Interview With POND's Nicholas Allbrook

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, April 18, 2017 01:47pm | Post a Comment


By Dominique Gomez
Photo by Matt Sav
This article also appears on DoTheBay

After almost two years of silence, Australian rock band POND has spawned their new album, The Pond, The WeatherWeather, releasing on May 5th, 2017. The whimsical and multicolored group has yet again brought their honest expertise to the table. Yet, the band twists expectations by fusing pop and semi-political messages into their mind-bending songwriting. Produced by Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, POND’s glam and glitzy rock tendencies are now fully embraced in The Weather, with touches of a younger POND’s jammy and experimental artistry.

Their first single, “Sweep Me Off My Feet,” was released in early October, giving audiences a taste of their bubble gum dance abilities. The song sheds awareness, challenging masculinity and the ideologies modern society holds as true beauty. Much earlier than planned, their second single, “30,000 Megatons,” was brought to us shortly after the world learned that the United States would soon be led by reality T.V. star and actual super villain of humanity, Donald Trump. Lastly, the album’s title track, “The Weather,” was released this spring.

Frontman and songwriter Nicholas Allbrook gave DoTheBay and Amoeba Music an early listen to their long-awaited album along with a quick phone call to discuss his master plan behind the scenes of the band’s music. If you find yourself weak at the knees after getting this sneak peek of The Weather, head over to the Great American Music Hall on Tuesday April 25th, 2017 to catch POND perform their newest work right before your eyes. Enter to win a pair of tickets to this show with DoTheBay HERE!

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One album wonders: David McComb's Love of Will

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 1, 2014 08:00am | Post a Comment

David McComb
is best known as the singer of The Triffids, unquestionably one of the greatest rock bands of all time and one which released quite a few albums over the course of their fourteen year existence. As a solo artist, however, McComb recorded just one solo record, which is the subject of this week’s One Album Wonders.

David McComb was born 17 February, 1962 in Perth, Australia to Dr. Harold McComb (a plastic surgeon) and Dr. Athel Hockey (a geneticist). The McComb family resided in the Cliffe, an historic home on McNeil Street in the posh neighborhood of Peppermint Grove. David and his four older brothers all attended Christ Church Grammar School in nearby Claremont. Nevertheless, McComb would emerge as one of Australia's greatest poetic voices.

McComb began making music with Alan “Alsy” MacDonald in 1976, who was the primary songwriting partner throughout what proved to be his too short life. The two first collaborated as part of the collective known as Dalsy, then as Blök Music, and followed by Logic, which after just one performance in 1978 changed their name to The Triffids. Despite their having released some of the best music of the 1980s and NME having gone so far as to proclaim 1985, “The Year of the Triffids,” they were never commercially successful. After one of their most musically adventurous but commercially less successful albums, The Black Swan, The Triffids called it a day in 1989.

McComb’s post-Triffids years were less prolific, in large part because of his difficulties with drug addiction and associated illnesses. After the dissolution of the Triffids, McComb and MacDonald formed Blackeyed Susans with former Triffid Phil Kakulas, Ross Bolleter, and Rob Snarski and that band released an EP, Some Births are Worse than Murders in 1990. McComb returned to London, where The Triffids had been based for several years, in 1990, and the following year he and Adam Peters contributed a cover of “Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On” to the Leonard Cohen tribute album I'm Your Fan and also released a proper single, “I Don't Need You.” McComb next formed a backing band, The Red Ponies, comprised of former Triffid “Evil” Graham Lee, Warren Ellis, Peter Luscombe, Bruce Haymes, and Michael Vidale. Backed by his new band, McComb toured Europe and released the dancey single “The Message” on Stephen Street’s Foundation label, which folded in 1991. In 1992 McComb returned to Australia to study art history at The University of Melbourne… and occasionally performed with Blackeyed Susans.

From June to August 1993, McComb recorded what would prove to be his only solo ablum, Love of Will, with a band comprised of former Triffid Martyn Casey and Phil Kakulas on bass; Peter Luscombe on drums; Barry Palmer and “Evil” Graham Lee on guitar; Bruce Haymes and Daniel Denholm on keyboards; and Warren Ellis on violin. Backing vocals were sung by Joanne Alach, Lisa Miller, and Rob Snarski. Love of Will was released in December 1993 on White Label and promo videos were filmed for "Setting You Free" and "Clear Out My Mind" -- both of which were released as singles and the latter of which was (according to McComb) inspired by Geto Boys' “My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me.” A few months after the recording of Love of Will, McComb sang back-up on Nick Cave & the Bad SeedsLet Love In and his own band’s Martyn Casey and Warren Ellis both ended up joining Cave’s. Palmer went on to join Hunters & Collectors; Lee performed with Paul Kelly, Robert Forster, and other musicians; and Luscombe, Haymes, and Denholm also went on to play with numerous musicians.

