Sunday, 31 May 2015

Album Review - Verxes

by Curxes (available now on bandcamp)

There is a poster that has been hanging in my house for the last couple of years. It features a picture of a cat, reading a book and the word ‘Curxes’. Almost every person that walks into my place glances at it; some question it, others admire it and more often than not, it’s a talking point. Generally, by the time the talking is done, I’ve convinced visitors, my fellow bloggers and anyone else who will listen that they’re missing out if they don’t invest a little energy in a little band from the UK. And so, welcome to Verxes.

So I have waited patiently for the debut album from the trio of Roberta Fidora, Macaulay Hopwood (and latest member Camille Phillips) for a little over three years now and within minutes of hitting play, I know the wait was worth it. Dark, moody, melancholy and delightful, it's timeless in a way that is perfect; paying subtle tribute to sounds from the past, while looking nowhere but the future and it is everything I have already come to love but so very much more. While we get to revisit the tracks we've already come to know and love, with ‘Haunted Gold’ as fresh and aggressive now as it was when it introduced me to Curxes a little over three years ago, ‘Spectre’ as gloomy as ever and that build of percussion and synths in ‘Further Still’ creating the same delightfully eerie goose bumps it always has, it's the tracks I have waited for, the songs I haven’t heard until now which are the ones that make a collection of songs an exceptional album and make that album an experience.

The organised chaos of ‘Ghosts’ are a pleasant, super-fast surprise; Roberta’s vocals channelling so many strong female leads of the past, yet remaining her very own while a tough percussion pushes through a minute and a half in what seems like half of that. The combination of pop electro and punk sensibilities of ‘Noise Pollution’ and ‘Animal’ are addictive and gloriously exhausting and probably my favourite; ‘Run From The Funeral’ builds layer upon layer of percussion taking me from despair to sullen delight, creating a track that is both pretty and petrifying, everything that Curxes have proven themselves to be thus far in their short but so impressive life.

The second last track; ‘Pure To Last’ leaves me desperately wanting more, it’s sparse ballad strums and yet strangely optimistic feels leave a beautifully bittersweet taste in my mouth, this album is an experience I am so glad I have waited for, and it’s the talent of Curxes that make albums like this those kind of experiences you want to invest in again and again and again. Verxes is everything I wanted from a band with an interest in taxidermy, paper maiche, budgies and lots of things vintage and glitter, because while I didn’t quite know what to expect, I knew to expect something fabulous, something addictive, something almost timeless and something like nothing else I have in my collection. That poster on my wall won’t be leaving anytime soon, because now that Verxes is at the top of my albums of 2015 list, I expect I will be talking about this extraordinary little band to my visitors, my fellow bloggers and anyone else who will listen for a long time yet.

Jo Michelmore gives Verxes five budgie heads out of five...

Top 25 - 31 May, 2015

Our Man In Berlin, Montaigne, Holly Who + Flume!

1. Our Man In Berlin - Spirit Down (NEW)

2. Holly Who - Gimme Gimme (NEW)

3. Jeremy Neale ft. Phoebe Imhoff - Hold On Together

4. Montaigne - A Cinematic Plea For An End (NEW)

5. ALTA - Moves

6. Eves The Behavior - Electrical

7. Hopium - Right Now

8. Stonefox - Arrow

9. Gin Wigmore - Written In The Water (NEW)

10. North Arm - Careless

11. Amanda Palmer - The Thing About Things (NEW)

12. Dolo Jones ft. Passerine - Can't Give You Up

13. Ayla - Waiting

14. TIO - Day Fort (NEW)

15. Melwonderland - GAMES (NEW)

16. Florence + The Machine - Delilah

17. ATLAS ft. James Chatburn - Spinning Back (NEW)

18. Grace Pitts - Haunted

19. P'ARIS - Heaven + High Water (NEW)

20. Mio ft. Erik Lindestad - Back To You

21. Colour Bomb - My Resting Place (NEW)

22. The Belligerents - Voice

23. Flume ft. Andrew Wyatt - Some Minds (NEW)

24. Lanks - Settle Down

25. Machine Age - Chivalry

Thursday, 28 May 2015

A to Z of the 80s - Q is for Questions

And Answers
by Jo Michelmore

The greatest question about the 80s isn't whatever happened to Toni Basil, because no one really cares and I'm sure Mickey wasn't actually that fine, but what was the greatest question posed in the 80s? A few years perspective, and I think I can answer a few, but there's one particular one I wish I could have answered in person.

In 84, Tina Turner was asking about love. If she was referring to whatever happened to her career, I'd say it was a lack of management that failed her. After all, didn't a new Mad Max film just get released? Second rate DJ remix of one of her biggest hits? Hello?

In the same year, The Clash weren't sure if they were here or there, and to be honest, I'm still not sure either.

In the late 80s The Pixies asked 'Where Is My Mind?' and I'd say judging by the expanding waistline of  Black Francis and/or his alter ego Frank Black in the 90s, it was probably somewhere in the kitchen. Or at an all you can eat dine in Pizza Hut. 

The Eurythmics asked a question in 83 which wasn't answered but asked again in 87.... 

