Monday Mix #16

Drunk On Election NightDan Kelly and the Alpha Males
I had always liked Dank Kelly’s music, but when I saw him live it was great. His friendly personality really brings out the hilarity in his music. If you get a chance to see him, I’d highly recommend it.

7/4 (Shoreline) - Broken Social Scene
I never really embraced Broken Social Scene like many, but that’s not to say I don’t enjoy them. When I heard this song recently I knew it was time to put them up here.

PlasticitiesAndrew Bird
For some reason I got an extremely negative impression of Andrew Bird recent album on my first listen. I was convinced that it wasn’t all to my tastes. Then I gave it a second go through and found I really liked it. Bizarre.

Take My HandKuryakin
Kuryakin are an obscure Swedish band I discovered whilst listening to Sydney radio (makes sense). They have a really nice, mellow sort of sound.

Australia (Peter Bjorn & John Remix)The Shins
This is possibly the first remix I have ever posted. As you can guess, I’m not exactly supportive of them. I’m still waiting for one that actually does justice to the original. Then again, I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to mention The Shins so here you go. Less than two weeks till they come!

The Thrills

As far as I’m concerned, The Thrills are to Ireland what Belle & Sebastian are to Scotland: The Best. Forget U2 or Snow Patrol, The Thrills are a band worthy of occupying the national pedestal. Their first two albums were brilliant and now with their third, they have cemented this spot at the top. If you’ve never really listened to The Thrills, you have much to discover. I’d always found their music enjoyable, however it wasn’t until I listened with good headphones that I realised how rich it was. Whether it is strings, backing vocals, piano or a multitude of other cool sounds, there’s always plenty going on. Best of all, it all combines seamlessly with the wispy lead vocals to form smooth, harmonious music. No chance for a flutter is left begging, yet every sound has a purpose. It is, quite simply, a pleasure to listen to.

So Much For The City (2003)

The release of this debut album instantly put them on the map. This is hardly surprising, considering how many big hits it had on it. The first half of it is ridiculously strong while the rest isn’t too memorable. This could just be that I like those first 5 songs so much, I never pay attention to the rest, but either way, it was hard just choosing one.

MP3: Big Sur

Let's Bottle Bohmemia (2004)

As a complete package, I probably haven’t given this album as much attention as I should have. This is largely due to the second track, “Whatever Happened To Cory Haim?” being so damn good. Every time I made a mix, or just listened to them, I would go straight to that song. However the rest of the album is actually quite good and I figured it was about time I acknowledged that.

MP3: Not For All The Love In The World

Teenager (2007)

Over the course of their career, they seem to be making less and less big hits and instead producing a constant stream of good music. This third album is the perfect example of this. It may lose the battle when it comes to picking standout songs, but as far as overall standard goes, it is excellent. It’s a fresh batch high quality Thrills music and I’m loving it.

Mp3: The Midnight Choir

Dog Day - Night Group

Biographical information about Dog Day is quite scarce; there isn't even a Wikipedia entry about them. How on earth am I supposed to pretend I'm knowledgable when nobody has neatly laid out the information, ready for me to steal! But alas, I seem to have gathered a rough idea of just who and what Dog Day are. Originating from Canada (apparently from Halifax, though such detail is meaningless to me), they are a four-piece with both sexes equally represented. Their sound, I must admit, is a rather standard indie rock sound. But this does not bring them down because they pull it off rather convincingly and add a lot of personality to their music. The vocals are predominately male, however the female backing vocals also manage to have a considerable impact. They combine excellently with the keyboards to create a continual background presence which certainly helps to flesh out their sound. On my first few times through the album, I had the distinct feeling that I'd heard their songs before. It's a feeling that still plagues me today. Have they borrowed a little too heavily from their contemporaries or did their songs make such an impression on me that they became instantly familiar? I'll probably never know, but whatever the case, there's no doubt that I'm really starting to enjoy this album.

Oh Dead Life - This is probably the most single-worthy song on the album, complete with do-doos. That's not to say it is simplistic or mediocre, quite the opposite in fact. It's the song most likely to grab your attention, as it did mine.

End Of The World - Such pleasant song titles they have.......the vocals to this song have a sort of Placebo feel to them, though I suspect it's other factors, such as the haunting keyboards and powerful guitars that draw me to it.

