Of Montreal - Live
They're probably the most mentioned band on this blog, but you can never get enough Of Montreal. They're in Australia for the first time and their Sydney show was pretty awesome. Sure, it was disappointing that they didn't play any old stuff, but when a band is over a decade old, you sort of expect it. What makes them impressive though, is that despite so many of my favourites being absent, nearly every song they played I loved. It's testimony to the strength of their catalogue. Even the songs from Sunlandic Twins pleasantly surprised me. I was really getting into it, right amongst the hilarious mix of freaks up the front.
Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider
Speaking of Of Montreal, tomorrow I head off to Golden Plains (plus a night in Melbourne of course). If I was sensible, I wouldn't be here writing this, but clearly i dont care about my body, so I'll be launching into what will most likely be a 4-day blur of music and alcohol, with very little sleep. Golden Plains will be quite a different experience for me. I'm usually the economical type, going to festivals with the best lineup and running like mad between bands. This will be the first time I go to a festival and just chill out. I'll still be watching plenty of music, I just won't have a personalised timetable regimented food and toilet breaks. Most of the bands playing, I know, but not well, so it will be interesting. At least very least, I know enough them to know it will be incredible.
The Sun Smells Too Loud (Mogwai)
Speaking of epic instrumental bands, Decoder Ring's new album is coming soon, and the word on the street is that it's gonna be big. After seeing them a couple of times lately, I'm not surprised. Did I mention they are supporting Coldplay? Haha good on them. I recently put this song on and was reminded of how stupidly good they are.
Speaking of Sydney bands with new albums coming out, I saw Dappled Cities last night. The show was an intriguing one, and not just because over half the crowd were Bondi Bogans. Many of the new songs had evolved since I last saw them, with either different sounds or entirely new parts. In most cases, the songs had matured and improved significantly, but occassionally a change struck me as kind of odd and disappointing. But I'm sure they know what they're doing. It's kinda stupid how many times I've seen this band, but at the same time incredible because I never grow tired. Their music has a strange appeal. On record, it's quite calming. There isn't standout tracks pulling the others along, but rather a varied stream of interesting sounds, capturing your attention with its subtleties. When playing live, their music is all about energy. A profound jerkiness emerges, as they jump from one direction to another with a sudden chord change or characteristic cry. They have such tight rhythms that you can't help be lured in by the momentum. Before you know it your body is moving in step with the song's every fluctuation. It's no wonder that this band invokes such freakish devotion amongst it fans and a real shame that they aren't more widely recognised. Such is the curse of talent.
You can currently hear Dappled's forthcoming single on the Beach Road Hotel myspace page. It isn't on the band's page and I doubt it will be up for much longer so get in quick.
Of Montreal - Live
Wow the day went fast. I was bouncing from stage to stage, enjoying my day, when all of a sudden Architecture in Helsinki began playing. The day had disappeared from underneath me! But I think all in all it was another satisfying Laneway experience. I still maintain that even though it has modest (but still awesome) lineups, it succeeds because the secondary factors (layout, organisation, crowd, atmosphere etc.) are great, allowing the music to flourish. Highlights included:
Crazy antics from Still Flyin
More than 10 people, crammed on a small stage. Some of whom are there purely to dance. At least 3 men in short shorts. One in a jump suit. All there to play jazzed up party music. Sadly, I only got to see the first 3 songs, but I certainly caught the fever. For Sydney people, they are playing with Cuthbert & The Night Walkers at The Annandale tomorrow (Tuesday). I'm sensing a very fun night.
MP3: Good Thing It's A Ghost Town Around Here
Rocking out to Jay Reatard
These guys don't muck around. When one song ends, Jay yells the name of the next, and they launch straight in. It's perfect for a band that plays short fast punk. The songs always have great melodies and occassionally some lyrics to match, but best of all, these guys know how to shred on stage.
Discovering The Hold Steady
Ok, so discovering is probably misleading because I know this band pretty well. But until last night, I never really thought much of them. The singing style sort of made every song sound similar and it got a little annoying. But seeing them perform live, seeing them play with such conviction, it all made sense. Their songs are about storytelling. And the best way to get a message across to the audience is to yell every word right at them. It was a powerful set and certainly worthy of the headline slot.
