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Interview with Levi Anderson from the Kite Machine


Hailing from Geelong, Victoria, The Kite Machine sway from swirly and dreamlike soundscapes to tight grooves and twisted guitar licks on their latest single ‘Walls’. The band proves yet again that they are adept at taking listeners on a wild ride that takes one unexpected musical turn after another.

Tomatrax caught up with Levi Anderson, the band’s singer and guitarist, to ask a few questions.


How did the band form?

The band started with me forming a band to play my original music with a group of friends from a music course in Ballarat. Members have come and gone as the band was finding its identity but since 2015 when Kane and I were joined by bassist Liam Brennan, The Kite Machine’s path has never been surer and it’s identity as a band was realised. 


Where did the name The Kite Machine come from?

There is no real interesting story behind the name. It basically came from me putting words together that sounded cool and then seeing if that name was taken. The Kite Machine is what eventuated.


You’ve got your debut album coming out next month, how will the rest of the album compare with your first few singles?

There will definitely be some surprises. We released a rather diverse range of singles ranging from solo acoustic to almost electro rock but you’ll find something a little heavier, a little more progressive and even a little dancier once you spin the rest.

You’ve been together for 8 years, what made you decide now was the time to do a full length record?

We didn’t really decide now was the time necessarily, this record has been over two years in the making. It’s hard to choose when the right time is, sometimes you are at the mercy of time, how long production takes, film clips, PR schedules etc and you don’t want to rush any of it… This is just how it turned out.


What made you decide to make the album self titled?

Being it’s our first album this is a real introduction to the band. These are a collection of what we consider to be the best songs we’ve been playing for years as well as some newer tracks people haven’t heard yet. Up until this point these songs define what TKM is. 

We’ve had EPs in the past but nothing makes a real statement like a full length record and we want people to remember the name with that statement.

What is the music scene in Geelong like?

The scene in Geelong is looking real strong with a lot of quality local artists releasing new music this year. They’re booking tours and playing solid local shows and really building brands for themselves. It’s this kind of professional approach that is putting Geelong on the map, letting the world know that there are real, talented musos here that are worth taking notice of.


When writing what comes first the words or the music?

Music always comes first for us. We work tirelessly over the instrumental rhythms and how they work together, however Levi’s vocal melodies and rhythms are seen as an instrument that needs to work with the rest. Lyrical content is usually the last layer to the overall piece.


Do you ever listen to your own music?

Sure we do and yes we’ll turn it up if it comes on at a party. Our music is essentially the best bits of all the music we love and we’re proud of it.


What other music do you listen to?

Some favs are Biffy Clyro, Raconteurs, band of skulls, Tool, Cog, Mutemath, Wax Chattel, DZ Deathrays and of course Rage Against The Machine!


What do you have planned once the album is out?

We want to get straight into playing shows as soon as possible. We will have tour dates to release soon, hometown shows, Melbourne, Sydney, we want to push the album as far as we can.


Check out The Kite Machine’s website to find out more!



Fred Abong (Throwing Muses, Belly) Announces ‘Pulsing’ EP, UK Tour with Kristin Hersh


Fred Abong has announced his new solo release – the ‘Pulsing’ EP. This six-track offering will release on March 8, the same day that his UK tour with Kristin Hersh kicks off. As a solo artist Abong will be supporting Hersh on this tour. But he will also be playing bass in Kristin Hersh’s live electric trio, together with Rob Ahlers, drummer in the Hersh-led power trio 50FOOTWAVE.

This follows Abong’s 2018 ‘Homeless’ EP, also released upon launching his previous UK tour supporting Kristin Hersh. Ahead of the EP release, he presents the lead track ‘Firefly’.

Best known as former bass player for the influential art-punk band Throwing Muses and Grammy-nominated alt-rock band Belly, Abong has been immersed in academia for the last eight years or so, completing a Ph.D. in Humanities and working as an adjunct professor in the Religious Studies, Philosophy, and English Departments at various universities.

