“We played your song to John Lee Hooker, and he liked it”Matt Taylor remembers being told.
In 1971 Sunbury, tried to deliver a concert like Woodstock, but apart from being an outdoor concert, the two had little in common and most sources will confer that theirs was a ‘Love-in’ and ours was a ‘Drink-on’; yet for $1 you could enjoy Chain and Phil Manning blowing the breeze with cool blues and sweet guitar. Decades later they are together in Chain, playing in St Kilda at MEMO, just doing their stuff…living music.
Chain is like a Classic Harley Davidson, it doesn’t grow old but rather more impressive. I don’t doubt that the crowd on Friday night were just as alive to the music as they could ever have been. The artists ability hadn’t dimmed nor had their creativity faded, they were effortless, clean sound welded together with musical precision . They are not an old band regurgitating one hit wonders, this is a band of genuine artists perfecting their craft.
There was a mixed crowd of those that grew up with the music and younger folk that were new to it.
“It’s not an age thing man, you love them for their music and like them because they are good at their music”Josh (20something)
Matt Taylors relaxed and inviting stage presence between songs gave the night an unexpected charm. The session closed with ‘I remember when I was young’ and it set the crowd alight.
An A+ Melbourne band, Fulton Street is Smooth, Smart and Sophisticated. The purple Vinyl spins throughout the day, filling the lazy Sunday with a rich ambience. This band is beyond an emerging band of young musicians, as the finished quality of their sound begs disbelief.
FULTON STREET interview with Shannen Wick; Lead Singer.
I started Fulton Street in 2012 with our drummer, Daniel. We studied Indonesian language together at Monash Univeristy, and it wasn’t until we were forced to work together on a group assignment that we both discovered we had a passion for music. After smashing an oral exam, we decided to start a band. We placed ads up all around campus, asking for anyone to join our soul/funk outfit. It was another 6 months before we had found a crew that was committed to our idea of writing and performing originals. Soon, we were being booked for gigs but we didn’t have a band name. Our then saxophonist, Hanna suggested that we name ourselves Fulton Street – the name of the street we rehearsed on every Monday night for about 4 years.
We’ve been influenced for many years now by the sounds of Daptone Records – Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, Charles Bradley, Menahan Street Band, Budos Band, etc. Recently, we’ve discovered the amazing artists coming out of Colemine Records too. Locally, our musical heroes include: The Bamboos, Cookin’ On 3 Burners, The Putbacks and The Meltdown. We’re very lucky to have worked with and even been taught by some of these local legends!
Both sides of my family are claiming I get my voice from them, haha. My whole family loves to sing. We have a couple of guitarists in the family too. Music has always been apart of my life ever since I can remember, but apart from my great-uncle, no one has pursued a career in music – except for me.
‘Check Yourself’ was written during the US elections, 2016. At the time, I was seeing and hearing a lot about migrant family separation, and the disturbing impact of displacement and alienation faced by those affected children. Jamie and I wanted to write a song, urging future generations to take complete ownership of their race, skin colour, religious beliefs, etc. We wanted to challenge everyone to let go of their judgments for a better future.
I feel that young people are not often listened to and are often underrepresented. If you think about the current political climate, how many young voices do you see or hear? It’s a shame – I think young people have a lot to offer in terms of fresh new ideas, and helping us move forward in this ever-changing world.
Are you happy with the Album? MP
We’re super happy with the release! We’ve learnt a lot from our first ‘soul baby’ and Ivan Khatchoyan (Cookin’ On 3 Burners, The Traffic) was an amazing mentor and producer throughout the whole process. Our next single has already been tracked, but that won’t be released for a little while yet. We’re still enjoying the ride that ‘Problems & Pain’ is taking us on.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? MP It’s crazy how fast the last 6 years have gone! I’m hoping that in 5 years time, Fulton Street will still be playing, continuing to develop our sound and stage performance, writing and releasing music, and touring!
What are some of the challenges that you have faced? MP I manage Fulton Street. I book our gigs. I write our songs. I’m also the front lady. I never studied Business, Events or Music. So, there are always new challenges I’m faced with in the running of the band! But it’s all a big learning curve, and I am a huge believer in that you ‘learn by doing.’ The guys are always supportive. Thankfully, we also have a lot of musician friends and mentors who have guided us and given us advice when we’ve needed it! Fulton Street is quite a large group. There can be anywhere between 7 to 12 people involved in our live shows. We all juggle study, work, rehearsal and other gig commitments. But at the end of the day, we all make the band our priority, and I think that’s why we work so well. We’re in a niche little market in terms of the soul/funk scene. There’s not a huge demand for it. But at the end of the day, if we write music with a positive social message and give our 110% onstage, people will take notice.
