a strong 60’s influence and catchy harmonies they’ve got a knack for a penning a pop song.

Snowman are crazy. Some would also say they are brilliant. What ever you think of this band you can’t deny their originality. Tonight their set was full of action enough to keep the punters happy, and impressing those who had never seen them beforehand Confirming their place as a great live band from my point of view.

The Fergusons are a different band now. With singer/guitarist Michael Bruce leaving earlier this year, it meant they had lost one of their two vocalists, and no longer had three guitarists. As a result they have a completely new setlist and the radio hits ‘everything’s gone bad’ and ‘Sinner is Red’ are no longer part of it.

With the two guitars, the sound is quite different but still distinctively the Fergusons. With just Al singing there will be less Jebediah comparisons and without that extra guitar, it won’t get out of hand and annoy people as much – despite their guitar sound being what was one of the features.

Whether or not the Fergusons continue on to fine tune this sound is the key. After all it’s been a difficult year in the band camp.

Live Reivew: End of Fashion @ Swan Basement

End of Fashion /Belinda Oakley
Swan Basement / Northbank Bar
Thursday 18th November 2004

Now that Newport decided to can local music on Wednesdays in favour of ‘Live Karaoke’ (don’t ask…) the Swan on Thursdays is the best option for original music in Fremantle on a week night.

Upstairs at the Northbank Bar is possibly the best venue in town for solo acoustic acts, mainly because the size of the room which also leads to an intimate setting where you can play a low key set to drinkers and friends (you gotta bring them of course).

A regular feature at this venue is Belinda Oakley. Different to most of the acts that play here because most of her songs are played on an electric piano. The fact the songs are her own originals is brave on a night where people drink in the background and would respond more to Pete Murray covers.

Singing heartfelt songs about the difficulties of relationships, Belinda sings with such a passion that these experiences could be autobiographical or at least situations she knows she can write about.

Although she contains a lovely voice that soars and dips according to the emotion of the song, it could empower her if she worked on ennuciation of her lyrics so we can understand more what she’s on about. With a positive, friendly stage presence to top its becoming a well honed performer from the regular shows.

Downstairs at the swan Basement, there are regular Thursday night gigs and it proved to be very popular tonight as the home and hosed tour had hit the port and local favourites End of Fashion were headlining.

This reviewer missed Steve Parkin’s performance but caught a bit of Gelbsien’s set which played to an attentive audience. From interstate, they had the attention of quite a few, due to airplay on triple j. They were mellower than I expected, not too unsimilar to the styling of a band I saw the other week at Little Birdy. Not an influence but perhaps part of a sound that is becoming popular.

End of Fashion started and lead singer Justin, a Beatles fan, sounded Lennon influenced in the first few songs. I take it he’s more John than Paul. That’s not to say End of Fashion sounded like a beatles tribute band tonight – overall they are leaning more to a classic pop sound twisted in their own way.

Having not seen the band play in six months, of late I had only heard singles on the radio which haven’t impressed me of late, but live they were a different matter. They put on a fantastic show. Their familiar songs (Rough Diamonds, Too Careful etc) were the highlight, but the rest of the set was also strong.

Perhaps more writing and then a concentrated effort in the studio will pay off and they’ll reach their full potential on the recording side too.

Firestarter Compilation CD

Firestarter are a independent record label from Perth, Western Australia that not only book and manage bands also deal in event management, CD duplication and printing services.

The bands on this compilation of Firestarter Records are:

Bus 56
The bio just seems to hint that they are rock (goes on to repeat the word many times in a short space) but there’s also a love of Talking Heads and do I guess Mr Bowie? People may find it a bit more interesting if you take a closer look.

The Meaning Of
Simply explained…it’s summed up as a love of nu metal (detuned guitars etc) but with vocals that are influenced by Mike Patton. Live they throw a didgeroo too.

Loose Unit
Rock’n’roll. I think most people know whether they love it or not. Fence sitters can make up their own mind.

Tragic Delicate
Acoustic detuned guitars with a cello thrown into the mix, hints of jeff Buckley and Muse in the vocals. Quite an interesting mix and they have an original sound, there’s a demo of their new single which hints at progressing in their songwriting ability.