Released: 22/05/07 | Aus: 14/07/07 | Website | Myspace

Monday Mix #13

EarthwormThe Statics
I saw these guys the other night and loved it. This was always guaranteed to be the case, seeing as they’re headed by the legendary Patrick Clayton (affectionately known as the K-man), but I was doubly impressed when they turned up and played some great music. This song is a REALLY old demo off their myspace, but it still gives a good idea of what to expect.

The Taste In My MouthShapes and Sizes
I don’t know what it is about this song, but it has completely taken over me. It doesn’t even feel like a song, more like a painful memory, haunting away at me. At the three minute mark….those vocals…..simply surreal. I wouldn’t try hard to like it though. Hide it within a playlist and let it eat away at you as it has done to me. If that’s you sort of thing.

Eyes - Rogue Wave
This song displays an equal beauty, but in a slightly different manner. It is so calm, so unintrusive, that it simply floats through your consciousness. It’s made its way into its fair share of movies and for good reason

Search PartySo Many Dynamos
I probably should have evaluated both this band and this song a little more, but in my haste tonight, they were the first to come to mind. They have a hectic, energetic sound which certainly shows some promise.

Streets Of Your TownThe Go-Betweens
I must admit that despite calling myself an Aussie, I have paid very little attention to the Go-Betweens. However when a friend recently proclaimed this song as the best ever, it brought them back to my attention. I wouldn’t go so far as to back up his claim, but there is no denying that it is a great song.

Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation

Seeing as a deluxe edition of this album has recently been released, I figured that now would be as good a time as ever to talk about it. It is after all, an album more than worthy of a few words. Sonic Youth’s tale is a rather bizarre one. Despite so many people being oblivious to their existence, they remain as one of the world’s most influential bands. They have never reached a status of stardom and nor did they need to. They managed to touch all right people and it was through notoriety and word of mouth that Sonic Youth gradually gained the respect they deserved. These days, you’d be hard pressed finding a musician who isn’t influenced by them in one way pr another, even if they don’t realise it. If you are one of those people who are only just now thinking that it is time you gave Sonic Youth a listen, I dare say your music tastes are about to take a turn for the better. You don’t find Sonic Youth by listening to ‘hits’ on the radio, you find them by scratching beneath the surface, looking for deeper meaning and a greater challenge for your senses. Daydream Nation is frequently quoted as the best Sonic Youth album, or at least the most significant and serves as a great introduction to the band, as it did for me just a few short months ago. I’m certainly not the biggest expert on Sonic Youth, but I don’t think that should stop me talking about them. As I discovered Daydream Nation, fell in love with its subtleties, realised that its seemingly ‘standard’ sound was evidence of the profound impact it had, I was left craving more. I’m not quite sure what’s in this deluxe edition, but it seems to me like nows the perfect time to reignite the flame, in old fans and newcomers alike.

Teen Age Riot – As the first track on the album, this song intrinsically linked with the album in my mind. The guitars are so simple yet perfect and as with the whole album, my dislike for long songs seems to simply vanish.

‘Cross The Breeze – This song must have made a pretty significant impression on me cause I was screaming the lyrics at people, much to their bewilderment, all last night. It represents the rougher, more frantic side of their sound.

Released: 10/1988 | Website | Myspace

Handsome Furs - Huh?

Sometimes I wonder why I like Wolf Parade. They are second band I ever wrote about and I used to be obsessed with their album. Yet every time a band member puts out a solo album, it fails to impress me. In fact, before I wrote this, I went back and listened to Wolf Parade, just to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. Originally I thought the dilemma was due to Spencer Krug, seeing as I never particularly fancied Sunset Rubdown or Swan Lake. But now that Dan Boeckner has released an album that I am equally disinterested in, I have no logical conclusion to fall back on. I admit that I am gradually appreciating it more and more, but it still comes nowhere near Wolf Parade. Being an album that has received wide-spread glowing praise, I’m more than happy to admit that it’s a case of personal taste rather than poor musicianship, but it still is a bit disconcerting to differ so significantly with the wider music population. Surely there must be other Wolf Parade fans out there that feel the same way as me. Anybody?

Snakes On The Ladder – This is the only song that really grabs my attention, but even then, it always feels like it’s on false pretences. The chorus builds up so nicely, but then just dies. It lets me down every time.

I’m at a loss people. At a loss.

