Community: A Compilation of Hobart Music
19 Track, LP (2010, Rough Skies)
Related: Ivy St, Native Cats, Hobart.
I visited Hobart for the first time last year. The gig was at the Brisbane Hotel on a cold, wet and miserable Sunday. The kind of night suited more to sofas, heaters and DVDs. The show itself was fun. As was the late night karaoke in the front bar with the local hair metal heads, pouring our own beers. You could say we were well looked after by the Brisbane’s Gibbo and Julian Teakle, half of Native Cats and the guy behind Rough Skies Records and this compilation.
Driving out to a Tasmanian Devil sanctuary the following morning, Teakle gave us a quick rundown on the current Hobart music scene; one that’s well documented on Community, although as the press release qualifies, “You cannot know Hobart music from this compilation alone.” Nonetheless, it’s a title well suited to a project of this type. As you would expect from a city the size of Hobart, the scene is close. A quick glance at the liner notes and you find that bands share members, produce each other's songs and rehearse/record in the same studios/bedrooms.
I could mention Hobart’s geographical and cultural isolation or its lineage of awesome bands from Mouth to Little Ugly Girls, but on this occasion I won’t. Instead, I’m going to talk about ‘Notes From a Fighter’, a song by Our Sails (aka Andy Brazendale) that was recorded at home. It may not the best track on the record, but it’s indicative of how important a comp like Community is in getting a song like Brazendale’s out of the bedroom and to a wider audience.
The lush spacey pop that Brazendale creates and his warbling vocals is similar in mood and feeling to something off Grandaddy’s debut Under the Western Freeway. It’s a good song, one that’d probably fly under the radar if it wasn’t for its inclusion on this compilation. The fact that it’s now going to be in retail stores on the mainland, alongside cuts by other more well-known Hobart acts such as Ivy Street and The Native Cats, is undoubtedly a good thing.
Other highlights include Drunk Elk’s moody, albeit off-key ‘Quintessence’; the instrumental noodling of Billy Whims; the breezy pop of Anthony Rochester’s ‘You’re A Singer Now’; the awkward, stilted brilliance of the Native Cats, who on the unreleased ‘Little Me Belongs to Little You’, sound more like Arab Strap; and the truly lovely closing song ‘Eye For an Eye’ by Transcription of Organ Music.
As far as compilations that capture a particular music scene at a particular point it time go, you can’t get much better than Community. It's essential for anyone wanting to tap into the Hobart music scene, without having to endure late night karaoke sessions on a chilly night at the Brisbane’s front bar.
by Tim Scott