Monday, 29 October 2012

New Music Monday #29

I Awake (Album)
by Sarah Blasko

I know what you're thinking. Sarah Blasko + a Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra + the Slavey Folklore vocal quartet is a definite recipe for success. Well congratulations Einstein... you've got it all figured out don't you? Yes, the enigmatic Sarah Blasko makes her grand solo return with fourth studio album, I Awake. This self-produced modern masterpiece (yep, went there) is the mind-blowing blend of realised ambition, hauntingly beautiful cinematic orchestration and the already perfected musical stylings of the Blasko. I Awake thankfully isn't a massive departure from her last LP, As Day Follows Night. Instead, she appears to have taken the greatest elements of her previous work, combined them with her fine-tuned lyrical work from last year's Seeker Lover Keeper stint and amplified everything to a dramatically beautiful effect. 

Case in point, track three - 'Bury This.' The light flamenco influences make way for the slowly rising strings that hit a 'stop and reflect on their magnificence' peak as the track finishes. Blasko's vocals float amongst the music, building alongside the strings in a partnership. When she sings of how, "in a foreign land we'll start again, we'll start again once more," you know where you'd rather be. 'God-Fearing' takes the 'enough is enough' theme of As Day Follows Night's 'Lost and Defeated' and throws the message into hyperdrive. "I'm not beaten down, I won't behave, just listen this once or you will rue this day." Pay attention, nothing to rue. Remember that. Cinema Blasko featured Sarah tackling some of her favourite film songs, capturing her penchant for creating a delicious cinematic feel within her music. With the power of a fifty-two piece orchestra backing her, she takes this even further by giving off a certain old-Hollywood vibe through the music. Listen to 'Here' and you won't be able to shake the feeling that you're watching a wonderful film from days gone by. "A moment mends a broken heart, if you'd only known it from the start, the moments form just who we are, you were always here." The movie's a tearjerker, a guaranteed Oscar winner. 

Blasko saves the most breathtaking tracks for the second half of I Awake. 'Here' starts us off, leading into the somewhat devastating/sublime tale of a relationship doomed for failure from the start, 'Illusory Light.' The tightening in my chest as Blasko reveals, "I knew exactly what this would feel like, to hear the same voice that said 'hello' say 'goodbye'," is one of those sure signs of ingenious songwriting. Another track of defiance, the extremely relatable 'Fool' follows. Everyone has been stuck in that situation where they've gotten over feeling like a sucker for someone or something and they just get to that possibly life changing point when they make sure it doesn't happen again. As if carrying on the narrative of 'Fool' to its natural conclusion, 'Cast The Net' tells us that it's never too late to say goodbye, to move on, to start again. This could actually be Sarah Blasko's most stunning song; what seems to be a simple ballad that becomes a triumphant anthem for those ready to move on. The words, the music... I don't know how Blasko still finds ways to leave you surprised at how fantastic she is. 

Another week, another winning album from an incredible Australian artist. Sarah Blasko continues to be a creative, unique and ambitious musical force that goes from strength to strength with each new project. From her debut, The Overture and The Underscore to What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have, As Day Follows Night, Seeker Lover Keeper and now I Awake she has literally become better with every release. By that logic, I Awake is her best album yet. I'm a pretty logical guy. Her best album yet, a must-listen and somewhat unsurprisingly, one of the best albums of the year. Maybe even the best. But it wouldn't have taken Einstein to tell you that.

Matt Bond gives I Awake five Nick Cave's out of five...

Backstreet Freestyle
by Kendrick Lamar
Album: good kid mAAd city (2012)


From Kendrick Lamar’s latest album ‘good kid, m.A.A.d. city’ which was released last week and a late contender for the ‘worst lyric of the year’ award, ‘Backstreet Freestyle’ contains the line “I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel tower, so I can fuck the world for 72 hour”. One head seems too many.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Backstreet Freestyle' zero Invisible Man's out of five...


Mr. Frosty Man
by Sufjan Stevens

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Sufjan Stevens and although I’m happy to admit I love me a bit of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ Mariah style at a certain time of the year, I’m not a big fan of the pop/rock/indie/r’n’b Christmas song either. What I am a fan of is zombies and awesome music clips. How does this all relate? Press play on Sufjan Stevens ‘Mr Frosty Man’ and everything will become crystal clear. It’s probably going to be my fave Christmas release of the year. Nuclear reactors, zombies, Santa, chainsaws and lots of gore; it’s like Halloween meets Christmas. Is there anything not to like?

Jo Michelmore gives 'Mr. Frosty Man' three Karen O's out of five...

Gig Review - The Black Keys (26/10/12)

THE BLACK KEYS (26/10/12)
Live @ The Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Review by Jo Michelmore

There are some bands that are amazing to see in a tiny venue; maybe a bar or a smoke filled room somewhere, their music begs to fill small spaces and 'nooks in the wall' type venues. There are some bands that need to play giant arenas, stadiums filled with tens of thousands of people all screaming and bouncing and filling a huge space with energy. Then there are bands like the Black Keys.

I’m going to admit, a venue of the ‘arena’ type, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre is not a venue I love. It’s situated in swamplands on the outskirts of the city. Surrounded by suburbia, the venue itself is cold and harsh and a little dated (not in a good way) it’s not the ideal place to see live music. This wasn’t the place I was hoping to see the Keys, but I go wherever the music takes me and last Friday night that’s where I needed to be.

