Amoeblog


The scene in need of a name

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 14, 2009 06:39pm | Post a Comment
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About ten years ago, my friend Pete Jourdan and I were trying to advance the awareness of what we felt was a scene that was somehow unrecognized both for its existence as a scene and for the Godlike Genius of it all. I described it thusly, "Although there’s never been a name put to it, there’s an ongoing movement in music whose participants mix musical influences like the baritone atmospherics of Lee Hazelwood, the Doors, Scott Walker and Leonard Cohen with Ennio Morricone, Hank Williams, and Southern Gothic and Poetic Realist literary influences to create a sort of rural, post-apocalyptic, midnight cabaret music that, whilst dark and doomy, offers a sepia-tinted alternative to the embarassing cornballisms of Goth. A lot of the bands hail from Australia and their members normally look like a mix of consumptive prospectors and bourbon-drunk undertakers. Their lush, decadent sound is usually built around haunting violins, spaghetti western guitar and old time religion."

Crim + the City Solution The Triffids
Windswept, Australian, Hillbilly Heathcliffs

It was the CD era, pre-blogs, and eventually we, like Israel and Palestine, couldn't come to an agreement either on what to call it or how to characterize it. Pete maintained that Nick Cave was the central figure. Given that Boys Next Door inarguably sucked while the similarly minded Young Charlatans and Crime + the City Solution were already good, I didn't want to overemphasize Nick Cave's importance at the expense of Rowland S. Howard, Simon Bonney, Mick Harvey and others. If everything had to tie directly to Nick Cave, how could we incorporate bands like Wolfgang Press and Tindersticks but through at least three degrees of separation? Nick Cave became our "right of return" and talks broke down. I don't know whether this biography is auto or not, but in order to preserve it:

Peter D. Jourdan, plagued with weak health, was begged by his family physician, Old Man Olafson (who runs Olafson’s General Store in West Lakeland Township), to harden himself and his constitution by way of spending a length of time on in the masculine arts of ranching and trail-riding in our wonderful frontier... but only after his prescription of horehound (oral) failed. Instead, however, it seems he fell in with the notorious Rowena gang and his health and moral reserve were subsequently eroded completely.



And Also the Trees


Anita Lane


Angelo Badalamenti


Asphalt Ribbons

Birthday Party


Blackeyed Susans


Kid Congo Powers


Crime + the City Solution


The Dirty Three


The Flaming Stars


Gallon Drunk


Hugo Race & the True Spirit


Mick Harvey

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Phil Shoenfelt & Southern Cross

PJ Harvey

Rowland S. Howard

Simon Bonney

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Sixteen Horsepower


These Immortal Souls


The Tindersticks


The Triffids


The Walkabouts


Wolfgang Press


Young Charlatans

Also check out Conway Savage, The Denver Gentlemen, Die Haut, Fatal Shore, The Gilded Bats, Honeymoon In Red, Hungry Ghosts, Once Upon a Time, Shotgun Wedding, Those Poor Bastards and Woven Hand, which have no decent video footage currently.

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Relevant Tags

Australia (10), Southern Gothic (1), Rock (22), Alternative (1), Indie (3), 1990s (43), 1980s (49)