Heart It Races - Architecture In Helsinki
This is the brand new single from everybody’s favourite glockenspiel loonies, Architecture In Helsinki. It will come as a bit of a shock to long time fans (I hated it at first), but it really starts to grow. They’ll be playing some shows in Australia soon so don’t miss out!
Four Winds – Bright Eyes
While I’d heard of them, I hadn’t actually listened to Bright Eyes before their latest album, Cassadaga. It definitely brought back memories of The Thrills, but didn’t really convert me. This song was the stand out and is very impressive.
Poupeé de Cire, Poupeé de Son - Belle & Sebastian
This comes courtesy of my obsessive Belle & Sebastian phase. Not only did I get every album, EP and B-side, but also every live cover they ever did. This was definitely one of the best. Isobel why did you leave!!!?
Small Talk – The Ponys
The Pony’s album didn’t really grab me, but it did have its moments (such as this).
Brother In Conflict - Voxtrot
Voxtrot’s debut album arrives May 22. Get Excited!
Heart It Races - Architecture In Helsinki
Belles Will Ring’s rise to success has all happened so quickly that it feels like a blur. It feels like just yesterday that they were a promising, up and coming band, beginning to turn heads. Their warm, dreamy, rock music grabbed me early and I became familiar with their work through their demo releases. Whenever I saw them live, I was always impressed by the precision with which they played and the energetic atmosphere they created. Now all of a sudden, they have thrust their debut album upon the world. This is quite significant, because for me, the album is the true test for a band. If they release something mediocre here, they stand little chance in the future. With Mood Patterns, Belles Will Ring have passed the test. I may have heard most of these songs before, but now they’ve been brought together to form a complete package, an impressive one at that. The songs blend together seamlessly and by the end of it, you’re perfectly happy to let it play right through again. Belles Will Ring have well and truly arrived.
It’s Only Good Bye – This is one of the songs off their very first demo and it remains a favourite to this day
Park Benches – This one’s a little more upbeat and goes great live.
The Arctic Monkeys created a huge storm when they burst onto the scene early last year. I wasn't obsessed like some, but I would definitely have called myself a fan. I found their music fresh and exciting and welcomed the jolt they gave to the music world. Well now a year has passed, the hype has died down and it's time for the band to deliver again. No longer can they rely on the novelty of their rapid rise to success; this time, it's all about the music. I must say that I never expected it, but they actually did it. Favourite Worst Nightmare is as musically sound as their debut and all you fans out there should be over the moon. It's got energy, youth anthems, seedy underbelly tales and plenty of cynicism, but then again, that's where things go wrong. It's more the same. It's not brand new anymore. There's nothing to get excited about. Don't get me wrong, this is a great album, but I don't think it lives up to their debut, simply because it came second.
Brianstorm - One thing I've found interesting about the Arctic Monkeys is that I'm always aware of the lyrics. It's not like they're poetic or anything, but something draws my attention to them. This song was the first single and while it took me a while to get into, it's probably my favourite.
Old Yellow Bricks - I'm not sure what it is I like about this song. It could be the very structured nature, how each instrument comes in on cue, or perhaps it's just that tambourine.
One band that has me very excited at the moment is The Basics. Their style is one that harks back to the glory days of The Beatles and RnB (you know, RHYTHM and BLUES), so as you can imagine, their music is a treat. You can catch them in Sydney tonight, Brisbane tomorrow and Melbourne on thursday in support of their upcoming album, Stand Out/Fit In, which comes out early May. To celebrate its release, I have three copies to give away. But of course, if you want one, you're gonna have to work for it.
My challenge to you is to write a spoof piece for this website. I'm quite aware that my writing style is far from professional and will often follow predictable patterns, so I want you to make as much fun of it as possible! Thats right, pick a band/album/song to review and let rip! Excessive exaggeration is encouraged! Those who make me laugh most will have the album sent to their doorstep. Don't be afraid to enter, you can always hide your true identity if you wish! Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will send a short reply to verify it was received.
Note: Unfortunately CD's can only be sent within Australia, but if you live overseas, enter anyway (I'm sure I could work something out for you)
You have 10 days. Entries close 9pm May 5th. Good Luck!