Monday Mix #14

Heinrich ManoeuvreInterpol
When I heard this song, it got my hopes up for Interpol’s upcoming album. However after listening to the whole thing, I’m saddened to report that it’s the only song that really sticks out. Hopefully time will change this.

Bluejuice are right up there on my list of bands I wanna see live. Their music is a blend of hip-hop and rock, but more importantly I’d say it’s a lot of fun. I’ve heard reports that they’re one of Sydney’s most entertaining acts and listening to this song (and even better, the accompanying video), it’s not hard to believe.

Spirit On The WaterBob Dylan
Despite liking many of his songs, I’ve never really delved into the world of Bob Dylan. In fact this latest album is actually the first one I’ve listened to in its entirety. I’m particularly taken by this song; its calmness is irresistible.

Tonight I Have To Leave ItShout Out Louds
It’s still early days for the Shout Out Louds, but I must admit that my initial, cold opinion is gradually warming. Many of the songs, including this one, have a very lively feel about them, which I’m guessing is what will win me over in the end.

Centre Of The UniverseBuilt To Spill
I don’t whether I should be pleased with or scared by the fact that this site pretty much contains my entire musical life. I’m hard pressed to find a favourite band or song that hasn’t been detailed on these pages in one way or another. However Built To Spill seemed to have slipped through the radar and I certainly can’t have that.

Frenzal Rhomb

Recently, whilst passing time on an afternoon car trip, I rediscovered the brilliance that is Frenzal Rhomb. As soon as I heard one of their songs, I was reminded about how important this band was; both to my musical upbringing and Australian music in general. You see, Frenzal Rhomb represent all the values that Australians cherish, yet don’t go parading. We may not be proud of it, but it’s hard to deny that alcohol, violence, profanity and deviance aren’t integral to our history. Well rather than let these values be brushed aside, Frenzal Rhomb have glorified them. The fact that, for the most part, this band is a joke, is irrelevant. They have ensured that a complete picture of Australian culture has been painted. They are the band we had to have. Too often these days, bands are making music with no real purpose behind it. This is fine to an extent, but you need bands that challenge contemporary society. Who create the youthful, rebellious anthems. Bands that parents dread and yobbos adore. You need Frenzal Rhomb.

Punch In The Face – This was my first Frenzal experience and it remains a favourite. Like most of their music, it is fast, loud and straight to the point. Similarly, like most of their music, it is best enjoyed by screaming the lyrics, jumping around and swinging your arms wildly, amongst a group of angry bald men all doing the same.

You Can’t Move Into My House – That first line says it all. Not many bands can express this much hatred for another human being with such elegance. It’s quite beautiful actually.

We’re Going Out Tonight – I remember being so proud of myself because I could recite the lyrics to this song word for word. It’s the perfect example of what Frenzal Rhomb are all about. Getting drunk and causing havoc. Makes sense to me.

Showcasing a mere three songs really does no justice to a band like Frenzal Rhomb. They have a large back catalogue covering all the important topics, from losing a lung due to smoking to getting kicked out of home. All of life’s REAL issues. But on a more serious note, despite being so stupid and funny, most of time, their music is highly addictive and their lyrics clever and insightful. For this reason, they have secured themselves a place in Australia’s musical history as one our best (or, depending on how you look at it, worst) bands ever.

Lucky Soul

Listening to Lucky Soul has been a rather bizarre experience. As I go through their debut album, I find myself enjoying their melodies and singing along, but their music just doesn’t seem like my thing. For example, if I was scrolling through my ipod (read: superior equivalent), compiling a playlist, I doubt that I’d choose any of their songs. Yet at the same time, I can’t deny that they make some great music! It’s such a ridiculous contradiction that I am at loss to explain it. However, I still wanted to feature them because I am positive that there’ll be people out there who will thoroughly enjoy Lucky Soul. Their music reminds me of that 60s girl group sound, though there’s certainly some other elements, such as jazz, creeping in. The album I’ve been listening to, The Great Unwanted, is interesting because it feels more like a collection of singles than a complete piece. But I guess when those singles are good, there’s nothing really to complain about. You should check out Lucky Soul for yourself because at the moment I’m looking pretty hopeless at offering a definitive verdict.

Add Your Light To Mine Baby – This song kicks off the aforementioned album and I like it more each time I hear it. Can't get enough of those trumpets.

The Towering Inferno – Not that everything above is just a waste of space, but I think this song may just have the potential to make that playlist, just so I could hear that powerful change towards the end.