“it was inspired by life and life events. You can fill in the blanks here to your satisfaction – relationships, loss, death, ecstasy, identity, longing, transformation, frustration, desire, love, hate, etc.,” says Fred Abong.

“Songs are only one possible manifestation of the inspiration that informs existence; and if that’s true, then maybe focusing less on the specifics of the inspiration behind someone’s songs and more on the pervasiveness of inspiration in each of our lives would be of more benefit and utility. Your own life, in other words, is just one song after another. You should listen to those first. If you want some company after that, then by all means give the songs on Pulsing a listen.”

Prior to being in Throwing Muses and Belly, Fred was active as a drummer and bass player in numerous bands centered on the Newport, RI hardcore punk scene, which gave rise to bands like Vicious Circleand Verbal Assault. Partly because of these DIY roots, Fred left the music ‘business’ after the release of Belly’s ‘Star’ in 1992, choosing instead to quietly and independently pursue his own music.

Abong’s music has been described as cross between “ragged Replacements and lyric-driven Bob Dylan,” and as “Elliott Smith with balls”.

Most recently, Fred contributed bass on Kristin Hersh’s new ‘Possible Dust Clouds’ album, released in late 2018 via Fire Recordings, as well as working with Rhode Island-Boston collective The Pull of Autumn, for which he contributed ‘Vanishing Spell’.

Earlier, he worked with Tanya Donelly, former bandmate in both Throwing Muses and Belly, on the song ‘Snow Goose and Me’ for her 2016 ‘Swan Song’ series, a track that ABC News dubbed “a moody, expressive bit of songwriting that will demand repeat listens”.

Fred Abong’s album will be released digitally via Bandcamp, with CDs to be available exclusively at shows during his UK tour. Show and ticket info for all shows can be found at

8th Mar: Engine Rooms, Southhampton, UK
9th Mar: West End Centre, Aldershot, UK
10th Mar: Bush Hall, London, UK
12th Mar: Bush Hall, London UK
13th Mar: Sub89, Reading, UK
15th Mar: Holywell Music Room, Oxford UK
16th Mar: Philharmonic, Liverpool, UK
17th Mar: Cluny, Newcastle, UK
18th Mar: Perth Theatre, Perth, UK
19th Mar: Mono, Glasgow, UK
20th Mar: Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, UK
21st Mar: Left Bank, Leeds, UK
22nd Mar: St Phillips Church, Salford, UK
23rd Mar: Hare & Hounds, Birmingham, UK
24th Mar: Glee Club, Nottingham, UK
26th Mar: Tramshed, Cardiff, UK
27th Mar: Phoenix, Exeter, UK
28th Mar: The Fleece, Bristol, UK
29th Mar: Arts Centre, Colchester, UK
30th Mar: St Paul’s, Worthing, UK
31st Mar: Quarterhouse, Folkestone, UK
1st April: Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich, UK

Marty Willson-Piper ‘Hanging Out In Heaven’ gets Record Store Day blue vinyl issue with 2 extra tracks


At last, the fifth solo album ‘Hanging Out In Heaven’ by Marty Willson-Piper (The Church, All About Eve) will be released on vinyl for the first time ever. An exclusive release for Record Store Day 2019, this record will be issued on blue-tinged vinyl as a heavy-weight gatefold double LP via Schoolkids Records and includes two bonus tracks ‘Queen In Her Jeans’ and ‘Dressed Up As You’.

It’s been a long wait for this vinyl edition of one of Marty’s seminal albums. Originally released in 2000 via San Francisco’s Heyday Records, the intention was always to release it on vinyl. 19 years later, it’s finally happening.

“At last, my fifth solo album, Hanging Out In Heaven, will be released through Schoolkids Records on Record Store Day. It’s been a long wait for one of my most well-received records. The album has new artwork and comes on blue double vinyl with two extra tracks. Recorded in sessions in L.A. and Sweden with the two added songs recorded in London, the album contains some of the most emotional and poignant songs I ever wrote,” says Marty Willson-Piper.

This album from Marty Willson-Piper follows up the success of last year’s Record Store Day vinyl release of ‘Spirit Level’ also via Schoolkids Records, which was originally released in 1992.