Some silhouettes across a white screen backdrop and the distinctive drums of ‘Howlin’ For You’ open the show and immediately I know I’m in for a special live music experience, they sound exactly as they should, every note where it needs to be and it doesn’t take long before that “da da da da da” refrain has the venue filled with the sound of voices singing along. They power through song after song of amazing, mainly from their more recent offerings, ‘Brothers’ and ‘El Camino’ but the standout tracks came from numerous albums; ‘Dead And Gone’, Thickfreakness’, ‘Ten Cent Pistol’ and ‘Lonely Boy’ being especially strong. Dan Auerbach is one of those special people who is able to make his guitar pull your heart out of your chest in one song (hello ‘Girl Is On My Mind’, which I never wanted to end) and then he has you dancing like a puppet on his string the next (hello ‘Gold On the Ceiling’; I challenge anyone who wasn’t moving during that performance to prove they have a heartbeat). That’s not to take anything away from drummer Patrick Carney, who keeps everything together, whether it be as part of a four piece (as they are with keyboard player/guitarist player John Wood and bassist Gus Seyffert on this current tour) or a two piece, Patrick takes them from rootsy blues right through to garage rock and some 70’s psychedelia. Interestingly, stripping back to a two piece (as they did mid-way through the set and for the encore) seems to create the biggest impression, it’s during these moments I can see myself sitting in that small bar watching two boys on a tiny stage in the corner, but I’m also keenly aware of the sound of rock music, which is made for stadiums. My favourite part of any gig, the sing-along, is strong in ‘Little Black Submarines’ and although the crowd is small, they savour every minute of it.

Finishing the set with the audience pleasing ‘Lonely Boy’, I do wonder if they’ll come back for more, but as I see what seems to be one of the world’s biggest disco balls being lowered from the roof, I suspect I’m in for something special. This is a moment that can only be had in a large venue and literally took my breath away, during the lighting created for ‘Everlasting Light’, I gasped “wow” numerous times and judging by the amount of instagram photos hash tagged ‘Black Keys’, ‘disco ball’ and ‘pretty’ after the show, it seems a lot of other people were just as impressed. They pulled out all their big arena tricks for the encore, with a flashing Vegas style ‘Black Keys’ sign lowered for the final song, they were tricks perfectly timed as they left the crowd on a high, not ready for the end.

Bands like the Black Keys are special. In a big arena they have the ability to fill it completely with rock and dancing and noise like a big venue should be filled but they haven’t lost the ability to pull each and every audience member to the stage, feeling intimate and welcomed and comfortable. There’s a special talent in being able to do that and it’s one I hope to witness again, soon.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Gig Review - Texas Tea (28/10/12)

Live @ The Zoo, Brisbane.
Supported by: The Gin Club, The Madisons and James X. Boyd and The CEOs

Despite The Zoo's ridiculous ban of rum, it was impossible to resist the lure of Texas Tea's Kate Jacobson and Benjamin Dougherty as they brought their Sad Summer Hits tour home to Brisbane on Friday night. We walked in with the very retro, the very awesome and the very Hawaiian shirt wearing band The Madisons introducing, "a song about summer. It's called 'Summer Time'." I see what you did there. These five Brisbane ladies are definitely ones to look out for. Switching up the vocal lead, you've got four distinct voices that ranged from soulful (lady on the keys!) to fierce rocker (second from the left!) and, of course, everyone can pull off the doo-wops required of a sixties surf rock outfit. Release an album. I'd buy it. The Beards The Gin Club were up next; another local act comprised of talented multi-instrumentalists that rotated the vocal lead. As the crowd started to build up, The Gin Club delivered a pretty powerful set that earned a bigger response after each song.

11:10pm and the night's headliners were ready to go; Jacobson looking lovely, Dougherty's hair defying gravity. Along with their rhythm section of Myka Wallace (aka Brisbane's best drummer) and Glen Russell on bass (all mustaches pale in comparison to his), Texas Tea filled The Zoo with the sounds of incredible alt-country tunes, Elvis inspired ballads and a couple of classy covers. Their new album Sad Summer Hits is a really great listen and absolutely one of the best albums released this year, but hearing the songs performed live puts them on another level. Bands that sound even better live than recorded are a rare breed and Texas Tea definitely belong in that exclusive category. Jacobson's voice is larger than life throughout 'Lily;' the high notes she can effortlessly reach will bring a huge smile to your face. There's so much more to appreciate about Dougherty's speak/sing vocal style when you can see the expressions on his face during 'I Know That I Let You Down This Time.' 

We've said it in previous reviews, but when Jacobson and Dougherty let their powers combine, magic happens. The heartbreaking duet that leaves little to the imagination, 'I Love You Like I Love This Black Eye,' was the standout performance of the night. Whoever planned out the lighting gets a big gold star, as the spotlight fell on each singer as they took the lead to detail the awful realities of their toxic relationship before the lights came up on both as they asked, "why do I do these things to you?" 'I Don't Write No Sad Songs' had everyone up on their feet and The Madisons were invited on stage for support on 'Heart Says Yes (Head Says No),' adding another special dimension to what could be the best song of 2012. As Jacobson chatted about the ballad 'Wedding Belle,' she explained how she always wanted to write a song worthy of Elvis Presley. She came up with a story for an Elvis film about a poor young fella chasing after the gold digging leading lady as inspiration for the track. Jacobson believes that it's the closest she's gotten to writing a track The King could have sung. I believe the crowd on Friday would agree that Elvis would have been lucky to sing a song of its caliber.