But don't worry Ms Lennox, we all still know you asked it better than Madonna. The most important question of all the 80s wasn't even a question, it was more just a sound, but it was a sound that deserved a response and if I had a time machine, I'd hop in it and jump straight back to 13 July 1985 and answer that question myself, along with 72,000 other people, exactly like they did; "aaaaaah oh...."

Oh Freddie, you and Queen were fabulous. And here's one more question; why did you have to go? RIP.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Song Review - Close My Eyes

Close My Eyes
by I Know Leopard

Things I know: I know I Know Leopard and I really, really like them.

Things I don't know: Why doesn’t everyone in the world know who I Know Leopard are?

Things I know: I know I really, really like 'Close Your Eyes'; their latest release, the second single from what will be their second EP, which I'm really hoping will be released really, really soon.

Things I don't know: Why doesn’t everyone in the world know who I Know Leopard are?

Things I know: I know I really, really liked their debut EP; Illumina and I really, really like their sweet, sometimes pop, sometimes retro, sometimes indie and always awesome sounds.

Things I don't know: Why doesn’t everyone in the world know who I Know Leopard are?

Things I know: I know that 'Close Your Eyes' is delicious. There's a bass line smoothly and subtly driving away and some strings, surprisingly delicious on this track, which is drenched in a marvellously 70s sound and feel.

Things I don't know: Why doesn’t everyone in the world know who I Know Leopard are?

Things I know: I know that if everyone in the world knew who I Know Leopard are, then everyone would really, really like them. Here's hoping that happens really, really soon.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Close My Eyes' three and a half Supremes heads out of five...

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Top 25 - 24 May, 2015

ALTA + Stonefox!

1. Jeremy Neale ft. Phoebe Imhoff - Hold On Together 
(#1 for 4 weeks!)

2. Eves The Behavior - Electrical (NEW)

3. Hopium - Right Now

4. Ayla - Waiting

5. Florence + The Machine - Delilah (NEW)

6. Machine Age - Chivalry

7. The Belligerents - Voices

8. Mio ft. Erik Lindestad - Back To You

9. ALTA - Moves (NEW)

10. Stonefox - Arrow (NEW)

11. Lanks - Settle Down

12. Grace Pitts - Haunted

13. Tempura Nights - Mr Tone

14. North Arm - Careless (NEW)

15. Lime Cordiale - Feel Alright (NEW)

16. Metric - The Shade

17. Dolo Jones ft. Passerine - Can't Give You Up (NEW)

18. Curxes - What You Want

19. Winterbourne - Heart and Mind (NEW)

20. Harts - Streets (NEW)

21. Avec Sans - Resonate

22. Foreign/National - The Hedonist

23. JP Klipspringer - Watch The River

24. Violet - Ivory

25. Gang of Youths - Radioface

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Eurovision. I Don't Get It Either.

Ukraine. I still don't get it.

But I Love It
by Jo Michelmore

It comes to this time of the year (my favourite time of the year) and the comments start rolling in, the messages start increasing and the texts are never ending. Eurovision time. For me, better than Christmas. Better than Easter, better than Hanukkah, better than Chinese New Year, better than St Patricks Day, Mardi Gras and Oktoberfest. Better than the Queens Birthday long weekend. Combine all of them and it's better than that. Tis that time of year for my favourite thing, ever, ever.

Eurovision. You go to Sweden to see one once and everyone thinks you're an expert. I'm not complaining about that, I probably do know a little more than your average punter. And this year, even Australia gets to compete.

Yes, Australia, which isn't part of Europe. At all. I know. I don't get it as much as you don't. But the truth is, Eurovision? I didn't ever get it.

Germany sent gold sequined cowboys and disco girls sounding like S Club 7 in 2000. I didn't get that.

Finland sent a guy named Paradise in 2011. His song started with the words "Peter is smart, he knows each European country by heart". I didn't really get that. 

Spain sent a guy in 2008 who played 'Old McDonald' on a plastic toy guitar, I think (hope) he wore a wig and said "chiki chiki" a lot. I didn't get that, not even a little bit. 

Greece sent a bunch of guys dressed in futuristic medieval suits singing about passwords in 2002. I don't know their passwords and I certainly didn't get that.

Lithuania sent six businessmen to tell everyone they were the winners in 2006. They came sixth. I really didn't get that.

And Romania sent a operatic dubstep vampire to compete in 2013. That's the year I went and I still don't get it. But the thing about Eurovision is, that's all exactly what I love about it. Bad dancing, terrible costumes, sequins sequins sequins, awful lyrics, confusing pop and even more confusing rock, political voting, women with beards (don't tell me those Russian grannies didn't have facial hair issues) and glitter. Oh so much glitter. I don't get any of it and I don't want to because I ADORE it. In my dream world, it would be Eurovision day every single day of the year. Or I'd get to go every year. Or if nothing else, Guy Sebastian wins this year, so Australia can send someone as equally as awesome as Jedward next year. I never thought I'd say it, but pleeeeeeeeease win Eurovision Australia!

I know, I know. The hair. The shoulder pads. The bouncing. I don't get it either. But I LOVE it.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

10 and 1 - I Was Young... Once

by Matt Bond

I have always loved music charts. The ARIA charts, the Billboard charts, Rick Dees and the weekly top for-teee, the official UK charts and so on and so forth. Back in the day (aka the 90s) I would watch the ARIA top 50 countdown on rage every weekend to see what the most popular songs were. Would Silverchair be on it? Would Pearl Jam's 'Last Kiss' still be number 1 and would I not be able to listen to it again because it didn't have a video? Would I be subjected to, "RAGE, rage, RAGE-RAGE-RAGE, raaaa-AAAAGE!" once more? The last one was obviously going to be a yes. 

