SPILL music

Melbourne Water

This cd series documented the essential sounds of the Melbourne mid-00s music scene. They were produced by Graham Lee (W.Minc label), Mia Schoen (artwork), Shane Moritz (liner notes), David Nichols and Greg Wadley (organization and mastering). They are distributed through Shock Records.

volume one (2004)

cover of Melbourne Water 1
cover of Melbourne Water 1

MW1 was released in August 2004. See below for short bios of the contributors.

The contributors to volume one were:

Panel of Judges .. The Bites .. Minimum Chips .. New Estate .. Love of Diagrams .. The New Season .. Dave Graney .. Pip Proud .. Pink Stainless Tail .. On .. LCDCI .. Clinton Green and Scott Sinclair .. Flywheel .. The Cannanes .. Royalchord .. The Chris Chapple Method .. Deep Country .. Breaking the Law .. Hi God People .. Shower Scene From Psycho .. James Earthenware .. Driving Past .. Julian Williams .. Wagons

volume two (2006):

cover of Melbourne Water 2
cover of Melbourne Water 2

MW2 was produced during 2005 and released in March 06. See below for short bios of the contributors.

The contributors to volume two were:

Mum Smokes .. The Emergency .. Popolice .. Accidents With Magnets .. Essendon Airport .. Love Cuts Kill .. Sly Hats .. Snawklor .. The Darling Downs .. Lakes .. HTRK .. Chris Smith .. Digger and the Pussycats .. Paper Planes .. bucketrider .. KES .. The Muddy Spurs .. Oh! Belgium .. The Tranquilizers .. Ashtray Boy .. The Sand Pebbles .. Happy Lonesome .. Guy Blackman

about the contributors:

Volume One

Panel of Judges .. Panel of Judges played as a four-piece in the late 90s, releasing an ep Blind as a Bat and an album Cool Fool, before shrinking to the present 3-piece consisting of guitarist Dion Nania (Golden Lifestyle Band), drummer Paul Williams (Molasses, Jaguar is Jaguar) and bass player Alison Bolger (Clag, Sleepy Township). Nania and Bolger both write songs. A sojourn in Europe saw the group hone their skills playing in London and Paris. New vinyl ep out in September.

The Bites .. Based on the possibilities of a three-guitar-plus-drums setup, The Bites burst on the Melbourne scene in 2002 surprising many and delighting more with their first album White Lines And Runways. Of that initial group only Kirsty Stegwazi (erstwhile solo artist) and Rene Schaefer (Bruna) remain, and this recording - with new drummer and natural Bite, Simon - is the first from the current line-up.

Minimum Chips .. Starting out as a three-piece ten years ago in Brisbane, Nicole, Julian and Ian became an indiepop institution with regular Australian tours and some memorable vinyl releases. After moving to Melbourne at the turn of the century they added bass players (first Guy, then Ellen) and released cds through Chapter and Trifekta. Currently working on new album.

New Estate .. Rising from the ashes of the much-loved Sleepy Township, New Estate is a harsh but melodic rock group whose one album Considering ... garnered praise from friends, strangers and Robert Christgau alike. All members contribute to songwriting and singing, and the group's success depends on the extraordinary proficiency and enthusiasm of its members. A new album, Is it Real, is scheduled for 2005.

Love of Diagrams .. Almost-all-instrumental group Love of Diagrams star Luke, Antonia and Monika. Their first album The Target is You was released to uproar in 2003. Shortly afterwards the band went on a tour which focused on Eastern Europe, including Japan which is as east as Europe gets. In Melbourne their shows routinely sell out and they have the kind of vibe that others old and young would kill for.

The New Season .. Started by Jarrod Quarrell as a solo project in 1997, by 1998 The New Season had morphed into a band playing a unique style of harmonica-and-guitar-driven blues-rock. In 2001 they reinvented themselves via a lineup change, becoming the indie rock and roll powerhouse we know today. In 2003 Jarrod, Stacka and BT self-released an ep on cdr, and in 2004 had a song included on the compilation Make Mix Tapes Not War. Their songs have been played on PBS, RRR, and JJJ and have received praise from critics and the public.

Dave Graney .. Dave Graney was first known as singer of The Moodists, then as a solo artist whose career highlights to date have arguably been the remarkable albums I was the Hunter and I was the Prey, Heroic Blues, The Devil Drives and The Brother Who Lived, not to mention the recently reissued Night of the Wolverine, and that's only about half of them. His backing bands the White Buffaloes, the Coral Snakes and the Dave Graney Show have featured some of the great names of Australian rock and his songs will speak long after all of us have moved on.

