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Hit The Road, Wasp!

24 Feb

To quote great Australian songwriter Don Walker, “I measure my position to the obstacles we crossed, the territory covered and the parties that we lost. Those were the days.”

Here is a small selection of photos from 10 different countries and 5 different tours, both solo and with Sean M. Whelan & The Mime Set, Water Music, Remarkable Shipwrecks and Lady Danger.

I think the photos show that, more than the shows themselves, touring is about the people you’re with, the fun you make and the amount of crap you have to carry.

Music that moved me in 2011- Part Two

8 Jan

Part 2 of my music of 2011.

Brian CampeauReinventing Myself from Mostly Winter Sometimes Spring
I heard Brian’s music for the first time this year. And fell hard for this track in particular. The Sydney-based Canadian is in possession of the most heavenly male voice since Jeff Buckley and the music on this track is somewhat akin to the pastoral folk of Fleet Foxes but with more emotionally pointed lyrical content. He plays with Elana Stone in The Rescue Ships – a fantastic pairing.

David Creese – When You Were A Man from When You Were A Man
David is, in my opinion, one of the finest lyricists in Australia, making delicate, minutely observed, dark and often darkly witty vignettes. From behind the drums, David fronted one of my all-time favourite Australian bands, The Dumb Earth. Late in 2010, he released a solo album under his own name and on it, David’s warm, vernacular voice and the exquisite musicians with whom he shares his songs created beautiful and, in places, devastating music.

 

Mute SwimmerSong Against Itself from Mute Swimmer album
Guy’s my favourite songwriter in Berlin at the moment, and he’s got hard competition. During the year, I saw his live performances get more compelling and heard his minimalist folk become a revealing exploration/satire of the process of making music and performing. The songs are intelligent earworms, and he’s a lovely man.


Big Strong Brute
You Were Always Right from We Can Sleep Under Trees in the Morning
Paul played a Sofa Salon club show for me in Berlin and I played an awesome backyard show with him in Brisbane. Both times, I was absolutely taken at how, while you’re lulled by his conversational tone and the songs’ sparse melodic structures, his clever, yearning lyrics sneak up and belt you over the back of the head. This song, from BSB’s 2010 EP reminds me of 90’s RooART compilations. In a good way.

Hans UnsternTief Unter Der Elbe from Kratz Dich Raus
I don’t know much about Hans Unstern. I haven’t seen him live yet, but this song was one of the great Ohrwürmer of my 2011. I’ve been in the Hamburg river tunnel that goes deep under the Elbe and, while it was interesting in the same geeky way as the Rathaus Schöneberg Paternoster (see video below), it wasn’t quite as moving an experience as this lovely song always is.

Music that moved me in 2011, Part One

18 Dec

2011 has been an intense and revealing year personally and politically. Fulfilling my promise to myself, I finally made a solo record and toured Europe this year. Companions on my journey were the intense and revealing visions of women like PJ Harvey (on Let England Shake), Kate Bush’s many voices (on 50 Words for Snow) and Kimbra (Gold Ring from Vows).

But I’ll highlight some of the underground music I’ve been exposed to for the first time in 2011. All of it has given me grist and inspiration. Click on the artist name for their website and the song name for a place you can listen, download and/or buy.

Sailor Days – Species Counterpoint from Sailor Days
Biddy came and played a Sofa Salon in Berlin for me this year, performing with Ned Collette. I had the pleasure of singing Laura Jean‘s vocal parts on three songs. This record is meditative, creatively textured and absolutely beautiful to hear. Probably the underrated album of 2011 for my money and something I hear often on my mental radio.

Jenny Hvalblood fight from Viscera
Jenny, from Oslo, is one of the genuine live-and-breathe explorational musicians, whom I met in Melbourne when she was with Folding For Air/ipanic. On tour, Matty B and I saw her at the Operahuset playing an hypnotic piece she’d composed for a dance performance. She’s moved way beyond sensual experiments in pop to blisteringly original heartsong driven by her inventive guitar and keening voice.

El MadrigalHow Can I Miss You from Statistics
So many songs to choose from on this bitey roots rock record. This year, I had the great pleasure of sharing a stage with El Madrigal twice in Stockholm and seeing them again in Berlin. Ola Karlsson played and wrote with Brisbane’s country rock stalwarts The Gin Club and retains his musical soul, intellect and authenticity here. He’s got an incredible ear as a lyricist, musician and singer and has added two great, empathetic co-writers and musicians in  Eric Lindstrom & Tomas Sundin.

The Unthanks – the Testimony of Patience (from 2009)
This Northumberland folk group inhabit an out-of-time musical space, mining bedrock sounds and stories and bringing them up to us without a hint of dust, fust or the creak of age. The song link is a Guardian video. Their new album celebrates Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons.

The Gypsy CurseMaydelle from Ten Years North
I spent a weirdly synchronous six weeks over Summer touring Northern Europe with Matty Barker from The Gypsy Curse in his solo guise as Water Music. Introduced online by Mark Steiner, we had both come a long way to be ready to play our music and were rewarded with kindness, time in twenty-two cities, incredible people, astonishing evenings and enough food for our souls to make what followed possible. What followed for him was getting married to the lovely Beth in New York, recording The Gyspy Curse album in a cabin in Sweden and a sabbatical in Texas. They’re playing in Australia now and Europe in 2012. You should really see them.

