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Word Gets Around
September 22, 2011 6:23 PM   Subscribe

The Hummingbirds were one of Sydney's greatest indie pop bands. They debuted with the single Alimony and in 1989 released LoveBuzz, featuring 14 tracks of sparkling jangle pop. It spawned the single Blush, which was a minor success, but the failed and the band broke up in 1993. They were vindicated by history when LoveBUZZ made #65 on the 100 Best Australian Albums Of All Time. This year the band reunited for a set at the iconic Big Day Out Festival and a show in Sydney. They were also immortalized in the Modern Giant song The Band's Broken Up (members of the Hummingbirds later joined members of Modern Giant to form The Aerial Maps).

Word Gets Around

Get On Down

Swim To Shore
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn (54 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Regarding the first video link in this FPP (Alimony), YouTube uploader clownfishdesign from Australia writes:

"I found this rather crappy video, with even worse sound, so I resynched some better sound to it."

But the look of that video is the coolest fuckin thing I've seen in some time. Definitely deserves more than 19 views.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:48 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I discovered these guys through that Aerial Maps song, then heard Alimony on a friend's mix CD and found LoveBUZZ in a used CD store. Saw both of the Sydney shows this year and the songs still sound utterly perfect.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:53 PM on September 22, 2011


I produced all their Phantom singles a long time ago...
posted by bhnyc at 6:54 PM on September 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


I still have a 7inch picture disc of the Alimony single. Loved their music and all the other bands in that genre at the time. Does any one remember Clouds? Another fine Australian guitar band!
posted by MT at 6:56 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


please-don't-make-me-pay-alimony...

yes, good jangly pop; happy summer music.

as for the best 100 albums, where are The Necks?!?? ridiculous. also, Tender Prey & The Boatman's Call are hardly even in the top half dozen for Nick Cave &TBS.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:58 PM on September 22, 2011


Just spun up LoveBuzz for the first time in years a couple of weeks ago. Cool that you posted this! I first saw them open for Deborah Conway in Melbourne in 1992. But what hotel was it? God, I should know, I ripped the event poster down on my way out and hung it on my wall for 10 years at least.
posted by buzzv at 6:59 PM on September 22, 2011


Clouds? Yep, for sure. FBi were playing Smudge the other day, which also brought back memories of the same period. Saw Clouds with The Fall at a festival at Harold Park raceway, now on its way to becoming a Meriton apartment complex.

On preview: buzzv, just tell yourself it was the Espy or the Tote.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:03 PM on September 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Clouds? Yes -- huge fan. Penny Century one of my all time favorites.
posted by buzzv at 7:03 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


or the Punters Club
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:04 PM on September 22, 2011


The Clouds are on a reunion tour too but I haven't heard them
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:06 PM on September 22, 2011


It's like The Close Lobsters did a hostile takeover of the Primitives.
posted by jeffen at 7:11 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


as for the best 100 albums, where are The Necks?!??

Hear hear! Those guys are the total bomb. But I guess they're still too *underground* to make the hallowed list, eh? Too bad, but ain't that always the way?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:12 PM on September 22, 2011


Huh was there ever a post about that list? I should have made one. I'm annoyed Perry Keyes didn't make it but I'm happy Eddy Current Suppression Ring did.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:13 PM on September 22, 2011


Good guesses all, UbuRoivas. But I think it was the Prince of Wales. At least that's what I can picture the poster sayinig. But I'd swear the show I saw wasn't in St. Kilda. This will torture me until I . . .
posted by buzzv at 7:14 PM on September 22, 2011


Thank you for linking to that list. I now have about 50 new albums to check out.
posted by otters walk among us at 7:20 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw the Clouds a couple of months back, supporting Jesus Jones and the Wonderstuff. They were great (as were the Wonderstuff. Jesus Jones were a bit disappointing, tbh).
posted by pompomtom at 7:23 PM on September 22, 2011


Jesus Jones

In my mind's ear I'm hearing that in Spanish... hey-zoos hoh-ness.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:28 PM on September 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I love The Hummingbirds. Tough choice but my favourite song of theirs is Eyes Grow Feet. I agree with all the Clouds love and would also like to throw the Falling Joys in there as a top rate band from around the same time.
posted by h00py at 8:37 PM on September 22, 2011


