In March 2011, Little Red arrived home from a whirlwind tour of Papua New Guinea, New York and SXSW to discover their album Midnight Remember had gone Gold on the Australian charts. Produced by Scott Horscroft (The Temper Trap and Presets), the album by the beloved pop-rock outfit is drenched in vintage-leaning guitars, rich synth tones and vocals to melt hearts. Three singles have been from Midnight Remember. First the party anthem ‘Rock It’ – which went Platinum, scooped ‘Best Song’ at the The Age’s EG awards, and placed #2 in Triple J’s coveted Hottest 100, the world’s largest music poll voted by the public, followed by soaring ‘Slow Motion’. Now comes the dreamy ‘All Mine’. Vocalist Dominic Byrne says of ‘Rock It:’ “It’s a song that’s about savouring a great moment and capturing memories; it recalls a kind of freedom. And when we started to play it at shows we realised how much people really connected to it.” Little Red plays regularly at all of Australia’s major summer festivals and are now a favourite on dancefloors across the country, selling out national theatre shows. Little Red will tour Japan in April, UK in May and Australia in June before heading back to North America.
Little Red emerged in Melbourne, Australia four years ago when five very different musicians – Adrian Beltrame (guitar/vocals), Dominic Byrne (vocals/guitar), Quang Dinh (bass/vocals), Taka Honda (drums) and Tom Hartney (vocals, percussion) – came together, united by a love for hooks, rhythms and melodies. Their instantly loveable all-singing, all-dancing live show won over fans and critics alike. Blogging for The Age, Melbourne music reviewer Clem Bastow called Little Red “pretty much the best band in Melbourne at the moment”. She wasn’t alone. Fans raved about the band’s relentless energy and rich, layered harmonies.
In April 2010, the quintet holed up deep in the New South Wales bush at the Central Coast’s Grove Studios, with producer Scott Horscroft (The Temper Trap, Presets, Panics and Silverchair) to work solidly for four weeks on the new record Midnight Remember. Days became nights, nights became days. The band knuckled down only emerging for meals, ping pong or to hurtle around the wilds on a four-wheeler. The result? An undeniable milestone in the band’s career. Midnight Remember ties together a rainbow of musical influences, and tells the story of their distinctly passionate and evolving sound. The record comprises glittering disco undertones, slow-build rock, and erudite prose sung with Little Red’s quintessential gentlemanly croon; the ingredients of a universal hit.
Little Red’s debut LP, Listen to Little Red, also earned them critical praise nationwide with The Age’s EG calling it one of the freshest albums they’d heard all year and (Melbourne) Magazine describing it “a great, exciting and passionate album”. Listen to Little Red cracked the Australian ARIA chart at #29, becoming Triple J’s ‘Album of the Week’ and garnering heavy local airplay. Soon, packed out local residencies gave way to national tours and slots at major festivals such as The Big Day Out, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival , V Festival, Meredith Music Festival, and The Falls Festival. Recently they supported Blondie and The Pretenders. Listen to Little Red sold over 25,000 copies in Australia and was released in the UK through Lucky Number Records. Little Red knocked the socks off sell-out crowds in London and beyond before returning home to work on Midnight Remember, available now through Liberation Records.
Midnight Remember - September 2010
Listen to Little Red - March 2009
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LITTLE RED’S ALBUM MIDNIGHT REMEMBER DEBUTS AT #5 Melbourne’s Little Red have taken the ARIA char...LITTLE RED’S ALBUM MIDNIGHT REMEMBER DEBUTS AT #5
Melbourne’s Little Red have taken the ARIA charts by storm with an incredible Top 5 debut for their acclaimed new album Midnight Remember.
The band’s sophomore album has received widespread critical acclaim in recent weeks and punters have similarly given the album a massive thumps up.
Midnight Remember also holds the coveted # 1 position on the ARIA Australian artists chart and is one of just two local albums in the overall Top 10.
Album of the Week gongs continue to flow for the album – the national HIT liftout declared “Little Red have just stepped up into the big league” in their four star Album of the Week review, The Age’s Melbourne Magazine bestowed it with Album of the Month status and raves “this is just pure genius”, while Channel Seven’s Sunrise have declared the band a “must see”.
