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Howzat! Archive - January 25th 2012

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"What was that phrase," The Go-Betweens sang 25 years ago, "grace under pressure." None of the members of Animaux was even born back then. But they've got a great new single called Song For Grace. "Grace doesn't refer to a person," singer Alex Lahey reveals, "rather it refers to the elegance with which we wear the consequences of our actions. In the song, grace is what is lost in one's stubbornness. The line 'Sometimes I pretend to know it all, but grace is not where I will fall' was the inspiration for the title." Another line is instructive: "I won't rest until I see it through." Animaux are ambitious. 2011 was a big year for them - releasing their debut EP through Decibels Records and playing more than 50 gigs - but 2012 should be even bigger.

"For me, the highlight of 2011 was getting the call asking if we would like to tour with Stonefield around Victoria," Alex says. "We had been following their success for a while and just admired what they were achieving and the great music they were producing. To have the opportunity to play with them and talk to them about their experience of the Australian music industry was wonderful. They're the nicest group of girls you'll ever meet and we were so lucky to have that time working with them."

The bold and brassy Animaux emerged from Wesley College's impressive music program, which boasts Jack Howard from Hunters and Collectors as one of its teachers. All the band members were part of Peter Foley's big band, which won the national high school championships in Mt Gambier. "The majority of us were also members of Jack Howard's jazz ensembles," Alex explains. "Jack definitely taught us a lot about composition and the songwriting process, as well as what the Australian music industry's like. The combination of Jack's experience and Peter Foley's genius definitely made us capable of achieving what we have as Animaux."

The Animaux sound is fresh, filled with happy horns and diverse influences. "Bill (keys) is a big fan of contemporary pop along the lines of The Reign of Kindo," Alex tells us. "Ollie (tenor sax) is going through a bit of a dubstep phase, Adam (drums) is a die-hard fan of the Foo Fighters, Woolford (trumpet) is a great admirer of the Eagles' vocal harmonies, Will (bass) has a knack for finding incredible contemporary bassists and guitarists on YouTube, while I'm listening to John Coltrane one minute and Kanye West the next. Oh, and Sam (guitar) loves Katy Perry."

Animaux are launching Song For Grace at the Evelyn on Monday, 6 February, followed by a Monday residency. They've also got gigs at the St Kilda Festival, Moomba and Push Over. With their infectious sound, they will become festival favourites, though punters might struggle to pronounce their name. "We've been dubbed 'ani-mox' a fair few times," Alex laughs. "At our very first gig we had a few punters saying they were here to see 'the band that starts with A', or even just pointed to our name on the poster. In case you're wondering, it's pronounced 'an-ee-mo'." Get to know it, 'cause you'll be hearing a lot more of it.

"In the old days, the pubs would say that 200 Reptiles fans would drink as much as 800 fans of other bands," Nick Barker told the packed house at the Wheelers Hill Hotel for the band's comeback gig. The Reptiles are a great bar band, in more ways than one. Friday's set even included a blistering version of one of the classic bar band songs - Georgia Satellites' Keep Your Hands To Yourself. The band also resurrected their hit cover of Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) and revisited their Community Cup-inspired cover of Should I Stay Or Should I Go. It might be 21 years since their second and final album, but these Reptiles still rock. A welcome return.

Triple R has many great shows, but when Howzat! was forced to pick a favourite during the recent Radiothon, we subscribed to LiveWire. We love the Saturday night session, digging the live tunes, the pop culture references and the banter between hosts Pauly P and Genny B. Sadly, Gen is battling cancer, so her buddies have organised "Gen Fest 2012 - A Fun Raiser". It's happening at the Corner on Thursday, 16 February, with Glenn Richards, Davey Lane, Dan Luscombe and many more.

Will So You Think You Can Dance and Australia's Got Talent contestant Timomatic be the first Aussie act to go all the way in 2012?

Set It Off TIMOMATIC (number two)
Don't Worry Be Happy GUY SEBASTIAN (eight)
Good Night REECE MASTIN (15)
Somebody That I Used To Know GOTYE (22)
Boys Like You 360 & GOSSLING (29)

360 hits the Top 10.

Reece Mastin REECE MASTIN (number eight)
Falling & Flying 360 (nine)
Making Mirrors GOTYE (14)
Moonfire BOY & BEAR (16)
Vows KIMBRA (17)
All For You COLD CHISEL (22)

Song For Grace ANIMAUX

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