Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit

Being a devout Belle & Sebastian fan, I probably would have enjoyed this album regardless. But that is irrelevant, for this Glaswegian septet has produced yet another spectacular album to add to their already impressive repertoire. It completes the shift towards the more up-tempo style that their previous album hinted towards. While many fans may not like such a shift, I welcome it, as this is probably their most accessible album yet and will hopefully lead to the recognition this great band deserves.

Seeing this band live has made my respect for them skyrocket. Firstly it made me realise just how many awesome songs they have produced. They played no less than twenty songs, each of them going off, and yet I could still name about ten favourite songs they didn’t use. Normally missing such songs would result in disappointment but I had too much fun that night to let anything bring it down. The other thing I realised is just how incredibly skilled they are. In no way do they simply recreate their recorded music but rather it is a completely different experience, an extremely entertaining one.

Another Sunny Day – At the head of the band is Stuart who sings most of the songs, including this one. This guy is incredibly brave. So often he is the sole focus on stage, either while singing unaccompanied, interacting with the audience or dancing to a solo, all of which would be daunting to even the most experienced performer and yet he pulls them off with ease. Considering his song-writing and vocal abilities, he is one talented man. I chose this song not only cause its great, but also because of the relevance that certain lyrics have to today’s events.

To Be Myself Completely – While Stuart carries the band, Stevie provides the comic relief. He is just so cool. His combination of wide-rimmed glasses and a suit make him look so out of place on stage and yet it doesn’t worry him one bit. On top of this, he has his own little dancing style that’s a joy to watch. Despite his songs being few and far between, I always seem to love them. It was quite a shame that he only did a couple of songs on the night, this one not included.

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The Lovely Feathers - Hind Hind Legs

It’s been a long time, I know. I’ve been unbelievably busy with school and nights out but of course that’s no excuse. So despite having an exam tomorrow, I’ve decided to bring you some much-needed Lovely music. This band’s definite strength is their energy. Their music is very engaging and unlike many bands, they often manage to capture my complete attention. Excelling in energy means there is a heavy lean towards the fast-paced. Now recently I was accused of only liking such music and I must admit it’s partially true. I think music that’s more upbeat just has more room for success, meaning there’s a lot more quality fast songs. That said, if someone does manage to create a truly great slow-paced song, I will use it here, without a doubt. Of course this is just how it seems to be for me and of course, my opinion is not the only.

This album has really crept up on me. I took a leap of faith after hearing just one song and it quickly appeared to have some potential. However I didn’t think of it as spectacular and it took a back seat to other albums. Occasionally I would give it a listen and I began to really like a few of the songs. These songs just happened to be at the start of the album and I formed the opinion that it started great but then just faded to mediocrity. But the more I listened, the more I realised this was in no way the case. This album is without a weakness and is in fact solid throughout; a welcome addition to any collection

In The Valley – I discovered this band solely thanks to music blogs and hopefully this means they will warmly welcomed by yourselves. This is the song that I first heard and which prompted me to investigate further. While I probably would no longer place it in the top two songs, I thought it was fitting to use it here due to its attention capturing ability

Frantic – When discovering music, I often work backwards in a sense. I’ll be reading a review where mention is made of a previous record by the same band and I will go out and check out that album instead simply because it got a positive mention. Something very similar happened with this song. I was reading about how someone had overlooked a different song on the album due to paying too much attention to this song. I wasn’t interested in the song he’d overlooked but went straight to this song to see why he been so enthralled by it. Now I too am obsessed.

The Presets - Beams

Such electronic music as this is apparently labelled, would not normally make it into my collection. But The Presets have bridged the gap for me with their excellent musical ability. Consisting mostly of two guys and two keyboards, they still manage to put on extremely entertaining live shows. I experienced such a show and it is permanently ingrained in my mind. It went a little like this….

Girl And The Sea – I walked into the 2006 Big Day Out festival and headed straight to the Boiler Room to try and catch the rest of The Preset’s set. As I entered, this song was playing and being such a giant room it took me most of the song just to reach the rest of the crowd. I more floated than walked there as this soothing song carried me absent-mindedly to my destination. I as enjoyed the keyboardy goodness I made a mental note to listen to this song more often. Once it finished, I snapped back into reality and continued listening to the rest of the set. Down Down Down came on and the crowd, including myself, really got into it. At this time, I was still yet to meet up with any of my friends, the next song however changed everything, it was…….

Are You The One? – Just a couple of notes in, the crowd recognised what it was and a cheer was let out. Almost instantly, in what had previously appeared to be an impenetrable wall of people, holes began to appear. The moshing begun and breathing room became a thing of the past. I was able to move seamlessly, to the beat of course, through about 15 rows of people, to make my way right to the front. The atmosphere was great and everyone was going crazy. Then all of sudden, a hand grabbed my shoulder and pulled me one metre to the right where I found myself in the middle of a group of 4 friends. There was no time for introductions, we were in the middle of a incredible experience and had to enjoy every moment, and that we did. There are very few songs that can invoke such joy in a human being. This song managed it.

Architecture in Helsinki - In Case We Die

Architecture in Helsinki are definitely one of the more quirky groups to emerge in recent years, closer resembling an orchestra than your average band. They consist of an unusual eight members (by that I mean it’s an unusual number, the members are rather usual as far as I know) and use more abstract instruments than you could comfortably count. The many instruments and many voices makes for much variation, ranging from fast to slow, low to high, happy to sad, all in the one two minute song. Their overall sound could easily be described as childish but that’s what makes it so great. The silliness makes you laugh and the glockenspiel makes you dance, they’ve really found a winning combination

It’5 – You know you’re in for a treat when a song opens with ‘Stranger, Danger!’ and in this case you’re not let down. It’s a boppy little piece and you’ll be dancing and pumping your fists in no time. The song really highlights the voice of the main male singer, whichever he might be.

