Archive for July, 2009

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Boom Boom Boom Lets Go Back To My Room

Why am I haunted by bad eighties tunes when I write these things? Ahem.

Fellow absintheur, you can no doubt be aware that many a fine cocktail establishment are making a mark for themselves, not only on the Australian stage, but yea verily, on the global stage.  And signature absinthe cocktails are contributing to this success.

You will hear more about such establishments in coming weeks, but I want to first highlight a major event just passed in Ol’ New Orleans – Tales of the Cocktail , an internationally acclaimed gathering of the literati and glitterati of the mixological world, including  the Second Annual Wormwood Society Grande Soiree d’Absinthe.  Honestly, if you want to get to know your absinthe (aside from us of course), join the merry folk on the Wormwood Society Forum. They are US based but many an antipodean does frequent its hallowed halls.

Matthew Bax – De Raum Owner and Artist

Now, why this particular event is so special is that over the last couple of years, Australian establishments have made something of an impact – last year with 1806, and this year with De Raum, two establishments who have made absinthe part of their cocktail raison d’etre.

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Posted by Jonathan on Jul 19th 2009 | Filed in Absinthe brands,Bars,Cocktails,Culture,News,Style | Comments (0)

Paper Wraps Rock

While I’m usually loathe to compare bands to other bands or artists that have similar sounds – as a point of complement I am happy on this occasion to say the first time I heard Jai Pyne’s voice, lead singer for Sydney band, The Paper Scissors, I pictured a strange experiment that somehow involved cross breeding David Bowie and Frank Black. Granted one would not engage in such profane genetic manipulation for visual aesthetics but perhaps for more profound musicality one would dare to play God a little.

The Paper Scissors have just released their new E.P., ‘Howl’ on the eve of a national tour, which can be downloaded from all good electronic stores like iTunes.

The E.P. title track ‘Howl’ has a certain rocky balladeering sentiment, haunted octaval lyrical treatment, with a somewhat kooky, but highly appropriate discordant backing vocal that fits nicely amongst this rock number.  This is followed by the new-wavish bass driven ‘Soldier’ that regularly jumps sideways into a pleasing pseudo-swing style chorus.  The E.P is complemented with 3 remixes of Howl – the Cleptoleptics brings the vocal structures and interplays more prominently into the fore amongst a more reserved IDMesque blip track. The E.L.F Remix is almost flocking with seagulls and may be the least adventurous treatment.  The SPOD Remix is practically a different song altogether, a conveyer belt of electronic grooving and widget twitching with electro-interference treatments that playfully pummel around the vocal refrains. Certainly the most interesting of the remixes.

I think that while the songs had great capacity to be played ‘safe’ – the risks that are taken make them musically much more engaging than many recent Australian bands coming out of the stables.  While getting good exposure of late on JJJ, with the lads on tour it is an excellent time to see them live, and grab yourself a copy of the E.P.

Posted by Jonathan on Jul 9th 2009 | Filed in Absinthe brands,Music,News | Comments (0)

The Error Of Their Ways

I had a most unusual realisation the other day.  I realised that I had grown up with British Musical Hall tradition tunes.  Now, being in my late thirties this may seem incongruous with a musical tradition that spanned the late Victorian and early Edwardian eras, a hey-day for absinthe.  But something triggered a long forgotten memory in my mind of spending a good part of the late seventies as a child watching ABC television on Sunday nights I believe, following a long-running BBC show called “The Good Old Days“.

For those post-Gen X, this was a somewhat gloriously hokey romp of a tv show (yea, camp even – Victorian Drag anyone ?) where the entire audience dressed up in period Victorian-Edwardian garb (today we might say old school Steampunk….) and sang along to old show tunes with the performers, often well known comedians and singers of the day, hamming it up on stage reliving the glory days of British vaudeville. Such was its popularity that it ran for 30 years.

That’s what people did before Torrent downloads of Joss Whedon shows and internet porn.

It must be said that with the meteoric Burlesque revival, the revival of Music Hall must surely not be far behind, or have a potential niche in these “new old times”.   And so it is with some delight that I stumbled across the Australian performing duo known as Bygone Error, who are making a mark in the Australian folk scene with their resurrected show tunes and bawdy British humour from these delightfully fruity times past.  Think of a musical ‘Are You Being Served?’ in a snazzy bowler & waistcoat and you’ve hit the vibe.

I think these chaps have potential to go wider than the folk scene – any promoters in the Fringe Festival or neo-burlesque milieu should go give them a listen now.  I can easily see them being an excellent support to the other revived lost vaudevillian arts now back in vogue – and to my mind the musical side has been the one component of these traditions largely overlooked with the exception of specialised cabaret chanteuses such as Meow Meow.  But there is so much more musically from this era, and I am glad for one that this dynamic duo are broadening the re-experience of entertainment history.

Posted by Jonathan on Jul 1st 2009 | Filed in Art,Culture,Distilleries,Events,Food,Music,Reviews,Uncategorized | Comments (0)