Colouring Cats

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Colouring Cats are an indie-rock quartet based in Melbourne.

Displaying the contempt for word-limits one might expect from a band taking its name from a David Foster Wallace essay, the group draws on careful arrangements, energetic delivery and a rock and roll aesthetic to deliver songs that move forward with intensity and emotional range.

Combining a contraminimalist philosophy with a sharply-honed rhythm section, loose vocals, and dirty guitar - its members have developed a body of work that feels deliberate and considered, yet constantly at risk of falling apart.

Colouring Cats are currently working on their first EP, to be released in late 2016.

Daniel Gilbert
Vocals and Acoustic Guitar.

Henry Thomas

Anthony Ladson
Electric Guitar.

Molly Jones


May 17 The Toff in Town Melbourne, Vic Show Details
June 8 The Brunswick Hotel Brunswick, Vic Show Details

Past Shows

Feb 2 The Brunswick Hotel Brunswick, Vic Show Details


Waiting on the Man

Waiting on the Man

It’s all transient connections crowded bookstores and the promise of love

It’s the loneliness, long hours, and the constant threat of lining up

And you can live out with the gunshots;
You can bartend on the weekends

But there’s a weight upon your shoulders
Because at some point they will raise the rent

And I’m talking to the man with the horn-rimmed glasses
He’s threatening to leave because they only ever promise spring

And I’m waiting for a train and now it’s almost been an hour
I’m trying to find a place to stand that smells a tiny bit less awful than this

It’s all transplants and migration
And the natives aren’t just holding their tongues
Now Spike Lee is on his high-horse ‘bout how whitey just keeps fucking it up

And there’s a sense of hesitation
As a beautiful voice echoes my way
Keep the performance at a distance
I don’t want to feel obliged to pay

Now a scream from down the hall's become white noise, just like the traffic
I hear it with my ears, I guess, but not enough to make me think

If someone pauses for a second on the left side of the sidewalk
It’s all that I can do to stop myself from throwing out some limb

I was led to believe that this place never ever would sleep
Yet come four AM it’s last call
And the people pour onto the streets

And I know it’s a fiction
I know it’s just glass and concrete
But I thought that numerical grid might mean something for me

It’s a feeling in your stomach that you’re not sure why you’re waking up
Not like you’re all that money hungry
But the bills they just keep piling up

You suspect things might have changed since CBGB’s closed their doors to punk
All the children - so well spoken
All the strollers parked in bars and pubs

But there’s something ‘bout the snow when it falls over the city
It belies the cold I feel
Makes me believe that there’s something that I’ve missed

There’s something ‘bout the pain that makes not quitting seem a victory
Drop our standards down so low that we’re just happy if the beating’s swift

I was led to believe
That this land was the land of the free

But when most of the kitchen are paid in slave wages
It’s hard to agree

And I know that it’s nice to eat cheap
To drink almost for free
But this empire would fall if they opened the curtain on what’s underneath

This empire would fall if they opened the curtain on what’s underneath
This empire would fall if they opened the curtain on what’s underneath

Ships Arrive

Ships Arrive

Ships arrive at the harbour
Town rushes out
And lost amongst the fray
is an eight year old
with a glowing face

Off the ship
steps the captain
foreign sun has made his skin so brown
And spillin' from his lips
tales of sunkissed hips
And the way they swayed
and of glory's rays

And though they'd have loved to make their way round
well there was just no way
But they didn't have god on their side - did they?

Sixteen years of age
all bones and wire
And hands that could sand (or grind) back stone
He’s watched the hammer hit the steel
Ten thousand times, eyes peeled
The smith said still said no
There was much more to know

So in the company of a warship
He would make his name
But how could that be enough when there were still paths
To claim

If we make it past the coast then we’ll all be fine
Saffron and cinnamon would change our lives

What’s sweeter than gold would be some new trade lines
To set that red flag against the eastern sky
There must be some way to those scented isles

The months go by
And they cling to life
As they run short of all supplies
Till they come across a land
And a well-staffed clan
That spoke the tongue of his slave
And a pact was made

Their leader was stricken by some dark curse and if he could be saved
They'd join them and help them load their ships up
With sage

If you throw away those idylls
You’ll be half way to recovering’
You’ve been worshipping a false god
The true one’s let you suffer
‘Cause the fact is - well, let’s face it, look at my ships look at yours
Who’s doing better, who’s come further, who’s more capable of war?

I don’t expect that you’ll believe me
I don’t mean no disrespect
Let’s make a deal
Let’s make this real
Let’s add some substance to this bet

If you don’t make it your men here can take my head
I’ll stay with them
and I’ll leave mine out by the port
So there’s no way they can avenge

Let’s just believe
In something real

Feverish and pale
With his eyes so wild
He screams
and pleads
but then it all subsides

Thankful as he is
to resist hell’s fire
He calls over his men and locates his guides

They take their new friend
to his scented isles

That he seems so fond of
What better place to die?

