Monday, 30 July 2012

Text Review - Splendour In The Grass 2012

Reviewed through the wonders of text messaging...

Byron Bay's best and brightest (and wettest and muddiest) music festival is all but a lingering memory in the minds of the people so you know what that means? It's time for our second annual Splendour In The Grass text review! Jo was on location, battling the cold and hipsters to make her way to the front of crowds to listen to some amazing and not so amazing music. Re-live the highs and the lows through the greatest form of communication there is; the text message. Short and sweet, honest and brutal; Jo recaps what many have called the festival of the year. We unecessarily talk about The Veronicas too. Whatcha gon do 'bout it c***ts. Sorry... there's some residual Azealia Banks lingo hanging around. 

Get Your Text On

July 26, 2012: 9:59pm

Jo: Halfway to Byron and I've run into my first festival casualty. Hipster searching for panadiene in the service station to get him through the weekend. Then the service station guy questioned who I wanted to see at Splendour. "Jack White and others," I said. "Not the Smashing Pumpkins?" he replied. Uuuurgh. This is going to be a long weekend. Already. 

Matt: Take some panadiene. It'll all be alright. 

Day 1:

Emma Louise's voice took the pain of the wet weather away...

July 27, 2012: 3:57pm

Jo: So the Splendour 2012 text review begins! Day one - Kingswood: 12:30 Fri. Just a couple more rehearsals in your garage and you'll make the 1pm time slot next year. That's something to aim for. Chet Faker: Oh. Without actually looking at the stage, I thought you were just the music they play in between bands. Oops. Flume: it's too early for this.

Sun + rain + hail + sun = mud. Thank goodness for the gumboot, the 4WD of festival going. 

July 27, 2012: 6:21pm

Jo: ...well, there's no grass, that's for sure. DZ Deathrays: watching you saved me from being caught in the first downpour of the weekend, so for that reason you were alright. Emma Louise: I ran through the stench and slush of mud for you. The festival isn't the right venue for you, but the run was still worth it. Big Scary: neither big nor scary. How disappointing. 

Matt: Did Emma Louise do 1000 Sundowns? Are the toilets beyond filthy yet? What colour is your poncho? Do you have a poncho? Does everyone look like drowned rats? There's just too many questions.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Top 20 - 29 July, 2012


1. The xx - Angels

2. Curxes - Spectre

Spectre by CURXES

3. Phebe Starr - Alone With You (NEW)

4. Bat For Lashes - Laura (NEW)

5. Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra - Want It Back

Thursday, 26 July 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - Splendour Time Machine

by Jo Michelmore

Anyone who has read more than one or two things I have written should know, I love the music festival. Music, all day. Music, for 12 hours straight. I love music. I love live music. Therefore, me and the music festival get along just fine. Now, there’s only one more sleep until this year’s Splendour In The Grass. You know what that means? One more sleep until Jack White.


Oh sigh…..

....sorry, what was I saying? Oh yes, Splendour. The music festival. That’s right. Get yourself together Jo. That’s where I’m going this weekend to see the one and only handsome Jack White.

Oh Jack.

Jack. White.

Oh sigh….


….oh, sorry again. It’s just, Splendour. It’s Jack White. You expect me to concentrate?


Oh sigh….


Oh…..what? What was I saying? Yes, one more sleep until this year’s Splendour in the Grass gets underway. The music festival is an amazing day or numerous days. Lots and lots of bands, lots and lots of dancing, people in fabulous outfits, people in crazy outfits (bets on what the weird/silly outfit will be this year?!) and of course, even though we’ll be talking lots about this year’s Splendour in the next couple of days (the infamous itsmykindofscene text review to come), since it's Vintage Thursday, let’s play a little game I love to play. It’s the imaginary time machine game. Use the bathroom and grab some snacks, we’re going to hop in again and take my little time machine back to previous Splendours. We’re not going far so what you’re wearing is fine. Who would you like to go back and witness? Me? Let’s see….

Powderfinger: 2001, 2003, 2007

Well, it doesn’t matter if we set the date slightly off on my time machine, we’ve got a couple of chances to see them. Love them or hate them, Powderfinger were incredibly popular for a while there because they were great live. Really great. Let’s go back to the first Splendour and see them in 2001, where I’m sure they played a whole bunch of songs you forgot you knew but somehow remembered the words to sing along to when they were on stage. 2001, this is going to be fun.

Machine Gun Fellatio: 2002

MGF, I’m including you because you were so popular for 5 minutes, like, really popular, and I don’t actually remember ever seeing you live, but in the early 2000’s, people seemed to love you, didn’t they? I think I may even have liked you a little but just not enough to really remember. Oh well, let’s see you in 2002 and see if we can work out what all the fuss was.

Placebo: 2003

Placebo. Splendour. They’d just released Sleeping With Ghosts. You don’t want to come? Whatever. You’re not invited anyway. Get out.

