Monday, 2 September 2013

New Music Monday #67

24 Hours
by Barefoot Alley (out now)

Let’s face it, Toyota Corolla’s aren’t known for being edgy. Rarely do I find myself cruising around in my car feeling like a badass. That was until I discovered Barefoot Alley. Hayden and Sophie are a brother/sister duo hailing from Brisbane with influences that range from Black Sabbath to Led Zeppelin. Listening to their debut album 24 Hours I found myself accelerating a little bit faster and drumming along on the steering wheel.

Opening track ’24 Hours’ immediately passed the nod test. The song came about last thing during the duo’s 24 hour album recording at The White Room. Hayden sings “we’re burning through this day, we’ve only got so much time”. It’s really high energy, setting the tone for the album. I can’t help but sing along to the “24! 24! 24!” chant.

The energy continues through to ‘Wrong Guy’ and ‘Harlea’, the latter with more of a bluesy sound. Both songs with lyrics that scream broken heart, giving me the urge to drink whiskey. These are my favourite songs of the album.

‘By Her Side’ is a different but pleasantly surprising departure from the bands rock sound. This piano ballad proves that Hayden and Sophie are more than just a one trick pony.

‘Loose Cannon’ picks up the tempo and keeps me there during covers of The Black Keys ‘She’s Long Gone’ and Black Sabbath’s ‘Warning’.

‘Little River’ is the perfect song to the end the album. It’s a soulful track with beautiful vocals set to piano.

Overall Barefoot Alley have that real surfy stoner sound with hints of Fu Manchu, and Wolfmother minus the pretention. But they also proved they have diversity with their slower piano ballads.

If you see woman windmilling in a Toyota Corolla you know what she’s listening to.

Katie Langley gives '24 Hours' four Michael Hutchence heads out of five...

Falling Up The Stairs EP
By Lime Cordiale (6th September 2013)

We’re very lucky in Australia to have so many incredible indie acts popping up all over the country. This year, our new Aussie favourites have been responsible for leading the way in original and unique music. From Ngaiire to Snakadaktal, Emma Louise and beyond, Australian acts have been hitting awesome new music out of the metaphorical park I just made up. Stepping up to the plate (to continue the unnecessary baseball analogy) with the release of their new EP, Falling Up The Stairs, is Sydney indie-pop maestros, Lime Cordiale. We were big fans of the first single, ‘Bullshit Aside’, that set the five-piece apart with a brassy surf-pop sound, excellent sibling harmonies from Oli and Louis Leimbach and a fun singalong chorus (because everyone loves warranted swearing in pop music). As an introduction for the uninitiated, it works remarkably well in showing off the band’s ability to craft catchy tunes that make you want to dance.

Falling Up The Stairs is the embodiment of a ‘fun in the sun’ mentality. One listen of ‘Sleeping At Your Door’ and you’ll want to be at the beach, beverages in both hands… comical Hawaiian shirt on because you’re a big fat party animal. James Jennings provides the beat that’ll have you dancing on this delicious 60s inspired number. The music is definitely fun. There’s trombone in pop music and that’s always going to be fun. But the lyrics revolve around a pretty rough relationship breakdown which gives the music a layer of depth you’re not necessarily expecting. “I’m not going to wait, I’m not sleeping at your door, not going to wait, and just don’t fuck me around at all.” The title track, ‘Falling Up The Stairs’, is the EP’s quiet moment that lets Leimbach, Louis show off his trumpet skills, bringing with it a relaxed jazzy vibe. Don’t be put off by the word ‘jazzy’. The trumpet is worked into a bluesy pop-rock track. Don’t be put off by the word ‘bluesy’. The relaxed vibe continues into the final song, ‘Everything Else’, which lifts the mood by the time the chorus hits with another fine, catchy hook to close out Falling Up The Stairs.

I’ve yet to mention my personal favourite song of choice, ‘Famous’. It’s written from the perspective of a dude worried about his lady friend not looking at him the same when she gets famous. “You’ve got a role, on a hit TV show, old friends track you down, say I’m still around.” When I first heard that line I decided to try and figure out who the lucky actress in question was. She appears in a hit TV show in Australia. Through my powers of deduction I worked out that the Leimbach’s could have only written ‘Famous’ about Asher Keddie from Offspring, Noni Hazelhurst from A Place To Call Home or Rachael Leahcar from The Voice. The key was in the lyrics; “hit TV show.” We don’t have so many of them. And then I listened to the lyrics and got the real story about said dude worried about his lady friend getting famous and forgetting about his broke ass and that whole side theory was moot. But the song and the lyrics are great.  

