Category Archives: UPCOMING EVENTS

From The Vault Friday: (I Love The Sound Of) Breaking Glass

I love the sound of breaking glass
Deep into the night
I love the sound of its condition
Flyin’ all around

The words and melodies of English songwriter Nick Lowe first came to me in the same sweet period as Patti Smith Group, Elvis Costello and The Ramones. Not an unusual story I guess, since all those artists were roughly grouped together in one way or another in the late seventies. Except of course that I wasn’t yet born, so the possibility of being on trend was something of an impossibility. Let’s fast forward. It was about 1989 or 1990, which would have made me eight or nine years old, small framed and freckle-skinned and relieved to have finally grown out the bowl-cut hair disaster of 1987. My favourite item of clothing was a pair of acid wash jeans with floral patches.

I was showing the first signs of some kind of obsessive compulsive music disorder, which was mostly evidenced by the number of times I’d recorded The B-52’s Love Shack on a 120 minute VHS cassette just so I could play it back to back, again and again, in some sort of vague hope that if I watched Kate Pierson enough I’d eventually become her. I must have been driving my parents insane.

Although I’m not too reliable on the memory front – most of my high school years, my senior year excluded, have become a forgettable blur and all of my time at university is a jumble of interchangeable semesters – the period I discovered Nick Lowe is a sunset polaroid: white-framed and golden and permanent. I remember lying awake at night, all night, listening to the radio. I remember my sister’s constant frustration from the bunk above that I wouldn’t turn it off. I remember our lilac painted bedroom, red navigation lights flashing on a not too distant sea outside the window.

We lived in a three bedroom brick veneer home that must have been built in about 1975. It had all the suburban ugliness that that decade would allow. Brown faux wood laminate bench tops, copper coloured door handles, orange carpet… in the kitchen. And living in that space, it seems perfect now to recall that wedded though I was to the chart hits of the day, I was also in the first flush of a love affair with our parent’s haphazard, late seventies skewed record collection and quietly raiding it whenever I got the chance.

Some kids had parents who were precious about things like LPs, but fortunately for me, Ma and Pa’s many drunken parties had meant that almost all the albums (especially the good ones) were scratched beyond belief and I could explore without fear of discipline. Hell, they were hippies. I did everything without fear of discipline. And so away I went, thumbing through vinyl and marveling at the soft hum of the record player and getting musical crushes that would last longer than I could ever have imagined.

Cue: That Summer! The soundtrack to a 1979 film I’ve never seen but whose songs have stayed with me for more than twenty years. The album featured Elvis Costello ‘Watching The Detectives’ and ‘(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea’, Patti Smith Group ‘Because The Night’, Wreckless Eric ‘Whole Wide World’, The Ramones ‘Rockaway Beach’ and Nick Lowe’s brilliant ‘(I Love The Sound Of) Breaking Glass’.

I (loved) (loved) (loved) ‘(I Love The Sound Of) Breaking Glass’.

It goes like this:

The thrill of the piano trill against the driving bass and the beguiling, detached delivery of an almost pleading lyric:

I love the sound of breaking glass
Especially when I’m lonely
I need the noises of destruction
When there’s nothing new

I’m in New York at the moment and Nick Lowe is everywhere, enjoying a kind of popular resurgence off the back of a new album, an aptly titled return to form called ‘The Old Magic’ and about to play a much publicized North American tour with Wilco. Along with all the many things I look forward to getting around to in this city (thrifting, drinking, getting a tan) I can’t wait to hear the sound of breaking glass.

If you are stateside, you can check out the Nick Lowe/ Wilco tour dates here.

If you would like to download the That Summer! soundtrack, it is available here.

And if you would like to hear more vintage Nick Lowe…

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Whiskey Dreaming: Adventures in Kings Cross: Episode One

There will be bands. There will djs. There will be FBi presenters doing their best to lose their dignity. There will be a trip to Pie Face on the way home. Come and sing and dance and play with us tomorrow night. Kings Cross Hotel, 8pm sharp. Whiskey, good times, dancing provided. BYO debauchery, cowboy boots, parental consent form.

