New Year, New Look!

You may notice that the site now looks considerably different. Well this is because the previous look was flawed. In my effort two have the three coloumned layout, I had ended up with quite a cluttered design. On top of this, I had done so much tweaking and fiddling with the html that it didn't even display properly in Firefox. And so I decided to start from scratch, with a much simplier design that will hopefully be easy to read and will display properly, regardless of your setup. To be honest the (very) simple design was chosen due to the fact that simple is all I'm capable of. Thankfully however I quite like the plain coloured backgrounds so simle will do for now. I also took this opportunity to add in a couple of new features. The most notable of these is the addition of streamable music. While I'm still a strong supporter of the downloadable mp3, I had been overlooking the importance of allowing users to hear the music instantly. Well now you can easily listen to every mp3 on the site, simply by clicking the play button next to it and I've also created a jukebox which makes listening to all my music much simpler. Testamony to my remarkable inefficiency however, the jukebox feature is nowhere near complete and I didn't even get round to writing my rantalicious guides. So expect to see alot more changes in the future, all of which will hopefully make this site much more enjoyable.

The Long Blondes

When I first heard this band I thought they sounded quite interesting; which was true. I also thought the singer was male, probably of Scandinavian decent; which was horribly wrong. I blame all bands out there with misleading names. After discovering that The Beautiful Girls and The Mint Chicks were filled with anything but, I naturally assumed a band named The Long Blondes were making fun of the common ditz. Well I was right to an extent as none of the members are blonde and a couple are men, but the singer isn’t exactly male or Scandinavian. She (Kate Jackson) is in fact a very stylish and very FEMALE lead lady from Sheffield, England. Add to this the overtly feminist (girly?) lyrics and you’ll begin to see just how off my first impression was. Then again, with all the falsetto male singers out there these days, how was I supposed to know? Listening to The Long Blondes, I am often reminded The Pipettes. Both have glamorous yet strong female singers, both create incredibly addictive pop music and both have horribly cringe- worthy lyrics. Thankfully the first two points are enough to overcome the last and I find their music very enjoyable. While The Pippettes’ sound is heavily influenced by 60s girl groups, The Long Blondes have a much greater punk element to their music. That’s not to say they resemble the hoards of b-grade girl-punk groups out there, instead their music is pop at heart with a refreshing punk tinge. Their music definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re after a fresh new sound, The Long Blondes may be just what you’re looking for.

Once And Never Again – “You’re only nineteen, for God’s sake, you don’t need a boyfriend”. This song perfectly sums how much I despise the subject matter of their songs. But as my favourite track, it also shows how easily I can look past this fault and see the highly addictive melodies underneath.

Weekend Without Makeup – Just when I thought radio in Australia was dead, they play this song and introduce me to a great new band. If only this was a common occurrence, I may actually listen more often.

Pixies

Australia, you disappoint me. One of the greatest bands of all time will be arriving on our shores for the very first time and the festival they’re headlining hasn’t even sold out yet. Who cares if they’re fat and old, the Pixies are just one of those bands that you MUST see. The only explanation for this atrocity is that some of you aren’t aware that the Pixies even exist. Or worse, you do know they exist, like a few of their songs, but have never taken the time to explore the rest of their music and hence fail to appreciate the true extent of their brilliance. Well if you fall under either of these two categories (I refuse to believe a third category of ‘Don’t like them’ exists), pay close attention, because over the next week or so, I’ll be taking a look at why they’re so great. By no means would I consider myself the biggest of Pixies fans, in fact, both my brothers are bigger fans. That’s not to say I don’t love them, just that I don’t listen to them anywhere near as much as I should. So this feature is as much about me preparing myself for their arrival as it is about converting non-believers. So whatever your view of the Pixies, you should find something of interest here; a new favourite band, a warm reminder about an already loved band or a chance to tell me I’m wrong and that you know more. Enjoy!

Band Info
Pixies are an alternate rock band from USA. They existed roughly from 1985 to 1992 and over that period released 5 albums. In 2004 they reunited and have since been touring extensively. The vast majority of Pixies music was written and sung by rhythm guitarist Frank Black (born Charles Thompson, named Black Francis during the Pixies era and now known as Frank Black) who is generally considered the creative centre the band. Occasional songs were done by bassist Kim Deal and the other members include Joey Santiago on lead guitar and Dave Lovering on drums. The Pixies’ influence stretches from Nirvana to Radiohead and while they never did and never will achieve mainstream success, their fans include some of the greatest musicians of the modern era. For me, one of the reasons I love them so much is that while their songs often sound very heavy, containing distortion and screaming, there’s always an underlying melody, melodies that never disappoint and are up there with the greatest ever written.

Their 5 albums are:

Come On Pilgrim (1987)
Surfer Rosa (1988)
Doolittle (1989)
Bossanova (1990)
Trompe le Monde (1991)

I will be talking about one every two days. Here’s a live track to keep you happy until Come on Pilgrim arrives on Wednesday.

Vamos (live) – It’s only fitting that song be offered live. Appearing on both of their first two albums with alternate solos, it is a crowd favourite at their live shows. The song’s appeal lies in its hefty solo in the middle where Santiago puts on an erratic performance so that you never know what to expect.

Pixies - Trompe le Monde

Trompe le Monde was the Pixies' fourth full-length album and it would also turn out to be their last. After its release, tension between band members led them to embark on separate projects, eventually resulting in the band ceasing to exist. The primary reason for the break-up was probably the dissatisfaction felt by Kim Deal. The last two albums had seen an end to her input and while there’s no doubt that it was Frank Black who was driving the Pixies’ success, it would no doubt have been frustrating for Kim, a talented singer/songwriter herself, to just remain idle. On top of this, the hectic pace at which they were operating, releasing album after album and touring fairly non-stop, meant that a break down was almost inevitable. Trompe le Monde sees a continued evolution of Black’s lyrical content. While on the early albums he was fascinated by the violence of early biblical stories, the later albums saw him more focussed on sci-fi and supernatural elements. While personally I couldn’t care less what he sings about, it has been known to turn some people off. The sound of the album is a mix of their various sounds, which is fitting for a finale. While many songs continue the softer sound of Bossanova, others pay homage to louder, rough sounds of Surfer Rosa. Unfortunately however, it bears another similarity to Bossanova in that it too fails to reach the same level of brilliance as the Surfer Rosa and Doolittle. Instead it is just great. Yes, you know you’re dealing with a special band when their lesser records are still considered great. And so the Pixies’ career ended without them releasing a bad album. Their existence may have been brief but in that short time they had an incredible impact that lasts to this day.

U-mass – While Trompe le Monde may not be the best Pixies album, that doesn’t stop it from containing some of their best songs. This song is very similar to their early work and it is one of the first Pixies songs I ever heard.

Distance Equals Rate Times Time – This song isn’t even really a song. It’s an unused chorus from another song turned into a song. And yet despite this, I am always drawn to it.

Pixies - Bossanova

Bossanova, the Pixies’ third album, is similar to Doolittle in that its sound represented a new direction. The term Surf Rock is thrown around quite a bit and I guess it’s pretty valid. That doesn’t mean they sound anything like The Beach Boys, rather the term refers to a heavier blend of such music. Calling it Surf Rock also seems to make sense in relation to the album’s sense of movement, something that really stands out for me. Unlike their previous two albums, Bossanova failed to achieve glowing critical acclaim. In some ways this is a bit unfair. Surfer Rosa and Doolittle were just so brilliant that nothing short of a masterpiece could have lived up to our expectations. If any other band had released it, it would have been revered; but because the Pixies released it, it was seen as a step backwards. This really is a shame because it’s often forgotten how great it is. It contains some of my very favourite songs and listening to it is always a pleasure. However there is some truth in the negative reactions. For one, it contains the occasional unmemorable song, something previous unheard of for them. This may have been due to exhaustion from extensive touring, rushed song writing or simply Black running out of ideas. Another problem with the album is that it largely abandons the formula of soft/loud, slow/fast changes, a formula so integral to their success. But all issues aside, Bossanova is a great record and it’s more Pixies. What’s to complain about that?

