Monday, 30 September 2013

New Music Monday #71

Pure Heroine
by Lorde (out now)

Is there any artist creating more buzz right now than Lorde? The Love Club EP has been lighting up charts throughout the year off the strength of 'Royals', the debut single that's currently sitting at #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The astronomical rise to prominence from sixteen year old New Zealander, Ella Yelich O'Connor has been beyond impressive and her debut LP, Pure Heroine, sets Lorde up nicely as the voice of her generation, as well as giving older listeners a nice reminder of what it was like living, breathing and thinking like a teenager. There's hopes and dreams for the future... love, hate and everything relationships hold in between. Some moments are like a conversation with your younger self, explaining the transition from innocence to seeing the world for what it really is. The most surprising thing about Pure Heroine though, given the mildly apathetic nature and sparse atmosphere of 'Royals', is how much heart the album has.

The album is caught between two worlds; young Ella, the teenager and Lorde, the singer on the verge of an international breakthrough. Ella hangs out with her friends, not doing a whole lot of anything like on '400 Lux' - "got a lot to not do, lemme kill it with you." Lorde isn't one to celebrate opulence and promises to not let her burgeoning celebrity status change her like on 'Still Sane' - "still like hotels and my new found fame, hey, promise I can stay good." Obviously both are one and the same young woman, but you can tell which "persona" is delivering swag lines about chasing paper and taking the crown (with the type of cred that Miley would kill for) and which one is content to hang out with their best friend, watching the world go by. Both are just as exciting to listen to.

There's no doubt that 'Royals' is the money single on Pure Heroine, but the album is far from a one-track wonder (Making Mirrors, anyone?). 'Tennis Court' and 'Team' have already impacted charts to the wonder of many. They don't sound like your typical chart smashes, which makes it all the more refreshing to hear them getting play on radio as well as online acclaim. Perhaps it's the attitude that Lorde pours into her vocal delivery. "I'm kind of over getting told to throw my hands up in the air" - yeah, suck it Flo Rida. Or maybe it's the lyrics that create vivid imagery and leave you wondering how nobody had thought to use them before. "Baby, be the class clown, I'll be the beauty queen in tears, it's a new art form, showing people how little we care (yeah)." Eeee. Sorry, that's just the high pitched squeal I make when I'm getting my swoon on.

One can only hope to soon hear the radiant 'Ribs' over the airwaves soon. Listening to it felt like a light was switched on in that part of the brain where my memories are stored, but I can't seem to get to them anymore. "You're the only friend I need, sharing beds like little kids, and laughing 'til our ribs get tough, but that will never be enough." Trust me, you'll feel like your a teenager again, back when you had no idea what the future would bring and you were simultaneously excited and scared about what could possibly come next. Every track on Pure Heroine has moments that will have you coming back for another listen. And another. Each has little words of wisdom provided by someone wise beyond her young years. 'White Teeth Teens' has a confessional twist that will put a smile on your face.

Arguably the finest moment on Pure Heroine is saved by Lorde for last; 'A World Alone.' A reflection on a generation raised by the internet and a revelation that nothing's forever. "I know we're not everlasting, we're a train wreck waiting to happen, one day the blood won't flow so gladly, one day we'll all get still." You could even call those lines a critical look at the expectations of a pop star today, particularly a female one. But that's just looking into things way too much. Pure Heroine truly is one of the finest albums of the year, marking the arrival of the most exciting alternative act in a very long time. The best thing is, Lorde's career is only just getting started. If this is how good she is now, what are we going to get when she's lived those amazing and awful and amazing transition years into proper adulthood? Will fame change young Ella Yelich O'Connor? Hers is an exciting future and if we get more music like this, I think we'll all be insanely happy.

"I'm little but I'm coming for the crown, I'm little but I'm coming for you." - 'Still Sane'

Matt Bond gives Pure Heroine four and a half Kimbra heads out of five...

The Bones Of What You Believe
by Chvrches (out now)

You know that excitement that you sometimes get when you get your hands on a brand new album you've been waiting forever to hear? You know that feeling of wanting to hear every song all at once? You know that weird thing you do where you hit play and then keep skipping through the tracks because you want to know them all immediately? You know how awesome it is once you've listened to the whole album you can't wait to hit play again at the end?

It was the absolute desperation created in the sounds of Iain Cook and Martin Doherty and the calmly frantic voice of Lauren Mayberry in the single 'Recover' that grabbed my attention earlier this year, so much so that I had the Recover EP on repeat in my car for weeks on end, every drive another Chvrches experience, soaking it all in with the windows up whenever I had to be anywhere. Those five tracks (including the remix of 'Recover' by one of our faves from last year - that fabulous little UK duo Curxes!) had me at the very first notes, so it was with much excitement I pressed the 'buy' button on my laptop screen last week as soon as I could get my ears wrapped around the debut album from Chvrches, The Bones Of What You Believe.

You know those little tingly goosebumps you get when you hear something that you know instinctively you're going to love? I already knew how much I adored the single 'The Mother We Share', with it's huge chorus and catchy synths, but I didn't know how incredible it would be as the opener to an album, setting up a mood from the first notes. The second track 'We Sink'  is a perfect indication of where this album is heading, Lauren's sickly sweet vocal perfectly contradictory to the dark lyrics she sings; "I'll be a thorn in your side until you die" which is a recurring theme throughout.

There are just so many highlights for me in this album and I've only got a small amount of words to describe them, so let me just pick my top five. 'By The Throat' is a charming little surprise about midway through, with all three members taking a turn at the vocals over atop an urgent beat, 'Science/Visions' has a slightly frenetic feel, it's a song that deserves darkness and a dance floor. The third track, 'Gun' is the most telling, it's scary in the most awesome way, the light 80s influenced pop synths evident through the whole album almost hiding the lyrics "who are you to tell me how to keep myself afloat?"; which is an almost perfect question from a band confident enough to record their debut album in their producer's house, away from the clutching hands of record companies and the excitable media and internet hoards. The closing track (not counting the four 'bonus' tracks) 'You Caught The Light' is almost hopeful, a beautiful, subdued track with a feel of reserved intensity, it's a perfect way to end an almost perfect debut album, but it's 'Tether' which truly grabbed my attention, made me stop and listen closely, the desperately simple beats combined with the maddening synths and Lauren's sweet vocal, "I feel incapable of seeing the end...", it's a standout track on a standout album, one that truly shows this trio's talent and a track I know I will love years from now.

