Jul 29, 2012

Father John Misty @ Oxford Art Factory

In a word. Fun. In two more words. Extreme fun. But Father John Misty at the Oxford Art Factory on Friday night was so much more than that. It was a blissed out hour of rich and warm music. I think that's what get me most about the newly created Josh Tillman fronted Father John Misty. Their songs are so rich with feeling and generosity, so full of pathos and humour. Throw in an incredibly charismatic and talented frontman and it's a near unbeatable combination.

When Josh Tillman left Fleet Foxes earlier this year I felt a little sad. Sure Robin Pecknold was the central driving force, but Tillman was a major factor. His drumming, sense of humour and immaculate voice will surely be lost. But another chapter opened in his life and what a great opening paragraph it has been. I also felt a little sad that Tillman has seemingly been rejecting his previous solo career, describing it as dour and not really him. I for one loved his solo work and will always treasure him. But on the other hand his rebirth as the elastic, vibrant Laurel Canyon inspired frontman of Father John Misty is quite triumphant and completely joyous. As the curtain opened and the opening strains of "Funtimes in Babylon" flowed out it set off an hour of complete fun and happiness. Tillman is quite the frontman. Confident but not cocky. Sexual but not sexy. Funny but engaging and true. He is lithe and almost balletic too. Oh and his voice. It is pure and sure. Deep and rich. His band aren't half bad either, ably playing their part with expert timing and great harmonies. Every song hit the mark, but particular standouts were "Nancy From Now On" and "This Is Sally Hatchet" with its wigged out ending. "Everyman Needs a Companion" slayed us all and "Now I'm Learning to Love the War" gets better with each and every listen. Naturally they closed with the epically great "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings". A song this great and a show this good meant one thing. A major talent has arrived.  

Set List
Funtimes in Bablyon
Only Son of the Ladiesman
Nancy From Now On
I'm Writing a Novel
Misty's Nightmares 1 & 2
This Is Sally Hatchet
Well, You Can Do It Without Me
Now I'm Learning to Love the War
Everyman Needs a Companion
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings

Tee Pees 1-12

Jul 27, 2012

Jack White @ Hordern Pavilion

Whatever 'It' is, and it's often indefinable, Jack White has 'It'. He is IT. He is a colossus. A giant. Undeniable talent and inxoticating charisma. A man of super gifts and talents. Thursday night at the Hordern Pavilion proved all of this and more yet again. This year Mr White released his first solo album in the shape of "Blunderbuss". It's a great listen, even though perhaps not quite at the level of his orgasmic White Stripes releases. But his show last night gave us the full gamut of his writing career. From solo stuff to White Stripes to Raconteurs to The Dead Weather, even a Hank Williams cover. And it's not really 'solo' as such. He travels with two bands. The all girl The Peacocks and the all male Los Buzzardos. Jack decides on any given night which band will play with him. In Sydney we received the all male version. Wowee!

It was a buzzsaw opening with the awesome "Black Math". He then followed with perhaps the choicest cuts from the new album. "Freedom at 21" in particular a standout. Then, as noted, the set flowed from old to new, never missing a beat. His five band members, drawn from all over the US, were in step all the way. They were ferocious and sometimes downright incendiary. If I had a slight quibble it might be that sometimes they over did it. Drum flourishes and guitar solos at the end of songs were sometimes just a bit over the top. Especially as the sounds was really LOUD. Maybe I'm getting old but it seem loud and distorted at times, in effect burying Mr White's vocals. Which is truly the highlight. The man has a voice and a half. Warm and also authoritative. He owns the stage. Especially on sublime songs such as "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" and the closing "Blue Veins". The encore was superific. "Steady, As She Goes" was a great singalong and "The Hardest Button to Button" basically owned the night. Of course he closed with "Seven Nation Army". Of course we went wild. This was a ROCK SHOW.

I should say though that I wish this was anywhere else but the Hordern. It's a venue that truly lacks character. A big barn where sightlines are always difficult. If only this was at the Enmore!

