Nov 30, 2010

Wolf Parade (No More???)

It has been floating around various media in the last couple of days that Wolf Parade might not continue to exist. In the words of Dan Boeckner, they are "on indefinite hiatus". Now they have had in the past breaks between albums, whether to just have a breather or for Dan and Spencer to go to work on their various other bands. But this seems more permanent, or at least semi-permanent. Last Friday they played the last show of their North American tour and at the end of the night Spencer Krug announced "This is the last show we'll play for a long time". Currently I am in a little state of shock. Grief will probably come later. But I am not bitter or massively depressed. Probably because I have such respect and admiration for these men of Wolf that I can't hold it against them. They have such integrity that I am sure the hiatus is for good reasons and not selfish ones. I have a good feeling we will see them again, although probably not for a while. Plus, we can still look forward to Handsome Furs and Sunset Rubdown and all the rest.

But one major reason that I feel sad personally is this. I might never get the chance to see them live with my beautiful girl. I was lucky enough to see Wolf Parade live twice in Canada. Once in 2005 and secondly in 2007. These times I will never, ever forget. But every time I listened to one of their songs I would close my eyes and imagine I was in the front row with my girl by my side and we were yelling "Give me your eyes, I need sunshine". Now this might never happen and for this I feel truly sad. I was truly looking forward to this moment being the pinnacle of my live music experiences. So, for the time being I will just have to live with the 3 albums and various EPs to keep me going. This band produced so much amazing music that they have carved a special place in my heart. In honour of this I thought I might list my ten favourite Wolf Parade songs. What are your favourite Wolf Parade songs and memories?

1. I'll Believe in Anything
2. Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts
3. Kissing The Beehive
4. Yulia
5. Language City
6. You Are A Runner and I am My Father's Son
7. Grounds For Divorce
8. California Dreamer
9. Pobody's Nerfect
10. Modern World

Nov 28, 2010


This sets the pulse racing! Very excited to see Grinderman when they play Sydney in January. Here they play "Evil" in Paris.

Nov 24, 2010


Any regular reader would probably know by now that I am a huge, huge fan of Dan Bejar and his various projects, especially his band Destroyer. Recently I wrote about his forthcoming album that will be released at the end of January. Now Pitchfork have the first preview of a track from that album. "Chinatown" is the song and to be perfectly honest I am not blown away. I mean it's a beautiful melody and all but the instrumentation is a bit of a concern. It's a tad soft rock and the saxophone doesn't do it for me. Maybe it will grow on me in time. I am sure I will still love the album.
Let's hope so!

MP3: Chinatown-Destroyer

Nov 23, 2010

John Vanderslice & Magik*Magik Orchestra

January 25 will see a new release from John Vanderslice, but this one is a little different. Vanderslice has teamed together with the Magik*Magik Orchestra, a San Francisco collective of classical musicians, to produce "White Wilderness". The album contains 9 tracks and was recorded live in over just three days in San Francisco. As an added benefit it was produced by John Congleton, who has worked with The Walkmen, St Vincent and Explosions in the Sky amongst others. Dead Oceans will be releasing this unique collaboration.

White Wilderness Track Listing
1 Sea Salt
2 Convict Lake
3 White Wilderness
4 The Piano Lesson
5 After It Ends
6 Overcoat
7 Alemany Gap
8 English Vines
9 20K

Nov 19, 2010

The Suburbs-Arcade Fire


Nov 18, 2010

The Cave Singers Prime New Album

February 22 will a new album from The Cave Singers hit the stores. "No Witch", by all accounts, is the band's rock record. It was produced by Randall Dunn, who has previously produced Black Mountain, so that would account for the shift in tone. The album will contain 12 tracks and I look forward to the new sound. Jagjaguwar produce the goods.

No Witch Track Listing
1 Gifts and the Raft
2 Swim Club
3 Black Leaf
4 Falls
5 Outer Realms
6 Haller Lake
7 All Land Crabs and Divinity Ghosts
8 Clever Creatures
9 Haystacks
10 Distant Sures
11 Faze Wave
12 No Prosecution If We Bail

