Yours & Owls memories: My Little Underground

In the lead-up to Yours & Owls’ 2nd birthday party this weekend, we asked some of the bands playing the three-venue celebration to reflect on their memories of Owls; both as performers, and as regular gig-goers. The first off the rank is My Little Underground, who recently placed third in the UOW band comp and will be playing the Owls venue on Friday night. Guitarist Jonathan Tooke spoke to us about his memories of shows there:

What was your first gig at Yours & Owls?
The Huchi Muchi launch party, 29th of September 2011. Crazy to think that that was under a year ago. Kind of a game changer for us really, in the last year we’ve done a ridiculous number of Owls slots.

What has been the favourite show you’ve played there?
Either that Huchi Muchi launch party or the Thomas Covenant EP launch a couple of weeks ago. Both were fantastic nights, seeing an almost packed crowd each time really get into it was fucking cool and really fun.

Best memory of Owls?
The best memory I have would be a tie between seeing people really get into it at the Huchi Muchi launch and meeting new people there. That Huchi Muchi launch really was the first time we’d had people really react at a gig like that. Meeting new people has been great too, so many people I talk to very regularly I wouldn’t have met without Owls being there. So many bands as well that I’d have no clue about.

What are some highlights of your experience as a gig-goer at Owls?
Either Thomas Covenant at their launch night or Alkan Zeybek and the Lessermen. Two very different gigs, but both great in their own right. Thom Cov was a messy party vibe where everyone was crowd surfing and stuff – so fun. It was a pretty long lineup of bands and everything just kept building until Thom Cov started playing at it was fucking cool. Them ending with ‘You Got A Friend In Me’ too was actually a really great moment. The Alkan Zeybek gig was quite a strange one. It was a long lineup of touring bands, most of which I’d never heard before. We’re on 2nd and Alkan Zeybek and the Lessermen were on first. Playing to roughly 10 people, they fucking ruled. By the 2nd song Alkan, the frontman, had jumped from the top of the Owls stairs and was wiping blood onto the setlist. Also – their EP rules so hard, a CD I actually played into not working anymore.

How do you see Owls’ role in the local music scene?
They are the best live venue to see bands in the area. Without them, I can’t really see the local music scene being anywhere near as strong as it is today. I can’t really overstate it’s importance to local music.

Why do you think they’ve been to successful so far?
The high level of good vibes. Much of what I had heard about the heyday of the Oxford Tavern, the regular band nights and good vibes, has been definitely surpassed by my own experiences at Owls. I haven’t had a bad night there, and it’s the only venue around I can really say that about. Even a night which doesn’t go the best for us will still be a good night because of the people there and the other bands.

What expectations do you have for the birthday party?
I’m just hoping it’s a real big party. For it to be one of those really great Owls nights where everyone is just having the best time. Also, I’m fucking keen for This Mess, I’ve only seen them once before and I was really digging what they’re up to.

What band are you most looking forward to?
A toss up between Let Me Down Jungleman, This Mess and Totally Unicorn. The Jungleman dudes are great guys we get along with really well and they play in a damn cool band so we’re keen to see ‘em. This Mess, as I mentioned before I’ve only seen once before but I’m so keen to hear them again, just the depth at which their songs are written I really like. And Totally Unicorn – one of the best bands in the region and one of the few I haven’t actually seen before. Every night they’re on I had some unavoidable reason I couldn’t go so I’m really really keen for that

If you could buy Owls a birthday present, what would it be?
Real: An owl costume for each of the dudes. Imaginary: A ‘no-fine’ card, preventing the po-po from fining them again.

MLU play the Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party on August 31. The three-venue party will take over Owls, the Town Hall and Fever/Blue Note nightclub, with Totally Unicorn, The Walking Who Step-Panther, Alotta Presha, Let Me Down Jungleman and a dozen more playing throughout the night. For all the details, click here.

DZ Deathrays post album teaser video

Brisbane band DZ Deathrays will be stopping into town in April, as part of their tour to launch debut album ‘Bloodstreams.’ The duo have just posted a teaser/trailer video for the album, which you can check out below.

DZ Deathrays will be joined by 12-piece garage surf act Velociraptor, and locals My Little Underground, for the show at The Patch on April 19. The show will be co-presented by local agency Huchi Muchi.

Check out the Facebook event for more info and pre-sale details.