Editors - An End Has A Start

It’s hard to write anything about Editors without mentioning the obvious comparisons to Interpol. They have the same dark sound, fuelled by very deep vocals. On their first album, the similarities were a little suspicious, but now that they’ve backed this up with another solid album, I think it’s fair to say that they are a significant band in their own right. While many bands try to reinvent themselves on their sophomore album, Editors have stuck to their tried and true formula and it works great. As soon as I began listening, I was reminded of the old sounds that I enjoyed so much. Yet while the sound was the same, the songs were new and it was enough to feel fresh and interesting. I’m amazed at how quickly this album has entered my consciousness. The songs are well written from start to finish and there’s plenty of variety. To put it simply, this album is a great listen. Fans of Interpol may scoff, but if so, I think you’ll be missing out on a band that will more than likely be to your tastes.

Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors – At the track one, this is the undeniable stand-out. It’s got energy, emotion and best of all, it pays out smokers.

The Racing Rats – Deep vocals and screeching guitars are of Editors specialities. This song’s got both. It’s also got piano. Mmm

Released: 25/06/07 | Website | Myspace

(Not Quite Monday) Mix #13

Did You See The Words - Animal Collective
I don’t listen to these guys anywhere near as much as I should. This was made clear to me when I heard this song on the radio recently and realised how much I liked it. They have a sort of primal energy about them and their music simply radiates hyperactivity. What’s not to love about that? They have another album on the way so I’ll be sure to give it a proper listen.

The Magic PositionPatrick Wolf
I don’t know what to think about his guy. I’ve heard some pretty glowing press reports, drawing comparisons to the likes of Bowie, however I find them hard to swallow. I don’t think he’s bad, just not spectacular. I’d put him in the middle somewhere. Enjoyable, but not life changing.

The Crystal CatDan Deacon
I’d have to say the same for Dan Deacon. He got a nice review on Pitchfork, but I just don’t see anything about him that will keep me coming back. Sure his music has it’s moments, otherwise I wouldn’t be featuring it, but in this competitive world, I think it just falls short of the mark. Love this song though.

These Tings Take Time - The Brunettes
Despite our two countries being so closely intertwined, I must admit I listen to very little music from New Zealand. The Brunettes are one of the more successful bands to come out of NZ, currently being signed to Sup Pop and they’ve managed to pierce my consciousness. They make some really nice music, even if every song seems to be about girl / boy interplay. I think I’ll wait for their third album, which arrives this month, before I fully take the plunge into fandom.

Still FondCut Off Your Hands
After all the happy, poppy stuff above, I thought I needed something a bit rougher. Not only do Cut Off Yours Hands fill this void, but they keep the New Zealand theme going. It’s a little paradoxical though, because I like them more now that they’ve smoothed out their sound. Originally I didn’t think much of them, but when I heard this on the radio, it definitely exceeded expectations (pun intended).

We All Have Hooks For Hands

A 9 member, all male band. Now there’s a line up you don’t see everyday. The size alone would be significant enough, but it’s the lack of women that really stands out to me. There’s no denying that the music industry is male dominated. As much as I love pissing off feminists, I’m not going to say it’s justified or for that matter a good thing. But it’s a fact of life and these guys aren’t doing much to help the situation. I actually commend them for not opting for the token female, because it makes for a more relaxed atmosphere, almost ‘blokey’ if you feel like going there. This energetic, party environment translates into a sound that is quite simply brimming with joy. Their music is powerful and moving, but it’s always the happy type. The vocals certainly do a lot to produce this feel. Something about the delivery makes them seem almost amateur-like, as if they have to try extra hard to get them out. But rather than detract from their sound, this additional conviction with which they sing adds to the impact. We All Have Hooks For Hands have a debut album out and despite being rather short, there’s plenty to it. If you like what you hear here, you should definitely consider it.

Music Which Feeds The Guests – What better way to set the mood than with this euphoric little piece. The best thing about large bands is that with every listen you find some little background sound that you didn’t notice before. This is filled with them.

Elvis ‘MF’ Christ – This song gives a good example of the vocal style I was talking about. It’s as if they’re forcing it out (please tell me I’m not imagining it). Originally I found it odd, but now I’ve really warmed to it.

(In regards to the photo above, as one wise commenter put it: mantastic!)

Label | Myspace