Nov 16, 2010

Time, Time, Time

Last week I realised that I created post number 1000. October also meant a four year anniversary for my humble little blog. Where did the time go? I really don't know, but I do know it's been a very pleasurable and rewarding period of my life. I started the whole damn thing as an outlet to write about my passion for music. Along the way I have also penned on the subjects of film, art and theatre, with the odd little personal tidbit. Mostly though I haven't revealed too much about myself. Well I feel like I should expand a little bit. I am in my 40s now. I was born in Sydney and have lived here all of my life. I have a great sister and a wonderful mother. I love my new sisters and brothers in law. I detest all forms of religion. I abhor flag waving and nationalism. I can't stand popular culture and most forms of the media. I HATE the stupid Black Eyed Peas. I also dislike smoking and people who have a poor awareness of public space. I LOVE Dan Bejar and Spencer Krug. I adore Chagall, Schiele and Kandinsky. I worship the films of Paul Thomas Anderson and really appreciate people who think for themselves. My favorite food is fish and my favourite drink is a good red wine. I love Sydney, but I could easily live in Melbourne, New York or Portland, Oregon. I love Australian Rules Football, but think that Rugby Union is a terrible game. I love the Boston Celtics and the Miami Dolphins. I love the history and mystique of baseball. I also think that the Chrysler Building is the finest building on this planet. I plan to one day read everything written by Cormac McCarthy. I don't watch commercial TV, but give thanks every day for cable. In lieu of that I believe that Don Draper is the finest character in the history of television. I think kittens are the cutest things on earth, except maybe for Husky puppies and otters. I work in the Eastern Suburbs. My day job isn't terribly exciting but it pays the bills and affords me the lifestyle I have now. That is, as I might have mentioned, I got married two months ago to the most beautiful girl in the world. We live in the inner west in a lovely little two bedroom cottage. We own a black and white cat and each day look at our rather large CD and book collection with a little pride. We have a small circle of friends that we cherish dearly and we have met and made many more through the music world. We love to go to gigs, obviously, and the cinema. Theatre and art galleries and good food are also constant items on our agenda. As said, this blog is four now and it has done a lot for me. Not only did I meet my wife via my writings, but I have been introduced to many other wonderful people because of it. Lately, for various reasons, I have found it harder to find the drive to write consistently. I still do gig reviews and news items, but I don't seem to find the time to always go in depth on a lot of subjects. So, what does the future hold? I really don't know. I think I will continue to write, but I think it mightn't be as important to me as in the past. My loves in life will still continue to be vital to me, but maybe I might just not find the time to hit the keyboard. Only time will tell.

Nov 13, 2010

New Album From Akron/Family On The Way

"This album will transcend the internet", sayeth Chris Koltay, producer of the forthcoming new album from the unique Akron/Family. Also quoting the press release, 'Akron/Family spent the end of 2009 and half of 2010 exploring the future of sound through Bent Acid Punk Diamond fuzz and Underground Japanese noise cassettes, lower case micro tone poems and emotional Cagean field recordings, rebuilding electronic drums from the 70’s and playing them with sticks they carved themselves. Upon miraculous resuscitation of the original AKAK hard drive, the album layers thousands of minute imperceptible samples of their first recordings with fuzzed-out representations of their present beings to induce pleasant emotional feeling states and many momentary transcendent inspirations.' Hard to add anything to add, except to say that Dead Oceans will release "S/T II: The Cosmic Birth And Journey of Shinju TNT" on February 8. You can listen to song fragments from the album below.

MP3: Shinju TNT-Akron/Family

Nov 11, 2010

The New Pornographers @ Manning Bar

Rock the house! Rock it, shake it, set it on fire! They breezed in from Canada and other parts and reminded us melody lives and breathes well and truly in the hearts of The New Pornographers. This was the band's third trip to Australia and they were on target all night long at the Manning Bar. Playing for over an hour and a half they criss crossed over five albums worth of material, certainly providing something for every one.

"Sing Me Spanish Techno" was a blazing start to the night and there wasn't much let up after that point. Despite the vocals being a bit buried in the mix, especially Neko's, it didn't stop the band throwing themselves with full energy into every moment of the night. This is a band with few weak points in their catalogue, so it's a given that any set list will be a good set list. But I was especially and surprisingly pleased with the material from "Together", their 2010 release. Whilst their earlier material is thunderstruck power pop, this latest release sees the band spread the wings a bit and ease some space into their songs. This is very welcome live as the constant barrage of pop/rock overload can be a little overwhelming at times. I would liken it to devouring chocolate. It is great at first, but then becomes a little hard to keep eating. Too much of a good thing if you like. So it was songs like "Crash Years" and "Up In The Dark" and "Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk" that I really loved. Also very enjoyable were cuts from "Challengers", such as "Adventures In Solitude", "Go Places" and "All The Showstoppers". It was also nice to hear the band take on two Dan Bejar penned numbers, especially the glorious "Testament To Youth In Verse". Other highlights were the frenetic oldie in "Mass Romantic" and the perfect closer in "The Bleeding Heart Show". Another highlight of the night was the on stage banter. The band seemed to be really enjoying themselves and often shared stories and jokes in between songs. Such as informing us that Dan Bejar is a unique individual, don't we know that, and that they loved the Australian marine life. The encore was interesting as well. After a great rendition of "Challengers", Carl Newman wanted to throw in "Miss Teen Wordpower", which the band, especially Neko, wasn't too keen on. Eventually, after a couple of false starts they abandoned the song and closed with two cuts from their debut album. A great end to a great night. The band were not only tight and professional, but funny and oh so talented. Drummer Kurt Dahle was fantastic on his kit and of course Neko Case, despite sound issues, belted our vocals as only she can. Kathryn Calder was no slouch either on vocals and keyboards. A little part of Sydney was owned last night by a little part of Canada. Come back again anytime.

