Monday (+1) Mix #27

EnergyThe Apples in Stereo
I’d heard of this band here or there, but it was only very recently that I actually got around to listening to them. As I put in New Magnetic Wonder, their latest album, I instantly liked what I heard. This song sums them up perfectly; powerful, energetic and happy. If you like what you hear, I’d definitely recommend looking further into them.

Let’s Replace The Cityscapes - The Triangles
If you thought the song above was happy, get ready for an explosion of pure joy. I remember hearing and liking The Triangles a while back, but clearly they got lost in the pile. When this song appeared on a mix CD, I was reminded just how much I enjoyed it.

Round & RoundThe Smallgoods
That mix CD (Half A Cow compilation) continued deliver as it finally gave me an opportunity to hear The Smallgoods. I’d seen their name on chalkboards and posters around the place, but never actually listened to them. I like what I hear.

Alligator SnapTokyo Blonde
I’m still debating whether I like this song or just find it annoying. Tokyo Blonde really impressed me with their last batch of demos, so at first I was a little disappointed by their debut EP. However, the chorus to this song really grabs me so now I’m left unsure. You be the judge. One way or the other, they’re a band to watch and I look forward to seeing them live some time.

The Way – Record Producer
This is a bizarre little song out of Melbourne that has somehow ended up in my possession. I don’t really know anything about the band or what their story is (good luck finding them on the internet), in fact, pretty much all I do know about this song is that I like it. And as far I’m concerned, that’s all that’s needed.

Agnes Kain - Keep Walking or I'll Kill You

It’s weird. I’ve been buying music lately. This shouldn’t be a rare occasion, but sadly it is. I’ll save the whole music downloading debate for another day, but something’s not right, that’s for sure. So whether it’s an act of redemption or simply a reaction to the incompleteness of illegal markets, I’ve been doing my bit and supporting some local artists. Agnes Kain are one of those artists and I am now the proud owner of their debut album, Keep Walking Or I’ll Kill You. Don’t be fooled by the dark title, this is an album filled with warm moments and joyful melodies. Agnes Kain are a Sydney duo who like to keep things simple. The album was recorded in their bedroom and at no time do you feel like you’re being bombarded with excessive production. It is in this open environment that the beauty of these songs really shines through. The powerful female vocals are wrapped in an array of instrumentation, from violins to glockenspiels, transforming their memorable melodies into outstanding pop music. They find the perfect balance between depth and simplicity, producing a light-hearted atmosphere and that seems to float by as you get caught up in it. I’ll certainly be coming back to this album any time I feel like chilling out. Put them on, wait for your smile to arrive and then just relax.

All Time High – This is such a happy and spirited song, I feel like jumping around on the spot. Next time they play it live, they better watch out.

Puddles & Mud – Again, something about their music makes me feel light. This song demonstrates their cuter side, complete with hand claps. It has all the hallmarks of heartfelt home-made recording.

Label | Myspace

débuts, remplisseurs et moments monumentaux de baise

Le poteau qui ne contient aucun anglais compréhensible (et a besoin des poissons de babel pour y arriver)


No Man's Woman

I’m not sure if a CD that has me singing The Veronicas’ songs is good thing. It may be testimony to the quality of this particular album, but it certainly doesn’t do much for my credibility. For those who aren’t aware of what this album is, it’s basically Australian men covering female artists. All the artists, on both sides of equation, are quite high profile and it’s pretty impressive for Dew Process to have assembled such a line up and made this CD happen. I must admit, I wasn’t very optimistic going into this CD. To me it seemed like a bit of gimmick; an intriguing gimmick, but not much more that. However, after listening through it a number of times, I’ve actually found myself impressed on a number of fronts. For starters, most of the songs being covered (and their respective artists) are ones that I’m not particularly familiar with. So in that sense, I’ve found it enjoyable purely on the basis of it being a nice mix of music. But it actually offers much more than that. It’s great to hear some of my favourite Australian artists, one after another, applying their signature sounds to these songs. Even artists I’m not particularly fond of, such as End of Fashion and Gyroscope have managed to impress me. In fact, there’s only really one track that I don’t thoroughly enjoy. This album provides a great snapshot of Australia’s varied music scene and does so whilst celebrating some music's most prolific female artists. It certainly is much more than just a gimmick.

