We’ve emerged from hibernation with a freshly-picked demo: A jaunty, Lee & Nancy kind of number! What do you think?
We’re looking for a #Melbourne #drummer and/or hand #percussionist with #1960s sensibilities. If you’re interested or can help us find someone, we’d lava for you spread the word or email your questions or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll be rehearsing once a week and performing about once a month in Melbourne. We plan to play some out of town festivals and shows, and tour interstate for a few weeks later in the year. We’ll also be recording our third album this year. We’re looking forward to our new sound and we hope you’ll like it too. As you’ll see in our video below, we have a cabasa, maracas, jingle stick and sleigh bells but not enough hands!
Well! Now that the dust has settled, we have the faculties to write a proper thank-you note to those of you who actively supported our recent album release and tour. We give our thanks specifically to everyone who bought albums, attended shows, spread the word, graciously hosted us, and gave us advice about IT gizmos and marketing. Far-flung friends came to meet us, new fans gave us insights into how our music affects them, past audiences and album buyers returned, and long-standing friends showed us that they’re still by our side. In all your different ways, you keep us going. Our heartfelt thanks to you!
We also thank the talented musicians with whom we shared shows: Rose & The Sea (Newcastle), Bleeding Gums Murphy (Sydney), Alana Patmore (Sydney), The Cheeky Violets (Canberra), Mixtape Chorus (Canberra) and The Old Married Couple (Melbourne). Let’s all do it again soon!
Our new album, Risk It For A Biscuit, is out now! It’s 10 tracks travel an undulating path encountering transcendence, hope, risk, revelry, grief, rapture, commitment, heartbreak, liberation and discretion. The download and disc are both available via the Music tab of our website, which takes you to our Bandcamp page. The player is embedded below. We’d love for you to have a listen and tell us what you think of it.
We’re touring from November 17 to December 4, performing in Gloucester, Coffs Harbour, Brisbane, Sandgate, Mt Burrell, Newcastle, Sydney, Erina, Canberra, Ulladulla and Melbourne. All the details are on our Shows page. It’d be great to see you!
What you don’t realize when you’re a child and you hear a hit song on the radio, is that you will probably hear that song for the rest of your life. There are a lot of songs I heard on the radio when I was ten that are still being played. Many of these songs I don’t want to hear again – They weren’t very good songs to begin with, but they were in the style of the era and became hits. Of course people like different things, and a particular song may remind someone of something special, for example, if it was playing when they had their first kiss.
If there is a special moment you want to remember for the rest of your life though, wouldn’t you rather remember it in relation to a good song – A song that could be not only a memory trigger, but also a thing of beauty unto itself? When a song is sent out into the world, the songwriter has a responsibility to make that song as good as it can be, and the record producer and record label and radio programmer all have a responsibility to keep the quality high. Over the next years, the children hearing those songs will have something good to hear throughout their life – Something more than “Boom! Boom! Let’s go back to your room.” That way the world will become a better place. ~ Bern
Hello! Time flies when you’re recording an album. As we wait for a break between downpours of rain, aeroplanes, neighbourhood powertools and squarks from nesting crows, this seems like a good time to give you an update on our album-in-progress. We’re writing this post together, so we’ll start each paragraph with an initial so you know who’s speaking.
A: I’ve been enjoying the puzzle-solving nature of lyric writing. It’s a buzz when the right word falls (or is pushed) into place. Spinster’s Delight (a working title) was the most difficult song. Not many words rhyme with ‘spinster’ – I eventually decided that ‘I convinced her’ worked best. In the same song, I felt I’d reached a career milestone in having the slang word ‘khyber’ in a song, to rhyme with ‘moral fibre’. In Come To Our Party, I’d written two verses with ‘or’ sounds and wanted to keep the pattern in the other verse, but I was stumped! Then I remembered that I hadn’t plumbed the shallows of my foreign-language knowledge. Good old ‘por favor’ saved the day, and I threw in ‘respondez s’il vous plait’ to boot.
B: Here’s a little something I whipped up whilst testing a new mic position. Some steel string Faux Flamenco if you will …and I did, so you might as well, as well! You can hear a little distortion as I check to hear how close I can get to the mic before peaking. You don’t wanna peak too soon they say, and it doesn’t until later in the piece, so all good there. I couldn’t resist adding some keyboard as well. Whilst listening, think pathos, self belief and joy of the heart.
A: There’s a 15-second “laaaah” on Ooh La La Lah, so I’ve headed back to Bikram yoga. When I was diligently attending classes many months ago, I discovered that it gave me more singing stamina. It’s sweaty and overwhelming and gruelling, but it delivers the goods. I’ve recorded that vocal now, but there’ll be no slacking off for me because I’ll need to sing it at our shows very soon!
B: Summer Love will definitely have birds chirping on it. They were very chirpy one day whilst I was recording guitar, and since the song is about Summer I think it will be fitting to hear them at the beginning. This made me wonder what other albums have unintentional incidental sounds on them. At the end of David Bowie’s Life On Mars you can hear a telephone ring and the pianist (Rick Wakeman, I believe) stops playing. I’ve always wondered if that was planned, but I assume it was just something that happened and they deliberately left it in. Do you know any other examples?
Annie here. Are you into secret garden doors and happenstance? If so, you’ll like the story behind these photos.
Scene 1 – My local hair salon, Soul Scissors. Hairdresser (K) introduces me (A) to the redhead (J) in the next chair.
K: “J owns the vintage shop around the corner – Once More With Feeling. Annie has a vintage musical duo.”
J: “What are you called?”
A: “Annie & Bern.”
J: “I’ve got your CD!”
A: “Oh wow. Where did you get it?”
