Jul 31, 2007

Animal Collective

The always awesome Animal Collective recorded live in Paris recently.

Jul 29, 2007

...And then Sunset Rubdown Leaked, And Happiness and Peace Reigned Throughout The World

There once was a young man from Canada named Spencer and he made music and everyone was happy, for he brought beauty and passion not seen and heard like this for many a long day. He was uninhibited and unfettered by convention. He made music to fill everyone's hearts and minds. Well now, Spencer is back and his band, Sunset Rubdown, have done well, very well. Through the power of the internet, the word is spreading about "Random Spirit Lover" and the word is WOW. He has done it again. To cut to the chase, "Random Spirit Lover" is released on Jagjaguwar on October 9, and if you are able to wait that long you are in for a treat. If you have heard it now you will know what I mean when I say this. Music this good deserves its own category. It sounds and feels like no other, it makes even the best of music seem somewhat unimaginative and mundane. You have probably gathered by now that I regard Mr Krug as the greatest songwriter of his generation (although still new). I do wonder though when your favourite artist releases new music can you actually be objective about it. Probably not, everything you love about them is only going to be reinforced when you hear their voice again. You hear things other people ignore, you feel things other people just don't get. But, in the end I don't think this matters, for music should be, at its most essential, about emotion, feeling, soul and passion. And if you feel it, express it...

So to "Random Spirit Lover", a quick guide-
The Mending of The Gown
A trill guitar riff gives away to an insanely catchy tune, great harmonies with Camilla.
"She had a name, she had a spirit, she had a line in the play if you wanted to hear it."
Magic Vs. Midas
Mournful and elegant, Spencer sings in hushed tones backed by baroque instrumentation.
You can follow the lead of the jackal who waits for the kill to be made by a mightier hand."
Up On Your Leopard, Upon The End Of Feral Days- link to listen
Holy cow, this will burst your chest open. A powerful, emotional epic.
"You’re the one who’s throwing dead birds in the air."
The Courtesan Has Sung
Ethereal and full of echo, drum heavy and a slow burning glory.
"Think of the scene where a washed-up actor wipes the makeup off his wife and says, 'Morticians must have took you for a whore'."
Winged/Wicked Things
First surfaced on Daytrotter, still packs a powerful punch.
But the pattern of flight is chaotic and blind but it’s right."
Colt Stands Up, Grows Horns

Camilla takes over, dirge like and unsettling, dark and mysterious.
"And you twisted the wind, ‘til the snow turns to sand and I can’t find the trail back home."
Sumptuous piano leads to intricate rhythms and plaintive singing.
"Children sing like a choir with no taste for the wine."
For The Pier (and Dead Shimmering)
Is that a harp?, this is gorgeous. Builds and builds before bursting into beauty.
And the raining sound it makes when it’s burning out your eyes."
The Taming Of The Hands That Came Back To Life
Perfect! Throbbing, pulsating, OMG. Drums, harmonies, the guitar riff.
"I am embracing the cold rushing in like ice to a diamond."
Setting Vs. Rising
Short and sweet, full of hope.
"If I'm a city than my citizens will pass no bills along. "
Trumpet, Trumpet, Toot! Toot!
Frantic, passionate, a whirlwind of a song.
"You gotta refine your breath and beats with a graduation hat—use mine."
Child-Heart Losers
So gently it ends, beautiful and sweet.
Indescribable face, what do you stay beautiful for?"

"Shut Up I Am Dreaming" was the triumph of 2006. To have a new album in the following year is a joy for all. How does it compare? Well it is hard to say. They are separate and distinct entities, plus music this complex and elaborate needs constant and considerable listening. Suffice to say it is a triumph on so many levels it will live inside you for days and weeks. Everything you expect is there. Spencer's rallying cry of a yelp, his distinct and unmistakable voice. More Ba-da-dams and
Whoa-oh-ohs to keep us all happy. Lyrics of mystery and intrigue that will keep you bemused, confused and delighted. It does seem that this is more of an album of stories of place, rather then personal stories. It brings up continual themes of horses, whores, shores, rivers, actors, fires, violins, virgins, with a particular reference to the subject of the sea. The band is magnificent, bringing a tight sound, especially the drumming. And Camilla's vocals are given more prominence, adding another element. Clocking in at around an hour, this is music that feels delivered from a special place. Raging and epic, small and personal. Heartfelt and boundless. The spirit of humanity lives and breathes here. I need to go and lie down for a while...

With respect to the artist I wouldn't think to post any music here. I hope this in some ways give you a feeling for the music if you haven't heard it yet. Wolf Parade forums have it covered every way up and down, head over for more guidance if you like.