REVIEW: Huchi Muchi (Chicks Who Love Guns + more) @ Good Jelly

By Amelia Caddy, 24/3/12
It’s official; Globe Lane is the new hotspot in town. The latest addition to the neighbourhood, Good Jelly, opened its doors to music last Saturday for the first time, with a night of post-punk, indie-rock and electronica put on by Huchi Muchi. The hole-in-the-wall exhibition space and gallery proved a more than capable venue, handling even the rebelliously rampant sounds of headliners, Chicks Who Love Guns, who played to a packed house.

With the night’s line-up dominated by indie-rock bands, the glitchy electronic vibes of producer Reactionary (aka Jake Walker) were a little out of place. Nevertheless, having built up a sturdy reputation in the region Reactionary had no problem filling the venue despite being the black sheep of the night. By far the highlight of his set was the neat mashup of video art projected behind him, which gave the whole performance a strangely ethereal feel. As Walker toiled through his simplistic, slinky sounds, mashed visuals of everyone from cartoon characters to explorers flashed across the screen, casting a frenetic light across the riveted faces of his audience.

Local rockers, Basil’s Kite, performed to a crowd of loyal fans. Though from the beginning they lacked the cohesion to make the performance a standout, they quickly got into the rhythm of things; giving the audience a great display of their usual energy that just can’t help but make you feel good. An extremely solid sax player (the young ‘Hodge’) plays a large part in this, his music giving the band its distinctive edge. And also, I mean, who can resist some nice strong sax?

My Little Underground got off to a slightly rocky start too with a broken foot pedal, but after a swift re-group they more than made up for it. Sounding a bit like the love child of Joy Division and Foals, they have an irresistibly catchy sound. Tight drumming, distinctive riffs, and having a singer that sounds like Matthew Murphy without the English accent, is an unbeatable combo. It should be interesting to see where these guys go.

If it’s in the same direction as Chicks Who Love Guns, they’ll be going pretty all right. The five piece Sydney band has shot to local stardom in the past couple of years; their ‘fuck the world’ attitude making them a controversial topic for reviewers who either seem to love them, or hate them. I love them. They somehow manage to produce songs that are so grungy and raw they make you want to quit your day job and down a bottle of bourbon. Lyrics like ‘Everyone I know, they tell me there’ll be others, but everyone I know’s a stupid motherfucker,’ from ‘Run People’ pretty much sum up the image they’re throwing out. But it was their cover of Tyler the Creators song ‘Yonkers’ that won over the audience tonight. The cover that’s gone viral sounds like they have collectively swallowed TTC’s words and vomited them back onto the dance floor, in the best way possible. You know you’ve got a winner when your entire audience sings word-for-word along with you.

See a gallery of pics from the night here (via Good Jelly)

INTERVIEW: No Art

Sydney psych-pop outfit No Art are playing the second Radar Illawarra gig at Yours & Owls this Sunday (see info here), and will be launching their new EP ‘Exotica.’ Vivian from the band took the time to answer a couple of quick introductory questions, to give you a bit of info about the trio before the show.

How did the band start? How long has No Art been together?
The band started in 2009 – initially it was just Trish and I, jamming in her attic bedroom, but we found that guitar and bass was pretty limiting! Ha. So we decided to add a third person into the mix. Luckily we met our drummer Charles, and as soon as the three of us started working together it all fell into place.

What are some of your main influences?
Between the three of us we have quite different tastes in music. I guess to be broad we’re partial to a bit of no wave, shoegaze, John Frusciante (up to you to guess which one of us likes him!)…anything from Can to ESG to Nancy Sinatra. I wouldn’t say we consciously try to incorporate anyone’s sound into No Art’s mix; when we write we do it moreso on feel than trying to emulate any one specific act or genre.

How would you describe your music?
That’s a hard one! I think the best way for you to get an idea though is to have a listen for yourself: http://soundcloud.com/no-art

Tell us a bit about the EP. How long have you been working on it, and where & when did you record?
Well ‘Exotica’ has been a long time coming – it had kind of been ready to go for a year or so previously, but we had to sit on it, for various reasons. I think that it worked out for the best though, as in the interim we were able to tour more, and in that the songs were able to breathe and evolve in a live setting.
We tracked the drums in a studio in Western Sydney, and the rest we laid down in patches in our rehearsal studio/space – because of this we were able to take our time with it, which was a nice luxury.

What can we expect from the EP?
A lot of people have called it a journey of sorts, which I think is fair. We consciously tried to capture feelings of ritual and ceremony, as well as those untamed, unpredictable aspects of nature and environment, that primitiveness. There are passages of more classic song arrangements, as well as some moodier instrumental moments, so it’s a bit of a mixed bag that way.

