16 Feb Trading Tunes Martin Frawley
On February the 22nd this month, Melbourne band Twerps‘ lead vocalist Martin Frawley will release his debut solo album Undone at 31 via Merge Records. If you’ve never heard Martin Frawley, let alone Twerps, you can at least trust Merge Records that Undone at 31 will be worth the wait. Merge Records don’t mess around, they’ve probably been the most reliable US indie label for the past 30 years. With album releases from Destroyer, Lambchop, Ex Hex, Caribou, Spoon, Arcade Fire, Dinosaur Jr., …And You Will Know Us By the Trail Of Dead, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Magnetic Fields and not a lot of fillers in between.
Merge Records aside, Martin has a very consistent track record himself. Twerps’ self-titled debut in 2011 is arguably the most important Melbourne album of the decade. The album validated the bridge of interest that had been quietly building from Melbourne to New York during the late 2000’s. People who had rightfully stereotyped Melbourne for decades as chord-heavy punk city, were all of sudden open to trying new bands from the city. Such picks included many of the infamous dole-wave bands such Dick Diver, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Scott & Charlene’s Wedding and ultimately the Courtney Barnett explosion. Post the Twerps debut album, Martin’s vocals grew a little more in confidence and clarity. Where the instrumentation had shielded him on the debut, the EP Work It Out displayed some grunt and attitude. Martin’s silliness began to come out on the next album Underlay, a more playful period, a side to Martin that’s evident on the upcoming Undone at 31. His most recent release with Twerps in 2015 titled Range Anxiety braced vulnerability and honesty. It was Martin trying to be realistic with himself.
Which leads us to Undone at 31. A good four years since Range Anxiety. He spent a lot of that time overseas trying to find out more about himself inside and outside of music. This is based on his social media, only he really knows what he was doing and how he was doing. One way to find out how he’s doing in 2019 is to catch him live at one of his 14 straight days of sets coming up. The Facebook description isn’t a typo, from March 3rd, every night until March 17th, he’s playing at 7:30pm at an unknown Sydney Road shop for Brunswick Music Festival. This marathon of a launch reminds me of when The National performed ‘Sorrow‘ live on repeat for 6 hours at MoMA PS1 in 2013. However, I much prefer Martin’s idea, as he’ll have far less fatigue and deterioration, and far more creative physical freedom by the end of day 14. Most US national tours are like 25 sets in a month, at least Martin will be sleeping in the same bed every night with no need for soundchecks.
If you somehow can’t make any of those 14 sets, that include special surprise guests, you probably suck at life. Or you may actually be out of town, but back in time for the By The Meadow Festival on March 29th until March 31st. Until then, Martin’s Trading Tunes theme are the tracks that inspired the production for Undone at 31.
|Undone at 31
T R A C K L I S T
|1. You Want Me?|
|2. End Of The Bar|
|3. Waht’s On Your Mind|
|4. Just Like The Rest|
|5. Smoke In Your House|
|6. Chain Reaction|
|7. You Can’t Win|
|8. Something About Me|
|9. Lo And Behold|
|10. Come Home|
|11. Where The Heart Is|
Maurice Frawley – ‘Long Gone Whistle’
“This is a song by my father and his band The Working Class Ringos. Recorded by the genius Tony Cohan. I witnessed some of this being made but was too young to understand. There is so much space and soul in this song, it haunts me. Big Velvet Underground vibes. I hadn’t been able to listen to my dad’s music after he passed away. But once I had the courage, this was the first one I had to hear again. That’s also me playing the tambourine, age 12.”
Brian Eno / John Cale – ‘Spinning Away’
“Don’t recall how I heard this one but I remember it was when I was sober for a period and writing this record, I would sit in my room and just listen to music for hours. This song, over and over. The guitar tone is really cool and the production is spot on. Made me get very excited about production and the idea of exploring new techniques.”
Hermine – ‘I Won’t Make It Without You’
“Simple, sad and beautiful. This one was so inspiring to use a lot of piano on the new record. It also is a sad love message to someone which I related to. And her voice just sounds perfect. If I shut my eyes I feel like I’m in the room with her.”
John Cooper Clarke – ‘I Don’t Want To Be Nice’
“Excellent amount of attitude which I could relate to. The mixing in this track is excellent, it’s a bit of madness but somehow it all works. I loved the guitar fuzz and tried to replicate it. Also the stomping piano driving it all along.”
Mariah – ‘Shinzo No Tobira’
“This song is fun at any time of day. I wrote a song the morning of going into the studio whilst listening to this one, hopefully its not to obvious. The drums make me want to run and also dance at the same time. Such a nice skin sound.”