NOVEMBER 2001 Demos Of The Weeks -
The Drones, The Savages, Sideshow, Arbuckle

Our Demo Of The Week for 27th November, 2001 is - drum-roll please! -

Arbuckle are a four-boy pop-rock band from the Gold Coast who have been together for three years. This is their first ep, but they have since done some more recording. This ep was released on Trundle Records, but they've sent it to us, and it seems to be a home-burn, so we're counting it as a demo.

Arbuckle are proudly following the Aussie (or even Queensland - think Custard, Regurgitator, Biro, or our lovely Alyson Locke) tradition of energetic, low-fi pop-rock, with idiosyncratic, observational, often humorous lyrics. In the genre of trad pop-rock, the genre most boys instinctively go to when they first form a band (unless they are the sort of boy who creams his pants over particular brands of electric guitars), to stand out of the pack, the songs have to be extremely good. Arbuckle's songs are simple, funny, catchy. When we first heard their ep, we thought their vocals sounded a bit sleepy and lethargic, as if they'd been having a bad day when they recorded them, but after a couple of listens, the casual vocal style, in lovely Australian accents, has become a very distinctive feature of the songs. It's a good contrast to the drive of the music. --SH


Our Demo Of The Week for 20th November, 2001 is...

sideshow cd cover Sideshow, from Melbourne, are Claire, Jane, Lisa and Simone. They've been playing together since high school (with guitarist/vocalist Simone completing the line-up in 1998) and this, we think, is their second demo.
Lisa, Simone, Claire, Jane

'Songs To Make Love To' gives us the impression that Sideshow has more than one songwriter, and a democratic structure where anyone with a good idea is listened to - the six-song cd bravely spans a range of emotions, subjects and sounds. On a sturdy base of fuzz-pop-punk!, they are unafraid to experiment with a dramatic, weepy cello intro, vocal distortion and distinctive, multi-layered, conversational, co-lead vocals. Their tough moments are just as satisfying as their lovesick moments, e.g. track 6, Angus, which opens with a soft-as-a-rain-cloud "Oh, Angus," (there don't seem to be many 'name' songs anymore) then slowly sinks into the reproachful diatribe, "You play your games..." We received this demo in February (a blanket sorry to all demo senders who still haven't received a reply!) and hope that they are still together, adventuring into new 'scapes. - LL


Our Demo Of The Week for 14th November, 2001 is...
The Savages

savages live!

The Savages are Daniel, Fredrik, Mats, Magnus and Magnus, from Fagersta, Sweden. We don't know much about them, except that they tour their native country a lot and nearly broke up after "a miserable year of '99".
savages live!

Most of the demos we receive have the standard line-up - drums, bass, guitar, singer. The bands who vary this line-up in some way are often the bands who get our attention, because fundamentally what we are looking for is something different, something original. But, as proven by the Savages, it is still possible to find a magic spark in the well-tilled soil of the standard all-boy rock 'n' roll line-up.
savages live!

We were very impressed with the Savages cd - great production, exciting sounds, lots of energy. We're big fans of MC5, Stooges, Union Carbide Productions (who were also from Sweden but back in the 80's) and high-octane sonic rock 'n' roll - so when we put their demo on, the volume went up, and we made a snap decision to make the Savages 'Demo Of The Week'! Instantly loved the riff in track 3, liked the vocals in track 1 the best - breathy, double-tracked.
savages live!

The Savages pictures were taken at Alkazar and Kogelbanan in Stockholm, by Torbjorn "tubis" Persson. The pictures are copyrighted and used by permission.


Fastforward to September 2002 and Half A Cow were so impressed with the Savages that a mini-album (newer recordings, not these demos) was released on the label titled Long Live You (hac103).

Our Demo Of The Week for 6th November, 2001 is...
The Drones

The Drones are a girl (bass, vocals) and three males (drums/guits/vocals etc.) from Melbourne. They've been playing together for about a year, or maybe two years by now. 'Swamp blues', distorted guitars, general thudding impression, idiot-savant garbled vocals.

Their music is dark, smoky, smelly, sticky-carpeted...The lone, dancing, sweaty guy lurches into you as he loses balance from swinging his head around too much, his beer sloshes slowly onto your black boots and your lace stockings... through your stockings you can still read the chemistry formulae that you wrote on your thigh for an exam the day before - you only shower if you have to...the singer slurs his words as if he's had a stroke or is sleep-talking, you can only pick out a word here and there but that suits you - you fill in the rest with your choice of late-teenage, virginal, school-hating turmoil, and wonder if the band members have any STDs...Well, even at the Half A Cow HQ in central-west NSW on a quiet, froggy night, the Drones transport us back to the venue described above. We're sure one still exists somewhere, ditto the serious schoolgirl. -SH


Previous Demo Of The Weeks
OCTOBER 2001 Halfway, Earth To Nigel, Closure, A Cat Called Monty