The Apartments December in Paris
|Genres||Indie rock, jangle pop, chamber pop|
1984–present (with several periods of inactivity)
|Labels||Riley Records, Talitres, Able Label, Hot, Rough Trade, Glass, New Rose|
|Associated acts||The Go-Betweens, Xero, Out Of Nowhere, Laughing Clowns, Cleopatra Wong, The Colors, Big Heavy Stuff, The Cruel Sea, 49 Swimming Pools|
|Members||Peter Milton Walsh
|Past members||Michael O'Connell
- 1 History
- 2 Early Apartments and Brisbane Connections (1978-1980)
- 3 Out of Nowhere (1981-1982)
- 4 New York (1982-1983)
- 5 Australia (1984-1985)
- 6 First Album (1985-1988)
- 7 Australia and France (1989-2007)
- 8 Australian and French Tours (2007-2009)
- 9 French Tour (2012)
- 10 It's Not Our World Any More (2013-Present)
- 11 Covers
- 12 Discography
- 13 Further reading
- 14 References
- 15 External links
Australian chamber pop band led by songwriter Peter Milton Walsh. The band's name derives from Billy Wilder's 1960 film The Apartment. The Apartments have had a strong following in Europe since being based in London in the mid-1980s. Now based in Sydney, Australia, the band continues to play and record.
Early Apartments and Brisbane Connections (1978-1980)
The Apartments first came together in Brisbane in 1978 with Walsh (guitar, vocals), Michael O'Connell (guitar, vocals), Peter Whitby (bass, vocals) and Peter Martin (drums). The Apartments played regularly during a period of flourishing creative activity in Brisbane in the late 70s
While in The Apartments, Walsh briefly joined The Go-Betweens as guitarist when they were offered an 8 album contract by Beserkley Records. During an interview at the time, Robert Forster and Grant McLennan spoke about Walsh and the “variety of personalities and image” in the Go-Betweens. McLennan said “Walsh is night” and Forster “We are day” with McLennan adding “We’re sun, he’s rain.” Four years after Grant McLennan’s death, in a piece entitled “Who will remember your tunes?”, Walsh wrote about this period and his friendship with The Go-Betweens.
When the Beserkley deal fell through, Walsh returned to The Apartments and The Go-Betweens resumed as a three-piece. The Go-Betweens affectionately commemorated Walsh's style and his time with them on the B side of their next single, "Don't Let Him Come Back" “Here he comes, with his twelve o’clock junk…who’s that dressed in black? Who’s that in his apartment?”.'. "Don't Let Him Come Back" was later covered by Jay Reatard.
The Apartments' first EP Return of the Hypnotist was recorded for The Go-Betweens' Able Label in May, 1979. The Apartments broke up in October 1979, when Walsh left Brisbane. Some months later, the Return of the Hypnotist EP was released.
Out of Nowhere (1981-1982)
In 1981, Walsh next formed a four-piece Out of Nowhere (Walsh, guitar/vocals, Gary Warner, soprano saxophone, Tony Forde, clarinet and Graeme Hutchinson, drums) and recorded “The Arrangements” a cassette-only release with Pink and Blue, a duet of artists Jenny Watson and John Nixon, then curator of the Institute of Modern Art. After a string of shows around Brisbane during their first year, the band relocated to Sydney in 1982, adding Joe Borkowski on bass and Jeffrey Wegener of the Laughing Clowns replacing Hutchinson on drums. This incarnation of the band recorded Out of Nowhere’s first and only single for Ed Kuepper’s Prince Melon label “No Resistance/Remember, Remember.”.
New York (1982-1983)
In early 1982, Walsh moved to New York City following an invitation from future Go-Between, Robert Vickers, to join The Colors as guitarist. The Colors split up within months of Walsh joining the band and Walsh remained in New York. A number of songs written during these years would later appear on the first Apartments album “the evening visits…and stays for years”.
Walsh was then asked by Ed Kuepper to play bass in his band Laughing Clowns. Walsh toured England, Europe and Australia extensively with the Laughing Clowns and also recorded the Law of Nature album and the single “Eternally Yours”.
