It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the local legends Ben O’Connor and Guy Blackman, the duo behind iconic Aussie label Chapter Music.
Born in in 1992, Chapter Music are this weekend celebrating their 24th birthday by throwing a party which features a line up to end all lineups: Twerps, Crayon Fields, Holy Balm, The Stevens, The Goon Sax, Little Ugly Girls, Jessica Says, School Damage, Gregor, Andras DJ, and NO ZU will be gracing the Gasometer’s stage this Saturday night.
Over the past two and a half decades the label has been responsible for signing and releasing a huge array of local and international underground talent including Crayon Fields, Dick Diver, The Twerps, Clag, NO ZU, Beaches, Laura Jean and so many more (check it all out at chaptermusic.com).
To celebrate their 24th birthday Ben and Guy have curated a mixtape featuring “Chapter gems old and new” – check it out below and be sure to wish the guys a happy birthday this weekend.
Laura Jean – ‘Australia’
From A fool who’ll album, 2011
Guy: Sometimes people think Laura Jean makes nice, pretty folk music, but they’re very wrong. Laura is one of the most brutal songwriters ever. Even if you think you’re rock or an island, Laura will get in there, open you up and make you feel actual feelings. This song is one of the most savage investigations of Australian culture and identity ever written, and it really should be taught in classrooms across the nation.
Twerps – ‘I Fought Fings’
Guy: This was a bonus track on the original nine song Twerps EP, which Chapter put out in 2009 in a pretty weird format – a four song 7″ EP, accompanied by a CD with the full nine tracks on it. Apparently it’s the first song Marty from Twerps ever wrote. It’s definitely one of the first I remember ever hearing by them at their first shows sometime in 2008, and it captures Twerps at their early best – open, vulnerable, a bit grumpy, falling apart musically but full of melody and wonder. Chapter has just reissued this as a vinyl LP, with a new bonus track.
Smokey – ‘How Far Will You Go…?’
From How Far Will You Go? – The S&M Recordings 1973-81 album, 2015
Guy: Chapter has been doing reissues since the late 90s, and personally it’s a big part of what makes doing the label fun. This compilation of 70s recordings by Los Angeles gay iconoclast Smokey was five years in the making, and is one of the most satisfying reissue projects we’ve ever worked on. Smokey is just the wildest and most amazing figure, scandalously out and proud when everyone else was hiding in the closet, singing songs about leather daddies, drag queens, piss slaves and parked trucks full of horned up men. This one’s about rich music industry moguls trying to pick up Smokey with cheap promises that never get delivered, and supposedly James Williamson from the Stooges plays guitar on it, although no-one can really remember precisely…!
Little Ugly Girls – ‘Snap’
Ben: The Little Ugly Girls are my favourite live band of all time and they’ve never released a record. We’re hoping to rectify that soon. Formed in Tasmania, we first saw them in the 90s and were completely gobsmacked. We became completely obsessive fans, going to every show, even following them back to Tasmania when they toured with Magic Dirt. It was a huge honour to have them play Chapterfest in 2014 and we can’t wait to see them again this Saturday.
The Cannanes – ‘Tennyson’
Guy: How amazing are The Cannanes? Tennyson is one of the most beautiful, affecting songs ever, from a band that has recorded about 1000 of them. As a kid in early 90s Perth, The Cannanes were a guiding light of what Australian independent music could and should be – smart, eccentric, insightful and internationally renowned. The Cannanes’ catalogue has been out of print for far too long, and Chapter is starting to rectify that this year with a reissue of their classic 1989 second album A Love Affair With Nature.
Jeremy Dower – ‘Windy Ponies’
From Double Figures – 10 Years Of Chapter Music compilation, 2002
Ben: In 2002 we released Music For Retirement Villages, a 12″ by Melbourne electronic artist Jeremy Dower. The same year Jeremy contributed this song to our 10th birthday compilationDouble Figures. Jeremy made really idiosyncratic, gentle, emotive, vocal-less electronic pop songs that didn’t sound like anything else around at the time. There’s something so warm and resonant and human about Jeremy’s music, yet it never sounds sentimental or nostalgic. Music For Retirement Villages sounds as good today as it did when it came out.
The Take – ‘Summer’
From Can’t Stop It! – Australian Post-Punk 1978-82 compilation
Ben: Can’t Stop It was a compilation of Australian Post Punk that Chapter released in 2000. For years Guy had been collecting obscure late 70s/early 80s Australian records that were pretty cheap and easy to come by in the 90s. I think it was finding an Essendon Airport 7″ that really kick started things. Summer by The Take was on a “Little Bands” 7″ that came out in 1979. The Take were Frank Lovece from Primitive Calculators, and Marisa Stirpe and I think this is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard.
Coolies – ‘Ghost Baby’
From Master album, 2011
Ben: One of the Chapter releases I’m most proud of is Coolies superb album Master. They’re a band that have completely created their own world of sound. Brutally catchy songs with a sense of humour that twist in unexpected directions. The only New Zealand band we’ve ever released on Chapter, Tina and Sjionel have been making music together since they were teenagers growing up in Auckland. They rule.
Sat Mar 5 – MELBOURNE – The Gasometer – 6.30pm
with Twerps, Crayon Fields, Holy Balm, The Stevens, The Goon Sax, Little Ugly Girls, Jessica Says, School Damage, Gregor, Andras DJ, NO ZU DJs