Thursday, January 28, 2010
A) Blue Tile Lounge, 95 Smith Street, 8:00pm-9:30pm. The Minpins then Kieran P. West (The Strange Attractions). Free!
B) Curtin Bandroom, 29 Lygon Street, 9:45pm-12:30am. The mighty Mesa Cosa then Scott and Charleen's Wedding then NIGHTMASTER. $10 with a free copy of Nightmaster's Tiger EP.
(Coming Soon on YISBLOG: Australia Day Eve shots by the amazing Jez Haywood, VIC/ACT/NSW Easter Tour arrangements (including a gargantuan Good Friday Eve show at Yah Yahs) and hopefully some new songs.)
Monday, January 25, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Mix one and a half cups of plain flour and a teaspoon of salt with enough water to form the consistency of double cream. You can also add a beaten egg (which I omit for obvious reasons).
Chuck in a couple of handfuls of mixed shredded vegetables (I use red cabbage, wombok, carrot, spring onion and fresh shitake mushrooms, but you can add squid and prawns and whatever else dead beast you fancy).
Coat the bottom of a frypan with a fitted lid (well, any frypan will do, but if you don't have one with a fitted lid you'll need to find a lid from a similar sized vessel to use) with oil (I use rice bran oil, but anything flavourless will do, like peanut or sunflower, but not olive oil) and heat over high flame.
Add batter, even out, cover with lid and cook for 7 or 8 minutes, checking every so often to make sure the bottom is not getting too dark. If it is, turn the heat down. Flip pancake and cook for another 7 or 8 minutes. It generally takes about 15 minutes all up for flour to cook out. Bear in mind I do everything by sight, so if this stuffs up, you can blame my refusal to measure anything.
Anyway, once the pancake is cooked, stick it on a plate and cover liberally with Japanese mayo (I like mixing wasabi in it, so long as it's real wasabi and not that artificial lurid coloured shit), tonkatsu sauce, bonito shavings (which I also omit for obvious reasons, and should be shaved fresh, but if that isn't possible the pre-shaved stuff from Asian grocers is acceptable) and shredded nori.
Wash down with copious amounts of plum wine and/or sake and/or Japanese beer.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
I can't even remember the first time I went there, but a time that sticks out the most is when a slightly-underage member of a band that I may or may not be in tried to get into The Tote a few weeks before his 18th. It was the Guitar Wolf tribute night (after the passing of Bass Wolf), featuring Mach Pelican and Rocket Science, who were his favourite band at the time and hadn't played in a long time (and wouldn't for a while after that, due to Roman's brain injuries), and hence, this was an unmissable gig. We got there unusually early (as we were paranoid about not getting in), and the doors weren't even open yet. We ended up starting a pool game and getting hustled by a large African man who claimed he "owned the table". We didn't argue. We were pretty nervous about the whole thing. We both paid and got stamped and were just past the door when the lady said "wait a second, have you guys got ID". I did, but my companion accidentally "left his ID in Bendigo". We got a refund and slunk out. I backed into the roo-bar a ute whilst trying to get out of my parking space. We then went and watched DIG! at the cinema and cried into our popcorn. So, er, kids, don't try this because it doesn't work and it ends in tears. LITERALLY.
A few months later we came back in an official capacity; The Screaming Pigeons (which consisted of myself, Andre and our younger brother Matthew) organised a show on a Tuesday night. Thankfully at that time The Tote did allow underaged band members when accompanied by a parent or guardian, so, we got to play. It was a pretty massive deal for us; I'd played in a few bands before and the only gigs I'd played previously were at a Frankston school fete and South Yarra backyard and this was THE TOTE, ffs. We were on first in front of about 20 people and we spent the rest of the evening with stunned looks on our faces. We all hung around way too late and were pretty bleary-eyed when we had to go to school the next morning. I'm sure Matt would have been the coolest kid in Year 9 if any of his classmates actually knew what The Tote was.
I've been lucky enough to play there again a few times, even headlining once or twice when I played with Push Button Auto. YIS were lucky enough to be able to do our first Live Mixtape show in the Front Bar a couple of months back (pictured below, with more pictures here), and got to play our second proper gig up in Cobra bar (pictured below, with more pictures here). We got the confirmation that we'd be headlining there in February only a week or so before we'd hear the news that they were shutting up shop for good.