PJ Harvey/Jurassic 5/Franz Ferdinand/Sneaky Sound System: 2004

What a good year 2004 was. We’ll stop here for a little while, so make yourself comfortable. A bit of rock, a bit of hip hop, a bit of pop, a bit of PJ. Something for everyone and time to grab a beverage in between. Don’t use the toilets though. I hear the line-ups were terrible this year. Hold on until 2006.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: 2006


Since they’ve been announced at next year’s Big Day Out, it seems right to see them in 2006, to see how far they’ve come since then. I’ll check them out while you get us a beverage, yeah yeah yeah, thanks.

The Polyphonic Spree: 2008

Let’s see the Polyphonic Spree next. Why? They were fun. Loads of fun. Lots and lots of them in their robes, swaying and singing away, this is a band made for the music festival. Probably at sunset or just after. I don’t know when they played in 2008, but I’m sure it was amazingly fun, regardless.

The Flaming Lips: 2009

Oh, you haven’t worked out how amazing The Flaming Lips are, live? Who are you? Where have you been living and why haven’t you been reading this blog? We’ve told you numerous times and you still doubt us? Wayne Coyne, giant balloons, balls floating through the crowd, lots of bouncing, paper confetti and a whole bunch of singing along. This is the ultimate music festival experience. So much fun, The Flaming Lips are a band you must put on your bucket list. Must. Do. In fact, they’re so good, once they play their first set, I may just get in the time machine and go back to the start and watch it again. And again. And again. You don’t want to? Ok, I’ll just drop you off at 2003, that’s fine. I’m staying here with Wayne and friends for a while. Then I'm heading forward to Friday night, to see Jack White. Numerous times.

Oh Jack.

Oh sigh....


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Who Do You Think You Are - Rayna Mishra

Meet the beautiful Rayna... and some random dude from some random band she loves. Where you hidin' B-Fan?

Wednesday's 'Who Do You Think You Are' is back once more and sitting in the hot seat this week is the lovely Rayna Mishra! With questions ranging from great Australian artists to hypothetical futuristic inventions (things are getting out of control), Rayna provided fantastic answers which you can read below. We especially loved her response to why she loves music. Enough chit-chat, let's get to the... chit-chat... with Rayna!


Q. With the year now more than half gone, what have been your favourite songs of 2012 so far?

Rayna: I wish I could reel off a number of tres cool songs that have come out in 2012 but first I should disclaim that, in an unconscious effort to be anti-hipster, I seem to like things AFTER they’ve been cool. So forgive me if these aren’t very new but I’ve been loving Rudimental’s 'Feel the Love,' Labrinth’s 'Earthquake' (Busta Rhymes version, of course), David Guetta, Lana Del Rey’s album and I am unashamed to say, a couple of Voice singles such as Karise Eden’s audition 'It’s a Man’s World' and 'Stay With Me.' Yep.

Q. What are your music guilty pleasures and why do you love them?

*groan* Ok, let they who be without sin, cast the first stone. For I have sinned. I would say that my guilty pleasure would include a little bit of Chris Brown’s recent stuff (over the past couple of years), old PCD, Rihanna, last year’s Nicki Minaj and I even liked Lady Gaga’s 'You and I.' As for why - I don’t usually go for the ‘every-genre-blend-of-pop’ kind of thing that gets the majority of airplay these days…but I do love to dance. Oh Jeebus but I do. And you can’t dance to meaningful lyrics. 

Q. Who are your favourite vocalists? 

Hmm, tough. I was a pretty avid ‘Finger fan and am still so I’ll go Bernard Fanning for his earlier years to early 2000s. And for the same reason, Eddie Vedder. The talent and meaningful lyrics aside, they manage to convey just that right amount of passion for their songs that makes you want to throw away your day job and go be a freaking rock star. Because rock stars make a difference.

Admit it... you think you're awesome at singing Adele songs.

Adele has a stunning voice and has such a tremendous emotional impact, you cant help but feel like she’s your soul singing (if unlike me, your soul could sing). Dont tell me you haven’t belted out ‘Someone Like You’ at least once in your life!

I’ve also recently discovered Lana Del Rey (yes, recently) and we’ve all recently discovered Karise Eden. Loving it. I don’t often come across many female crooners and these ladies make me feel like I was born in the wrong era. Though Rebecca Black also does that for all the wrong reasons. 

Q. Finish this sentence; I love music because...

It gets me.  

Q. Who are the greatest Australian artists of all time?

Oooooh, controversial. AC/DC. But as mentioned, I love my Powderfinger. 

Q. In 2017, a machine has been invented that follows you around and plays the soundtrack of your life. What music are you going to select to play when:

i) You're in the middle of one of those crazy montages where you're trying on heaps of clothes and your friends are shaking their heads to everything and then you find the perfect outfit and they're like, "YES!"
- Nelly – 'Hot in Herre'…duh.


ii) You're consoling a friend because their relationship has just ended.
- Tracy Bonham – 'Whether You Fall' 

iii) Amazing action scene complete with car chase and explosions!
- A dirty dirty mix up of The Vines’ 'Get Free' and 'Ride' and Powderfinger’s 'On My Mind.'

iv) You get your happy ending.
- Savage Garden – 'Truly Madly Deeply.'

