Ned Collette
Gig Seeker Pro

Ned Collette

Band Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Ned Collette - Jokes and Trials"

It took awhile, but eventually I figured it out: Ned Collette is a goddamn faker. Here I was, all snuggled up, fetal position, ready for a stark record, an acoustic one, a release of autumnal hymns like those promised by the first three tracks, each more twilit than the last. And then “Boulder” starts with a Five Leaves Left string swell and I think, “this Collette fellow’s got his bases covered. I bet Greenwald’s loving this shit,” before -- wham! -- a boinging mouth-harp, quivering organ, and a fucking synthesizer solo, and I think, “wait! This isn’t boring at all! It’s good! Greenwald probably hates it!”

Okay, I’m joking. But Jokes and Trials is the type of obscenely strong record that, like We Are The Pipettes before it, manages to appeal to the at-odds sensibilities of both David “Ryan Adams Gets a 90%” Greenwald and Clayton “Ryan Adams Doesn’t Exist” Purdom. Actually, one other example springs to mind, and like Collette it’s the same stuff I used to listen to in mid-October a few years ago, when it was too warm to wear a coat but freezing rain fell anyway, and puddles turned to lakes and the sopping leaves drooped, and I kept cigarettes around to keep my fingers warm, but that other example chose to die before releasing his last record in 2005, which gives me one more reason to cling to Jokes and Trials desperately.

He’s good in a way that lots of artists think they are but aren’t, in that his album is hushed but not quiet, emotionally effective but not emotionally affected, sun-drenched and beautiful but not Kelley Stoltz. Chris Martin is 100% sure that he makes songs this immediately resonant, but that’s only because he’s buried them in labyrinthine ProTools sleight of hand. Collette, erstwhile singer of Melbourne’s City City City, also builds his songs in the studio, but his come out the speaker with earnest urgency, blooming quietly. There’s an impromptu playfulness in the music that belies the painstaking lyrics, but check it: that “Boulder” synthesizer, which is earth-shattering in the context of the song, was a one-take goof from Collette. Likewise, Ian Curtis-aping “Heaven’s the Key” is a perfectly somnambulant one-take droner. The entire record exudes this guileless appeal, the easy air of genuine chemistry. Nool recommends that the record be listened to while curled up on a couch or a bed or while playing scrabble; I suggest a long run on a Sunday afternoon, ignoring football and homework and watching the leaves change colors.

Either method will work. Songs like “A Plea For You Through Me” and “Blame” require nothing, really, to be gorgeous, whisping unchecked past the seven-minute mark into twanging, chiming denouements. The album is full of peaks like “Boulder” and valleys like these, all part of the same verdant landscape, all set beneath the same gold sky. Through this setting Collette’s voice sails like a paper airplane -- a throaty, folksy tour guide, pointing out trainstops and heartbreaks and navigating an immense emotional grey area. He populates his songs with strange and sometimes sad characters (from “Janet”: “The winter touch / Her hair as much it’s cold / The daily ins and outs are getting old”), and then watches them bump into one another in a consistent, quaint geography. Imagine a wry Robert Altman romance set in a New Zealand fishing village. Go ahead; I’ll wait. Okay? Now imagine that Leonard Cohen wrote a soundtrack for it, then imagine that Nigel Godrich produced it; you’re nowhere close to Jokes and Trials, but that’s kinda what it sounds like to me.

All of which makes this record sound like an appealing enough debut, but there’s another fakeout waiting: “The Laughter Across the Street,” buried in the middle of the tracklist, is an outright stunner. Few of the understated adjectives applicable to the record can be said about “Laughter” -- it seems a bit too large-minded -- although in its mild propulsive way it’s a necessary, logical centerpiece. Collette’s message here is the same open-eyed optimism that informed the Dismemberment Plan’s “You Are Invited,” but Collette sets his musings against lightly rising Disney coos and typically understated plucks and swells. This continues until the resolution comes: it seems obvious in hindsight that the song would come to this place, simple group doo-doo-doos over walking bass, thump-clap percussion, the same authentic joie de vivre as “Dry The Rain,” but all the more effective in this less bombastic setting. It’s music toeing the line of something bigger, something I can like along with everyone else, an august praise chorus. I’d be crazy not to like it.