Are you planning a tour, local or o/seas?MP We’d love to do a regional and interstate tour, so hopefully we can get that happening in the next few months. I think our long-term goal would be to head overseas for recording and touring.
You played Fed Square on New Years, how did that come about and what was the night like? MP Multicultural Arts Victoria contacted us about playing Federation Square for New Years Eve, 2017. The atmosphere on that night was incredible. We’d finish playing a song and the cheers from the audience would just wash over the stage in waves. It is definitely a show and NYE we’ll never forget.
Era’s pass but genuine Artist’s don’t. Russell Morris’s Music career took off in the 70’s, a politically volatile time of change and youth culture that was spurned on by the Vietnam War. A heartfelt era funnelled through substandard audio; AM radios, record players and cassettes stuffed into dashboards of Holden station-wagons. Pub gigs offered the opportunity for audiences to hear the complete sound and this has not changed. A live gig can make or break a band and Morris hasn’t lost it, in fact he continues to perfect his craft.
On Saturday night at the MEMO music hall, in St Kilda, that was at capacity. A great venue but beware of the nocturnal parking inspectors. Morris was backed by a very funky blues band, the Three Kings that kicked off a the show with a flawless performance that engaged the crowd.
Morris and his band performed their latest work with the Classics. Presently Morris is digging into the roots of our nation whist his earlier work transcended the earthly bonds. Both are distinctively Morris but predictively it was the Sweet, Sweet Love; Wings of an Eagle and The Real Thing that got the crowd to their feet.
Originally it was ‘The Real Thing’ that morphed Morris from Blues Man to Soul Man with the lyrics from Johnny Young and the vision of Molly Meldrum, an Aussie trilogy that blended into a huge hit and became the sound track of the 70’s.
The hit extended beyond our shores to New York and inspired a generation. Young may not have reached his potential heights, but his work soared through Morris to become a classic. Morris found his way and wrote into the hearts of his audience with the Bloodstone Album that included; ‘Wings of an Eagle’ and ‘Sweet, Sweet Love’ and led him into Australia’s ‘Hall of Fame’; archived and ready to be picked up for generations to come.
As a historical twist Russell had offered ‘Sweet , Sweet Love’ to Johnny Farnham but he knocked it back due to the chorus delay, it seems that fate had smiled on Morris and he made it his own. Hits rained on Morris, the type that can stand the test of time. Authenticity and passion distinguished the language of his art, it was unique and distinctive then and remains so today.
Australian jazz and soul legend, Renee Geyer has maintained a career that has spanned over 40 years. Her resonating voice has withstood the revolving door of the season and carved itself into a shaft of solid talent. She sprouted in the days of Countdown under the wing of Mollie Meldrum, when Australian Music was finding itself in the awkward 70’s. Since then she has performed with Joe Cocker, Stevie Wonder and Caka Kahn.
‘Heading in the Right Direction’ was the cornerstone of her International rise in R & B circles despite her Australian origin. Her powerful raspy sound demanded renown and in 2005 Geyer was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame.
‘Renée Geyer had started out a sensual blues belter. Now she has evolved into a bona fide music icon’
Norman Gunstan interview Geyer at end of act
The further one digs into the Artist’s rise, Melbourne’s musical roots are unearthed and reveal its early adolescence. The heavily populated music scene that is bursting through the internet daily has replaced the sleepy town that waited a week to watch 30 minutes of Countdown on the ABC, for the latest music news.
The unbridled talent of the local star walks hand-in hand with her controversial mentions in the news, from careless driving to public tantrums, she is a formidable Melbourne force.
Josh, one of our new music reviewer’s arrived to a full house at the Tote in Collingwood on the weekend, for the launch of Ferla’s new album Guilt Pop / Stay Posi.
‘It was packed, nearly overflowing, an Indie rock sound, a bit electronic; in the genre of Sticky Fingers. The crowd was ‘very alive’ and tuned in; mostly hipsters. ‘
Giuliano Ferla. hit the high notes easily whist being supported by a band that infused his mood, the synthesiser player engaged the audience with a complex construct of layered chords, one on a keyboard and synth on the other. Ocean Party, and dewy garage Girlatones. were the supporting bands and Loose Tooth DJs spun the tunes for the night.
