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Published on April 12th, 2006 | by Hans Fruck

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On The Verge, Issue #17

IDLEWILD / LEN BEE / ROD STEWART / BUTTERFINGERS / ATHLETE / HORSELL COMMON / “J” AWARDS
The Idlewild singer, before wandering back to the drawing room for a brandeh.

The Idlewild singer, before wandering back to the drawing room for a brandeh.

IDLEWILD STOPS FOR PERIOD OF QUIET REFLECTION BEFORE GETTING BACK INTO IT

EMI fired off an urgent telegram last week to announce that UK five-piece Idlewild have decamped to their winter retreat in the Scottish highlands to meditate, rest and mentally prepare for touring their new record, Warnings/Promises, which is out March 20.

The rock group’s lead singer plans to dress exclusively in tweed and take his faithful Labrador Barnabus for long walks on the moors, stopping occasionally to pensively skim stones over a frozen pond.

Other members of the band will indulge in a little pheasant shooting, do some watercolour paintings of the castle, tend to the roses, take tea in the library and spend the long, snowy nights in drawing room in front of the fire with a pipe and a good book.

Although we could not confirm it at press time, the bass player may or may not be planning to listen to the gramophone.

EMI has asked that they not be disturbed.

As the 3.14 from Sandringham bore down upon him, Lee knew he should have listened to warnings about songwriting on the railroad tracks.

As the 3.14 from Sandringham bore down upon him, Lee knew he should have listened to warnings about songwriting on the railroad tracks.

BEN LEE PROPOSES HITHERTO UNDISCOVERED CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS

Ben Lee’s position as apparently “one of this country’s most notable songwriters” raises a number of difficult questions. Just how has this pretentious muppet managed to maintain such a high profile despite a complete lack of talent, looks or humility? And how on earth did he manage to secure the attention of Claire Danes for longer than five minutes? Confusion over the latter may be down to pure jealousy – however unlikely, it is possible that Lee may possess some hidden charms he is yet to tell us all about.

His mediocrity may only warrant a passing dismissal, yet the very mention of his name causes the blood to boil in the veins of all of right-thinking people. We may never know what strange kink in the fabric of the universe allows Ben Lee to flourish, but it seems his cockroach-like indestructibility has continued to tolerate industrial strength doses of musical insecticide. Lee’s new album, Awake Is The New Sleep, is set to turn the science of biorhythmics on its head upon its release on February 28. If anything good is to come of Ben Lee’s baffling presence, it is that his zany habit of cutting the sleeves off his suit jacket never caught on. And for that, if nothing else, we should be thankful.

Rod Stewart. (He's in there somewhere.)

Rod Stewart. (He’s in there somewhere.)

ROD STEWART: HERE BUT STILL FORGOTTEN

No, we’re not sure what crypt he escaped from either, but apparently Rod Stewart will tour Australia this month. Stewart, who’s proof that prolonged peroxide use does cause brain damage (it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen), plans to charm the incontinence pants off the Alzheimer’s demographic with gut-churning renditions of Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? (If you say it quickly and think of Christina Aguilera, it’s not so bad.)

The Verge can report that the tour was almost over before it began, as customs officials at Tullamarine Airport had intended to prevent Stewart entering the country under the seldom-invoked “bogan” subclause of the Immigration Act. Although not fully recovered from a tanning incident in which he nearly solariumed himself to a cinder, Stewart still proved too slippery for officials. With customs officers in pursuit, Stewart hotfooted it from Gate 2 of the international terminal and hid in an adjacent field of tussocks, where his inimitable hairstyle had a camouflaging effect. After several hours of searching for the fugitive Scotsman, officials declared him a “chameleon” and gave up. Tour organisers, however, managed to locate their man by cunningly searching for the tussock wearing the poncey white suit and dicky two-tone shoes. The fact that the tussock was also singing Rhythm of My Heart aided identification.

To coincide with the beginning of his Australian tour, Stewart is releasing a tour edition of his Great American Songbook CD collection and a DVD of him in concert at Royal Albert Hall. So if you’re part of the Alzheimer’s demographic, remember to buy them. We said: if you’re part of the Alzheimer’s demographic, remember to buy them. We said: if you’re…

BUTTERFINGERS RELEASE VERSATILE NEW ALBUM

“The boys of Butterfingers have just given birth to a healthy new double b-side single featuring their first-ever cover version and a brand spanking new rocker so powerful, it could split Siamese twins,” gasps Chatterbox Records. The record can also mix metaphors, fly an airplane, cook a five-course meal for a dozen people, act as a negotiator in a hostage situation, and work out your personality problems to the nearest decimal place.

