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The Collector – (E is for) The Earthmen – “Scene Stealer” (Warner 1996)

November 27, 2009

I’ll let you into a secret: despite owning this single for over 6 years, the first time I heard this single was in preparation for writing this article. It is one of a number of albums I rescued from the scrapheap over the years, destined to be disposed of from the radio station (where I spent 7 years) due to a lack of space. It was a simple procedure – here is a box of CDs, the manager told us volunteers, anything left in a fortnight goes into the skip.

To be perfectly honest, most of it deserved to end up in a skip. So much of the music in the firing line was by part-time Indie dabblers and bedroom recordists who hadn’t been told it might be good to write music for an audience large than one. Kudos for putting it out there, I guess, and the odd speck of gold could be recovered from the siltbed of music made by those whose talent lay elsewhere.

The discard box itself also held specks of gold and sometimes small seams. Selection for disposal was made by the manager, and was based on his taste and musical knowledge which, like all of us, is destined to have holes. (I scored a Tortoise CD this way; who was I to argue?)

I’m not sure why The Earthman made the cut, but at the time I was glad they did. This Melbourne band had a reputation for solid Indie Pop, was on a major label, and released a well known album with a naked boy and girl on the cover with all the rude bits pixellated out. There was a well-known Earthmen single I adored, except now I can’t remember its name or how it goes. It was the reason I snaffled “Scene Stealer” from the bin. The problem was I picked up a few albums from that raid, all based on curiosity and half-remembered recommendations, and somehow never got around to listen to many of them.

I’ve now listened to “Scene Stealer”, and while it doesn’t deserve the scrapheap, I fear this is where I left my memory of the band.

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