A Line You Can Cross - Lansing-Dreiden
These guys have a really good album, The Dividing Island, which I highly recommend. Their sound is epic psychodelic rock mixed with a little electronica. Weird.
This Sentence Will Ruin / Save Your Life - Born Ruffians
The reason for posting this song is as much about telling you about a great song as it is about reminding myself to look into these guys. Exciting stuff. Props go to The Sandwich club for putting me onto them
Heat Dies Down - Kaiser Chiefs
I'm not really a Kaiser Chiefs fan, but I was actually quite impressed by their latest album. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s a heap of fun
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
I figured it was about time I honoured this great band. They eluded me for many years but thankfully I found them eventually. Something about their music just manages to pierce right through me.
Ended It Tonight - Teenagers In Tokyo
Teenagers in Tokyo are a female 5-piece from Sydney that are simply oozing with style. Oh, and apparently they make music too! Anyone going to the Essential Festival this Wednesday should consider checking them out.
I am completely baffled by this band. I had always thought they held some sort of connection to Maximo Park and Futureheads, but as began to research them, I couldn't find a shred of information that suggested it. I was just about to post about how I'd completely lost the plot when I stumbled accross a lone source confirming my suspicions. I hadn't imagined it! But while Field Music may indeed contain past and present members from those bands, their sound is completely different. For those who are unfamiliar with them, Field Music play a very experimental form of pop music. They use plenty of vocal harmonies (and disharmonies), abrupt tempo changes and wacky instruments to create a sound that is as bold as it is pleasant to listen to. Tones of Town is a definite step forward from their self-titled debut. Sure it had its moments, but ultimately it felt more like a collection of good ideas rather than actual songs. With this album they have corrected this problem and really defined their sound. I know I should stop saying this, but you should check these guys out becuase Field Music are unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Honestly!
Working To Work – I’m amazed at how bare their music sounds at times. The silent moments are almost haunting as the band proceeds to weave their minimalist pop-brilliance around them.
Place Yourself – I had no idea Field Music were capable of such conservatism. The soothingness of this song is plentiful.
Flathead – Soft then loud – so obvious. Bada ba badadadada chorus – so simple. And yet I’m loving it.
For The Girl – OK so this ones a little a silly, but it’s all in good fun.
So it appears Dappled Cities (cough*Fly*cough) are fighting to have their Fire Fire Fire video added to MTV's playlist and they need our help. If they succeed, they are pretty much guarenteed super stardom and will be playing in stadiums in no time. Which makes me think, do I really want them to get this? They sound so great when they play small, intimate settings and besides, I don't want want no MTV hipsters listening to MY band. Nah just kidding. I wish the boys all the best
Take Pills - Panda Bear
This comes off Panda Bear's brand new album, Person Pitch, which is a spectacle to say the least. The style is similar to Animal Collective's though I would say it's more powerful, tribal even. If you're a fan of either of these band's previous work, you will undoubtedly find plenty to enjoy here. This song may take a while to get started, but the second half is sublime.
We Built A Raft And Floated - The Shins
Is there anything this band can do wrong? Even their old EPs and B-sides sound great. How cool is that weird sound!? I've really gotta find out what instrument it is.
Dance With Me (Lords of the New Church) - Nouvelle Vague
For those who don't know, Nouvelle Vague play Bossa Nova style covers of 80's New Wave. Most of the album is just a joke, but this is one song that really stuck with me
In A Minute - Bird Automatic
Bird Automatic are an up and coming Sydney band that show plenty of promise. They played the Playground Weekender festival and are beginning to make a name for themselves. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they'll come up with in the future
Technology - The Whigs
Thanks goes to Ivy League records for putting me onto this band. In fact it's one of the few times I've been sent something that I really liked. I'd classify their sound as somewhere between The Kooks and US counterparts, The Strokes. It's nothing groundbreaking, but well worth a look.
