Saturday, March 02, 2013

The Red Parrot - The Attic Tapes
(Bands from Perth, Australia)

The Red Parrot

There has been a lot of interest amongst some of the ancient Perth alternative music community about the Red Parrot Reunion

The Red Parrot was the place to be seen (or should that be scene?) in Perth in the early to mid 1980's. It was cetainly my fave club from my younger days.

I'm living in Brisbane now and won't be making the trek to Perth for this occasion, but many (most?) of my old buddies already have their tickets, so I hope you all have a fun night. Here's some appropriate local band history for you.

If my memory serves me right, these recordings were made at The Red Parrot over two nights, Thursday 15th and Friday 16th May, 1986.

As well as being the best night club in Perth (in my experience), it supported the local original music scene at a time when most pubs were only allowing cover bands to play. See the Kno Matter track "Playing Covers" for an obvious reference to this phenomenon. The Red Parrot was also the venue where many national and international bands played.

I still haven't had the time to break these tracks up, so here you have side A and side B of the cassette. The track listing is:-

The Red Parrot - The Attic Tapes

Side A
The Holy Rollers - Afraid
Homecoming - Compromise
The Waltons - My Husband Beats Me
The Moment - G Dead
The Marigolds - Down By The River

Side B

Erol H Tout - The Sound Of Swimming
Kno Matter - Playing Covers
Greenhouse Effect - Rhyme Without Reason
The Kryptonics - Trapped Inside

The Attic Tapes
(this is the link to a zip file containing a song from all of the bands listed above)

Do you like these tunes? Then why not support the artists by buying some music. Check out these links:-

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Robben Ford Masterclass

Robben Ford in masterclass action

The QUT lecture theatre was half filled with about 150 blokes, mostly baby boomers, waiting to see and hear blues and jazz guitar legend Robben Ford. Some were carrying guitars, maybe unaware of the format of the master class or hoping to jam with their hero.

With his much larger than life image projected on the wall behind, Robben Ford proved to be a friendly, interesting and interested focal point who invited everyone to ask questions any time throughout the 2.5 hours of music and conversation. The questions were a bit slow coming at first, perhaps as befits a lecture theatre.

The evening began with a few of Robben’s recollections of famous musicians he has played with, including several funny anecdotes regarding Miles Davis, whose manner of “pep talk” included “play that James Brown shit ... dee dee dee dee dee”. That experience apparently gave Robben, and possibly some of the audience, a different perspective on thinking about and playing guitar.

He was constantly putting down and picking up an Epiphone semi acoustic guitar, using it to demonstrate a musical concept, to embellish a story or to play a scale or two. There were a couple of short instruction pieces, initially with Robben playing solo, something which he said still freaks him out to this day.

The audience slowly grew braver and started asking questions, which brought recommendations to learn guitar chords, Mickey Baker’s chord book taught Robben all he knows; to consider different ways of thinking about the guitar and song writing, such as presented in books like “Zen Guitar” by Philip Toshio Sudo and “Tunesmith” by the famous composer Jimmy Webb.

But it was when jamming with other musicians that Robben, and most of the audience, seemed to have the most fun, initially featuring local jazz guitar hero Jim Kelly, with the two guitarists taking turns trading blues licks. Throughout the night we would be treated to a selection of Ford originals and some interpretations of other artists’ songs.

There were more questions and short conversations about song writing, favourite albums, bootleg copies of live shows, inspiration, perspiration and what the most important things are to learn to become a better guitar player. Two things emphasised were to “learn the chords” and to play with nerve and courage.

The evening ended with Robben once again joined on guitar by Jim Kelly and event presenter, Craig “Guitar Brother” Claxton, jamming on a couple more blues numbers before the requisite autograph signing session.

This article was previously published in the October 12th edition of Rave Magazine.

Friday, August 14, 2009

RIP Les Paul

Les Paul in his home studio

Les Paul was a true original and was one of western culture's most influential men during the second half of the twentieth century.

In 1941, Les Paul invented the electric guitar. This enabled the guitar to be amplified and to rise above the sound of the other instruments. This paved the way for rock 'n' roll and through to music as we know it today.

In 1952 Les Paul helped the Gibson company to create and produce the Les Paul model guitar which takes his name and is arguably the world's most popular guitar. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005.

Les Paul was also a celebrated and popular guitar player with a string of top selling albums and number one hits.

He was one of the first musicians to experiment with multi-track playing and recording. Les Paul invented machines which would go on to be become guitar effects (sold in pedal form today) such as echo, delay and reverberation.

He also created a multi tape-head device which was the forerunner to multitrack recorders, the foundation of the music recording industry.

Les Paul remained an active musician throughout his life and up until his last months, releasing an album in 2005 and up until very recently he played every week at a New York jazz club.