You know sometime when you hear a song you know it's going to be included in your memories of a time, a year, a space you've existed in for a while? I heard those songs over and over again on this album and while they sing "all that's golden is never real" on 'By The Throat'; I don't really care, because this album is truly golden, a sparkling sense of hope in a genre that's already over-saturated and if this album isn't real than I'll just hang out here in a fantasy world for a while,  thanks. You know how the best music should let you do that? Well, Chvrches do and have created a beautiful oasis of escape in a beautiful debut album.

Jo Michelmore gives 'The Bones Of What You Believe' five Ellie Goulding heads out of five... 

All Day Venus 
by Adalita (out now)

"The best way forward, is to take the least offence, it'll ease the test, it'll ease the fact that no I can't win." Adalita Srsen pours her heart out on what is surely the finest Australian rock album in forever and a day, All Day Venus. It shows how far Adalita has come from the early days of Magic Dirt to become one of the most respected figures in Australian music, outclassing her contemporaries in all fields. To find someone to truly compare her sound to now the obvious answer is PJ Harvey, but All Day Venus is far from a carbon copy and more accurately places Adalita at the same level as Harvey - a brilliant solo rock artist.

The heavy, guitar-led 'Annihilate Baby' kicks off a series of expertly crafted tracks full of emotion and exposition. Srsen has always held her own as a storyteller, but on All Day Venus she's transcended to another level completely. 'He Wrote' vividly brings the end of a relationship to life to heartbreaking effect. "My lover he left a note for me, I left him one that I wrote by the sea, is it ink or blood, is it clear as mud, we'll be together til the end of the week." If Jane Austen was around today, I think Adalita would be her favourite rock star. The somewhat quiet moments like 'He Wrote' and the dreamy 'Rolled In Gold' are so good, but it's those howling guitars on 'Warm Like You' that you'll want to lose yourself in and the delicious solo on 'Too Far Gone' will have you screaming for more.

'Homesick' will have you falling in love with Oz rock all over again, from the opening cry to, "try a little tenderness, here in the wetland," and the Aussie twang that emerges in the vocal. Don't worry, it's not even a little bit bogan. Classy. It's all very classy. Adalita's worked wonders with All Day Venus. I'm still debating what's my favourite track. Each time I hear 'My Ego' I'm sure that's it, the one, but then I go back to 'Warm Like You' or 'He Wrote' or 'Blue Sky' and the internal debate begins again. I guess I'll just have to listen to it a couple more (hundred) times. What I can definitively say is that rock is well and truly alive in the words and music of Adalita. So let's all agree to stop with that outdated 'rock is dead' thing. Ok?

Matt Bond gives All Day Venus four Michael Hutchence heads out of five...

You Don't Get Me Twice
by Sleigh Bells
Album: Bitter Rivals (October 8, 2013)

Look, I'm probably a little bit over-excited about the upcoming release of Sleigh Bells third album, Bitter Rivals, but that's because it's only eight months since their last release. Eight months! Let me say it again, eight months! Do you have an understanding of how quick that is? If all of my favourite bands released albums this quickly I'm not sure I could have favourite bands, it would all become a mess of music and noise, which might not be a bad thing, but I digress. 'You Don't Get Me Twice' is the second song to be heard from the new album, and wow, like the first 'Bitter Rivals', what a song it is. Alexia Krauss and Derek Miller, they just get it, don't they? Light and dark, harsh shredding guitars and Alexis' delicious vocal, I can't help but love the lyric "it's a terrifying thing the American dream"; it's hard hitting and ends so abruptly, it's rock and solid and damn, I don't have to justify it, I just love it.

Jo Michelmore gives 'You Don't Get Me Twice'  four Dave Grohl heads out of five...


Straight Through The Sun
by Spiderbait

It's almost hard to believe it's been nine years since we heard from Spiderbait (soundtracks and game themes don't count, alright?) but they have returned just as Oz and just as rock as when they left us almost a decade ago and although there's a lot of music that has come and gone between now and then, when you're onto something, they say don't mess with it (or something like that) and Spiderbait have been smart and done just that - stuck with the sound they know. The clip for Straight Through The Sun is simple but effective. The obvious, a shot of the hot red sun is interspersed with black and white images of the three playing on a beach. Janet is her usual subdued self on bass, Damien Whitty as mean as ever with his guitar and Kram proves himself to still be one of the best rock drummers Australia has ever offered. Dare I suggest he could be the Dave Grohl of our country? I could say that but Dave Grohl is a bit of an honorary Australian at times, so I won't say it, I'll just suggest it. It's a solid clip for a solid song and a nice little welcome back for one of Australia's favourite rock bands. 

Jo Michemore gives 'Through The Sun' three Michael Hutchence heads out of five...

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Gig Review - Deep Sea Arcade and Hey Geronimo

Deep Sea Arcade
Live @ The Zoo, Brisbane (27/09/13)
Supported by Hey Geronimo and Morning Harvey
Words by Jo Michelmore
Pics by Cordell Sanders

I did something I loved and I did something I hated on Friday night. The thing I loved was watch some live music. The thing I hated was arrive late. The unfortunate thing is, sadly, I have a day job as well as a blog job which means sometimes, every now and then, I don't get to see some music I love or music I could love. Curse you day job!

Arriving late this night meant I didn't get to see a band I've been wanting to catch for a little while now, Brisbane's own Morning Harvey. From all conversations, they were great and I didn't get to see the greatness. How tragic. Let's say this then; if you get a chance to see Morning Harvey, send me a facebook message and let me know what they were like? Oh, their retro sounds and moody lyrics, they're a band I need to see...

What I did arrive in time to see was a band I knew I already liked, but didn't quite know how much. They took to the stage with a confidence of a band who had been doing this for years, opening with their latest single 'Lazer Gun Show' they started their set with a fistful of energy and didn't slow down the entire time they were on stage.

