|Half A Cow July 2016 News
IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR is back for Spring!
QUEEN PORTER STOMP * THE ANSWERS * THE STICKER CLUB * MOONSHINE REVUE
Sunday 18th September Petersham Bowling Club 2-6pm $7 Kids Free!
Splendid Isolation (hac176)
CD * Bandcamp * iTunes
A new project from singer and songwriter John Dowler is a rare treat for fans of quality Australian pop-rock and power pop (or what ever you want to call it), and of the man's own body of work.
Alternating between Adelaide and Melbourne in the 70s, John led cult bands Spare Change and Young Modern (LA's Bomp! magazine described YM as Australia's first power pop band back in 78) before moving permanently to Melbourne and forming the Zimmermen in the mid 80s. Prior to the Zimmermen he also worked with both Stephen Cummings and Martin Armiger of the Sports on a couple of different projects; after the Zimmermen he released his only solo album to date, an anthology call Low Society. Whilst far from being a prolific artist, John has made some fine records over the years, and his influence on Australian music has been subtle but not insignificant.
The Vanity Project formed in late 2014 after a too-long (decades...) absence for John from the live and recording scenes; an absence interrupted only by a new Young Modern album in 2007, a few YM shows and subsequently a live album. It was Vanity Project guitarist Mark McCartney - who has previously worked with Mick Thomas and the Go Set and Mick Daley and others - who convinced John to get involved in bands again, and who continues to drive the band with his enthusiasm and great playing.
The band played its first gig in September 2015 and since then has played sporadically around the fringes of Melbourne's inner city pub circuit. Their live set sets consist of John's backlog of original tunes, covers of songs he's always wanted to perform, and a smattering of his past hits including "Don't Go To Sydney" and "Ordinary Man".
The band's other guitarist, Justin Bowd, who has played with Jim Kane and with Middle Age Fanclub, has also contributed some fine material. Rounding out the band are Julien Chick on bass and backing vocals - Julien has played and sung with the Vandas, Mick Thomas and currently also works with Michael Meeking & the Lost Souls. Lastly, there is drummer Michael Stranges, who has worked extensively with Kim Salmon and plays with the TV Set.
Having found the perfect home in Half A Cow, John Dowler's Vanity Project are set to release their debut album Splendid Isolation on 9th September 2016. Recorded in Melbourne, the album reflects the band's live set, minus the old Dowler hits. It includes definitive versions of songs that John has had on the shelf since the early 80s, including the catchy 'My Face', and the turbulent 'I Blame You', and relatively recent numbers like 'Off The Coast Of Me'. (John is still writing by the way - his new songs will be on the next album.) The album's rousing opener is the brilliant 'Sentimental', written by one of John's Zimmermen bandmates, the late Peter Tulloch, and never previously released. Covers include 'Don't Blame It On Your Wife', written by John Lennon faves The Appletree Theatre in 1967 and also recorded by Rick Nelson (and a nice companion piece to the Zimmermen's 'I Like To Fight With My Wife' perhaps?), and 'I've Been The One' from Little Feat's first album (which John has plundered before...). The album captures the band's plaintive and guitar driven sound splendidly - Young Modern and Zimmermen fans will recognise the stripped-back but rich and soulful vibe - and John's vocal is as wry and mellifluous as ever.
John Dowler's Vanity Project will be playing selections from Splendid Isolation to audiences in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide over the next few months.
The Burton Cool Suit were formed out of the ashes of Perth indie legends Turnstyle and obscure Perth garage punk band The Frantics as a fun kitsch project but became a fully functioning band for several years.
The band released their first album (self-titled) in 2005. A mish-mash of garage rock, vintage electronics and whimsical sunny daydreams, the band built a steady following in Perth but also captured the ear of others as the support slots came in thick and fast. Gigs with The Buzzcocks, Stephen Malkmus, Idlewild, Presidents of the USA and Jens Lekman gives you an idea of how the band could bend their sound depending on the occasion.
Their second and final album You Can’t Fight City Hall was released in 2007 with the band commandeering a vintage tape machine and leaning towards indie rock and swaying gently away from overt 60s-isms. With two songs on Triple J rotation and one song nominated for a WA Song of the Year, it proved to be their masterwork and their undoing as the band were unable to forge a new path and split early in 2008.
