The Trouble With Templeton
Six Months In A Cast
Six Months In A Cast is available from:
The L.P., Rookie is available at:
The Australian 'Alt-Rock' collective unleash sounds of variegation. Their E.P., Rookie, has been met with (rightful) acclaim. But take note: there is nothing amateurish about these folk.
OVER the past week, I have been actively seeking something to take my mind off...
of things. Having left a job and decided to 'follow my dreams', my life has taken the turn of a classic Hollywood tale- or maybe just a bad romantic comedy. Regardless, I find myself on the precipice of a lot of uncertainty and fear: some of it good. There is nothing to suggest that the next few months will not pan out well; it seems that a lot of quick decisions will need to be made, however. As my ambitions and future-plans revolve around music writing/making, there is going to be a bit of a tough time ahead. I have admired new musicians whom decide to go diving into the music arena: determined to achieve their goals, no matter what. Unlike a 'regular' job, it is not as easy as interviewing for a position; making your way up the ladder- and arriving at the very top. The music industry- like other roles within entertainment- is a lot more capricious and demanding. Due to the nature of the business, as well as the realities of success, it takes a lot of hard graft- as well as a bit of luck. There are thousands of musical participants out there; all with different shades and colours; each offering something different- it is a tough nut to crack. When I have been looking around, I have been keen to seek out success stories; checking out acts whom are making big strides- and deservedly so. Recently, I have featured solo acts a lot (mostly female), and stated how impressive it is for them to succeed. Their lives are a lot more stressful, as they have to shoulder all of the workload themselves. Sure, they have management and friends whom assist in making sure their (the artist's) name is spread and remembered- yet the day-to-day trajectory is often a difficult one. I have seen quite a varied array of solo talent all make their way into the music realm. Each of them filled with alacrity and high hopes. The music I have witnessed, has led my to believe that their future will be filled with success and fulfilment. It always impresses me at just how determined the solo star is (in spite of everything), and it is a facet that is not often seen in the mainstream. I guess new music is a sector that is synonymous with the survival of the fittest- rewarding them whom are willing to work the hardest. When applying that logic to the band market, it seems that merit and stripes is earned when you present sounds that are bold, daring; diverse and original- and your moniker and business plan has something striking and merit-worthy within. As my subjects today are Australian, I have been casting my mind to international music; the geographic relevance of music and how sounds and quality can vary- depending on where the act is located. The last few months have seen my focus upon mostly U.K.-based artists. When looking at Yorkshire and the north, I have been seeing some of the best new music out there. I have been trying to fathom why that particular region of the U.K. offers up the sharpest and most memorable music- I have come up with several theories. Away from our home shores, some great U.S. acts have caught my eye; a few European Electro-Disco artists are making big splashes- yet not a huge amount more. The media do seem to focus heavily on local and native acts, and I suppose it is difficult to feature every great new artist. I have long bemoaned the lack of international consideration, and why they are overlooked by the British media. It is understandable that the music press want to give the biggest attention to our own; yet it is baffling why so few foreign musicians are given attention. Media outlets such as The Guardian have a pioneering spirit when seeking out new music- yet they are in a minority. The secret to creating a diverse and flourishing music scene is to inject some different and multitudinous D.N.A.- as well as be all-inclusive. When I was reviewing American acts (both band and solo), I not only got to hear some unique and unheard-of music, but also got to learn about the local scenes and markets there- as well as how the music industry operated there. When we think of Australia, there are some great and historic acts that come to mind. The likes of INXS, AC/DC and Nick Cave all emanate from here; The Bad Seeds and The Living End come from Australia; as do The Vines and The Avalanches. It is obvious that the climate, history and way of life have been conducive with regards to great music, and I know there are some fantastic acts coming through- yet we never hear of them. It would be nice if there were a website that broke music down into location and genre. For instance, if you wanted to search for 'American Hardcore Rock' or 'French Pop', then that would be possible. I know you cannot include every single example of each genre, yet it seems wholly realistic that such a site can do this. I have stumbled across some great music by happenstance, and wondered how many other great musicians are out there- keen to be discovered. Being in a position where I am seeking out inspiration, something new and fresh; it is vital that far-off and far-away musicians are given tighter focus. I adore the best that the U.K. has the offer, yet I am hungry for some international cuisine- to tuck into something that is new to my stomach. As much as anything, international music gives the listener to be taken somewhere else; to imagine and cast their mind to unfamiliar scenery and locales: to escape from things for a bit.
