CD Review: Eskimo Joe

Published in The Music (WA, NSW, QLD, VIC) | 18.09.13 | Issue # 6

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Interview: Vida Cain

Published in The Music (WA) | 18.09.13 | Issue # 6



Spawned from a hatred of modern-day music, Vida Cain aren’t sitting around waiting for destiny to ask them out. Vocalist Josh Johnstone tells Daniel Cribb about the driving force behind their passion.

They’re a self-proclaimed punk band, but it’s not so much their music, rather their approach to it that justifies such a label. Raw rock supported by a carefree attitude is echoed through the band’s 2012 debut EP, and continues with their first album, The Rule Of Gravity.

Listening to the record, it’s surprising to discover the four-piece have only been together for a year and a half, especially since we haven’t seen their name around town much. Fresh off the stage in Kalgoorlie, frontman Josh Johnstone explains why Vida Cain has spent most of its existence on regional tours. “As you can hear, there’s bogan bikers driving past,” Johnstone laughs, quickly relocating to a quiet corner. “Regional tours were a pretty good way to get the band sounding tight very quickly, because when you’re on the road, it’s not just the playing everyday, it’s the hanging out everyday and bouncing ideas off each other, as opposed to meeting up once a week. Regional tours have been very instrumental in getting the band developed so quickly.” The band had no set direction in mind starting out, so disappearing into the country for weeks on end to clear their heads and figure out what sound they were chasing was the perfect recipe. “Initially, I was picturing this band as quite indie, rock, acoustic and mellow; that was always my intention. Then we started jamming and the first things were hard riffs – so nothing like what I was expecting. I still think we are figuring out what we are and where we’re going, but by all means, we’re all very proud of how it’s coming together.” No matter what sound they take on next, their recordings will always be as stripped back and as raw as possible, with Johnstone expressing a passionate distaste for the over-produced way in which most records are done these days. “Nothing has longevity anymore because everything’s too over-produced; there’s no mistakes left in anymore, and it’s those little mistakes that start to grow on you and give the songs character. If you listen to the old recordings by The Rolling Stones and The Kinks, there are plenty of mistakes in there, and I’d really like to see music get back to that charm.”

An extensive national album tour will follow the band’s Perth launches, and that’s just the beginning. “We’re trying to be proactive. I’ve heard of a few bands imploding because they’re sitting around and waiting for people to do things for them, and as much as it’s really tough being independent, it is nice being able to make your own destiny. We all really feel that if you put enough energy into something, you can make it happen.”

Daniel Cribb

THE MUSIC WA: Black Flag Column (Issue 5)

Published in The Music (WA) | 11.09.13 | Issue # 5



Soundwave can be a bit of a tricky one for punk and hardcore fans. It’s a festival that appeals to alternative music lovers, but tends to offer less value for punk and hardcore enthusiasts. At first glance the line-up usually brings a wave of excitement (this year delivered through Terror, Trash Talk, Rocket From The Crypt and Alkaline Trio), but when you start doing the math, you end up realising you’re looking at paying $50 a band, which can be hard to justify.

The amount of sidewaves the East Coast gets is ridiculous, with most bands teaming up to play club shows. Perth usually gets three, if that. While Soundwave is an impressive feat, it’s sort of screwing over punk and hardcore fans. The Lawrence Arm tune Warped Summer Extravaganza (Major Excellent) discusses the band’s dislike of the Warped Tour tearing through town and band’s playing one big show on one day rather than pubs and clubs being packed every weekend. Although Soundwave is 10 times bigger than Warped, this couldn’t describe our situation any better. “It’s burning; a fire inside that I just don’t believe,” The Lawrence Arms bassist Brendan Kelly sings in the song’s first verse – the line was presumably an attack at AFI, who are playing Soundwave next year.

