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Welcome to Living in the Land of Oz

Howzat! Archive - December 9th 2015

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BLINK, DON'T MISS IT
Things of Stone and Wood has been an apt name for a band that's resilient and built to last, even if it's now a part-time affair as singer Greg Arnold is living in Geneva, where his wife, Helen (yes, the subject of Happy Birthday Helen), has a serious job with the Red Cross. "It's great," Greg says of the Swiss city, "chocolate, fondues, incredible wine and the cows actually wear cow bells." Greg is studying French and a fellow student revealed he owned a couple of TOSAW records, "which was great," Greg smiles, "made me feel like a dead set rock star." Greg was just that in the early '90s when TOSAW's debut album, The Yearning, hit the Top 10. They became a priority for Sony, which proved to be a blessing and a curse. As they made their second album, Junk Theatre, it was as if Tom Petty was providing the soundtrack: "Their A&R man said, 'I don't hear a single '" It was a fraught time and, in the end, a major label fuck-up, with the band exiting Sony after just two albums - both of which hit the Top 10. Two decades on, what are Greg's memories? "I was just so lost in my own head that I couldn't really see what was happening until it had all happened," he admits. "I find that guy - me in 1994 - unknowable and I kind of dragged the band down into my weird little world." But Greg remains justifiably proud of Junk Theatre, which was actually packed with fine radio songs. "But mostly," he laughs, "I'm confused as to why I was so self-absorbed. Still, a self-absorbed singer-songwriter ... you never see that, right?" In the "shell-shocked aftermath", Greg wrote one of the happiest songs of all time, Blink, "a great big optimism pill". It's a lost pop classic. "I was just sick of all things earnest," Greg says, "particularly myself." After TOSAW's triumphant 25th anniversary tour in 2014, they're doing just one gig this year - at Memo Music Hall on Friday, 18 Dec. Greg then returns to Europe, where he's doing his first German tour in January. "It'll be fun to see if anyone remembers Share This Wine from our one week in the German charts in 1993!"


WHITE CHRISTMAS
Andy White has written a song for refugees called Dignity, which his buddy Peter Gabriel shared on SoundCloud, leading to 2500 plays in a day. After touring Canada, Andy is doing a free gig at the Yarra Hotel on Friday, 11 Dec. He's selling Dignity for $5, with all proceeds to the Refugee and Immigration Law Centre.


HOT LINE
"'Cause lately, everything's so heavy" - Things of Stone and Wood, Blink.


CHART WATCH
No homegrown hits in the Top 10.

The Trouble With Us MARCUS MARR & CHET FAKER (number 11)
Stone CYRUS (12)
Fire And The Flood VANCE JOY (16)
Alive SIA (23)
Who You Lovin CONRAD SEWELL (24)
Black & Blue GUY SEBASTIAN (25)
Start Again CONRAD SEWELL (28)
Nothing Matters JESS & MATT (29, debut)

Got him not quite! The 12th Man is unable to knock off Adele. Meanwhile, the soundtrack to the upcoming Molly mini-series has a Top 20 debut.

The Very Best Of Richie THE 12TH MAN (number four, debut)
Kylie Christmas KYLIE MINOGUE (nine)
The Christmas Album HUMAN NATURE (10)
Dream Your Life Away VANCE JOY (12)
Eleven TINA ARENA (14)
Our Christmas Wish THE TEN TENORS (16)
Currents TAME IMPALA (17)
Molly VARIOUS ARTISTS (18, debut)
Triple J Like A Version Vol. 11 VARIOUS (24)
All I Know CONRAD SEWELL (26)
Sounds Good Feels Good 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER (31)
Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit COURTNEY BARNETT (32)
Harvey's Bar ADAM HARVEY (33)
The Perfect Crime COLD CHISEL (34)
Let The Ocean Take Me THE AMITY AFFLICTION (35)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
Dignity ANDY WHITE
Everyone You Ever Knew (Is Coming Back To Haunt You) LO CARMEN
Fat Cats THE BEAN PROJECT
The Race OH PEP!
Blink THINGS OF STONE AND WOOD

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