The only real disappointments stemmed from my own physical limitations. I can only be in one place at a time and I can't teleport. But I'm learning to deal with these. All in all it was a great day. I'll be back next year.
Here's my top ten, followed by a shortlist. While it may have been hacked together in a bit of rush, I make no excuses. I was in love with every one of these songs at some point throughout the year.
Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal
Sigur Ros - Gobbledigook
Santogold - Lights Out
Sparkadia - Too Much To Do
Cloud Control - Death Cloud
Vampire Weekend - A-Punk
Youth Group - All This Will Pass
Jordy Lane - Galileo
MGMT - Kids
Band Of Horses - No One's Gonna Love You
Ben Folds - You Don't Know Me
Bird Automatic - Suburbs
Bridezilla - Saint Francine
Born Ruffians - Hummingbird
Children Collide - Social Currency
Death Cab For Cutie - Long Division
Deep Sea Arcade - Crouch End
Devoted Few - The Death Of Us
Firekites - Same Suburb Different Park
Flight Of The Conchords - Inner City Pressure
Hercules & Love Affair - Blind
John Steel Singers - Rainbow Kraut
Kings Of Leon - Closer
Crystal Castles - Untrust Us
Ladyhawke - Paris Is Burning
Metronomy - My Heart Rate Rapid
Mercy Arms - Half Right
Of Montreal - Id Engager
Pivot - O Soundtrack My Heart
redsunband , The - The Eagle
Seabellies - The - Heart Heart Heart Out
Songs - KC's In Trouble
TV On The Radio - DLZ
Ween - Blue Balloon
Yeasayer - 2080
Considering this blog recently passed the 300,000 visitor milestone (!!!) and we're right in the middle of the Christmas/New Year period, I think it's appropriate to do some indulging. You know those songs that you put on, and love, but only you and friends appreciate them, because only you know the back-stories behind them? Well these are some of my songs. And the back-stories. Cause with all the serious music journalism I've been doing this year, it's about time I had a break.
Oh how I hate compiling these lists. They are damn near impossible to sit back thinking 'Yes, that accurately represents my tastes'. You just can't do it! For starters, how do you compare an awesome live show with a solid album? Does it count if I got into an album this year that was released last year? I can barely remember back to the start of the year, let alone try to piece together which bands had the biggest impact! And so the list comes to you with so many faults. Missing bands, strange orderings and plenty of bias. You name it, it's here. But I had to walk away from it because no amount of tweaking could have produced a satisfying list. 2008 was a strange year for me. There were no really stand out bands. The bands I loved had a fairly quite year, whilst many new bands entered my affection. And so I was left with about 40 bands, all on level footing. Perfect for compiling an ordered list! I used the criteria of 'Which bands delivered the most enjoyment in 2008' and the result is quite an interesting one. I've certainly discovered a few trends (and holes) in my listening habits which may indicate some exploring is in order. Feel free to post your own list in the comments. Away!
1. Youth Group
2008 was the year I came to appreciate Youth Group. Not just their latest album, but their entire catalogue. The vocals, the melodies, it's all so incredibly beautiful.
2. Cloud Control
The band I have seen more than any other. No releases this year, but more than enough memorable moments. The addictive hooks and swooning harmonies are just too good to resist.
3. Dappled Cities
It's Dappled. Enough said. Three mighty fine performances was more than enough to thrust them right up here.
The year began with a Laneway performance, moved on to some great singles and culminated in a sophomore album. In every case, Theredsunband delivered rich, powerful music.
5. The Devoted Few
After getting a taste this year, I can tell you quite confidently that 2009 will be a big year for The Devoted Few. Both live and recorded, these guys rock!
6. Charge Group
When it comes to creating immensely powerful, vastly expansive soundscapes, Charge Group has no rival. Their music reaches such emotional highs, you're left in awe.
7. The Seabellies
This year, The Seabellies proved what I had always believed; their multi-instrumental ways are not a gimmick, but a defining strength. Their incredible single, Heart Heart Heart Out, is just a taste of whats to come.
8. Cuthbert & The Night Walkers
Bands pretty much don't come any funner than Cuthbert & The Night Walkers. In their stripped back format, they are more colourful, lively and entertaining than ever before.