Great band; I used to play them a lot on my college radio show when the album came out. Thanks for this post.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 8:45 PM on September 22, 2011


Holy shit. Jesus Jones. That was pretty much the moment pop died for me. It was like a wrestling match between EMF and the Happy Mondays, and EMF won.
posted by unSane at 9:30 PM on September 22, 2011


I thought pop ate itself?
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:00 PM on September 22, 2011


It's still puking.
posted by unSane at 10:05 PM on September 22, 2011


Lock It - Falling Joys
posted by h00py at 10:35 PM on September 22, 2011


This is great. Now please someone make a post about Glide. Please.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:44 PM on September 22, 2011


Looks like my friends are seeing Custard tonight
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:19 PM on September 22, 2011


I swear I was at their last show, in Melbourne, in late 1993.

The Hummingbirds are a great example of the "Australian band playing impossibly catchy pop music" genre. Someone already mentioned the Falling Joys, let's throw in Club Hoy as well (Not Like That;. Stop Stop Stop).

More Hummingbirds: Two Weeks With a Good Man in Niagara Falls; If a Vow (lousy quality).
posted by Infinite Jest at 1:10 AM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Australian band playing impossibly catchy pop music" genre

Do Ratcat also fit that bill?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:47 AM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, must look out the Blush single for the b-side 'House Taken Over' - a tremendous song/soundscape.

Great stuff.
posted by Shave at 2:14 AM on September 23, 2011


How did I guess that was going to be 'Don't Go Now'? Good tune, maybe a bit more rocky than some of the other bands we've been naming: I'm thinking more of the almost twee-pop bands that made an interesting counterpoint to your Barnesies and your Acka-Dackas.

Go-Betweens go without saying of course, but there's also 'Allo Darlin', the South London band with an Aussie singer: Dreaming; Darren (and a live version, Silver Dollars (same festival, the following year).
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:26 AM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was at the Big Day Out show. A few years earlier, when Ratcat got back together for a show, I told myself that, were it the Hummingbirds, I'd be on the next flight back to see them. And when the BDO date was announced, it happened to coincide with my changing jobs, so I took a fortnight off to go to Australia.

Anyway, it was great to see them. I managed to get some videos of the show: Tuesday, Blush, She Knows.
posted by acb at 2:34 AM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sunnyboys and Died Pretty probably fall into a different category altogether but I still love them.
posted by h00py at 2:56 AM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn, wrong link. This is the Sunnyboys clip I meant to link to.

(Although I do love that Underground Lovers track).
posted by h00py at 3:00 AM on September 23, 2011


The Hummingbirds were my wife's favourite band when we met, and the Clouds and Underground Lovers were mine, so this thread is pushing all the right buttons.

Glad to hear that the Clouds are touring again. A shame that Penny and Trish's Girls from the Clouds album never eventuated.
posted by rory at 3:44 AM on September 23, 2011


I remember buying my brother the cassingle for Word Gets Around, then basically keeping it for myself anyway. I think I may have done the same for The Clouds "Heironymous" single. I bought the Smudge album Manilow, and it was only ever for me.

See also:
Godstar
The Plunderers
my favourite song from The Clouds - Anthem
...pretty much anything from Half a Cow Records.
posted by robotot at 4:22 AM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


And of course we should acknowledge the awesomeness of Tumbleweed.
posted by h00py at 4:46 AM on September 23, 2011


This is the best Tumbleweed song, though.
posted by h00py at 4:51 AM on September 23, 2011


Man, I stuffed up links all over the shop - the Died Pretty link should have gone to this.
posted by h00py at 5:28 AM on September 23, 2011


How did I guess that was going to be 'Don't Go Now'?

