Today's artists are an Australian rock music band formed in 1981. Fronted by founding mainstay, singer-songwriter and guitarist Mark Seymour, they developed a blend of pub rock and art-funk. Other mainstays are John Archer on bass guitar, Doug Falconer on drums and percussion. Soon after forming they were joined by Jack Howard on trumpet and keyboards, Jeremy Smith on French horn, guitars and keyboards, and Michael Waters on trombone and keyboards. Also acknowledged as a founder was engineer and art designer Robert Miles. Joining in 1988, Barry Palmer, on lead guitar, remained until they disbanded in 1998. The group reformed in 2013 with the 1998 line-up........N'Joy
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Hunters & Collectors' founding mainstays are John Archer (bass guitar), Doug Falconer (drums) and Mark Seymour (guitar and lead vocals). They met as residential students of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne in the late 1970s. Seymour is the older brother of Nick Seymour, the bass guitarist for Crowded House. In 1978 with Robert Miles (sound engineer) Archer, Falconer and Seymour formed a casual band, The Schnorts They played cover versions of 1960s songs, including "To Sir, with Love". Their lead singer, Margot O'Neill, was a journalist on radio 3RRR program, Talking Headlines.
A more ambitious band, The Jetsonnes, followed in September 1979, with the addition of Ray Tosti-Gueira on guitar and backing vocals. According to music journalist, Clinton Walker, The Jetsonnes had a "clever post-punk pop sound was lighter, bouncier (rather than funkier) and more infectious than other like-minded bands". Their only released track is "Newspaper" which was one side of a gig give away split single in June 1980 with "Miniskirts in Moscow" by fellow pop group, International Exiles, as the other. By September that year The Jetsonnes had disbanded but Archer, Falconer, Miles, Seymour and Tosti-Gueira decided to continue with new members, Geoff Crosby on keyboards and Greg Perano (ex-True Wheels) on percussion to form a new band
Hunters & Collectors formed in Melbourne in early 1981 with the initial line-up of Archer, Crosby, Falconer, Miles, Perano, Seymour and Tosti-Gueira. Miles was credited as an equal part of the band's output and stayed throughout their main career. Perano provided the band's name from "Hunters and Collectors", a track on 1975's Landed album by German group Can. Originally Hunters & Collectors were influenced by the Krautrock genre and the productions of Conny Plank, featuring strong percussive influences, noisy guitar, and driving bass lines. As lead singer and guitarist, Seymour became the principal lyricist and the linchpin of the group. The core of Hunters & Collectors was expanded by a brass section, later dubbed Horns of Contempt, consisting of Nigel Crocker and Michael Waters both on trombone; Jack Howard, Andy Lynn and Chris Malherbe each on trumpet; and Jeremy Smith on French horn.
Mushroom Records specifically formed a new alternative label, White Label Records, when they signed Hunters & Collectors. Their first release was World of Stone, a three-track extended play in January 1982. It reached the Australian top 50. Their debut self-titled album followed in July and was produced by the band with engineering by Sydney-based Tony Cohen. It peaked at No. 21 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart, and No. 14 on the New Zealand Albums Chart. The album's lead single, "Talking to a Stranger", also released in July, was accompanied by a music video directed by film maker Richard Lowenstein, but it did not peak into the Top 50. By that time, Tosti-Gueira was replaced by Martin Lubran (ex-Spiny Norman) on guitar and the Horns of Contempt were reduced to three: Howard, Smith and Waters.
Another EP, Payload, was released in November, its four tracks were co-produced by Mike Howlett (ex-Gong) and the band. In 1983 the band toured the United Kingdom for six months and signed with Virgin Records. The label recompiled three tracks from the Australian version of Hunters & Collectors and all four tracks from Payload into the international version of Hunters & Collectors, which was released in April. While in the UK and attempting to enter the local market, the group's members "were doing odd jobs, illegally, to keep afloat and getting steadily more miserable in the process".
By mid-year the band had decamped to Conny's Studio in Germany, where they recorded their second album, The Fireman's Curse, co-produced by Plank (Can, Cluster, Kraftwerk), with Dave Hutchins engineering, and released by White Label and Virgin Records on 5 September 1983. The album did not reach the top 50 in Australia but did so in New Zealand. A three-record deal with Virgin was broken when band members insulted the label's executive, Simon Draper, by telling him that he was "a poncy little blueblood" with no faith in them. Its lead single, "Judas Sheep" (August), reached the top 40 in New Zealand but did not chart in Australia. After November's single, "Sway", failed to chart in both markets, they disbanded briefly.