1. Angus Stone – River (Joni Mitchell)
2. Powderfinger – Glorybox (Portishead)
3. The Vines – 4Eva (The Veronicas)
4. Expatriate – Missing (Everything But The Girl)
5. Lior – Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
6. Bob Evans – Cars Wheels On A Gravel Road (Lucinda Williams)
7. End Of Fashion – Hanging On The Telephone (Blondie)
8. Dan Kelly – Nothing Compares To You (Sinead O'connor)
9. Whitely – Hyperballad (Bjork)
10. Josh Pyke – Wuthering Heights (Kate Bush)
11. Paul Kelly – To Bring You My Love (Pj Harvey)
12. Gyropscope – Cannonball (The Breeders)
13. Grinspoon – Boys In Town (Divinyls)
14. Tex Perkins – I Am Woman (Helen Reddy)

The CD is out now and comes with a bonus disc containing nine of the tracks by their original artists. You can also catch some of the artists performing these songs as part of the Legs 11 concert. Click here for details

Released: 20/10/07 | Myspace

Plastic Palace Alice

Ah Melbourne. I’ll probably never know if it truly is superior to Sydney, but with all the excellent music I’ve been discovering lately, I wouldn’t be surprised. The latest Melbournians to deserve a mention are Plastic Palace Alice. I’ve known them for a while now (as you may too have), thanks to their song ‘Empire Falls’. To put it simply, it’s brilliant. They’re currently in the process of launching this single and if you haven’t yet heard it, I’d highly recommend it. But with all the attention that gets paid to this one song, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether it was all they had. Well wonder no more because I can safely tell you it’s not true. Plastic Palace Alice deliver a blend of music that combines powerful excitement with delightfully indie sounds. What's more, they do it consistently. It's the perfect fill in this post-Arcade Fide era, where we expect music to be nothing less than emotionally monumental. This strength of theirs especially clear when you go to see them live. The atmosphere is energetic and their songs produce a real sense of movement, taking you along for the ride. I also like the fact that they seem to be made up interesting characters. I won’t go into the details, but they have ‘guitar god’, with his countless pedals and various toys and a ‘crazy bassist’ who goes above and beyond his head-bopping requirements, just to name a few. There’s always plenty going on in a Plastic Palace Alice show. You certainly won’t be disappointed.

The Girl Who Cried Wolf – Just to prove my point that they’re not just a one-song band, here’s something different. It really highlights their vocal abilities, including male/female harmonies and, of course, multi-dimensional medleys. It all comes together into quite a compelling piece of music.

Video: Empire Falls

They just passed through Sydney so you may have just missed them (Brisbane people, you still have a chance). However, they will be back in early December so make sure you check them out. You can get the Empire Falls single (which includes both the above songs) from their myspace.

Monday Mix #25

The Lowest Bitter - Les Savy Fav
Les Savy Fav are a band that I’ve never really embraced, but after hearing their latest record, I’m starting to wonder why. In the past I’ve found them a little rough, but perhaps I misjudged them. I'll certainly be giving this album (and their last) a thorough listening

Big and SmallSui Zhen
I saw Sydney artist Sui Zhen for the first time at her EP launch last Saturday and was quite impressed. She has one of those very special voices and uses it well within her soft-yet-powerful blend of music. Fans of Joanna Newsome should definitely take notice. I don’t think this song does her talent much justice though, so you should defintely try to catch her live if you can.

In Your HandsTin Alley
I feel as if I like Tin Alley when I shouldn’t. It’s as if their music isn’t really the type that I would normally listen to, but I can’t help but be impressed by it. I have no doubt that there will be someone (or many ones) out there, who will thoroughly enjoy this band.

Carry The ZeroBuilt To Spill
My little brother recently mentioned that he was getting into Built To Spill and when I stopped to think about it, I remembered what an incredible band they are. The album which this song comes from, Keep It like A Secret, is especially brilliant. Perhaps we should all take this opportunity to revisit their expansive and highly-rewarding back catalogue.