PS - Awesome! Now THAT"S a future worth looking forward to! Bring on 2017!

Heck yes we want that invention too! Thanks for stopping by Rayna and thanks for the great answers. Admitting that you like Chris Brown is no easy feat. Want to play the 'Who Do You Think You Are' game? All you have to do is be one of our beautiful Facebook likers and you could be next! But how do I do that? Go to our Facebook site of course! 

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

10 and 1 - Guilty Pleasures


There's this one question we were asking almost every reader when we conducted our weekly 'Who Do You Think You Are' interview that was bothering me for awhile. What are your music guilty pleasures? Answers have ranged from Nicki Minaj and Fleetwood Mac to the Spice Girls and Beyonce. Like I said, this kinda bothered me. It wasn't that the answers were wrong... there are no wrong answers when it comes to our beautiful readers (we love you!)... it's just that when I'd read what other people decided were their music guilty pleasures, I figured I had a serious problem. I've spent countless nights (seconds) pondering and pondering until I just couldn't ponder my little conundrum anymore. A decision was made. "Clearly the people won't be really honest about the music they're embarrassed to like unless someone is willing to sacrifice their own dignity first." Since I'm pretty sure Jo has a faultless taste in music, I guess I'm going to have to take one for the team. It's not like I had much or any dignity left anyway. Here's ten songs that cause the world's smallest smile to form in the corner of my mouth when I hear them, before I find the closest mirror and my mirror-image gets all serious and says, "if you tell anyone you like this, you're dead!" Mirror-Matt Bond is quite similar to this...

Yeah, if you can't find me in a couple of days you know who's responsible for my untimely demise. In the grand tradition of '10 and 1,' I'll leave you with one song that I'll never be ashamed to admit I enjoy. If you know me, you are already aware of my love for it and the iPhone soundboard that was made in its honour. Let the awkwardness begin. Enjoy?


THE 10:

The Curse of the Curves (2007)
by Cute Is What We Aim For 

Arguably the most punchable face a lead-singer will ever have, the lamest emo dinner party one could attend and disproportionately attractive pairings. That's just the music video. "Are you perspiring from the irony?" Not even a little bit, but for reasons unknown I like this song. Just writing that killed a little piece of my soul.

Monday, 23 July 2012

New Music Monday #17

Iggy Azalea: The new face of rap?

Murda Bizness
by Iggy Azalea ft. T.I

I'm sorry... what? Here we have a 22 year old gurl from Mullumbimby, New South Wales that's spitting rhymes like she's E-V-E or something. Confused? So am I. It's weird to think that when, um, Iggy actually speaks there's a higher chance she sounds like Missy Higgins than Lil' Kim. But she probably puts on a supa-fly American accent. "Iggy do it biggie, tell 'em keep sending bottles, Imma pop 50, these other bitches think they hot? Not really, She a broke ho, that's how you know she not with me, keep my heels on high, ride or die, 7-60 L, I ride and fly, I'm the guys honest truth, they decide the lie, they just divide the legs, I divide the pie." I'm sorry... what? I never thought I'd say this, but here it goes; "Ke$ha is not the worst female rapper in the game." Expect hell to freeze over any second now. 

Matt Bond gives 'Murda Bizness' two Lil' Kim's out of five...   

by The Wicked
Album: Never Trust the Dead (2012) 

The Wicked - Elevator by SwitchBitch Records

If you've ever wondered what would happen if you combined The Hush Sound with The Dresden Dolls, your long search is over. Introducing Boston's gypsy-punk duo, The Wicked. 'Elevator' is the first single to be released from their debut LP, Never Trust the Dead and it makes quite the impression. Janele Mystique's sweet voice creates a nice juxtaposition placed alongside the darker pop-punk sounds created by Nick Janowicz and the band. Their polished sound serves them well in avoiding too many comparisons to Boston's other famous dark-duo, The Dresden Dolls. There's similarities for sure; female vocalist on keys, guitar/percussion combo and they're multi-instrumentalists, but that's about it. Their sound is completely different, awesome in its own way and leaning way more in the direction of pop than their cabaret inspired contemporaries. 'Elevator' is a great introduction and I'm sure their debut will go a lot further in cementing their status as one new band to keep your eyes and ears on.

Matt Bond gives 'Elevator' three Karen O's out of five...

16 and Unstoppable
by Christina Parie

I know for a fact that not all 16 year olds are this dull. Such a shame only the annoying ones get record deals and make hideously boring music clips. Uuurgh.

Jo Michelmore gives '16 and Unstoppable' one Dannii Minogue out of five...


Summertime Sadness
by Lana Del Rey

Oh, another Lana clip? They all look the same and they’re beginning to make me wonder how unattractive she really must be if every single one has to be shot in soft focus. Boring. Well, if she’s not going to any effort then I shan’t either. Copy and paste from my last Lana review….

