Monday, 30 April 2012

New Music Monday #5



Santigold?


Master of My Make-Believe [Album] (2012)
by Santigold



Forever and a day is how long it feels like it's been since Santi White dropped her explosive debut album, Santogold. Extreme over-exaggerating aside, it's taken exactly four (long) years for us to hear a sophomore album from our favourite genre-bending superstar and I'm more than happy to report that the wait has been well worth it. Over the past four years there have been name changes, big-time collaborations, leaks and mixtapes all keeping the name Santigold fresh enough in our minds and the buzz a-growing for Master of My Make-Believe. When the album's opening track, 'Go,' a fanboy-gasmic team-up with the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O (the track finished the year at #6 on our Top 111 Songs of 2011 countdown), was leaked in April last year, all fears of a sophomore slump were washed away. Then 2011 went by with barely a word uttered about a release date and I'll admit, some of that excitement and positivity were diminished. Then 'Big Mouth' was unleashed upon the world in January of this year with barely any notice. Closing out the standard edition of Master of My Make-Believe, 'Big Mouth' stands as one of the best songs of 2012. Within the album, it shines as a triumphant closing number; a three minute assault of the senses that leaves you wanting more and more Santigold. In between the opening and closing numbers, virtually every song manages to leave a lasting impression. 'Disparate Youth' and 'The Keepers' are prime examples of how far Santi has come since her debut. Easily likable, more relaxed, incredibly catchy and a sign that she's aware of what she needed to improve upon from her debut (yeah... not that much). "We're the keepers, while we sleep in America," comes off way more anthemic than it should, but that's the power of Santigold. Surprisingly, Master of My Make-Believe finds much of its strength when Santigold slows it down. 'This Isn't Our Parade' is almost a sad song. A sad song? From Santigold? I know... but it's almost poignant in its own way, with a chorus and bridge that I'll be remembering for a long time. It's low-key moments like 'This Isn't Our Parade' and 'The Riot's Gone' that make the impact of 'Big Mouth' stand out even more. Overall, Master of My Make-Believe is a worthy successor to Santogold. It's far more cohesive, showcases a songwriter who's only grown stronger and is full of tracks designed to grow on you over time. I'm giving it four out of five now, but I'm pretty sure my tune will change throughout the course of the year. For the better of course.  










Matt Bond gives Master of My Make-Believe four Missy Elliott's out of five...


Perth (Bon Iver cover)
by Avec Sans



Sometimes you can be checking things out on the internet, clicking on this and that which leads you to this and that and suddenly it’s six hours later and you need a drink and you haven’t discovered a thing. Other times you can find magical things, like I did this week, with this amazing cover of Bon Iver’s ‘Perth’. Avec Sans are a duo/collective/someone from London who are giving the internet very little information about themselves, but what I have discovered is that I love their version of this song! It’s not remotely folksy-Bon-Iver-like; it’s all synth, pop and a haunting female vocal. It flows beautifully, a sweet electronic cover, with just a hint of darkness to remind the listener of the original. There’s even a free download available on their website; avecsans.com! Yay, who doesn’t love a free download?! Avec Sans; who are you? More please!










Jo Michelmore gives 'Perth' three Karen O's out of five...


NEW MUSIC VIDEO OF THE WEEK


Starships
by Nicki Minaj
Album: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012)



Starships. It’s not fantastic, so I don’t know what I was expecting from the clip, but I’m not sure what to say about this one, it’s just a pop clip with no storyline and no pants. It starts like a fluorescent tourism commercial and then, well, it goes….nowhere. Actually, it’s reminiscent of a high school project, like the director demanded every special effect they know included in the hope that no one would notice the lack of sensibilities and style and instead concentrate on Minaj’s ass. Except, I did notice the lack of style and storyline. Ms Minaj, the thing is, I really want to like you and every now and then I do, but you keep being so bland it’s hard to remember why I wanted to like you in the first place. Er, you were meant to be a little bit innovative weren’t you? Do you think you could work on that? You’re not even so crap you’re funny, you’re just kind of dull. Right now the boredom is not so interesting. Neither is your lack of fashionability. Put some pants on, you’re no Gaga. Get back to me with your next clip and make it better. Thanks.   














Jo Michelmore gives 'Starships' one Dannii Minogue out of five...


  

Sunday, 29 April 2012

It's My Kind of Interview - Curxes





Macaualy Hopwood and Roberta Fidora... aka Curxes. Hailing from Brighton, UK and one of the most exciting acts new to the scene in 2012. They're number one on our weekly top 20 with the fantastic single, 'Haunted Gold,' and now Curxes have been generous enough to take the time to sit down (via the internet) with the lovely Jo Michelmore for a chat and most likely some sort of tea-like beverage. Jo would definitely have been drinking tea. 


CURXES
Interviewed by Jo Michelmore



Jo: For our readers that are not familiar with you, can you give us a quick introduction and explanation of who you are and why you are who you are?


Macaulay: We're an electro-industrial boy/girl duo who like making noises with synthesisers, guitars and whatever percussive instruments and items we can get our hands on. We're relatively introverted souls who like expressing ourselves publicly in a way that doesn't make us self-conscious. For example, public speaking is always a tough one. I guess we make music in this style because it’s the culmination of what we grew up on juxtaposed with our musical diets now.


Roberta: One teaspoon of Two Ronnies if you gave them synthesizers, a pinch of bottom, a dash of lemon...





Jo: You get a lot of comparisons to musicians from other decades; Siouxsie Sioux, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys to name a few. While they’re all incredible artists, which artists from this century would you be honoured to be compared to?


Roberta: It's fantastic for people to have a reference point with bands from earlier decades, because it enables them to relate a style or sound to their own personal experiences and feel that same affinity with your music. It's lovely to think that we've balanced that element with something more contemporary too.


Macaulay: I wouldn't sniff at being compared to Sleigh Bells or Trent Reznor's recent output. It’s strange, but there are lots of artists who influence us more than the usual comparisons and yet we sound nothing like them. We like the Depeche and Siouxsie comparisons, but we’re going to be careful about how much we let these show, especially as there seem to be many acts who effectively just copy their influences. We’re eager to get the balance right of pushing things forward yet retaining some influential nods.




Jo: Is writing relatively easy for you or is the creative process a difficult one? How does it work as a two piece? Who does what?


