David Graney has released an abundance of records in his time on planet
Earth, and with the release of Supermodified, it's time to add another
feather to his bound-to-be flamboyant hat. Supermodified is Graney pimped
out, re-worked and custom-build, its sort of like that Bonnie Prince
Billy Sings Palace Music record. Old songs newly recorded and freshly
worked. Some people tell me, hey, some of the Graney records have
strange production values, but when I see and hear him live the songs
are a billion times better. Well, if thats the case for you,
then this album will be right up your alley. Its an accurate portrait of the live sound, and its shit hot
funky. Taking ten tracks from the 2004 album The Brother Who Lived
, four from Heroic Blues , and four unreleased ones means this record
isnt just for Graney enthusiasts or diehard fans, but its also a
good starting place for beginners. Everything is sounding crisp and top-notch,
which is something youd hope to expect for a band that plays nearly
everyday of the week. The Brother Who Lived and All
Our Friends Were Stars should be hit singles, The Royal Troll
has thick distorted riffing and pounding drums with the typically laid-back
Graney croon. Midnight to Dawn is another rocking number with
wife Claire Moore crashing about in the rhythm section. The whole album
sounds like glam rock from a boom box at a gay parade in Melbourne. But
sung by the straightest man on earth who is for some reason leading the
rally. Think Roxy Music but with the Australian equivalent of Jonathan
Richman on vocals. Clinging To The Coast, has some interesting
compression on the drums, but it works. Anchors aweigh are
the sounds youd be hearing if you walked past a sleazy neon-lit
cocktail night bar, in fact the lounge-esque themes are pretty common
throughout the whole record. I never heard the original to begin with,
but this one is well recommended.
Review Score: 7.5/10 nathan roche- au review
DAVE GRANEY & THE LURID YELLOW MIST Supermodified
( C o c k a i g n e / F u s e )
Another abs o l u t e p e a r l e r f r o m A u s t r a l i a s w i t
t i e s t r o c k e r
His shtick might weigh a ton , yet Dave Graneys productivity and quality
rate are hardly matched by anyone . Last year s praised Knock Yourself
Out (memorably described by one critic as great music to fuck to) was
a creative statement that sat on par with 1993s classic Night Of The Wolverine
, the ever-dapper songwriter and his current band The Lurid Yellow Mist
aka longtime partner/drummer Clare Moore and bassist Stu Thomas hitting
a whole assortment of lyrical and musical highs. Of course , the man dubbed
brother from another scene by Tracks magaz ine didnt opt for a break there
and promptly delivered a follow-up album . Essentially a compilation of
re-recordings from the ironic gents previous works four tracks from 2001s
Heroic Blues and a hefty ten from 2003s The Brother Who Lived (including
the eponymous title track) Supermodified swings , grooves and sashays
like . . . well , a killer Dave Graney album. The wistful, jazzy All
Our Friends Were Stars resurfaces here as a world - class cinematic tune
, with the brooding Are w e Goin Too Fast For Love? and a gorgeous - yet
-sinister treble of Anchor s Aweigh , Midnight To Dawn and Twilight Of
A Villain not far behind . And just like KYOs hipster indictment Dylan
The Indie Fake (from which The Bedroom Philosopher could have very well
taken a few comedic tips ) , A Boy Named Epic is a superb exercise in
sarcasm . Which leads to the only possible conclusion : Dave G rules .
* * * * ý RAVE - BRISBANE - D E N I S S E M C H E N K O
Even his staunchest fans would admit that Dave Graney is something of
a queer bird. With his penchant for archaic fashions and mannerisms, he
seems quixotically at odds with the modern world. Despite this, his artistic
persona also neatly encapsulates some of the key strategies of postmodernism,
such as a playful artifice and ironic distance from his own creativity.
Graney holds the real world at arms length, yet he is fascinated
with current and historical pop culture.
