Tag Archives: Golden Rough

479. Love Me – “Love Me”

This act ranks right up there in terms of obscurity.  Their decidedly non-Googlable moniker renders them pretty much invisible in the cyber world, and there are no sound files or clips that I can find.

What I do know is that the Sydney band featured three vocalists, that on this 1996 album Dave Orwell from Golden Rough was a fulltime member (but, oddly, not a vocalist), and that Tim Rogers was producer. Oh, and that I own their first three albums.

I’m thinking that these guys are also cursing their timing.  They were onto the whole silky-smooth alt-country schtick a good decade before The Audreys. Several tracks on here, such as on the wonderful Dorothea McKellar-adapting Buy Me A Drink and Slipping Asleep, could easily have appeared on the Audreys’ first couple of albums (and would have improved them).

Of the vocalists, Madeleine King has the most mesmerising effect (I think… or is that Mandy Pearson? – damn you iTunes for your lack of liner notes), while the shift between male and female voices works wonderfully.

I have no idea where you could find a copy of this album… but you should try to.  It’s a true nugget of gold-plated harmonica, slide guitar and wistful warm afternoon wonder.

File under: A many splendored thing

366. Various Artists – “Feast”

This resides also in the until now ignored F ‘Various Artists’ section.

We’re going for a Candle Records double feature.  This was the  label’s 2002 collection of 20 songs from 10 acts in the stable.

As with most of these compendiums, the tracks were pretty much all previously unreleased.  Many would never see the light of day elsewhere.  These weren’t throwaway b-sides, but rather genuine nuggets of gold from the usual suspects (and a couple of fleeting follies).

It contains a true classic from the Ruck Rover lads. Mortgage is the first in their eventual bookend grizzles about the inanity of conversations with couples. It contains some of the most biting and perfect lyrics in songwriting history (“Was your deposit really that large? Were the bank fees really that low? Are repayments really that flexible? Bugger, me whatta you know”).

Darren Hanlon delivers his usual poignant tale of romantic inadequacy on Yes, There is a Slight Chance He Might Actually Fail, and Tim Oxley debuted his brilliant House Husband. A few of the less known Candlites Weave, and the once off D.O.P.H. manage some passable pop.

I was captivated by the album when it came out, and it’s been fun revisiting.

File under: More meat than Masterchef

365. Various Artists – “Flipside”

Another I missed back in the Fs.

Here’s the third of five Candle Records compilations in my collection.  It came pretty late in the Candle epoch, and was perhaps the most outlandish and adventurous collective action from the label.

While the acts on the roster were predominantly of a simple and gentle bent (musically) with a preference for the organic rather than electronics, the strummed rather than the programmed, this CD saw them handing their precious tracks over to knob twiddlers and song transformers.

What I’m saying is that this is the remix album probably no Candle fans had been holding out for. Before you get too excited, the outcome is not exactly dancefloor fodder (beyond perhaps some demented kindergarten – hmmm, is ‘demented’ superfluous there?).  Typically the tracks have had their strings stripped out with a slightly faster backing of beeps and squeaks parachuted in.

It works most effectively when former Tlot O. Bolwell reunites with Stanley to funk up the classic Ruck Rover track about newsreaders. Guild League‘s Siamese Couplets becomes very cheesy, while Pipas take the LucksmithsHow to Tie to Tie dangerously close to Architecture in Helsinki land (fear not, it retains a melody however).

All in all, this is a curiosity for Candle completists, but not likely to change your world.

File under: Better than a B-side

G, that was fast

In the blink of an eye, the letter G has been knocked off in our journey towards Z. This was the fastest letter so far, with 37 reviews in 36 days. See what happens when I finish teaching.

G was a revelation. It doesn’t get as much attention in my life as it should (the perils of being bottom shelf on that particular rack). The Top 10 shows a very strong Aussie flavour with 7/10 CDs local treasures.

  1. Gersey – “Hope Springs”
  2. Grandview – “Room 15″
  3. Golden Rough – “This Sad Paradise”
  4. The Guild League – “Private Transport”
  5. The Guild League – “Inner North”
  6. Gossip – “Music for Men”
  7. Gossip – “Standing in the Way of Control”
  8. Mary Gauthier – “Mercy Now”
  9. The Grates – “Gravity Won’t Get You High”
  10. Gersey – “Storms Dressed As Stars”

I’m gonna do a bit of housekeeping (i.e. a few reviews of recent purchases and albums I spotted on the vinyl and compilation shelves from A-F) before diving into H. I can tell you that this artist will be one of the early subjects in H-land (but not this song which is off an EP):

344. Golden Rough – “Provenance”

The non-Aussies amongst you may be unfamiliar with the origin of the Golden Rough name.