I couldn't quite decide which era I had been transported to, a little bit 60s surf rock, a little bit 80s fun rock, a little bit current indie pop, this is a band that have such a confidence about their skills and genuinely seem to love playing music with each other, at times I almost felt like I was interrupting a conversation between friends and I wanted to be in Hey Geronimo too! They seemed so happy to be on stage it was infectious, I found myself stupidly smiling at some moments, but I guess while I might have looked a little foolish you can't help but love a band that make you smile. 

Smashing through catchy song after catchy song, it's hard to pinpoint my fave. 'Carbon Affair' was a super cute pop song whose quick beats and mood changes translated so well live, but I'm going to have to say there is nothing more impressive than a band that pulls off the teeniest amount of choreography and the small bouncing bits in 'Co-Op Bookshop' made me totally happy. Hey Geronimo are a band I will definitely be seeing again, because if this is how much fun they have every gig, I need to be there. Like, actually, I need to be there. Fun. Love.

After Hey Geronimo's cute guitar pop set, Deep Sea Arcade take to the stage looking like a real rock band, all hair and skinny jeans and lead singer Nic McKenzie looks like every rock star should, a black frilled shirt, skinny black jeans and floppy hair, I knew when he sauntered up to his microphone stand I was in for a rock treat. I wasn't disappointed.

They power through a set that is all loud, all awesome and all rock. The new single 'Black Cat' is even better live than I expected, if it hadn't been for the mobile phones around me trying to capture some of the magic I feel like I might have been transported to a club sometime in the 70s. The bass line in 'The Devil Won't Take You' begins the track and holds on throughout the entire song, Nick Weaver is completely mesmerising on stage, I imagine he walks the streets like a stage, some people just seem to have that 'thing' that rock musicians do and he has a bucket load of it, which is awesome to watch.

The guitars on 'Steam' are awesome, like all of their songs, they take you to another era, a place far from now without sounding old, but the band really shine on 'Lonely In Your Arms', with a drum beat that keeps me nodding solidly throughout and 'Keep On Walkin' was a crowd pleaser, it's almost impossible not to love a band smiling and bouncing to a song like it's the first time they played it.

I'm going to admit something here, and say that I was a little distracted for a portion of the gig, as I watched guitarist; James Mason's iphone fall from an amp and land on the stage. For the next couple of songs I couldn't help but stare, with my hands in nervous fists and whimpering slightly every time his feet got close to it, a couple of times standing on the screen. Kudos to the apple company for making a phone that survived the large boots of a guitarist at a rock show...

Finishing by trashing the stage and throwing their mic stands and cords around is a classic way to end a rock show and Deep Sea Arcade don't disappoint. Maybe they didn't think things through completely when they had to return to the stage to play an encore and had to de-tangle themselves from the mess they created, but these are the things that make live music so fun and so intriguing to watch. This was rock n roll in every sense of those words and it was an absolute pleasure to watch Deep Sea Arcade and their own brand of rock. If they keep playing gigs like these, I expect next time I see them the venue will be a little bigger, the music even louder and the rock even rockier, if that's possible. The things that I loved on Friday night were fun and rock, and I hope I get to love them again very soon.

You can check out the rock for yourself on their Welcome Home and Black Cat Launch tour at

Friday, October 4 at The Metro, Sydney - tickets at Ticketek
Saturday, October 5 at Ed Castle, Adelaide - tickets at moshtix
Sunday, October 6 at Amplifier, Perth - tickets at oztix
Saturday October 12 at The Corner Hotel, Melbourne - tickets at ticketscout
December 6, 7 and 8 at Homebake Festival, Sydney - tickets at oztix

and you can check out some a gallery of pics over at facebook and also on the instagrams!


Top 25 - 29 September, 2013


1. Little May - Hide

2. Eliza Hull - Christopher

3. Lorde - Team

4. Lester The Fierce - Howl


5. Bonjah - Blue Tone Black Heart (NEW)

6. Pearl Jam - Sirens

7. Janelle Monae ft. Prince - Given Em What They Love

8. Seekae - Another (NEW)

9. Janelle Monae ft. Miguel - Primetime

10. Arcade Fire - Reflektor

11. Sleigh Bells - You Don't Get Me Twice (NEW)

12. Buchanan - Par Avion (NEW)

13. Chvrches - The Mother We Share (Re-Entry)

14. Missing Children - The Core

15. Roisin O - Hold On

16. Wolf Alice - Blush (NEW)

17. The Mistress - Vicodin

18. The Cairos - Obsession

19. Little Scout - March Over To Me

20. All The Colours - Shame

21. Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - Life Is Hard (NEW)

22. [Strangers] ft. Charli Rouse - No Longer Lost (NEW)

23. Arctic Monkeys - Stop The World I Wanna Get Off With You

24. Rosie Catalano - In The Dark

25. Gossling - Never Expire

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Gig Review - Ngaiire, Lester The Fierce and We Are The Brave

Live @ the Northcote Social Club, Melbourne (21/09/13)
Supported by Lester The Fierce and We Are The Brave
Words by Jo Michelmore
Pics by Cordell Sanders

Sometimes life works out perfectly and when it does it's best to not question and just enjoy it. This happened to me last week, when I just happened to be in Melbourne for the weekend and I got to do numerous things I'd never done before.

One of those things was go to the Northcote Social Club. As someone who doesn't live in Melbourne, it was a venue I'd heard of often but had never been to myself. What an interesting little spot. Finding the door was a challenge in itself but once inside, I had a choice: left or right. On my left? A giant screen showing football and hordes of people with their eyes glued to the screen (that city really is a bit crazy about the football, isn't it? It's not a myth, how intriguing!) and to my right a small brightly lit area with a pool table. I chose left, I don't know why, but I did. This resulted in repeating "excuse me" over and over, a couple of grunts from the punters and a lot of personal space issues. Left was clearly the wrong choice. This resulted in spinning around, returning to where I had come from and repeating "excuse me" over and over, a couple of grunts from the punters and a lot of personal space issues...

Once I finally found the room that was to host the magic, another thing I've never done before, I found myself a bench seat at the back of the room and decided to watch the gig from there. From there I'd get to let the fabulous wash over me and watch how the Melbourne punters do gigs. Were they there for the music or the bar? It wasn't a question I was going to be able to answer with the first band, We Are The Brave, who played to a room of let's be generous and say, twelve people(?), but the way they played was something I admire in a support band; they played like they meant it. The room could have been filled to capacity and I have no doubt they would have owned the stage in a similar fashion, full of energy and spark, creating a dream pop/rock sound that made me sit up and take notice.