His recorded work reflects this magpie approach in a way that can render
it confusing to casual listeners, who find it hard to distinguish between
the actor and the real person beneath the dandyish swagger. The way Graney
has positioned himself as an anachronistic enigma has come at the expense
of commercial success even within the sphere of so-called alternative
music. This is a shame, as Graney has produced a formidable body of
work over the last three decades, his career punctuated by many highpoints
from all his different incarnations.
From the thundering onslaught of The Moodists album Thirstys
Calling (1984), to the widescreen epic of Night Of The Wolverine (1993),
to last years critically feted Knock Yourself Out, its clear
that Graneys power as a writer has remained consistent over the
years. This is by no means an easy feat. One only needs to look at Graneys
celebrated peer Nick Cave, whose increasingly hapless and desperate fumblings
for relevance have sent his credibility plummeting in recent years. In
contrast, the last decade has seen Graneys muse in overdrive, releasing
a steady stream of strong material. The formation of his own record label,
Cockaigne, surely precipitated this artistic renaissance, allowing Graney
the freedom to do as he pleases, regardless of commercial considerations.
Holed up in his suburban recording studio with his longtime partner and
musical foil Clare Moore and a host of regular musical collaborators,
Graney created the dark and moody masterpieces Heroic Blues (2001) and
The Brother Who Lived (2003) in the early years of this decade. Both albums
were perfectly crafted collections, so it comes as a bit of a surprise
at first that hed want to revisit them on Supermodified. The album
contains four songs from Heroic Blues and a whopping 10 from Brother.
In addition there are four previously unreleased tracks from the same
Its a risk for any artist to re-interpret their own back catalogue,
since most fans are inclined to view the original versions as definitive.
On the other hand, by shifting the focus away from the content of the
songs, Graney and Moore have been able to explore the subtleties of their
arrangements more effectively. For years, the pair have been fascinated
with creating something they dubbed the smooth and sexy sound
basically a mélange of different easy listing styles, such
as smooth cocktail lounge funk, 70s West Coast rock and adult contemporary
pop sheen. What previously seemed like a playful subversion of degraded
musical styles those generally shunned by rock purists has
been warped into a muscular and super-charged 18 tracks that work seamlessly
as a whole.
Remixing and re-recording vocals and instrumental backings means that
songs like All Our Friends Were Stars and Midnight To
Dawn bear very little resemblance to their original restrained settings.
Structurally, many numbers are extended with instrumental passages or
repeated refrains. In each case, its not merely the kind of remix
a clever engineer might do, but a complete re-arrangement of a songs
constituent parts to imbue it with a whole new mood.
Ultimately, it is unlikely that Supermodified will be regarded as more
than a footnote to the albums it draws upon, but as a stop-gap before
Graneys next batch of musical missives its more satisfying
by far than that old stand-by: the live album. Mess and Noise - René Schaefer
art Tony Mahony
Dave Graney & The Lurid Yellow Mist
Reviewed by Robert Dunstan
Mt Gambier-born musician Dave Graney is a regular visitor to Adelaide
and never disappoints. On the back of this new release, hell be
appearing with his band, The Lurid Yellow Mist, at the October
long weekends Semaphore Music Festival. Graney is a fascinating
artist who never sits still. His whole career has been characterised by
constant re-invention across a very broad range of musical genres.
In recent time his live shows have comprised new songs yet to be recorded
along with more recent tunes and a revisiting of much older songs presented
in a new way. This latest studio offering, the 18-song Supermodified,
follows a similar path as it features songs from recent albums that have
now been supermodified songs such as Are We Goin
Too Fast For Love?, I Am Your Humble Servant, The Royal Troll and She
Looked At Me From Out Of Her Eyes. The titles alone are enough to spark
interest from any curious listener.
Graney says that Supermodified is a rock album for the first three
quarters and then it sort of weirds out, which essentially tells
you a lot about how Graney operates. But its not heritage rock for
the mainstream. Supermodified is an album that generally defies description
and you really have to hear it to believe it. In that way it could
almost be seen as an experimental jazz album as it follows no known rules.
