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Howzat! Archive - September 19th 2012

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It's a wonderfully paradoxical band name. Most artists try for something grand when searching for a band name. Something big and powerful and suggestive. But Marcel Borrack called his new band Minibikes. And it fits perfectly. Marcel is the pop genius not many people have heard of. He's quiet and understated. Like his band name, he might not make a big noise, but his songs are gems. His fans, like manager Wally Kempton, know how good he is. After a couple of brilliant solo albums - 2004's Help and 2006's I Was Only Dreaming - Marcel decided it was time to start a band, with guitarist Robbie Mackenzie, bass player Nathan Farrelly, keys player Libby Chow, and former Frente drummer Al Barden. What sort of band did Marcel want? "A big one! I wanted a band that could do lots of textures and I definitely wanted to sing with Libby, who has the most incredible voice." You can check out the band in the video for Minibikes' Oh Japan. The cute clip, made by Mish Armstrong, is an epic adventure, featuring a mysterious, axe-wielding panda. Marcel's local park was the location. "It was shot in a tiny forest about 40m square," Marcel reveals, "but we were lucky to have a very talented cinematographer who made it look like we went on a day-long journey." Who played the panda? "All I can tell you is he's one hell of a manager."

Oh Japan includes the line, "Your interest is Japan, mine is the 1980s." Who are Marcel's favourite '80s acts? "Where do you start?" he laughs. "Prince is right up there, Hall and Oates never fail to please, and Tears For Fears' Songs From The Big Chair has got to be one of my all-time favourite records."

The title of Minibikes' debut album, For Woods Or Trail, comes from a Honda minibike ad from the '70s. Does Marcel own a minibike? "I did have one as a kid - a Honda Z50. It's long gone but I still have nostalgic thoughts about it." The album includes a song called Broken Bones, and Marcel recalls "fractured wrists after falling from the aforementioned Honda". The album concludes with a song called Emo Kids, which is a gentle dig. What's the best description of Marcel Borrack? "We have a newer song called 'Motor Cross Kids', and when I was a kid, that was the perfect description. And I'm still playing with Minibikes!" Indeed, he is. Minibikes are playing at Basement Discs on Friday at 12.45. For Woods Or Trail is being launched at the Northcote Social Club on 6 October.

Jaime Robbie Reyne is getting set to release a new EP, to keep the home fires burning, as he works on his debut album in North America. The first song from the EP is a nifty pop tune called Word Gets Around (available as a free download at his SoundCloud page via Now recording as JR Reyne, he's doing pre-production in Ontario, Canada, before heading to record at Tom Cochrane's studio in Austin, Texas. JR plans to be home for some summer shows.

Howzat! is disappointed the ARIA Hall of Fame is no longer a standalone event. A separate event ensures that the inductees get the attention they deserve, but again it will part of the ARIA Awards, on 29 November. Following Kylie and The Wiggles last year, who will enter the Hall in 2012? Sources say that the late-great Grant McLennan was a reluctant potential inductee, but, surely, The Go-Betweens need to be in the Hall of Fame? And the time has certainly come for Stephen Cummings and the Sports, as well as Dave Graney and Clare Moore. And it's time to correct an oversight and induct Air Supply - you can't argue with eight Top 10 hits in the US. Rick Springfield also deserves the honour, and his induction would be a way of acknowledging the work of Darryl Cotton. Eighties pop is often derided, but how 'bout recognising Pseudo Echo as they celebrate their 30th anniversary? And will ARIA ever acknowledge the enormous contribution that record producers have made to our music industry? Vanda & Young were part of the first induction in 1988; since then, producers have been cruelly ignored. Here are five names for ARIA, just for starters: Mark Opitz, Charles Fisher, Tony Cohen, Mike Chapman and Peter Dawkins.

Happy Birthday to Nick Cave, who turns 55 on Saturday. Mark Mordue's Cave biography, Tender Prey, is coming soon. Also on the way is The Art of Nick Cave: New Critical Essays, edited by John H. Bauer from the University of Westminster.

Some thought the show was over for Something For Kate. Their sparkling new album, Leave Your Soul To Science (out 28 September on EMI), shows otherwise. All three band members are parents, but they sound reinvigorated and refreshed on the new record, which concludes with a song called Begin. Drummer Clint Hyndman says: "In many ways, it feels like the band I was in when I was 19. I love hearing Paul sing, and playing with those two I always said it - my favourite band in the world to listen to is ours."

Word Gets Around JR REYNE
Why Don't We Just Stay Home SARAH HUMPHREYS

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