In 2008 Les Paul was honored as the 2008 American Music Master by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s annual series.

On August 13, 2009 at age 94, Les Paul, guitarist and inventor, died of complications from pneumonia.

He left quite a legacy.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Furia Sound Festival


The Furia Sound Festival was held on the weekend on the outskirts of Paris and we attended the ROCK 'N' ROLL (in the small tent in the corner) day on Sunday.

It was a very strange festival because in one little corner, in an old circus tent, there were some influential and rocking bands playing, which I will discuss soon, but on the two main stages there were some very wimpy and boring folk and pop bands ... it was nothing in comparison to the musical consistency one tends to get with the festivals in Australia such as Splendour In The Grass and The Big Day Out or even Homebake.

Mogwai play Furia Sound Festival

But any festival which features Mogwai (who were the only decent band to be presented on either of the main stages) and Mono can't be all bad, so we bought our tickets a month or so in advance and made the 40 minute train ride from the centre of Paris to the festival site outside of Paris in Cergy-Pontoise.

Unfortunately we spent the morning checking out the Elles exhibition at Georges Pompidou Centre, it being the first Sunday of the month and the galleries across Paris open for free, so we arrived too late to catch the set by Torche.

As we arrived Mono were starting their sound check, which gave me time to buy some tickets for beer, and beer, and to secure a place not too far from the stage.

Mono play Furia Sound Festival 2009

We last saw Mono in Paris only a few months ago, only a few weeks after we first arrived, so it seemed appropriate that we should again see Mono only a few weeks before leaving Paris. This set was similar to the show at Glazart, with many tracks from their new album Hymn to the Immortal Wind, which they are still touring, but the set at Furia was much shorter at about 50 minutes.

Mono play classical influenced Post Rock and don't stray far from this genre, but especially in the live setting they are a formidable experience. It was strange to see (and hear) the band play live it a circus tent on a hot and sweaty Sunday afternoon with the summer sun streaming in behind us.

And what is it about Mono that attracts people chatting noisily and inanely and cheering at the wrong moments? I'm not sure if they don't understand the music or just have low attention spans? Either way, Mono opened the festival (for us) on a high and even though their set was short, it was still strong. As usual, there was no crowd interaction from the band, but the music spoke volumes.

Mono play Furia Sound Festival

There was some time until the next band we were interested in seeing came on, so we went for a walk around the festival site to see and hear what was happening. I have decided not to discuss the groups which I didn't like ... as my grandmother always told me "if you can't say anything nice about someone, then don't say anything at all". Needless to say, there was a lot of music that didn't ring my bell, so i'm not saying anything at all.

Isis @ Furia Sound Festival

Isis aren't a band I was familar with, but I really enjoyed their set which was an interesting mix of metal and hard rock, with some shouty vocals thrown in. The Isis quintet often provided a brutal assault of three heavily distorted guitars along with their heavy rhythm section.

I particularly liked the aluminium guitar one of them was using ... and can only assume the sustain such a guitar would create helped produce the huge sound the band achieved ... and further research, and the similarity between the guitar headstocks, suggests they were all playing Electrical Guitar Company guitars. Either way, they were well cool!!

There were even some nice melodic moments amongst the mayhem of the music, although I think the group of lads in front of us preferred it when the band went off, especially during the particularly shouty moments, which they played quite often.

Isis play Furia Sound Festival

One of the guys was shifting between guitar and keyboards, so there were some shifts in the sound with some psychedelic undertones helping to add flavour to the metal main course.

I really enjoyed Isis, it's always great to find new music to listen to, especially at a festival. Sadly we had another wait until any decent music was due to play.

So we wandered off in search of beer and food. The french are particularly useless at providing food for vegetarians at the best of times, but we thought "this is a music festival, surely there will be a few options for vegies?". Nope! There were chips, which had already sold out. There was a baked potato with butter, but the queue was huge, probably full of veggies looking for something to eat, and they were hell expensive. That was it!!?? No felafel!? No cheese crepes!? No cheese panini!? No nothin'!

At similar types of festivals in Australia there are copious amounts of choice for veggies. France lived up to its reputation here. Luckily there was still beer, albeit in small plastic cups. "It's all going in my blogg" I complained as I continued the vain search for food ... and now it has.

Next time we will take our own food, that explains why there were so many people picnicing there.

After the vain search for food, we were torn between watching Suicidal Tendencies in the ROCK! tent or Gossip on the main stage.

We decided to see what the Gossip hoohah was all about, but whilst waiting on the hill for Gossip to start, they were the only band to come on late throughout the day, we heard an almighty hardcore racquet from our favourite corner of the festival and decided to check that out.

