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Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - February 20th 2013

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BLOOMING MARVELLOUS
What do you call an indie supergroup? Well, firstly, Van Walker wants to point out that his new outfit, with brother Cal, Liz Stringer and drummer Michael Barclay (Weddings Parties Anything, Paul Kelly's Coloured Girls and Messengers), is not a supergroup, "though Cal does like to wear a cape now and then". When they needed a band name, Van recalls being drunk, sitting around the piano. "I've got this Viz Profanisaurus in my toilet, and after a visit, I returned with three potential band names and everyone agreed on Livingstone Daisies, and it's never really been mentioned again," Van says. "It's slang for attractive knockers that come out in the summer, like the flower."

Initially, the Daisies' debut, Don't Know What Happiness Is (out now on Popboomerang Records), was going to be a vinyl-only release. "We've already recorded two albums," Van reveals, "and the idea was to keep 'em short and sweet to attain the ultimate hi-fidelity on vinyl. There's no doubt vinyl sounds much better than CD, and much, much better than an MP3. And the listener is more committed to vinyl, which I think is important. Plus, you can't roll a joint on an MP3, and only a small one on a CD." Both Daisies albums were recorded at a house in Inverloch. "We're releasing our second one first, to overcome the difficult second album syndrome, and our first one second. So the next one will be our difficult first album!"

This album opens with a classic guitar pop song called Wednesday. Did Van write it because there are no great Wednesday songs in the history of rock? "Where we were living at the time, the bins did go out on Wednesday," he laughs, "and a friend who often dares me to write songs about certain subjects suggested Wednesday. So I took the challenge." The album - which is being launched at the Northcote Social Club on Friday - comes with the message: There are no keyboards on this recording. "That's just a little in-joke," Van explains, "because hardcore guitar bands used to make a point of stating this proudly on their album sleeves back in the day, and Liz plays this fantastic guitar pedal called a POG on the last track that sounds uncannily like an organ. So it was to make that clear - it's actually not a keyboard, it's a guitar!"

Surprisingly, Liz doesn't sing any lead vocals on the album, nor are there any duets. Van also wrote all the songs. "Liz is obviously the best singer around," he says, "and it does seem crazy not to have her singing front and centre. But she sings on every song; we just didn't really think about who was singing what. I guess it would have been cool to mix it up if we did think of ourselves as a supergroup, but we were just having fun doing what we were doing, getting the job done, and the thought never really occurred to us. We also assumed initially that everyone would write songs but it just so happened the first batch were all my songs, but there's no heavy thought to it. Liz is an amazing guitarist and in this group she gets to do lots of leads and stuff, which she doesn't usually do when she's concentrating on the lead vocals."


UP AND ADAM
Sharing the stage with Livingstone Daisies at the Northcote on Friday will be Sydney's most interesting group, The Aerial Maps. The group, featuring former Hummingbirds frontman Simon Holmes, showcases Adam Gibson's spoken word Australiana. "Place names and location are a huge influence," Adam says, "and since I was a kid I have always been keen to try to write about them. The basic theme of The Aerial Maps is trying to articulate a sense of Australia and Australian stories, but to do it in a way that isn't about glib patriotism or overtly nationalistic bullshit; more about a personal connection to landscape and sense of home." Adam met Van Walker through Mick Thomas. "Van's a top bloke and a rare talent. I've also met Michael Barclay, as we've played with Mick Thomas and the Sure Thing a few times, and we've had backstage beers when Weddings Parties Anything were up and running." The latest Aerial Maps' album, The Sunset Park, actually features a song called Beer Glorious Beer. "I'm not a massive drinker," Adam says, "but I find beer is reliable. You know what you're getting, and how much you can drink. If I drink spirits, it can be 'Goodnight, Irene' pretty quickly."


SLAM DUNK
Happy SLAM Day - 23 February. Head to slamrally.org for more info.


CHART WATCH
Grammys glory sees Gotye return to the Top 40.

Lanterns BIRDS OF TOKYO (number seven)
Holdin On FLUME (18)
Somebody That I Used To Know GOTYE (26)
Best Night JUSTICE CREW (34)
What You've Done To Me SAMANTHA JADE (35)

The legendary Russell Morris hits the Top 50, with his blues album, Sharkmouth, leaping 34 spots to 47.

Flume FLUME (number eight)
Armageddon GUY SEBASTIAN (20)
The Sapphires SOUNDTRACK (23)
Making Mirrors GOTYE (24)
The Story So Far KEITH URBAN (25)
Lonerism TAME IMPALA (27)
Pacifica THE PRESETS (35)
The Byron Sessions PETE MURRAY (39)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Wednesday LIVINGSTONE DAISIES
Beer Glorious Beer THE AERIAL MAPS
Leave It To Me BENNY WALKER
Beside You MARK SEYMOUR
Look At Me VAUDEVILLE SMASH

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