They say good things come in threes, but fours go alright as well it would seem as Golden Plains IV’s first line-up announcement screams resoundingly through The Meredith Supernatural Amphitheater.Pavement was a given as pseudo-headliner, but the news J. Mascis and the boys were joining the party along with other Feeds faves The Dirty Projectors and The Cruel Sea. So throw a couch on top of the car and pack the eski… or a few, cos here are the rest of the reason to go, fresh from the press release.
THE BIG PINK,
SUPER WILD HORSES,
JEFFREY LEWIS AND THE JUNKYARD,
THE CRUEL SEA,
Yes it’s still a fact. Pavement are reforming and playing at Golden Plains, as part of their Australian Tour in March 2010.
Pavement disbanded in 1999 after releasing several masterwork albums, leaving a legacy as bona fide kingpin icons of what is now a massive worldwide scene. That legacy has expanded exponentially to reach gigantic subcultural proportions, so the announcement of their reformation has seen an explosion of modern joy from discerning music-lovers all over the globe. Golden Plains will be one of their very first shows back. They play the first nite. Wowee Zowee.
Truly legendary. Worshipped. One of the world’s greatest living rock bands. So idiosyncratic, nobody can sound like them. Original lineup, J Mascis, Lou Barlow, Murph. It seems too incredible to be real that in 2010 you can actually go see Dinosaur Jr play live. A rare treat indeed. (that you deserve).
Considering the albums that made them the ultimate grunge era cult band (Dinosaur, You’re Living All Over Me and Bug) were recorded 20+ years ago, then that the original trio got back in the studio and actually ADDED to their legend with 2007’s Beyond and to now have one of 2009’s best albums in Farm* (get it)….so cool, so mind-blowing. EVERYONE rates Dinosaur Jr
*At times wholly 70’s guitar-epic, at times perfect for sitting by a babbling brook with Joni and Neil, Farm encompasses Dinosaur Jr.’s signature palette – soaring and distorted guitar, unshakable hooks, honey-rich melodies – songs that get into your head and, bouncing around happily, stay there.
You might be struck by the strange song structures, the phenomenally skilful guitar playing, the occasional bizarre burst of yelling by the singer Dave, or the beguiling sweetness of the harmonies and indeed the faces they come from. You might try to work out where the band fit in, how on earth they write this stuff, or who they ‘sound like’. You might read that they re-imagined a whole Black Flag record into some kind of folk music, or created a rock opera ‘about’ Don Henley. You might hear about ‘polyrhythmic’, or ‘David Byrne’ or ‘Best New Music’. You might be charmed by the scout-group-like oneness of the players’ vibe, all parts of the one whole, being its own reward. You might also think too many people wank on about music too often. You may or may not be right, but there’s one extra point to make about this band, currently one of the planets bluest-hot acts: their thrilling music is a lot of things, (sometimes within the same bar) but certainly it is deeply, naturally soulful, and will stand the test of time. It is a nebulous wonderland of new experiences; if you like sonic adventure, you’ll hit sensory overload here. Joyous.
THE BIG PINK
Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell are The Big Pink. Both from London, Milo is behind the celebrated Merok label, which has helped to launch both Klaxons and Crystal Castles, while Furze made a name for himself in such industrial behemoths as Panic DHH and Alec Empire. Their epic debut album, A Brief History of Love, is a sound-world that combines melody and beautiful noise in equal measure – it’s exquisitely produced atmospheric emotional music. Some might say shoegaze-meets-pop. It’s gonna sound good out in the ghost gums. Shoegum.
This is a no-brainer callback to the Supernatural…there’s nothing but admiration out there for these cats, they play trippy power rock with great pop hooks, they’re unassuming but assured, they got a real cool sound (think late Sixties, when pop became psychedelia; or perhaps the Hendrix Experience before they took to wearing moccasins. Bands got smaller, amps got bigger and the sound got A Whole Lot Heavier), a mountain of people dig them (sold out 3 Corners) and they’re a bona fide primetime attraction. In the wild.
It only seems like yesterday we were watching the Juggs play to fifty-odd punters in local pubs. With a little help from the French electro syndicate, they have taken themselves on what seems like an endless world tour helping them become the Most Blogged Band In The Universe recently. The MJ juggernaut duly hits warp speed with new album This New Technology and Golden Plains is thrilled we’ll all be having a close encounter of the first kind.
SUPER WILD HORSES
2 piece gang Amy Franz and Hayley McKee formed Super Wild Horses in 2008 in a car whilst shouting bratty rhymes at each other. Evoking Phil Spector & The Ronettes on a budget in a No Wave tin shed, songs are stripped to the very backbone and clad in distorted call and response Fall-esque yelps, cavernous big beats, and primal twangs. One plus one equals fun.
How many DJ’s can actually DJ at a high level whilst mixing 50’s Rockabilly, Detroit Techno, 77 Punk, Electro, Psych Rock, Soul and Disco and everything else in between and out the sides? OPTIMO, from Glasgow, Scotland, would be part of that minute club. We won’t use the word eclectic because it undersells just how far these two will go to get you dancing. They run thee night in Glasgow and have been doing so for a decade. Their mix Kill The DJ is one of the classic mix albums of the current era. They closed out The Second Golden Plains, a gig which they rated in The Guardian UK newspaper as ‘ a career highlight’, yeah well it was for us too fellas. One of the alltime great Amphi Dancefloor Faves. Welcome back Scotter.
