Todays artists certainly didn't lack quality, they even managed getting acknowledged in the UK and western Europe but they were forced to be a long way from home most of the time. Beautiful place, Perth but oh so isolated 4,000 km to do a gig in Sydney go figure thats Moscow-Paris and back, flying bit too expensive certainly in those days. Without a commercial breakthrough becoming a 'serious' citizen was inevitable for most of the band after spending so much unsettled time, so after 12 years the Triffids song ended. Main man David McComb battled on without much success and then he died, likely of heart-failure age 37, he had given it all.
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In 1976 in Perth, high school students, David McComb on acoustic and bass guitars and vocals, and Alan 'Alsy' MacDonald on drums and vocals, formed Dalsy as a multimedia project making music, books and photographs. They wrote and performed songs with Phil Kakulas on guitars and vocals (all three later in The Blackeyed Susans), In May 1978, they became The Triffids, taking their name from the post-apocalyptic novel by John Wyndham.
Between 1978 and 1981, McComb had written over 100 original songs and The Triffids had recorded and independently released six cassette tapes. By 1979, Kakulas and Sinclair had left and were replaced by David's older brother, Robert McComb on violin and guitar, and Will Akers on bass guitar, in 1980 Margaret Gillard had joined on keyboards. Gillard and Akers left in February 1982 and were replaced by Jill Yates on keyboards and a returning Sinclair. April saw the release of Reverie, a four-track EP on Resonant Records. Around this time, due to the small population/market in Perth, the band started the long journey driving from Perth to Sydney, then Melbourne (and back again 8,000 km) to play shows.
Soon after the release of Bad Timing and Other Stories EP, Mushroom Records let the band go. They signed with new Australian independent label, Hot Records. The Triffids' debut album, Treeless Plain, released in November 1983 was a critically acclaimed and brilliant album—described as a "magnificent, muscular piece of work that pounds out simple powerful rock songs – one of the best indie rock albums of its day. The Triffids, without Birt, recorded Lawson Square Infirmary at the Sydney Opera House where they worked with several musicians. The resulting six track country music-style EP was issued by Hot Records in October under the name, Lawson Square Infirmary.
In late August 1984, the band relocated to London, where Treeless Plain and Raining Pleasure had been issued by Rough Trade Records to positive critical reception. With little savings and five return plane tickets due to expire by Christmas, they gave themselves three months to make inroads in the UK, well the made the cover of NME. During the Australian tour in early 1985, the band acquired their final permanent member, Lee, who had performed on the mini-album, Lawson Square Infirmary
During 1985, The Triffids had toured Europe, they were feted by the European press and played from tiny clubs to stadiums supporting Echo & the Bunnymen. A grass roots following developed as they toured western European countries, finding pockets of popularity in: Holland, Greece, Scandinavia, Ireland and Belgium. The band toured as part of the Summer Eurofestival circuit, performing at Glastonbury, Pinkpop, Waterpop, Seinäjoki, Roskilde, T&W Belgium and The Hague's Parkpop.
Unable to raise a major record deal and with low finances, Born Sandy Devotional was recorded in London in August 1985 with Gil Norton producing, and was released in March 1986. According to Ian McFarlane, Australian rock music historian, "It was full of some of the most lonely, spacious songs ever written, and it remains one of the best Australian albums of the 1980s. Their critical success in the UK boosted their profile back in Australia where they recorded In the Pines in early 1986, while awaiting the release of Born Sandy Devotional, which eventuated in March. In the Pines was issued in January 1987 and took The Triffids deeper into folk and country music, with a lo-fi sensibility. The Triffids toured UK later in the year.
The Triffids were courted by several UK major record labels, based on the success of Born Sandy Devotional, eventually signing a three record deal contract with Island Records in the UK in November 1986. Between April and August 1987, the band worked again with Norton, to record Calenture, their Island Records debut. The album, released in February 1988, saw them explore themes of insanity, deception and rootlessness—the title refers to a fever suffered by sailors during long hot voyages.