Dig For Fire - In a very un-Pixies manner, this song is surprisingly calm. Instead of relying on pure energy, it uses a soothing melody to win you over. Again, it’s an example of their incredible diversity.

Allison – Nearly all of the Pixies’ material is short and sweet. Well this song is one the shortest and in my opinion, also one of the sweetest.

Pixies - Doolittle

Doolittle is easily the Pixies’ most accessible album. With its more polished sound and pop influences, it is much better suited to the mainstream audiences. It’s no surprise then that it is also their most successful album. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the Pixies sold out. None of their flair was sacrificed and Doolittle is as dark and weird as any of their other material. It just shows the depth and variety of their talent, especially highlighting Black’s creative genius. You’ll still find him screaming, going off on tangents and recounting utterly obscure stories, but there’s a certain simplicity in most of the songs that make them far more inviting than the norm. In stark contrast to Surfer Rosa, Doolittle feels more like a collection of individual songs than a complete package. But the album doesn’t suffer from this in the slightest because the songs are just so brilliant. While I love all their work, I would definitely rate Doolittle as my favourite. It’s so great that I find it near impossible to pick just two songs (honourable mentions go to Hey, Gouge Away and Monkey Gone To Heaven). If you’re new to the Pixies, this is the ideal place to start.

Debaser – This song would have to be up there in amongst my all time favourite Pixies songs. It’s just so well-rounded and incorporates so many of their varying styles that it’s the perfect song with which to introduce someone to this fantastic band.

Here Comes Your Man – This song is so seductively simple that it could have been written by a 15 year-old. Well as matter of fact, it was. Black pulled it out of his pre-Pixies archive and it turned out to be one of their most popular songs. Being so catchy, this is hardly surprising.

Pixies - Surfer Rosa

Surfer Rosa marked the Pixies’ first full-length album (coming in at a massive 33 minutes) and the first time their music was easily available in their own country. Despite being an American band, the Pixies were signed to UK label 4AD and so had nobody to distribute their albums in the USA. This changed shortly after the release of this album when Surfer Rosa and Come on Pilgrim were combined and offered to American audiences. This was rather fitting as the two are quite similar in sound. While each of their future albums would see a different approach taken, these first two are remarkably similar. Surfer Rosa continues the hard and fast garage rock sound of Come On Pilgrim, whilst building on it in a number of ways. For me, this album is much more about the overall package than individual songs. With the exception of ‘Where Is My Mind?’ and ‘Gigantic’ (one of the few songs written and performed by bassist Kim Deal), all of the songs seem to be working for the good of the album rather than trying to stand out. Testimony to this is the inclusion of various spoken word segments and instrumental numbers, which help to increase the flowing nature of the album. It’s an interesting album that jumps, jerks and juxtaposes (look it up), pushing the conventions of rock music. Fans of Nirvana should definitely find something they like as Kurt Cobain has admitted that ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was his attempt to copy this album. It’s home to some killer songs and definitely worth a listen.

Where Is My Mind? – What a song. If you close your eyes and eliminate all other distractions, it can have quite an impact. It’s an impact that’s perfectly captured by the movie, Fight Club. The dystopic, “world’s gonna end” feeling. Who cares if it’s actually about scuba diving; it’s brilliant.

Bone Machine – I like this song because it’s just so unorganised. It’s a barrage of weird and wonderful sounds that often don’t seem to fit. But despite this, it’s got plenty of personality, enough to make it more than enjoyable to listen to.

Pixies - Come On Pilgrim

While it is features only 8 tracks and goes for just 20 minutes, Come On Pilgrim is generally considered an album rather than an EP. It was the Pixies' first and it set the tone for the greatness that would follow. Song after song comes on with its own hard-hitting sound and there isn’t a dud in sight. It’s a trend lasted throughout their career and they continue to amaze me with their success ratio that’s up there with likes of The Beatles. It’s testimony to their brilliance but it also makes it annoyingly hard to choose just two songs for sampling. Unlike many bands, their first album doesn’t under-produced, though this is because the rough edge you hear is signature to the Pixies’ sound. If you don’t love it yet, you soon will. The album sees Frank Black flex his creative muscle and show us what he’s capable of. The sound ranges from loud screaming to softer, heartfelt crooning, often within the same song, as well as so much more. On top of all the familiar Pixies sounds, it’s also filled with wacky lyrics and irregular changes; both staples of their later work. These 8 songs are all terrific in their own right and as a package they form an incredibly formidable debut effort. It was a warning to the world that something very big was on the horizon.

Caribou – This song really highlights the depth of Black’s vocal work. One moment he’s reaching the higher notes with ease and the next he’s yelling with every last breath. For such an unlikely mix, it works surprisingly well.

The Holiday Song – I am in love with this riff. Every time it comes on, I become that little bit happier. I’m even more favourable to it because I had a live copy on my computer (which unfortunately has disappeared) that sounds even better. Fingers crossed they’ll play it when I see them.

Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller

I really don’t know where I should stand when it comes to Ben Kweller. When I hear his music, I get the impression that it’s exactly the sort of thing people with horrible taste would enjoy. The people who have no opinion of their own, listening only to what ‘classic hits’ radio and The O.C. tells them to. Does this mean I should I be steering well clear him? Are Ben Kweller’s fans really the mindless idiots I so despise or am I just being overly paranoid? Well whatever the case, Ben has won me over with his latest album and I’m prepared to support it, even it means joining an undesirable crowd. Despite being only 25, Ben Kweller has been playing music for more than 10 years. He led the band, Radish, at the age of just 15 and when that didn’t work out, he begun a solo career. He is obviously incredibly talented; one of those people born to create music. His sound has evolved quite a bit from his early Radish days, which resembled the ‘it band’ of the time, Nirvana. On this, his third solo album, Kweller’s music is highly polished, swoontastic (yes I made that up) pop. His voice is by far his greatest selling point, with it always coming off very smooth and casual. While he occasionally picks up the pace, the restrained instrumentation, consisting largely of acoustic guitar and piano, means his sound is always very intimate. This definitely isn’t a perfect album, but it’s got more than enough charm to make it worth a look

Sundress – Being the song that’s currently being played on the radio, this is the most likely song you’ve heard. It sums up his music very nicely, showcasing a variety of paces, sounds and styles in one neat package.

Nothing Happening – Unlike the song above, this song remains fairly soft and slow throughout. This means his vocals are put under the spotlight and it’s here that they strive.

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

Apart from having a really cool name, Trail of Dead (my preferred abbreviation) make some incredible music. Being an avid fad, there was no doubt in my mind that I would write something about them very soon. But the question was, which album to feature? Their latest? The album that got me into them? Or perhaps the album that scored them 10/10 from Pitchfork? Well clearly I never came to a decision because I’ll be writing about them all. For those who don't know, Trail of Dead are an indie-rock band from Texas, USA and these are their last three albums, in the order I discovered them.

