Phil Smith: Women in Docs was the last big thing come out of Townsville in terms of our program, with Saturday Tracks.
Mardi Lumsden: That’s true.
P: This is The Middle East.
(Plays ‘The Darkest Side’)
P: I’ll just leave that running there in the background I think Mardi. There’s some beautiful guitar and some interesting vocals in that. “The Middle East”. There’s not a lot about this band, but they’re making there presence felt right around the country.
M: They really are. And there is ridiculously little written about this band. They have seemingly sprung onto the national scene. They got picked up by Triple J unearthed as feature artists in December last year and apparently they had broken up at the time. They weren’t playing music any more. Not in this sense anyway. And then all of a sudden they’ve been touring nationally with international bands and they’ve done a national tour with Augie March, who I believe are talking to Warren today.
M: And now they’re in the process of doing their first headlining national tour. They’re about to play with Holly Throsby on a side show and they’re about to play at Splendour in the Grass, one of the country’s biggest music festivals.
P: It’s a strange line up. And I’ll confess a connection to this. I have some connections in my generation, family connections to some of people in this band. But I gather the lineup varies. There’s anywhere between four and seven people that find themselves in The Middle East at any given time.
M: Yes. And can tell you some of their names but not all of them, because a couple of web sites, one of the guys is listed as ‘another guy’.
P: (Laugh) That is so triple j isn’t it.
M: (Laugh) I think it’s a blog about the band. The only information on their triple j unearthed page is that they play guitars and keyboards and some percussion. That’s all. But um, yeah it’s Joe and Jord Ireland, Bree Tanter, Rohin Jones, Mark Myers and Tim Barwise, plus or minus a couple of other people.
P: Ok. And the evolution of this has been to this very folky, indie sort of style.
M: Yeah and indie particularly I think because it is quite folky and it’s using those guitars but then it brings in, like you might hear in the background now, a glockenspiel, that’s used in a really percussive, and melodic at the same time, way.
P: This is the other one that’s been getting some airplay, “Blood”.
(Fade up ‘Blood’)
P: That’s a real slow burner. It’s nearly a five minute track. Takes a long time build up.
M: They have a tendency of writing really long tracks. One of the tracks on their EP, which is called ‘Recordings of the Middle East’, one of the tracks in seven and half minutes long.
P: I reckon part of the problem is when the band’s that big and you can’t come to a decision you just sorta do stuff like that.
M: Yeah maybe, but it works so well.
P: Seven different ideas for the EP, oh look we’ll just call it ‘Recordings of the Middle East’.
M: (Laugh). They’re doing some really exciting stuff and they don’t sound like any other band that’s, well I think, that’s in Australia at the moment. So that’s what’s making me really excited about them.
P: And we’ve put on the blog, we have what information we do have there, including a reference through to their myspace, to their own web site. And of course if you do check out our sister network, Triple J, go to unearthed you’ll find some more about them there. And Splendour in the Grass is really the next big local gig form them.
M: Yeah, they’re playing with Holly Throsby and a band called Leader Cheetah who are all on Spunk Records and they’re doing a side show for Splendour in the Grass down in Byron on the 24th of…
P: Byron’s nearly in our neighbourhood
M: Yeah it’s close. It’s worth the drive.