Sunday, 31 March 2013

It's My Kind of Interview - The Raffaellas

If there's an emerging Australian band you should be keeping your eyes and ears on, it's this Melbourne four-piece. The Raffaellas certainly won us over with their new track 'Words' and what will come next has left us deeply curious. We virtually sat down for a chat with the lads about their year ahead, the zombie apocalypse and more. Enjoy!

Interview by Matt Bond

Here's an ice-breaker of sorts... The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?

TR: Sometimes you wish The Beatles had a little more edge, that’s for sure. They’re like a beach ball. But at the end of the day, they really changed the game – for us it’s all in the ‘lesser-knowns’ and B-Sides: ‘She’s a Woman’, ‘Rocky Raccoon’, ‘Dig a Pony’, and everything they did by Little Richard. (We do cover Stones’ ‘Heart of Stone’ though…its killer).

Here's another ice-breaker of sorts... Who exactly are The Raffaellas? Introduce yourselves as if nobody in this (imaginary) room knows who you are, or what you bring to the table with your music.

TR: Well there are four of us – two guitars, bass and drums. Doug Ross is to lead guitar what Brian May was…to lead guitar…though Doug, a mid-to-well seasoned classical guitarist, knows the instrument backways and brings a certain classical finesse that really has no place in the band at all but we have all come to tolerate and maybe, one day, will grow to love. Michael Ratten is similarly technically gifted on the kit, with a jazz-drummer flare for emphases and ghost notes (which he swears are there but no one else can hear), though his comically burdensome height means that by the time stick hits skin, there’s sufficient force to really test out some of the better live sound systems in Melbourne. Best thing about James’ bass playing (that’s James Raimondo for those playing at home) is that he’s not a bass player. He plays keys…which we don’t have… it’s confused, but his musical genesis is in writing songs and melodies which makes for really melodic bass lines- it’s a plus. Plus, he does know his way around a ‘fret’. Pat Santamaria backs the whole operation up on rhythm guitar and puts his best foot forward behind the mic. Though, generally speaking, it is singing, he has been told he croons a lot and other times just does a lot of yelling in tune (put that down to his love of Little Richard). Match that up with James’ mid-tenor pipes and Doug’s groin-shattering, freight train of a bass voice (at least 3 octaves below Barry White) and you’ve got yourself a harmony, which we like doing too.

We've really enjoyed your new song 'Words.' When can we expect to hear a debut album from you and what's your upcoming touring schedule?

TR: We actually are sorting out launch dates for ‘Words’ as we speak, we will start with Melbourne (our home) and Sydney and see if we can get ourselves further north on the back of those shows. Brissy would be nice.

When we recorded ‘Words’ with producer Lindsay Gravina (who’s a soft genius) we tracked another single at the same time to be the preludes to a release at the end of the year. We immediately took a shine to ‘Words’ and how it came off in the recording but we spent about one eighth as much time on it as we did the other single, coming out in a month or two. So it’ll be interesting to see if they are received differently and all…We think an album is something we might look at early next year, it’ll depend on how the year goes for us. However - we have been known to lock ourselves in a studio for days at a time and track songs live take-after-take (the way it used to be) so there may be a live LP or something in the mix before we really get working on a debut album.

I see you've mentioned before that you all used to be part of a big band performing Ray Charles and Paul Simon covers, before breaking free. Did that give you your appreciation of older music? What's the most embarrassing song you had to perform? Was it  'You Can Call Me Al'? Please say it was 'You Can Call Me Al'?

TR: Yeah we are all over the older music anyway, Pat sometimes says the simple 12-bar-blues (think ‘Hound Dog’ or ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’) is the highpoint of pop music, and everything else has been fun but probably not as good. Worst part is ‘You Can Call Me Al’ is by no means the most embarrassing we played (and we did play it), there may even be the slightest possibility that maybe, on some off chance, that we maybe, might have played ‘Waterloo’ by Abba…but who really remembers.

Who's the most exciting act in Australian music right now, other than yourselves of course, and why?

TR: Well Peter Combe is back on the campaign trail which we find encouraging, but we are big fans of City Calm Down – who do the electro thing live (and well), which is no mean feat – we love Cloud Control – they are onto an awesome sound – a band called Kins, Chet Faker is phat, we’ve loved The Vasco Era for ages, and a great country group called Luke Legs and the Midnight Specials. They all bring home the honey.

Guess what? The zombie apocalypse has begun! The world is considerably f'd right now, but you're about to be evacuated to a safe zone. Most of civilization has been destroyed and where you're going there'll be no records of the world that was. iPod's and all that fancy stuff don't work in the new world - I don't know why, but they just don't, so stop questioning it. Anyway, you've been placed in charge of securing music's legacy for future generations. Arriving at a desolate JB Hi-Fi, you've got about enough time to run around and pick ten albums. What are the ten albums you feel the world will need to hear in this post-apocalyptic world and why? Yes... iPods aren't around, but CD's can still be played somehow. Logic isn't my strong point, but just go with it...

TR: Shit… in no particular order.