The Trouble With Templeton is a band that are worthy of much wider consideration. Their L.P., Rookie has received huge praise (from the Australian press):
"I’m here to tell you it’s definitely a piece of work to get excited about...the entire album is a standout..." – Indie Shuffle
"It’s impossible to criticise Rookie, this is world-class material from a world-class outfit. It’s not one to watch, it’s one to get behind, to flog and to show your mates." ****1/2 – Time Off
"Equally fuelled by dissonance and shivers as by soaring melodies and handclaps, Rookie wrenches alt.rock from its indie daydream and tosses it into a well-informed blend that make the kids look more like the connoisseur than the novice." – Drum Media
"It’s his voice and those lyrics that are going to lunge The Trouble With Templeton into "something special" territory." – Album of the Week, Herald Sun "The deeper you go into this full-length LP, the richer the colour and the detail." **** - Album of the Week, Courier Mail
"Rookie is an outstanding step forward for The Trouble With Templeton, and one that will surely bring you back again and again for more." – Tone Deaf
"The Trouble With Templeton’s maturity and insight makes for an interesting group of songs that are a gift to listen to." – Casual Band Blogger
It is clear that the band's sounds have hit a chord with the media in Australia, and the home crowds have flocked to see the band in their milieu; to experience the "interesting group of songs" in the live setting. Although (as you will see in their biography below), the band have gained a lot of interest from the U.K.- as well as being played on some of our highest-profile radio stations. I hope that they get a lot more focus from the media here, and their L.P. is given a good investigation, as their sound is ready-made for our shores; the airplay they have received has been met with feverish anticipation and wonder. The band's Facebook page, summarises their story, thus:
"The Trouble With Templeton are a five piece alternative rock back from Brisbane, Australia. They recently signed to seminal UK label Bella Union (who also signed Fleet Foxes, Beach House and The Flaming Lips), and are set to release their first full-length album as a five piece band, "Rookie", all over the world. Adventurous, gleefully eccentric and hauntingly melodic, "Rookie" is an album that leaves a distinct musical impression. Templeton have crafted a record that defies expectations: it’s full of warmth and heart, as well as a willingness to make music that’s not afraid to affect or surprise. "We wanted to make something completely different from what I had done on the first record," songwriter and frontman Thomas Calder explains. To give a bit of history.... In April 2011 Calder gathered all the gear he could find and recorded mini-album "Bleeders" in his Brisbane home. Releasing the record independently to a swathe of loving reviews from fans, media and industry alike (including a 4-star Sydney Morning Herald review & appearing on the longlist for the Australian Music Prize), Calder found himself on radio and blogs around the world, enabling him to take his songs on the road. The Trouble with Templeton had become more than just a bedroom project. In June 2012 the act underwent a spectacular transformation, emerging as stunningly beautiful 5-piece band. Ritchie Daniel, Sam Pankhurst, Hugh Middleton and Betty Yeowart, the new members complimenting Calder’s emotive vocal and songwriting with a collaborative, self-assured sound that has become greater than the sum of its parts. Created with the help of Brisbane producer Matt Redlich (Emma Louise, Hungry Kids of Hungary), the new album "ROOKIE" marks the arrival of a band truly comfortable in their own skin. Shedding all preconceived notions of genre or style, "ROOKIE" is uncompromisingly and uniquely Templeton, the result of a band passionate about only creating music they truly believe in. As aggressive as it is tender, as light as it is dark, full of bold storytelling and ultimately a journey of perspective, "ROOKIE" is The Trouble With Templeton at their truest. The first three singles in Australia - "Six Months In A Cast", "Like A Kid" & "You Are New" - cracked Top 10 of both the Triple J airplay and AIR Independent airplay charts, achieved solid rotation on Rage and Channel V and broke through to a broader audience with over 35,000 downloads of "Six Months In A Cast", iTunes Single of the Week. TTWT have toured the US twice with over 20 shows coast to coast (including SxSW, CMJ and CMW), playing at home and abroad with some big internationals (Of Monsters And Men, Father John Misty, Half Moon Run, Jake Bugg), some of Australia’s finest artists (Julia Stone, Sparkadia, Husky, Matt Corby), plus BIGSOUND, Harvest and Falls Festivals. Whilst in the US, TTWT was featured on NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly, and hit playlists of over 160 college radio stations. In March 2013, Calder won the APRA Songwriting Award and came 3rd in the International Songwriting Competition’s "Rock" Category for "Six Months In A Cast". They were also last week nominated for 3 Queensland Music Awards, including Rock Song of the Year for "Six Months In A Cast", the video for that song, and the "Export Achievement Award". They are also in the list for the Australian Music Prize for the second year running. In September and October of 2013 the band travelled to the UK and Europe, working with industry respected Dave Chumbley, senior agent at Primary Talent (Lana Del Ray, Rufus Wainwright, Ben Folds Five), Communion, the label formed by Ben Morson from Mumford and Sons who released "Six Months in a Cast". They played three sold out shows with Communion, two in London the other in Brighton. By this time they had attracted attention from well-established and highly regarded label Bella Union, and its founder Simon Raymonde (ex Cocteau Twins), who is a massive fan of their music. The band played to two to three hundred at their show in Germany at the Reeperbahn festival where German Promoter, who TTWT are now working with, Gary Richmond (Nick Cave, Arcade Fire, Pearl Jam), said about the band, "the best thing I have seen at Reeperbahn so far." As well as packed out shows on their first tour of UK and Europe, "Six Months in a Cast" was added to rotation at XFM and had spins on Absolute Radio and other key radio stations around the UK, they had Clash, track of the day, and recorded live sessions with Daytrotter Sessions, well-known and respected in both the UK and the US, and Communion Sessions with Communion Records mixed by legendary Producer Ian Grimble (Travis, The Manic St Preachers)".
