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Aussie artists
Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - February 10th 2010

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MEET GRETCHEN LEWIS
You may remember him from such self-help videos as Smoke Yourself Thin and Get Confident, Stupid. The voice of The Simpsons' Troy McClure was provided by Phil Hartman, who was sadly killed by his third wife in 1998. Phil's first wife was Gretchen Lewis, which was also the name of a prostitute in the American comic book series Noble Causes. Melbourne singer Del Sinki came across the name when he was reading a book called The Hollywood Book Of Death. "I just thought the letters that went to making up her name, 'Gretchen Lewis', were strong and bold, like our music," Del explains. Gretchen Lewis are launching their debut album, Issue One, at the Espy this Thursday. Gretchen made the album at Birdland with producers Lindsay Gravina and Rob Long. They sound like a throwback to the early 90s, which is no bad thing - think Faith No More, Primus and early Chili Peppers. Their new single, A Night In The Devil's Bed, is a dark tale filled with drugs, dependence and death. "It's one of 14 chapters in our comic book, which runs the duration of the album," Del says. "One of the characters, Isabel, is taken to by some hired thugs, who want to be rid of her before the night is through." The video features the band performing at a cemetery. Did they have to get permits, or did they do it guerilla-style? "The clip took about four weeks to make as it was done guerilla-style with myself and a friend, Johnny Flynn, shooting it with no permits. It was just, 'Okay, go, go, go, now!'" You can check out the clip at myspace.com/Gretchenlewis.

First gig?
"A uni band comp in late 2002."

Best gig?
"Probably a recent Saturday night at the Vineyard. We threw in a cover of Primus' Those Damned Blue Collar Tweekers and the whole place was heaving."

Worst gig?
"At the Tote about two years ago. About 12 people there and a tumbleweed blowing through."

Ultimate gig?
"Supporting Faith No More at Festival Hall. Oh well : )."

A comparison you've liked? And one that's surprised you?
"We liked being likened to New Zealand band Supergroove. One that surprised us was being likened to Metallica."

Your MySpace page lists only international influences (Chili Peppers, Mr Bungle, Faith No More, James Brown ). Any Aussie influences?
"I would have to say Regurgitator."

Groupies: Yes/No?
"Actually, yes."

GOODBYE AND GOOD LULUC
Melbourne duo Luluc are relocating to the US, which means that Steve "Harmony" Hassett is taking leave of absence from Wagons. Steve's exquisite backing vocals will be a big loss, but he's leaving on a high - Wagons have just done the Big Day Out, and The Rise And Fall Of Goodtown should be on the shortlist for this year's Australian Music Prize. The complete shortlist of nine albums will be announced at the St Kilda Festival on Sunday. Meanwhile, Luluc do their farewell show this Thursday at the Christmas Street Warehouse, 188 Christmas Street, Fairfield.

PERRY GOOD
Speaking of Aussie albums, get your money on Perry Keyes' Johnny Ray's Downtown for the 2010 AMP shortlist. He's crafted an Aussie classic. The album is out on March 6.

ONE HIT TO THE BODY
It's disturbing to see the nationalisation of The Herald Sun's features' sections. Will this mean fewer Melbourne acts getting exposure in the paper's Hit liftout? In her first editorial, Rebekah Devlin wrote: "Hit is about you - it's for your free time, your fun." Yet, she's based in Sydney. Fortunately, Cameron Adams remains as music writer, and the new section keeps Mikey Cahill's brilliant Rock City column.

CHART WATCH
No homegrown hits in the national Top 10.

Black Box STAN WALKER (number 11)
Art Of Love GUY SEBASTIAN (15)
Sweet Disposition THE TEMPER TRAP (18)
One Way Road JOHN BUTLER TRIO (22)
According To You ORIANTHI (25)
This Is Who I Am VANESSA AMOROSI (29)
Broken Leg BLUEJUICE (32)
Hazardous VANESSA AMOROSI (34)
Like It Like That GUY SEBASTIAN (35)
Art Vs Science ART VS SCIENCE (36)
You've Changed SIA (39)

Only two Aussie albums in the Top 20.

Wrapped Up Good THE McCLYMONTS (number six)
Conditions THE TEMPER TRAP (13)
Golden Rule POWDERFINGER (21)
Walking On A Dream EMPIRE OF THE SUN (22)
Introducing STAN WALKER (24)
As Day Follows Night SARAH BLASKO (26)
Bran Nue Dae SOUNDTRACK (32)
Wonder LISA MITCHELL (35)
Curiouser KATE MILLER-HEIDKE (37)
Like It Like That GUY SEBASTIAN (38)

HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
A Night In The Devil's Bed GRETCHEN LEWIS
Oh Apollo! LOENE CARMEN
Will You Shine? PERRY KEYES
What Can I Do TOKENVIEW
Never Been To Spain WAGONS

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