1. CCR – Cosmo’s Factory – just so hard to find a band like them – something really swampy that you don’t get anywhere else (and a lot of 12 bar blues, see ‘Travelin’ Band’)

2. Bob Dylan – Freewhelin – probably one of the best Bob’s on the basis of ‘Girl from the North Country’ alone

3. The Beatles – Live at the BBC – its live, its comprehensive and also full of covers, you get a great idea of what they were listening to (and too hard to pick a studio album- except it would probably be ‘Please Please Me’ – the whole thing was recorded live in about 8 hours and its worth listening to ‘Twist and Shout’ with this in mind – it was the last track and Lennon’s vocals are barely holding on…gold.

4. The Sonics – Psycho-Sonic – so good.

5. Jeff Buckley – Grace – probably cliché? But cliché for a reason, some seriously affecting song-writing throughout the whole album, but you also get a bit of the 90’s grunge feel and you also get his voice

6. Johnny Cash – Live at Folsom – best way to listen to the guy: feat. a whole bunch of fairly rowdy inmates.

7. Stones – Exile on Main St … or Forty Licks or something… just to be able to explain the Beatles/Stones quandary

8. Little Richard – any best of – the guy’s a maniac: his voice manages to turn what is essentially one song into about 30

9. Sam Cooke – Portrait of a Legend – to cover soul post-apocalypse. He’s miles better than Otis not as good as Aretha but this record has everything

10. Something Australian: maybe The Triffids, early early Powderfinger… how about The Seekers?

That question was probably annoying, so here's something a little easier (maybe); what's the worst song that's out right now?

TR: That really young fat kid that sings the R’n’B songs with the autotune, or anything by ‘Glee’ if ‘Glee’ is a person…its more just nausea, tuned to absolute perfection. We at The Raffaellas guarantee substantially less-than-good pitch every time or your money back.


Where do you see yourselves in five years time?

TR: Doing this probably – we imagine the context will change, and are hopeful that more people will be interested in what we are doing but, at the same time, we can’t see that what we do will change all that substantially. We actually really hang out for shows and get all cabin-fever/kooked-up when we don’t play for a while (maybe just because our rehearsal studio aint so large) so, if all else fails, we’ll be playing shows. Hope to see you at one soon.

Thanks to The Raffaellas! We're looking forward to hearing a whole lot more from them - hopefully soon. Keep your eyes on their Facebook page for when they post 2013 tour dates.

Top 25 - 31 March, 2013

Vampire Weekend!

1. Asta - I Need Answers (#1 for 3 weeks!)
2. Curxes - Further Still (NEW)
3. Vampire Weekend - Diane Young (NEW)
4. Emma Louise - Stainache (NEW)

5. Ginger and The Ghost - One Type of Dark

6. Hanni El Khatib - Penny (NEW)
7. The Velvets - Shoot You Down
8. The Sun and The Sky - Already One
9. George Maple - Fixed (NEW)
10. The Raffaellas - Words
11. Colour Bomb - Beautiful Parade

12. NERVO - Hold On (NEW)
13. M83 ft. Susanne Sundfor - Oblivion (NEW)
14. Little Boots - Motorway
15. Phoenix - Drakkar Noir (NEW)

16. Georgia Potter - Reckless (NEW)
17. Katy Steele - Fire Me Up
18. Sigur Ros - Brennisteinn (NEW)

19. Ride Into The Sun - Hunt Like Wolves

20. Active Child - Evening Ceremony (NEW)
21. Jinja Safari - Plagiarist
22. Dune Rats - Red Light, Green Light (NEW)
23. Musique Le Pop - Turn To Sand
24. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Sacrilege
25. Delta Spirit - Running (NEW)

Saturday, 30 March 2013

It's My Kind of Interview - Katy Steele

After spending time finding inspiration in New York, Katy Steele is ready to embark on a solo journey that seems guaranteed to knock our socks off. Already established as one of the country's greatest voices in rock, the former Little Birdy singer looks to be exploring different genres and sounds with her upcoming 'debut.' Katy graciously answered our questions about what we can expect from the album and more. We're pretty excited. Enjoy!

Interview by Matt Bond

The new track ‘Fire Me Up’ marks your welcome return to the music scene, this time sans your Little Birdy band mates. What do you think made ‘Fire Me Up’ the perfect introduction to Katy Steele in 2013?

Katy: Well it actually was the first song out of the 50 or so that I wrote for this record that finally felt rhythmically different enough to be my solo music. I spent the first year in NYC writing tunes that could easily have been cateogorzied as a Birdy song, but was not happy with that feeling. I'd decided to have a break from the band so that I would specifically challenge myself and be forced to work with new sounds/attitudes/ rhthyms.

Can we have an update on when to expect an album release?

Katy: It will be released mid year.

What’s your fondest live music memory?

Katy: Fondest live memory was in Melbourne. We were singing 'Brother' live on TV for the APRA awards with Paul Kelly.

What do you think is the best song you’ve ever written?

Katy: I think 'Lasers' off my new record is the coolest tune I've written in a long time. It's a tune that only comes around every few years. I think Relapse is still the most pure and untouched thing I have written. There'll always be something special about things that are written completely drenched with naivety and vulnerability. 