Set List
Black Math
Missing Pieces
Freedom at 21
You Know I Know
Love Interruption
Hotel Yorba
Hypocritical Kiss
Weep Themselves To Sleep
Trash Tongue Talker
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
On and On an On
Broken Boy Soldier
I Cut Like a Buffalo
The Same Boy You've Always Known
Blue Veins

Sixteen Saltines
Steady, As She Goes
The Hardest Button to Button
Seven Nation Army

Jul 24, 2012

A.C. Newman To Release New Album

Coming soon (Septemberish) is a new album from New Pornographer A.C. Newman. This will be Newman's third solo album and it was recorded earlier this year in Woodstock, New York. Matador Records will have the pleasure of releasing the as yet untitled album.
Stay tuned for further details!

Jul 18, 2012

Angels-The xx

This is blowing up on the blogosphere. The xx will return on September 7 with album number two. "Coexist" will contain 11 tracks and here is a taste from the album.

MP3: Angels-The xx

Jul 17, 2012

Ramona Falls/Menomena

Any regular reader would probably know that I am big fan of all things Ramona Falls and Menomena. Of course in early 2011 Brent Knopf left the second band to concentrate on the first one. Now fast forward to 2012 and both bands have new releases, one already out and one due. "Prophet" the excellent second album from Ramona Falls is a compelling listen. Dark and highly emotional I have been enjoying its charms a lot recently. Thankfully we now have a new video for one of the better songs from the album. It's called "Fingerhold" and it's great, both the song and video.

In September Menomena will release their latest opus in the shape of "Moms". Recently Justin and Danny sat down for a revealing interview with Pitchfork. You can read it here.

Jul 15, 2012


There seem to be precious few pure music events anymore. You know, something that is purely about the music and nothing else. Something that is not a sales pitch or a marketing event. Something that in the moment and for days after you know was something truly special and unique. Saturday night was such an occasion. The Gate has been putting on such nights for a while now, but this might easily be the best one yet. Firstly it was in St Phillips York Street Anglican. in the heart of the CBD. Secondly, it was IN a church. Here in point form are the things that mattered.

  • Amazing acoustics (naturally)
  • Cost effective
  • A collaboration between Charge Group and Seaworthy that featured a pipe organ
  • Serene acoustic set by Tash Parker (featuring a Sesame Street song)
  • Jordan Ireland blowing everyone away with a powerful set
  • Single Twin
  • JORDAN IRELAND!!! (ex Middle East)
  • Did I mention Jordan Ireland?
  • Free brownies
  • Free brownies

Jul 13, 2012

Rising Below-Dirty Three

They rarely do videos. So let's be grateful for this!

Jul 11, 2012

The Love You Love-The Walkmen

Brand new video. Directed by Sean Pecknold.

Jul 5, 2012

2012: A Half Yearly Look Back

The year so far has, you could say, a fox like quality. It started in the early days of January with a sublime Fleet Foxes show at the Sydney Opera House. Little did we know that their erstwhile drummer Josh Tillman would soon announce that he would be leaving the band. It soon transpired that Tillman would form his own band and then subsequently release my favourite album so far in 2012. Father John Misty was the name of the band and "Fear Fun" is just a sheer delight. As for other albums it's been a mixed year I feel. There have been some real gems, but also quite a few records that feel either tired or uninspired. So onto my list of favourites. Just to note that there are some records I have only recently picked up and haven't had the chance to give them full value. Such as Fiona Apple, DIIV, Langhorne Slim and Liars. Perhaps they will appear on my year end list.

Top Ten Albums Of 2012 (So Far)
1-Fear Fun-Father John Misty
Dropping the quiet, sombre solo albums he previously released, Tillman and band crafted a joyous, warm and superb record. Joyous!

2-Bloom-Beach House
Every bit as good as Teen Dream. This album drips with elegance and class. Melodies float in the air with grace and rapture. Effortless!