Then a little thing called the internet came along and I could wait five minutes for a page to load that would just give me a list of the top songs! It was glorious. Time would pass, the internet would get a whole lot faster (if it ever slows down again there will be chaos) and I would keep on checking those charts each and every week. Until I didn't. It wasn't a conscious decision and I couldn't even tell you when I stopped. Life must have gotten in the way, but I'm not sure if I can say that when I don't have much of a life. I could blame Netflix, but that's only relatively new to my life. Work? Adult-ing? Attempted Adult-ing? All I know is, I had a little look at the ARIA charts this week and didn't know the majority of the songs. Out of the Top 10 songs in Australia, I knew three. 

Not knowing what the kids are listening to, combined with my new love for Sportscraft and Country Road clothing, it suddenly occured to me that I am old now and society will soon be done with me. But what if I love these shiny pop tunes that are charting it up today? Could there still be time for me? Lots of young people wear Country Road, right? I decided to give the ARIA Top 10 a shot and if I could love the songs, maybe I could still be hip. Or groovy. Because hip and groovy are what the kids are saying, yes? I'm jive to the lingo on the streets. Yolo? So, in keeping with the 10 and 1 tradition, I'll be taking a look at the ARIA Top 10 and giving a little shout out to one song that should be up there in the charts. Will I remain young and relevant? Or is Facebook right and is my taste in music that of a 50 year old, like that stupid quiz told me? Let's find out...

THE 10:

#1. See You Again
by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth

Not only do I know this one, but I like it! A lot of that has to do with the fact that I've seen Fast and Furious 7 and I have a heart. Who would have thought? R.I.P Paul Walker :,( 

#2. You Don't Own Me
by Grace ft. G-Eazy

That stop-start music in the rap segments gets annoying, but the track is largely inoffensive. I guess. Grace has a nice enough voice. Still, I'd rather listen to Lesley Gore's original... which is from the 60s. 

#3. Shut Up and Dance
by Walk The Moon

Yes! There should always be an 80s inspired jam in the charts that makes you want to dance. This is fun. It knows it's fun. I'm a fan. 

#4. Marvin Gaye
by Charlie Puth ft. Meghan Trainor

No. A million times no. This is a disgrace. I don't want to talk about this, I've already reviewed it. Can they not? Australia, can you not?

#5. Lean On
by Major Lazer and DJ Snake ft. MO (with that strike through the 'O'... Blogger is hard.)

Definitely the best of the bunch so far. Major Lazer has done quite well for himself. Is this played on triple J? I'm assuming it is. It seems like a track those hip young thangs that listen to the j's would be all over like a rash. We'll add this to the like list.

#6. Hey Mama
by David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj and Afrojack

"Yes I do the cooking, yes I do the cleaning, plus I keep the na-na real sweet for your eating, yes you be the boss and yes I be respecting, whatever you tell me 'cause it's game you be spitting." Get. Fucked. 

#7. Wasn't Expecting That
by Jamie Lawson

I wasn't expecting that I'd like this as much as I did, but it's actually a really sweet song. But seriously, Ed Sheeran called and he wants his whole schtick back. 

#8. Let It Go
by James Bay

I imagine I would like this a lot more if one of my favourite TV couples broke up and this was playing in the background. What? Watching my stories gets me through the day. 

#9. Want To Want Me
by Jason Derulo

Jason Derulo is a talented performer, but the songs he chooses to record are getting worse and worse. He's slacking off, relying on shots of his scantily clad body to sell the music. What a slut. He can't even be bothered to say his full name at the start of the song. All we get is a whispered, "Derulo." Where the, "JAAAAASON DERULO!" at? Generic. Does not want to hear again. 

#10. Do You Remember
by Jarryd James

Well, this is... boring. I'm bored. Aren't you bored? Why aren't you bored? 

So, out of those ten I'd say I will willingly listen to two of them again. This is not a good sign for me. Ok, let's be honest. What I really think is, it's not a good sign for the music charts. This is pretty rubbish and I can happily say I'm not missing out on anything by not checking out the charts. The good thing about getting older is you realise music doesn't have to be popular and topping charts to be amazing. More often than not, it's the songs that aren't anywhere near the charts you'll end up loving forever. That's pretty presumptuous of me to say, but if you're reading this you're probably not listening to the Shazam countdown on Nova this evening. Good for you! Songs like our one for tonight? They'll always be number one to me. 


Hold On Together
by Jeremy Neale ft. Phoebe Imhoff

Monday, 18 May 2015

Song Review - Electrical

by Eves The Behavior
EP: TBA, (???, 2015)

I'm nothing more than skin and bone,
With wires that make me tremble.

Hannah Karydas may have gone through a couple of moniker changes over the past couple of years, but that hasn't stopped the ever increasing awesomeness of her music. There's even been studies into it...

