Saturday, June 26, 2021

Interview with Lucy Francesca Dron

Brisbane, Australia's Lucy Francesca Dron recently released an outstanding EP entitled Leftovers. I recently did an email interview with her where we discussed the EP, having her brother in her band, her upcoming plans and more.  

Can you tell me a little about your musical background?

I grew up surrounded by music, mostly classical music. My mum is a music teacher and Dad is a classical pianist and they were always encouraging my brother and I to be involved in music at school and in our spare time which we did. My first instrument was the cello which I played from the age of 6 until I was 15 where I was then drawn to the guitar.

You just released an EP called “Leftovers" and I read that it’s called that because they are songs you feel don’t fit into concepts that you have for albums.  Can you elaborate a little on that?

I just felt these songs were all strong on their own but felt out of place within my other concepts. The songs I imagine for my other albums flow within the album together and I feel like they create their own little world and soundscape. The Leftovers EP ended up flowing well though but the tracks just stuck out a bit within the other albums

I read that these songs have been around for a few years.  Did any of them change drastically once you recorded them?

The songs developed a lot in the way I performed them. When I originally wrote them I would sing the songs in a much more emotional and loose way and the tempos were changing around. The songs pretty much tightened up a lot through time and practice and I've been exploring singing with more of a jazz technique.

I love the contrast of your vocals, which have a strong jazz feel to them, with the more indie rock sound of your music.  Having said that, a couple of the songs on the EP “Mirrors” and “Epilogue” (both of which I really like) definitely swing more towards the jazz side.  Have you considered doing more songs with that vibe?

Yeah I have a fair amount of songs that have a more jazzy vibe, I’ve definitely within the last two years been really into jazz vocalists and it’s been helping to refine my vocal technique a lot.

Can you give me a little background about your two bandmates - your brother Tom and Tex Keane?

Tom is my older brother and he taught me the first few songs I ever
learnt on guitar. He was writing music well before I started and I was always so in love with his songs so he would teach me them as well and we’d play his songs together. As I grew up and explored song writing myself he was getting really into bass and we just jammed and he's been my bassist ever since. I was looking for a drummer for ages and I heard about Tex from my old principal of Music Industry College because he was studying there. When I heard him he was 16 and absolutely phenomenal and we had a jam, connected and continued working together.

How is it working with your brother?

It is amazing and we work so well together. He understands my music really well and always comes up with the right basslines to complement what I’ve written and is a lovely person overall.

Do you do all the songwriting yourself or do either of them contribute at all?

Yeah I write all the songs on my own but they come up with their parts to go with the song unless I have a specific idea that I want them to play. 

You released your first EP “Eloqium” in 2017. How do you think your music has evolved since then?

They were the first songs I had ever written so they were quite undeveloped and simple. I've explored so many other angles to approach songwriting with now and of course I have a band to expand the sound even more.

You recently released videos for “What Is Next" and “Liquid Numbing Pain". What kind of input did you have in the music videos?

For “What Is Next?” I had no idea what I was doing because it was my first time so I let my team explore the concept and what they wanted to do with it. The more I got into it though the more I fell in love with making music videos and I was so determined and inspired to do my own concept for "Liquid Numbing Pain" and make it really good. I was extremely involved in the music video for "Liquid Numbing Pain" and it was a crazy experience.

You have quite a few other songs floating around between stuff on Soundcloud and various videos on Youtube and elsewhere.  Do you expect to have another release out anytime soon?

I don’t have anything officially lined up but I've been recording some stuff and plan to record a big project next when the time is right.

You have a demo for an almost 10 minute song on Soundcloud called “Tae”.  Can you tell me about that?

Tae was the person who recorded the song, the track is actually called "Venus Lake". This song is actually the title track for my biggest album I have planned, “Venus Lake” which I am so excited to start working on. I wrote the song when I was 18 in three different parts and it was a really, really special and therapeutic experience to me creating it. The album I envision this song on has all my favorite tracks that I have written and they are very ethereal, intricate and experimental. 

What can we expect from you now that the EP is out?

I’ll be playing some shows around Brisbane and going down to Melbourne later in the year, but nothing official is coming up.

Is there anyone in the Australian music scene right now that you think readers should be checking out?
Sammm, Kiri and Nicole Mckinney


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

 The Merseybeats / The Merseys - I Stand Accused – The Complete Merseybeats and Merseys Sixties Recordings

With bands like The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and The Searchers all exploding on the scene, Liverpool in the early 60‘s was a hotbed of musical activity.  Amongst the other bands that were part of the explosion and actually shared their band name with that scene were The Merseybeats. While they only released one album, one EP and a handful of singles, they had several hits including the ballads “I Think Of You, “It’s Love That Really Counts” and “Don’t Turn Around” all of which really showcased their strong vocals harmonies.  In addition to the hits there were many other standout  tracks like their covers of “Fortune Teller”, “Mister Moonlight” and “Shame Shame Shame” (the latter very reminiscent of early Rolling Stones).  Unfortunately that success was fleeting for them and they broke up in 1965.  A year later founding members Bill Kingsley and Tony Crane formed the band The Merseys, releasing several singles that maintained a similar sound to their prior band and having a hit with their cover of The McCoys song “Sorrow” (this song was later covered by Bowie on Pin-Ups).  All of their recordings from these releases are included in this excellent two-disc box set, along with some demos and unreleased tracks.  In addition to all this they’ve also compiled all the tracks from various groups that splintered off from the band during this time period.  One of these is a track by The Kinsleys, a short-lived band formed by bassist/vocalist Billy Kinsley after he left the band for a short while in 1964.   There are also ten outstanding songs from various bands led by Johnny Gustafson, who was vocalist and bassist after Kinsley left the band and is also notable later on as a member of Roxy Music and the Ian Gillan Band.  These start with a couple solo singles, then one from Johnny and John and finally two more with The Quotations (the latter 2 bands also included former Merseybeats drummer John Banks).   With the addition of a 24 page booklet full of pictures and an outstanding essay outlining the history of the band and it’s various offshoots I Stand Accused is an excellent and extremely comprehensive look at this era of The Merseybeats.  