Macaulay: We both come up with chord progressions and melodies then do a 'show and tell' over a pot of tea. Generally we both do a bit of everything, though there are elements that one of us will do more than the other. For example Roberta writes all the lyrics and, as she's the one who sings them, this feels right and the way it should be. I love production and more recently have taken on the role of programming the songs before we go into the studio and bastardise them with lots of fun noises. It's also a personal mission to see how many obscure instruments and interesting characteristics we can get into a song; the most recent is a combination of a traditional Greek bouzouki and an eerie Microsoft computer voice. To my knowledge that’s not a common combination…


Roberta: I would say writing is fairly easy, but our foes are weeknights and distance. Those old chestnuts. We always put a great amount of care into the sounds which represent the lyrical content or sonics, though I would say that our contrasting writing styles are quite complimentary to one another.





Jo: Tell us about your favourite and least favourite day(s) in Curxes. What would be your dream day for Curxes?


Macaulay: My favourite day so far was listening back to Haunted Gold for the first time. Least favourite day is probably when you've fought tooth and nail to play a live show, only for it to be overshadowed by technical difficulties. My dream day for Curxes would be the day we release our best-it-can-possibly-be debut album, on a label we love, with some pretty hefty tour dates on the horizon. It's a way off yet, but we’re going to get there however long it takes.


Roberta: Don't think we've ever had a day of being in Curxes that we haven't enjoyed, but at specific times, I may have uttered the words "I hate the whistles", "This case is really heavy" or "I'm not too sure about that bouzouki". Mac will confirm. I was right about one of those. Favourite days? The first has got to be completing the animation after eight weeks then posting it up with the song ['Haunted Gold']. It sounds a little odd, but it felt like Christmas. Secondly, getting the vinyl delivered was extremely exciting and something we're both very proud of. Plus the support of places like Pie & Vinyl (Southsea), Rounder (Brighton) and Resident (Brighton) was, and is still, incredible.




Jo: What should one expect if one is to attend a show by Curxes?


Macaulay: Some rather nifty home-made animations, screeching guitars and a little person with a big voice.


Roberta: Haha! Well I'll be childish then and say projections, erections (of synthesizer stands), industrial interjections and warm affections.







Jo: If you could play any venue in the entire world, where would you play?


Macaulay: Madison Square Garden. Haven't been to New York yet and that one's pretty famous innit.


Roberta: It may not be the most exciting or ambitious choice, but I've always wanted to play the Melkweg in Amsterdam, having walked past the building so many times as a tourist. It's such a vibrant, friendly and beautiful place, red glow or no red glow. There's an excellent fetish clothing shop there too. Obviously, I was reliably informed of this, I wasn't in there looking for an exact replica of the PVC dress in the video for "Domino Dancing" by Pet Shop Boys. At all. La Flèche d'Or appeals too, as I've never actually been to Paris.




Jo: You released a 7” vinyl of ‘Haunted Gold’ for Record Store Day 2012, what are your favourite 7" singles in your own collection/s and what do you wish you had?


Macaulay: Eeesh I've got some rubbish records I collected as an impressionable 13-year old, but my most prized records are my Mew discography, I’ve got pretty much all of them except one or extreme rarities. I would love a first edition pressing of "Please Please Me" by The Beatles too thankyouplease.


Roberta: Everyone's got a few horrors in the collection (said with "Agadoo" in close proximity). The 7" singles that hold the most meaning though would prolly be my copy of Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough" which was a Christmas gift from Mac, a 65dos limited edition release of "Radio Protector" with a Polaroid attached to the front and a re-release of "Warm Leatherette" by The Normal that I bought at Mute Short Circuit (number 499/500) only to accidentally bend the corner of it when I got it home. Gutting. The test pressing for "Haunted Gold" has sentimental value too, being our first release on vinyl and because I saved up my wages to have them made. Subsequently, Mac has bailed me out for the recording of the next single... 


Jo: Congratulations! You’ve just won a seat in the world’s first time machine. You get to travel backward in time and you must take five songs with you to show previous generations what they have to look forward to. Which time do you go to and what songs do you take?


Roberta: The Victorians should prepare themselves for "God Only Knows" by Beach Boys and "Do You Remember The First Time?" by Pulp, because they remind me of a character from another era as it is; Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express" because it still sounds so astonishingly brilliant and has influenced most of our favourite artists; "Surf Solar" by Fuck Buttons for sheer intensity; then prolly a joke song, which I'd tell them is a massive hit from the future just because I'd be interested to see their reaction. Maybe we'd all end up like the dinosaurs or something. It could all go horribly wrong. Oh, wait...


Macaulay: I’d probably head back to the 1910s when it didn't seem like a great deal of fun being young. Too many etiquette lessons and soldiering... They'd need a medicinal rock'n'roll injection to lighten the mood. I'd take the teenagers records by Elvis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and maybe something electronic like Kraftwerk just to show them how different popular music is going to become. And maybe a bit of grindcore just for a laugh.
1. The Beatles - She Loves You 2. Kraftwerk - The Model 3. Elvis - Jailhouse Rock 4. The Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen 5. Anal C*nt - anything as they all sound the same


Jo: If I was the artist and you were the blogger, what would you ask me?


Macaulay: "Can I share your rider please? That fruit platter looks nice."


Roberta: What records did you buy on Saturday?







Jo: Finish this sentence. The future of Curxes involves...


Macaulay: ...playing big stages with big theatrics, big noises and big songs. In the near future, listening to the playback of our next single and getting all excited about playing it to people.


Roberta: Going back in time to play Kraftwerk to Victorians, loading up on threads from the 1940s or synthesizers from the golden ages of electronic music, then possibly working on the next single (in 2012). The immediate future though involves making a cup of tea and eating out of date Easter eggs, with a hint of programming. In other words, pure glamour and excitement, haha.


Read more about Curxes:

Official Site
Facebook
Soundcloud 

Top 20 - 29 April, 2012



The era of Curxes begins!


1. Curxes - Haunted Gold





2. The Oh Hello's - Lay Me Down (NEW)







3. Garbage - Battle In Me





4. Santigold - The Keepers (NEW)





5. Niki and The Dove - Love To The Test





Saturday, 28 April 2012

It's My Kind of Interview - Rob Grace (Neon Wolf)

 

Neon Wolf!