As you can see in the highly legit graph above (that definitely wasn't made in Paint), research showed that Karydas has shown a lot of growth musically as she worked out the artist she wanted to be. Under the guise of Eves The Behavior, we're witnessing a performer truly coming into her own and finding her voice. If you refer to the highly legit graph above once more, you'll see the current definition of her music would be 'Fucking amazing'.

You'd think a song as brilliant as 'TV' would be hard to top, but that's exactly what's happened with 'Electrical'. With your new favourite chorus and a perfectly dreamy vibe that exists even with those ominous synths backing up the fears in the lyrics, you're not going to be able to get enough of this one. I don't know how Eves The Behavior is able to make this whole music making thing seem so effortlessly simple, but she's done it again. Describing the track, she's said...

"I feel like it's commenting on the friction between the organic / analogue and the synthetic / digital and the quest to find a meaningful connection between the two. The song is triumphant but it's also bittersweet. I stumbled out of a sort of numbness into both beauty and gloom. And the simple fact of feeling something made me woozy and victorious at the same time." - Eves The Behavior

I think we can all agree after listening to 'Electrical' that we just feel victorious. We're the big winners today. Balancing all the essential ingredients of the very best in pop while not being afraid to embrace an experimental nature is going to take the artist formerly known as Hannah Karydas very far. We'll definitely be keeping an eye out for her upcoming debut EP.

Matt Bond gives 'Electrical' five Bjork heads out of five...

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Top 25 - 17 May, 2015

Tempura Nights + The Belligerents!

1. Jeremy Neale ft. Phoebe Imhoff - Hold On Together 
(#1 for 3 weeks!)

2. Ayla - Waiting

3. Machine Age - Chivalry

4. Hopium - Right Now

5. Mio ft. Erik Lindestad - Back To You

6. Curxes - What You Want

7. Avec Sans - Resonate

8. The Belligerents - Voices (NEW)

9. Grace Pitts - Haunted

10. Foreign/National - The Hedonist

11. Lanks - Settle Down (NEW)

12. Tempura Nights - Mr Tone (NEW)

13. Violet - Ivory

14. Sharon Van Etten - Just Like Blood

15. Ta-ku ft. JMSN and Sango - Love Again (NEW)

16. JP Klipspringer - Watch The River

17. Last Dinosaurs - Evie (NEW)

18. Gang of Youths - Radioface

19. Zella Day - High

20. Gin Wigmore - New Rush

21. Metric - The Shade (NEW)

22. Florence + The Machine - Ship To Wreck

23. Patrick James - California Song

24. Fox + Fowl - Eliza

25. Ainslie Wills - Hawaii

Thursday, 14 May 2015

A to Z of the 80s - P is for Party

But Not Like Prince
by Jo Michelmore

The 80s are responsible for a lot of things that are probably best forgotten, some of which I've already written about in this alphabet of mine. But there's one thing from the 80s that I blame all of my disappointments on. If only I hadn't heard one song, things would have turned out so differently. I'd have happily gone along my merry way, never thinking I was missing out on something, wondering why everyone else was having such a good time while I was like a lost puppy, waiting around for things to happen. I'm sure if it hadn't been for that one goddamn 80s song about the 90s then...

...S Club 7 would have been S Club 8. I'd obviously be the '8th'. Duh.

Instead of just seeing the Vengaboys the second time around, I'd be driving the Vengabus...

And I might have liked this (but probably not)...

Alas, here I am, still waiting for the greatest night of my life, a party filled with fireworks and funny coloured cocktails and dancing and midgets wandering around with bowls of cocaine on their heads like it's 1999. Or something. Maybe? I was there in 99. Even it wasn't that great. If I hadn't heard that song about 1999 in the 80s then I would have enjoyed all the parties I went to, not thinking there was a better one out there somewhere. In fact, I'd probably have done more of this...

and less of this...

The 80s have a lot to answer for. Damn you Prince. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Album Review - The Bones of Us

by Eliza Hull (out now)

It's a game
It's a win, it's a lose
It's a game of chance
It's a game
Back and forth, up and down
It's a game of chance.

It's no secret we've had a lot of love for the music of Melbourne's Eliza Hull over the past couple of years. That it only took one listen to love her debut album The Bones of Us was no surprise. With her previous releases, including the stunning EP The Ghosts You Never Catch, Hull has proven herself an artist that will confidently deliver the musical goods each and every time. Along with longtime collaborator and producer, Hayden Calnin and with Dylan Hill providing the beats, she creates the most perfectly dreamy atmospheres that can build you up just as easily as they can break you down. While a track like 'Walk Away' is built on sparse beats that feel cold and isolating, Hull's voice adds an appreciated warmth that's missing from much of today's electronic pop. The heartfelt performances and the stories of each track will keep bringing you back for more and more of The Bones of Us.

Positioning 'Caught' alongside 'Christoper' creates a beautiful 1-2 punch. We've spent a lot of time with these tracks over the past year (or two, in the case of the latter track) and they've "aged" incredibly well. I guess they're like fine wine. That gets better and better with age, right? At least that's what I've heard... I'm sort of on a boxed wine budget. 'Caught' and 'Christopher' both hold stories about having to get away, to run, but they're approached in two very different ways. 'Caught' is the most anthemic number on The Bones of Us. If I was at an Eliza Hull show, I'd have the urge to get a lighter out and wave it in the air when 'Caught' was played. On the other hand, 'Christopher' would probably have me pretending I had something in my eye, so no one could see the manly tears I wouldn't be crying. It's a complex track. A chorus that promises our narrator will be there for the song's title character. Verses that show our narrator is really on her way out the door and it's likely she won't be looking back. It's rare that I get to describe a performance as hauntingly beautiful these days, because I promised I'd only use that for Eliza Hull a long time ago when I first heard 'Christopher'.

