Black Lips - Good Bad Not Evil

A while back I wrote about The Ocean Floor and mentioned how their music wasn’t particularly groundbreaking, but it was a heap of fun regardless. I’d have to put Black Lips in the same category. For me, it’s the kind the music I would listen to when I’m looking to change things up. The album certainly never sits still, with no song exceeding the 3 minute mark. As it progress, the sound varies greatly, at times entering some rather bizarre territory. Even the lyrical content ranges from self harm to infant interaction. I’ll leave it to you to discover the rest of this album’s intricacies. But whatever the music sounds like the overwhelming feeling is always one of light-hearted fun. Apparently this band is renowned for their crazy on-stage antics and while this album isn't exactly in that category, it's hard to see. These guys are clearly enjoying themselves and it's good to have a break from the seriousness of music every now and then.

Bad Kids – This song has a really energetic vibe to it, which is probably how it caught my attention. You can also hear their more childish side coming through.

Step Right Up – This song has great juxtaposition between the rough, wild sound of the intro and the relative calm of the chorus. Very nice.

Released: 11/9/07 | Website | Myspace

The Go! Team

The Go! Team have come along way in the last 3 years. In fact, for those who aren’t aware, they have evolved from a one-man bedroom project into a collective very worthy of their name's exclamation mark. When you see this colourful, excitable bunch live on the stage, it’s hard to believe that much of their music began on one guy’s laptop, but that’s (pretty much) how it was. When Ian Parton produced the brilliant Thunder Lightning Strike, the next, not-so-logical step was to get a band together and turn the music into a live performance. Despite all the odds, they’ve done incredibly well and when I saw them last year, it was a highly memorable experience. Sure they’ve got plenty of novelties (constantly changing instruments, two drummers and a rapping lead singer named Ninja), but they’re bursting with so much playful energy that these things become huge assets. But what impresses me most is that despite undergoing such a massive transformation, they’ve somehow managed to remain true to the original spirit of the Go! Team name. It’s something that’s definitely worth commendation.

Thunder Lightning Strike (2004)

Despite my first reference to this album being about its apparent ties with the sport of skipping (or maybe because of it), Thunder Lightning Strike quickly became a favourite. It champions instrumentation without overdoing it and commands an army of samples to brilliant effect. It is music in its purest form. Not just songs, melodies or riffs, but rewarding, inspirational MUSIC. I’ve had many favourites over the years, but the song below occupies a special place in my heart after seeing it used very nicely in a ski movie during a video-editing phase of mine.

MP3: Huddle Formation

Proof Of Youth (2007)

I’ll be quite honest and say straight up that I don’t enjoy this album as much as the last, but that isn’t to say I’m not incredibly impressed by it. I expected this album to sound like it was from a completely different band and instead, I was met with more great Go! Team. The rapping element of their sound isn’t too pervasive and the instrumentation still reigns. It definitely fits in with their live sound and will continue to fuel many shows into the future. I tried to pick a song that really captures this live energy of theirs.

MP3: Doing It Right

Monday Mix #24

Skinny BoyAmy Milan
For those who don’t know, Amy Milan is the girl from Canadian band, Stars. While there are of course similarities, her solo album is actually quite different from the band’s sound. It has an overarching country element to it, though I seemed to have picked the least country, and most stars-like song of the lot. Typical. It’s a great album nonetheless.

You Sound Like Louis BurdettThe Whitlams
I recently saw The Whitlams with a ninety-something piece orchestra at The Sydney Opera House. It confirmed many things in my mind. The Whitlams are great, the opera house is the stupidest, yet coolest piece of architecture ever created and this song is brilliant. It may not have benefited the most from the orchestra (that honour goes to Blow Up The Pokies), but it didn’t matter because it’s so good in its own right.

Grand Pacific SonThe City Lights
I must admit that I judged The City Lights a little too early. After repeatedly slagging off their new album, I’ve actually come to enjoy it. Whoops. I still wouldn’t say it’s deep or particularly far-reaching, but as some good old rock n roll fun, it does the job. Hearing this song on the radio one night is what made me realise that I had possibly made a mistake in my initial verdict. Such clean guitars. Mmmmm

Lake MichiganRogue Wave
There’s no doubt that Rogue Wave’s new album has its moments. As I listened back through it, I discovered that it had already formed a substantial part of my image of Rogue Wave. Despite this, however, I still feel underwhelmed by it. Fans of the band and this song should still check it out, but you’ve been warned. Never know, it could just be me.

One Of These Days78 Saab
Speaking of Rogue Wave, this band sounds quite a bit like them. I’ve never really been the biggest 78 Saab fan, but I’ve still always enjoyed them. This song comes from their new album, which thanks to this song, I’m quite looking forward to.

Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

I’ve always liked Animal Collective, but never really embraced them. In fact I never really gave their last album, Feels, a proper listen because by then I’d figured they just weren’t for me. However, in recent times this view has been changing, in part due to the brilliant Panda Bear album, and I’ve been giving them a second chance, to see what I missed. A few weeks ago I was at uni, listening to Feels. It came to an end and rather than looking for something new to put on, I took the easy option and flicked the radio on. I was greeted with a monotonous dance track which wasn’t an ideal start, but thankfully I stuck around because the next track was by Animal Collective. And so was the next one. AND the next one. This continued until 9 tracks later I had listened to their entire new album. It just so happened that in my time of Animal Collective need, I had tuned in to FBi’s album show who decided to treat me with Strawberry Jam, the exact album I wanted to hear. I wasn’t just impressed by the coincidence of this occasion, but I also by how great the album sounded. Never before had an Animal Collective album grabbed me in such a complete manner. It retains all the Animal Collective wackiness, yet this time feels like it’s all going in the same direction. I’m not saying the other albums are bad, it’s probably just me missing the point, but what I can say is that this one is great. For those who’ve never really listened much to Animal Collective, this is your chance. They’re one of those special bands that everyone should get to know

Peacebone – I simply can’t get over this song. I love it. Such raw energy. YES!

Chores – This song definitely delivers on what the Panda Bear album promised. It mixes excitable bounciness with deep drawn out moments to create quite a powerful song.

Released: 11/9/07 | Website | Myspace

Monday Mix #23

We’re HereThe Guillemots
I never really mentioned The Guillemots when they came through last year, because to be honest, I didn’t think they were that special. Looking back, I found that their album actually had some pretty impressive highlights. This song in particular is just plain brilliant. It feels more like a joyous moment than an actual song.

Yamanote LineThe Paper Scissors
This one goes out to some friends in spite. We were recently struck with ‘last song syndrome’, where we would sporadically burst out singing this song every few minutes, just because it happened to be the last playing as we got out of the car. With such ‘unique’ vocals, you can understand how it quickly became an exercise in annoying one another.

Turn On Your Mind - The Laurels
The Laurels recently took out the USyd band comp and, dare I say it, they thoroughly deserved it. They remind me of My Bloody Valentine, but within this forge their own path, heading more towards psychodelic territory. It’s a very compelling sound that slowly drags you in. They’re live show is very impressive and quite an experience. They’ve got screeching guitars, a dual vocalist setup and best of all, two leads that look like Craig Nicholls in different stages of his career (destruction?). Check them out at Spectrum this Saturday. By the way, I still can’t get over how decent this mp3 sounds for 56kbps. It’s a miracle of modern technology.

And now I turn to dance music. Not because I want to, but because it appears the world won’t have it any other way. This once-niche genre is gradually spreading into more and more aspects of music and I’m not too pleased about it. Radio stations that once championed excellent music are being infected by this latest trend. It’s hard to blame them when it’s the listeners that are driving the change. I flatly refuse to take place in such a shift because, to put it simply, the vast majority of this music is horrible. Repetitive beats aren’t enjoyable no matter how many drugs you’re on. Don’t get me wrong, I love to bust out some moves on the dance floor, and any song that gets people moving is worth a chance, but in case of this latest wave of tunes, the appeal well and truly escapes me.

So here’s couple a dance artists who I do actually have respect for. I’m not professing a great love, but at least these guys are going about it the right way. Hopefully other artists will take note and will spend less time playing with loop button and more time thinking about what they’re creating. And to those who listen to this music, bear in mind that while you mindlessly use this scene as an excuse to take drugs, you are imposing a bleak musical future on the rest of us. At least pick a different genre to get blind to. Drugs fuelled some the greatest artists of the 80s, what will this current wave offer the next generation? Ha! I pity them.

ColoursCalvin Harris
Calvin Harris is on the border of what I can bear, but at least he mixes things up a bit.

I was quite surprised to find that I actually enjoy Justice’s album. Sure there are parts that I would happily cut out, but on a whole, it’s actually music I would want to listen to. There’s no denying that this song has a certain grandeur about it, even if it is just supposed to be an intro.


I remember when Whitley (not White-ly) first entered my consciousness. I had bargained my way into a band night at Spectrum and was looking forward to seeing The Seabellies. They were great (surprise, surprise), but it was another artist who caught my eye. In between the bands, everyone I chatted to seemed to suggest that this Whitley guy was pretty special. I had no idea what to expect and when I saw him walk out with just a stool and acoustic guitar, I was a little sceptical. But as is so often the case, I was wrong. While I normally need a certain amount familiarity to truly enjoy a live set, Whitley managed to impress me with his soothing folk music. While I didn’t fall in love instantly, he did enough for me to remember him (someone casually crossing the stage behind him mid-song may also have helped to cement the occasion). For a forgetful person such as myself, that’s an achievement.

