Sympathetic Stupid

Friday, November 17, 2006

Vale Candle Records

The news of the day is that it's all over for Candle Records.

('scuse the formatting after I pulled it out of the frame on the Candle site.)

Candle have been a mainstay of the Melbourne scene for, apparently, 12 years now, with that intrinsic sorta Candle sound - acoustic, intelligent, lyrical. Think of The Lucksmiths or Darren Hanlon or Ruck Rover; all coming together in supergroup The Guild League.

But Chris Crouch, the man behind the label, says "time for change", and who can argue? It can't have been easy or particularly profitable; independent labels seem more often than not fuelled by love of music, beer sucked from sticky carpet and late-night souvlaki.

I'm sure all the bands will find new homes without trouble. I just hope, from a selfish point of view, that Polyester Records has the cash to continue, as they've shared premises for many years in what seems a pretty handy symbiotic relationship. Independent record stores are only marginally less important that independent record labels.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

They Have Not Forsaken Us - Art of Fighting Return

So it's that time again; the now-standard three-year wait is almost over and that means we're about to get a new Art of Fighting album.

When they go away I always forget how much I love these guys. It happened between Wires and Second Storey, until the Along the Run single hit me between the eyes. And the same with the new Eastbound single. Only now do I realise that I badly need their blend of beautifully recorded shoe-gazey guitar pop.

[mp3 - ysi - 6MB] Art of Fighting - Eastbound

Though they're not as noodly as previously. This song has an understated but unmistakable purpose about it, mainly thanks to the sixteenth feel drums of (the almost unspeakably magnificent) Marty Brown, who fills the bottom end with exquisite touch, never resting in one particular groove for too long. This frees Peggy to dance her bass lines around and through Ollie and Miles's guitars. And, of course, the production is spot on - if this is what takes them three years between releases, more power to them.

Strangely, the song I'm most reminded of is The Go-Betweens' Five Words, probably because Five Words has a similar restless percussion underlying the song, constantly feeling as if it's built to the edge of a precipice, but continually managing to climb higher, finding brief respite but still with more to come, and more.

The single comes with an album track more in the vein of old stuff, Night on Night, and a pretty good live cover of All Night Long by Lionel Richie. So get that from Polyester or your other local independent record store.

So everyone should see AoF at the Corner on Saturday night (yep Nick, I'm talkin' to you) - that's the 18th of November for those of you a touch date-challenged. Go here and buy tickets right now.

Here's some great old stuff (hey, it's all great, but I had to choose something):

[mp3 - ysi - 7MB] Art of Fighting - Break for Me (from Second Storey)
[mp3 - ysi - 8MB] Art of Fighting - Just Say I'm Right (from Wires)

You can stream the single and other tracks on their myspace as well. Buy the single online from Red Eye Records. Buy albums from Trifekta. Buy EPs from Half a Cow.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rock Me Dallas

It took exactly one song for me to be converted to the religion of Dallas Crane:

[mp3 - ysi - 5MB] Dallas Crane - Marsanne (Love Awaits You)

And here I thought Boys and Girls in America was going to be my four-four guitar drums album of the year:

[mp3 - ysi - 4MB] Dallas Crane - Two Can Play at This Game

But for straight balls-to-the-wall rock this is unbeatable. Admittedly, The Hold Steady are closer to Springsteen, while Dallas do some Led Zep and AC/DC and T-Rex - little bit glam, little bit hooky, little bit of a scream, utterly bangin'.

Marsanne is the track if you urgently need conversion. The guitars and bass intertwining in the start riff. The lung-tearing vocals. The backing vocals in chorus - Marsanne rhymes with Roxanne. And, most of all, the breakdown at about 1:50 - dropping until the drums slam you POW back into the guitar solo. I didn't feel silly at all playing air guitar to this at about 4:30 this morning in an empty radio studio. They're not ashamed of being so rock, and neither was I.

[from the Dallas Crane album Factory Girls]
[buy from sanity]

Friday, November 03, 2006


Jason Molina's playing in about two weeks at the Northcote Social Club.

[mp3 - ysi - 10MB] Songs:Ohia - Farewell Transmission (from The Magnolia Electric Co.)

I haven't heard much of his stuff before but recently bought The Magnolia Electric Co. on a recommendation. This track, the opener, is a cracker. It's got that Neil Young country-rock sound from maybe Greendale-era. Really good songs all through the album.

I'm taking it into the weekend.