Texas Tea have worked their way onto a list of mine reserved for bands that I'm going to go see every time I see they're playing nearby. Each show I've seen has been fun, the music has been amazing, the banter makes me laugh. Jacobson detailed their recent not-so-packed show in Tasmania, made up of the band, the support acts and one old woman "who had come down from the mountains." They even have their own teaspoons and napkins. I'm still waiting for my friend Sophie's review of the teaspoon and if it did/didn't enhance her tea experience, but I'm fairly positive it would have. It's a Texas Tea-spoon and apparently they can do no wrong. "Buy two and start your own band." Great advice. There's only two shows left on the Sad Summer Hits tour; tonight at Toowoomba's Spotted Cow and November 3 in Sydney at The Newsagency. I'm not going to say go out of your way and fly to Sydney to watch Texas Tea perform next Saturday, but if you're in Sydney next Saturday - go and see them! Oh, and if you're not in Sydney, you should probably go out of your way and fly/drive/get a train/get a bus/hitchhike to get there to see Texas Tea. What?     

Top 20 - 28 October, 2012

Sarah Blasko!

1. The Presets - Promises

2. Sarah Blasko - I Awake (Re-Entry)


3. Lana Del Rey - Ride

4. San Cisco - Wild Things

5. Texas Tea - I Love You Like I Love This Black Eye (NEW)


Thursday, 25 October 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - It Don't Matter If You're Black Or White

Michael and Janet: Incredible in any colour.

It Don't Matter If You're Black or White...
Unless We're Talking About Music Videos
by Jo Michelmore

Once, not so long ago, when I was a tiny little girl, I had a strange concept of the world. I saw old film clips and television footage of things that had happened long ago and naturally, everything was in black and white. This amazed me. At some stage, the whole world had been black and white and then suddenly everything turned colour? How dull things must have been! How would you choose what to wear each day if everything was just a shade of grey? It would make accessorising easier, I suppose, but food would be kind of boring, wouldn’t it? Chips just don’t seem like they’d taste the same if they were a shade of grey, with grey sauce and a glass of black, thanks. Of course eventually (!?) I realised it was just how things were filmed; the type of film was black and white, not the whole world (although, admittedly, some days are more black and white than others aren’t they, metaphorically speaking). On a very ‘black and white’ day this week, I was watching one of my fave future vintage clips (more about this later) and it got me thinking about the thing I want to discuss this week. The black and white clip. Creative? Sometimes. Interesting? Sometimes. Boring? Sometimes. Amazing? Sometimes.

Baby Love
by The Supremes (1964) 

So it was ok to have a clip in black and white in the 60’s, because everything was black and white, right? Um, yep, according to five year old me, that’s how the world worked then. No? Oh well, just an excuse to watch one of my favourite groups from the 60’s. Let’s move on….

Every Breath You Take
by The Police (1983) 

Oh yay, it’s everyone’s favourite creepy stalker song. Stop watching me Sting. Stop counting my breaths, you weirdo. What are you doing anyway, standing there, creepily caressing your double bass, singing off to the distance and who is that guy cleaning windows while the band plays underneath? Why are there windows in this clip? Are the windows being cleaned because you have an unhealthy obsession with windows? With clean windows? Clean because you can peep through them easier while watching every move, every step, every breath your poor unsuspecting victim takes? You’re weird Sting; really, really weird.

Monday, 22 October 2012

New Music Monday #28

Pope Innocent X (P.I.X.) [Album]
by Bertie Blackman

this album is for adventure. for the curious. for imagination. for hope. for the shadows. 
for the grip. for wonder. for love. for all that is between. for you. - Bertie Blackman

"Hear me, follow me, and tumble around in worlds that fall down constantly." Bertie Blackman's fourth album, P.I.X. is, in a word, stunning. A collection of eleven songs that will ensure when you hear Blackman and enter her world, you'll have no choice but to fall for her. Hard. The ethereal beauty of opening track 'Tremors' is full of expressive, world-building lines which immediately grab your attention. "My world is on fire, scorching the ground, in a rage I perspire. Look! Have you heard who you are?" Its spellbinding effects linger as the sound of the infectious 'Mercy Killer' play out a story of deception. Bertie has always had a wonderful way with words, but it's here that she's at her finest form. How can you hear a lyric like, "Still I hunger to come clean with a confession, but you are a relic in my black and jealous heart," and not feel your heart excitedly jump just a little bit higher? 'Mercy Killer' is one of the true highlights of P.I.X. and an excellent choice for the album's first single. Throughout P.I.X., Blackman completely lives up to her admission above. It's certainly adventurous on 'Accordion Boat' and 'Maps.' There's no shortage of imagination on the indie-electro future crowd-pleaser, 'Hide and Seek.' Shadows? Well, there is a song called 'Shadow Chasers' so that's covered. As should be expected, it's quite heartbreaking. In one of those amazing heartbreaking ways. "And the memories, should keep me out of trouble for a while, with black marker on my skin, and the smell of the dark, a unique acquisition, to bury a splinter deep in my heart." Bertie Blackman has always had a wonderful way with words. Curious... wonder... that's got to be 'Boy.' It bounces along and in the process plants itself straight into your long-term memory. Another standout track. Love is sprinkled throughout each track. Love is where the best music is born, the good and the bad aspects of it. From 'Tremors' through to the closing/beautiful 'Mistakes;' it's all about love in one way or another. "If mistakes could talk, what would they say? Warn me of the truth, and hurt that lies ahead." If you're a fan of fantastic lyricism and adventurous and catchy indie, you're going to want to grab yourselves a copy of P.I.X. You won't regret it. 