Friday, June 18, 2021


Cablog : Diary Of A Cabdriver - Dege Legg

While many people are familiar with Dege Legg the musician (Santeria, Brother Dege), most are not familiar with Dege Legg the cab driver.  Over a five year span from 2003 to 2008 Legg was a cab driver working the night shift in the swamplands of Lafayette, Louisiana.  During this time he kept a journal documenting the characters that he came across in his cab.  Cablog is a chronological journey and fascinating look at the drunks, drug addicts, thieves and prostitutes as well as the occasional normal person just needing a ride, that he had in his cab.  Just like most cab rides that are just a quick trip here or there, the majority of the stories are just a few paragraphs long with a few taking up a couple pages.  Some are sad, some are scary and a few will even make you feel good and put a smile on your face, and Legg does an excellent job of bringing out those emotions and painting a picture of what he experienced with each fare.  As you make your way through the book you can also see how the job affected Legg as he goes from rookie cabdriver to an experienced one and then on to getting burned out and eventually calling it a day.  Cablog is an outstanding read and gives an incredible insight into what it’s like to be a cab driver on the night shift.

(Brother Dege)

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Greenslade - Temple Songs – The Albums 1973-1975

Formed in 1972 by former Colosseum members Dave Greenslade on keyboards and Tony Reeves on bass and rounded out by Dave Lawson on keyboards and vocals and Andrew McCulloch on drums, Greenslade released four albums from 1973 until 1975 before then disbanding in 1976.  Temple Songs - The Albums 1973-1975 collects all of these albums into one box set (not included is the 2000 reunion album Large Afternoon from Greenslade and Reeves along with vocalist/keyboardist John Young).  First up is their 1973 eponymous disc, an extremely enjoyable set of tunes that does an excellent job of showcasing their use of two keyboard players as they meld prog with a bit of a blues groove.  Bedside Manners Are Extra, their second album, was released later that year and follows a similar path to their debut with the title cut and “Sunkissed You’re Not” among the highlights along with the instrumental “Drum Folk”, a tune that allows McCulloch to showcase his drumming amongst the keys. With the departure of Reeves right after it was recorded, disc 3 Spyglass Guest was the final one to feature the original band.  While still firmly in the prog rock realm, the songs this time around tend to be shorter and more concise.  They also experimented a little more here with the use of guitars for the first time on two songs and stylewise there are elements of a jazzier sound on “Little Red Fry Up” and “Red Light” while the guitars on “Siam Seesaw” really bring out the rock in their sound.  For Time and Tide, the final album in the box set, the band replaced Reeves with bassist/guitarist Martin Briley.  This time around the band definitely went in more of a pop direction than ever before (all the songs with the exception of one that is just over 5 minutes are in the 3 minute or less range). While it does have it’s moments (see “Waltz For A Fallen Friend” and ”The Ass’s Ears”) this is definitely the weakest album of the bunch.  Whether you’re a fan or new to the band, Temple Songs – The Albums 1973 – 1975 is a great place to get these four discs in one nice collection with the biggest drawback being the missing bonus cuts that can be found on the expanded 2-disc versions.

(Cherry Red)

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Needles//Pins - Needles//Pins

In just under twenty-three minutes the eponymous fourth album from Vancouver’s Needles//Pins harkens back to their earlier releases as they tear through ten cuts of rootsy, working class punk.  While the album is primarily a no-frills, straight-ahead set of tunes driven by Adam Solomonian's ragged throaty vocals they never lose their strong sense of melody. The band also takes an occasional step back with songs like the more subdued “Winnipeg ‘03“  and the bouncy “Stumble” to keep things fresh.  

(Dirt Cult Records)

Monday, June 14, 2021

Emily Taylor Hudson - Love Is A Dirty Word

Instead of recording in her hometown of LA, Emily Taylor Hudson headed to her best friend and guitarist Billy Newsome’s trailer in Pikeville, Kentucky.  After recording the basic tracks there, she then took them back to her brother Zak in LA to add the drums and bass.  The resulting EP Love Is A Dirty Word is a powerful collection of raw, straight-ahead rock 'n’ roll with Newsome’s buzzing guitars and Emily’s powerful vocals and biting lyrics leading the way.  Everything here from the infectious opener and first single “Hearts We Wanna Break” to the stripped down “True Sensation”, a song that shows just how strong her vocals are, to “Tone Of The Siren”, a tune reminiscent of Garbage, is a winner.   

(Emily Taylor Hudson)