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Howzat! Archive - April 14th 2010

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It's an intriguing band name and an intriguing album - The Tiger and Me's debut album, From A Liar To A Thief (out now through Vitamin Records). "We all, at various stages, some overlapping, had affairs with Tiger Woods," says singer Ade Vincent, explaining the band name. "Not really. There was no overlapping. Actually, it stems from the band originating at around the same time Jane [singer Jane Hendry] and I started seeing each other. I often called her 'the tiger', and I almost always called me 'me', though sometimes I revert to 'Batman'." The Tiger and Me have three lead singers - two men and a woman. Ade and Jane are married and they live in a house owned by the third singer, Tobias Selkirk. "When your band's other vocalists are your wife and your landlord, musical life is remarkably simple," Ade laughs. There's nothing simple about The Tiger and Me sound. It's a beautifully constructed circus-like cabaret. How does the band describe the sound to a family member who's never heard them but always asks, "So what's your band like?" "We spent some time coming up with the best answer to this, and we think we've finally nailed it - it now occupies the first sentence of our bio: 'The Tiger and Me create indie-pop music as seen through the looking glass of European folk songs.' If this is met with embarrassed and confused facial expressions, we just say, 'Imagine Edward Scissorhands waltzing with a silhouette while gypsy-thieves busk in France in the 1930s.' Then they usually ask us to politely leave and call our parents, concerned." Have any local acts been an influence? "Two acts spring to mind - Martin Martini and The Melodics. We saw Martin Martini pack out Bar Open a few years back, and the carnival-style chaos and energy blew us away. The Melodics invited Jane to sing backing vocals with them, and as a result we became regular crowd members. They don't just get up and play some tunes, they really perform the shit out of them, and give the sense that you're getting all they have to give. As a result, we began to treat gigs more as 'shows'. We give a lot of thought to the performance outside the music - clothes, lighting etc; and give everything we have while on stage." One track, Big Trapeze, includes the line, "Obsession can take many forms". Is The Tiger and Me an obsession? "Well, only in that it manifests in dominant, persistent thoughts in our minds, and we all regularly wake up in feverish sweats, screaming lyrics to our songs, so not really," Ade smiles. "That's all pretty normal, right?" The Tiger and Me are launching the album at the Toff on Saturday.

Where do '80s pop stars end up? Well, one of them has landed one of the biggest gigs in the Australian media. Lin Buckfield, the Electric Pandas singer, is the new executive producer of Media Watch, after working as a producer on Four Corners. The Electric Pandas found fame in 1984 with their debut single, Big Girls. Lin also had a hit duet with James Reyne, a cover of Garland Jeffreys' R.O.C.K. "I used to love the Electric Pandas," James tells Howzat! "I probably also had a slight crush on Lin."

Speaking of James Reyne, it was 30 years ago this month that Australian Crawl released their debut album, The Boys Light Up. Not that James is having any anniversary parties. The album continues to haunt him. "I'm now a much better singer and songwriter," James says, "I really didn't know what I was doing back then, but that's all anyone wants to talk to me about or play on the radio." James' response is a surprise - he's releasing an album of Elvis covers, TCB, hoping it will reignite interest in his solo career. He knows there will be many cynics, but as Andrew Murfett's EG review stated: "What could have been embarrassing is instead a playful lark."

A belated Happy Birthday to Emma Heeney - Melbourne music's Maggie Gyllenhaal lookalike - who celebrated her 30th at the Workers Club last Saturday. Emma is now working on her second solo album.

Powderfinger deserved all the success they got. In 1993 and 1994, they did gigs in Sydney and Melbourne every six weeks, clocking up more than 30,000km in their old white van. No modern Australian band has worked harder. No wonder they're tired. But, in this cynical music world, does anyone seriously believe we'll never see Powderfinger again after this farewell tour? A Howzat! friend, who worked with the band, said: "They're crazy. They should have taken 18 months or two years off and gotten their mojo back. And then they don't damage the brand/band."

The John Butler Trio has the nation's number one album and two singles in the Top 40.

On A Mission GABRIELLA CILMI (number 19)
Sweet Disposition THE TEMPER TRAP (33)
Close To You THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO (38, debut)

Angus & Julia Stone had the year's first local chart-topping album - and now they've been knocked off by another homegrown hit.

April Uprising THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO (number one, debut)
Down The Way ANGUS & JULIA STONE (three)
Conditions THE TEMPER TRAP (16)
40 Years True Blue JOHN WILLIAMSON (23)
Purity Of Essence HOODOO GURUS (28)
Evermore EVERMORE (30)
Wrapped Up Good THE McCLYMONTS (36)
A Book Like This ANGUS & JULIA STONE (38)

Will You Shine? PERRY KEYES
In My Fortress LILITH LANE
Kentucky Rain JAMES REYNE

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