Nina X
A very talented pianist who has a knack for writing moody tunes in between going nuts with the keys. At times the instrumental side overpowers the vocals, so more work on the voice could top off what is a stand out on this compilation.

The Wire Complex
The Wire Complex love their effects and it tops off what is an interesting dark sound. Hints of Muse in the vocals, with turns of turning to VAST. There’s a strong tool influence in the music but with the odd teaparty sounding guitar riff and some weird noises (sounds like someone playing computer games at points).

For more information on firestarter music and the bands on their roster visit: www.firestartermusic.net

Live Review: Fuzz Cd Launch @ Amplifier – 12 November

Fuzz CD Launch
Friday 12th November 2004
Amplifier
Review by Leo Abbs

Snowman were first on. A band that has been getting a lot of attention in the last year primarilty for their original sounds. I hadn’t seen them play in at least six months so it was interesting to see how they had progressed.

I found the ideas inspirational, with the range of styles and the fact you can’t label them easily. The inclusion of other instruments (violin and trumpet) was insteresting but the lead guitar playing for instance was at times typical perth indie-sounding. One thing I noted from this performance was that while they were trying to be different at times they were trying so hard to experiment that it didn’t always work.

It is great to see a band try something new. I hope they consolidate their songwriting but don’t lose that originality. Same with running out of ideas and becoming just another band. Keep it weird…but work on those tunes.

The Fuzz don’t care about originality so much, they just want to rock. To me they sound like rather like that other Bunbury band, The Three Orange Whips but with a female vocalist. Not that’s a bad thing.

Tonight I was a bit disappointed by the band. Maybe I was expecting them to be more than a pub rock band, when in fact that’s all they are and all they want to be, but with more popularity. I found the singing to out of form which was the most disappointing side.

Nina X Interview

Nina X is solo vocalist/pianist. She has been playing around town for a few years in bands, but when they ended and she could find no one suitable to start a new band, she went solo. Leo Abbs asked a few questions to find out what it’s like for a new solo artist on the scene.

How long have you been playing live for?
About 5 years, both with bands and solo.

How would you describe your music? (influences/similarity/style)
Probably classical-pop or piano-noir! I’ve had training in classicalpiano but am also very into blues, jazz, film scores & prog-rock. So yeah…kindaa weird mish-mash of all the aforementioned!

Have you played in any previous bands?
Yes, I was the singer/keyboardist in *conditions apply and also had abrief stint with a band called ash wednesday in which i played keyboard and did backing vocals.

What Perth bands do you like?
I’m a big fan of civilised, tragic delicate, the wire complex, schvendes and snowman. Try and make it to as many of their gigs as possible!

What made you decide to play as a solo artist?
Mainly because everyone i tried to work with bailed on me! I like it also, I feel it works for me.

Do you find it hard to get gigs as a solo act?
For awhile it was a little hard to be taken seriously..especially because when “soloist” is uttered the first thing that comes to peoples’ minds is some long-haired guy with a guitar. I think it’s better now as the last couple of gigs I played were well received.

Do you have any plans to record or release anything?
Hopefully in the next couple of weeks and maybe a release at the end of the year if I get it together in time.

To download Nina X’s music visit www.mp3.com.au/ninax

Bob Evans – Suburban Kid CD Review

Better known as Kevin Mitchell of Jebediah, Bob Evans is the name of the solo project which he has playing shows under since 1998.

Suburban Kid is his first release and a step away from what Jebediah’s usual pop tunes, a country sound but what has briefly touched on in recent Jebediah albums. The album is a more personal affair allowing him to write honestly about long distance relationships, personal faults, good friends and a special tribute to his special old car.

The first single ‘Friday Comes Five’ is one of the more disappointing aspects of the albums. Sounding like he is trying to emulate Sleepy Jackson. Don’t let that you from checking out the rest of the album The strength lies in tracks such as ‘Live For Today’, ‘Turn’ and the touching ‘Stevie’s Song’. Tunes that are simple but brilliant in integrity.

While not a huge departure from his day job, there is enough here to spread his music to further people.