KEITH CLARINGBOLD Bassist - The Smart Folk, The Amazing Woolloomoolloosers Inveterate live streamer of gigs Sydney, Australia
2020 Top Ten
1.) Sunnyboys warm up gig, The Pink Fits in support at the Factory Floor in Sydney A big thank you to Steve Teece for tipping me off about this one. That sound, those songs, up close! The Pink Fits were great too.
2.) Nunchuka Superfly/Bitchcraft/White Knuckle Fever/Baby Machine/Beijing Bikini – Marrickville Bowling Club As someone said to me, ”so great to see so many women on and off stage”.
3.) PopBoomerang night- Ups and Downs/Halfway/ The Aerial Maps – Marrickville Bowling Club |A full house at the Bowlo. Halfway had one of the best live sounds I’ve ever encountered. Ups and Downs the icing on the cake.
4.) The Schizophonics/The Fangin' Felines/The Drop Offs- Marrickville Bowling Club. Exciting garagey fun. The Drop Offs twin drum attack! The family that drums together. This was the last gig before the Covid-19 Sydney lockdown.
There’s no hiding the mod influence on this six-track CD from a bunch of Sydney veterans. It’s beat pop with a bright disposition that sometimes sounds like Paul Weller on happy pills.
TSF began life as a duo, playing acoustic covers under the name The Mayday Dreamers. By accident, design or both, they grew two more members over the next three years and took on their new moniker. This is their first release.
Like the band's story, the songs are relatively uncomplicated but well constructed. Folk traits are evident and pop harmonies abound. Peter Kowal’s pleasant vocal carries most of the songs, with fellow guitarist Chris Newton singing earthier lead on a couple. Keith Claringbold (bass) and Pete Iacono (drums) are much better than workmanlike, down there in the engine room.
Here's a preview of the new EP by Sydney's mod-inspired band The Smart Folk. They'll launch "A Sunny Afternoon At The Zoo" at Marrickville Bowling Club on Sunday, April 18 with special guesrts The OzSkas (ex-Allniters) and powerpopppers Ther Blue Rinse Set. You;; find the Facebook event here.
Yesterday Repeating - The Smart Folk (self released)
There’s a treasure trove of slightly backward-looking, beat and mod-based pop by veterans coming out of the UK on a coterie of labels like State Records and Damaged Goods right now. Aussie band The Smart Folk would be right at home on either of them.
It doesn't have the explosive pop brashness of The Embrooks or the raw swagger of Graham Day or CTMF, but “Yesterday Repeating” displays its own slightly darker charm.
Born out of a mod revival duo in Sydney six years ago, these old codgers have become a staple on their hometown’s small but tenacious live scene. “Yesterday Repeating” is their debut full-length album and it’s reflective of the quartet’s stylistic starting point without being limited by it.
JOEYS COOP + THE SMART FOLK MoshPit, St Peters, NSW Saturday 26 March, 2022
A Sydney night of intermittent rain stifles the post-COVID nightlife revival. Or so it seems. The Best Little Small Bar in Sydney, The MoshPit, has other ideas - and so do Joeys Coopand supports The Smart Folk.
It almost goes without saying that pandemic lockdowns have put obstacles in the way of everything. Joeys Coop put the release of their second album on ice and tonight is the Sydney leg of a much-delayed world (read: New South Wales) tour to launch “Lachlan Valley Dirt” at The MoshPit in Sydney’s inner-west.
The impacts of the dirty little virus live on. A whole bunch of MoshPit patrons who were at the King Street Crawl gigs a fortnight before were taken down by it. An unrelated infection forced The Smart Folk to play the Sydney Rock ‘n’ Roll & Alternative’s Sixities Stage without bass-player Keith Claringbold.
Tonight’s news is that another wave of COVID infections and the seven-day isolation rule has shut down a two-band bill at the nearby Golden Barley Hotel. A few punters and unaffected band members make their way to this show.
