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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 10:36 am 
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Place Without a Postcard - 1981

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In a single clear drum kick we launch into Don't Wanna Be the One, and just like that The Oils are right there in front of you, a fully formed musical beast, all limbs firing. This song has been my fave Midnight Oil tune for something like the last 15 years, and it's only just in the last few weeks that its slipped a spot or two. I love everything about this song, the driving beat, the perfect guitars, the lyrics speaking to me as if I was talking to myself, just wow. Even the organ kicks, and the harmonies are beaut too. The Oils do bloody good harmonies actually. 5 stars easy. And you know what? I don't want to be the fucking one, either. :finger:

Track 2 is Brave Faces and this brings it all back a bit, slowing it down a little. "There all talking shit to me" alright, we've all been there, Pete. This song plays about a bit with the time changes and a bit of falsetto even from Mr Garrett, unusual, ok stuff, nothing for a mixtape though. 2.5.

"You're watching people fighting, you're watching people losing...on Armistice Day". The haunting single piano note start, the short guitar solo and regular drum thump through the opening lines of Armistice Day are almost in my DNA. I get such a sense of memory and time and place when I listen to this these days. This was one of earliest tunes that I discovered, me myself, not shown by my brother, or heard in the car with my folks. It wasn't like anything that I'd been told to listen to before, it was a bit quirky and the singer didn't sound perfect and the lyrics seemed to really mean something to the guy. Not that I knew what the lyrics were necessarily about at that time. But yeah, this song is gonna get a slightly inflated score than it might if based purely on musicality alone as it means a lot to me. This was one of the biggies, one of the ones that started me on my musical journey, that made me realise how important music was to me, how much joy I got from it, and how worthwhile it was to go and find it, snuffle it out, listen... 5 stars.

Someone Else is almost poppy with its chorus and changes. I have to remember that this album was recorded in 1981, amidst some real musical crimes that abounded at that time. When I remember that I can appreciate that Midnight Oil really didn't release much that I'd outright say was just crap. They had a knack for keeping it interesting even when they maybe weren't perhaps super sure of what they wanted. 2.5 stars.

I really like the start-up to Basement Flat with Garrett singing the first few lines sounding as if he was singing a demo into a tape deck before the production kicks in. I love the refrain on this one too ("What can I do, there must be some solution"), you can see that they were trying some different things from a production stand point and to me this one works. 3.5.

Written in the Heart is another one that works for me. Pretty typical Midnight Oil tune here, I can get lost in the guitar lines. Having done far more than my share of country driving along the back roads and highways of remote Australia, I've always thought that there was no better band to have on when you're driving out there alone, the sun on the way down and the hot air blowing against your face. This sort of bread-and-butter Oils tune is what I'm talking about there. 3.5

Burnie is track 7 and is probably the weakest on the album for me. Not terrible but not much that grabs me in this one. Gotta hand it to them again though, its certainly not boring or bland, they really were trying out some different sounds on this album. 2.

Quinella Holiday is about gambling addiction and that's a subject pretty close to my heart. I actually think this is a huge issue in Australia, and the way the online/phone bet companies are allowed to advertise they are doing a magnificent job of making sure that all our kids are cashed-up betting machines when they get to 18. Phone betting! - how cool is that! Can't just watch the footy, gotta have a punt too! And everyone's a winner, right? I mean, these guys all do cash back for losing bets, don't they?? Fuck off. 3.

Loves On Sale is almost an interlude, running straight on from Quinella Holiday, mainly Peter Garrett's vocal here in the start up, which may be a little bit too much focus on it to be honest. Halfway through almost a jig kicks in! What's all this about then?? Curious indeed. 2.

If Ned Kelly Was King has a cool chorus and and this great set of lines:

"Three black boys sit in the corner
White woman waiting to talk
Lots of intention but no understanding"

Having lived and worked remote for so long I can say that this is a great example of lyrics nailing a complex situation with just a few words. Intentions were always good, understanding is still not there. I really like how they come back to Quinella Holiday at the end too. 3.

Lucky Country is the final song here and is a goodie too. I love the spoken verse in the middle and have to point out the use of the word "wank", which I guess would be one of the earlier uses in recording. This song has a great build and is all about us, Aussies working hard, mining jobs abound, but always looking for a shorter day. Great way to finish a pretty damn fine album. 4.


This third album proved a bit of a mixed bag for the Oils. Produced by Glyn Johns in England the band by all accounts weren't 100% totally thrilled with the outcome. Reading some critics comments the gradual move from straight rock to bring in more pop sensibilities and some musical experiments and production choices wasn't always successful. I kinda agree I guess, but on the other hand at their best it's precisely that about Midnight Oil that I adore - real rock mixed with interesting and accessible hooks, all wrapped up in great, considered production.

