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Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - June 27th 2012

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DAN THE MAN
Shane O'Mara is Howzat!'s favourite guitarist. He's a pretty nifty producer, too. Shane tipped us off to Oh Hawke, the new album from Dan Lethbridge, which Shane mixed. As Shane says, "There is much music around these days, too much." But Dan's "deftly crafted" songs grabbed him. "Dan writes a mean tune, sings a mean song, plays a fine Gibson guitar, is one handsome bastard and has made an alluring gem of an album." High praise, indeed.

I have to confess that Oh Hawke didn't immediately grab me. It's not an album that pokes you in the chest. But a mate said, "Stick with it, I think you'll like it after a few plays." Good advice. Oh Hawke (which was recorded in Hawke Street, West Melbourne) is a gentle gem. My initial reluctance had me thinking: How many classic albums have I missed? Pick any one of your favourite albums; chances are, you were a little unsure on first listen. And those albums that you instantly loved? Chances are, you don't play them so much any more. As Dan sings, "The lights may blind our eyes some." But in the era of instant gratification, how many of us give an album a second listen?

The cover of Oh Hawke shows an old analogue TV, which is analogous of the album's contents. These songs are sturdy and reliable. Not throwaway. As Dan sings in Old Jack Frost, "You crave the future, a future filled with things of the past, 'cause those things last." From the undisco-like Saturday Night Fever to the Cat Stevens-like Go Home, this is an album that gently gets under your skin. These songs should be all over the radio, but we don't live in a perfect world. "They build you up just to dumb you down," Dan sings in Make The World Go 'Round, "the radio, it just tells you lies and drags your senses down."

Oh Hawke (out now on Vitamin Records) follows Dan's 2008 debut, Dreamers Of The World Unite. The musical mind can play tricks on you. I'm amazed that I struggled to embrace this record, a record I now love. But as Dan declares in arguably the album's standout song, Day Never Comes: "Regrets and redemption - these things they haunt me/ You try to mend what hurts you, but memories, they never let you/ And lovers, they only linger and then forget you." Dan and Shane O'Mara are playing at Basement Discs on Friday at 12.45pm, and Saturday night at Wesley Anne.


HERTZ LIKE HEAVEN
Appropriately, given the day's theme, many players were cramping as the clocked ticked down to a thrilling draw at the Community Cup. "I'll have a heart attack in a minute," Megahertz fan Linda said, re-enacting the 1966 Grand Final commentary. "I've already had three!" Howzat! replied. With tireless Timmy Rogers starring for the Rock Dogs (has there been a better Rock Dog?), it looked like the Megahertz were headed for another loss, but somehow they rallied. The Community Cup remains the best day on Melbourne's music calendar. The big question for Evo is, with the draw, will we be back at Elsternwick Park next Sunday?


MID-SEASON REPORT
It's been a Voice-led recovery. At this stage last year, just three Aussie singles had cracked the Top 10. This year, we've already had 20 Top 10 hits. For the first six months of 2011, we had just 13 Australian Top 40 hits - this year, we've had 60 homegrown hits (39 of them have been Voice-related). By mid-2011, we'd had a dozen Top 10 Aussie albums; this year, 15 local albums have hit the Top 10, with four chart-topping albums (compared to one for the same period last year).


CHART WATCH
The Voice winner Karise Eden makes chart history, with four of the top five songs, and eight entries in the Top 40.

Stay With Me Baby KARISE EDEN (number one, debut)
Hallelujah KARISE EDEN (two)
I Was Your Girl KARISE EDEN (three, debut)
Beautiful SARAH DE BONO (four, debut)
You Won't Let Me KARISE EDEN (five, debut)
Damage Down DARREN PERCIVAL (eight, debut)
Nothing's Real But Love KARISE EDEN (11)
Landslide KARISE EDEN (15)
For Once In My Life DARREN PERCIVAL (17, debut)
It's A Man's World KARISE EDEN (21)
Sitting On Top Of The World DELTA GOODREM (26)
On Top JOHNNY RUFFO (28, debut)
Shooting Star RACHAEL LEAHCAR (34, debut)
Smile RACHAEL LEAHCAR (34, debut)
Back To Black KARISE EDEN (36, debut)
I Believe DARREN PERCIVAL (37)
Into The Flame EP MATT CORBY (38)
Without You KEITH URBAN (39, debut)

Bieber ends Missy Higgins' two-week reign.

The Story So Far KEITH URBAN (number two)
The Ol' Razzle Dazzle MISSY HIGGINS (three)
Spirit Bird XAVIER RUDD (11)
The Temper Trap THE TEMPER TRAP (15)
Falling & Flying 360 (19)
Get Closer KEITH URBAN (23)
Drinking From The Sun HILLTOP HOODS (33)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Day Never Comes DAN LETHBRIDGE
Nothing On The Go THE FAUVES
Waiting For You EVEN
Glutton LIZ STRINGER
Go Quietly LITTLE SCOUT

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