Jul 27, 2007

The National - Fake Empire (Live on Letterman)

Can this band get any better?

Jul 26, 2007

Ra Ra Riot

New York's Ra Ra Riot have just released their self titled debut EP. It is quite simply, good, very good. Six songs of joy, love and hope. Songs that are meant to make you dance and smile, they have a certain rhythm that drive each song to an ecstatic finish. I think it's the strings. Aren't strings great? But there is also the frenetic drumming, the driving guitars and the passionate vocals of Wesley Miles. People like to compare them to Arcade Fire, but I think a better comparison would be 'Stars on steroids'. There is that driving beat on every song, but each song contains that fine pop sensibility. Now of course you probably know by now of the tragic loss of their drummer John Pike back in June. But as their website would attest to they have a slew of live dates coming up, so they are playing on despite the tragedy. I believe the centrepiece of the EP is "Dying is Fine", a huge slab of a song that gyrates and grinds. "Everest" and "Can You Tell" are short and sweet, whilst the closer "Ghost Under Rocks" (probably the heaviest track) has really gotten under my skin. This is a very talented young band who have done a fine job with their first recording. Their live reputation is one of energy and enthusiasm, so hopefully a tour to these parts is not too far away.

You can purchase the EP here.
MP3: Each Year
MP3: Dying is Fine

Jul 25, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited

Brand new trailer from Wes Anderson's latest film. Mr Anderson does what all great film makers do, make something extraordinary out of the ordinary. The Darjeeling Limited opens in Australia on Boxing Day.

Jul 24, 2007

Silversun Pickups Sideshow

Well this is exciting news. As you might have known, Los Angeles quartet Silversun Pickups are supporting Snow Patrol on their Australian tour in September. Not being a Snow Patrol fan, nor a stadium rock show fan, I was hoping for a SSPU sideshow. The good news is, it's now happening. They are playing the Annandale Hotel on September 15. Also apparently they have a Melbourne show planned but I don't have any details of that yet.
Tickets go on sale July 26 and more information can be found here.
MP3: Well Thought Out Twinkles
MP3: Lazy Eye

Have you heard the new Sunset Rubdown song?
It is quite fantastic, is it not? "Up On Your Leopard, Upon The End Of Your Feral Days" is currently streaming at Pitchfork.
Speaking of Mr Krug's supremely talented group they are playing Pop Montreal, October 3-7.
Here are some of the artists just announced to play (quite nice I think)-

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
The National
Sunset Rubdown
Magnolia Electric Co.
Fujiya & Miyagi
Black Mountain
Final Fantasy
Patti Smith
Half Japanese
Pere Ubu
Oakley Hall
Kid Sister
The Cool Kids
Ron Sexsmith
Born Ruffians
Chad VanGaalen
The Watson Twins
Cody ChesnuTT

Jul 23, 2007

Emotionalism-The Avett Brothers

"Emotionalism" is the new album from The Avett Brothers and the straightforward title is very apt. This is pure and honest emotional music. It has a heart as big as an ocean and enough soul to feed a small nation. To be honest I doubt I would have listened to their type of music a few years ago, but a musical journey of somewhat similar acts has led me to this destination. And I am very pleased, for The Avett Brothers convey that timeless magic of beautifully written anecdotes that purely rely on the power of the voice and simple instrumentation.

The Avett Brothers are brothers Seth and Scott and Bob Crawford and "Emotionalism" is their fourth full length album, although they have released a few live recordings as well. They hail from North Carolina and their music is a blend of bluegrass, country, folk, rock and ragtime. As I said the instrumentation is very simple, basically guitar, upright bass and banjo. What makes the music soar are the gorgeous harmonies by all three singers. Ranging from softly song ballads to up tempo rockers you will swoon at the beautiful melodies. This is never more evident then on "Paranoia in B-Flat Major" which is just a beautiful song. "Will You Return" is just happiness personified, whilst "The Ballad of Love and Hate" is a slow burning song of regret and loss. Actually, calling on their country roots, most of the album's themes are loves won and lost, mistakes made and regret laid out. But it is never maudlin or contrived, these are just gorgeous songs that will resonate with you for years to come. It is never better exemplified then in the album centrepiece "Salina" which aches with beauty and passion. A beautiful voice is backed by piano and banjo, simple but oh so effective. If you desire music that relies on the craft of songwriting and makes genuine emotion its focus then you should invest in "Emotionalism".

MP3: Paranoia in B-flat Major
You can purchase "Emotionalism" from Amazon.