Eliza Hull has always had a way with words and that songwriting game is strong throughout The Bones of Us. The lines at the top are from 'Skeleton' and completely grab your attention as soon as you hear them. I don't want to spoil all of the goodness for you, but here's some of my favourite lyrics from the album.

"And you know I wouldn't change it, all of our lies and the dark is all that we need." - 'Satellite'

"I've been wrestling in my sleep, I touch you in my dreams, now I don't want to wake up, do you... dream of me too?" - 'Dreamer'

"Oh, life with your head above water... sink with me." - 'Head Above Water'

I'd sink with Eliza Hull anytime. 'Head Above Water' closes out The Bones of Us. You might think a track asking you to 'sink' would be a downer, but you'd be wrong. Way wrong. 'Head Above Water' builds to a stunning finish, ending the album on the highest of highs. Don't think of it as sinking, think of it as taking a plunge that pays off spectacularly. It's a risk, but taking the risk can lead to the greatest of rewards. Which you could say about the music of Eliza Hull. Take the plunge and give this a chance. You'll love the payoff.

Matt Bond gives The Bones of Us four Roisin Murphy heads out of five...         

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Top 25 - 10 May, 2015

Ayla, Zella Day + Foreign/National!

1. Jeremy Neale ft. Phoebe Imhoff - Hold On Together

2. Ayla - Waiting (NEW)

3. Hopium - Right Now (NEW)

4. Curxes - What You Want

5. Avec Sans - Resonate

6. Machine Age - Chivalry (NEW)

7. Violet - Ivory

8. Mio ft. Erik Lindestad - Back To You (NEW)


9. Florence + The Machine - Ship To Wreck

10. Gin Wigmore - New Rush

11. Ainslie Wills - Hawaii

12. Foreign/National - The Hedonist (NEW)

13. Gang of Youths - Radioface

14. JP Klipspringer - Watch The River (NEW)

15. Patrick James - California Song

16. Bright Spark - Head In The Sand

17. Grace Pitts - Haunted (NEW)

18. Fox + Fowl - Eliza (NEW)

19. Munroe - Summer (NEW)

20. Clare Maguire - Dream Big

21. Sharon Van Etten - Just Like Blood (NEW)

22. Sia - Big Girls Cry

23. Zella Day - High (NEW)

24. MS MR - Painted

25. The Colour Code - It's Up To Me

Friday, 8 May 2015

Song Review - Eliza

by Fox + Fowl

A little over a year ago, I went to some night markets in my hometown to indulge in some dumplings, a curly deep fried potato, hopefully some ice cream and a couple of churros, with chocolate sauce please. As usual, I couldn't be bothered much for lining up for food, so I skipped all the savouries, went straight to the churros and sat myself down under the wintery sky in front of a band that were playing on a stage with a shipping container as a backdrop. That band was Fox + Fowl, who I found out were a bunch of boys that had met in Canberrra and relocated to Brisbane, so I get to call them from my hometown. I really liked what I heard that night so when I saw they had released a new single recently, I was (almost) as excited as I am at the thought of churros and chocolate sauce. 'Eliza' is the type of song to put Fox + Fowl on much bigger stages than the local late night food markets; this is all indie pop goodness, slowing building from "her name was Eliza Jones" to a delicious layering of beats and keys, with some sweet guitars thrown in over the top and you just can't help but bounce along to this kind of pop goodness. Here's hoping an album is on it's way soon. We don't have food ratings on our blog, but if we did I'd give 'Eliza' a whole bunch of churros.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Eliza' three and a half Beatles heads out of five...

Song Review - Right Now

by Hopium

‘Cause baby I’m a dick,
But you’re no saint either.

One of Melbourne’s finest/sneakiest electronic duos returns this week with their third track, ‘Right Now’, continuing the hot streak they started last year with ‘Cut’ and the Hottest 100 smash ‘Dreamers’. Each new release shows a different side of… well, whoever they are. They’re mysterious don’t cha know? Whereas ‘Cut’ spectacularly redefined obsessive love and ‘Dreamers’ lived up to the nature of its title despite lyrics that made many of us question our general slackness, ‘Right Now’ sees Hopium with a bit more fire in their belly, so to speak. They’re kinda pissed about a doomed relationship, questioning everything that’s going on… maybe wanting to fight for it to work. Our leading male figure can totally see it working right now (right now… he just doesn’t know how!), despite running through quite a substantial list of why it’s probably not going to.