The good news continues for the Little Red boys with their insanely catchy lead single Rock It crashing into the ARIA Top 20 singles chart at # 19 (up from # 28 last week) and also leaping to #2 on the Australian artists singles chart.” The song is only gathering momentum and it is certain to feature in many single of the year recaps at year’s end.
Meanwhile, tickets for the band’s Midnight Remember tour are flying out the door with all shows expected to sell out well in advance. Move quickly if you want to sample what the entire country is raving about.
“…chase Little Red down at a big-stage festival and enjoy what could be this summer’s signature album.” The Sunday Age, Melbourne
“One of the most exceptional Australian releases in memory.” Beat, Melbourne
“Little Red have broken the sophomore album curse with their new release Midnight Remember.” Sunday Magazine
“…the most surprisingly exceptional album of 2010.” BMA, Canberra
MIDNIGHT REMEMBER is out now through Liberation Music.
Album of the Week
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“...Then there are realisations like Little Red’s Midnight Remember. The realisation is one of affir...“...Then there are realisations like Little Red’s Midnight Remember. The realisation is one of affirming a belief in music – it’s a belief that pop music can make you smile, make you think of driving along a winding country road, appreciating life in all its multi-hued brilliance. It’s enough to wash away the anger and frustration that contemporary life – here’s looking at you, media and politics – brings about. For a band a comparatively pristine as Little Red to have even crafted a record as confident and tempered as Midnight Remember must be appreciated. Their debit was charming in its naiveté, but that they acknowledged that and strove to create an entirely new blueprint for them to work from was a crucial move; they easily could’ve stuck to their guns and appeased their many fans with a record of ‘50s doo-wop rock. The easy, conservative way. One that would’ve paid off in the short term. Instead, they’ve taken the hard road, and the results are all the better from them in the long run – Midnight Remember is a record that points at there being far more behind Little Red than many would’ve realised. Sure there’s eye-opening guitar-driven jangle-pop episodes like Little Bit of Something which fins Little Red at their chugging Motown boy-group harmonies best, but those incidents are few. Instead there’s sparkling widescreen pop like Forget About Your Man and the ragtime, big-band groove of Lazy Boy. In My Bed’s country inflections are charming and showcase a new songwriting element in the Little Red dynamic, as does All Mine’s slow-burn balladry that gives Cloud Control a run for their money. Or there’s the brilliantly sparse Follow You There, finding Little Red – and all five of Adrian, Tom, Quang, Taka and Dominic chop and change the vocal work across the record to great effect – striving to find that perfect pop melody. Holy hell – Going Wrong almost sounds like a Billy Joel song, but it’s one of the few instances when that sentence is a good thing. That’s not to say Midnight Remember or Little Red are sounding nostalgic, though; moments like I Can’t Wait or Slow Motion sound like they’re soundtracking memories of a life you’ve never lived, but at least one you aspire to lead. It’s similar to where the genius of Fleetwood Mac and Husker Du lies – not looking back and paying homage to bands per se, rather employing disparate elements of pop music to craft and create a band-specific, almost talismanic sound. Across 13 tracks, where there’s barely a moment of them repeating themselves, that’s a talisman they’ve found. That’s what Midnight Remember is – it’s Little Red, the way they’re meant to be. Free to challenge themselves in striding forward, rather than resting on their laurels. Therein lies the sheer brilliance of a tune so ubiquitously catchy as Rock It and how that rune – while not musically indicative of the remainder of Midnight Remember – sums up the record ideally. Recording with Scott Horscroft (Presets, The Panics, Birds of Tokyo) revamping and discovering themselves as a band has paid excessive dividends. They realised that when you’re motivated to bring out one’s own best features – and Rock It is one of the best singles you’ll hear anywhere – more often than not, you can create something exceptional. That’s exactly what Midnight Remember is. One of the most exceptional Australian releases in memory. It’s the musical realisation that – just as you feel when listening to the album itself – life is alright.” Jaymz Clements
Midnight Remember: Little Red
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A simple funky drum beat, a slinky bass-line, a catchy piano melody, followed by the word “Alive”. T...A simple funky drum beat, a slinky bass-line, a catchy piano melody, followed by the word “Alive”. That is the basis for Little Red’s party anthem Rock It, which is by far the best pop song to be released in Australia this year. The beginning of the song is nothing new, and ultimately, the formula that builds the song is not necessarily original. But the delivery most definitely is, and that is where Little Red’s originality lies. This song represents for the most part how the band’s second album Midnight Remember is produced; one of the best examples in recent times of combining old sounds with elements of those which have been so successful in recent times.