Jul 21, 2007

Old Man River @ The Vanguard

Playing the second night in a row of sold out shows at The Vanguard in Newtown, Old Man River put on a thoroughly entertaining and rewarding show on Friday night. Finishing the show at midnight they delighted with their eclectic blend of rock, country, folk and sixties style pop. Ohad Rein has recently augmented the band with two more members which has fleshed out the sound out even more, especially with the magical addition of a Sitar, which opened the show. The band play an upbeat, happy type of music which is certain to always make you smile. Ohad's songs are fairly simple lyrically but are very personal and convey a good amount of emotion. Also he is a wonderful guitarist (his jams are great) and a powerful and soulful singer. Highlight songs were "Wedding Song", "Sunshine" and the crowd pleaser "LA", where is had support acts Cuthbert & The Night Walkers and Lisa Mitchell join him on stage for a rousing send off.

Although the headline act was very entertaining and enjoyable, my greatest delight and joy of the night was seeing, for the first time, support act Cuthbert & The Night Walkers. They were a surprise and certainly a band I will follow with great interest. Colourful to the extreme, they were light on instrumentation but big on heart, soul and harmonies. Oh, the harmonies were amazing. Lead singer Richard, strumming an acoustic guitar, led the way with his personal tales of everyday life. Backing him up were four female singers who chimed in with beautiful vocals that made each song an extravaganza of melody and rhythm. To further augment the sound and colour there were two percussionists dressed in clown faces who were not only funny but chimed in with little touches that suited the sound perfectly. This is a band that is original and daring, making beautiful music that is very hard to resist.

This was my first night to The Vanguard and I had a wonderful time. Intimate and cosy, the decor is very European with candlelit tables, red decor and just an warm and luxurious feel. Dinner is served before the music starts and the food is quite good, providing excellent value once you take in the combination price of meal and show. My only complaint. If you attend this venue, or any other similar style dinner/show venues please try to be quiet for the duration of the performers' sets. I find it so disrespectful to fellow show goers and particularly to the performers themselves.

Jul 19, 2007

Jagjaguwar Is Good, Very Good; And It Is About To Get A Whole Lot Better

Jagjaguwar, just the very mention of the name makes me feel that great music is just around the corner. Well, on the left is the artwork for the new album "Random Spirit Lover" by Sunset Rubdown, set to be released on October 9. I have to admit that is doesn't look particularly attractive, but of course it is a given that the music will be from another universe so perhaps it doesn't matter. Anyway there is plenty else to get excited by. On August 7 the magnificent new album from Okkervil River, "The Stage Names" will be released. But there is more, two more great albums were released in June, see below.

Minus Story are from America's Midwest, Missouri to be exact. They fill in all the cracks that appear between musical genres. They make music that is very hard to pin down, but it stirs the heart and the mind. Vastly under appreciated, "My Ion Truss" (an anagram of the band's name) represents the band's fourth full length release. Just like the others this one is a total pleasure, delving into sweet melodies, evocative sound scapes and moments of pure tenderness. Recorded in Chicago by John Congleton (Explosions In The Sky) they manage to surprise on so many levels. Jordan Geiger's voice is undoubtedly the centrepiece though. Light and ethereal, it always succeeds in conveying a great deal of emotion. I think this could be the band's best work yet, although they always teeter on the edge between beauty and shambles, their charm always shines through. Stand out tracks include "Aaron", "Stitch Me Up" "Parachute" and "Battle Of Our Lives". If you crave music that is original and exciting you won't go wrong here.
MP3: Stitch Me Up

If you like Black Mountain then you should definitely look into the debut self titled album from Lightning Dust. For this band is Amber Webber and Joshua Wells from the afore mentioned Vancouver collective. And I have to say it is quite an auspicious debut. The sound is fairly similar, slow build ups, beautiful guitar progressions. But the sound is more sparse, more spacious. Space that allows Amber Webber's glorious voice to float across the arrangements. She in fact handles nearly all the vocal duties and she is excellent through out. Especially on the gorgeous and evocative "When You Go" and "Castles And Caves". This is quite sumptuous music that creates an atmosphere of controlled beauty.
MP3: Listened On

Now you might think this was a paid announcement for Jagjaguwar. Far from it, I only write about music that touches and moves me, and this label does it better then anyone else out there. Actually it got me to thinking, which labels do I feel consistently bring out great music that is innovative and exciting. Here is my top ten. Which labels do you feel safe buying from, knowing that they generally produce good music. Or doesn't it matter.

3-Sub Pop
5-Secretly Canadian
7-Temporary Residence
9-Arts and Crafts
The Underdog-Spoon

If you love music, I think you just have to love this song. The new Spoon album is an absolute monster.

Jul 18, 2007

For Agent 13-The Besnard Lakes

From one of the best albums of 2007. This song is beautiful and the video is very evocative.

