Sydney Song Summit Live

Looking for something to do tonight? Well here's a damn good option. The Sydney Song Summit is in town, featuring a host of workshops for bands and musicians. But when the sun goes, they put on a showcase and we're all invited. With 19 bands playing across 4 stages, it's a delicious smorgasbord of musical talent. Almost like our own little SXSW (if you squint hard enough). Here's a few artists to look out for:

Dan Kelly

Lyrical genius runs deep in the Kelly family. While Uncle Paul remains Australia's most poignant storyteller, Dan shows the same flashes of brilliance in a very different space. The fact that he has a song called "Bindi Irwin Apocalypse Jam" pretty much sums it up. It's a perfect mix of playful humour and social commentary, filled with sing-along falsettos and hyperactive instrumentation. He's just having a great time and it's hard not to do the same; especially when he's rattling off stage banter that's second to none.

Artisan Guns

It's great to see some New Zealand bands getting some love at the showcase, and it looks like Artisan Guns are the ones to watch. I haven't seen them yet, so I won't pretend to know them, but their songs on Mysapce definitely show some promise. They've got some really interesting harmonies happening and all reports from their show at Mum on Friday suggest that they're great live. Keep an eye on them.

The Last Kinection

"They invaded, degraded and polluted our land, stole all the children and raped our women" (To the tune of the national anthem) - it's pretty clear that The Last Kinection aren't afraid to throw any political punches. And there's nothing more entertaining than seeing a few punches being thrown. When all the pieces fall into place, like on the track 'Worth Marching For', their brand of high-energy hip hop can be quite powerful. Should be an interesting one to catch live.

You'll also get the chance to see some favourites, including Fergus Brown, Dappled Cities (who have given up music to pursue laser shows), Washington, Dead Letter Chorus and a heap more. It takes place at Home Nightclub, Darling Harbour from 7.30pm. More details here:

The Beach Boys

What follows is an erratic look into the career of The Beach Boys. It's not definitive, nor is accuracy guarenteed, but hopefully you'll share in my renewed appreciation of their music.

The Beach Boys' legacy is an odd one. Far from the fairy tale of The Beatles, their career suffered its fair share of hiccups (and genuinely bad songs), leaving their story fragmented and at risk of being unheard by generations to come. It real shame because theirs is a story worth hearing.

Till I Die

The Early Days

One chapter of The Beach Boys tale that will never be forgotten is their surfer music. Songs about surfin', girls and cars will survive for years to come, long after this fun-loving culture is obselete. And while they certainly weren't the first band to use vocals harmonies, they did it in a way that made the listener aware and appreciative of this amazing effect, without sacrificing accessibility. In the eyes of history, surf music is The Beach Boys.

Surfin' Safari

But while this music is fun to listen to, it isn't what makes The Beach Boys worth remembering. Instead, it's their efforts to use their position, at the helm of popular music, to steer listeners into new directions. This where their story gets a bit rocky. And while it's safe to say that they failed in the their endeavour, they made some great music in the process. It turns out there's more to The Beach Boys than just surfin' safaris and good vibrations.

All Summer Long

Pet Sounds

The Pet Sounds era is another piece of Beach Boys history that will be safely remembered. An amazing album in its own right, it didn't actually sell that well upon initial release, but widespread critical acclaim has ensured it will live on. This has been helped in part by it's significance in The Beatles story. Inspired by Rubber Soul, Beach Boys mastermind, Brian Wilson quit touring to focus on writing their next album. The result was Pet Sounds, which would in turn inspire The Beatles to create Sgt Peppers. This tale is what first prompted many Beatles fans, including myself, to seek out Pet Sounds to see what all the fuss is about. And since The Beatles aren't about to be forgotten, Pet Sounds will remain etched in musical history.

God Only Knows


Brian Wilson's follow up masterpiece was to be called Smile, an ambitious project which would push The Beach Boys into completely new territory. The first single, Good Vibrations, was a huge success, despite it's relatively complex nature. But all this anticipation along with in-band fighting, record label demands, drug abuse and the release of Sgt Peppers meant that it never saw the light of day. It was a spectacular collapse and one they would never recover from. The rest of their career was inconsistent at best and as a result, a lot of quality work went largely unnoticed.

Good Vibrations

The myth surrounding Smile lived on for many years. A couple of songs popped up on future albums and diehard fans clung to unreleased demos, but it wasn't until 35 years later, when Brian Wilson returned to complete the project, that the story got its happy ending. The final result is quite epic indeed. If you want any chance of appreciating this album, you need to set aside some time and really LISTEN to it. It's quite amazing how it all unfolds.

Heros and Villians

The Later Years

And now to the very reason I am writing this post. The often-ignored later years. Up until recently, I knew nothing about The Beach Boys after Pet Sounds. And to be honest, I didn't really care. I was under the impression that they faded into obscurity and lost their touch, but it's not true. The Beach Boys did enough during this period that we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss it.

It all began when my brother bought home a vinyl copy of Surf's Up. As you can see above, the contrast of a dark, disturbing cover image, with the care-free connatation of title is quite striking. It's quite indicative of what The Beach Boys were going through at the time and after a few spins, I quickly became fond it. The album features a number quality composiitons from other band members, along with sounds you wouldn't noramally associate with The Beach Boys. It made me think twice about what I thought i knew and left me wanting more.

Looking At Tomorrow

As it turns out, the story behind the album isn't as quite as I imagined. There was 5 albums between Pet Soudns and Surf's Up and none of them had done very well. Brian Wilson was growing more and more distant and the fans sorely missed him. Surf's Up was a notorious track from the Smile era; Brian Wilson's equivalent of 'A Day in The Life'. It was added to the album and made the title track in a bid to sell more copies. Certainly not the stuff of fairy tales, but I've come to accept that when in order to find the gems in their later career, you're going to find some dirt.

Surf's Up

By no means am I an expert on these later years. I am taking my exploration very cautiously, listening one album at a time, starting with the most critically acclaimed. At the moment I am listening to Sunflower (1970), which is even stronger than Surf's Up. Next on the list will be Friends (1968). Sure, this dream run of discovery will probably end eventually, but for the moment, I'm loving it.

This Whole World

(wow, picking a track off Sunflower was hard...go listen to the whole album!)

((and one more because it's awesome))

Loop de Loop (Flip Flop Flyin' in an Aeroplane)

Splendour In The Grass 2010 Lineup Announced

What's this? A stupid amount of awesome bands at the same festival? Am I dreaming? Am I in America? How on Earth am I supposed to manage my time if I can't count the good bands on one hand? WHEN WILL I FIT IN MY NAPS???

Let's face it, Australia has a pretty pathetic record when it comes to festivals. Throw us a couple of big names and we're salivating. But today, Splendour in the Grass have announced a truly amazing lineup. It's one of those lineups you see overseas and get really depressed about. It's one of those lineups that belong only in the deepest depths of your imagination. I'm actually struggling to comprehend it. Every time I look at that list above, I notice another band that at any other festival, would be worth the ticket price. Yet here they are, on the same damn bill. Woah.

Well done Splendour. Now, where did I put my mind.....