Matt Bond gives Pope Innocent X four Michael Hutchence's out of five...


I Awake: A Short Film
by Sarah Blasko
Album: I Awake (October, 2012)

Sometimes I am a little apprehensive about musicians who release songs that go for over seven minutes, let alone clips. I needn’t have worried, as the clip Sarah Blasko has released for ‘I Awake’ is actually exactly what it’s titled, a short film filled with four songs from her album of the same name and pieced together with some stunning imagery. Now, I could get all intellectual and talk about the images and metaphors and meanings in relation to Sarah (who doesn’t appear in this clip) and her lyrics, but instead, let me simplify it. There’s gorgeous images of buildings, a beautiful man, a dog, a bird, a seashore, a forest and a road, amongst other things; all shot incredibly beautifully and somehow pieced together perfectly with stunning percussion, dramatic strings and Sarah’s understated, lovely vocal. (You don’t have to worry either, the credits start at six and a half minutes so you don’t even have to commit to the full seven and a half minutes, if you don’t want to.) This clip is beautiful and only makes me want to submerge myself endlessly in the entire I Awake album, right now.


Jo Michelmore gives the 'I Awake' video four Michael Hutchence's out of five...

The Walk On By
by Velociraptor 

A little puzzle for you.

Things I like: zombie related things, low budget films, vintage inspired sounds, retro stylings and catchy songs.

Things in the clip for The Velociraptor’s ‘The Walk On By’: zombie related themes, deliberately filmed low budget shots, vintage inspired sounds, retro stylings, a catchy song and even some bonus animation.

Do I like this clip?


How much?

A lot.

Jo Michelmore gives 'The Walk On By' video four Michael Hutchence's out of five...

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Top 20 - 21 October, 2012


1. Stars - Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It (NEW)

2. The Presets - Promises

3. Lana Del Rey - Ride

4. Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding - I Need Your Love (NEW)

5. Bertie Blackman - Boy (Re-Entry)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - Happy Birthday To You... and Me!

Jo, circa 2009 - age 25.

Happy Birthday To You... and Me!
by Jo Michelmore

There’s something happening this week. It’s not world news, but it’s kind of cool. It’s kind of cool, because it means I get a present or two, I get cake without guilt (thank you editor!), I get to spend some time singing songs in a darkened room with a bunch of people I love (karaoke party anyone?) and I get to be the centre of attention for a couple of minutes! October is the best! Even though it was tempting and I know you would have loved it; I decided rather than posting clips and pictures of myself, I should see who else was born this month. There were a couple of people….

Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac)
October 3 

He’s generally not the first person you think of when you think Fleetwood Mac, because that attention
seeker Stevie Nicks is so damn weird (and amazing) she’s been taking the spotlight from Lindsey since the mid 70’s. No wonder their relationship didn’t last. Stevie is probably still jealous she didn’t write ‘Go Your Own Way’; Fleetwood Mac’s first top 10 single. Get over it Stevie, October is Lindsey’s month! Mine too! That means I get to pick one of my favourite Fleetwood Mac songs to play! Happy Birthday Lindsey! Happy Birthday me! 

Darren Middleton (Powderfinger)
October 4 


Chances are, if you’re not Australian, you may not even know who this guy is. You should. Guitarist for Powderfinger, they were some of Australia’s favourites before they split in 2010. They didn’t change the world but they wrote some awesome rock songs and a lot of perfect for singing along in the car songs. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love a car sing-along. This is one of my fave road trip sing-alongs and since its Darren’s birthday month and mine too, I get to sing-along as much as I want. Happy Birthday Darren! Happy Birthday me!

Monday, 15 October 2012

New Music Monday #27

Sad Summer Hits (Album)
by Texas Tea

There’s something delicious about an album that starts with the lines “Come ladies, come fellas, come listen, there’s something I gotta say”, especially when sung by the sweet vocal chords of Kate Jacobsen of the brilliant Texas Tea. How could one say no? Opening track ‘The Merry Blues’ is only a taste of the beauty to come on Sad Summer Hits, which is a journey of nostalgia and country pop, heartbreak and anger, retro styling and anguishing resentment. The title should give a hint of what to expect; songs of summer, long afternoons, cool beverages and warm nights, tempered with themes of disdain and bitterness; they make for an extraordinary combination, a twelve track album that I never want to end and like Texas Tea’s previous releases, one that’s been on repeat since first listen. It’s hard to pinpoint the standout tracks as each has its own magnetic something, forcing you to stop and savour the delight. Three songs in, ‘I Know That I Let You Down This Time’ gives us the first taste of Ben Dougherty on lead vocal; pleading for forgiveness, his resonating tones pitched perfectly against Kate’s, they’re almost nothing without each other. They comfortably battle the entire album, each earning their own place in every song, ‘I Love You Like I Love This Black Eye’ is delightful misery, ‘I Don’t Write No Sad Songs’ is spine tingling, with Kate’s wailing vocal complimenting Ben’s faultlessly. ‘Heart Says Yes, Head Says No’ is so fun, so catchy, it’s hard not to be singing this one long after it’s over, ‘The Alphabet Song’ is country pop revenge at its best; “a is for abbreviate and b for all the hearts you break and c, I hope I don’t see you again, d is for the dick I thought you were when you walked out the door…”. At the final song, I’m left feeling melancholy with ‘The Old Swing’; a swaying ballad that leaves me aching for more. This is an album that I know will define a season for me, it will be one I play years from now and remember this summer, it’s an album that will transcend time but bring me back to the first warm afternoon I heard it. Music that creates memories and makes memories is the best and Texas Tea have made an album that after only a week has already made memories and won a place in my heart.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Sad Summer Hits' five Nick Cave's out of five...


