Dec 31, 2010

Favourite Films Of 2010

A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald noted that none of the world's top ten grossing films in 2010 represented the real world. In fact all of the top ten films were made wholly or partly on a computer. It was probably inevitable, but I find this rather sad. It would seem that many people are looking for a cheap thrill or an escape from reality, rather then a true and authentic story. Hollywood of course delivers this in spades, especially delivering on the sequel. Sequels, sequels everywhere and this trend doesn't look to stop in 2011. So it wasn't a vintage year for film, but there was still enough to catch the eye. There were some Hollywood films that were intelligent and well written and perhaps Australia made the finest film in its recent history. I had a hard task to decide on my number one film of 2010, but in the end I went for the film that had the best script seen for quite a few years. In fact I will very surprised if this remarkable film doesn't dominate the upcoming film awards season.

1. The Social Network, directed by David Fincher.
A near flawless film from beginning to end. Aaron Sorkin's script was pitch perfect in this tale of the phenomenon that is 'Facebook'. Once again Fincher reminded us again that he is one of the finest directors working today. His films are seamless, with every scene dissolving perfectly into the next. In this one he captured quite perfectly the generation that we live in, but more then that he captured the drama of life that surrounds us all. There is betrayal, jealousy and incrimination galore. There are no good and bad characters on display here either. It's vitally real and clearly human.

2. Animal Kingdom, directed by David Michod.
Every single plaudit that came to this superb film was well deserved. An ensemble cast of some of Australia's finest came together to produce cinema dynamite. This was a crime story without the glamour and artifice. It was grit under the fingernails and dirt on the skin. At times shocking and too brutal to watch it left me gasping for more. Michod is a major talent to watch and Ben Mendelsohn has never been better.

3. The White Ribbon, directed by Michael Haneke.
A disturbing film to be sure, but a utterly vital one. Beautifully shot in Black & White, this Micheal Haneke film is mysterious, disturbing and totally intriguing. The story of a small German village on the eve of WW1 is a tale of caution against puritanical behaviour. At times frightening, some scenes will shock you with their intensity and stark truth. It leaves you with a mass of questions, but that has to be a good thing.

4. Blue Valentine, directed by Derek Cianfrance.
Remarkable portrait of a marriage in two parts. The joyous beginning and the heartbreaking disintegration. This is a film that explodes with painful honesty. Stunningly tender and brutally honest, we live under the skin of two characters drawn together and then pulled part. The performances are honestly astonishing. Ryan Gosling is great as per usual, whilst Michelle Williams has never, ever been better.

5. Inception, directed by Christopher Nolan.
An intelligent thriller that will have you spellbound through out. Visually dazzling and incredibly entertaining, it is also thoughtful and even profound at times. The effects are quite breathtaking, but it all adds to the story that is multi layered and considered. The cast is uniformly excellent, especially Page and Levitt. Christopher Nolan is making Hollywood blockbusters that manage to feed the mind as well as entertain. My only criticism is that a film this big sometimes lets the human element escape.

6. Up In The Air, directed by Jason Reitman.
Smart and perceptive, Up In The Air is intelligent and thoughtful film making. Clooney is flawless as the professional with the full, but perhaps hollow lifestyle. His encounters with two women give him pause to enunciate and then reflect on his life. A pitch perfect script from Reitman enables this film to be as a good a reflection on our modern lifestyle as you are likely to see. This film also doesn't give in to the predictable ending.

7. The Messenger, directed by Oren Moverman.
Firstly, why does a film as great as this take nearly a year to hit our screens. Secondly, I should say screen, as it is only showed at the Chauvel. This is a superbly written, powerful drama about the job of two army men who have to report casualties of war to nearest of kin. It beautifully captures the pain and anguish of such times, aided by startling performances from Foster and Harrelson.

8. Greenberg, directed by Noah Baumbach.
Intelligent, poignant film that slowly investigates the lives of troubled people. Ben Stiller is superb as the sometimes unlikeable Roger Greenberg, a man trying to figure out his place in life. Moving to his brother's house in LA doesn't help his situation but he finds a lost soul in Florence who is also struggling with life and relationships. This a carefully observed film, superbly written and shot. The characters are real and fallible.