You might remember reading about Neon Wolf in one of our 'New To The Scene' posts earlier in the month. We here at It's My Kind of Scene have been big fans of their song 'All Of it's Yours' and eagerly await a listen of their debut EP, Love Lost In Design, which should be out RIGHT NOW for their Irish fans. Through the wonders of the internet, I've been able to have a wee little chat (see what I did there? I'm practically Irish) with Rob Grace, Neon Wolf's vocalist, so today you get the return of 'It's My Kind of Interview!' We had a chat about the Irish music scene, the band's shiny new EP and what the rest of the year will be like for Neon Wolf. Rob was a gentleman and a scholar, as you'll see with his refusal to acknowledge that one of my questions is actually a statement. He was also kind enough not to deride quite possibly the most convoluted question I've ever had the pleasure of asking an artist. I'll give you a hint; it involves Prince. Enjoy!


 


Q. We always start with an easy one, so... what music are you listening to at the moment? 


Rob: At the moment a few albums that I'm currently listening to are The Horrors - Skying, Pulp - His 'n' Hers, Alabama Shakes - Boys and Girls, A Flock of Seagulls - Greatest Hits and The Jezabels - Prisoner. 


Q. You've had a big couple of months, releasing your first music video for 'All Of it's Yours' and your debut EP, Love Lost In Design. Talk us through the past couple of years for Neon Wolf and how you've come to this point. 


Rob: We started as a band in January 2010 but Stevie (guitar) had a ticket booked to New Zealand and was gone by June. He thankfully didn't spend the full year out there and came back after six months. We got going again by December and have been writing, gigging and planning for this moment ever since. It's been exciting, having our first video online and also building up to the EP release. We can't wait to get it out there!


Q. Looking forward, what's next for the band in 2012? Is there a tour planned to promote the EP?


Rob: Yeah there's going to be an Irish tour. We're still relatively new so there's lots of places we haven't played. Over the next three weekends we'll be playing in 10 or 11 places all over Ireland which is something that's totally new to us but we're really excited! We've also started to think about the next single and video! 


Q. What are your thoughts on the current Irish music scene? Any other emerging Irish bands we should be keeping our eyes on?


 


Rob: I think the Irish music scene is the best it's been in years. We've had acts like Villagers, Two Door Cinema Club and James Vincent McMorrow all break out internationally, which is great for upcoming acts. I hope it brings a bit more spotlight on the talent that's here. As for emerging acts, there's loads of great music and of all different styles. I'd recommend Last Days of 1984, Tieranniesaur, Land Lovers, Band on an Island and We Are Losers.  


Q. Congratulations! You've been selected to play the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury for a one hour set. You've got an early evening slot and you're playing after Prince, but who cares? It's Glastonbury! Clearly you're excited... but... you've just received news you've also been selected by Bono himself to support U2's only show for the year in Ireland. Guess what? It's the same night as Glastonbury! Irish pride or showing up Prince at the world's biggest music festival? What's it going to be and why? 


Rob: That's a tough one! Playing after a legend like Prince would be a courageous move but it would be crazy to turn down a slot at Glastonbury. Also playing to an Irish crowd with U2 would be pretty cool as well. I don't know, if I had to say i'd probably go with the Glastonbury slot only because it sounds completely mental, playing after Prince at the biggest festival in the world... I'm getting deja-vu, I think I dreamt about something similar before, I woke up thinking I was mad! 


Q. So when are you coming to Australia then? We enjoy good music...


Rob: Right now that's only a dream. We would love to have an opportunity to play some gigs over there! We've yet to play outside Ireland, for now I think we'll take baby steps and hopefully one day get the opportunity to do that!  


Thanks for stopping by Rob! To check out Neon Wolf's upcoming tour dates, you can go to their Facebook page. They've got an upcoming show with Alabama Shakes in Dublin on May 5 which is guaranteed to be awesome. Go, pick up a copy of their EP... and then post it to me. Deal.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - Du Hast Du Etwas Zeit Fur Mich



WEGEN 99 LUFTBALLOONS... SING IT!!!


Du Hast Du Etwas Zeit Fur Mich
or... Vintage Foreigner... not the band. 
by Jo Michelmore


You know, in case you didn't realise, I love music. I love all sorts of music. I especially love lyrics, they are such an important part of a song to me. I love to listen and understand a meaning or find my own meaning to lyrics. I love singing along to music. I love knowing all the words to a song and being able to quote certain lyrics from my favourite songs. I love karaoke. I love singing the lyrics I love to songs I love. I love not having to read the words on the screen ‘cause you know the words so well they just flow out of you. So, something that intrigues me are songs that I love that are sung in a language I don’t know. The languages I know are: English (I also know some swear words and how to say ‘vegetarian’ and ‘no meat’ in various languages, but they’re not phrases used much in pop music). I could use google translate but there’s two issues there. Google translate is often crap. Something that should be simple to translate comes out all backward. I don’t really trust it. Second, I don’t really want to know completely what these songs are about. There’s some magic in having no idea what’s being said. I’ll just get a feel for them and that will do. I feel sorry for people who can translate them. Where’s the mystery? Where’s the fun in that? The best things are left unsaid, or not understood, I often find. So, songs that I love, in languages other than English. Let’s explore this concept a little closer….


99 Luft Balloons (1984)
by Nena



This is actually one of my favourite songs of the ‘80’s. When I think of songs from the ‘80’s I think of some Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Michael Jackson, one A-ha song and this one. That’s my first thoughts of the ‘80’s. What is going on here though? Let’s see. It’s in German, which has a lot of similarities to the English language, so maybe I can work something out. Ninety-nine I’m assuming in German is the same as ninety-nine in English, one less than one hundred. Easy. Next; balloons. Probably the same in German as in English. Inflatable things. Luft? Now; luft, as in lift? Ninety-nine lift balloons? Balloons for lifting? Like; as in the film ‘Up’? Maybe not. I resort to google translate and it tells me luft means air, so we have “ninety-nine air balloons” (what other type of balloons are there, German peeps?) The song is apparently a protest song, about the Berlin wall, before it fell, balloons floating over it to the eastern side, communism, politics etc. etc. The thing is, like I said, who really cares? This is an incredibly catchy song. Incredibly catchy! I don’t care what was going on at the time, I just wanna sing along “99 luft balloons, arf agblah wiiig horizon!” Whatever. Wow, I love that ‘80’s synthesiser so much.



Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Who Do You Think You Are - Ellie R



Meet Ellie. She has a golden personality and loves Simple Plan (kidding). Say hi!


It's that special time of the week where we get to hear from one of our amazing Facebook 'likers' and ask them some questions about the music they love, hate and everything in between. Mostly love and hate. Stepping up this week is the exquisite Ellie R and we've asked her about music videos, live acts, songs she hates and more!


Q. What are some of your favourite music videos?


 


Ellie:  Gotye’s music video for 'Somebody That I Used to Know' is one of my favourites. I love how simply the clip begins, naked Gotye standing in front of a plain wall and then as the song develops the artwork beings to envelop the background and him. Yes the song itself is amazing but this is a music video that gives further depth to the lyrics and in turn illustrates the overall meaning of the song exceptionally well. I think the music video for 'Easy Way Out' by Gotye is pretty cool too. I like the use of live action and stop motion as well as the subtle use of animation. Each time I watch the clip I find myself noticing something new. It’s a fun music video. Seeing Lady Gaga’s music video for 'Alejandro' the day it was released online is surprisingly a fond moment of mine. It was over 40 degrees and the tiles were burning hot, there was no seating and the balcony was the only area in the house you could get a decent internet connection. I was in a small suburb just outside of Tel Aviv in Israel waiting for this video to load, so you can only imagine why this was such the event. For the entire 8 minutes and 44 seconds, no one spoke and our eyes were glued to the laptop. Immediately capturing all of our attention this video soon became a favourite of mine. The significant imagery throughout the clip leaves viewers with the opportunity to explore a multitude of different meanings, which I like. I wouldn’t consider myself a massive fan of Gaga, however I do love her music videos. Really though, who wouldn’t love watching a group of men dance around in high waisted short shorts?


Q. Who are the best and worst live acts you've seen?


 


Ellie: At 14, I would have said that the best live act I have seen was Good Charlotte’s performance at the Brisbane Convention Centre. It was the 19th of February and we had purchased the tickets on eBay that day for The Chronicles of Life and Death tour. Actually, I can’t even explain to you in words how this show made me feel. Standing a few rows from the stage, Ill simply just say it was a very emotional experience.
The first major concert I went to though was at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre to see Green Day’s American Idiot tour with Simple Plan as the support act (I need to make it clear right now that I was not and am not a fan of Simple Plan). The concert was on my 15th Birthday and I was beyond excited that I got to go out on a school night. That night was the beginning of my love for live music performances. I was amazed by the performance of Bille Joe and the bands overall high energy. Not only did they interact well with each other but also the audience which shaped a very entertaining show.


If I fast forward to 2012, I would say that the sounds of Seeker Lover Keeper and the way each of their voices projected through St John’s Cathedral was one show that sent shivers up my spine and gave me goose bumps all over. At the beginning of this year I saw Justice, I had been waiting a long time to see the duo perform and it was well worth the wait. It could possibly have been one of the happiest moments of my life to date. Please note it was not because I am a festival head or had taken an array of party-time narcotics. The performance from the electronic duo was everything you would expect and more. Every part of their set was phenomenal from the way the stage was set up, to the energetic crowd and Gaspard playing the piano to the ‘drops’ in Phantom.


MGMT at Splendour in the Grass 2009 was no doubt the worst performance I have ever seen. The crowd of over 10 000 crammed into the tent was really excited for the band to come on. Twenty minutes after they were due to begin we quickly realised that the band had in fact been on stage playing. We could not hear any sound from vocals to instruments; all that we could hear was the crowd speaking amongst each other. Understandably we left in disappointment.


Q. What's your most hated song?


Ellie: Well that’s easy. Taio Cruz's 'Hangover.' No one cares that you have a hangover, don’t write a song about it. Idiot. Everything about this song frustrates me. The upbeat tempo is certainly not one you would team with lyrics like, "I’ve got a hangover," because if you really did have a hangover would you be bouncing around listening to this? Not likely. Mr Cruz apparently wants to drink until he throws up. Well, I want to throw up when I hear this song. Taio Cruz can fuck off. 


Q. What music are you listening to at the moment?


 


Ellie: When I’m not singing at the top of my lungs to One Erections, sorry, Direction's hit 'What Makes You Beautiful,' I’ve been playing Miike Snow’s latest album Happy To You. I also still love their debut album Miike Snow from 2009. Gotye's Making Mirrors, Kimbra’s album Vows and I do like a lot of Oh Land’s music. I’ve recently also been enjoying a number of songs by Melbourne indie pop band Snakadaktal. They are only a new addiction of mine but since their gig on Thursday night at The Zoo I love their somewhat dreamy sounds. Literally right this moment though, playing in the background as I answer this question is Royksopp, 'What Else Is There.'


Q. Who do you have left on your music bucket list?


Ellie: I would like to see The Cure live, as well as Daft Punk!


Thanks for stopping by and for some fantastic answers, Ellie! Don't forget Facebook peeps... you could be next!   

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Absolute Garbage, #10 - 6






#10. #1 Crush
Album: Romeo + Juliet OST (1996)





I will burn for you, feel pain for you,
I will twist the knife and bleed my aching heart...
And tear it apart. 


This is a song about love. It's about love so strong, simple words like devotion, affection, passion and infatuation lose all meaning alongside it. It's about a love that cuts deep. It's exhilarating, intoxicating and consumes all that you are. It's a love that you're willing to compromise anything for, sacrificing every part of who you were until there's nothing left. This is a song about love... and obsession. '#1 Crush' fascinates me. Each line in the verses is a desperate promise from a lover intent on showing their (supposedly) former flame exactly how much they mean to them. "I would die for you." "I will cry for you." "I will pray for you." Innocent enough in the lead up to section B (can we really call it a chorus), but there is a dark turn coming ahead. It wouldn't be a Garbage song without one, yeah? She sees his face everywhere, hears his voice everywhere and she is convinced their love is still alive. "And I will never be ignored." We've got confirmation that this relationship is a little one-sided these days and from here on in, Shirley loses any illusion of innocence and heads down a terrifying road. She'll burn and feel pain for you, lie, beg, steal and do jail time for you. Shirley Manson is determined to show you that you belong together and she'll do anything to show you that you're just like her. Finally we come to section C; what I call 'the list.' Manson recites all the things she'll do for her love and in a bittersweet and heartbreaking moment confesses that she believes in him. "Cause I believe in you, I believe in you, I would die for you." When I named '#1 Crush' the thirteenth greatest song of the 1990s, I said, "the way Manson goes into some sort of guttural growl the last time she decries, "I would die for you," is half terrifying, half captivating, all amazing. Just like the rest of the song." This is a song about love and obsession... and I love it and I'm obsessed with it. (Matt Bond)


#9. Vow
Album: Garbage (1995)




I can't stop when it comes to you...


