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Aussie artists
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Howzat! Archive - May 15th 2013

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Sometimes the search for simplicity is a long and winding road. "I want the simple life," Bryan Estepa sings in Seachange, the single from his fourth album, Heart vs Mind (on Laughing Outlaw Records). "I yearn for simplicity in everything I do," Bryan tells Howzat! "Despite technology supposedly making our everyday lives simpler and quicker, I think it also makes it more convoluted and unnecessarily hard at times. That line came from the wonderful feeling I get when I'm travelling. But I soon realised it was a bigger facet within my life that was revealing itself."

Heart vs Mind is a wonderfully warm album, filled with simple delights; a throwback to breezy '70s pop. Appropriately, its physical release is vinyl-only (it's also available digitally). "I love the way vinyl sounds," Bryan explains. "There is a real depth, warmth and character that you get from this big round thing. I also love the packaging and digging through the liner notes. It feels and looks like a beautiful, tangible thing in your hands. I wanted people to have that experience."

The first record Bryan got his hands on was a Reader's Digest '70s collection, belonging to his parents. "It introduced me to so many artists - lots of bad but mostly good." The first LP he bought was Abbey Road. "It was magic. Still have it to this day." Howzat! doesn't subscribe to the theory of "guilty pleasures" - you don't have to feel guilty about loving any music. "Like you, I don't really agree with the concept," Bryan says. "But my pleasures include Air Supply, Spandau Ballet and early '90s R&B. There, guilty as charged!" When he was young, Bryan cherished his radio. He loved hearing The Beatles, the Eagles and Elton John on the old AM dial. "I still do," he smiles. That love shines through on Heart vs Mind, which is beautifully produced by Adrian Deutsch (ex-Red Riders). "Adrian taught me not to be too set in my ways and to be really open to new ideas. I think that's what good producers should do. He is a brilliant young man."

Much of the album - which Bryan is launching at the Retreat on Saturday - seems to be about couples at the crossroads, fearing the future, struggling with the concept of change. Is there a lot of Bryan in the record, or is he more of a "reporter"? "I think there's always a lot of me in each record, as I like to think I'm quite honest in what I write about. In saying that though, I drew a lot of inspirations and ideas from the people around me and what was going on in their lives. I played observer and interpreted it the way I saw it or the way I hoped their situations would pan out." So what wins in the end: Heart or Mind? "Heart always wins. I believe that your gut instincts are sometimes more in touch with the correct path, rather than our educated guesses."

The music world recently said goodbye to Storm Thorgerson, the British graphic designer who did Pink Floyd's classic album covers, including The Dark Side Of The Moon. He died of cancer at the age of 69. One of Storm's final jobs was designing the album cover for Melbourne's own goodbyemotel (who are playing every Wednesday in May at the Espy). The album, If, will be released later this year, featuring the single, Set It Off, the soundtrack to the Chrysler TV ad.

More than half of the Aussie songs in this week's Top 40 are Voice-related. Howzat! had a chat with a record company buddy at the weekend. "Are you watching The Voice?" he asked. "It's driving me crazy. That show is really the only representation of music on TV. The ABC has got to do something." The good news is the ABC is doing something. The bad news is it's a reality show of sorts. James Valentine will host a five-part TV series called Exhumed. According to The Australian's Michaela Boland, "Exhumed is a cross-platform band search roughly modelled on Triple J's Unearthed but for older folk. A search for the best bands you've never heard of, if you like." The ABC's head of arts, Katrina Sedgwick, stresses the emphasis will not be on the competition. "The focus is meeting and celebrating people who play music and tell their stories."

Happy birthday to the one and only Joe Camilleri, who's 65 next Tuesday.

The Voice makes an impact on the singles chart.

Hello STAFFORD BROTHERS (number 12)
Home HARRISON CRAIG (13, debut)
Arithmetic JACKIE SANNIA (24, debut)
Holdin On FLUME (27)
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word MISS MURPHY (30, debut)
God Bless The Child STEVE CLISBY (31, debut)
The Horses MICHAEL PAYNTER (34, debut)
Big Banana HAVANA BROWN (36)
Lanterns BIRDS OF TOKYO (38)

The Seekers jump from 39 to 20.

Life Is A Highway JASON OWEN (number seven)
Romantique RACHAEL LEAHCAR (10)
Flume FLUME (12)
Sharkmouth RUSSELL MORRIS (18)
The Golden Jubilee Album THE SEEKERS (20)
Universus SHOCKONE (25)
The Sapphires SOUNDTRACK (30)
Lonerism TAME IMPALA (36)

Tantric Romantic ABBE MAY

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