9. A Prophet, directed by Jacques Audiard.
Brutal, compelling story of Malik, a young Arab, sentenced to six years in a French Prison. To survive he has to carry out any task for Cesar, the Corsican who effectively is control of the jail. Malik is a survivor in an immoral world, managing to make his way through the system. Realist to the core this film magnetically shines a light on the underbelly of society.

10. Winter's Bone, directed by Debra Granik.
Stark, bleak and unrelenting, this film picks you up and drops you deeply into the poverty stricken Ozarks of Southern Missouri. Unflinchingly realistic, this slow burning drama tells the dramatic tale of Ree, trying to locate her criminal father so she can hold onto her family. Jennifer Lawrence is outstanding as Ree in this tale of conflict, intrigue and heartbreak.

Films I plan to see in 2011-
The King's Speech
Black Swan
True Grit
The Fighter
127 Hours
Rabbit Hole
The Tree Of Life

Dec 29, 2010

Built To Spill @ Metro Theatre

He is graying in his beard. He is bereft of hair on top. He wears a T-shirt with an owl on it. He shuffles on stage, sets up his own gear and the band start playing (15 minutes before schedule). He is the anti-hero. He has one guitar. It is old. It has 'Ben' written on it. He cares not for show. He plays his guitar like no other. There is no other. He is Doug Martsch. His band is Built To Spill. They are life. They matter. You need to know them.

Built to Spill have longer passed the chance of being 'hip'. They have never sold truckloads of records. So on this trip, their second to Australia, they played to a half full Metro Theatre. But those that were there would have witnessed greatness. Greatness that can't be measured. But felt. In a year where denizens of sheer mediocrity (Bon Jovi) can sell out football stadiums three times over, we have a truly talented and seminal band playing to a small crowd. No matter, I know where I would rather be. In the hands of a man who cares. Who instructs my musical belief. A belief built on soaring guitar riffs, untouchable guitar melodies and a unique angelic voice that sits on top, taking me to places unknown and unforeseen.

They spanned it all last night. A full gamut of new and old. Classic and soon to be classic. "Traces" was a good appetiser, that familiar jangle of guitar reminding us instantly who were seeing. Highlights soon flooded. "Kicked It in The Sun" was all pure glimmering majesty. "The Plan" burst a hole in my heart and then I was dumbstruck when they chose to play "Twin Falls", this classic song releasing near tears. "Life's A Dream" was languid beauty, whilst "Wherever You Go" was supercharged glory. Closing with "Carry The Zero" was near perfect. This song has an untouchable guitar melody that probably makes grown men cry. After a short interval they came back to give us more, pushing the show to nearly two hours of pure greatness. I was thinking, hoping, they would close with "Broken Chairs" and they did. This epic of fortitude was built up, torn apart and put together again. A reminder for me, if it was ever needed, that when I count on one hand my favourite bands of all time, then Built To Spill will always have a finger specially reserved just for them.

Set List
In The Morning
Kicked It in the Sun
The Plan
Twin Falls>Some
Distopian Dream Girl
Life's A Dream
Wherever You Go
The Wait
Carry The Zero

Stop The Show
The Weather
Broken Chairs

Dec 22, 2010

Best 50 Albums of 2010

2010 felt more fractured musically then even previous years. Beneath the non essential behemoth that is current day popular music there existed layers and stratas of many musical colours and styles. Sometimes it all felt a bit overwhelming and uncertain. There were new styles and movements. Some appealing, some not so. Basically for me I still searched for new ideas in old frameworks. I am a sucker for well structured songs with good melody, insightful lyrics and a load of heart and passion. If it involves something approaching electro pop or hip hop I will generally steer clear of it. I like songs with guitars, I can't help it. But it must move me. Make me feel excited all over for the future of music.

