Oct 30, 2010

Sarah Blasko @ Enmore Theatre

I know I should probably be more knowledgeable about Sarah Blasko. After all, she does have all the credentials. Indie background, miles of style, Sydney scene, three acclaimed and popular albums. But somehow I have missed the boat. I don't really listen to the radio and I have never got around to buying her albums. But we had the offer of some tickets to her Friday night show at the Enmore Theatre. So, what the hell. I went in with an open mind and walked out impressed and satisfied. Not blown away, but certainly more appreciative of her talents.

Firstly, I don't have a set list. I really didn't know the names of the songs, except for the drum laden "No Turning Back". I knew that one. But the rest was a mystery. Oh well except for her much played cover of "Flame Trees". The only Cold Chisel song that I ever really liked, this rendition was superb. Although Sarah did state that this would be last time she would play it. I guess she is ready to move on from it. I did appreciate the variety in her music. It ranged from light pop to ethereal harmonies to almost dark rock. I did find myself appreciating the quieter songs a little more, rather then the poppier numbers which although fun weren't not exactly memorable. Sarah's voice is also something special as well. Just a little different to make a difference. It actually reminded me a little of Emily Haines. The band was great as well, with very varied and special arrangements. The drumming was great, along with piano, banjo and two violins. I would quibble about the venue set up though. The floor was divided into two sections, as is normal. But it was seating in front of the barrier and standing behind the barrier. I think all seating or all standing definitely works much better. Oh well, it was still an enjoyable night. Not earth shattering, but enough to make me appreciate the talents of Ms Blasko just that little bit more.

UPDATE I Have a set list!

For You
All Coming Back
The Garden's End
Bird On A Wire
Hold On My Heart
Over & Over
We Won't Run
Always Worth It
Lost & Defeated
I Never Knew
True Intentions
Flame Trees (Cold Chisel cover)
Into Light
Sleeper Awake
All I Want
No Turning Back

Down On Love

Oct 29, 2010

Oh No Oh My Return With New Album

A band that have been quiet of late are due to return to the spotlight very soon. Oh No Oh My (they have dropped the exclaimation points) return with their long awaited second album in 2011. "People Problems" will be released on January 11. This Austin, Texas four piece created quite an amount of buzz in 2006/07 with a self titled self released album that was full of sparkling pop gems. Hopefully they haven't lost in the magic. I have a song from the new album to check out below.

MP3: Walking Into Me-Oh No Oh My

Oct 27, 2010

Menomena Tour Australia

Yes, yes and triple YES!!! Menomena are coming down under to delight us with their incredible music. Already announced as part of the Laneway Festival, they now have two separate sideshows to delight us.
See you in Sydney!

Menomena Tour Dates
7 February, The Factory, Sydney
9 February, East Brunswick Club, Melbourne

Tickets on sale November 5

MP3: Five Little Rooms-Menomena

Oct 26, 2010

He Would Have Laughed-Deerhunter

What an amazing song! This unofficial video (a collection of Jay Reatard videos) does a great job in displaying the power and beauty of this song. The closing song on "Halcyon Digest" is Bradford Cox's tribute to the late Jay Reatard. Sublime!

Oct 23, 2010

Terrible Love-The National

Seriously, as good as it gets.

Oct 21, 2010

Cousin Dud

Cousin Dud. Not a great name, but potentially a great band. This four piece hail from Woodstock, Illinois and have recently recorded a 5 song EP that they are offering up for free download. I have been listening to the songs in the past day or so and I think I have fallen in love. There is a real rustic, ramshackle feel to the songs that draw on classic American folk rock traditions. Singer and chief songwriter Matt Carmichael describes their sound as "Folk-rock. Good ol' American folk-rock but with a bit of a punk mentality. The focus of our songwriting is lyrically based and deals primarily with the Midwest and its fine people". They are currently preparing their debut album but in the meantime I urge you to check out their EP "Of Hats and Unicorns" at the website listed below.