As a spectator, I've seen some great gigs there. The one that sticks out in my mind most recently is probably Eddy Current in a packed Cobra Bar (after Teengenerate supported by Spencer P Jones, Kim Salmon and The Onyas), where Brendan practically did the whole gig whilst crowdsurfing. An insane mess of sweaty people. Bron's favourites were the New Year's shows with Guitar Wolf and Dead Moon, and an early Datsuns gig where Dolf spent a large amount of time swinging from the rafters. Evidently most great gigs at The Tote involved people swinging from things. This seemed to happen often when The Meanies played.
In a way, I'm sad that The Tote is gone, but I'm thankful that it's managed to stay open for as long as it has since it was set to close in 2008. I know that Melbourne will not be the same without it, but hopefully it's loss will serve as an example. It's sad that one of the very few times I've seen lines out the door was when it was announced it was closing for good, considering how amazing some of the shows I've seen there have been. Live music doesn't end with The Tote; there's fantastic things happening almost every night in this city. If you want to honour it's memory, go see something.
I hope to see many of you this afternoon and this evening. If you weren't lucky enough to get tickets, it'll be streaming live on RRR and PBS from 8pm.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
"The night before a day off for something or other, three surprises take a ride at Pony. The dirty half-dozen that is (Chris Smith’s) Bad Orchestra rumble thru a Morriconian garage stomp ala Link Ray, with all the sleeze that that implies. After proving their worth in a series of mixtape shows at The Tote, showing their unhealthy obsession with the Stooges and Gun Club, YIS crank up their vintage gear with the energy of the young Iguana intact. Baptism Of Uzi have set their sights mow down any who step before their psycho-surfo-billy guitar machine-drum attack!" Doors at 9pm, $7.
(We might have one more band on the bill who's been displaced by The Tote closure. Stay tuned. I guess we'll be on at either 10pm or 11pm)
All three of us were lucky enough to get tickets for tomorrow's farewell show. See you there, I hope. Especially if you are a Chow.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Ever since I first heard Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" I've become a little obsessed with things missing in music; little pieces cut out to make the whole more powerful, or to highlight certain things within a song. "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" is the sound of a band pulling back and looking inwards; everything isn't layed out for you. Not everything is there all the time. Not all the arrangements are the most "classic" or satisfying as they could be in the way that a traditional musical climax is satisfying. Not everything is "pretty", even though it's a beautiful record. It's music that you're not sure you like but can't stop listening to until you're obsessed with it. New layers reveal themselves over a number of listens. Patience is rewarded, and although things might seem spontaneous or experimental, everything on that album is deliberate and sculpted to be just so.
It's an amazing album. I sometimes get a bit cynical about music; that one time back in 2005 where I described a gig as "amazing" to some friends they couldn't believe it. I seldom describe anything as "amazing" as I think it's a word that thrown around a little too much. Sometimes when it's a while since I've seen or heard something where "amazing" is appropriate, my stance softens a bit and I sometimes start to say some things are "pretty good" or even "excellent"... and then bands like Spoon come out and make music of such genius that reminds me of the true definition of the word "amazing".
Soundwise, I think a good counterpoint to the new album "Transference" is Grizzly Bear's "Veckatimist"; where as Grizzly Bear is soaked in reverb and sounds full no matter what number or combination of instruments are being played at once, Spoon's sound is dry and sparse; this isn't a big wash of sound; it's jagged little pieces that all sit in their own sonic realm. You can hear the gaps. I love the little touches on this album; the abrupt fadeouts or cuts at the ends of songs, the way the echo on Britt Daniel's vocals doesn't trail off nicely but just stops mid-decay. The way that they mix fidelities within songs, either abruptly transitioning between Britt's home recordings and full studio production, or with piano spilling over the gaps.
There's very few bands who make "pop" music today that are brave enough to make these choices. Spoon are a band who stand high above most, and the worst thing about it (as a musician) is how casually brilliant it is. There isn't anything on this album that could be described as "busy"; the playing is economical and the sound is distinctly Spoon.
Transference is out today in Australia. Go and buy it.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
We're also looking to do the East Coast of our own country in April: Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle and The Gong. Anyone looking to play shows over the Easter weekend should get in touch as well.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
MONDAY, JANUARY 25th, 2010 (Australia Day Eve), PONY, Melbourne, 8PM
Nothing else needs to be said apart from THAT WAS UTTER MAYHEM....everything from here was a bit of a blur...