Sparkadia's speciality is in super sweet indie-pop, filled with toe tapping rhythms and luscious crooning choruses. Their debut album was no exception, earning them a much-deserved place in the global spotlight.
Of all the new Sydney bands that emerged in 2008, Parades are the ones who got me genuinely excited. Their songs move in complex, ever-changing directions, their instrumentation is refreshingly diverse and their vocals are incredibly refined. They've found such a great mix and its only just the beginning.
11. The Temper Trap
12. Flamingo Crash
15. Deep Sea Arcade
16. Papa vs Pretty
18. The Curse of Company
19. The Boat People
20. Philadelphia Grand Jury
21. Augie March
22. Bird Automatic
23. Mercy Arms
24. The Straight Arrows
25. British India
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!
A few months back I reported on the first round final of the Homebake Incentive program. It was a great lineup of Sydney bands and saw Papa vs Pretty and Seekae advance through to the final. This Monday (25th) sees the second round final and another great selection of talent. Forget the competitive nature of these nights, they allow you to see some of Sydney's best emerging bands, on the same bill and at a reasonable price. It's only $6 for 5 bands and all happens at The Hopetoun Hotel. Here's who'll be playing:
The last time I saw The Ringleaders, I walked away incredibly impressed by everything they did. They were one of those straight-up rock bands, who had good songs and played them well. But that was a long time ago, and after listening to the songs on their myspace, their sound seems to have much more of a distinct flavour than I remembered. Should be interesting to see them again.
I've spoken about Songs For Surgery before and I definitely think they're one to watch. They're young and they make some great music. What more do you need? I only caught the end of their set last time I saw them, so I'm looking forward to seeing a whole set.
Out of this bunch, Captain Nemo are probably the band I'm least familiar with. I've seen them once, and I remember enjoying it, but that's about it. For some reason, their music sounds like its coming out of the 90s, from one of those seminal, under-appreciated bands. Hardly an adequate description, but it will have to do for now.
Apologies for the lack of decent content in the last couple of weeks. I'll make up for it soon, I promise. Maybe. In the meantime, here's a few things I'd like to say.
Youth Group's new album is great. I've been giving it plenty of play time and it's really paying off. I always knew they made beautiful music, but now I know how addictive it can be, once you get to know it. The Night Is Ours is one of those albums where every song is as good as the last.
In My Dreams
The Curse of Company's album, Leo Magnets Joins A Gang, is now out on Dangerbird Records. Read about the band here and visit them there.
Keeping to the Sydney theme, you should all get excited because The Devoted Few will soon be making a return. Their new album is sounding terrific and inside sources say their live show, which they secretly showcased last Thursday, is as good as ever. Download one of their new tracks from their website and look out for some shows (and the album) very soon.
Completely killing the Sydney theme, it's also worth mentioning that Sunny Day Sets Fire, the band who did the impossible, are continuing to impress me. I must admit, some times I feel like I've heard it all before, which could indicate their sound is a rather generic one. But at the same time, I don't care. Every track has it's own personality and they all form a great pop album. I always know I can stick it on and not be disappointed.
Soldier’s Grin – Wolf Parade
Wolf Parade has always been a bit of an anomaly for me. As you may know, the band is led by Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner, both of whom feature heavily in other bands, such as Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes and Handsome Furs. Well I don’t like any of these bands. At all. Yet when they come together, everything fits and I’m enchanted. Early listens of their forthcoming album suggest that they’ve somehow done it again. Rather than looking for an explanation, I think I’ll just sit back and enjoy the music.
Summer of 88 – Velveteen
I’ve always wanted to be in a big band with a highly anticipated album. Not for the fame or anything like that. No, I just want to able to leak a fake album and laugh at all at the people who tried to download it illegally. It would make finding a real copy harder and probably pick up some good publicity along the way. Just so long as everyone realised it was a fake before moving on in disgust. Well this almost happened with Death Cab For Cutie’s new album Narrow Stairs, except that it was fan behind the cunning leak. They grabbed an album by German band Velveteen, who just so happen to sound identical to Death Cab, and rebranded it as Narrow Stairs. It’s not the first time it’s been done, but this one managed to fool quite a few people, including myself. Not only was it an amusing little experiment, but it has also exposed some great new music. I’m yet to find a song on the real Narrow Stairs that beats this one by Velveteen.