See, when you go to music festivals, sometimes it can be difficult to decide which artist you are going to have to miss out on in order to grab a beverage and some food or other essentials. Luckily for me, at Splendour In The Grass next weekend, Lana Del Rey has made that decision incredibly easy. Here’s another 4 minutes and 43 seconds of visuals which should explain why I’ll spend her set somewhere much more interesting, in the line for the toilets. Thanks Lana! Splendour is going to be awesome! (Matt - as an interesting side note, Jo will be required to review Lana Del Rey at Splendour In The Grass)

Jo Michelmore gives the 'Summertime Sadness' video one Germaine Greer out of five...  

Sunday, 22 July 2012

New To The Scene - Phebe Starr


There I was minding my own business, when I heard this song called 'Alone With You' start playing. Deciding it was all kinds of amazing, intrigued by the vocals and won over completely by the track's Bjork-ish breakdown, I had to see if there was a video. There is. Deciding it's all kinds of amazing, shot in black-and-white and featuring a simple cosmic theme, I had to find out more about Phebe Starr. She's based in Sydney... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Well that's about as far as I got. I just kinda wanted to listen to 'Alone With You' again. And again and again. Just listen to the song, it's one you're going to be hearing a whole lot more of soon. Head on over to her JJJ Unearthed page for a free DOWNLOAD of the track. There's not a lot of info to share right now, but this is one new artist that's destined for big things. I can't wait to hear what comes next!

Read more:

Top 20 - 22 July, 2012

Curxes land their second #1 single of 2012!

1. Curxes - Spectre (NEW)

Spectre by CURXES

2. The xx - Angels (NEW)

3. Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra - Want It Back

4. Emma Louise - 1000 Sundowns

5. Jinja Safari - Toothless Grin (NEW)

Thursday, 19 July 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - She Who Must Not Be Named

Who is this?

by Jo Michelmore

What a crap week for Australian fans of Madonna. First we wait in anticipation for her 2013 tour dates to be announced, then she tells us to work all year to save money to come and see her show, then she cancels any plans to play any shows in Australia. What’s going on Madge? Is this just another dull publicity stunt and you’ll announce dates later in the year? Have you realised your latest album isn’t the greatest and you can’t be bothered making your way to the southern hemisphere to promote something you know doesn’t really deserve much promotion? Is it all a bit more tiring than it used to be and you need a cup of tea and a nap? You are getting on, after all. Those fingerless gloves aren’t hiding anything. We know how old you are. You know what Madonna? It’s Vintage Thursday time and even though I thought I might focus on how fabulous you are, this week you’ve pissed me off. So, instead, let’s focus on some other divas of the past. Until next week, when I hear some song I love from American Life or Bedtime Stories or even that Ray Of Light and remember how much I liked you again. Until then Madonna, you suck.

Marilyn Monroe - Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend, 1953

Madonna. The 1950’s were the decade you were born. Then there was Marilyn. Beautiful, intelligent, controversial, sexy, icon of fabulousness (Madonna only gets three of those things, you decide which). There’s nothing to be said that hasn’t already been said about Marilyn. Madonna’s been paying tribute/completely copying her for years. Madonna does ok, but Marilyn, there’s just something, there’s a reason you became the absolute star you were and your memory continues to be today. You had it, that quality that can’t be learnt. Madonna’s still trying.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

10 and 1 - Who To See At Splendour In The Grass 2012

Lana Del Rey... yay or nay?

Oh, so you're going to Splendour are you? You are in for quite the long weekend! There's a whole bunch of amazing talent lined up to perform, ensuring that the festival's return to Byron Bay will be a huge success. You've gone out and bought some new clothes that look twenty years old, Instagram has been updated on your iPhone and JB Hi-Fi has been raided for classic Smashing Pumpkins albums (to take the awful taste of Billy Corgan's new one away). All that's left is to decide on who you're going to see. Want some recommendations? No? Well you're going to get them anyway. Here are ten acts we're saying you've just gotta see at Splendour In The Grass this year. As is the custom with '10 and 1,' I'll be throwing in one act you probably shouldn't waste your time on. Got it? Good.

THE 10:

Azealia Banks

Can the uber-vulgar/amazing spitfire rhymes of Azealia Banks translate to a successful Australian festival debut? We say yes... yes they can. Her live performance of '212' is guaranteed to be a Splendour highlight, with the crowd finally being able to sing along to a song that drops the c-bomb approximately seven thousand times. What you gon do when she appears? Go mental. 

Monday, 16 July 2012

New Music Monday #16

by Curxes

Sometimes you press play on a track you’ve never heard before and a couple of seconds in, you get slapped in the face, the world stops for a minute or three and you wonder how your music collection was ever complete without it. Curxes have managed to do all of that with their new track, 'Spectre,' which has been on constant repeat since first listen and with every press of play, somehow gets better and better. Dark and moody, a little frightening in the most fabulous way, Macaulay Hopwood's dirty driving bass and beats create the perfect grounding for Roberta Fidora's dramatic voice, with her notes and squeals toward the end of the track proving her voice to be spine tingling divine. It’s almost impossible to believe this is only Curxes fourth single, if this is still the beginning of their story, I can’t even imagine what else they have planned. It’s only July and I think I may have found one of my favourite songs of the year. Curse you Curxes, you’re so good you’re making the rest of my music collection seem incredibly bland.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Spectre' five Bjork's out of five...

