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Howzat! Archive - June 26th 2013

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"These are beautiful songs, superbly delivered each and every time." Charles Jenkins is not related to Howzat!, but we respect his music taste, so when he praised The Things She Never Owned, the debut for the intriguingly-named Whtsqr, we had to track down a copy. We discovered that one guy, Guy Morton, is Whtsqr. Originally from Katanning in WA, the sensitive singer-songwriter now calls Melbourne home. He recorded the album with Cameron McKenzie, the guitarist from Howzat!'s all-time favourite band, Horsehead. And he's married to a former Girl Monstar (bass player Damian Child). So why a band name for what is, essentially, a solo project, especially when Guy Morton is a cool name? "I wanted to leave room for other people to also be part of it," he explains, "and I guess I didn't realise how cool my name was until you pointed it out."

"I'd been searching for a name for a while," Guy adds, "and then one day I found my lunch had a sticker on it, describing the kind of bag my sandwich was in. It said 'wht sqr'. That appealed to me, because while a white square is about as simple an image as you can think of, by describing it as a wht sqr you've also made it obscure." Guy admits having an unpronounceable name is risky, but "it's not like there are no precedents - yes, I'm looking at you, Gotye."

Urbanist David Nichols knows his pop. He wrote the brilliant Go-Betweens biography. After hearing Whtsqr, David said: "The songs were so realised, melodic and confident that I started to wonder if this was actually a covers night of covers no one knew." The Things She Never Owned is an evocative title. But Guy denies it's a break-up album. Howzat! thought the fish on the cover meant there are plenty more fish in the sea. But Guy clarifies that "the fish represent those pretty, sparkling things that you yearn for but can't get your hands on. And if you do get your hands on them, they turn into floppy, slimy things - the catching of them ruins what was nice about them in the first place. They are things you can never own."

Most gig-goers will relate to the album's wistful closer, Midnight Souvlaki. Guy imagines finding the girl of his dreams "carving meat off a spit turning 'round". "I lived in Richmond when I was at uni and we'd stumble down Bridge Road to Hollywood Palace for a souvlaki, often at midnight," Guy recalls. The girl is not real, "though I often did ask for extra sauce". Guy launches the album at Bar 303 on Sunday afternoon, with an all-star band: Bob Spencer (Skyhooks, The Angels), Dave Milne (The Zhivagos) and Kevin Hunt and Graham Maddicks (Josie Jason and The Argonauts).

Howzat! was hoping for a Megahertz triumph at the Community Cup, but we'll settle for another heart-stopping draw. Last year, we called Tim Rogers the greatest Rockdog ever. Surely, Stew "Superboot" Farrell can now lay claim to being the greatest Hertz player after slotting the post-siren goal to draw last Sunday's game. Thanks to Evo for again providing the greatest day on the Melbourne music calendar.

The sticker on Aztec's 2011 re-release of the Wendy Saddington & the Copperwine Live album said it all: "Wendy Saddington was one of Australia's finest singers and a highly influential (but sadly under-recorded) musical pioneer." Wendy gave Molly "shivers down my back her voice is unbelievable". She was dubbed "Australia's Lady of Soul". Go-Set hailed her as "The Face of '68", saying "she sings like a white Aretha Franklin, loud, raucous, soulful and gutsy". Some called her "Australia's Janis Joplin". Billy Thorpe introduced her at 2006's Lobby Loyde benefit, saying "she stood toe-to-toe with the guys at the bar". Our good friend Billy Pinnell simply called her "amazing". Wendy was on the bill for Australia's first major rock festival, Ourimbah's "Pilgrimage for Pop" in 1970. She was the first lead singer of Chain; in fact, Wendy suggested the name "Chain" - inspired by Aretha's Chain of Fools. She was a Go-Set writer, even penning their "agony aunt" column, "Wendy Saddington Takes Care of Business". Wendy and Jeff St John were Copperwine's co-lead singers. She also had a solo hit, 1971's Looking Through A Window. Unfortunately, the single and Copperwine live album were her only releases. In 1973, Wendy was part of the cast for the Australian production of Tommy. In the mid-70s, she joined the Hare Krishna movement, becoming known as Gandharvika Dasi. She continued to perform occasionally. Sadly, Wendy died of cancer last Friday.

The Voice dominates but fails to top the charts.

Unchained Melody HARRISON CRAIG (number five)
Heart Hypnotic DELTA GOODREM (seven, debut)
Parachute TIMOMATIC (nine)
Resolution MATT CORBY (11)
Unconditional HARRISON CRAIG (15, debut)
More Than A Dream HARRISON CRAIG (19)
Sheppard EP SHEPPARD (27)
You Raise Me Up HARRISON CRAIG (33)

Yeezus - Australia's country kings conquer Kanye!

The Great Country Songbook TROY CASSAR-DALEY & ADAM HARVEY (number one, debut)
Ice On The Dune EMPIRE OF THE SUN (three, debut)
Departures BERNARD FANNING (four)
Beautiful Noise LEE KERNAGHAN (24)
Sharkmouth RUSSELL MORRIS (28)
Flume FLUME (31)
Steal The Light THE CAT EMPIRE (32)
The Very Best INXS (35)
Destroy & Rebuild RATES (38, debut)

Midnight Souvlaki WHTSQR
Looking Through A Window WENDY SADDINGTON

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