One ChanceSkipping Girl Vinegar
Skipping Girl Vinegar win the prize for the most elaborately (excessively?) packaged CD to ever be sent to me. Firstly, the disc is designed to look like a vinyl and is packaged in the signature white cardboard sleeve with a hole in the middle. On the back of this is a little library book pouch, complete a removable card that gives details of the CD, stamped and signed as if previously borrowed. All this extravagance is then encased in a nice smooth plastic sleeve. Not only is it a lot of effort to put into a two track single, but it’s also quite a risk to send one of these resource-intensive CDs to a blogger who will more than likely look at it once and then forget about it. Well that’s exactly what I WOULD have done, had I not been blown away by the packaging. Apparently their gamble paid off, because this CD managed to remain in my consciousness long enough for me to realise that it actually contains quite a good song.

EP Launches: John Columbus & Cloud Control

Not that I’ve ever personally done it, but I can imagine that launching your very first EP must be quite a special occasion. To finally get your name cemented in music’s history books would have to be satisfying. In reality, it’s one of the more minor steps in the path to musical greatness, but to the fledgling band, it certainly doesn’t feel that way. Well it just so happens that two of my current favourite Sydney bands are going to be reaching this milestone; ON THE SAME DAY. On Saturday, October 13, Cloud Control and John Columbus will each be unleashing their debut EPs unto the world.

Cloud Control

EP: Self-Titled

1. She's Crazy & She Doesn't Care
Buffalo Country
3. Fine Teacher
4. Vintage Books
5. In Your World
6. Into The Line

Launch: Headlining the 'Art, Bitch' event, The Loft

8pm, Saturday, Oct 13

Cloud Control are as tasty as they come. Imagine smooth crisp guitars, slicing through a thick layer of bass and drums and topped off with a helping of zippy keyboards. Add to this a pair of compelling vocals that grab your attention with their sheer power and might. Finally, wrap this all up into some of the most addictive pop songs ever written. I could be pretending I know how to analyse music OR I could be talking about the wonderful Cloud Control. With such enticing music and lively performances, it’s little wonder that they have me following them around like a salivating dog. After much anticipation, their debut release has finally arrived and oh what a joyous occasion it is. Cloud Control are destined for greatness.

John Columbus

EP: The Toll ($10)

1. Somethings Wrong
2. Absolutely Frozen
Song for the Supermarket
4. The Toll

Launch: Douple EP launch with Sui Zhen (more EP's!), The Factory Theatre

8pm, Saturday, Oct 13

I’ve only known John Columbus for a very short time, but they’ve already managed to have quite a significant impact on me. Their music isn’t the type that hits you instantly, rather it gradually creeps up on you and before you realise it, you’re fully immersed. Their rich blend of folk music combines an acoustic backing with smooth, deep vocals to create a dreamy atmosphere that is then guided by an intricate layer of keyboards and electric guitar. Every time I listen to John Columbus, I walk away thinking what a nice experience it was. Not nice in the patronising ‘oh yeah, it was nice’ kind of way, but nice in sense that it was pleasant, rewarding and totally satisfying.

It’s such a shame that these two events had to clash. There’s no way I could recommend just one because that would mean missing the other. So depending on what takes your fancy, you should at least go to ONE of these launches. If you’re in Sydney and do something different this Saturday night, I will be severely disappointed. And after you’ve gone to one of them, make sure you check the other out too. They are both great bands, well deserving of your time.

Monday Mix #25

Living So Well - The Crayon Fields
The Crayon Fields are pretty much the best band ever. It's the kind of music that you might get mocked for liking, but you don't care because you're so wrapped up in their warm and fuzzy sound. All evil could be swiftly eliminated if everyone just began listening to the pure happiness that The Crayon Fields create. Now, just when I thought they couldn't get any cooler, they put out this video which perfectly captures the spirit of one of my all time favourite songs. Yay!

Coffee & TV - Blur
You simply can't present a collection of music videos without including this classic by Blur. It's one of the few clips out there that simultaneously plays a song and tells a story and gets it right. I had always enjoyed this song, but as soon I saw this video, I fell in love. It's an all round brilliant piece of work. Plus that milk guy is undeniably cool.

Mr. Ice Cream - Soft Tigers
Soft Tigers are one of the funniest bands going around Sydney. Last week I saw them play with a band member missing and they produced one of the most shambolic sets ever. It was hilarious. A few members of the audience clearly didn't get it and were wondering how they could even afford instruments, let alone be given a stage to perform on. For the rest of us, we knew it Soft Tigers at their best. This light-hearted approach to their music is carried on into their videos which are always good for a laugh. This latest one is no exception and brings the brilliant Mr. Ice Cream to life with flying colours.

