Monday, March 29, 2010

Review: 'A Million Different Truths' by Hussy Hicks for Rave Magazine

Issue 933 
HUSSY HICKS – A Million Different Truths
Two hussies, one guitar

There’s no room for religious politics in the street press so we won’t cry divine intervention, but I’ll just say it’s a happy coincidence when different pieces of a musical outfit align in one place this well. This folk/acoustic debut is one such coming-together of influences. With the vocals and lyrics of Leesa Gentz and the guitar work of Julz Parker there’s a strange diversity in the sound thanks to the nature of equal collaboration – most tracks either flourish vocally or instrumentally. There are definite moments of musical and lyric gorgeousness, occasionally at the same time. It’s a lot Missy Higgins, a smattering of Tegan & Sara and a wee bit knee-slapping country. Highlights are the understated, vocal-focussed This Time and the oldschool country charm of You Are. The meld of drawn-out, chirpy guitar twang and playful, overly metaphoric lyrics could be too sanguine to handle, except that it’s balanced by downright cynical and sweetly emotive moments.


View online here, or in the digital edition here, pg 26.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Updates and inspirations: Post 88

Now blogging for Post 88, a music source for Gen Y, as part of a project run by Everett True. Very interesting, indeed.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Column: 'Posting on eggshells' for lip Magazine

Blog for lip mag online.

The internet comes with more warning signs and stickers reading ‘vicious dog on premises!’ than a property with several vicious dogs on the premises. We need firewalls, fraud protection, and  - seemingly - fake identities. Nowadays a large portion of news stories are accompanied by photos pulled from Facebook profiles (they’re technically public property), and bosses are monitoring our behaviour online. How free are we to truly socialise on these networks? A UK reporter was recently told to delete her Twitter account for posting risque sports commentary, and stories of employees being outed for pulling sickies thanks to their online activity are constantly emerging. I know many employers who scope out potential employees’ profiles for incriminating evidence – like drunken pics and expletive-laden posts. It’s obvious that whatever we wouldn’t want everyone we know – and those we don’t – finding out shouldn’t go into the vast Google-tube. But doesn’t self-censoring our innocent jokes with friends, the pictures we allow ourselves to be tagged in, or that we share, defeat the whole purpose of what is supposed to be a free avenue to connect with loved ones?

More here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Interview: Chris Smither for Rave Magazine

Interview with Chris Smither for Rave Magazine issue 931.

Photo and online story: here.

ANNA ANGEL ponders the future with folk/blues veteran CHRIS SMITHER.
After over forty years of hauling his guitar all over the world, this all-American bluesman shows no signs of relenting. “Most people retire at around my age, and I’ve thought about it but it doesn’t really appeal to me, and I haven’t had anyone tell me I have to, yet,” 65-year-old Smither says.

He is taking five weeks away from his family – which now includes a five-year-old daughter – to tour Australia, playing a string of folk festivals and local solo gigs this month. Smither has said he wrote Time Stands Still, released late last year, so he’d have a fresh excuse to perform. “I consider myself a performer first, but if you want to do shows you need to have something new to sing,” he deadpans in a noticeable southern accent that is much too concise to be considered a drawl. These new tunes aren’t a mind-blowing deviation from Smither’s time-tested grizzly folk sound, with his classic man-and-a-guitar approach intact. “They’ll be recognisable shows to everyone who’s seen me before. Many of them won’t have heard the new record, but it’ll pretty much be a Chris Smither show.”

Etc. Digital edition here, page 19.

Column: 'Outside the box' for lip Magazine

Blogging for lip mag.
Photo: here.

Outside the Box
by Anna Angel

We’re a notoriously lazy bunch. For most Australians, entertainment comes from that box in the lounge room, or that other box in the study, bedroom, or wherever your computer is located. It is playing Xbox, or watching DVDs. None of these activities require company, and for the most part, they don’t require much thought or effort. But are we getting so lazy we’re missing out on things we’re bound to enjoy just because we can’t make the effort to attend?

I’m a massive advocate of Australian theatre,and live arts events. It might feel good to watch So You Think You Can Dance, and it’s great to see performance headlining our TV programmes, but nothing beats the real thing. Etc.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Interview: Tex Perkins for Rave Magazine

Did an interview piece with The Cruel Sea and an album review for the latest issue of Rave, issue 930 . Interview was interesting and frustrating.


Amongst a small crowd of afternoon drunks, TEX
assures ANNA ANGEL that THE CRUEL SEA hasn't tempered yet.

Tex Perkins has one of those charismatic voices that
defi es genre and logic, and even carries over the 1pm
din of a local pub – almost. Using his gruff , distinctly Australian
timbre, the one-man powerhouse has fronted a
number of successful outfi ts, including Beasts Of Bourbon
and The Cruel Sea.