The group have been rocking the likes of Sydney recently, but are heading to the U.K. later this month. I am hoping to catch them, as I have been intoxicated by their sounds. It is clear that there is a great variety and diversity within their tracks; they restlessly mix bleak and sun-kissed; light and dark; transference and bipolar shades parabond and intersect. When Bleeders was released in 2011, there was a lot of speculation as to where the band would head (and how they would evolve) after its release. The quintet have kept their sound and identity intact, yet built and augmented their majesty (over the last few years). I shall come to the business of reviewing Six Months In A Cast shortly, yet want to conclude (this paragraph) with a couple more points. The first consideration is with regards to diversity and multifariousness. I have heard a great swathe of original bands come through the ranks, recently. In my travels I have borne witness to some hard and heavy sounds; some Indie anthemics- as well as some terrific tales of fractured love. The single constant, and most impressive facet is the range and aspirations being offered. The secret to gaining respect and renewed interest is to be mobile and wide-ranging. The Trouble With Templeton provide this in abundance- thus ensuring that ears will always be hungry for new releases. The group's attention to detail, bold pallet and energetic transmogrifications have earned them huge critical praise- and a wide and international fan base. As well as the music itself, our five-piece have made sure their sounds are as widely available as possible. Their official site is striking and informative; the social media representation is impressive and well-considered; most crucially, their songs are ready and waiting on various different sites. I shall touch more on the (Rookie) L.P. as a whole in the conclusion, but let me introduce you to a hell of a track...
Six Months In A Cast kicks off with an electronic blast. An intergalactic buzz holds and hangs for a few seconds, before a staccato and pulsating drum beat merges with it. Just a brief time after that, an acoustic guitar strum merrily implores: the combination and build-up is both energised, unexpected and beautiful. Within a few short moments you are jolted, calmed and then relaxed by the evolving footsteps of the intro. There is a clear drive and energy elicited so soon, that your toes (unconsciously) begin to tap. Such is the momentum and groove of the introduction, that you cannot help but smile and be intrigued. Our hero steps to the mic.; his voice soothing and dreamy. Lost within the swirl of guitar he tells the (unnamed focus) that he'll "buy you flowers". With some shades of mid-career Thom Yorke, he says (that he) "Can't seem to feel my feet". The opening segments and parables build imagery and scenery into the mind. The idea of the title- being in a cast- seem metaphorical and literal (at the same time). There is clearly some fractured inspiration that extends past the physical. When Calder implores (to his subject) that he did not want them to snap ( so he "spent six months in a cast"); he states that he wanted to be safe- you can hear the longing and conviction in his voice. Backing the vocal line is a slight orchestral rise; one that settles in with and bonds perfectly with the percussive rumble. Towards the 1:00 mark, we get some back story presented. Our hero "couldn't find the steering wheel" and, drove into a field and into a lake. The injurious circumstances have led to where he is; yet you get the sense that he is still talking about love. Images and metaphors seem to be employed to tell of a story of love-gone-wrong; there seems to be some personal heartache at the core of the song. The way the band combine and create a huge amount of atmosphere put me in mind of the likes of Wild Beasts. The Yorkshire outfit are synonymous with wonderful vocals and evocative soundscapes, and here, The Trouble With Templeton summon up a comparable glory. Calder has airs of Yorke, yet there are familiar tones of others; including David Gray. It is not to say that the pipes on offer are not original- because they are- but there is some comfort and warmth to be discovered. Calder's tones and vocals are at once emotive and emphatic, and at the same time, tender and romantic. Our hero is backed up by some incredible support; the band whip up a storm of percussion and guitar; bring it down; pause; before building back up. When Calder steps back up to the mic. promises and declarations are offered (to his anonymous sweetheart); he states that "Some day we'll trade our vows"- he slurs and elongates 'vows' giving it a charming wink. As well as the potency and effectiveness of his voice, our frontman tempts and teases words; some are stretched whilst others are punched and tossed off- it gives each line extra weight and evocative force. Before too long, our hero reintroduces us to his vehicular thrill-ride: back across the field and into the lake; your head bobs and fingers click as he recounts his grizzly accident. By the time the 'chorus' is reintroduced, Calder's voice becomes more tremulous and overwrought- reaching its bursting point by the time he admits that he'll "always play the fool". Just as you sense an emotional breakdown and capitulation, our hero turns tender and cooing. A soulful lullaby comes into the fore; some utterances are succinctly whispered before the band brew