So with his music somewhere at the top of my todo list, I was understandably excited when I received his brand new album, The Submarine. Almost as if it was destined to happen, it quickly became a favourite. It was all I wanted to listen to. Every time I listened to something different, I would have to follow it up with a healthy dose of Whitley. In fact I listened to it so much that I managed to damage the CD before getting a chance to rip it. Just as I was told when I first saw him, there’s something special about Whitley. I don’t often delve into the world of folk, but he seems to offer something more. His music has the characteristic beauty of folk, yet it also has the suspense and melodies of pop (or some other loosely defined genre). Whatever it is, I like it.

The fairy-tale continued last Tuesday when I unexpectedly got the chance to see him again. I was on my way to a psychology lecture when a very familiar sound drifted towards me. I looked over and saw a band playing inside a giant yellow tent. As I went in for a closer look, I discovered that sure enough, it was my ‘artist-of-the-moment’, Whitley. Rather than calculating the odds of this Melbourne artist starting a show at my university at the exact moment I walked by, I just basked in the fortune of it. This time round, he had a full band, who did a great job and complimented him perfectly. But it wasn’t just his music which impressed me, it was his whole persona. This guy was born to be a musician. At just 22, he seemed so at ease whilst playing to the crowd. Even his stage banter, which so often is either mumbled or lame, added to the experience of seeing him (the Mighty Boosh references were much appreciated). I walked away thoroughly satisfied and completely indifferent to my missed lecture. I even bought a shirt, throwing my principles of financial stinginess out the window.

If you’re looking for a new favourite artist, may I suggest Whitley. I don’t mind sharing him, just as long as his shows don’t become expensive. If you like what you hear, head to his website for plenty of goodies and also consider getting his album, because as you may have gathered by now, it’s pretty good.

The Life I Keep – This is one of the softer songs that I really enjoy. I like to sing along, despite the fact that I’m utterly hopeless at it. Somehow I still manage to get the words ‘looking’ and ‘searching’ wrong more often than not.

All To Whole – This song really shone when I saw it performed live. He was struggling to hit the notes, but by no means failing. It was quite a powerful performance.

Good Shoes - Think Before You Speak

I've noticed something interesting amongst my musically minded friends. While we all have similar tastes, we each have our own little 'niche' that only we enjoy. I guess it makes sense if you think of the entire musical spectrum as a giant piece of paper and you're personal preferences as a circle that covers a certain area (I should write a thesis on this). It's unlikely you'll find people whose 'area of interest' is exactly the same as yours, but usually they'll overlap enough for you to get along. As for the areas that don't overlap, they become your guilty pleasures. It's the music you might get ridiculed for or perhaps have to keep secret. Well amongst my pretentious indie friends, my niche is mainstream music. Now I don't mean that commercial slosh kind of mainstream, but more mid-tier mainstream. The bands that got popular so you're not supposed to like them anymore. The Franz Ferdinands, Maximo Parks and White Stripes. The bands that 'esteemed' critics may frown upon while thousands of regular people enjoy them. Well in these cases, I'll happily join the masses. So what does all this have to with Good Shoes? Well, you see, they epitomise this type of music. Good Shoes are your typical British indie-rock band from head to toe. This may sound negative, but it's not because they're delivering on a successful formula. Their album is exactly what you'd expect. It's not particularly deep, but it's a heap of fun. Their music isn't revolutionary, but it's still mighty fine. They won't ever be my favourite band, but they appeal to a side of me that just wants to forget about the details of life and bop along to some energetic pop music.

Blue Eyes - There sure is a lot of songs out there about Blue Eyes. One more can't hurt can it?

Photos - Barring a little introduction, this song is the first track and really serves to get the album off to a powerful start

Released: 26/03/07 | Website | Myspace

Monday Mix #22

Melody Day - Caribou
Caribou is one of those artists who sit at the back of my collection and don't often get a look. But after putting his latest album on and getting hit by this brilliant opening track, I'm starting to think I should pay more attention.

Come Along - Ice Cream Hands
Ice Cream Hands are yet another Melbourne artist that has entered my consciousness in recent months. Just when I was wondering who they were, their CD arrives on my doorstep. And now, just as I've come to like them, I find out they have a Sydney show soon. Too easy!

The Mollusk - Ween
I'm not really much of a Ween fan, but I probably should be. Every time I put them on, I enjoy what I hear, even it is a bit odd. This song is one that has managed to stick with me.

Girls Like That - Custard
A friend recently did a DJ set and we had fun pulling out the old Hottest 100 volumes to find some classics. Just be thankful I didn't choose Pauline Pantsdown.