While The Cruel Sea was born in late ‘80s Sydney as an
instrumental-only group, the unlikely addition of Perkin’s
rock swagger was an ARIA-winning, hit-producing fusion.
Ever since he fi rst put words to their music, other projects
have intersected The Cruel Sea’s releases – but they’re
borderline commitment-phobic nowadays. There ain’t
no ring on this fi nger, at least, and they’re content with
nothing resembling “a proper career”. After a fi ve year hiatus
in 2003, which Perkin’s attributes to “playing so much
we took the joy out of it”, they now only perform around
three gigs a year. Perkins, who is currently touring with The
Man In Black – The Johnny Cash Story, is taking a break in
March for a Gold Coast gigs with his Cruel Sea bandmates,
Jim Elliot, Dan Rumour, and Ken Gormley.
Impatient fans may have hoped these shows were
a signal to an upcoming release, an idea that Perkins
quickly dismisses. He blames their reluctance to write
new material on the tedium of releasing, promoting, and
touring that follows the initial creative burst, sounding
exhausted at even explaining the process. It may be a
while before the boys start honing another record, with
an elusive, if not quite reassuring promise from Perkins
that they will “eventually write some songs, and probably
record them”.

With a future that vague, what can The Cruel Sea’s
many wives and mistresses hold on to but memories of
the days of young, passionate love? “You’ll hear some
obscure tracks from our back catalogue – it’ll basically
be the songs we enjoy playing. I think that will correspond
with the songs that people expect us to play.”
Perkins says the tracks now come so naturally to them,
a quickie catch-up rehearsal is all they’ll need. “The
Cruel Sea is hard wired into our DNA; I think we’ve all
done it in our sleep.”

Perkins is a hard man to pin down to one project or
musical style, and he’s moving on to more unfamiliar
territory after his stint as Cash. “For me, it’s a whole new
landscape out there, now I don’t have a record company;
I’m free of the shackles of Universal,” he says. “It’s a matter
of deciding what kind of record, and what kind of band
I’m creating. I just keep writing until I’ve got a big pile of
songs, and I’ll throw a match on it, and whatever burns,
I’ll record.”

With all the spontaneity and abandon of a true rock
legend, Perkins leaves me with that sentiment, resigned
to the fact that a pub, with what sounds like a growing
number of banshees in the background, is not an ideal
place to hold an interview. They sure know how to leave
you wanting more.

Digital edition here, page 12.

WHYTE ZEBRA – Double Or Nothing
Music for fly-swatting back-porch days

Before you get all angsty that Whyte Zebra got
the arts grant to make a CD/DVD single release that
your ‘indie-trip-bop-banana-core’ band deserved,
have a listen. Every member of this Central Queensland
pub staple fits together easily to bring a brand
of alternative rock that’s less ‘painfully hip’ and more
‘established, successful band that knows exactly
where they’re at musically’. The lead track, Double
Or Nothing is a sweeping, melodic number that benefits
from the outstanding vocals of Andy Stanhope.
The clip for the track is simple but effective, proving
that this outfit is a low-key, natural occurrence
against the backdrop of a country town. It also features
a cute dog. The bonus tracks, instead of being
fillers, seem to outshine the main event. Gorgeous
instrumental piece, Closer To Getting Close, demonstrates
the skill of Bec Romeo on violin, and Knock
Knock stands out as a memorable, drum-heavy track
reminiscent of Alice In Chains.


Digital edition here, page 28.

Review: 'Dear John' for Tom Magazine

For Tom Magazine. Sigh, made me cry like a baby.

Dear John
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Channing Tatum, Richard Jenkins
Reviewed by Anna Angel.

This Nicholas Sparks adaptation begins like The Notebook 2: Modern Era. Maybe I just noticed the connections more because The Notebook happens to be by the same author. Either way, it eventually separates itself as an equally tear-jerking and original story on its own. While on a summer break, the young, beautiful, and sweet Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) meets John (Channing Tatum), a soldier on leave, visiting his father. They begin a whirlwind romance, and fall spectacularly in love, spinning some corny lines that are delivered so expertly they feel natural. After only two weeks, they are condemned to a year apart, as John goes back to his mission. It may sound all-too familiar, but the main difference here is that the letters they send each other don’t go unanswered.

Updates and inspirations:

It's hardly worth noting, but attempted my first foray into PR-type writing, reviewing for, which is run by universal. Once I figured out the 'reviews' were supposed to be posing as buyer comments, I decided not to expend too much effort doing their advertising. And now I just have... anyway, it can be found here. And I got MOS - Underground 2010 for free, at least.