"Every word she sings takes on a near-religious gravity." Pitchfork
"The sheer vulnerability of Chadwick’s lyrics continue to floor." NME
"The ability to articulate the dull kind of pain that pervades the everyday is just one of the album's many accomplishments." Exclaim!
"Her voice is truly something else, soaring and powerful and wholly unique." Brooklyn Vegan
“Please Daddy is liable to leave you gasping, shaken and grinning all at once.” Metro
“Sarah Mary Chadwick's new album, Roses Always Die, is a beautiful and insightful collection of songs. Her work achieves a poignancy which is distinct as it is rare.” Henry Rollins
"The song (Please Daddy), is a warning, a preamble, for what will likely be one of the most heartbreaking albums of the new decade." - Rolling Stone
"The album is not for the faint of heart, it’s for the fighters. Those who have been through hell and have come back to tell the tale" - Tone Deaf
"A terrifying loud masterwork" 5 Stars The Guardian
“Sustained chords, by turns implacable and triumphant, bring a magisterial gravity to her cryptic but emotive lyrics" The New York Times
“The artefact of Please Daddy will last a lifetime” Gigwise
“If everyone that buys Florence and the Machine records went out and bought this then the world would be a better but more miserable place. I can see this record appealing to lots of people and 15% of the time I’m not wrong about my hunches so get in on the ground floor if you want to be sad.” - Norman Records
To listen to Sarah’s music is to be a quiet observer to her thoughts on love, death and mental health.
Sometimes this anguish bears itself in sullen, quiet moments, but more often torment manifests at the break of Sarah’s voice as she sing-shouts painfully vulnerable, self-aware lyrics.
Her new album Please Daddy is out now.
Sarah Mary Chadwick is a multi-instrumentalist and visual artist and not a new face to Melbourne’s music community. After moving to Australia from her native New Zealand to pursue a career in music, Sarah spent a decade fronting the grunge band Batrider. Eventually becoming tired of the collaborative requirements intrinsic to band life, Sarah shifted her focus to songwriting independently, drawing inspiration from “weird old New Zealand musicians” like Peter Jefferies, Chris Knox, and Australia’s Pip Proud and the way they tinker away and work for decades for “little to no commercial success.” This inspiration is obvious in Sarah’s performance as she simultaneously savors and mocks the pedestal that her creativity affords her, acknowledging that “it’s a position of power being on a microphone” and how “it’s a desperate demand to be seen. It’s funny and really sad.
"The unyielding motivation in Hill’s music,” Nat Hentoff writes in the liner notes to pianist Andrew Hill’s 1965 record Point of Departure, “is his desire to keep finding out who he is and to make his music out of that deepening knowledge.” Hentoff, Hill and liner notes are all dead, but it seems as though with some kind of spectral prescience they were summing up Sarah Mary Chadwick’s project, which takes place, seated at a piano, a half century later.
Indeed, it’s hard to think of a musical career today so dedicated to plumbing the depths, so unafraid to put its hand into the fire – now that “experiments” in music are clichés, and “emotion” is a post-ironic game of double-bluff. It’s for this reason that I need to offer a word of caution about this record – which should come affixed like those “Parental Advisories” which so reified the CDs which bore them.
This music is hard. Not in the sense of machismo or of complexity or of book-smarts or even tunelessness (there’s melodies for days), but in the sense that you will come into contact with great pain. It’s probably Sarah’s, but it might be yours, and as such this disc needs to be handled carefully, as though it glows with some kind of half-life accrued from traumas across a lifetime. Pain, indeed, is one of the ways we can go the deepest, like Fred Nietzsche says (and I’ll try not to over-intellectualise, the album doesn’t): “Only great pain, that long, slow pain that takes its time and in which we are burned, as it were, over green wood, forces us … to descend into our ultimate depths… I doubt that such pain makes us ‘better’ – but I know that it makes us deeper.”
And sometimes, for me at least, the music here is like being burned over “green wood,” like staying a little too late at the party, like sleeping a little too long in the middle of the day and waking up not knowing where you are.
But it’s a lot more than that – don’t worry. There’s joy here, lots of it, and humour too, which is another way we can go deep, if we know what we’re doing – and Sarah does. And what’s more there’s moments here that are neither funny nor tragic but both, like those tangled knots which make up the real stuff of our lives, like pet cemeteries, hangovers, or like the rope holding up the pants of one of Beckett’s old grubbers.
