the janets
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the janets

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"Review-Punk As- May 06"

Coming over like a cross between indie art rock and 60s garage styles, Australian act The Janets release this, their debut full-length album. Opener "Song For Janet" shows off their Pixies influences overtly -complete with UFO references and the heavy breathing bridge from "Tame" putting in an appearance. It is so blatant, it is difficult to ascertain whether it is rip-off or tongue-in-cheek homage. Fortunately, the nous on display over the remainder of the tracklist of The Janets is more than ample evidence in favour of the latter.

The Janets are unafraid to pull out all the tricks - vocals range from distorted to sweet harmonies, dynamics switch from unfettered basslines to skittering single-line guitarwork to full-on power chord riffing. The maturity of the songwriting ensures this does not become a grab-bag of musical approaches with every change consistently being in service of the songs rather than a showcase for wankery.

The result is a strong rattling lo-fi album that manages to be both nostalgic to the early 90s as well as sufficiently different to establish a new voice. Only slightly hampered by the minimal production quality, The Janets is a debut of a band with an ear for hooks within buzzsaw indie rock - recommended.

The Janets Official Site

Review: Matt

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the janets- the janets [2005]


Feeling a bit camera shy


Spewing forth from Tasmanias toxic capital, Burnie, in the early 90's these underground favourites have endured turgid rigours to morph into international act.... the janets ....SURPRISING,
what the nameless hills above Beaconsfield hold.
 Head out towards nowhere in particular, until you find
Nettlefolds Road - a long, winding stretch of gravel that eventually gets you back on the road out of there - and, up a rutted track, atop a little knoll, you'll find a portal.
It's a little studio, in fact. And it's a portal, as you'll see.
Wasn't always so.
Not so long ago, the Dutch-looking wooden building on the knoll was just another dirty, old, fallen-down shed.
Full of possums and century-old possum shit, it was.
then, from far away in the North-West of Tasmania, came a band of rock musicians. For half the normal cost of recording an album, they turned this shed into the sort of studio purists dream of ... and put out a record.
It's good, too.

The musicians, being mad as parrots, are trying to keep this all quiet.
They reckoned without Bruce, though.
More of him a bit later.
First, let us tell you about this splendid shed-come-studio.
Downstairs, the floors are inch-thick Blackwood boards. There's a heavy steel potbelly stove, like the one in the homestead nearby, a large refrigerator, and an assortment of ancient armchairs and stools. In one corner sits a drumkit, and in another an old Hammond. Around the verges are slices of music equipment history, in various states of repair.
When the band started recording, a solitary bat lived among the beams - Vlad. A visiting cat got Vlad, which was sad.
Under the floor, there are still wombats.
The acoustics are very nice - exposed studs break up the standing waves.
And that's it. All the complicated stuff is upstairs. Beer and emotion can fly about, without any danger of collateral damage.
Up the stairs, in a neat little control room is the most important piece of recording equipment – an open reel one-inch, 16-track tape machine (ex-Australian Broadcasting Corporation). There's also an AHB consol (sitting on a three-inch slab of Blackwood) and a bit of valve outboard gear including a dedicated mike pre-amp, which runs through a compressor and straight to that lovely Quantegy tape.
And outside the control room is what the band calls the live room - all native timber and glass. This room commands pleasant views of Drunkards Gully (through which runs Drunkards Creek, whose headwater is the tarn beside the studio).
In the live room there are assortments of guitar amps from the classic to the tragic ... and a foot pump-operated organ that belonged to the lead singer's great, great grandmother.
The property is called Hillside and, as you'd expect, the studio is called Chillside.
And the music of The Janets?
It's art rock, with punk undertones - lo-fi and DIY, think the Pixies and Sonic Youth.
That the songs have filtered through from the Northwest of Tasmania, via several corners of the globe, is part happy chance (that The Janets found somewhere they felt comfortable with their music) and part brutal good fortune (this is where Bruce comes into the picture).
Bruce is a madman who farms on Nettlefolds Road, sometimes literally.
Droving cattle down the road a year back, he heard what the band was doing. It wasn't his kind of music, but he couldn't leave it alone.
At the point of a bullwhip, The Janets agreed to make Bruce their manager.
They're still not sure what he does, as manager, but back then, they knew they were in trouble if they didn't do something about putting out an album.
The forming of In-toX Records mollified Bruce, and the bullwhip was put away.
He sold the cattle, flew to Hong Kong and had a violet velvet coat made, flew back to Launceston and bought an old stretch limousine, drove back to Nettlefolds Road and employed his wife, Sonia, as his front office staff, and set himself up as the music mogul of Greater Beaconsfield.
Dr. Pat has his doubts.
``Our label's flimsy, and we've no chance of breaking this on the world,'' he said.
Still, here's The Janets, by The Janets.
Not a top-40 single to be seen ... it's a cracker of an album.