Place Without a Postcard has some real highs for me and is the first of what I would say is as good a run of 5 albums as almost anyone has put out. Overall score is a 3.3.

You should see what they do next! Oh boy!


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 11:09 am 
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:thumbsup:

Halfway thru my postcard write up. Will post soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 3:14 am 
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The played 10,9,...1 in full the other night.


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 3:41 am 
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LetMeSleep wrote:
The played 10,9,...1 in full the other night.

Shweet. I haven't kept up with their sets but I understood they were going to really try and mix it up across the tour.

I'm glad we'll be seeing them once they are fully revved and prepped.

:bammer:


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Sun June 18, 2017 10:00 pm 
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Great stuff, Higgsy Bloke. You have more history with the band than I and I thoroughly enjoy reading your takes on these albums. I heard most of their early material (up to Species) through my brother or later at a mates house who was an Oils tragic. Side 1 of this album is quite familiar although I haven't heard it since maybe 1990.

Place Without a Postcard - 1981

Image

Don't Wanna Be the One - Off running at speed, all cylinders firing. Garrett machine gun spitting lyrics whilst his nu wave keys stab like a bayonet. The production is rich (thanks Glyn Johns), just listen to the eq on each vocal track through headphones. Hirst drives this relentlessly.

Brave Faces - What seems like a straight guitar line gets the Oils treatment. I've read that the record company was frustrated that there were no singles on the album. What they do so well is deliver a beautiful melody/hook but not dwell on it, they don't ram it home. It rewards repeat listens. Midnight Oil are an album band. That falsetto hook is great. Nice guitar and drum breaks, nice use of space.

Armistice Day - One of those tracks that I don't seek out but inevitably get drawn into. I hope to get this live. Massive track for all involved who respect the song always.

Someone Else - I agree with your comments, V. They do seem to be searching for something sonically. Definitely interesting to watch the growth.

Basement Flat - There's a couple of really nice moments in this song and some great melodies from Garrett. Overall though the song leaves me unmoved. This track and the remainder of the album is almost a template for the Oils and where they are headed.

Written in the Heart - A good 3 star Oils track. Lots of good moments and ideas

Burnie - The vocals kind of drift on this. That searching quality again. It's an album song, not one you'd skip yet not one you'd choose to put on.

Quinella Holiday - I'm totally with you on gambling culture in Oz. I think you've just passed a new ruling over gambling ads during live action matches. Strong performances again on an average track.

Loves On Sale - A mini suite continues here after QH. More ideas and man, this band would have been so frustrating if you were their A&R rep/record company.

If Ned Kelly - I don't get the whole Ned Kelly Such Is Life bushranger fascination. Too many bumper stickers around my parts for my liking (plus those kangaroo balls hanging from tow balls). Lovely 80s guitar tones that Ryan Adams has based his last 2 albums on. Did Jimmy Iovine pop in to work on this track? Moody, yet cutting like the Oils guitar interplay does. Another 3 stars. Good moments but a bit meh.

Lucky Country - A stronger track to end what was an adventurous run that just falls short of being fulfilling.

I can see the band sitting back a few months later and discussing what worked on the album and how to execute it better next time. Which they do. This album is a good one that I've enjoyed getting to know. I'm trying to give each of these albums at least 3 listens before writing. This took a while as I've been Cornell bingeing.

Oh boy, next is a doozy.


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Mon June 19, 2017 1:05 am 
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Nice write-up.

We are killing it in this thread, 'sleep!

But no rush on anything here, let's keep pacing ourselves nicely as we have been.

Some say that's progress...


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Mon June 19, 2017 4:39 am 
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You'll need to hit When the Generals Talk before I'll have a thought, but I'll be here through Redneck Wonderland.

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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Tue June 20, 2017 1:17 am 
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McParadigm wrote:
You'll need to hit When the Generals Talk before I'll have a thought, but I'll be here through Redneck Wonderland.

:hooray:


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Sat July 15, 2017 3:33 pm 
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10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - 1982

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Wow. 1982 when this came out. When I sit here now in 2017, with my 2 kids (14 and 17, on school holidays as I type), how the fuck did I manage to arse this!?! Got myself a goddamn life I did! I love some people very much, and they love me back. I am so far supporting us all, and overall life is 'aight.

Wife's pretty tasty too, just quietly...

Anyways, when this came out I was a 12 year old snot, but a snot who paid attention to music. I loved this album as a kid just because it sounded so great, and the songs were just so good. Nowadays this is fairly considered one of the greatest 25 Aus albums of all time.