The Australian music industry is home to so many exciting new acts. As an established artist, who are your favourite new bands and singers that are starting to make an impact today?

Katy: I think the Hungary kids of Hungary record is really great. I also think Ben Witt of the Chemist is going to make some amazing music in the future. I have Ali Barter supporting me on these shows, so I'm excited to see her live.

If you had to pick one Australian male artist, female artist and band to be listed as ‘national treasures,’ who would you pick?

Katy: Paul Kelly - Don't think I need to explain this one. But in case, no one blows my mind like Paul does.

Chrissy Amplett - She's rad. Never been one tougher since.

You Am I - Such an great band. Will never forget growing up to their records.

What can fans expect from your solo shows when you tour this year?

Katy: I have a killer three piece band backing me up, who are all seasoned rad people. I have an amazing new costume designer making these insanely sexy costumes. The new record has a real dance/electro element so the show is really pumping and super fun. 

After the album release and tour, what’s the next step for Katy Steele?

Katy: Only time will tell. But I'd say loads of collabs and another solo record.

And a huge thank you to Katy Steele for dropping in. We're already loving 'Fire Me Up,' so it's good to know we'll be able to hear a whole lot more from her in the middle of the year! Brisbane fans can see Katy live at Alhambra, Wednesday 10 April, 2013. Get your tickets from OzTix

Friday, 29 March 2013

It's My Kind of Interview - Asta

Following in the footsteps of Snakadaktal and Hunting Grounds, ASTA took out the 2012 JJJ Unearthed High crown and has already begun to make an impact with 'My Heart Is On Fire,' the incredible debut track coming in at #50 on the Hottest 100. Currently sitting pretty at #1 on our own weekly Top 25 with her new song, 'I Need Answers,' ASTA has been kind enough to have a chat to us about her busy year, what makes a good music video and surviving being stranded on an island. Sort of.

Interview by Matt Bond

The last twelve months have been huge for you. Winning Unearthed High and landing in the top 50 of the Hottest 100 are two major achievements. What are some other favourite moments in ASTA’s career so far?

ASTA: I would say simply looking out into a crowd and seeing people so engaged and really enjoying my music, and feeding off their energy. It's an amazing feeling and something I want to experience for the rest of my life.

You recently released a taste of your debut album, ‘I Need Answers.’ Talk us through the concept behind the track and is it a clear indication of what we can expect from the full album?

ASTA: The track is about needing answers from men and pretty much life is general and funnily enough I got the answers in the end. Wanting things black and white. I like to experiment with all sorts of sounds, but you will always here a shimmery guitar and some pop beats in the background. I like to think that my voice will stitch most songs together in the album but I'm not jumping into one particular sound at the moment. Still very fresh in this industry so lots to play with.

Speaking of your debut LP, when can we hope to hear it and how have you found the creative process so far? Are you going to be collaborating with other Aussie talent on it?

ASTA: I hope to have it out early next year, but you never know how long these things can take. I don't want to rush it as I know quality is so much more important and I am in it for the long haul. At the moment I am planning on jamming with other musicians and a trip to New York may be on the cards. I would like to collaborate and do a song with someone in the mean time, but as to who that is, I am not sure!

As a true success story of the JJJ Unearthed program, what advice would you give to other acts hoping to utilise the platform? How important do you feel Unearthed is for an artist looking for a break into the music industry?


ASTA: Radio play is key. So what I would recommend is loading your songs on unearthed and really starting up a campaign to get friends to rate and review your tracks. Eventually Triple J will prick their ears up and hopefully give your track a spin!

Everyone is loving the video for ‘I Need Answers.’ What do you think makes a good music video and what are some of your all-time favourite clips?

ASTA: I grasped inspiration from Kate Bush and Bat For Lashes for my latest clip but I think what makes a good film clip is to visually bring your song to life and play on what you immediately saw in your head when you first wrote the song, not going by creating something afterwards that may not really connect. My favourite clips would have to be 'Bad' by Michael Jackson and 'Running up That Hill' by Kate Bush.

What music have you been listening to in 2013? 

ASTA: I have been listening to Cat Power's album 'Sun' quite a bit. It seems to work in any situation. Car, bath or jogging. Bjork would be another, but other than that I am constantly tuned into Triple J most days and I am enjoying producers such as Flume.

Surprise! You’ve been stranded on an island in a remote location and no one’s going to find you for a couple of weeks. Don’t worry, you’ve got shelter and plenty of food and the weather is nice and there’s no mosquitos. Problem? You’ve only got enough battery on your iPod to listen to five songs. Facing the prospect of a couple of weeks without music, what five songs are you choosing to keep sorta fresh in your mind?

ASTA: This has happened many times, but on a treadmill. I would say:

Cat Power - Cherokee
Husky - I Need You Tonight
Beirut - Santa Fe
The National - Lemon World
Mark Ronson - The Bike Song

That would keep me pretty happy.

If all goes according to ASTA’s grand plan (should you have one), how do you see the rest of your year playing out?

ASTA: I see myself meeting heaps of musicians, gathering knowledge, making magic, traveling and chipping away at an album. Head on, striving along, reaching my dreams and forever writing songs.