Fantasea Mixtape 
by Azealia Banks

Hot on the heels of her 1991 EP release, Azealia Banks pleasantly but randomly drops the Fantasea mixtape. The erratic collection, broken up into nineteen parts, features some previously released tracks like 'Jumanji' and 'F*ck Up The Fun' and puts them alongside a whole host of entertaining new numbers that go a long way in telling us what we already knew; Azealia Banks is a major talent on the verge of superstardom. It's an interesting move releasing so many quality tracks for free, but it pretty much guarantees that whatever she's working on with producer Paul Epworth for debut LP Broke With Expensive Taste is going to be blow-your-mind-crazy-good. Fantasea highlights include the very sexy and siren-wailing 'Esta Noche,' the profanity-laced (something new, something different) lyrical wonder that is 'Aquababe' and 'Chips,' in which we get to hear more of Banks' sweet non-rapping vocals. You want to hear the whole collection of tracks? Go on and DOWNLOAD it. If you've been searching for an amazing female rapper to make up for the colossal letdown that is Nicki Minaj? You've found her. 

Matt Bond gives the 'Fantasea' Mixtape four Missy Elliott's out of five...   


Want It Back
by Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra

That is exactly how you do a fascinating lyric video. How do you not do a lyric video?

Matt Bond gives the 'Want It Back' video four Shirley Manson's out of five...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

New To The Scene - Bankrupt Billionaires

It's about time we brought 'New To The Scene' back to the blog. "It's been so long since you've done one. Remind us again of the concept?" you ask. What is it? It's only that super special time of the week where we look at an incredibly exciting, emerging and entertaining solo artist or band, generally of a local persuasion. By local, I mean they're usually from Brisbane, Australia; the home of awesome new music. Without further ado, let's meet this week's feature artist; Bankrupt Billionaires!


Recently while having a chat with my sister Sam (the uber-talented creator behind Jetta's Nest) about local music, she told me to go home and listen to this band called Bankrupt Billionaires. She promised a song about zombies and quality music. She didn't lie. Bankrupt Billionaires' track 'Daze of the Dead' is full of zombies, vampires, werewolves, witches and the enticing sounds of soulful vocalist, Kel On Earth and banging beats provided by producers The Optimen. Watching the video for the first time was equal parts disbelief and astonishment. Is this for real? Heck yes it is... and it's awesome. I don't think I'll ever be able to look at someone dressed as a witch without screaming, "witches, bitches with wands!" Such a simple rhyme can bring joy to the hearts of many. Kel On Earth is a) a fantastic name for a front woman, b) a satisfying mix of Lily Allen attitude and Joss Stone-ish vocals and c) a refreshing change from the current standard of Australian female artists. Don't get me wrong, I love all the Blasko-Louise-Throsby-Seltmann-Blackman-Higgins-Mitchell-Heidke-Stone's out there too, but what Kel Timmons has grabs your attention because it's almost unique. How many soulful vocalists (read: not R&B) are we hearing at the moment that are coming out of Australia? No, Kimbra doesn't count. Yes, she's amazing. No, she's not Australian. Clairy Browne is about as close as you'll get. 'Daze of the Dead' could have been a joke song that you easily tired of, but the strength of Timmons' voice has you coming back for more.

This of course leads to the hunt for more of their music. Search results: they've got a self-titled EP that was released in January! It's a lot of fun, another debut to add to my collection of stellar 2012 EP's. 'Vainglory' is a track with a sound reminiscent of the aforementioned Clairy Browne and her Bangin' Rackettes and the more upbeat Winehouse numbers. The seventh and final track 'Hold Me Down' is a standout; it's a soulful slow jam! You're looking for some hip hop soul to listen to on these cold winter nights? For $5, you're not going to find anything better than the Bankrupt Billionaires EP. Head on over to their Bandcamp page... now! You'll find their latest and best track over on the Bankrupt Billionaire's JJJ Unearthed page. Titled 'Shut Your Face,' you find yourself riding the 60s girl-group wave, complete with "ooh-oohs" and the sweet backing vocals encouraging you to "shut your face." In case you can't tell, I'm a fan of these guys and I want to hear a whole lot more. Eg. I'll be on the lookout for the Bankrupt Billionaires' debut LP. Bankrupt Billionaires, welcome to the scene! 

Read more:


Top 20 - 15 July, 2012

Emma Louise!

1. Emma Louise - 1000 Sundowns (NEW)

2. Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra - Want It Back

3. Ella Hooper - Low High

Ella Hooper - Low High (Official Video) from Ella Hooper on Vimeo.

