Today's artists are an Australian alternative rock band founded by mainstays, Ron Peno as its lead singer and Brett Myers as its lead guitarist and backing vocalist, in Sydney in 1983 – briefly as Final Solution. Their music started from a base of early electric Bob Dylan with psychedelic influences, including The Velvet Underground and Television. They were managed by John Needham, who is the owner of Citadel Records, their main label.
They "unashamedly plundered rock's past to arrive at an original sound that was always passionate, atmospheric and uplifting ... produced some of the most inspirational rock music heard in Australia". The group formally disbanded in 2002 but have reunited on a number of occasions for short tours in Australia........N'Joy
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Died Pretty was formed in 1983 in Sydney after vocalist Ron Peno had left his previous band, Screaming Tribesmen. Peno had been a member of Sydney punk band The Hellcats (as Ronnie Pop, 1977), and followed with The 31st (in Brisbane, 1979–1981) and Screaming Tribesmen (Brisbane then Sydney, 1981–1983). In April 1983, music journalist and keyboardist Frank Brunetti of Super K had formed a duo with lead guitarist and vocalist Brett Myers from The End (in Brisbane then Sydney). Myers was a fan of American group Velvet Underground and the duo modelled themselves after experimental New York protopunk band Suicide. Brunetti suggested Peno join as singer and their first five performances were in Brisbane under the name Final Solution, after the song by Pere Ubu. Peno provided the name Died Pretty, and on drums, they recruited Rob Younger (Radio Birdman, Super K) for two months. After various bass guitarists, Jonathan Lickliter joined and Younger was replaced by Colin Barwick both from The End with Myers. Younger concentrated on his career as producer for Citadel Records. Died Pretty signed with Citadel and were managed by the label's owner John Needham. Their music started from a base of early electric Bob Dylan with psychedelic influences, including The Velvet Underground and Television. According to rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, they "unashamedly plundered rock's past to arrive at an original sound that was always passionate, atmospheric and uplifting ... produced some of the most inspirational rock music heard in Australia".
The second album, Lost, was released in June 1988 on the Blue Mosque label, an offshoot of Citadel and major label Festival Records, and outside Australia through Beggars Banquet and Closer. It was the second highest selling alternative album for the year and peaked at No. 3 in Italy. Lock departed after recording Lost but before its release – he had grown weary of touring – and was replaced on bass guitar by Steve Clark (The Glass, 30/40 Purple). Died Pretty undertook their second tour of US and Europe. Lost provided three singles – "Winterland" (October 1987), "Towers of Strength" (June 1988) and "Out of My Hands" (November). Brunetti had left in April 1988 – his last recording, "Everybody Moves", was released as a single in 1989 – and was replaced by John Hoey, (Thought Criminals, X-Men, New Christs) on keyboards. The band went on a third tour of Europe and US, but remained in Los Angeles at tour's end to prepare for their next album.
Died Pretty recorded their third album, Every Brilliant Eye, in Los Angeles with Jeff Eyrich (The Gun Club, The Plimsouls) producing, it was released on Blue Mosque in April 1990. The album featured a more polished production with leaner, more rock-oriented songs – it spawned the singles, "Whitlam Square" (February), "True Fools Fall" (May) and "Is There Anyone?".
Their fourth album Doughboy Hollow, was released in August 1991 on Blue Mosque and Beggars Banquet, which peaked at No. 24 on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Albums Chart. The album was "[b]rimming with passionate, dramatic and alluring musical vistas". It was produced by Englishman Hugh Jones (The Damned, Echo & the Bunnymen, Simple Minds). Its singles, "Stop Myself" (July 1991), "D.C." (September) and "Sweetheart" (February 1992), despite being "near-perfect pop", did not achieve mainstream chart success. After recording the album, Brisbane bass guitarist Robert Warren replaced Clark. The band were nominated for three ARIA Awards in 1992 - 'Independent Album of the Year' for Doughboy Hollow, 'Independent Single of the Year' for "D.C.", and 'Best Video' for "D.C.". Welsh was replaced by a succession of drummers, Murray Shepherd (Screaming Tribesmen), Warwick Fraser (Screaming Tribesmen) and Stuart Eadie (Clouds) before he returned at year's end.
