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Aussie artists
Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - September 7th 2011

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Does spoken word have a place in the music world? Sydney's The Aerial Maps have released an acclaimed second album, with "the Bard of Bondi" Adam Gibson taking us on a trip around the nation in his distinctive Aussie accent, backed by a band featuring Simon Holmes from The Hummingbirds. And now Traralgon's finest songwriter, Danny McDonald, has gone down the spoken word path with his new single, the gloriously nostalgic In Melbourne Tonight (available as a free download at "In recent years, I've become increasingly interested in the lyrical aspect of songwriting," Danny tells Howzat! "I've always tried to capture a strong sense of atmosphere, time and place in my songs, and I felt that the spoken word approach in the verses captured the general aesthetic that I was trying to convey. It's something I plan to explore further with my songwriting."

Danny is a big fan of The Aerial Maps. "I'd be fibbing if I said their debut album (In The Blinding Sunlight) hadn't rubbed off on me. Adam Gibson is a very talented writer, who I really respect." Danny was also inspired by Aussie artist Howard Arkley, having read a book about his life called Not Just A Suburban Boy. "Arkley's ability to conjure such an incredibly accurate representation of Melbourne suburban culture - so intriguing, yet ordinarily dull - is something that has long inspired me and I suppose I was looking to capture a similar sort of ambience through a different medium."

Danny writes of "rattling trams and the smell of the laneway jasmine vines the leafy streets and the dubious weather exotic plants in a concrete courtyard". Despite Melbourne being the song's subject, Danny has spent most of his life about two hours away. "I was born in Gippsland, moved to Melbourne for a couple of years after finishing high school and then returned to Gippsland, settling just east of Traralgon. But my family originally came from Melbourne and we still have strong roots there." Danny refers to a Benson Street house in In Melbourne Tonight. "Wouldn't you love to own it now," he reflects. "It's in Surrey Hills, a beautiful old home that my great grandparents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins lived in for many years up until the late '80s. I have fond memories of family gatherings there. Coincidentally, it's not that far from the Surrey Hills house where Howard Arkley grew up."

The Aerial Maps is an apt name for Adam Gibson's band, because he is looking over the nation, mapping its delights and darkness. As Tony McMahon stated in Inpress, he's "illuminating a dark and mysterious Australian gothic in song". The Aerial Maps are heading to Melbourne next Friday to launch their new album, The Sunset Park (at Bella Union, 16 September). "I love playing live, it's unreal," Adam says. "My father was a big band leader, so my brother and I grew up watching him perform. It never felt like a big deal to get up on stage and perform but now I realise it is a big deal for a lot of people. Sometimes when it's just the bar staff and three drunks who are there to watch the footy, it gets a bit testing, but generally it's fun."

Thunderstruck is the name of an impressive AC/DC tribute band, who played at Billy Slater's 200th game. Thunderstag is the name of the new band for "Big Daddy" Julian James and Ben Meano from The Shine. It's classic Oz rock, with thundering guitars and a nod and a wink. Song titles include Slut Hungry, Hades Ladies and C'mon And Lick It. Thunderstag launch their self-titled album at the Corner on Friday, as part of Wrestlerock. As they say, go hard or go home.

After the controversy surrounding Lionel Richie's appearance at last year's Grand Final replay, it's been great to see the AFL embracing local rock this year. Howzat! would still like to see Paul Kelly at this year's Grand Final, but we're pleased to report that Aussie acts will be part of the finals series. This Sunday, before the mighty Bombers take on Carlton, the crowd will be entertained by Absolutely 80s, featuring Sean Kelly, Scott Carne, Dale Ryder and Bombers fan Brian Mannix.

Gotye spends a fourth week at number one. Two homegrown hits are in the Top 10, but they're the only Aussie entries in the Top 40.

Somebody That I Used To Know GOTYE (number one)
Inescapable JESSICA MAUBOY (six)

Gotye enjoys just a one-week reign on top of the Aussie albums chart, with Adele's 21 returning to number one.

Making Mirrors GOTYE (number three)
White Heat: 30 Hits ICEHOUSE (five, debut)
Yes I Am JACK VIDGEN (six)
Moonfire BOY & BEAR (13)
Rrakala GURRUMUL (14)
Ghosts Of The Past ESKIMO JOE (16)
Only Sparrows JOSH PYKE (18)
Future Shade THE HERD (22, debut)
Like Drawing Blood GOTYE (24)
Get 'Em Girls JESSICA MAUBOY (25)
Smoko At The Pet Food Factory FRENZAL RHOMB (31)
Seeker Lover Keeper SEEKER LOVER KEEPER (32)
Double Platinum THE TEN TENORS (34)
Gurrumul GURRUMUL (38)
The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating THE LIVING END (39)

In Melbourne Tonight DANNY McDONALD

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