Thankfully there was enough of this in 2010. Of course I can't listen to everything and it is very easy to miss something that you might possibly love. But I tried my best to delve into various corners and eke out music that made a connection. I tried very hard to be objective when listening to music and not worry about trends or hype and if a band is important to you, then make it important and stick to your opinion. There is no point in making opinions that you hope make you friends and create readers. There is no right or wrong in music appreciation, there is just appreciation. Find what you love and love it. And tell people you love it. Who knows, you might make a new friend. So, to the list. After years of Canadian domination (they still did well) an American band topped my chart. From the moment I first listened to their album I knew it would, but this list just confirms it. In total effect. Once again this list is heavily North American biased. But to my ears that is where the great music is coming from. It is that combination of the expansive American sound and the pure fire of great songwriting that does it for me. There seems to be an energy and creativity that is palpable. Of course there were still some disappointments. The Hold Steady produced their first less then great album and Eels seem to have run out of steam all together. Other acts like Band of Horses and Interpol appear to be heading quickly in the wrong direction. Then some other artists (Wavves, Ariel Pink), didn't seem worthy of the hype at all. But as we approach Christmas time I still find that the search for music still lights my fire. And that is the most important thing of all.

1. The Monitor-Titus Andronicus
When I listen to this album I feel like my hair is on fire. I certainly believe that Patrick Stickles is. A fully loaded aural assault, a shotgun to the heart, a crossbow of flaming passion. That is what this album is. A concept of fiery ambition. It wins in every single department. Shredding guitars, intelligent lyrics, phenomenal drumming. Epic, epic, epic. An album that ties together the mystic chords of American history and then spits them straight into your face.
MP3: Four Score And Seven

2. Expo 86-Wolf Parade
Well, it did happen. The band of my heart did not make number one. But I still loved this album. How could you not? Krug and Boeckner combining to produce music that makes your body do strange things. Seemingly under appreciated, this album was pretty hard to fault. Only one real weak track did not mar this immensely enjoyable album. Enjoyable it certainly was. It fairly bleeds through the tracks. May they return again soon.
MP3: What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)

3. Mines-Menomena
The reputation of this band just continues to grow. With talent to burn they easily followed up the superb "Friend and Foe". This album is a great lesson in how to create music that is emotional and experimental. It has a warm and glowing heart, but can easily be enjoyed on many different levels. It slides from euphoric to subtle to lovelorn from song to song. Quite often within the very walls of a song. This is timeless.
MP3: Five Little Rooms

4. La La Land-Plants and Animals
The most slept upon album of 2010. A multi faceted, sublime concoction of melodies and creative arrangements. When trends fade and die this album will live on. It shakes and grooves. It rocks and relaxes. Many different styles and flavours make this album not only massively enjoyable but also tremendously rewarding. "Undone Melody" was greatness.
MP3: Tom Cruz

5. Teen Dream-Beach House
I never tired of playing this album at anytime in 2010. Their first two albums failed to connect with me in a major way, but this one made me a full convert. A joyous and sumptuous album full of lush melodies and superb arrangements. Each song soared and took flight with incredible ease. Heavy with emotion and intent it climaxed with the wondrous "Take Care".
MP3: Norway

6. High Violet-The National
They have done it again. Their most successful album yet was a triumph of great songwriting and complex, emotional music. Mature, thoughtful music that doesn't play dumb, it was great to see this album find a bigger audience. Guitars interweave and collide, all beneath the smouldering weapon that is Matt Berninger's astounding voice.
MP3: Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

7. The Suburbs-Arcade Fire
They just got a whole lot bigger, but thankfully it was fully deserved. This sprawling monster was a rich tapestry of sound and voice. A slight detour from their first two albums, it was subtle though, it was encouraging to see them not rest on their laurels. Although a long enough album I really wouldn't change it at all. It all blends together perfectly.
MP3: The Suburbs

8. Lisbon-The Walkmen
The Walkmen make albums that grow and last. They burn slowly, but they they burn for a long time. Hamilton Leithauser growls and scowls over eleven tracks of virtuosity and majesty. Mature, intoxicating tunes for the discerning listener. Their sound is quite distinct too. Clanging guitars and some of the best drumming you will ever hear.
MP3: Angela Surf City

9. Transference-Spoon
If this album didn't get the praise as previous Spoon albums then it only highlighted one thing. Just how good this Austin band has been for just so long, for this is still a damn fine album. Raw and uncompromising it brought those recognisable Spoon sounds. Sparse drumming, great rhythms and the distinctly soulful Britt Daniel croon.
MP3: Written In Reverse

10. At Echo Lake-Woods
It works, it works, it works. In just so many ways. Blissfully strummed guitars, trilling electrics, high pitched vocals and melodies that 99% of bands on Earth would gladly kill for. A rough and ready combination of modern sounds and rustic nuances. This could soundtrack any single day that you choose to live for. Totally delectable and divine.
MP3: Blood Dries Darker

11. Together-The New Pornographers
If Challengers was a slight letdown, I don't believe it was though, then this album from the Canadian collective was a welcome return to form. Warm and comforting, it was a rich and rewarding slew of songs from Newman, Case, Bejar and co. Few bands in the world can write melodies like this band. Long may they continue their reign.