Half A Cow Records is more than excited to make these great records - by the Burton Cool Suit - available again for you.
EAST COAST LOW (hac175) IN STORES AUGUST 12th!
The Ramalamas are a five piece Sydney band lead by songwriter and front man Chris Nielsen. The line-up is rounded out with Scott Armstrong (drums), Matthias Engesser (bass), Paul Leadbetter (keys) and Peter Kirwan (pedal steel).
For more than a decade the Ramalamas have been playing a diverse brand of original rock'n'roll informed by 60s pop and west coast country rock. Nielsen's catchy, melodic songs belie a trusted set of influences – Neil Young, the Faces, Alex Chilton, the Kinks, the Stones - and as with their forebears, the bands sound is organic with a loose, 'rough and tumble' approach to both live and studio performance.
"What turns us on about playing music together is injecting whatever we're listening to into our sound," says Nielsen. "Alt.country labels have never really sat that comfortably with us. There are common touchstones from rock'n'roll, country, blues, soul etc. but with us a lot of 60s pop and psych goes into the mix as well. While one song might need a TCB Band foundation or a shot of Gun Club another tune might call for 1 part Link Wray, 2 parts Flamin Groovies." Add some Jerry Lee and SHAKE! for instant Ramalama.
Their third album, East Coast Low will be released on Nic Dalton's Half A Cow label in July 2016. The album documents a period of transition for the band in which they've weathered some internal storms and come out the other side with a renewed focus and streamlined sound - eclectic sensibilities in tact. "The title came about whilst tracking amidst some big weather events last year but has proven itself prophetic this year round as well. It's a reflection of events beyond our control on both sides of the window pane."
Steel player Peter Kirwan says "We've got an interesting blend of instrumentation at our disposal - pedal steel, Hammond organ, piano; a spot of percussion can take a tune to another planet. Whatever arrangement serves a song then we're having it. It's a very old school approach which not many bands seem to be embracing right now." The album was recorded in Newcastle and was engineered and co-produced with Robby Long. Of the recording process Kirwan says "We're chasing that late 60s/early 70s voodoo you get from Creedence or Neil’s early albums and Robby did a great job in capturing some of that for us. Recording on a full moon helped. Shakey swears by it and now so do we."
"We like it nice and loose live. No one’s going to have their pay docked for playing a bad note in this group." Says Nielsen "We’ve always looked to bands like the Faces onstage and the audiences we're playing to here in Sydney and along the coast really respond positively to that sort of energy.” You can expect the Ramalamas to maintain their reputation for delivering the goods live in support of East Coast Low.
Get the cd here: Big Cartel download here: Bandcamp iTunes
We put out Wade Jackson's album last year as a digital-only release and have had many requests to make it available on cd...so here it is!
WHISKEY ALPHA DELTA ECHO (hac160)
Wade Jackson has returned with the follow up album to his debut record Goodbye Rain, Hello Sunshine, with the new release Whiskey Alpha Delta Echo. Wade has again teamed up with the very talented producer Liam Judson (Belles Will Ring, Cloud Control) to sculpt an album of rich melodies, lush harmonies and reverb laden guitar driven pop. It stands on the cross roads of Americana-English late 70s guitar pop with a dash of Australiana from the same era.
