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Howzat! Archive - April 10th 2013

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It's Tiger time. "It's time we achieved something," Jane Hendry declares on The Tiger & Me's second album, The Drifter's Dawn (out now on ABC Music). Jane also ponders, "Do you think that we could be on the brink of something glorious?" But ambition, as Shakespeare noted, should be made of sterner stuff. "Does it frighten you," Jane asks, "knowing that we could do all the things we've ever wanted to?"

The Tiger & Me singer Ade Vincent denies those lines are about the band. "It [Common Thief] is not explicitly about the band," he claims. "Really, it's a statement about throwing caution to the wind and going for it - whatever that may be." The Drifter's Dawn follows the band's 2010 debut, From A Liar To A Thief, but Ade says, "This very much felt like our first proper attempt at an album. We had lots of things that we didn't have for our first album - a producer (Steven Schram, who was fantastic), an extended block of consecutive studio time, a record deal, a budget and a settled line-up. We felt privileged to be in a position where we could focus entirely on making music."

What were the biggest lessons Ade learned from the first album? "Personally, it was to stop worrying about my vocals being perfectly, immaculately and unfalteringly in tune and just sing it like you mean it. Our singer/accordion player Tobes [Selkirk] has been at me for years about character over obsessive technical accuracy. That was something that really helped bring that live energy we were trying to capture into the recordings. And that's where having a producer really helped, too. Having someone with the big picture view, sitting in the control room experiencing the songs, is a valuable thing."

A simple description of The Tiger & Me's sound is indie pop. But with three distinct singers, their sound is something deeper and diverse. Having been inspired by European folk songs, there's also a gypsy, circus-like element. One punter told the band they should play more Metallica, even though they were not as good as Metallica. "I'm not saying he's wrong," Ade smiles, "but the remark definitely surprised me." Another review compared The Tiger & Me to Fleetwood Mac. "I didn't see that coming, but, on reflection, it makes sense, from a 'three distinct singer-songwriters' angle."
Ade wrote the band's new single, the 2.23-minute dark gem Made It To The Harbour (which comes with a striking video, directed by Tobias Cummings). "I listened to either Beck or hip hop pretty much exclusively for about a month and then this song happened," Ade reveals. "It's my inner hip hop guy trying to get out. I would be a terrible hip hop guy though, so it came out like this." The Tiger & Me launch the single at the Northcote Social Club on Saturday, with The Twoks and Texture Like Sun.

Needing a Bruce fix after the E Street Band's triumphant tour? I'm not sure if Lauren Bruce will include any Springsteen songs in her set when she plays at Wesley Anne on Saturday, but her smart songwriting and sublime singing will satisfy all music fans. Tracks from Lauren's debut album, Before The Dust Settles, can be downloaded for free at her website,

Much debate and discussion last week after the Herald Sun poll showing John Farnham as the greatest voice in Australian music. No Doc or Delta in the Top 100?!

For the record, this is Howzat!'s Top 10, in order: Stephen Cummings, Joe Camilleri, Ross Wilson, James Reyne, Abby Dobson, Tina Arena, Henry Wagons, Suzannah Espie, Shirley Strachan, Chris Wilson. Two artists in our list - Chris Wilson and Suzannah Espie - are part of the bill for this Sunday's gig at the Thornbury Theatre, "These Machines Cut Razor Wire", a fundraiser for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. More info at

It's an unlikely location for the start of the band that shaped Australia's modern music industry. But 40 years ago next Tuesday, Skyhooks played their first gig - at St Jude's Church Hall, opposite Percy's pub on Lygon Street in Carlton. "It was pretty shithouse," Skyhooks songwriter and bass player Greg Macainsh recalls. "There was hardly any people there and it was a terrible sound. But like any first gig, we just wanted to get it out of the way. It was first blood. Once it's done, you're a band." April 16 is a big day in Australian music - it's also Peter Garrett's birthday. The Oils singer, federal minister and Hooks fan was born 60 years ago.

The Stafford Brothers jump from 15 to 10.

Hello STAFFORD BROTHERS (number 10)
Lanterns BIRDS OF TOKYO (17)
Big Banana HAVANA BROWN (18)
Holdin On FLUME (30)

Believe it or not, Russell Morris has never had a Top 10 album - until now.

Sharkmouth RUSSELL MORRIS (number 10)
Flume FLUME (13)
March Fires BIRDS OF TOKYO (14)
Armageddon GUY SEBASTIAN (28)
Bout It DEEZ NUTS (35, debut)
Controller BRITISH INDIA (40)

Made It To The Harbour THE TIGER & ME
Montgomery JR REYNE
Thank You BEN LEE

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