The vocal delivery in ‘Cut’ was almost devoid of emotion, which created a beautiful contrast with the lyrics. ‘Dreamers’ held that dreamy quality, and we’ll stop talking about how oh so dreamy it was, I promise. We get a much more passionate vocal display in ‘Right Now’, almost 80s pop level of emotions. Which somehow manages to fit in perfectly with the modern electronic beats, co-produced with M-Phazes who is building up a stellar body of work, and lyrics that read like the dude equivalent of those you’d get from late 90s/early 2000s (justifiably) angry R 'n B babes. An example… “Tell your friends I held you back, I fucked around behind your back, tell everyone I lied to you, when they’re the ones you’re lying to.” Don’t you want to just scream along and then throw in a, “THAT’S MY JAM!” at the end for good measure? Shhh. Just say yes. There’s a whole lot to love, once again, from these up and coming tastemakers.

Matt Bond gives ‘Right Now’ four Presets heads out of five...

Thursday, 7 May 2015

A to Z of the 80s - O is for What I Wish Meghan Trainor Was...

...One Hit Wonder
by Jo Michelmore

If Meghan Trainor is good for one thing, it's the fact that she has inspired the O in the A to Z of the 80s. After all, while having to endure hearing her whinny about Marvin Gaye in a shop this week, I couldn't help but think to myself, why couldn't she have just gone away after that bass song? As annoying as it was, it was a perfect candidate for a one hit wonder. The ultimate ear worm, it got stuck in your head for days, you knew all the words and may have had a hum the bazillionth time you heard it. But then she had to release another and another and alas, we're still hearing Ms Trainor on commercial radio and commercials now and will be for months to come. Has the music industry gotten too savvy? Has social media killed the one hit wonder? Where have they gone? They're all stuck in the 80s it seems...

"You know I like my girls a little bit older, I just want to use your love tonight"...clearly The Outfield were banned from music after that lyric.

 "Operate that body, operate on me"...I do not understand how a band with a trio of keyboardists, those costumes and novelty over sized phone didn't have another hit. This is a travesty. 

"I will have you, like a butterfly, a wild butterfly, I will collect you and capture you"...Animotion went on to have a successful career in insect taxidermy. Maybe. I kind of hope so. 

"Out in the street, you don't survive by being weak"...I'm just hoping either Ollie or Jerry were actually Bear Gyrlls.Or Eminem.

"You didn't know that rock n roll burned, so you bought a candle and you lived and your learned" did Great White not have another hit? Like a power ballad? HOW? HOW I ASK YOU?

"Chik, chika chika"...and if this doesn't get stuck in your head for a couple of hours, perhaps you should subject yourself to some Meghan Trainor. You're welcome.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Song Review - Watch The River

Watch The River
by JP Klipspringer
EP: ? (due 2015)

Any day that involves JP Klipspringer is automatically a good day, but when it’s a new song from our little ol’ friend JP, then that is an extra special day. Like his 2014 EP Drip Dry, which was full of all sorts of variations of pop goodness, this one is an indie-ish, pop-ish, head-nodding-ish, Americana-ish, wanna go for a walk in the sunshine-ish little song called ‘Watch The River’. I don’t really know what river it’s about or if it’s about a river at all, but what I do know is that it’s awfully catchy, it sneaks up on you quietly and before you know it you’re singing along with all of those harmonious vocals and next thing you know you’re picturing yourself somewhere outdoors wildly waving your hair about in the wind. Probably next to a river. Maybe that’s just me. Ah well, it’s a nice thought and a good day when JP Klipspringer has me thinking it.
Jo Michelmore gives JP ‘Watch The River’ three and a half Sarah Blasko heads out of five…

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Last 5 Years, #10 - 1

Texas Tea, Thelma Plum, Tkay Maidza + Kimbra!

Well, we're now five years and one month old as we arrive at the end of our special 5th birthday countdown, celebrating our favourite songs from when we started It's My Kind of Scene to now. Hopefully it's been as fun of a walk down recent memory lane for you as it's been for us! We'll be returning to our regularly scheduled programming after this, so expect to have some album, song and video reviews coming your way, as well as the always amazing K-Tizzle Sizzle, Jo's A-Z of the 80s and our weekly Top 25. Thanks for sticking around and, as always, enjoy!

by M.I.A

Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well. 

Is there a more impressive moment in any music video than the shot of M.I.A casually filing her nails as she sits in the window of that speeding car on two wheels? The whole video is full of impressive shots, but that one takes the cake. But it's better than just your standard cake, you know? It takes the ice-cream cake. Enough about the video though, we're here for the song and what makes it one of our  favourites of the past five years. We got a tease of what to expect from 'Bad Girls' when M.I.A dropped her explosive Vicki Leekx mixtape in 2010, with the full brilliance of the track following in early 2012. It's undeniably cool, oh so very sexy and packs a hook as catchy as any of your fave radio jams. I'm not really sure what 'swagga' means, but I'm pretty sure 'Bad Girls' has it. M.I.A definitely has it, whatever it is. After a rough couple of years in the media and getting scolded for using the middle finger during Madonna's Super Bowl performance of 'Give Me All Your Love' (a gesture hardly as offensive as the song itself), 'Bad Girls' was what we'd call M.I.A's return to form if she had ever lost her incredible form as an artist in the first place. Still her best track released thus far and it's miles ahead of the lol drugs-ish-ness of 'Paper Planes'. (Matt Bond)

by Jack White

I want love to walk right up and bite me
Grab a hold of me and fight me
Leave me dying on the ground. 

