1. an Australian rock band of the 2000s
2. a British punk band of the late 70s
3. a British contemporary string quartet
1. The Drones are an Australian band that consists of vocalist/guitarist Gareth Liddiard, bassist Fiona Kitschin, guitarist Dan Luscombe, drummer Mike Noga and now keyboardist Steve Hesketh. The new album I See Seaweed will be available digitally and in store independently through MGM Distribution from March 1st 2013.
There’s a song near the end of I See Seaweed called ‘Laika’ about the dog who was shot into space, with no hope of return, in a Soviet experiment in 1957. It follows Laika as she is born a stray on the street, “fired into a canyon of polite applause” and then left drifting in orbit. For years songwriter Gareth Liddiard has been famous for writing about the Australian experience, but ‘Laika’ – like so many of the songs on I See Seaweed – is more universal than that. His focus has broadened, from colonialism to the human condition:
One day they’ll build her statue, put it in the yard
To show all the children and the palace guard
And one day all you children will be white dwarves too
You’ll cave under yourselves and become cruel, cruel, cruel.
It’s not the first time Liddiard has sung about space. ‘Penumbra’, one of the best tracks on Havilah (2008), was inspired by Buzz Aldrin and the Moon landing. That album was a slow burn – it took a few close listens to reveal itself. I See Seaweed isn’t like that at all. It’s a return to The Drones in their most immediate (and noisy) glory. The addition of Steve Hesketh on piano gives ‘How To See Through Fog’ a touch of noir swagger, while ‘Nine Eyes’ features one of the band’s most foreboding rhythms to date and ‘A Moat You Can Stand In’ is full-blast rock ‘n’ roll. Of course, any Drones fan knows to hang out for the end. Gala Mill (2006) finished with ‘Sixteen Straws’. Havilah had the closest the band ever came to a pop song in ‘Your Acting’s Like The End Of the World’ and Liddiard’s Strange Tourist (2010) finished with the devastating ‘The Radicalisation Of D’. But I See Seaweed’s final track might outdo them all. ‘Why Write A Letter That You’ll Never Send’ is a late-night piano ballad that moves from gentle contemplation to a bombastic rant about everything from war, religion and starvation to movie stars, Nazi popes and “the guy from U2”. Liddiard says, “It’s actually quite a funny song.”
The early history and the first incarnation of The Drones was formed in Perth in 1998 and included a varied line up over the next few years. The mainstays of the band, Rui Pereira and Gareth Liddiard, had previously played together in The Gutterville Splendour with musicians in the original Perth incarnations including Warren Hall (Moth, Gutterville Splendour Six) on drums and guitarist James McCann (Harpoon, Nunchukka Superfly, Lowdorados, Gutterville Splendour Six). Steve Joines (The Kill Devil Hills, Gutterville Splendour Six) replaced McCann when McCann relocated to Sydney. In early 2000, Liddiard and Pereira headed to the east coast of Australia. Initially they met with little success and endured tough conditions including an extended stay in a decrepit Victorian caravan park and sleeping on an old mattress found on the roadside. Guitarist Brendan Humphries (Sweeney Todd and His Elephant Men, Gutterville Splendour Six, The Kill Devil Hills) was included among the first of the Melbourne lineups, and later Fiona Kitschin also from Perth was recruited on bass. Christian Strybosch (Stunt Car Drivers) replaced Hall on drums, Humphries returned to Perth, and the lineup of Liddiard, Pereira, Kitschin and Strybosch went on to record in one day an EP. The ‘self-titled’ EP was released in mid 2001 and instantly found The Drones receiving air-play on public radio, and a considerable amount of coverage in the street press. Voted as the “best new local talent” in 2001 by Patrick Donovan, music editor for The Age newspaper. Sophie Best, a freelance journalist for Beat Magazine, The Age and her own webzine Back Porch by the end of that year was talking up “The Drones” and they made her top ten as well. The band then signed to Spooky Records, releasing their debut album, Here Come The Lies in August 2002. Two further 7” singles, ‘The Cockeyed Lowlife of the Highlands’ and ‘Bird in a Church’, were released in 2002.
Sessions for what would become their second album, Wait Long By the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By, were undertaken during 2004. But once the album was completed, the band had legal problems that stalled the release for over a year. Influential Melbourne indie music figure Bruce Milne’s In-Fidelity label released the album in early 2005 to enthusiastic reviews from the underground music press. The album was also nominated for Triple J’s inaugural J Award prize in 2005 and topped many Australian critics’ end-of-year Top 10 lists. During an extensive six month tour in Europe and the US, All Tomorrow’s Parties issued Wait Long By The River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By outside of Australia. Strybosch left the band around this time to join Dan Kelly And The Alpha Males, and Mike Noga took his place also Gareth Liddiard played bass on the album Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males sing the Tabloid Blues.