J: “I won it in a competition in Lila Jean Vintage!”
A: “Oh, that was you! Bern dropped it off to your house because it was easier than posting it. …This is all very serendipitous. We should work together somehow.”
J: “I’ve been thinking of having a Christmas party to thank my customers…”
Scene 2 – The Once More With Feeling Christmas party. Bride-to-be (T) sees us perform and instantly feels we’ll fit her vintage-style wedding.
Scene 3 – The Internet. T and I arrange to meet to get everything ‘just-so’. The ceremony is to be held in her garden. T invites me to see the space and meet her fiancé (A). We discover that we’re over-the-fence neighbours!
Scene 4 – The meeting. T & A tell me they’ve been planning to knock on my door to ask if I’d mind them taking a panel off the fence, so T can walk through my garden, around the block, and through her garden gate. Bam! The secret fence plan gets the green light.
Scene 5 – We perform at T & A’s beautiful wedding. What a happy ending, and beginning.
Scene 6 – Apres-wedding hijinx through the secret garden door. You’ll see by the photos that Bern and I were quite enchanted by it. (My hairstyling by Ray Of Light Studio and dress from Inglewood Emporium.)
Hello. Annie here. I haven’t posted for four months. I ran out of puff, you see.
I found myself thinking, “Wouldn’t it be lovely to come home from work and have my nights free? Wouldn’t it be a relief to not have to design posters, revamp web pages, email venues, find support acts, constantly come up with worthy social media offerings, and organise licensing and accounting and publicity and advertising and the other odd jobs that need to be done for a musical act? Why shouldn’t I go on holidays like other people do, rather than spend every spare cent and spare minute and spare calorie of enthusiasm as I have done for the past fifteen years?”
The interview with myself continued on something like this:
Q: What would I do instead?
A: Gardening and Morris dancing.
Q: If I never wrote another song or performed again, would I really mind?
A: Perhaps not. (I’d never in my life had that feeling before.)
Q: What do I most enjoy about Annie & Bern?
A: Singing; Sitting with a pen and paper and a cup of tea, writing lyrics; Meeting audience members, vintage enthusiasts and musicians; Having the honour of performing at a person’s wedding; Dressing up; Travelling and having zany times with Bern; Stumbling upon new music on the internet and sharing it.
Even with the carrot of all these enjoyable aspects, I still didn’t have the wherewithal to learn and rehearse Bern’s latest songs. It was like trying to run on empty. I was at a crossroads. I had to tune in to my motivations and to wait for inspiration to spring. We didn’t know if my musical drive would be rekindled or if I’d end up packing it in.
Meanwhile, Bern was writing songs, researching recording techniques, and listening to bossa nova. He also bought a cabassa.
I decided I’d clear the driest tasks out of the way (accounting and licensing) so I could see the wood for the trees. While I was doing that, I was drawn to Nordic folk music. I also bought a covered tambourine.
A couple of months later, I found the enthusiasm to sing Bern’s songs-in-progress.
A few weeks ago I started writing songs again myself.
This weekend, we’ll start recording our second album. We’ll be touring it from November. It may well be a bossa-Nordic affair.
Hold onto your chips.
Hold onto yer chips, Canberra – We’re back this Saturday March 12th, 7-9pm! We had such a lovely time at Smith’s Alternative on our Christmas tour, that we booked a repeat show there that very night, with the same lineup:
The Cheeky Violets duo combines indie, folk, pop and a touch of jazz, each singing and playing acoustic guitar. Mixtape Chorus is a choir for lovers of indie pop music. Annie & Bern will perform a set of originals, then send our sixties song list around the room and play the audience’s favourites. Be there and take your pick!
Set times are 7pm The Cheeky Violets / 7:40pm Mixtape Chorus / 8:20pm Annie & Bern
Entry is $10 / $7 CMC members at the door or from Smith’s tickets page.
A lot of our shows, like this weekend’s, feature female musicians. Reflecting on International Women’s Day (March 8th) we’re proud to have been involved with so many impressive women over the past year: Alanna and Alicia, Bobby Dazzler Market Party, The Cheeky Violets, Gunyah Animal Healing Sanctuary, Kay Proudlove, Kelli Morris Photographer, Kensington Market, Lila Jean Vintage, Lisa Crawley, Miss Pippilotta, Mixtape Chorus, Once More With Feeling, Ray Of Light Studio, Shadow Feet, Soul Scissors & Vintage Bride!
We choose to work with women as much as possible, for two main reasons: Firstly, we’ve found that women take pride in their work and the way they do business. They’re respectful, enterprising and hard working, which makes them a pleasure to work with. Secondly, the music industry is rife with sexism, manifesting as a lack of recognition, under-representation, condescension and harrassment. We’re driven to change this.
We’ve worked with women in music, vintage fashion, weddings, magazines, photography, arts & crafts, hair styling and animal welfare. We’ve shared gigs, collaborated, and given and received introductions and practical support. We give our thanks to the women above, as well as to all the individual women who have been gracious and supportive of us in so many ways over the past year. YEAH!
Happy new year! February counts as ‘new’ in our book. January is for easing oneself into a year. February is when things more noticeably start. Appropriately, our first show for 2016 is this weekend!
We’re performing 3 sets at Vintage Bride Wedding Fair on Sunday February 7th in Melbourne. The fair takes place in Collingwood Town Hall, 11am-3pm. It’s a friendly event for perusing and chatting with vintage and eclectic wedding professionals (like us!) – A treasure trove for the betrothed.
For those not planning a wedding as such, the day still presents an opportunity to be surrounded by beautiful flowers, photography, millinery, jewellery, take-home samples, music and the well turned-out turnout likely found at a vintage-loving fair. Entry is $10.