Reuniting with producer Hugh Jones, their next album, Trace was released worldwide by Sony Music in September 1993, and became their biggest-selling album to date, peaking at No. 11 on the ARIA Albums Chart. It spun off four singles and videos, "Caressing Swine" (on a four-track EP in June), "Harness Up" (August, which reached the Top 40 Singles Chart), "Headaround" (November) and "A State of Graceful Mourning'" (December). The video for "A State of Graceful Mourning" was filmed in a forest that had been burned out by the 1994 Eastern seaboard fires. Soon after the release of Trace, long-time drummer Welsh left and retired from music to become an English teacher in Thailand. A CD-EP, Days was issued late in 1994 with Nick Kennedy (Big Heavy Stuff) on drums. They supported R.E.M., at that band's request, on the Australian leg of their Monster Tour, in early 1995.
Their next album, Sold, released in February 1996, was recorded with contributions by two drummers - Kennedy had been replaced by Shane Melder (on loan from Sidewinder). Sold reunited them with original producer Younger, who co-produced with Wayne Connolly. It was also mixed at the well-known Fort Apache Studios in Boston by Paul Kolderie and Sean Slade (Buffalo Tom, Radiohead, Dinosaur Jr). A rougher, harder-sounding collection than Doughboy or Trace, it gained critical acclaim and reached the Top 30. Its singles "Cuttin' Up Her Legs" (September 1995) and "Good at Love" (November) failed to chart and Died Pretty were dropped by Sony in April 1996. Simon Cox (Juice) joined on as full-time drummer in May and the group signed back with Citadel, and released a four-track EP, Deeper in November. The EP has a guest appearance by Hoodoo Gurus guitarist Brad Shepherd and has Peno playing harmonica on the opening track "You Need Wings". The EP was produced by Connolly, who had become the band's producer of choice and would work on all their subsequent studio output.
Their last two studio albums, Using My Gills As a Roadmap (1998) and Everydaydream (2000) showed the band moving away from basic guitar rock and making greater use of electronics, citing Kraftwerk, David Bowie's Low and obscure Euro dance records as influences. They released a compilation, Out of the Unknown – The Best of Died Pretty (1999), on Citadel.
Bass guitarist, Warren departed the band temporarily in December 2001 due to tinnitus. Myers and Peno – the band's main songwriters – began working on a proposed new album, but this proved difficult as Peno had moved to Melbourne. In May 2002, Died Pretty announced they would disband after a final Australian tour with Warren back on board. They released a three-track 'farewell' single, "My Generation Landslide" in August.
2002-present: Later projects and reformations
Peno joined with guitarist and vocalist Kim Salmon (The Scientists, Beasts of Bourbon) in 2005 to form country music group, Darling Downs. They recorded two albums, How Can I Forget This Heart of Mine? (2005) and From One to Another (2007). In 2007, Peno and Myers recorded an independently released album as Noises and Other Voices. It included material originally written for Died Pretty's unrecorded final album, along with some newly written songs. Peno and Myers played occasional 'Songs of Died Pretty Unplugged' shows in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, including the Queenscliff music festival.
In February 2008, Died Pretty re-formed to perform Doughboy Hollow in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties-curated Don't Look Back series, using that album's line-up – Clark, Hoey, Myers, Peno and Welsh – playing together for the first time in sixteen years. Peno revealed that a documentary was pending – featuring interviews with band members, and rehearsal and concert footage from the Melbourne shows. Doughboy Hollow was remastered, expanded and reissued by Citadel Records in February. The tour included shows in all major capital cities. The line-up continued with appearances at the 2008 Homebake Festival in Sydney and as 'EG Awards Hall of Fame' inductees on 4 December in Melbourne. They appeared on the nationwide Big Day Out tour in January 2009, having played the inaugural Big Day Out back in 1992. A 2×CD deluxe reissue of their debut album Free Dirt was released through Aztec Music in late 2008, and an expanded reissue of 1988's Lost was released in June 2013. Peno & Myers performed an acoustic set at the Orient Hotel, Brisbane, on 7 November 2009 for a private party. Peno had returned to his solo career by May 2010. In October 2010, Doughboy Hollow (1991) was listed in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums.
In April 2012 Died Pretty performed as part of the Dig It Up! series of concerts around Australia, organised to celebrate 30 years of recorded music by fellow Australian band Hoodoo Gurus. In March 2016, the band played across Australia as part of the 'A Day On The Green' concert series, with Hoodoo Gurus, Sunnyboys, Violent Femmes and Ratcat.. The also played some headline shows in clubs. The band undertook a joint national tour with Radio Birdman in June and July 2017.