Pip Proud .. Releasing his first album independently in 1967, then signing to Polygram for two LPs, forming the first version of the Pip Proud Group and leaving for Britain where he almost but not quite signed to Apple, Pip Proud has had an exceptionally strange musical career that has seen him recently find an outlet for his extremely inpidual music through the Austin, Texas Emperor Jones label. The father of five lives in Healesville, on Melbourne's eastern fringe.

Pink Stainless Tail .. A group with a history which does not need to be told here, Pink Stainless Tail signalled to the world their extraordinary good taste by pinching their name from a wonderful Red Krayola song. Most of the words are by Simon, with some from Harry. Sonke played in Slub and .. but we said, no history. Simon works in a bookshop now.

On .. Noise-rock band featuring Marney Macleod (Library Punks), Toni Kendall (Guns 'n' Ammo), Tim Krasevac (Fong) and Elise Bishop (F*ck Tourettes C*nt, Meat Market, veteran of New Zealand indie scene) create a deep, loud energy field using guitar, drums and two basses. They have played live around Melbourne for a year, toured NZ, and have releases planned for the Celebrate Psi Phenomema and Saucerlike labels.

LCDCI .. Core LCD members Ennio Swaggart and Elron Mancini have broadcast their anarchic, confrontational propaganda/art from Melbourne for about five years. They often stray beyond music into the realms of DIY visual art, urban redecoration and the Internet. LCD shows involve video, unusual instruments, and preaching.

Clinton Green and Scott Sinclair .. After playing in punk bands Punchbag, NeTe, and Kill, Footscray-based Clinton Green began releasing experimental guitar music ten years ago, under the name Undecisive God. An early UG track can be found on the third Spill compilation from 1995. Clinton's tape / trade label Shame File began releasing material by Australian DIY experimental artists in 1990, recently culminating in the highly-regarded Behind Closed Doors and Undertow compilation cds. Clinton has collaborated with several Australian artists, often at-a-distance by exchanging cds in the mail. In this track he teams up with Scott Sinclair, Brisbane sound artist and organizer of the Small Black Box performance space.

Flywheel .. James Dutton was born playing guitar and writing songs but he never had a band till he formed Safety Valve in Sydney in the early 1990s. This group metamorphosed into the Flywheel we know today with the addition of Gavin Butler on bass. At least three albums to their credit, released by labels in the US, France and even Australia. A recent move to Melbourne sees a radically revived Flywheel who play quieter than they used to because then they don't annoy the neighbours.

The Cannanes .. Created from pure fantasy in inner-city Sydney in 1984, The Cannanes have released a slew of albums and singles, been the subject of a book and a television documentary, and toured internationally numerous times. The group's core - Stephen O'Neil and Frances Gibson - now reside in Bendigo, making them de facto Melbournites (but don't tell the Bendigonians).

Royalchord .. Tammy Haider and Eliza Hiscox have been the core of Royalchord since its inception in the mid-1990s, though the group was initially formed on the basis of Haider alone as a songwriter, with Hiscox as drummer. Since the release of the group's first album I Gave You A Mountain in 2000, songwriting and singing roles between the two principals have been largely equal, with a changing (by accident, not design) background of supporting players. Their latest album Nights on the Town was released in 2004.

The Chris Chapple Method .. Chris Chapple's two self-released albums show an individual with a compellingly craftsmanlike approach to songwriting. Known for his past in Autohaze and Charlie Marshall's Body Electric, Chapple has produced two albums of his own songs, It's a Wonderful Life and Whisky Bay. His current band features Steve Hassett from Wagons and Clare Moore from the Dave Graney Show/Moodists/many other brilliant bands.

Deep Country .. Search for "deep country" on the internet and you will find a million completely contrary and irrelevant things. This group defies the concept country and laughs in the face of the idea of deep, and yet remains ardently loyal to both. Recent line-up changes since the release of their first, idly pornographic album, Cautionary Tales for Girls have seen the band, um, change their lineup.

Breaking the Law .. BTL is the brain child of singer / lead-guitarist / song-writer Jon Michell, who is just as apt to release goth-flavoured solo cds as this majestic rock. BTL teams Jon up with Justin Fuller on guitar, Henry Krips on bass and Julian Patterson on drums. In 2004 they released a limited-edition album-length cdr and toured Australia's east coast.