After, Born Sandy Devotional, they graduated to the festival circuit and played alongside Iggy Pop, Ramones, The Fall, Anthrax and Echo & the Bunnymen. By 1988, their fame was such that NME invited them to contribute a cover version of The Beatles's song, "Good Morning Good Morning" to the tribute album, Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father. The Triffids wanted to record the next album in Australia but, after the Calenture experience, Island wanted to keep the band nearby. The Black Swan was recorded between September and October 1988 in Somerset, UK and produced and engineered by Stephen Street. It was well received by critics, but the commercial success was not overwhelming, which disappointed band members.
Together with being tired from the constant travelling and touring, led to The Triffids being dissolved. The group travelled to the US in 1989 for a pair of New York dates before taking a much needed vacation – one which turned permanent.The band's last Australian shows were towards the end of 1989, with the final at the Australian National University, in Canberra on 14 August 1989. A year later saw the postumous release of the live album, Stockholm, which completed their contractual obligations with Island.
Following the breakup of the band, Alsy MacDonald, Jill Birt and Robert McComb took "proper jobs" as a lawyer, architect and teacher respectively, with MacDonald and Birt marrying.. David McComb and Lee continued to be involved with the Blackeyed Susans, a group David McComb formed as a side band earlier. In 1990, David McComb moved back to London with the aim of pursuing his solo career. In 1992, after no success, he returned to Australia to make some solo recordings for Mushroom Records (featuring both Casey and Lee) releasing just one solo album, Love of Will, in 1994.
Following a tour David McComb suffered substance abuse-related health problems, which ultimately resulted in him undergoing a heart transplant in 1996. Following a car accident in Melbourne, David McComb was admitted to St Vincents hospital. Only 3 days later he died at home, on 2 February 1999, just a few days short of his 37th birthday.
The five remaining members of The Triffids gave a series of performances on 17–20 January 2008, as part of the 2008 Sydney Festival celebrating the music and the memory of David McComb, supported by many australian artists. A feature length documentary of these shows, It's Raining Pleasure, was released in early 2009.
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The Triffids' full-length debut, Treeless Plain, emerged in 83. By then, the group had relocated from Perth to Sydney and solidified its lineup with the addition of Jill Birt (keyboards) and Martyn Casey (bass). Although frontman and principal songwriter David McComb drew on a primarily American rock tradition for inspiration the resulting songs were always inextricably linked to his native Western Australian environment. Indeed, the title of this album refers to the Nullarbor ("No Tree") Plain, the desolate area the band regularly traversed en route to east Australia ( a 32-hour drive).
Comprising material that had been honed in live performance and recorded over a dozen midnight-to-dawn sessions, Treeless Plain underscores the Triffids' knack for blending folk and country with indie rock in a way that anticipated the rise of alt-country in the '90s. McComb's characteristically dark narratives are well-represented many songs remained live favorites until the band's demise. Treeless Plain piqued interest in the U.K. -- where the band ultimately enjoyed the bulk of its success -- and offered incontrovertible evidence of McComb's skill as a songwriter with a unique lyrical and musical vision.
The Triffids - Treeless Plain (rem) (flac 395mb)
01 Red Pony 4:10
02 Branded 2:43
03 My Baby Thinks She's A Train 3:38
04 Rosevel 3:00
05 I Am A Lonesome Hobo 2:14
06 Place In The Sun 2:21
07 Plaything 3:01
08 Old Ghostrider 3:07
09 Hanging Shed 4:02
10 Hell Of A Summer 4:30
11 Madeline 2:36
12 Nothing Can Take Your Place 3:05
13 Interview 1:19
14 Old Ghostrider (Live) 2:51
15 Plaything (Live) 2:48
16 My Baby Thinks She's A Train (Live) 3:21
17 Rosevel (Live) 2:57
18 Hell Of A Summer (Live) 3:40
19 On The Street Where You Live (Live) 2:24
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With Born Sandy Devotional, the Triffids fully realized the potential shown on their earlier releases, Treeless Plain and Raining Pleasure. By 1985 the band was based in London, but despite the fact that this album was recorded 9,000 miles from home, its roots lie deep in the Triffids' native western Australia. While the spectacular cover photograph featuring the township of Mandurah provides a sense of place, David McComb's songwriting evokes his home environment all the more vividly. Indeed, this is the most accomplished work from McComb's tragically short career, encapsulating his talent for creating a lyrical and musical resonance between the stark, isolated geography of western Australia and universally recognizable, desolate interior landscapes.
