Aug 29, 2010


The art of melancholy. Never underestimate its importance. I try not to. Because so much that is great in film and music has been coloured with a melancholic hue. We can all appreciate a sunny feeling, a burst of joy. But what stays with me is that quiet sadness, that pining for something lost, that undertone of a certain melancholy. Whether it is a simple Will Oldham couplet, a Sufjan Stevens aching melody or a Doug Martsch high octave yawl, it is all there. That feeling that gets under your skin, that direct punch to the heart. Well, you know who does it as well as anyone. Menomena. Sure, they have wonderful melodies, startling rhythms, confident and intelligent instrumentation. But it's the vocals that get me. All three men share vocals and they do it perfectly. Especially the sublime contrast between Brent Knopf and Danny Seim. With their new album in "Mines", Menomena have created a superb and startling album that will surely rank as one of the best musical creations in 2010.

The languid "Queen Black Acid" opens the party with its loping pace and sure touch. Knopf pleads with the listener, drawing you in, leaving you wanting more. The subsonic blast of "TAOS" knocks you for six immediately following. It carries many of band's regular trademarks. A caterwauling guitar, ferocious drumming, crucial and vital instrumentation, But floating above is the yearning vocal of Knopf. And so on it goes. "Killemall" is a dark maelstrom with its piercing drums. Seim comes to the party with the earnest and contemplative "Dirty Cartoons" and the expansive and quite excellent "Tithe". Seim also takes the lead on one of the definite highlights in the shape of the pulsating and revealing "Five Little Rooms". But it is the last song that brings it all home in glorious fashion. "INTIL" is short for 'I Never Thought I Lied'. It is a sumptuous feast, a veritable soup of overflowing melancholy. A stark and instinctive piano line underlies a plaintive vocal that rises and swells, leaving a deep and memorable impression. There is no weak link on "Mines". It hits each and every target. It is music created from a considerable gift. It is massively human in feeling. It has heart and soul. It is greatness.

Aug 27, 2010

Andrew Cedermark Album Just Around the Corner

I previously mentioned that Andrew Cedermark, a former member of Titus Andronicus, would be releasing his debut album sometime in 2010. Well, that time is nearly upon us. "Moon Deluxe" will be released on Underwater Peoples on September 14. Containing 10 tracks and recorded in Charlottesville, Virginia this is definitely one album that I am looking forward to. I have a new track to share below.

Moon Deluxe Track Listing
1 Ad Infinitum
2 Moon Deluxe
3 Gloria '85
4 Anchorite
5 Untruth
6 Will Not Compete
7 Hard Livin'
8 Freezing
9 Your Dream Is Killing Me
10 I Won't Know Me Anymore

MP3: Hard Livin'-Andrew Cedermark

Aug 25, 2010

Destroyer Ready To Release New Music

That epitome of songwriting genius in Dan Bejar is set to release new music in November. But it is limited and rather brief. On November 2 Destroyer will release a limited edition, only 1000 copies, 12 inch that goes by the name of "Archer On The Beach b/w Grief Point". The A-Side is a collaboration between Bejar and ambient guru Tim Hecker, whilst "Grief Point" sees Bejar working with Loscil. Bejar said "I'm not responsible for any of the music contained on this EP aside from the vocals, the general chord progression of 'Archer on the Beach', and maybe a couple of the sound effects." Naturally I await with interest. Naturally this release will brought to us by Merge Records.

Aug 24, 2010

Pink City-Secret Cities

Aug 20, 2010

Ready To Start-Arcade Fire

Aug 18, 2010

The New Pornographers Tour Australia

Get ready to dance! The New Pornographers, those makers of perfect melodies, are returning to Australia. They toured previously in 2006 and 2008 and provided full value for money, so don't miss out on this tour. And if you don't own a copy of their latest album in "Together", then make sure you go out and buy one. Now!

The New Pornographers Tour Dates
November 9, The Zoo, Qld
November 10, Manning Bar, NSW
November 12, Republic Bar & Cafe, Tas
November 13, The Hi-Fi, Vic
November 14, Fowler's Live, SA
November 16, Rosemount Hotel, WA

Aug 17, 2010

Lay Of The Last Survivor-Will Sheff

This will make you choke on your cereal. The amazing Will Sheff performed solo recently at New York's Living Room. Here he plays a new song in "Lay Of The Last Survivor" which is typical of what Sheff does best. Makes your heart stop, then you cry...

Aug 15, 2010

Wake Up-Arcade Fire (Live At Madison Square Garden)

For as long as music continues to matter this song will continue to matter.

Aug 13, 2010

Five Little Rooms-Menomena

"Five Little Rooms", from the wonderful Menomena, from their astounding new album in 'Mines". Live from KEXP in Seattle.