Playing tracks from their debut EP Noctua, including their current single 'Sparrow' and the song that really grabbed my attention 'All Good Things Must Come To An End'; Jess Chalker, Nathan Cunial and friends told us of their love of 80s films, threw in an admirable cover of Stevie Nicks' 'Edge Of Seventeen' and Blondie's 'Heart Of Glass' and proved they were a band I'd like to hear more of (which I have after buying their EP after the gig!) I was so glad I made the effort to find this little room in the Northcote and be one of a few to witness their magic. By the end of the set I'd say the audience had doubled and the ones that bothered to make their way away from the football screens were the lucky ones.

After Matt introduced me to the awesome sounds of Lester The Fierce only a couple of weeks ago, I was excited to see the tiny girl with a style and presence bigger than the venue take the small stage. It only took twenty minutes or so for the band to set up and the room to fill, but the usual invisible line in front of the stage formed, creating that space that always forms at these types of gigs, until Anita Lester herself asked everyone to move forward and Lester The Fierce powered through a set of so many songs I loved, so many songs I didn't yet know intimately but definitely know I'm a fan of now. The haunting tones of 'Holland', the first song she wrote as Lester The Fierce were almost spooky, 'Volcano' which she explained as "a song about sex" was beyond what I'd heard on the EP, such a strong track, it made such an impression I crave to see it live again.

Although I expected to like Lester The Fierce, I had no idea just how much I would be taken by the incredible vocal of Anita and the charm of her motley gang of musicians that made up her band. I adored her chat about each song she sung; 'London' she explained was a song called London but written about New York and before what was probably my favourite song of the evening she spoke of being told if a song is too confronting to sing it's probably the best song. Whoever told her that was a wise person, because 'Oh Father' was astonishing, a piece of pop I absolutely adored. They finish with their current single 'Howl' and I sit back down on my bench seat knowing I've a new minor obsession, Lester The Fierce will be one of my favourite new musicians of this year.

Ngaiire is quite simply, delightful. I took my place on top of the bench seat I'd secured for the night because I knew this was a show I didn't want to miss a second of, as she took the stage in a combination of clothes that was bizarre and magnificent, a denim jacket, a hair piece constructed of what I think were plastic palm trees(?) and pom poms hanging from her boots, magnificent is probably the best word to describe her look and her sound, she was incredible, a person clearly born for the stage and born to perform.

She began with 'Rabbit Hole' and immediately her immense talent is evident, her voice so strong and her presence undeniable, her second song described as "as song I wrote when I was angry, it's called Die", 'Around' was smooth and an r'n'b and pop masterpiece and one of my favourite tracks from Lamentations; 'Ordinary' was turned from a beautiful ballad into a dance song, which could have been disastrous but she has so much talent it just made an already awesome song...more awesome.

My personal highlight was a track from her latest album, called 'ABCD', a song written for a friend about how he was unable to marry the girl he loved and the heart wrenching lyric was even more heart breaking live than recorded, it's so hard to describe how good that song was, but if you think of your favourite gig ever, it would sit somewhere near that. Ngaiire has a way of moving around the stage that makes it hard to see who is with her and while she had three musicians and some friends join her at times, it's obvious who was the star, her energy was infectious and her voice was exquisite, finishing with 'Dirty Hercules' she just made me want to see more and more, I could have listened to that velvety voice for hours on end.

I went to Melbourne to relax, hang out with friends and enjoy some beverages, but when the opportunity to see such talent came my way, I'm so very glad I took that opportunity and demanded it to take me to fun. Sometimes life hands you gifts like live music and fun and when it does, look it in the eye and say thanks, for you could discover your new favourite artists like I did with Ngaiire, Lester The Fierce and We Are The Brave.

If you're lucky, you can still see Ngaiire and Lester The Fierce as they make their way around the country...

Thursday, 3rd October - Multicultural Arts Centre, Brisbane (free gig!)
Friday, 4th October - Sol Bar, Sunshine Coast (tickets here!)
Saturday, 5th October - The Northern Hotel, Byron Bay (free gig!)
Saturday, 12th October - Jive, Adelaide, (tickets here!)

Head over to the facebook page for some delightful pics and instagram for the same reason!

The Candy Shop #22

'CRAPTASTICAL' Arrangements 
(Problems With My Musical Bowels)
by Nayt Housman

You know when you hear a song and at first you think wtf? But then you end up loving it? THAT is a craptastic song. Sometimes it will be one that simply lingers in your head all day even though it’s not something you’re really into, or one where the lyrics sound so naff you can’t imagine why they’d be used but then work their way into your daily vocabulary by word osmosis. They’re kind of like an infection of some kind, but an infection that leaves you better off than before…

Let the infecting begin.

Jack Jack Jackie 
by Joanne

Even though it’s not her song originally, Joanne surely made this one her own and it didn’t matter how bad her dancing was or really how bad the song was in general, it’s just one of the most catchy and infectious songs. The reason I’ll never escape it is randomly live brings a ‘Jack’ or ‘Jackie’ into my life and BAM, it’s in my head again… DAMN YOU JACK OR JACKIE!

by The Kinks  

I’m going to be lynched by some for this but rhyming Lola and cherry cola = craptastic. Sometimes I wonder how such “crackers the clown” lyrics can work so well in a song and really who am I to argue? LA LA LA LA LOLA!

Robert De Niro’s Waiting 
by Bananarama

Bananarama are possibly one of the most craptastic bands of the 80’s with so many kitsch songs infecting our brains and getting lodged somewhere in our memory stores, never to be erased. Why is Robert De Niro waiting? Should I actually listen to the lyrics in each verse to find out? Too much effort… I’ll just sing along with the chorus.

by Kate Bush

Kate Bush is truly a music pioneer for the bizarre and quirky. Her most intriguing and alluring talent would have to be, not her singing, but rather her dancing. She twitches and glides, somehow turning her body into some kind of hypnotic idol. People have worshipped her for many years and will continue to do so as long as her hypnotic hips continue to be seen.