4. Tame Impala - Apocalypse Dreams (NEW)

5. Eliza Hull ft. Hayden Calnin - Ghosts (NEW)

Friday, 13 July 2012

Gig Review - Emma Louise (12/07/12)

Live at the Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane.
Supported by: Dads and Argentina

There's nothing like some fine music to warm you up on a cold and rainy winter's day, so we headed on down to the Black Bear Lodge last night to see Emma Louise's second sold out Brisbane show of her Sparks tour. Like many attendees, I wasn't certain of what to expect from the show. Louise's tracks 'Jungle' and 'Boy' have garnered her universal acclaim, but did she have a whole set worth of quality tracks in her catalogue? Before we could find out, we'd have to sit through some support acts. 

Dads was up first. I was expecting a band consisting of middle-aged fathers reliving their glory days. Instead, we got young Tom Iansek, his guitar and his MacBook. He was much better than the alternative. Next up was Brisbane's Argentina. Now, I knew nothing about Argentina before seeing him/them live. I say him/them because I assumed through banter provided during their/his performance they were a band, yet a little bit of "research" suggests it's really a solo front for vocalist Alex Ritchie. Since I'm unsure of how to best proceed, I'll refer to them as if they are a live band. They improved in leaps and bounds with each track and I found myself really warming to Argentina and their indie goodness (as did a large majority of the crowd). I will say though, don't feel you have to make banter just for the sake of it, because when you say, "I think you'll enjoy the show more if you stand up. If you think we're shit you can sit back down again," and then I see people sit down after half a song, I find myself asking if you're shit. You weren't, you were pretty great. Argentina have a lot of potential to make it big and JJJ Unearthed seem to already be firmly behind them/him. Whatever. 

At 10pm with the Lodge packed out, the crowd made Emma Louise feel very welcome as she took to the stage. From the moment she started singing, I knew the show was going to be one to remember. Her voice live is flawless and sounds even more incredible than you'd expect when keys player Heather harmonizes alongside her. The audience was mesmerised as Louise worked her way through her one hour set. Whether it was the enchanting current single 'Boy,' new tracks like 'Darts' and 'Flannelette Sheets' or songs about missing home while away, it was hard to take your eyes off such a talented performer. As disheartening as it was to hear we won't be listening to Emma Louise's debut album until 2013, at least we now know that many of its potential tracks are going to be awesome. Think Seeker Lover Keeper levels of awesomeness. The band's energetic performance of 'Jungle' would be a highlight, the audience merrily bopping their heads to the soaring vocals and thundering percussion. Over a year later, 'Jungle' has lost none of its amazing impact. Thinking that would be the best performance of the evening, I was happy to be proven wrong by this...

'1000 Sundowns.' Emma explained writing the song about her Aunty and Uncle following his passing after a battle with cancer and then performed it solo, just her and her guitar. It was a beautiful moment. The crowd was respectfully silent, embracing the heartbreaking track that shows Emma Louise, the songwriter, to be a true gem. An unforgettable moment to bring a close to her set. Deal breaker on buying her EP, Full Hearts and Empty Rooms? The inclusion of '1000 Sundowns.' EP purchased. I hate to ignore the other three EP tracks (including 'Jungle'), but '1000 Sundowns' has been on constant repeat since the drive home after the show. So, you've got the chance to see Emma Louise soon and you're undecided about whether to go or not? Go. Don't even think twice, she's completely worth it. 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - The Festival Post

by Jo Michelmore

With Splendour In The Grass only a couple of weeks away and in anticipation of the Big Day Out line up to be announced this weekend (did someone say M.I.A? Yes please!), it got me thinking about all the great music festivals that happen all over the world, all the time. Now, everyone has their own ideal festival line up list, but imagine if you went to some kind of magical festival where all the great festival moments happened at the one time? Oh, I don’t think I could cope. Imagine the line-ups for the toilets! Uuurgh. So, if there was actually some kind of time machine where anyone who’d ever played a festival could play, who would I see? Tough question. There’d be hundreds of people; amazing acts, hilarious acts, incredibly talented acts, some not so talented. It’s vintage time, so let’s just focus on a couple.

Jimi Hendrix – Monterey Pop Festival, 1967

Love him or hate him, don’t know who he is, whatever, this one has to be included because it’s so damn famous. It inspired rock stars for generations to come and parodies of rock stars for generations to come, this was one of the most iconic rock performances, ever, literally. Playing straight after The Who (there’s another rock act I’m going to have to explore at another date for you, let’s just say they’re legendary, ok?), the final act of the festival, The Jimi Hendrix Experience came on stage, played through a 45 minute set, then, while playing Wild Thing, Jimi poured lighter fluid all over his guitar, set it alight and smashed it to pieces. If you’ve ever seen someone do this live on stage, regardless of how talented they are or are not, there’s something kind of cool about it. Imagine seeing it happen for the first time. By Jimi Hendrix. Epitome of rock cool? Er, yes. Welcome to the line up Jimi.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Amanda Palmer's Greatest Hits, #5 - 1

#5. Coin-Operated Boy
Dresden Dolls Album: The Dresden Dolls (2003)

I will never cry at night again,
Wrap my arms around him and pretend. 