There’s going to be something very golden about experiencing Calexico’s golden music in the vast golden plains of the Golden Plains Shire, even though it’s a long way from the myths and iconography of the American West and its Spanish speaking neighbor Mexico and indeed the town on the California border that Joey Burns and John Convertino borrowed for their band’s name. Tía potable en el sol y escuchar a Calexico domingo por la tarde la hace muy muy feliz.
Monotonix are a garage rock trio from Tel Aviv, Israel. They are influenced by Led Zeppelin, the Sonics and Thin Lizzy, and they are as wild. as. they. come.
The charismatic pied piper of the lineup. The Gaslamp Killer (William Bensussen), Los Angeles based DJ/Producer, Low End Theorist, and Dublab Radio resident, is not your conventional artist. What separates him from the rest of the herd is his extensive knowledge in psychedelic rock, demonic bass-heavy Hip-Hop, Middle-Eastern/ Indian rare grooves, and ear-piercing helicopter breaks. The energy during his live sets resonates through crowds, taking you to the filthiest psyche/freak-out you’ve ever been on. Dig it.
When trying to come up with a suitable description one thing that came to mind was that this band is like some kind of wild animal, of leather and denim and hair, that emits wild balls-out rock’n’roll at night. The whole NP experience is so thoroughly lived-in and honed it seems to be its own organism. A hint of metal, Southern and country twinges, but mainly hi-octane rock that’s soooo primal and satisfying. We might do a nice Devonshire tea while they are on. (btw that photo was taken at Willie Nelson’s private Ghost Town. True. Toodles).
JEFFREY LEWIS AND THE JUNKYARD
Jeffrey Lewis has a brilliant mind, and he turns it to very interesting things. Like a concise acoustic History of Punk, or the extraordinary Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror or making comic books and illustrations. His albums have titles like The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane, and It’s The Ones Who’ve Cracked That the Light Shines Through. He’s bringing his band The Junkyard here for the first time. Maybe we might also be able to arrange for him to play solo somewhere else on site during the festival.
THE CRUEL SEA
Got absolutely massive there for a while, a period Tex Perkins later ridiculously-modestly described as a ‘fluke’. The music was no fluke, that’s for sure. By God The Cruel Sea are a freakishly talented band. The Honeymoon Is Over, Better Get a Lawyer, Black Stick, It Won’t Last, Woman With Soul, Anybody But You, This Is Not The Way Home etc etc…again, nobody sounds like them, their individual talents all blended into a uniquely satisfying Australian gumbo/bubble’n’squeak. They play on rare occasions these days and we are DELIGHTED that they have accepted our invitation, 12.3 years after they last appeared 12.7 kms WNW of the township of Meredith. “The honeymoon is over baby, its never gonna be that waaaaaayyyyyyyyyy AGAAIIRRNN..” (iconic slide guitar part).
THE CRAYON FIELDS
Making pop music this sumptuous is not easy by any stretch. Being this good and still retaining some modicum of mystery when you live in a music-mad city like Melbourne is admirable. Being able to invite The Crayon Fields to play the Plains on a Sunday arvo is one of the world’s great pleasures. Been a long time coming. Other-World Class. Put your name on it.
Few people can claim to have been involved and contributed as much to electronic music in Melbourne as Ransom. It must be twenty odd years since Ransom began as a DJ, championing Hip Hop culture in Australia when no one thought such a thing could exist. His all-embracing style spans Reggae to Yacht-Rock, all played with prime skills and a passion few could even muster let alone sustain. Proof of life.
If you’re a bored teen at the bum end of the Lilydale line your prospects for teenage kicks are scant. Stealing road signs, letting off firecrackers and blowing shit up are about as hot as it gets. For one young Andee Frost it was the glimmer of the school disco that got him going. Too many nights spent cross-eyed studying the antics of the mobile DJ at the school disco lead to an indecent obsession with dancing and dance music.
As soon as he was legal Frosty was straight behind the decks himself (moonlighting during the day in Box Hill selling Wamdue Project cassingles) busting out his eclectic mix of whatever the f*ck he wants.
Fast forward to 2009 and Andee Frost is pretty much a godfather of the scene he has been almost every part of since Lilydays. Slayed ‘em after Crystal Castles at Meredith 07, back for his first Golden journey in 2010.
(that’s not a typo) is a quartet from San Francisco who play Rock’n’roll in a style heavily influenced by the experimentalism of psychedelia, classical minimalism and garage rock excess. Its songs sound something akin to the icy garage rock of early Echo & The Bunnymen crossed with the sun-bleached tremolo-punk of the Scientists. There are hints of krautrock, the trance-inducing organ haze of Suicide, Deerhunter style dance-drone, classic desert-fried garage psych and the mysterious, obscure Japanese lysergic-rock band Les Rallizes Denudes all mixed into one explosive whole. Or, as David Fricke from Rolling Stone says, their music “combines and updates the transportative force of the Velvet Underground’s no-blues drone, Can’s unrelenting pulse and the holy garage-rock fire of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators into a compact, wrapped-in-reverb trip of vintage transcendence and forward thrust.” Then again Zach Baron on Pitchfork was more like “the Shjips, like the Jefferson Airplane and the Doors, tap into the California frontier sex-and-death cult mentality: drugs and murder and depravity out in the desert where nobody can see whatever it is you do when there’s nobody watching.” Maybe, er, worth a look Clive.
Yep. Doesn’t take long before you go ‘yep”. Don’t need hi-fidelity to trick your ears, they just need the raw facts and the facts say ‘yep’. Plenty of bands channel the spirit of punk but few do it with as much humanity as Royal Headache.
At the Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, Meredith, Victoria, Australia.
March 6, 7 and 8, 2009.
Everything You Need To Know is at www.goldenplains.com.au