Marty Willson-Piper has been writing and performing internationally for over 35 years. He is best known as a long-time member of Australian psychedelic rock band The Church, who he was with from its inception through to 2013. He joined All About Eve in the ’90s, releasing two studio albums and several live albums with them.

He is also lead singer and lyricist with Swedish band MOAT, a touring member of Swedish Prog legends Anekdoten, and half of the duo Noctorum with producer Dare Mason. Since the mid-1980s, Willson-Piper has maintained a steady solo output, releasing six solo studio albums and three live solo albums to date. He has also co-written music with many artists, including Grace Slick, Aimee Mann, Susannah Hoffs and Linda Perry.

Marty Willson-Piper’s most recent release is ‘The Afterlife’, an album released by Noctorum in mid-February on CD and vinyl. This successful crowdfunded effort has resulted in the album charting in four separate Billboard charts in the first week after the album’s release. Already in March, Willson-Piper will launch his ’12 String & Violin Magic’ UK tour, together with Olivia Willson-Piper.

As of Saturday, April 13, ‘Hanging Out In Heaven’ can be found at RSD-participating record stores. This RSD edition is limited to 1,000 copies. Already now, this album is available via online stores and streaming platforms like Spotify, albeit without the two bonus tracks.

Mar 14  LONDON – The Betsey Trotwood (downstairs) SOLD OUT
Mar 15  LONDON – The Betsey Trotwood (upstairs) SOLD OUT
Mar 17  BIRMINGHAM – Kitchen Garden Cafe
Mar 18  BRISTOL – Salt Cafe
Mar 19  MANCHESTER – Gullivers Lounge SOLD OUT
Mar 20  LEEK – Foxlowe Arts Centre
Mar 21  EDINBURGH – The Voodoo Rooms
Mar 22  LIVERPOOL – Smithdown Social Club

David J (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets) announces ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ 7″ as Record Store Day exclusive



The Schoolkids Records label has announced the new ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ 7″ single from David J, which will be released for Record Store Day. This will be issued on limited edition vinyl in a run of only 500 copies. This is the first great protest song of the year, exclusively for RSD 2019.

David J Haskins, an achieved solo artist in his own right, is also co-founder of both Bauhaus and Love and Rockets and the man responsible for the lyrics of the Bauhaus classic ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’.

“Thoughts and Prayers’ is a scathing rebuke of the United States for it’s inability to stop the senseless mass school shootings that are killing our nation’s children,” says David J, who bemoans the futility of “sending thoughts and prayers” to solve this tragic issue and also the inherent hypocrisy of the present government.

This 7″ single comes packaged in a sleeve with a striking picture of a rifle with a bloody red circle around it and a line drawn through it.  The complete lyrics of ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ are printed on the back so the nation does not miss a word of this powerful call to action.

The B-Side is a haunting cover of Emily Jane White ‘Hole in the Middle’. While origially written in response to the Bush administration, this powerful political song is just as relevant in today’s political environment.

David J also expresses his support for Record Store Day: “I first discovered music on vinyl, so whenever I’m flipping through albums in an indie store it harkens back to the magic and excitement of discovery of those early days. To my ears, vinyl still sounds better than any other format and Record Store Day has done a great job of reviving enthusiasm for it. The magic continues!”
David J has been touring the US and Europe, South America and Australia before that for the massively successful Ruby World Tour with Peter Murphy, celebrating 40 years of the music of Bauhaus. RSD 2019 is the perfect time for him to raise his voice against America’s shameful tragedy with this newest release.

“Big thanks to Rick Johnson and everyone at Record Store Day, Schoolkids Records, Darwin Meiners, Chris Lawrence, Mike Berg, Damon Robertson, Paul Wallfisch, Heather Paauwe, Emily Jane White, Tony Green, Sean Eden, Scott Saw, and Cassette Studio,” says David J.

As of Saturday, April 13, ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ can be found at RSD-participating record stores, but it is expected to sell out quickly, so if you are eager to obtain this, put in a request early with your local independent record store.

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