In 2009 I moved from Perth to Melbourne to explore what the hell happens in music over here. I got lost in this city’s beautiful dark eyes (along with those of some of its inhabitants), and have been here for nearly 5 years. However, after a lot of recent homesickness and the ending of a lease, I’ve got a one-way ticket to Perth in November, and have no set plans for when I will be returning to Melbourne.
Life change! Family! Friends! Beach! Learning about what the hell happens in music over there all over again! Change is wonderful. Before I come to Perth though, I’ll be spending a month housesitting for a friend in Richmond. I imagine it will be a swell time, living all by myself, working on stuffs, thinking about stuffs, planning stuffs, spending quality time with those I’m going to miss.
So with this in mind, mid-pack for heading to Richmond, I’d like to talk about what I will miss about living in Melbourne, the things that kept me here for so long. And by things I mean bands. Musicians. The music etc. It drew me here and it kept me here for ages. I have amassed quite the collection of live music photos, have met some wonderful people, have done and seen some ridiculous things, and a whole bunch of fucking good shows. Permit me for a moment to get all fan girl about my favourite Melbourne based acts.
Bone is a no brainer. They moved over from Perth the same time I did. We were/are buddies. We lived together. I went to their shows religiously. And then we parted ways for a little while, and they wrote some new material, and their shows are fairly rare, but HOLY SHIT it’s a fucking great, loud, grumpy time. Those guys play their fucking things so so good. When their album For Want Of Feeling was released earlier this year, I was listening to it constantly. I drove myself crazy listening to it. I could hear myself in some of the lyrics. I could hear so much. It was intense. It’s really good. Ergh, kill me.
Cuntz (pictured above) are Mike Ward from Bone’s other project, where he swaps the bass for the drumkit. Man. MAN. Cuntz are ridiculous. Weirdo punk I’ve been calling them. They’re a huge joke, but there is so much seriousness within it as well. Firstly, Lewis Hodgeson is a fucking mean shredder, his guitar hooks noisey music fans in to their songs like a big ol’ talented spiked bit of metal with which to catch fish. Ben Mackie is a fucking demon front man, totally irreverent and weird and pissed off and jokey and good time guy. His eyes are crazy sometimes.
I made a film clip for them recently and it was so much fun. I laughed constantly. They just got back from a month long tour of the USA, where they played punk festival Goner Fest (edit: i’ve just been told it’s more garage than punk?). I reckon I’ll interview them in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for that, they’re the best dudes.
Human Grooming are another one of Lewis’ musical projects, with him on vocals. There’s something about these punk guys- both he and Ben have found themselves covered in blood at a couple of shows, they throw themselves around, rolling in glass etc. This project is fairly straight-up furious thrash punk, vocals hardly discernable above the cacophony of noise from this group of music-obsessed boys. Their shows are great. And loud. Always.
The Stevens are a band I met through the Cuntz guys. I’ve pinned them as the cutest band in Melbourne. Sort of slacker vibe, have a sort of Pavement twang to them, singin’ about being young and fucking up and living out of a bag and stuff. I did a photoshoot for them recently, and mannnnnn words connot describe the cute. They’re all very good at what they do for a start, but they’re also goofy, and adorable, and fun loving, and fairly carefree… Alex Macfarlane is the guy to keep an eye on here. He plays in a few other projects, and he’s a whiz producer guy (he recorded both Cuntz albums, among many other things).
Backwards Zombie is another of Alex Macfarlane’s groups, where he fucking screams amongst huge, huge doom metal. They only play once a year. They are fantastic. So satisfying. The second last show I saw them play, at a Cuntz residency at the Tote, a woman walking past was so affected by Alex’s vocals that she dropped her card off at the bar offering him free psychology sessions. I am not sure if he took her up on it. I would have. Free psych sessions are a godsend.
I’m fast running out of room now, so I’ll quickly mention three more.
The music of Lost Animal was played to me over and over at the bar Ben Mackie used to work at. It’s infectious. World-weary-seen-it-all subdued bravado front man steez from Jarrod Quarrell, and Shags is the funkiest fucking bass player you’ve ever seen. Loose the Baby is among my favourite tracks that I’ve heard in the last 12 months. Just listen to the damn song. It’s so good. Pensive. Resigned. Tired. Breezy.
New War are hypnotic and entrancing and driving and I find them immensely inspiring. Vocalist Chris Pugmire recently suggested that I consider singing in a band because I have good taste and interesting things to say. I got giddy, and promptly wrote an aggressively melancholy song. Maybe one day I can play with them arrrrghhh.
Orlando Furious, formerly known as Beiamin Snaath, is the best weirdo I know. We lived together for much of the last year, and his one-man electronic production band is beyond words. He samples things and makes big weird beats and sings big weird lyrics and has this amazing vitality and passion for mysticism and creative expression that I have found so fucking invigorating to be around. “Leaving stages drooling and spluttering amidst a gigantic thick cloud of green smoke” is not wrong. This song is an anomaly but it’s fucking great. Watching him dance is the best, he loves to use his body expressively, all hand gestures and hip swings. I’ve been working on a film clip for a song he wrote about being in love with a lesbian, which should be done soon. He’s going on tour with Kiwi outfit Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing in a month or so, is a pity they can’t afford to get to Perth because I reckon y’all would love it.
Listen to all these things.