Annuals - Be He Me

If anything, this record deserves to be here for its persistence. As bigger records fought and died in a bid to gain my dwindling attention, it stuck around in the background, tapping me on the shoulder, long enough for me to realise that it was actually a REALLY great album. I’d always liked it and was planning to use a song on the site somewhere, but when I went to pick one, I discovered that they were ALL good. Annuals make a calming blend of music, which is then mixed up with some more lively moments as well as a few experimental ventures. It sits well in the background, yet has enough personality to not go unnoticed. Their music is quite simply, nice. That’s not being patronising, it’s being truthful. I highly recommend you look into this album, but if my experience is anything to go by, appreciation may not come immediately.

Bleary-Eyed – This is about as close as these guys come to a single, with the album feeling more like a complete package. I would have listened to this song at least 15 times and only now am I beginning to see it as a standout. It has become a definite favourite.

Dry Clothes – This is a good example of the personality in their music. It’s full of little quirks that help make their music special. In a way it reminds of another little known band, The Evangelicals.

Released: 17/08/07 | Website | Myspace

Monday Mix #12

You Can’t Fool Me DennisMystery Jets
I wouldn’t call myself the biggest fan of the Mystery Jets, but they’re making some decent music which I’m sure some of you out there will appreciate. This song especially seems to stick in my mind.

Night Is Only YoungRand And Holland
Folk has always been a contentious issue for me. Sure I probably prefer more energetic types of music, but I like to think I have some sort of taste when it comes to the softer varieties. I’m certainly finding this Sydney duo pleasing to the ears.

BordersThe Sunshine Underground
Despite being around for a while, The Sunshine Underground are only just beginning to filter through here in Australia. I see a lot of potential, though mind you, that could be potential for let down. Only time will. One thing’s for sure; they’ve caught my attention.

Some Candy TalkingThe Jesus And Mary Chain
For a music ‘journalist’, I sure do know very a little about the seminal bands of years gone by. But don’t worry, I am slowly rectifying this anomaly, one legendary band at a time. Tick The Jesus And Mary Chain off that list.

Fractured SkiesParts & Labour
Seeing as I NEVER liked any of my favourite albums on the first listen, it comes as no surprise that this album, which gave me high hopes to begin with, let me down. However the good news is that there is some salvageable material, most notably, this song.

The Polyphonic Spree

When I heard reports that the new Polyphonic Spree album wasn’t very good, I was worried. When I listened to it and found it rather underwhelming, I felt like I had been let down. I had become so emotionally attached to this band that it was devastating to think that they had gone off track. But then I remembered, I NEVER liked them on record! For me, their albums have always played a minor role. Occasionally put on as a means of re-living their live show. OH WHAT AN EXPERIENCE. Seeing The Polyphonic Spree is something that will never escape my memory. It was incredible to say the least. An army of 30 robed musicians, playing intense, uplifting music led by the enigmatic Tim DeLaughter. It’s a recipe that works so ridiculously well. The diverse range of sounds, including flutes, violins and a choir, create a euphoric atmosphere which is topped off by Delaughter’s pure energy. I was mesmerised as he stood, staring out into the distance, arms outstretched. He could have claimed to be the Messiah and I would have believed him. It was that amazing. The Polyphonic Spree are the kind of band that you have to see at least once. After all, how many bands can boast a Wikipedia entry that says, previous members: about 50.

Light & Day (Reach For The Sun) off The Beginning Stages Of….(2002)
Their first album is probably the one I listen to least, but that’s not to say it isn’t good. It’s got quite a few songs that were integral to their live show when I saw them and it introduces a bizarre obsession with the sun, which can be nothing but good.

Two Thousand Places off Together We’re Heavy (2004)
This song will forever be special to me. The memory of it being performed has been so deeply etched into my mind that every time I hear it, I am transformed. It’s quite amusing when it gets played at a party and everyone who shared the experience gets drawn from the crowd and re-enacts this powerful moment, complete with singing and arm movements (much to the bemusement of everyone else). You gotta be GOOD (outstretched). You gotta be STRONG (clenched fists). You gotta be TWO (two fingers) thousand places at ONCE (guess). Now just dance hysterically while doing this and you’ll realise what music is all about.