Unless It's Kicks - Okkervil River
Okkervil River are another of those frequently-raved-about bands that just don't do it for me. I enjoy them, and at times (like this song) REALLY enjoy them, but in the overall sense, they just fail to have me well and truly convinced.

Gig Reviews

Here's some of the highlights in my last month of live music for you to peruse:


If you had of told me a year ago that I’d be going to see Bluejuice, I would have laughed. This is because for all intensive purposes, they are a hip-hop band. And according to the laws of the universe, I don’t like such bands. I remember they had a song called Unemployed which I found amusing, but still far from my thing. Well this all changed with the release of Vitriol. As one of the years best Aussie songs, it pulled me into the crazy world of Bluejuice. I knew that if I went to see them, most of the show would be hip-hop. But on the merit of this song, it was a gamble I was willing to take.

To put it simply, the show was amazing. From start to finish, the intensity was at full throttle and I was swept up in the sheer insanity of it all. Of course Vitriol went off, but it was the other songs that impressed me most. Unknown and at odds with my tastes, they had me dancing like a lunatic. It’s testimony to the incredible energy that this band creates. From Jake climbing along the roof and then into crowd to the song where they got half the crowd up on stage, the whole night was a blast. If you ever get a chance to see Bluejuice, just do it.

MP3: Vitriol

(I wanted to get a different song to use but alas I didn’t have time. Ah well, the brilliance of this makes up for it)

Silent Riot

Silent Riot is a great little festival that takes place at the Abercrombie Hotel. It’s on pretty frequently so you can always be sure there’s one on the horizon. Basically they get a bunch of bands and a bunch of DJs and put on a great night where the proceeds go to charity. The one I went to last Saturday was great fun.

Admittedly I was playing in it, so I’ll try not to sound biased, but I think not to mention it would just be biased in the other direction. Early on were John Columbus who I’m really coming to like. I seem to be seeing them at a rate of about once a week, but I think I’ll save the praise for when they put out their EP in October.

The Statics were entertaining as always, busting out an entertaining set despite missing a band member. It was a highlight when Pat joined the stage with The Small Hours and John Columbus to perform an ill-rehearsed, yet lively cover of The Go-Betweens’ Spring Rain. The video can be seen below.

It was also good to finally get to see Ghosts of Television. For some reason my expectations weren’t very high, but on the night were definitely impressive. They have a sort of performance aspect to their show, like they’re trying to mess with your mind. I dunno how to feel about it, but I think it worked quite well. The weirdest part was their lead singer was the spitting image of a friend of mine. That really was bizarre.

All in all, a great night. Can’t wait for the next.

Belles Will Ring

Last night I got to see Belles Will Ring for the first time in a long while. I was beginning to wonder whether all the hype surrounding them was just that, hype. Well it didn’t take long for me to realise that that was far from the truth. The dual front men are quite simply superb. Their vocal harmonies are dynamic, their guitar playing energetic and general stage presence spot on. They are Belles Will Ring. Sadly I can’t say the same about the others. The drummer looked positively bored, the bassist did little more than provide the necessary notes and whilst the keyboard/tambourinist was energetic, she seemed a little superfluous. I guess you can’t expect to have a band full of stars, but I did find it a little distracting. Beyond my minor quibbles, Belles Will Ring make some excellent music and their front men are sure to put on an excellent show for you. They’re currently on a tour with The Lovetones so you still might have a chance to catch them.

MP3: Mad Love

Lazy Tuesday Mix #3

Winter WooskieBelle & Sebastian
Today I had one of those “I’m sick of always listening to music I don’t know, just to see if I like it or not, just so I can go straight back to listening to music I don’t know” moments. Thankfully I put Belle & Sebastian on just in time and was instantly calmed. Phew.

Pieces Of MeThe Lovetones
Lately I’ve had negative comments about The Lovetones coming from left, right and centre (i.e. myself). But on further inspection, I must say I don’t think it’s all justified. Sure, occasionally they sound a bit like everything and yet nothing, but still, there’s some impressive music here.

Rebellion (Lies)Arcade Fire
I didn’t get to say much about Arcade Fire when Funeral came out so therefore I justify my use of it now. It came on the radio recently and I was reminded how great life can be. It was then followed by 20 minutes of the same techno beat and I was brought right back to Earth and then some.

Mistaken For StrangersThe National
Ah The National. They are the band that just can’t seem to impress me. I mean I like them, but it feels like it’s only because I should, not because I have a great craving for their music. Still, the odd song here and there manages to rise above the rest.

Mt KillSurf City
This New Zealand 4-piece have really impressed with their debut EP. In fact I even considered going to Bondi this Thursday to see them until I realised I couldn’t. True story. They remind me of a more colourful incarnation of Sonic Youth. It’s an image which this cover undoubtedly helped form.