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Love Letter To A Record: Machine Age’s Adrian Mauro On Powderfinger’s ‘Internationalist’

Written by Adrian Mauro on September 23, 2019

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Adrian Mauro, Machine Age – ‘Internationalist’ by Powderfinger (1998)

I should be down in the stock room cleaning out boxes, but I’m covering lunch breaks on the guitar counter. I’m a kid from Cairns that’s moved to the big smoke “Bris-Vegas”. This tall, familiar guy wanders up to the counter and asks if we have any slides and if I might recommend a particular style. I give him the basic spiel of what I’d learnt in the few weeks I’d been working there, glass vs metal blah blah blah. But then it hits me… Why the fuck is this guy asking me for advice? Seriously, I basically learnt guitar playing along to his band’s records. Once my little monologue is done, I leave him with the slides, tag team with someone more knowledgeable and wander back down stairs having a little chuckle to myself.

His name was Ian, from a little Brisbane band called Powderfinger. I was 18 and had deferred my science degree to have a crack at audio engineering. I was never going to be a modern day Ellen-style virtuoso kid that was going to set the world on fire. But all I knew was that I wanted to be involved in the music-making process. A few years earlier, my older brother Matthew had passed away from a long battle with Leukaemia. He was a talented multi-instrumentalist and music lover. I found myself alone in our old bedroom with his instruments and his record collection.

I don’t really remember the first time I listened to Internationalist in full. But I do remember thinking ‘Belter’ would have made for a stronger album opener, I’m glad it wasn’t though. There’s something kind of unassuming about ‘Hindley Street’ that sucks you in to the record. For me, it was the first record I truly got lost in. Obviously I was going through some heavy shit at the time, if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough. I’d play along (as much as I could figure out) with Matt’s old nylon string, always skipping over the B minor chord in ‘Passenger’ before chugging along to ‘Don’t Want To Be Left Out’. I’d put the album on every night while falling asleep, always waking when the rustling snare would announce the outro to ‘Capoicity’.

It’s a strange thing when you can pinpoint the moment you choose to follow a particular path for your life. I remember one day, after hacking my way through the songs of Internationalist thinking “I’m really shit right now, but maybe one day I could play in a band and tour the country”.

It’s still a work in progress but hopefully I’ll get the hang of B minor soon.

Machine Age is an experimental rock and electronic act from Cairns who just dropped their debut album, ‘Point Of Departure’ and announced a national tour with dates in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Gold Coast and Cairns.

Catch their full list of tour dates below.

Friday, 11th October
The Foundry, Brisbane
Tickets: Facebook

Friday, 18th October
The Vanguard, Newtown
Tickets: Facebook

Friday, 1st November
The Workers Club, Fitzroy
Tickets: Facebook

Saturday, 2nd November
The Exeter Beer Garden, Adelaide
Tickets: Facebook

Saturday, 16th November
Edgehill Tavern, Cairns
Tickets: Facebook

Sunday, 17th November
Komune, Gold Coast
Tickets: Facebook

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