Sep 30, 2007
Sep 29, 2007
Last night was a night of young local bands showing off their wares. I didn't see all of them but I saw the one I really wanted to see. Cloud Control. They hail from the Blue Mountains, but I think they came via Carnaby Street. They have that really shiny, glistening pop sound nailed down pretty well. Their songs aren't especially complicated but they have a dreamy quality with hummable choruses and tight melodies. Their singer has quite a powerful and confident voice. The other good news is that they are just about to release their debut EP. Six songs of quality, just beautiful vignettes of pop and wonder. They will be officially launching it at Chess Club (UTS Loft) on October 13.
You can find out more at their MySpace.
MP3: Buffalo Country
Sep 27, 2007
If you love Broken Social Scene, then this eloquent slab of pleasure will be right up your alley. It contains all of their great qualities. Fuzzy guitar, sweeping choruses, aching melodies. You know those things that make us swoon and sway. "Farewell To The Pressure Kids" gets things rolling nicely. Kevin sounds like he singing down a well, with a full orchestra clattering around him. I like how the vocals become one with the instrumentation. All swirling and hectic it feels immediate and in your face. It ticks like a time bomb, setting the scene. The best thing about this music is the flow. It is seamless. "TBTF", "F--cked Up Kid" and "Safety Bricks" rollick along effortlessly with desirable harmonies. "Lucky Ones" takes it up a notch with its bold choruses and sweeping arrangements. There are some languid, dreamy moments here too. "Broke Me Up" and "Gang Bang Suicide" are almost tranquil and serene. When he sings "So when you die, will you leave behind, all the leaves that we sewed, to ourselves" I think my heart skips a beat. Someone, a very good judge, said the singer sounds almost childish. This strikes at the heart of the matter with the whole BSS thing. There is the paradox of child like wonder sitting next to base human emotions. The lyrics are about love and lust, hope and decay. Seemingly sweet and innocent there is a simple majesty at work here. It is probably captured best on my favourite song "Frightening Lives", a head rush of a song that threatens to explode. "Sex and our wills will stain our lips, now put it in your head, put it in your head", indeed. If black and white emotions of love and hate can exist perfectly in a song, it is on this album. "Aging Places/Losing Places" and "Bodhi Sappy Weekend" are other delights to savour. Of course Kevin Drew is helped out by all his "kids" including "Whiteman, Haines, Feist, Canning, Millan, Peroff, Penner". They are a most talented bunch. His biggest thanks on the liner notes are fellow BSS's and DMSThinkers Benchetrit and Spearin. "...thanks to Ohad for teaching me how to close my eyes again, and to Charlie for helping me breath." I recommend you close your eyes, listen to Sprit If... and then just breathe.
For those of you that might have noticed I have had a few glitches on my blog. Things should be back to normal now. Here is one of my favourite songs of the year. In fact this song is very special to me for a number of reasons.
Sep 25, 2007
MP3: Shuttles and Planes
Available for purchase at Amazon.
Sep 24, 2007
MP3: West Coast
Available for purchase from Amazon.
Sep 23, 2007
Sep 22, 2007
Sep 21, 2007
This looks a fitting tribute to the greatness of Kurt Cobain. Not sure when it is getting an Australian release, but definitely one to look forward to.
Sep 20, 2007
Bizarre, sublime, magnificent. Everything and more. The first single from the incredible "Strawberry Jam". I would like to live in a world where this is the number one single.