McComb launched one last band, Costar, who recorded a still unreleased EP. A planned Triffids reunion in 1994 was put on hold when McComb’s health worsened and McComb developed cardiomyopathy. Although he underwent a successful heart transplant in 1996, his continued abuse of drugs did his health no favors and after being involved in a car crash on 30 January, 1996, he was hospitalized for a night, released, and then died on 2 February, a few weeks shy of his 37th birthday. His ashes were spread under the pines at the family’s farm near Jerdacuttup

David McComb

Predictably, since McComb’s death The Triffids’ stature has grown and they’ve inspired a documentary (about the masterpiece Born Sandy Devotional), tribute concerts, and Bleddyn Butcher’s book, Save What You Can - the Day of the Triffids. Additionally, a book of McComb’s poetry was released a few years ago as Beautiful Waste. A crowd-funded documentary titled Love in Bright Landscapes: The Story of David McComb of The Triffids seems still to be in production (or pre-production), directed by Jonathan Alley. Most encouraging is the fact that every proper studio album by The Triffids has been re-released and are therefore relatively easy to enjoy. On the other hand, McComb's Love of Will has unduly suffered over the intervening years since its release from its relative obscurity. Shortly after its initial release it received a second pressing by Mushroom in early 1994 but soon after went out of print and remains so to this day. It was only produced on audio cassette and compact disc but if you find a copy, do snag it. In the meantime, you can listen to it online if you wish.


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Aussie Psych-pop Band Wunder Wunder Talk to the Amoeblog Before Their Show May 22 at The Roxy

Posted by Billy Gil, May 14, 2014 05:20pm | Post a Comment

RSVP here to see Wunder Wunder with Holy Fuck and James Supercave May 22 at The Roxy for Red Bull’s next Sound Select show in Los Angeles. The show is only $3 with an RSVP.

If there’s ever been a group that fused the sensibilities of two places they've come from, it’s Wunder Wunder, an Australian band that now live in L.A. The band hails from a place known for its awesome psych-pop bands, like Tame Impala and Jagwar Ma, to name a few, but they’ve got a distinctly easygoing, SoCal vibe, too, on songs like the glittering “Coatstline.”

Even though we’ve only heard two songs so far from the band, we’re already pumped about the prospects they offer. The duo’s debut album, Everything Infinite, is out July 15. We caught up with the band, made up of Aaron Shanahan and Benjamin Plant (who are also in electro-pop band Miami Horror) before their May 22 show with Holy Fuck and James Supercave at The Roxy May 22.


What do you guys think of L.A.? Do you feel like the new surroundings have affected your music at all?

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Somebody Called Me Australian - Music Videos Part III - The Australian Age

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 7, 2011 07:00pm | Post a Comment
This blog entry is part of a series on the history of music videos in the pre-MTV era. Part I dealt with the era from 1890s-1940s. Part II covered the 1940s-1960s. This section focuses on Australia's domination of music videos, beginning in the 1970s.

Videos took off in Australia largely because the country is a dang continent and back in the day traveling across it was harder than just moving to England and getting famous there, something which many Aussie bands have done… and probably continue to do. So rather than drive through bush fires and blizzards to get from Perth to play to seven larrikins in Brisbane, music videos were increasingly used to promote bands.


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Out of Africa - Austro-Melanesian History, Culture and Music

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 1, 2010 12:00pm | Post a Comment
Once upon a time, one or two hundred thousand years ago or so, anatomically human beings appeared on the scene in Africa. About 60,000 years ago, there may have been as many as 5,000 people living on the planet. A number, possibly around 150, decided to cross the Red Sea... following the lead of their cousins, Homo erectus, who'd decided to look for new real estate some 2 million years earlier.

Homo Erectus couple

The humans traveled along the Arabian coast and, once arriving in South Asia, decided to settle down for a while. Over thousands of years, physical differences would develop in humans that spread from this population; lighter skin allowed for the absorption of Vitamin D3 as people moved into less sunny climes. Nowadays we usually call these descendants Asians and white people. But the people that moved on through Southeast Asia to Australia don't have a name nearly as recognized. To my ears, Australoid sounds so clunky... does the "oid" suffix ever sound good? Some of the more widely used terms in their respective cultures include the vague "black," "negrito" and "aborigine." I'm going to stick with Austro-Melanesian (or Australo-Melanesian) for now... If that catches on, maybe future generations will shorten it to AMs, Ausmels or something catchier. But for now, I'd merely like to focus on both the diversity and solidarity of these various peoples.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Whereas India became a post-racial fondue, two island groups between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal existed in relative isolation.