Jul 17, 2007

The Paper Scissors Debut Album; Plus Links, Links and Exciting News

"Less Talk More Paper Scissors" is the debut album from Sydney's very own The Paper Scissors. It will be released on August 18 and as this band is easily one of the most exciting local acts going around I am very excited to hear their first full length release. After receiving much praise for their debut EP and the single "Yamanote Line" I am sure this album will be one to look forward to.

Track Listing
1- Yamanote Line - MP3
2-Oxygen Accident
3-Still Small
4-We Don't Walk
5-Picture 'N See
7-Restless Through The Night
8-Tipped Hat
9-Bomb Package
11-The Bandit

"Random Spirit Lover", the second album from Sunset Rubdown is due in early October on Jagjaguwar. To say I am wildly excited by this release would be a mild understatement.
Here are two very recent articles with news and an interview.

Billboard spoke to Spencer about the new album and Wolf Parade as well-
"Each song was treated as its own piece of art and worked on carefully, considerately, in an attempt to let it reach its full potential," Krug says. "Doing it one track at a time, in order, allowed us to watch the record unfold as we recorded it, and record each song in accordance with how it would compliment the one that came before it, and what was coming next."

Filter Magazine has listened to an advance copy. Holy cow, some people are so lucky. The writer's first impression-
In Sunset Rubdown's most recent outing, one can imagine Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug grabbing a lyre and leading a fanciful, um, parade of children down to the waterside to drink fairy dust and liquid gumdrops. Even more fleshed out and fully-realized than 2006's stellar sophomore album Shut Up I Am Dreaming, the four-piece has hit their stride with this almost hour-long collection of otherworldly, spirited tales. PURE MAGIC.

eMusic has a piece where Spoon's Britt Daniel gives a thorough collection of thoughts on their stunning new album "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga".

Everyday, without question I check in with Passion of the Weiss. His writing is erudite, funny and informative. Recently he posted an hilarious piece about the "death" of a hipster at the Pitchfork Music Festival. I love this line "It's just so sad that Harrison didn't get to see Deerhunter. I think he would've really loved those kids. There was nothing Harrison enjoyed more than a band making music that really challenged the notions of what it it means to make avant-garde music for art-school kids with trust funds, music critics and avant-garde art-school kids with trust funds who write online music criticism." You can read it here.

Besides the afore mentioned here are a few blogs (besides the extremely obvious ones) I love to check every single day-
Pop Headwound
Nerd Litter
Vague Space
The Rawking Refuses To Stop
Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands
Untitled Records
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside?

Some Tunes To Enjoy-
I Saw The Bright Shinies-The Octopus Project
Daemon Meeting-Old Time Relijun
Thankless Marriage-Spokane
White Dove-John Vanderslice

Jul 16, 2007

Our Love To Admire-Interpol

My two cents on the new Interpol record. Is it good? Yes. Is it great? Probably no. Is it going to gather new fans? No. Will it satisfy old fans? Yes. Is it breaking many new sounds? Definitely not. Do I like it? Yes. But it's not as good as "Turn on the Bright Lights", although it is comparable to "Antics" (which I did like). This marks Interpol's switch from Matador to Capitol and they have managed to create a strong, dramatic piece of music that paints from the band's original canvas, with a couple of slight variations. "Our Love to Admire" features those well loved trademarks. Deep and throbbing guitar, tight drumming and Paul Banks' unmistakable baritone of a voice.

There is a definite Interpol sound and the first two tracks capture it beautifully. "Pioneer To The Falls" (one of the best songs) opens with that chiming guitar and soon the vocals come in, all brooding and dark. However there is always that emotional kick in a good Interpol song and when Mr Banks intones "You Fly Straight Into My Heart" you feel your heart flutter just that little bit. A song about having your heart broken, it is augmented by the appearance of horns. "No I In Threesome" features that same robust, thumping guitar sound with a beautiful melody floating gently above. From there on there is the usual pattern which is a plus and a minus. It is good when it works (Mammoth and Heinrich Maneuver both thump and hurtle along) but a little samey when it doesn't (Scale, Pace Is The Trick, Rest My Chemistry, All Fired Up plod and drag quite a bit). However the closing two tracks elevate this album from good to very good. "Wrecking Ball" is a strong statement about a powerful and unshakable love, augmented by delicate guitar and resonant vocals, whilst "Lighthouse" is a thrilling and exciting departure for the band. The shimmering guitar and sparse arrangement is coupled with soft and gentle vocals, gentle enough to soothe any raging heart. So "Our Love To Admire" is a qualified success. Basically more of the same, but not as consistently good as previous efforts. However the high points will have you spinning this platter again, not just immediately, but over an extended period of time.
MP3: Pioneer To The Falls