Push The Tempo - Fat Boy Slim
As far as music videos go, I don't think anyone out there has been as consistent as Fat Boy Slim. The music alone has never really captured me, but when combined with the brilliant videos, I'm a big fan. There was a lot to choose from, but I think Push The Tempo will always be my favourite. It's just so stupid and funny that it always delivers.

Her Spirit Knows - By The Fireside
This is a video that's had quite an impact on me lately. It was my first introduction to the band and now as I listen through their album, it is continually sitting there in the back of my mind. It is quite dark and creepy and gives you insight into the rather bizarre world of By The Fireside.

Yves Klein Blue / Oxford Art Factory

At long last I got to see (and hear) Yves Klein Blue. They developed a bit of name for themselves, winning the MTV Kickstart competition, but as far as the wider community is concerned, they are relatively unknown. I’d been meaning to catch them for a while, but until last Saturday, it just hadn’t happened. I’m glad I am finally acquainted with them because what I saw was quite impressive. Hailing from Brisbane, Yves Klein Blue look and sound like a major band. As I was listening to them, I got the feeling that they belonged on the same platform as bands like Maximo Park, The Fratellis and The Strokes. Their music certainly isn’t of the same standard, but they just gave me that impression. It feels like it’s just a matter of time before the public takes notice or they write ‘that’ song and things take off. I’m not sure how this will pan out, or whether I’ll like what they become, but currently they have my attention. Yves Klein Blue make an infectious, bluesy blend of indie-rock and deliver it in an energetic live show. Provided they play things right, they’ve got the potential to become disgustingly big.

MP3: Polka

The other half of this tale lies in place in which the gig took place. It’s a relatively new venue called the Oxford Art Factory, located on good old Oxford St. I don’t think word’s alone can describe the ridiculousness of this venue. For starters, it is quite big and situated completely underground. Then within this, it seems to contain everything you could want from a venue. The dance floor is spacious, the prices are low and all the rooms are logically arranged. It’s almost as if someone sat down and thought ‘what would be the ideal venue?’ and then dug a giant hole and built it! I can’t even begin to imagine how many millions of dollars this place must have cost. I feel like we have a Hacienda on our hands (I can hope). More likely it will become infected by dirty music and dirty people. We can’t let that happen! People of Sydney, an incredible venue has been dropped in your laps. Let’s make it something we can be proud of!

Oxford Art Factory | Yves Klein Blue

Kevin Drew - Spirit If...

If James Brown was the king of soul, Kevin Drew would be the king of whisper. That soft, delicate singing style of his is one that isn’t often matched. We got a taste for it with Broken Social Scene, but here we get to experience it in its entirety. Even when his music does enter more lively territory, it seems to maintain a calm atmosphere. It’s hard to say whether he plays a key role in shaping the BSS sound or whether they just played a major part in this album (probably both), but either way, plenty of parallels can be heard between the two. I was a bit sceptical of the whole ‘BBS presents…’ approach, wondering whether it was just an attempt to sell more records, but after hearing this album, the first in that series, it actually makes sense. The BSS sound is incredibly diverse, while this album seems to focus in on a few particular aspects of that sound. That’s to say it’s narrow in any way, just that as a side album, it serves its purpose quite well. And this isn’t just a quickly thrown together side project either. Running in at over an hour, it has an incredible amount of depth to it. A couple of times I’ve been listening to it and discovered I had progressed only a few songs, despite feeling like a I had passed through a good 6 or 7 songs. It says a lot for the music you’ll be hearing on this album. It may not beat the frontline BSS albums, but ‘Spirit If…’ delivers everything I hoped for from Kevin Drew and I’ll definitely be coming back to it.

TBTF – This was the first song I heard off this album and it probably remains a favourite. I know I waffle on, calling every band I write about amazing, but there’s something special about this song. It goes back to the whispering I mentioned earlier, which allows him to create music that I’d go so far as to describe it as beautiful.

Lucky Ones – This one is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It is energetic, powerful and builds quite a nice momentum.

Released: 18/09/07 | Website | Myspace