A huge thank you to ASTA for stopping by and we can't wait to hear more from one of music's most exciting new acts! Brisbane fans can see ASTA live at Track and Field (Electric Playground) on Friday 26 April, 2013. This boutique night of awesome Aussie music will also feature The Jungle Giants, Alpine and Cub Scouts! 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - Boys And Girls And Girls And Boys....

Despite the nature of this picture, the following is not about toilets. Except maybe the Hilary Duff bit. Possibly. What?

Girls Who Are Boys Who Like Boys To Be Girls Who Do Boys Like They're Girls Who Do Girls Like They're Boys 
by Jo Michelmore

I had a long lunch with three fabulous people on Sunday (Hi Matty! Hi Cassie! Hi Jimmy! Why does everyone's name end in 'eeeee'? Oh I'm so uncool right now) and, through the natural course of conversation, two of those people burst into an En Vogue song. Don't look at me funny, I know, like, who's even thought of En Vogue in the last twenty years? Oh, what? You don't burst into song at lunch? You haven't lunched with me...and therefore you haven't lived. I'm sorry. Anyway, there they were, two incredibly attractive guys harmonising better than four attractive women in sequinned dresses (ok, this could be an exaggeration, but I'd only had one cider so my observations were not enhanced, those boys were good!), they even had some nice head shaking and finger pointing thrown in. It got me thinking; whatever happened to En Vogue? I only thought about that for a second, before the chorus kicked in....


...and I lost track of any thoughts about where those girls are now (I'm sure you know how to use google if you care to find out, I can't be bothered). The thought that did stick with me was that of songs that were originally sung by girls then covered by boys, or songs that were originally sung by boys and covered by girls and vice versa and so on and so forth....

Like Travis, another band no one has thought of since the 90's (thankfully). They had that one good song, which was Britney's, not their own. Anyone know of anything else they did? Use that google thing again and let me know. Travis disappointingly didn't have the balls to sing the 'boy' bit in "boy you got me blinded", which proved how un-manly they actually were and should be singing girl songs anyway...

Britney did her own male/female vocal swap in 2002, with her version of 'I Love Rock N Roll', which is probably something she didn't really mean, unless she was referring to the drugs bit in the 'sex, drugs and rock n roll' concept. She probably likes the sex too, but who am I to say? She didn't have the balls to sing the original lyrics either, which were sung by a boy (no, not Joan Jett, even hers was a cover, it was by some other it). The lyrics were originally about a girl standing by a record machine. What's a record machine? Anyway, it's probably best Britney didn't have the balls, as Britney's actually a girl, even though she has looked like a guy every now and then....


Hilary Duff did her bit for the girl pop singers doing terrible covers of male vocal songs in 2004, when she did her version of 'My Generation', which tends to make fans of The Who spontaneously vomit at the first notes. The most offensive part of this one is not that she doesn't have the balls to sing any boy/girl lines, but the most offensive part is, well, in the spirit of this weeks K-Tizzle Sizzle, here's a truth bomb....Hilary's attempt at this song sucks.Yep.


Then, the example of someone who got it right. Strangely, it's Tori Amos, in 1992, before she got super plastic and super weird and she made up for the horror that was Hilary long before Hilary. It's Nirvana's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and Tori had the balls to sing it as it was written. I'm going to be honest, I kinda love this version. There's something hot about the "with the lights out, it's less dangerous" when Tori sings it. 


Enough of the girls. Let's talk about my faves. Boys singing songs by girls. Kylie's 'Can't Get You Outta My Head' is such an awesome pop song and then the impressively and eternally strange Flaming Lips got their hands on it and this happened in 2003...and yes, Wayne Coyne sings it like it was written. No mincing of boys and girls lyrics. Good work Mr Coyne. (This version is surpassed only by two other boys I'm lucky enough to know and who I may have mentioned before, who sing this incredibly well at karaoke. I may or may not provide backing vocals. You've never done karaoke with me? I'm sorry. You haven't lived.)

I'm going to finish with my absolute favourite boy singing a song by a girl, it's The White Stripes in 2000 where Jack White, of course, won me over by having the balls to sing this one exactly as it was meant to be sung....


Oh Jack, oh sigh.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Listen Or Die? #8 - The "Chirping" Crickets...

Listen Or Die? Our weekly examination of the albums listed in the book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Must you hear them? We'll be the judge of that...

by The Crickets (1957)
Running Time: 25:59

1. Oh Boy!
2. Not Fade Away
3. You've Got Love
4. Maybe Baby
5. It's Too Late
6. Tell Me How
7. That'll Be The Day
8. I'm Looking For Someone To Love
9. An Empty Cup (And A Broken Date)
10. Send Me Some Lovin'
11. Last Night
12. Rock Me My Baby

And on this day, we find ourselves still trapped in the 1950s listening to Buddy Holly's very first album, The "Chirping" Crickets. Yes, he was in a band called The Crickets, a four-piece precursor to the far superior Beatles. Now I'm not that big of a Holly fan, but I (sort of) get why people dig him. Dude had those massive nerd glasses and was a snappy dresser. Hipsters of today essentially worship at his alter. The terrible nature of his death and short yet memorable tenure in the public eye provided him with a certain mystique that still leaves certain music critic's wetting their pants at the thought of placing him disgustingly high on whatever list they can. In 2004, Rolling Stone decided Holly was the 13th greatest artist of all time, ahead of icons like Michael Jackson (#35) and Madonna (#36); artists with successful careers that spanned decades. Unfortunately, Madge and Wacko (as a solo act) dominated the 80s and you needed to peak in the 50s and 60s to be considered for a Rolling Stone top 20. Duh. 

