Magazine 996 Jan 2006
900 Jan 2006
Magazine 941 Dec 2004
[ The Bites - The Pits - New Estate - Flywheel - Dan ]
101 Smith Street
Four killer acts for the price of a taco. Flywheel kick things off, starting a mellow bonfire illuminated by gently jangling, jewelled guitars. On drums, a caffeine-high Greg Wadley has never been more erect, which is to say he has structurally sound posture. He taps the hi-hat like an old lady patting her cat on the head (“Drink your milk like a nice kitty, Edgar,” he seemed to say to the cymbal). To his right, bassist Gavin Butler wades through a discombobulating attack of double pneumonia. Together they form the shapely Flywheel rear-end. James Dutton, vocals/guitar, takes a debonair drink from the bottle before passing it to his lovely brother Toby. Their guitars intertwine in an incestuous game of twister. Dame Miranda, James’ sensible half, takes us to the moon on a flying keyboard. Handy reference tools: Blur, Pavement, The Clean. Flywheel rule!
is New Estate, a gigantic, motley skyscraper, driving deeper into innovation.
Singer/guitarist Mia Schoen loses her head on Fool for Fashion channelling
deep emotional reserves linked to the recent passing of a pet. Dishevelled
master of the breakbeat, Larry Cervantes, quixotic as ever, appears to have
dropped from a 39th floor window straight into a boy scout's uniform. His
compadre Brad slaps the crap out of his bass until suddenly the rubbery
sound of Devo materialises. Guitar God Marc Antonio lashes into Love Bite
like Countess McCarthy has implanted long fangs into his neck. He soils
himself in volcanic ecstasy. The set ends in kaleidoscope fashion, a swirling
whammy bar confection, replete with jumpy basslines and an unruly drummer
boy overindulging himself in rock’s poisonous stimuli: Melbourne Bitter
Led by an adorable singing Peter Pan named Peter Pits, The Pits do velveteen grace laced with nifty roadrunner blues. On stage, the bespectacled Brisbanite resembles an antique shop owner straight from the pages of Capote. He shares the stage with two stylishly scruffy malcontents in ill-fitting jumpers and a drummer with a license to ill. Jeffrey Wegener, The Laughing Clowns' great, displays enough hormonal fury to melt the town. Steely eyes smoulder under a vanished hairline as he gives way to cracking hi-hat hammers, while the bassist enacts an imperfectly perfect sloppy-ass rumble.
Now to the headlining act: The Bites invite screams of mass idolatry. Worship them, buy them shots, offer them maple syrup for breakfast on pancakes made especially for them. Kirsty Stegwazi wears knee-length leathers and pretty black socks. Princess uses sharp tongue to make lyrics bite, sting and stun like a laser-guided melody stun gun. Elegant bachelor Simon Parker is not a power pop drummer, nor is he the house drummer at Pancake Warrior, but he is a powerhouse. The crowd danced to his beats the best. The insatiable Rene Schaefer bangs at his guitar like Ed Kuepper in the Stranded clip ( a style that has its origins in primitive masturbation technique. I can’t pay a higher compliment). Without getting too explicit, I’ll just say that every song here massaged the complex circuitry of my sweet spot. I imagine I will be singing songs like False Alarm and Million Miles to my great-grandchildren when I’m 98 and I want them to leave the room. The promoters urged punters to dance, dance and by golly they did. Loose limbs reached new heights of human movement. While The Smiths chimed from the loud speaker, I found a cushion next to my friend Mia and it was there where I began penning the nice little story that you are reading now.
Magazine Mar 2003
a dusky,dust-kicking rhythm so homely you can hear a hound barking,
we meet Buster, a simple soul with a sonorous song to sing. Buster wants
to do it right, but there's a temptation inside, a dark impulse, that
makes him want to do wrong. The guy's losing his grip.
James gets assistance from an ace pedigree class, including Gavin Butler
(who along with James, moonlights in The Cannanes) and a harmonious young
lady named Miranda Picton-Warlow. For these ten sweeping cinematic sketches,
the attire is strictly cosmic country in a blue dress. The tremulous guitars
haunt empty car parks and collapse in dark alleyways; they bury themselves
in yesterday's news--the mistakes of the past--in an effort to keep warm.