This post probably comes a little late for Australian audiences as they have recently completed a tour, however it would be a shame if this band went unmentioned. To put it simply, Deerhoof are one the weirdest bands you will ever come across. Their sound varies from pure genius at one moment to complete stupidity at the next. They create a barrage obscure sounds that are sure test the boundaries of what you consider a conventional song. They’ll be darting off in all directions (sometimes none) and very often the singing doesn’t manage to articulate into proper words. Now this may all sound rather unpleasant, but somehow they manage to pull it off in a way that works surprisingly well. Seeing them live them was an even more interesting experience, as all three band members had their own quirky characteristics. For starters, the drummer used the barest setup I’d seen, consisting only of bass, snare and two symbols. Yet within this he managed to play with enough depth and intensity that I found myself mesmerised by his every move. Meanwhile the guitarist had a habit of contorting his face with every note he played, to the extent that you could be forgiven for thinking he was making the sound with mouth. Finally, singer and bassist, Satomi Matsuzaki, could be seen jumping up and down, which was rather amusing considering how small she was. It was made even funnier by the fact that the drummer (who was fairly tall) would sporadically walk over to the microphone and have to bend down a good 50cm as he delivered random messages to the crowd. I’ll be the first to admit that Deerhoof’s music isn’t easy to get into, but if you do get there, do your best to go see them because it’s definitely a spectacle.
Wrong Time Capsule – This was the first Deerhoof song to really draw me in. It comes off the album ‘The Runners Four’ and one was one of the few tracks that could be classified as a complete song. It is solely thanks to this song that I didn’t chuck them in the loony bin.
The Perfect Me – This comes off the recently released ‘Friend Opportunity’ which I quite like. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s better than their old stuff or because I’m used to them now. Either way, I plan on venturing into their back catalogue once I build up the courage.
Bonus: Kidz Are So Small – Couldn’t help myself. Besides, I had to balance out the rather conservative song choices above.
Silverchair. I don’t know where to start. I’ve been following them since I was 9 and over that time the relationship has definitely had its ups and downs. As an avid fan of their first two albums, I was rather disappointed when Neon Ballroom was released. By comparison, I found it rather wanky. The same went for Diorama. However as time passed, I came to realise that while these albums were different from what originally brought me to the band, they were special in they’re own way. Well after a significant break and plenty of uncertainty, Silverchair have returned with a brand new album that marks the next step in their continuing evolution. The question is, did we need ANOTHER new Silverchair sound?
The answer is a resounding maybe. I’ve built up enough respect for Daniel Johns over the years not to dismiss this album, but I can’t help but I think he’s really outwanked himself this time around. I’m confident that this feeling is largely brought on by the shock of the vastly different sound, but in all honesty, if another band had released this, I wouldn’t been caught dead listening to it. Though it’s difficult to pigeon-hole any of Silverchair’s albums, this would definitely be Johns’ poppiest effort to date. He finally seems to have overcome whatever demons were troubling him and it’s reflected in this album, which emerges as bold and energetic. The decision of whether or not to buy this album ultimately lies in how you responded to their last two albums. If you enjoyed in one way or another, you’ll probably enjoy this too. It may not feel like a Silverchair album at first, but it should get there eventually. I hope.
Straight Lines – I’m surprised that no one I talk to actually likes this song. I mean sure it’s a little gay but it’s not THAT bad. Is it being flogged on radio or something? I wouldn’t know as I rarely listen. Anyway, I’ve liked it ever since I saw them live and it was the only new song that grabbed me. So for that, I’m gonna stick by it.
Waiting All Day – One interesting aspect of this album is that at times it sounds a lot like The Sleepy Jackson. This certainly isn’t anything to complain about.
Chameleon Girl – Dappled Cities Fly
Here’s a little treat for all the Dappled fans out there. It was one of their first singles and is vastly different to their current style. It’s actually quite good, but I can’t help but laugh every time I hear it. Be sure to heckle them to play it next time you see them.
I Don’t Need Love, I’ve Got My Band – The Radio Dept.
This is just one of those random songs I have sitting around on my computer that I keep coming back to. I know nothing about the band and on the merits of this song, should probably check out more of their stuff. But of course, I am one very lazy human being, so the chances are that will never happen.
Jellybones - The Unicorns
I thought it was about time some respect was paid to a less appreciated masterpiece by arguably the decade’s most unique band. It’s so painful that I never got to see them live.