'Sleep mentioned earlier the frustration he could picture from The Oils earlier producers because they wouldn't stick to the formula. He also noted the interesting and evocative stuff that often was a direct result. I get both his points in spades with this release.

The Oils were certainly in an experimental space when they started recording 10 through 1, happy to bring in many electronic twinges and twangs that were so popular at the time. Hell, the electric keys were almost a fixture on this album. And oftentimes, listening with my eyes firmly closed, I can actually PICTURE Rob Hirst banging on those flat hexagonal 80's drum skins...

But geeze, did they fucking nail it or what?? What an album this is.

Outside World starts us off, straight away into a dystopic, Mad Max world. Organ and pipes, Peter Garrett sounding damn good up front with nothing to hide behind. 3 of 5. Where to from here?


Ask me to make you a Midnight Oil mixtape. If you do I guarantee that track 1 is right here, Only The Strong. Such a great use of space and separation in music. I'd bet money that Frank Black was paying attention. 5 stars.

Short Memory is one of the songs that lead me to pick up a guitar. Pity I didn't stick with it, but even now that distinctive lead-in riff remains one of my 10 "go to" noodles when I find myself in the happy company of a mate's guitar. This style of direct, flat out angry political lyric is classic. That they managed it within the bounds of such rocking, gripping music also...wow. 5 stars.

Mixtape continues, Read About It is within tracks 2 or 3. Angry, straightforward, cowbell. Fuck yeah. 5 stars.

Scream in Blue is a cool little industrial sonic experiment with a total 270 degree change-up mid-stream (2 stars) that leads into....

Cool-as acoustic guitar run into...

MOTHER-FUCKING US FORCES GIVE THE NODDDDDD!!!! Definitive Midnight Oil here folks.

As a young kid Australian looking across the TV channels at the incomprehensible, unbelievable, so cool yet so kitschy, dangerous yet awesome serious big brother to us little "Ossies" that was the United States, this just said so much. Peter Garret kind of managed to kick-start a whole generation of dumb-arse Aussie kids into some basic form of political interest with this song alone, whether they wanted to or not. 5 stars. Duh.

The Power and the Passion is just an amazing song. To think that it was released in 1982 just blows my mind. I don't find it dated at all.

Having said that, it also has a brass section that kicks arse, and Peter Garret fucking well raps on it. Oh yeah, and there is that little matter of (arguably) one of the best drum solos of all time.

But in the end there's this:


Dad's so bad he lives in the pub,
It's an underarms and football clubs,
Flat chat, Pine Gap, in every home a Big Mac,
And no one goes out back, that's that."


5, easy.

Coming after the blitz of awesomeness that was the last run of tuneage, Maralinga is a welcome step back. Maralinga is an area of land in South Australia that has always been home to various Aboriginal communities. Not that that stopped the British Government from doing nuclear testing there back in the 1950s...

For me though, this is the weakest tune on the album. Still 2 stars though.

Tin Legs and Tin Mines always evokes a sprawling sense of both nostalgia and melancholy from me, the piano just gets me everytime. I have some quite strong memories of a very drunk, very stoned, Higgs standing on the balcony of his parents beachside holiday house at 3 in the morning, conducting the rising swell of Rob Hirst's drums, fighting the headpins through keeping one eye fully shut throughout. 3 stars, easy.

The album closes out to Somebody's Trying to Tell Me Something, which may be the only misstep that I see with the whole album. I don't ever stop it because, well, by now I'm so invested in the album, and it's otherwise just so strong, if the guys wanted this as the closer, so be it. I do love the all-vocal breath-defying wheeze-out to finish, but I could make a fair case for this track being left off. 2 stars.

So, overall we have a score of 3.7. Which for an album of no real lows, and amazing highs, is still a tad surprising.

I was prattling on at the start of this post and it kinda sounded as if I was saying how great I have it. Just wanted to clarify that I don't. I, of course, have all the same issues and foibles as everyone else. What I was trying to point out though was how this album marks a point in time, of my life specifically, and that I remember well how Goddamn young I was back then. There's an argument to say that the definition of a successful parent is one whose child is currently upright and alert. Good job Mum & Dad Higgs, you got me here. I hope that I can be as successful and that my kids, one day in far off adulthood, will get the opportunity to post bullshit on some sort of outdated social media outpost that reminds them warmly of their place in the world right here, right now.

I dunno about you, but I'm gonna have a beer.

My favourite Oils album is up next.


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Tue July 18, 2017 10:45 am 
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Great write up, V. I have to say that this is a very enjoyable way to discover and rediscover a catalogue.


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Tue July 18, 2017 7:53 pm 
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Can someone pm me a mix of their good stuff to check out?? Do they have a greatest hits comp??