Halcyon (Album)
by Ellie Goulding

Many were surprised in that somewhat unsurprising way when young Ellie Goulding cracked the US market earlier this year with the single 'Lights.' It wasn't that the song wasn't good (it's much better than just 'good'), but the fact that it took over a year and a half for it to enter the Billboard Hot 100, leave it, return and climb all the way to number two was quite the surprise. With the massive success of 'Lights,' there couldn't be a more perfect time for Goulding to release a sophomore album that will secure her position as one of the big names leading the new wave of British acts breaking America. In that surprising and somewhat unsurprising way, Ellie Goulding delivers with Halcyon. "Won't you come, won't you come, won't you come, just don't say a word." The stakes are raised on the opening track, 'Don't Say A Word.' Light trip-hop influences make way for a sudden shift into thundering drums as Goulding shows she isn't going to be afraid to branch away from what made her debut, Lights, such a celebrated album. Don't worry, she doesn't stray too far; just enough to hammer home that Halcyon is bigger, grander and even more epic at times than its predecessor. Current single 'Anything Could Happen' is as equally radio friendly and engaging as previous chart smashes 'Lights' and 'Starry Eyed.' Expect it to make waves in America sometime around May 2014. 'Only You' breaches a pop territory relatively unexplored by our leading lady. How often do you say, "oh, that Ellie Goulding song's a bit sexy isn't it?" Not very often. You can say that now because 'Only You' sure is sexy, without coming across as trampy. Unless you look too much into that repeated "I'm on my knees" line. Following it with the instantly charming title track was a good move. This time, the repeated line "it's going to be better" builds a triumphant atmosphere despite the swelling sadness circling it. "When it's just us, you show me what it feels like to be lonely, you show me what it feels like to be lost." And then Goulding just keeps repeating how it's going to be better and you can't help but believe. 'Figure 8' has a dubstep breakdown, but it's not overly offensive so we'll just leave it at that. Halcyon drags through a couple of unremarkable moments at this point. 'Hanging On' and 'Explosions' fall flat, sadly the least memorable songs on the album. You'll forgive the minor lull in festivities as soon as you hear 'I Know You Care.' Ridiculously out of place, but one of the most beautiful ballads you could endure in 2012. It's at this point that I will remind you Ellie Goulding is dating Skrillex. Did you just slap yourself hard in the face to see if you were dreaming? Moving along... penultimate number 'Atlantis' perfectly picks up the pace before 'Dead In The Water' closes Halcyon with strings, a touch of sadness and surprisingly, yet somewhat unsurprisingly, a great desire to hear it again. Ellie Goulding's time is now.

Matt Bond gives Halcyon four Lady Gaga's out of five...

The Haunted Man (Album)
by Bat For Lashes

The world of Bat For Lashes is an intriguing one. Sometimes it can be enchanting, captivating, enthralling; it can hold on to you and not let go. Sometimes it is confronting, a little uncomfortable, a little questionable and a tiny bit detached from…everything. Sometimes it’s gripping and impossible to ignore, the reverberations pleading with you to move. The Haunted Man, the third album from Natasha Khan’s Bat For Lashes, is all of these things and a little more. ‘Horse Of The Sun’ and ‘Winter Fields’ are the songs that will have you moving, they’re the ones that beg to be danced to, while ‘Oh Yeah’, title track ‘The Haunted Man’ and ‘A Wall’ are the ones you will question, the beats a little uncertain, the subject slightly unclear. They can be forgiven though, because in the Bat For Lashes world, the songs that are enchanting are truly amazing, they’ll wrap themselves around your heart and hold on, their sounds hypnotising and incredible. ‘All Your Gold’ is dramatic and passionate, ‘Laura’ is haunting (not surprisingly, co-written by the same guy who co-wrote ‘Video Games’), it’s what Lana Del Rey would sound like if she bothered to put in some effort; with the lyrics “Laura, you’re more than a superstar” lingering long after the song is over. This album probably won’t have the same impact her previous two albums have had, but it’s still a delightful listen and after all, the opening track ‘Lilies’ says it all with the evocative and powerful strains of “thank God I’m alive” repeated. When I get to listen to music like this, I feel the same way.

Jo Michelmore gives The Haunted Man four Shirley Manson's out of five...


by P!nk
Album: The Truth About Love (2012)

It's an automatic win when a video enhances the quality of a song and actually makes you *gasp* like it. That's the power of domestic violence masked as contemporary dance, boys and girls. In all seriousness, you have to give some props to P!nk for pushing herself further that her contemporaries. If she's not dangling from ceilings or making unnecessary cameos in Charlie's Angels films, she's perfecting a physically demanding routine for her new music video. Which she pulls off. Spectacularly. There's no fireworks exploding from her chest, she doesn't vomit streamers (what was up with that, Rihanna?) and there are absolutely NO leopard print tights/gigantic booty scenes. It's easy to understand not only how she's lasted so long in the industry, but how she's managed to become even bigger over time.

Matt Bond gives the 'Try' music video four Lady Gaga's out of five... 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Top 20 - 13 October, 2012

Kanye West.

