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Riot Records Review #5 – Caught In The ACT 2007

Nickamc 9 February 2008 13

Band: Various Artists
Album: Caught In The ACT 2007
Rating: (6/10)

The annual Caught In The ACT CD came around again some months back, continuing a seven year history of representing Canberran talent to a wider audience. Here’s a short breakdown of some of the best work on this years’ round plastic.

Meatbee – In Bed Asleep
Turning in one of the best written, and most well produced tracks on the disc, recently departed Canberran stalwarts Meatbee start things off well here. In Bed Asleep offers interesting arrangement, versatile playing from each member and a well recorded & produced output. Top marks.

Night Train – March On By
With a fairly standard rock song, Night Train stand out here purely for the production on the track and the strength of the vocal performances from both the lead singer (Dave Bishop) and backing band. Reminding me of a mix between middle period Pearl Jam and the more commercial leanings of latter-day Midnight Oil, you can see why this made it onto the CD, however, I question why a track from a 2005 release (Puzzle) is here representing Canberra music in 2007.

If Angels Were Architects – The Night Bleeds
With that name and track title, you’d be fully prepared to think CITA had cracked to commercial pressure and put a emo/metalcore band on this years CD, which, in all honesty, may have helped them shift a few units. However, IAWA, formerly known as The Fallen, have been bashing around the local live scene for a while now, can lay claim to some pretty mean chops, and deserve much more attention that your local band of 12 year olds wearing black and emoting. Not sure this song is representative of the rest of the bands’ material, however the vocal performance is really strong, and it makes for quite a haunting tune all around. Akin to a somewhat more macabre Julia & The Deep Sea Sirens.

Quinn – Higher Law
This tracks placement on the CD raises another question, of why an ex-Canberran has his track on a CD purporting to represent the 2007 scene in our little town, however, it is a strong song. A roots/reggae driven acoustic rock song, this hits the same vein of more recent popular Canberran acts like Dahahoo and The Andi & George Band, but with a more mainstream focus. Another strong vocal performance (I’m starting to sound like a broken record).

Dark Violence Of Beauty – Burnt Offering
Where’ve these guys been all this time? Well produced and recorded dark rock n’ roll,
I hear all sorts of great influences in here, from Nick Cave to TISM, all the way to a hint of American west coast punks T.S.O.L. Self-described Goth-abilly, this will be something I’ll make a note of checking out at Indyfest this year. More top marks.

Australian Kingswood Factory – Hey Baby
I’ve been an avid supporter of this energetic rock band for years now, and it saddens me even more to spread the news that they’re now on a self-imposed yearlong hiatus. Hey Baby is a representation of the more rockabilly side of the AKF, and despite the not so great production or mixing effort, the songwriting and energy shines through. If you missed out on AKF in these last 4 years, you may have missed something really great in the Canberran rock scene.

Jonno Zilber – Well I’m Goin
Blues act Jonno Zilber turns in a wonderfully traditional blues tune here, replete with a craftily distorted blues guitar sound, vocals that sound like they’ve been recorded down a cardboard tube, and for a good blues track, that’s all you really need. Everyone has a blues bone in their body somewhere, and this will send shivers right through it on every listen.

All in all, the CITA CD this year is split with slightly less than half of it being a solid resume of some great ACT performers, but the other half making me ponder why they’re on there. I question whether the entry cost for bands to participate in this CD might affect the breadth of talent on the disc, because I’d love to see a more true representation of the Canberra live scene from each year. Of the 18 artists, there’s only around 8-10 that I recognize from seeing them play live, and it’s confusing to me why artists would want to put their songs on a disc that has the potential to get them national recognition when they barely even play in their own city.

Why this project no longer gains arts funding is beyond me. After a 7 year history and a fairly successful run, you would think Arts ACT would want to get right behind this each year, as funding would help bring the entry fee down and entice more acts to try their hand at getting on it, which would benefit everyone to have a wider range of Canberran talent to choose from. Let’s see what makes it onto CITA 2008.

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13 Responses to Riot Records Review #5 – Caught In The ACT 2007
winged_monkey winged_monkey 10:01 am 20 Mar 08

If you want to see some of the bands featured on the 2008 CITA CD, keep an eye out for the showcase gigs. There is one on tomorrow at the Green Room.

sodds sodds 5:08 pm 14 Mar 08

What really gets my goat about this review is its pissy purist take and looking for fault and not merrit: “fairly standard rock song”, emo band name, they’re not Canberra based, “not a great production”, “were have they been all this time”, “doesn’t reflect the live scene”, blah, blah, bleet, bleet.

(BTW my favourite songs on the CD weren’t mentioned here so hey taste – we all have different ones)

I see this time and time again in Canberra, musicians pissing on other musicians instead of giving them encouragement (the author was obviously one of the scene). People moan about the shitty crowds but if the local musicians don’t talk our talent up – all our talent – then why should anyone else be bothered to check our bands out. And it’s getting to the point that we don’t play to each other. One band finishes, goes off for a smoke and the next band is left playing to an empty room. I find that so rude and inconsiderate. Bands who do that don’t get onto my next bill ever.

Come on guys and girls get over your egos and closed minds. It is so easy to pick fault but it is damn cheap and small. Talk up our scene and stop the snide crap.


howdy howdy 5:38 pm 11 Feb 08

‘potential’ yeah, but this CD compilation has been around for years… don’t get too excited : P

Did the CD help discover crowded house and dragon? That’d be a good claim to fame… : )

Riot Records Riot Records 5:24 pm 11 Feb 08

>Name all the bands this CD has given national recognition to? With a particular focus on the ones who rarely leave Canberra who have received national recognition as a result of this CD?

Note that I said ‘potential’. And if you read the website, they send it off to a whole bunch of places for you, which means you’re getting noticed outside of Canberra.

>Hey, where can I get a copy of this?

Hrm, not sure, check Cash ‘Em In in town (the local CD section), or maybe email the address on the website and ask about it.

Mælinar Mælinar 4:29 pm 11 Feb 08

Howdy – Crowded House, and Dragon came from Canberra.

As much as they came from any other Australian city at least…

howdy howdy 2:19 pm 11 Feb 08

Name all the bands this CD has given national recognition to? With a particular focus on the ones who rarely leave Canberra who have received national recognition as a result of this CD?

Thumper Thumper 1:32 pm 11 Feb 08

Hey, where can I get a copy of this?

el ......VNBerlinaV8 el ......VNBerlinaV8 6:28 pm 09 Feb 08

Kinda sad though, really.

Riot Records Riot Records 6:23 pm 09 Feb 08

Ah i see, that’s fair enough. Now I see your point.

el ......VNBerlinaV8 el ......VNBerlinaV8 6:21 pm 09 Feb 08

I was more answering the question of

it’s confusing to me why artists would want to put their songs on a disc that has the potential to get them national recognition when they barely even play in their own city.

I agree with your assessment though. I guess whoever was willing to pony up the $$$ and had some kind of link to Canberra (however vague it may be) got on the disc.

Riot Records Riot Records 6:18 pm 09 Feb 08

well yeah, that kinda obvious, but my point is that he doesn’t really have a place on a CD that represents the Canberra music scene.

el ......VNBerlinaV8 el ......VNBerlinaV8 5:32 pm 09 Feb 08

Bands choose not to play here because of shitty crowds, and IME get a better reception in Melbourne + Sydney.

Riot Records Riot Records 4:41 pm 09 Feb 08

Ack, just realised DVoB aren’t playing Indyfest this year, which saddens me a whole bunch. PLAY MORE SHOWS, DVoB!

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