Dragonfly Pie – Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks
I won’t pretend to be a Malkmus expert, because I’m far from it. But in recent times I’ve been listening to more and more Pavement and really hammering home just how great he is. But then it’s always hard to know where to go next when you’re getting into a band/artist with so many albums. Stick to the ones you love or try something new? Which one? I think for now I’ll have to give the rest of his post-Pavement stuff a miss and jump straight to his latest release. Early impressions are certainly very promising.
A-Punk – Vampire Weekend
Considering that they’ve been topping the hype charts for months and are already the most requested on national radio, there probably isn’t much need for me to tell you about this band. But just in case you didn’t already know, Vampire Weekend are brilliant. They’ve put out an album that’s fun and fresh the whole the way through and I’m loving it. This probably wouldn’t be my favourite song, but after seeing the cool clip they made, it's stuck in my head.
Holiday – The Holidays
Now I’m not normally one for keeping photos, but somehow I’ve ended up with one of myself drunkenly looking on at a band playing at a friend’s party. That band was The Holidays and it just so happened to be their very first gig. Since then, I have sat back in amazement as they’ve rapidly ascended up the musical hierarchy in the space of one short year. I really shouldn’t be surprised, though. Their distinctly clean sound made an instant impression on me and I’m sure it’s doing the same for everyone else. I’m still deciding whether I think their music is actually good or not, but I guess it doesn’t matter much. This time next year they’ll probably be playing shows on the other side of the planet and my opinion will count for less than it already does!
Is smattering even a word? Who cares. Here's some music by a bunch of Sydney bands that have been on my mind lately:
Telephone - Cuthbert & The Night Walkers
I can’t believe I haven’t gotten around to talking about Cuthbert & The Night Walkers yet. They’re so cool! You may be thinking that because they have 5-piece choir, they are somehow a gimmick. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Underneath the choir is an incredibly solid band, with some excellent music. Whenever I watch them, I find my mouth gradually creeping open, either because I’m in awe or just a subconscious desire to sing along. Whatever it is, they must be doing something right.
Like An Arrow - The Red Sun Band
The Red Sun Band are yet another local band that I have ignored for no particular reason. They’ve been around for a while, but I’ve just never bothered to listen to them. Thankfully I put an end to this when I caught their set at The Laneway Festival. On first glance, their music feels like pretty straightforward indie rock, and is easy to get it into because of this. But closer inspection shows something deeper, darker and more enduring to their sound. I’m certainly looking forward to their upcoming releases.
Mad Scientist - Laura Imbruglia
Unlike the rest of the bands in this post, I’m not here fresh from seeing Laura Imbruglia live. In fact I’ve never seen her play, nor have I listened to her all that much. But something about her intrigues me. Her debut is incredibly varied, moving between fast rock, slower ballads and even dabbling in some sort of abstract techno. But whatever territory she’s in, the music is strong and the personality abounding. She is undoubtedly an interesting character.
Familiar Faces - Hypertonic
A year ago, I arrived at Hypertonic’s myspage, thanks to a recommended link on the Red Eye Records website. The page was pretty desolate and the songs didn’t really grab me. A year later, not much has changed. This is such an incredible shame, because after seeing them live, they clearly have potential. Their music is heavily inspired by Sonic Youth and would undoubtedly be welcomed by many. I feel like they need a reality TV show to give them a make over, or (more realistically) a manager to point them in the right direction and start promoting them properly. These guys deserve it.
Your Face Burnt A Whole In My Memory - The Devoted Few
Up until very recently, The Devoted Few were a band I’d never seen live. This was undoubtedly due in part to them not playing that many shows, but also because I failed give their 2004 album, Billboard Noises, anything more than a casual glance. But a month back, when I caught them at Spectrum, this all changed. I can’t remember being so impressed by a live band whose material I didn’t know well. Their songs were great and the performance even better. They are actually sitting on a brand new album, just waiting for a label to pick it up. If the live show is anything to go by, this album is something to look forward to.
Love Me Already – Black Kids
Black Kids have a rather interesting sound. The keyboards and guitars are relatively standard, but it is the vocals that set them apart. The leader singer has a weird delivery style that isn’t quite yelling, but is certainly forceful, creating a rather washy sound. At times it works, but elsewhere it can get annoying. This song demonstrates this problem nicely, as well showing some of the underlying melodies that are driving people towards their music.