1. The Presets - Promises

2. Tame Impala - Feels Like We Only Go Backwards (NEW)

3. Kanye West - White Dress (NEW)

4. Lana Del Rey - Ride

5. Adele - Skyfall

Thursday, 11 October 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - ...Look Back In Anger


Don't Look Back In Anger
by Jo Michelmore

The things that make me angry list is not a very long one, because I tend to compartmentalise the things on the list into sections and generally the things that make me angry fall into only a couple of categories:

Ignorant people (which can be generally sub-grouped under thoughtless/stupid people)

Arrogant people (which can be generally sub-grouped under thoughtless/stupid people)

Red traffic lights and stop signs.

Hypocritical people (which can be generally sub-grouped under thoughtless/stupid people)

Homophobic people (which can be generally sub-grouped under thoughtless/stupid people)

Sexist people (which can be generally sub-grouped under thoughtless/stupid people)

The use of the word ‘literal’ when something is not ‘literal’

Racist people (which can be generally sub-grouped under thoughtless/stupid people)

That thing when a fast food outlet offers some deliciously tasty treat for a limited time and you just get to really love it and then they take it off the menu.

Thoughtless/stupid (read: inconsiderate/unkind/uncaring/selfish/insensitive/rude/untrustworthy/impolite) people

The point is this: something happened this week which kinda annoyed me, to the point (for a minute there) of anger. The thing that happened related to one of the ten categories above. You decide which. Until you’ve figured it out, I’ve found some of my favourite angry songs, some a bit vintage, some new vintage, mostly 90’s (wow, people seemed to be super angry in the 90’s, didn’t they?) which I like to play loudly and sing (or scream) loudly when I’m angry. Then I get over it, ‘cause I’ve usually figured out after a song or two that if someone is to make me so angry, they’re probably not worth my energy. Then I get really happy ‘cause I remember that mostly for me, music makes everything better and even angry songs make me happy. Then I start listening to something happy and less angry and probably vintage and cheesy (hello Whitney!) and everything is ok again.

 Head Like A Hole (1990)
by Nine Inch Nails

This is one of my favourite angry songs. There’s nothing better than singing the chorus, loudly, in the car. Ok, that may be an exaggeration. Don’t tell me you haven’t felt that angry about someone or something at some stage. You haven’t? You haven’t lived. I’ll dedicate this one to ignorant people.

“Head like a hole, black as your soul, I’d rather die than give you control”

 Shitlist (1992)
by L7

I’m going to admit, I’ve never been a big fan of L7 (which might make anyone who is into their 90’s music a little angry; oops, sorry) but I’ve always liked the concept of this song. I’ve never actually written a shitlist. Maybe I should put that on the bucketlist. But then, the bucketlist concept makes me angry and I want to put people who make busketlists on my shitlist and then I realise I’ve never written one and the cycle starts again. I’ll dedicate this one to arrogant people.

“When I get mad and I get pissed, I grab my pen and I write out a list of all the people that won't be missed, you've made my shitlist”

Monday, 8 October 2012

New Music Monday #26

Lonerism (Album)
by Tame Impala

Equal parts psychedelic rock, dream pop and indie delight; Tame Impala's Lonerism comfortably stands as one of the finest releases of the year. If you've heard and loved the ridiculously catchy single 'Elephant,' you're sure to get a kick out of their entire new collection of tracks that place these Perth lads in the upper echelons of not just Australia's music scene, but the music scene. Period. 'Be Above It' creates that dreamy 'floating on a cloud' vibe that immediately makes you wish for long summer days with friends. Festivals, picnics in the park, drinks at the beach... all complimentary settings for such a song. It's a vibe you won't be able to shake throughout the album, particularly on the tracks 'Music To Walk Home By' and 'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.' The latter is such a brilliant 60s psychedelic throwback that you'll curse later as you dig out the old Jefferson Airplane albums you no longer tell anyone you have in your collection. 'Elephant' is just the best. It makes me want to dance. Doesn't it make you want to dance? Let's dance! As you get to the final number, 'Sun's Coming Up,' you can't help remembering the feeling of the perfect night out. You walk in the door, a huge smile on your face and you for a moment you fight the urge to fall asleep because you don't want the night to end. Then, just before you crash, you reflect on all of the night's fun and say to yourself that you can't wait to do it all again sometime soon. With Lonerism you can do it again. And again. And again and again and again.  

Matt Bond gives Lonerism four Michael Hutchence's out of five...

Bless This Mess (Single)
by Lisa Mitchell
Album: Bless This Mess (October 12, 2012)

Lisa, I love you. It's just that... I CANNOT UNDERSTAND 75% OF THE WORDS YOU ARE SINGING. Enunciate, darling. Enunciate. Somehow, I still really find myself enjoying 'Bless This Mess' and I'm somewhat excited about hearing Bless This Mess later in the week.  It's just that... I WISH I COULD UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SINGING. That is all.

Matt Bond gives 'Bless This Mess' three Kylie's out of five...

Gold Dust (Album)
by Tori Amos 

What happened Tori? You’re like the George Lucas of the music world; you just can’t keep your sticky fingers off your own work. I like the concept of re-working your songs, because some of them were genuinely incredibly beautiful, but that’s just it, you haven’t done enough to make me re-fall in love, they’re just your songs, again, covered by an orchestra and yourself. Were you waiting for someone to do a tribute album but no one was interested so you did it yourself? You’re a little bit lost aren’t you? You're so lost you don't even deserve two Tori heads and you've forced me to give you one Germaine instead. This isn’t interesting or new or amazing like I know you can be Tori, this is just a bit dull and lazy. 

Jo Michelmore gives Gold Dust one Germaine Greer out of five...