It seems appropriate that the debut single from Garbage contained the lyric, "I came around to tear your little world apart" which is exactly what they did in 1995 with their debut self-titled album. The interesting thing and proof of what an incredible band Garbage are and were is that this track is still so strong, seventeen years later. Beginning with the warped guitar sounds and Shirley’s raspy lyric, "I can’t use what I can’t abuse," its lyrics take you on a journey of anger and detest while simultaneously being completely vulnerable; "I can’t stop when it comes to you." It’s a dark but catchy journey, like so many of Garbage’s songs. It’s poppy without being bubble gum, rock without being self-absorbed. 'Vow' combined electronic sounds with heavy guitars before most others; before it was commonplace and Garbage changed the path popular music was taking right when it needed changing. I can remember the first time I saw this clip, stunned by Shirley’s red hair and alternative beauty, the star pendant necklace and shaggy red coat she wears, the band playing around her (watching it again the flashing blue screen monitors take me straight back to long nights in front of the TV waiting for it to appear on Rage in the early hours of the morning), it’s now almost a tribute to the 90s, the epitome of what was cool back in the day. Maybe I’m sentimental because it’s from their first album, but I still love this song and it’s one of my favourites. Let’s politely ignore the fact that I say that about a lot of Garbage songs, ok? I like Garbage. What of it? (Jo Michelmore)


#8. When I Grow Up
Album: Version 2.0 (1998)




Don't take offense, better make amends,
Rip it all to shreds and let it go. 


Garbage have two songs in their catalogue that should have been #1 hits, especially in Australia. 'Cherry Lips' is the one you'd think of first. 'When I Grow Up' is most likely what you'd go for after that. This is as fun as music gets, catchy and lacking in a lot of the depth and darkness Garbage is known for. Mentioning that last bit is important. Depth and darkness aren't always synonymous with chart topping success stories. Anyway, does anyone really think this is a band that cares about that kind of 'success?' No? Great, moving right along. Nope, not done. In a perfect world 'When I Grow Up' would have been a #1 song. Instead, when it was released in 1999, classic songs like Cher's 'Believe,' Will Smith's 'Wild Wild West' and Enrique Iglesias' 'Bailamos' were topping the charts. This is clearly not a perfect world. (Matt Bond)


#7. Milk
Album: Garbage (1995)




But I'd be love and sweetness,
If I had you.


I love that Garbage leave much of the interpretation of their songs to the listener. It gives everyone a different perspective and when you listen to each track, you go to a place you feel is reserved for only you and the band. Well, I do. When I try to unravel the story behind 'Milk,' two words immediately come to mind; loneliness and abandonment. The sadness prevalent in the words are reinforced by the tone of the music, working together to suck any and all hope from around you. I can just picture Shirley and the boys staring at a missing person on a milk carton, concocting the line, "I am weak, but I am strong, I can use my tears to bring you home," in their pretty little heads and smiling at how perfectly haunting it is. Do they even have pictures of missing people on milk cartons in America any more? Manson sums up the song perfectly saying, "To me 'Milk' is the darkest, most hopeless of the songs. People say 'Oh, it's lovey-dovey, so therefore it's a love song'. But it's a very bleak song, it's about loss and the fear of loss; about things you can't have and things you will forever wait for." Bleak doesn't do it justice, but you wouldn't want it any other way. An incredibly risky choice for a debut album's closing track could only be expected of Garbage and 'Milk' further serves as a predecessor of sorts to Version 2.0's closing number, 'You Look So Fine.' (Matt Bond)


#6. I Think I'm Paranoid
Album: Version 2.0 (1998)




Heaven knows what a girl can do,
Heaven knows what you got to prove... 


This one, this one is amazing. This song is so Garbage, so perfectly Garbage, if I were to have to sum up their career thus far in one song, this could be the one I would choose. Taken from their second album, Version 2.0, it’s got everything Garbage are good at; the quiet intro and quirky menacing verses, the catchy sing-along, angry chorus in combination with aggressive guitars, the way the verses lull you into a sense of safety and the chorus shocks you back into reality, the warped vocals and the sudden end, this is everything Garbage is good at and more. The loud “steal me, deal me” refrain right before the song leaves you on the floor begging for more, this is Garbage so good it’s almost upsetting. Oh and here you go, another Garbage song where you get to learn a little bit too much about my complex/simple personality. I love the lyrics, I relate to the lyrics, I sing the lyrics loudly in the car whenever this song pops up in my roadtrip playlist; “....bend me break me, anyway you need me, as long as I want you baby it’s alright…” at what point did they start reading my thoughts? This is a song that’s addictive, I can play it numerous times over without tiring of it, I can hear the first note and know exactly which song it is and know the next three and half minutes are not going to be mine. Beside all of that, the black and white clip features sex bomb Shirley with short hair dancing around in boots and wearing a mini polka-dot print strapless dress. Is there something more you want? (Jo Michelmore)



Monday, 23 April 2012

New Music Monday #4



Jack White!