Late in 1983, Hunters & Collectors had briefly disbanded, but soon reformed without Lubran and Perano. The 1984 line-up now featured greater use of keyboards by Crosby, as well as more emphasis on work by Howard, Smith and Waters. The band began to pare back their art rock pretensions of their earliest albums, although they retained a muscular, bass-driven sound, rounded off by the band's distinctive horn section. Seymour's lyrics became less abstruse and focused on the twin themes of the fraught personal relationships and the politics of the day.
The first album featuring the new line up was The Jaws of Life which appeared on 6 August 1984. McFarlane described it as having "a stripped-down rock sound, a driving rhythm, more concise arrangements and stronger songs".The album reached the top 100 in Australia and top 40 in New Zealand. Again co-produced with Plank, it was recorded at the old Can studio by René Tinner. The title, cover art and opening track, "42 Wheels", all refer to the murder of five people by an intoxicated, outback trucker, Douglas Crabbe.
The Jaws of Life provided a single, "The Slab" (also in August), which did not chart. However relentless touring, airplay on radio station Triple J plus their music videos screening on Countdown and other music video shows, fostered a devoted following on the pub rock scene. On 24 and 25 August 1984 Hunters & Collectors performed two gigs at The Venue in Melbourne, the performances were recorded and filmed. For the gigs Smith and Waters also played organs. The band issued their first live album, The Way to Go Out, on 1 April 1985, which was recorded and mixed live by Miles. The album reached the top 100 in Australia and No. 21 in New Zealand. It "captured all the ferocious power and muscular energy that characterised the band's pub gigs" according to McFarlane.
Greater Australian commercial success came in April 1986, with their fourth studio album, Human Frailty, which McFarlane found was "a further refinement of the sinewy and dynamic approach established" previously. It was co-produced by the group with Gavin MacKillop. It became their first Australian Top Ten album and reached No. 5 in New Zealand. In 2008 Human Frailty, was featured by SBS TV on the Great Australian Albums second series. Creswell presented the series and noted that "the album documents, in the most candid terms, the course of a doomed love affair that [Seymour] was then going through. A parallel narrative is also running through the album, which is of a group adjusting to life on the road and an exploration of what it means to be Australian in the 1980s".
After Human Frailty appeared in Australia Hunters & Collectors toured the US twice and then released their third EP, Living Daylight. It was followed by their fifth studio album, What's a Few Men?, also co-produced with Edward and released in November. It peaked at No. 16 in Australia and No. 9 in New Zealand.
The album provided the singles "Do You See What I See" (October) and "Still Hangin' Round" (February 1988) "Do You See What I See" reached the top 40 in Australia and in New Zealand it became their highest charting single at No. 13. "Still Hangin' Round" was deemed to be too "Australian": it was cut from the US configuration of the album, which was retitled Fate, and released in September 1988. Three new tracks were recorded for the US CD version, including "Back on the Breadline", which was issued as a single and charted at No. 6 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks. In August 2003 a re-issue of What's a Few Men? by the Liberation Blue label featured all 15 tracks from the two versions.
Early in 1988 Barry Palmer joined the group on guitar. Ghost Nation, co-produced with Clive Martin and released in November 1989, was their second Australian Top Ten, it appeared on the ARIA Albums Chart. It provided four singles, beginning with "When the River Runs Dry", appearing in September and peaking at No. 23 in Australia in December and No. 5 on Billboard Modern Rock Tracks in 1990.
Hunters & Collectors supported Midnight Oil's North American tour of 1990 and, although the band struggled to find further chart success in the US, they maintained their status in Australia and New Zealand as local favourites. During that year Rolling Stone (Australia) named them Australian Band of the Year. At the ARIA Music Awards of 1990 the group were nominated in six categories and Ghost Nation won Best Cover Art for Miles' work. A compilation album, Collected Works, was released on 19 November 1990, and was another Top Ten album in Australia. It contained a fourth version of "Throw Your Arms Around Me" which was released as a single for a third time by December that year.
On 6 October 1992 Hunters & Collectors released their seventh studio album, Cut, co-produced by Don Gehman (Jimmy Barnes), Sansano and the band. Although relationships were strained due to Gehman's aggressive working methods, the band almost broke up during recording sessions, Cut peaked at No. 6 in Australia and No. 17 in New Zealand. It retained a balance between the band's artistic core and its commercial ambitions. The album provided six singles, all charted on the ARIA Singles Chart Top 100.