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The band's first full-length album found the group starting to come into its own more and more. While the various influences that can be referred to are still present, Died Pretty are starting to sound more like a group finding a distinct sound instead of taking a cue from good influences. Helped in the studio by a variety of guests on everything from sax to pedal steel guitar, and with good, full production from Rob Younger continuing the job he started with the Pre-Deity tracks, Free Dirt is a fine, fiery effort. "Wig-Out" serves as good an example of its quality as any -- with martial drumming and a very Celtic drinking tune atmosphere made just that much more intense by being performed on rock instruments; it shows how the band hotwires the past for its own purposes. Opening song "Blue Sky Day" is, perhaps, the band's best-yet, an energetic but never overbearing rocker with a comfortable glow and surge to it, Brett Myers' really wonderful guitar matched by the additional performances on mandolin and violin. His work throughout the album is exemplary, powerful but never pointlessly showy, while Brunetti's keyboards take the melodic lead more often than not, calling to mind Ray Manzarek's often-similar role in the Doors, while not sounding like a clone of same. Similarly Ron S. Peno's Jim Morrison inspirations are clear, but his higher-pitched, less self-obsessed singing is in many ways warmer and more immediate than those of his forebear. Top it off with the fine Mark Lock/Chris Welsh rhythm section, and it's clear a crack band is at work. "Through Another Door," sung by Myers in a warm, winning fashion, the grand concluding solos on "Life to Go" and "Next to Nothing," and the beautifully cryptic "The 2000 Year Old Murder," are among the many highlights. As a fine bonus, the CD version includes both of the stand-alone singles "Stoneage Cinderella" and "Yesterday's Letters." Collected here, for the first time, are Died Pretty's first five releases: The 'Out of the Unknown' and 'Mirror Blues' singles, the Next to Nothing EP, the Free Dirt album and the 'Stone age Cinderella' single. PLUS an additional 10 bonus tracks - including previously unreleased demos, a live to air radio performance from 1986 and other live rarities. This deluxe 2 CD version is packaged in an 8 panel digipak, with a 28 page booklet containing many previously unpublished photos. It has been digitally remastered from the original master tapes.
Died Pretty - Free Dirt (flac 436mb)
01 Life to Go (Landsakes) (5:33)
02 Just Skin (6:37)
03 The 2000 Year Old Murder (4:32)
04 Next to Nothing (6:46)
05 Blue Sky Day (3:29)
06 Round and Round (2:39)
07 Wig-Out (3:08)
08 Laughing Boy (3:35)
09 Through Another Door (3:17)
10 Stoneage Cinderella (single A-side 1986) (3:17)
11 Yesterday's Letters (single B-side 1986) (4:56)
Free Dirt demos
12 From a Buick 6 (previously unreleased) (4:13)
13 Laughing Boy (previously unreleased) (3:45)
14 Round and Round (previously unreleased) (2:45)
15 Wig-Out (previously unreleased) (3:12)
Died Pretty - Free Dirt (ogg 154mb)
Died Pretty - Free Dirt Bonus (flac 481mb)
01 Out of the Unknown (single A-side 1984) (4:10)
02 World Without (single B-side 1984) (3:45)
03 Mirror Blues (single A & B-side 1984) (10:11)
Next To Nothing EP 1985
04 Ambergris (4:26)
05 Plaining Days (4:16)
06 Desperate Hours (8:05)
07 Final Twist (4:20)
WERS Boston Radio Live 1986
08 Stoneage Cinderella (previously unreleased) (3:03)
09 Everybody Moves (previously unreleased) (5:02)
10 Towers of Strength (previously unreleased) (4:36)
11 Just Skin (previously unreleased) (5:56)
Live in London 1986
12 Wild Child (previously unreleased) (4:52)
Live in Melbourne 1986
13 Final Solution (previously unreleased) (7:23)
Died Pretty - Free Dirt bonus (ogg 168mb)
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With a higher international profile thanks to a licensing deal via the well-established U.K. label Beggars Banquet, Died Pretty re-entered the studio with producer Rob Younger to create another solid album of unpretentious, sharp delights. The band sound slightly more upfront throughout, if only just -- it's not a radical change, and certainly the group weren't shrinking violets before, but there's just a touch more oomph in the recording and delivery, and it's most becoming. Even numbers like "As Must Have," which consists of just Brett Myers' acoustic guitar and backing singing from Ron S. Peno, are up in the mix, Peno's own version of high and lonesome singing providing the only sense of evocative distance. Chris Welsh's drums drive the songs without overwhelming them, while the rest of the band kick major booty as they go. Myers gets moments to sing lead, as on the quick and groovy "Out of My Hands," but otherwise he concentrates on his evermore impressive playing, and by now traditional great solos, while Peno takes the lion's share of the leads. Frank Brunetti's organ playing is similarly key to things once more, providing perfect hooks and shading throughout. Energetic rave-ups remain the band's best point, as great numbers like "Winterland" and "Crawls-Away" demonstrate, everyone performing to their best in a thick rush of sound. But subtler approaches have their place, as with the quietly dramatic chime and pace of "One Day" or "Springenfall," a great romantic number. In a sly continuation of a semi-tradition started on Free Dirt, where the song "Next to Nothing" turned up after not appearing on the EP of that title, the concluding track of Lost is, in fact, "Free Dirt." Sung by Myers with guests on backing vocals and piano, it's a gentle number and a fine way to wrap up the album.
