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THE FLOWERING OF CATHERINE TRAICOS
Her dad is one of cricket's great trivia questions. Her
sister is an actress. And Catherine Traicos has delivered
the finest album of her career, Gloriosa (out now on An
Ocean Awaits Records through Fuse). If you had to describe
Catherine's third album in just one word, it would be "classy".
"Thank you," she smiles. "Making the album was tough, revealing,
cathartic, exhausting and beautiful."
Catherine's dad, John Traicos, is one of only two men since
the 1970s to play test cricket for two countries (Kepler
Wessels is the other). He was part of the South African
team that flogged the Aussies in 1970. He then returned,
at the age of 45, to play in Zimbabwe's first four tests
in 1992. When that country's political problems forced John
and his family to flee, they relocated to Australia in 1997.
Catherine didn't know much about Australian music. "I knew
who Kylie Minogue was. I really liked Locomotion and I asked
my aunty in Perth to send me a poster of Kylie but she sent
me one of Jason Donovan instead. So I guess I knew who he
was, too. Also there was a picture of Craig McLachlan in
my sister's Girl Annual and I thought his hair was cool.
I didn't know he did music though." Catherine now has other
local faves, listing her three favourite Australian songwriters
as The Holy Sea's Henry F. Skerritt ("Such an honest and
sensitive songwriter; he showed me that loving music and
writing your own songs is more than enough to go out there
and give it your best shot"), The Marlon Winterbourne Movement's
Marty Cooke ("His melodies are timeless and take you on
an unexpected and blissful journey") and The Dirty Three
("In some ways I see them as the future of songwriting;
in other ways, they contain something so primal and old
that you can't help but feel it resonate deep inside of
Gloriosa includes the line, "I hope someday you'll find
the love is already inside you". When did Catherine realise
she loved music? "It's a love I've always had, one that
has grown and shifted through my life. A pivotal moment
was discovering Radiohead's The Bends while in an abusive
relationship. That album saved me … I looked inwards and
felt something far more powerful, moving and eternal - my
love for music. That's still my favourite album of all time."
Catherine was happy when her music was described as "deliciously
damaged". "It kind of proves that I went through all the
damaging crap for a reason."
Catherine and The Starry Night launch Gloriosa at the Evelyn
on Saturday, with The Holy Sea and Footy. "Footy are a band
The Holy Sea recommended," Catherine explains, adding, "I
follow Fremantle, the Dockers - and not just because their
colour is purple and the Pav is dreamy." Catherine is also
a big cricket fan. "I think it's in my blood. I do barrack
for Australia, but when they play Zimbabwe, I go for Zimbabwe.
It's a family thing."
So where is home? "Australia," Catherine says simply, "more
specifically Sydney, which is where I'm based at the moment.
Why? As they say, 'home is where the heart is' and I like
to keep my heart close by." On her new album, she challenges
the listener: "Look me in the eye and tell me you don't
feel my heart." You can't. Gloriosa is glorious.
DARK MAGIC ALL AROUND
The Sand Pebbles have revealed that their new album, their
fifth, will be called Dark Magic. It will see the light
of day on August 26. The first official single is called
Occupied Europe (Take Me Across The Water), though there
is also a limited-edition seven-inch single - Because I
Could, featuring Tim Holmes from Death in Vegas, and Entrance
To The Stream, mixed by Will Carruthers from Spacemen 3
and Spiritualized. It will be launched at Yah Yah's on July
Tiny Tim would be smiling from above - suddenly the ukulele
is cool. The instrument is a prominent part of Ben Birchall's
new outfit, Duke Batavia; Sarah Carroll (who has just released
a great new album, Home & Heart) is a ukulele teacher; while
Eddie Vedder's new solo album is called Ukulele Songs. Georgia
Fields was at the forefront of the unlikely ukulele revival,
so Howzat! asked her why the tiny instrument was now big.
"One, they sound fucking beautiful," Georgia replied. "Two,
they were previously considered lame and daggy, which means
that in the cycle of cool/uncool, they eventually swapped
to being cool. Basically, you pick something that is really
uncool right now, give it six to 12 months, and it will
be cool." So what's next after we "nuke the uke"? "I predict
a comeback for soprano sax in 2012," tips Georgia, who's
playing at the Builders Arms tomorrow (Thursday).
PACKED HOUSE FOR ICEHOUSE
In the greatest "secret" show at the Espy since Men At Work
in the mid-90s, Icehouse delivered a 13-song greatest hits
set last Saturday, including a cover of Bowie's The Jean
Genie - with The Living End's Chris Cheney on guitar.
SPLIT SECONDS, FIRST TIME
"This is where it ends and this is where it starts …" A
mate told me to check out Perth band Split Seconds. "They
sound like The Triffids," he said. Big call. It's not easy
being compared to a band that's revered, especially when
they hail from the same city. But Howzat! was hooked from
Bed Down, the opening cut on the band's self-titled EP.
It's one of 2011's best debuts. The vocal is grand but intimate,
and the sprawling songs suggest greatness. Split Seconds
make their first trip to Melbourne this week, to support
The Panics at the Corner on Friday.
The new Pete Murray single, Always A Winner, debuts at 46.
We Run The Night HAVANA BROWN (number nine)
Loud STAN WALKER (19)
We Love SNEAKY SOUND SYSTEM (29)
From The Music THE POTBELLEEZ (37)
A new Hillsong album has a Top 5 debut.
God Is Able HILLSONG LIVE (number three, debut)
Seeker Lover Keeper SEEKER LOVER KEEPER (10)
Roy DAMIEN LEITH (19)
Syndicate SYNDICATE (20, debut)
Down The Way ANGUS & JULIA STONE (32)
Australian Sun CATHERINE TRAICOS
I Blew It WAGONS
Gameplan RON S. PENO
Bed Down SPLIT SECONDS
Occupied Europe SAND PEBBLES
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