A Chance To Relax…with The Smart Folk – The Smart Folk (self released)
With a changing of the political guard in Australia, we’ve been assailed with talk about a new, genteel and respectful way of doing business in the Federal Parliament - as if none of the fuckers are going to revert to type and we won’t end up with the same shit-fight on our hands. It’s just as well that 90 percent of the population doesn’t give a rat’s arse.
Rock and roll may be similarly set in its ways, but there are band chosing different pathways to tread. Sixties-derived pop with a jangling edge is where Sydney’s The Smart Folkchose to reside and they're making their mark in their own way.
“A Chance To Relax…with The Smart Folk” is the latest EP from this band of ex-mod scene regulars and if it doesn’t wrap you in a stranglehold and impress with its urgency and energy, that’s fine. It’s mid-paced, obviously freakbeat-influenced guitar pop that has a warm charm – maybe more so than the records that have come before.
If you remember the halcyon days of Sydney’s exploding live music scene in the 1980s, you need to make a beeline for Marrickville Bowling Club in the city's inner-west on Saturday night.
The Conspirators were in the thick of it back then, an archetypal garage band formed by five then young Sydney music fans who were sick of paying to get into gigs.
They became something of a fixture, growing a following and issuing a single and an EP before going on to other bands including The Sweet Ride, Psychotic Turnbuckles and Sheek the Shayk.
With their last show 30 years ago, The Conspirators are reforming for one gig only. They’ll be joined by The Stukas - punk rock veterans - and rejuvenated mods, The Smart Folk. Special guest DJ will be Steven Danno, spinning his collection of prime ‘60s punk and ‘80s Detroit rock.
The Conspirators are doing a special re-issue CD of their back catalogue (plus a new song) for sale on the nightm and have had T-shirts printed for this auspicious occasion. Tickets available on the door or cheaper in advance here.
Mars - The Venus Fly Trap (Glass Modern) It’s Not a Competition But I Win! – Lucy (Lucy) El Bendito Y El Maldito - Horse Feathers (Polar Bear Records) Yesterday Repeating - The Smart Folk (Self-Released)
The Venus Fly Trap? Never heard of them.
On investigating a little on the Interwebs, it seems that not only have I heard of them, I’ve probably heard them, but forgotten them.
Well, it was about 30 years ago, back when the UK was still reeling in the bass-centric aftershock of bands like Killing Joke, the Fall and the Gang of Four, but more importantly, the Second Australian Wave (you know, The Birthday Party, the Moodists...).
Let’s not forget the impact of The Scientists either... Certainly the Jesus and Mary Chain were heavily influenced by the BP and Kim Salmon’s mob of hairy ruffians; the JMC emerged, screaming like babies with diaper rash, in 1983. Also, around 1986 Big Black were making an impact on the UK (which would lead to a short-lived “subgenre” the UK inkies dubbed “arsequake”; there was another daftly-termed subgenre as well but you get the idea).
Chris Newwton in The Smart Folk. Corrie Ancone photo .
10 great Australian indie singles from 2021 you may not have heard…yet
By Chris Newton – guitarist/vocalist from The Smart Folk, and The Lost Husky; and bassist from Tigers At The Edge Of Time.
Like many fellow musos, in 2021 after getting out of the gates early in what proved to be a false start race that lockdown soon put sternly to bed, I fell into the pit of songwriter’s block for six months.
Thankfully, many bands – several of whom I’m privileged to call friends – didn’t suffer the same fate.
Here’s just ten independent ‘singles’ that have hit the online shelves this year, that give me (and hopefully you) hope for the musical future. In no particular order…
The On and Ons Glenn Morris and Jon Roberts with guest guitarist Murray Cook . Shona Ross photo
At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, this was a night of three contrasting but not dissimilar bands when The Smart Folk, Loose Pills and The On and Ons weaved their guitar pop web over Marrickville Bowling Club. It was also the album launch for The On and Ons' wonderful CD "Welcome Aboard".
These sorts of night are infrequent in Sydney these days. Ones where the bands on the bill complement each other and the venue doesn't turn people off, so they turn out in good numbers.
You’re here to read a live music review? Hang in there. There's a bit of preaching to go through, first...