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Howzat! Archive - September 11th 2013

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"And, yes, I will go wherever the wind may blow me." That's what Mark Moldre sings on his second solo album, and the Sydney singer-songwriter is a man of his word. An Ear To The Earth is one of 2013's tastiest trips, taking the listener on a rollicking, rootsy journey. One minute, it rumbles; the next, it's gentle and poignant. Remarkably, it all hangs together beautifully - props to producer Jamie Hutchings (of Bluebottle Kiss). "Jamie and his brother, Scott, are my oldest friends," Mark reveals. "I've known him since he was about three or four." As teenagers, they played in bands, including The Fallen Scarecrows, but never really ventured into the studio together until they made this record - live to reel-to-reel tape. "It was organised chaos," Mark laughs. "We wondered whether half the gear was even going to power up each morning. But if I continue making records, I don't think I'll ever do it any other way. It was some of the best fun I've had." The release saw Mark reunite with Laughing Outlaw's Stuart Coupe, who put out two albums by Mark's band, Hitchcock's Regret, in the early 2000s. The new album has seen Mark compared to Tom Waits, Ryan Adams and Willie Nelson, while The Music's Michael Smith called it "an album Nick Cave would be proud of". "The Nick Cave comparison surprised me," Mark admits. "And I've only just recently started listening to Willie Nelson. My voice used to be compared a lot to Peter Gabriel, which I found a little disconcerting, as I wasn't really a fan. It made me search out his pre-So stuff. It's an interesting way to discover new music when unexpected comparisons come up." The Sydney Morning Herald's Bernard Zuel hailed An Ear To The Earth "album of the week", calling it "music to drink to". What's Mark's poison? "For me, it's gin. Jamie has always been a bit of a red wine connoisseur, and for the rest of the band it was mainly Coopers during the recording." Buy 'em a drink when they hit town this weekend (Saturday afternoon at Pure Pop, Sunday at The Workers Club). "You've no idea what the road has done to me," Mark sings on the album. "The highlight of touring is definitely having a band full of old friends," he says. And the lowlight? "Running out of gin money."

The great Renée Geyer was born in Melbourne 60 years ago today (Wednesday), and she's still heading in the right direction. Renée shares a birthday with another Howzat! fave. Ben Lee is 35 today.


Why was Tony Abbott welcomed to the Maton Guitars factory in Melbourne for an election eve photo-shoot? What has the Liberal Party done for music? Saturday's election was a wipeout for music candidates. Peter Garrett did not re-contest his seat, Angry Anderson (running as Gary Anderson for the National Party in the NSW seat of Throsby) got just 10 per cent of the vote (though he did double the Nationals' vote from the last election), while Katter's Australian Party candidate James Blundell - who shocked the party's conservative base by saying he supported gay marriage - looks like missing out on a Senate spot in Queensland.

Ashley Naylor launches the vinyl version of his stunning solo album, High Horse, at the Thornbury Theatre on Sunday afternoon.

"You can know where you are and still be lost" - Mark Moldre, I Don't Know What's Become Of Her

Ricki-Lee has a Top 30 debut.

Riptide VANCE JOY (number 14)
Come & Get In Trouble With Me RICKI-LEE (28, debut)
Purple Rain DAMI IM (29, debut)
Fire Starter SAMANTHA JADE (37)
Parachute TIMOMATIC (39)
Resolution MATT CORBY (40)

The Paper Kites have a Top 20 debut.

Harlequin Dream BOY & BEAR (number five)
The Great Country Songbook TROY CASSAR-DALEY & ADAM HARVEY (seven)
Learn To Exist THE JUNGLE GIANTS (12, debut)
The Very Best Of Slim Dusty SLIM DUSTY (16)
States THE PAPER KITES (17, debut)
Atlas RUFUS (19)
Sharkmouth RUSSELL MORRIS (22)
More Than A Dream HARRISON CRAIG (23)
Circus In The Sky BLISS N ESO (24)
A Hell Of A Career! JOHN WILLIAMSON (25)
The Catalyst Fire DEAD LETTER CIRCUS (34)
Flume FLUME (38)

Nowhere At All MARK MOLDRE

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