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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos


Weekend’s Coming is out now!

Image: Supplied.

Brisbane/Meanjin brass-led octet The Steele Syndicate have dropped their debut album, Weekend’s Coming. To celebrate the release, the band are taking MILKY through the release track by track!

“I remember tracking the lead guitar line for One Beer (Is Never Enough), and having this old Roland Jazz Chorus maxed to the proverbial 11, and there being so much thick noise even when the guitar was not playing, that it sounded like the studio was literally drawing breath." frontman Steele McMahon shares. "While it was challenging to utilize only real instruments, in a day where nearly every sound can be achieved with the touch of a button, I think it presented a fun and creative opportunity to embrace limitations, and really allow the nuances and idiosyncrasies of analogue instrumentation to shine.”

The band are currently in the midst of their Weekend's Coming tour, having already played in Woolgoolga, Coffs Harbour, Boyne Island and Cairns. The run of shows will continue tonight in Maroochydore, before wrapping up in Brisbane on November 5.


As Blink-182 so eloquently put it, ‘Work sucks, I know” (I am still waiting for my roses by the stairs…), City of Dread, which had the working title “Sean of The Dread”, (still a better name IMO, but I was vetoed by the band) is a brooding dub opener to the record, reflecting on the challenges and exhaustion of working life. I wrote this song when I was feeling pretty fed up with how busy my life had become. I remember I felt like I was stuck in a dance, but I was not the lead, I was being spun around and around, with no ability to stop. ‘City of Dread’ really opens the dialogue, and sets the stage for the narrative conclusion in the title track, Weekend’s Coming.


I very much write songs for a live audience, sometimes trying to think what would be best to get a dancefloor pumping, but for a while there, dancing was illegal. Dance is a lyrical musing about my experiences during ‘the Covid years’. I wrote this song as an imaginary future conversation, trying to explain to a young kid what the Covid years were like. While of course I understand why everything had to happen the way it did, I still often stop and think, “wow, you really weren’t allowed to dance!” It amazes me. As the line goes, “I will never again take a dance for granted…”


This is a straight-up love song about the night I met my now fiancée, and how despite the poetic cliche, I was smitten from first sight.


Like a sip of single malt scotch, this tune is smokey and smooth but leaves you with a bit of (heart)burn. Ahhh… long distance relationships. Hard to do, and cold. This one channels the bossa nova, and was really an excuse to lean into a bit of classic heartbreak songwriting.


I love the lyrics in this one… Jokes aside, this song slaps. Picture a European summer festival, sunshine glistening off a nearby lake, and the smiles and exaltation of the crowd as the drop hits! Pimento is a type of pepper, or hot; conceptually the ‘yang’ to Cold Without You’s ‘yin’. Originally the chorus of this song was part of Cold Without You but I really fell in love with the idea of exploring a major melodic development, representing the joy of coming together with a loved one after having to be apart. Soon a whole new song was born. The origin for the song’s name is actually from the location tag auto-generated by my phone’s audio recording. Apparently I used to live atop a long-closed cafe called…Pimento. I liked it, and the name stuck.


One beer is never enough, and neither is one listen to this feel-good, horn-fueled banger. A song for those who don't believe in having too much of a good thing - until they do. One Beer was born in the studio, the lead hook emerging from a chant over some end of day drinks. Now packed with horns, guitar solos and call & response, this one reflects the wild energy that we try to bring to our live shows.


Dream is a shameless celebration of joy-filled love. People say that if something’s too good to be true, then it probably is. For this song, we kicked that saying to the curb. This time it’s not a dream - it's real. Dream is the first single released off this album. It showcases the rockier sound we’ve been exploring with this album. The song’s opening piano is my late grandmother's ancient upright.


When recording the album we stayed in a house inland from Byron Bay. The house is situated next to a gently-flowing creek, which courses through the bottom of some steep cliffs, with sun-splashed swimming holes. About 3 months prior to recording the album, we were all staying at this house, and went for an obligatory Sunday swim only to be caught off-guard when flash flooding hit the area. Our path back was covered by rapids, and the water was rising fast. Two of us thought we might try and risk it back, and throw a rope to the others to get across. Just as we were about to jump our drummer yelled “If you cross, you die”. His straight-up delivery and accurate observation about the state of the river stopped us in our tracks, and as his words echoed in my head the song Creek Crossing was born. The lyrics for the song are actually a very accurate retelling of this event. We ended up scaling the cliffs and hiking toward another (safer) part of the creek to cross. By the time we got back to the house I had this song written, the funky melody definitely helping me get through a very cold and wet trudge through the bush, and a possible near-death experience.


I love The Teskey Brothers. This song is inspired by their approach to 6/8 soul. I decided to just let a simple and catchy blues run leave space for some fun story telling. This one is cruisy and not taking ourselves too seriously.


This jam is my favourite part of the album, it is so much fun to play on stage and is a great opportunity to rock through anything you have been dealing with during the week.

Lyrically, this song reintroduces the work narrative and really amps up the frustration of being forever stuck behind a computer screen. The riff is raw and gritty, and the swampy guitar solo is a stand out. While a bit heavier than our usual tunes, Fields’ epic breakdown outro is very much a go-to for us, but this time with even more funk.


Did you know tomorrow is your day off? Okay, maybe not… But that feeling you just experienced? That fleeting moment of sweet relief? That's the feeling Weekend’s Coming is all about. This is the title track off the album. It’s an emotive ballad that builds from a melancholic opening to an unrelenting anthemic cry for the joy of the weekend.

The tune is a cathartic release from the daily grind, and taps into the shared experience of hard work for something important. Even in the hardest times, knowing what you're fighting for will get you through. The weekend is always around the corner.


Okay To Just Be Okay, is the closing song to the album, and provides an uplifting message of self-acceptance and a feeling of contentment. It is short, fun and honest. And yes, I actually did burn my dinner while writing it. This is something of a bonus track. The “That’s it” at the end of this song was just an ad-lib, but it perfectly finishes off the album, so we kept it.

Weekend's Coming is out now!


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