Rock City Shoots Blanks

September 5, 2015 11:24 am 17 comments Views:
Blank Realm behind bars, making a potent political statement about Illegals In Heaven (wi

Blank Realm behind bars, making a potent political statement about Illegals In Heaven (without realising it, this picture is from last year)
Source: Supplied

“Thinking of a masterplan, ‘cause ain’t nuthin’ but sweat inside my hand,” rapped Eric B and Rakim on Paid In Full.

Brisbane detuned future pop unit Blank Realm had no strategy when they started out.

“We dubbed 50 cassettes to make our first album and sent it around the world to any weirdos that would listen,” shrugs Daniel Spencer, lead yelper, guitarist and songwriter.

“There wasn’t any masterplan. I never expected to be playing at the Opera House or Glastonbury or any of that crazy stuff that’s happened. Our dream was to be on vinyl,” he says.

“Then we’d break up. We started from a place very much outside the music industry, as a sort of home recording project with little ambition beyond that. Obviously it’s evolved.”

Mild understatement, ol’ bean.

Tomorrow their fifth album drops through Bedroom Suck Records, Illegals In Heaven, a quicksmart follow-up to Grassed In, which was Shortlisted for 2014’s Australian Music Prize. SCOOP: it came fourth behind REMi, CW Stoneking and Total Control.

“The AMP Shortlist felt to us like an acknowledgment that this weird stuff we were doing up here in Brisbane was significant. So yeah, it was very important to us!” he says. “I feel like it’s generated a lot more interest in us domestically. In Australia a lot more people are excited and interested by our new record than by any of our other ones, even before it has come out. I think that’s probably the AMP effect.”

Illegals In Heaven refers to the appalling state of offshore detention centres we send people who have the audacity to flee their countries and seek asylum.

“For a long time I never said anything overtly political, but these days things are so farcical you kind of have to speak up,” he contends. “Almost no one believes that the Prime Minister or his counterpart in opposition are the best people to lead this country. Yet through our political system, which favours underhanded gamesmanship over vision and integrity, these are the two clowns we are stuck with,” he spits.

“It’s one of those it-would-be-funny-if-it-wasn’t-so-serious kind of things. While I do find Mr Abbott’s complete lack of personal charisma compelling to watch, I can’t help but remember that we elected this guy to pretty much have his way with our country. It hasn’t really worked out for him though has it? Sucked in Tony!” he bellows.

Blank Realm entering the Palace of Love via a ferris wheel.

Blank Realm entering the Palace of Love via a ferris wheel.
Source: Supplied

Blank Realm are stayers.

They’re sticking around while others have come unstuck. It’s like that quote from Tony Windsor: The world is run by those who turn up.

“I think we’ve always just done things on our own terms and tried to make what we see as good art. Hopefully that doesn’t sound conceited! I see a lot of bands these days with an army of publicists and huge budget around their first album, or even their first single. They make medium to big splash and then retreat into obscurity forever.”

Illegals In Heaven starts with No Views, a song written from the perspective of a…Speedway driver. “He’s living on the edge of life and death and the only way he can do that is by not questioning things, it’s just something he does. I really don’t know anything about speedway though, I was just inspired by the idea of it. I feel like my version of the speedway is filtered through Kenneth Anger’s Kustom Kar Kommandos film and Alan Vega’s Jukebox Babe album. It’s mythological.”

Palace of Love – Blank Realm

The record was made with eccentric sound curator Lawrence English in The Plutonium, a studio owned by John Steel Singers. Were things kept in check or was there some astral travelling?

“Oh geez, I feel like it was a long way from the lysergic atmosphere you may be imagining. About the craziest thing we did was order a pizza that had banana on it, which was surprisingly good,” he says.

“We do like to party pretty hard, but in the studio we are actually pretty tame and almost business like. There was a lot of beer, there always is, but anything more than that and the playing gets the wrong kind of sloppy.”

Speaking of sloppy jalopy, Spencer recalls looking out at the crowd at Meredith Music Festival last year, a performance which crowned the incredible year they went got in everyone’s crosshairs. “It was almost this kind of ‘Where’s Wally’ style panorama of people of people having a good time all the way up the hill. Some people throwing a ball around, some people on a couch, some people making out, some people dancing, some even watching us play. We had a great time. I want to go back to that place, he says. Golden Plains next year? 70-30 chance you’d think.

As a record Illegals In Heaven has a blueprint of sorts. “Our only plan was to really go for it. For a while it was unholy mess, but the more we worked on it, the more it became clear the shape it would take,” he says. “The album is kind of a dark night of the soul,” he pauses and reflects “This is a strange one. Illegals In Heaven is the first time in my life I’ve been totally happy with something. It’s a really weird feeling, like the record is actually everything I wanted it to be.

“I might hate it in a few months, but right now I’m really glad about how it turned out. I’ve never felt that way about any of our records before. For a while I thought that meant that was it, we should just stop there, but we’ve already started on the next one,” cue SAY WHA’? in Stewie Griffiths voice.

“Just keep rolling, that’s our strategy.” Album number six underway then, us fans better deal with the speed.

Shortly, Blank Realm will announce an album tour then a “touring fest I can’t really talk about yet.”

Laneway Festival!?

Head here to buy their 4.5 star record so they can be paid in full.


For the first time ever in history (an excitable triple tautology) Rock City is premiering a new video. Melbourne group Broadway Sounds are super-fun, high-life, post-calypso, soca-disco, tribal-terriers and all the right people are digging their music including triple j’s Richard Kingsmill who premiered their latest single Shonky Man on his 2015 show last Sunday night.

Broadway Sounds area Melbourne high life band ready for their close-up below.