Ah, the signature song. 'Coin-Operated Boy' is The Dresden Dolls' 'Livin' On A Prayer.' Their 'Dancing Queen,' or 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.' The song is the definition of the dark cabaret music the Dolls popularised in the first half of the 2000s, sinister chords and all. It's overly theatrical with as much emphasis placed on the performance as the lyrics. If you've seen 'Coin-Operated Boy' live you'd agree with me that it's one of the most fun and engaging songs you've ever witnessed. Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione are perfectly in sync, especially during the super-extended live, "I. WANT. A. I WANT. A. I WANT A," segment. Seemingly upbeat, it stands out amongst the other tracks on The Dresden Dolls, but it's far from a happy song. This is Amanda Palmer people. You should know better! There's a subtle change in Palmer's voice towards the end that notes her realisation that maybe, "love without complications galore," means not having real love at all. Less subtle is her arrival at this conclusion in her mind in the video. It could also be about a dildo... but that's boring. (Matt Bond)   

#4. In My Mind
Album: Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under (2011)

I am exactly the person that I want to be.

You should have worked out by now; Amanda Palmer is an exceptionally talented woman of many moods. She's fun, she's hilarious, she's quirky, she's incredibly intelligent and sometimes, especially in songs like this, she's so wise. See, there’s a secret the adults keep from you when you’re a child. I’m still waiting for someone to tell me, but figuring it out day by day. Growing up is hard. It’s heaps of fun and it’s incredible but if you want to do it well, it’s hard. Amanda Palmer knows that and luckily for her fans, she has the ability as a songwriter to tell it like it is. In My Mind is a song that I fell in love with instantly, from the very first listen. With every note from that sweet ukulele, with every lyric she sings, she hands over a little gift. It’s almost like she’s written a letter to herself and then given it away for everyone to read, her deepest secrets proving just how awesome she is. Fellow Dresden Doll Brian Viglione adds his beautiful skills on the drums, which creates a familiar feeling that can’t quite be explained, it’s like a dose of reality and a comforting embrace all at once, completely bittersweet and totally heartfelt. It’s something you need to hear, rather than read about. This song is something you can’t get in the self-help section of a bookstore or from the TV, but its pop music counseling at its very best. Every now and then someone like Amanda Palmer comes along and gives the world a reminder of just how good music can be; it can be fun, it can be fast, it can be hilarious or heartbreaking and sometimes it can be exactly what you need, without ever knowing you needed it. “…maybe it's funniest of all to think I'll die before I actually see that I am exactly the person that I want to be.” Whoever you are Amanda, you’re amazing. (Jo Michelmore)

#3. Ampersand
Album: Who Killed Amanda Palmer? (2008)

And I may be romantic, And I may risk my life for it,
But I ain't gonna die for you, You know I ain't no Juliet. 

This is a song about identity. More accurately, 'Ampersand' is a song about its author not wishing to lose her identity. There's this wacky notion that to be with someone, you have to sacrifice so much of yourself to make a relationship work. It's crazy. It leads to unhappiness and it's why so many relationships fail. Palmer makes it very clear that she's not, "going to live her life, one side of an ampersand." She's not just 'the girlfriend' or the '& Amanda.' She doesn't want her whole life planned out. His and hers matching headstones? No thanks, that's not her thing. She wants to be with someone that will love and accept her for who she is, not for who they want her to be; "And I'm not gonna match you, 'Cause I'll lose my voice completely." The challenge to love as defined in Romeo & Juliet is a wonderful piece of songwriting, providing my favourite Palmer-penned lyric (as seen above). In the lead up to that, we get the story about a spurned lover that chooses to go down the, 'if I can't have you, no one can' route and burn down Amanda's apartment block. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be too keen on being with anyone ever again if that happened to me either. (Matt Bond)         

#2. Sing
Dresden Dolls Album: Yes, Virginia... (2006)

There is this thing that's like talking except you don't talk,
You sing... You sing. 

Some songs are more than just songs. They’re better friends than you’ll ever meet, they know you, inside and out, they get you and you in turn get them. They take your heart, rip it out and hold it gently beating in their chords. They become entwined with every part of your life and like the greatest of loves; you can’t imagine yourself ever having been without them. From the first time I heard this song, I wondered how it knew so much about me. It must have been there, when I was a tiny girl, dreaming my days away. As a teenager, at the top of my lungs, in front of the teachers who told me I couldn’t, this song had to have been there, how would it know? It’s always on the dance floor and it was certainly there at band rehearsal watching from the corner. Through the hardest of sobs and the widest of smiles, it was constantly there, lingering beside with the closest friend I’ll ever have known. It’s definitely there, in the very front row, in the very back row, in the very same room, in the same key as some of my musical idols. I know it's there in tiny little rooms with microphones and some of the most beautiful people in the world. It hangs around on long, long drives with the windows down and in the arms of strangers in the strangest of places. In the middle of the night, alone with my thoughts, it’s always there wrapping itself around me. One little song, but its subject matter has seen me through the greatest and worst moments of my life. I don’t do it well, but without it, I am nothing. Some songs are more than just songs. Some songs somehow define you. “There is thing that's like talking except you don't talk. You sing. You sing.” (Jo Michelmore)

#1. Boston
Dresden Dolls Album: No, Virginia... (2008)

New York will still be there in the morning,
Come back to bed, my darling.

