Under the Milky Way - Netflix
Wed 26 June 2019
The Siding Spring Observatory is in danger of being shut down and resident astronomer Helene McKenzie is the only thing standing in the way. Battling an inept local council and hindered by a ragtag bunch of colleagues, her fight is set to be an uphill one.
Runtime: 30 minutes
Under the Milky Way - The Church (band) - Netflix
The Church are an Australian psychedelic rock band formed in Sydney in 1980. Initially associated with new wave, neo-psychedelia and indie rock, their music later came to feature slower tempos and surreal soundscapes reminiscent of dream pop and post-rock. Glenn A. Baker has written that “From the release of the 'She Never Said' single in November 1980, this unique Sydney-originated entity has purveyed a distinctive, ethereal, psychedelic-tinged sound which has alternatively found favour and disfavor in Australia.” The Los Angeles Times has described the band's music as “dense, shimmering, exquisite guitar pop”. The founding members were Steve Kilbey on lead vocals and bass guitar, Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper on guitars and Nick Ward on drums. Ward only played on their debut album, and the band's drummer for the rest of the 1980s was Richard Ploog. Jay Dee Daugherty (ex-Patti Smith Group) played drums from 1990 to 1993, followed by “timEbandit” Tim Powles (ex-The Venetians) who remains with them to the present day. Koppes left the band from 1992 to 1997, and Willson-Piper left in 2013. He was replaced by Ian Haug, formerly of Powderfinger. Kilbey, Koppes and Powles also recorded together as The Refo:mation in 1997. The Church's debut album, Of Skins and Heart (1981), delivered their first radio hit, “The Unguarded Moment”, and they were signed to major labels in Australia, Europe and the United States. However, the US label was dissatisfied with their second album and dropped the band without releasing it. This put a dent in their international success, but they returned to the charts in 1988 with the album Starfish and the US Top 40 hit “Under the Milky Way”. Subsequent mainstream success has proved elusive, but the band retains a large international cult following and were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in Sydney in 2010. The Church continue to tour and record, releasing their 25th studio album, Man Woman Life Death Infinity, in October 2017.
Under the Milky Way - 1993–1996: Sometime Anywhere, Magician Among the Spirits - Netflix
Despite the loss of Koppes, Arista decided to stand by their contract and back another Church album and so Kilbey and Willson-Piper began to write new material. When it became clear that Daugherty would not be returning to the fold either, the remaining two took the opportunity to approach their music from new perspectives, abandoning their long-established roles and stylistic elements in favour of experimentation, spontaneity and electronica. Early in 1994, the two brought in Willson-Piper's childhood friend Andy 'Dare' Mason to produce, record and mix. The album was mostly recorded at Sydney's Karmic Hit Studios and mixed at Karmic Hit and Studios 301. New Zealand drummer Tim Powles (ex-The Venetians) was hired for the sessions, having already played with Kilbey on his Jack Frost project. Considered temporary at the time, Powles would soon become a permanent member of the band and is still with them over 20 years later. The resulting album, Sometime Anywhere, released in May 1994, was generally well received and peaked in the Top 30. It is described as a “rich, dark, epic release [which] picked up where Priest left off with lush, lengthy tracks”. Sales, however, were paltry and the first single, “Two Places at Once”, did not chart. Promotion was minimal as Arista saw insufficient commercial promise in the release. With another commercially unsuccessful album on their hands, Arista did not renew The Church's contract and pulled financial support for a tour. Ambitious plans to stage full electric shows were scaled back, leaving Kilbey and Willson-Piper with only a short run of acoustic gigs as a duo. Without a recording deal, the band's future looked bleak as Kilbey and Willson-Piper began work on new recordings in 1995. Although initially a two-man project, the new material saw input from new drummer Powles and hired violinist Linda Neil. Renewed contact between Kilbey and Peter Koppes led to the latter agreeing to guest on four songs - a welcome surprise for fans. Simon Polinski (Yothu Yindi) was drafted in to co-produce, engineer and mix the sessions. The music saw a return to guitar-based material, infused with krautrock and art rock influences. A 15-minute atmospheric piece called “Magician Among the Spirits” dominated the sessions, named after a book by Harry Houdini. Additional contributions by Utungun Percussion added a new, primal aspect to several songs. The album, also called Magician Among the Spirits, received mixed reviews, despite the guitar rock hook of its single, “Comedown”. It was released on the band's own Deep Karma label, but due to financial constraints they had to arrange for outside distribution for the North American and European markets. This almost doomed the album from the beginning, but worse events were to come. Within a short time, the U.S. distributor went bankrupt, leaving the band stripped of its earnings from North American sales. Although exact figures remain unknown due to disputes, up to A$250,000 worth of merchandise (some 25,000 discs) was lost. For a band already on shaky ground, this was nearly the death knell. Comments by Kilbey in May of that year summed up the situation: “There's no immediate future for The Church.....Our management, the whole thing is broken down.....We don't really have a label. We're owed lots and lots of money and we're broke. We're trying to pursue lawyers to get our money back. Marty and I aren't having any communication. There's no one really managing us so.....that could have been the last record.”
Under the Milky Way - References - Netflix