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Aussie artists
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Howzat! Archive - February 15th 2012

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2011 was a big year for Brooke Addamo, the artist also known as Owl Eyes. She released her second EP, played Woodford and went on the road with The Wombats. But it looks like 2012 will be even bigger. She started the year with her 21st on 2 January. "I celebrated with friends in the park, having a picnic," Brooke says. "It was lovely, but so hot. We all ended up at the beach." Then on Australia Day, Owl Eyes placed two songs in Triple J's Hottest 100 - Raiders at 64 and her cover of Pumped Up Kicks at 28. "For Raiders, I was actually heading to a gig in Adelaide. When I was informed, I did cause a bit of a scene at the airport, involving tears of joy and dancing!" And she was told about her second entry live on the radio. "That was pretty cool."

The Sydney Morning Herald has hailed Owl Eyes as one of the "12 Faces To Watch In 2012". Comparing her to Sarah Blasko and Kimbra, Bernard Zuel praised "a voice of as much character as power", saying she's "capable of straddling both Triple J and commercial radio". As she sings in Raiders, "I'll give it all that I have to give." Music was the only thing Brooke wanted to do with her life. "I really didn't have a Plan B. It was all or nothing and I really put my heart and soul into it." After two EPs, she is now working on her debut album. "It is a daunting, amazing experience."

The name "Owl Eyes" comes from a Devendra Banhart song. Is there a difference between Brooke and Owl Eyes? "I feel like using a moniker does separate me from myself, it allows me to be more creative and gives me more potential for creativity in the future." There's also a surf folk band called Owl Eyes, in San Diego. Has Brooke had any contact with them? "I haven't, but maybe when I head overseas, I will check them out."

Owl Eyes' music has been called "dreamy", "atmospheric" and "dark pop". Has she had a favourite description? "I think 'whimsical indie pop princess' was pretty sweet and funny," she smiles. "There have also been a few cheeky owl puns [like the headline at the top of this piece]." What's surprised Brooke about the music industry? "How supportive other local musicians are. I'm also surprised, and pleased, as to how much influence Triple J has. It's great to see people getting behind Australian music." How did she come to cover Pumped Up Kicks for Like A Version? "It was actually such a last-minute choice that the band and I really weren't sure about it. I do love the song but I wasn't sure if it was right for me. In the end, I'm very glad we stuck with it."

Brooke's next big gig is "Owl Eyes & Friends' Midsummer Mixtape" at the Famous Spiegeltent on Thursday, 23 February. "I am getting some friends to join me on stage and play a few covers," Brooke explains. The show's subtitle is "Songs To Steal Your Heart". What are Brooke's favourite heart-stealing songs? "Oh gosh, I go through so many mood songs and albums, it's hard to keep up. I usually listen to Cat Power when I'm sad and the Beach Boys when I'm happy."

Underground Lovers recently released a wonderful double-disc retrospective called Wonderful Things. But if you thought that signalled a swansong, think again. The Undies are bunkered down in Preston, recording a brand new album. They have even asked fans to name an untitled new tune at their Facebook page. Underground Lovers are playing at the Northcote on Saturday.

In his recent Marc Hunter biography, Jeff Apter wondered who would be our next true rock star. Who would have thought it would be a 65-year-old who's battling a life-threatening illness? If ever we needed proof that Jim Keays was a legend, it's all there on his new album, Dirty, Dirty (out now on Shock), which captures the garage greatness of early Masters Apprentices. Jim and band recorded 14 songs; 11 made the record. A cover of Dylan's She Belongs To Me was ditched because Jim felt it sounded too much like Dylan; versions of Freddie And The Dreamer's If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody and Bo Diddley's Road Runner may surface on a sequel. Jim's also keen to tackle Bubble Puppy's 1969 hit, Hot Smoke & Sassafras, which the Masters used to do.

Pendulum side project Knife Party score their first Top 40 hit.

Boys Like You 360 & GOSSLING (number three)
I Love It HILLTOP HOODS & SIA (seven)
Set It Off TIMOMATIC (10)
Into The Flame EP MATT CORBY (11)
Don't Worry Be Happy GUY SEBASTIAN (19)
Somebody That I Used To Know GOTYE (21)
100% No Modern Talking EP KNIFE PARTY (36)
Awkward SAN CISCO (38)
Good Night REECE MASTIN (39)

Hermitude's fourth album becomes their first Top 40 hit.

Falling & Flying 360 (number eight)
Vows KIMBRA (17)
Making Mirrors GOTYE (18)
Moonfire BOY & BEAR (19)
Reece Mastin REECE MASTIN (28)
All For You COLD CHISEL (35)
HyperParadise HERMITUDE (37, debut)

Midnight Bus JIM KEAYS
Raiders OWL EYES

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