Worlds Apart (2005)
My first introduction to Trail of Dead came when a couple of songs off this album were played on the radio. I can’t remember which they were, but they caught my attention and prompted me to look into the whole album. Every time I listened to it however, I felt nothing. The songs just washed over me and nothing sounded particularly special. I actually gave the album a fair go of at least 5 listens, but after that it was put aside. Around a month later, I thought I’d give it another try; I was blown away. As song after song came on, I felt intimately connected to each, like I had loved them for years. I really can’t explain it, but it’s a feeling that’s remained with me ever since. If I was to describe Trail of Dead’s sound, I would call it epic rock music. Each note is played with such intensity that you’re drawn right in and become immersed in the experience. Their music is delivered with such passion that it seems to transcend the mere entertainment value of music. It feels more like an important message is being delivered, a message with a higher purpose than you will ever understand. Put this album on and you’ll be swept away as all else ceases to be relevant. Each songs flows seamlessly into the next so that album comes off as one complete piece. A work of art that makes you want to just sit back and admire. Trail of Dead create a grandiose sound that other bands could only dream of. The album opens with a choir chanting a phrase with ever increasing intensity. It grows from a faint murmer to a thundering roar before it reachs a climatic scream and the album is officially kicked off. It is this sort of ambitious sound that makes this album so brilliant. I always find this intro quite amusing because it sounds like the choir is actually chanting "this is so exhausting!" (Edit: Apparently they're not. Such a shame)

Sample 1 – Worlds Apart
Sample 2 – Will You Smile Again?


Source Tags and Codes (2002)
If this album has shown me nothing else, it’s that every individual’s Trail of Dead experience can be very different. Many will argue that all that talk I gave for Worlds Apart of an epic sound and musical brilliance belongs here instead. This is the favourite album for the vast majority of Trail of Dead fans and as I mentioned earlier, received a perfect 10 from the giants of musical critque, Pitchfork Media. This is no mean feat, with only a select few albums ever achieving this prestigious honour, and yet personally, I can’t get into it. As listen to it, I can see hints of the brilliance others talk of, but it fails to have an impact on me. I’m still waiting for the moment to arrive, as with Worlds Apart, where the songs evolve from a hazy blur into intricately defined masterpieces. My only explanation for this not occuring is because their music has an acquired taste. Since it takes quite a few listens to appreciate, it may be harder to get into a second album while the memory of the first is still vivid. That or I just have a distorted perception when it comes to their music. This later theory was strengthened by a review of Worlds Apart I once read, where the author said they loved the album, all except for the title track; my favourite song. This inconsistency is why I decided to do all three albums; listen to them all and see what you think for yourself. I can’t really say much about Source Tags and Codes because I don’t know it very well. But what I can say is that this album is adored by many and you may adore it too. The respect for this album is so great that despite not particularly liking it, I will continue listening to it in the hope that something just clicks.

Sample 1 – How Near How Far
Sample 2 – Relative Ways

So Divided (2006)
I got quite excited when I heard about this album, but when I finally got to hear it, I thought it was a joke. Instead of the smooth flowing feel of their last two albums, this effort was an erratic mix sounds, that as package, held no sense of direction of continuity at all. Half the songs didn’t even sound like they’re own and if I hadn’t just put in their cd, I would never have guessed them as Trail of Dead songs. There were cowboy stomps and euphoric indie frolics, all haphazardly dumped in amongst the occasional signature song. The album could be described as nothing more than a lazy mess. Well that’s what I thought a month ago. Now that the dust has settled, I have actually come to really like this album. What I previously saw as blasphemy, I now see as a fresh take on a much-loved sound. That said, I still see it as a flawed album and a definite step backwards. I can’t help but feel like they didn’t try as hard. It lacks the sense of wholeness that made their last two albums so great. Fans of the band should find it quite enjoyable, as it contains a fair few brilliant songs, the likes of which we have come to expect. But I’m afraid that anyone looking for another masterpiece will be disappointed. If you've never listened to Trail of Dead before, I actually think this wouldn’t be too bad a place to start. Unlike their previous work, there doesn’t feel like there’s a great barrier that must be overcome before you can start enjoying the music. But if you’re looking for pure brilliance, you should probably look elsewhere.

Sample 1 – Stand in Silence
Sample 2 – Eight Day Hell

It's not a matter of whether to buy one of these albums, but which. Good luck choosing!

The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

What’s that you say? Every other blog has already posted about this album? They did so two months ago? No I’m not a sheep, I’m just a bit slow. I’ve known and enjoyed this album for as long as everyone else but unlike so many other bloggers I don’t feel the urge to post as soon as an album is released. I like to welcome it into my collection, let it settle in, give it the time it deserves and if it's truly is great, that’s when I’ll tell you about it. As they say, slow and steady wins the race. Except I’m not winning. For those who don’t know, The Decemberists are an indie-pop group from the USA who have found much of their fame thanks to music blogs. Last year they released an album that was quite successful though I didn’t really care much for it. After signing to a major label you may have thought this latest offering may be cramped creatively, but it is far from the case. The Crane Wife is filled with obscure storytelling and an unorthodox structure that includes a 12 minute, 3-part track, clearly designed to discourage uploaders such as myself. The album goes for over an hour but despite this, there isn’t a dull moment on it; each song comes on in a new direction with its own catchy hook. The style ranges from upbeat melodic romps to mellow acoustic ballads, with all coming together seamlessly. Their signature folk sound is still present but the album is also full of other influences, my favourite being the use of organs, which all combine into a rich listening experience. I’m not sure if I just missed something with their last album or whether The Crane Wife actually is a great improvement, but either way, this is a highly enjoyable album that’s definitely worthy of listen (or five).

The Landlord’s Daughter – I had to extract this song from the 3-part track I mentioned earlier but it was definitely worth the effort. It’s funky tracks like this that first grabbed my attention and encouraged me to listen further

Yankee Bayonet – The pace of this song is more in tune with the rest of the album. It’s a shame the female vocals in this song are just a one-off because they sound really great in this little duet

Cloud Control

It really is special to watch a band evolve from playing in dingy little pubs, where if it is wasn’t for their loyal (sympathetic) friends, the place would be empty, to making complete strangers actually want to pay money to go see them. The warm feeling you get from the knowledge that you knew them first is almost enough to overcome the disgust you feel when they sell out to hoards of unappreciative new fans. Well whatever the case, Sydney is currently home many of these brand spanking new bands that could very well be the next to break your hearts. Cloud Control is one of them. However you better latch on quick if you want to call them your own, because having already conquered the USyd Band Comp, they’re set to reach a much wider (and of course less deserving) audience. I really am painting an over cynical picture here, Cloud Control are in fact just a bunch of talented kids offering their musical abilities for us to enjoy and we’re all the better for it. If they do end up making it big then they definitely deserve it. They utilise what seem to be two of the latest trends, a male/female vocal combo and a keyboardist. This is very much to my liking because it gives a band a lot of room to move in (not literally of course, it can actually make things quite crowded, but creatively), room which Cloud Control fully explore. Their music is pop at heart and when the tempo picks up, it can get quite engaging. But rather than watch me try and fail at describing their music, have a listen for yourself and save me any further embarrassment.

Community Action – When even crude, early demos sound good, you can’t help but think this band has potential. Add to this a live show that’s equally promising and it’s time to invest. This song is a favourite of mine in both such forms.

Look There – This song was always going to be a hit in my books. From the way each instrument subtly enters, to the sincere, moving vocals and finally to the harmonious ‘ooo’ing. What more could one want?

Homebake

Lately it seems like not a week goes by where a new music festival isn’t announced. Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing, especially for someone as…economically minded…as myself, but honestly, we seem to be going overboard. Well before there was a different festival every fortnight, there was Homebake, what remains as Australia’s premier local music festival. With an extremely impressive line up announced, I thought it would be fitting to go through some of the fantastic bands that will be showcasing their talent come December 2. Don’t worry if you don’t have a ticket, neither do I (it hasn’t stopped me in the past!). Basically this feature is more about me telling you what I think of a bunch of Aussie bands than the actual festival itself. It was just that so many bands I wanted to discuss happened to be attending so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. I have analysed the line up, breaking it down into some form of categories and every day from now to Dec 1st I’ll be bringing you all you need to know about this fine collection of Aussie talent. As always, enjoy!