The results however, especially when played with the volume up, will reward
the adventurous and completely confuse those who still consider that artists
stopped making decent rocknroll when punk began.
The Adelaide Review October 2010
Talking of Dave, and being cool, then its great
to report that Mr Graney is back along with Clare Moore of course
and the Lurid Yellow Mist band, with his latest album Supermodified
and the clue is in the title as this is a re-working of a whole
load of songs from the Brother Who Lived album and a smaller
selection from Heroic Blues release. This is altogether a
more relaxed, and relaxing effort, than its predecessor the excellent
Knock Yourself Out album, with the volume turned down and
the atmosphere turned up a notch or two. Graney is the ultimate 21st century
crooner reflecting back to the sultry funk of the Coral Snakes
at their very best but also using a selection of modern
recording techniques and band styles that make it all very relevant today.
And the trick, I think, is that Mr Graney can lure the listener in
with his laid back style and then drop either a beautiful melody, or a
stunning arrangement to create a sensuous listening experience. Like
a Millionaire is a case in point with its extended coda which builds
up the tension but retains a relaxed an open feel. Thats not to
say its all cocktail bar latino cool funk. The Royal
Troll for example has a definite driven feel, and the re-working
of Clinging to the Coast is superb more or less completely
revisiting the song from its original stripped down version on Heroic
Blues it turns out in hindsight that Dave had a pretty bad
lung infection at the time of that album which would explain the contrasting
styles and delivery. Midnight to Dawn has a great rock feel
with Clare channeling John Bonham under riffing guitars. If I was going
to pick out a memorable track then Are we going to fast for love
is just simply beautiful, however it would be remiss of me to single out
one song on what is, simply put, a wonderful album. rob salford - aural delights blog -salford city radio
Stu Thomas - Melbourne 2010
Dave Graney is an icon- a self-proclaimed King
of Pop, better known for his couture than his croon. People whove
never heard him proclaim that hes cool, the way they used to with
Leonard Cohen and still do with Captain Beefheart. Shunning zeitgeists and
unaffected by fad and fashion, he is a true musical original. He flirted
with Triple J success in the nineties with ditties like RocknRoll
is Where I Hide and the magnificent glam-rock pout of Feeling
Kinda Sporty, but that seemed to happen by accident.
Earlier this Millennium he was hospitalised for a lung infection. During
his sickness and slow recovery he recorded two albums, Heroic Blues
and The Brother Who Lived. Infirm and contemplating mortality,
the songs were darker, dour. Recently he returned to The Brother Who
Lived to spruce it up for a digital release. He found himself experimenting
with the mixes, then adding instruments. Dissatisfied with his infection-fried
vocals, he rerecorded. The result is Supermodified songs
from the two previous albums rejigged, revamped, recharged. Four unreleased
tunes recorded during the same period are also included.
The album sprawls with eighteen tracks running to 73 minutes. The songs
sprawl, taking their time to settle in. Lyrics sprawl. Graney loves words
and his voice is constant crooning, jabbering, growling as
he spins stories and sketches characters, a warbling Baron Munchhausen.
Sometimes the sprawl seduces, but I feel the album would have been stronger
with some tunes excised. The cocktail sashay of All Our Friends Were
Stars outstays its welcome and thats before its reprise
at the discs end. A Boy Named Epic limps along. But with
such a swag of tracks covering a variety of styles from lounge to europop
to guitar swagger, youre sure to find something to like.
The original albums were not Graneys best and occasionally you feel
theres some turd polishing going on here. But the title track from
The Brother Who Lived is defibrillated by sudden power chords
from Lurid Yellow Mist guitar hero Stu Perera. The Royal Troll
has been energised by thudding percussion and wailing harmonica and new
track Midnight to Dawn is rhythm-infused rock.
