Sep 29, 2008

I Hold Nothing-Mount Eerie

To say I am a little excited to be seeing Mount Eerie this Thursday night would be a massive understatement. Mr Elverum is a living treasure. Here he performs "I Hold Nothing" at Louisiana Tech on September 9. Just stunning.

I know nothing (now that I know you).
My face goes blank
My eyes go open gates
and the world can go (in them).
it can make us wealthy
and take away
I hold nothing (now that I hold you).

There's no place to spend our money where we live.
The generous world suggests we live generously
so we lay
under low wide branches
of the oldest tree on the dune,
or in the hay,
where we will stay for so long without moving
that the careful birds finally relax
and make black nests in your black hair
and find ants walking around my unmoving feet
and we will only notice this play of the world
(that long moss is growing on us)
(that that wind has rewritten us)
(the give and take not stopping ever)
for only a moment
and then, having breifly noticed,
let the world roll on, doing this,
through open gates.

In a generous way:
I give long walks to the dogs.
I put commas and periods in song.
I give closed eye to the day.
I give peace to the long decay.
(we do not need to fear dying)

Sep 28, 2008

Robert Fisher (Willard Grant Conspiracy) @ Clarendon Guesthouse

Friday night was the opportunity to be in the hands of a gracious and intelligent performer. Those two words are perfect to describe the qualities of Robert Fisher, the man behind the collective that is Willard Grant Conspiracy. Rarely have I seen a performer who was not only supremely talented, but one that was so respectful of his audience. A man who not only had something to say, but imparted it with supreme wit and eloquence. Fisher, from California, was doing his Australian tour solo. Armed with only an acoustic guitar, he had left the members of Willard Grant Conspiracy behind. This collective of musicians was always one that I had wanted to investigate, but had never quite got round to. Until recently that is. I picked up their last two albums "Let It Roll" and "Pilgrim Road" in recent months, enjoyed both, so I was quite excited to see Fisher live in concert.

It was a great experience. At the Clarendon Guesthouse in Katoomba, he quietly walked on stage and performed for a little over an hour. A big man, although not tall, he sat on a lone chair and expertly plied his acoustic. His voice was a marvel. Deep and resonant, it carried to all corners of the small room. It possessed a certain grandeur, carrying with it a feeling of import and tender beauty. Now, I am not familiar with all his work, so I can not identiy all the songs he played. Suffice to say, they were all immensely enjoyable. Beautifully rendered songs of quiet passion, immense heart and true beauty. Songs of truth and ultimately, life. My favourite song would have been one that I was familiar with. The tender and touching "Painter Blue". I loved that one. Fisher was also a great raconteur. Regaling us between each song with a short history of the song or just a wry observation of life. I think he would make a superb dinner guest. I know for sure that he is a superb performer. As a bonus we got to meet him after the show. Speaking to him in the foyer, he was even more impressive in person. Just a lovely man, a pleasure to talk to.

Danny George Wilson was the support. This english folk singer was a superb choice. His songs were just lovely. Possessing a great voice, I really enjoyed his down to earth set. I would definitely recommend seeing him live.

Sep 25, 2008

The August Magnificent Is...Coming

Stay tuned for more details. It will be worth it. Trust me.
The August Magnificent.

Sep 24, 2008

The Moondoggies

Come a bit closer. Gather round. Let me tell you about a band, a very, very good band. Making music of the lifeblood. The Moondoggies. I know, it's a little silly, but their music is not. Led by 22 year old Kevin Murphy, this young four piece from the suburbs of Seattle make music that is full of spirit and heart and so, so easy to enjoy. They make music that is of no time and suited to any time. Why? Because they write good songs. Songs that rely on the old staples of soaring harmonies, thrusting guitars and humming organ lines.