Link

To celebrate the first snow, a carol

17 Dec

As the snow falls here in Berlin, and after a big night that started with ‘A Fairytale of New York’ and ended with ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’, I decided to wish everyone a festive season by creating a secular version one of the more beautiful carols, O Holy Night. I’ve made 500 free downloads available.

Much love to you and yours,
Wasp Summer x

 

 

Pre-orders – get ’em fresh

29 Nov

My first pre-ordered CD! Thank-you Melisa! x

Ruby Heart Australian Tour Thank You

28 Nov

Dearhearts,
Swimming in the Pacific after two years away is some kind of bliss. The lakes of Berlin are great in the Summer, but bodysurfing down along Stanwell Park or Nobby Beach just empties me out into the bright, white Australian light.

It was so good to go back to Australia and, man, I was so happy for the sun, the light, the trees, the roads and trains and to see my friends and play them the music I’ve been working on in Berlin. Like all concentrated bursts of touring, it sharpened me up and I really wanted to do well for my home crowd. I got such kind feedback and had a lot of fun with old friends and new.

I want to post this massive list of thank yous to the kind and immensely talented folk who gave me a couch, a gig, a meal, a lift, a cuddle and encouragement:

Melbourne: Michelle, David, Damian, Becky, Emilie, Michael, Sean M., Darren, Nichole, Patrick, Naz, Jonathan, Lubica, Sean S., Bron and Spencer, Chapple, Lisa, Cazzy, Joel at The Old Bar, Miles at the Townie, Dave and Holly at Pure Pop, Vincenzo at Don Vincenzo for the coffee, Dono and A1, Jules, Max, The Kilniks, The Tiger And Me, Charlie Owen and all of my crew (Georgie, Bags, Ann-Maree, Bernard, PPR, Amanda, Margie, Julitha, Seri, KJ, Kate, Tom, Dave, David, Tim, Mike, Claudette and everyone else) who came to shows. Sydney: Kieran, Emily, Andrew at Proper Music Social, Cj Shaw, Pete’s Musician’s Market, Terry, the nice guy at the newsagent at Sydney Central, the Chauvel for Autoluminescent, Buzzzbar for the coffee, Stanwell Park – the most dangerous beach in NSW and its hot lifesavers. Brisbane: Paul, Helen, Kate at Black Bear Lodge, Luke, Ryan, Nerissa, Sally, blackstar for the coffee and Silke/Lucy for the bed, Craig, my brother. Adelaide: Ben Revi, Sarah, the awesome Paul Heggart, Wren, Henry and Ned, Brendan, Hugh, Walter, Naomi, Naomi’s Dad, Hawker St Cafe for the coffee and the Crown & Anchor and Grace Emily Hotel crews for lovely evenings and pear cider.

Much love to all these people. I hope to be back with the new album next year. I will have news of a big project tomorrow!

The Stylist Speaks

28 Nov

In the mud and the dirt

Blog about the photoshoot for the forthcoming Wasp Summer debut album by designer/stylist Elizabeth Delfs: http://bit.ly/w4snNo

Adelaide Thank You

14 Nov

Oh Adelaide! Perfect weekend. Thank you to Ben Revi, Paul Heggart, Wren, Ned and Henry, Brendan, Hugh, the amazing Naomi/Soursop, her Dad William, Walter/Cesare, Pat/Like Leaves, the Crown and Anchor and George at his wonderful Grace Emily Hotel. Next show: Tuesday 15, 7:30pm at The Retreat Hotel, Brunswick, for Melburnians.

Wasp Summer Australian Tour 2011 – dates

11 Oct

Finally, I have all the dates for you! Thank you to all the bookers and friends who helped me swing this tour. It was weirdly easy to book. Maybe I’m exotic now? Well, it’s also been two years since I played in Australia and I’m hoping you’re curious to see what I’ve been up to since I’ve been away. I’ll admit to being nervous (you’re my home crowd after all) but I’m very excited.

October:
Tuesday 25, The Old Bar, FITZROY VIC 9:30pm with Jules Sheldon, Max Sheldrake and The Kilniks. Free.

Saturday 29, Pure Pop Records, ST KILDA VIC 5pm with The Tiger & Me, The Large Number 12’s. Free.

Sunday 30, The Palais, HEPBURN SPRINGS VIC 6pm supporting Steve Lane and The Autocrats for the finale of the Swiss Italian Fiesta. Free.

November:

Thursday 3, Proper Music Social at The Union Hotel, NEWTOWN NSW 8pm with Cj Shaw, Persian Love Cake and Patrick

Sunday 6, Happy Campers at Black Bear Lodge, THE VALLEY QLD 6pm with Ryan Toohey and Luke Peacock (Halfway)

Tuesday 8, The Retreat, BRUNSWICK VIC 8pm. Free.

Saturday 12, The Crown and Anchor, ADELAIDE SA 8:30pm with Cheer Advisory Council and more

Sunday 13, The Grace Emily, ADELAIDE SA 8:30pm with Soursop (Naomi from Gold Bloom) and Walter Marsh (Cesare)

Sunday 20, The Town Hall, NORTH MELBOURNE VIC 8pm. Free.

I’m on most of the social networks, doncha know?
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Competition: It needs a name

23 Sep

@bl @my Help me name my album via the quiz on the Wasp Summer blog (waspsummer.blogspot.com) and you can download a free Berlin Demo MP3 from my Soundcloud page (http://ping.fm/dqGuU).