Sunday, 24 February 2013

All Tomorrow's Parties - I'll Be Your Mirror Curated by ATP & The Drones: Day 2 Journal

Now then, it’s time for day 2. I must say after a good night sleep I’m really looking forward to today. I noticed at the end of MBV that there were a lot of weary people dragging themselves around. I guess that was the heat. The lovely cleaning lady at our motel left the air conditioning on, so we were welcomed with some luxury. Even the floor was quite comfortable, although I must confess; I do like sleeping at the foot of the bed most of the time!
Today is a little different for me. I’m in my old man's backpack. It’s a better view from his shoulders, too, I must say. We get the same security guard who starts talking to me upon the entrance. He’s talking to me in a way that he thinks I don’t understand him. Wrong. Seems like a nice chap, so I’ll let any potential disdain slide.
As we’re through the entrance, I hear a lot of people whining about the transport. We were quite fortunate last night. Dad’s friend (and a really cool customer) pre-booked a taxi so we were catered for straight away. Easy. Judging by all this complaining, my dad might be right in his theory that people aren't happy unless they’re complaining about something. Anyway, again, I’m digressing. I’ll try not to do that too much.
Cam Butler and The Shadows of Love are first cab off the rank. I have to say that I'm impressed. It’s nice meandering music. It sounds like another band that my old man plays, the Dirty Three, I think their name is, but Cam and the Shadows are a little straighter forward. But straight forward’s good for me. Don’t get me wrong, I dig my Godspeed and that but for this time of the day Cam gets the job done.
I stick my head out and see we’re in the main arena again. It seems a lot cooler than yesterday. That will quell the masses having a whinge. My Disco is pretty great. My first experience of laser lights and it’s a riot! This My Disco lot is a hard bunch to pin down though. That can only be a good thing, accordingly to my old man.
Crime and the City Solution is yet another band my old man has been giving considerable attention to this past four weeks or so. There’s a big dude on the guitar and he has a lot of tattoos. He doesn’t look as scary as those cats from Swans, though. My dad keeps telling me they’re nice guys but I’m not so sure. You know those dreams I wanted about Tex? More like nightmares about Michael Gira.
Anyway, CATCS sound like a good Sunday afternoon band to me. This Simon Bonney character really knows how to sing while the lady on the violin - Bronwyn Adams - really plies her trade with some finesse. Simon must be damn hot up there, though, with his skivvy underlay. 'Six Bells Chime' might just be my new favourite song!
Next thing I know, I’m bouncing around in my old man's backpack. Guessing he’s in a hurry, and it quickly dawns on me as to why. The Stickmen. I think it’s the band he's most looking forward to. That’s all he’s talked about in the last week. It’s driven my mum insane, although she’s also admitted prior to the event that she’s rather smitten with these dudes. After a couple of notes, I have to say that you can throw me in the same boat. These guys are rocking. They play a song called ‘Shoot to Kill’. Wow, really my saucer of cat milk, this. Apparently it’s the first show they’ve played since the nineties, too! My old man’s bobbing up and down in a room that’s emptying by the song. I can dig that though, I start jiving in the backpack, too. It’s fun!
So, why are people clearing out by the song? I think it’s because The Drones have started while The Stickmen are still doing their thing. Again, the old man is going all crazy, rushing back toward the main stage for The Drones.
We find out that Kev Carmody couldn’t make it and Gareth Liddiard (another of my favourites) announces that The Drones will be playing ‘River of Tears’ as a sort of tribute to the man. It’s damn good, too. My old man once again becomes disgruntled as it’s confirmed from a bystander that he’s missed his favourite Drones song, ‘Sitting on the Edge of the Bed Cryin'’. Well, pops, you can’t have your cake and eat it, I think to myself. I see my mum rolling her eyes. Man, she puts up with some petulance from this guy. Still, The Drones are pretty damn hot. Although my old man was sore I wasn’t, as they played my favourite song to finish, ‘I Don’t Ever Want to Change’. I didn’t tell dad, though. Anyway, it still looks as though he’s wigging out to The Stickmen. That’s all he’s telling anyone willing to listen. Saddo.
Fresh air appears to be the call, as we move to the direction of the restaurants on site. I am feeling peckish again, although I’m not really keen on cheesy chips, despite how awesome they tasted yesterday.
I’m not too keen on pizza either but that’s what I get. Ham and pineapple. The ham is a little dry. Mum gives me the leftovers of her cappuccino. Don’t you just love the froth? We hang out here for a while. The ‘rents are shooting the breeze with various associates. It’s cool. I’m glad for the fresh air and all their friends seem really cool. Being little and dare I say it, cute, I attract a bit of attention from the local punters. What can I say? I can’t help my looks, as egotistical as that sounds.