Sep 19, 2007
MP3: Ed Is A Portal
Sep 18, 2007
Ah, so back to the start. "Peacebone" comes at you with static noise before the drums kick in and the unmistakable rhythms of Animal Collective loop inside your brain. This track also shows that this album is dominated by the voice of Avey Tare. His voice is not technically great, he doesn't have the glorious melodic pipes of Panda Bear. But he sings with spirit and character and he possesses an internal rhythm that is perfectly suited to the music. And when he yelps and screams your heart skips a beat. "Unsolved Mysteries" continues the pattern. Uneven rhythms and plaintive singing somehow jell together. Then the great triumvirate is upon us. 3 soaring songs of supreme majesty that are heartbreakingly beautiful and just damn exciting. "Chores" is Panda Bear's major piece and the glorious harmonies will truly have you sighing and smiling. A song of great heart and tenderness indeed. "For Reverend Green" is quite possibly the band's greatest moment. An epic song of undeniable passion it leaves me breathless. When Avey Tare screams "Now I think it's alright to feel inhuman" I start to have conniptions. Then the shimmering beauty of "Fireworks" follows, all grace and startling splendour. Like all AC albums those moments of striving for the musical heights also produce songs that are experimental and puzzling. "#1" is a little too monotonous and "Cuckoo Cuckoo" has some lovely piano but meanders a little bit too much. But then the closing song "Derek" brings Panda Bear back into the fold with a glorious song of divine proportions. This is AC's most succinct, focused work yet. Full of incredible beauty and pulsating excitement, it makes me grateful that some people in the world have the ability to present such a wonderful gift of music.
Sep 17, 2007
"The Submarine" is the debut album from Melbourne's Whitley. And I love it. I have seen this band 3 times this year and have enjoyed every performance. The sound and songwriting strength has grown with every show and it is evident here in this platter of passion. I say band because it feels like a band, having grown to 5 members the last time I saw them. I am pretty sure Whitley started out as a solo project of Lawrence Greenwood, but even he (according to the liner notes) has taken on the moniker of the name of the band. So anyway you look at it, Whitley has created a peaceful, serene album of beautiful tunes that touch on the cornerstones of folk, country and rock. The opening track, "Cheap Clothes" will draw you in straight away with its gentle strings before a banjo enters the scene. Banjo and strings, a pretty hard combination to beat. There are so many other delights through out the record. Moments of quiet beauty, gently plucked guitar, hummable tunes. All augmented by Whitley's gentle croon. His voice has a husky texture that is both comforting and inviting. Lyrically the songs are concerned with poetic images of love and loss, regret and despair. There is a mournful air at work here, but never maudlin. You will be moved, but still have a feeling of joy. I would say this is what most song writers are striving for. Besides the opening track, other stand outs are the live staple "Lost in Time", the shimmering drone of "A Shot To The Stars", the delightful "I Remember", the heart breaking "More Than Life" and the cover of Jeff Buckley's "Mojo Pin". Highly recommended for lovers of music that stirs the soul.
MP3: Lost in Time
Sep 16, 2007
The spirit of rock and roll is alive and well. It lives inside Silversun Pickups. I have to come to this conclusion after witnessing their blistering, sometimes ferocious set at the Annandale Hotel on Saturday night. Their 2006 debut album "Carnavas" was particularly enjoyed by myself, but I still wasn't prepared for the passion, spirit and excitement that they would bring to Sydney. They opened with "Well Thought Out Twinkles" and the sold out venue was already ready to burst at the seams. Rest was not an option after this. The four piece from Los Angeles tore through their set, upping the ante on every song. Playing "Future Foe Scenarios" and "Kissing Families" back to back was my highlight of the night, but there were many. Of course the familiar opening riff of "Lazy Eye" sent the crowd into a frenzy as the band proceeded to build that song up, tear it apart and then bring it to a crescendo again. The delicious melody of "Common Reactor" was also well received.
A great part of the night was the interaction between the band and crowd. There was a real happy vibe in the audience, which I think the band fed off and delighted in. I would say after playing a number of support dates with Snow Patrol, to play in a small, sweaty pub where you can touch the audience (and they did) would delight the group. Lead singer Brian Aubert was constantly smiling, talking with the crowd, in between wielding his guitar with unbridled ferocity. And the man has stage presence by the bucket loads. Full of charisma, his unique voice could probably be heard in the next suburb as he kept reaching down for that last drop of passion and pain. Nikki Monninger supported him ably on bass and vocals and I was very happy to hear her close with "Creation Lake". Whilst drummer Chris Guanlao tore his drums apart with quite incredible zeal. This band welds melodies hard and fast to pulsating guitar lines. A reminder that music can be beautiful in many shapes and styles. "It's everything that is connected and beautiful. And now I know just where I stand."