Bands I have Already Written About

Big Name Bands That Don't Interest Me
  • You Am I
  • Something For Kate
  • Eskimo Joe
  • The Buterfly Effect
Bands That Belong To Crappy Genres And Are Therefore Crappy Themselves
  • Hilltop Hoods
  • Macromantics
  • N'fa
  • Scribe
  • Infusion
  • Kid Kenobi & MC Shureshock
  • Mountains in the Sky
  • Parkway Drive
  • The Vaine
Solo Artists
  • Angus & Julia Stone
  • Bob Evans
  • Tom Cooney
  • Toni Collette & The Finish
  • Jen Cloher & The Endless Sea
  • Gotye
Novelty Acts
  • Bjorn Again
  • The Models
Big Bands That I Like But Hadn't Written About Yet

The Next Crop

Wild Cards

Jukebox (Coming Soon)

Wild Cards

Two of the slots for the Homebake festival were reserved for the Winners of Triple J's Unearthed competition and the Hopetoun Incentive competition. To win either of these comps, a band must be very impressive and clearly show a lot of promise. For this reason you may consider checking them out. However they play early in the morning so you better make sure you're awake and they play at the same time so you can't see both. Which is more worthy? Have a listen and see for yourself.

Young & Restless

I must be the only Australian Blogger that is yet to write about Young & Restless. To be honest, this is because I’ve never really liked them that much. For one this because their music is at a dangerous level of heaviness but I also think it is because I haven’t seen them live. So much has said about their thrilling on-stage performances, especially of the exciting antics of front woman, Karina Utomo, that I get the feeling that I haven’t experienced them where they truly shine. Clearly they are a high quality act, otherwise the prudent blogging community would never have embraced them so fully. Even the fact that they’re playing Homebake is a sign of their worth. To get there, they had to win Triple J’s unearthed competition, which meant beating hundreds of other promising young bands (no mean feat!). With all the hints piling up, I have finally gotten around to giving this band a proper listen and I’m finally beginning to see what everyone has been on about. Their heaviness is no long an issue but rather an asset and I am enjoying the melodies that can be found guiding all the noise. I wanted to see this band when I didn’t even like them, now I just can’t wait.

Dirty Kicks – Such screaming and guitar thrashing in a song is usually off-putting to me but Young & Restless manage to get away with it. I think it’s the thought of how great it would sound live that allows me to overcome it

Police! Police! – This song shows that they aren’t just all about big noise. Karens vocals actually sound good when softened down and in isolation. Still, a bit of screaming is thrown in just for good measure.

Regular John

I really don’t know where to start considering I have never actually watched this band and all I’ve heard by them are the two tracks on their myspace. But what I do know is clearly this band has shown some promise, because otherwise they wouldn’t be here. Regular John made it to Homebake by winning the Hopetoun Incentive competition. While this may not have been as competitive as Triple J’s Unearthed competition, it’s mere format suggests that they may well be worth a look. You see unlike Unearthed, which is largely based on demo’s that bands send in, Hopetoun Incentive is based purely on live performances. The fact Regular John won must mean their live show is pretty impressive. Listening to their music, this is quite easy to imagine. It’s loud and it’s fast and I can see it translating to an energetic live show.

Zommunist Party – At first the noise of this song just washed over me, but the more I listen to it, the more I come to appreciate their appeal. The song ranges from the intense moments where everything seems to be thrown in, to times when the wailing guitars are left to unravel, but what's really important is it would go off live!

The Next Crop

These are bands that I have only recently discovered, who hold potential, but are yet to prove themselves in my eyes. My knowledge and like of them varies, but all are at the stage where one mistake could lead to them forever being dismissed. Only time will tell which of these bands make it into my heart and which get brushed aside, but this festival is likely to give strong indication. Either way, you should be keeping a very close eye on all of them for they could soon be the next big thing.

Whiskey Go Gos

And now for another hot tip. The more I listen to Whiskey Go Gos, the more I come to love them. Their sound is primarily southern rock and fans of Kings of Leon will find it instantly recognisable. But to this they add elements of blues and a small country twang, both of which help to really define their sound. The band is built around lead singer Matt Hutchinson and it is through him that they really shine. All the songs I’ve heard so far are of the highest quality, clever compositions that are rich in variety and always engaging. Not only this but they are sung with such vigour, straight from the heart, as Matt’s rough vocals cut straight through you. It really is such a shame that they have been scheduled to play at the same time as other big name bands because they won’t receive anywhere near the attention they deserve. It is especially sad because reading reviews and listening to them, they sound like a band that would be great to watch live. I get the feeling I’ll be overcoming all other urges and going to see this very talented band.

2 Cent Girl – This song especially reminds me of Kings of Leon in terms of both sound and rhythm. It is a nicely rounded song because while it is clearly telling a story it is also great to just rock out to.

Rodeo – Again, this song portrays so much emotion and yet it still gets me moving. Either these guys make some incredible music or I’ve discovered a secret love for southern rock. I’m hoping it’s the former.

You can find more (and full) mp3s on their myspace

Children Collide

These guys are another band that I had been hearing a lot about, but had never gotten around to listening to. Well thankfully this festival has finally given me a reason to and I regret not doing so earlier. Children Collide’s music is an edgy, obscure form of rock music that seems perfectly suited to the live arena. Unfortunately however, my biographical knowledge is a bit thin. You see the internet has been stubbornly ambiguous in my quest to find out more. Some photos show them with a third, female member and others as just a duo. In one photo, the second male member even appears to be dark skinned and a completely different person! Let’s just say I’m a tad confused. My best guess is that they used to be a three piece, with a female drummer but have now moved to a two-piece who incorporate a drum machine. Correct me if I’m wrong. Whatever the case, the fact remains that Children Collide create a fresh new sound and their high energy is guaranteed to get audiences moving. These guys are sure to grab a lot of attention in the very near future.

Frozen Armies – I’m surprised this song wasn’t more popular because it is very impressive and a lot more accessible than most of their music. The whole song is executed well with the rasping vocals, screeching guitars, heavy bass and steady percussion all combining flawlessly

We Are Amphibious – This is one of their more eccentric songs and it takes a bit of getting used to. I actually think they’ve gone backwards with this latest EP but it’s still engaging enough to make me want to see them live.

Something With Numbers

I had heard a lot about Something With Numbers without actually knowing what type of music they played. When I finally did get around to hearing them, I was disappointed to hear that they were one of ‘those’ bands. It’s really hard to describe, but when you hear it you’ll know what I mean. It’s a sound that is instantly off-putting to anyone who isn’t into such music. It’s called punk music, but it feels watered down when compared to the 'real' punk of the late seventies. It’s the sound that spawned emo, perhaps the most commonly despised genre ever. The problem is that all these connotations are negative because of a few bad bands and their equally bad fans. A lot of other bands who are branded with this negative image, actually produce good music. I think Something With Numbers are one of them. When you analyse their music in isolation there really is nothing wrong with it and I imagine it would be great live. Unlike most of the hoard of punk bands to come out of the central coast recently, Something With Numbers have proven that their music is high quality. With their newer music sounding more expansive and rocky, I feel they’re heading in the right direction. My prejudice towards this and other similar bands will always remain, but at least I’m willing to admit it’s unfounded.

Apple Of The Eye – I had actually heard this song before and I really don’t mind it. It develops quite a grand sound once the guitars kick in.