It doesn’t appear that the ‘rents are too keen on Pere Ubu. What can I do? I’m not driving this bus. In any case, my boy and his band are next up. Beasts of Bourbon. My man, Tex Perkins. Kim Salmon’s back too. I like his surname, but that’s just because I like the food. Fancy Feast do a good salmon broth, just for future reference. Anyway, Tex and the boys roll out and start crashing into "The Axeman’s Jazz". Tex is up there all manly, singing about rail works and being a drop out. He’s not moving too much, but what do you expect? Iggy Pop? There’s only one Iggy, folks. No, I’m happy with Tex, his voice is something to be reckoned with it. It’s fierce, but a good fierce. I like the song about living in Yobsville surrounded by asbestos houses. I can kind of relate to that, but don’t tell my dad; he thinks the builders took all the asbestos from our roof!
So the crowd’s thinning. It doesn’t look as packed as yesterday, but from the view of the backpack, I could be wrong. Einst├╝rzende Neubauten is the act closing out the event. I’ve seen a few people wearing their shirts from my various peaks this weekend.
Blixa Bargeld is kind of the epitome of bourgeoisie in an ATP sense. Whatever that means. I like the first song. He’s singing about meeting up in the garden. Well, Blixa, if I wasn’t subject to strictly being a house cat (this trip aside, of course), I’d be there shooting the breeze with you, man. The third song is rocking too. I’m starting to dig this European thing. Four songs in and the ‘rents call it a night. I consider getting a little teenager and start stamping the paws, but what can you do? Fair’s fair, they’ve exposed me to the outer worlds of ATP and for that I have to say I’m thankful.
We leave the premises and there’s more buses than you can poke a stick at. What’s with the complaining earlier? Guys need to chill a little more and enjoy the experience. It’s certainly that. I had a ball. I hope I can come to ATP again. Who knows, maybe ATP can have a pet area where we’re all subject to hanging out listening to some post-rock and feasting on some cat buffet? Now that’s something I’d endure another horrendous plane journey for. Thanks, ATP. You’re the greatest!
By B "BB' K-M

Friday, 22 February 2013

All Tomorrow's Parties - I'll Be Your Mirror Curated by ATP & The Drones: Day 1 Journal

Ever since I was brought into the 'fold', my owner has always waxed lyrical about All Tomorrow's Parties. So much so that when "ATP" announced they were bringing their I’ll Be Your Mirror series over to Australia and more specifically, Melbourne, he insisted I join him and his better half (for all intents and purposes I guess you could call her my mother) for the ride. I was scared, as planes really aren't my thing. I thought to myself, this shit better be worth it.

It doesn't start off too bright, I must say. The guy doesn't even declare me in the hand luggage! Talk about more front than Myer! I'm made to stick it out in the main luggage amid knickers and socks! Poor form on his behalf and let me tell you, if I could use one of those Iphone things, RSPCA would be straight on the case. I'm a forgiving kind of girl, though.

Once we check into the motel (again, I'm ‘concealed’) and settle, we make our way out for breakfast. The leftovers my "dad" gives me after breakfast on Brunswick St. sure do hit the spot. It beat that Science Diet nosh they've been serving me for the last six months. Hash browns and bacon; my sort of combination!

So here we are. The big moment; it’s onward ho to the venue in Altona. As we line-up, they’re searching people’s bags and whatnot. I’m quite worried, considering my old man went all subhuman and tossed me in with his underwear and socks on the plane journey. Plus I'd heard him say that these security guards have a tendency to be quite aggressive in the form of failing anger management and what have you. The only comfort I have is that the ‘rents don’t seem too bothered and seem prepared to play a straight bat with me as the third wheel.