What can we expect from your live show?
Well for this EP tour we’ve created a projection incorporating found footage that we’ve pieced together, that will play as we do (our video for ‘Epica’ is a pretty good preview). Beyond that I guess we get pretty loud!

No Art play Yours & Owls on Sunday, with My Little Underground and Elliphant. Doors at 6.30pm, $5 entry. Click here for the Facebook event.

RADAR ILLAWARRA presents; No Art, My Little Underground, Elliphant

The first Radar show at Yours & Owls last month was amaaazing, so we’re doing it all again in March.

March 18th, we’ve got incredible Sydney indie act No Art coming down to headline. A mix of noise-pop and psychedelic, they draw from Warpaint & Sonic Youth for a hypnotic, blissful and deep live show. They’ve previously been named ‘feature artist’ by both Triple J and FBI Radio, and have toured all over the place. They will be launching their debut EP ‘Exotica,’ so it’ll be a pretty amazing night. Check out their new video, ‘Epica,’ below.

In support, we’ve got two of Radar’s favourite upcoming local bands. My Little Underground, who just landed a support slot for DZ Deathrays and are readying their debut album, will open the show; while Elliphant will hit the DJ decks between bands.

Entry is just $5; my maths is a little shaky, but that’s like $1.60 per band, a pretty sweet deal by anyone’s standards.

So come down to Yours & Owls, have a drink, see some bands and be a cool dude. RSVP to the Facebook event right here.

RADAR ILLAWARRA presents:
No Art (EP launch)
My Little Underground
Elliphant – DJ set
March 18, Yours & Owls
Facebook event 

RADAR PRESENTS: Huchi Muchi

Now for something a little different.

Huchi Muchi is a new local venture, looking to assist local bands to take the next step in their careers, as well as acting as a networking tool for bands and to “get some cool vibes raging in the Wollongongs.”

And what better way to kick off the venture, than with not one, but TWO sweet launch parties (both presented by Radar!) at the sweetest party venues around; Yours and Owls, and Music Farmers! Smashing the metaphorical champagne bottle on the metaphorical ship that is HUCHI MUCHI at Yours and Owls on September 29 will be Chicks Who Love Guns, Let Me Down Jungleman, Moonbase Commander, My Little Underground and Vulpes Vulpes.

Then the following night, September 30, Music Farmers will score an acoustic launch party featuring Pláces People, Obscura Hail, Missing Children, Nothing Rhymes With David and Sean Curran.

The Owls gig is just $10, with the Music Farmers show only $5; all proceeds go to the bands.

Come along, party, drink some delicious alcohols and beers and then party some more.

Chicks Who Love Guns, Let Me Down Jungleman, Moonbase Commander, My Little Underground, Vulpes Vulpes
September 29
Yours and Owls
8pm, $10 (click for more details)

Pláces People, Obscura Hail, Missing Children, Nothing Rhymes With David, Sean Curran
September 30
Music Farmers
6pm, $5 (click for more details)

My Little Underground release debut EP

My Little Underground are offering their debut EP to fans, free of charge.

Click here to download the self-titled five track release, via their Bandcamp page.

The young four-piece will soon have some news regarding a very sweet little show happening in September… stay tuned to their Facebook page for more details!

 

GIG GUIDE: June 20-26

Quite a bit of stuff happening, gig-wise, this week in Wollongong. Wednesday sees the final show from long-time local favourites Slow Waves (formerly Paper Moon) at the Otis Bar; while NZ reggae-funk-roots group Katchafire headline the UOW end of exams party on Thursday; Blackbear, the solo project of Mother & Son’s Bodie Jarman, releases his demo on Saturday at Yours and Owls; and on the same day, a rare all ages hardcore show at Lake Illawarra PCYC, with old favourites Another Days Remains also playing their final ever show.

 

WEDNESDAY: Slow Waves (final show), Nothing Rhymes With David @ Otis Bar
8pm, 18+

THURSDAY: Shady Nook, My Little Underground @ Wollongong Youth Centre
6pm, free, all ages

THURSDAY: Katchafire, Alotta Presha @ Unibar
8pm, $35 (tickets from Bigtix), 18+

THURSDAY: Southerly Change, Beatmeisters @ Sol Studios
8pm, all ages

FRIDAY: Tokyo Spares, Smitty & B.Goode, Smasheddybash @ Dicey Rileys
9pm, free, 18+

FRIDAY: Nobody Knew They Were Robots, Inside The Exterior, One Time Menace, Heart Set To Fail, Bloodshed Of The Innocent @ The Patch
8pm, $10, 18+

