The Mango Balloon is currently recording its fourth album (imaginatively titled ‘Volume 4’), which will feature Matt McMahon. One of Australia’s finest pianists, Matt is known for playing a wide range of music with the likes of Vince Jones, Phil Slater and Joseph Tawadros, as well as his own ensembles.
The debut performance of this collaboration, and your first chance to hear these new pieces, will be July 31st at Django Bar.
The Tango Saloon bandleader Julian Curwin, and regular Tango Saloon/Mango Balloon guest Shenzo Gregorio, join forces to create Pigeon Laundry, an odd little project that will make you laugh, cry, think, maybe do some stupid little dance… Preview the album here and keep updated on the release at the band’s facebook page.
From the vaults… stumbled across this ‘Suspicion’ outtake the other day, a little half-baked (and perhaps a tiny bit too cheesy, even for us) but figured it was worth sharing… working title Dos Almas (Two Souls) – naturally the souls are represented here by a couple of wonky recorders (the instrument’s Tango Saloon debut!)
The wonderful Norman Records in the UK is selling The Tango Saloon and The Mango Balloon albums along with other Romero Records releases – just got some copies of ‘Suspicion’ in, and most other releases are available. Check out their listing here, or get more info at the Romero releases page.
Very excited to announce that The Mango Balloon is doing the support slot for US guitarist Marc Ribot’s first solo performance in Sydney. Known for his work with Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and John Zorn among countless others, Ribot has also released over 20 albums under his own name. August 9th at The Vanguard, more info here.
We hope that The Music Trust can be trusted, because they’ve just given ‘Suspicion’ a great review. Check out a small portion below, or the full review here.
Often when a largely instrumental group adds a vocalist, the lyrics are secondary or even cursory. But that is definitely not the case on this album. The dark and brooding lyrics have a sophisticated songwriter’s sensibility and a poetic underpinning. These are not clichéd pop lyrics. They are mysterious, dark, atmospheric and unpredictable. There is something of Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave here that works perfectly in the eerie tango and western filmic environments. Song titles like Shadow of a Dead Man and Smoking Gun entice the listener into dangerous and chilling sonic and lyric narratives. There is humour here too while enigmatic elements of surprise in the instrumentation keep the listener engaged.
The Tango Saloon ‘Suspicion’ (4 stars)
review by John Shand, The Sydney Morning Herald
The cover sets up expectations of the western variant of film noir and the music delivers. On this fourth Tango Saloon album Julian Curwin’s tongue lolls in and out of his composer’s cheek, so any line between pastiche and staggeringly imaginative music fades as fast as smoke from a gun barrel.
The original ingredients of tango and cowboy music still mingle, only with the latter now more dominant. The big change is that half the pieces are songs, with Elana Stone providing vocals that carry echoes of the casual detachment of a ’60s ingenue. Sometimes it seems a more knowing approach may have better served the songs than this Euro-pop blitheness, but Curwin loves to layer his musical elements; to create enigmas that disguise glimpses of humour in wisps of sadness.
As ever his own guitar playing nonchalantly explores the gamut of the instrument’s capabilities (but always in the service of his exceptional compositions), and the supporting cast includes a who’s who of Sydney’s finest creative musicians. They play the Django Bar on April 16.
Update: another great review appeared in The Brag last week, check it out.