On and On – The Bell
I’ve been trying rather unsuccessfully to work out who The Bell’s vocalist sounds like. Whenever I find a similarity, such as the deep drone of Interpol, it always fails to apply across the board. Whatever the case, it’s a voice that works well. In fact, everything about this band is done right. Each track has a nicely crafted melody, different from the last, that has you bopping along without realising. But that’s just the problem. It all runs TOO smoothly. It’s like they’ve followed the ‘good music’ book so perfectly that their sound ends up hollow. It seems harsh, or perhaps nonsensical, but it's about the only explanation I can come up with for why I enjoy their music, but walk away feeling unsatisfied...
The Flies Arrive – Cajun Dance Party
Just as The Libertines did before them, Cajun Dance Party are successfully mastering the art of sloppiness. There’s something oddly appealing about music that appears effortless and at times deliberately bad. Slurred vocals, late changes and general disregard for polish is a combination which works surprisingly well; provided it’s done right. Well thankfully, CDP know their stuff. It also doesn’t hurt having some killer keyboard licks to boot.
Tyrants – Black Mountain
If you’re looking for some nicely packaged ‘songs’, you're going to be severely disappointed with Black Mountain’s new album. On their own, each track seems horribly disjointed; this one alone contains five or so different stages with questionable relevance to one other. But you have to realise that they are all parts of a bigger picture. All this lack of accessibility is forgotten when you discover just how epic the end result is. At times you think you’re listening to a hardcore instrumental band, until all of a sudden some vocals kick in and they’ve moved into a compelling new melody.
Playhouses – TV on the Radio
TV On The Radio are one of the few bands around that are truly right out of left field. You won’t find any obvious influences here. Their music is filled with complex, overlapping melodies that build slowly, but travel at exciting paces. And best of all, it’s all driven by team of powerful vocalists, not afraid to dabble in falsetto frequencies. What more could you want?
Love Me Already – Black Kids
Black Kids are the latest band to be thrust into popularity far too quickly. The usual sequence of events will probably occur, with the serious music community dismissing them as more and more idiots begin liking them. But until then, we can still get some enjoyment out of them. Personally, I'm not blown away, but they seem to be creating some pretty impressive music (including this song), and it’s still early in their career.
On and On – The Bell
For an album to succeed, it needs to do two important things. Firstly, it needs be good. It sounds simple enough, but convincing listeners of this fact is no walk in the park. Secondly, it needs to give you a reason to keep coming back. You may openly admit an album sounds good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have a desire to keep listening to it. You need something special that makes you associate the album with an enjoyable experience. Well that’s where I currently sit with Sweden’s The Bell and their album ‘Make Some Quiet’. It’s undoubtedly filled with some great music, I’m just looking for the spark that will keep pulling me back.
The Flies Arrive – Cajun Dance Party
Unless you regularly traverse the blogosphere or indulge in NME’s hyperboles, you probably haven’t heard much of Cajun Dance Party. Well as the year progress, that looks set to change. They are a band out of England, who are turning plenty of heads, despite still being in high school. I’ve previously mentioned their song, The Colourful Life, (which I recommend you track down if you haven’t heard), but I’ve been going through their other demos and finding plenty more promise. It will be very interesting to see how their debut album turns out.
Tyrants – Black Mountain
As I was recommending some music to my friend, Black Mountain came up. I hadn’t had much of a chance to listen to it myself, but I mentioned how it was receiving quite a bit of hype. We put it on to try it out and let’s just say it didn’t a very good job convincing my friend that it was worth listening to. The problem is that Black Mountain simply cannot be enjoyed in short bursts. It feels like some sort of epic cinematic experience that needs plenty of time to mature. The very act of me offering a track to sample is probably doing the album a great injustice, but I can’t very well give the whole thing away. As I’ve given it the time it deserves, the quality is certainly starting to emerge.
Playhouses – TV on the Radio
In my attempt to try and give some sort of indication of where Black Mountain sat on the hype / popularity chain, I tried offering a comparison with TV on the Radio. To which I got blank looks. TV on the Radio! I thought everybody knew who they were. Anyway, just in case anybody else out there is still ignorant, here’s a reminder.