Barnicles and Stripes – This is the kind of music I would usually run away from screaming. But in all honesty I really have no reason to.

Ground Components

Originally I was put off Ground Components' unorthodox style, but as I’ve listened to them more and more, I’ve warmed to it and even come to like it. You see, lead singer, Joe McGuigan doesn’t just sing the lyrics, he yells them, spits them out. It sounds like something is holding him back and he has to do everything he can, against all odds and with every last breathe, just to get those vocals out to you. It really is a weird effect and I almost feel like he’s going to drop dead the moment he finishes. But rock music is always best when the musicians pour their heart and soul into it and Ground Components honestly feel like they’re doing this. Their music is anything but clean and crisp. It’s rough and it’s dirty and by the end of it you feel like you’ve been tossed around unrelentlessly. Imagine what it would be like to be in amongst a crowd of sweaty people all experiencing the same effects simultaneously, as this music is delivered to you personally in an intense on-stage performance. It would great of course!

On Your Living Room Floor – This song really did take a long time for me to get used to but eventually I got there. The emotion they portray comes of so authentically that I couldn’t help but be impressed.

Our Sunshine – This song on the other hand was an instant success with me, probably helped by it’s more orthodox sound. It has a real sense of movement to it, which isn’t something I often feel, as well as a very memorable chorus.

Tucker B's

My impression of Tucker B’s is that they’re a very weird bunch. A visit to their website is a hilarious one for it is filled with all sorts of wacky lingo. Whoever wrote it was either incredibly tripped out or they have been reading too much Clockwork Orange (yes, it was a book first). Add to this an array of odd pictures and lyrics that are questionable at best and you have yourself one extraordinary band. I was introduced to this band by the same friends that introduced me to Dappled Cities Fly, so it comes as no surprise that they sound similar. Of course no band really sounds the same as Dappled, but there are many likenesses, such as similar sounding vocals and a flair of eccentricity. Their music is generally laid back but it features many twists and turns, which are always good for a dance. I have been looking forward to seeing them live for a while, however my anticipation was dashed a little when a friend told me a recent performance of theirs was ordinary. Apparently their new drummer isn’t up to scratch. But despite this, my curiosity has gotten the better of me and I’m still psyched to go see them.

Bullets – When I spoke earlier of questionable lyrics, this was what I was referring to. I’m not 100% sure but I swear I hear something quite outlandish. I like this song because it is free flowing and overall quite relaxing.

Yes No Authority – Both these songs are off their latest album, Chubby, which I highly recommend. This song starts off slow but then peaks when it’s fantastic riff kicks in. It especially reminds me of the sort of thing Dappled would do.

Die! Die! Die!

With a name like Die! Die! Die!, you would be forgiven for thinking you’d be hit with a heavy metal barrage when you pressed play. That is off course unless you saw the picture above and dismissed them as a bunch of harmless kids. Well as it turns out, they’re somewhere in the middle. You definitely are confronted with a mass of noise when they start playing but it is never too much and always guided by a clever, underlying melody. And while they may just be young, these guys are serious about making music. Forming in just 2003, they have thrust themselves upon the world with a seemingly non-stop touring schedule and emerged with a global fanbase. Hailing from New Zealand, we have naturally claimed them as our own and I’m sure when they return to our shores, Australian audiences will be rocking out to them just as hard as any. I haven’t seem them myself, so can’t talk from experience, but you can bet it will be loud and it will be intense.

Nine Yeah Nine – This would probably be their most known song, coming off their self-titled debut album, which they recorded whilst in the USA. It features some haunting high-pitched guitars.

155 – This song comes off their latest EP and proves that they're going forward creatively. It contains much of their trademark sound, including powerful drumming and yelping vocals

The Basics

This band would have to be my hot tip for this festival. They may not be the next Beatles but they sure are close. In a time when every second band seems to channelling a sound of decades gone by, it’s about time somebody channelled the best one. What’s more is they’ve pulled it off. I like the fact that they dress in grey suits, it’s a nod to their influences but at the same time signalling that they’re different. Their sound not only reminds me of the early Beatles music, but also of the artists that influenced such music, the likes of Chuck Berry and Little Richard as well just about any band that made pop music in the 60s. And despite the clear influence of such artists, it doesn’t feel like copying. The similarities lie in the fact that they all make short, sweet and instantly addictive pop music and I can’t complain about that. I really am surprised The Basics are so unknown, their music is so catchy and fun that I can’t see why anyone would turn them down. They’ve got an album coming next year but in the meantime, scour their myspace for a few more tracks.

Just Hold On – You may recognise the vocals here because it is Wally de Backer a.k.a Gotye. If he’s making pop songs as rich as this, I think he should drop the solo project because this band is going to be big!

Call It Rhythm and Blues – It was hard to pick songs because each displayed a different side of their music, but this was a side I just couldn’t resist. When it comes on, look out for me reeling, rocking, twisting, shouting, shaking, rattling, rolling and everything else they used to do back then

Big Bands That I Like But Hadn't Written About Yet

Finally I can start writing about bands that I DO want to see. It may seem like these bands have been outnumbered, but when you consider the 12 bands I will be writing about and the 7 I mentioned at the start, they are indeed well-represented. The 4 bands to come next are well known bands that you may have thought I did not like because I had never writted about them. Well this definitely is not the case and to ensure such false impressions cease to float around, I shall be giving each of them a well-deserved write up.

Augie March

My knowledge of Augie March doesn’t stretch much further than their latest album, ‘Moo, You Bloody Choir’, but this is more than enough for me to know that they are one of the greatest Aussie bands going around at the moment. I almost didn’t look into them because I wasn’t the biggest fan of the lead single, One Crowed Hour, but I’m glad I did because the album is quite impressive. What really strikes me is the amount of variety. Each song comes on with a fresh sound and to their credit, each is as good as the last. Sadly however, Augie March are a very underrated band and so often their talent is overlooked. If you’ve dismissed them in the past, give them a proper listen and see if you haven’t missed something. Their music is always well-crafted and a pleasure to listen to. Not only this, but for once, Augie March are a band who’s lyrics are actually meaningful, not just incoherent ramblings. They are indeed fantastic but live shows are another thing. I really have no idea what to expect so you’ll have to fill me in. Unfortunately at a festival such as Homebake, their big name has landed them a spot that clashes with other big name bands. Decisions, decisions!

Just Passing Through – Seeing as the competition was so tight, when picking a song off their latest album, I thought I’d pick the one I’d most like to see live. This song won, largely thanks to its thumping drums that help to create quite an engaging rhythm.

Asleep In Perfection – This is one of their old songs that I was very familiar with. It reminds me of Radiohead, which is always a good thing and is such a soothing song to have playing in the background.

Little Birdy

I definitely would not call myself a Little Birdy fan. I have their debut album, ‘Bigbiglove’, but it isn’t something I listen to regularly. But whenever I put it on, it’s hard to deny that it isn’t great. This is largely due to the vocals of front woman, Katy Steele, which define their sound. It’s hard to describe her voice, seductive? luscious? sweet? either way, it’s very special. It really is no surprise, considering she is the sister of the freak/genius, Luke Steele (The Sleepy Jackson). The band supports these vocals very well and their overall sound comes across as clean and well produced. All these factors make the thought of seeing Little Birdy quite enticing. The fact that a very fine looking Katy will be dancing around on stage, telling me to come on (you’ll see), is completely irrelevant, I swear.

Come On Little Heartbreaker – This is the perfect song to sample her incredible voice. It showcases a wide variety of frequencies and styles, all combined quite beautifully

Come On Come On – This is the only song I’ve heard off their second and latest album, ‘Hollywood’, and I like what I hear. It does however feel like some of the sound was ‘borrowed’ from somebody else (Dandy Warhols?)

