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Aussie artists
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Howzat! Archive - September 22nd 2010

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SUMMER ARRIVES EARLY
Amaya Laucirica's second album is called Early Summer (out October 1 on Departed Sounds). Is that her favourite time of year? "Oh yeah," Amaya says. "I'm over winter." Was this the Difficult Second Album? "No, it was actually quite easy. The songwriting process happened so quickly for this record, I think the momentum of recording the songs quickly worked in our favour." Early Summer follows Amaya's acclaimed debut, 2008's Sugar Lights. "Positive reactions to your record are great and encouraging," she says. "But it didn't really change anything. The next day, I just went back to my day job. The feeling of being catapulted into stardom starts to fade a bit when you're playing shows to 20 people again after five years in the same city."

Amaya grew up in Millicent (population 5000) in South Australia, not far from Dave Graney's hometown of Mount Gambier. Her brother bought her a Cort Acoustic guitar when she was 15 and she's been playing ever since. She moved to Sydney before settling in Melbourne. "We moved to Melbourne for the music, absolutely," she explains. "We do have ideas of moving overseas, but Melbourne is our home base for now."

Did Amaya's Picture At Hanging Rock fascination influence the new album? "Well, I was reading the book while writing the record, and I just loved the whole transcending vibe. I like those kind of stories and albums that suck you in. You have no idea where you're going, but you know you're going to a good place. And I think that boosted my confidence in writing the songs. It taps into something familiar, but you decide in the end what you want to take from it."

Amaya reminds Howzat! of a young Chrissy Amphlett - she's alluring, yet menacing. She laughs when she recounts a favourite description of her sound. "My friend said that my new record sounds like Cat Power meets Sylvia Plath. I thought that was pretty funny." Amaya - who cites The Orbweavers, Gaslight Radio and Lindsay Phillips as her current local faves - recently supported Mark Lanegan on his Australian tour. "It's tough to be the opening act," she says, "as people don't know who you are and they just want Mark Lanegan. At the same time, it's very liberating to play to that kind of audience. Mark is also a great guy, really humble and incredibly kind. I felt very fortunate to have toured with such talented and nice musicians."

Amaya launches Early Summer at the Workers Club on Friday, October 1 with special guest Princess One Point Five.


ALL YOU WANT IS A WEDDING RING
Congratulations to Stephen Cummings who got married last Wednesday night. Stephen and his partner of more than two decades, Kathleen, tied the knot atop a city building, in front of just their two sons and another couple. Stephen spent his honeymoon doing a gig at the Union Hotel in Brunswick.


WAGONS WHEELS ACROSS AMERICA
Henry Wagons' American blitz continues this week, with shows in Chicago, Cincinnati, Minneapolis and New York. Henry scored a rave at melophobe.com for his MusicfestNW gig in Portland, Oregon. Jarrod Dunham called him "an Australian country singer armed with golden country pipes, an ironic moustache, and a bizarre and disarming sense of humor. Musically, the Melbourne native is just good ol' country music, unlikely only in that its genesis is in, that's right, Melbourne. As a performer, though, dude is charismatic as fuck. Dances around the stage like he's Mick Mars, except without a bunch of frizzy-haired douchebag bandmates to back him up. In fact, Wagons has more stage presence all by himself than most full bands I've seen." Henry will be back in Australia in time for his traditional Cup Eve show at the Northcote Social Club.


BEST SECOND YEAR PLAYER

Tobias Cummings' wonderful new album is called A Trophy. The cover features a stack of trophies. But none of them belongs to Tobias. "I won a trophy for debating when I was in Year 7," Tobias reveals. "Nothing after that though - not much of a sportsman, I'm afraid. I had to rely on talented friends for all of those trophies on the cover." Tobias' debut, Join The Dots, scored an AMP nomination, but Tobias is yet to win any music awards. "Always the bridesmaid and never the bride," he laughs. "I figure if I keep scoring nominations, the law of averages dictates that I'll win one eventually."


CHART WATCH
Little Red Rock It into the Top 20.

Plans BIRDS OF TOKYO (number 17)
Rock It LITTLE RED (19)
Choose You STAN WALKER (22)
Freefallin' ZOE BADWI (24)
Love The Fall MICHAEL PAYNTER (28)
Revolution THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO (36)
Addicted BLISS N ESO (39)
Freak Tonight SCARLETT BELLE (40, debut)

And Little Red's acclaimed second album has a Top 5 debut - entering ahead of the new Grinderman release.

Midnight Remember LITTLE RED (number five, debut)
Grinderman 2 GRINDERMAN (nine, debut)
Down The Way ANGUS & JULIA STONE (10)
Running On Air BLISS N ESO (11)
Rage And Ruin JIMMY BARNES (12)
Birds Of Tokyo BIRDS OF TOKYO (13)
I Believe You Liar WASHINGTON (14)
From The Inside Out STAN WALKER (22)
April Uprising THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO (23)
Golden Rule POWDERFINGER (27)
Theory Of Everything CHILDREN COLLIDE (28)
Immersion PENDULUM (32)
It's Gonna Be OK ADAM BRAND (38)
Conditions THE TEMPER TRAP (40)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Sun On My Face AMAYA LAUCIRICA
Wasted SKIPPING GIRL VINEGAR
Busy Bees TOBIAS CUMMINGS
Audacious UNDERMINERS
Love Streams STEPHEN CUMMINGS

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