Of Hats and Unicorns-Cousin Dud

Oct 19, 2010

Restless Movie Trailer

No doubt Gus Van Sant is a significant film maker. His films though can swing from the hugely commercial to the massively experimental. His new film looks like it sits somewhere in between. It has a small cast (including Australian Mia Wasikowska) and was shot in Van Sant's hometown of Portland. However it was produced by the top Hollywood team of Ron Howard and Brian Glazer. Restless does look intriguing though.

Oct 16, 2010

Destroyer Returns!!!!

January 25, 2011. Merge Records. Be there. Or be square. "Kaputt"

Bejar: "Kaputt by Malaparte, which Bejar has never read… Kara Walker, specifically the lyrics she contributed to the song 'Suicide Demo for Kara Walker'… Chinatown, the neighborhood bordering on Bejar's… Baby blue eyes… 80s Miles Davis… 90s Gil Evans… Last Tango in ParisNic Bragg, who played lead guitar on every song, again… Fretless bass… The hopelessness of the future of music… The pointlessness of writing songs for today… V-Drums… The superiority of poetry and plays… And what's to become of film?… The Cocaine Addict… American Communism… Downtown, the neighborhood bordering on Bejar's… The LinnDrumAvalon and, more specifically, Boys and Girls… The devastated mind of JC/DC, who recorded, produced and mixed this record from fall of 2008 to spring of 2010… The back-up vocals of certain Roy Ayers and Long John Baldry tours… Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence…"

Kaputt Track Listing
1 Chinatown
2 Blue Eyes
3 Savage Night at the Opera
4 Suicide Demo for Kara Walker
5 Poor in Love
6 Kaputt
7 Downtown
8 Song for America
9 Bay of Pigs (Detail)

Oct 15, 2010

The Battle Of Hampton Roads-Titus Andronicus

Oct 13, 2010

St Jerome's Laneway Festival 2011 Lineup

There was much excitement in the air yesterday. For we were due to hear the announcement of the lineup for the 2011 St Jerome's Laneway Festival. And we weren't not let down at all. While last year's festival (the first held in Rozelle) was heavily British in flavour, this one has a deeply American accent. And it sounds very, very good. A lot of highly acclaimed bands, some return visitors, some first time tourists. Naturally Menomena was the one name above all that got me excited. Plus Deerhunter, Beach House and Local Natives are not too shabby either. I will definitely buying a ticket when they go on sale next Wednesday, October 20.

St Jerome's Laneway Festival Lineup
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
Beach House
Bear In Heaven
Blonde Redhead
Cloud Control
Cut Copy
Holy Fuck
Jenny and Johnny
Les Savy Fav
Local Natives
Rat Vs Possum
The Antlers
The Holidays
Two Door Cinema Club
Violent Soho
World's End Press

Festival Dates
31 January, Auckland
4 February, Brisbane
5 February, Melbourne
6 February, Sydney
11 February, Adelaide
12 February, Perth

Oct 12, 2010

The Extra Lens

If you are a Mountain Goats fan then this might just interest you. Next week sees a new (and perhaps long awaited) album from The Extra Lens. This band of two comprises John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats) and Franklin Bruno (Nothing Painted Blue). These two men recorded a lot of underground stuff in the 90s as The Extra Glenns before releasing an album in 2002 on Absolutely Kosher that was named "Martial Arts Weekend". Since that time both men have concentrated on their own projects, but now we have new music under a slightly changed name. "Undercard" will be released on October 19 on Merge Records. The album contains 12 tracks and was recorded at the Rubber Room in Carrboro, North Carolina and at Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn. John basically does the singing and the guitar playing and then Franklin provides the arrangements as the songs require. This is one album that won't be punching above its weight.

Undercard Track Listing
1 Adultery
2 Cruiserweights
3 Only Existing Footage
4 Communicating Doors
5 Programmed Cell Death
6 How I Left The Ministry
7 Some Other Way
8 Ambivalent Landscape Z
9 In Germany Before the War
10 Tug on the Line
11 Rockin' Rockin' Twilight of the Gods
12 Dogs of Clinic 17

MP3: Only Existing Footage

PS. The Mountain Goats have also signed with Merge Records.

