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Howzat! Archive - April 18th 2012

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Who knew Julitha Ryan was such a great singer? After a decade playing piano with instrumental band Silver Ray, Julitha has unleashed her debut album, The Lucky Girl (available now on iTunes). It showcases a vibrant voice that reminds Howzat! of Renee Geyer, which is high praise, indeed. "Renee Geyer, eh," Julitha smiles, "well, I guess you will get that if you like to give it a bit. When I was a little jazz singer, everyone told me I sounded like Blossom Dearie. What a career arc." Despite Howzat!'s ignorance, Julitha has always sung. "I have never stopped singing, which my poor neighbours will attest to. I completed a degree in voice at the Conservatorium a few years back, though I was never capable of living the lifestyle required to be a good classical singer."

The Lucky Girl opens with a stunning gospel piece, The Preacher. When the song came to her, Julitha was "in such a hurry to write it down that all I could find was a huge texta. It made me feel almost instantaneously happy." Though Julitha sings, "My life is not for the faint of heart", she says there is "no irony whatsoever" in the title The Lucky Girl. "I am not a fan of irony," she says. Well, if she feels lucky, has she got any superstitions? "I went commando at every single Silver Ray gig."

Asked for her favourite Australian songwriters, Julitha lists Hap Hayward and Justin Ryda from The Dead Salesmen, and Gregory Day. Gregory, who has a wonderful Triffids-like voice, does a duet on The Lucky Girl called Run Out The Door. "Gregory Day has been one of my dearest friends for almost 30 years," Julitha explains, "and we've made a lot of music together. We met over a piano and The Beatles. He really came to the party for Run Out The Door. I wanted a duet that was between equal parties in outrage, rather than a man and some simpering girl."

When Julitha recently sent Howzat! an email, her spell-checker changed her name to "Juliana". What are the origins of her name? "It's a name my mum found in the 1950s, and she told me it was an Aboriginal name from Western Australia, which I have always been very proud of." Sadly, Julitha's mum died during the making of The Lucky Girl. A solo album has been a long time coming - Julitha's first recording experience was with a group called Neo-Penguin in 1986. "I have no empirical evidence, but you could probably find a solo album buried inside every musician," she claims. And as she sings on the album: "No time to waste now." "I've written a lot of songs, and have come very close a couple of times to recording, but until now it has never been good enough, simple as that. Also, 'you can't ride two horses with one arse.'"

Why did it take the producers of Dancing With The Stars so long to get Brian Mannix on the show? As everyone who saw him host Countdown knows, Brian was born to be on TV, even if judge Todd McKenney reckons he looks like "the pygmy lovechild of Rod Stewart". Of course, Brian is also a throwback to a less politically-correct time. Witness his YouTube interview promoting Dancing With The Stars, where he jokes that there's a fine line between dancing and sexual assault. While dancing with his "hot" partner, Melanie Hooper, Brian says he has to "think about the footy, think about the footy, think about the footy and while I'm thinking about the footy, it means I've forgotten what the next step is."

Times change. Ron S. Peno once vowed he'd never buy a CD player. Now he's done a vinyl release of his debut solo album, Future Universe - and he doesn't own a record player. These here are crazy times. When Howzat! started in journalism 25 years ago, the future seemed bright. Lucky, I'm not a gambler - I don't have a knack for picking winners. I grew up in a coal-mining town and I chose to work in newspapers and music, two industries in terminal decline. But enough about me. This Saturday is Record Store Day. Get out and support your local indie store. They need it. And we need them.

Timomatic spends a second week in the Top 10. And Gotye's blockbuster returns to the Top 40.

If Looks Could Kill TIMOMATIC (number nine)
Into The Flame EP MATT CORBY (14)
Boys Like You 360 & GOSSLING (22)
Set It Off TIMOMATIC (24)
Music Won't Break Your Heart STAN WALKER (34)
Somebody That I Used To Know GOTYE (36)
100% No Modern Talking EP KNIFE PARTY (38)

Jimmy Barnes tweeted: "Man band beaten by boy band. Oh well." One Direction mania relegates Cold Chisel's first album in 14 years to a number two debut.

No Plans COLD CHISEL (number two, debut)
Drinking From The Sun HILLTOP HOODS (four)
Falling & Flying 360 (14)
All For You COLD CHISEL (26)
Best Of SIA (27)
Moonfire BOY & BEAR (34)
Vows KIMBRA (35)
Making Mirrors GOTYE (36)

Good Clean Fun JAMES REYNE

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