Hooting And Howling 
by Wild Beasts

When I first heard this song I was addicted! Singing like Liza Minelli with lyrics like “courting him in fisty-cuffing waltz” and “any rival who goes for our girls, will be left in thumb sucking terror” I knew they didn’t care about the “cool” factor of rock and were really just making some of the best story telling music I think I’ve ever heard but with more kitsch and kink than I could have ever imagined. CRAPTASTIGASM!

by The Cranberries

(Yes I did feature this in our 90s count down already, don’t judge) Zombie heads! That’s a sure fire way of piquing the interest of a 12yo boy. I LOVE ZOMBIES! I never actually knew this song was an anti war song referring to the IRA bombing in Cheshire. I just thought they were singing about bombing and killing zombies. Either way it works for me, and I think I drove my family nuts repeatedly singing “ZOHHHMBEH ZOHHHHMBEH-EH-EEEEH-EH-EEEEH-EH OHHH-OH-OHHH-OH!”

It’s Oh So Quiet 
by Bjork

I really do miss “Pop Bjork”, such amazing unhinged music sensibilities… Does that make sense? No? Good. Bjork often makes no sense but I can’t help but adore her. When I first heard It’s Oh So Quiet I effing hated it. Like HATED it, until I developed an overwhelming crush on a guy (I can’t even remember who anymore) and then it all made so much sense. An addiction was developed, and my love for Craptastic music evolved and took over. Bjork I blame you! Bjork I love you and thank you.

Of course there are so many Craptastic songs out there that have infected peoples brains since the inception of popular music so this is just a small sampler of my addiction. What’s your most Craptastic song? Who’s your most Craptastic band? Do you even succumb to the craptasticness of craptasticism? Are you a Craptasticite?

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Where Is My Mind? - Notoriously Bad or Notoriously Good?

Miley: notoriously underdressed and boring.

 Notorious: Bad Or Good?
by Jo Michelmore

Look, here's the thing. It was a few weeks ago now and while it was kind of amusing at the time, the Miley twerking VMA thing? Boooring. Every now and then I turn on a commercial radio station in the car and there it is again, someone talking about Miley. So she stuck her tongue out? So she wore very few clothes, it's not like she's the first pop star to do that. Whatever. At the gig I went to last week, even Amanda Palmer spoke about her. It took some impressive(?) marketing to come up with the whole VMA routine and it's going to take some impressive marketing to shake the whole VMA routine. However, one of the good things about the whole Miley thing is that it's had people talking about pop music and that can't be a bad thing, right? It's also had people talking about other pop stars and the controversial things they've got up to and since we left on Notorious B.I.G. last week, I thought we should look at some other notorious moments in music this week, sometimes good, sometimes bad...

Britney, Madonna. Christina (and Missy Elliot was there too!)

This one is hilarious. You can't tell me no one saw this coming when it happened? It was so ridiculous and while Madonna is notorious for all sorts of things, this incident was perfect marketing at the time for her single at the time 'Hollywood'. You know what I find more controversial about this? No one seems to get upset Madonna kissed Christina as well and you know what else? Missy Elliot was there! Missy was there! No one ever remembers that bit. Notoriously: good.

Courtney Love vs Madonna

This was just bizarre, in the way Courtney Love was best. Madonna is in the middle of an interview, looking all pretty like Madonna does, then Courtney interrupted by throwing her compact at Madonna and things got weird. Old Courtney, notorious was her middle name for a few minutes there and I kind of loved it. This was just bizarre and awkward TV and it was ultimately really, really weird. If you have a spare seven minutes to waste, press play and watch the mess, go for it. Notoriously: good.

Kurt Cobain, just in general

Of course, you can't mention Courtney without mentioning Kurt and he created his fair share of notoriety in his day. Notoriously miserable and slightly painful to work with, I guess they're the things that make great rock stars. After all, I can't imagine a go-getting, energetic and happy rock star writing 'Come As You Are', right? Do you hear him at the start of this? "Can we get on with this, we're like an hour late". Well, you're probably an hour late 'cause you were busy being notoriously difficult, Kurt. R.I.P. Notoriously: good.

Ozzy Osborne and the ants

So, if you're going to talk about rock stars and their notoriety, then you've got to mention Ozzy, who is most famous for biting the head off an animal on stage (a bat? chicken? I can't remember, just go with me) but my favourite story is about him being so intoxicated he challenged another rock star (someone from Aerosmith? Motley Crue? I can't remember, just go with me) to an intoxication challenge, to see who would be 'most extreme' with their substance. Ozzy took things one step further than rock had probably ever been, snorting ants. 'Crazy Train'? Yes, he's on it and he ain't ever getting off. Notoriously: bad.


Speaking of weird stage antics and the crazy train, that brings me to L7, who were notorious for all sorts of horrible things, probably the most famous being the tampon throwing incident at Reading in 1992. I don't need to say much more about that, do I? The name of the incident should say it all. I'll just say it belonged to a member of the band and it had been used. Notorious for being gross? Yes, hello L7. Notoriously: bad.


Let's go from a notoriously bad girl group and finish on one that hasn't had time to be notorious yet. This is where is MY mind, so I get to do that. This is a girl band I'm liking more and more and hoping they end up doing something controversial that will make them notoriously: good. Whose to say? I just wanted an excuse to listen to this song again.

Gig Review - Amanda Palmer And The Grand Theft Orchestra

Amanda Palmer And The Grand Theft Orchestra
Live @ The Forum, Melbourne (20/09/2013)
 Supported by Die Roten Punkte, Jherek Bischoff and Sabrina D'Angelo
Words by Jo Michelmore
Pics by Cordell Sanders

Well, hello. Here we are again. We keep meeting this way, because we both love each other immensely, obviously, more than anything else and I hope this relationship lasts forever, I really do, but sometimes I wonder, how long can this go on? Our last meeting, it was intense. It was intense and dramatic and hilarious and exhausting and amazing. It was everything it should have been and more.


This time, we met in Melbourne at a venue I've never been to before. It was stunning and a little quaint, with it's tiered tables at the back, some chose the 'dinner and a show' style viewing, but you and I both know that's not how we like to do things. From the very front, right against the barrier, this night started with those two friends of yours, the Germans, Otto and Astrid. They called themselves Die Roten Punkte. I learnt to love them quickly. Hilarious and cute and talented as well, all in red and black, both of them with extreme makeup and hilarious songs about dinosaurs and bananas and second best friends and awkward situations. Astrid spoke of inspiration striking and Otto was as cute as could be, being bossed around by his 'sister' and those big rock moves were something to behold. As they left the stage I had a strange aspiration to own my very own bananen-hausen.