A violin appears on a few cuts. What serves on Minimum Amount of Fuss
is a taste of unspoken despair. The song is rural post-punk with a beautiful
bass line. Imagine The Fall cutting an art-damaged, urban cowboy reecord
and you'll be halfway there. The highlight of this record is when Buster's
break-up is articulated by the most sorrowful of strings. "I used
to dream you were my darlin'/ah fuck it/ cue the sweetest violin".
Scene vol.17, Tokyo Jan 2001
is headed by James who once stayed at my house when he came as the bassist
for The Cannanes tour in Japan'98. They also have Ivor who was a drummer
for the tour and Stephen who is The Cannanes.
Magazine Nov 2000
Flywheel’s second album will surprise nobody who bought the first from this poppy guitar-based Sydney group. Except that where many thought the first album sounded like the Saints (not just because both drummers were called Ivor and that Flywheel’s bass player sounded like he’s about to quit and join the Damned, but in a genuine resemblence between songs like It’s Been A While and the power-pop moments of the Saints’ Ed Kuepper days), now perhaps the group sounds like The Saints after Kuepper’s departure – not Ghost Ships but perhaps Always or In the Mirror. Got it? The brass section, James Dutton’s simultaneously world weary yet vigorous voice – a kind of flu-medication adrenaline voice – the brilliant drumming style, a bass player who sounds like he’s just about to quit and join Weddings Parties, Anything and so on.
In all, a satisfyingly diverse collection of songs, a grab-bag of ideas and styles and even a wry observation or two. Flywheel themselves are apparently calling it a day – largely due to being spread across three capital cities (NSW’s, Vic’s and the nation’s); but before it happens they’re launching this album at the Empress this Saturday (with Sleepy Township, the Lincoln Trio and the present writer’s band Huon) and a funereally quiet show at Liquorice in Sydney Road, Brunswick on Sunday. Two great albums is more than 99% of bands manage; see Flywheel in action this weekend or forever wonder.
No. 162 – 25/12/00-08/01/01
Wrong Way ‘Round the Buffet
(Blackbean & Placenta)
I gave myself a severe migraine trying to work out what it is that Wrong Way ‘Round The Buffet sounds like. There’s definitely some Dandy Warhols, and I’m pretty sure the lead singer reminds me of Mark Knopfler, but then what about those Beatles melodies. On top of that, they throw in a country vibe just to deepen the crisis. I have to say though, the songs that create this problem are pretty good. Only Way is a nice piece of emo-rock with some clean hooks that sound very “alternative” – oz style – think early Powderfinger, with maybe some Automatic chucked in. You’re Not Welcome Son is an attempt at Elliott Smith that falls just short of the mark but saves itself with clever lyrics, and Black Days starts of feeling like the Pogues but then ends up too upbeat, at least musically if not vocally. In summation, the best advice I can give you is to listen to this without trying to categorise it. It will only spoil what is a pretty decent effort.
Come Flywheel With Me
Flywheel pilot James Dutton talks on the travels of a truly indie band
So small is the focus of my like that as I grow older my need for some sort of validation grows larger. My current potential canvas is Breakers. I just want to be on Breakers.
It’s all about me. It’s pre-ordained. Hell, my friend Trish lives in the block of units they use. Of course I’d like to have an ongoing role. I could be the ne’er do well with the heart of gold I was thinking, but hey, you know I’d settle for just being an extra. To this end I’ve bee known to hang around and jump in front of the cameras when the crews are down at Bondi filming. For a while I convinced myself and a couple of my more gullible accomplices that the figure walking quickly away from camera in the end credits was me. I was soon found out, friends video-ed it, slowed it down, watched carefully then ridiculed and renounced me. It took some time for me to fully repair the damage done. Imagine my glee then, when, James from the chronically ignored or locally leastwise, Flywheel, tells me that he’s just pulled up stumps as a prodcer on that very show. Ohmigod, here’s my break. Yep, to fund the band, James trudges off to the Breakers set. I can think of nothing better. He can.
work in TV production. I used to work for channel seven but now everyone
is freelancing. At the moment I’m on holidays but I have been working
for Breakers, it’s really quite demoralising, I’m sick of doing
TV.” James says and either he’s playing it down deliberately
or he genuinely doesn’t realise the cultural significance of Breakers.