Ferla engaged with the audience and explained the development of the lyrics with personal insights.
“Imagine your life as if you wanted nothing at all.”
It was a great evening, showcasing a talent that has arrived after a many performances, a terrific line-up and an evening that engaged the respect of the audience.
“There was a great vibe.” Josh
“If its on spotify its definitely going in my collection.”
On a mild Winter weekend, Melbourne’s Music elite came together to honour the songs of Bob Dylan before a full house at the Memo in St Kilda. Friday night was dedicated to acoustic Bob and on Saturday night, it was electric Bob.
The ‘All-Star’ back up band, consisting of Benny Franz, Stephen Hadley, Ben Wiesner , and Shane O’Mara , melted seamlessly into each other, but it was guitar legend O’Mara that stole the night with his stella performance. It was a group of musicians fit for the honoured legend himself.
Who is Bob Dylan? Songwriter, Poet or Prophet; Jew or Christian? His lyrics resonated with the crowd that held resolute with dignified appreciation of the words and the artists. Loud talkers were quickly hushed.
Come gather ’round people Wherever you roam And admit that the waters Around you have grown And accept it that soon You’ll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you Is worth savin’ Then you better start swimmin’ Or you’ll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin’. Come writers and critics Who prophesize with your pen And keep your eyes wide The chance won’t come again And don’t speak too soon For the wheel’s still in spin And there’s no tellin’ who That it’s namin’. For the loser now Will be later to win For the times they are a-changin’. Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call Don’t stand in the doorway Don’t block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be he who has stalled There’s a battle outside And it is ragin’. It’ll soon shake your windows And rattle your walls For the times they are a-changin’. Come mothers and fathers Throughout the land And don’t criticize What you can’t understand Your sons and your daughters Are beyond your command Your old road is Rapidly agin’. Please get out of the new one If you can’t lend your hand For the times they are a-changin’. The line it is drawn The curse it is cast The slow one now Will later be fast As the present now Will later be past The order is Rapidly fadin’. And the first one now Will later be last For the times they are a-changin’.
Each vocalist made his songs their own and each captivated the audience. Liz Stringer was haunting, almost gothic as her lone figure shone in the darkness etching the words and reaching into the void. Song-bird Lisa Miller was mesmerizing and thrust the show forward, her talent is palpable. Chris Wilson’s scratchy soul voice penetrated into the mind of the listener, like a dark cry and ‘Raised by Eagles’ duo Luke and Nick raised the tempo with a bit of rockabilly. All of the vocalists on the night where exceptional.
A memorable evening.
“Shane O’Mara is a Melbourne music legend and of Liz Stringer, you need to get her last two albums.”
At the Launch of Teeth & Tongue’s new Album ‘Give up your Health’.
‘Lead singer Jess Cornelius, an urban soul vocalist in the genre of Patti Smith, has a smooth rich voice that rides through intriguing electronic arrangements.’ MP
‘Give Up on Your Health’ had its genesis in one rogue song. ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ that was originally recorded as an experimental track with a driving, arpeggiated synth sound, drawing on ’70s electronica. The label liked it so much they wanted a full album to go with it. So on the heels of a breakup, Cornelius retired to remote Iceland on a three-month Nes Artist Residency, which produced the heartbreaking ‘Small Towns’.
“We’ve got unavoidable contact. There’s always email and phone. I went as far away as I thought I could. You’re dying in the heat, I’m dying in the cold” – Small Towns
The rest of the album was written in Melbourne, where Cornelius brought the material to the band: guitarist Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, bassist Damian Sullivan and drummer James Harvey.
“I wanted to make an energetic dance-pop record, but with substance,the kind you’d put on when you’re driving down the highway, forgetting all the stressful stuff.” Cornelius
Alannah Woods our music reporter went to Remote Studios to review the album and interviewed the lead singer Jess Cornelius.
Your songs are quite different from each other, where do you get your inspiration? AW
“It’s usually stuff that’s going on ..a process of working out why I am feeling things”
Do you write the music? AW
“Sometimes; I’ll bring a song to the band, just the lyrics, maybe a guitar bar, the structure and the melody, then sometimes the guys will write their own arrangements or I’ll write parts for them .. it’s a mixture. They definitely write, we just work it out.”
Who inspires you musically? AW
“It changes so much … Lou Reed has always been a big one, songwriters like Nina Simone..”
