Dirty Three

’90s musical memories: 6/7

We’re entering the home stretch now: just today and tomorrow to go. (Well, maybe an additional day for non-Australian stuff, but hell.) So today I’d like to lay some more instrumental stuff on you: the band that sounds like Australia, to me, really. The band whose line in a) stage banter and b) grim weepers is pretty much without peer. The band who I’m always happy to see, despite knowing a serious bumming-out will occur at some point during their gigs. The band I have pushed upon people relentlessly, zealot-eyed because I know that they’re pretty much the best thing ever.

It is, of course, The Dirty Three. (more…)

Dirty Three: State Theatre, Sydney


Tonight’s sold-out Sydney Festival show brought one of Australia’s most shambolically brilliant (and beloved) bands to the ornate surrounds of the State Theatre as part of a lightning-quick visit back home. It’s the first time the band have played Sydney in four years – to be fair, they do have a pretty packed playing-with-other-people schedule – and excitement is high, judging by the amount of people who’re already seated for the first act. (more…)

A week of songs: day three

OK, so thanks to the Facebook chain post doing the rounds, I’m doing that song-a-day-for-a-week thing where I post a song I like and write a bit about it. You should do it too, eh? (Seriously, if you like the post, go write your own, and tell me in the comments, as I’d like to read your picks.)

This is day three. My pick for day three is a song that properly introduced me to what’s become one of my favourite (if not the favourite) bands, the Dirty Three.

Now for a bit of history. I had heard this band before – I think from the live clip of “Dirty Equation” that used to get a spin on Rage in those late night/early morning tunefests – but it hadn’t done anything for me. I hadn’t then really discovered much noisy stuff beyond Einstürzende Neubauten, and the Dirty Three are very much a live band, so it’s not surprising that this rough-arse clip didn’t grab me. I knew from the street press that the band were pretty popular, but I didn’t go out of my way to check them out. (more…)

Dirty Three: She Has No Strings Apollo (2003)

Dirty Three: She Has No Strings ApolloThis is an older review of mine, presented here for archival purposes. The writing is undoubtedly different to the present, and the review style may differ between publications. Enjoy, if that’s the right word. 

She Has No Strings Apollo arrives as Dirty Three celebrate ten years together, playing dives and festivals and introducing gobsmacked punters to their particular blend of distortion-fuelled neo-classical gypsy heartbreak. It’s the product of fatherhood, abortive recording sessions and long sojourns as backing musicians for luminaries such as Nick Cave or Will Oldham. And more than any recording before it, it seems to nail the sound — and, more importantly, the sense of communication between players, the “feel” of things — in a way that their other discs haven’t.

The disc’s feel could be put down to the fact that it was recorded — after a couple of months of live workshopping — in just three days at Les Instants Chavires in Paris. And it shows; the tunes have a sparseness in places that bespeaks freshness — these are songs that have no fat on them. They’re fresh from the source. (more…)