“It’s gritty realism.” He retorts on realising that my
life’s ambition is finally within sight. “I might be able to
get you a job as an extra, but there’s a lot of waiting around.”
But that’s my forte. “I’d rather be a librarian or something
Behind James’ casual drawl lies a band that is very well organised. Along with close comrades the Cannanes and Ashtray Boy, Flywheel are making inroads into the US market. Small at the moment, but it is a start. In America they’ve been picked up by a label called Spit and A Half and in France, Z & Zoey. “It’s not like a master plan. It’s happened through a guy called David Nicholls, he was actually in the Cannanes for many years, he liked the band and he distributed tapes here and sent tapes to America. That’s how it all started.” He says nonchalantly. “We don’t get a lot of support in Australia. I’m not sure how to play the game here but I’m getting a lot better at it.”
Just this year James has been to America for the first time. He’s come away with a fairly positive attitude. “It’s good, I actually went to America and met people who have the record.” James says enthusiastically. “The Dirty On the Shovel album (their previous release) sold two and a half thousand (over there). So it’s pretty small scale.” But there was another motive for the visit. “I played with the Cannanes over there and sold a bunch of them (Flywheel records) out of my backpack. I was impressed. I went along to a few college radio stations and played some songs.” He says. And his overall impression of Yanks? “Americans eat a lot of meat and cheese products. You get pound burgers, Americans don’t have quarter pounders, they have pound burgers. A guy we were touring with invented the double pounder. That’s a lot of meat.” James says smirking. Also on the itinerary for the Cannanes US visit was a stop over in San Francisco. “It was good, very nice. There was some really lovely people and it was architecturally very interesting. I went for a ride on the boxcar.” And of course there’s the famous mountainous roads. Did you get behind the wheel and attemp to fly, ala Steve McQueen in Bullitt? “I went for a ride in someone’s car, we drove very fast and tried to get air. But we didn’t” Ah well.
“And then I went to Japan as well. Tokyo has got the best record shops I’ve ever seen. So much stuff on record and really cheap.” James says. How incongruous is that, going to Japan to find vinyl? “I actually got a lot of American stuff there.”
So incestuous is the relationship with the Cannanes that at one stage it seemed to join Flywheel you’d have to have been in the Cannanes or at least harbour aspirations to. Not anymore. A recent reshuffle in the Flywheel ranks has seen, gasp, a non Cannanes inducted member. James is relieved, “There’s four of us, three have been in it from the start. And now we’re actually rehearsing another guitarist who is not a member of the Cannanes. He’s got nothing to do with the Cannanes. It’s our new policy, we’re moving away. It’s a breath of fresh air, believe me.”
Flywheel play at the Excelsior Hotel in Surry Hills on Friday the 18th with Silo in support and will be on the Sydney Big Day Out in 1999.
(Neal took a large degree of poetic licence when writing this article. James was in fact the tea lady for Breakers, not the producer.)
Remember what Pavement used to sound like? This Australian trio has cooked up an apathetic collection of songs that rock in the natural way. The sound is anything but forced, and the cool guitar rock ethics explored here have the guaranteed power to turn all indie-rock heads. The lo production gives this album the pillow-padded bedroom recording sound of *fill in your favorite early indie rock favorite,* and these fellas know how to take the fatter, back-end of a song and fill it with interesting guitar fuzz candy. There're a couple tunes on here that you might shake your head at, but overall the thing is money well-spent on a band that will rise. I guarantee that. This is one of those times where I thank Splendid. I hope you don't want this one back.