Blunderbuss [Album] (2012)
by Jack White



Let’s just suspend reality for a few minutes here. Let’s pretend none of us know who The White Stripes were, the Dead Weather never existed, the Raconteurs; who are you speaking of? Now let’s look at ‘Blunderbuss’, the first solo album by a little guy named Jack White. Like a good book, a good album should take you on a journey, take you away from where you are and set you down in places and scenes you’ve never been, places that are uncomfortable and amazing and comfortable and incredible. From the opening track, this album took me far away from my iPod and I loved it. I visited filthy little blues bars just before midnight, jazz clubs filled with smoke in the early hours of the morning, an old school saloon in the middle of the desert with someone playing an aging piano in the corner, a Motown gig in the 60s, a merry go round in the middle of a fair. This strange mix of scenes make for a remarkable album, the lyrics centering around love lost, bitterness, heartbreak, some anger and a little bit violence. There is a beautiful amount of piano in this album that give it an intense sound, something that holds on to you and wraps around you. From the simple start of 'Missing Pieces' to the stunning vocals of 'Love Interruption,' the superb piano of 'Hypocritical Kiss,' the sweet mandolin and keyboard combination on 'Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy;' this album ties together a whole bunch of genres seamlessly, combining country, jazz, folk, rock, blues, the list goes on. The strangely named 'I Guess I Should Go To Sleep' is awesome; the swinging rhythm oddly suiting its lullaby title. It ends with a song a little over 4 minutes long that manages to take you back on the entire album’s journey; a swinging piano start, layered vocals, anxious lyrics, raunchy blistering guitar and then it sets you back down comfortably with the desperate lyric ending it, "…take me anywhere you go." Stunning. So, about that suspended reality. Yes, there are aspects of all of Jack White’s previous projects in this album and there should be. Without the others he wouldn’t have arrived at this magnificent album. The familiarity makes it comfortable and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s only April and already this is an album that will define 2012 for me. It’s fabulous and wonderful and everything I hoped it would be. I will listen to it over and over again as I already have. Now this time, I’m heading back to that filthy blues bar…







 Jo Michelmore gives Blunderbuss five Eddie Vedder's out of five...


Breathe
by Delilah
Album: From the Roots Up (2012)



And they say trip hop is dead. 'Breathe,' the latest single from emerging UK sensation, Delilah shows that a genre on the verge of extinction is still influencing a new generation of artists. Heavy on the strings, a haunting ambiance, powerful vocals against an industrial backdrop; 'Breathe' is a song that the likes of Massive Attack and Faithless would be proud to have in their own catalogue. This is all about Delilah though. 2012 is going to be a huge year for her in the UK (and hopefully the rest of the world not long after). She's collaborated with some big names like Sia and Emeli Sande for her debut, From the Roots Up, an album that is surely going to create a ton of buzz around the name Delilah. We can also celebrate our new go to for the name Delilah instead of that awful and kinda creepy Tom Jones song. Everyone's a winner! 









Matt Bond gives 'Breathe' four Shirley Manson's out of five... 


Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)
by Nelly Furtado
Album: The Spirit Indestructible (2012)



"That boy gonna feel my poison, I know he can't stand the rain, I wanna be down with ya baby, back and forth, back and forth." Woah, Nelly... that line was like a slap in the face. No, seriously, I literally slapped my palm on my forehead when I heard it. Really though, it was an accumulation of future additions to our hilarious lyrics posts one can find within 'Big Hoops' that had me resorting to assault of the face. "Hey hey hey, what's the scenario, that boy keeps passin' me by, I said no diggity, no doubt, I thought I told you I was fly." Stop it. Stop it right now, Furtado. The world embraced your promiscuous and Stefani-esque turn to shiny Timbaland super pop, but this is too much. How do you define this? Is it rap? Hip-hop? It's certainly not super pop, for where art thou banging beats, catchy choruses and fist pumping moments of joy? They're gone and, sadly, so is my interest in the lovely Nelly Furtado... for now. One misstep should never see you give up hope on a previously successful artist. Perhaps the daftly named The Spirit Indestructible will house some chart topping goodness. "I don't want to talk about sex, wanna express myself tonight." Go back to talking about sex and being a man eater and sprouting illogical-yet-somehow-logical lyrical wonders like 'Say It Right.' Even better? Go back to writing illogical-yet-somehow-logical lyrical wonders like 'I'm Like A Bird.' We could all use a good laugh.














Matt Bond gives 'Big Hoops (Bigger the Better)' one Dannii Minogue out of five...


NEW MUSIC VIDEO OF THE WEEK


Out of the Game
by Rufus Wainwright
Album: Out of the Game (2012)



Helena Bonham Carter. What more do you want in a music video? Nothing. That's what. And she's playing a sexually frustrated librarian. You don't see any of those in a Tim Burton or Harry Potter film. For this reason alone the video should receive a five star grading. On the other hand, there is way too much of Rufus Wainwright getting it on with himself for my liking. Still... Helena Bonham Carter! 








Matt Bond gives 'Out of the Game' three Karen O's out of five...

Sunday, 22 April 2012

New To The Scene - Young Wonder


Young Wonder!


Young Wonder EP by Young-Wonder


When you're from Australia, you don't go to a country far, far away and stick around for a day or two. Nah, when Aussies travel we tend to make the most of it. Last week we headed to Ireland for 'New To The Scene' to check out our new rocking favourites, Neon Wolf. While we won't exactly be applying for a two-year visa, we're going to stick around the Emerald Isle for another week to scope out some other exciting emerging Irish acts. It took all of about two-point-five seconds to stumble upon Young Wonder and the trippy magic that is 'Orange.' I think I'm in love.


 


Young Wonder is pretty much what would happen if Bjork and The Knife made the babies together. Yes, THE babies, for there are two intriguing artists that make up Young Wonder; vocalist Rachel Koeman and producer Ian Ring. Hailing from Cork, the electronic duo has just released their debut EP, Young Wonder, a fascinating collection of five immersive tracks and three remixes. 'Flesh' samples a sample, as Ring seamlessly weaves a segment of The Avalanches' 'Since I Left You' alongside Koeman's striking voice. Closing instrumental 'Pulse' ends way too soon for my liking, leaving you wanting more. It's 'Orange' though that I keep going back to. This dreamy number is doing a great deal of healing to my poorly damaged brain. I must have been forced to listen to LMFAO a hundred times at the (beautiful) wedding I went to yesterday. 'Orange' is taking a lot of that pain away.


 


So, what can you do now? Have a listen to the Young Wonder EP in full over on the group's Soundcloud page and then once you've fallen in love with it (one listen will more than likely do it), head on over to Young Wonder's Bandcamp page to pick up the EP for the low, low price of 5 Euro. Remember Australian readers, our dollar's pretty sweet at the moment!