Born Sandy Devotional certainly is dark, its lyrics replete with death, psychological turmoil, and despair, but it's never maudlin or banal. McComb's commanding delivery combines with expansive, string-adorned arrangements to elevate many of these songs to the level of high emotional drama; haunting keyboards, vibes, and "Evil" Graham Lee's pedal steel add atmospheric detail. The elusive quality of McComb's writing makes his stories all the more compelling and memorable as he offers listeners fragmented, unresolved scenes instead of comfortable, complete narratives. Born Sandy Devotional was a landmark release for the Triffids. More than that, it stands as a testament to McComb's status as one of Australia's most gifted rock songwriters.
The Triffids - Born Sandy Devotional (rem) ( flac 438mb)
01 The Seabirds 3:20
02 Estuary Bed 4:49
03 Chicken Killer 3:51
04 Tarrilup Bridge 3:21
05 Lonely Stretch 5:02
06 Wide Open Road 4:08
07 Life Of Crime 4:24
08 Personal Things 2:57
09 Stolen Property 6:47
10 Tender Is The Night (The Long Fidelity) 3:53
11 The 107 3:28
12 When A Man Turns Bad 4:35
13 Of The Plaza 2:40
14 White Shawl 1:08
15 Convent Walls 4:04
16 Time Of Weakness 3:12
17 Born Sandy Devotional 5:07
18 Wish To See No More 1:59
19 Tender Is The Night (The Long Fidelity) (Alt Vers.) 3:42
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The unpredictability and diversity of The Black Swan undoubtedly challenged longtime Triffids fans. With producer Stephen Street, the band trades Calenture's wide-screen orchestrations and grand-scale arrangements for a more direct, more honed sound, also making greater use of the burgeoning digital technology of the late '80s. And while previous Triffids albums were never homogeneous, on The Black Swan they used a greater variety of musical instruments than their previous albums with bouzouki, güiro and accordion and a more obvious use of synths and programming. The title of the album was originally going to be Disappointment Resort Complex but was renamed to The Black Swan, which according to McComb is based on the 1952 novel (of the same name) by Thomas Mann. While the Triffids explore new ground and refuse to settle into a formulaic identity, the one constant here is the strength of McComb's songwriting, which displays new levels of confidence and adventurousness. Indeed, the evocative "Too Hot to Move, Too Hot to Think," the austere, spooky "Blackeyed Susan," and the moving, country-flavored ballad "New Year's Greetings" are career highlights. The Black Swan isn't the band's most consistent, seamless statement; like its namesake, the album is a curious, contradictory beast with nomadic tendencies. Above all, it offers a fascinating glimpse of the myriad directions the Triffids might have taken, had this not been their swan song.
The Triffids - present The Black Swan (flac 297mb)
01 Too Hot Too Move, Too Hot To Think 4:11
02 American Sailors 0:39
03 Falling Over You 3:42
04 Goodbye Little Boy 3:26
05 Bottle Of Love 3:34
07 Butterflies Into Worms 3:18
08 New Year's Greetings (The Country Widower) 5:42
09 Good Fortune Rose 3:32
10 One Mechanic Town 3:09
11 Blackeyed Susan 4:01
12 The Clown Prince 4:36
13 Fairytale Love 3:52
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