Wishbone – At the other end of the spectrum we have a female led song (I’d give names if I knew which was which). It comes in at a nice fast pace and invokes a slightly different dancing style. I’d say a steady skip accompanied with flailing body parts to represent the sudden changes in direction…’ll see.


Voxtrot were one of the first bands I’ve been excited over in a long time. Admittedly the excitement has died down and I can see them for what they really are, just another great band. But when I was into them they seemed like something so much more, it was somewhat like an addiction. Even so, this love did not come immediately. I had their first EP (Rasied by Wolves) and found it nice but inspiring. But upon getting their second EP(Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives), I was reeled in and fell in love with every song, even their old songs came alive. The secret to Voxtrot is that they are not only fiendishly simple but deliciously catchy. They’re such a short way into their career and yet they’re already making such an impact. Look out for them in the very near future.

Fast Asleep – This is THE song. It is the song that got me hooked. If looked at in an analytical way, it’s clear that it’s corny and flawed. But you should dismiss such a frivolous fact and get caught up in the moment that is this wonderful song.

Missing Pieces – Have you ever been listening to the radio, the music passing by your consciousness unnoticed when suddenly a song comes on that you recognise and it hits you how much you like it? You then struggle to remember whom it’s by so you can mentally respect them? Well such an event happened to me with this song. Such an anecdote could so easily have been accompanied by pun using either of the two song titles here but I thought I’d spare you.

TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

Every time I say this it seems more and more obsolete, but this band is unique! There sound is simply undescribable (and yet I plow ahead with it anyway), mixing elements of rock, jazz and God knows what else. I checked them out upon hearing news of them coming down here to Australia. The song to first to take my fancy was Staring at the Sun, off their second album, and if the songs I offer here seem to go over your head, I recommend you look to it. However it was this album, the soon-to-be released Return To Cookie Mountain, which emerged as the best and is a solid effort throughout. The band incorporate a number of guest musicians, including David Bowie himself (as I’m so easily led to believe) which adds yet another dimension to their songs.

Snakes and Martyrs – This song is an example of the multi-dimensional music they produce. Varying instruments, varying vocal pitches and intensities and varying tempos. It’s all pieced together seamlessly into one highly complicated yet highly rewarding piece

Dirty Little Whirlwind – At the opposite end of the spectrum, this is one of the simpler songs. That’s not to say it’s basic in any way, just as a matter of comparison. What is ever present here though is the strength of the vocals. Though it’s probably irrelevant I like to think it’s due to the fact that 4 out of 5 of them are black, reminding me of the great voices of the 50’s. It probably has something to with the giant afros and beards also.


Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon

My Tapes ‘n Tapes experience has been an interesting one. First of all I downloaded one song from an mp3 blog, not too disimliar to this….and quickly forgot it (says a lot for the medium). Then I read a review of their album and was rather intrigued. I think it was the references to Wolf Parade that convinced me. When I got it and gave it a listen, I couldn’t help but make many more parallels, The Arcade Fire, Pixies (if you don’t know these bands, neck yourself immediately…..or alternatively check them out now), it was an impressive list. Yet despite this, it was still a fresh and unique sound they were creating. But despite that despite, I still felt they were missing something. I gave it a fair share of my time and I indeed liked it, just didn’t love it. However a revelation came thanks to my little brother. Of all my obscure music he’s forced to listen to in the car, this is what he said he liked best. Being musically inclined (at producing music that is), most recently in the art of the guitar, probably has something to do with this. Since then I have paid closer attention to the subtleties of their songs, one instrument at a time and am finally coming to appreciate them.

Crazy Eights – I should have realised that instruments were they’re speciality (it sounds stupid I know, technically all bands specialise in instruments) by the fact that the first song I loved was this deliciously simple instrumental. I call it that despite the fact it features vocals as they never actually formulate into words. These vocals are great, as they are throughout the album, but in this case they’re extra special (so apparently they specialise in both instruments AND vocals which technically means they specialise in nothing…..). Ignoring all my rambling, this is simply an awesome song.

Cowbell – This is the song I downloaded that made no impact on me. So in all likelihood you will simply do the same. Hopefully however you’ll will have learned from my mistake and approach the song quite differently. It really is quite embarrassing to think you’ve discovered this great new band then learn you’d had one of their songs all along. But regardless, I have really come to like this song

Notable Aussie Bands

Going against my usual routine, the last three songs posted were not done so in celebration of a new release (yes, though it may not seem like it, due to the size of my back catalogue, ‘new’ releases are the purpose of this site). Instead these were featured in order to show you some of the up-and-coming Aussie bands I’m into at the moment. These three (and coincidently many more) have a new album due VERY soon, so expect to hear from them again shortly

Dappled Cities Fly

Dappled Cities Fly – Peach

Dappled are their own genre. They incorporate elements of traditional indie-rock sounds with experimentation, quirky lyrics and a healthy dose of high-pitched exclamation. The result is music with genuine intimacy, where you fall in love with every little twist and turn. It isn’t necessarily the type of music that strikes you as outstanding, yet you’d be hard-pressed finding a fault with it. Each song is masterfully created. The added bonus is that all this translates seamlessly into their live shows. Each song is perfectly recreated, yet doesn’t sound stale and the atmosphere is fun and energetic.

Despite all my efforts to avoid it, I always seem to end up picking this song as the definitive Dappled song. There’s plenty of great music on their debut album, A Smile, which equals and perhaps even betters this, yet when removed from the album’s context it just seems awkward and out of place. This song however stands strong on it’s own and displays a range of their differing sounds. But still I recommend getting the WHOLE album and really getting to know it.