Hugs and Kisses 51: The Gin Club and Everett’s Couch


Another week, another episode of Hugs and Kisses from Mr. Everett True, author of Nirvana: The Biography (da Capo Press) — one more fucking book about one of the most overrated bands of the Nineties. We once let him survey the contents of his desk. Two weeks in a row. Now he’s moved onto his couch. Maybe one week, we’ll get the contents of his fridge?

Hugs and Kisses

The Relocated Outbursts of Everett True

This week: the contents of Everett’s sofa

There isn’t much.

To my left lies a CD by local wastrels and heroes The Gin Club. Its cover reminds me of an early Tindersticks album, it’s a double and I mention it now because I’m listening to it now because I saw them play a few days thence in front of a crowd of mullets and bare legs, leather jackets, pool tables and ‘winter’ scarves. I’d resolved not to mention them because the song they contribute to Brisbane Sounds 2000 reminded me of the more ponderous aspects of Nilsson and Oasis — beardy and swaddled with emotion sure, but not my scene at all. And I didn’t want to mention this because virtually every person we know in Brisbane has some sort of connection — be it label, musician, partner, fan, band-member… but I held out hopes for their live show, been informed how they keep switching between singers, have a somewhat drunken approach to performing that verges on an art form, that it quickly turns into a parlour party. And on their latest album Junk, a double, sprawling set comprising 26 songs and any number of hybrid country rock style veering from Flying Burrito Brothers to Gram Parsons to… oh, hold on… there’s more than enough to tap into memories…

Last night I dreamt my teenage friend and mentor, visual artist Ian Wieczorek — the man who introduced me to post-punk at the time of post-punk — had taken over the role as editor of Melody Maker, had approached the role with his customary irreverence and good humour, and was absolutely baffled by the publishing company’s insistence on only putting Bob Dylan and Dave Grohl on the cover. (It was sort of an Almost Famous scenario, played out with bands no one wanted to sell to the masses.) We had to huddle in church aisles while I explained the avarice of sales teams.

And then I wake, and discover The Gin Club CD waiting to be reviewed, and it makes me smile. Ian would never have appreciated this. Well, maybe he’d like the parts that sound like Portland magician M. Ward, and damn straight he’d have dug the Go-Betweens standard guitar motif on the resonant “Already Gone,” and the way the piano comes spiralling lazily in elsewhere, and… wait up. I seem to recall in real life, Mr Wieczorek didn’t appreciate the classicism of Forster and McLennan, leaned much more towards the avant and abstract and energetic… but he couldn’t have failed to be swayed by Gin Club live, because overwhelming — up and over and above any merited Big Star leanings (and of course there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that, but there is, simply tarnished by association with a decade of British acolytes who borrowed everything but the spirit) — they reminded me of the full-on inebriated shambolic gung-ho approach of early Eighties Mekons (before they turned full-on country rock, oddly) and of course there ain’t nothing wrong with that, no sirree, nothing at all. It’s music made for waltzing to and crying crazy whiskey tears to (see the plain beautiful “Something Rotten”), and hoping and wishing and lamenting, and stuff like that just doesn’t translate to the cold, sofa fix of digitally enhanced stereo, it ALWAYS needs to be experienced in the company of strangers.

And Ian certainly liked all that.

So, back to my sofa — and there’s a pair of dirty grey iPod headphones, here to cut out the sound of Isaac playing the harmonica (pretty well, got to be said); and there to make my laptop sound halfway palatable. And there’s a scrawled-over, typewritten diary informing me that Dirty Three/ex-Moodists guitarist Mick Turner is playing shortly, and damn I need to see that, and that there’s a Dr. Seuss exhibition playing way out of town till July 20, and damn I’d like to see that. And that’s about it.

Someone was kind enough to send me the new Seconds album. Maybe in the next post they can send me a record-player…?

Hugs And Kisses Top 5

What Everett True wishes he could be listening to right now

1. Los Campesinos!
They bounce and they reference Calvin Johnson, and they’ve listened to Bis, and they’re scenesters (where’s the insult?) but until I find a way of ridding my computer of Skype, there sure ain’t no way I’m hearing this.

2. Wild Beasts
Heady theatrical pop that recalls the heyday of The Associates but…see above.

3. The Bug
Ragga, street dub, industrial dread and bass-lines to get the arterials pumping but…

4. Times New Viking
At this rate I may even admit to liking shoegaze but… not yet.

5. Tricky
I really have not even the vaguest idea what this sounds like…