"Don't Be A Stranger" is the band's debut album and it is sterling effort. It's a heady mix of rock, blues, soul and gospel. Combining to give you tunes that effortlessly stay in the memory. Songs that have you humming them long after the CD comes to an end. There is also a certain spirituality at work here, as evidenced in songs like "Ain't No Lord" and "Jesus On The Mainline". Then there is a bar room boogie element, as in the rocking "'Ol Blackbird". My definite favourite though is the hard charging, full force of nature that is "Changing". It's a glorious song. Other highlights include the strutting "Night & Day", the tranquil "Undertaker" and the sundrenched "Long Time Coming". Please welcome The Moondoggies into your home and your heart. Of course, this kind of music has been done before. But that's almost the point. It's because this is the best type of music. Songs containing spirit and verve, voices and guitars. Tongues and fingers. It's good, you know.

"Don't Be A Stranger can be purchased from Hardly Art.
MP3: Changing-The Moondoggies

The Moondoggies play on the Bremerton ferry in Seattle.

Sep 23, 2008

The Mountain Goats Return to Australia; Definite!; Fact!

It's happening. This time. Mountain Goats fans rejoice. John is well and we are about to get weller. After having to cancel their planned trip to Australia back in April, The Mountain Goats are returning. Already part of the Meredith Music Festival, they have now announced a slew of Australia wide shows. For our considerable enjoyment.

The Mountain Goats Tour Dates
December 5- Manning Bar, Sydney
December 6- Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
December 7- Fowler's Live, Adelaide
December 9- Rosemount Hotel, Perth
December 10- Billboard, Melbourne
December 12- Republic Bar & Cafe, Hobart
December 14- The Zoo, Brisbane

Tickets go on sale Friday, October 3

Sep 21, 2008

Thinking Of Garry Shead...

Today we viewed this beautiful colour etching at an auction house viewing in Sydney. It's by Garry Shead, an Australian artist that I have grown to love quite intensely in recent months. There is a certain lopsided beauty and ultimate serenity to all his work. Now, I can not afford an oil painting by this artist, but an etching is within my reach. Decisions, decisions. We also saw a couple of quite stunning Charles Blackmans. Regrettably they are most definitely out of my price range. Probably always will be.

Besides Sheads and Blackmans, other things that make me happy-
Eating in a Japanese restaurant with my girl.
Visiting my mum for Saturday lunch.
Surprise birthday party for a friend.
Hawthorn winning (Not my team, but I wanted them to win).
Watching LSU beat Auburn.
Listening to "Furr".

MP3: Furr-Blitzen Trapper

Sep 19, 2008


"Batcat", from the new album "The Hawk Is Howling". Matador will be releasing Mogwai's latest on September 23. Looking forward to getting my hands on it.

Sep 18, 2008

Five Bands For Ten Years

The part where your humble correspondent goes psychic. I have actually stolen this post title from a Metacritic thread I was reading, where the basic premise was to name five bands that you think will be important to you over the next ten years. Which artists do you think have the creative lifeblood to make ten years of great music? I think previously I have written about the theory of declining productivity. That is, except for the rare genius, most musicians are human. They have a certain reservoir of talent and generally peak before declining artistically. Some bands only have one good album within them (Bloc Party). Some two (Kings of Leon). Some, like R.E.M., have a string of classic album after album, yet, for whatever reason, start to go into decline and begin to create music that veers on the bland side.

Of course, this is all subjective. One person's genius is another person's over rated blowhard. I think it would be easy in an exercise like this to just mention 5 bands that you love now and just believe that they will continue to make great music. Take for example a band like Wilco. No doubt, a truly seminal band. A band with a stunning catalogue and still a great, great live band. But their last album, although decent, indicated to me that perhaps they have peaked. I think they will continue to make good music. But, another YHF? I don't think so. Or, a band like My Morning Jacket, perhaps THE live band of this generation. A band seemingly that can do no wrong, then they throw a clunker like "Evil Urges". An indication or an aberration? So, my picks are based on the idea that these artists not only have supreme talent, but appear to be showing no signs of slowing down.

1. Sunset Rubdown
Predictable I know. But what can you do. Now, whilst Wolf Parade is an incendiary mixture of Krug and Boeckner, I am not sure if that band will see the distance. But I do know this, Sunset Rubdown are on an upward path that I have rarely witnessed. Two back to back stunning albums will only lead to a third and a fourth and a fifth. Believe me, trust me.

