Some folks who know me are aware that I have an affinity for the art of the mixtape. Obviously, these days the advancement of technology means that an effective mixtape has to either be in the form of a playlist, or as I prefer, a CD, but regardless, the sentiment still remains. I found something romantic and genuine about the idea of picking out a bunch of your favourite songs to give to someone with the intent of saying ‘this is a bunch of songs I thought you would like.’ Simple, sweet, and easy to do, in my mind, it’s a perfect gift.
I have a habit for making a lot of my foreign friends a bunch of mixtapes (for the purposes of clarity, if I ever refer to a ‘mixtape’, assume it’s a CD, rather than a tape) of music from Australia as a way to share some often lesser-known music to these friends of mine. In the case of my American fiancée, I made her a total of 63 mixtapes that helped to introduce her to Australian music. Thanks to this, I was able to introduce her to so many bands that she enjoys that its easy for us to find local gigs that we both want to go to, namely because she’s already more aware of these bands than I am sometimes.
Around the time that I was making these CDs, I was avidly expanding my music collection by perusing secondhand record stores, record fairs, thrift stores, eBay, and anything else where I could find hidden gems. My plan was to not only expand my collection, but to also find some tracks to add to these CDs that I hadn’t even discovered yet. I also have a keen fascination with Australian compilation CDs, so when I happened to find the compilation CD for the 1998 Homebake festival, I was ecstatic. The CD featured some brilliant tracks from one of my favourite eras of Australian alternative music, so I was able to reacquaint myself with some great tunes, but also find some new ones to add to these CDs. On the second disc though, right after the sadly forgotten Not From There’s ‘No Answers‘ was the track ‘High Side’, by Fur.
Fur were one of those criminally underrated bands who never saw the success they truly deserved. Having formed in Brisbane in the early ’90s, the group released a handful of EPs and singles before they released their debut album The Betty Shakes. On a trip to one of these record fairs, I had discovered their EP Losin’ Your Marbles, and I had loved every second of it, so when I discovered ‘High Side’, the lead single to their debut record, I was floored by it.
Its somewhat nihilistic sound was bolstered by the melodic yet isolated guitar sounds the group displayed in this track. It was a far cry from the rest of their discography, which had more of a hard rock sound most of the time. In this case, ‘High Side’ was the radio-friendly lead single that was neglected by the mainstream, and only saw a little success on the alternative stations.
Fur sadly disbanded soon after their debut record, but got back together for a small handful of shows in which supported frequent tourmates Jebediah in 2015. Sadly, I missed these shows due to being in America at the time, so I’m still hanging out to catch these guys one day so I can rock out to the sad, yet hopeful ‘High Side’ in person one day.