Aug 10, 2010

Dirty Three (Live At Meredith 2004)

The magnificent Dirty Three playing Meredith Music Festival in 2004. A rendition of "Everything's Fucked" that consolidated their reputation as one of Australia's two or three greatest bands ever. And they are playing Meredith again this year!

Aug 9, 2010

The Thermals Get Personal

In just on a month The Thermals will give us album number 5. September 7 to be exact, on Kill Rock Stars. The Portland trio have always made intelligent, furious power/punk music and I hope this tradition continues on "Personal Life". In the past they have waged war on politics, religion and other meaty subjects. This time it is personal. Their subject matter is perhaps the most important of all-love. Stay tuned.

Personal Life Track Listing
1 I'm Gonna Change Your Life
2 I Don't Believe You
3 Never Listen To Me
4 Not Like Any Other Feeling
5 Power Lies
6 Only For You
7 Alone, A Fool
8 Your Love Is So Strong
9 A Reflection
10 You Changed My Life

MP3: I Don't Believe You-The Thermals

Aug 8, 2010

Heading For The Cold-Ernest Ellis

Excellent song from an excellent album. Local singer Ernest Ellis has produced a stirring and worthy debut album in the shape of "Hunting", out now on Dew Process. Here is the video for "Heading For the Cold".

Aug 5, 2010

Broken Social Scene @ Metro Theatre

I have probably mentioned previously that a Broken Social Scene gig at the Metro Theatre that I witnessed in 2006 would easily find a place in my top five gigs of all time. Easily. It was 3 hours of euphoria and pure and unbridled joy. A night I will never, ever forget. In 2008 I saw them twice again. An uneven and slightly disappointing show at the Manning Bar and then a triumphant display at the Laneway Festival where they had the added bonus of Feist and members of Stars join them on stage for an orgasmic maelstrom. Fast forward to 2010 and I returned to the Metro again. The band has a new album under their arms and expectations were high for hopefully a great night. Thankfully it was! Despite some flat spots it was a sure and confident display of a now veteran band of accomplished and talented musicians. Whilst never quite reaching the nirvana of 2006 I walked out onto George Street with my ears ringing, my face smiling and the utmost belief that this Toronto collective has plenty left in the tank.

"World Sick" gave the night a flying start. Its loping sound and building nature was a joy to hear. Five men in guitars stretched out on stage was an awesome sight as they worked in close unison to keep the song driving along. Soon followed an oldie in "Stars and Sons", a reminder of how monumental an album "You Forgot It In People" was way back at the start of the decade. Another new song followed in personal favourite "Texico Bitches" and the night was going swimmingly. We reached a little flat spot soon though which was a combination of factors. Firstly I was behind some pretty tall guys and I had trouble seeing the stage properly. They were well behaved and had every right to be there but sometimes it is just a downside of live shows if all you can see is the back of some one's head instead of the performer you are trying hard to see. Secondly the set dipped a little in quality. We had three songs in a row that are not my favourites off the new album plus a couple of songs pulled from the Broken Social Scene Presents... albums. Now I actually like both of those albums but the songs that they chose are not my personal picks, especially the Canning number in "Love Is New". But then things opened up a bit for us. We managed to get a clear view of the stage and Canning took lead vocals on the extremely delectable "Water In Hell". After this it was all honey. "Superconnected" fairly shook the rafters, which was followed by Kevin Drew wading into the audience to perform the sublime "Ungrateful Little Father". Immediately following this the band started to mistakenly depart the stage which bemused Drew no end. He quickly called them back and then they brought a massive smile to my face with always great "KC Accidental". This amazing song was one of many on the night that featured a local horns section (two saxes, a trumpet and a trombone). They certainly added that extra push to many songs that just don't sound right without them. Unfortunately a minus on the night was a lack of female vocals. Lisa Lobsinger was still feeling the effects of the flu and couldn't sing, meaning songs like "Shoreline" and "Anthems" were not going to be performed. Which was disappointing but obviously unavoidable. However "Lover's Spit" more then made up for it. Kevin Drew started the song alone, just on keyboards, before messrs Canning, Spearin and Whiteman joined in with some subtle instrumentation. A delightful and beautiful highlight of the night. As the night approached two hours Drew then explained that the encore was with us now. No false walk offs here, just more glorious music. "Ibi Dreams Of Pavement (A Better Day)" and the immense "Meet Me In the Basement" were both the perfect way to end the night. Guitars blazed, throats were extended and horns crashed out of control. Everyone seemed happy, I certainly was. It wasn't a night that made you forget all others, but it was still just so damn good.