It is the brand of a Nestlé-produced chocolate-covered coconut biscuitie bar.

I presume the band adopted this moniker to indicate the sweetness of their sound. Dave Orwell’s vocals get even more delicate and delectible on this their third and apparently final album.

While this album doesn’t hit the heights of their previous one, it is a pleasant listen.

The tracks are typically slow paced, with some lovely harmonies. The songwriting is excellent again.

Lucinda is a neat treatise on the pleasures of sharing a musical love. The title track laments suburban life’s lack of blues inspirations.

I miss this band and the little splashes of dappled light they used to bring to my life.

File under: A danger to diabetics

343. Golden Rough – “This Sad Paradise”

This was the first album I bought from the Golden Rough folks.

They stepped into my view by joining the Candle Records stable. They were a bit of a leap for the label, as they were less bouncy and poppy than their counterparts, and dare I say it, more mature.

The signing was well-timed. The band toned down their checkered shirt, pedal steel action here. More instruments were brought into the mix (keys, organ, other tinkly stuff), and the sound became fuller and more luscious.

Keeping up the Oz-G connection, this could indeed have been a Grant McLennan effort of sorts. The songwriting seems effortless, the vocals are laidback yet plaintive. The keys play of the riffs perfectly.

The outcome is a masterpiece of confident, well-balanced and captivating adult-pop-rock. This is the Aussie Summer album folks seem to think The Cruel Sea capable of producing. There are poignant odes to post-work drinking, tales of musical dreams and failed aspirations.

I count at least five absolute classics of this album – Novotel, Johnson’s Wax, April Wind, Unity Grey, Green Room - plus the title track. That’s six! Lovers Rock aint bad either.

At the risk of vitriol from rabid Lucksmiths/Darren Hanlon fans, I declare this possibly the supreme Candle release.

File under: Not sad, rad

342. Golden Rough – “Twin Firs”

G is proving a hotbed for Aussie action. And it all happens in threes (as in three album careers) from male-dominated, guitar-toting bands from the 1990s.

This is the debut full-lengther from this Sydney country-tinged combo.

It kicks off like it might be a You Am I album. Joe Fisher’s Blues would not be out of place on Hourly Daily.

The album settles down after that into a warm, even-paced, alt-country rock effort. This is alt-country of the easy listening, poppish variety.  The only real country elements are the use of steel (and occasionally pedal steel)  guitar, and the ever-so-slightly-stretched vocals. Think Pernice Brothers (the Roughies played as Joe Pernice’s backing band on at least one tour of Australia) and you’ve pretty much got the vibe.

Lead singer Dave Orwell does have a similar voice to You am I’s Tim Rogers, but none of the British Beat affectation.  He plays off well against the guitar riffs and rhythms.

The songwriting is strong, weaving self-contained tales of travels and loves.

This album does stumble once or twice and doesn’t really have a killer track, but it’s a damn fine afternoon listen.

File under: Warming

40. Various Artists – “Banter”

I just realised that I’d forgotten to look over in the ‘compilations’ section lately. There are a few banked up that I’ll chuck into the mix over the coming weeks (so as to break up the long streaks of same-artist reviews).

banter-candle-records-compilation-album-coverCandle Records was the home of Aussie acoustic pop from 1994-2007. This was the second of their compilation CDs. The neat thing is that they didn’t just chuck together songs fans probably already owned. Instead this release includes 22 tracks from 11 acts, none of which had yet appeared on recordings. In fact, this CD saw the debut of a few new faces, including one who would become the label’s biggest name (at least down under).

Part of the thrill of Candle for me was that these were bands I was very regularly seeing play around the pubs of Fitzroy (and sometimes even North Fitzroy). Some of the songs were familiar from live sets, others were little tasters of bands from far afield (Sydney, Brisbane, Perth). Songs were typically very well crafted, some with a strong humorous element, many earnest and daggy.

Highlights: the LucksmithsT-shirt Weather, the debut tracks from Darren Hanlon (especially the hard-to-find-elsewhere Funpark Fugitives) and country-chicks Fibrotown who sadly never graced another Candle release. One of my bugbears with Candle was that the artists often lost their vitality and uniqueness over time. These sampler albums are wonderful reminders of them at their freshest. It is sad the label is no more…

File under: A very tasty sampler