Hi God People .. From the wreckage of 90s neo-prog band Solids emerged this "art" performance project consisting of Julian Williams (Solids, From The Same Mother), Greg Wadley (Solids, New Waver, Thou Gideon, Tedium), Dion Nania (Panel of Judges, Golden Lifestyle Band), and Dylan Krasevac (Snawklor, Outskirts, Fifty Record Players). With two full-length cds under their belt (1999's prog/jazz epic Nega the Eight-Headed Serpent and 2002's cutup-fest Play to the Temple of Depth) they continue to confound rock and art audiences alike. This cut is from a live-to-air on Melbourne radio 3PBS.

Shower Scene From Psycho .. Shower Scene from Psycho burst onto the Melbourne scene in the early 1980s with a remarkable blend of electronics, harsh guitar, and the unique vocal stylings of Simon Grounds. At early shows a wind-up monkey playing some cymbals was a fourth member to the group, whose readings of Johnny Young's Caralyn and the Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit were early recording successes; those exposed to these releases are not expected to recover. Though the band's profile has risen and fallen, they are as much a local institution as TISM and Ross Wilson, and in fact arguably provide the missing link between those two acts.

James Earthenware .. James Earthenware The alter ego of the exceptionally talented and remarkably bubbly Bill Harrison, James Earthenware will one day take over the world.

Driving Past .. Now in their 8th year, Driving Past is the songwriting and performing band for Melbourne poet Gig Ryan. Gig's musical career began with the group Disband in Sydney in the early 80s; Driving Past has one album, Real Estate, to its credit and another in the pipeline.

Julian Williams .. An enigma wrapped in a riddle, Julian Williams is simultaneously the 21st century's answer to Brian Wilson, and the question. Originally English, he became a man from Perth and then moved to Melbourne, where he created a magazine and record label, From the Same Mother, plays in the Hi God People, writes and directs plays, and wears a red jumper.

Wagons .. Singer/songwriter Henry Krips made his name in Melbourne sound-art ensemble Dworzec, then baffled everybody by forming a country and western band. The polished Wagons musicians back Henry's smooth vocal to produce a hardboiled urban cnw for today. Wagons self-released their first ep in 2000 before coming to indie prominence with their album Trying to Get Home (Chapter, 2002). They will surely reach a wider audience with their new album Draw Blood (Spunk 2004), which happens to feature a different version of this song "Last Wish".

Volume Two

Mum Smokes .. Combining the talents of Jon Michell (Breaking the Law), Karl Scullin (KES, Bird Blobs), and Julian Patterson (Letraset, Minimum Chips), Mum Smokes have for the past few years played a smooth left-of-centre indie pop reminiscent of Brisbane's Small World Experience (of which Julian was a member). They recently released their first album.

The Emergency .. This four-piece use keyboards, drum machines, vocals and miscellaneous other sound sources to make synth pop inspired amongst other things by early-80s New Wave. They released an EP in 2003 and have a new LP this year called "The Spectrum Deadly" - see their website for more detail.

Popolice .. This is the solo project of Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, a New Zealand emigre who arrived in Melbourne five years ago with a guitar and an encyclopedic knowledge of NZ noise-rock. Marc wound up in local band New Estate - this is his other song-writing outlet.

Accidents With Magnets .. AWM is an occasional gathering of Chris (US/Melb resident, recently of To Live and Shave in L.A., and Demon Fling), Monika (ex Bites and Sea Scouts, now Love of Diagrams), and Mark (The Stabs). This piece is taken from a session recorded at Corduroy Records and computer-processed later by Chris.

Essendon Airport .. In the late 70s and early 80s Melbourne outfit Essendon Airport produced ahead-of-its-time minimalist instrumental music that was well known around Australia's post-punk scene. Originally a two-piece consisting of David Chesworth (keyboards) and Robert Goodge (guitar), they added extra members before disbanding in 1983. They reformed in 2003 with Graham Lee on pedal-steel guitar, and have released new and old material on cd.

Love Cuts Kill .. This simple pop band began life as a two piece in Melbourne about two years ago. They recorded numerous demos along the way until absolute luck landed them a free day of recording at Hot House studio with Finn Keane. That single, 'Off with her Head', became their first release. Lots of bass players offered their services, but it took until June 2005 for LCK to become a three piece. An album is due for release in Feb 2006.