Silverchair

I thought I’d use this picture just to highlight how ridiculously young these guys were when they released their first album, Frogstomp. Yes, the album that talks of “Suicidal Dreams” and “Pure Massacre” was produced by a bunch of 15 year olds. It really is no surprise that Daniel Johns had a breakdown. Despite such setbacks, in 11 years and 4 albums, Silverchair have become one of Australia’s most successful modern rock bands. After a bit of a break, they are back and ready to show us why they are so big. They've alreading begun touring and have a brand new record on the horizon. This is definitely exciting news and yet I’m still hesitant. I saw them in one of their comeback shows and while it was good, I must admit I was a little disappointed. The only song that truly moved me was ‘Freak’, also the only song they played off either of their first two albums. For those who are unaware, Silverchair’s sound has evolved immensely over the years. On their early albums, they had a grunge rock sound, which won them many comparisons to Nirvana, but since then they have reined in the distortion, developing a powerfully emotional sound through the incorporation of rich orchestral compositions. I enjoy all their different sounds though my latest experience tells me that their older material is the better live. Unfortunately however, nearly all bands have a tendency to give preference to their newest songs. On top of this, they are sure to play songs off their forthcoming album, which will be completely unfamiliar to me. Both these factors mean their live show could potentially be a letdown. Then again, it’s Silverchair, so it could also be brilliant.

Tomorrow – This was the song that brought Silverchair into the spotlight and to no surprise. It is an incredibly well rounded rock song and simply mind-boggling that it was produced by such young minds. I have literally loved this song for as long as I can remember

Across The Night - Just for a bit of contrast, here is a track off the fourth and latest album, Diorama. It is equally incredible but for vastly different reasons. It features a wealth of orchestral flourishes but it is Daniel Johns’ riveting vocals that propel it to such a high level

The Vines

It’s good to see Craig Nicholls is looking healthy again...I wouldn’t exactly call The Vines’ return triumphant, with Vision Valley being a bit of a disappointment, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be giving them top priority when they hit the stage. The Vines have a reputation for putting on killer live shows and one listen of their explosive rock music makes this very easy to believe. Craig’s screaming is well-executed, creating an energetic atmosphere and their destructive on-stage antics are always guarenteed to entertain. Unfortunately however Craig has been suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome and has returned somewhat restrained (let’s hope it doesn’t last). Related to this illness or not, it is generally believed that the quality of their music has slipped over time. But despite this, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is poor and they have more than enough great songs in their repertoire to put on a thrilling live show. My only question is whether they still have the ability to deliver. In audio and video footage I have seen since Craig recovered, he still looked unwell and their sound was underwhelming. But I get the feeling it will be different when you’re there, experiencing it first-hand, and so you can bet I’ll be eagerly awaiting their performance.

Outtathaway! – This is The Vines at their best. This is music at it’s best. Well maybe that’s an overstatement but just the thought of hearing it live gets me excited.

Vision Valley – While their live show will be mostly about the upbeat songs such as the one above, we mustn’t forget that they can also make great slow music. Just like while their newest album may not compare to Highly Evolved, it’s not THAT bad. This song proves those both points.

Novelty Acts

Bjorn AgainGimme! Gimme! Gimme!

I don’t know about you, but for me, ABBA were a good thing. Sure they were very often annoying but they also made some incredibly catchy pop music that deserved them their fame. So when I hear a tribute band is coming to town, I think happy thoughts. I won’t be seeing them over a proper band, but if I’ve got nothing else to do, you can bet I’ll be there, if just for a laugh. Listen to the sample song (by the real ABBA) and try and tell me you won’t be there too.

The ModelsOut Of Mind, Out Of Sight

I admit it’s a bit rough to call these guys a novelty act, but considering that they split up in 1987, it is a bit of a joke that they’re playing here this year. For those who don’t know, The Models were one of Australia’s biggest 1980s New Wave bands, though admittedly they were never that huge. They definitely have some great music, which would make for a fun live experience, but then again, you can never trust that these older reformed bands will deliver.

Solo Artists

I seem to have a prejudicial dislike for solo artists. I don’t why or when such a barrier built up between the solo artist and I, but it did. I get the feeling it is rooted in their over presence in the folk music industry. When such music is done right, I can find it very enjoyable, but I'm also very picky in this regard and so more often than not find it boring. When I actually stop and think about it however, there are plenty of non-folk solo artists out there, many of whom I love. Their sound can be as rich as any band and so I really have no rational reason to scorn at the mention of their name. That is, except for in the case of this festival. Because you see the slower, folksy artists are out in force and while their music may be beautifully crafted, it isn’t what I look forward to at a festival. So feel free to check some of these artists out, but more than likely I won’t be joining you.

Angus & Julia Stone – What better way to open a section on solo artists than with a pair of them. They are brother and sister and create some very pleasant music. But for reasons stated above, I strongly doubt I’d go watch them

Bob Evans (Nowhere Without You) – For those who don’t know, this is the solo project of the lead singer from Jebediah, Kevin Mitchell. I’m a pretty big Jebediah fan and while this work sounds completely different, I enjoy it also. The combination of his song-writing ability and great voice has allowed him to be successful in both careers. Despite this, I’m still wary of what he’ll be like live, so will have to mark him down as a maybe.

Tom Cooney – Great voice for sure. Meaningful song lyrics no doubt. He perfectly sums up the folk singer I have no interest in seeing

Toni Collette & The Finish – A solo artist with an accompanying band is nothing more than an over glorified lead singer, selfish enough to want their own name included in the band name. So many of the biggest bands revolved largely around one person, but this person had no choice but to share the glory. What makes Toni Collette so special that she transcends this ancient tradition? I hope by now you realise I’m not being serious (then again, perhaps my inner cynic is creeping out). Toni Collette does indeed make lovely music and I’m sure she’s a very nice person. On top of this, The Finish aren’t just your average bunch of street performers, containing the lead singer from Augie March among other accomplished musicians. But despite all this I still won’t be seeing them…

Jen Cloher & The Endless Sea – See above but switch names and remove Augie March cameo. I enjoy and respect both artists but a festival just isn’t the place to see them. I’d want to be relaxing in a small, dark room so that I could fully appreciate them. Homebake creates the complete opposite to such an atmosphere

Gotye (Learnalilgivininlovin) – I have mixed emotions for Gotye. Some of his music I find very clever and highly enjoyable. But then a song like Thanks For Your Time comes along which I absolutely despise. I’m debating whether to see him or not but it’s a definite possibility. Personally I’d prefer it if Wally de Backer (a.k.a. Gotye) devoted more of his energy towards his band The Basics (more on them later!) cause they’re pretty damn fine.

Bands That Belong To Crappy Genres And Are Therefore Crappy Themselves

Why on Earth do I keep talking about bands I don’t like you ask? Interesting question. It is partly to make this Homebake feature more complete, but also because I don’t do it nearly enough! It feels good to get stuck into bands I despise every now and then, vent a bit of anger. You can tell I’m still refrained though because these bands have fans and those fans have fists…

Rap / Hip Hop

Plain and simply, I do not like rap or hip hop. I don’t appreciate it, I don’t understand it and I certainly don’t enjoy it. I also don’t want to get into a debate on whether it’s rubbish or not, rather I just want to state: IT’S NOT FOR ME. I am getting better though. I used to turn my radio off when it came on because I found it painful. Now I can at least sit through it. Live performances are when this genre is supposed to go best but for me it gets worse. I find the interaction with the crowd to be less than thrilling

Hilltop Hoods – Say “hilltop”…..x17 – That is my impression of Hilltop Hoods. Every time I’ve experienced this sort of crowd ‘interaction’, I’ve always felt it’s dragged on WAY too long. Hilltop Hoods are perhaps the worst culprits. I was going to include an mp3 because I actually don’t mind some of their songs where they stray from actual hip hop, but then I realised this wouldn’t be appropriate seeing as I have absolutely no desire to go see them

Macromantics – It’s a girl!