Or at least post a track list of their hood stuff for me to dl


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Fri July 21, 2017 2:27 am 
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Hey bugs, here's a 34 song mixer of songs from 1978's "Midnight Oil" through 1990's "Blue Sky Mine" in pretty much chronological order.

Gives you a good idea of how strong these guys were as a band from the outset.

The Oils - 1978 to 1990 - A Mix.rar (240MB)

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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Fri August 04, 2017 11:49 pm 
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London July 23rd. I'd be pretty happy with show especially if the threw Hercules right at the end.

Outside World

Diesel and Dust
Beds Are Burning
Put Down That Weapon
Dreamworld
Arctic World
Warakurna
The Dead Heart
Whoah
Bullroarer
Sell My Soul
Sometimes

My Country
US Forces
Ships of Freedom
Kosciusko
Stand in Line
Now or Never Land
Power and the Passion
Blue Sky Mine
Forgotten Years

Encore:
Truganini
Best of Both Worlds


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Sat August 05, 2017 2:26 am 
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Very nice indeed.


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Sat August 05, 2017 2:30 am 
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10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - 1982

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Outside World - immediately we are in a new world. Synth pulses and stabs, pads and steam exhaling before rototoms introduce Garrett. This is a bold opening track, a dystopia realised within seconds. I think I prefer this more in theory than in reality however it segues really well into

Only The Strong - what a riff and what production. The big picture of this album is impressive. This could have been a straight forward surf punk track yet somehow it inhabits the same world as the previous track. All members fire on this. And the outro hints at more to come. Two songs in and so rich.

Short Memory - menacing riff which sounds like a template for later 80s Metallica. Garrett shines here like the statesman we now know. Cold production continues with stabs a plenty. Lyrics here are top notch delivered with simmering anger.

Read About It - not one of my favourite verses here. Nice driving rhythm and Hirst and his cowbell and kick combo rule this track. I think Garrett is the weak link in this song for me. And it bugs me that I can't really explain why. He sits in an area that doesn't progress like Eddie in Light Years. It just doesn't sit well with me. The musicianship here is great once again stepping up at the end beautifully.

Scream In Blue - I love how this starts. This album is so rich in tone however cold those tones are. Ideas flow so freely. Not really a fan of what this song becomes. The vocals don't sit right with me. I guess it ends Side A alright though.

US Forces - The opening guitar strums and key stabs herald in Side B. US Forces give the nod. This is the voice that is needed right now in our country. Adani mines, the treatment on Manus Is, the damage to our Barrier Reef etc. This is one of a half dozen Oils tracks that is part of the DNA of Australia and rightly so. "Will you know it when you see it?"

Power and the Passion - Holy shit. Hirst and Garrett own this yet so do the guitarists. Another of the untouchable tracks. Middle class Australia in the crosshairs without condemnation. It is what it is. Until the call to arms. "It's better to die on you feet than to live on your knees." The one-two of US forces and Power is utterly mesmerising.

Maralinga - a breath of air and a lessening of pace. The vocal wanders a bit but this has a solemn reflective quality. It returns the album to a similar sonic terrain of the opening tracks. The spoken parts and the guitar lines work very well here.

Tin Legs and Tin Mines - this album reminds me of nights on the beach. There's a late night quality on show and a connection to fresh air and salt spray. Does that just mean it's got an Australian quality? This track has sand dunes and hot humid nights all over it. Maybe post drinks or a smoke. Maybe that's just how it sits in my memory. When the drums kick in it feels like the whole universe is on show, constellations revealing themselves to us insignificant ants. This song isn't that good but on this album it somehow attains a higher level. This could have closed the album and maybe should have.

Somebody's Trying To Tell Me Something - this track is okay yet utterly redundant. Other than returning to the dystopian themes of the opening track it doesn't offer much. Maybe they wanted a rocker to end. Meh.

Overall it's a hell of an album. It has pretty much everything that the Oils do well and doesn't dwell on any theme or sonic space for very long.


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Sat August 05, 2017 2:24 pm 
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Nice write up 'sleep. :thumbsup:


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Tue September 05, 2017 7:26 am 
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This is getting close...

http://www.salon.com/2017/09/04/midnight-oil-tour/


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Tue September 05, 2017 7:34 am 
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7 weeks, Higgs.


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Tue September 05, 2017 8:07 am 
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I have 4 tix. 1 for me, 1 for wiffey and 1 for wiffey's girlfriend.

4th ticket to my son who is quite the Oils fan these days. Loves Beds Are Burning.

Bring it!


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 Post subject: Re: Place Without a Postcard - The Midnight Oil Thread
PostPosted: Tue September 05, 2017 8:11 am 
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Sound like a great group.

I have a spare. I'm yet to ask around. It may be sold if no-one is keen.


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