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Howzat! Archive - April 27th 2011

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Popboomerang is one of Howzat!'s favourite labels. How could you not love a label that's home to Skipping Girl Vinegar, Underminers and D. Rogers? The label has compiled a "rarities" compilation, Electric & Eclectic, which they're launching at the Workers Club on Saturday, with Celadore, The Bon Scotts, Underminers, Splurge and Adrian Whitehead. The disc opens with Russell Crawford and Caitlin Harnett's cover of Tom Petty's Straight Into Darkness. "I love Tom Petty," Caitlin says. "Over the last year my boyfriend went through a Tom Petty phase so I was listening to him a lot and my love has grown even stronger." Meanwhile, Caitlin is launching her new EP, All In The Golden Afternoon, at the Edinburgh Castle on Thursday, May 5.

The Popboomerang rarities disc also includes an alternate version of Trouble Man, a song that first appeared on the Underminers' 2010 album, Heart Part Of Your Mind. As always, it's a striking lyric from singer Justin "Hap" Hayward: Lost his wife and lost his kids and, oh well, that's showbiz for Trouble Man. "The person I wrote that about has no idea," Hap says. "That one goes to the grave, I'm afraid. I think it's a song that shows my great love and care for that person." Underminers remain based in Ballarat. When Howzat! was a kid, we lived in a small town called Avoca and visited Ballarat for a day. It was freezing. That memory has stayed with me forever. Does the Ballarat weather drive Hap bananas? "Most of my nervous breakdowns occur in summer, so I start to look at the end of winter with a bit of anxiety. You know where you stand in winter in Ballarat. No one expects a lot from you because they just want to stay in and keep warm. It's familiar and safe to me. I am a bit odd."

The Fauves, the thinking man's sex symbols and pop stars, are gearing up to release not one, but two new albums. And they've also updated "Freedom of speech will not be denied and our website is back online," the home page states. "A message to 'The Man': You will never silence the maverick voice that is The Fauves. Granted, the site hasn't been updated in two years and these days visitors are measured in fractions, but the truth will not be denied." The site also hints at upcoming gigs: "All shows will support Fauveaid and all proceeds derived therefrom will issue directly to our bank accounts."

Speaking of Howzat!'s favourite bands, don't forget that Died Pretty are re-forming for one show only at Cherry Rock on Sunday. Ron Peno will then focus on the release of his debut solo album.

Howzat! asked Tall Buildings drummer Danny Tulen to nominate his three favourite Australian songwriters. "I would have to say Tim Rogers, Grant McLennan and [Knievel's] Wayne Connolly. Hearing their music is comforting to me; sometimes they can be the drunk uncle at a distant relative's wedding and sometimes they're the best friend you never knew you had." The Tall Buildings debut album, Light The Shallows - which they launch at the Grace Darling tomorrow (Thursday) - also sounds familiar and special. "The record is a small take on the little bits of our everyday lives," Danny explains. "It's about 'shining a light' on these things and realising how important they are, and, I guess, how easily they can be overshadowed."

The music business is filled with artists who don't get the success they deserve. Howzat! has fond memories of interviewing Margot Smith in the early '90s, when EMI released her debut album, Sleeping With The Lion, which was produced by Steve Kilbey and Eddie Rayner, and saw her score a Best New Talent nomination at the 1994 ARIAs. Margot did many gigs at the Arcadia in South Yarra, before releasing a second Kilbey-produced album, Taste, in 1998. Her MySpace page recently featured the message: "I am currently living in Sydney and fighting as hard as I can." Sadly, Margot Smith died last week. Steve Kilbey has written a moving tribute at his blog, "Fucking alcohol claims another victim," Steve writes. "I hate alcohol, I hate what it does sad, tragic, inevitable, useless, pointless waste of a rare and fabulous gift. I hope heaven treats ya better than earth."

It's last drinks at The Arthouse. It will be sorely missed. Howzat!'s buddy Julian Agius (from bands such as Colonel Buttfire, Hugo & the Red Room and The Mimps) provides these memories: "We must have done 10 out of our first 20 gigs there ... playing the pinball till all hours, plastering the toilet wall with our stickers. The thing that sticks in my mind probably sums up the spirit of the place. It must have been one of those early-in-the-week 11pm gigs that nobody goes to. We literally played to the guy behind the bar, the band on before us and a backpacker and his old Labrador. We were expecting it to be our last gig there. Most pubs we played were only interested in re-booking you if you brought a crowd. But I got a call the next day from Adam the Arthouse booker. He said the bar guy had told him how much he liked us and he offered us a Friday support spot. It really was a pub that was all about the music."

Glitter, Gold, Ruin BOY IN A BOX
New Blood RON S. PENO

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