A year later Walsh returned to Australia and reformed The Apartments with a line-up including ex-Out of Nowhere members, Gary Warner (piano), Joseph Borkowski (bass) and Graeme Beavis (guitar), and Bruce Carrick (drums). The band then recorded one of the set of New York songs as a single, "All You Wanted" (with ex-Out of Nowhere member Gary Warner on piano), (b/w “Fever Elsewhere”). Early in 1985 The Apartments recorded demos for a proposed debut album.
First Album (1985-1988)
In June 1985, Rough Trade records signed The Apartments on the basis of the demos recorded earlier in the year. Walsh then moved to London and released The Apartments’ first album, the evening visits...and stays for years in 1985. The Apartments were joined by guest musicians Clare Kenny (formerly of Orange Juice, bass, vocals), Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl and Graham Lee of The Triffids.
Reviewing the evening visits… for the NME, critic Jane Wilkes wrote "after whetting our appetites with last year's classic import single 'All You Wanted' The Apartments have stunned us to a reverential silence. This album is a pure heart-wrencher, and should only be listened to after dark."
French music critic and biographer of Serge Gainsbourg, Bayon, writing in Libération drew favourable comparisons to a diverse range of musicians, both contemporary (Cocteau Twins, Felt, Nick Cave) and preceding (Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Alex Chilton.) "the evening visits…" subsequently appeared in the NME’s 1985 Albums Of The Year End Of Year Critic List and became a cult hit in France. A track from it, “mr somewhere” was later covered in 1991 by This Mortal Coil on the Blood album.
Following an English tour with Everything but the Girl, a new line-up emerged that included Jurgen Hobbs (bass), Judy Anderson (piano, organ) and Nick Allum (drums). This incarnation of the band played shows in the UK and Europe and released a single, "The Shyest Time", in 1988. The Shyest Time was featured on the soundtrack for John Hughes’ movie Some Kind of Wonderful Subsequent litigation between The Apartments and Hughes’ production company over recording prevented The Apartments from releasing new material for nearly 18 months.
Australia and France (1989-2007)
With Rough Trade in receivership as the Eighties ended, Walsh left England for Australia. He continued writing and occasional performances as a duet with Amanda Brown of The Go Betweens and as The Apartments with Ed Kuepper. Recordings of both were extensively bootlegged.
In 1993, The Apartments recorded Drift, the first Apartments album released in Australia, on Melbourne label, Torn & Frayed, the Dirty Three's first label. Drift was next released in France on New Rose, the European label for Alex Chilton. The album (like its predecessor) achieved high praise in France, with Les Inrockuptibles placing Drift at #19 in their end of year list in 1993 and 7th place in the reader's list. Due to its high cult status in France, the album was re-released and remastered through the French indie label, Talitres in 2010.
A tour of France followed in 1994 with The Apartments consisting of Walsh, two members of Big Heavy Stuff — Eliot Fish (bass, vocals) and Greg Atkinson (guitar, vocals) — and Nick Allum on drums.
The Apartments then recorded three more albums in quick succession: A Life Full Of Farewells (1995), and fête foraine (1996) and apart (1997). Rolling Stone reviewer Rob O'Connor described A Life Full of Farewells as "the sort of ornate pop record one usually associates with big-budget psychedelia or overstudied Anglo pop. For the most part, Walsh's songs enable listeners to enjoy time spent in places we would usually rather not be.". MOJO said “Taken together, 1985’s ‘the Evening Visits...’, 1993’s ‘Drift’ and 1995’s ‘A Life Full Of Farewells’ constitute the finest, most distinguished catalogue I’ve heard in the past decade or so”.
On the final day of mixing and recording apart Walsh was informed that his young son had been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. After this, Walsh suspended writing and touring for The Apartments to devote his attention to his son, who died two years later in September, 1999. Walsh later described his reasons for not resuming his musical career after his son’s death. "I just wanted nothing to do with anything that didn't have him in it. I felt like I had been given every chance of happiness and he got none. I felt entitled to nothing."
Australian and French Tours (2007-2009)
In 2007, encouraged by John Willsteed, bass player on drift, Walsh was convinced briefly to perform again and The Apartments (Walsh, Fish, Willsteed, Jeff Crawley, George Bibicos and Gene Maynard (drums)) played the Pig City Festival at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, along with The Saints, Regurgitator, Ups and Downs and many others. Walsh then agreed to shows in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
"Peter Walsh of The Apartments" played three shows in France in November 2009. Peter Walsh played with Eliot Fish (with two French musicians on some songs) in Chinon, Paris (L'Européen) and Clermont Ferrand, to critical acclaim and many articles in the French press celebrating his return to live performance). The Apartments were supported by French band 49 Swimming Pools who, as fans of The Apartments, organised the tour.