Lime Cordiale have set out to create exciting and original music and for all intents and purposes, they’ve done one hell of a job with Falling Up The Stairs. It’s arrived just in time for our hotter seasons and is destined to become a staple for long drives, beach parties and, well, anywhere music is required to coincide with people having fun in a public or private place. The Leimbach brothers, Tim Fitz (guitar, keys), Brendan Champion (trombone, cooler last name than yours) and James Jennings (drums) are bringing the fun back into a pretty serious music landscape and they’re doing it well. Catch these guys live when you can.

Matt Bond gives 'Falling Up The Stairs' four Michael Hutchence heads out of five...

by Eminem
Album: Marshall Mathers LP 2 (5th November 2013)

It's been fourteen years since I first heard those infamous and incredibly catchy lines "Hi, my name is (what) my name is (who) my name is Slim Shady" and who would have thought then that in 2013 I'd be a) writing on a music blog now and b) writing about Eminem on said music blog. Wasn't he just that crazy joker guy with the hilarious lyrics and quirky clips and controversial opinions, read: excellent marketing? I loved him then and I loved the first Marshall Mathers LP, released thirteen years ago, but I loved it in kind of a mostly funny way and although I haven't been a huge fan of his work since then, I know he's a talented guy, but I don't think I would ever had expected to feel the way I do about this track, the first from Eminem's next album; Marshall Mathers LP 2, to be released in November. 

While I don't like to sound like everyone else, it can't be helped, this is old school hip hop. It's straight out of the late 80's and the early 90s, with the sample of heavy guitar riff  which is probably thanks to legendary producer Rick Rubin and the straight forward rap as well as the call and answer lyrics which are probably thanks to the other legendary producer, Dr Dre. What they've done is create a heavy, catchy, familiar sounding party song. It's a comparison that's been made a bazillion times already, but it's true, this is very Beastie Boys and well, let's just face it, that's not a bad thing, especially in my world. It's going to make a bazillion sales, ok, possibly an exaggeration, but it is going to do very well because it's accessible Eminem, it's typically a bit silly but it's awesome and regardless of what the rest of the album sounds like, this one's going to be one of my favourites for the year.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Berzerk' four Missy Elliot heads out of five...


Mind Your Manners
by Pearl Jam
Album: Lightning Bolt (14th October 2013)

The latest clip from Pearl Jam starts with the words "Good manners can't be put on for special occasions only" which is interesting, because I could say a similar thing for music clips. Good clips should not be saved for special occasions only. If that was the case, then the clip for 'Mind Your Manners', Pearl Jam's long awaited first single release in four years, from their forthcoming album Lightning Bolt, would be amazing.

Come join me for a little history lesson in Pearl Jam. For a brief period of time in the mid-nineties, when Pearl Jam were at the height of their grunge era fame, they refused to make music clips. They took creative control and decided that they wanted listeners to hear their songs and have their own visual interpretations of them. It was a controversial move, as everyone knows what a massive selling tool music clips are. (It essentially resulted in music television channels making their own clips and playing them instead, thus doing...not much at all.) Whether Pearl Jam meant it to be or not is irrelevant, what it turned out to be was a very good marketing campaign, they were the band that were so into their music and so cool they didn't need clips. Fast forward a couple of years and they started making their own clips again, although I don't really remember any of them being that phenomenal.

Fast forward to now and let's add 'Mind Your Manners' to that same pile. Maybe it's another incredible marketing thing, make average clips so no one remembers them and create their own memories about the music. While I can see the cleverness of this clip, containing all sorts of imagery which is currently circling the internet before the release of their album, it's just kind of blah as a clip. I like the silhouetted band shots, but I want more of them and really, they're not enough to hold an entire clip together.

Having said all of that, let me say this. I love Pearl Jam. I absolutely adore them. Anyone who read our top 10 groups of the 90s post would know that. That doesn't mean I have to worship every single thing they do. It just means I have a healthy respect for all the things one of my favourite bands does and I give them a healthy amount of ratings heads for an average clip. I know the album will blow my mind, so let's just put this one aside and wait (patiently, counting the days) for that.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Mind Your Manners' three Jack White heads out of five...

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