Maasai Mara – The Ruby Suns
For many of you, your first encounter with New Zealand band, The Ruby Suns, was when far off foreigners, The Shins, chose them as special guests for their tour of Australia. So much for our close relationship with NZ. But now they’re coming for their very own show (this Friday at Spectrum) and I’m getting pretty excited (for various reasons). Their music fits somewhere in the ‘twisted indie-pop’ category, alongside the likes of Animal Collective. Their debut album is excellent and they have another on the way very soon.
No One’s Gonna Love You – Band of Horses
Those who listened to the last Band of Horses album will know just how powerful their music can be. The vocals are undoubtedly the main driving force behind this. I haven’t yet decided whether their latest album is up to the same standards, but if this song is anything to go by, we may have another classic on our hands.
She Says – VHS or Beta
Perhaps their name is supposed to indicate a sound, rooted in the past? Maybe it symbolises a battle in another fiercely competitive industry? Either that or they’re just nerds. Whatever the case, VHS or Beta seem well poised. They’ve put out a high quality album that’s accessible from the get go. I’d be surprised if they didn’t end up reaching the heights of bands like Franz Ferdinand very soon.
California Girls – The Magnetic Fields
For an album that was supposed to sound “more like Jesus and Mary Chain than Jesus and Mary Chain”, it comes off sounding much more like a Magnetic Fields album to me. And that’s a good thing. Stephin Merritt’s brilliant melodies are back, along with the rotating vocalists. It feels like a perfect continuation of 69 Love Songs.
A Violent Yet Flammable World – Au Revoir Simone
The idea of an all female, all keyboard wielding band is sure to delight some and disgust others. I’m personally one of the former. When I first heard of Au Revoir Simone, I immediately thought of Electrelane and I wasn’t far off. They definitely have their own sound (except for one very similar song), but the vibe is very much the same. This is, of course, an excellent thing! Their album, Birds of Music, is very impressive and I struggled to pick just one song. I think this one finds a nice balance between their two extremes of delicate and powerful.
The Opposite Of Hallelujah – Jens Lekman
After the success of ‘Your Arms Around Me’ it really comes as no surprise that Jens Lekman has released an album full of nicely polished pop gems. The lyrics can occasionally get a little awkward, but this is always made up for in pure sweetness.
123456 (Pardon Us) – Aleks and The Ramps
Speaking of lyrics, this song has some rather interesting ones. I bought Aleks and The Rams’ debut album on the back of some rather impressive reviews and I must admit, I was a little disappointed. It’s undoubtedly good and certainly different, but it just failed to grab me. Then again, I’m yet to see them live which could turn things around.
Love Goes On! – The Go-Betweens
How unAustralian of me, that I’ve only just got into The Go-Betweens. It hasn’t taken much, though and I’m now beginning to realise just how great they are. That signature acoustic sound of theirs never fails to deliver. If you’re yet to be convinced, it will only take one listen of 16 Lovers Lane to turn you around.
While We Go Dancing – The White Rabbits
I’m not quite sure how I ended up with The White Rabbits’ album, but all of a sudden I found myself listening to a band I’d never heard of before, with no idea what to expect. It didn’t come immediately, but I’m really coming to appreciate their music.
They Made Frogs Smoke Til They Exploded – Mum
Mum are another band out of Iceland making some really unique music. It’s incredibly weird at times, and I’m surprised that I actually like it. This song probably isn’t the best, but I wanted to include it for the cool video they’ve made for it.
I Get Around – The Beach Boys
Last week I had the pleasure of seeing Brian Wilson. Despite him missing many of his lines, barely touching his keyboard and just generally being out of it, it was an incredible show. It really is testimony to his genius and the strength of the Beach Boys material. His band were also excellent, especially Jeff Foskett who really carried the performance. Don’t ever let anyone put you down for listening to a bunch of men singing falsetto harmonies. It’s heavenly.
From Little Things, Big Things Grow – Paul Kelly
Also playing at this show was Paul Kelly. It must have been over 5 years since I’d listened to his music, but it was still fresh in my mind. This song at the end was a highlight. It was also amusing to see a guy up the back, jumping up and down the whole time yelling “we’re so lucky!”. Either he REALLY likes Paul Kelly, or he got lost on his way to the Fuzzy party.