N'fa - Meh

Scribe – Big meh

Electro / Dance

Admittedly I am warming more and more to this genre, but in at an outdoors, daytime festival, the mood just wouldn’t be right. Whether these guys get a look in or not really depends on when and where they’re are playing. It’s not looking promising.

Infusion –I’ve actually seen this band once whilst waiting for another and they didn’t exactly leave a good impression. Sure their hit single (Natural) went off, but for the rest of the set they lacked direction and just fizzled out. I am willing to give them another chance, but only if I have nothing better to do

Kid Kenobi & MC Shureshock – I wasn’t sure if this duo belonged here or in the category above and since I couldn’t find any of their music to sample, I remain in the dark. It would be disappointing but for the fact I have no real interest in them

Mountains in the Sky - I'm not sure if this is a constant theme, but everything i've heard so far is basically instrumental and to be honest, a little boring. I could be missing something though...


Hardcore / Screamo

You’d think that even if you didn’t like such music, their energy would make for an interesting live performance. WRONG. At The Big Day Out I thought I’d go check Slipknot out for the novelty of their costumes and the energy of their show. It was the biggest mistake of my life. They didn’t play music, it was NOISE, immensely painful to the ears. Not only that but their ‘energetic live performance’ consisted of them standing in a line, all swinging they’re hair in circles. Great. It confirmed what I already suspected: this is the WORST type of music.

Parkway Drive - Unfortunately for both this band…

The Vaine – …and this one, they have crossed the line of acceptable heaviness, joined the dark side and hence I couldn’t recommend them less.

Stick with me, I only have to do a couple of ‘maybes’ over the next few days and then I can finally get to the good stuff!

Big Name Bands That Don't Interest Me

For me, the attraction of this festival lies in the mid tier bands, the incredibly talented ones who are yet to gain widespread fame. On the other hand, some of the bands that are supposedly huge and will no doubt pull massive crowds, actually interest me very little. The irony is that while I couldn’t care less about them, these are the bands that contribute most to the ticket price and also led to the festival selling out in record time, denying me the chance to see the bands that I actually like. Well at least it would be if the fence wasn’t so stupidly easily to jump. THAT’s irony for you. Some of these selections will surprise you, others won’t. Either way, these AREN’T the bands that are attracting me to Homebake

You Am IBerlin Chair

Yes, You Am I fall here also. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for them, but I just don’t like them. Tim Rogers’ drunkenness seems to come out in their music and it just doesn’t sit well with me. I’ve seen them live and was similarly unimpressed. It’s probably that they have an ‘acquired taste’ and I’ve never given them the time they deserve. But despite this I feel no great desire to rectify this problem and so will probably continue with my indifference.

Something For KateCaptain

It may sound bad, but if I’m not in the right mood, I swear these guys could put me to sleep. To me the vocals sound bland and monotonous and if I don’t pay close attention, they just wash over me. I do admit that they do have quite a few great songs, showing that they have strong song-writing ability, but sadly this isn’t all that makes a great live show. Seeing as the last time I watched them I found it utterly boring, I doubt I’ll be checking them out again.

Eskimo JoeTurn Up Your Stereo

Once upon a time Eskimo Joe played simple, catchy music. Once upon a time Eskimo Joe had fun. Once upon a time Eskimo Joe were good. However, as time has passed, they have developed into commercial music’s sweethearts, selling their souls in the process. I must admit I don’t hate their music, in fact if I actually went and listened to their new album, I’m sure I wouldn’t mind it. But principles mean I won’t be doing that. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but Eskimo Joe, somewhere along the line you lost me.

The Butterfly EffectPhoenix

I guess you could say that this band isn’t as big as some of the other headliners but if you think in terms of Triple J exposure, they’re up there. Their music is a heavy blend of rock, but personally, it fails to excite. I do however get the feeling that they would have a lot energy when playing live, so I may be checking them out if have some spare time.

Big bands, big deal. I don’t find these bands so horrible that I can’t understand why people like them, it’s just a matter of personal preference. If you’re into them, then by all means go see them! But to me, their names signify short dinner queues rather than a great live show.

You may have to bear with me for a few days while I get the bands that I DON’T like out of the way, in order get to the ones I DO like. Don’t worry, you’ll still get plenty of information and mp3s, they just won’t be any good…to an extent. No mp3s means they suck (to me) one mp3 means I’m undecided (and hence I’m leaving it up to you to decide), while two mp3’s means they’re HOT.

Bands I Have Already Written About

As you may have gathered from the title, these are the bands I have already written about and I thought I may as well get them out of the way first. Pretty much without exception, if I’ve written about a band then it means I love them. The logical progression then is that these are bands that I highly recommend you go see. I won’t repeat myself in saying why I love them so much, instead click the links and see for yourself. Ideally I’d like to see all of these bands, but in the inevitable event of a clash, this is would be my order of preference:

1. Red Riders / The Presets
2. Midnight Juggernauts / Wolf And Cub / British India
3. The Valentinos / Youth Group

Clearly I don’t cope well with clashes.

Dappled Cities Fly - Granddance

I knew there was a reason why I followed this band around habitually. Dappled Cities Fly just have a knack for entertaining and they’re yet to let me down. With their second album, Granddance, they have continued this trend, producing an absolutely stunning record that puts their previous work to shame. That’s not to say their previous work wasn’t incredible, it was, but it almost sounds dull when compared with the pure exuberance of this latest effort. You could probably put this down to the production process that went into it’s making. Not only did they fly to America to record it but they enlisted the help of a couple of celebrities to produce and mix it. No doubt that helped. But I also see it as bunch of talented young guys maturing in their ability. Having been to a couple of recent live shows and warmed to the pre-released tracks (Within Hours, Fire Fire Fire) my first listen of the album was a somewhat familiar one. But despite this I was still blown away by how well the songs had been put to record. All of the energy has been captured and the sound so clean that it creates an almost eerie atmosphere. It’s sure to get your heart pumping. It also appears that the quirkiness has been toned down a bit, with lyrics no longer so blatantly outlandish. But rest assured, their charm has not been lost. This is especially true in regards to their signature twin falsettos, courtesy of lead vocalists Tim and Dave. The vocals are definitely one of Dappled Cities Fly’s finest strengths. They craft such luscious melodies that you’ll be swept up in a euphoric bliss as you try hopelessly to sing along. But despite this album’s greatness, I can’t but help but feel they can do better. I don’t mean this in a negative way, rather it feels like we’re only at the beginning of what will eventually become an illustrious career. So far their music has earned them a cult following, while the masses have remained largely indifferent. It remains to be seen whether this record will change that. But without a doubt it confirms what we loyal fans have known all along; Dappled Cities Fly are one very special band.

Holy Chord – What an opener! It gradually builds from a slow whisper to an all-out romp. There’s plenty of high-pitched goodness and it features the Tim’s rather ‘jerky’ singing style which I really enjoy.

Colour Coding – This song is another that stands out for me, plus it’s only fair to pick one of Dave’s. I really like the way it appears to jump about, rather than making gradual progressions. The keyboard is also really noticeable explaining why they needed to add a new member (Ned) on keys, to keep their live shows fluent (I do believe it isn’t actually him playing here though)

See the comments for more topical information

Click to buy?

