By Chris Mineral
Jack Ladder surveyed the scene at Rocksteady Records, Mitchell House, Lonsdale St, CBD.
Blue Poles, his new album was on the shelves. Vinyl. That is what matters. And he was there to launch it.
Cognoscenti, arms folded anticipated a stellar performance. Ladder put on his shades, the Brown Fox turned off his phone. Blue Poles (Barely Dressed Records) has White Flag – anthemic baritone balladry, self deprecation, total clutch cargo chorus, very 30th century.
Ladder had been opening shows for The Killers on their stadium/ arena tour, playing to thousands and thousands of punters. Yet the Rocksteady records show had a raw and real resonance for the Sydney singer.
This was to be a true action performance to a dedicated gathering. Almost a benediction. Au Go Go Records stalwart Pat M was there, with the ensuing posse. Ladder has done a great job producing this most recent album. He once sang with Sharon Van Etten on To Keep And To Be Kept. He has sung at Rocksteady Records.
Blue Poles, Number 11, 1952 is an abstract, expressionist painting by Jackson Pollock that Gough Whitlam and his team purchased in 1973. It produced huge animosity from the Philistines, shall we say. Gough thought that Blue Poles was Pollock’s masterpiece. In this light, Jack Ladder may be at an apogee with his music. The Rocksteady Records show was a more than a charming performance, White Flag being a highlight. The posse comprehended the sublimation of it all.
Tropical lightning, and TFS are ready to roll with their debut album A Laughing Death In Meatspace (TFS Records/Mistletone/Inertia).
Two of their best songs bookend the album. Opening with You Let My Tyres Down and closing with Rubber Bullies. TFS feature members of The Drones and they put in a polished performance at the 10th year celebrations of Simon And Lauren’s radio show Breaking and Entering. When Simon and Lauren were reminiscing before the TFS set they looked like two characters from a John Hughes film.
King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard plucked TFS from the Tote stage and elevated them to a support slot on a recent American tour.
Dual guitar duels bass and drums, TFS play like Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees, hitting lasers into left field, and then hitting it long, high and far gone into right field.
Gareth Lydiard is a major league lyricist and singer, mixing things up very well. Inventive in their song constructions, awesome angular and atonal riffing, Spiderbait-esque in places in its eclecticism. Yet rougher and readier. Some regard TFS as better than the Drones. They have a polarisation factor of 500, not everyone’s cup of tea, all the more reason to listen. Music to listen to whilst driving a speedboat along a mighty river with a Tohatsu outboard motor humming along.
‘cause Gough was tough till he hit the rough
Uncle Sam and John were quite enough
Too much of sunshine too much of sky
Midnight Oil have been recognised by winning the Ted Albert Award For Outstanding Services To Australian Music, 2018. There is a great installation at The Australian Music Vault, Melbourne Arts Centre that with great faith chronicles the trajectory of this great band. Their journey to Central Australia and their respect and recognition of Aboriginal tribes songlines, culture, traditions and relation to country is essential and is discussed.
Midnight Oil would have discovered Gurrumul when they played shows with Yothu Yindi. Gurrumul was from Elcho Island, Arnhem Land, 330 miles east of Darwin.
He was in Saltwater band as well. He sang songs in Gälpu, Gumatj or Djambarrpuynu as well as English. English was his fourth language and he was a reticent interviewee. In the film Gurrumul, when he performs Every Breath You Take with Sting, you realise what an incredible voice and talent the man had.
His song Gurrumul History (I Was Born Blind), won a Deadly Award. He sang Amazing Grace with Paul Kelly. If ever there was an Angelic voice on earth it would be Gurrumul. A very talented musician.
Gurrumul’s Djarimirri (Child Of The Rainbow) Skinnyfish Music/MGM
is available now, presenting a selection of the best of this genius musician.
Gigs / Shows
Sunday Arvos in June – Cherry Bar Blues Sessions, ACDC Lane, CBD
Astral Glamour – 3RRR Mondays 2pm
Brian Jonestown Massacre, Forum Theatre, Melbourne – Thursday, June 14
Black Wax – Adam Rudegair – Monday 11am , 3PBS
British India, 170 Russell, Melbourne – Friday, June 15
Sarah Blasko, 170 Russell, Melbourne – Friday, June 22