School Damage are like a lolli-bag that you get from a kids party, except there’s no sugar, it’s sugar free, every bag is unpredictable and that’s what makes every bag feel like a sugar rush. The four piece from Melbourne sound like they’re playing live on the back of a ute with wobbly tires rolling down a gravel road, chasing sheep, the driver wiping sweat off her forehead, while she downs energy drinks (sugar free). And when School Damage aren’t manic, it’s a dress up party with no theme, unless the theme is “Hello, I’m melting.”
At any moment everything could go wrong, but everything also has a hint of control. The keyboard parts are self contained, the guitar shreds are quickly in and out. Everyone’s adding wood to the bonfire, but it’s kindling and small branches, not petrol. Like any good bonfire, it should in theory get boring after a while, but School Damage are mesmerizing enough, that it’s hard to look away. The cracks never stop, you can’t always tell which part will break first, but it’s all nicely compiled together inside a wall of small broken bricks.
Maybe it’s the recent warmer weather in Melbourne, but School Damage’s latest album A to X is high in my rotation this month. Makes me want to hit the road to all the music festivals, windows down, no time to think about it being logical. At least that’s how School Damage would want me to do it.
A to X came out via label Chapter Music on August 31st and sent us five our their current favourite tunes to celebrate!
School Damage – A to X album tour dates
Fri Sep 14 – Melbourne – Gasometer Upstairs
Fri Sep 21 – Sydney – Vic on the Park
Sat Sep 22- Wollongong – The Servo (afternoon show)
Sat Sep 22 – Canberra – Polish Club
Sun Sep 23 – Beechworth – Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel
Sat Sep 29 – Hobart – The Brisbane Hotel
Thur Oct 11 – Footscray – Reverence Hotel (with Terry)
Fri Oct 12 -Castlemaine – The Bridge Hotel (with Terry)
Sat Oct 13 – Geelong – Barwon Club (with Terry)
Sun Oct 14 – Rye – Bahas (with Terry)
Fri Oct 19 – Brisbane – Bloodhound Bar
Sat Oct 20 – Ipswich -Bad Habit Records
*tickets on the door for all shows*
The Cannanes – ‘Sound Of the City’
Jake: “I love the Cannanes so much. A band that never seemed to mould themselves to the sounds of their contemporaries, instead they seem to focus more on their geographical surroundings – much like a Scorsese film, the area they are living is the protagonist. When you listen to the Cannanes songs from this era you get an imagery of Sydney’s inner city from the late 80’s. Which is why I love this video so much. A bunch of super-8 footage taken by their friends of them goofing around in Sydney. I love the way Stephen strums 16th notes in the chorus, I love looking at David Nicholls wearing a sombrero and I love Fran’s suit jacket & jeans combo!
PS. I promise that the Chapter Police didn’t force me to choose something from their catalogue!”
Eurythmics – ‘Love Is A Stranger’
Dani: “This is probably the song I have listened to most this year. I heard it on Smooth FM driving my car (don’t judge me I flick stations lol) and was reading an Annie Lennox biography at the time and hadn’t known who had sung it till it was back announced!
I am obsessed with The Second verse when where Annie sings “And Love love love is a dangerous drug…” but also that the verses don’t seem to follow a rigid time structure, they get longer. Her vocal delivery is really dynamic — one minute she is deadpan the next she is wailing. The other thing that draws me in is that the arrangement is quite simple but there are interesting flourishes like the weird grunting backing vocal.
The video is great too the wig move is such a good one. So good that according to her biography (Byrony Sutherland and Lucy Ellis, Annie Lennox: A Biography) ” On the video’s first transmission on MTV, the screen went blank as the controller watched in horror as Annie removed her first wig. To them it appeared that her gender had suddenly blurred, and the plug was pulled in the interest of America’s innocent youth being exposed to what appeared to be a transvestite. The video was banned until further notice.”
Yukihiro Takahashi – ‘Drip Dry Eyes’
Jeff: “This song is taken from Yukihiro Takahashis’ album “neuromantic” which was recorded only a few months after my favourite YMO album “BGM” in early 1981. It might as well be a YMO album as the whole band are on it along with Phil Manzanera (801, Roxy Music)and some other questionable Englishmen. I very recently discovered this is actually a cover (original by Sandii in 1980)but the song has totally transformed from a very basic synth pop song to a super complex gem. The more I hear it the more it actually sounds like many songs rolled into one. I admire the way The way Yukihiro draws so much from the past and brings it to the present the same way Carolyn, Jake and most of my favourite song writers do the same. When Yukihiro sings “crocodile tears” in the second verse it is so intense it actually breaks my heart… and I could watch this video over and over again.”
Lizzy Mercier-Descloux – ‘Fire’
Carolyn: “I only just came across this song and video kind of recently in my youtube ‘recommended videos’, but it has since been on high rotation. Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s cover of this Arthur Brown song is mesmerizing: best voice, best moves, it just makes me want to dance.”
The Penetrators – ‘Shopping Bag’
Jake: “The Penetrators truly are the Kings of Basement rock. They teach you how to make an outstanding album for $0 and make an entertaining video for $0. This video has got everything, 2 dimensional burgers, a seedy A&R guy, home made signs, the drummer imitating Chuck Berry’s duck walk with a guitar, half inflated balloons, a guy puking in a bag and last but certainly not least the disapproval of MTV. I’m an absolute sucker for lyrics that are about rocking out with your band too. I don’t know how they do it, but the quality of the recording and the video just works so perfectly for this band… Oh yeah, check out that guitar riff!”