The Fragile Army (2007)

This is the aforementioned, recently released album. I must stress that IT’S NOT ACTUALLY BAD. It just doesn’t compare to their live performances and that’s plain impossible. It’s got some great songs and I’m sure that as soon as I heard them live, I would fall in love with them. The only problem I have is that they seemed to have darkened their image. Their excessive happiness was one of the best things about them! Black? Short hair? I’m so disappointed by how un-Jesus-like he looks. Who will be my saviour now?!

Running Away – Proof that they're still going strong.

The White Stripes - Icky Thump

Mp3s are central to my reviews. I like to give people an idea of what I'm talking about. Besides, it makes for exellent cop outs like 'have a listen for yourself', making my job easier. So if a band wants me to get rid of their mp3s, and there's nothing wrong with that, then I also get rid of the review (all be it a bit a late).

Monday Mix #11

Echo TrainChad VanGaalen
You know a label is doing something right when you check out their bands, merely for the fact that they signed them. Such is my respect for Sub Pop. Unfortunately I didn’t uncover an army of Shins-calibre bands, however I did find a few interesting songs.

It's A Hit - Rilo Kiley
This one’s been sitting in the vault for a while now. They aren’t groundbreaking, but this song’s full of spite which must count for something. I think their standing has been raised by the fact I used to get them confused with Neko Case (don’t ask why) and to be quite honest, Neko just doesn’t do it for me.

All My FriendsFranz Ferdinand (LCD Soundsystem cover)
LCD Soundsystem’s latest album certainly wasn’t my favourite, but I still enjoyed it, especially this song. However it took Franz Ferdinand’s cover to make me realise this. I would have used the original, but it goes for 8 minutes!

Morning LightSparkadia
This is a Sydney band to keep your eye on. They write sensational songs, sung in a seductively smooth style that’s as succulent as it is soothing (ignore the alliteration, it’s all true). They’ve just finished recording their debut album, which should be great, and are currently out on a tour with the cops.

The UnderdogSpoon
I’m not sure what it is about Spoon; they just never seem to make an impression me. Sure they put out some great songs (like this one) and I’ve got plenty of respect for them, but I’ve never been really taken by them.

The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse

“Rich with Beach Boys style harmonies, Roy Orbison reverbs and orchestra, Pink Floyd's pacing and Freddy Mercury's falsetto, The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse”

I see no point in trying to describe this band when their official website does it so accurately in just one sentence. The Besnard Lakes truly do have a sound of incredible grandeur and while it may not put them at the same level as the above artists, the comparisons are certainly warranted. Most striking for me is the pace. The songs average out at about 5 minutes each; however never do they get repetitive. Instead their length is derived from the way the band gradually builds the intensity, evolving the sound and reaching powerful climaxes. Yes it’s one of those albums and it’s great. As far as I’m aware, the ‘dark horse’ references relate to fact that this band has been kicking around in the Montreal music scene for a while now, lurking away in the background, helping out with other prominent bands, but now the time has come for them to shine. Whatever the case, The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse is yet another to add to the list of fantastic albums coming out of Montreal.

Disaster – This song gives a perfect example of the way the songs gradually build up. At two minutes it’s still setting the scene, but what’s to come is a powerful chorus and Beach Boys’ style medleys.

For Agent 13 – This song progresses at such a slow pace that I'm suprised I like it. It clearly has something to do with the great vocals and again, the powerful emotion which they manage to portray.

Released: 20/2/07 | Website | Myspace

Sound Emissions

I’m not sure if I’m supposed to clarify this anymore, but for those who don’t know, fbi is a Sydney radio station. The basic premise they have going is that they play 50% Australian music, with 50% of that being from Sydney. This works out pretty perfectly because not only do you get exposed to a healthy serving of local music, but this is balanced by the best from across the world.

For me radio is like a reserve. Most of the time I’ll listen to my own music, but occasionally when this gets boring or I’m just feeling lazy, I’ll flick on the radio. However it’s important to actually have a good radio station to turn to and if it wasn’t for fbi, this wouldn’t be the case. Triple J is ok at times, but it seems to have been overrun by punk music. It may be what the people want, but it’s not what I want. As for commercial radio, let’s just say that the one time I was forced to listen to it, I was evaluating the pros and cons of ending my life.