SATURDAY: Justin Frew’s Loose Intentions, Steve Mursic @ Music Farmers
2pm, free, all ages

SATURDAY: Blackbear (demo launch), Keep On Dancin’s, The Vagabond, DJ Honeybear @ Yours and Owls
8pm, $6, 18+

SATURDAY: Another Days Remains (final show), Aftermath, Transitions, Lockdown, Skyward, Get Real @ Lake Illawarra PCYC
5pm, $15, all ages

SATURDAY: Sydonia, Contrive, Elite Element, Troldhaugen @ The Patch
8pm, $12, 18+

INTERVIEW: Rocking Horse

In the leadup to Rocking Horse‘s show at the Soundbreak formal fundraiser tomorrow night, Radar had a quick chat to guitarist Bobby Keys.

Tell us a bit about Rocking Horse
That is a bit of an intimidating question. I’m only one of them. There are seven of us up there, all doing our thing. We’re a family. I think that’s an important thing to know about Rocking Horse.

How long has the band been together?
Christie and I have been playing for two and half years. I guess the name “Rocking Horse” has been around for a lot of that time. I’ll say we became a “band” about 18 months ago when Rory joined us on drums.

You recently added “…and the Baby Dolls” to the name. What’s changed, or been added?
I think the change has been towards making more of a ‘show’ for the people who get out and see us. That has effected a completely different band. We added four new members – Our three backing singers, Margaret, Jamelle, and Taylor, collectively the Baby Dolls, and a new bassist, Mr. Stratton Jackson.

How does that addition change your sound? What does it add?
Completely. We’re a different band playing different songs from what we were a year ago. Less jam more construction. We had the intention of filling out the sound palette a bit more, but three more voices ends up being more than just texture. Everyone’s part really has to be thought about – you have to ask “is what I am doing adding or not?”

What other bands or musicians are the band influenced by?
A lot of American 50s, 60s, 70s R&B, the chart topping stuff from those days. Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin to Bill Withers.

Your Facebook bio lists you as a “conceptual story-telling band”. How much does this story-telling come into your music?
For those who listen very closely, you’ll hear that most every Rocking Horse song is about a character, a collection of thoughts from a new protagonist. They’re all different people, all with different stories. This makes it a little sad when we cull one from the setlist.

What can we expect from a Rocking Horse live show?
A bit of dancing, a lot of colour.. Part of our consideration in changing the name and lineup was that people go to see music, not just to hear music.

You released your EP, ‘Causa Sui,’ in 2010. Tell us a bit about the record
That was early days! It’s folk music. A bit bluesy, rootsy. Growing up, Dad promised he’d fund my first recording session when I joined a ‘real’ band. Two songs on that EP are the result of that promise. I still like it, but it’s not at all in the same vein that our new sound is.

Your Facebook page also lists that you’ll be releasing your debut album sometime this year. Any firm recording/release dates, or album details, locked in so far? 
It’s going to be a five-track EP. We’ve got about eight or nine songs to choose from. It’s very much underway. We’ve had a few meetings with a few different studios. We’re taking the overall tone very seriously this time. Instrumentation, vocals, and mixing are all going to be done at different places. Expect it before September.

What’s on the horizon for Rocking Horse? Any recording/tours coming up in the foreseeable future?
This is quite a timely question – all these ideas are going around right now. I think we’ll be going in to record in around three or four weeks. Once that’s all done we’re planning a release tour – Wollongong, Sydney, Central Coast, Newcastle. Canberra after, if it all goes well.

There’s been quite a few new venues popping up in Wollongong lately, with Otis Bar, Yours & Owls, The Patch and Rydges CBD Bar. What do you think about the new venues appearing in town?
I think it’s great, especially if they’re unique. At the last “State of the Scene” forum, I recall a few people saying that we “don’t need more venues”. That makes a lot of sense, but, I for one love going to see music at venues you can’t play – It’s about diversity. Yours and Owls is great. It’s a circus when someone fits a three-piece band in there. It’d be raucous to get seven of us horses in there.

How do you see the state of music in Wollongong, generally? How is the scene going right now?
There is obviously something not quite right – it seems like every major story or every interview has some kind of reference to the “state” of it all. That constant awareness might be a good sign, though. Every gig I’ve been to for the last three months I’ve had this feeling of ‘doing something right’ for the scene.
I will say, though, there is something that I haven’t heard addressed yet… no one has asked the question “Does Wollongong actually like live music?” Personally, I do like live music in this city, but to make such a commitment to a music scene, you have to consider that maybe people would rather go clubbing or play pokies or whatever. It’s sad, but wasting energy forcing something unwanted is also sad.