2. Animal Collective
These guys are veterans now, but they continue to push every envelope that exists. Their latest album was probably their best and I see absolutely no slow down at all. In fact, I think they will continue to astound and delight. They exist on their own terms. Beyond all trends.

3. Menomena
Talent, talent, talent. These boys have it in spades. "Friend & Foe" I believe was just the beginning. Their ear for a melody is second to none.

4. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
The most promising singer/songwriter I have heard in a long time. His debut reeks of greatness. If I can predict a new face to shine brightly for a decade, then Mr Robinson will do.

5. Blitzen Trapper
Somewhere, deep down in the hearts of these Portlanders, lies a truly classic American album. One of heart and soul, one that will see The Band comparisons. "Furr" is a great start, but there is more to come.

Now, I also hope that classically great bands like Spoon, Okkervil River and The National will continue to mine musical gold, but declines can happen before our very eyes. And we know Will Oldham is always good for great music, but I think these five bands are a safe bet to lift our hearts.

Who are you excited about?

Sep 17, 2008

Golden Age-TV On The Radio

Well, here we have "Golden Age" from the new TV On The Radio album "Dear Science,". I would have to say that I am only mildly enthused with this song. Seems a little lightweight and poppy to me. I have not heard anything else from the new album and I am definitely going to buy it with high hopes. Any opinions on the new album?

Sep 16, 2008

Sunset Rubdown Begin New Tour-Play 4 Brand New Songs

This man is Spencer Krug. This man is a genius. This man's band is Sunset Rubdown. This man is the greatest thing to ever hit music. Doubt me, just watch him go. If his work with Wolf Parade and Swan Lake is not enough, then he is excelling to unknown heights with the creation that is Sunset Rubdown. The band just kicked off their latest tour on Monday night at the Middle East Club in Boston. The tour consists of 18 dates, ending in Chicago on October 4. After that, the hardest working man in music, will rejoin Wolf Parade for some more dates in the USA and Europe. In between all of this I would imagine Spencer will be recording a new album, that I would expect to see in 2009.

What did we learn from the concert? (I have just finished listening to a bootleg). Well, he does not like Sarah Palin. He also does not like people recording new songs on their phones and posting them on Youtube. Musically, the band played 4 brand new songs, their first ever live airings. The first one on the set list is simply stunning. There was also a new Swan Lake song. Plus, we also received 3 'new' songs that the band has been playing live for a while, but have not been recorded yet. Despite Spencer apologising for the band being a little rusty, the show was performed with admirable passion and fire. Oh, also, American audiences are just as noisy and rude as Australian ones. Probably even more so.

Sunset Rubdown Set List, Middle East Club, September 15 (as written)
Black Swan (My Heart is a Kingdom-NEW)
Funky (The Taming of the Hands That Came Back To Life)
Idiot Heart
Silver Moons
Sexy (Trumpet, Trumpet, Toot! Toot!)
You Go On Ahead
Water (Us Ones In Between)
Buffalo (NEW)
Jackie (NEW-Swan Lake song)
Mending (The Mending of the Gown)
Standing (Stadiums And Shrines II)
Dragon (NEW)

Winged/Wicked (Winged/Wicked Things)
Shut Up (Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings)

...All of this info courtesy of the Forums...

Sep 15, 2008

Stars Return To Australia

Exciting news time! Stars are returning to Australia! If you saw them earlier this year, their Spectrum show was outstanding, then I am sure you will coming back for more. If you missed out then, then make sure you do not miss out this time. Their show was one of the definite live highlights of 2008, in a year of amazing live music. Thankfully, their Sydney show is at The Factory, a relatively small venue, so the intimate nature of their music should have a suitable place to shine in. So far, there are only Sydney and Brisbane shows announced. Let's hope they will be playing other states as well.

Tour Dates
January 3-The Factory, Sydney
January 4-The Zoo, Brisbane

Tickets go on sale Friday, September 19.