Jul 15, 2007

Whiskey Go Go's @ Hopetoun Hotel

Whiskey Go Go's played their first headlining show in Sydney last night at the veritable Hopetoun Hotel. I can report it was a great success. I would say that this band is quite simply, enjoyable to the max. Their blend of traditional rock licks tinged with blues and folk is highly infectious and highly entertaining. Coming off the back of their debut album "Proud Tales To Them of Us" there seemed to be a certain amount of anticipation in the room and I would suspect that those in attendance walked away feeling pretty satisfied. The brainchild of the much traveled Matt Hutchinson, he has well done well to surround himself with a group of excellent musicians, especially the vigourous drumming of Michael Noonan. But it is definitely Hutchinson who holds centre stage. Dressed in stylish threads, his talent is self evident. His voice has amazing range, able to deliver a raging howl and alternately, sweet melodies. He also can destroy the guitar or go soft on the acoustic, throwing in some harmonica for good measure. The band's songs are straight forward and heartfelt, tales of hard living and hard loving. Loves lost and loves won, uncomplicated but full of life. Favourites were the thumping growl of "Boy Jewbi" and the rocking "Rodeo". In fact I think this band might enjoy some mainstream success. Their songs are made for radio and the band exudes charisma and style. Check them out if they come your way.
MP3: Rodeo
Time to Go - John Vanderslice

New video for John Vanderslice from his upcoming album "Emerald City".

Jul 14, 2007

Bowerbirds: In Quietness There is Sheer Beauty

Horses. Hooves. Talons. Dark Horses. Hands. Oak. Images and more taken from the just released debut album from Bowerbirds. Named "Hymns For A Dark Horse" it is a serene journey into the rustic territories of North Carolina, the place Bowerbirds call home. The band numbers only 3, Phil Moore, Mark Paulson and Beth Tacular (an accomplished artist). But in this, their debut effort they have crafted a delightful and thoughtful collection of acoustic gems. This is sparse and beautiful music, made to soothe not shake you. It is delicate, with nary a loud guitar anywhere in sight. There is acoustic guitar, backed by drums and violin and the occasional double bass and banjo. Phil Moore handles most of the vocal duties and his lilting, gorgeous voice bears an uncanny resemblance to Elvis Perkins. This I like, considering Mr Perkins to be a wonderful personal discovery for me this year. Beth Tacular also adds her excellent vocals to several of the tracks. Favourite songs are the heartfelt "In Our Talons", the gorgeous "Bur Oak", the sparse "The Marlbed Godwit" and the stunning darkly folk like "The Ticonderoga". All in all this is a piece of music to accompany you late at night. It is tender music, touching and honest. Pure as the driven snow.

Best place to purchase "Hymns For A Dark Horse" is at Burly Time Records.
Stereogum has an excellent interview with the band.
MP3: In Our Talons
MP3: Dark Horse

Jul 11, 2007

Spoon, Glorious Spoon; Or I'm Ga Ga Over Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

I sometimes wonder why Spoon isn't the biggest band in the world. A band that produces song after glorious song surely deserves a bigger audience. Not that I am complaining too heavily. It is sometimes nice when one of your favourite bands can exist on a loving label, Merge, and be allowed to make music without the tentacles of a major label encroaching on their music. Well now is the winter of our content, "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" is here and happiness reigned through out the land. This surely will be the one. But in a world where Good Charlotte is king, maybe not. Before I review this platter of extreme pleasure, my thoughts on this quartet of sublime musicians.

For no reason in particular I am not a lifelong Spoon devotee. Actually I hadn't heard of them until "Kill the Moonlight". In fact that album did not impress me greatly upon first listen (I know, hard to believe), but slowly it crept up on me and I realised its beauty eventually. Just in time to buy "Gimme Fiction" which would become my favourite Spoon release. It is a monster of a record, pulling every string of rock and soul greatness. Actually that's what I think Spoon are. A rock and soul band. So after devoting myself to this band I started my journey. "Girls Can Tell" with its delicious grooves hooked me in. "A Series of Sneaks" was a glimpse into their genesis. Its Pixies' like riffs were as Magnet descibed "This isn't an album, it's a knifefight". I completed my collection with the even rockier "Telephono" plus the EPs "Soft Effects" and "Love Ways". My love affair was complete. What makes them so special? Hard to say sometimes. They don't have that bleed your emotions all over the place quality (like Okkervil River, Wolf Parade), they aren't lyrically complex (like The Mountain Goats) or wildly experimental (like Animal Collective). But they write superb and soulful songs that always have great structure containing absolutely infectious hooks and sophisticated rhythms. The musicianship is superb and above it all is Britt Daniel's husky, smoky, truly engaging voice. They are truly and utterly a totally satisfying meal of musical greatness.

