The Temper Trap

The Temper Trap are one of those bands gifted with an incredible voice. When lead singer, Doug, hits full stride with his singing, the result is a display of immense power. It's crisp, focused and seems to project endlessly. But of course vocals are just one part of a very complicated equation. You need to write music that supports and strengthens them.

About 18 months ago, The Temper Trap burst onto the scene with their debut EP. The songs were solid and catchy, but it was the vocals that were left to hold them up. They played a run of shows and then disappeared as quickly as they arrived. Well now they've returned with a host of new material and this time it looks like they may have got the balance right. As if to make a statement, the old songs have been completely dropped.

I got the chance to see them live last Thursday and was thoroughly impressed. Clearly, this is where The Temper Trap strive. Despite more than 90% of the songs being unfamiliar, they managed to keep me engaged and entertained from start to finish. I loved how it wasn't just left to Doug to capture your attention. The whole band was moving around, singing in choruses and adding to the energy of the show. Jonny on bass is always a favourite. You won't find a more animated bass player anywhere.

The highlight of the show was easily their new single 'Sweet Disposition'. From the few times I had heard it on radio and myspace, I knew it was going to be good live, but on the night it surpassed all expectations. The nature of the song, combined with some well timed lighting led to a build up in energy so intense that when the chorus finally hit, the whole place exploded. I can vividly remember turning to a friend, both of us grinning uncontrollably, lost in the sheer awesomeness of the moment. The crowd applauded for a good minute afterwards and the band had to wait for everyone to stop and get their breath back. Brilliant.

Mp3: Sweet Disposition

They must have done something wrong last time they were around because every second person I've spoken to lately seems to be a hater. To those people, I say forget your issues and go see them with an open mind. Because in terms of music and performance (ie the things that matter), The Temper Trap have the goods.

Peter Bjorn and WHAAAT!?

You may not realise this, but Peter Bjorn and John have a brand new album. Whatever you do, don't go out and buy this record based on the merits of their last one, because I can safely say this album is nothing like it. No, I don't mean that they've changed their style. Instead, they've gone out and created something that can only be described as utterly bizarre. The album is entirely instrumental, other than occasional snippets of foreign-language speech. Apparently the homelands of all three members are represented. In fact, the whole thing feels more like a soundtrack to an obscure foreign film than the work of a modern pop band. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy it, just be prepared for a shock. It can actually be quite enjoyable at times, especially as breezy background music, but in the end, most people will find it far too weird. It has had a limited release in the US, with a few other areas getting it soon. Track it down if you dare.

There is one track that could almost be considered 'normal', but featuring it would mask the album's true nature. Instead, here's a couple of the more obscure tracks. They nicely demonstrate what's in store for you.

Say Something (Mukiya)
Next Stop Bjursele

No, this isn't a joke. It really is Peter Bjorn and John.

New Devoted Few

A few months back, I got my hands on an unreleased album and was told that should I leak it, I would die a horrible death. Not being too keen on such a scenario, I obeyed and kept it to myself. That album was the long-awaited third release by Sydney band, The Devoted Few. It's titled Baby, You're A Vampire and it's grown to be one of my favourite albums of the year. With it's release fast-approaching, I reckon it's about time everyone started paying attention.

The Devoted Few have had some success in the past, largely thanks to their killer single, Sleepless, but with this new album, I'm sensing something more. When I first saw them live, about 6 months ago, I was highly impressed by a set filled with unfamiliar songs. As it turns out, nearly every one of those songs appears on this album. The Devoted Few are well and truly looking forward and they've got the substance to back it up.

Look out for a full album review closer to the release date. In the meantime, check out their website and myspace page for an assortment of content, including previews of tracks from the new album. I believe they only stay up for a short period before being rotated, so get in quick.