The "Chirping" Crickets is lauded as a blueprint for pop-rock and I'm willing to agree, but only if I can compare the evolution of music to that of the mobile phone. I like to think that what we get on this album is akin to one of those old brick Nokia phones; it performs the very basic duties like calling and texting (and that original version of Snake was a lot of fun at the time), but the ringtones are pretty boring and reception is poor. In a couple of years you'll get phones that allow you to browse the internet and come with a built in camera - that's the Rolling Stones and Beatles in the 60s, Fleetwood Mac in the 70s etc. After that will come the smart phone - Prince and Nirvana and Eminem... whatever popular act that delivered jaw-dropping, incredible music. With me? No? Let's press on anyway. There's always going to be something better just around the corner, but there's also going to be a very vocal group that can't be satisfied and will compare everything to the past. The music industry is the same. The "Chirping" Crickets might be the blueprint, but it's for a very basic model and other acts looked at it, decided they could do better and guess what... they did. 

It's only a matter of opinion... but this isn't one of the greatest albums of all time, the only standout ('Last Night') wasn't even written by Holly and the majority of the songs sound like 'Peggy Sue.' Since we're being honest... 'Peggy Sue' sucks. If I was to list one positive, it would be the short running time. Wasting less than half an hour is better than wasting more than half an hour. Always look on the bright side of life, right? Sorry Buddy fans... this one is a great big DIE. And yes, this was all just a convoluted way of saying music is definitely better today than it was in the 50s.

The tally...

DIE - 5 

Monday, 25 March 2013

New Music Monday #45

Vs Head Vs Heart
by Emma Louise (2013)

It was 2011 when Emma Louise released 'Jungle,' a confident, catchy indie debut track that won her fans throughout the world. Her debut EP, Full Hearts and Empty Rooms followed shortly after, containing the heartbreaking ballad '1000 Sundowns' and highlighting her incredible way with words. In 2012 we heard the first taste of her debut full-length album, the single 'Boy.' Not a huge departure from what had come before, equally as engaging and simply ramping up the anticipation. Vs Head Vs Heart has had incredible expectations placed upon it and now that it's out on shelves Australia wide, I think we will all agree that Louise has not only met those expectations, she's exceeded them in experimental ways no one could have imagined. It's safe to say music punters, this is far and away the best release of 2013 so far. 

"Hands on her shoulders, hair down her back, lying to her lover at home." A haunting vocal introduces '17 Hours,' a somewhat surprisingly chilled introduction that sets the tone for Vs Head Vs Heart. These tracks aren't designed to earn a ton of commercial airplay; they build beautiful layer upon beautiful layer, Emma Louise singing stories of childhood, wasted love and growing up. They take their time to develop, drawing you in so close to her you'll find the words bouncing around in the back of your mind for quite some time. 'Stainache' could be the most stunning moment in the collection; as Louise reveals, "but I can feel you, chasing me in the dark," you feel deeply involved in an intimate moment that leaves you holding your breath an instant longer than you'd expect. 

Current single 'Freedom' finds itself perfectly relaxed in one instant and celebrating a triumph the next. "And feel the wind blow through your hair, this is freedom, on a long road to no where, chasing the moon till morning comes." It's almost like a dare you want to follow through with or one of those annoyingly effective Corona ads - "From where you'd rather be." 'Freedom' isn't in any way shape or form annoying though. 'Cages' is another standout track, with Louise drifting into Bjork-influenced territory. There's something in the erratic delivery of the lines, rapid then slow, that separates 'Cages' from the rest of the album (with the exception of the bare bones, interlude-ish 'Braces'). There's got to be a metaphor in here somewhere, but it would be even more Bjork like if Louise is singing about a bird she got rid of. 

Vs Head Vs Heart is a confident, expectation shattering debut from an artist that's proving she isn't afraid to take some risks. Moving further away from the pop sensibilities found in 'Jungle' was a brave move and it's more than paid off. You've got to give this album a go. Emma Louise has certainly earned your time. 

Matt Bond gives Vs Head Vs Heart five Nick Cave's out of five...

by George Maple (April 15, 2013)

Electro chanteuse, George Maple is ready to fix her gaze on you. Already known for her collaborations with Flume and Flight Facilities, the artist formerly (and probably still) known as Jess Higgs is set to make an impact with her own brand of minimalist electronic music. 'Fixed' lacks any distinctive bells or whistles, instead utilising Maple's soulful vocal performance as the true draw card, with percussive beats supporting her along the way. Think Roisin Murphy without the theatrics; Maple's voice holding you in a trance without the unnecessary and artificial environment. It's the Aussie ladies that are leading an innovative, experimental charge in the music industry right now and with 'Fixed,' George Maple throws her hat in the ring as a future contender for leader of the pack. Bring on a full album!

