Radar Illawarra: the week's music news

Welcome back to the Mercury’s weekly local music round-up, with Josh Butler wrapping up new music, gig announcements and band news. 

• First up, Wollongong metal titans LORD have locked in a rare local gig in May. Part of a tour called "Singing For Our Supper", which they say is planned because they "need money for a big recording project", the guys will play a show at the Grand Hotel (a rare occurrence in itself) on May 16, with Segression, Metreya and Carbon Black in support.

• Local punks Harbourer recently released their debut self-titled EP, and it's a killer. A tasty blend of grunge, emo and hardcore, the four-piece - whose members count Wollongong bands Mary Jane Kelly and Never Content on their musical resumes - have been making serious waves in the Aussie punk scene with a number of high-profile support slots and tours. Fans of Balance & Composure, Title Fight or Daylight (who Harbourer recently toured with) will find something to love here. They officially launch the EP at the Exchange Hotel in Sydney on March 22, but you can get the EP here.

Without Parachutes have a giant sound, big booming rock sitting somewhere in the Karnivool/Soundgarden/Birds of Tokyo mould. The Wollongong boys are working towards releasing their debut album, and recently dropped the first taster When We Fall online. It's a cracker, with frontman Will Cruger's piercing vocals sitting high above a tense synth sound before the band kicks into a pounding stadium rock sound. They launch the new single on March 27 at the Brighton Up Bar in Sydney, with fellow Illawarra products Thomas Covenant.

• Illawarra folk fivesome Rivet City are about to release their new seven-song EP. They have put up a behind-the-scenes video of the EP recording process on Facebook - along with a new song called Home II.

• The Den club night is back in business, announcing their comeback gig for March 26. After a brief break, the student-focused music night at City Diggers will return with Foxground, Lucha Libre and Marcus Aiello for a belated "back to school" party.

Purple Sneakers DJs will be the headliners for a Unibar student party on March 20; while Thirsty Merc are coming back to town too, locking in a gig at Towradgi Beach Hotel on April 17.

Darren Middleton, former guitarist for Powderfinger, is off on a big solo tour starting in April. He'll bring Kelly Lane (of Skipping Girl Vinegar) plus a few locals along for a show at the Bombie Bar at Coalcliff Surf Club on May 11.

Hayden James and Crooked Colours have been added to the bill for RUFUS's gig at the Towradgi Beach Hotel on June 20.

Metal gypsies make folklore

Troldhaugen describe their music as “Gypsy foot-stomping and Carnivale-esque quirkiness with Technical Progressive Metal.” Their music is as eclectic and unique as that description hints. Currently on tour with Toehider, frontman Jariss (who calls himself Reventüsk) answered a few questions before  their show at Rad on Sunday.

Who are Troldhaugen?

We are a 4 piece progressive folk-metal band from Wollongong, Australia. Our current line up is Reventüsk (vocals), Meldengar (guitar), Svarog (bass), Grädenøk (drums) 

Are the members in any previous/current bands?

Grädenøk is currently playing live drums for Australian metal kings LORD. Both Meldengar and Grädenøk play live in metal band GERM and were also members of Wollongong heroes Knightqueste.

When and how did the band start?

Troldhaugen began as a duo in 2008 when we became interested in Scandinavian heavy metal bands who were blending traditional folk music into their sound. It was something we had never heard before. We wrote some demos and the rest is history!

Describe your music

Our music is often pigeonholed as difficult to describe. But for me, it’s a mix of heavy metal, gypsy polka, circus music, synth-pop and traditional folk music. Our influences include Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa, Max Martin, The Muppets and Primus, but influences from outside of music often play a big part too. These include cartoons, video games, sound effects, history and folklore.

It’s such an eclectic and unique brand of music you play – how did it develop and how has it changed over time?

Originally the music was aimed at emulating bands we listened to, trying their instruments and coming up with folk-sounding melodies. We noticed more bands popping up doing the same thing and it became a bit of a stale pastiche. Most of us were doing composition/performance courses at university, and began incorporating different aspects into our music we had never tried before. We started a live band and found the onstage energy lent itself to craziness and over the top antics. Ever since, we’ve been continuously ramping up the entertainment factor both live and in the studio.

 What’s the Wollongong music scene like now?

Lately, we haven’t been particularly involved with the local scene so it’s difficult to comment. Though I will say that it’s great that there are a few dedicated music venues for the punters to frequent at in the Gong again. 

Troldhaugen play Rad on Sunday night

Illawarra gig guide

• Animaux, March Of The Real Fly, Dlinkwnt – Friday, 8pm, Rad

• Caravana Sun, Round The Corner – Friday, 7pm, Splashes 

• Grow The Music festival w/ The Vanns, Beatmeisters, We’re Wolf + more – Saturday, 11am, North Wollongong scout hall

• New Blood, Hematic, Cryptic Scorn + more – Saturday, 8pm, Dicey Riley’s

• Trophy Eyes, Perspectives, Thesis + more – Sunday, 12 noon, Rad

• St Patrick’s Day party w/ Ramshackle Army – Monday, 7pm, Dicey Riley’s

The Illawarra gig guide

We want to hear from you! To have your music, gig, news or anything music-related featured next week, email details to joshua.butler@ illawarramercury.com.au.

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