OCTOBER 2003 Demos Of The Week
Capital City, Erik Damberg, The Vacant Lanes, Winnie, Toby Mendelson, Senani, Wilberforce

Our Demo Of The Week for 27th October, 2003 is:
it's a tie!

TOBY MENDELSON, SENANI and WILBERFORCE

Unbelievable! Some weeks it seems near impossible to find something that really tickles our fancy, for whatever reason, and this week it was decreed at the Weekly Demo Workshop that there was not one, or two, but three musical artists worthy of mention. toby

Toby Mendelson's album Ethereal Dawn is very different from most of the variety of music we get sent. It's a seemingly conceptual folk/beatnik prose/improvised ten tracker that floats along in a sea of abstract song structures complete with "I'll follow you" drums. Toby, along with drummer Adrian Wajsbrem, are based in Toorak, Melbourne, and cite Nick Drake, Allen Ginsberg and Radiohead as influences but you'd have to add early Pink Floyd (Syd and non-Syd) and it even reminded us of Sydney's very own Pip Proud from the late 60s. website: Toby Mendelson email: tobymendelson@hotmail.com senani

Senani: Everything I Do (2002). Wouldn't have a clue about the current state of commercial music and what gets played on Video Hits and sells by the truckloads in Target, but Senani sure does and wants to be there at the top of the charts and if Half A Cow was a label that specialised in the latest Top 40 pop&r&b, then we'd give beautiful and talented (she writes all the songs herself) Senani a chance at cracking it. Maybe she already has. From my niave and uninformed view, the catchiness of her song 'I Am Gone' (also sent to us as a single with three mixes of the track) is just as good as anything seen on Video Hits while channel surfing. It even has a 'leaving a phone message' bit on it. Special mention to her musical collaborator Sophie Loizou. Senani is originally from Newcastle and one of her first gigs was opening up for Silverchair. Her musical influences include Michael Jackson, Aaliyah and Whitney Houston. Really like 'Everything I Do', reminded me of the Lenny Kravitz-produced Vanessa Paradis stuff. website: Senani wilberforce

And winner number three is Perth's Wilberforce and their Dischordant Cacaphany EP (2002). Merged together from three other Perth bands (Verona, Flanders and Bucket) this four piece are a slightly dark and serious 'postrock' guitar band that a WA reviewer called 'emotionally intense'. The second track 'Second Fret' chugs along like all good driving music should. You can hear the years of experience in these guys and it comes across in their thought-out arrangements, harmonies and backing vocals - which set them apart from the pack. 'Faster' has a great intro, much like Boston's Moving Targets and, again, some great harmonies. And Bucket were a top band too. A big HAC fave! website: Wilberforce email: wilberforce@iinet.net.au

Our Demo Of The Week for 20th October, 2003 is:
WINNIE

You can usually tell when something has arrived in the post from Japan - it's quite colourful and the writing is very neat and happy looking. This can be said of a band called Winnie, whose music, too, is colourful and neat. They have sent us a nine track cd and we must have played it at least half a dozen times already in the last two days - it's that good! winnie
Winnie are a classic pop band (two guitars, bass and drums) with fantastic boy/girl vocals and very catchy songs. I think they comprise of three guys and a girl and they hail from Tokyo. The standout songs are "Navy Beautiful Words", "Everlasting Girl", "Starless", "You And The Boy To Meet"...heck, all of them! If Half A Cow was able to release EVERYTHING that we come across that we fall in love with, we'd be putting Winnie out in a jiffie. -ND

website: Winnie

Our Demo Of The Week for 13th October, 2003 is: it's a tie!
ERIK DAMBERG and the VACANT LANES:
erik damberg
This week, and out of pure coincidence, we were impressed by two acts who recently have come to Australia from other parts of the world. First up is Erik Damberg, who would be put in the 'mainstream adult-pop' genre and not something that Half A Cow would release but we ain't musical snobs here when it comes to praising the demos sent to us. Erik, originally from Norway (where he has had several hits and has his own fanclub in Denmark!) and moved to Sydney in 2000, is a very accomplished writer, arranger and singer. On 'Dreamy Pictures' he even sounds a bit like John Denver, especially in the phrasing, and on 'Airplanes Take Away' I can see Erik tapping into the crossover Country market with his mature and assured voice.

contact: erikdamberg74@hotmail.com

vacant lanes

The Vacant Lanes are from Melbourne but had their beginnings in a New York hostel in 2001 when two guys, one from Scotland and one from England, met up and became friends. In their debut 5 tracker you can hear their British roots firmly in place (they mention in their bio the Charlatans and Happy Mondays but they are more rock than either of those bands) alongside Austy faves, You Am I and Even. With gruff vocals and slightly distorted guitars there's some good songwriting on display here and two tracks, 'Down Again' and 'Afterglow', stand out.

contact: thevacantlanes@hotmail.com or Ease Productions emma@oneyedog.com

Our Demo Of The Week for 8th October, 2003 is:
CAPITAL CITY:

The demos are back. And there's stacks and stacks of 'em. Looks like a city skyline here at the HAC office. And speaking of cities, here's Capital City. When we first put this demo on, we thought it must be Houston or Dallas as we couldn't find their bio, so it was assumed we'd been sent some songs from Texas (and it's not just the wild version of the 13th Floor Elevators 'You're Gonna Miss Me' they close this disc with). That's because the singer sounds so stateside but then we found the A4 sheet and it tells us "Capital City are a three-piece rock 'n' roll band from Perth, Western Australia." capital city

It's a pleasure when you put on a demo and it instantly appeals to your musical senses, and being a fan of 60s garage-punk, this one definitely hit the spot. Their two originals, 'Talkin' Talkin' Blues Blues' (what a title!) and 'When I Die' are raucous, melodic slabs of guitar-driven rock & roll straight out of the the swamp that brought you Nuggets, New York Dolls and that other great Perth band, the Scientists. They've been playing around for three and a half years and tell us that a formal release is on the cards. Unleash the mayhem, Capital City.

contact: capitalcity77@hotmail.com website: Capital City


JUNE 2003 Wons Phreely, Jerkwater
APRIL-MAY 2003 The Rawhypnols, Wayfaring Strangers, Lizz-aard, Highway, Swayback
OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2002 Sarah Sarah, Mirablue, Skeptic, Dog Rocket, The Bigger Lovers, Grise, Treetops
MARCH-APRIL 2002 Genes, Landy, The Sound Platform
JANUARY 2002 Temporal Lobe, Hero Puppy, The Carousel, Randy Lee Majors, Sharmelle Peterson
DECEMBER 2001 Sugarchild, The Rectifiers
NOVEMBER 2001 The Drones, The Savages, Sideshow, Arbuckle
OCTOBER 2001 Halfway, Earth To Nigel, Closure, A Cat Called Monty
candylane