Instead of seeing four or five of your favourite band’s spread over numerous nights, you have to pay $200 to see them play 30-minute sets in 40-degree heat. There’s really only one alternative festival that nails it, and that’s Gainesville, Florida’s Fest. Currently in its 12th year, Fest is set up like the WAMi Saturday Spectacular – every venue in the town hosts live music; only Fest does it for three nights in a row. Over 300 bands – including bands that often appear on Soundwave – take over the little town, and having ventured their last year myself, I can assure you it makes Soundwave, Warped Tour and just about any other festival in the same vein you can think of look like amateurs.

If there were sidewaves delivered to WA, that would rectify this issue, but there isn’t, so it’s time to decide whether or not to part ways with your hard-earned cash. Hopefully this will sway your decision.

Often those who love hardcore found their way there through bands like Soundwave headliner Green Day, or similar ‘90s pop punk bands. Parkway Drive started off listening to bands like Offspring and Millencolin, and from there ventured into hardcore, then metalcore.

Green Day might not really be your thing anymore (their last four records have been atrocious), but with Dookie celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, it’s highly likely their two-and-half-hour set will feature a slew of older hits. Last month, at London’s O2 Academy in Brixton, they played Dookie in its entirety. That nostalgic orgasm alone would be worth the $200 ticket price.

Plus, old punk rockers know how to party best; Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong recently going through rehab and last year Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba having a drug-related meltdown onstage in the US. With the small handful of acts on the bill that fit into the genre confines of this column, and the nostalgic overload Green Day are surely to deliver, Soundwave 2014 should make for a pretty decent day. Alternatively, you’ve still got some time to purchase a flight to Florida and see ALL, The Flatliners, The Menzingers, and The Lawrence Arms at Fest 12 next month.

Interview: Anberlin

Published on the | 11.09.13



Could you listen to your favourite song 3000 times and still have the same passion for it? Anberlinfrontman Stephen Christian tells Daniel Cribb how the band injected new life into old hits and wrote their best record to date.

They call Australia their second home, and for a band who has visited the country nine times in their ten year existence, Anberlin are well overdue for another tour since their An Evening With Anberlin tour in 2011. In fact, they toured the country twice in ’11, the first time being Soundwave. “What’s taken us so long to get back on this record? I have no idea,” vocalist Stephen Christian begins. “Every time we tried to book, something would come up with the Australian promoter or our US tour. This will be the first time going over there on our new record and that’s really exciting for us because we’ve always – obviously by going there nine times – loved Australia, and it’s time to come back. We’re excited to be doing it on such a good record, one that we’re really, really proud of.”

Constantly touring, already circling the US three times this year, it’s no wonder they have to mix things up every now and then to offer fans something new. Taking it easy in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, the frontman explains the reasoning behind a three-week acoustic tour of the States they have just completed. “The thing is, we’ve been playing these songs for a few years now, and we just wanted to challenge ourselves as musicians; we wanted to see if we could recreate the moment. We’ve been on tour constantly this past year and played a lot of shows in the US, and so we kind of wanted to reinvent the songs and give people who may have seen us already this year something new,” Christian says.

“There’s definitely songs off our older records that we’re getting a bit tired of – it’s not that we like the songs any less, it’s just at this point, some of the songs we’ve played at least 2000, 3000 times, so it’s just fun and refreshing for the band to be able to play new songs. I think that’s for any band, as a musician, you’re ready to play new music – you’re hungry for it and the cool thing about this record, like I said before, these are songs that we all want to play and finally get to play live in Australia.”

In 2011, because they had already toured Australia with Soundwave, their set was an intriguing blend of acoustic renditions, covers, crowd requests and even a live Q&A. Because they haven’t toured their sixth studio album, Vital, in Australia yet, punters can expect it will make up a heavy portion of the set. To help them unleash their new record on Australian crowds, they’ve asked long-time friends The Maine and William Beckett (The Academy Is…) to join them.