Oct 8, 2010

Titus Andronicus with Andrew Cedermark

Here's an absolute treat. On September 22 in Charlottesville, Virginia Titus Andronicus were joined live on stage by former member Andrew Cedermark to perform "Albert Camus". As you might know I regard Titus Andronicus as THE band of 2010 and Andrew Cedermark has just recently released his amazing solo debut album. Bliss!

Albert Camus Lyrics

Running around this run-down, one-horse town.
One of these days, they're gonna crucify me.
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable it is to be young, dumb, and have lots of money.
We will sit upon this grassy knoll, holding hands and stroking handguns, with pristine souls, and even my own mother will tell you I am an asshole, but underneath it all, there is an apathetic heart of gold.
So who will be saved, from the least to the greatest men?
Because even Honest Abe sold posion milk to schoolchildren.

The blood drive came to Glen Rock High in a white bus with red letters on the side and a long shiny needle they brought to suck me dry like missionary mosquitoes in the sky.
Now you're doing time for stealing candy from a babe because all the kids in Ridgewood have got cell phones these days and if you wear a mask, they can still read your license plate and a wireless line is a terrible thing to waste.
Because the more we think, the less it all makes sense, tonight we will drink to our general indifference.
Lamb of God, we think nothing of ourselves at all.
So, Death, be not proud because we don't give a fuck about nothing and we only want what we are not allowed.

Oct 7, 2010

Titus Andronicus @ Webster Hall

Fully raucous, a riot, an ecstatic fist pump. A serious mindfuck. I still shake when I think about September 25, the night I saw Titus Andronicus at the venerable Webster Hall in the East Village in New York. This night not only cemented my opinion that Titus Andronicus are the band of 2010, but also gave me the idea that this night would rank as easily one of the great live music experiences of my entire life. Why? Well, the music is great for a start. But it is the passion, the sheer ferocity, the ENERGY. The Life.

Firstly, the venue. Webster Hall. It was originally built in 1886 and was considered the country's first modern nightclub.It held rallies, balls and was later a speakeasy. Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie played there in the 50s. Later on it witnessed Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles and a slew of other legends. In 1992 it was reborn in its current guise as a modern rock venue. It is a truly beautiful venue with many of the original 19th century colour schemes carefully restored. The building was granted Landmark status in 2008 and it has played host to Bright Eyes, Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, Mogwai, Spoon and Explosions in The Sky in recent years. Titus Andronicus would be the latest to grace the stage.

Grace it they did. On a warm New York Saturday night they blew away a fervent audience for an hour and a half. They ripped out our hearts and minds and made sure we also had truckloads of fun. The perfect way to start the night was definitely "A Perfect Union". 'Tramps like us, baby we were born to die' we all screamed in unison. It set the night afire and we gratefully went along for the ride. It never began to let up after that. The band thundered through a wonderful set, equal parts passion and raw power and also meaning and full intent. The band were tight as could be with thunderous guitar lines and absolutely pounding drumming. "No Future Par Three: Escape From No Future" was an early highlight. The refrain of 'You Will Always Be A Loser' echoed around the hall as we all gleefully sang along. They still managed to play some tunes from their debut album though, with "Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ" being a stand out of the night. But if they started strongly, then they finished even stronger. "To Old Friends And New" was a good change of pace. Its mournful and deliberate tone was eternally moving. Did I say moving? All fourteen minutes of "The Battle Of Hampton Roads" was an exercise in strength, emotion and complete meaning. If they didn't bring the bagpipes they certainly brought everything else. If that didn't enduce a tear then the next song did. "Four Score And Seven" (the song of 2010) was impossibly perfect. Its slow beginning builds the drama. Its dramatic finish is an avalanche of total emotion and righteous passion. This song sent me to places that I did not know existed. An AC/DC cover closed the night with the help of wonderful support act Free Energy. A night that will be burned deep into my memory. Thanks to a truly great and totally passionate band. I should mention before closing two special people in this band. Firstly Amy Klein on guitar. A ball of joy and energy she kept the excitement levels up if they ever dared to drop. Then there is the magnificent Patrick Stickles. This night seemed extra special to him. Playing close to his home in New Jersey he managed to have his high school principal father in attendance. We waved hello to him and through out the night he gave various shout outs to many other family members. Patrick seemed such a warm and giving character, added further weight to his already considerable talents. The man is a buzzsaw of unbridled energy and passion. Shredding his guitar and his voice, he is the perfect vessel for a slew of songs of fierce intelligence and unstoppable power. I thank him and his band for giving me a night that I can not possibly ever forget. Truly sublime.

