Harmony onward

It’s been a very big week. Work is just nuts right now – I mean, I have no idea how this week is going to go, given that I have 4 massive projects, that I haven’t finished, that ought to have been finished on Friday. I have a full 24 hours tomorrow, so I’ll try and make a dint before the crazy starts on Monday. Because there most certainly will be crazy.

Wednesday night saw me flying solo at the Annandale to bear witness to Jason Molina and the mighty Magnolia Electric Co. I’ve been looking forward to this gig for a good while, but Wednesday night, driving along the M4, I had to give myself a pep talk to avoid turning around and heading back home. Why do bands insist on shows on school nights? Does my grumpiness about this mean I’m getting old? I think it had to do with the flying solo bit too – I’m all good on my own at shows, but I get tetchy and bored between sets when I am. This is why I didn’t actually walk into the Annandale until around 9:30pm – 15 minutes before the band came on.

I think I’ve already said here a few times, when it comes to live music venues in Sydney, I have a lot of love for the Annandale. It’s one of those places where you can experience a true pub gig, and it was honestly the perfect venue for Molina et. al. on Wednesday night. The lighting is a bit off, and the sound can sometimes be kinda loud (in that bad way), but for true live music authenticity you can’t beat it really. They’ve also done something good to the floor – I managed to get out of there Wednesday night without losing either of my shoes to whatever sticky goo usually lives there.

I was surprised when I got there that I made it to the front fairly easily – the venue was reasonably full, but people were hanging back a little. When the band came on, even though I was perhaps 2 people back from the stage, I had plenty of breathing space on all sides.

And it was amazingly great. Molina writes some of the most beautifully constructed songs you’ll ever hear, and he also tells a great story. The love and regret and melancholy and humour and experience in his writing is palpable. And there’s something truly addictive about the sounds he/they create.

Some observations –

• Jason Molina is LITTLE. And he looks a little like James Belushi. Or is that just me? But that VOICE – holy moly. He could sing anything to me and I’d be puddles.
• I was completely unprepared for what amazing guitarists they’d be. I know they don’t have a completely solid line up, but Jason Groth on lead guitar was truly amazing.
• Trumpet FTW. Always.
• Speaking of Jason Groth – I think I might be a little bit in love with him. A visit to his MySpace has not helped this at all.
• There wasn’t a great deal of chit chat, but they all just seemed like such nice guys.

And I think I managed to get the set list. I can’t be sure this is 100% correct – if you see something wrong here lemme know, okay? Also, I tried to pinpoint the Songs: Ohia stuff, but I can’t be sure I got that right, either. Is it only me who thinks the line between Magnolia Electric Co. and Songs: Ohia is decidedly blurry? Anyway, there was a lot from Fading Trails (which you’d expect, really) and a few from What Comes After the Blues, which I was pretty happy about. Here it is –

Talk To Me Devil, Again
Texas 71
Leave the city
Down The Wrong Road Both Ways
Hard To Love A Man
Montgomery Bound
Lonesome Valley
Destiny (Songs: Ohia)
Oh, Grace (Songs: Ohia)
I’ve Been Riding with the Ghost
Hammer Down
The Dark Don’t Hide It


Shiloh (Songs: Ohia)

They only encored once, and it was only one song – damn the residents of Annandale and their complaints about noise, and damn noise curfews to HELL. I wanted more and more and more, and so did everyone else.

It was amazing. Like, I was very happily blown away. And this is the sort of music show I love – a lot of people together in the once place because they love a band. And they were listening. And isn’t that what seeing live music is about?


Dear Jason Molina,

Thanks for Wednesday night. I walked into the Annandale feeling a bit meh, and walked out on top of the world.

You didn’t play Northstar Blues or Farewell Transmission. I can forgive you that, though, because Hammer Down and The Dark Don’t Hide it were fucking off the charts amazing.

Your songs are like soul food. Just so you know.

See you soon (I hope),



I have near every window in the house open, and also all the doors. It’s the first time in a long time the air has been warm enough for me to do that. I also have Regina Spektor on the stereo and I’m thinking about going to see the new Michael Moore movie this afternoon.

Ahhh. Why can’t every day be Sunday?

All for believing

A lot of music bloggers do the whole ‘middle of the year best of’ lists around June/July. I don’t really go in for that sort of thing, mainly because I have a hard time keeping up with what’s released when, and I struggle to make ordered lists anyhoo. Still, a lot of people do them, and I really enjoy reading them. Particularly from people whose music and/or music taste I really like.

This year John Darnielle did a semi half year list on his blog Last Plane to Jakarta. There were the expected metal bands and also things like Bowerbirds, but then, there was something on there that never in a bazillion years would I have expected to see…

Missy Higgins.

Wait, what? Firstly, John Darnielle knows who Missy Higgins is? The girl is clearly doing some leg work in the US. Secondly, he digs the music she’s making? I bought her EP back in wheneverthehell it is now, when she was first unearthed by Triple J. I liked it a lot, and played it a lot, and even bought a copy for sister # 3. By the time she released The Sound of White I was cleanly sick of the single, having heard it thrashed to death by both commercial radio and Triple J, as they proceeded to do with most every song on the album. It was not a bad album. I like some of the songs, and I like 2 of the songs an awful lot. But honestly, when something is blanket played like that, it’s asking for the hate.

I haven’t even really paid attention to this new album. I heard the single on Triple J and honestly, I felt more than a bit meh about it. I saw her set at The Great Escape this year and I ended up leaving three quarters of the way through to see something else. I mean, all the power to her, but for someone like JD who writes such complicated and sophisticated lyrics, and with his ear to the ground for new music as much as he seems to have, I couldn’t have been more surprised about this.

Anyway, end of the day, you likes what you likes. I get my fair share of shit from my friends about my love for the Killers. My fangirlness for Counting Crows probably doesn’t win me much indie cred either. Not that I ever really had any. I guess it’s nice to be surprised every now and again, and I’m kinda glad on the inside that there is Australian music other than Jet and Wolfmother being played OS.

OH and while we’re on this – I read somewhere or heard somewhere (this escapes me right now) that John Butler Trio has a number 1 (on the alternative charts or something) in the US? I think this is also a good thing, and I don’t think you have to be a fan of his music to appreciate that fact.

Anyway, I have sweet potato in the oven, and it smells good, so I’m out. Spending Saturday night in has turned out to be kinda nice.


What explanation is given for the phosphorous light
That you, as boy, went out to catch
When summer dusk turned to night.
You caught the fire-flies, put them in a jar,
Careful to let in the air,
Then you fed them dandelions, unsure
Of what such small and fleeting things
Need, and when
Their light grew dim, you
Let them go.

There is no explanation for the fire
That burns in our bodies
Or the desire that grows, again and again,
So that we must move toward each other
In the dark.
We have no wings.
We are ordinary people, doing ordinary things.
The story can be told on rice paper.
There is a lantern, a mountain, whatever
We can remember.

Hiroshige’s landscape is so soft.
What child, woman, would not want to go out
Into that dark, and be caught,
And caught again, by you?
Let these pictures of the floating world go on
Forever, but when
This light must flicker out, catch me,
Give me whatever a child imagines
To keep me aglow, then
Let me go.

I found this poem, and Siv Cedering, via Brad Zellar’s blog. He posted it a little while ago, and I was drawn back there time and time again to read the damn thing. So I’ve put it here.

We have no wings. We are ordinary people, doing ordinary things.