Set List (This is to my best knowledge, I stand to be corrected)
Well Thought Twinkles
Waste It On
Little Lover's So Polite
Future Foe Scenarios
Dream at Tempo 119
Sep 15, 2007
Picture N' See
We Don't Walk
Restless Through The Night
Supports were excellent. Second time for me seeing Cuthbert and the Nightwalkers was just as good as the first. Their sound was a little edgier, but the beautiful harmonies were still there. I really look forward to them producing some more recorded material in the future. Opening act Richard in Your Mind once again proved that their quixotic blend of folk and psychedelic rock is very entertaining. All in all, a great night of local music.
Sep 13, 2007
Where is "Strawberry Jam"? I have looked everywhere in Sydney for the latest opus from Animal Collective. I know it leaked ages ago and even I downloaded a few tracks for a taste. But I love to buy CDs and I was kind of expecting a work of this nature would be readily available by now. Oh well, will have to keep searching. I did buy the new Josh Ritter album "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter". So far, I am very satisfied with that purchase.
MP3: Fireworks-Animal Collective
MP3: To the Dogs or Whoever-Josh Ritter
Portland could be the Indie Rock capital of the world. Slate seem to think so.
"Hate to tell you, but there’s an ENDLESS SUPPLY of good-looking people in this world. In the time it takes you to make it, the machine can find someone else younger, who won’t talk back, to start paying attention to. And now, in the studio, via auto-tune, it can be made to appear that ANYBODY can sing. But not anybody can sing live, not anybody can write a song."
This quote is from a great article from the Lefsetz Letter. You can read it here.
This weekend looks excellent for live music. The Paper Scissors (truly one of our best live bands) headline a great 3 band lineup Friday night at Spectrum. Then Saturday night Silversun Pickups escape the clutches of Snow Patrol to play at a sold out Annandale Hotel.
Some music for your listening pleasure-
MP3: Winged/Wicked Things-Sunset Rubdown
MP3: Used Kids-Earwig
MP3: Curve That Bird-Head of Femur
MP3: A Sunday Smile-Beirut
MP3: Lake Michigan-Rogue Wave
MP3: Despite What You've Been Told-Two Gallants
Sep 12, 2007
MP3: Duplexes of the Dead
Sep 11, 2007
Sep 10, 2007
The first set I saw was Whitley, who are quickly becoming one of my favourite Australian acts. This is the third time I have seen them and their sound is becoming bigger each time. Although a lunchtime set on a Sunday in front of small crowd is not the ideal way to show off their sound, the talent shines through none the less. Debut album "The Submarine" is out on the 15th and I am very much looking forward to giving it a good listen. I also watched Dardanelles play on the day, but despite their passion and fervour and their burgeoning reputation they failed to impress. I think their fairly basic brand of rock is not really what I can get into at the moment.
Sep 7, 2007
My absolute highlight was seeing Portland locals Horse Feathers (pictured above). They played in the Galaxy Barn and I was spellbound by their mesmeric performance. Justin Ringle cuts a knife through the air with his emotional clarity. Peter Broderick gives ample support on violin, drums and vocals. Playing mostly a set comprised of material from their wonderful 2006 album "Words Are Dead" it was music in its purest form. Definitely one of the best performances I will see in 2007. Unfortunately like all festivals there is always a clash of artists you wish to see. In this case I was only able to enjoy two songs from the ferocious talent of Langhorne Slim (pictured below). What I heard made me wish that somehow I can catch this man in the future. Since then I have picked up his last album "When The Sun's Gone Down". If you desire a slice of folk/rockabilly/country Brooklyn style, I can heartily recommend it.
The other enormous highlight of the day, and there were many, was seeing Po'Girl in the Gallery Barn. A small and intimate setting, Po'Girl charmed and entertained like few other bands. The Vancouver trio (joined by a Washington guitar player), switched effortlessly from style to style and singer to singer. Their music was almost spiritual, touching on folk, blues, jazz and country. All the voices were hauntingly beautiful but the soulful voice of Alison Russell really stood out and her clarinet playing added an extra special touch. Their performance was just one of the many special moments that went into making the rich musical tapestry that is Pickathon.
