Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Lucksmiths


Australian indie-pop trio the Lucksmiths teamed singer/percussionist Tali White, guitarist Marty Donald, and bassist Mark Monnone, longtime school friends who initially bonded over their mutual admiration for the Smiths. After going their separate ways to attend university and travel, the threesome reconvened in their native Melbourne in early 1993, playing their debut gig that April opening for the Sugargliders. The Lucksmiths' debut tape was soon released, and in 1994 the group resurfaced with an EP, Boondoggle. After signing with the local Candle imprint, the Lucksmiths released their first CD effort, The Green Bicycle Case. What Bird Is That? followed a year later, and in 1997 the band made its American debut with the single "The Invention of Ordinary Everyday Things," released via the small Michigan label Drive-In Records. Following the release of the 1998 full-length A Good Kind of Nervous, the Lucksmiths played a handful of European dates in support of Belle & Sebastian, a frequent reference point not only in light of the Lucksmiths' wispy folk-pop sound but also their self-effacingly witty lyrics. At a subsequent gig, Mannone survived a near-fatal on-stage electrocution, and the road-weary trio rounded out the year with the release of a new single, "Untidy Towns." While White spent the next several years living in London, the Lucksmiths toured and recorded only sporadically, cutting a handful of tracks in such far-flung destinations as Washington, D.C. and Paris. Both the Happy Secret collection and the Staring at the Sky 10" appeared in 1999, with the superb "T-Shirt Weather" single and the tongue-in-cheek "Greatest Hits" cassingle following a year later. The outstanding Why That Doesn't Surprise Me, the Lucksmiths' first full-length studio record in close to four years, was issued in early 2001. In 2002 the band released Where Were We? followed with Naturaliste in 2003.

Over the course of 15 years and almost as many albums and international tours, Australian popstars The Lucksmiths have penned some of the most adored songs this side of the pop underground and built up a massive fanbase in the process.

Most recent studio album ‘Warmer Corners’ received considerable praise, with Pitchfork calling it “idiosyncratic but accessible, literate but unpretentious, gentle but not weak, sincere not so much in presentation as in presence”. Two singles lifted from the album — “A Hiccup in Your Happiness” and “The Chapter in Your Life Entitled San Francisco” — both received heavy rotation across the globe. The latter also found its way onto Qantas Airlines in-flight playlist in 2006 — an achievement not celebrated lightly by a band with an enduring penchant for the somewhat ridiculous and irrelevant.

More recently, 2007 saw the release of a b-sides, rarities, and live compilation entitled ‘Spring a Leak’ with an accompanying set of US tour dates. At 45 songs in length, this exhaustive double-CD was well received and hearty enough to sate even the most impoverished Lucksmiths fan whilst awaiting a new batch of songs. In reviewing the album, Time Out Chicago declared “If a band can be this good on its cast-offs, imagine what the albums are like”.

A trip to Tasmania has yielded ‘First Frost’—the finest and most dynamic Lucksmiths album to date. Camped out in the wilderness, the band was free to explore and expand the musical palette, and with all four members contributing songs, the end result is a 14-song masterpiece bound to surprise anyone who thought they had The Lucksmiths pegged as sounding too much like The Lucksmiths.

On the album, the bands’ trademark lyrical hooks shine warmer than ever. Opening cut "The Town and the Hills" sets out some of the album’s central themes, examining the distance (geographical and metaphorical) between city and country. Meanwhile, "California in Popular Song" is a sweet slice of sun-kissed pastoral pop that combines sweeping strings, a throaty low-down guitar, some gentle fingerpicking and Tali White's pensive vocal to become your new favorite Lucksmiths song.

Recent live hits, the jangly "Good Light" and the surprisingly glam-rockin' "A Sobering Thought (Just When One Was Needed)"—the latter concerning a late-night drunken escapade at a public swimming pool — both receive a fine rendering on ‘First Frost’. Elsewhere on the album, The Lucksmiths' familiar strum is traded in for brief dalliances with a disorderly fuzz pedal, a choir of misplaced mittens, and a bird that just wants to know why you got drunk. Highly Recommended!

The Lucksmiths - Good Light
The Lucksmiths @ MySpace

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4 Comments:

Blogger Ziggy said...

Tv On The Radio - Dear Science (2008) !!!
The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing (2008) !!!
Electric Six - Flashy (2008) !!!
The Bug - London Zoo (2008) !!!
Emiliana Torrini - Me And Armini (2008) !!!
She & Him - Volume One (2008) !!!
The Old 97s - Blame It On Gravity (2008) !!!
Cloud Cult - Feel Good Ghosts (2008) !!!
Air France - No Way Down [EP] (2008) !!!
DeVotchKa - A Mad And Faithful Telling (2008) !!!
+ Sigur Ros, M.I.A., Cloud Cult, Electric Six, Hot Chip,
Feist, Crystal Castles, Death Cab For Cutie, Hezekiah,
Portishead, Beck, Wu Tang Clan, Goldfrapp, Junior Boys,
The Slits, Magnetic Fields, Don Chambers, M83, Yelle, etc.
[CODE]http://tinyurl.com/2z9m8u

Hafdis Huld - Dirty Paper Cup
The Hives - The Black And White Album
The Postmarks - The Postmarks
Radiohead - In Rainbows
[CODE]http://tinyurl.com/2kju4c

The Lucksmiths - Warmer Corners !!!
Au Revoir Simone - The Bird Of Music
+ Amy Winehouse, Smashing Pumpkins, Duke Ellington,
Carla Bruni, Dustin O'Halloran, Dengue Fever, etc.
[CODE]http://tinyurl.com/3kaf7u

Muse - Absolution
[CODE]http://tinyurl.com/4unuka

Dinosaur Jr - Without A Sound + Hand It Over + Fossils
Pavement - Slanted & Enchanted + Gold Soundz
[CODE]http://tinyurl.com/3kd6gr

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Science! Thank you very much, Zig.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OFFICE 2008 FOR MAC?!?! BAD ASS.

Very nice list, thanks a bunch.

5:05 AM  
Blogger Elly Rocker said...

a good review on the lucksmiths! love them sooooooooooooooooooo much! twee as fuck!

7:46 PM  

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