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Howzat! Archive - June 1st 2011

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It's the voice that strikes you first. It's a captivating instrument, capable of swinging from gentle to guttural. It's a storyteller's voice. She sounds like she's done a lot of living, though you later learn she's still in her early 20s. When Howzat! first hears one of her songs on RRR, we write her name down because we know she is something special: Bryony Morgan.

Asked if she can provide the Bryony Morgan story in 30 words or less, her reply is simple: "Well, I am a singer, songwriter, guitarist from Melbourne. My music has its base in the blues, but covers many genres from jazz to rock and folk. I recently released a new solo album called Invalids & Supermen." It's an intriguing title for the six-track disc (available at Readings and Basement Discs and also via "It refers to the duality of the human condition," Bryony explains, "an idea which I feel is reflected in the recording."

Has Bryony had a favourite description of her music? "Yes, unique," she laughs, "I like that I like to play with genres, touching on elements from a wide pool of references."

The RocKwiz questions: First album bought? "The Whitlams' Eternal Nightcap." First concert? "Probably the Homebake festival at the Myer Music Bowl, where I saw The Avalanches for the first time. They were very new at the time, so I was in an audience of about five people; it was great! I rushed out and got their first EP." Asked to nominate her three favourite Australian songwriters, Bryony lists Bernard Fanning, Tex Perkins and Nick Cave. Melbourne is blessed with so many fine rootsy women, including Lisa Miller, Liz Stringer, Abbie Cardwell, Mia Dyson, Lilith Lane, Barb Waters, Sal Kimber, Rebecca Barnard, Sophie Koh, Jen Cloher, Georgia Fields, Amaya Laucirica and Tracy McNeil. Add Bryony Morgan to that list. Her future is bright.

When Silverchair released Cemetery as the third single from their second album, Freak Show, they issued some promo postcards, featuring a tombstone on the front. Howzat! had just been dumped by a girlfriend, and was tempted to send the card to her, with the message, "Wish you were here." Later, we both laughed about the idea. Howzat! thought of that postcard last week when Silverchair announced their "indefinite hiberation". Maybe this is truly a case of "musical differences". A record company friend reminded Howzat! of seeing the band at an EMI conference. The label dropped into the studio to hear some tracks from the album that would become Diorama. "Obviously, I knew who Daniel was," my friend says, "but because I hadn't met half the Sydney office before, I was also meeting people from the sales team that I'd only ever spoken to on the phone. When we finished chatting to a couple of the guys, I said to my friend, 'Gee, the guys from the call centre are lovely.'" But they weren't from the EMI call centre - it was Ben and Chris from Silverchair. Here's hoping that one day the 'chair will rise from the dead. They are one of Australian music's greatest stories. Who would have thought a bunch of grunge-derivative, precocious teenagers would become one of our finest bands, wildly innovative and unpredictable, with a true rock star frontman and an awesome rhythm section featuring two normal Aussie blokes?

As one great Australian band departs, another announces their return in fine style. Kudos to Eskimo Joe for doing a pub tour to preview their new album, Ghosts Of The Past (out in August). The buzz was big at last Friday's show at the East Brunswick Club, as the Joe fans relished the chance to see them up close and personal. Nothing beats seeing a great band in a small venue. It also gave Howzat! the chance to see our favourite Adelaide artist, Myles Mayo, who was the main support. Myles delivered a wonderful set, though he nervously checked his mobile phone, prepared to dash to the airport and head home to his wife in Adelaide - their first baby is due this week.

"If you're wondering why I'm wearing a sailor's outfit, I bought it in Nashville and I thought it looked good," Mark Lang informed the crowd at Basement Discs. It's the best use of a sailor suit since JPY in the '70s. Who knows what the Skipping Girl Vinegar singer will be wearing on Saturday, when the band launches its second album, Keep Calm, Carry The Monkey, at the Arts Centre's Fairfax Studio. It's Howzat!'s favourite 2011 album and we love the title, too. "It comes from the idea that learning to slow down and focus on what's important will ultimately lead you through the trials and weight of the moment," the band explains. Good advice: Keep Calm, Carry The Monkey.

Havana Brown returns to the Top 10.

We Run The Night DJ HAVANA BROWN (number seven)
From The Music THE POTBELLEEZ (23)

Flowers bloom again, with the re-release of their 1980 debut.

Roy DAMIEN LEITH (number eight)
Icehouse FLOWERS (14, debut)
Rrakala GURRUMUL (19)
The Life of Riley DRAPHT (22)
Birds Of Tokyo BIRDS OF TOKYO (40)

Leave The Party MYLES MAYO

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