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Promises Unbroken: In The Pines expanded edition

If you tuned in to In The Pines on FBi 94.5 tonight, you might recall I promised to put some of the music featured on the show up on the web in a more embellished way than the usual playlist format. So here it is, the expanded In The Pines! I’d promise to do this every week, but I think we all know I’m not the most prolific blogger, so let’s see how we roll from one week to the next, eh?

Canadian trio Elliott Brood joined me live in the studio to kick the show off in spectacular harmony soaked fashion, complete with duelling ukeleles. I almost melted behind the mic. Now, I don’t have the resources yet to video our in studio performances and post them online (anyone want to volunteer?!) but the boys played ‘The Valley Town’ from their latest release Mountain Meadows, and it sounded a lot like this:

Casey, Mark and Stephen have been on a month-long tour of Australia, including playing the One Movement industry showcase in Perth. If you want to check them out in Sydney, they are playing on Friday October 22 at the Brass Monkey in Cronulla and on Saturday at Notes in Newtown.

But they’re not the only Canadians in town! Juno nominated Matt Barber has been touring nationally with Angie ‘Frente’ Hart. He played a great show in Sydney a couple of weeks back, where he was backed by Sydney-based folksters Dead Letter Chorus. This Thursday, Matt will return to the stage in Sydney playing at Camelot in Marrickville.

Okay, enough of the Canadians… On a local level we heard from Mark Moldre and Emma Davis. Mark released his album The Waiting Room earlier this year and was sweet enough to send me his new single ‘This Romantic Day’ this week, alongside a link to accompanying video. It’s enough to break a little spinsters heart! Have a listen, have a waltz, let the tears roll in 3/4 time.

I’ve been anticipating Emma Davis’ debut release since being charmed by her gentle humour and fragile vocals at a live show at Raval earlier this year. She’s sweet and tender but without being naff about it (this is harder than it seems, trust me). Her self-titled album will be launched at the Red Rattler in Marrickville on Friday October 29. You can have a sneaky listen to some of the tracks here.

Another highlight from tonight’s show was a live performance/ guest programming stint from former Go Betweens, Adele & Glenn. Rather than riff here, I will endeavour to stream their live performance when I battle with pro-tools a little later this week. But don’t hold out for my lazy editing, you can catch them playing at Low Bar in Surry Hills this Wednesday.

And never one to leave it on a light note, and being the former newshound that I am, I couldn’t resist a nod to war, given that the Prime Minister Julia Gillard today said it was likely that Australian troops would be entrenched in Afghanistan for another 10 years. And so it goes. So we heard a lament from Joe Whyte called ‘Off To War’. Oh, the harmonica. You can download his latest EP, When The Day Breaks for free here.

We also heard Suzanne Vega’s ‘The Queen & The Soldier’, which has been re-released on her new record, Close- Up Volume 2: People & Places. The album features stripped down and re-recorded versions of her earlier hits including ‘Luka’ and ‘Tom’s Diner’. But, where were we? ‘The Queen & The Soldier’. Sublime.

And that’s it for the moment. But feel free to shoot through any program questions on email – emmaswift@fbiradio.com.

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Casting the Demons Down Under: Jonneine Zapata

This Friday, 2010’s most sultry voice – Jonneine Zapata – will stop by Sydney’s Annandale Hotel. She will sing with what has become a trademark in her native LA: a smokey sexuality, intensity of spirit, a drama too dramatic to be called mere theatrics. If we’re lucky, she might play with her belly button too:

Now, I’m not too keen on making comparisons to contemporary singers or artists of yesteryear when trying to explain a “sound”. Listening to music is not molecular biotechnology and I’m sure if you watch/watched the video there are any number of musicians who might spring to mind. What I do like, however, is trying to find out some of the inspirations behind a “sound”. So I asked Jonneine about some questions about it.