Tell us about your albums? AW
“I’ve done 4 Albums, the first was just me but I got other people to play on it.For this one the four of us, not the keyboard player, have been together for a few years, we did the 3rd album together..it’s been a bit like adding people along the way”
So it was your original idea?
“Yeah I started out as a soloist.”
‘What I love is that she takes every part of her life and turns it into a song, it doesn’t necessarily have to be depressing, there’s a genuine depth. Jess has a great sound that could be compared to jazz, very soulful ..” Alannah Woods
Australia is a large country and each year Tamworth becomes the heartbeat of the Country Music scene. 2016 ARIA winner, Sara Storer took the Female Artist of the Year award and her composistion ‘Amazing Night’ won the ‘Best Bush Ballad’ honor at the festival.
“Sara has a unique way of seeing and expressing her observations of love and life in the bush. So she is a songwriter that will be remembered beyond her lifetime.”
This is quite an acclaim, coming from one of Australia’s Country Music Giants.
Storer’s craft is spun from her personal experiences and local insights. She has a 4am routine to keep ahead of the busy demands of her large family. Her local accent, the unique twang of our region is apparent in her work as she sings about the Australian life.
‘I could sit here all night, fall asleep in this chair.The fire beside me keeps the Dingos away.And its sure nice to be with you around this burning red gum, that’s what a campfire does, it takes my worries away’ (Lyrics from Amazing Night)
At the heart of every urban dweller is the distinct belief that ‘Waltzing Matilda’ is the countries informal National Anthem and this is a paradox of the Nations identity. There is a little bit of ‘country’ in all of us.
Storer is currently on tour promoting her new album Silos.
Melbourne Press sent musically (classical) trained, Alannah Woods to review Methyl Ethel at their sold out, album launch of OH INHUMAN SPECTACLE, at Shebeen. Woods will cringe and give poor ratings to bad tones and flat notes, in this instance she was enthralled.
‘The band made everyone feel so at ease, they chatted to the crowd and made jokes about sleeping on couches and befriending fans. They connected with their audience and made them part of the show, which kept it personal.
Lead singer, Jake Webb’s unique voice, has a great high register, that not many men can boast of. The tone was so clear and strong, I could have listened to it all night!
Each song varied, it was great to hear something new being played, rather than the same style over and over again, which tends to happen with some bands. Each song had its own style and mood.’
“Brent was in town with Matt Hollywood from The Brian Jonestown Massacre, they were here for the release of a movie called DiG. I guess whoever was showing them around, took them to The Cherry Bar. Earlier that day I was flicking through a Rolling Stone and saw a picture of The Dandys (Waholes) and in the pic Brent was wearing a Dylan t-shirt. That night I went to Cherry, when I arrived my mates were like ‘check it, that’s the drummer from the Dandies.’ So I went over and asked him if he was into Dylan.
Brent and I started Immigration Union however weeks after that Gamma (Peter) joined the band on keys and third harmony. The three of us have been in from the start. We were lucky we found Gamma, he is so freakin good and thoughtful about what he plays, he never over plays, his texture is invaluable.
The first solid line up of Union came when we found Dave Mudie, Courtney Barnett and Bones Sloan. I’d been friends with Dave for years and always thought it would be cool to play with him, he is a sick and tight a hell of a drummer. Same deal with Bones, he was actually the first person I called when I got back from the States.
Courtney joined a little after these guys on slide guitar. A few of my mates worked with her at a bar called Blue Tile Lounge, that’s how we met. We became friends and then Brent was like ‘can Court play slide!?’ She never really had at the time I don’t think but she learnt really quickly. She also sang with us too. After Court blew up, we needed to find a new bass player and drummer because Dave and Bones were off playing with her.
I asked Ben Street who I’d known since he was a kid to play bass. He can pretty much play every instrument and he is a trippy dude, exactly the sort of guy we wanted in Union.
I had done a few solo gigs with Paddy McGrath Lester on drums and became mates with him quickly, I really loved his playing so he was an obvious choice to ask to join the band. Ben and Paddy’s first shows with Union were opening up for Black Rebel.
We are really lucky having them in the band, they have helped take our live shows to a whole new level.”
Who leads most of the musical direction when you jam and how is the texture added? MP
“Well for a long time it use to be that either Brent or I would have a new song / idea that we would bring to rehearsal and then we would all jam on the tune together until we had a the texture and groove that felt right. This still is the case, however more and more now at rehearsal Ben or Paddy for example will take of playing something out of thin air and then we all fall in and figure out our parts. I record all our rehearsals on my phone, it’s so cool going home after rehearsal and listening back to these ‘jams’ and realising that ‘wholly shit, yes, this is a freakin song.’
