how to get featured on a music website, pt 4
The photograph above shows a Tasmanian Devil, a Tasmanian Tiger (or Thylascine) and a Quoll all snuggling up to a jar of Tasmanian honey. It’s the Native Cats from Tasmania.
Daniel has already commandeered the thylascine, pretty much the first soft toy he’s taken regularly to bed (he’s now almost two-and-a-half). Isaac loves the devil (of course). The quoll has been put aside for future use by Lauren. And the honey… ? We have a plentiful supply of good, macadamia-fed bees up here in Queensland, so it might be a while until we get around to tasting that.
They all arrived in a package several weeks ago, alongside new CDs from The Native Cats themselves, and Community 2, a (second) compilation of Hobart music.
The Native Cats CD, Process Praise, is superb: dark, Gothic undertones of the sort paraded by Passage and The Door And The Window and a handful of Mark Perry spin-off bands circa ’78: a sound that seems to have swept across underground Hobart: just two men and a drum mania: just two men, a bass and some welcome intelligent paranoia (the lyrics are that very rare beast … lyrics worth listening to), there’s humour but even more so there’s awareness: everything is reminiscent of those heady sprawling post-punk/early Rough Trade and Factory days, so the bass recalls the silences at the heart of Joy Division and Young Marble Giants, so the electronica is exploratory and open-ended, so the vocals are … this is where the early Passage comparison comes in, minus the misanthropy but still exhilarating … this is my music, you understand. I’d have written about it even without the attendant bribe (and I have done before). Yet although I make reference to a particular moment in time, over 30 years in my past, it definitely feels 2011 – specific to a certain time and place (Hobart, obviously). The kids (30-year-olds) in Hobart make the music they want because who the fuck’s going to pay attention to them anyway?
I haven’t enjoyed the Community 2 compilation as much as I thought I would. The first one was great. Maybe it just ain’t music to work out to. (One of the few ways I can listen these days, undisturbed by family.) It feels duly and – in places – dully reverential: to the past, and to The Native Cats (who clearly are exerting a sway over their chums). I mean, how big is this city? Most everything is fractured. This is good. Most everything is borderline rudimentary. This is good. Sales of drum machines must be at a 30-year high. The problem is possibly me: I know too much without knowing enough. I can name a band or style for virtually every song here.
Anthony Rochester – anything from very early Cherry Red Records: weird opener
Tiger Choir – nice, nice… but do we still do Animal Collective?
Billy Whims – female-led folktronica circa mid-00s: the vocals could do with being a little less shy
All Fires The Fire – Simple Minds, very early – or, if we’re being a fraction more kind (only a fraction, mind), Echo & The Bunnymen
Gutter Parties – lovely strange rhythmical music
The Lucky Dips – garage garage GARRRRAHHHHGEE: bet they’re a blast live
Manchester Mourning – GbV through and through
Treehouse – Chapter Music
And so on…
There’s good stuff. There’s bad stuff. There’s a fuck of a lot of stuff … and anyone wondering about the state of play in regional Australia 2011 could do a hell of a lot worse than start here. I get the impression that giving thumbs up or thumbs down to any of the acts individually is terribly wrong. What matters is the sense of community engendered, that by bringing all these like- and unlike-minded souls together they’ve been provided with a focus. Documentation and eyewitness. Someone could easily do it up here – both Negative Guest List and Eternal Soundcheck are well-placed – but Brisbane sometimes seems too wannabe Sydney to do shit like that. I hope I’m wrong.
It was our friend Julian Teakle who sent the package. He compiled the CD and is one half of The Native Cats. He’s aware that we’re open to bribery at Collapse Board as long as a) the bribery is of the right kind (hard cash or electronic payola, or gifts that we actually want), and b) the people sending it are aware that said bribery will only guarantee a mention on Collapse Board, not necessarily a favourable one. Although, obviously, the higher the stakes the harder the demands on our integrity become… although I don’t think we’re quite ready to plumb the depths of the Australian (print) street press (and other titles/blogs elsewhere), some of whom will guarantee favourable coverage, perhaps even a cover, in return for the appropriate advertising revenue.
Or perhaps we are? I don’t know. Why not try us, if you’re prepared to put up with our transparency? A thousand bucks seems a good starting point, unless you really do believe the band you’re promoting is any good. Be warned though: we don’t hide behind claims of ‘editorial independence’. If someone is bribing us to be mentioned WE WILL SAY SO.
A thousand seem a little high for you? Why not offer 500 for a typically scathing Scott Creney assessment of your bland-as-Sudocrem music, and see what happens? C’mon. You’ll be the talk of the blogosphere for hours. Perhaps 100 might merit a one-line mention – not necessarily favourable – in a lugubrious Lucy Cage lacerating? Perhaps not. Offer to put out a Legend! recording and we’ll be in your pockets for life. (It worked for Sub Pop and Creation Records … right?)
Anyway. The pickings have been slim since the heady days of Sole Stickers, the mighty Boo Frog and The Beautiful Music (all of whom played it safe by offering bribes for bands that had already been given the Collapse Board seal of approval). Only you can change this. Here’s the Paypal account: firstname.lastname@example.org. Go on. Pay something into it today. You’ll feel better if you do. And if (say) you are the manager of a terminally crap band – Foo Fighters, Kaiser Chiefs, The Pains Of Being Manure At Heart – you could even offer it as a reverse bribe: you pay us a few hundred bucks and we promise to leave off your band for a commiserate period of time.
I’ll expect to be writing a follow-up to this article shortly then.