Inspirations?

“I like Bette Davis, Tina Turner and Amelia Earhart.”

Ultimate support gig?

“I think I’d love to play with Nick Cave. I mean he’s a big favourite but I don’t think I stand alone on that. I never really think about it terms of about who I’d like to play with because most of the people who I admire artistically are not touring much or are retired or dead… Nick Cave, The Dirty Three, I think that would be a nice start.”

As well as songs, you write spoken word poetry. How does that kind of writing play out in your music?

“I think it’s had a lot of impact on it. And more so everyday as I continue to do it. It’s kind of like Tourette’s. You spew out a few things on paper and then it lands like dominoes and then you start seeing some architecture there and then you start putting pieces together. It means you have to really not limit yourself to writing when you only think it’s going to be good. You never know.”

Jonneine’s album Cast the Demons Out is available now on Laughing Outlaw Records.

Tickets for the show are available here.

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Laura Imbruglia’s Mid-week Mixtape

Back in 1966, soul singer Jimmy Ruffin asked the oft-pondered question, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? More than forty years on, the answer remains mysterious. Some drink, some hibernate and others do as Sydney singer Laura Imbruglia has done… write cracker country songs. Laura has been playing rock and roll gems for quite a while but it wasn’t until she had her heart hurt that her sombre songbird really took flight. And now, on her sophomore album The Lighter Side Of… we’re getting hear the upside of an emotional downside. It’s not all minor chords and tears before bedtime but for those of you who love a bit of heartache on a Wednesday, jump on Imbruglia’s myspace and take a listen to ‘When It All Falls Apart’.

Laura will launch the album at the Annandale Hotel in Sydney this Friday night. But before you head along to check out her new sound, you can check out her inspired and eclectic Top Five songs for this week’s Mid-week Mixtape. Take it away, Laura…

The Mamas & Papas – Glad To Be Unhappy
My Mum & Dad stopped listening to music (besides the radio in the car) at least thirty years ago. As their LP’s were just collecting dust, I decided to claim them. I soon realised their collection was pretty dodgy (including but not limited to a Romantic Accordian LP- WEIRD), except for a few Beatles records and a Best of The Mamas & Papas LP. The first time I heard this song I was blown away by the perfect melding of the sentiment and melody. Mama really sounds sad!! I just kept putting the needle back to the start of the song like a woman possessed! This is a Rodgers & Hart tune but I like this version better than the jazzy Sinatra & Billie Holiday versions I’ve heard since.


The Louvin Brothers – When I Stop Dreaming

I was seriously obsessed with these guys for pretty much all of 2007. They’re a kooky Christian duo from the 1950’s. I was already obsessed with them and then I got dumped and all their heart-breaking lyrics just cut even deeper than they had originally. I just walked around town with headphones in, switching between the Louvin Bros, Roy Orbison and any other singing sadsacs in my collection. Their voices are so rich and beautiful and I love the instrumentation too. They were pretty sweet on the old guitar and mandolin. I’m a massive sucker for harmonies and you can’t get better vocal harmonies than the Louvin Brothers. FYI: They also cover “In The Pines”. Topical!

The Louvin Brothers – When I Stop Dreaming


“Maybe” from the musical Annie

I would say this is probably the first song to have had a major impact on me. I was about three or four and so into the film/musical Annie that I was convinced I was an orphan and that my “parents” were imposters. This song opens the film and Aileen Quinn, the child actor really sings it beautifully. I’ve noticed over the years that there aren’t many indie musos who admit to liking musicals. I find this to be a strange phenomenon. I’m not taking the piss, I have this soundtrack on my ipod and I listen to it! It reminds me of my childhood, her voice is gorgeous and the songs are great! Carole Burnett singing “Little Girls”- haha! Watch the movie.