You disappeared momentarily when Sabrina D'Angelo appeared. Amanda Palmer called her a body poet, she moved around in the strangest of ways with only herself and two simple props, totally in silence. The audience laughed, loudly. It was a moment in a rock show that was like nothing I'd seen before and like nothing I'll probably see again, for a long time anyway.


You wandered back in with that nonchalant swagger you have when Jherek Bishcoff walked on stage and you made such an impact in such a short space of time, there you were, right beside me again, making me comfortable and begging me to listen closer. He only played a couple of songs but the songs, they were incredible. How can a ukulele sound so intense? The loops, the beats, the sounds, I guess you know the secrets, but they're always a beautiful surprise when you share them.

When The Grand Theft Orchestra, Chad Raines, Jherek Bishcoff and Thor Harris walked on stage, you certainly made yourself known, didn't you? Amanda stormed out, all rock and all business, in tight silver leggings and boots and a corset and 'YES' scrawled across her chest and there you were, obnoxious and arrogant and beautiful. She started with a song that felt like we were at a rock show, 'Do It With A Rockstar' and there was no doubt she had arrived and you too had arrived. When you bounced around and screamed at me "Do you wanna get drunk and stay the night? Do you wanna smoke till our throats are sore? Make out then talk and then make out some more?" how could I ever have said no? Louder than ever, screaming in everyone's faces, you are more and more attractive every minute, aren't you? When Amanda jumped into the audience with a small amount of hysteria and the opening notes of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' started, for a second or two I could have been in some kind of parallel universe, in 1992, Amanda the female version of Kurt and the crowd bouncing as well as any mosh pit did in the day. I loved it and I think you loved it a little more.


You stood right beside me as every song was performed; 'The Killing Type', 'Girl Anachronism', 'Missed Me' (with special guest Meow Meow adding her fabulousness to a song that needs no more fabulous, but somehow gets better with more of it) and 'Want It Back'. You ensured the singalong was loud in 'Map Of Tasmania', performed by just Amanda and her ukulele and you were there, screaming along with me to 'Lost'; one of my favourite tracks from Theatre Is Evil. You gave me a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder in the chorus when I felt all alone and when I felt all at one. When Thor's glockenspiel and cymbals crashed down on top of me in the front row, I looked for you, because you made the memory special, a real rock moment.


We loved the things that make a live gig a live gig, like the story before 'Gaga Palmer Madonna' and the sweet nerves Amanda admitted having while performing a song about Melbourne in front of a Melbourne audience in 'From St Kilda To Fitzroy'. I especially loved watching Amanda love you as she invited her various special guests on stage; Brendan Maclean making Katy Perry sound better than Katy Perry, Kate Miller Heidke performing 'Are You Fucking Kidding Me?' and Missy Higgins performing a completely new (unfinished) track 'I Can't Find You'. These are the things that make a gig special and will keep us talking days and months and years later.



As usual and as you know, there's one, one song I can't listen to without tears falling, every single time and yet again, a week after the last time, the absolute beauty of 'The Bed Song' bought me to tears, but what I didn’t expect was a little surprise you had planned, that cover of Bat For Lashes 'Laura' with Amanda's good friend, Brendan Maclean was stunning, almost as powerful as the original and as tear jerking as well. The goosebumps I get at these type of events are strong and scary, exactly what I love about these nights. 'Bottomfeeder' caused the same reaction and even though I'd seen the trick before, the flowing tail of Amanda's jacket covering the audience as she seemed to float above them through the second verse, I was still amazed and impressed, still wrapped up in all you are and still feeling like a tiny person in a giant world of happiness and heartbreak, both as equally as important as each other.


When the opening notes of 'Common People' were played, I knew that song for me would never be the same, after holding Amanda's hand, dancing and screaming with her at the Brisbane gig, a little regret came over me, I realised that this would soon be over, that something I had looked forward to for so very long would be done and what next? I looked at you, I looked you right in the eye and decided there and then to enjoy every second of what I was seeing, because these type of gigs only happen every now and then.

I don't think we could have smiled wider or giggled louder when Amanda invited her entire crew on stage, all the support acts and friends she adores to join her for her final songs, 'Sweet Dreams' and 'Leeds United', they were loud and they were fun and we danced like never before. How I love to share these moments with you.

It's artists like Amanda Palmer that hold that special place in my mind and hold that special place in my heart, it's artists like her and gigs like these that remind me, even though you are always there, in every part of my day and night, it's you music, that I love the most. It's you that is always there, guiding me through life. It's gigs like these where you shine and remind me to respect you, to hold you closely but not tightly and I don't question how long I'll love you, I think I'll adore you for my entire life. It's gigs like these where we both come alive. It's you music, it's you who I adore. Another gig date soon?

Check out some more pics from Amanda Palmer And The Grand Theft Orchestra's Melbourne gig over at facebook and instagram. Go on, you know you want to...

Monday, 23 September 2013

New Music Monday #70

The Electric Lady
by Janelle Monáe (out now)

There’s ambition and then there’s Janelle Monáe. Many artists develop alter-egos and other personalities before, during and after the recording process. David Bowie glammed it up as Ziggy Stardust, Eminem was Slim Shady (the real Slim Shady), Beyoncé unleashed Sasha Fierce and Mariah Carey emancipated Mimi for a while there. Forget that last one. Janelle Monáe has spent the past seven years building the world of the Alpha Platinum android 57821 aka Cindi Mayweather and that world just keeps on getting better and better. On the sophomore LP, The Electric Lady, we’re given a crash course in music history, as told through the eyes of a futuristic robot fugitive. It sounds crazy, it is crazy, but this is the kinda crazy you won’t ever want to stop.