Set List
World Sick
Stars And Sons
Texico Bitches
Fire Eye'd Boy
Forced To Love
Sweetest Kill
Art House Director
Cause = Time
Frightening Lives
Love Is New
Water In Hell
Ungrateful Little Father
KC Accidental
Lover's Spit
Ibi Dreams Of Pavement (A Better Day)
Meet Me In The Basement

Aug 4, 2010

Frightened Rabbit @ The Factory

So much passion, so much heart, so much fun. In the short space of time we had taken Frightened Rabbit deep into our heart. In the short space of time we had seen them three times. But this was the first proper, non festival show that we had witnessed. And they smashed it. Frightened Rabbit write songs that are insanely melodic, directly powerful and yes, just great handfuls of fun. With a capital F. Tuesday night at The Factory was superb, enthralling and hugely smile enducing. This band manage to do the uncomplicated in a very unique way. They are not revolutionary nor experimental in any way and yet no other band sounds quite like them. Their songs fly head long to a cliff edge, with your heart in mouth. They build and collapse many times over. The message is quite simple, but so personal that it can make you laugh and smile all within the same addictive chorus or unforgettable verse. If Frightened Rabbit didn't exist then I think we would all need a reason to invent them. If hearts are sworn on sleeves then this band has 48,000 veins and arteries spilling out on stage.

Now, another great part of the night was the joy of hearing many of the 'Winter of Mixed Drinks' songs live for the first time. We had heard the joyous "Swim Until You Can't See Land" live before but the rest were all fresh including the opening great salvo in "Skip The Youth". Probably my favourite though was "The Loneliness and the Scream", which was thunderous and a perfect singalong song for the enraptured audience. Of course the night slept firmly on the bedrock of 'Midnight Organ Fight'. These songs are always super special live and will never grow old. "The Modern Leper" is a headcharge of a song and "The Twist" is all aching pain. As is the heart breaking "My Backwards Walk", which singer and lead man Scott Hutchison performed mainly solo on his electric. As his heart opened ours opened too to take him inside. Hutchison led his band admirably, as his men played with skill and passion behind him. Scott was quite chatty between songs too. Not long and rambling but very charming and personal. The other magic member of the band is his brother Grant who fairly murders his drum kit each and every time out. As they closed with the epic "Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms" we realised it had been a very special night but also heavily anticipating an encore. Which delivered immensely. Scott Hutchison returned with just his acoustic to play the soul shattering "Poke", before the band returned to give us the charging "Living In Colour" and then the epic "Keep Yourself Warm". This last song is a special treat live. It bleeds heartache and pain as it traverses its desolate tale before the song crashes into pure pandemonium. A great way to close a special night. From Selkirk to Sydney. The journey was definitely worthwhile.

Set List
Skip The Youth
The Modern Leper
Nothing Like You
The Loneliness And The Scream
The Twist
The Wrestle
My Backwards Walk
Head Rolls Off
Old Old Fashioned
Swim Until You Can't See Land
Good Arms Vs. Bad Arms

Living In Colour
Keep Yourself Warm

Aug 3, 2010

Laura Marling @ Metro Theatre

Speaks as quiet as a sparrow. Sings as loud as a lion. That is Laura Marling who was, quite simply, wonderful at the Metro Theatre on Monday night. This will be a relatively brief review as I am currently in the busy Splendour sideshow week and I am a bit pressed for time. Suffice to say she delivered a concise, emotive and at times glorious set. As only a recent convert to her music this was my first time seeing the young London singer. And I left impressed. Playing equal parts from both of her albums, plus a couple of new songs she had the audience in hushed rapture through out. Her band was great too. There was a cello (always superb), a double bass and Marcus Mumford on mandolin. They all combined to produce a lush and warm atmosphere. "Devil's Spoke" was a powerful opener and was a definite highlight. As was the melodic "Ghosts" and the dark "Alpha Shallows". Laura also had a five song middle where she was left solo on her acoustic. The stunning moment here was "Goodbye England (Covered in Snow). Ms Marling also explained that she is trying to lead a world wide movement against the staged encore. So there was to be no encore as we were alerted to the stark fact that the last two songs played were definitely the last two. But the audience was so in love with her that it was accepted as a good idea. Which in truth it probably is. So we all left satisfied, having witnessed a superb and burgeoning talent. A young woman with a huge voice. Now, I have to get ready for a date with some Rabbits from Scotland and then some Broken men from Canada.

Set List
Devil's Spoke
Hope In The Air
Rambling Man
My Manic And I
Blackberry Stone
Night Terror
Don't Ask Me Why (new song)
? (new song)
Made By Maid
Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)
What He Wrote
Alpha Shallows
Alas, I Cannot Swim
I Speak Because I Can