We want to play bigger shows and festivals, release more albums and just keep moving. We are currently at the beginning of recording album number 3 and this time we have set up our own studio and we are tracking it ourselves. We are all pretty excited at the prospect of making the album ourselves.”
Which song/songs resonate most deeply with the band? MP
“If you mean our songs, I’m really digging the live outro of ‘I Can’t Return‘ the sounds coming out of Brent’s amp are sick. The groove feels like Meddle by Pink Floyd. If you mean like what songs do we dig, I’m really digging on the whole of Blonde on Blonde at the moment.”
What has been the greatest trial? MP
“Having to find a new bass player and drummer after Bones and Dave. We lucked out big time with Ben and Paddy.”
Who are your major influences?MP
“Jesus, umm, Sun God Replica are sick. Dylan and Neil Young”.
What’s happening at ACMI? MP
“It’s for the Bowie exhibition. Friday nights at ACMI they have live bands and DJs playing for free but you’ll still have to book if you want to see the actual exhibition. It’s going be fun. Brent the lucky bastard actually did a whole tour with the physical David Bowie, opening up for him with the Dandies.”
What is your tour plan? MP
“Up and down the east coast, over to Adelaide and down to Hobart. I’ve actually never been to Tasmania. We might be announcing some extra dates soon too. I can’t wait for this (August) tour.”
After taking the prerequisite drink from the bar, we sit down to chat to two of the boys from Methyl Ethel, Chris Wright (drums) and Tom Stuart (bass). We are at the Newmarket Studios where they will be playing and filming the latest album ‘Oh Inhuman Spectacle’, that was released in January.
They are a Perth based band and have a hectic schedule flying constantly between the East and West states for gigs and promotions. Wright and Stuart are self-taught musicians and shy away from any pretensions, they claim that the lead singer Jake Webb is the major creative force. Webb created the compositions and image of the band, allowing the drummer and base player to furnish his vision with their interpretation. Webb has experimented with various line-ups but the strong chemistry of the current trio blend, to create a muted passion that seeps into the music.
We crowd into the studio and enter into the intimate world of Jake. The modesty of Wright and Stuart regarding they’re musical sophistication has been understated. The drums pulse rhythmically and no one can resist the compulsion to move with the music. As one sensual tune blends seamlessly into the next our attention drifts onto the discrete and unassuming persona of Webb. His songs drift through our layers and one wonders how deep the artist will take us. There is a penetrating authenticity to this work.
Jake Webb established Methyl Ethel in 2013 as an outlet for his adventures in reverb soaked home recording. Built from the ground up in various bedrooms, friends’ studios and quiet caverns, the exceptional EP diptych Guts and Teeth were released in quick succession. The intricate tapestries of melody, dripping with lush eccentricity, ascended through the ether and airwaves with Brooklyn Vegan, Noisey, Indie Shuffle, Happy, FBi Radio, RRR and RTRFM amongst others all taking note. This year sees the band explore and hone their sound with their debut LP Oh Inhuman Spectacle.
Sorry I Let It Come Between Us
‘Starting as buskers outside Flinders Street Station in Melbourne’
Shifting and sliding between guitar heavy pop, bluesy melancholy and soulful ballads, the new album offers an emotionally assertive voice matched equally in musical intricacies. The album itself was recorded over a month long period at Mt Slippery an old silversmith warehouse, come recording studio on the outskirts of Philadelphia, America. It’s the studio of Dr Dog’s Scott McMicken and Nathan Sabatino, who together produced the album. Saskwatch have long been big fans of Dr Dog, both musically and in their work as producers, and relished at the chance to head overseas and work alongside them. The result is a raw, solemn and sparse collection of genre-jumping songs.
Immigrant Union’s Anyway is a shift from previous recordings, moving away from the country end of the sound spectrum, they have approached their second album with a desire to produce a more layered, trippier sound. To achieve this elusive warmth, the band went to Brent’s hometown in Portland, Oregon and then to the bayside village of Altona.
Sound Engineer. Mat Robbins worked to create the magic of translation from live to album.
Anyway had it US release in September 2014 through Musebox records and was followed up by an extensive 18-date North American tour.The album was released in Australia in late May this year.