So I stick my head up out of my mum's handbag to see what's going on and the security guard's eyes meet mine. Uh Oh, I thought. He gives a smile and a little stroke and ushers us all through, no problems whatsoever. I guess ATP class themselves as advocates for Animal Rights. I wish they'd educate my old man in that arena. No, seriously, he's not so bad (he feeds me Fancy Feast sometimes!).

The main arena is kind of cool. There’s plenty of room to roam about for a girl like me; however I'm still a bit apprehensive as to whether I'm supposed to be here. The security guard sure did seem nice, though! I do remember my mum saying that I would be subject to her handbag for the festival's duration. I don't mind. As long as I hear some My Bloody Valentine, I'll be happy. I do like those guys!

So out of the two stages we hit what apparently is the smaller one first. I don’t really like dark places but having ‘the ‘rents’ beside me makes it bearable. The sound adds comfort to the scene, too. Strangers From Now On. Not a bad band name, I must say. They deliver a sound that I know the old man would dig and I did hear him wittering on to my mum about comparisons such PJ Harvey jamming with Godflesh. He’s forever doing that, drawing comparisons. I liked the girl’s vocals in this case, so I guess I’ll give him a tap on the shoulder when we get home to get some more PJ on the decks and even find some of this band’s catalogue. I wish I could use Soulseek!

We hit the main arena and God damn, it’s hot! Like almost as hot as that house fire I was in back in the day (that's why I really like my dad, he rescued me, along with my mum, but that's another story for another day).

Sleepy Sun are first up on the big stage (although judging by this heat, there ain't no sun sleeping!). I like their sound, the old man needs to play more of this on a Saturday morning when we’re chilling downstairs in the music room. I like psychedelic music, and sometimes I wish I was shooting the breeze in the ‘60s. Never mind. If this is the standard of music on display this weekend, then I’ll be happy just chilling in mum’s handbag, stifling heat or not!

Thee Oh Sees are next. Quite rocking by the sounds of it, too. I stick my head out and the main man was going pretty mental on guitar. I liked his tattoos, too. I wish my dad would get some ink. I kind of like people with tattoos. Just an observation, which is all I’ve got other than a few different ‘meows’. Sorry, I’m starting to digress. Where were we? Oh yes, Thee Oh Sees. Not bad. I don’t think these sounds fill my living space though. Again, I must bring this up with the old man when we get home. Dude needs to stop playing Neurosis records and start broadening his horizons, methinks.
With all the hot air and lack of air conditioning, I really feel like a snooze. Mum buys me a cold bottle of water which I lick the outside of just to keep the fluids up, but man, the waves of tiredness are really setting in. I guess it was that infamous dreadful flight, huh?