You may (or may not) have noticed that I’ve made it so that when you click the album art, you’ll be brought to a page where you can buy the album. I’ve done this because as you already know, supporting artists is something very important! I can’t force you to buy albums but if I tell you about one you like, the least I can do is a give you a link, helping you to take the next step. I feel I must stress this very clearly, DO NOT FEEL OBLIGED TO BUY FROM THIS PLACE. If you have a preferred shop then BY ALL MEANS, buy from there! These links are only there if you have no particular preference or can’t find the album elsewhere. The shop I link to is called Red Eye Records and I do so for the following reasons:

  • This is the shop I go to to buy music so I don’t feel hypocritical by sending you there
  • It stocks a wide variety of music, including the abstract international acts I talk about, as well as the unknown Sydney bands
  • It has reasonable prices
  • It exports to all over the world

However there are a few downsides

  • I only ever use the physical shop which is located in Sydney and have never used it’s online store so can’t tell you how good it is
  • It’s an online shop! Like any other online shop it caries the associated risks. It’s up to you whether you’re comfortable with this

While I feel obliged to give you that warning, I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be safe. The physical shop acts professionally so without a doubt the online section will be reliable also. The safety issue a universal issue and while internet shopping is pretty much always safe, you never know. Payment is by credit card though they do offer other options such as Direct deposit which is my personal preference.

The other main problem is it’s a bit ugly, being purely text based. This really annoys me as many other sites have easily visible album art and tracklistings. However it’s superior range means it’s about the only store that stocks what I talk about. The only other option would be JB Hi-fi who have a nice looking site and a large range though it falls a bit short. I’ll be pursuing this option but for now I’ll stick with Red Eye Records.

My eventual hope is that if people actually use this, I could ask to have a sub-page within whatever site I partner with which displays all the albums and artists I’ve talked about in one simple, organised area, making it nice and easy to buy. On top of this I could ask for a cut of the profits which could go back into the site (it won’t be long before this site starts losing me money) but this all depends on whether people use it or not.

In the near future I’ll be making a purchase to test it out but basically I just wanted to let you know that the option is there, should you choose to use it.

Midnight Juggernauts

Midnight Juggernauts posses a quality so rarely found in the musical world: A name that fits. This Melbourne duo pump out some impressive late-night dance beats and they’ve already established themselves as heavyweights of the industry. My knowledge of electro music is about as limited as my like for it, but lately I’ve found myself slowly being won over. The likes of Cut Copy, The Presets and now Midnight Juggernauts, all of which I'm proud to say are Australian, have led me into unfamiliar territory. I think where these bands have succeeded is in there their ability to blend the line between electro and rock, essentially opening up the world of dance music to a whole new audience. After all, we were all born with the inherent desire to flail ourselves around uncontrollably in the hope that we look cool. Well I’m pleased to report that this is one feeling that Midnight Juggernauts are sure to invoke. Their sound incorporates a wealth of crazy sounds, including quirky vocal stylings, providing plenty of depth and variety. But at the same time the backbone of their music, drums and synthesiser, means it’s always great to dance to. One thing I’ve noticed however, with bands such as Cut Copy and The Presets, is that (for me) their music is either hit-or-miss. Midnight Juggernauts on the other hand, not only have their hits, but the ‘filler’ is equally enjoyable. True, they haven’t released an album yet, but they’re definitely one to look out for. I saw these guys live before I’d really got to know their stuff and I still had fun. Now I can’t wait to unleash my pre-prepared moves on the unsuspecting dance floor!

45 And Rising – This is the latest single of their EP ‘Secrets of the Universe’ and it has really grown on me of late. It features the modulated vocals which pop up every now and then and appear to be a crowd favourite. It also changes pace nicely, settling into a mellow rhythm and then jumping up to a higher level at just the right time

Raised By Wolves – This is a slightly older track and I think the first of their’s I heard. It’s a bit rockier than the norm, with guitars taking preference to the synth and while the background vocals could easily get on the wrong side of you, it’s a solid and highly enjoyable track

Suburban Kids With Biblical Names - #3

This album may have been released last year but it’s new to me and that’s all that matters. Besides, I’m sure many of you out there missed it when came through and it would truly be a shame for me not to share it with you. For those who don’t know, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names are from Sweden and they make incredibly catchy pop music (surprise, surprise). Never before have I taken to lo-fi music so whole-heartedly but their amateur sound is just so charming. They make you feel involved and immersed in their music and it becomes quite infectious. I’m not sure if this is the truth or just some fantasy I’ve created, but when I imagine these guys creating music, I see them cramped up in a tiny bedroom, recording anything that makes a sound, feeding it into their computer and having a ball playing around with it. This album truly is a heap of fun and you can’t help but think they thoroughly enjoyed making it. With only two band members I can’t see how they would manage performing their music live, simply due to the sheer number of instruments they incorporate. Last time I checked, two guys can’t play drums, bass, acoustic guitar and piano all at once. Add to this horns, glockenspiels, flutes, trumpets, keyboards, whistling, hand clapping, a drum machine and well, you get the picture. There’s even bongos and at one point what sounds like spoons! But what’s important is that on record, they’re all combined brilliantly to create fantastic pop music, that’s both immensely rich and highly enjoyable. Look out for them in the future, no prizes for guessing what their next album will be called.

Loop Duplicate My Heart – I simply could not go past this song purely for it’s hilarious lyrics. Nerdiness never seemed so appealing! Add to that an erratic artificial beat and you have yourself a winner!

Rent A Wreck – I picked the two songs that first grabbed in the hope that they’d also grab you. Unfortunately this means a lot of the obscure instrumentation and charm has been lost in the process. But this song is absolutely brimming with energy so you’ll be hard-pressed not to be drawn in for more.

Yo La Tengo - I am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass

Belonging to a generation known for our short attention spans and need for instant gratification, Yo Le Tengo’s latest album, the name of which is too ridiculously long to repeat, was always going to struggle to make it into my heart. With an opening and closing track, each above 10 minutes and a 9-minute instrumental track, it is not what I would normally call my cup of tea. But as I settled down and gave it the time it deserved, I discovered it to be an incredible album. In fact the more I listen to it, the higher it climbs on my list of albums of the year. For me, the strength of this album lies in its diversity. The range of different styles here is amazing and despite its epic 75-minute length, the album remains fresh from start to finish. The sound ranges from piano ballads to distorted garage rock to quirky pop songs to all the in-between. But what is truly impressive is that despite dipping their toes into so many genres, the song writing remains solid. In a way this band reminds me of Belle & Sebastian, not in terms of sound, but in the listening experience. At first I found their music uninviting, boring even, but as I became familiar with all its intricacies, I slowly fell in love. This was the first time I’d ever heard of Yo La Tengo and I was quite surprised to find that it is actually their 10th album! As it turns out, this American 3-piece have been around since 1984 and are renowned for their incredible longevity and consistency. With no previous experience to speak of, I can’t really offer any opinion on how this compares to their previous work, but what I can say is that it is a terrific album that I would recommend to old fans and newcomers alike. Rest assured, I’ll be delving into their back catalogue with great enthusiasm.

The Room Got Heavy – With such diversity, the songs I picked here were never going to give an accurate indication but well I tried my best. This is one of the few songs that caught me early on and saved me from dismissing the album before I realised it’s full potential. It has a quite a funky beat to it and the vocals, which come off as indifferent create a very interesting sound

I Feel Like Going Home – Despite the album containing more songs by the male vocalist, I’ve ended up choosing two female songs. This song highlights the beauty of their slower, piano and string based music, which pops up every now and then.

Also check out Mr Tough on their myspace, it's great!