The Basement Tapes

Waiting for a tow truck to get here and hitch me a ride to my mechanics now they are open. Broke down a week ago and had to leave my beast to the moon. Strolled here this morning on another Sydney smoke clouded day listening to Curtis Mayfield and Sparklehorse on my iPhone. I guess there are much worse ways to start a day. Bits of lyric from the songs lodged like eternal wisdoms in my mind, then disappeared like dreams you can’t remember. Funny how music helps you see into the world; then the opening closes again. People are out walking their dogs or heading to work; builders are already at it somewhere, that distant clang of metal on metal that is almost peaceful from far away. I can hear a familiar bird call, but I don’t know the name of the bird. The air and the ground has that morning smell to it, the mix of dampness and earth and stone and something fresh that is like a smell and a feeling in itself. The world comes to life again and the city presses on. Here comes the sun…

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Wild Colonial Boys

At a venue called The Factory, I join an unusually busy line-up for an obscure band called The Barking Spiders. My wrist is stamped with what looks like a bird’s wing – and in I go, to a not-so-secret warm-up show by the legendary Australian group, Cold Chisel.

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Sound and Vision – Polly, here today, arriving tomorrow

Miro from Polly says they are just “a weird rock band from Marrickville”. Talk to him for a little while and you get the feeling they might become something much more than that. Miro has just turned 14; his band mates Tama and Chris “are still 13, but they will be 14 soon.”

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The Disappearing Man – Jarvis Cocker goes hardcore

Jarvis Cocker wanders through London’s Tower Books and Records like a spy in a foreign country. Close by, music fans are harvesting the racks of pop releases, among them the extraordinary 18-year legacy of his band Pulp. “You must feel like you’re running the gauntlet,” I whisper. “It’s OK,” he says crisply, “as long as you keep moving.”

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The Rapture – Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ Ghosteen

Nick Cave’s ‘Higgs Boson Blues’ are no longer opening up the mysteries of the universe. Those mysteries are closing down. Welcome to the goodbye mass.

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Remembering Scott Walker

Earlier this year I was invited into Radio National’s The Music Show to speak with host Andrew Ford about the life and music of the recently deceased singer and composer, Scott Walker.

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Down by the River: Nick Cave’s boyhood in Wangaratta (1959-70)

Here is a chapter from my long awaited biography, Tender Prey: The Life and Times of Nick Cave, a work-in-progress that’s been derailed and locked down by all kinds of problems: personal, professional and legal…

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