up a sonic storm: complete with piano, percussion and guitar. It is a perfectly fitting summit to a stirring track; one which never lets go of your brain. It is unsure whether our hero has- or will- reconcile his romantic strife; whether events that transpire within the song have left their scars or not. There are a number of things that impressed me- and have stuck with me- after listening to the track. It has a relentless charm and energy that few others tracks offer; the vocal force is mutational, evolving and always compelling- but it is the overall band performance that is the most indelible facet. Our frontman is an impressive and imperious force, but his band mates combine and intertwine beautifully. The sonic swathes go from baroque and restrained through to emphatically emotive- without losing focus or seeming artificial. They perfectly score a dislocated tale of pain, love and- well, the weird and wonderful. I have- perfects obsequiously alluded to some vocal influences within Calder's own. Six Months In A Cast is a unique beast, and is such, in no small part because of our hero's performance. He has the nuance and vocal talents of Yorke, yet his native accent and indivdualism are very much present- making the song sound a lot fresher and more compelling than you would imagine. The track is one that begs for repeated listens, as it is not only memorable and catchy, yet offers something new (with each additional spin). Such is the true merit of a terrific track, that it does not lose its majesty after the nth repeat. Six Months In A Cast is a vivid and atmospheric song that is no fluke: the band offer similar fascination in other tracks.
You have- I hope- listened to the Antipodean wonders' music, and heard a bit about whom they are- and what the press think of them. The boys are handsome and brooding, the girl is gorgeous and intriguing. There are five of them; they hail from Brisbane. Perhaps all of this boils down to the one point: they are bloody good. I have heard snippets, songs and samples from the Rookie album, and it will rank amongst the best releases from 2014. When I have been assessing some of the U.K.'s finest new acts, one thing always hits me: just how ambitious they are. The Trouble With Templeton mean business, and have a long career planned. There are evocations of glory-days Radiohead; tender touches of this and that, yet above all it is the sound of a hungry and original band- aiming to remain in hearts and minds for years to come. The forthcoming tour of Britain will see a host of new audiences and fans witnessing their music, and I hope that the media here helps to spread their word. I have limited influence, but will do my best to get as many people (as possible) to latch onto their music. With Calder's leadership and a camaraderie and kinship that is evident within nuanced and memorable music, we will be hearing a lot more from these guys. The Guardian had this to say about Rookie: "TTWT's debut album proper, Rookie, finds a melodic and instrumental if not lyrical middle ground between Fleet Foxes and Flaming Lips, Bon Iver and Badfinger. Sort of. Ish. It is, as we say, an alt rock album but it's a varied beast. There are baroque pop songs here, jangle-pop ones, songs that make us think of a de-energised power pop, one that sounds like the Lips doing the Beatles...". There is harmony and symphonic vocalisations; tender and considered moments as well as honey-dripped sexuality. It seems that when it comes to emotional and sonic ground, our Australian clan leave no stone unturned. I am often loathed to make huge proclamations about artists and compare them to someone else; yet it seems that with an essence of Radiohead within the group's mandate's, our Brisbane gang could well be pulling in their direction. As the Oxford boys seemed to be on hiatus as-of-late, eyes and brains are seeking out substitute equivalency. We here have a few bands that are spiking attentions, yet with The Trouble With Templeton, we have bona fide masters-in-waiting. They may not be able to- in their short career- project the full potency and genius of Yorke and co., yet there is ample evidence to suggest that minor chords- reminiscent of Kid A. and In Rainbows' finest moments- are already being struck. Of course, the quintet want to be judged on their own merits and given a fair shake, yet I was impressed by the band's authority, tightness and quality. Australia have caught on to the band's full potential; the U.K. is welcoming them in- yet I feel that the U.S. should be knocking at the door. I know that the group have made some impressions with U.S. audiences, but I feel that there is a huge audience awaiting here. Having been recently anointed to the melodic contours of our heroes, I am committed to much closer investigation. The 'mainstream' is there for a reason, and offers up something- cliché coming...- for everyone. To my mind, there is still not enough divergence, mystery and blitzkrieg proffered. Critics have highlighted how fearless The Trouble With Templeton are, and how jam-packed (and mesmeric) Rookie is. The Australian press have solidified this truth, and proclaimed the merits and potentiality of a truly great brand. I can back that up, and confidently claim that the Brisbane troupe will be making music for years to come; taking strides towards the top of rarefied summits...
YOU heard it here second!
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