Demon Flower, their eighth studio album, followed on 16 May 1994, which was co-produced with Nick Mainsbridge (The Triffids, Martha's Vineyard, Ratcat). It peaked at No. 2 in Australia – their highest charting album – and No. 9 in New Zealand. Demon Flower provided "Easy", which reached the top 40 in both countries, and three other singles, which did not chart. Demon Flower was dominated by themes relating to the politics in the state of Victoria, particularly the economic rationalist policies of Premier Jeff Kennett.
A double live album, Living ... In Large Rooms and Lounges, was released in November 1995, with one disc consisting of an acoustic set at the now-defunct Continental Cafe in Prahran, and the other was a typical pub performance. Juggernaut, their ninth studio album, was co-produced with Kalju Tonuma (The Mavis's, Boom Crash Opera) and Mark Opitz (Hoodoo Gurus, Jimmy Barnes, INXS). The album was recorded in 1997 and released in January 1998, and featured the single "True Believers". With its release, Hunters & Collectors announced that they would disband after the Juggernaut Say Goodbye tour.
Hunters & Collectors embarked on their final tour of Australia in 1998, with a concert performed at Selina's, Coogee Bay Hotel, Sydney being recorded and released on CD and DVD as Under One Roof. The group's last public show was on 22 March 1998 in Melbourne.
On 14 July 2005 Hunters & Collectors were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame at the Plaza Ballroom alongside Split Enz, Renée Geyer, Normie Rowe, Smoky Dawson, and The Easybeats. They were inducted into the Hall of Fame by Peter Garrett, former lead singer of tour mates, Midnight Oil, At the ceremony Hunters & Collectors provided a one-off performance of "Say Goodbye" and "Throw Your Arms Around Me".
In 2008 Seymour published his memoirs, Thirteen Tonne Theory: Life Inside Hunters and Collectors, detailing his experiences with the group. He described the difficulty in writing tracks for the band with all members involved, "the thing that ultimately made things more difficult was the sheer size of the band".
Hunters & Collectors played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 14 March 2009 for Sound Relief, which was a multi-venue rock music concert in support of victims of the Victorian Bushfire Crisis. The event was held simultaneously with a concert at the Sydney Cricket Ground. All the proceeds from the Melbourne Concert went to the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire relief.
A tribute album, Crucible - The Songs of Hunters & Collectors, was released in September 2013, including contributions by Birds of Tokyo, Eddie Vedder and Neil Finn (of Crowded House), Cloud Control, Something For Kate, and The Rubens, as well as a remix of the original "Talking to a Stranger" by The Avalanches.
The band reunited in their 1998 line-up of Archer, Falconer, Howard, Palmer, Seymour, Smith and Waters, at the 2013 AFL Grand Final playing "Do You See What I See" and "The Holy Grail". They headlined a series of A Day on the Green outdoor concerts in early 2014, and supported Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band during their tour of Australia on 15 and 16 February 2014 at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. On 12 April 2014 they performed their last concert for the reunion series at the Palais Theatre in St. Kilda. The band subsequently won the 2014 Helpmann Award for Best Australian Contemporary Concert.
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Human Frailty is the sound of a band running on all cylinders. Though Hunters & Collectors had trouble melding their influences (funk, tribal rhythms, melodic hooks) into a cohesive sound in the past, on this 1986 album the band finally discovered their true strength; a balance of bass and drum-driven grooves set below punchy horns and counterpoint melody lines. "Is There Anybody in There?" is a particular standout with its unrelenting rhythm section. The band uses their three-piece horn section to great effectiveness on "Everything's on Fire" and the loping, lazy swing of "Relief." Human Frailty is anything but and remains a great album to begin an association with the band's music.
Hunters and Collectors - Human Frailty (flac 336mb)
01 Say Goodbye 3:51
02 Throw Your Arms Around Me 3:54
03 Dog 3:41
04 Everything's On Fire 4:28
05 Relief 5:07
06 The Finger 4:28
07 99th Home Position 2:39
08 Is There Anybody In There? 3:26
09 Stuck On You 3:13
10 This Morning 6:42
Living Daylight E.P.
11 Living Daylight 3:15
12 Inside A Fireball 4:05
13 January Rain 4:27
Hunters and Collectors - Human Frailty (ogg 115mb)
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Hunters & Collectors tried to make a splash in the American market with a retooling of their What's a Few Men album.. Unfortunately, Fate (as the American version was titled) went largely unnoticed, much to the detriment of the American public. The opening track, Back of the Breadline, features H&C's trademark horns, prominent rhythm section, and Mark Seymour's distinct vocals. The song is catchy and fun and provides a gentle, although not necessarily representative introduction to the band and their style.