12. Halcyon Digest-Deerhunter
If not quite the majestic beast that was Microcastle, then it wasn't far behind. Layer after layer of sound made for eternal rewards after each and every listen. And the last four songs are absolutely killer. Also it probably turned out to be their most accessible album yet.

13. Pink Graffiti-Secret Cities
A quasi homage to Brian Wilson, it certainly captured some of his spirit and ear for melody. Big chunky melodies counterpoint constantly with intimate moments of grace. An album full of texture, invention and originality. A dark horse of a record for 2010.

14. The Wonder Show Of The World-Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & The Cairo Gang
I have said it before and I will say it again. Will Oldham is a living, breathing treasure, a pure genius. The 'Prince' combined here with Emmett Kelly to produce an album of breathtaking beauty and quiet genius. Hushed tones and flowing, erupting emotion are his gifts to us.

15. Paul's Tomb: A Triumph-Frog Eyes
Carey Mercer is emphatically one of a kind. An all compassing album of strained hearts and stricken pulses. He reaches for the stars and takes us on a wild, crazy and wonderful ride. The first song, a juggernaut, is easily worth the price of admission alone.

16. The Age of Adz-Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan returned to confound and probably divide us all. I have to admit that I liked the "All Delighted People" EP a little bit more, but this is still at times a remarkable piece of music. If not every song hits the mark, there are certainly enough that manage to do.

17. Moon Deluxe-Andrew Cedermark
The former Titus Andronicus man delivered an album of enormous depth and courage. Raw and forthright it was a pleasant discovery in the second half of the year. The title track is something wondrous and there are plenty of other rough and inventive gems here.

18. Forgiveness Rock Record-Broken Social Scene
A little careful editing would have seen this probably finish a little higher up the list, but there was still plenty to love here. As usual the music was dense, complex and sprawling, but also quite exciting. If a tad below their previous blockbusters, it was still a great big effort.

19. Here's To Taking It Easy-Phosphorescent
The single and opening track was a bit of a worry. A little too much honky tonky. But the rest of the album is just superb. Swooning melodies and gentle atmospherics make for substantial listening. "Hej, Me I'm Light" is a complete stunner.

20. The Winter Of Mixed Drinks-Frightened Rabbit
Almost an impossible job to follow up "The Midnight Organ Fight", but the boys still produced the goods. Barrels of emotion and fiery Scottish humour. It is nearly impossible not to smile when you listen to this band. The accents manage to do it every single time.

21. Have One On Me-Joanna Newsom
This long awaited album was no let down, but slightly exhausting. Newsom is a special creature and she surely gave us plenty to chew on here.

22. Council Tree-Seagull
My favourite Australian album was a beautifully concocted album of strange sounds and peaceful beauty. A great album to listen to under the covers.

23. Gorilla Manor-Local Natives
A complete load of fun from beginning to end. Great, great harmonies and addictive rhythms. I am looking forward to see them live in February.

24. Grinderman 2-Grinderman
A ferocious assault on the senses. A compelling and destructive album. How can you fail by combining Nick Cave and Warren Ellis?

25. Sisterworld-Liars
A raging beauty of an album. Strange, abrasive and totally addictive. An inventive and ambitious piece of music. They really sound like no one else.

26. The Way Out-The Books
Continuing the theme of experimentation, these New Yorkers give us again an album of sonic experimentation and found sounds. A tranquil experience.

27. Down There-Avey Tare
Took a while to get this but that was probably to be expected. Not all of it works to be sure, but there are great delights to be found here if you look.

28. Tidelands-The Moondoggies
This music is right up my alley. Warm and rich instrumentation plus great harmonies make for a winning combination. It might not be original but it is delightful.

29. Everything In Between-No Age
I genuinely believe this to be their best album yet. Yes, they still bring the noise and fuzz, but there are genuinely great songs buried in here.

30. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy-Kanye West
I fell out of love with hip hop many moons ago, but this brought me back. Whatever you think of Kanye there is no denying the effort made here.

31. Wild Smile-Suckers
If you have tired of MGMT then maybe you should give Suckers ago. Pulsing and thumping tunes are everywhere here.

32. Micah P. Hinson and the Pioneer Saboteurs-Micah P. Hinson
Hinson returned in 2010 with another album of burnt offerings and broken hearts. His voice alone is enough reason to listen to his music.

33. Epic-Sharon Van Etten
This album wasn't epic but it was surely many, many things. Her voice is clear and robust and she can write songs full of hope and reality.

34. Destroyer Of The Void-Blitzen Trapper
This band has been on an constantly upward spiral to greatness. But they hit a slight bump in the road here. It was still very good, but just lacked that previous spark.

35. Brothers-The Black Keys
Dan and Patrick still have it, plenty of it. They still sound the same, but there is nothing wrong with that. When in doubt put on a Black Keys album.

36. Fang Island-Fang Island
I never, ever tired of this album in 2010. Raucous, wild and full of fun. Again, melodies were the key to making this album such a great listen.

37. Learning-Perfume Genius
A subtle and sometimes painful album. Mike Hadreas concocted music that was desperately personal and at times very moving.

38. I Speak Because I Can-Laura Marling
I initially missed the boat on Ms. Marling, but I have bought a ticket now. Unbelievably talented, she has a strong voice and a vital story to tell.

39. The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Horse-The Besnard Lakes
"Albatross" alone would make this album required listening. Thankfully there is more on offer here. A sonic explosion of drums and guitars and voices.

40. Saint Bartlett-Damien Jurado
I think this singer is completely under rated. Although not changing the earth Jurado writes songs of great depth and heart. He can sing too!

41. Daughter of Sunshine-Rat Vs. Possum
My next Australian entry is from a Melbourne band that writes songs of bounce and massive energy. Great live, they carried it to their debut album.

42. Foreign Tapes-Parades
Now here we have I believe Sydney's most promising young band. Armed with ambition and invention this is a band going places. In a hurry.

43. Pope Killdragon-Strand Of Oaks
This album could easily rise as I have only just fell underneath its considerable spell. Achingly tender and broken.

44. Thistled Spring-Horse Feathers
I could probably say see above with this album. This band succintly knows how to make music that is moving and very personal. A great delight.

45. War Of Currents-The Whiskers
A sleeper and probably a little unknown. But here we have seven complex and fascinating songs that unfold themselves with considerable effect.

46. The Black Dirt Sessions-Deer Tick
More earthy and wholesome American music. Rough and ready heart on the sleeve sort of stuff. A cry in the dark for a helping hand.

47. Kollaps Tradixionales-Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra
Confounding and confusing music. But also at times quite essential. These musicians walk their own particular road and we are always grateful for that.

48. Constellations-Balmorhea
This Texan group design music that is ethereal, luxurious and often compelling. Subtle shades of colour haunt their music with great effect.

49. Treats-Sleigh Bells
Crunch, crunch, crunch. Explosive music that is thrilling and mesmeric. There is also no doubt that "Rill, Rill" was one of the songs of 2010.

50. Heaven Is Whenever-The Hold Steady
After four unbeatable and classic albums the everyman band came back to earth a little. Was it the absence of Franz that disabled the spark?

Dec 21, 2010

Tim Rogers Christmas Show @ The Vanguard

Tim Rogers is an erudite man. A man of dripping charisma and extreme personality. Tuesday night he performed, for the first time, at The Vanguard in Newtown. It was the first of two Christmas Shows and he was, quite simply, fantastic. In the 90s I was a huge You Am I fan. Their first four albums are the equal of any in Australian rock history. In the last few years though I had lost touch with the Rogers magic. So, I thought this was a good opportunity to see him live once again. Even without the band. It proved a splendid night.