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


Hunt Like Wolves
by Ride Into The Sun (April 6, 2013)

Fans of classic horror movies... you're welcome. Ride Into The Sun's 'Hunt Like Wolves' cuts up snippets from ye olden time Nosferatu and friends films to make an accompanying video as fantastically trippy as the song itself. Already lamenting a year without Tame Impala? Get behind these psychedelic rockers. It looks like they're heading over to the Austin Psych Fest later in the year, or they will be - maybe with your support! We're already big fans around here of the Kickstarter approach and Ride Into The Sun have almost reached their Pozible goal to get them to Austin. Liking 'Hunt Like Wolves'? You can head over to Pozible and buy some sweet, sweet music from Ride Into The Sun (including the option of purchasing their upcoming, self-titled vinyl LP) and send them on their way to the US of A. Then you can enjoy the video for 'Hunt Like Wolves' again and again... and again and again and again.

Matt Bond gives the video for 'Hunt Like Wolves' three Karen O's out of five...

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Top 25 - 24 March, 2013

Ride Into The Sun!

1. Asta - I Need Answers (#1 for 2 weeks!)
2. The Velvets - Shoot You Down
3. The Sun and The Sky - Already One
4. Ginger and The Ghost - One Type of Dark (NEW)
5. Ride Into The Sun - Hunt Like Wolves (NEW)

6. Colour Bomb - Beautiful Parade

7. The Raffaellas - Words

8. Jinja Safari - Plagiarist (NEW)
9. Little Boots - Motorway
10. Musique Le Pop - Turn To Sand (NEW)
11. The Postal Service - Turn Around (NEW)

12. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Sacrilege

13. Last Dinosaurs - Weekend (NEW)

14. Fitz and The Tantrums - Out of My League (NEW)
15. George Maple - Uphill
16. Wild Belle - Love Like This

17. Kisses - The Hardest Part (NEW)
18. Katy Steele - Fire Me Up

19. The Trouble With Templeton - Like A Kid
20. Sandra Kolstad - Run Away (Where Are We?) (NEW)

21. Foxes - The Unknown (NEW)
22. Owl Eyes - Closure
23. Breathe Out - Dead Friends (NEW)
24. Nosaj Thing - Eclipse/Blue
25. All The Colours - Second To None

Thursday, 21 March 2013

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - Music Is My Aeroplane

Traveling in, maybe?

Music Is My Aeroplane
by Jo Michelmore

So, I'm getting on an aeroplane this week. I'm not going too far, but I get to do all that fabulous stuff like wander through the airport and hang out in the waiting lounge and watch numbers and places and names change on little electronic screens and I get to drink overpriced coffee and eat overpriced sandwiches from little triangular shaped packets. How awesome. These are all things I love. Other things I love? Music. Duh. That's why I write on a music blog. How does this relate to my week? Songs about planes and flying and things in the sky. There's been a few. In fact, I think one of the most boring songs ever written is about aeroplanes (thanks Angus and Julia Stone. Zzzzzzzzz.) Anyway, I couldn't think what else to write about this week. Deal with it.

Learn To Fly
by Foo Fighters (1999)


 I will take any excuse to post a song by the Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl is one of my favourite rock stars. Yep. Stars. He was in Nirvana, he gets to be called 'star'. Deal with it. 1991 Kurt would never have let him. Dave is hilarious and he's one sexy, sexy man. Taylor Hawkins is ok too. Two I love in one band is rare. I don't care what you think of Dave,there's just something about that rock-sweat-bad hair-guitar thing I love. Then when he dresses as a woman and talks to his own male self, things get even better. Maybe. Or not. What? Deal with it.

by M.I.A. (2007)


Oh M.I.A., when she was good, before she became a cheap sell out. HA! Oh, I had you for a minute there, didn't I? She's one of those artists that makes you feel cool just at the mere mention of her name. Like, I'm cooler just because I've got her on my ipod. The fact that I actually know her songs means I AM actually cool. What? I am. Deal with it.

I'm Like A Bird
by Nelly Furtado (2000)


...and then, to counteract how cool I apparently am, I mention Nelly Furtado. There were a couple of weeks there where I spent many a car journey being both backing and lead vocal, while attempting to sing all the lines of the chorus "baby-all-I-need-for-you-to-know-is-I'm-like-a-bird". Yeah, I did. Whatever. Deal with it.

I Believe I Can Fly
by R. Kelly (1996)


Then a tribute to what I think is the second 'worst song ever' about flying (yes, Angus and Julia Stone still win that impressive title), I am including this one as a special feature for my ex-housemate, who spent many a drunken night, unusual morning, relaxing afternoon, ok, at any moment possible, paying tribute to R. Kelly and all his crap-ness, by singing this song, badly. No matter how much you believe it R Kelly, without assistance, you cannot fly. Deal with it.   

by Red Hot Chili Peppers (1995)


Finally, my very favourite song about aeroplanes because because no matter how long it's been since I've heard it, it always makes me smile when I hear it, I remember all the words and can sing along to all of it and it contains some of my favourite lyrics ever; "I like pleasure spiked with pain and music is my aeroplane" because they're true. Music is my aeroplane. Deal with it.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Listen Or Die? #7 - Songs For Swingin' Lovers!...