Find out more about Young Wonder:

Bandcamp
Facebook
Soundcloud


Top 20 - 22 April, 2012

Azealia Banks!


1. Garbage - Battle In Me (3 weeks at #1!)


 


2. The Medics - Griffin





3. Azealia Banks - Hood Bitch (NEW)


 


4. Neon Wolf - All Of It's Yours





5. Curxes - Haunted Gold (NEW)


 


Thursday, 19 April 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - Festival Memories


You'll always remember seeing The Flaming Lips live!

FESTIVAL MEMORIES
by Jo Michelmore


It’s true, I’ve been to a few festivals in my time. On one hand, I love the concept of the festival, lots and lots and lots of different music being played all day and all night and if things are so inclined, over and over again for a couple of days. Music; lots of it, all day. I said it before, festivals are where you get to see bands you hate and love it and see bands you love and love it. What a great idea. Then there’s the other side of festivals; the dirt and the heat and the mud and the lines and the stinky, stinky portable toilets after standing in the stinky, stinky line for hours on end, the festival with the caged drinking concept, the festival with not enough vegetarian options at the dodgy caravans selling slightly off food, missing part of your favourite band while you wait in line for some sweet, sweet refreshing watermelon before the guy in front of you buys the very last piece, the kid at the end of the day, lying on the soggy grass while his friends beg passers-by for a spare pair of pants (wait a minute, that should have been in the ‘positives to festivals’ list, shouldn’t it?). Music festivals truly are an experience. Some good, some bad. When they’re good, they seem to be amazing. When they’re bad, let’s not even talk about that. So, in celebration of today’s announcement of this year’s Splendour line-up and since this is Vintage Thursday, I’m going to try and cast my mind back, to anything before 2006 to a couple of my favourite (and maybe not so favourite) festival memories*.

Big Day Out - 2004
The Flaming Lips




This is one festival act I will never forget. I barely knew who the Flaming Lips were, just a song here or there, but a friend of mine convinced me we needed to go to this tent and see them. I am so, so glad I followed their advice. This was amazing. The Flaming Lips are known for their live shows and everything you hear should be believed, they’re fantastic. I just remember colour, lots and lots of colour, huge balloons floating all through the air and so many happy people. Everyone bouncing around and lots and lots and lots of fun. That was The Flaming Lips. I was lucky enough to see them again at the Harvest Festival last year and they were exactly the same (and that’s not a bad thing) so much fun. Every time I see them, they come off the bucket list then go straight back on because they’re just so good I want to see them over and over again. Greatest festival gig.


 Big Day Out - 2000
Atari Teenage Riot




I was reminded of this the other day, after a conversation about Atari Teenage Riot. This is what I remember about them. It was the middle of the day, in January, on the Gold Coast. The middle of the day, sun beating down upon us all. They played one of the main stages, which are located in a giant dust bowl. Atari Teenage Riot were on stage screaming and running around like they do, yelling at the crowd to go mental, start a riot. Here’s the thing ATR. You may not have known much about climate in Australia. On the Gold Coast, it’s almost sub-tropical. It was hot. It was unbearably hot. It was the middle of the day. Most hadn’t had enough alcohol yet to cope, let alone any other substances they may or may not have chosen to participate in. There will be no rioting in the middle of summer in the middle of the day in sub-tropical Queensland. Your crowd were so tired, it was hilarious watching the half-hearted try and gather some energy to start said riot, they all wanted to, but just couldn’t be bothered. Most humorous festival gig.


Under The Stars - sometime between 1999-2003
Someone played, but who knows who?


I went to this festival, I think. It was a one off. Some Australian bands played there, but I don’t remember who. It was cold and rainy and I was tired. I have absolutely no memory of who I saw there. I remember being hungry, if that counts for anything. I think Frenzal Rhomb played, but I don’t remember seeing them. It was pretty dull. I remember wearing khaki pants and boots. Why do I remember that? Who knows. What happened? I don’t know. You know what? I’m sure it was great though. Fantastic. Best night ever, that week. Now though? Most forgettable festival gig, ever.


Livid - 2000 
The Cure




This one saddens me. It took me a long time to get over it. I couldn’t listen to The Cure for a long while after this. They just, well, they weren’t very good, they didn’t grab me by the shoulders and make me watch, which is what I love in musicians. They were disinterested, a bit old and a bit tired. I hate giving bad reviews, but they just weren’t the greatest. Thankfully, everything I’ve heard since has suggested they are amazing. The regular writer of this blog saw them last year at Bestival and said they were fantastic. He has good taste, so I believe him [Editor's Note - Rookie error.]. I just didn’t get to see it back in the day. There is always the hope I will get to see them again and they’re such an incredible band, I’m willing to give them a second chance. Most uninteresting festival gig.


Big Day Out - 2005 
Polyphonic Spree/Jon Spencer Blues Explosion/Beastie Boys




I’m including three acts in this review, because I really remember loving them all. The Big Day Out can be a really long day and sometimes there are massive amounts of time in the hot, hot sun that can get really boring. This Big Day Out I didn’t have that issue. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion were fantastic live, lots of filthy blues and growling voices and dirty guitar. Amazing. The Polyphonic Spree were fabulous, similar to The Flaming Lips, I just remember lots and lots of colour, the technicolour costumes and lots and lots of happiness, much bouncing and laughter. The Beastie Boys, they’re one of those acts you really must see live, just to say you’ve seen them. They were a bucket list act for me, and I wasn’t disappointed. So great. Least boring festival gigs.


Big Day Out - 2004 
Aphex Twin




This one will stay in my memory banks for a long time. Even if I make it to old and frail I’m sure I’ll still laugh about this one. It had been an interesting day (read many beverages and other intoxicating substances) and my group of friends had split (which they would regret later), it was just me and my bestie by the end of the evening. Aphex Twin were playing the dance tent and we made our way in, clawing our way through crowds of people to get about half way into the tent, next to the sound desk. Aphex Twin did what Aphex Twin does, loud and obnoxious, he was fine. It was the interesting show that the people standing next to us were participating in which made this gig one I will never forget. It’s not something you see in public every day. All I’m going to say is, I hope they were safe. An Aphex Twin induced offspring would not be pretty. Most WTF festival gig, ever.