All this to say be careful, but have fun too – talking like a parent as you come down the stairs and head out to do who knows what – there’s riches to be found at the bottom of that muddy, icy water, but make sure you end up at somebody’s house, dried off with the heater on, drinking a brandy. That’s where Sarah’ll be, so don’t worry too much." - Clarence Bigley
Sarah Mary Chadwick's album 'The Queen Who Stole The Sky' is out now.
The prolific Sarah Mary Chadwick returns with ‘The Queen Who Stole The Sky’, an album performed and recorded live on Melbourne Town Hall’s 147 year-old grand organ.
Originally built in 1872, rebuilt in 1925 and refurbished in the 1990s, the Town Hall Organ is the largest Grand Romantic organ in the Southern Hemisphere.
In 2018, Sarah Mary Chadwick was commissioned by City of Melbourne to create an entirely new body of work, to be written and recorded in just three months on an instrument grand in size, sound and antiquity. A daunting task to some, but Sarah Mary Chadwick’s trademark writing style is one that instigates itself furiously - she feels and then begins to write, without ruminating or long periods of drawn out self-reflection.
What results from this process are songs that are completely undiluted in their spirit, and an ability to create vast volumes of work over relatively short periods of time.
‘The Queen Who Stole The Sky’ is a body of work that is undeniably commanding, yet punctuated by quieter points of intimacy. The songs have a narrative-like quality, unfolding themselves before their audience. Sarah Mary Chadwick's command of the grand organ is testament to her musicality – the sheer size of the instrument could so easily drown out the nuances of the songwriting – but not so for Sarah.
Sarah describes the songs as being mostly about rural isolation, death, and “the fact that I’m always waiting for life and it never arrives – it only ever leaves”.
‘The Queen Who Stole The Sky’ was performed live at Melbourne Town Hall in the winter of 2018. The album is a masterful production by Sarah Mary Chadwick, and in Sarah’s own words, is dedicated to “anyone who ever wanted a little bit more than what life had to offer them”.
Sarah Mary Chadwick released her fourth album Sugar Still Melts In The Rain May, 2018.
To listen to Sarah's music is to be a quiet observer to her thoughts on love, death and mental health. Sometimes this anguish bears itself in sullen, quiet moments, but more often torment manifests at the break of Sarah's voice as she sing-shouts painfully vulnerable, self-aware lyrics. This is all front and centre on Chadwick's "Sugar Still Melts In The Rain."'5 Months' is an incredible take away from this stunning album. The song is for Karl.
Chadwick is not a new face to Melbourne's music community. After moving to Australia from her native New Zealand to pursue a career in music, Sarah spent a decade fronting the grunge band Batrider. Eventually becoming tired of the collaborative requirements intrinsic to band life, Sarah shifted her focus to songwriting independently, drawing inspiration from "weird old New Zealand musicians" like Peter Jefferies, Chris Knox, and Australia's Pip Proud and the way they tinker away and work for decades for "little to no commercial success." This inspiration is obvious in Sarah's performance as she simultaneously savours and mocks the pedestal that her creativity affords her, acknowledging that "it's a position of power being on a microphone" and how "it's a desperate demand to be seen. It's funny and really sad."
Learning that Sarah's songwriting is thoroughly autobiographical is perhaps more unnerving than her artistic process of watching sexually charged movies to inspire her pornographic art. She drinks, she watches porn, she draws and she writes. When the blur of the evening fades, what remains is a colourful orgy on the page and Sarah's recollections immortalized in Sugar Still Melts In The Rain's "Wind Wool", "oh no I'm losing memory, did we just piss away time? And does it matter anyway, I'll die, you died, we die...". To Sarah Mary Chadwick, all tragedy is comedy.
Sugar Still Melts In The Rain marks her first release since 2016's Rice Is Nice LP 'Roses Always Die' and her first for her new label Sinderlyn (home to Homeshake, Jaye Bartell and Tim Cohen).Having already released three solo records, this album is her 4th solo work. It was recorded and mixed by friend, musician and filmmaker Geoffrey O'Connor in Vanity Lair and Phaedra Studios in Melbourne. The album came together so quickly partly as a result of the duo's commitment to efficiency and partly due to Sarah's lack of attachment to the idea of "the perfect vocal take."