For this reason it’s vitally important that fbi remains afloat. Currently they’re doing a ‘Dump Toxic Radio’ promotion, which I can definitely sympathise with. They do one of these supporter drives every six months or so and I must admit, it’s probably the worst part about the station. There’s nothing worse then having them continually asking people to sign up, especially when you already have. But when you consider that the station is run by volunteers, has barely any ads and plays great music then hey, I’m willing to forgive them.

It’s funny how they manage to time these supporter drives. For the whole of the last year I barely listened to radio and yet in the last month, just when my subscription is about to end, I’ve been listening to them near constantly. As they talk of all their financial woes, I can’t help feel a little guilty and will no doubt end up forking the money out again.

It feels like some sort of scam, but at least you do get something out it. The amount of prizes they’re giving is simply ridiculous and many of these are worth 100s of dollars. I can’t be bothered going into detail but you can find it all here. The best part is that everyone who signs up stills gets something. This is great news for people like me who never seem to win competitions. This loser package includes all sorts of goodies such as free downloads, environmental light bulbs (yay) and best of all, a Sound Emissions CD.

I was intrigued by this CD from the first time they mentioned it. Nothing like a free (well kind of) mix tape. To anyone who is looking to get a taste for local Sydney music, this is a pretty great way. Everyone who signs up gets one so not only will your money be going to a good cause, but you’ll also get a nice dose of Sydney music in return. It’s probably what will tip the balance towards me renewing my supportership. Damn you fbi! Here’s what you get:

1. Holy Chord - Dappled Cities 4:23
2. Morning Light - Sparkadia 3:21
3. Number One - Stick Figures 4:31
4. Hazy Elevator - Telemetry Orchestra 3:45
5. Leonard's Lesson 3 (edit) - Comatone 5:15
6. Song We Don't Spreak Of - The Seabellies 4:59
7. Alone Again - Teenager 4:23
8. Night Is Only Young - Rand And Holland 3:09
9. Arks - The Small Hours 4:00
10. Trust (Clue To Kalo Remix) - Fourplay 4:08
11. Little Tapioca (Part Timer Remix) - Underlapper 4:19
12. Everywhere Nowhere - Ollo 4:09
13. Cash - Ghosts Of Television 4:53
14. Line Up The Happiness - Jordy Lane 3:43
15. Baguette En Potage Francais D'Oignon - Caviar 2:32
16. Untitled 3 - Robert Luke 3:32
17. Eight Hr Valentine - The Instant 4:06
18. Mad Love - Belles Will Ring 4:34
19. Bear In The Big City - Warhorse 4:49

Mmmm, pretty tasty.

Monday Mix #10

AdventureBe Your Own Pet
Sometimes Be Your Own Pet can be a little too in-your-face for my liking, but there’s no doubt that they’re bursting with energy. This song has always been a favourite and I can imagine it being pretty fun live.

Liquorice Nights - Sly Hats
And now a song that compliments Be Your Own Pet perfectly. It’s the side project of Geoff from Crayon Fields, in case you hadn’t already noticed. It may be incredibly similar to his normal work, but it has enough variations to give it its own flavour

The Sodom And Gomorrah Show - Pet Shop Boys
For no apparent reason, I was convinced that I wouldn’t like Pet Shop Boys. It probably had something to do with the generalised pigeon-holing known as genres, but that’s another story. When I actually gave them a listen, I found plenty to enjoy

Great DayD’arcy
About a year back, I heard about this band however it appeared as if they had disappeared off the face of the planet. Well now they’re back and things are looking pretty exciting.

Battles' recent release, Mirrors, would have to be one of the most whacked albums I’ve heard in a while. I think this song goes a little long, but then again I think that about anything over 4 minutes. It’s still good though.

