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Howzat! Archive - March 30th 2011

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LEAVING HOME
Feel It, the fantastic first single from The Little Stevies' new album, Attention Shoppers, is a song about not over-thinking. "It's about just diving in, head first," says guitarist/bass player Robin Geradts-Gill. "It's something we've been doing more and more lately." Indeed, Attention Shoppers is the sound of a band growing up and leaving home.

The Little Stevies made the album in LA with producer Ethan Allen, who was Daniel Lanois' house engineer, and later worked with Tricky, Ani DiFranco and Tim Finn. "Being independent, we had an indie A&R person put us in touch with a bunch of producers, some in Australia, and some overseas," Robin explains. "We were pretty surprised that so many were keen to work on the project, given we didn't have much money. So after lots of lengthy chats, and hearing all their ideas about the demos, we narrowed it down to Ethan." How did LA influence the record? "Put it this way: Mexican food was to Attention Shoppers what cocaine was to Rumours. We're a pretty happy, smiley band and, certain parts excluded, LA is a very happy, smiley place, so it was a perfect fit."

The Little Stevies have a fine sense of humour. They share management with The Temper Trap, and were keen to call this record "Shampoos", as a companion to that band's Conditions. "Seriously," Robin says, "it got to the point where we were looking to anything for inspiration, especially street signs: 'Fire Hose Reel', 'Keep Left', that sort of thing. In the end it worked - we were walking past a supermarket after one recording session and we saw a sign that said 'Attention Shoppers'. Once we realised the double-meaning, that was it."

In 2006, Howzat! asked The Little Stevies if they'd had a favourite description of the band. They replied: "Like a rich banana cake with hot sticky date pudding syrup dribbled over the top." Have they had a description that's bettered that one? "One female blogger in the US described Robin as 'a tall glass of water' after seeing his silly dancing in the Feel It video."

If you're yet to see the clip for the album's first single, head to YouTube right now. It's a joyously silly romp that manages to both send-up and celebrate dance videos. "We're terrified by music video as an art form," Robin admits. "You get this one chance to show the world what you're like when you're not on stage, and you can make it so interesting or so bland. We always try to make them as interesting as possible - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. My favourite clip would be The Chemical Brothers' Let Forever Be, which Michel Gondry directed. A great local one is Augie March's Cold Acre. And there's this one I remember seeing when I was a teenager, and I have no idea who it was by, or what it's called, but the band was chased out of the studio and around Trafalgar Square by giant letters spelling out the song lyrics. If someone knows who it is, can you post it on our Facebook page?"

The Feel It clip also features a cameo by the Bigger Stevies, which is appropriate because The Little Stevies have inherited much of their talent - Sibylla and Bethany's mum, Sharyn, and Robin's dad, Steve, were in a band called Dove. "They sang kind of cheesy pop in the '70s," Robin smiles, "so, yeah, I guess they were fairly similar. Seriously though, while the music sounds pretty different, they were big into three and four-part harmonies, and that's definitely something we've inherited."

The Little Stevies launch Attention Shoppers with two big shows at the Toff on Saturday and Sunday. They will then return to North America for some summer festivals and this time they hope to visit Little Stevie's Pizza, which is reputedly "the best pizza in Boston". "We nearly went through Boston last time," Robin says. "If we'd remembered Little Stevie's Pizza was there, it might have swayed us!"


BOY IN A BOX COMES OUT TO PLAY
Not only has Boy In A Box delivered Howzat!'s favourite new single - Glitter, Gold, Ruin - he's got another great song, The Warriors, which Channel 10 is using to promote its AFL coverage. 2011 is gonna be a big year for Boy In A Box.


RUBY ROSE
It happens all the time in the movie world, and now The Killjoys have done a sequel to their debut album, Ruby. Twenty-one years later, they're getting set to release Pearl, a new album, which will be packaged with a remastered version of Ruby. The first single, My Old Guitar - a duet with Charles Jenkins - will be launched at the Northcote Social Club on May 13.


BIG MAC
Howzat! caught former Tiltmeter singer Andrew McDonald live last Friday at Wesley Anne. Tiltmeter were a fine, underrated band, and Andrew has now created a glorious solo album. It's out in July.


CHART WATCH
For the first time in six weeks there is an Aussie single in the national Top 20. But just two homegrown hits are in the Top 40.

What Happened To Us JESSICA MAUBOY (number 14)
Friday To Sunday JUSTICE CREW (39)

Sparkadia debut at eight.

The Great Impression SPARKADIA (number eight, debut)
Temptation THE WAIFS (13)
Aftermath HILLSONG UNITED (16)
Down The Way ANGUS & JULIA STONE (19)
The Experiment ART VS. SCIENCE (25)
Birds Of Tokyo BIRDS OF TOKYO (31)
Running On Air BLISS N ESO (35)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Glitter, Gold, Ruin BOY IN A BOX
Accidentally THE LITTLE STEVIES
The Great Collage ANDREW McDONALD
Better Than Leaving TENIELLE
Downlow WAGONS

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