What are some of the best and worst things about music in this region?
The best thing? Without a doubt, it’s the quality and enthusiasm of the musos here. There are a bunch of bands around that are intent on playing good music. Just listen to them – My Little Underground, The Pennys, Yardvark, Mother and Son, Tommy M & The Mastersounds, Bec Sandridge, Jack Reilly… that’s just a few off the top of my head. Good music and good people.
The worst thing about the area is the disregard some venues have for the scene. It seems like a venue hosting live music is really just pulling a temporary publicity stunt. It’s going to go well for about four weeks, then they’ll just move along. There’s a level of commitment a venue needs to understand before one day announcing, “Live Music every Thursday!”

What can be changed, or improved, to help support music in Wollongong?
I don’t mean to sound un-fun, but I think everyone needs to show a little responsibility. Support bands should really support the headliners, it’s everyone’s job to bring a crowd and play a good show. Venues should do their research… and give the bands a few more drinks. Go to shows if you want to see them.

Rocking Horse play Rydges CBD Bar on Friday, as part of the Soundbreak formal fundraiser. Tickets are $5, with all proceeds going to the Starlight Foundation. Kicking off at 7pm, the night also hosts The Good God Damned, Pat Arnold and A Cat Named Kesey. For all the details, click here.

WEEKLY PREVIEW: 30th May-5th June

GIG OF THE WEEK:
SATURDAY: Kaleidoscope (EP launch), Dane Overton (EP launch), Vanguard Party, Curious Temple @ Rydges CBD Bar
8pm, free, 18+

Just in case you weren’t aware, the most diverse, most rockin’-est, most free-est, most local gig of the YEAR is going down at Rydges CBD Bar on Saturday. The gig, celebrating the launch of EPs from the stoner-rock dreadlocked dudes of Kaleidoscope, as well as folk/roots singer-songwriter Dane Overton, has steadily been dropping delectable and delicious details since being announced earlier in the year; first, synthesiser-fuelled party animals Vanguard Party were added to the lineup, then the gig was announced to cost the wallet-friendly cost of five bucks. In the last few weeks, the door charge was lowered to the even MORE wallet-friendly price of FREE.
So you’ve really got no excuse to not get to this gig.
Featuring the most diverse lineup you’re likely to see in Wollongong for a while – from indie-pop to folk to psychedelic rock – and some of the region’s finest young talents, as well as celebrating the launch of two fine new releases from Kaleidoscope and Dane Overton, this gig is sure to be one to remember. And, let’s face it; what other venue offers free entry on a Saturday night? Get out and support new local music, and support gigs held at Rydges; it’s a sweet venue that is working hard to offer a venue for Wollongong musicians.
For a taste of what their respective EPs have in store, check out brand new tracks both bands; ‘Vacancy’ by Dane Overton and ‘The Towers’ by Kaleidoscope, both premiered on Radar!

ALSO THIS WEEK:

TUESDAY: Uni band comp @ Unibar
7pm, free, 18+ 

WEDNESDAY: Owl Eyes, Jenny Broke The Window, Jack Reilly @ Otis Bar
8pm, $10, 18+

WEDNESDAY: Places People, Jaime Robbie Reyne (single launch), Gentlemen & Vagabonds @ Harp Hotel
8pm, 18+

WEDNESDAY: Boy & Bear, Jinja Safari, Emma Louise @ Unibar (SOLD OUT)
8pm, 18+

THURSDAY: Tommy M & The Mastersounds, My Little Underground @ Wollongong City Gallery
6pm, free, under 18s only 

THURSDAY: Pez, Maya Jupiter, 360 @ Harp Hotel
8pm, $15, 18+

FRIDAY: Bulldoze All Bowlos, Elephant, Bat Yoghurt @ Dicey Rileys
9pm, free, 18+

SATURDAY: Head-On @ Headlands Hotel, Austinmer
feat. The New Christs, Hoss, The Vee Bees, Nunchukka Superfly, Mother & Son, Bulldoze All Bowlos, Dunhill Blues, The Walking Who
3pm, $15 pre-sale (tickets available here), 18+

SATURDAY: The Jet Boys(Japan),  Topnovil, Rukus, The Scam @ The Patch
5pm, $15, 18+

SATURDAY: The Villains @ Wollongong RSL Club
8pm, free, 18+ 

SATURDAY: Crisis @ Dicey Rileys
8pm, 18+

We’re always happy to help out! If you would like to include an event in Radar’s weekly gig guide, contact:
radar.illawarra@gmail.com

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