Ships Depart

Ships Depart

Say my goodbyes
Check all the locks
Last walk around
Last kiss to the ground

Sweet Earth, its scent
Rolls into my lungs
Gripping me down
Says not to go on
Without it

In circles around
This place where I walk
Before I felt fear
Now I sincerely hope
I'm right in choosing no god

Believe that there
Is no greater cause
Than to discover

Ship changes course
Towards the abyss
That starry collapse
My god, this is it
Don't go

Engine turns off
Lights start to dim
Ship loses form
And starts to spin
Vision's a blur
Of white, then it's gone

Feeling its pull
I ready my brow
Prepare my brave face
For the speed of sound
Tighten my straps
Breathe in and hold on

Feeling my pulse
In the absence of time
Your brain won't slow down
Like they said it might
Everything else
Slows down to a halt

And then it begins to turn back.

The Peacock

The Peacock

It’s dark
And there’s music playing
She sits at the bar
All alone

A drink
It’s from the man
All the way up in the back
In the suit with the flower in his hat

Does he catch your eye at all? 
He’s got his own thing going on
Do you like his power stance?
Has he hypnotised you with his love-trance?

You say no thanks
Send it back
He just shrugs
And when the bartender brings it his way
He just scouts for a new candidate 

Friends have left
or paired up
He was there
And sometimes that’s all that it takes
So won’t you please let him be your mistake? 

Picks his feathers out then glues them on
It's all just for you
He's hoping you'll see

He's well dressed and oozing with charm
He's practiced getting his hand
From his knee to your arm

Because he knows that's how things start

He's white teeth
pre-torn jeans
Silken shirts
Soft-soled shoes that might only last weeks
But let him moonwalk, should the DJ accede

Often struts
Sometimes sweet
If he’s mean
He’s just banking on low self-esteem
That you’ll engage,
To try to sway his beliefs

Oh, does he seem a little strange
Not self-assured, but somehow still
self-conscious and vain
You should know you’re not his aim
Because it’s all a numbers game

Picks his feathers out then glues them on
It’s not just for you
He needs to be seen

He’s well dressed and oozing with charm
Never goes to a club
Where they don’t play his song
It's all just for you
He needs you to see

Because he knows that's how things start
He's been told that's how things start

Another night
Another bar
Another him
Another notch to confirm he can charm

But he weeps
In the night
Doesn’t leave
Unless he’s go some grand design

Song for Steve Jobs

Song for Steve Jobs

They said you were the prophet of our age
You did little to dispel the myth
They clamoured at the gates when you had died
For evidence of some much larger gift

You must have given, given something
Oh that could not be all that you did
Of course you must be
So humble all the evidence was hid

Dropping from the square of those old buildings
Oh you struggle from the bottom to the top
Sleeping on the floor of their apartments
It's all the reason that we need to
Feature you, give you the lead in our hearts
All the angles that your story hit us hard
That could be us! Plucked up out from the rubble to take charge

They claimed that you were a visionary
For your rebellion to that styleless regime
When they wore grey you wore a stunning silver
When they wore frills you stayed trimmed at the seams,
But sewed them in on such an angle
Oh taste was at the heart of what you did
No gaudy typeface would mar the surface of your latest trick

When you stood down there was the greatest whispering
Yet there were few that would accept that you could bleed
Some screamed as the price of stocks went diving
Some merely feared their idol could recede
To that place that we must all end up
That money can't save us, at least not yet
On my headstone, let my epitaph be written in Helvetica

Working in the din in little factories
Where leaked secrets collect the greatest tolls
Not business as usual on the surface
But underneath the covers where the contracts are for service
It's your standard arrangement - ship offshore and then forget
And yes, they all do, but you purported to stand out from the rest

I'm sure they will name streets and they'll build statues
With your neck protected well from the cold
Like Carnegie you'll be remembered as a captain
But the lesson that he learned
Was to acquire then disburse
And it's the latter that really gives your living any point

You're this decade's Lennon
And just like him you did not fail to disappoint
Not what I'd expected
When you built your reputation
Ostensibly objecting to the things that we'd accepted

Don't know why
I find I'm so offended
At the time-frame for which you'll be remembered

I don't like to speak ill of the dead
But all you did was make some things
And yeah, you probably pushed it forward
A few years but so what?

Strip all meaning from the term 'revolution'
Let it pass to the vernacular of neo-liberal-market-worshippers
Let's pretend minimalism did not exist before you
Aggressively assert your rights to make sure it does not become the norm

You're not the fucking Che Guevera of the modern day
You're smart, you took some risks, but only dented the existing paradigm.