Clayton Purdom
October 20, 2006 -

"Ned Collette - Live at The Hopetoun, Sydney, 16/09/06"

[Edited].... Collette rescues the evening from the clutches of pretension with his carefully nurtured stripped back sound that is introduced
via a bold rendition of The Beatles’, 'Come Together'. Like Collette’s oft mentioned heroine, Cat Power (who re-worked The Rolling Stones, …'Satisfaction' to a beautiful, and almost unrecognisable affect) Collette knows what makes a great cover. He smooths down the confrontational creases of The Beatles' original, rounds off the corners and gives it a more fluid, softer feel. It’s what a cover should be: an imaginative reinterpretation rather than a faithful copy.

Although Collette is well positioned to take advantage of the current folk resurgence, he has also managed to eek out his own niche within the genre. His delivery is in the very English vein of the likes of Bert Jansch or Collette‘s personal touchstone, Robert Wyatt. He ignores the urge to place a contemporary twist on matters, preferring instead to stick to the simple approach of ‘60s folk music. He augments his sparse style with an ear for fine detail (exampled perfectly by the complex intricacies of his guitar work on 'The Happy Kidnapper' and 'Blame'). Whilst Collette’s music has its roots in folk, don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s concerned with fey whimsy. The distorted loveliness of 'Heaven Is The Key' has sufficient bite to ward off any accusations of wilting balladry.

Collette also uses a delay pedal to construct the body of his songs. He seamlessly replays his own voice and guitar refrains to weave the delicate sounds that can be heard on the likes of 'Janet'. Such is the precision of his self made harmonies and supporting arrangements that if you close your eyes you’ll swear that Collette has the backing of a band, not just his own intuition.

Much like his music, Collette is warm and engaging throughout. He projects a quiet confidence in his material and its ability to convey his intentions without resorting to superfluous gimmickry. It’s this confidence that, in part, keeps a fairly restless audience engaged through to the final note and Collette’s short but sincere expression of thanks for our support. It’s a decent gesture, but in reality the pleasure has been all ours. - Drum Media

"Jokes and Trials albums of 2006 review"

Ned’s from Melbourne, Australia. He’s a new author to the Canadian and American readership, so he needs other authors giving testimonials on the back of his novel, so sceptics don’t think “Oh it’s just another token foreign writer, how exotic.” I’d like to hunt down Leonard Cohen to add something cheeky like “I’d bet the rest of my fortune that Mr. Collette will do for Melbourne what Robertson Davies did for older men with crazy hair.” But I might have to settle for Buck 65 saying: “It took me six rap albums and three alternative-rap-folk records to invent characters and vague storylines almost this compelling.” Ned used to be in a krautrock band called City City City. This is his first folk record.

It’s not entirely just a folk record, but that’s the easiest way to describe it. There’s this organ solo on “Boulder” that rolls out like long fingernails tickling your neck in the morning, and the vocal harmonies on “Laughter Across the Street” can define an entire year. But there’s this odd, almost noir sense pervading the record, it’s almost a mist or a spectre. Ned’s a classically-trained, well-studied guitarist. The “technical” side of his playing is a given. But he also has a natural ear for melody -- especially gentle, eerie, fragile melody. His writing takes complicated human emotions and teases them apart, dissecting, slowly. There’s this one story about struggling with expectations, coming clean, lodging caveats. It’s an internal conflict. It goes:

Have you seen him?
He looks like me.
Only Taller.
Wrapped in laughter.
Pay him no mind, he’ll leave you short-changed.

When you realize that Collette is writing a note about himself, to someone he’ll never give it to, you sort of catch on why poetry in popular music made a big return this year. Mostly being Spencer Krug’s fault, but here’s something a little more direct, with less snakes, less allusion, more poignancy, equally subtle, delicate, conniving.

I picked up a copy of a local newspaper this morning; it’s a trendier, easy-read daily version of the most respected paper in Victoria. Critics’ top-ten lists were featured. “Smart” albums like Silent Shout and Ys and Return to Cookie Mountain all placed. The biggest paragraph started “Who’d have thought that a folk record from a little-known singer-songwriter from Melbourne would be the best album of the year?”

-Aaron Newell -

"Jokes and Trials album review quotes"

The Age - EG magazine
"Nothing short of exemplary"
"Through this setting Collette's voice sails like a paper airplane -- a throaty, folksy tour guide, pointing out trainstops and heartbreaks and navigating an immense emotional grey area. He populates his songs with strange and sometimes sad characters… and then watches them bump into one another in a consistent, quaint geography. Imagine a wry Robert Altman romance set in a New Zealand fishing village."