The follow-up to the band’s successful debut album of 2008, Listen To Little Red, Midnight Remember has been crafted with all the care in the world. The time taken to produce the album certainly shows throughout, with every bit of attention given to the detail of each track. Master Australian producer Scott Horscroft, who seemingly can’t be involved in a bad album if he tried, has taken the reins of this one and it is certainly in the production where the marked improvement in Little Red’s sound is evident.
Album opener Get A Life sets the standard from the get-go. The first few minutes of the track could have come straight from Cut Copy’s Bright Like Neon Love, or Empire of the Sun’s debut effort. The atmospheric-electro nature of the track slowly builds with time, until acoustic guitar and a driving bass drum combine to completely take you away. This track is the perfect introduction to the album on a whole, and follows through into the coming tracks.
Slow Motion also adapts this shimmering electro-acoustic feel and really shows off Dominic Byrne’s vocal range, which has vastly widened on Midnight Remember. Forget About Your Man is probably the first time on the album we really see the old Little Red co-existing with the new; the swoonful nature of the band’s harmonies is brought back to the fore, with the desperate lyrics of Quang Dinh combining with grandiose horns to create a soulful sing-along.
The ability to slow things down is another trick that Little Red have up their sleeves. I Can’t Wait is a classic example, as the band create swirling melodies across a deep array of atmospheric synths to really hone in this new sound they have adopted. Then there’s Lazy Boy, which takes on more of a reggae feel at the beginning and then moves into the band’s traditional rock ’n’ roll stylings, with harmonies, guitars and a soulful brass section largely carrying the track.
It is the vocal of Tom Hartney that well and truly stands out on Midnight Remember. His voice is particularly prominent on Place Called Love where the phrase “just follow me” is emphatically sung with immense swagger, as if the band were on the set of a 60s Western film. The song is destined to be a live hit with fans, as it gets faster in tempo with every chorus until it reaches a dynamic crescendo. Hartney also adds his vocal nous to Going Wrong, where the band seemingly questions their past life-choices in a very sentimental manner. Album closer Chelsworth shows the band’s more blues-induced take on rock; the song is heavy on piano and acoustic guitar, with the introduction of a wailing harmonica for good measure.
Upon hearing Chelsworth 45 minutes on from the opening of Get A Life, you really get a feel for what Little Red have tried to do with Midnight Remember. The first few tracks on the album hint at a vast new direction for the band, yet they manage to keep true to themselves and really let the album flow the way they want it to. It is great to hear a band that can progress their sound so much without leaving behind the music that got them to where they are.
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“The next Melbourne band in line for world domination is Little Red” - Herald Sun Hit "Little Red...“The next Melbourne band in line for world domination is Little Red” - Herald Sun Hit
"Little Red are far too good to be confined to the local circuit" - www.wirelessbollinger.com
“A great, exciting and passionate album” - (Melbourne) Magazine
“Beat group magic” - Sydney Morning Herald Metro
“One of the freshest things I’ve heard all year” - The Age EG
“Perfectly crafted pop songs” - Jmag
“Sharp. And Sweet.” - Who Weekly
“Musical Gold ... honey-voiced harmonies and crackling beats and rhythms” - FasterLouder.com.au
"One of the best bands in the country!” - INPRESS magazine
“A stupendous local live act” - The Herald Sun Hit magazine
“These guys are going to be huge” - thescene.com.au
Listen To Little Red - Album Review
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Melbourne’s Little Red are one of the freshest breaths of air to have blown through the increasingly...Melbourne’s Little Red are one of the freshest breaths of air to have blown through the increasingly stuffy musical world of late.
It was of no great surprise to anyone who had seen Little Red live (except perhaps those that witnessed them at Erinsborough’s most versatile licensed venue – Charlies) to see the band the subject of much cheque-book waving and promise proffusing by A & R reps aplenty. The band has tapped a rich, lustrous vein of musical gold. They harness honey-voiced harmonies and set it to crackling beats and rhythms and dress it up sharper than Edward Scissorhand’s handshake. You can’t help be affected by the simple, yet unavoidably infectious, cheeky brilliance and the unsullied pure fun of it all.