Sep 14, 2008

Seven Song Meme

I didn't know what a Meme was. I do now. Apparently it is any idea or form of behaviour passed on from one person to another. A popular idea doing the rounds now is 'List seven songs you are into now'. I was late to the party and did not realise that Oz had tagged me to perform this very task. I am aware of this now and have put something together.

1. I Lost You-The Walkmen
I can't stop listening to their new album, and with good reason. It's fantastic. I love this song. It's beautifully mournful and expresses heartache and loss with supreme beauty.

2. On Tour With Zykos-Okkervil River
Quite simply, there is not a better songwriter on the planet then Will Sheff in the art of expressing true heart and emotion. Sublime.

3. The News About William-Calexico
Just got my hands on the new Calexico album and this short song is perhaps my favourite. It has a gentle nature and beautiful symmetry. The instrumentation is just gorgeous.

4. You Swan Go On-Mount Eerie with Julie Doiron and Fred Squire
One minute and 33 seconds of a reservoir of starkly realised beauty. Another reminder, to me, that Phil Elverum is some sort of genius.

5. Defenders-Songs:Ohia
On a recent trip to Melbourne I picked up a missing piece of my Molina collection. This song is from "Hecla and Griper". Stick a hot knife in my heart.

6. The Old Days-Dr Dog
The chorus on this song is just pure joy. It makes me smile big watermelon type smiles, makes me want to dance. "Down, down, down...".

7. Slapped Actress-The Hold Steady
Sometimes actresses get slapped and at all times Craig Finn hits home runs. "Don't say we saw angels, they'll take us straight to the church". Please tour!!!

Sep 12, 2008

Jenny Lewis Album Due Soon

Count me as a Jenny Lewis fan, but not really a Rilo Kiley fan. I find myself a bigger fan of her Country stylings rather then her Pop outings. In 2006 Lewis released "Rabbit Fur Coat", an excellent album recorded with The Watson Twins. On September we see the release of "Acid Tongue", an album recorded with the help of M. Ward, Chris Robinson and Elvis Costello, amongst others. One to look forward to, definitely.

Acid Tongue Track Listing
1 Black Sand
2 Pretty Bird
3 Next Messiah
4 Bad Man's World
5 Acid Tongue
6 See Fernando
7 Godspeed
8 Carpetbaggers
9 Trying My Best To Love You
10 Jack Killed Mom
11 Sing a Song For Them

MP3: Acid Tongue-Jenny Lewis

Sep 11, 2008

Year of the Dog-The Lovely Sparrows

This delightful song is "Year of the Dog", by The Lovely Sparrows. This band hails from Austin, Texas and they have just released their debut album "Bury The Cynics" on Abandoned Love Records. I have their first EP, which I loved, so I am looking forward to hearing their new album in full.

MP3: Year of the Dog-The Lovely Sparrows

Sep 10, 2008

Your Anchor-Lackthereof

"Your Anchor" is a subtly great record. It's the sort of album that sneaks up on you. Concise and to the point, it is over before you know it. But, but, when it IS over, you realise that it was quite an enjoyable ride. Its intelligent textures and measured ways are very impressive. This album is the work of Danny Seim, the drummer from Menomena, and here he goes under the name of Lackthereof. In fact, this concept predates Menomena by several years and this is apparently the ninth album to gain a release. Although the first to get a more widespread release, under the auspices of Barsuk Records. Hopefully, this impressive piece of music will gain Seim's creation a wider audience and respect. It certainly deserves to.

The most impressive aspect of "Your Anchor", I believe, is its continuity. The ten songs, most never reaching 3 minutes, dovetail beautifully into each other. As each song contains a beautifully rendered texture, they also combine to create a gorgeous tapestry of sound. Seim, playing all the instruments, uses drums and keyboards to make little delights of joy. As with Menomena, you receive music that is danceable, yet also mournful and melancholic. This is ably demonstrated on one of the stand out tracks, "Choir Practice", which features punchy drumming and sparse instrumentation. Another highlight is "Last November", probably the catchiest song on the album. My favourites though, would have to be the dark and mysterious "Ask Permission" and the stunningly beautiful "Vacant Eyes", which features a deep and throbbing bass line. To round the album off, we are left with a cover of The National's "Fake Empire". Naturally, it is hard to match the efforts of Mr Berninger, but it is an interesting take and a worth while one too. "Your Anchor" won't shatter any ceilings, but it is a beautifully put together album, full of soul and heart and fierce intelligence. Perhaps, a hidden gem of 2008.

