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Howzat! Archive - March 28th 2012

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HERE COMES THE REYNE AGAIN
"To the myriad of golden opportunities I failed to recognise" - James Reyne, Capsize

Regrets? He's had a few. But as he sings on his new album, Thirteen (out now on Hammerhead Records through MGM), James Reyne doesn't "sweat 'em". And it seems to be paying off. Capsize has been added to MMM, he's playing at the Boogie festival and, most importantly, Thirteen - which comes 25 years after his solo debut - is as good as any of his solo albums.

"Capsize is me getting older and wiser - and smarter, I hope," says James, who's playing at Trak on Friday with Daryl Braithwaite. "People say you should never have any regrets, but sometimes you can't help it. Sometimes I think of the things I could have been doing if I hadn't been such a dickhead." "You couldn't save me from myself," he sings. "But then, if I'd done all those things, maybe I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. And I'm very happy now."

"Here's to wailing at the world, and the benefit of my two-pennies worth."

Thirteen - which is James' 13th album - is his most adventurous record yet. The first half is classic Reyne: memorable melodies and razor-sharp wordplay. And then the album takes a strange detour. Australian Crawl was Howzat!'s favourite band when we were growing up. Our all-time favourite band is Horsehead. The two bands collide on The P.A.'s P.A., with an enormous guitar sound courtesy of Horsehead's Scotty Kingman, who is now James' producer. "That riff is all Scott," James smiles. The song itself is styled on Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee, with James recalling an appearance on the Channel 10 morning show co-hosted by his brother, David. James wasn't expecting any special treatment, but he encountered "a mustering maiden", a studio P.A. with attitude. "Girls with a clipboard," James laughs, "you see them everywhere and this one had serious attitude. Dealing with us seemed to be just so beneath her." "Came to push us around with no other thought than of her fool job."

The P.A.'s P.A. is followed by I Could Have Been Your Dad, Son, an incongruous mix of country, rap and disco. Strangely, it works. Then the album concludes with a savage spoken-word piece, Tijuana Bibles, of which Dave Graney would be proud.
James shoots down an unnamed rock journalist, "some sad, rusty, ornery, moose-knuckling dilettante scribbler so grotesque and misshapen and irrelevant". James thought about having it as track one, but it was suggested he might want "to lull people into the album and not freak them out too early". The words "spurted out" after James saw the writer link a rock star's depression to a fall from grace. As for Thirteen, I'm not sure you can call it a remarkable return, because I guess James Reyne has never really been away. But this is the sound of a songwriter at the top of his game. One of the year's best.


BEN LEE HAS GOT A WEIRD DICK
If you've ever dreamed of seeing Ben Lee naked, you should check out Slideshow of Wieners: A Love Story (on YouTube now). Like Ben's latest album, this short film - directed by Ben's wife, Ione Skye, and starring Selma Blair - is a sweet meditation on dreams and love. It's also a look at the perverse world of the internet and Chatroulette, with Ben playing the "guitar guy with the weird dick".


CORYPALOOZA
Is there a record for the most bands played in on the one stage in the one night? For his 40th birthday on Friday, Cory O'Bryan decided to re-form every band he's ever played in for a massive gig. It's not called the Workers Club for no reason - Cory will be playing in Airhorn, Interstater, Gudgeon, Mo Black and Hedge. Five bands, five riders and five sets of groupies good luck, Cory!


FOR DUCK'S SAKE
For as long as Howzat! can remember, Laurie Levy has been campaigning against duck shooting. Laurie also has a music link - he was a rock photographer in the '60s, working with many great acts, including the Masters Apprentices. Adding his voice to Laurie's campaign is The Fauves frontman Andrew Cox. "And what capital sport it is," Coxy wrote in The Age last week. "Blowing defenceless creatures from the sky and standing splay-legged over the broken carcasses in quiet triumph."


WEDDINGS WAGONS ANYTHING
It's not every week that you appear on the Conan show and get married by not one, but two Elvis Presleys in Vegas congratulations to Henry Wagons and his new Brisbane Lions bride, Mel "Melvis" Crawford (ex-Gaslight and Aztec Music).


CHART WATCH
Just one Aussie hit in the Top 10.

Boys Like You 360 & GOSSLING (number eight)
Into The Flame EP MATT CORBY (12)
Set It Off TIMOMATIC (23)
I Love It HILLTOP HOODS & SIA (28)
100% No Modern Talking EP KNIFE PARTY (34)

Hilltop Hoods spend a second week on top.

Drinking From The Sun HILLTOP HOODS (number one)
Falling & Flying 360 (10)
Gold Watch HOODOO GURUS (15, debut)
Country Proud McALISTER KEMP (18, debut)
Home TROY CASSAR-DALEY (23)
Vows KIMBRA (24)
Making Mirrors GOTYE (30)
Moonfire BOY & BEAR (32)
All For You COLD CHISEL (39)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Tijuana Bibles JAMES REYNE
The Preacher JULITHA RYAN
Crocodile ALEKS AND THE RAMPS
Behind Every Door JACK HOWARD
5678! BUTTERFLY BOUCHER

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