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Howzat! Archive - July 13th 2011

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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 you").

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 22.


BEWDY UKE!
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.


CHART WATCH
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)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Australian Sun CATHERINE TRAICOS
I Blew It WAGONS
Gameplan RON S. PENO
Bed Down SPLIT SECONDS
Occupied Europe SAND PEBBLES

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