Richard Hell – Blank Generation

My manager has great taste in music and quite an extensive collection of all kinds of genres, which he organises in a Rain man-like fashion. He made me a mix tape once and this song was on it and killed me. There’s the little intro & then the song just suddenly bursts out at you, perfectly matching the opening lyrics “I was sayin’ get me outta here before I was even born!”. I love his swagger and ranty vocal style. Plus, listen to the lead guitar breaks! They’re so wonky and a bit shit but they’re perfect at the same time. It’s a good example of an artist/band who have complete control over their chaos. It’s a skill not many people have or put to such good use.

Richard Hell – Blank Generation

Cheap Trick – Surrender

This band are the kings of power pop. Perfect melodies, harmonies, guitar solos, middle eights, intros, outros, you name it!! This song has everything you could want in an awesome guitar pop song: Constant key changes, tight harmonies, endless drum fills and the ending just fills me with joy and makes me want to punch the air and jump around on my bed like a little kid. I also like their sense of humour. They had two ugly guys in the band & two gorgeous guys. The hot lead singer & bass player were always on the front of the album cover looking glammed-up and the less attractive drummer and lead guitarist (who wrote most of the songs) were always on the back looking dorky. They rule.

Cheap Trick – Surrender

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Time for some Old Crow Medicine

After months on the road as part of the alt-country wet dream that is Dave Rawlings Machine, the boys from Old Crow Medicine Show are giving up what could be the world’s sweetest old-time/bluegrass tour bus for a stint on the road on their lonesome in Australia.

It’s sad news for Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch, who will no doubt miss the fine contribution the Old Crow gang have made to the band over the past twelve months. But it’s great news for Australian fans of OCMS. What’s that you say? A second tour here in just under a year?

I spoke to the band’s frontman Ketch Secor this week about his newfound role in the ‘machine’, old school vs new school country and that ol’ man who so many call their biggest influence, Bobby Dylan.

The Old Crow Medicine collaboration with Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch for Dave Rawlings Machine is one of the finest things to happen to Americana for quite some time and it’s a damn shame we won’t be seeing them live here soon as well. In the meantime though, there are quite a few good videos of the band playing songs from the Machine debut A Friend of A Friend online inlcuding this version of the Ryan Adams/ Dave Rawlings co-write ‘To Be Young Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High’.

Australian tour dates for OCMS can be found here.

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The Man In Black Sings Again

If you caught some of In The Pines on FBi 94.5 this week, you might have heard some of my slightly breathless chat with the charming Tex Perkins. 2009 was a pretty epic year for the singer, who somehow managed to take on the cheesiest ballads of the late 1970’s and early 80’s Josef Fritzl style with his white-suited band of merry men the Ladyboyz, redeem himself from these hideous cover versions with a string of troubadour style “serious” acoustic shows, and take on the lead role in a musical tribute show to the legendary Johnny Cash.

The Man In Black was first staged in Melbourne last year and is now a touring production, currently on stage at the Sydney Opera House.

When I asked Tex about playing Johnny Cash, he revealed his affinity with the legendary country singer goes back decades.

“Fortunately, I’ve done a lot of ground work for this role… 28 years ago with my first band The Dum Dums. We were a sort of country punk band at the time and we did a lot of Johnny Cash songs back then. I discovered then that his range sort of suited my range pretty easily. I guess I feel a sort of ownership of it because it is part of my history.”

The Man In Black is not so much a musical as a concert with stories about Cash’s life intertwined in-between musical numbers, which include classics like Folsom Prison Blues, Get Rhythm and I Walk The Line, as well as some of the more recent cover songs that the singer recorded with Rick Rubin for the career resurrecting American series.

If you want to head along to the show, tour details are on The Man In Black
website.

And… since we’re talking all things Cash, Lost Highway has released the title track from the final instalment of the American Series, American VI: Ain’t No Grave. The single is available to download from iTunes and the album is scheduled for release on February 26 – the Man in Black’s birthday.

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