Died Pretty - Lost (flac 304mb)
01 Self Destruct 2:26
02 Ship Wrecked 2:10
03 Enemy Awaits 4:07
04 War of the Roses 2:14
05 Police State 3:14
06 New Barbarians 2:50
07 Keep On Running 2:32
08 Limo Life 3:41
09 Postcard from L.A. 4:18
10 Betrayal 4:27
11 Nobody Move 1:34
12 Beer Police 1:34
Died Pretty - Lost (ogg 116mb)
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For the first radical change in its recording career, Died Pretty decamped to Los Angeles to be produced by Jeff Eyrich, veteran boardsman for such roots rock acts as the Blasters and T-Bone Burnett. There's a change in the band as well -- founding member Frank Brunetti departed, leaving the keyboards to new guy, John Hoey, while Steve Clark took over bass duties from Mark Lock. The end result was a refocusing of the band around Brett Myers' guitar work, with Hoey providing shade more than anything else, while the songs themselves had a slightly cleaner -- dare it be said, more radio friendly? -- feeling to them. It isn't unsuccessful by any means, but it's not quite the same band as before, with a touch more conventional American heartland rock to their sound. Ron S. Peno's vocals sound fuller and richer -- not a minus in the slightest, of course! -- and the band can more easily be imagined at a good local bar stateside. This all said, there's real drama and threat on Every Brilliant Eye, ensuring that Died Pretty are in no danger of approaching mainstream banality. The slow burn of "The Underbelly" is a great example of the band's continuing powers, with the Clark/Chris Welsh rhythm section providing some strong body slams, Hoey's piano appropriately forceful, and Peno's vocals at their considerable best. Then there's "True Fools Fall," a simply lovely number with a great synth arrangement with, once again, Peno nailing it. The group can still get out a good energetic rocker or two as they go -- single "Whitlam Square" is just fierce enough, while "Prayer" is a slamming, active romp, with a great Peno vocal and searing Myers solo to go with it. Guest performers assist once more, notably fine violinist/The Black Watch member J'anna Jacoby -- check out her excellent work on "Face Toward the Sun" -- but it's all down to the band, and they come through once more.
Died Pretty - Every Brilliant Eye (flac 302mb)
01 C.I.D. 1:56
02 I Live in a Car 1:26
03 B.I.C. 1:35
04 Stranglehold 2:28
05 World War 1:07
06 Rockers 2:11
07 Tomorrow's Girls 2:25
08 Scum of the Earth 2:20
09 Telephone Numbers 1:06
10 She's Not There 1:37
11 Kicks 1:23
12 Victim 0:58
13 The Same Thing 1:22
14 Warhead 3:05
15 The Harper 1:08
16 Waiting for the Man 2:22
17 Teenage 2:38
18 Left for Dead 1:30
19 New York State Police 2:43
20 Party in Paris 2:54
21 Fall of the Empire 2:15
22 Keep on Running (Til You Burn) 2:35
23 Perfect Girl 2:01
24 Ice Age 2:50
25 Self-Destruct 2:27
26 Police State 3:16
27 War of the Roses 2:17
28 Anti-Warfare 3:21
Died Pretty - Every Brilliant Eye (ogg 114mb)
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