Little Red 2.0: A guide
Are Little Red greater than the sum of their parts? TOM MANN reports on the band’s four side projects to find out.
The five members of Little Red may have parted ways earlier this year but you can still see them playing in their new bands: New Gods, Naked Bodies, Major Tom and the Atoms and The Hondas.
The four post-Little Red bands have been kicking around for several months now and have all released new music. Major Tom was the first band to get on the board releasing the Shake It Til You Break It EP back in April, but all the post-Little Red bands have now released singles that will inevitably be compared to the songs from Listen to Little Red and 2010’s Midnight Remember.
Here’s FL’s guide to the new bands:
Little Red Members: Dominic Byrne and Adrian Beltrame.
Other members: Richard Bradbeer from Eagle and The Worm (bass), Sam Raines (drums), and Dale Packard from Ground Components (keys).
Comments on the break-up: “I think a lot bands are made up of people who aren’t necessarily the same, but that can be what makes it great … You’re all coming from different places but when you get together you’re more than the sum of the parts.” – Adrian Beltrame
Influences: Reportedly inspired by “celestial, ethereal pop songs, naturally inspired by their favourite music of the past and present, including Neil Young, Brian Wilson, Television and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti.”
Sounds like: Although the band is named after a track from the Meat Puppets’ second album, don’t expect to hear discordant cowpunk from New Gods. Of all the post-Little Red bands New Gods is the one closest to the slicker sounds the band offered on Midnight Remember. Like the final Little Red album, New Gods debut EP is produced by Scott Horscroft (The Temper Trap, The Presets, silverchair). With support sets for Alt-J, The Rubens, and Gypsy and The Cat already notched up or on their schedule, they’re also the group most likely to replace Little Red on the live circuit. New Gods’ debut EP is out on November 30.
Little Red reference point: ‘All Mine’
Little Red member: Quang Dinh.
Other members: Will Lopez (guitar/violin), Brendan West (bass) and Giuliano Ferla from the the Toot Toot Toots (drums).
Comments on the break-up: “Everything was brought to a head when Adrian and Dominic decided they wanted to fire Taka [Honda], our drummer. I thought this was a very insensitive, inconsiderate, cruel, naïve, unfriendly and egotistical decision to make. We were at loggerheads for a few weeks about this issue and those guys wouldn’t budge, so I decided to quit in January and be done with it … Little Red is definitely dead. We will never be in the same room again playing music together.”
Influences: Charles Bukowski, Dylan Thomas and Leonard Cohen.
Sounds like: Judging Naked Bodies’ by the 38 seconds of their teaser for ‘Fiction Tree’ seems a little unfair but in a recent interview with the sevensixtytwo blog Dinh says that he doesn’t want to write pop songs any more and isn’t interested in crossover success. “The new material is darker,” Dinh explains. “With a greater focus on lyrics, musical dynamics and development of a mood. I sing an octave lower than I used to and that’s where I belong.”
Naked Bodies’ double A-side ‘Fiction Tree/Monkey Blues’ is out digitally on iTunes/bandcamp on October 18, and on vinyl and CD on November 15.
Little Red reference point: ‘Lazy Boy’
Major Tom and The Atoms
Little Red member: “Major” Tom Hartney.
Other members: “The Maestro” Sean Vagg (saxophone), Adam “Vibes Chancellor” Swoboda (drums), “The Sinister Administerer” Si Lawrie (bass), “Professor” Simon Tait (guitar) and Benny “Hoos” Huisman (keys).
Comments on the break-up: “I’ve been in Korea, believe it or not, for the last month – my wife is Korean. I’m still friends with all the guys but I haven’t been in contact with them to let them know about the announcement. I couldn’t really speculate about what they’re feeling. Last I knew we were having a break, and then I got back from Korea. Since I’ve been back I haven’t heard any announcements from the Little Red camp.”
Influences: The Doors, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, Elvis, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Morphine, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Pink Floyd, Led Zep and Credence Clearwater Revival, among many many others.
Sounds like: According to Hartney, his new band is “an explosive brew of foot-stompin’ funky-tonk blues, spy-chedelic shoot-out tunes and howlin’ growlin’ jungle grooves”. Their debut EP Shake It Til You Break It harks back to the rough joys of Little Red’s first record when they were just a bunch of Melbourne boys with a love of ‘50s rock. Hartney isn’t entirely convincing as a greasy blues growler but he musters enough swagger to deliver. Major Tom and The Atoms’ debut EP Shake It Til You Break It is out now.
Little Red reference point: ‘Place Called Love’
Little Red member: Taka Honda.
Other members: Billy Honda (aka Will Mason from Ground Components, guitar and vocals), Mikey Honda (aka Brendan West, bass and vocals), Nigel Honda (aka Nigel Moyes, drums and vocals).
Comments on the break-up: “Youth is wasted on the young. I have also wasted my youth. But, I’ve been able to waste my youth so beautifully thanks to Little Red and our fans.”
Influences: Alcohol, The Clash, The Ramones and Blondie.
Sounds like: Honda says his band sounds like “broken English rock’n’roll” and it’s hard to argue with his description. Their new single ‘Cop Song’ is just under two minutes of bratty New Wave punk about a friend who got arrested for pissing in a Melbourne alleyway at 3am. It doesn’t break any ground but the jaunty chorus does offer some useful advice: “Don’t stop when you’re chased by a cop.” The Hondas single ‘Cop Song’ (and B-side ‘Feel Gay’) is out now.
Little Red reference point: ‘It’s Alright’