Jack. White. I love him so much his name requires those dramatic pauses. For me, one of those artists that has found themselves a special little place in my musical heart and soundtrack to life; his ever greasy hair, his ever snarly glare, his love of things from the past and the wicked way he has with those guitars of his will probably always keep me captivated. While I find it difficult to know which material to love most, this track, from his 2013 debut solo release Blunderbuss, will probably always be my favourite. Whether it be because it was the first taste of Mr White as a solo artist, whether it is those subtle keys holding everything together, whether it be those heart wrenchingly fabulous vocals of Ruby Amanfo or Jack crooning with the best of them about wanting love to “walk right up and bite me”; whatever it is, there’s a something in this song that I can’t deny. Like all the songs I love best, it only takes a couple of notes and my heart skips a beat and it only takes the mention of his name for me to utter those words that have become synonymous with this blog and Jack White…oh Jack, oh sigh. (Jo Michelmore)

#8. HOME
by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Laugh until we think we'll die, barefoot on a summer night
Never could be sweeter than with you. 

"Alabama, Arkansas, I do love my ma and pa, not the way that I do love you." How can you not love the folky goodness that is 'Home'? Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos (now a former member of the group) trade lines back and forth that probably would have been super cheesy if anyone else was delivering them. But Ebert and Castrinos have a genuine sweetness in their delivery that makes you think, maybe these crazy kids could really give that crazy little thing called love a real shot. They pull off whistling, an extended lovey-dovey-talky segment and a whole lot of vocal twang in such a stylish fashion that you don't even think twice about how so many bizarre elements can come together to create one of your most loved songs. It's simply music designed to make you happy and bring some joy into your life. And there's nothing wrong with that. (Matt Bond)

by Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra

And I lay there wondering, what is the matter?
Is this a matter of worse or of better? 

There is one thing for sure that I can tell you and that is that Matt and my mutual love of Amanda Palmer has been well documented over the past five years, both of us have not been afraid to wear our love of AFP on our sleeves, both here on this blog and in real life. There’s a reason we wear that love on both those sleeves and for me, ‘The Bed Song’ is probably the best example of why. Because there are artists that write great songs, there are artists that make me smile, there are artists that make me dance, there are artists that make me cry, there are artists that make me laugh, there are artists that make me think, there are artists that challenge me and there are artists that move me. When I wrote about ‘The Bed Song’ in our Top 112 songs of 2012, I said I could count the amount of times I had listened to it, because it was a song that affected me so much, I couldn’t listen to it too many times. I can say the same thing now, because it’s a song that is more than notes and words, it’s more than Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra, it’s more than just a part of the soundtrack to my life. It is the same now as it was then; a song that changed my life and like I said in 2012, three years later, the sentiment is exactly the same…” What I can’t tell you is how much I love this song, or what it means to me, because sometimes, words are just not enough. What I can tell you is that on days when all is too much, when there is nothing else; songs like this are the reason that music means the world to me.” (Jo Michelmore)

by Gotye and Kimbra

But I don't wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say. 

Ok, so I really love this song. I have to say that first before you think I don't, because now I'm going to tell you that I really don't want to write anything about 'Somebody That I Used To Know'. I'm still feeling a bit 'Somebody That I Used To Know'-ed out and it's been four years since it was released. It was EVERYWHERE for two years. Every single radio station. Every shopping centre. Every music channel. Topping charts around the world. Coming in as our #1 song of 2011. Topping the Hottest 100. Winning Grammys. And there was a very good reason for all of its success, which is 'Somebody That I Used To Know' is one of the best songs ever written and performed. I, like most of the world, was obsessed with it, listening to it over and over again. I still really love this song. But that doesn't mean that if it comes on the radio today I don't have to change the station. We just need some time apart so that when I come back to it a couple of years down the line I can greet it with open arms as that song that I used to know and love. We couldn't leave it off this list though. (Matt Bond)

#5. 1000 SUNDOWNS
by Emma Louise

And on these summer nights when the weather's right
I miss him by my side
Oh, by my side. 

We all have days to live, we all have moments of our own and moments of each others and we all have our own tales to tell. We all have our own heartbreaks, our own futures and our own pasts. What we don’t all have is the ability to turn those tales into song, turn those moments into words and turn those days into notes. We don’t all have the ability to make strangers cry in darkened rooms, in cars, in headphones with just our voice and our words and we don’t all have the ability to take a persons breath away with our thoughts. We all have our own journeys and we all have our own scars but we don’t all have a way of sharing those with everyone. We may not all be lucky enough to have 1000 sundowns, but we are all lucky enough to dream of them. We may not all be lucky enough to know just how talented Emma Louise is, but when we hear songs like '1000 Sundowns', those of us who do know of her talent are really, really thankful. (Jo Michelmore)

#4. U-HUH
by Tkay Maidza

So don't be near if you be low on the paper
You can save it for later
'Cause we don't tolerate broke behaviour. 