Broken into Suites IV and V of Mayweather’s story, there’s cinematic overtures, talkback radio interludes and, most importantly, an amazing collection of tracks that will get you dancing and have you coming back for more and more. Monáe ushers in Suite IV with, “I am sharper than a razor, eyes made of lasers, bolder than the truth,” amongst the funkiest of funk guitar lines on ‘Givin Em What They Love’, a track that sees her completely kill it with a rock and roll vocal breakdown that’ll leave you swooning like you’ve never swooned before. The sexual ambiguity that’s become a staple of Monaé’s work is challenged by the arrival of Prince who’s never been one to shy away from bringing the ‘sex’ into his music. In what will become a running theme throughout the remainder of The Electric Lady, Monáe utilises her esteemed collaborator incredibly well. She eternally remains the focal point of the track, never overshadowed by the legend performing alongside her.

‘Q.U.E.E.N’ combines psychedelic soul, funk and the most memorable rap of 2013 as Monáe teams up with another icon and influence on her sound, Erykah Badu. When you think of a song that ‘has it all’, you should think of ‘Q.U.E.E.N’. An empowering anthem encased in a booty-shaking monster of a track, you won’t be able to resist it and why would you want to? Badu’s smouldering reminder that, “the booty don’t lie,” leads into the multi-tasking Monáe taking a stand, raising a call to arms and spitting out some defiant rhymes. “Yeah, keep singing and I’mma keep writing songs, I’m tired of Marvin asking me what’s going on, march to the streets ‘cause I’m willing and I’m able, categorise me, I defy every label.” Suite IV thunders on with smooth R&B tunes like ‘The Electric Lady’ with Solange and the slow-jam ‘Primetime’ that shows off the vocal powerhouse within Monáe in the ultimate love-off with flavour of the month, Miguel. The album liner notes (which are a lot of fun too) show that inspiration for ‘Dance Apocalyptic’ was drawn from ‘Michael Jackson’s glistening jheri curl in ‘Thriller’ and Bo Diddley’s tremolo guitar’ and this ‘keep on dancing ‘til the world ends’ hit doesn’t take long to win you over completely. Monáe’s ability to adapt to any vocal challenge is presented front and centre as Suite IV closes out with ‘Look Into My Eyes’. Think old Hollywood meets Egyptian glam meets the incomparable Janelle Monáe.

The Electric Lady changes directions in Suite V, with the second half of the album packing itself full of gorgeous R&B tunes, slowing down the tempo on ‘It’s Code’, ‘Victory’ and the unforgettable ‘Can’t Live Without Your Love’. “Take me, take my letters, take my photos, take the sun, you can take my heart, ‘cause I ain’t gonna need it on the run.” Cindi Mayweather, android fugitive and inspiration for these overwhelming fantasies that Monáe puts into song. I need to get me an alter-ego. A gospel-ish stunner, ‘Sally Ride’, is a celebration of sorts, dedicated to the first woman in space, Sally Kristen Ride. Suite V won’t likely receive the widespread adoration of Suite IV, but there’s so much to love about it. And there’s still a whole lot of energy thrown into tracks like ‘Ghetto Woman’ that feels like disco on a psychedelic trip through space, viewed through the lens of a Blaxploitation film director. It’s literally as amazing as that sentence suggests.

Arriving at the aptly titled ‘What an Experience’, flipping unexpectedly from soulful reservation to reggae beats, The Electric Lady rides off into the sunset and leaves you feeling very, very satisfied. Janelle Monáe confidently draws on a huge range of influences and reinvents them for a modern audience. It’s awesome. It’s pure musical awesomeness that promotes genuine talent and creativity instead of shock and awe. It’s positive and uniquely sexy in a way that doesn’t throw its message in your face (Born This Way) or skank it up (Miley Cyrus). The Electric Lady is a modern classic, epic beyond what we would consider to be normal human imagination. Which makes sense, because the stories come from a 25th-century robot named Cindi Mayweather. Everyone can enjoy Janelle Monáe; you, your mum and dad, your too cool hipster friends, your tiny, tiny children. This is an artist the world should be supporting, so jump on board and celebrate the ambition of Janelle Monáe. She’s like no other.            

Matt Bond gives The Electric Lady five Kanye heads out of five...

Days Are Gone
by Haim (27 September, 2013)

Winning the BBC 'Sound Of' poll isn't everything it's cracked up to be. In fact, with many of the acts, it sets them up with a huge heaping of hype and raised expectations that can be very hard to live up to. Just ask Mika and The Bravery. There are a select group of 'Sound Of' champions that do manage to live up to the title though *cough* Adele and 50 Cent *cough*. So what of the 'Sound Of 2013' winners, Haim? In five years time will we be lumping the sisters Haim (Este, Danielle and Alana) in team Mika or team Adele? Debut album, Days Are Gone, doesn't definitively answer that question, but it is admirable and at times spectacular.

"I hurl into the moment like I'm standing at the edge, that no one's gonna turn me 'round." Launching into 'Falling' in all its reinvented 80s pastiche glory, its only too easy to find yourself swept away by Danielle's vocal charm and the dreamy sibling harmonies. That distinct Californian flavour emerges in 'Forever', but its truly realised in album standout 'The Wire'. Like the best Cristine McVie-led Fleetwood Mac tunes there's killer hooks, guitar lines to die for and choruses to singalong to with friends at festivals, in the car, in your backyard, at the shops, at this year's Christmas parties. The 'Sound Of' 2013 indeed. 'The Wire' lets the three sisters shine with three-part harmonies, and offers Danielle the opportunity to let loose a bit more on the lead guitar.

The much loved 'Don't Save Me' goes a long way in saving Days Are Gone from falling into a lull. An indie-rock anthem that has won the band fans throughout the world and really got the excitement in the Haim brand developing when it was released last year. It's easy to like artists that challenge themselves by tackling different genres and channeling various periods of music's history while adding a modern touch, but some of the tracks do suffer from feeling a little... dated. I found this most on another 70s-ish track, 'Honey and I' and the R&B-tastic title track, 'Days Are Gone'. But that doesn't mean they can't pull off songs you'd think would be out of the norm for three gals (and a boy drummer, I haven't forgotten about you Dash Hutton) from Cali.

'My Song 5', with its make-you-wanna-dance beats, owes more to hip hop and rock than it does sunny-pop and right here you can understand why Jay-Z wanted Haim on the Roc Nation roster. Totally different, but just as fantastic, is the following 'Go Slow'. Verging on ballad territory, it's one of the "quieter" moments on Days Are Gone, which makes it all the more memorable. It's almost the opposite narrative to 'The Wire' with the tables turned and our singers are now watching someone they love walk away from them. "Go slow, so that I can hear everything you're saying. Now I know you're going, you just threw this away."