The melancholy blues of Im Seein Demons has been
given a sinister, something-at-the-edge-of-vision vibe. Theres the
pop breeze in Are We Goin Too Fast For Love?. My
Old Gloves skims on smooth percussion and propulsive bass. Then theres
the disconcerting strangeness of She Looked at me From Out of her
Eyes and While You Dream, I Live.
The lyrics are awash with Graneys left-brain humour. The music is
often dense and rich, buoyed by the dynamics of Clare Moores drumming
as she switches effortlessly from cabaret to strut to syncopated groove.
Graney and Moore have taken two albums that were, arguably, renovators
delights and produced something ungainly, eclectic, often infuriating
and well worth a listen. Colin Varney- The Dwarf
Another message from the parallel universe occupied by Dave Graney. This
time it's about bringing the past into the present, and it's coming in
loud and clear, from out on the astroplane.
If you think re-visiting two of your old albums from a decade ago to soup
up the songs is a curious career move, you won't be alone. Critics trying
to read the Graney match plan must have given up years ago; the guy's
no longer in the main(stream) game but still cares enough to have a kick.
His umpires are wearing different uniforms and he makes up his own rules.
The short story is that "Supermodified" takes significant parts
of "The Brother That Lived" (2003) and "Heroic Blues"
(2001), gives them a studio re-working and adds some outtakes. It works
in its own right. It's a strong album - a double LP in the old money -
that's more to the centre than "Knock Yourself Out" or "We
Wuz Curious", but still retains that trademark eclectic edge.
There's a fresh vibe to the re-workings almost always but a dark undertone.
Dave's songs are quirky vignettes with a narrative that's not always starkly
clear on first listen, so the songs can make you work. Ambiguity be thy
name. Re-cast rhythms, splashes of guitar or a re-tracked vocal go together
her to build new versions of songs like "Clingin' To The Coast","A
Boy Named Epic", "Are We Goin' Too Fast For Love?" and
"I'm Seein' Demons".
At the risk of being repetitive, stating the obvious and being slagged
for running it up the flagpole to see who salutes, it ain't always rock
as you and I know it. It's leather sofa (as opposed to lounge) pop with
muscles, deep R & B undercurrents and a quasi-European character.
It's a soundtrack to an art-house thriller that's playing in a country
cinema at the end of a dusty road, many miles from Graney's punk beginnings
with The Moodists.
Make no mistake: Graney still loves to fuck shit up. He just doesn't break
as many mic stands in the process. He posseses irony in wheelbarrow-loads
but it's not the sole rationale for what he does. He plays for keeps.
I could reel off descriptions of all 18 tracks but it wouldn't serve much
purpose. You'll be into it if you like his stuff. Others will have given
up on this review in disgust because it's become patently that "Supermodified"
doesn't barrel down the highway at 140kph, cop licks from the MC5 or get
all greasy from rolling around on the garage floor. That's the choice
you and your tastes make and that's well and good. Just remember that
sometimes the backroads are more interesting. -
The i94bar.com - The Barman
A story never really ends, like a book thats never finished even
though eventually its author needs to cut it loose and move on. In the
same way, songs never stop growing and evolving only this usually
happens on the stage while the recorded versions stay locked in time.
Well, always one to buck a trend, Melbournes consummate purveyor
of suave, Mr Dave Graney, has decided to redraw the line in the sand by
returning to 2001s Heroic Blues and 2003s Brother Who Lived
and cherry-pick songs that needed a bit of updating and giving others
a total overhaul. The super-modified outcome is 18 songs of Graney taking
his dry martini and turning it into a Long Island iced tea, many of
the songs here having 12-string added to the traditional six as well as
vibes, harmonica and plenty more. Oh yes, turn up the reverb, get
Arthur Lyman on the line and someone put an umbrella in that drink!
Where once Are We Goin Too Fast For Love had some piano and a lone
bongo track, now its got full embellishments, drums and the like.