3-Heaven-The Walkmen
This band has matured and aged into one of the finest on the planet. Perhaps their most subdued release yet, it resonates with heart.

4-Charge Group-Charge Group
A while in the making, it was worth the wait. Ethereal, super charged and spare, it fairly drips with emotion. A triumph for Australia's finest band.

5-Heartbreaking Bravery-Moonface
Yet another chapter in the Spencer Krug search for beauty in  music. His collaboration with Finnish Siinai produced those Krug qualities. Mystery, depth and emotion.

6-We Keep The Beat Found The Sound See The Need Start The Heart-Jonathan Boulet
Second album explosion. A bewildering concoction of melodies and anthemic chants. Music that is so uplifting and just so much fun.

7-Clear Moon-Mount Eerie
The genius that is Phil Elverum has given us another release that requires countless listens to fully understand. In fact I know I still need more listens to fully comprehend.

8-No One Knows What Happens Next-Hallelujah The Hills
File under most under rated band on the planet. An album of well written, sincere and rocking songs that are fiercely intelligent and rewarding.

9-Tramp-Sharon Van Etten
A major talent emerging. Van Etten is a great singer who knows how to write great songs. This album was a pleasure from beginning to end.

10-Open Your Heart-The Men
Fierce and unrelenting, this album covers many styles and moods. It contains a burning passion and anger that is hard to resist.

Honourable Mentions
Boys & Girls-Alabama Shakes
Prophet-Ramona Falls
The End of That-Plants and Animals
I Predict A Graceful Expulsion-Cold Specks
Put Your Back N 2 It-Perfume Genius
Acousmatic Sorcery-Willis Earl Beal
Spooky Action At A Distance-Lotus Plaza
Blunderbuss-Jack White
Toward The Low Sun-Dirty Three
Maraqopa-Damien Jurado
The Clearing-Bowerbirds
Bill, Dance, Shiner-Bearhug
Break It Yourself-Andrew Bird
Attack On Memory-Cloud Nothings
Eight And A Half-Eight And A Half

Music To Anticipate...
Swing Lo Magellan-Dirty Projectors
Major-Fang Island
America-Dan Deacon
A Thing Called the Divine Fits-Divine Fits
Centipede Hz-Animal Collective
Sun-Cat Power
Ocean Roar-Mount Eerie
The Bloom and the Blight-Two Gallants
Coexist-The xx
TBA-Grizzly Bear
Bend Beyond-Woods

Jul 1, 2012

Jonathan Boulet @ Metro Theatre

Well that was enormous fun. A cracking hour of blissed out super fun. Melody and more melody. The super talented Jonathan Boulet entertained us with unceasing effort Saturday night at the Metro Theatre. The show was the biggest room the band has played yet, as part of the tour to launch their ridiculously good second album. For some reason, the room was nowhere near capacity. Which is strange considering how vastly less talented acts can sell out the venue on multiple nights. But no matter, for those in attendance witnessed a night they will not soon forget.

The bearded one, and it's a considerable one, led the charge on the night. Launching straight into the totally awesome "Black Smokehat", the band followed suit with enormous energy. The set up is made to make the live experience a great one. Three guitars that blaze and shred, backed up by a ferocious drummer and a drummer/percussionist at the front of the stage. It all makes for quite a sound. Anthemic, joyous and totally uplifting. Throw in huge sweeping harmonies and it is infectious and irresistible to the nth degree. Boulet has an incredible ear for melody. His songs are infused with such joy and bounce. They can range from the summery delights of "This Song Is Called Ragged" and "Mangle Trang" to the chaotic and dynamic "Trounce". Either way, you just have to dance and move. They left their big guns for last though. "A Community Service Announcement" was just melody overload and "You're A Animal" was strong, direct and a clarion call to thrash about. They didn't encore. They gave us all. Smiles and smiles.

Set List
Black Smokehat
3 2 1 Ready Or Not
Hallowed Hag
This Song Is Called Ragged
Mangle Trang
Ones Who Fly Twos Who Die
A Community Service Announcement
You're A Animal