This Fire
by Birds of Tokyo
Album: This Fire EP (2012)

These kind of clips always intrigue me. I’ve never really been able to work out how they do it, but I guess that’s why I like writing about music clips as opposed to making them. It must be a special combination of a fantastic song and beautifully shot images, because for almost four minutes nothing really happens but I just can’t stop watching to see what’s going to happen next, which is kind of….nothing much. The song itself is mesmerising, with the chant “this fire this fire we let it all burn” repeated over and over and over and from first listen I’ve been a little hypnotised, I just can’t stop singing. It’s almost disappointing when it ends; something keeps making me press play to experience those lines again and again. The EP is full of similar depressing beauty, four tracks that show a band willing to experiment with their own sound without alienating their fans. If this is the new-ish direction they’re taking, I’m looking forward to hearing the new album sometime early next year.

Jo Michelmore gives the 'This Fire' video four Michael Hutchence's out of five...

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Top 20 - 7 October, 2012

Adele. Bond. Win.

1. Adele - Skyfall (NEW)

2. The Presets - Promises

3. Zedd ft. Foxes - Clarity (NEW)

4. Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra - The Bed Song

5. Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch - Sweet Nothing

Thursday, 4 October 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - Let's Hear It For The Boy. Bands.

The real loser in this fight was fashion.

Let's Hear It For The Boy. Bands.
by Jo Michelmore

Earlier this week, Matt and I were standing in line for lunch in a food court (yes, it’s a glamorous life this blog writing business, jealous?) when we spotted something odd. A teenage girl in line near us, with a little something hanging off her handbag. It wasn’t a tacky little gemstone, or a boring little pendant or a tarnished cheap knock off of something pretty from Tiffany’s, it wasn’t even a scarf, which some girls have the habit of hanging off their bags (what’s that about? Oh, that’s a whole other blog, isn’t it?) It was a little key ring; a little disc with a picture of what we both assumed was a member of One Direction on it (we’re not sure what the members of One Direction look like; actually, they all look kinda the same don’t they?) Anyway, beside the fact I wanted to tell the girl to pull herself together, put some pants on and lose her dumb friends; it made me start thinking about boy pop stars. The ones that some young teenage girls and some young teenage boys seem to love and then sometimes hate just as quickly or sometimes they hold onto a little too long. This made me think, what is it about some boy pop groups (girl ones are a whole other conversation) that makes young teenagers love them? Clothes? Looks? Talent? Dance skills? A good marketing team? A member whose name ends in ‘eeee’? All of the above? None of the above? Let’s look at some recent and not so recent vintage boys and see if we can come up with any theories.



I don’t think it would be right to talk about boy bands without mentioning one of the most popular from the late 90’s/early 00’s; ‘N Sync. Yep, in case you forgot, Justin Timberlake was in a boy band before he got all…’talented’ and apparently hot (each to their own). They had it all; the hot one, the bad boy one, the ugly one, the one with the cute name ending in ‘eeee’ (this one being Joey) and….the other one. Their first single ‘I Want You Back’ had a clip any crap boy band would be proud of; terrible matching clothes, awful dance moves and an unnatural focus on JT. Those poor other ones, did they know then how popular he would become? I know the others had names, but it was always all about Justin wasn’t it? This is the boy band that was the vehicle for the star. The 2000’s had another huge boy band though, one I know we all know and love.

Backstreet Boys


Ok, maybe we don’t all love the Backstreet Boys, but don’t tell me you haven’t sung along to ‘As Long As You Love Me’ at some stage. No? How about ‘I Want It That Way’? We’ve already spoken about how that one doesn’t even make sense, but wow, it’s pretty catchy. No? Well, we all know everyone’s belted out a “backstreets back” at some stage so you needn’t be embarrassed. The five members covered all the boy band requirements; the hot one, the bad boy one, the ugly one, the one with the cute name ending in ‘eeee’ (this one being Howie) and….the other one. They had the magic boy band combination too; singing, dancing, a bit of bad publicity. Gosh, they were popular for a little while there and in the tradition of boy bands, they disappeared for a while, then, once they needed jobs again, re-formed and retoured with another boy band of the 90’s, which brings us to a group that were the first of a resurgence of the boy band right before grunge hit hard…

New Kids On The Block

A personal favourite of mine, New Kids On The Block. Now they really had it all. The hot one, the bad boy one, the ugly one, the one with the cute name ending in ‘eeee’ (this group went all out and had two, Donnie and Joey!) and….the other one. (Do you see the theme here yet?) You know that Mark Wahlberg actor guy? Yeah, well his sibling was famous first, his older brother being Donnie Wahlberg, the bad boy member of NKOTB. They had the combination that all good boy bands need; they could dance, they could sing (well, one of them could sing really well, which made up for anyone else’s lack of ability) and their faces could fit on tiny packets of NKOTB bubble gum. These guys had a little talent but their true talent was in publicity especially that bad boy setting fire to a hotel room, which was the beginning of the end of their reign of boy band-dom. They’ve done that traditional thing too, where they disappeared for a while, then, once they needed jobs again they re-formed and retoured. Good on them. That’s nice, isn’t it? Everyone should have a job. Gives meaning to their days.