Broadway Sounds area Melbourne high life band ready for their close-up below.
Source: Supplied

The song is described by the band as “Boney M’s tour bus getting hijacked in downtown Johannesburg and its wheels getting taken off.”

The Shonky Man film clip was shot during a jaunt through Victoria Market and highlights the overconsumption of the modern human and reminds us he/she who dies with the most toys still dies.

Higher Plains’ smart operator Ash Sambrooks, in conjunction with the band led by banana-peeling, the-way-ya-make-a-me-feelin’ showpony Andrew Diamond Phillips (NIKE Employee of the Year 2011-current) offered up the exclusive launch of the Shonky Man clip and without further ado, here it is below, shonky tonk men and women.

Turn it up and remember hot dogs slide down better when you wet the bun, hun.

Shonky Man – Broadway Sounds

Broadway Sounds play Good Manners next Monthly party at Boney on Sept 17 and Paradise Music Festival and Beyond The Valley Festival.


Jack Colwell where have you been all my life? Um. In Sydney.

Colwell was selected to feature at 2010’s Surry Hills Festival and Newcastle’s This Is Not Art Festival, was involved in Karen O’s (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) 2012 production of Stop the Virgens at Vivid Sydney, and most recently performed as part of the Sydney Festival’s Folk series. He’s on the up.

Colwell has shared the stage with Architecture In Helsinki, Rainbow Chan and Brendan Maclean and was previously leading The Owls before going solo, a wise (sorry) move.

He’s been compared to Patrick Wolf and Nick Cave and the brooding whippersnapper has a new EP titled Only When Flooded Could I Let Go out through Independent/small FRY.

The clip to new single Don’t Cry Those Tears was directed by Brian and Karl and it’s bo diddly bonkers. ‘Tears is basically the solo song Julian Casablancas has been trying to write but failing miserably.

Don’t Cry Those Tears – Jack Colwell

Empty Gallery, 471 Brunswick St, Fitzroy. Sept 20. $ 10


The 25th Meredith Music Festival has completely sold out of tickets. Aunty Meredith has closed off Aunty’s Last Chance tickets too for those veterans who made a watertight case.

A reminder of who’s on the line-up: Big Daddy Kane, Briggs, Bully, Father John Misty, Floating Points, Fatback Band, GL, Goat, Harvey Sutherland, Jessica Pratt, Julia Holter, Levins, Lucy Cliche, The Peep Tempel, Master Khalil Gudaz, MC Jane Clifton, Mighty Duke and The Lords, Moon Duo, Neon Indian, Optimo, Pearls, Power, Ratatat, Shellac, Steve Miller Band, The Thurston Moore Band, Tkay Maidza, Totally Mild, Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Nephew Woody has promised two more bands will be added to the bill. Email me at and I can point you in the right directions for *potential* online purchases. Oh boy oh boy.

Jessica Pratt will charm the pants of those still wearing them at Meredith Music Festival

Jessica Pratt will charm the pants of those still wearing them at Meredith Music Festival.
Source: Supplied

Meredith Music Festival, Dec 11-13, sold out,


Astral traveller Dan Kelly has returned with new single Never Stop the Rot from his fourth studio album Leisure Panic! out Oct. 9 through ABC Music.

Mushroom artists World's End Press. Mild mannered by day, dance demons by night.

Mushroom artists World’s End Press. Mild mannered by day, dance demons by night.
Source: Supplied



TWITTER: /worldsendpress


FACEBOOK: /worldsendpress

7396 fans

THE ARTIST: Melbourne’s new wave, no-wave throwbacks who point their hips/lips forward.

Current release:Tall Stories EP set to drop on September 25 via Liberation.

THE DEAL: WEP have been toiling away, working on the follow-up to the lauded, pitch-perfect pop adventures of their self-titled debut album. The Crystal Waters meets Simply Red track Tall Stories dropped this week and lit up the blogosphere.

Premiering on The 405, they wrote “Like their contemporaries The Presets and Cut Copy, Melbourne band World’s End Press make disco-tinged, energetic dance music bursting with dizzy energy.” Athens’ site Last Gas Station says it “delivers an addictive slice of dance pop with ridiculously catchy melodies. It’ll be rattling around your head for days.” Acid Stag quipped ‘Stories is “a super fun, energetic tune that is said to be the first taste of a larger announcement that will be made next week — wonder what that could possibly be…?” An EP tour, see ‘em at Howler on Oct 17.




Gareth Liddiard was recently misquoted as being a “stay-at-home dad”. Yet he has become a paternal figure to intelligent, wild rock bands like King Gizzard et al. Hear 2005’s AMP-winning opus Wait Long By the River & the Bodies Of Your Enemies Float By in full.

Forum Theatre, city. Sat, 8pm. $ 48.20.


The ‘90s revival is in full swing but the ‘80s have still got it. The Chantoozies will sing Witch Queen Of New Orleans, He’s Gonna Step On You Again, Wanna Be Up, Kiss and Tell as well as dorky, fun covers. See Eve von Bibra, Ally Fowler and Tottie Goldsmith show why they sold 300K+ LPs.

Flying Saucer Club, Elsternwick. Sat, 6pm. $ 33.


You need triple j all up in your grill to really break through and Brisbane/Melbourne duo Holy Holy have found favour with Kingsmill and his with debut album When the Storms Would Come. An apt alternative title? The Importance Of Being Earnest. For your solemn rock needs.

Howler, Brunswick. Sat (sold out) Sun, 7pm. $ 20,

Not Holy Holy and definitely not The’s The Drones and there’s only 42 t

Not Holy Holy and definitely not The Chantoozies….it’s The Drones and there’s only 42 tickets left for their Forum Theatre show. Don’t get caught in the Tropical F–km Storm trying to find tickets on Saturday, buy now or forever hold your peace.
Source: Supplied

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