Byron Bay Bluesfest (East Coast Blues and Roots Festival) - 2004 (?)
Little Milton


I don’t actually remember who I went to see at this festival. I do have one lasting memory though. It was a long day. It had rained. It was cold. I remember sitting in the main stage area, off to stage right, waiting for the headline act to appear. Before they came on was a guy by the name of Little Milton. How do I remember his name so easily? It was the band before him who insured I would never forget it. For 30 minutes or more (no exaggeration) before Little Milton appeared, this band (whose name I can’t remember) insisted on signing his name, over and over and over and over again, with a bluesy feel. Just imagine it; “Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton, Little Milton….”, see how annoying that was, having to read that so many times? Is there anyone sitting next to you? Say it to them out loud, say it to them twice. Ask them how annoying that is, then times it by a thousand and a thousand again. It was even more annoying than that. Little Milton, I’m sure you were great, and RIP by the way, but that band before you had a lot to answer for. Most annoying festival gig.


Livid - 1996
Garbage




Since we’re currently doing the Garbage top 20, it seemed appropriate to include the first Garbage show I saw, in 1996, touring on the back of their first album Garbage. They were incredible. I remember Shirley’s red, red hair, her sexy short skirt, her rock attitude, the sound they had then, so different to anything that was happening at the time. They played straight after Silverchair, who were wee little boys at the time, fresh faced and cute and so rock. It was Garbage who stole the festival that night, playing on a stage under some giant trees in a beautiful park at the start of summer. I remember ‘Only Happy When It Rains’ and being so blown away, it still remains one of my favourite Garbage songs now. I remember ‘Queer’ and just how hot it was, in every way. I remember watching Butch and being so impressed I’d seen the one and only Butch Vig in the flesh. It was fantastic and the start of my long, long, adoration of Garbage. I’m so glad I can say I saw that one. (One of) my favourite festival gigs, ever.


*Festivals are strange events. Weird things can happen. Memories can be tainted by time and other things. Some or some more of these memories may or may not be accurate. Which bits are accurate is up to the reader. Except the Aphex Twin bit. Yeah, that happened.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Who Do You Think You Are - Nadine B

This is Nadine. She's amazing, knows her music and I'm pretty sure she could bust out some sweet Bollywood dance moves... if she wanted to. Say hi!


Ah, Wednesday. I'm still loving Wednesday because I keep getting to read these incredibly interesting insights (boom) into (yep) imaginations (that's all I've got) other than my own and how people view the music they listen to. The delightful Nadine B is our next Facebook liker to run the gauntlet of questions and her responses were absolutely brilliant. Enough of my chit-chat, let's hear from Nadine!


NADINE B


Q. What music are you listening to at the moment?


Nadine: Right now? Right this very second? Well, that would have to be "You Me Bullets Love!" Think the golden era of Bollywood, 60s surf, masked bandits, mayhem, dance moves that will make you dizzy, and a rickshaw full of fun. It’s the debut album from The Bombay Royale released on Hope Records.  Get it on vinyl! Get it on CD! Get it anyway you like. Just get it!  There are also two bearded men in this band. I like that.





Q. What's the first album you ever bought and do you still have it?


Nadine: The first album I ever put down money for was Björk’s Homogenic and I’d gladly spend my hard-earned $4.70/hr wage on it again. I was in year 11 and studying music at school. We were delving into the world of 20th century composers. You know, Debussy, Toru Takemitsu, Björk. My memorable and beautifully excitable music teacher, who I credit with fuelling my passion for music, was obsessed with her creations. He showed our class a documentary about the making of Homogenic (full documentary posted below - Nadine was kind enough to send the link!). It was filmed in Spain and every time I think of it I get goose bumps when I remember the endearing way in which she describes the sound of strings as being like blood travelling through veins. I love her humility and the poetic rhythm she lends to her descriptions of music. I love the way this album holds together so beautifully. I love the strings, the voice, the beats. I love the way it can shift my mood and make everything seem so rich and incredible.  As a frustrated teenager, I would shut my door, skip to 'Pluto', get my rage out, skip back to '5 Years,' deal with the boyfriend issues, skip back to 'Hunter,' realise I could always keep hunting and then listen through to 'All is Full of Love.' I was then human enough to then deal with my family (and for them to cope with me). Oh and yes, I do still have a copy but it’s not my original. I traded in my original standard jewel case edition for a second-hand (in the days of Rocking Horse upstairs), limited edition, gatefold version complete with the Homogenic cover poster.




Q. What are your best and worst festival experiences?


Nadine: Best? How could anything compete with confetti explosions, giant balloons, a convulsing rat-girl collapsing on strobe lighting, Wayne in a ball, gigantor laser hands, the stoic Soviet guitarist, the rest of The Flaming Lips, and realising I have the most beautiful friends in the world? Nothing. Oh, but did I mention Harvest [Festival, 2011]? And the bats circling down into the botanical gardens at sunset while Mogwai meandered along?


Worst? Seeing Lamb at Livid at the RNA showgrounds at 2pm in a dingy room surrounded by animals that had peaked too early. Enough said.




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


Nadine: Music guilty pleasures? No one should ever feel guilty for listening to music! Hmm... but when no one’s around I do like to dance to a bit of old-school bangara.  Maybe some think I should feel guilty for that. Think Bollywood but with a hell of a lot more drums and earthiness. And deliciously bearded men in turbans. (I put the video below because it's, for lack of better words, super cute. Not because it's a good example of this bangara music. You try finding one! P.s. I seriously hope you didn't mean Bhangra!)




Q. What are your go-to karaoke songs?


Nadine: Dusty! Springfield that is. Whether you’re male, female, donning a wig or not, Dusty Springfield is the one. She’s 60s, a touch of soul, a range my voice feels comfortable with. And what’s more, if you’re a little shy of being the only one with a microphone in your hand, a Dusty song can only get better with more back-up ladies (or gents). Oh, and if “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” is on the list, the page turning stops. Ahh Bacharach. You are the master of the sing-a-long.





A massive thank you to Nadine for some really fun answers! Oh, and convulsing rat-girl... I saw you on the stage at Harvest too; jumping around one minute, passing out the next. Hope you're ok and don't do drugs when on stage with Wayne Coyne. You will lose your mind like convulsing rat-girl. She was dressed up as a rat. She was not a rat-human hybrid. Just to be clear. Thanks again Nadine!