Amanda Palmer; brilliant songwriter, outstanding performer, artist. There's so many aspects of the woman that should separate her from us mere mortals. The truth is, thankfully, that Palmer makes music you can relate to. Music that manages to tell her story and yours. You can listen to so many of her tracks and find yourself having to stop for a minute to relish the fact that someone else has the same thoughts you do. You can sympathize with her when she sings about something awful, you can smile at the fleeting moments of joy. This isn't fantasies about 'teenage dreams,' party rocking or whatever Jennifer Lopez is singing about on 'On The Floor.' I think it's about dancing, but it could be about la-la-la-ing. Amanda Palmer writes and sings songs with a whole lot more depth to them. She writes and sings songs that everyone can relate to, especially when the theme is love. The Dresden Dolls' song 'Boston' is one of the most heartbreaking love songs you're likely to ever hear. Set on a couple's final night, it deals with accepting the end, embracing those last moments and living in the 'now.' "And tomorrow you can totally erase me from your mind, no really, everything is fine." I'm a big fan of long songs that maximise every second and there isn't a moment of the over seven minute 'Boston' you can say is wasted. The growing realisation that time is running out builds and builds until the final time Palmer beckons her love to, "come back to bed, my darling," pretty much tearing my heart in two each time I hear it. Then, with no time to catch your breath and in typical AFP fashion, she slaps you in the face with the lines, "there is nothing in the world that we can count on, Even that we will wake up is an assumption." It's a showstopping moment, one that I'll never forget and a line that leaves you with so much to think about. So that's the lesson of the song; live in the 'now' because who knows what tomorrow's going to bring. Amanda Palmer seems to do a pretty good job of it. I think I might give it a go. Who's with me? (Matt Bond)

Another countdown comes to an end. Don't forget, Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra's album, Theatre Is Evil, is out September! They've just released the incredible video for the single 'Want It Back' too. Want to watch it... look below!


Monday, 9 July 2012

New Music Monday #15

Blow Me (One Last Kiss)
by P!nk 
Album: The Truth About Love (2012)

Love her or hate her, there’s this thing about Pink that can’t be denied – she’s very good at the pop music thing, isn’t she? The first single from her upcoming album The Truth About Love is nothing new, but that’s completely ok. It’s exactly what fans of Pink will want; a cute little guitar riff, a little bit angry, a little bit feisty and totally bouncy, with a chorus everyone can sing along to and get stuck in their heads until they have to head over to iTunes and buy it. It’s got that powerful Pink voice and vengeful lyrics she sings so well, it’s perfect commercial pop and whether you like it or not, you better get used to it, you’re going to hear this song a lot over the next few months. Welcome back (again) Pink!  

Jo Michelmore gives 'Blow Me (One Last Kiss)' three Britney's out of five... 

by Eliza Hull ft. Hayden Calnin
Download: JJJ Unearthed

It's always exciting to hear new music from emerging Australian artists that you know are going to enjoy a long and successful career. Eliza Hull's track 'Ghosts' firmly places her in that category. A touch of trip-hop inspired beats and lead vocals reminiscent of heavyweights like Beth Gibbons make 'Ghosts' one of the most insanely likeable tracks I've heard this year. Comparisons to Portishead and Massive Attack have already begun and seriously, who wouldn't like to hear that? Hull's voice is stunning and nicely supported by Hayden Calnin's performance in the brief moments he appears. You find yourself wanting to hear a lot more from both. You want the perfect chill-out track? You've just found it. Not just one of the best Australian songs I've heard this year, 'Ghosts' is one of the best songs I've heard this year period. Here's hoping we'll hear a lot more from Eliza Hull in 2012. 

Matt Bond gives 'Ghosts' five Bjork's out of five...


Praying For Sunshine
by Children Collide

Um, excuse me, what’s going on here? When did Children Collide get so darn cute? The clip for Praying For Sunshine, the third single from their third album Monument and currently featuring in our very own top 20, is refreshing, super cute and a little bit silly in the greatest way. Taking the harsh reality of everyday life and turning it all soft and fuzzy is a touch of brilliance, which totally makes me want to live in a felt house, eating felt toast, going to work wearing a felt suit, reading a felt newspaper, working on a felt computer and coming home to a felt beverage while watching a felt sunset. Imagine! How super cute! Damn, why can’t real life be a music clip for just a few minutes?

Jo Michelmore gives the 'Praying For Sunshine' video four Michael Hutchence's out of five...