MP3: In the Midnight-Langhorne Slim
MP3: Blood on the Snow-Horse Feathers
MP3: Home To You-Po'Girl
Sep 6, 2007
Do you own an iPod? Do these new models interest or excite you? Do you prefer other brands of MP3 players? Do you buy music using iTunes? Personally I rarely use iTunes. I prefer to buy CDs and download them to iTunes. One thing I know. I love my iPod.
Sep 5, 2007
If you seek typical Pornographers sound, skip straight to "All The Things That Go To Make Heaven And Earth". It is full of great melodies, swirling keyboards and driving guitar, power pop at its best. "Mutiny, I Promise You" will probably give you the same rush. After that though there are various nooks and crannies to dive into and discover music that is both intelligent and utterly beautiful. The opening two tracks "My Rights Versus Yours" and "All The Old Showstoppers" are evidence of pop songsters producing mature songs that are a little more satisfying upon every listen. "Unguided" is a gorgeous ode by Carl Newman to New York City, his new home. Kathryn Calder shows off her fine voice on "Adventures In Solitude", a glorious song that gets better with every listen. Then there are the majestic talents of Dan Bejar on his 3 songs. He hasn't let the side down. "Myriad Harbour" is an absolute standout, whilst "Entering White Cecilia" and "The Spirit of Giving" would fit snugly onto any Destroyer album. But the absolute standouts are concerning the sublime talent that is Neko Case. The title track and "Go Places" are quite simply divine. They will melt in your mouth. You know the more I think about it, this is music that is incredibly satisfying. It is not trying to be trendy, it is a testament to the beauty and craft of song. It will reveal its beauty more and more upon every listen. Ultimately it is more mature and varied then any of their previous work. It might not give you an instant buzz, but its sweet tasting sounds will live inside you for a considerable time.
MP3: Myriad Harbour
MP3: My Rights Versus Yours
Sep 4, 2007
I managed to catch part of Langhorne Slim's performance at last month's Pickathon Festival. I plan to give my impressions of this wonderful festival shortly. Meanwhile enjoy this remarkable talent.
Sep 3, 2007
This was just put up by La Blogotheque. Absolutely brilliant. Recorded in Paris. One of my favourite songs from one of the best albums of 2007.
Sep 2, 2007
Cillian Murphy was originally going to play the lead, but after pulling out (along with the budget), the film was made for a mere $160,000. Hansard, who was only going to provide the songs for the film, was pushed into the starring role and despite his inexperience does a sterling job. His personality and fierce intelligence overcome any lack of acting experience. Irglova, a debutante as well, also shines in her role, showing tenderness and charm in a promising introduction. The film was made in only 17 days and was mainly shot using natural light. It won't win any cinematography awards, but the strength of the film is its big heart and delectable charm. Music is also featured heavily and most of the tunes are penned by Hansard. Most are pleasant and sweet with "Falling Slowly" being the song that stands out the most. This film, at its simplest, is an unconventional love story that will warm your heart and make you smile. Plus the ending is sweet and endearing, without thankfully veering into sentimentality.
Sep 1, 2007
The rollicking rhythms of "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" is a great introduction. Heavy on drums and rising to a terrific crescendo it also displays another great feature of the album. Will Sheff has never sung better. Still able to reach down for those forceful moments of shrieking humanity, he now shows that his voice can handle any tune quite beautifully also. My favourite song comes up next. "Unless It's Kicks" is pure joy, thumping drums and a beat to die for, it is probably the band's most radio friendly song yet I believe. "A Hand To Take Hold Of The Scene", the following number is the only song that has failed to register with me. Whilst quite catchy and pleasant it doesn't compare very well with the rest of the album. So many other great songs follow though. The simple yet touching "Savannah Smiles", the clever and delightful "Plus Ones" and the heartfelt "Title Track" all make for great listening. Then the gorgeous "John Allyn Smith Sails" closes with its very clever turn of morphing in The Beach Boys' "Sloop John B". This album represents another testament to the sheer talent of Will Sheff. He hasn't made "Black Sheep Boy 2", he has tried to create music that gives you more to ruminate on. At once fun and uplifting it is also tender and gentle. If this is not the best album of 2007 it is certainly in the discussion.
MP3: Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe