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Howzat! Archive - August 11th 2010

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It's often called "The Difficult Second Album". Cordrazine's second album, Always Coming Down (out this week on Rubber Records), comes 12 years after their debut. Rewind to 1997, and Cordrazine hit the Top 40 with the stunning single, Crazy. Their debut album hits the Top 10 the following year. But singer Hamish Cowan had a major problem: "How do you tell the people around you how unhappy you are when all they can see is you living a dream you sought your whole life?"

"At that time, Cordrazine was the loneliest place on earth for me," Hamish tells Howzat! "I isolated myself so much as a way to protect myself from all the things I was unable to deal with, and I was unable to articulate what it was I couldn't deal with, as even I didn't understand. It's no secret, I've never been particularly comfortable with sharing any part of myself with the world, apart from music." Hamish laughs. "I suspect I am the only narcissist alive who doesn't like attention! Expressing myself in public using anything other than music causes me a great deal of anxiety and this has troubled me in the past to the point I had to quit the band and run away from the music world."

In a year packed with comebacks, Cordrazine could be 2010's most welcome return. The Daily Telegraph's Kathy McCabe told Hamish the band had created "the greatest Smiths album the Smiths never made". A line in the title-track leaps out: "It's never over." Is that how Hamish feels about bands? "No, it's just life. I don't believe in absolutes, I have never been one of those people who says, 'I'm never doing that again.' That type of thinking creates prisons in our minds and closes the door to the amazing opportunities life can offer. People never stay static, we always grow and evolve, so nothing ever ends. It just changes."

Back in the late-90s, Cordrazine's dramatic pop was compared to Jeff Buckley. But Always Coming Down is a much simpler record. With Nick Batterham's exquisite production, the focus is on Hamish's stunning voice. "I wanted this record to be about good songs and nothing was to distract from that," Hamish explains. Is it a winter album? With songs called Sunshine and Keeping Warm, is weather a big influence on Hamish's mood? "I think so. I certainly feel flat in winter and notice a lowering in my mood however, I feel the cold and isolation produces in me the best music. It allows time for introspection."

The album doesn't feature any duets, though Hamish's wife, Natalie Gauci (2007's Australian Idol winner), provides backing vocals on Some Day We'll All Come Together. "I would love to do a duet with her, she inspires me and is my muse," Hamish states. "Nat's passion and unwillingness to compromise her art and vision keeps me focused and betters me in every way."

The first Cordrazine album was called From Here to Wherever. Where did Hamish end up? "Here. Everything leads us to now. Everything leads to this moment, for better or worse. The thing is to make the most of every moment along the way to your 'Wherever'." So will we have to wait another dozen years for the next Cordrazine record? "I have absolutely no idea. I don't write songs if I have nothing to say, and I'm not going to make a record to satisfy record companies. If there are enough songs I believe in to make another record then, yes, there will be, and if not, there won't be. So we'll all have to wait and see, even me." Cordrazine are launching Always Coming Down at the East Brunswick Club on 28 August.

Very sad to hear that the Shock warehouse crew will be casualties of the company merging with CD and DVD manufacturers and distributors Regency Media. Under the guidance of warehouse manager Andrew Viney (a 17-year Shock veteran and former Fish John West Reject bass player), the warehouse has provided much-needed employment for band members and radio legends (including Max Crawdaddy). It's yet another thing we've lost to Sydney.

Mardi Lumsden & The Rising Seas have delivered one of our favourite titles of the year: Wherever You Go, There You Are. The EP is mighty fine, too, reminding Howzat! of Aimee Mann, which is a beautiful thing. The Brisbane band hit town this weekend, to launch the EP at the Edinburgh Castle on Saturday. Surrogate Turnip and D. Rogers & The Early Adopters are also on the bill.

No homegrown hits in the national Top 10.

We No Speak Americano YOLANDA BE COOL (number 18)
Love The Fall MICHAEL PAYNTER (22)
All The Lovers KYLIE MINOGUE (23)
Big Jet Plane ANGUS & JULIA STONE (33)
Baby, I'm Getting' Better GYROSCOPE (38)

Kylie and Birds Of Tokyo couldn't do it, but Bliss N Eso knock off Eminem, to take top spot.

Running On Air BLISS N ESO (number one, debut)
I Believe You Liar WASHINGTON (three, debut)
Birds Of Tokyo BIRDS OF TOKYO (four)
Aphrodite KYLIE MINOGUE (seven)
Down The Way ANGUS & JULIA STONE (10)
Conditions THE TEMPER TRAP (15)
Immersion PENDULUM (21)
April Uprising THE JOHN BUTLER TRIO (27)
Cinema THE CAT EMPIRE (28)
Melinda Does Doris MELINDA SCHNEIDER (30, debut)
We Are Born SIA (31)
Golden Rule POWDERFINGER (38)
Deep Blue PARKWAY DRIVE (39)
Restless AMY MEREDITH (40)

Pieces Of The Story MARDI LUMSDEN
Love Me Like You Used To Do SKYBOMBERS
Alien Welcome Home PETE SOUNDS

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