Well now, "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" is another chapter in the Spoon story. I have to say it is as fine a piece of work that they have produced. I still believe "Gimme Fiction"'s highs just out do it but this release is probably their most well rounded. It is concise, exquisite and has that quality you desire in a piece of music- play me again and again and I promise you will never get sick of me. A smile will grow on your face from the opening bars of "Don't Make Me a Target" and stay right through to the end. In fact the opening bars of "Target" will instantly give you goose bumps. It is undeniably Spoon and when Britt plaintively states "Don't Make Me a Target" you feel your spine shiver. A great song to kick off and then an untypical song follows. "The Ghost of You Lingers" which is all eery piano and vocals, but by the finish has crept under your skin. The tambourine on "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" announces more joy. A sweet delight of a song it also introduces horns to the mix. If you desire soulful swagger there is the almost funky "Don't You Evah" and "Rhthm & Soul" (maybe they aren't perfect, what's with the spelling) or you can have the impossible to resist "The Underdog" (complete with mariachis). However, if it is possible my three favourite tracks are the last three. "My Little Japanese Cigarette Case" is deceptively simple but has an irresistible momentum. "Finer Feelings" is classic Spoon and the guitar piece in the middle is absolutely divine. Then when Britt sings "I believed that someone'd take care of me tonight" at the beginning of "Black Like Me" you really feel the need to hug someone, straight away. This album is pure joy, so enjoyable, so delectable. The band has never sounded better. The drumming is superbly tight and Mr Daniel's voice is as luxurious and awe inspiring as ever. Buy this now, you will not regret it.

MP3: The Underdog
Pitchfork just reviewed the album and gave it a well deserved 8.5
And, are you sitting down, in another article about tour dates the following statement was made " Oh, and Australian dates are on the way". Does anyone know of this happening? Also do you love the new album as much as I?

Jul 10, 2007

Christmas Fuller Project

In my time blogging about things I love, well music primarily, I get an increasing amount of new bands sending me their music looking for a review. I still feel flattered and somewhat overwhelmed. To be honest a lot of it is not very good or sometimes more simply, not my taste in music. However it is a real delight when I receive some a recommendation that turns out to be good.

If you haven't heard of Christmas Fuller Project let me introduce them to you. They hail from northwest Arkansas and they are comprised of 4 members (sorry, 5, they just added a new member). They have just released their debut album "The Philosophy of Time Travel" and it could be seen as some sort of a concept album. It is nice to see such ambition from a young band and on the whole it mostly pays off. For some sort of reference point I think they sound like a cross between Eels and Death Cab For Cutie. They combine delicious melodies with sweeping guitar lines and occasionally hushed vocals. Now the concept is loosely based around a trilogy of songs about 19th century swimmer Captain Matthew Webb and a time traveler. In a broader context, to quote the band "Time Travel is a metaphor for hope, regret, longing, reminiscing, learning from mistakes, and any other experience that finite beings inevitably face as they try to figure out their place in eternity." It is quite ambitious but thankfully it largely succeeds. Particular stand out tracks for me are "1875", "Meet Me in Montauk", "Prelude" and "Ghosts Are For Graveyards".
MP3: Meet Me in Montauk
You can find out more and listen to some tracks at their MySpace.
You can purchase "The Philosophy of Time Travel" from CD Baby.

Jul 9, 2007

Wild Mountain Nation-Blitzen Trapper

Exciting. Strange. Original. Eclectic. Unclassifiable. All these words,and then some, could be used to describe the new release for Portland, Oregon's Blitzen Trapper. Just their name itself conjures up exciting images and a sense of the unknown. Ladies and gentlemen this is a band that genre hops like there is no tomorrow. But the best part of this exciting revelation is that it never feels contrived. These are simply six young men making music that will have you grinning like a cheshire cat whilst you marvel at their inventiveness.

This exciting band, although seemingly new, have been together since 2000 and they have previously released a self titled album and "Field Rexx". Both of these are daring and exciting too and definitely worth tracking down. But "Wild Mountain Nation" could be the one to push this band to a wider audience. Recorded on a four track in their home town this superb recording has a spirit and adventure that most bands would just kill to possess. The music is country, punk, pop, rock. Umm, It's just everything and no amount of words can really do it justice. But I will try.

