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Howzat! Archive - November 9th 2011

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FUNERAL SONGS
There are many tough gigs in life; singing at a funeral is one of them. Juan Alban has performed at two funerals, for his grandfather and uncle, singing Throw Your Arms Around Me. He has also thought of songs for his own funeral: Gillian Welch's I Dream A Highway, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch's I'll Fly Away, Blind Melon's Sleepyhouse, Ryan Adams' Nightbirds, Devendra Banhart's So Long Old Bean and Fred Neil's Just A Little Bit of Rain. "Might be a long funeral, huh?" Juan smiles.

Juan's new single, A Death In The Family, was written for his partner's grandmother, Philamena, who died in February. "I'd only known her for a year or so, but she was a really lovely lady, very quiet and gentle. I guess having some emotional distance allowed me to observe how people deal with such a loss. When someone passes away at an elderly age there's this sense of peaceful inevitability that you can't help but be moved by. That feeling is really what the song is about." Does writing songs help Juan deal with life? "It certainly distracts me from things in my life. Lyrically, a lot of the new material is concerned with a heightened sense of mortality, which I guess is a symptom of getting older." Triple J's Dom Alessio gave the new single 5/5, saying, "I have a real affinity for melancholic songs and this one is incredibly beautiful." Who is Juan's favourite sad songwriter? "Wow, tough question. I've always gravitated to that type of music, but it'd be hard to go past Elliott Smith."?

A Death In The Family - which features Juan's banjo debut - is the second solo release for the former Epicure singer, following his debut EP, Too Long In Flight. "I find it a little lonely sometimes," Juan says of the solo life. "I miss being in a room with four other people and playing music together. The up side is I can have the songs exactly as I want them. When you play in a band, there's this feeling that everyone has to play on everything, so a song like A Death In The Family may have ended up a lot busier; too busy I think. I really like how sparse it is, the quiet drama. It's harder to achieve that in a band situation. But, yeah, there are pros and cons, for sure." Juan launches the single on Friday at the Empress.


WEDDING SONGS
She was in one of Howzat!'s favourite pop bands, Jane Vs World. He is the singer in The Cheats. And this Friday, on the 11th of the 11th, 2011, Kate Duncan and Julian Tovey tie the knot. It's a match made in music heaven.


MOVIE SONGS
Two Melbourne music identities have made a move into the movie world. The new short film Trepidation, directed by Howzat!'s old Chartbusting 80s buddy Josie Parrelli, stars singer Michael Fenemore, also known as Mav, and former IDGAFF booker Joanna Boyd, also known as Jo Jo. "I met Josie when my band Her Majesty's Finest appeared on CB 80s," Mav explains. "Our paths crossed again a few years later at a play I was appearing in. We both found each other adapting to new career challenges - me acting and producing, and Josie directing and writing." Trepidation, the twisted tale of two strangers meeting at a suburban flat, has become the first Australian production to be picked up by Liverpool's Bling TV. A simultaneous Melbourne and UK premiere is this Friday at 7.30pm at Revolt in Kensington. Despite acclaim for his acting, Mav has not given up music. "I stopped playing for a long time and went through the grieving process of leaving a band," he admits. "But I've been really inspired by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, so I'm going to spend the summer writing an album for digital release in March 2012."


CAR SONGS
They're the band that can't be killed. Sure, they might not be a Rolls Royce. And like the P76, The Fauves might never have been fashionable. Why the car references? Well, the band's 10th album is called Japanese Engines and, as the title suggests, they are reliable and efficient. As other bands break down, The Fauves motor on - with 23 years on the clock. Japanese Engines is launched on Friday at the Northcote Social Club.


CHART WATCH
Two Idols team up for a number 28 debut.

Somebody That I Used To Know GOTYE (number six)
Galaxy JESSICA MAUBOY & STAN WALKER (28, debut)
Get It HAVANA BROWN (39)

Plenty of Finn action in the Top 40.

All For You COLD CHISEL (number five)
Making Mirrors GOTYE (10)
Secret Codes And Battleships DARREN HAYES (15)
Ultimate Hits LEE KERNAGHAN (18)
A Million Suns SHANNON NOLL (20)
Prisoner THE JEZABELS (21)
Falling & Flying 360 (24)
Blue Sky Blue PETE MURRAY (26)
Vows KIMBRA (28)
To The Horses LANIE LANE (30)
They Will Have Their Way VARIOUS (31, debut)
The Acoustic Chapel Sessions JOHN FARNHAM (34)
Forever So HUSKY (37)
The Very Best Of CROWDED HOUSE (39)


HOWZAT! PLAYLIST
A Death In The Family JUAN ALBAN
Don't Say When THE FAUVES
Lo-Fi SOPHIE KOH
Lemon Kicks DESERTERS
Baby Won't You Be My Baby (Tonight)? THE CHEATS

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