“Do you come from a land down under? Where women glow and men plunder?” If you haven’t received third degree burns on Bondi Beach, chances are your knowledge of the land of Oz has been gleaned from a combination of Men At Work, Home and Away, Russell Crowe’s temper and some hazy memories of ‘enthusiastic’ AC/DC renditions one night at karaoke. Now No Now fills in the blanks.
The hottest date in every indie kid’s diary this month was the Essential Festival at the Gaelic Club. Pourquoi? Firstly location, location, location. Sydney may have the appearance of boasting a 4 million strong population spreading out leisurely over beaches gold and warm, but for the pale music-lover, your home begins and ends in Surry Hills. Here in this small but sunny land of milk and honey, you can find half of Sydney’s underground live venues, old-man pubs with $5 steaks, hip cafes groaning with fashion-conscious cool kids, tree-lined streets shading sweet bakeries, second record stores run by nerd-boy music lovers, tiny art galleries run by wackos and always another open invite house party to crash. Naturally, The Gaelic Club resides in the Hills and together with the Metro Theatre in the city and the Enmore Theatre in Newtown, is one of the best-established medium-sized venues we got. Secondly, it was booked by Select Music. In their own words from their website “Well, it’s about artist booking, international touring, events and venue booking.” With help from their solid roster, Select books indie club staple Spectrum as well as Rebel Rebel (the new indie superclub I was talking about last month) so you can bet your last buck Select’ll put on a damn good show. With quality local acts playing two stages, it was a veritable crash course in Indie 101. Now No Now was especially happy to see a all-too-rare appearance from the Redsunband, whose young two-sister-plus-boy dynamic make for scarily good muzak. The festy was headlined by the always impressive Decoder Ring, who’ve been makin’ more waves than a sumo wrestler on a jet ski. Why would a sumo wrestler be riding a jet ski? Well maybe said sumo wrestler just heard the Ring’s newest LP Fractions and was so overwhelmed by the combination of soaring, shimmering vocals, blistering indie-rock guitar noise and enough electronic wanderings to give Radiohead a run for their money, that the sumo wrestler was like, ‘Fuck my life on the mat! It’s time to see the world!’ Everyone in the indie scene knows these guys but the collective had their Big Mainstream Crossover by producing the soundtrack for acclaimed Aussie director Cate Shortland’s debut feature, Somersault, which cleaned up here last year. The emotive, lush, dreamy soundscape saw Decoder Ring winning a converted Australian Film Industry Award (AFI Award, similar to your BAFTAs) for Best Soundtrack, as well as a truckload of others. Following this, Decoder Ring went on tour with the Big Day Out, our biggest national music festival, playing all-new spitfire sets crackling with the energy of rock ‘n’ roll mixed with the dancefloor groove of electro, to the approval of many. They had so much fun doing these sets, they used these new musical ideas to create 2005’s epic Fractions; critics wet their pants, fans’ mouths dropped, the band popped some champers and our friend the sumo wrestler zoomed into a glowing orange sunset. The End.
But the highlight of the day goes, without hesitation, to the untouchable Dappled Cities Fly. Arguably the best band in Australia at present, the art-indie-pop four-piece have been making music since high school, and are (by their own choice) still unsigned after five years on the scene. Their debut album A Smile dropped in 2004 and half of album numero duo was recently recorded in LA (the lads dropped in en route to South by South-West) and are heading back in June to stitch it up. Inventive, magical, scattered, playful and joyous – Dappled Cities Fly are an interweb must-see. But it hasn’t all been Dappled sounds on the agenda for Tim Derricourt, one of two frontmen (Dave Rennick makes up the rest of that equation). Tim recently composed the soundtrack to short film Lovers Dusk by emerging film-maker Danielle Zorbas, who also recently completed the first clip for indie rock kidz, Expatriate, for their blistering two minute track ‘Killer Kat’. Referencing 30s expressionist silent horror, the French New Wave and a sprinkling of Gondry-inspired in-camera trickery, the low budget clip heralds the arrival of an impressive new indie film-maker. Check it out at expatriateband.com.
Keep it real muchachos,