Set List
A More Perfect Union
Richard II
No Future Par Three: Escape From No Future
Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ
Theme From "Cheers"
Titus Andronicus
To Old Friends And New
The Battle Of Hampton Roads
Titus Andronicus Forever
...And Ever
Four Score And Seven
It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n Roll) (with Free Energy)

Oct 6, 2010

Yulia-Wolf Parade

Oct 5, 2010

Pavement @ Rumsey Playfield

Just on a year ago the legendary and all together mighty Pavement announced they would be reforming. The very first shows that they announced would be 4 dates in September, 2010 in Central Park at Rumsey Playfield. Knowing that we were already planning to visit New York at that time we went ahead and purchased tickets to the last show on September 24. Fast forward a year and were there! What a night is was. Totally magical.

The masters played for nearly two hours, with two encores. Like the show earlier in the year at the Enmore Theatre they seemed to be having a truly great time. Like that show as well the set list was excellent. But that is to be expected at a Pavement show. After all their songs are nearly all classics. Such sublime melodies. It was a night we will always remember. Seeing Malk and his men underneath the stars in Central Park.

Plus we also got to meet Bill from Vague Space. What an absolute pleasure that was!

Set List
Heckler Spray/In The Mouth A Desert
Spit On A Stranger
Shady Lane
Date w/Ikea
Cut Your Hair
Conduit For Sale
Father To A Sister of Thought
Starlings of the Slipstream
Gold Soundz
The Hexx
We Dance
Silence Kit
No Life Singed Her
Trigger Cut
Stop Breathing
Elevate Me Later

Rattled By The Rush
Heaven Is A Truck
Summer Babe

Kennel District
Debris Slide
Range Life

Oct 4, 2010

A Wonderful Trip

Back to reality. After close to four weeks away work beckons tomorrow. I am not looking forward to it, but money is needed to pay the bills and the credit cards. But I will have many, many happy memories. A holiday is always great, but a honeymoon is even better. Sharing sights and sounds and tastes with my favourite person was time spent that will never ever be forgotten. Our trip to New England and New York was a blend of revisiting old haunts and experiencing new ones. It was all great basically. A great mixture of art, food, history, music and general good times.
Here are some of my favourite memories...

Walking the great city of Boston
A magical night at Fenway watching the Sox
Eating at Atlantic Fish Co. in Back Bay (more chowder!)
Beautiful town of Sandwich
Exploring the serene town of Nantucket
Coastal Walk in Newport, Rhode Island
Glorious, glorious Vermont
Woodstock, Vermont (Is anywhere prettier?)
Hot Air Balloon ride in Vermont
Portsmouth, New Hampshire (so cool)
NEW YORK!!!!!!!!!!!!
Eating at Babbo, Mas, Spice Market, Barbuto, etc.
TITUS ANDRONICUS!!!! (review to come)
Pavement in Central Park (And Meeting Bill) (review to come)
Walking tour of Park Slope, Brooklyn
Food tour of Chinatown
The Met, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, MoMA, etc.
West Village and Meatpacking District
Two amazing plays on Broadway
Storm King Art Center
Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown
Shopping in Soho

Plus everything else...