She knows she isn't a virtuoso; tongue firmly in check, she is quick to reference those limitations mockingly. Yet, it's within those boundaries that she thrives, disinterested in the perfect take in lieu of her best take - unique, somber and raw.
With her 2015 album 9 Classic Tracks, Sarah presented a collection of timeless wall-of-synth ballads with a casual candor that was as unnerving as it was entertaining.Roses Always Die sees Sarah expand on the quiet intensity of her previous work, exploring memory, grief and personal analysis in a way that few songwriters are capable of. Her unflinching approach to songwriting allows her to introduce complex, often difficult subject matter into her work in a way that is as vivid as it is understated. An old immobile organ provides the only accompaniment to her voice, giving the album an eerie consistency that perfectly underpins the diverse, open-ended narratives that run through each song. Unembellished and at times brutally sparse, these songs are presented with a level of conviction that is rare amongst a generation of musicians for whom songwriting is as essential as the torrent of the latest 808 emulator. The songs are whittled down to their surprisingly hooky, heartbreaking, wry, bare-boned essentials. The sentiments are personal and the refrains are huge and ambitious. Sarah was previously the lead singer and songwriter of cult grunge outfit, Batrider, playing alongside Julia McFarlane (Twerps), and Stephanie Crase (Summer Flake, Fair Maiden). Roses Always Die is the second album recorded with Geoffrey O’Connor (solo, Crayon Fields). It has a more organic sound than the wall of synths used on 9 Classic Tracks, with most songs comprising of just one voice and live ‘70s Yamaha analogue organ. The organ - a huge, heavy double-tiered beast with built-in percussion beats and pedal bass - couldn’t be moved and was recorded on site in the loungeroom at Sarah’s house in Collingwood, Melbourne. This album reflects a more concentrated focus on songwriting craft and songs are whittled to surprisingly hooky, heartbreaking, wry, bare-boned essentials. The sentiments are personal and the refrains are huge and ambitious. Sarah’s voice is strong and vulnerable, it croons and croaks and cracks, and emotes lyrics about grief and memory. 9 Classic Tracks sees Sarah Mary Chadwick venture into decidedly lusher territory – her unmistakably raw vocals present this time through a vaseline filter and with an air of reflection indicative of both artistic growth and intimate evolution. In a new collaboration for Chadwick, 9 Classic Tracks was recorded and produced by Geoffrey O’Connor (The Crayon Fields) and mastered by David Walker. 'Where do I fit in?', she inquires in the opening track 'Ask Walt', setting the tone for what soon becomes clear is an album of great introspection. But rather than alienating the listener with inward-facing questions, Chadwick's astute observations on relationships and the utter messiness of love are at once deeply idiosyncratic and universally relatable. In the thick of the album, the mercurial fifth track 'Same Old Fires' moves from a hymn-like whisper into an uncharacteristically sunny backing beat layered contrarily behind emotional cries of 'I'm tired of feeling the same old burns, from wandering through the same old fires,' before transitioning into a similar lament in the sixth track, 'I'm Back Where I Was'. 9 Classic Tracks reaches a turning point with 'I'm Like an Apple with No Skin', a song that will resonate with anyone who has walked away from a relationship in the name of self-preservation. Closing with 'Until the Grave' Chadwick repeats the refrain ' Until the grave I'm fighting'. As hopeful and irrepressible as it is depressing, that confusion and acceptance is present throughout the entire album, summed up in a line in 'Lying Down' - '..'cause every human here/ is a prism dark and clear/first glass, then dust.' Bonus tracks, 'You Said/I'm Buying' and 'Rain It Down on You' close the digital version of the album, the latter of which is an endearingly tentative love song ruminating on the fear associated with falling in love again after a period of heartbreak. 'I've got a lot of love to give, it's leaking out of my eyes and skin', sings Chadwick, ending 9 Classic Tracks on a comparatively hopeful note, mapping the familiar feeling of wanting to disregard accumulated cynicisms in favour of letting go and giving into the simpler pleasures of love. Album out now. Awesome clip for 'Aquarius Gemini' Sarah performing 'I'm Like An Apple With No Skin' for Rolling Stone. See Sarah Mary Chadwick on FACEBOOK See Sarah Mary Chadwick on BANDCAMP See Sarah Mary Chadwick on TUMBLR