In 2006, a record of outtakes from Here Come the Lies and Wait Long by the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By entitled The Miller’s Daughter was released by Bang! Records. Later that April, up against other notable bands such as Wolfmother, The Go-Betweens, TZU, Devastations, The Mess Hall, Tex, Don & Charlie and Ben Lee, Wait Long By the River and the Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By won the inaugural Australian Music Prize. The Drones continued to tour throughout the year. The Drones’ third studio album, Gala Mill, was recorded in an old mill an isolated 10,000-acre (40 km2) farm on Tasmania’s east coast at Gala Farm in Cranbrook, Tasmania. It was released in September, 2006. The album was also nominated for the 2006 Australian Music Prize. In late 2006, Liddiard announced that Rui Pereira had left the band, to be replaced by Dan Luscombe. In November 2006, The Drones, through American label Kufala Recordings, released a live album recorded at Spaceland, a nightclub in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, called simply LIVE [in Spaceland - November 15th, 2006].
In July, 2008 The Drones released a digital/12” EP featuring new songs ‘The Minotaur’ and ‘Nail It Down’, the first songs from their next album, Havilah. The album released in September 2008 (Australia) and February 2009 (UK, USA) by ATP Recordings. The title of the album is a biblical reference to a Shangri-La-esque town Havilah with an abundance of gold. It is also the name of a valley near where the album was recorded. The album was recorded at the mud-brick home of lead singer Gareth Liddiard and his partner/band bassist Fiona Kitschin, outside Myrtleford at the base of Victoria’s Mount Buffalo. The album was produced and engineered by Burke Reid (Gerling) who had to set up a mobile studio in the house, powered by a diesel engine. The album debuted at #47 on the Australian album charts. At the fourth annual AIR Awards held on 22 November 2009 The Drones won two awards, ‘Best Independent Album of the Year’ for Havilah and ‘Independent Artist of the Year’. At the inaugural Australian Rolling Stone Awards, held in Sydney in January 2010, The Drones won the ‘Best Live Act’ award. In November 2009 a poll of contemporary Australian songwriters organised by Triple J, ‘Shark Fin Blues’, was voted by as the greatest Australian song. Also in 2010 Gareth Liddiard released his solo called Strange Tourist and in 2011 Mike Noga released his solo album called The Balladeer Hunter then the same year The Drones released a DVD called A Thousand Mistakes.
2. A 1977 era Manchester original Punk Rock act:
Originally a pub rock called Rockslide who released a single called ‘Roller Coaster’ which got nowhere. Sniffing the punk wind of change in’76 however, they emerged as one of the most exciting bands from Manchester’s punk scene. While Slaughter & The Dogs erred on the Glam side and The Buzzcocks delivered pop with a buzzsaw, The Drones, who could obviously play, took the energy of punk to heart and delivered it on vinyl in a series of taut, amphetamine driven toons. With a mixture of originals like Persecution Complex, Lookalikes and Corgi Crap and covers such as Search & Destroy & My Generation they blitzed venues like Pips, Rafters and The Electric Circus.
Their first single Temptations Of A White Collar Worker was classic punk containing the excellent Lookalikes. The single sold over 10,000 copies on their own label OHM’s records.
Signing to Valer records the future looked rosy. The ‘Bone Idol / Just Wanna Be Myself’ single was the classic and shifted over 20,000 copies. Supporting bands like The Stranglers (even joining them for encores of Go Buddy Go) followed with some good press in the music weeklies like Sounds and features in Fanzines such as Shy Talk and Summer Salt increased their profile. While recording demos for their Bone Idol single they also recorded a number of pisstakes of Clash songs which Strummer found amusing on hearing bless him.
The line up was:
M J Drone (lead vocals & rhythm guitar)
Gus “Gangrene” Callender (lead guitar and vocals)
Pete Perfect (drums)
Steve “Whisper” Cundall (bass).
Temptations of a White Collar Worker (OHMS)
Further Temptations (Anagram Records) (Album)
Short Circuit - Live at the Electric Circus [comp]
Bone Idol (Valer)
Can’t See (fabulous records)(featuring Ellis of the Vibrators on guitar).
3. A London based contemporary quartet Playing original acoustic music and songs with cello, mandolin, clarinet, percussion, car parts, toys, birdcalls, musical saw, items from the garden shed…
As seen on : Blue Peter - Channel 4 - The Purcell Room -The Science Museum - The Barbican - Radios 3, 4, and 5.
Sounds From The Beehive
The Drones - Cassette
Edited by king51ey on 9 Apr 2013, 09:22
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