The Spoils
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The Spoils

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"Goodnight Victoria LP Review"

The Spoils make dour, damp, deep-welled music that the glossies would confusedly refer to as European. It’s about time to reconsider that geological genre, implying as it does that The Spoils sound in any way un-Australian. This kind of suit rock, with violins, pianos, accordions and so forth seems to come from a peculiar working class, convict background. And since the late seventies, try telling me anyone has done it better than unemployed Australians. The Bad Seeds, Blackeyed Susans, Died Pretty, Laughing Clowns, The Moodists, Dirty Three, stop me now before I turn into an index.

The Spoils make dark, ambered, forlorn music that finds itself forever in debt to unrequited love, alcohol, and a sense that life is a trial in which you are lucky if you can avoid tragedy on a regular basis. A six piece fronted by Sean Simmons and finding his perfect foil in Bronwyn Henderson – what his crochety Mark Lanegan vocals drag down in menace and threat, her multi-instrumental flourishes colour with a sense of drama – The Spoils seem to know what they’re doing. Am I losing you here? It’s too easy to start using floral words, they jump out of your pen when confronted with music of this calibre. (Soon I’ll rip out lines about bruised clouds growling hungry on the horizon, or some such nonsense.) The themes are not new, nor the poses. But the execution is close to faultless. Goddamn they do it well.

The Spoils make the kind of music that send reviewers blind with the need to jerk off their poesy about how great it truly is. Ingenue and Music For Olde Time Magic Tricks are two of the highlights. And they both happen to be instrumentals. When did you last say that about an album, hey? When not sounding like Lanegan’s drinking buddy, or at his most sombre maybe Lanegan’s liver, Simmons channels the spirit of the Snarski boys and delivers lines such as

“No I won’t cry for you, just drink you off my mind”

in a way that only Tom Waits ever really had the right to. With a strangled desperation that is missing in these times of ironic stares and the open heart surgery that has become (scr)e(a)mo. The effect is that it makes you lean in closer during each verse. If you’ve got enough time in your life to sit yourself down in front of the fire of Goodnight Victoria then you will surely heed the call of these old fashioned tales of love, crime and punishment. Vaudeville tears, mariachis, Uncle Vania and supplications to the moon, all on show in front of the red-curtained stage.

The Spoils make music that Europeans love (fact) and that Australians will by and large ignore because they’re too busy being told they love shit albums like In Your Honour and that latest Franz Ferdinand one I have already forgotten the name of (seriously, just put on the first couple of The Cars albums if you want fine upstanding quirky rock). No wonder the glossies will refer to it as European

- Faster Louder.Com


"Goodnight Victoria LP Review #2"

Since their gorgeous bruised and ragged country album of 2001, Hurtsville, Melbourne sextet the Spoils moved to Brisbane and back and violinist Bronwyn Henderson spent time with Serbian gypsies honing her craft. Their travels seem to have had a marked impact on the band. On their follow-up they create an exotic and sinister soundscape inspired by gypsy and circus music, Morricone, French folk, Tom Waits, the Bad Seeds and the Blackeyed Susans as twangy guitars, Spanish horns, violin and accordion drive Sean Simmons' Raymond Chandler-style noir tales of desperadoes, drunks and a dangerous woman who "wore love in her eyes and the heart of a snake on her sleeve". Described as "urban balladry with the perils and pitfalls of a dysfunctional circus", it is partly a concept album, evidenced by titles such as Music for Olde Time Magic Tricks and Vaudeville Tears. Late night sing-a-long Louie's Last Waltz could have been on the soundtrack to Emir Kusturica's film Black Cat, White Cat. This blues will sound a treat at their Spiegeltent show on December 1. -- PATRICK DONOVAN - The Age, Melbourne


Discography

The Crook, The Cloak & The Maiden (LP) - 2009
I'll Be Gone (single) - 2009
The Folk Singer (single) - 2008
The Spell (EP) - 2007
Good Night Victoria (LP) - 2005
Come Down (single) - 2005
14 Days (single) - 2005
Hurtsville (LP) - 2001
Gimme Some Love (single) - 2001

Photos

Bio

The Spoils combine the ethos of classic vaudevillian melodrama with the dark & brooding tones passed down to them by Melbourne’s music royalty such as Rowland S. Howard & Nick Cave.

Having released two albums, (“Hurtsville” and “Goodnight Victoria”), THE SPOILS have played with the likes of Cat Power (USA), Bonnie Prince Billy (USA), Mick Harvey & Conway Savage (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds), Rowland S Howard (Boys Next Door), Tex Perkins and Spencer P Jones (Beasts of Bourbon), David McComb (The Triffids), Devastations, The Drones, The Flying Burrito Brothers (USA), Richard Buckner (USA) and more.

The band toured Europe in 2007 & 2008 to great acclaim taking in Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, Czech Republic & Netherlands. They have played at many Australian festivals, The Famous Spiegeltent as well as a tour of New Zealand.

In 2004, The Spoils had a chapter dedicated to them in Matthew Zurbo's book, "Hot Nights, Cool Dragons".

“The Spoils are a sight to see and hear, that is for sure, and they will not disappoint. Each song seeming as though it is its own story. Catch ‘em if you can”. (FasterLouder.Com)