Dillinger Escape Plan play Furia Sound Festival 2009

We found Dillinger Escape Plan were playing early and caught a few songs from their very energetic set. These guys were constantly moving around the stage, up on the monitors, bouncing around each other, even crowd surfing and playing guitar at the same time and were very hardcore.

But Gossip were also meant to be playing, and they have been getting a lot of press here in Paris recently. Also I like what they stand for, they're a queer band, screwing with people's perceptions of body image, playing a mix of rock and disco ....

Gossip play Furia Sound Festival

Sadly the hype didn't live up to the reality. They were playing what to my ears was a bland mix of disco and soul. Sure, Beth Ditto has a strong voice, but so does Mariah Carey, it doesn't make her any less boring. A local french magazine Snatch featured an article on the band where they were compared to Christina Aguilera ... and I think I agree with him.

And why do Gossip have a fourth member (the bass player) who is never represented in their media coverage? It was time to wander back to catch the end of the set by Dillinger Escape Plan, much more fun!

Mogwai play Furia Sound Festival 2009

The moment Dillinger Escape Plan ended we rushed over to the second main stage for the band we had been most anticipating, Mogwai. It has been far too many years since we have been in the same city as Mogwai, the last time was in Sydney in October 2002! That night they played with ... and You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead ... man! that was some gig! And way before I even started this blog, which seems to have existed forever.

This time we were second row!!

Mogwai opened with Auto Rock from their kick ass Mr Beast album. From there they just took everything a notch higher. The sound from Mogwai is always huge, but they also have almost silent moments ... at one stage the only sound was from Stuart Braithwait gently caressing the neck of his guitar, producing a gentle bowing sound not too dissimilar to an ebow. The rest of the band were silent. The entire crowd was silent, as if holding its breath. I whispered to Elizabeth to look at how he was playing the guitar to create this sound ... suddenly the band burst back into life, louder than ever before! What a moment!

Mogwai play Furia Sound Festival 2009

Mogwai are considered by many to be at the fore of the Post Rock movement, but to my ears they manage to continue to evolve whilst remaining primarily within the instrumental genre. Their set tonight was too short to prove this point, the band finished with Batcat from their latest album The Hawk Is Howling ... again they were only on stage for 50 minutes and the time flew by far too quickly.

But while trying to take a photo of the stage after their set finished I managed to score one of the band's plectrums, which will be an appropriate memento of a guitar based group I have admired for over 11 years now, being lucky enough to stumble across their track Tracy on the January 1998 issue of Total Guitar magazine.

Mogwai at Furia Sound Festival

Suicidal Tendencies were playing in the corner circus tent, but sadly by this stage it was time to join the queue for the navette back to the train station and on to the (after) midnight train back to Paris.

It was a friendly festival, great fun in one corner of the festival, fairly well organised apart from the complete lack of veggie food. I got my "Furia" plastic beer cup and Mogwai plectrum momentos for the day, and lots of good memories.

Do you like these tunes? Then why not support the artists by buying some music. Check out these links:-

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Arkitekts

The Arkitekts @ La Fête de la Musique, Paris

The Arkitekts are a French independent rock/pop trio who formed in the middle of November 2003.

But their musical roots go back to the 1990s when front man on guitar and vocals David Law and drummer Vortex shared the stage in the group Flyshoes, who played about 300 concerts in France.

With the addition of Tom Bass on bass guitar and keyboard (often played at the same time!) to complete the trio, The Arkitekts play an interesting mix of slightly goth, slightly grunge, slightly psychadelic, slightly epic guitar rock ... maybe think The Doors meet Bauhaus downstairs at an avante-blues jam in a prog rock squat.

I caught The Arkitekts playing at La Fête de la Musique and enjoyed their set thoroughly, probably spending an hour of the evening enjoying their tunes ... I even bought the CD, Parfums du Silence.

One of the things I enjoyed about their live set was the utilisation of two microphones by David Law, one was connected directly into their PA, but the other microphone was first passed through a delay (or reverb?) effect pedal which enabled the vocalist to create some unique and cavernous vocal sounds. It is certainly a nice little trick I will be experimenting with when I get back home to my collection of musical toys.

The Arkitekts still playing hours later @ La Fête de la Musique, Paris

Also Tom Bass’ uncanny ability to play both bass guitar and keyboards at the same time helped to add several layers of sound to the mix

The band were entertaining and really tight and created a huge sound for a three piece, with a mix of soft and hard rock sounds, often used to build tension within the songs. There was also a regular group of onlookers enjoying their set at La Fête de la Musique.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Ring My Bell

The Triffids (featuring Rob Snarski) at the Perth International Arts Festival

This blog has been a labour of love and loath for over four and a half years now. It is always a time consuming process to manage the posts, researching bands or contemplating gigs, choosing and uploading photographs and writing the posts.