Oregon Girl – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
I’m in the very early stages of listening to this band, but so far I like what I hear. This song has a very Weezer feel to it, but it’s just one of the many different styles they produce. I’m really not sure why they’re not better known. Perhaps they went a little TOO far with the weird name thing.
Your Name – Oh! Custer
The latest trend I’ve been noticing is the emergence of labels that regularly put out 3 inch CDs by various bands. I’m not sure if any labels here in Australia are doing it, but I know a couple of Aussie bands have been involved, including two that I mentioned in my last post. Perhaps the most prominent of these labels is Cloudberry Records, who have been pumping out three of these CDs per month. The folks at Skatterbrain and IndieMP3 have been kind enough to compile their top ten, which you can download as an album. Get them while they last.
Parachute – Shugo Tokumaru
Keeping with the theme of plugging other blogs’ lists, Off The Record, have put out some rather interesting Best of 2007 ones. I was rather surprised to see so many releases I didn’t recognise, as well as a number of international albums. It’s a refreshing change to the more or less identical lists that seem to be popping up elsewhere.
Down On The Ground - British Sea Power
I’m relatively new to British Sea Power, with their latest EP being my first (and only) experience, but this has been more than enough to convince me that they’re worth some attention. I can only imagine what their live shows are like, but judging from the atmosphere they generate in their recorded music, it would be pretty special.
Diagonal – The Motifs
In case you don’t know, The Motifs is mostly one girl, Alexis, from Melbourne, playing some unbelievably sweet pop music. I recently ordered her brand knew 6-track EP which comes lovingly hand-packaged, courtesy of WeePOP Records, and limited to just 120 copies. When it arrives, I think I might explode from an overload of cuteness.
The People - Young Lovers
Young Lovers are another Melbourne band, but of a vastly different sound. They make epic indie-rock music that’s laced with some pretty infectious dance beats. This sound of theirs is quite impressive and sure to be a hit across the country. I get the feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more of this band, very soon.
Animals (video) – Sparkadia
Sparkadia are one of many Sydney artists to be snapped up recently by indie label, Ivy League Records. I think they must be reading mind when it comes to band selections. It’s great to see them supporting all these excellent bands! Sparkadia haven't done too badly out of the deal either. They just got this shiny new video for their latest mega-hit, Animals, and will be putting their debut album out early next year.
Days – She Is So Beautiful / She Is So Blonde
This bizarrely named solo project has given rise to some rather interesting music. I’m not totally convinced yet, but you never what the test of time holds.
Ending To Begin - Mercy Arms
With all the hype and image surrounding this band, it’s sometimes hard to know what to think of them. But after hearing this song a few times and combining it with the brilliant ‘Half Right’, I’d say there’s more than enough reason to keep your eye on them, cool or not.
Cracked and Crazed - Doug Martsch
The story behind this song is quite remarkable. Filmmaker Devon Reed composed the soundtrack to his upcoming movie, Song From The Bigtop, and then went about recruiting prominent musicians to perform it. Not only should he be commended for his song-writing ability, but also his taste. The album, which rarely feels like a soundtrack, includes some very impressive tracks, performed by artists such as The Clientele and this man, the lead singer from Built To Spill.
Sadness And The City - The Smallgoods
The Smallgoods are Melbourne band that have really snuck up on me. This song in particular has grabbed my attention, thanks to the distinctive vocals and short, unorthodox structure, worthy of a comparison to Of Montreal. It also hints towards the harmonies which feature prominently in their music.
Zero Zero – Operative Please
Throughout Operator Please’s rise to fame, I’ve remained rather distance. I had differing opinions coming from every side, yet never bothered to listen to them for myself. Well now I have and I must admit it sounds pretty exciting. They’re not about to become my favourite band, but from the sound of their debut album, it’s clear that they’ve got some great energy and I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing them live. If anything, I’ll listen to them just to annoy the conservative AM radio hosts. When they won an Aria, I laughed as a 2GB host struggled to comprehend that yes, this is music and yes, people like it.
For Science Fiction – Maritime
Maritime re-entered my consciousness when I friend wrote a song remarkably similar to one of theirs. After hearing his demo, I scoured through my entire collection trying to find out where I’d heard it before. Turns out it was Maritime, a band that he (like so many others) hadn’t heard of. I bought their latest album recently and while it probably doesn’t beat their last, it’s pretty good. This song is excellent.