Take That


Let’s just cross the oceans and not forget one of the UK’s contribution to the boy band phenomenon. Take That were the UK’s late 90’s answer to anything the US could throw at the charts. Now, we know what all good boy bands need, don’t we? The hot one, the bad boy one, the ugly one, the one with the cute name ending in ‘eeee’ (these guys also had two!) and….the other one. I’m sure there’s a theme here! Five members, they spawned two of the UK’s biggest stars of the late 90’s, Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams. Even if Robbie has disappeared for a bit (apparently filming a new clip recently) and all Gary’s done is something boring for the Olympics, their time in Take That was part of the perfect boy band story. They got really famous really quickly, had a couple of members no one cared about plus a cute little one, there was a bunch of in-fighting, their most popular member drank a lot and did a bunch of drugs, was thrown out/quit and then they imploded nicely in the public eye until more recently where they’ve reformed to mixed reviews. Gary could apparently write songs better than Robbie, but Robbie had that ‘x-factor’ they speak of, that something people can’t stop staring at. In combination in the same pop group they made for a perfect team.

The Jackson 5

Ok, we could talk about boy bands for hours, but let’s get proper vintage and end with the best. The ones that set the bar for all boy bands since, and let’s be honest, not a lot have lived up to the legend of them. The Jackson 5. Love him or hate him, Michael Jackson and his brothers were awesome. Yeah, there, I said it. I love The Jackson 5, or The Jacksons, or any of their other names. (So I’m biased, whatever.) They could dance, they were kinda cute in a 60’s way and most of all, they could sing. They could sing better than you or I could probably ever dream of singing. Their first four singles all reached the top of the Billboard chart, they replaced the Supremes as Motown’s main focus (that’s quite impressive, Diana Ross had some big shoes to fill) and there was even a Jacksons cartoon. As a boy band, they had it all, the perfect combination. Looks, dance skills, talent AND a good marketing team but most importantly, they also had this: the hot one, the bad boy one, the ugly one, the one with the cute name ending in ‘eeee’ (let me hear you say Randy) and….the other one. Genius.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Gig Review - Drunken Moon Festival (29/09/12)

Drunken Moon Festival (29/09/12)
Live at The Hi-Fi, Brisbane
Review by Katie Langley

When I heard that Kira Puru and The Bruise were going to be playing with Gay Paris AND Brothers Grim and The Blue Murders at the Drunken Moon Festival I knew it was an opportunity that I could not pass by. Then I read the description for the event – “If you took a 70's muscle car slasher film and tore it up into a bunch of bands...these would be the ones you couldn't look away from”. Sold.

As I waited for Jo and Cordell to arrive on the evening, Vodka in hand, watching the fireworks from Riverfire and the inevitable riff raff it seems to attract, I couldn’t help but marvel at all of the well-manicured beards entering the venue. Always a sign of a good night to follow.

Kira Puru and The Bruise

I only recently joined the Kira Puru and The Bruise bandwagon after having seen them at Bigsound. Nevertheless, I’ve hitched my ride and it’s safe to say that I’m not getting off. When I last saw them, Kira herself played the part of a woman scorned, with glassy eyes and an acid tongue. At Drunken Moon I saw a different Kira – she had a total foxy lady vibe, with huge eyelashes to bat, and a sexy swagger to her step. Purely speculation of course, but I’m putting it down to all of those well-manicured beards. There was a small hiccup when Geordie’s guitar strap broke mid-strong, and although he admitted defeat by rolling back onto the floor, it was only momentary, and it wasn’t long before he got his shit together and I was mesmerised. I love this band.

Jackson Firebird

Guitarist/vocalist Brendan was quick to announce that they “love dirty rock’n’roll”. They made me want to get a little bit dirty too. Drummer Dale was amazing. He put his whole body into the event and looked absolutely shattered at the end of their set. Total commitment to the cause.

Jackson Firebird were a completely welcome surprise.

Gay Paris

Gay Paris make me feel a little bit funny. You know… “down there”. And in the best possible way. Their set was a 30 minute strip-tease complete with beards. Really, it’s my dream come true. Vocalist Luke is like a possessed preacher, with messages of love and thrusting. I’m still trying to figure out how he removed his skin tight jeans without taking off his shoes. The man has skills. I get the feeling that drummer Adam holds this motley crue together. Although, they do often say that it’s the quiet ones you need to watch the most. Slim Pickins, on bass, managed to maintain one of the creepiest grins I have ever seen for the entire 30 minutes. When he cheered after every song I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or be concerned for my safety. And then there is Black Tooth, on guitar. He is one dapper, bearded motherfucker. He makes my heart beat a little bit faster. #callmemaybe?

Gay Paris are playing at Rics on November 24 as part of their “Death to Spring Tour”. If you don’t go, you’re an idiot.

Brothers Grim and The Blue Murders

Just before Brothers Grim and The Blue Murders took to the stage I noticed something strange happening. The women in the venue all started moving forward, and occupied the front row. When James Grim started crooning it had this hypnotic effect on the women standing next to me. There was squealing, there was boot stomping, and there was slut-dropping. It was quite amazing to see.

What can I say? I’ve seen them before, I’d see them again – they’re fantastic.


Mid-way through Sixfthick’s performance I leaned into Jo and said “this is a total clusterfuck”. A couple of days on, with opportunity to digest what I saw, I really think that it the most accurate description. I say clusterfuck with no negative connotations. It just really was one of the most bizarre things I have seen.

Drummer Fred had a tattoo of what looked like the Big Pineapple, guitarist Dan looked like he was half asleep, vocalist Geoffro was wearing the loudest fish shirt. And then there was Ben, also on vocals. He back flipped and rolled during the set, and paced back and forth like a mad man. But things took a turn for the weird when he jumped off the stage, and started smashing bottles – on the ground, and then on himself. I missed the moment of impact but put two and two together when I saw blood literally pissing out of his peck and all over his torso.

I’m still so confused about it all, but did I like them? Yes. And would I see them again? Yes.