Here's their brand new single: The Death Of Us

The Middle East

The beauty of music in today's age is just how easily it spreads. Once upon a time it took money and major support to get your music heard. Such forces still exists, but the internet has changed the game. Music can spread purely on its own merits, independent of the band's efforts. If a song is good enough, the listeners will do the promoting. Take, for example, the song 'Blood' by The Middle East. By all logical explanations, I shouldn't know it exists. The band is based in Townsville, over 1000km away. I had neither heard or heard of them before today. The friend who recommended them, discovered them on an indonesian blog. An INDONESIAN blog! How that blogger came across them is anybody's guess. For all I know, there could be dozens more links in the chain that has carried the music from the band and on to me. But again, thanks to the internet, I probably won't be the last in this chain. Spread, music, spread! It just goes to show that promotional efforts pale in comparison to the importance of composition. Write a good song and it will do the rest.


This song has an immense power to it. It starts soft, with smooth, honest vocals, accompanied by a subtle array of colourful instrumentation. This builds gradually, finally culminating in a rich vocal chorus, swelling with emotion. It's the sound of a truly great band, entering their element. Who are The Middle East? If only I knew.

I can't keep up!

OK, now I don't want to write merely for the sake of it, so I'm taking a bit of a break. Content might be a bit thin over the next month, as I traverse the musical landscape in search of more treasures to share. Time has simply gotten the better of me. I need to sit back and take in what's happening without having to worry about posting. Material will still trickle in and I'll be back in full swing very soon. See ya then!

Of Montreal (again)

Ah, there's no better time to be alive than when Of Montreal is in season. The sun is out, the flowers are blooming and there's a buzz of activity in the air. You can almost smell the excitement in the air. No? Ok so I may be talking rubbish, but a new album by the band has me swept up in Of Montreal fever.

Gallery Piece
Skeletal Lamping is due for release in under month and sadly, early impressions aren't good. I've listened through more than enough times, but I'm not feeling anything. It reminds me of 2005's The Sunlandic Twins. Barring the occasional standout, that album lacked the quality I had come to expect and these days I barely acknowledge it. Hopefully this album doesn't go down the same road. Gallery Piece is the first song to grab me so far. I'm wary of posting it in isolation though, because much of its strength comes from its contrast to previous songs. It certainly gets my attention when it kicks in, but on it's own, it might just seem annoying. Consider that a disclaimer.

Eros' Entropic Tundra
Even if it does turn out that Of Montreal release albums on good-bad cycle, we at least have two things to be happy about. Firstly, the NEXT new album will be absolutely brilliant (even if it is a tad early to get excited). And secondly, we still have the old albums to enjoy. This song comes from 2004's Satanic Panic In The Attic, which remains my favourite album to this day. This is the first Of Montreal song I ever loved and also has some similarity to the above song, by flaunting the delicate line between annoying and heavenly.

Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse
At least with Of Montreal I have an excuse for not remembering the track names. Thanks goes to my housemate for bringing this song, off 2007's Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, back into the spotlight. The moment when that beat drops is so powerful, so euphoric, that it's impossbile not to get swept up.

Odds and Ends

It's been far too long since my last mix so here's a selection of tracks that bear no relation to one another, other than the fact that they've been on my mind and in my ears.

Cassius - Foals
What a deliciously addictive song this is. I would put it right up there with MGMT's Kids, in terms of having a rhythm section that gets you moving without fail. Resonant beats anyone?

Pounding - Doves
I was told to listen to Doves' album The Last Broadcast because apparently it sounded like my own band. I can't say I agree, but at least I found a great album in the process.

To Me Now - Mercy Arms
"Why did Mercy Arms make me think they were fuckwits. Their music is actually good." These are the words of my housemate and I couldn't agree more. Mercy Arms' debut album is actually quite impressive, especially the slower songs. But something about this band has pushed me to the point where I struggle to enjoy them. Shame

Heart of Chambers - Beach House
Beach House make such mellow and relaxing music. I never got to learn the words, because from the second time through their album, I've found myself wailing along to the melodies. They're just too inviting. I would also recommend seeing them live. The epic use of reverb makes for a rich, dreamy atmosphere.

Lights Out - Santogold
I heard song this once and had an instant urge to blog about it. It came right out of left field. I like some of the other Santogold songs, but they can certainly be a little irritating. This song, however, is model in pleasantness. It features smooth vocal medleys, peaking brilliantly and moves along at such a nice pace, never trying to be too much. Love it!