The band covers the late Darcy Clay’s Jesus I Was Evil.

Everybody’s Jesus is out now.

Cashew the Clown will perform alongside Jay Z at the MTV music awards.

Cashew the Clown will perform alongside Jay Z at the MTV music awards.

US IMPORTS TO BEAT OFF AT MTV AWARDS

Obviously not impressed by the drawing power of local artists, organisers of the MTV Australia Video Music Awards have imported US “stars” to bolster the award ceremony. Which might be a little more understandable if the stars in question weren’t Dr Dre buttfuck Xzibit, prancing clowns Ja Rule and Chingy, Christian impotent-rockers Switchfoot and the talented (not to mention graceful and beautiful) Kelly Osbourne. These stars will be handing out cheap trophies to Australian artists they’ve never heard of, before going backstage and complaining that the five-star hotel they were promised isn’t as good as they were led to believe. Of course, this kind of assholiness is no more than you deserve if you’re sycophantic enough to require American approval before you feel good about yourself and your industry.

In keeping with the clownlike cast of presenters, the awards will be held at the Big Top at Luna Park, Sydney. The Australian victims of this farce will include Missy Higgins, The Dissociatives, Thirsty Merc, Grinspoon and Eskimo Joe.

PS: Be sure to tune in for the start of the awards ceremony, because Xzibit will be doing the red-carpet interviews, and organisers warn us to “expect plenty of off-beat antics” from him. Substitute “beat off” for “off-beat”, and you’ll know what to expect, all right.

OFF-COLOUR GAG DISCOVERED IN PRESS RELEASE

According to EMI, London band Athlete have, ho ho, hit the ground running, ha ha, with the release of their new album Tourist (out February 20) and they plan to tour Australia soon after.

The indie band’s last album Vehicle & Animals was nominated for a Mercury Award while the single Wires went number one in the UK. The new record is apparently tipped to take number one spot again. Tipped by whom? We’re guessing EMI…

Yeah, we're like, you know, in a band, we're sort of post-punk, post-everything acoustic jazz. You should come down to the Dog & Bone and see us on Thursday

Yeah, we’re like, you know, in a band, we’re sort of post-punk, post-everything acoustic jazz. You should come down to the Dog & Bone and see us on Thursday

HOLD YOUR HORSELLS

“Since making their debut on an unsuspecting Melbourne scene in early 2002, Horsell Common carved out a niche by simply playing their own brand of uncompromising, riff-heavy rock with a passion and intensity that is becoming a scarce commodity,” intones the band’s new label, Set Fire To My Home Records.

Well, we respectfully suggest that claim is a pile of horsell shit. We could name 20 local bands off the tops of our heads that passionately play “uncompromising riff-heavy rock” and another 20 that play the compromised variety. And “unsuspecting” might be a poor choice of word: maybe “uninterested” or “oblivious” would have been more accurate.

Should you have a hankering for Horsell Common’s patented brand of riff-heaviness, check out their new EP Lost A Lot Of Blood, which is out in April.

JACQUES CARUS-TOE

West Australian singer-songwriter Carus launches his EP The Breakdown this week, although industry insiders have expressed doubts about the seaworthiness of the album-cum-sailing boat. Carus and his band The True Believers’ song Ain’t No Crime held number one spot on JJJ Net 50 for four weeks, a claim which draws a lot of water around these parts. Carus plans to sail his CD case around Australia, stopping off to trade food for songs with the natives.

ABC's head of marketing for youth station JJJ, Mr R. McDonald.

ABC’s head of marketing for youth station JJJ, Mr R. McDonald.

J-AWARDS: DO YOU WANT J-FRIES WITH THAT?

Triple J has redoubled its efforts to copy McDonald’s marketing strategy by placing the letter “J” in front of all nouns.

All staff at the ABC have been warned that failure to follow the new marketing regime to the, ahh, letter will be punishable by death. So, for example, JJJ employees wishing to make a note of the new rule must ask for a J-pen, just as a customer who’s after a fish burger would be forced to ask for a McFish McWrapper Twist™ when visiting a McDonald’s restaurant.

In keeping with the new policy, the radio station’s new “album of the year” award will be known as – you guessed it – the J Awards.

“Jay jay jay,” parroted Selma Logan, ABC head of marketing in response to allegations they were taking the whole “J” thing too far. “Jay jay jay jay jay!”


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