Rape Me – Richard Cheese
No party should go by without this song being played. I’m certain this was the sound Kurt Cobain had in mind when he wrote these lyrics.
Our Velocity – Maximo Park
It appears that in the ‘learned’ music community, Maximo Park and their contemporaries are often looked down upon for their simplistic style. Well I find their music fun and energetic, so pretty much couldn’t care less. Besides, it won’t be long before other artists start to realise that the easiest way to rhyme is just to use the same word. Genius!
Last Saturday saw the inaugural V Festival take place in Sydney. The line-up was interesting to say the least, featuring massive acts from across many genres. These acts were arranged by genre into various streams, which may have suited those with very particular tastes, but left those with wider interests feeling short changed. Something about the way it was organised made it feel very short compared to other festivals and from the very beginning, the end seemed to be approaching far too quickly. But other than that it was quite an impressive day and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.
Things began early for me as I wanted to catch the first band, The Seabellies. After an annoying 45min wait for the gates to open, I headed across the vast open fields to where they were playing. It was quite amusing to see a band who is usually fighting for space, spread out on this gargantuan stage. The performance was powerful as always and I was quite surprised that they sounded so good in the outdoor setting. It was probably one of the most impressive midday festival sets I've seen in a while.
The rest of the morning proceeded rather casually as I waited for the big bands to begin. I caught bits of Mercy Arms and The Temper Trap, though not really enough to pass judgement on. I also saw my first international act for the day, The Softlightes. They sound a lot like Death Cab For Cutie and while it was nice to see their songs translated to stage, it was nothing spectacular.
Things really got going when Phoenix hit the stage. I was a big fan of their music and expected the show to be good, but their performance exceeded all expectations. They all walked out looking so clean and reflected this in the precision with which they played. It was full of energy as the drummer belted his kit harder than I've ever seen and the singer put on plenty of theatrics. He even climbed into the audience at one point and it was funny to see the look of bewilderment on the other band member's faces, as if they had no idea what he was up to. But of course they kept it together and finished things off nicely. It was a performance in every sense of the word and overall very satisfying. Even the stereotypical French guy on the right added to the experience, just because it was funny imagining how thick his accent must be.
After Phoenix, I went to see a bit of Nouvelle Vague just for the novelty factor. Seeing French women sing samba style covers of 80s New Wave is just something you shouldn't miss out on in life. After that, I headed to New Young Pony Club, which was probably my biggest mistake of the day. I find their music rather drab so why I chose them over New York Dolls is beyond me. The worst part was the crowd, with all the ‘fashionable’ types out in force. Like everything Modular has their hands on, this band makes me wonder whether their popularity lies in their music or their image.
After the worst hot chips of life (apparently you CAN do chips wrong) I headed back into the crowd to see The Rapture. I wasn’t exactly blown away by them, but it was still a heap of fun. Like you would expect, they got the whole crowd moving and it was good to finally get some dancing done. Once the cowbelling had subsided, it was time to head to the main stage and begin the Pixies countdown.
I managed to catch the last few songs of Jarvis Cocker who seemed rather energetic, making me question my decision to miss him. It was quite hilarious to see him turn to his guitarist, midway through a song and tell him to stop playing because he was out of tune. Such British wit is sorely missed these days.
Beck followed after a painful 45 minute break and to be honest I found it quite boring. I’m not the biggest Beck fan, but I still expected him to put on a better show with a reputation such as his. There were some interesting bits such as a crazy dancing guy, live puppet show and dinner table orchestra, but overall it felt like it was lacking intensity. Even my friends who were big Beck fans said they found it disappointing.
As the night was drawing to a close, I was beginning to feel the effects of being on my feet all day. I’m just one of those weak people who struggle to make it through an entire festival. In fact if I had money, I would probably never go to a festival and instead just see the sideshows, which are nearly always superior. But of course, as those who know me are aware, I don’t have money and find myself pouncing on these value-packed festivals whenever I can (then again, this festival wasn't exactly what I'd call cheap). So with a 30 minute wait ahead of me and my legs already starting to hurt, I was beginning to wonder whether my Pixies experience would be ruined. How very wrong I was.