There are a few standout tracks-- Around the Flame, Wishing Well, Breakneck Road, and So Long Ago. But even so, there are no truly "weak" songs on the album. Breakneck Road is probably the best representation of Hunters & Collectors style on the entire album.
Perhaps the best song on the album is What's a Few Men. The song title is taken from a passage in Albert M. Facey's autobiography, A Fortunate Life. It relates the tale of a British officer complaining of the smell of rotting dead bodies on the battlefield at Gallipoli in World War I. When told that cleaning up the corpses would result in even more Aussies getting mowed down by the Ottomans, the English colonel's response, "What's a few men?" While it's certainly not traditional subject matter for a rock song, it's that originality which makes the song so compelling. Seymour's tone is rather dour and melancholy and few other singers could pull off singing such a unique song.
Hunters and Collectors - Fate (flac 307mb)
01 Back On The Breadline 4:01
02 Wishing Well 4:15
03 You Can Have It All 4:06
04 Do You See What I See ? 3:40
05 Around The Flame 3:54
06 Faraway Man 3:06
07 Under The Sun (Where I Come From) 4:07
08 What Are You Waiting For ? 2:24
09 So Long Ago 3:14
10 Real World 4:06
11 Something To Believe In 3:51
12 Breakneck Road 2:40
13 What's A Few Men? 3:35
Hunters and Collectors - Fate (ogg 108mb)
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Although "When the River Runs Dry" was a minor hit, Ghost Nation is dominated greatly from moody lyrics and gray instrumental work through the entirety of the album. Hunters & Collectors have the capacity to churn out great guitar-oriented songs with amiable choruses, as proven on Cut, but all that is left behind here. Mark Seymour's weary vocals keep songs like "Blind Eye" and "Ghost Nation" from releasing their potential as uplifting rock tunes. Hunters & Collectors' use of the French horn and trombones comes out flat, dragged down by milky guitar and goth-flavored melodies. There's a pessimistic aura that floats above this album, but that shouldn't mislead listeners. Usually this groups' music is energetic and lively, with blazing guitars and keyboards all afire. The cloudy cover is a fine indication that this album leans toward a moody sound, and it is surely not typical of their music.
Hunters and Collectors - Ghost Nation (flac 378mb)
01 When The River Runs Dry 5:01
02 Blind Eye 4:29
03 Love All Over Again 3:55
04 Crime Of Passion 5:22
05 You Stole My Thunder 3:27
06 Ghost Nation 4:11
07 The Way You Live 3:48
08 Gut Feeling 4:25
09 Lazy Summer Day 3:38
10 Running Water 5:04
11 When The River Runs Dry (Single Version) 3:34
12 The Price Of Freedom 3:16
13 Two Roads 3:19
Hunters and Collectors - Ghost Nation (ogg 130mb)
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Hunters & Collectors began their career by playing the pub scene in Australia and from there the band slowly inflated into semi-stardom, mainly in their homeland. Collected Works takes the best tracks from the first ten years of the band's existence and lays them out in chronological order, resulting in a wonderful compilation. The 15 tracks come from their self-titled album, The Jaws of Life, Human Frailty, Fate, and Ghost Nation, with "Lumps of Lead" stemming from the 1982 Pay Load EP. H&C's dusty, basement dwelling sound shadows the band with character, presenting them with an element of low-key personality that sets them apart from other groups. Each song has a rough-edged savvy surrounding it, either by the gritty guitar playing or the mournful eagerness in Mark Seymour's vocals. "January Rain" carries a desolate aura that hovers above the entire tune, and "Carry Me" speaks volumes with its emanating bass riff and building guitar. What makes this band shine is the ghost-like air that drifts through their sound, which eventually becomes solidified by the strength of their instruments. With heavy emphasis on concrete guitar rhythms, balanced out by the creative application of horns, H&C's music heightens slightly throughout the duration of each of their songs. Collected Works doubles as a must-have for fans as well as a splendid intro into this underrated band.
Hunters and Collectors - Collected (flac 371mb)
01 Talking To A Stranger 3:51
02 Run Run Run 9:14
03 Lumps Of Lead 4:10
04 Wheels 3:20
05 Carry Me 4:11
06 The Slab 3:57
07 Say Goodbye 3:50
08 Everything's On Fire 4:25
09 Throw Your Arms Around Me 4:11
10 This Morning 6:43
11 January Rain 4:26
12 Faraway Man 3:08
13 Do You See What I See? 3:37
14 Blind Eye 4:29
15 When The River Runs Dry 5:01
Hunters and Collectors - Collected (ogg 136mb)
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