"Devil's A-Go-Go", the opening track is like a hurricane. All static guitar and frenetic singing it will more then likely knock you off your feet. It then leads to the title track which is all country melodies and chiming guitars, a gorgeous song that charms and delights with ease. It then leads to the short and sweet pop gem that is "Futures & Folly". 3 songs in and you are no closer to the typical Blitzen Trapper sound. Don't worry there isn't one. Just go along for the ride and let the music wash over you in waves of joy and astoundment. There is so much else to enjoy here. The raucous stomp of "Miss Spiritual Tramp", the almost psychedelic "Sci-Fi Kid", the bluegrass fun of "Wild Mtn. Jam", the lush and dreamy "Summer Town" and the headrush that is "Murder Babe". But the absolute greatness belongs to the closing two tracks "Country Caravan" and "Badger's Black Brigade". These two songs absolutely ache with country sorrow. You will swoon with the soaring melodies and humming guitars. You will then hit repeat and delve again into this delight of an album.

MP3: Wild Mountain Nation
You can buy "Wild Mountain Nation" here.
You can also purchase their first two albums at CD Baby.

Jul 8, 2007

Walrus & Dead Letter Chorus @ Hopetoun Hotel

Once again The Hopetoun Hotel was a great location Saturday Night for good local music. 4 bands for $10, hard to go wrong there. This night served as the launch for "Meet Horace and Clyde" the new EP from Brisbane's The Rocketsmiths. However my primary reason for attending this night was to see the first band (more later) and due to other commitments I wasn't able to stay for the headliner. But I did catch The Saturns, whose high energy set was kinda fun but the songs didn't make much of an impact on him. However an impact was most definitely made by the second band, who I was seeing for the first time. Walrus (pictured above) was the name of the band and I was most definitely impressed. It is really refreshing to see a young band be able to totally rock out, yet never sacrifice the ability to write interesting songs with good melodies and great hooks. With a great drummer behind them Walrus were an unstoppable force playing their catchy concoction of garage rock and blues. Sporting 3 singers, I was really knocked by the central singer (Roland Smith, I believe), whose distinctive stance and voice was quite compelling. Playing mostly a set of comprised of tunes from their recent EP "The End of the Earth Show" this band is both inventive and highly exciting. Absolutely a must see live act. "War" and "Corn Coloured Vomit" were probably the stand out tracks on the night.
MP3: War

Now, as mentioned previously around these parts, make sure you see Dead Letter Chorus soon. Very soon, for this band is quickly becoming my favourite Sydney band. Playing a short set (they had a later engagement in Caringbah), they once again impressed with their broad range of talents and bucket loads of pure emotional power. To state the case quite simply, they play an honest brand of music devoid of all affectations. In the manner of all good rock bands there is an honesty and integrity that is self evident when you see them live. It's pure traditional rock songs with a little bit of folk and country tossed into the mix. Their debut EP "Listen Carefully" has just been released and although it is very, very enjoyable the best part is that my favourite songs by the band are not recorded yet. These include "Magnolia Farm", "11th Dream About Planes" and the perfect closer "Fathers & Daughters". They have a show coming up this Friday at MuM @ World Bar before heading to Melbourne for 3 engagements. Make sure you do not miss them if you have the chance.
MP3: Fred Astaire

Jul 7, 2007

Into the Wild - Official trailer

This is the new film from Sean Penn. I have loved all of his 3 previous films he has directed, especially "The Pledge". So I really look forward to this one.

Jul 6, 2007

Dan Bejar Brings Joy To Us All

I really need to share this with you. By now you might have heard this around the internets. But I don't care, it is that good. For weeks I have been listening with unbridled joy to "Challengers", the new album from The New Pornographers. Now "Myriad Harbour" is available for public consumption. Don't worry "Challengers" is wonderful as expected but for me I always wait to hear Mr Bejar's contributions most of all. The man can do wrong in my opinion and he hasn't failed here. His ode to New York is just a rollicking romp that will stick in your cranium for days.

Stereogum has some thoughts here and very recent concert photos.
You can pre-order "Challengers" here.
MP3: Myriad Harbour
I took a plane
I took a train
(Ah, who cares, you always end up in the city)
I said to Carl
look up for once
(See just how the sun sets in the sky)
I said to Jon
Do you think the girls here
(Ever wonder how they got so pretty?)
Oh well I do
Look out upon the Myriad Harbour
Look out upon the Myriad Harbour
Look out upon the Myriad Harbour

All the boys
with their home-made microphones
(Have very interesting sounds)
All the girls falling to ruin
dropping out of school, breakin' daddy's heart
(Just to hang around)
I walked into the local record store
and asked for an American music anthology
It sounds fun
They taught my sketches
Stuck on the walls at PS 1
I took a plane
I took a train
(Ah, who cares, you always end up in the city)