I managed to pass the time quite well by occupying myself with all sorts of useless conversion. It ranged from whether Frank Black would fit on the stage (even funnier if you saw it) to when Richard Branson was going to jetpack in and sing guest vocals. Finally the moment came when they walked out stage and the crowd (myself included) went nuts. Kim opened with the words “In heaven…” and couldn’t have more accurately described how I felt. The first two songs were rather slow and the crowd just stood, singing along, but on the third song, they launched into a heavier number and all hell broke loose.
Previously I had been blocked by an impenetrable wall of people, about 10 rows back, but as soon as this song hit, I managed break my way through and enter the eye of the storm: the area with all the angry men going crazy. These would be my brothers for the night. I was jumping about, throwing my head around like a lunatic and it felt so good! I would have covered an area of about 20 metres squared as I was tossed around by the crowd, but I couldn’t care less because I was so absorbed in the music. This was how the Pixies should be experienced.
I really can’t express how good it was. There was never a point when I was waiting for a particular song or disappointed with what they chose to play. Instead, each time they started something new, I would think “YES!!, THIS ONE!!” and proceed to dance and yell like an idiot. There’s not many bands out there with a back catalogue as flawless as theirs. And the best part about this was that the whole time, I didn’t feel the least bit sore. The euphoria had taken over my body like a drug and given me a massive burst of energy. At the end of it I was running round in circles and I hadn’t even had a drink all night!
The moral of this story is that if Phoenix or The Rapture come to town, do your best to get down there. But if Pixies are playing a show nearby, sell your house car and kids; whatever it takes to go see them. Happiest moment of my life.
Pixies - Gouge Away [live]
I am proud to say that I am now a Modest Mouse fan. I may have claimed it in the past, but I was only just kidding myself. Sure I liked Float On and The View but then again, who didn’t? In fact off the top of my head, I couldn’t even remember the name of their last album(Good News For People Who Love Bad News). It was never a case of not liking them, just that I never took the time to get into them. I even went to see them live, however probably wouldn’t have if a friend hadn’t given me his spare ticket. But now that this album has arrived, I’ve been well and truly converted. There’s just so much to like about it. For starters it’s absolutely brimming with raw energy thanks to Isaac Brocks signature rough-edged style. It can occasionally be in your face, but overall it’s executed excellently to create quite an exciting listening experience. As an added little bonus the album also features guest vocals from arguably my favourite musician of today, James Mercer, and every time he pops up it brings a grin to my face. I can’t really offer much insight into how it compares to previous Modest Mouse work as I don’t really know it (yet). But all in all, I really am impressed by this album. I don’t even feel annoyed that I saw them live before I got to know the songs. Instead the album has altered my consciousness so that I now recollect the experience as three times better than I originally did. Now THAT’S impressive.
March Into The Sea – Whenever I hear this song I visualise Brock stamping up and down, screaming like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum (except with slightly more coherency (only slightly)). It nicely showcases both the energy and string instrumentation I mentioned earlier. Clearly they’ve been taking a few tips from Bridezilla (sorry, Sydney joke)
Missed The Boat – If only marrying a voice was legal……or acceptable…….or in fact practical in any way, shape or form.
The holiday (if you could call it that) is now over and I'm about to start doing new posts again. If you're amongst the many hungry Hype Machine readers that found their way here over the last month, than I welcome you and hope that you continue to enjoy this site. Posts aren't quite as regular as they have been, but that's because I am just one person with a very busy schedule. For those long time followers out there, you'll be interested to hear that I'll be taking this opportunity to mix things up a bit. Despite continuing to live my life through albums, I'll be restricting myself to just one album review a week. On top of this I'll be doing a weekly mix, not too dissimilar from what you've been seeing this month, with 5 songs and a short word on each. These songs will mostly be stuff I enjoy that isn't attached to a revieworthy album, but will also consist of covers, b-sides, live tracks and any other obscure tracks that I can find. Basically it's way of allowing me to get as much of my favourite music out there in as little space as possible. On top of those two, I will also do at least one more post a week, which could range from band profiles to live reviews to gig guides and even to election coverage should it seem appropriate. I just figured it was about time I diversified my portfolio. Hopefully you enjoy what you find and be sure to look out for my review of Modest Mouse's new album this Tuesday.