Because Go Go doesn't have a video clip?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:42 AM on September 23, 2011


I'm glad someone else noted Falling Joys. Loved them.
posted by jscalzi at 6:11 AM on September 23, 2011


Ooh, now can we all listen to the Lucksmiths?
posted by nonasuch at 6:50 AM on September 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Number 20 should be number one. That is all.
posted by Decani at 6:54 AM on September 23, 2011


I fondly remember a bunch of the bands being named here, which is a bit odd for a North American I suppose - but I dated a Sydneysider for three years in the first part of the 90s, and lived in Sydney myself for about 6 months, so there you go. A lot of these folks I remember from Triple J and saw a few of them - but my enduring problem has been that my only recording of so many of the songs I liked was on now-decaying mix tapes the girlfriend sent me (though I did manage to find LoveBUZZ in a record shop in a small town in Minnesota in 1995).

iTunes and Amazon seem not to want to help me - does anyone know if there are ways I can get copies of some of this stuff now, either digitally or on CD?
posted by nickmark at 8:45 AM on September 23, 2011


I'm going back a couple of years further back and dragging out the Lighthouse Keepers to add to the rollcall.

I really, really wanted to find some Particles tracks for linkage but it wasn't to be. Good times, a veritable golden age.
posted by N-stoff at 8:47 AM on September 23, 2011


Clouds' Penny Century and Falling Joys' Wish List were the soundtrack to my late teen years. This thread is making me want to put on a baggy jumper and make out with unsuitable boys.

I never managed to see Clouds in concert, though I did see Jodi Phillis doing a solo show with the criminally under-successful Robyne Dunn once. If there's still tickets for this reunion tour, I am so very there.
posted by Georgina at 9:10 AM on September 23, 2011


What do you get when you cross the Clouds with TISM? This is sirius mum...

Interesting to see Split Enz on the list, people argue enough about the Australian-ness of Crowded House. I suppose the list is of Australian albums and True Colours was recorded in Australia at least. The lack of Divinyls is however inexcusable.

I saw Ratcat and the Clouds at a Triple J gig in Brisbane just after the station started broadcasting there, in 1991. They were both great, and I'm kicking myself I can't remember who else played!
posted by goo at 9:24 AM on September 23, 2011


This is sirius cirrus mum...
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:28 PM on September 23, 2011


There's also everything on the late, lamented Candle Records (home of the Lucksmiths and The Girls From The Clouds).
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:05 PM on September 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow: this thread is like finding a long lost time tunnel to the aus.music newsgroup from the late 1980s.

I was recently hit by a bite-sized piece of Hummingbirds nostalgia: small pieces of the song "(The Unspeakable) In Full Pursuit [Of the Inedible]", which I hadn't listened to in maybe a decade, started inhabiting my head, so rather than dig out my deeply buried copy of "Va Va Voom" I grabbed that song from iTunes. It's every bit as murky and stupidly reverby as I remembered, and the guitar in the last 45 seconds or so is utterly beautiful: in my ideal rendering of the song this chunk would loop on forever.

(OK, I can't resist: whoever decided to reduce the volume as the song finishes should be publicly humiliated. Stocks and rotten tomatoes might be enough. It would certainly be a good start.)
posted by pjm at 6:08 PM on September 23, 2011


Just found the Alimony single on vinyl in the limited edition poster bag. I bought it, even though I don't have a record player. Is it rare?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:10 PM on September 23, 2011


Underground Lovers are doing some shows:

undergroundLOVERS - Everbody's Favourite tour

Thurs Nov 17th - The Corner Hotel, Richmond VIC

tix (03) 9427 9198 or www.cornerhotel.com

Fri Nov 18th - The Factory, Marrickville NSW

tix (02) 9550 3666 or www.factorytheatre.com.au

Tickets on sale October 12th
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:05 PM on September 26, 2011


Argh. Don't comment while feeding the baby, let this be a lesson to all of you!

While thinking about this post I realised most of my favourite late 80s/ early 90s live music memories involved the Yamba Bowls Club and the Revesby Workers Club, in addition to the pubs. I hope such venues are still available for live music, and the pokies haven't killed them all.
posted by goo at 3:56 PM on October 6, 2011


they still do live music, but nothing good - pretty much covers bands and retro acts
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:57 PM on October 6, 2011


The Canberra Southern Cross Club’s Yamba venue and bowling greens closed on the 30 September 2010.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:05 PM on October 6, 2011


Well that's a huge shame.
posted by goo at 5:21 PM on October 7, 2011


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