Another slight misstep emerges in 'Let Me Go', which floats dangerously into 'wanting to be Florence Welch' territory as the percussion becomes more prominent. By the time we've rolled around to the final track, 'Running If You Call My Name', it's like we've gone full circle and back to the 80s inspired sound of 'Falling'. Take the spirit of a Springsteen jam and take some inspiration from Jessie J's backing beats and you've got 'Running If You Call My Name', which is even better when you factor in those Haim-onies. Get it? Because it's like Haim combined with harmonies? You're just jealous because you wish you had come up with that one!  

There's a lot to love about Days Are Gone and if you've enjoyed the Haim singles released thus far, you should definitely pick this one up. For the most part it's a hugely enjoyable listen that you'll play over and over throughout the Australian summer. As for whether or not Haim will be a Mika or an Adele, I think it's important to remember that Adele's 19 was good, but couldn't match the greatness of the follow-up, 21. I think by the next time we hear Haim, they'll be ready to capture the entire world's attention.

Matt Bond gives Days Are Gone three and half Ellie Goulding heads out of five... 

Tales of Us
by Goldfrapp (out now)

Three years after their last full-length studio album Headfirst, the English duo Goldfrapp bring us a new masterpiece, Tales Of Us. Ditching the 80s dance inspired tunes of the last album, this time revisiting the cinematic and folk inspired sounds that formed the framework of Felt Mountain and Seventh Tree.
Tales Of Us as its title suggests tells a series of personal, heartbreakingly beautiful and sometimes challenging tales, of sexuality, death, love and identity; each song named after the subject of the story. 'Drew', the first taste from the album (released only as a teaser) was revealed as a stunningly provocative Lisa Gunning-directed video, which tells a story of love “once upon a time” seemingly between three lovers, frolicking in, and around the yards of a dreamy mansion.

Compared to other albums Tales Of Us is a slow burning ember relying less on “in your face” big beats, synth tricks and pop hooks, and more on the lyrics and stories held within the thick cinematic atmospheres created by the duo. Fans of Goldfrapp’s definitive disco/electro-pop might be lost on first listen and make the mistake of writing it off as background music, but given time, one can appreciate the sparse, moody orchestral arrangements on which Alison’s ethereal and haunting vocals float effortlessly and only ever dragged under with the heavy current driven by the emotional and poetically stirring lyrics.

As each subtle element is gradually dissected with every listen I find myself at a point (five listens in) where I’m lying on the floor in a darkened room sobbing as Alison lifts me to dizzying heights, intoxicates me with heady sounds then dumps me in an emotional heap back on the floor where I realize I’ve been so captivated that I’m dribbling on the carpet. Especially in songs that hit on a very personal level like 'Annabel', who’s story about a young boy who is challenged by gender ideals captivates, or dark chilling tales like 'Jo' that conjure all sorts of bloody imagery with mere suggestion.

The only moment which hints at a more electro feel is 'Thea' with it’s softly pulsing beat and manipulated vocals though it doesn’t stray from the tight concept of the album and no song on Tales Of Us feels like an after thought. 'Simone', a tale of regret, 'Stranger' tells of the fantasy of love with a stranger, 'Laurel' grasps hopelessly at relationship; each song strangely romantic regardless of theme, like remembering a life long gone with fondness in the tears. Tales Of Us is probably the most consistent album Goldfrapp have ever released feeling as though it’s all part of one heart wrenchingly beautiful movie. Tales Of Us is most definitely a five head affair and should be accompanied by a box of tissues and potentially a sedative of choice.

Nayt Housman gives Tales Of Us five Madonna heads out of five...

Turn The Night Up
by Enrique Iglesias
Album: TBA (????)

How does Enrique keep making music? How exactly does one turn the night up? Which female pop stars said no to this before it landed in Iglesias' lap? Is he still dating Anna Kournikova? What ever happened to her? There's just too many questions that will take time some time and effort to answer. One question is very, very easy to answer. Is 'Turn The Night Up' any good? No. No it is not.

Matt Bond gives 'Turn The Night Up' one head out of five... 


Loving Myself
by Hairy Soul Man 

I had a good feeling about Hairy Soul Man, even before I heard and saw his film clip for ‘Loving Myself’. I conjured up mental images of a bushy, bristled man, and about 7 seconds into the clip when I laid eyes on the bare chested Wolverine-esque Hairy Soul Man himself, my heart squeaked. That’s a good thing, in case you were wondering.

Hairy Soul Man opens with the lyric “Why should I love someone else when I’m so good at loving myself?”. That is definitely sentiment I can relate to! It may also explain my long term single status.
The film clip is all kinds of awesome, with an array of props appearing, helping to take us on the Hairy Soul Man journey. The clip begins with a sexy shower scene, complete with chest rubbing and a near naked moment when the “towel” is held just a little too low. Some might say it was just the right amount of low. Others (me) might say not low enough. Hairy Soul Man explains, “I use my roommates’ towel, ‘cause I don’t know where mine is, probably next to my bedside, covered in my… things”.

After towelling off and getting dressed, the journey continues to the tram. “Of course I bought my ticket, because I would never fair evade”, Hairy Soul Man tells us. Kudos has to be given to the props and actors in this scene for really giving the illusion of a tram ride. The tram however, proves to be little too exciting, thanks in part to a pair of tight jeans. Was he aroused? Was it the vibrations on the tram? He doesn’t know. But he does make the call to alight the tram to find a private place to continue the self-love. Towards the end of the clip the focus is on the Hairy Soul Man, sans props, however the actors do chime in for some backing vocals. My favourite of those being “he’s talkin’ ‘bout his genitals” after Hairy Soul Man questions why he should love someone else, because he knows all his good bits.

We’re left with a philosophical Hairy Soul Man who tells us “You got to learn how to love yourself before you try and love anybody else. How are you going to know the positions that’ll make you scream if you don’t go travelling in the self-love submarine? Oh, relationships, they rise and fall, but your hands will always be there to pick up the ball”.

This is the self-love anthem of 2013. Maybe even ever.

Katie Langley gives the video for 'Loving Myself' five Nick Cave heads out of five...