MP3: Choir Practice-Lackthereof

Sep 9, 2008

Two Silver Trees-Calexico (New Video)

I picked up the new Calexico album yesterday. Thanks to Spunk Records, it is now available locally. So far, so good. Like any Calexico release, the music is mature, atmospheric and very soulful. Here is the first video from the album for "Two Silver Trees".

Sep 7, 2008

You & Me-The Walkmen

If you combine maturity and complexity, substance and depth, strength and tenderness, then hopefully the end result will be desirable. All of this and more applies to the latest effort from New York's The Walkmen. "You & Me" is a towering triumph. A searing document of powerful, yet elegant rock music. It is, quite likely, their finest achievement. It is a product of a band in full flow, a band at the peak of their powers. A band that uses the usual template of guitars and drums and yet, sounds like no other band on earth. The minute you hear a Walkmen song you know it sounds singular and unique. Thankfully, on this album they also sound exquisite.

My initial impression of the album is that "You & Me" is a more subdued effort then previous albums. But, in a good way. There is a slowly built up power to each song, best shown on the opening track "Dónde está la Playa", a lovely swaying number that feels effortless and easy. The heavy hitters do come up early on this album though. The majestic "On The Water" and "In The New Year" are back to back and feature the band's trademarks. Sweetly clanging guitars, rhythmical drumming and the beastly yawl of lead singer Hamilton Leithauser. The man's voice is certainly unique. Often pitched at near a shout, it always conveys a certain vulnerability, yet also an outspoken strength. Maybe an acquired taste, it does however resonate deeply and strongly with me. The album, though quite lengthy, hardly wavers. Complex and subtle songs with hidden strengths flow through out the album. Concerning themselves mainly with regret and loss, there is always a melancholic edge to the songs. "Seven Years of Holidays (for Stretch)" and "I Lost You" are great examples of odes to remorse, their plaintive tone creating quite an impact. Then there are superb songs such as "Postcards From Tiny Islands" which is a great example to the supreme drumming of Matt Barrick. Or, you can have the aching tenderness of "Red Moon", perhaps the most beautiful song that the band has recorded. Other highlights include the eerie "New Country" and the powerful "Four Provinces". As stated, "You & Me" is a complex and beautiful piece of music, made by a band that pushes all the right buttons. If you like an album that makes you feel and think, then this album is for you.

Sep 4, 2008

Barack Obama + The National

Barack Obama and The National. What a combination! A beautifully put together piece, featuring the music of "Fake Empire". All I can say is this. The world needs Obama-Biden. Not McCain-Palin (a scary thought).

Sep 3, 2008

The Dodos on La Blogotheque

Right now I am over work and need a break. I can't wait to move into our new home and get that started. I should feel lucky, but right now I just feel tired. So, this made me feel brighter. The brilliant Dodos performing "Fools" for the La Blogotheque series. Totally awesome.

Sep 1, 2008

So Much Beauty It Will Make You Cry...

How good is this? Wilco and Fleet Foxes join forces recently in Spokane, WA to perform the Dylan classic "I Shall Be Released". Harmonies in overflow. Gorgeous.

Phil Elverum is some sort of genius. Now recording as Mount Eerie, this is a new song recorded recently in Poland. The song is "You Swan Go On", which appears on his latest release "Lost Wisdom", recorded with Julie Doiron and Fred Squire. This achingly beautiful album is a great collection of quietly written songs. It is now available from the Mount Eerie store and I can recommend it thoroughly. Also, don't forget Mount Eerie are touring here in October, make sure you see them. It will be memorable.