The Smallgoods are back with their third and most ambitious album release to date, Down on the Farm. Down on the Farm tells the story of an escape from the hectic city life to seek supposed solace in the country through jaunty folk songs, eerie spacious epics, dark ballads and gentle psychedelia.
The first single from the album, "Traipse Through the Valley", is a harmony-drenched rollicking folk number, a galloping ride in the countryside with just a hint of something evil lurking in the woods nearby.
Recording for Down on the Farm began in 2005 with a recording grant from Arts Victoria. Over the best part of the next two-and-a-half years the Smallgoods, along with engineer Marcus Barczak, both endured and revelled in experiences thrown at them by the recording process: well-equipped city studios, low-fi country recordings, deafening crickets, loss of large portions of recordings through equipment malfunction, a vast array of instruments, overseas shows, and some good old-fashioned campfire sing-a-longs.
Guest players on the album include Pete Cohen (Sodastream) on double bass, Jodi Phillis (The Clouds) singing the part of the siren in 100 Red Buttons, Paul Rigby (the Rectifiers) on pedal steel and banjo, and Nic Dalton (Half A Cow head-honcho) playing coconuts on "Traipse through the Valley". A 30-voice choir featuring local Melbourne musicians and other talented folks, donated their vocal stylings in exchange for beers in the tracks "You’ve Got A Friend" and "South of the River".
Down on the Farm could be seen as a return to their origins as the majority of the band having grown up together in the small Victorian coastal village of Port Fairy. The band proper however formed in Melbourne in 2000, initially playing regular shows in their home city to ever-growing audiences who were attracted to the Smallgoods crafty knack for song writing and a heavily melodic and harmony laden sound.
A number of small-self funded releases by the band during these early years culminated in the release of two albums. Listen to the Radio (2003) and This is the Show (2004) both displayed a surprising breadth of scope and ambition belying their miniscule budgets. These releases propelled the band into the country’s premier music venues and into support slots alongside international acts like the Shins, Kelley Stoltz, Spoon, Lou Barlow, Iron and Wine, the Brunettes, Josh Rouse and Ben Kweller, as well as locals Dan Kelly and the Alpha Males, the Lucksmiths, Ground Components, Crayon Fields, Architecture in Helsinki, Dappled Cities Fly and Mid-State Orange to name but a few.
Download MP3: 04 Traipse Through The Valley.mp3