Monday, 11 March 2013

New Music Monday #43

by Birds of Tokyo (2013)

Australia has been waiting for what feels like forever for a band to fill the void left in the wake of Silverchair and Powderfinger's early retirements. That's not to say there haven't been good Aussie bands the past couple of years, but Tame Impala works in that whole psychedelic rock genre that is never going to capture the attention of an entire nation and The Temper Trap are just too indie (tindie) for their own good. There hasn't been that band that the entire country can go, "yeah they're alright." It would seem that band is now Birds of Tokyo. Fourth album, March Fires, captures that sound you're going to want to sing along to in a stadium, down at the pub or at a barbecue. This is Australian rock and you know what? It's pretty darn good. You've got two impressive anthems in the singles 'This Fire' and 'Lanterns;' songs that cover all the bases and will be played on the "alternative" Triple J, the "hip" Nova stations and your boganish AuStereo ones. Deservedly so. These songs are catchy slices of rock perfection that will take a long time to tire of, no matter how much they're smashed down your throat. Or ears... whatever. 

'Liquid Arms' kicks us off, building in intensity gradually throughout and creating a 'big time' feel. Ian Kenny's final cry of "please don't wake up" pretty much establishes him as the premiere frontman in Aus rock. 'This Fire' makes that a fact. Not every track can be a winner though and here we arrive at 'When The Night Falls Quiet.' While not bad, it's not exactly memorable when stacked against many of the other numbers. "Coz we're all in this riot, we riot as one." Urgh. No. We most certainly do not. Angsty teens will eat it up though. And some will eat their feelings. What? Giving 'Lanterns' its own instrumental and named introduction in 'Motionless' is slightly confusing, but it's a solid intro to the album's standout track. "On we march with a midnight song, we will light our way with our lanterns on." Much better writing. That whole 'rioting as one' thing is forgiven. Follow-up, 'The Others' is a dreamy indie-rock track that keeps the March Fires momentum going. It also keeps this 'fighting against something, but we don't quite know what exactly' theme at the forefront. It worked for Muse and it's working well enough for Birds of Tokyo. 

'Boy' is another standout track, mostly because it manages to deviate slightly from the standard and enter ballad-proper territory. There's no attempt to create an epic, anthemic tune and it works all the better for it. An intimate conversation with Kinney's inner-child, 'Boy' walks that line between heartbreak and joy so well, you'll find yourself coming back for more. "Even on cold days, my door's always open, where grey is enough light, to colour my world." Did I say 'Lanterns' was the best song on the album? I was wrong. It's 'Boy.' Final song 'Hounds' brings us to a well-written, calm and quiet conclusion. A surprise, as I was sure they'd attempt to go out with a final bang, but 'Hounds' is actually the perfect way to send us on our merry way (or back to the start). March Fires isn't a perfect album by any stretch of the imagination, but there's far too much to like that outweighs any minor negatives. That's probably the best way to describe the album... it's extremely likeable, much like Birds of Tokyo themselves. Which is exactly why they're well on the road to becoming the Australian band with a special place in the entire nation's heart. I'm expecting the ARIA's to solidify this notion come awards season. 

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


by Little Boots
Album: Nocturnes (May, 2013)

Victoria Hesketh, known better by the moniker Little Boots, combines touches of old Hollywood romance with classy electronica on 'Motorway.' You've got the atmospheric strings opening the track alongside distant beats, before fading away to introduce the starlet of the piece; Little Boots herself. From there it's all neon lights fading in the distance as two lovers leave what they knew behind for a life on the open road. "Meet me on the motorway, together we can make our great escape." On the surface the story might sound familiar, but LB's purring voice makes it all seem brand new. "We can drive away, meet me on the motorway, it's just me and you." Romantic-electro pop. I like the sound of that and I'm loving the sound of new Little Boots. Nocturnes might just blow us all away. 

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

Body Party
by Ciara
Album: One Woman Army (2013)

"My body is your party baby, nobody's invited but you baby." Ciara then mentions going down a couple of thousand times and that's pretty much the whole song. We get it... you're sexier than all of us. You're the definition of a lady in the streets, but a freak in the bed. "You can't keep your hands off me, touch me right there - rock my body." Yeah, yeah... everyone wishes their girlfriend was hot like you. It kinda makes you look like a bitch to rub that fact in everyone's face, love. The song? Rubbish. Ciara is mighty fine though, right? 

Matt Bond gives 'Body Party' two Ke$ha's out of five...


The Alphabet Song
by Texas Tea
Album: Sad Summer Hits (2012)

Oh my, Texas Tea, this is too much! Could you possibly get any more awesome? I didn't know what to expect for the clip to what is probably my favourite song on their fabulous album, Sad Summer Hits; but I do know I wasn't expecting this. The beautiful Kate Jacobson and her baby goat/rabbit/sheep (what is that?) sitting on her lap, the handsome Ben Dougherty, sitting shoeless, right across the creek; all the while being watched by a menagerie of puppet animals, it's like Jim Henson gone indie country. The spiteful lyrics are balanced with the absolute charm of the zoo and that little turtle tapping his foot with Ben (foot, I assume? Do turtles have feet or is that tortoises? This always confuses me) while swinging his head; this is so cute I almost want to spew (in a really, really good way). F is still my favourite letter and that owl is my favourite TT puppet creature. So cute, so evil, just like the song. Love!

Jo Michelmore gives the video for 'The Alphabet Song' five Johnny Cash's out of five...

by MKO
EP: Lily Lotus Orchid Sunflower (2013)


There are many words to describe a clip like this and although it's an incredibly overused word, I'm going to use it anyway, because it's true; this clip is beautiful. So simple, so delightful, it's exactly what this song needed, the stunning Hannah looking every bit the deity, floating in a pool of green and flowers and music, mathcing the dreamy vocals of Snarly perfectly. The stop start camera motion is used precisely, the small movements placed exactly at the beats they need to be, this is so fabulous; like I've listened to the song over and over, now I want to watch the clip over and over. It's gorgeous, exquisite, let me just say it again, it's beautiful.

Jo Michelmore gives the video for 'Snarly' five Madonna's out of five...

by Bat For Lashes
Album: The Haunted Man (2012)


It's like a team of really creative people brainstormed and then decided to use every single idea they came up with. Puppets, paper, cotton balls, face painting, animation...what is going on here? This is one of my favourite songs from The Haunted Man, but this is nowhere near my favourite clip of the week. In fact, this is far from it. Stop it Natasha, the more you try to be odd the less convincing it is. 

Jo Michelmore gives the video for 'Lillies' one Germaine Greer out of five...

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