French Tour (2012)
A French tour for 2012 was announced via French crowdfunding site Ulule. A series of shows took place in November/December - in art galleries and boutiques in Paris and La Rochelle and in regular music venues in Paris (Bouffes du Nord), Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Nantes and Allonnes. Peter Walsh played with Amanda Brown from The Go Betweens, Nick Allum from The Fatima Mansions, Wayne Connolly of Knievel, Fabien Tessier and Samuel Léger of 49 Swimming Pools and Gaël Riteau. During the tour, The Apartments recorded a live session for the Label Pop radio programme on Radio France. This was later released by French label, Talitres, as a limited edition vinyl LP of 500 copies for Disquaire Day (Record Store Day) April 20, 2013. The album,Seven Songs, sold out within two weeks.
It's Not Our World Any More (2013-Present)
Peter Walsh is currently working on a new Apartments album (working title It's Not Our World Any More) with Amanda Brown (the first album of new songs by The Apartments since 2007's apart) and a re-issue of the band's first seven years of material, including their debut album the evening visits...
Other notable covers include "Knowing You Were Loved" by Renée Geyer in 1999 on her Sweet Life album and Ed Kuepper's reading of "Places Where The Night Is Long" on his 1995 album, Exotic Mail Order Moods.
- Return of the Hypnotist (1979) 7” Able Label
- All You Wanted (1984) 7” Hot
- All You Wanted (1985) 7” + 12” Rough Trade
- The Shyest Time (1987) MCA (Split single with Flesh For Lulu from the Soundtrack to the film Some Kind of Wonderful)
- The Shyest Time (1988) 7" + 12” Glass
- Sunset Hotel EP (1994) CD New Rose
- Life EP (1995) CD Hot
- Part (1997) CD Hot
- Black Ribbons (2011) 7” Riley Records / Chapter Music
- The Evening Visits...and Stays For Years (1985) Rough Trade / Virgin France S.A.
- Drift (1992) New Rose / Torn & Frayed
- A Life Full of Farewells (1995) Hot
- Fête Foraine (1996) Hot
- Apart (1997) Hot
- Drift (2011) Talitres
- Seven Songs (2013) Talitres
- Some Kind of Wonderful Soundtrack (1987). Song: The Shyest Time
- POPvolume#1 (1999) POPnews. Song: Knowing You Were Loved
- Behind the Banana Curtain – a collection of 41 Brisbane bands (2000) 4ZZZ. Song: Help
- Can’t Stop It! Australian Post-Punk 1978-82 (2005) Chapter. Song: Help
- Clinton Walker (1982). Inner City Sound. Wild & Woolley Pty Ltd. ISBN 909331480
- Clinton Walker (1984). The Next Thing: Contemporary Australian Rock Kangaroo Press. ISBN 0949924814
- Clinton Walker (1996). Stranded: The Secret History of Australian Independent Music 1977-1991. Pan MacMillan Australia. ISBN 0-7329-0883-3
- Andrew Stafford (2004). Pig City: from the Saints to Savage Garden. University of Queensland Press. ISBNs 9780702233609 (first edition), 9780702235610 (second edition)
- David, Nichols (2003). The Go-Betweens. Portland, OR: Verse Chorus Press. ISBN 1-891241-16-8. Note: [online] version has limited functionality.
- David Nichols (2005). The Go-Betweens (Limited Italian edition). Libera Publishing. ISBN 88-901889-1-X
- Rob Young (2006). Rough Trade: Labels Unlimited Black Dog Publishing. ISBN 1904772471
- Walker, Clinton. Inner City Sound. Wild and Woolley, 1982, p. 66.
- Nichols, David. The Go-Betweens. Allen and Unwin, 1997, p. 11.
- Nichols, David. The Go-Betweens. Allen and Unwin, 1997, p. 55-56.
- Wilkes, Jane. New Musical Express. London, 12 October 1985, p. 36.
- Bayon. The Apartments: musique de chamber, Libération, Paris, 25 January 1986.
- O'Connor, Rob. Rolling Stone. June 28, 1995, p.56
- MySpace The Apartments