Vocal takes like those in The Brother Who Lived have been replaced here
with retakes that smoulder and glow unlike the originals ever could. Commercial
Street East and I Aint Natural, tracks that never got out the first
time, have been given time to mature and ferment and add to the mesmerising
mood of this album.
Graneys love for the kitsch, pop groove and swing of the 70s goes
way beyond your three-button polyester and a nice pair of slacks. For
this expedition, the whole wardrobes been packed. This isnt
the best of Davey Graney, its Dave Graney returning to his soft
and sexy best! HHHH Richard Alverez
With the benefit of hindsight, Dave Graneys life appears to be
one long cycle of reinvention. Born and bred in the South Australian regional
centre of Mt Gambier, Graney joined the nascent Adelaide punk scene in
the late 1970s. Within a few years, Graney had become a pivotal figure
in the expatriate Australian rock scene in London. Upon returning to Australia,
Graney set about constructing the post-punk flavoured cabaret image within
which he exists today.
Graneys latest release, Supermodified is an exercise in reinvention
in another, narrower context. Supermodified sees Graney and his band revisit
tracks from the Heroic Blues and The Brother Who Lived albums from 2001
and 2003 respectively. According to the liner notes, Graneys performances
especially his vocals on the latter record were detrimentally
affected by the lung infection he contracted in the early part of this
century. An impending digital release offered Graney the opportunity to
go back to the source material and re-hash it as he now wanted it to sound.
The end result is a record thats polished and plush. On The Brother
Who Lived, Graney is the lounge lizard found lying under a couch in the
corner of CBGBs, All Our Friends Were Stars is a lush Vegas crooner,
the biographical Epic Soundtracks is a touching tribute to a long-lost
80s punk icon and Clingin To The Coast might be the closest
thing Graney will come to a Beach Boys cover.
Graneys political aspirations get a workout in I Am Your Humble
Servant and Im Seein Demons, while Midnight To Dawn is dirty
rock as only Graney and Clare Moore can do. The production is also
elegant in the extreme: reverb vocals, off key guitar parts, Stu Pereiras
criminally underappreciated licks and Clare Moores deft rhythms.
Some people get Dave Graney, and others will never know. One
things clear: theres no irony involved here Dave Graney
is what Dave Graney is. Beat- Patrick Emery
Just as James Brown sang, Ive got soul and Im
super bad (with Brown reappropriating the term bad to be a positive
thing), Dave Graney has done same with his latest release Supermodified.
While this is a new release, the material is not. For the sticklers though,
it has been reinvented hell, its been re-sung, re-strung, re-drummed,
souped up and ultimately supermodified. The project became a labour of love
kickstarted when Graney was planning to digitally re-release his 2003 album,
The Brother Who Lived, recorded by The Royal Dave Graney Show incarnation.
Like any good aural mechanic, he began tinkering a little and found he couldnt
stop; a tweak here, an improvement there. And why stop? Ten tracks from
that album and he might as well throw in four tracks from Heroic Blues (2001)
and another four previously unreleased tracks from the same era.
The resulting overhaul has turned the hulking chassis of two albums into
a singular, shiny, classic V8 supercar, firing on all cylinders. And,
as an antithesis to Graneys renowned soft n sexy sound,
this body of work, could be known as the evil n sinister sound,
representing a tough time through which Graney battled personal illness
and the deaths of two close friends, one being The Triffids David
McComb. That creepy overtone is personified in key tracks Im Seeing
Demons, She Looked At Me From Out Of Her Eyes, I Aint Natural and
While You Live, I Dream. As with all Graney material, his songwriting skill
is steering this vehicle and evident in the standout opener The Brother
Who Lived, along with other highlights All Our Friends Were Stars, Are We
Going Too Fast For Love?, Anchors Aweigh and A Boy Named Epic. In the end,
though I love the rawness of the original releases, the new-found additional
nuances do make this album seem like a new release great for fans
and great for newbies as the originals are nigh on impossible to purchase
taking the chequered flag! Inpress- The Boomeister