Jarawa lounging

The Great Andamanese, Jarawa, Jangil, Onge, and Sentinelese probably represent the purest example of Africa's original pioneers in Asia.

Traditionally, the music of these islands was vocal, sung either in chorus or solo. The lyrics of their songs, whether about dugong-spearing, bow-making or pig-hunting, could generally be considered work songs.

Malay Peninsula
In southeast Asia, the Mani are a remnant population of the original pioneers that live in modern day Thailand. In Malaysia, the Semang are referred to as one of the nation's groups of orang asli, or "original people." The earliest recorded mention of the Semang in the Malay Peninsula is circa 200 BCE, although their presence obviously stretches much further back.


Mani girls

One of their interesting instruments includes the nose flute. It's pretty much impossible to find any clips though... dang!

Human remains in Papua have been dated to around 50,000 years ago. After India, Papua may've been another major setting point for humans leaving Africa. It was from there that people branched out into Maritime Southeast Asia.

Pro-Independence Papuans observing the Biak Massacre

Study of Papuan music has been discouraged by the Indonesian occupation, which seeks to prevent the promotion of Papuan culture.
In Taiwan, Austronesians were long thought to be the island's aborigines. Nowadays, it's known that there were inhabitants much earlier, the most famous being the so-called (and now vanished or absorbed) Changping Culture.


The Changping culture's best-known site is 八仙洞 (Baxiandong) in Taitung County. In 2009, a team from Academia Sinica discovered and confirmed the age of Taiwan's oldest artifacts inside the cave.
The indigenous peoples of Australia include the Alyawarre, Anmatjera, Arrente, Cammeraygal, Dieri, Eora, Gunai, Gunivugi, Gurindji, Guugu Yimithir, Jarrakan, Kalkadoon, Kamilaroi, Kaurna, Koori Kulin, Lurtija, Maralinga Tjarutja, Murrinh-Patha, Narungga, Ngarrindjeri, Ngunnawal, Noongar, Pitjantjatjara, Spinigex, Tharawal, Tiwi, Warlpiri, Wiradjuri, Wonnarua, Wapa, Yolngu, Yorta Yorta and many others.

Arrarnta boys from Ntaria

They are thought by most to have arrived in Australia between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago. It is believed that first human migration to Australia was achieved when this landmass formed part of the Sahul continent, connected to Papua by a land bridge. Others may've crossed the Timor Sea.

Many forms of traditional music formed across the vast continent. Bunggul developed around the Mann River and is known for its usually epic storytelling. In most cultures there are also clan songs and death wails. The best known symbol of indigenous Australian music is the didgeridoo, one of the oldest known instruments. Traditionally it was played only by men on an aerophone made from eucalyptus with a beeswax mouthpiece. Nowadays they can be made from materials like PVC and are often played by white people with dreadlocks.

The Melanesian subregion of Oceania, (from Greek: μέλας "black" and νῆσος, "islands") includes Amplett Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, d'Entrecasteaux Islands, Fiji, Louisiade Archipelago, Maluku Islands, New Caledonia, Papua, Norfolk Island, Raja Ampat Islands, Rotuma, Schouten Islands, Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands, Torres Strait Islands, Trobriand Islands, Vanuatu and Woodlark Island.

Solomon Islander Children

Some of the islands were settled around 33,000 years ago via boats, and in some cases, land bridges. For tens of thousands of years, they were the only game in town, until, around 4,000 years ago, the Austronesians arrived, resulting in a long period of interaction that resulted in many complex changes in genetics, languages, and culture. In the case of remote Fiji, it appears that the Melanesians actually arrived after their neighbors, the Austronesians, around 2,500 years ago.

Vocal music is very common across Melanesia. Folk instruments included many kinds of drums, flutes, pipes and slit-log gongs.

The indigenous Aetas live primarily in The Philippines' northern Luzon Island. Their Austronesian neighbors, the Ilocano, called them pugut, meaning a sort of forest spirit. They probably arrived to the Philippines some 30,000 years ago via land bridge.

Aeta Men

The Aeta have a musical heritage consisting of various types of agung ensembles. Agung are gongs which provide drone without any accompanying melodic instrument.
The Micronesian subregion of Oceania includes Kiribati, the Marianas, the Marshall Islands, the Caroline Islands, Nauru and Wake Island. The islands were settled by successive waves from Melanesia and Austronesia between 3000 BCE and 1300 CE.

Dancers from Kiribati

Their primarily vocal folk music is based around mythology and rituals and covers a range of styles believed to have been introduced in dreams and trances, rather than composed by people. 

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