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Howzat! Archive - June 30th 2010

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THE DADS ARE ALRIGHT
Clem Bastow recently pondered the pitfalls of an artist being labelled "adult contemporary". "Not because there's anything wrong with it," Clem wrote in Inpress, "after all, the AC category at the ARIAs is regularly the most interesting, but because it must be a bit like being described as having a 'great personality' in the face of the more exciting genres' flashiness." Paul Andrews, the singer in Sydney band Lazy Susan, laughs when his band is called "dad rock", adding, "It would probably be sad if we were still singing about taking drugs and having crushes on girls who look like Joan Baez."

Lazy Susan's fourth album, Places That Made Us, is out on Friday. Yes, it's a grown-up record - there's even a song called Responsibility Of Love, while another track, Ghost, is about trying to avoid ex-lovers - but it's as thrilling as any pop album you'll hear this year. It's funny and heartbreaking, nostalgic and melancholic, with memorable melodies and lines that leap out. "Liberace had a favourite saying," Paul sings, "make sure you're sleeping with whoever's paying." "I have to admit I have no idea if Liberace actually said that," Paul confesses. "I came up with that line and it struck me that it was something he might have said." Paul takes inspiration from anywhere. Recently, he saw a friend write on Facebook that she was having a "James Coburn Weekend", watching his movies on DVD. "What a great idea for a song," Paul thought. "I'm determined to write a song off the back of that: 'I had a James Coburn weekend and a Donald Pleasence night ...'"

Like all the great bands, Lazy Susan has more than one fine songwriter. Guitarist Pete Wilson is Paul's Forster to his McLennan. Coincidentally, The Go-Betweens played their part in the making of the new album. One summer, Paul stood behind violinist Amanda Brown and was transfixed by the "costume marks on her back", which ended up becoming a line on the album's closing song, I Can't Wait. "When we were all at high school and getting into The Go-Betweens, I think we all had crushes on Amanda Brown, am I right?" About seven years ago, Paul wandered off the Hopetoun stage and bumped into Go-Betweens drummer Lindy Morrison. She said: "I'd love you to meet my friend, Amanda Brown." Paul didn't tell Amanda that he'd written a line about her, but he, Pete and then bass player, Duncan Young (who left Lazy Susan to focus on his acting career, appearing in Farscape and Ghost Rider) spent the night drinking with Lindy and Amanda and were later joined by Ronnie Peno. "It was awesome," Paul recalls, "one of the best nights we've had in the band." Paul still occasionally sees Amanda at gigs and "my heart still misses a beat".

Places That Made Us opens with one of Pete's songs, Easy Targets, which is about cryptic crosswords. Pete believes the world is split into two camps - those who do cryptic crosswords and those who don't. Pete does them, Paul doesn't. Once asked who he most admired, Pete replied: "Mick, Keith, Rod Stewart, Phil Ceberano and those people who drive around town in trucks with billboards on the back". His favourite indulgence? "Waxing, rice pudding and Rod Stewart". Pete also contributes the sparkling Don't Get Too Excited, which was inspired by a line uttered by Tony Soprano: "Every day is a gift. But why does it have to be a pair of socks?" Every Lazy Susan album is a gift. For hardcore fans, their debut, 2001's Long Lost, is like Weezer's Pinkerton - it will never be topped. But Places That Made Us comes close. "Dad rock" has never sounded so cool.

HERTZ SO GOOD, REPTILES ROCK AFTER THE SHOW
With a comeback that had Howzat! recalling the 1983 Grand Final, the Megahertz stormed home to win the Community Cup by a point - their first victory since 2005. Surely, this will be enough to save coach Neil Rogers' job? He is believed to have delivered the finest half-time address since Ron Barassi at the 1970 Grand Final. The Megahertz were goalless in the first half, but Patrick Delves inspired the greatest comeback since John Farnham, with Stu Farrell scoring the winning goal with the final kick of the day. Rockdog Nick Barker then delivered a blistering set with his re-formed Reptiles. The gig was a one-off, but it'd be great to see the Reptiles return to their homeground, the Espy, or how 'bout a gig at the Corner?

CHART WATCH
Kylie's new single slips from 14 to 22.

We No Speak Americano YOLANDA BE COOL (number five)
All The Lovers KYLIE MINOGUE (22)
iYiYi CODY SIMPSON (27)
Lying AMY MEREDITH (28)
Unbroken STAN WALKER (30)
Closure SCARLETT BELLE (38, debut)
Baby, I'm Gettin' Better GYROSCOPE (40)

Sia lands at two, while Thirsty Merc arrive outside the Top 10.

We Are Born SIA (number two, debut)
Youngbloods THE AMITY AFFLICTION (six, debut)
Intriguer CROWDED HOUSE (nine)
Mousetrap Heart THIRSTY MERC (14, debut)
Down The Way ANGUS & JULIA STONE (15)
Compass MARK VINCENT (23)
Iron Man 2 AC/DC (26)
Immersion PENDULUM (27)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Don't Get Too Excited LAZY SUSAN
Closer To You REBECCA BARNARD
Avalanche BRITISH INDIA
Your Wedding Day PRINCESS ONE POINT FIVE
(Sure Beats) Goin' To Pieces NICK BARKER AND THE REPTILES

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