Electrelane - No Shouts, No Calls

That voice! Where is it coming from? Like a ghost, it passes straight through me and speaks directly to my mind. Listening to Electrelane's new album can be quite a haunting experience, but this is exactly why I enjoy it so much. Their vocals aren't going to win them any prizes in talent shows, but something about them really hits the spot for me. This is strange because this female four piece from England were once largely instrumental. Apparently they were never happy with songs they sung on, so they tended to avoid them. Whatever it was they did to fix this, I'm glad they did it. That's not to say I don't enjoy their instrumental work. Traces of their past style is present here, however it plays more of a supportive role, which works quite well. The album starts of quite intense (the tracks below are the first two) and then tends to fade away a bit. Originally I thought it was going to be one of those albums with only a couple of strong songs to support it, however the rest have really come into their own and now I'd say it's actually quite a solid effort. I find myself turning to Electrelane's soothing sound more and more often when I turn my mp3 player on. When you consider the competition it has, that's quite an achievement.

To The East - My love for their vocals probably stemmed from my first experience with them. I had just gotten their album but hadn't had time to listen to it yet. As I was coming home at some unearthly hour that night, I was listening to the radio and this song came on. I was quite taken by the subtlety with which they sang and was eager to find out who it was. I had arrived home and was literally waiting for it to be back announced before I could go to bed. When I heard it was Electrelane, I got such a warm feeling knowing I would have that album to wake up to.

The Greater Times - Sorry, no romantic anecdotes for this one. Just a plain old mp3 and an introduction that serves no purpose other than to fill some space. Hope you enjoy!

Break Your Necks Tour (or how to get your favourite band to play at your school)

Dappled Cities Fly and Red Riders are quite possibly two of Sydney’s most cherished bands. For them to play together is almost too good to be true. If you haven’t got you’re ticket yet, you had better hurry because it looks like all their shows will sell out (Sydney at any moment now!).

While I’m sure this show will be special for all fans of the bands, it has even more significance for me. That’s because both these bands actually came to play at our school. It’s quite ridiculous when I think of it, but somehow it happened.

In 2005, a couple of friends of mine put me onto Dappled Cities Fly. They were obsessed and slowly but surely I caught the bug. The band had been around for a while, but was yet to really break through. They had released their first album and were gathering quite a significant underground following. They just needed something to kick-start them….

Somehow these friends managed to talk the them into playing at the school social we were putting on. It was only four of them(as Ned was yet to be added), but they put on a great show as always. They blasted out all their hits in true Dappled style and the crowd really got into it. The night was a success and everybody went home feeling thoroughly satisfied.

Well clearly word of their incredible performance spread quickly because within months they were pulling large audiences, getting big-name supports and building a die-hard army of fans, all culminating in the release of their second album and their subsequent rise into stardom. Coincidence? Perhaps…

The following year, those friends moved on and the responsibility of the social fell onto our grade. This was no mean task. It was up to us to maintain the school’s proud tradition of showcasing good music. This tradition may have just started one year ago but that’s beside the point. With the departure of the previous grade, music taste was under severe threat. Something had to be done. But how could we possibly match Dappled Cities Fly?

At the time I was really getting into Red Riders, largely thanks to the release of their brilliant second EP. I thought to myself that they would be the perfect band to play. Of course I didn't think it would happen, but I figured we may as well aim for the top and work down. And so I wrote them an email….

Dear Red Riders,

I am pleased to let you know that you have been chosen as the desired band for the coveted spot of Headliner at the of event of the year, Hurlstone's Annual Social. Yes you heard right, we want you! Now that you've finished laughing, let me explain to you what this involves. It is basically a showcase of our schools bands, competent in their own right, with some music to dance to in between. However the highlight of the night is the honoured guest band, preferably a prominent Sydney band. Last year Dappled Cities Fly graced us with their presence and this time we'd love it if you could come. Here's 5 reasons why it'd be worth your time:

  1. Practise - A chance to get back into performance-mode as well as practise your new material live
  2. Ease - Little effort involved on your part, like any other gig, just turn up and play (though I admit that is a BIT of effort).
  3. Appreciation - Our school is part boarding school, meaning 300 kids live at school under the tyranny of teachers. Being the ONLY after-school event we run, these kids will be dying to go nuts, and believe me they will.
  4. Exposure - Over a hundred under-18 girls are dying to fall in love with you. Need I say more?
  5. Money - We'll pay you!


To my amazement, they said yes. What ensued was yet another incredible night of music taking place in our humble school hall. The crowd went wild, with the band answering requests for songs off their first EP (even though only a couple them could remember how they went). In a bizarre twist, Ned, now the keyboardist for Dappled Cities Fly, actually came to do their sound on the night, so technically both bands in their entirety had attended!