Listen Or Die? Our weekly examination of the albums listed in the book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Must you hear them? We'll be the judge of that...

by Frank Sinatra (1956)
Running Time: 45:00

1. You Make Me Feel So Young
2. It Happened in Monterey
3. You're Getting to be a Habit with Me
4. You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me
5. Too Marvelous For Words
6. Old Devil Moon
7. Pennies From Heaven
8. Love is Here to Stay
9. I've Got You Under My Skin
10. I Thought About You
11. We'll Be Together Again
12. Makin' Whoopee
13. Swingin' Down the Lane
14. Anything Goes
15. How About You

It only took a year for Frank Sinatra's mood to dramatically improve. What am I talking about? You might remember the first album we looked at in this series, In The Wee Small Hours, the ultra-depressed and ultimately satisfying 1955 Sinatra LP. That was a Frank Sinatra I was unfamiliar with; all woe is me and down in the dumps. Released eleven months later, Songs For Swingin' Lovers is Sinatra's light to his previous album's dark. Where stood tracks like 'Mood Indigo' and 'When Your Lover Has Gone' is now occupied with 'Love Is Here To Stay' and... 'Makin' Whoopee.' The evolution of sex in popular culture; 'Making Whoopee' becomes 'Afternoon Delight' becomes 'Put It In My Mouth' becomes 'Down A** B*tch.' Thank heavens the subtle 50s is long gone, am I right?! 

Songs For Swingin' Lovers is the return of the smooth talking, classy Sinatra. It's all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows everywhere. Personally, I want to hate it, but Sinatra makes this impossible; the man's too damn good at what he does. 'You Make Me Feel So Young' isn't the greatest album opener in the world and it's lost in translation 50s innocence just comes across as creepy. Potential double entendres abound. "The moment that you speak, I want to play hide and seek, I want to go and bounce the moon, just like a big toy balloon." Now imagine Kanye West rapping that line. Not so cute now! Alternatively, 'It Happened In Monterey' holds the right kind of charm with its 'days gone by' Mexican love story. You can't even find ways to twist the words into potentially new boudoir antics. Sinatra had just hit the 40 mark when the album went into production and the rich vocal tone he's got going on sells a song like this much better than a younger Frank could have.  

What separates the great songs from the decent ones can be found in the composers and lyricists. You'll find yourself immediately won over by the Gershwin's jazz standard, 'Love Is Here To Stay.' Perfectly dreamy strings and piano alongside Sinatra's equally mesmerising, deep voice make this one an easy winner. It would have been a hard task for what followed, if it wasn't Cole Porter's 'I've Got You Under My Skin.' Sinatra's rendition is fairly breezy, but that works with his lighthearted style. It's not as powerful as Ella Fitzgerald's version (released the same year), but the song is one of the all-time greats and ole Blue Eyes does it justice. For all of its lame innuendo, 'Makin' Whoopee' is actually the most boring track on the album. This song goes out to all the lamenting fathers out there. "He's washing dishes and baby clothes, he's so ambitious he even sews, but don't forget folks, that's what you get folks, for makin' whoopee." If you have sex, you will have a child and regret it! So says Frank Sinatra. 

While Songs For Swingin' Lovers is a step down in quality and a departure from the more adventurous In The Wee Small Hours, I'd still give this a LISTEN. Frank Sinatra knew how to deliver the goods and Songs For Swingin' Lovers proves to be no exception.  

The tally...

DIE - 4  

Monday, 18 March 2013

New Music Monday #44

The 20/20 Experience
by Justin Timberlake (2013)

Justin Timberlake teaming up with Timbaland once more. It's worked before, but that was almost seven years ago. Future Sex/Love Sounds solidified his status as a solo superstar in 2006 on the strength of hit singles 'SexyBack,' 'What Goes Around....' and 'My Love.' Does The 20/20 Experience have the same strong base of hits to match its predecessor? Truth be told; not so much... but that doesn't mean it's a bad album. It's just not quite as good as what's come before. JT appears to have mellowed during his hiatus from the music industry. He obviously still has that 'it' factor, but where's the excitement and energy behind his performance? The 20/20 Experience leans in a pro-slow jam direction, which is really just a nice way of saying that after the first couple of tracks, you could be a bit bored. Unless you really like slow jams. 

'Pusher Love Girl' finds Justin in his element; all debonaire charm and high falsetto. Thematically the track is a slightly more subtle version of Ke$ha's 'Your Love Is My Drug,' but it's all class. Being as good as it is, it's hard to notice that it clocks in at over eight minutes. Well done. 'Suit and Tie' has done well as a single and of course it was, being the big comeback track. This doesn't mean it's a great song and for those of us not riding a 'welcome back JT' wave of euphoria, we can willingly admit the reality of its mediocrity. Jay-Z's rap is also sub-par, makes little sense and includes the line, "tell your father we go farther as a couple." Timbaland's sound comes through on third track, 'Don't Hold The Wall.' Those middle-eastern touches and tribal drums have been a staple of his repertoire since the new millennium. We encounter a small problem here though. Only three in and the track lengths have begun to drag the quality of the songs down. 'Don't Hold The Wall' runs for a whopping seven minutes and eleven seconds. That's about three and a half minutes too long for me to want to sit through the whole thing, should it ever come on the radio. 

