Saturday, May 8, 2010

A bit of an update ...

Well I know it's been a long time between drinks as far as posting onto the blog has been concerned - but it has by no means been a drought when it comes to music discoveries over the past few weeks.

With time colluding against me as it has been of late (albeit for happy reasons) I have nothing even vaguely approaching the time to write about the music I've been listening to in anything like the detail it deserves; and yet some of it has been so extraordinary that, even in the busiest of schedules, it would be criminal not to at least mention it.

Probably the first of these is the most recent - a trio of bands that played at Melbourne's Evelyn Hotel in Brunswick Street Fitzroy last Saturday night. They were the Brothers Grim & the Blue Murders; Kira Puru & the Very Geordie Marones; and Mojo Juju & the Snake Oil Merchants. I was at the gig because I had heard the last of these on the ever-reliable PBS Breakfast Spread a few days earlier and so was already ready for what a stunning act they were going to be, with their gutsy, punky, brooding cabaret music - the sort of thing that Brecht and Weill might have written had they lived now rather than seventy odd years ago.

But what I wasn't ready for was the sensational acts that supported them - raw and rugged blues-roots from Brothers Grim and then some shady, wine-soaked soul from Kira Puru - a voice with that shivers-down-your-spine sort of dark, archetypal beauty that lures men and women to their doom.

All of these artists had new CDs on sale at the door and, needless to say, I bought them all. You can read a little more about the night, and my thoughts on it, at the PBS website ( in the reviews section.

The other big discovery over the past few weeks, again thanks to the PBS Breakfast Spread, was a fantastic Melbourne-based music performance project called The Escalators. Their debut CD Wrapped in Plastic is the sort of music you put on when you have been able to hit the pause button on everything else that's happening around you, and you can let yourself just be swept away in its flow: a flow that, carried along by the tides of abstract, improvised jazz, follows no pre-mapped course, takes you along routes and through places that no GPS could pinpoint, but that, in its seamless, organic way, seems to reach into something deep and secret within you, touching the quiet places, like in 'Log Lady', or the chaotic places, like in 'James: Boy on a Motorcycle'. It is music inspired by the filmwork of David Lynch and shares the dark abstraction that is so much his trademark. It's music that creates itself from its own seed and grows by the rules set out in its own DNA and, as such, seems to bring order and disorder together. It's like the sort of jazz you might expect to hear in a space where your senses are let go for a while, leaving you feeling kind of unsettled in places, kind of haunted even, and yet you can't escape the feeling that this is music that grows out of things that you yourself are part of - music that alienates you and embraces you in the one breath. Drug-induced jazz, perhaps.

And so far, I've only been able to touch on the locals. There was the wonderful discovery of Joanna Newsom, too, with that remarkable voice of hers, half child-like, half wraith-like, and her stream-of-consciousness music in her 2006 album Ys and her 2010 epic Have One On Me; there was the expansive metal of My Dying Bride, the lush lounge of the new release from U.N.K.L.E, Where Did the Night Fall, and heaps of amazing stuff from 1980s experimentalists Nurse With Wound, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, Cabaret Voltaire and, more recently, Current 93.

And then there was the unspeakably moving blues of Eric Bibb's Booker's Guitar and, of course, lots and lots of Diamanda Galas who, I am convinced, can take any music, hold it by the throat, and make it do exactly what she wants it to do - which is always something staggeringly powerful: music that thrusts four octavs of nightmares into your head and makes you actually want to confront them.

So, all in all, not a bad way to spend a few blog-free weeks!!


  1. Woohoo he's back!

    Go Ian :)

    From Jenny

  2. Great post! a nice blog for who just love music, and its one of my passion and thank you for posting about so many things and loved all the posts. Thanks for sharing a good information.
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