Sunday Age - 4 stars
"...guitar-slinging denizen of Melbourne's City City City, breaks away for a solo debut that plays like all your favourite acoustic pauses burnt to one disc. Rich with close-miked vocals and drum-free ballads ... Soft but never pedestrian, Collette's filigree guitar passages collect tempo with smooth pedal-steel and peak with a hand-clapping choral climax on Janet."

Big Issue - 4 stars
"Jokes and Trials is a spare, intimate affair in which each song feels like a tiny revelation. He sings in gentle rhyme and understated metaphor, but there's a vunerability in this modesty ... resulting in an album that is every bit as intriguing as it is plainly beautiful.

dB Magazine
On 'Jokes And Trials', his first album proper, emerges Collette the bona-fide songwriter. His guitar melodies are consistently beautiful, bolstered by a cast of supporting players on vocals, strings and more. The warm hues of his acoustic guitar are cushioned by pedal steel and progressive flourishes. But it's Collette's rich baritone voice that steals the show. His slightly Kiwi-ed, defiantly antipodean inflection perfectly suits these songs. A vibrating electric guitar and processional drum thump is the milieu for Collette's echoing vocal "I don't know how I feel" on "Heavens The Key" and it's the tenderest moment in an album filled with 'em.
Be he surrounded with full-bodied arrangements or left with naught but his guitar and vocal, Ned Collette establishes himself and shines fantastic.
- Various


"Jokes and Trials" (2006) Dot Dash/Remote Control - DASH003CD - two singles "Boulder" and "The Laughter Across The Street" were released to radio from this album
"Test Patterns" EP (2004) Holding Pattern - HDP003CD

With City City City:
"The Perimeter Motor Show" (2005) Holding Pattern/Remote Control - HDP001CD
"Dawn and the Blue Light District" (2003) Sensory Projects - SRP025



Ned Collette just squeezed into the 70's, by three months. He began playing guitar at the age of 11, after learning the piano for a while. Ned studied history and english at university, but moved on to study experimental and improvised music on electric guitar. At this time he became an active member of the ever burgeoning Melbourne music scene and in 2000 he founded seven piece outfit City City City as a vehicle for some of the more complex musical forms he was beginning to write. In 2002 Ned went on to complete an honours degree in composition at Monash University. He produced short film scores, music for theatre, a 25 minute string quartet, through-composed avant garde electronic solo works, as well as performing countless improvised solo works.

Ned's first solo album "Jokes and Trials" (after two with City City City) was released in Australia mid-2006 on the Dot Dash label - affiliated with the Beggars Group. Prior to this Ned had produced one solo EP, "Test Patterns", in 2004. It had shown Ned's solo endeavours moving from pure experimentalism to a new kind of work, in which he began to employ the use of his voice. Test Patterns went on to sell solidly at shows and get airplay on Melbourne, Wellington and Sydney's major community radio stations. That year saw him play many rooftops and art spaces, honing his unique brand of personal storytelling, mixed with looped and driving guitar work.

Back to 2006 and Jokes and Trials garnered instantly excellent reviews, and saw Ned tour his home country solidly for the latter half of the year, headlining his own shows, and supporting the likes of Trans Am, Mogwai, Jason Molina, Camera Obscura and Deerhoof.

The album soon excited international press attention, first from Canada's, and subsequently from Pitchfork Media. CMG invited Ned to submit a song for their inaugural Covers Podcast, for which he turned in a stunning version of TV On The Radio's "Hours".

In Australia Ned's album has been consistently picked in best of 2006 lists. He's been invited to play large shows and festivals in both support and headline mode, has had airplay on major national and local radio, had the film clip for single "Boulder" aired on national television, and has been interviewed for major national print media and radio. In other words, things are going alright...

Ned has been recording a new album over the Australian summer, and has just signed a publishing deal with New Zealand/Australian outfit Native Tongue. He is off on his first European tour in the northern spring, supporting Joanna Newsom around Europe and Camera Obscura in the UK.

Bill Callahan (smog)
Joanna Newsom
Camera Obscura
Trans Am
Jason Molina
Thalia Zedek
Mick Turner (Dirty 3)
Holly Throsby
Laura Jean
New Buffalo

For more information please email Ned's manager Katrina House at or call +61 405 672 879.

Ned's myspace is at http://