I’ve found that as I’m continually trying to present new music, it doesn’t always reflect what I’m actually listening to. Though of course there’s plenty of overlap, my music tends to get divided into two categories; firstly is all the new albums that I’m sifting through and secondly is the music that I listen to when around others (in the car, at parties or venues etc.). This post aims to restore the balance between those two equally import musical avenues.
To everyone who attended the Frequency Shift gigs on Friday and Saturday, THANKS! I almost feel guilty at how much fun I had, so I hope you enjoyed it too. Both nights were a big success in terms of attendance and of course, the bands all performed brilliantly. Apart from getting to see all my favourites again, it was also great to see some artists for the very first time….
Something Happens – Straight Arrows
I’d heard plenty about Straight Arrows so I’m glad I finally got to see them. Their show pretty much consists of two leads yelling incomprehensibly into their microphones, strumming their guitars real fast, giving each other a push and then repeating. I loved it. Every song went for under 2 minutes, was powerfully energetic and impossible not like. It was an action-packed experience. I can’t wait for more!
Galileo – Jordy Lane
Jordy Lane is a solo artist or ‘producer’ out of Sydney who’s been making some great music lately. His on-stage setup consists of a guitar, keyboard and vocals, along with a Mac that makes up for the limits of singularity. He handles it quite well and I was surprised at how well his ‘electronically tinged’ pop music translated into a live show. By far his biggest asset is his voice which is quite special and can easily drive a song on its own. Not wanting to pigeon-hole him or anything, but it kind of reminds me of the Death Cab For Cuite singer. All in all I was very impressed.
You know when you walk into your standard night club and they’re playing those songs that EVERYBODY knows? The songs that aren’t necessarily the best ever written, but are just so much fun to dance to? Collectively, these songs are ‘The Hits’. The Hits show that when all is said and done, music is about having a good time. Forget trying to look cool, get on the dance floor and start screaming the lyrics to a 1980’s classic. That’s when you’ll discover the TRUE beauty of music.
Last Nite – The Strokes
Over the last few weeks I’ve been getting more than my fair share of The Hits. In fact I think I’ve got more than body can handle, but that’s beside the point. As I’ve brushed up on my knowledge, I’ve begun to wonder what the ultimate Hit might be. It’s quite a hard choice because a Hits session is rather diverse. How can you compare the pure violence of ‘Killing In The Name’ with the fanatical recitals brought on by Arcade Fire? (You can’t) But if there is an ultimate Hit, I’d have to say Last Nite would be pretty close. Not only is it incredibly addictive and incredibly well-known, but it’s ACTUALLY A GOOD SONG!
Making Plans For Nigel – XTC
While I haven’t always been the biggest fan, Spectrum is proving itself as one Sydney’s best venues for a healthy dose of The Hits. If you’re looking to annoy the promoter, who just so happens to be called Nigel, this is one Hit he’s not particularly fond of. Whilst it began as a joke at his expense, this song has quickly gathered popularity amongst my own circle of friends and now barely a car trip or party takes place without it. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing, but it’s well and truly stuck in my head.
MelbourneI recently took trip a down to Melbourne which was great fun, despite (or perhaps due to) sleeping just 5 hours per day. Ah well, such is the rock n roll life….
Cassandra – The Galvatrons
Seeing The Galvatrons is up there with the most hilarious moments of my life. They took everything good about Journey and Van Halen and delivered the best recreation of a dirty 80’s rock show I have ever witnessed. Just listen to that drum fill! Did I mention he had an axe! I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing. I loved it! And even though a lot of the entertainment came from the novelty of it all, they really did rock. I can’t wait till they come to Sydney. Hahahaha
Sidewalk – Built To Spill
Distant holidays mean long car trips which mean extensive playlisting. One thing that emerged as we explored the depths of our music collections was the sheer brilliance of ‘the big four’. That is, the first four tracks off Built To Spill’s “Keep It Like A Secret”. Together these four tracks make up one of the best 15 minute periods in all of music. I’ve now featured 3 of them, with no doubt that the fourth is on its way.
Energy – The 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 & Round – The 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 Snap –
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