The effect with Red Riders was even more immediate. Within months they were untouchable, releasing their debut album and playing sold out shows across the country. Now two bands had achieved fame after playing for us. Surely this was not a coincidence. The only logical conclusion was that our school was a launching pad for up and coming Sydney bands.

Of course, I am in no way being serious. These are two bands that were destined for the top and I just can't believe how lucky we were to have them play for us. What really strikes me is how cool both of them were (and still are). We were insignificant nobodies and yet they went out of their way to be nice to us. For this reason I have immense respect for them.

Sadly my school has gone off the tracks a little. This year they'll be getting in a horrible emo band to play for them. I sure am glad I won't get to see that. Maybe one day when Dappled Cities Fly and Red Riders are on top of the world, the students will realise the significance of what took place those two years. I don't think I ever will.

In the meantime, it goes without saying that this upcoming show is a must. It will undoubtedly be up their with the shows of the year. DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be Engine - Dappled Cities Fly

The Unstoppable - Red Riders

I almost forgot to reward you reading this far! The songs above are among the first I ever heard by both bands. The chances of them being played are pretty much zero, but that doesn't stop them from being great.

UPDATE: Dappled Cities Fly and Red Riders will be taking over FBI radio station for an hour, playing their favourite tunes and covering each others songs! It takes place this Tuesday at 3pm and guarantees to be hilarious. Sydney locals can tune in to 94.5 and everyone can listen online here

Monday Mix #9

Josephine - Ghostface Killer et. al.
I never thought I'd say this, but this week features a couple of hip hop songs. I like to think I keep an open mind about all types of music, but that's hardly the case. These two songs should go some way towards repairing the horrible image of hip hop I have in my mind.

Hurt Me Soul - Lupe Fiasco
Forgive me for thinking that all hip hop is about prostitues, but thats often the way it can seem. I'm slowly learning to appreciate the way these artists can string words together, but I still think I need there to be a prominent melody for me to enjoy it.

The Spaces Between - Expatriate
At first I found this album rather bland (as if every song used the same verses and just had different choruses), but over time this has changed. Some of those choruses are just so good that I really have to hand it to the band. Simply can't go past this song. Apparently Universal don't like mp3s being given away so this comes to you in wma :)

A New Name - !!!
Let it be known that I hate the name. It's not edgy, it's annoying. I don't think the fact that this song is my favourite is any coincidence......But thankfully these guys are bringing some life into the musical world so I'm willing to forgive them.

Black Magic - Jarvis Cocker
It was such a shame that Jarvis had to play at the same time as The Rapture when he played the V festival. I rushed back to catch the end of his set and found him belting this song out. I was amazing by the intensity and passion with which he played.

Albert hammond Jr. - Yours To Keep

I avoided this album for far too long. I figured all the hype it was getting was more to do with him being a Strokes guitarist than the album itself. After all, it's well known that Julian Casablancas was considerably anal about song writing on their first two albums (and when he did open up, things went slightly off track), so Albert Hammond Jr. didn't really have a history of good music to fall back on. Well perhaps I should have spent less time justifying why this album wasn't worth my time and actually given it a listen. Because it turns out that it is actually well worth a listen. The Strokes similarities are evident, but through this Hammond forges his own style. It's softer, poppier and in general, more light-hearted. In fact it compliments The Strokes rougher sound perfectly. I'm glad Casablancas is so protective of his writing because it has allowed these two alternate musical visions to manifest in different forms. Who knows what a true collaboration would sound like, but I'm happy just to let The Strokes be The Strokes and have Albert Hammond Jr. on the side. This album didn't gain the same status of mainstream Strokes material because to be quite honest, it's not as good. But that doesn't change the fact that this is great music that's perfect for when you're looking to change things up a bit.

In Transit - From the very first time I heard this song, I knew it would end up on this site. It grabs you instantly and more importantly, doesn't lose any appeal after the first few listens.

Everyone Gets A Star - At first this song appears rather bland, but something in the way it's delivered manages to make it one of my favourites

Released: 09/10/07 | Myspace