Evidence #3 May 1997
Flywheel “Dirty on the Shovel”
Spit and a Half, U.S.A., 13 song CD
I wrote a really good review (well, as good as I can) of this months ago. And then as we were licking this bastard of a thing into shape, a few weeks before it was due to be copied, I looked at all these reviews and few a whole lot of them missing. I searched everywhere. Twice. I even cleaned my room. But nowhere to be found were they. I thought, o well, who is going to really care anyway. As for this one, well, this one has to be reviewed. I didn’t really plan on liking this one all that much: I’d kind of pegged Flywheel as passable rock’n’roll with nice vocals. I thought I owed them a review of this cd, as Stephen was nice enough to give me one. A few listens later and I was humming the whole damn thing in my sleep. And in Estonian. It’s that catchy! (Well, that was poetic license, obviously, with that hyperbole). What gets you is James Dutton’s voice. Like my brother succinctly and flatly stated; it’s nice to hear a real voice for a change. I didn’t expect Bo to like it all that much, either. We’re both fairly scared of the rock. But he told me he loved it. I figured he was being nice. But he really does. Every time I have been around there recently it has been sitting by the stereo with everything else he repeatedly plays and no doubt drives Shane nuts with… Dark Town House Band, Bob Dylan, all that stuff. Like me, he fought Flywheel, and they won.
|The riff based songs (“I’d Rather Look Fifty”, “It’s Been A While” being the two most ‘famous’ ones) suck you in during the first few screenings, begging you to kill yourself because you can’t get them out of your head. Even the short tasteful guitar solos chip away at your consciousness, and you hear them in the brief moments of silence when you least expect to. I walk around at work and phrases sweep through my mind (“my bedroom was clean, now it’s dirty”), and then I start humming along. Not long after that, I’m gone. It makes me really really happy. But after that, after the somewhat instant gratification of what can be termed ‘the hits’, you’re left to contemplate the other songs. Songs like “Fridge” pass you by on the first few listens, then suddenly grab you by your ankle and they just don’t let go (especially the Julie Anthony line, for some reason). It’s such a smooth song, I can’t wait to hear them play it live again. I tell you, there’ll be many of you (re)discovering this band in a few years time when they are a lot more famous than they are now. And you’ll all be scratching your heads wondering why you didn’t pay attention the first time. And, like me, it will be because you thought Flywheel were just another rock’n’roll band. Uhuh: and love is just another feeling.|
#3– Spring 1996
Aust. Pop Series vol 2 split 7" with Blairmailer
"It's Been A While"
Flywheel’s song “It’s been a while” is my favourite of the series. Kinda fast and goovy pop. With a chorus… “dododolalala..” know what I mean. James has a great voice. hitting some nice high notes along the way. This recording is really clear too. Funky bass too.
Star Article – Autumn 1996
When I walked into 381 (King Street), the hippy café we’d arranged to meet at, James Dutton had just arrived. Bikey types and new age travellers sat around on worn sofas and read magazines with their feet on the tables. The guy behind the counter had on a dirty white New Model Army t-shirt, and everyone had dreadlocks. Except James Dutton.
Handsome, English accent going Australian, in a Cannanes t-shirt, James Dutton has been a member of some of the best Australian bands of recent years – loose agglomerations that speak of mutual support and invention, love of music for the sake of fun and innovation, not jealousy and feuding. Ruff Buff, Safety Valve, Crabstick, the glorious guitar play that is Flywheel. He was also half (w/ Michael Nichols) of one of the best zines I ever saw “Dirty on the Shovel”, a title now given to the first Flywheel CD (Spit & a Half).
is from Godalming, Surrey originally, but as punk rock fails to pay a living
wage, he works at Channel 7 as a stage technician, and plays in a band that
never gig in their home town (“Sydney is cover band city – there’s
even a Joe Cocker cover band – and anyway, all the good gigs are in
Melbourne”). Dutton was quiet and self-effacing, where Kylie was brash
and spunky, two sides, if you like, of the new Australian pop.
Like everyone I met, James was unfailingly generous to me and to other musicians, giving me a tape of the new album, talking up the talents of others I should see or hear, recommending places to drink (Newtown) and eat (Marrickville).
This generousity can be heard on “Dirty on the Shovel” a tense, but not po-faced interplay of guitars in the mould of Television and the more adventurous new-wavers circa ’79. Think Rough Trade records at their best – the Red Crayola sans mayo, if you please.
(CJW incorrectly stated that James D was half of the zine “Dirty on the Shovel”. It was, in fact, another bloke called James who was never in Flywheel.)