He touched a wide variety of songs from his solo releases and even though I was not familiar with most of the songs played I still lapped it all up. I did count three You Am I numbers though. So the set list below has a few holes in it, but I tried my best to figure it out later. No matter, each song was a gem. Armed with two guitars, he strummed and crooned with maximum effect. His music has a melancholic undertone, stories of life with wry observances and sad witnessing. Above the beautiful melodies rises his universal voice. It's not a unique voice, but it is distinctly distinct. It's a comfort to the soul, in much the same way as Jeff Tweedy. It soothes and relaxes. Tim Rogers is also a fine storyteller. He treads the fine line between slightly arrogant and immensely charming. Dressed in his purple velvet jacket, he is an every man. At home in every one's home. He sings of Australia, but it's an Australia that we can all find time to love. Never better illustrated then in the closing song in "Paragon Cafe". Tim Rogers is a national treasure. Thankfully he still lives, bleeds and breathes. You should catch him at sometime in your life.

Set List
Because You're Mine
A Nervous Kid
Damn Songs
Time & Distance
The Ballad Of You Am I
City Lights
Hi, We're The Support Band
The Smokin' Popes
Go On, Get Strong?
Happy Anniversary
Lover of the Wild
The Secret Of Christmas
What Are You Doing New Year's Eve

We We Wed?
Paragon Cafe

Dec 19, 2010

Best Live Shows of 2010

2010 proved to be an interesting, engaging and often rewarding year in the live arena. I guess when you add a trip to New York to everything else then there was a good chance that some spectacular highlights would come our way. Firstly, because of a certain nuptial event we watched our budget a little this year. Not quite as much live music as previous years and we forgo a fair amount of local music. But it was still a great year. The year began with excellent renewals of the Sydney Festival and also the Laneway Festival (in a great new venue). We also had some amazing acts that came our way after Splendour in the Grass. Then there was Pavement. Perhaps the greatest band of all time reformed for a glorious victory lap. I was lucky enough to see them not only in Sydney, but also in magnificent Central Park. But there was one band above all that fried my brain and conquered my heart.

1. Titus Andronicus @ Webster Hall
A night of nights. Power, passion, ecstatic beauty. In a great venue in THE city I witnessed a show I will never, ever forget. I lost my voice.

2. Pavement @ Rumsey Playfield
This was totally special as well. The kings of slackerdom made a Friday night under the stars of Central Park an amazing and unforgettable experience.

3. Pavement @ Enmore Theatre
Could have easily been 2A. They owned us this night.

4. The Avett Brothers @ The Factory
I am officially in love with Scott Avett. A night of love and eternal joy. Voices soared and we soared to dizzy heights. This band should be huge.

5. Grizzly Bear @ City Recital Hall (two nights)
I went twice and each night was a shimmering and incredible delight. Faultless and impeccable with harmonies and arrangements to die for.

6. The Decemberists @ Metro Theatre
OK, I just wiped the smile from my face about now. So much fun. Colin Meloy had us in the palm of his hand for the entire night.

7. Dirty Three @ Enmore Theatre
Warren Ellis is more then the man. He is music.

8. Frightened Rabbit @ The Factory
At last in a proper venue. They made our hearts sing.

10. Grizzly Bear @ Enmore Theatre
A triumphant return!

11. Broken Social Scene @ Rumsey Playfield
Oh yeah, then there was this night under the stars in Central Park...

12. Wilco @ The Factory
A special privilege to see them here.

13. Broken Social Scene @ Metro Theatre
2006 was untouchable, but this was still great.

14. Neko Case @ City Recital Hall
Maybe the venue wasn't perfect for her, but she nearly was.

15. Wilco @ State Theatre
I could see them live till the end of time.

16. The New Pornographers @ Manning Bar
This was pure fun!

17. Spoon @ The Forum
We should never forget just how good this band is.

18. The Dodos @ Oxford Art Factory
They make sounds that are unique and unforgettable.

19. Richmond Fontaine @ Notes Newtown
Willy Vlautin is some sort of treasure.

20. Joanna Newsom @ Sydney Opera House
We got to hear all the new songs first.

Dec 18, 2010

Evil-Grinderman (Official Video)

Holy cow!

Dec 17, 2010

The Rural Alberta Advantage Bring Us A New Album

In 2008 The Rural Alberta Advantage came out of nowhere to deliver us an album that was loaded with spark and wit and fury. "Hometowns" was self released and through word of mouth gained a devoted following. They soon signed to Saddle Creek Records and the album was released on that label in 2009. Fast forward to 2011 (March 1 to be precise) and we will see their second album released. "Departing" is the name of the album and it is one album that I am definitely looking forward to in 2011.