In that time Something Old, Something New has received over half a million hits, a (small) number of thoughtful emails and comments, an equally small number of emails and comments slightly less thoughtful, far too many emails with nothing to do with music or what is posted here and a handful of downright rude emails and comments. This is my blog and I choose which comments are posted.

Writing this blog also enabled me to purchase tickets to The Triffids show at PIAF after they had sold out, thanks to Mr Graham Lee.

But apart from that I haven't received anything for the many hundreds of hours which this blog has consumed ... all by my choice I admit.

Recently I received a rude and nasty email deriding the quality and composition of the gig photographs taken by me and posted here, referring specifically to The Triffids PIAF event.

A day or so later I was advised that one of the very same photographs were shortlisted to appear in the online tourist guide Schmap.

I have had a number of other photographs taken around the world published in Schmap, but it was nice to receive some recognition for the blog content, particularly in the light of the amount of negative and neutral responses generally received.

This photograph has since been accepted and published in the Schmap guide ... it's here if you're interested.

January 2010 will be the fifth anniversary of this blog and most likely also it's demise.

It appears that most visitors are only in search of free music, and the tracks which I post are usually rare and always very short lived ... many of the emails I have received are requests for the re-posting of songs ... if you missed it the first time around, then it's too late, too bad. I'm more about posting information on and links to the bands than their music. And that's another reason for taking a step away.

Something Old, Something New will remain online as an archive of links and references, particularly for some old bands from Perth which otherwise have no online presence, but there won't be any additional posts.

In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying the music which rocks my world. There's still some life in the old boy yet, but the tinnitus is setting in.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Jesus Lizard V's Sunn O))) V's Men Without Pants @ Villette Sonique, Paris

Villette Sonique 2009

Villette Sonique is an annual music event in Paris aimed showcasing new and old Rock, Pop and Electro artists ... this blurb is from their website

Will Future in music pass by a return to primitive instincts? These days, everybody speaks about tribalism, tropicalism and the new sound sensations quest. Villette Sonique 2009 takes place right in this mutation with a line up out of the usual musical boundaries. Following a breathtaking 2008 edition with rare bands performing amazing concerts (Devo, Shellac, Throbbing Gristle), this year’s leitmotiv is an unstoppable metronome.

We caught the opening night in the Grand Halle which was a bit of a rock all-sorts evening.

Men Without Pants at Villette Sonique

Men Without Pants were playing as we arrived, purported to be a "supergroup" composed of Dan The Automater (Gorillaz) and Russel Simmins (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion).

The live band only featured Russel Simmins. I love JSBX, they are a favourite live experience (especially when Jon Spencer is on fire with his "Elvis meets Jerry Lee via the bastard soul of a satanically possessed southern preacher man" persona) but Men Without Pants had none of that attitude. Simmins is a great drummer, but there were only a few interesting songs, and there was little interaction with the crowd. Russel Simins just walked off stage as soon as he had finished drumming for the last track without even acknowledging the crowd, or the rest of the group who were still doing their thing. They certainly weren't a supergroup, go and see Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

Sunn O))) at Villette Sonique

I have seen Sunn O))) before and know what to expect from their performance ... lots of extremely distorted, slowly strummed, heavily sustained chords, lots of smoke and the sartorial splendour of a medieval monk. That was exactly what we got.

Tonight SUNN O))) were performing The GrimmRobe Demos, but to my ears it wasn't that different to the gig I saw in Brisbane when they were touring Altar, an album they recorded and toured with Boris.

There was much smoke, much raised fists and slow punching of the air, much slow sustained, distorted chords, much more smoke, much holding guitars aloft to increase the grace bestowed upon them by their god of sustained, distorted chords, much more smoke ... and robes with hoods.

Sunn O))) are a bit of a joke for me ... a Jim Carrey type of joke with only one facet; he pulls "funny" faces; they play slowly strummed, heavily sustained, majorly distorted chords. I get it. I like the guitar sound but after 15 minutes it gets a bit dull. And they have all the stage presence of watching a fire without the flame. They were even booed after the set finished, although there were many fans with fists aloft at the front of the stage who seemed (un)happy enough.

The Jesus Lizard at Villette Sonique

Then The Jesus Lizard took to the stage as a part of their current reunion tour. Opening with a diatribe on the crappiness of the first two bands, which I didn't completely disagree with, they then proceeded to tear the venue apart.

There was much stage diving, crowd surfing and spitting, and that was just from front man David Yow ... the audience joined in too. The power and energy from the stage was palpable.

Microphones were destroyed, kids kept invading the stage, sweat, spit and beer covered the stage, bodies leapt and were passed over one another, and still the music threatened and pounded.

The Jesus Lizard were the saving band of the night. Go and see them on their reunion tour.

Do you like these tunes? Then why not support the artists by buying some music. Check out these links:-