The aptly named opening track Coca Cola is quite possibly the best advertisement for said soft-drink that money could ever buy. Talk about refreshment. This album comes at you like some large overbearing puppy that charges at you and bundles you over, but only for nothing more sinister than to lick your face.
It is not all froth and bubble; there are some solid injections of real feeling in there. Yet it has always been an anomaly of musical history that some of the chipper-est music imaginable can be cajoled into conveying some serious sentiment. But for the most part this is playful pop milking that wondrously naive boy/girl interaction that they may dare and dream and wait so long so that one dreamy day they may end dabbling in some euphoric hand holding or, if the planets all align – a kiss (ooh err!).
They may well request you to ‘Listen to Little Red’ on the album’s spine, but I’m sure ‘Dance to Little Red’ would be their real motive. This release will surely be the (suavely shoed) foot in the door to bigger and better things for the band.
From Little Things ...
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Little Red have come a long way from their humble suburban beginnings, writes Patrick Donovan. IV...Little Red have come a long way from their humble suburban beginnings, writes Patrick Donovan.
IVANHOE may not have a reputation as one of Melbourne's creative hot spots: the most exciting thing to happen in the sleepy eastern suburb is Christmas week when neighbours compete to display ostentatious fairy lights. But for the young members of Little Red, its safe streets are fondly remembered as the backdrop for their debut album.
They couldn't afford to catch a cab to Fitzroy where the action was, so they would stumble around Ivanhoe with a bottle of wine, cigarettes, a guitar and a dictaphone to record their songs.
"Ivanhoe is full of old people but at night you've got the place to yourself," says shaggy-haired singer-guitarist Dom Byrne.
The band were still finding their feet and trying to sort out who would be lead singer when one night, after listening to Beach Boys records, they had an epiphany: they could all sing.
"One night we were all singing together and we became one voice," says Adrian Beltrame.
"It was like (the Wailers') Peter Tosh when he said 'We were always one voice'," adds Byrne in mock Jamaican accent.
One night, they heard angelic gospel singing emanating from a hall next to a church, which inspired their four-part harmonies.
"We kind of spy on a church group who rehearse in a hall next to a church," says Beltrame. "It's amazing: they will do the bass parts first, then the soprano and then all sing together. They're really good, all real voices, but we just look in the window; we're too scared to go in. Things are really happening in Ivanhoe."
And things are really happening for Little Red. The quintet - Beltrame, Byrne, Tom Hartney (who all sing and play guitar), bassist Quang Dinh and drummer Taka Honda - released their debut album, Listen to Little Red (on June 28 2008) to much fanfare, scoring a spot as the Triple J album of the week.
The hype has been building by word of mouth about the charming fresh-faced band in their mid-20s dressed in snappy '60s suits like the Monkees or the house band from Al's Diner in Happy Days. With three lead singers, synchronised guitar moves, bubbling bass lines, four-part harmonies and an on-stage energy that suggests they enjoy the shows as much as their capacity crowds, it's as if they have arrived in a time machine from the '60s. They are proudly retro but updated their catchy soul-pop-garage tunes with modern soul sensibilities.
They sold out their single launch at the Corner Hotel without having released any material, which is practically unheard of.
Like classic pop bands of the '60s, Listen to Little Red squeezes 16 effervescent garage-soul-pop songs into 38 minutes. They co-produced it with Steve Schram at Guruland in Oakleigh, recording it 90% live to capture their rackety on-stage energy and released it on their own label, Hooch Hound Records, with distribution by Shock Records.
Highlights include their finest pop moment, Coca-Cola, which is the first proper song on the Underbelly soundtrack, the spooky Witchdoctor, as well as the devastating ballad Stare in Love and their paean to summer, Autumn Leaves.
The album stands up on its own, but until you've seen them live, it's like listening to the soundtrack of a musical.
"It's so hard to put your finger on what makes a good stage show," says Byrne. "I mean, Roy Orbison can stand still and there's energy pouring out of him - you don't have to be jumping around to get that."
They cite classic influences such as doo-wop, '60s garage bands, Sam Cooke, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Bruce Springsteen and Phil Spector, and classic '70s songwriters such as Jackson Browne - discovered listening to their dads' record collections.
But they mix those classic influences with the urgency of "Nu Rock" bands the Vines, the Strokes and Franz Ferdinand.
