In 1988, playwright Billy Aronson wanted to create a musical based on Puccini’s La Bohème, in which 1890s Paris would be replaced with the rawness and street vibe of 1990s New York. Jonathan Larson, a 29-year-old composer, began collaborating with Aronson on this project. Larson’s inspiration for Rent’s characters and plot elements are drawn directly from La Bohème, the world premiere of which was in 1896, a century before Rent’s premiere in New York. Tuberculosis, the plague of Puccini’s opera, is replaced by HIV/AIDS in Rent.
It’s no secret I love me some indie-rock! If you feel the same and haven’t heard about Love of Diagrams, please read on. The Melbourne based three-piece personify everything we love here at Forte Mag – the independent spirit, a DIY ethos, but above all they know how to put on a show. LoD are Antonia Sellbach (vox/bass), Luke Horton (vox/guitar) and Monika Fikerie (drums). After more than a decade of non-stop gigging, LoD have paid their dues, earning them the reputation as one of Melbourne’s best live bands.
In a world of auto-tuned vocals and Top 40 radio hits, it’s hard to get lost in the dance beats and simple lyrics. One band that is leading the charge in saving rock and roll music is Nashville’s own The Wild Feathers. With their electric guitar twang, four-part vocal harmonies and some sweet-arse riffs, they might quite easily become your new favourite band. Having supported the likes of Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Paul Simon, the feats the band has achieved within only the few years that they have been together is quite astounding. For the first time ever, the band is headed to our shores to play at Splendour in the Grass, with sideshows in both Melbourne and Sydney.
When i was really young, like 8 or 9 my mum used to book me in for singing lessons. That was where i sort of found out that i loved music (and singing). My teacher told me that “if you are going to write a song, you’ve got to tell a story”. It doesn’t have to exactly be a lineal story with a beginning, middle and end, but it’s good to at least say ‘something’ in the song you are writing i think. When I’m writing lyrics i still often sit back and ask myself “what exactly am i trying to say here” and do often think about narrative in some way, shape or form. So yeah, i guess I do focus on it a bit.
“I’m not going to put on a Nina Simone record and think ‘man, I kick ass!’ I’d be a real jerk if I did that! Or I’d be very deluded!” Jeff joked when asked about his secret to success. “I try to maintain a perspective on why I do what I do in the first place, and the simple answer is I fall in love with music and I just felt compelled to give it a go, you know?” The humble multi-ARIA winner is back on the road this winter to promote his latest, and in my humble opinion, greatest release yet, I Live in My Head a Lot These Days (out now through ABC/Universal).
If throwing television sets out of hotel windows and playing to thousands of people each night seems like a charmed life to you, then tune up that guitar and get out of your bedroom because the Courthouse ARTS’ Battle of the Bands is coming back to town and is happening on Thursday, August 7. Although there are no televisions to be thrown out of the Courthouse’s window, you will have a cracker crowd to play to. Last year’s winner, Residual, officially formed for the battle despite jamming together ideas for songs twelve months beforehand. Since then the band has gone on to national touring and sold-out shows at Beav’s Bar and is getting ready to release their debut EP in the next couple of months.
Chatting with the guys from the Surf Coast’s own Barbarella is like listening to some sort of mutual admiration society. Barb Peppard and Evan Jones are just so full of praise for each other’s abilities and clearly deeply respect each other as musicians. The duo plays a mixture of a few covers and Barb’s original songs, with Evan providing the lead guitar alongside Barb’s acoustic rhythm and beautiful vocals. They met while playing in a backing band for Victoriana Gaye and then decided to play some solo gigs.
It’s been seven years, seven long years, but finally in 2014 we should be getting the long-awaited fifth album from Melbourne’s own The Band Who Knew Too Much (TBWKTM). From busking on the streets of St Kilda to playing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the band has taken in a lot of miles over the last twenty-five years. I recently got the opportunity to sit down with Dave Evans, accordionist and vocalist for the group, to have a retrospective chat at their illusive career so far and to find out what the future holds.
While Liz Stringer’s release, Warm In The Darkness, may be a few years old she’s still sharing her smooth vocals to captive audiences around Victoria. Liz will take her sweet tunes to Geelong and down the coast for a few one off shows. She took the time out while on the road, to have a chat to Forte about her writing process and what she has planned for the future.
It may be cold outside but things are heating up for bong-loving Brisbanites, the Dune Rats. Not ones to revel in bad weather, the Dunies are back on home soil with plans to make these first weeks of winter their bitch. Now affectionately known as the month of Dune, it’s the perfect time to check out their explosive live show when they roll into town in support of their self-titled debut album.