Picking things up slightly in the tempo stakes is 'Tunnel Vision.' One of the album's highlights and a love song that will keep his legion of female fans satisfied. Not in a gross way or anything, but that's their business I guess. Slow jam, slow jam, rejected Gloria Estefan number and then we get to 'Mirrors.' Like the opening track, eight minutes just flies by. Radio friendly without being bubblegum pop, a #1 hit already in the UK... this is the JT I want to hear more of. These good times come to an abrupt finish with 'Blue Ocean Floor' closing us out. An attempt at a Frank Ocean-esque sound? Probably not, but its alt-ballad edge falls a little short of the mark and, unlike 'Mirrors,' it drags on for what feels like an eternity.         

Mention must be given to lead-producer, Timbaland who, much like Timberlake, is a pretty talented man. He's been one of the most innovative producers in the game for almost two decades, but this is not his finest hour. Where's the boundary pushing material he gave to Missy Elliott in the late 90s/early 2000s? Where's the landscape changing beats that Nelly Furtado and Timberlake utilised to become superpop icons? Not here. It's all just a little too 'been there, done that' and that's disappointing when we're talking about Timbaland. Not as disappointing as Shock Value II, but still disappointing. 

The 20/20 Experience is indeed a welcome return for Mr. Timberlake to the world of music. It's just not an amazing one. If the rumours be true and he's prepping a second 2013 release for November, hopefully he plans on bringing some of the energy from the past with him. 

Matt Bond gives The 20/20 Experience three Britney's out of five...

by The Rafaellas

If you google The Rafaellas, there's a whole bunch of words appear in front of you that reference classic rock, 12 bar blues, lots of words about melody and sometimes you see meaningful words about "commentary and the tendency for society to define everyday life with restrictive labels". All these wrods are very descriptive and lovely, but ultimately, when I pressed play on The Rafaellas new single 'Words'; at 0:12 my feet started tapping, at 1:12 my fingers started drumming on my leg, at 2:12 I noticed the guitars that were starting me moving, at 3:12 I wish I knew the lyrics already so I could sing along and at 4:12 I pressed play again. You can describe a song with all sorts of words, but sometimes it's best to just listen....and really like what you hear.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Words' four Beatles out of five..

by Natalia Kills
Album: Trouble (2013)


There are two problems with this. One? I still find it difficult to like anything associated with, including his label signing, Natalia Kills. Two. Even at its average best, it still gets stuck in your head days later. The second problem is also an advantage, if you're Natalia Kills, I suppose. For people who I know, me singing this repeatedley is definitely a problem.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Problem' two Ke$ha's out of five...


by Iggy Azalea
Album: The New Classic (TBA, 2013)

Remember when Ke$ha released 'Tik Tok' and everyone tried to say it was a sign of of the apocalypse and the death of the music industry as we know it? I do. I remember it very well, because I liked 'Tik Tok' in all of its glitter-vomit glory. People actually said to me that they didn't know how music could get worse.Well suck it, nerds... worse has arrived, her name is Iggy Azalea and her anthem is 'Work.' The song itself is bad enough; blondie complaining that no one knows where she been and what she did and what she's been through. Dude, you're from Mullumbimby. It's not exactly the Bronx. The video? It's like some horror movie that combines elements of the clips for M.I.A's 'Bad Girls,' Ke$ha's 'Tik Tok' and Lana Del Rey's 'Ride.' Those videos worked. This one... not so much. I actually feel dumber for having watched this.

Matt Bond gives the 'Work' video one Dannii Minogue out of five...

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Top 25 - 17 March, 2012

Say hello to The Velvets!

1. Asta - I Need Answers (NEW)
2. Little Boots - Motorway (NEW)
3. The Velvets - Shoot You Down (NEW)
4. Colour Bomb - Beautiful Parade
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Sacrilege

6. Wild Belle - Love Like This (NEW)

7. The Sun and The Sky - Already One (NEW)
8. The Trouble With Templeton - Like A Kid
9. Owl Eyes - Closure (NEW)
10. The Polyphonic Spree - You Don't Know Me


11. Natalia Kills - Problem (NEW)
12. Texas Tea - The Alphabet Song


13. Nosaj Thing - Eclipse/Blue (NEW)
14. Bastille - Pompeii (NEW)

15. Katy Steele - Fire Me Up (NEW)

16. The Raffaellas - Words (NEW)
17. Ngaiire ft. Nai Palm - Dirty Hercules
18. George Maple - Uphill (NEW) 
19. All The Colours - Second To None

20. Ghost Loft - Seconds (NEW)
21. Major Lazer ft. Ezra Koenig - Jessica (NEW)
22. Laura Marling - Where Can I Go (NEW)
23. Foals - Late Night (NEW)

24. Crystal Fighters - Separator
25. Forever's Gonna Start Tonight - Impossible (NEW)