"I'm not really up there with the Nuggets stuff, but I like the Kinks and the early Beatles," says Byrne. "It's more about having the sound of the band in the room, rather than the individual sound of the instruments. It's all about the song and the melodies. And I like simple words, from the heart."
Despite these influences, they believe that the generic "retro" tag is unfair.
"If you look at bands like the Beach Boys, they took elements from various decades - there's heaps from the '40s and '50s - and people don't acknowledge that. People say we sound like a '50s, '60s or '70s band, but those decades are all so different. Like (the Beach Boys') Smile drew on motifs from '40s and '50s popular songs. You just grab from wherever."
Beltrame and Byrne met at Mother of God Primary School in Ivanhoe, and met the rest of the band at Xavier College in Kew, where they started their first band, LMNOPQ.
"It was cool. You were in a band as soon as you said you were in a band," says Hartney.
It morphed into Synthescape and Boon (named after hard-drinking cricketer David Boon) and their sound was inspired by the complex sounds of Radiohead and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
It wasn't until Beltrame and Byrne discovered the lush harmonies of the Beach Boys that they decided to simplify their sound and change their name to Little Red, after Willie Dixon's song Little Red Rooster.
"We were flunking uni, listening to the Beach Boys and longing for the summer, and I started doing my first vocal arrangements," says Byrne. "I started simplifying things rather than writing lots of chords. On one hand it's about getting it simpler, but there's also more vision to it."
The last piece of the puzzle was finding their drummer, Japanese-born Taka Honda, who Hartney knew from university.
"He comes from a punk background, so he smashes the shit out of the drums. It gave it a different dynamic, more of a garage sound," Hartney says. "He doesn't have his own kit, so he's still using the one we borrowed from my brother's friend two years ago."
The rise of Little Red has been a classic case of word of mouth. One minute they were just one of many bands gigging around Melbourne. A few dozen friends turned up to the first of their month-long residency at the Tote in Collingwood in May 2007. In her Age blog that week, Clem Bastow added to the interest by writing: "Little Red are pretty much the best band in Melbourne at the moment".
The next week, the Tote was full. By the final week, their confidence was up and the band entered the stage to an epic Ennio Morricone song.
Then came crowd-pleasing sets at Meredith, the Falls and Big Day Out festivals, and a month-long residency at the Northcote Social Club. They could tell their star was rising by their increasingly bountiful backstage rider. Before too long, they won the Garage to V band competition and were jetting around the country, staying in luxury hotels with rock gods Billy Corgan and Josh Homme, being showered with free champagne, clothes and phones.
Now Little Red will embark on their first headline tour around the country.
"I want as many people as possible to hear our music," says Byrne. "I'm hoping this album does pretty well, but we've got heaps more new songs, and we want to go overseas and try it out over there."
It doesn't seem that long ago that the kids from Ivanhoe first heard their music on radio, driving through Kew when Coca-Cola came on Triple J. "We were going to a party, and we did this mental double take. 'I know this song! F--- me'," says Byrne. "We cracked the long necks right then and there."
Little Red play August 14 at Ballarat's Karova Lounge, Richmond's Corner Hotel on August 15 and August 16 at Moorooduc's Peninsula Lounge.
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On tour showcasing their recent second album, Midnight Remember, Little Red waste no time in breakin...On tour showcasing their recent second album, Midnight Remember, Little Red waste no time in breaking out the four-part vocal harmonies and retro rock sound that they are famous for. The sold-out crowd are lapping it up too, clapping along enthusiastically and (mostly) in time with drummer Taka Honda, from his perch atop the kick drum. The new album adds some more languid moments to the band’s set list, with All Mine and Follow You There set against the Melbourne quintets more rambunctious early works like Jackie Cooper and Fight Song. This juxtaposition, coupled with the use of three distinctive lead vocalists is one of Little Red’s strengths; for while they have a relatively idiomatic sound, they can still put together a varied, and consequently, entertaining set. As expected though, it’s the familiar material that attracts the strongest reaction and Rock It sends everyone wild – in a bouncy, hands-in-the-air, sing-along kind of way. The biggest cheer has been reserved for Coca-Cola, a fitting closer to the set – until the encore at least. The lads stay in their retro rock sweet spot just a little while longer and bring the curtain down with an oldie, Cry Cry; the title’s sentiment in stark contrast with the hugely appreciative response that it receives.
By Nils Hay
There are no upcoming dates at this time.