Sly Hats .. You could call this a side project, as one of the members is also in popular indie pop band the Crayon Fields, but the Sly Hats have built an independent reputation for their intimate live shows around town, and will soon release their own album, so we'll get used to their being a band in their own right.

Snawklor .. Dylan Martorell and Nathan Gray have collaborated on a number of endeavours since arriving from Perth about a decade ago. Snawklor began in the 90s as a record label, before becoming a live computer-music duo. They have since diversified to incorporated tuned percussion and field recordings. They toured Europe a few years ago and have released several cds.

The Darling Downs .. Kim Salmon and Ron Peno are bona fide Australian music legends, having fronted the Scientists and Died Pretty respectively in the 1980s (and some other bands since). When they teamed up as a duo, who would have dreamed that they would make delicate, passionate country music? Ron's haunting melodies and Kim's understated acoustic guitar combine on their debut album "How Can I Forget This Heart of Mine", from which this track is taken.

Lakes .. Sean Bailey came to prominence as a member of local bands the Vivian Girls and the Flesh vs Venom. Lakes is Sean as one-man-band, simultaneously performing vocals, live drums and distorted keyboards over a drum machine in one of the most powerful live experiences in town. Sean has toured overseas, and recently released an album on Chapter Music.

HTRK .. Melbourne's HTRK (also known as Hate Rock, HTRKTRIO, hTRKRTIO, HTTK, HTTRKKKTO, HATE ROCK TRIO OF DIPS, The Hate Music Trio, HTKR, HARRY THE RANDY KOOKABURRA and other variations) have a self-released CD called Nostalgia, a 2 X 7" forthcoming, inclusion on bumrocks.com, and are What We Do Is Secret magazine's "favourite exponents of head fuck downer shit" www.yourcomicbookfantasy.com

Chris Smith .. Since helping to invent the "solo rock guitar based sound art" genre in the 90s, and releasing a number of albums to critical acclaim on Australian and international labels, Chris has increasingly incorporated found sounds and field recordings in his semi-improvised constructions, as this piece demonstrates. He is currently working on a new studio album for release in 2006.

Digger and the Pussycats .. A two-piece in-your-face trash-rock band who have toured the world and released an album on the Spooky label.

Paper Planes .. Claire Birchall's songwriting vehicle, Paper Planes, started out in Geelong. Now based in Melbourne, the heavy pop four piece are soon set to release 'You're a Winner' as their first single.

bucketrider .. Based around a core of avant garde musicians David Brown, Sean Baxter, Tim O'Dwyer, Adam Simmons and James Wilkinson, bucketrider combine formal composition techniques with improvisation, free jazz and punk. This track is taken from their most recent album, through the Dr Jim label.

KES .. Karl Scullin has played in some notable Melbourne bands and has now showed his hand as a solo performer. Using his initials as his stage name, he combines unearthly vocals with an earthy guitar. His latest album was recorded by Simon Grounds and released through the Unstable Ape label.

The Muddy Spurs .. This trio play raucous rock with a dash of country and a heavier dash of western; western as in a bar brawl. This track is taken from their 2005 EP Cheap Shots.

Oh! Belgium .. Mayhem, instrument-swapping, and gloriously "up yours" neo-post-punk brashness combine to form one of the more controversial outfits of recent years.

The Tranquilizers .. The Tranquilizers are a three-piece power-pop band, originally from New Zealand (and we can tell). They are a live favourite in Melbourne with a sound that is solid and melodic. Their recent cd launch packed out the Ding Dong club despite clashing with the Bites' final show at the Tote.

Ashtray Boy .. One of the classic Australian indie pop bands, AB have been based in Adelaide, Sydney, Chicago and Vancouver, but have come home to roost in Melbourne. Their history and discography is too big to detail here: luckily they have an easy-to-google web site.

The Sand Pebbles .. This Melbourne band is notable for several reasons, not the least of which is that several members are scriptwriters for Neighbours, making them important hubs in the world's culture network. Dave Graney guests on this track. Their swish website will tell you the rest.

Happy Lonesome .. Purveying loud country-tinged rock and roll, and hailing originally from Geelong, this five-piece are about to launch a new EP.

Guy Blackman .. Guy has done just about everything there is to do in indie music. Through his Chapter Music label and his music journalism he has nurtured indie pop for a decade and a half. His band Sleepy Township were around for years and released several albums. His stay in Japan has created a link to the music scene there. He now performs his original compositions solo and with friends, and is working on an album.