Get the cd here: Big Cartel download here: Bandcamp iTunes
“Opener ‘Dark Mirror’ has a Byrdsian jangle and Californian mood to it. The modern ‘Valentine’s Day’ has an echoing alt pop style, but comparisons to Big Star really come out on ‘Catch My Eye’, ‘Coming Back’ and ‘Carolina.’ ‘Coming Back’ is also very comparable to The Autumn Defense with a hypnotic chorus and solid harmonies. This is definitely an album that delivers quite a few favorites for my playlist.” – Powerpopaholic.com
“When one first hears Wade Jackson, one notices that his voice has some similarities to that of John Wicks of The Records. Not the ‘Starry Eyes’ Wicks of yesteryear but rather the John Wicks of 2013’s ‘Chasing Angels’, the lead singer’s tribute to Phil Brown. The comparison doesn’t end there as back in the day, a prominent music critic was known to refer to The Records as the British Big Star. There are numerous examples throughout the LP of Big Star’s influence on the work of Jackson. Tracks such as ‘Catch My Eye’, ‘Coming Back’, ‘Carolina’ and especially ‘Back of My Hand’ are all reminiscent of Big Star. Easily one of the best discs I’ve heard so far this year and is an absolute must for those who miss Misters Chilton & Bell.” – PowerPopNews.com
“Quite simply one of 2015's best so far. The allusion in the title is apt, as the sound here is Big Star-meets-Wilco with its melodic minor-key rockers with a twinge of Americana (Austrliana?). After the moody opener ‘Dark Mirror’ (which answers the question "What would The Smithereens sound like as a folk-rock band?"), we're treated to the jangly ‘Valentine's Day’ and the trio of ‘Catch My Eye’, ‘Coming Back’ and ‘Carolina’, all of which invoke #1 Record-era Big Star, with "Coming Back" perhaps my favorite track of the year. This album really hits the sweet spot between power pop and Americana.” – AbsolutePowerPop.com
The Electrical Banana Album hac164
vinyl cd iTunes Bandcamp
Whilst waiting for his main outfits The Gloomchasers and The Sticker Club to record albums, Nic Dalton
spent all of May and June of 2015 recording a psychedelic pop album under the name of Chewee. Most songs were recorded on the spot - words and music - and the domineering wah-wah solos
throughout are all first takes.
Disillusioned with modern recording technology, he went back to where it all started - the Tascam 4-track recorder, which Nic has used extensively over the years on projects ranging
from Love Positions and Godstar, to Sneeze and Gloomchasers. He went a little bit modern using a Tascam studio CD recorder to build up backing tracks, creating a full band sound.
These were then played through a late 40s mono speaker box and recorded back into the 4-track machine to layer further instruments and vocals on top with a Roland Space Echo the
only effect used on the whole album. Phew!
Ten new songs and two from the late 90s with subject matters ranging from Chupa Chups, the cover of the Velvet's Live 69 Album, sculptor Tom Bass, a dream about Smudge leaving
Half A Cow and an answering machine message from Evan Dando. Double phew!
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A list of ALL the HAC releases
HALF A COW CATALOGUE
From the first Craven Fops 10" to the latest download, here they all are!
Matthew J. Tow
Shadow's Reign LP
Fans of gorgeous lush pop will enjoy the master crafting he is provided on this new one which features long time associate Chris Cobb on the drums, bass players
Nic Dalton and Patrick Matthews and members of Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Richmond Sluts. Nine majestic songs produced
by Matthew J Tow. On Xemu Records.
Forty Years Of Records
Forty Years Of Records
Forty years ago today I started buying records. I kept a small notebook which I would write down the name of the
record and the date I bought it. I thought it might be a good idea - all these years later - to go over to the shelf,
see if the records written down are still there and, if so, maybe play them and see what happens next...
FREE 27 TRACK CD!
VIA SATELLITE COMPILATION
With every purchase from Half A Cow's mailorder you get this
brand new compilation featuring 27 songs from the most recent Half A Cow roster. Also available from Egg Records (3 Wilson st. Newtown)
if you buy any INDEPENDENTLY RELEASED LOCAL CD/VINYL. Go crazy!
Edge Of The Dancefloor
With two solo albums under his belt, Luke Russell records his new album with a band that
features female vocals and loads of rockin' power pop. Released November 2015.
The Electrical Banana Album
Whilst waiting to record the next Gloomchasers album and finishing off the debut Sticker Club
album, Nic Dalton spent all of May and June 2015 recording a psychedelic pop record. Released Nov 14th 2015 on cd, vinyl (with cd)
Manilow tribute LP
The Manilow Tribute album will be pressed in a one-off vinyl edition available worldwide and made available digitally on bandcamp.
Featuring the Gloomchasers, Courtney Barnett, Evan Dando, Lou Barlow, Youth Group, Two Am I, Seja, Babaganouj, Ben Mason,
Undead Apes, Skylar Gudasz, Ratcat and more! Smudge Bandcamp
digital releases of all their Phantom/HAC stuff
new digital only double A side single out now
Real McCoy Wrong Sinatra
We have some copies of the Fire version of the most recent (!)
Smudge album Get it here
BLASTS FROM THE PAST
2 LITRE DOLBY
Read More .
Buy Now .
ART OF FIGHTING
Read More .
Buy Now .
Great little gallery in Summer Hill: Sweets Workshop