“As The Sun Goes Down” is the opening track from the debut album “Everything Fades to Blue” by Tasmania based EWAH and the Vision of Paradise. It’s a belter of an album – epic, cinematic and just a bit dark. Well worth a moment of your time to get lost in the desert at night “As The Sun Goes Down”.
But don’t stop there. Linger a while and take the whole trip here. The album is classic Australian alternative post-punk rock in the tradition of The Triffids, Roland S. Howard, or Spencer P. Jones. From the lush production, menacing tremolo guitar, shimmering New Wave synths and keyboards and thundering drums, to the storytelling in the lyrics, it’s all here.
Presenting this stylish ‘cinema-noir’ album is guitarist, vocalist and songwriter EWAH and her band The Vision of Paradise, a recent discovery from the fine Hobart underground music compilation album “Community 4” where their “Walk the Night” was a standout track.
For another perfect example, listen to the song the band takes its name from – “Vision of Paradise”. Over a majestic 7 and a half minutes the song builds from atmospheric mantra to a swelling tidal wave of keyboard, drums and guitar feedback before easing back again to fade to silence.
“All Summer Long” is another song which immediately conveys a sense of landscape, distance, and shimmering heat through its atmospheric wide-screen arrangement and lethargic pace.
These are just a couple of highlights. The album really deserves to be listened to as a whole piece, working together as a collection of thematically-linked stories mixing light and dark, affection and menace, beauty and beasts, triumph and disaster.
“Everything Fades to Blue” was released a few weeks ago on LP. I reckon it’s worth adding to your collection.
As you listen to “The Streets” by Allan Smithy (not his real name) you can easily imagine the the sun beating down and the warm breeze on your face as you drive through the tree-lined sun-dappled streets of Sydney’s inner city and coastal suburbs with the windows wound down. Well, OK, it’s easy to imagine that if you’ve been there I suppose. But if not, then imagine you can imagine it.
If the song sounds like it could be from The Go-Betweens’ classic “16 Lovers Lane” album then that’s probably exactly what Allan Smithy (not his real name) would want. I mean, the entire Bandcamp artist description text reads “80’s Nostalgia-Australiana.” No beating around the flaming Wattle bush there, mate.
Allan Smithy is the pseudonym used by Sydney musician Matt Amery for his latest music venture. This Allan Smithy character is “an avid believer in the aural benefits of listening to home-grown 80’s bands. He has a sense of pride in Australian music and proudly wears his influences (The Go-betweens, The Triffids and The Church) on his sleeve.”
These are noble enough sentiments. But what makes the music of Allan Smithy so good & worthy of the time of both 80’s Nostalgia-Australiana fans and the uninitiated seeking simply new soundtracks for their lives is that the songs on this EP deliver on those influences and add – with considerable interest – their own qualities and sense of place and of wonder.
Here’s “Air” from the EP too:
Henika (Auckland musician and songwriter Henrieta Tornyai) released a self-titled EP last month. “The River” – the first song on the EP – is an excellent atmospheric recording of a dark twist on a murder ballad (possibly) told in the first person. Or not… Listen in and decide for yourself:
Stylistically this song, and much of the rest of the EP, fits approximately in a zone that fans of PJ Harvey, Feist and Lana Del Ray will enjoy, and it’s certainly as well-crafted as the music made by those artists.
When I heard the lines “I’ve been left for dead/ I’ve got a hole in my head/ Eyes open wide, see the water turning red” I was also reminded of The Triffids “Jerdacuttup Man” – another song of death (by the brilliant and tragic David McComb) told in the first person using similar direct and shocking words.
In my collection of 7″ singles is a solitary white label single from an Australian band called Rabbit’s Wedding. It is a single I regularly pull out and play, yet for years I have known nothing at all about the band, other than that they were Australian and the single was recorded in 1986 in Sydney. I think I was given the single by Richard Langston, who probably received it to review during his fanzine writing period for Garage and Alley Oop in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The cover is as enigmatic as the songs, which are the kind of perfect and melancholic minimal & obscure guitar pop I used to love at the time and still do today.
Earlier this year I tried to track down more information on Rabbit’s Wedding. Their MySpace page revealed several songs and a blog entry from 5 years ago which mentioned Glasgow label Egg Records was planning a compilation. Further research showed Egg Records had vanished. To compound its fate a Wiki page had even been removed by over-zealous editors who decided Egg Records was a minor regional label of such insignificance it didn’t meet Wiki’s entry requirements. Incredible really given Egg Records released not only several notable Scottish releases by the likes of The Bachelor Pad but also The Bats from NZ.
Sadly in the makeover of MySpace mid-year the blog archives are no longer available, removing any residual historic value of that platform to music archivists. With the help of an international collaborative effort of music bloggers I managed to track down Rabbits Wedding vocalist Paul Watling. He confirmed the compilation never happened, and summarised the history of Rabbit’s Wedding:
“We started in Perth in 84 i think it was. Our heroes were local band The Triffids and we moved to the big smoke of Sydney where things were happening a lot more. We released a few records and toured a fair bit. Apart from our own gigs, we spent most of our time playing with bands like The Triffids, The Go Betweens, The Church, The Lighthouse Keepers. I’m sure you are familiar with those bands. We were also influenced by some of the New Zealand bands of the time. I remember seeing The Chills, The Verlaines and Straightjacket Fits. I remember Phil playing “I Love My Leather Jacket” and “Pink Frost” to death on the stereo in one share house that we lived in.”
Here’s a video of a rare TV performance of “Hit The Road Pussy” from around 1987, after they moved to Sydney. It’s a song that never was on any recording they released.
If you see any Rabbit’s Wedding releases in your record shop trawling grab them. They are lost treasures of Australia’s golden period of guitar pop.
Paul’s current band is Dusken Lights.