Departing Track Listing
1 Two Lovers
2 The Breakup
3 Under the Knife
4 Muscle Relaxants
5 North Star
6 Stamp
7 Tornado '87
8 Barnes' Yard
9 Coldest Days
10 Good Night

Dec 16, 2010

The Tree Of Life Trailer

THE film event of 2011. Without doubt. The long awaited return of Terrence Malick looks like a supremely triumphant one. This film tracing the relationship of a father and son from the 50s to the present was filmed a couple of years ago in Texas, but has been delayed on getting to the big screen. Now it's coming! Starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn I am trembling already at the very thought of seeing it on the big screen.

Dec 12, 2010

Best Songs of 2010

"This is a war we can't win
After 10,000 years, it's still us against them
And my heroes have always died at the end
So who's going to account for these sins?"

So begins the song that destroyed 2010 in each and every way possible. This year Titus Andronicus reached deep into our chests and extracted something quite beautiful. In a year where many styles and shades of music proved popular and successful it was a ferocious and passionate group of musicians from New Jersey that proved that a mountain of passion and a sea of emotion will always prevail. "Four Score and Seven" was an angry statement. A total kicking of the pricks if you like. "Seven angels find me spread across the floor". Indeed and indeed again. Following are my other favourites in golden video format.

Dec 10, 2010

The Mountain Goats Reveal New Album Details

Mark March 29 in your calendars. For the date is not only the release date for the new album from The Mountain Goats, but also their first album for Merge Records. "All Eternals Deck" was recorded at several studios with a few different producers: four songs at North Carolina’s Fidelitorium with John Congleton; one at Q Division in Boston with Brandon Eggleston; four at Brooklyn’s Mission Sound with Scott Solter; and four at Mana Recording Studios in Florida, with former Morbid Angel guitarist and current Hate Eternal helmsman Erik Rutan. The new album contains 13 tracks and if the titles are anything to go by we are in for one hell of a treat.

All Eternals Deck Track Listing
1 Damn These Vampires
2 Birth of Serpents
3 Estate Sale Sign
4 Age of Kings
5 The Autopsy Garland
6 Beautiful Gas Mask
7 High Hawk Season
8 Prowl Great Cain
9 Sourdoire Valley Song
10 Outer Scorpion Squadron
11 For Charles Bronson
12 Never Quite Free
13 Liza Forever Minnelli

Dec 7, 2010

Godspeed You! Black Emperor Play ATP

They are back! If this doesn't give you chills then I just can't help you. The mighty and totally unique Godspeed You! Black Emperor returned from a long hiatus to play ATP @ Minehead on the weekend. Here is video of them playing their classic in "Moya".

Dec 5, 2010


I believe this was Deerhunter's first appearance on TV. Here they perform "Helicopter" on the Conan O'Brien Show.

Dec 2, 2010

Bright Eyes Return In 2011

Can the flame be lit again? Is the magic still present? Earlier this decade I had thoughts that Conor Oberst could be a major, major voice in songwriting. His band/concept in Bright Eyes recorded a string of amazing and beautiful albums, in particular "Fevers and Mirrors" and "Lifted..." In 2007 we saw the last release from Bright Eyes and the cracks started to appear. Whilst "Cassadaga" was a good album it wasn't flawless and we wondering what the future might hold. Was the boy genius, now 30, running out of inspiration. Then he took a different path. Releasing two albums, one in his own name and one with the Mystic Valley Band. The first one was pretty good, the second one fairly average. The songs seemed to lack edge and spark. So as we move into 2011 we have a new album on the horizion and it's by Bright Eyes! Saddle Creek will release "The People's Key" on February 15. Recorded in Omaha, Nebraska at the band's ARC Studios, it was produced by long time associate Mike Mogis. I really hope this is a great album and a return to form for Oberst.

The People's Key Track Listing
1 Firewall
2 Shell Games
3 Jejune Stars
4 Approximate Sunlight
5 Haile Selassie
6 A Machine Spiritual (In The People's Key)
7 Triple Spiral
8 Beginner's Mind
9 Ladder Song
10 One For You, One For Me