“For us, even though it came out in October, we’re still so proud of it, and I’m sure every record, before it comes out, the band’s like, ‘This is our best record ever!’, and we never said that about this record. We were just holding our breath and hoping fans would react to the energy and passion that we had put into this record. Even from the onset we always said that we want this to be our most aggressive record to date and we feel like we accomplished that.

“After it came out, the fans reacted way better than we thought they would, and everybody loves the record. The one thing that we love about the record is that we absolutely love playing the songs live, and that’s a big deal for a band, because sometimes you get real tired of the music you’re playing pretty fast, so it’s just cool that everybody’s still so hungry and ready to play the songs off Vital.”

It’s aggressive natural is partly to do with Christian’s other band, Anchor & Braille, whose ambient new wave folk left him yeaning for a more energetic release. Anchor & Braille had just wrapped up their latest record, which features mainly slow, piano-driven numbers, when Anberlin ventured into the studio.

Dark Is A Way, Light Is A Place is more of a moody record than our other records. We weren’t as intent on making it energetic, it was more of just a darker record for us…I was ready to get back into the aggressive roots that Anberlin had because that’s what people were excited about – that’s what people like about Anberlin, and so I think all those things added up to being, ‘Hey, we need to get back to our roots and be energised and be this again’.

“Everything we’ve done paved the way to creating Vital. When you’re starved for something, especially as a musician – the favourite part of our show is the energy and the crowd screaming back at us – and so when it came to writing, we wrote a record that we wanted to play live, and that’s why the more aggressive format. That’s why songs like Somewhat Anyone and Self-Starter made it to the record.”

Meeting in high school and growing up together, 2013 marks 10 years as a band for Anberlin. Being closer than family is another factor Christian attributes to the solidness resonating throughout Vital.  “It’s one of those things where we just looked at each other and nodded, because we didn’t want to do anything gimmicky, we didn’t want to put out a ten year deluxe edition of our first record; we felt like if we were a band whose career was on our way out or we felt our best work was behind us, then we would definitely look into to doing something like that, but for us, we were right in the middle of a tour, our single was doing really well, and we looked at each other and it were like, ‘Oh, man, we’ve been together for ten years’. I mean, it’s definitely a moment of pride because not a lot of bands can stay together that long. Our brightest day is tomorrow – our brightest moment hasn’t come yet.

“From here we’ll continue to do what we do and what we love to do, which is tour, make records, and appreciate every moment, because you don’t know if this is your last moment. The next record might come out, and if no one buys it, then it’s over. So we just want to take every moment and appreciate it.”




5 September, 2013

Daniel Cribb

With Tonight Alive’s new record set to be released later this month, vocalist Jenna McDougall has expressed concern over Australia’s live music scene, citing their frequent international tours as a necessity to stay afloat.

“I just feel like there’s not a community,” McDougall told on the eve of the band’s forthcoming Australian tour. “I’m not sure where that fire has gone that there was when we first started.”

“There was such a scene, and even if you didn’t know the bands that were playing on a Friday night, you still went; just because the venue was cool, or because there was always a crowd there. I’m not sure that so much exists around music now. I don’t know what it’s going to take to bring it back, but I hope we can be part of the wave of it.”

The band has spent most of 2013 touring internationally, only returning to record their new album, The Other Side.

“There’s definitely a bigger market for our type of music overseas. I think it’s just going to take being able to really ground ourselves internationally before Australia can really grab onto that as well.”

Having toured the US Warped Tour earlier this year and in 2012, Tonight Alive are set to appear on the festival’s Australian comeback. McDougall hopes the festival will reignite the some of the lost passion.

“I just really hope it triggers something in the Australian music scene because it’s so difficult, even for Australian bands, to be successful here. Unless you’re maybe in an indie scene or if you get radio play and you’re a solo artist. It’s really hard for rock music to thrive here, because it’s so hard to sell tickets and there’s only so many venues you can play.

“I just hope this ignites something for Australian music fans, and I really hope that it keeps coming back and it keeps giving bands an opportunity to tour and get that exposure and experience in an other way.”