Stranded at Bleecker and Broadway
Looking for something to do
Someone somewhere asked me is there anything
in particular I can help you with?
(All I ever want to help with was you)
Look out upon the Myriad Harbour
Look out upon the Myriad Harbour
Look out upon the Myriad Harbour
Look out upon the Myriad Harbour

Jul 5, 2007

Kevin Drew Is Impressive

Hands up who likes Broken Social Scene? Who was excited by the news that front man Kevin Drew would be releasing his own album "Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew Spirit If..." on Arts and Crafts in September? Did you like the sound of the first track released "Tbtf"? I thought it was nice, but not exactly great. Very sweet and charming but not a knock out. Well I can tell you the full album is a knock out. Shiny Records will release the album in Australia on September 15. It does sound like a Broken Social Scene record. But that I believe is a good thing. That means you receive a piece of music that will excite, soothe, delight and astound. It is full of a cavalcade of sumptuous sounds which can be best heard in the stunning opener "Farewell to the Pressure Kids" which cascades like a water fall. Other tracks I like include "Safety Bricks" (has a Feist like feel), the gorgeously languid "Broke Me Up", "Gangbang Suicide" (this is actually very charming), the driving sounds of "Frightening Lives". Hell, it's all good. Isn't 2007 a great year for music?

MP3: Tbtf
Track Listing
Farewell To The Pressure Kids
F-ked Up Kid
Safety Bricks
Lucky Ones
Broke Me Up
Gangbang Suicide
Frightening Lives
Underneath The Skin
Big Love
Backed Out On The…
Aging Faces / Losing Places
Bodhi Sappy Weekend
When It Begins
Animal Collective - Fireworks

I guess you either love Animal Collective or you just don't get them. Put me in the former category. This is pure bliss, off their upcoming album "Strawberry Jam".

Jul 4, 2007

Destroyer - Foam Hands (Sled Island Fest 2007)

I go away for a couple of days and when I come back I find this. Two new songs from Destroyer recorded last week in Calgary. I contend that there isn't a finer songwriter working on this planet then Mr. Bejar. Not including Mr Krug obviously. Will try to write something else concrete when I get myself sorted.

Destroyer - Rivers (Sled Island Fest 2007)

Jul 2, 2007

Okkervil River - A Girl in Port

Speaking of great bands, the amazing Okkervil River, recorded a little while ago playing "A Girl in Port" which appears on their upcoming album "The Stage Names".

Spoon - The Way We Get By

Spoon at Calgary's Sled Island Festival last Friday. This band is truly great and so is their new album.

Jul 1, 2007

Sandwich Club @ The Loft, UTS

First time to a show at The Loft at UTS on a Saturday night in Sydney. And I would have to say it was definitely a very enjoyable night thanks to the guys at Sandwich Club. The venue is extremely cosy with an outdoor stage (thankfully heated on a chilly night) and an indoor one. A nice bar that was easily accessible and a crowd that seemed to be in a good mood, looking for a night out with a fine lineup of bands for just $15, made everything come together nicely. Headline act was Dave Rennick of Dappled Cities Fly. I wasn't sure going in whether Dave was playing solo or if the set would be in acoustic mode. In the end it was just Dave and his electric guitar. The set was a combination of DCF numbers (Cream, Fire Fire Fire and my favourite Within Hours) and a bunch of songs that have been recorded for a project (I think it was called "The Curse of Company") that will releasing an album next year. Anyway the songs were all very stark and stripped back. There was a quite power to all the music and I really enjoyed the relatively short set. Two songs I especially liked were called "Brother" and "Oar".

New Found Frequency have a recording of a set Dave did earlier in the year.

The second last act were Adelaide's Poly and the Statics. Having heard a couple of songs before hand I was sort of expecting a light and poppy act. But they delivered far more then that. Their set, with two strong lead singers, was strong and varied. Switching from mini epic rockouts to country tinged numbers to melodic pop gems they really impressed me. The four guys (very young by the look of it) were very tight and highly skilled. The last song ("Hide the Bottles" I think) really left a mark on me with its echoes of early Pavement. They have a debut EP "Paper Lanterns" releasing soon and I definitely hope they head back to Sydney soon.
MP3: Nashville Rd
MP3: Symphony

I also caught the set by Chequered Leopards and they were very enjoyable. Although the sound was quite muddy I thought their songs were varied and well written. Driving guitar lines and a tight rhythm section were features. I hadn't heard of them before but I thought they showed a great deal of promise. Unfortunately I missed opening band The Religion, but all in all it was definitely an enjoyable night and a great way to spend a Saturday night.