December 2014

The Riptides: Tombs Of Gold

People often talk about the fickle nature of the music business. Mark Callaghan, the former GANGgajang leader who has spent a long career in music publishing, knows it better than most. “It seems like everyone’s career is supercharged,” he says. “It happens really quick, but it’s also got great potential to be over really quick. It’s like the whole life cycle has been accelerated.”

Callaghan is talking about the present, but he could be easily talking about his first band, Brisbane’s much-loved Riptides. Playing a giddy mix of ska,surf and power pop, the band shot across the Australian music landscape like a meteor in the early 1980s, but a cocktail of line-up changes and bad deals meant they never reached their full potential.

A mini-album called Swept Away, a handful of brilliant singles (including the legendary Sunset Strip, one of the first releases on the Go-Betweens’ Able Label) and a compilation on Regular Records were all that appeared at the time, along with a live album, Resurface, which documented one of the band’s regularly riotous appearances at the University of Queensland Refectory.

Until now. Thirty years after the Riptides’ unseemly demise, Callaghan is issuing the band’s first album independently, thanks to a crowd-funding campaign that reached its goal within a fortnight, a testament to the enduring appeal of the band.… Read more..

The Riptides: Tombs Of Gold Read More »

Fare game

It’s valued at around $60 billion. It operates, at last count, in 45 countries and over 200 cities worldwide. It’s gone to war with powerful taxi cartels, and the governments who protect them. Named tech company of the year by USA Today in 2013, it has just been given an “F” rating by the century-old Better Business Bureau, the American non-profit consumer protection organisation. Its CEO, a 38-year-old enfant terrible called Travis Kalanick, has wondered aloud whether he should have called it “Boober” – a reference to the pulling power, he claims, it gives him with the opposite sex.

Uber – the ride-sharing application which connects commuters with drivers of private vehicles for hire – is everywhere. After launching in San Francisco in 2010, its ascent has been vertiginous. Its runaway success is the product of a perfect technological storm: the ubiquity of smartphones, GPS technology, and peer-rated social media. It’s also undercut and exposed traditional taxi industries with mostly lower prices for passengers, and seemingly generous deals for its drivers.

Uber arrived in Brisbane in April this year, after roll-outs in Sydney and Melbourne beginning in late 2012. Its establishment in Australia has mirrored its trajectory overseas: it has been embraced by the public, in the face of howls of rage from the taxi lobby, which has leaned heavily on governments to crush the new kid on the block, citing concerns over safety, insurance, privacy, and the legality of allowing private cars to operate as taxi services.… Read more..

Fare game Read More »

Scroll to Top