Anyway, I’m almost asleep when this cacophony of noise startles me, kind of like when my dad gets out the cat box to take me to the God damn Vet! The sound is relentless. The end of the world is coming! I take a peak out of mum’s handbag bag and see six guys on stage who all look like they’ve just escaped from prison! It's quite scary sight for a defenseless soul such as me. I’m pretty sure my old man would have them covered if worst comes to worse. Hmm, maybe not. They might the nicest guys in the world? I also have a peep to my right and there is no other than Tex Perkins standing next to us. You're going to ask "how do I know Tex?" Good question: I stumbled across his photo on some linear notes my old man had lying around. "Black Milk", I do believe. Tex's still got it, hasn't he?
Again, digressing. Sorry. Okay. Swans. This is 90 minutes of pure relentless guitar music. I start getting a little woozy after about 45 minutes. I see my dad sporting ear plugs and that he can't take his eyes off the stage. He’s mesmerized. He’s been playing Swans albums all week in anticipation for this so I knew some of the stuff (well two out of the six songs which were released anyway, so I'm told). He was telling me how they were going to be loud (he does talk to me; he probably thinks I don’t know what he’s on about. Same with mum, too). I’m pretty sure Swans are his highlight of ATP so far. They’ll probably be the last band I can hear for the rest of my life. I think my ears have suffered damage as a result.
So Godspeed! You Black Emperor is another band my old man’s been gibbering on about for the best part of three months. Man, they seem like a nursery rhyme compared to Swans. Still, my dad’s been hitting the discography pretty hard so I’m quite familiar with the sounds. He keeps telling me that ‘Moya’ is one of the best representations of post rock and I’m pretty sure they play this song judging by his little bitch squeals. He does that sometimes when he’s excited. My mum was digging, too. A beautiful moment, I’d say. At this stage, I’m getting a bit peckish, though. I can smell the cheesy chips all the way from the other side of the building. A feline’s prerogative.
My old man must read my mind because that’s exactly what he bought himself! I get the leftovers and I have to say, they are the business, especially the left over cheese at the bottom of the box. A bit hard get a hold of with my teeth but patience is a virtue. I was getting a whiff of nicotine through the air, too. Some of my parents’ mates are smoking. I think that’s what it is. Each to their own, though, right?  
When we venture back into the main arena the inspiring sounds from the second stage draw a pale look on my old man’s face. He seems genuinely disgruntled then he starts mumbling profanities about missing The Dead C. Food over sounds. I guess he regrets the cheesy chips. Just quietly, I don't. My mum is probably somewhere in between.
She is looking forward to My Bloody Valentine the most. I am, too. Like I said earlier, they are certainly my cup of tea. They don’t disappoint. I’ve never heard anything sound so rocking and beautiful at the same time. I’m glad my dad gives them a good deal of airspace back at home. I think he knows I like them as much as he does! He's always saying to my mum how ‘To Here Knows When’ is one of the best songs ever written. After hearing it (or I assume I hear the song he’s talking about judging again by his little bitch yelps), I’d agree with him, despite my tenure as a music enthusiast being quite short.
It was a good end to the day, MBV. The taxi ride home’s interesting. There’s an “animals strictly prohibited” sign on the window of the taxi. I have to keep quiet until we arrive back to the motel where my bed awaits. I can't wait for tomorrow. Hopefully I dream about Tex.  

By B "BB" K-M

Day 2 to follow.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Book Feature: Two Weeks With Tom Robbins

From the start of his career right up until now, Tom Robbins has polarised opinion. The main consensus is that you either love him or hate him. After indulging in his works for the first time I’d have to say that I sit somewhere in between.

Two of his more notable works, Still Life With Woodpecker and Jitterbug Perfume, have both occupied space on my ‘to read’ shelf for the last 12 months. When I read an author for the first time I like to read two or three of his/her books straight up; the reasoning behind this is to get a feel for the style, basically.

Robbins’ style is basically defined by the fact that he doesn’t really have one. You know, "the rules are that there are no rules" mantra? That's Tom Robbins, folks. I guess you could see it too ways. 1) He’s a genius; or 2) His almost too smart for his own good. To me art shouldn't be about boundaries. It's seamless. Tom Robbins is not only an artist, but a damn god one at that. Love him or hate him, you can't deny the fact.

Reading various interviews with the elusive man and it's prevalent that contradiction is the focal point of his themes. After reading the two above titles it’s hard to argue the case. Simply put, SLWW was a piece I enjoyed immensely. Really enjoyed. The plot he cobbles together is something quite astonishing. Bomb makers, pyramids, social class distinction. How he comes to draw from such a wide array of things and executes it the way he does is almost a triumph in itself. The writing is brilliant, too. Proper prose.

Jitterbug Perfume draws on similar themes but, in my opinion, the execution doesn't quite reach the heights of its predecessor. I personally think there are a lot of unnecessary moments throughout Jitterbug. In saying that, though, during some of these moments, there are passages where you could almost feel words dripping off the pages. The man can write and indeed, write like no other. It's almost as if he's toying with his readers. It's almost as if Robbins thinks it's too easy to write something more 'user-friendly' in the vein of a Murakami or De Lillo. In context, it's kind of like Mike Patton doing Mr. Bungle instead of Faith No More.

Drawing on various social demographics, Tom Robbins adopts and intertwines fantasy, sexuality, spirituality and mashes it up with a splash of a humour on top. SLWW is certainly a benefactor of this chaotic jumble. Jitterbug, probably not so much, but still, some class it as his finest work. Out of any fiction writer I've read thus far, Robbins presents a spiritual tone like no other.

So I’m two down. You could say it's one-a-piece. If I was to describe Tom Robbins as anything I’d say he’s probably literature’s answer to Lester Bangs. It could be far worse, right?

By Simon K.