Easily the most fun one can have in three and a half minutes, Tkay Maidza's 'U-Huh' marked a turning point for Australian rap music. As the Adelaide dynamo lays down rapid-fire lines and chitty-bang-bangs her way to the chorus, you realise we've got a world class talent on our hands creating accessible rap music that can compete with the best of them. Released last year, 'U-Huh' would dominate our weekly Top 25 on its way to securing #1 on our 2014 songs of the year countdown. It's been almost twelve months since we first heard one of our absolute favourite tracks and seeing Tkay Maidza's rise in the industry since then has been most excellent. She's released a slew of boss jams, built a stellar reputation as a live performer, courted overseas attention and so much more. And she's done it all in her own Tkay style that we all love. While we were more than happy to stomp our feet like brontosauruses upon her debut, it was the epic chitty-bang-bang-ness of 'U-Huh' that secured Tkay Maidza a permanent position in our music lovin' hearts. (Matt Bond)

by Kimbra

When everyday's like talking in your sleep!
Love is like a silhouette in dreams! 

I’m not sure anyone knew what they were listening to when they first heard the sweet, sweet sounds of Kimbra’s voice and those completely danceable beats of ‘Cameo Lover’. I’m not sure anyone knew where those beats were going to lead and I’m not sure even Kimbra herself knew where she would be only a few years later. I’m not sure I can listen to it without being transported straight back to each Kimbra gig I’ve seen, each time I’ve danced and each time I’ve sung along to a song that is as so damn sweet and catchy today as it was four years ago. I’m not sure anyone really understood the talent Kimbra possessed when they heard what I think will always be one of the cutest pop songs written, not just in the last five years but possibly, dare I say it, ever? I’m not sure I will ever hear it without smiling, because the cutest pop songs ever will always be the cutest pop songs ever, that’s the beauty of pop. I’m not sure Kimbra will always be a pop singer, because with a basis of songs like those from her debut album Vows and her sophomore The Golden Echo, she’s proven herself as a songwriter not afraid to go places. I’m not sure I’ll ever love any of her songs as much as ‘Cameo Lover’, but I’m willing to keep listening and follow wherever she goes. (Jo Michelmore)

by Texas Tea

That head says don't you be a fool
That heart, breaking every rule... 

Tea Bags for life! Yep. Lady Gaga has her Little Monsters, Katy Perry has the abomination of grammar fan group that is the Katy Kats and Brisbane's own Texas Tea have their Tea Bags. And we're big Tea Bags. As is often the case with songs we fall head over heels in love with, 'Heart Says Yes (Head Says No) found its way to our G-mail E-mail with an announcement that Texas Tea would be playing a show the following week at the Brisbane's Black Bear Lodge. One listen of the track and plans for the following Friday were scrapped in favour of spending some time listening to Kate Jacobson and Ben Dougherty. Doing so was one of my wiser decisions. Jacobson's soaring vocals and Dougherty's bluesy nature completely won us over. I may have even busted out some jig like dance to the closing number, 'Heart Says Yes (Head Says No)'. Yes, it was amazing. The song was pretty good too. We named it our song of the year in 2012 and Texas Tea still display that title proudly on their Facebook page. Nothing that has come out of this little blog makes me happier. Discovering the sounds of Texas Tea made us want to hear more from Brisbane's independent music scene, encouraged us to head out to gigs featuring local artists we hadn't heard before and introduced us to not only one of our most loved songs of the past five years, but also one of our favourite acts in music. Like I said at the start, Tea Bags for life! (Matt Bond)

by Thelma Plum

I hope you know this time's for good
Wouldn't come back now even if I could. 

There’s a theme that has run throughout this countdown and there is a theme that runs throughout this blog. It may not be completely obvious, and it’s not completely on purpose, but it’s there. When Matt first started It’s My Kind Of Scene all those years ago, I’m not sure he imagined he’d still be writing all these years later. When he first asked me to write something for IMKOS, I never dreamt I would be still sitting at my computer years later typing away, day and night. I never knew I would scribble blog post ideas on scraps of paper and transfer the thoughts to blogger in the middle of the night. I didn’t know I would type entire posts on my phone while on trains and buses travelling across Europe, I didn’t imagine I would write gig reviews on planes after three hours sleep and I didn’t know I would spend coffee breaks at my day job pressing publish on posts and sharing things on social media while I should have been emailing colleagues. I didn’t know I would make new friends and include old ones on this blogging journey and I didn’t know that some posts would take hours, some posts would be read by two or three and others would be read by thousands. I didn’t know that sometimes the very artists I wrote about would read my words and share them with their worlds and I didn’t know how much that would mean to me. I didn’t know that my words could mean anything to anyone but Matt and I. I didn’t know that some days I would need this blog more than it needed me, to keep my mind from things that my mind needed keeping from and most of all; I didn’t know how much it would change my life.

But essentially, it’s not the blog that has changed anything, but the very thing we write about. It’s the music we have discovered, the experiences shared and the songs we have felt something about that have made our lives that much richer for having, for knowing and for sharing with others. It’s not how many readers we have (although we love every one of you), it’s not how many words we’ve typed; it’s the music that matters.

That little unintentional theme is our love of music, our adoration of something that makes us laugh and dance and sing and smile and cry, something that makes us who we are and something that means the world to both of us. So when placing songs in our countdown, although almost all of them could have been number one, it wasn’t a hard decision who to put there, because Thelma Plum has been an artist that has done all of those things, her music meaning the world and some songs sometimes knowing us better than we know ourselves. Music is like that sometimes and we are so lucky to be able to share that music on this little blog of ours, five years after the very first post. Here’s to another five years sharing music we love with readers we like a lot too. (Jo Michelmore)