Set List
Sing Me Spanish Techno
It's Only Divine Right
Up In The Dark
Crash Years
All The Old Showstoppers
The Laws Have Changed
Jackie, Dressed In Cobras
Adventures In Solitude
Twin Cinema
Testament To Youth In Verse
Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk
The Body Says No
We End Up Together
Go Places
Your Hands (Together)
Mass Romantic
Use It
The Bleeding Heart Show

Miss Teen Wordpower (partly)
Execution Day
The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism

Nov 7, 2010

The Social Network

See The Social Network if you think you feel the need to become a little bit more informed on this generation and the time we are living in. See it if you love the magic of film. But above all else go and see this remarkable film if you feel the need to be thoroughly and totally entertained from the very start to the very end. Exceptionable film maker David Fincher has once again crafted a must see piece of cinema.

The Social Network is essentially the story, still burning current, of the founding of Facebook in 2003 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg. This social network is of course a worldwide phenomenon with now over 500 million users. But in its beginning it was born out of conflict and pain, which is what is astounding film trades in. It can be viewed as a microcosm of society or even a modern social history lesson but at its core it is the base human conflict of life that drives the film through out. It begins with a superb and unique scene where Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) is breaking up with girlfriend Erica. The dialogue flows back and forth revealing the main protagonist to be highly intelligent and also supremely cold hearted. This soon leads to Zuckerberg hacking into Harvard's website to create a website that rates female students looks. When he realises the popularity of this website he decides to create something even better. A website where every student can place their photo online and communicate, if invited, with other students. Firstly at Harvard, then other US colleges, before going to the entire world. As this idea sprouts wings, with the help of Napster founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), he attracts lawsuits from former partners/rivals who claim that Zuckerberg betrayed them. Here we see the conflict, played out in student dorms and law offices. We not only see the 21st century through a microscope, but we view the age old emotions of jealousy, rivalry and hatred played out on the big screen. This film is directed with perfect pace by Fincher. It is compelling from the opening frame to the very last shot. Aaron Sorkin's screenplay is near faultless. The dialogue is razor sharp and all the characters are multi dimensional. There are no good or bad guys in this film, they all have their flaws. Instead the characters are young people, mostly men, trying to find their place in the world. They are at times egotistical and callous, but at all times compelling. All performances are sound, but Eisenberg is especially great as the complicated Zuckerberg. A huge challenge to play another young man that is a high profile citizen, he pulls it off superbly. This is great cinema. It delivers in nearly every way possible. You could easily say that The Social Network is essential viewing.

Nov 6, 2010

Run, Wild-Dead Letter Chorus

Please enjoy the brand new video for Sydney's very wonderful Dead Letter Chorus. "Run, Wild" is the band's new single that is available now and will feature on their second album that is due for release in the first half of 2011.

Nov 4, 2010

The Decemberists Return With New Music In January

January 18, 2011 will see the return of The Decemberists with a new album. Hooray! I loved their previous album in "The Hazards Of Love", although for some reason it didn't shine with the majority of critics. Either way, we can now look forward to "The King Is Dead". It contains 10 tracks and is sure to delight and entertain as usual. The band has released a song from the album in the shape of "Down by the Water". It is available for download at their website now. It features the talents of Peter Buck and Gillian Welch and is pretty fantastic.

The King Is Dead Track Listing
1 Don't Carry It All
2 Calamity Song
3 Rise to Me
4 Rox in the Box
5 January Hymn
6 Down by the Water
7 All Arise!
8 June Hymn
9 This is Why We Fight
10 Dear Avery

Nov 3, 2010

Two New Wolf Parade Songs Released On iTunes

Then there was much rejoicing through out the land. For the four men from Canada gave the world new music. Yes ladies and gentlemen, Wolf Parade have released a single on iTunes. The first song is a Spencer tune in "Semi-Precious Stone" that they have been playing live recently. It is a pounding beast of a song. The second song is penned by Dan and called "Agents of Love". Naturally it is catchy as hell. At this point in time there is no word if the label is releasing these songs in a physical format. So, try the link below to catch the greatness.

Semi-Precious Stone/Agents Of Love

Nov 1, 2010

The Making Of Grief Point-Loscil (Featuring Dan Bejar)

In music one discovery can lead to another. So, here we are. Recently listening to the new 12" released by Destroyer I was impressed, naturally, by both tracks. The first, "Archer on the Beach" is an atmospheric collaboration with Tim Hecker. The second, "Grief Point", is breathtakingly good. It features the music of Loscil and spoken word by Dan Bejar. Its beauty and honesty blew me away. Loscil is the project of Scott Morgan, who also drums in Destroyer. This immaculate piece of music first appeared as "The Making Of Grief Point" on "Endless Falls", an album that was released by Loscil in March of this year. Please, do anything you can to track down either version. This video is a good start.