Spiderbait are seriously one the greatest bands that I own and quite frankly I have no idea why they aren’t a band I talk about more. They are the embodiment of everything I love about music from their heaviness to their weirder and experimental moments and of course the glorious pop music they are so great at. They are a band who came from a unique period of Australian music where every band offered something different and had their own voice.
My entry point to Spiderbait was due to my Brother Ben and it occurred in 1996 when the band released their “Buy Me A Pony” single. My Brother was in love with that song and I remember being jealous because I loved it as well. When Spiderbait’s third studio album “Ivy and The Big Apples” was released my brother was one of the first people in Mackay to own it. I remember recording a copy of it onto a blank cassette tape. I so badly wanted to own that album because it was so fucking cool. From the moment it opens to the moment it closes it is just an unreal movement of music. It covers so many different sounds and was incredibly eclectic.
After my family moved to Bundaberg not long after this me and my brother had the pleasure of catching on late night RAGE one evening a live special that Spiderbait did for Recovery. A blank VHS tape was put into the video player and we taped it. We spent so many of our weekends watching that VHS tape and I remember just becoming even more obsessed with the band.
Luckily I was able to find this live special on YouTube so before I go any further I reckon it’s pretty important for you to sit through it:
There is a lot to love about early Spiderbait and that period of time. So as luck would have it I eventually got my brothers copy of “Ivy and The Big Apples” and that same year I also brought the bands second record “The Unfinished Spanish Galleon of Finley Lake” and it is safe to say I became a bit of a super fan. By the time the band released their next album “Grand Slam” I wasn’t listening to them as much and my tastes weren’t as geared towards the band. The same thing happened when the band released their fifth album in 2001 which was called “The Flight Of Wally Funk” and again same reason I was too busy freaking out on “Echolalia” by Something For Kate to notice. That all being said, I still kept an interest in the band and I knew that at some point they’d come back around to be an important band in my life.
This managed to happen briefly in 2002 when my I borrowed my brother’s copy of “Grand Slam” and holy shit, did I fall in love with that album. It was such a great record and expanded on the weirdness of their early material. I think that is such an important record in terms of the advancement of Australian Alternative music. So much of the quirky indie pop bands that came later pale in comparison to the sounds Spiderbait were making on “Grand Slam” and I can’t write a Spiderbait blog without sharing my two favourite songs from “Grand Slam” which are called “Glockenpop” and “Stevie” – have a listen:
So as you can hear they were becoming quite an amazing pop band and the bliss of both tracks always puts me in a good mood.
It wasn’t until 2004 though that I fully became devoted to Spiderbait once again. This was the year they released their sixth album “Tonight Alright” (you know the album with Black Betty on it). Although it was impossible to escape the first single “Black Betty” at the time it wasn’t this song that got me addicted once again. It was their next single “Fucken Awesome” and again for your viewing and listening pleasure here is the official video for that track:
Yeah I know I tend to favour the songs that Janet sings but regardless of that favouritism from my angle I still reckon the above song is fucking so great.
So I took my pay cheque that week and re-brought the whole discography in one moment of retail therapy. I spent the rest of 2004 incredibly addicted to Spiderbait and this spilled over into 2005.
Every year since 2005 I’ve had a period of time each year where I will listen to nothing but Spiderbait and every time I listen to them I fucking enjoy it. Why do I enjoy it? Well quite simply it is just great pop music in that Pixies tradition. The music allows itself to be experimental without straying too far from the confines of standard pop music dynamics.
Sometimes I just like really good pop music and Spiderbait make really good pop music. Sometimes I like a band to rock incredibly hard and honestly and Spiderbait rock incredibly hard. Spiderbait are a band who experiment and a band who have their own sound and for people who weren’t there back in 1996 when they exploded it’s hard for me to explain why they were so radical. Regardless of whether modern youth culture likes them or not is beside the point, I like them and that is all that matters.
I’m very much looking forward to hearing the band’s new album and just for something different I will share with you one of the highlights from “Ivy and The Big Apples” called “When Fusion Ruled The Earth” – enjoy.
By: Dan Newton
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