Sunday, 30 August 2015

Top 25 - 30 August, 2015


Montaigne, Hayden Calnin, Jackson Dyer + The Belligerents!


1. Jack Colwell - Don't Cry Those Tears





2. Montaigne - Clip My Wings (NEW)





3. Little May - Seven Hours





4. Chvrches - Never Ending Circles





5. Oh Wonder - Drive





6. Hayden Calnin - White Night (NEW)





7. Winters End - Mayfair





8. Saux x The Septembers - Work (NEW)





9. Girl Band - Paul





10. Jackson Dyer - Steal Away (NEW)





11. The John Steel Singers - Weekend Lover (NEW)





12. Courtney Barnett - Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go To The Party





13. Hollow States - Damage I've Done





14. Lupa J - Armour (NEW)



 

15. Michelle Xen - Give In (NEW)





16. FKA Twigs - Figure 8 (M3LL155X Film)





17. Ngaiire - Once





18. Kimberly Anne - Bury It There





19. The Belligerents - Looking At You (NEW)





20. Castlecomer - Fire Alarm (NEW)





21. Little Shock - Tinkerbell





22. BATTS - For That, I'm Sorry





23. Gang of Youths - Magnolia





24. Bec Sandridge - In The Fog, In The Flame





25. Arctic Maps - Let Me In


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

EP Review - Venom




VENOM
by Ella Hooper (out now)




Ella Hooper's debut solo album In Tongues marked a turning point in the career of one of Australia's greatest musical talents. Reborn an indie-chanteuse of the highest order, the LP offered a slew of sophisticated pop and rock gems that were anchored by the fiery power her fans have celebrated for over fifteen years. Less than a year later Hooper returns with the Venom EP, a collection of tracks that showcase the most vulnerable side of her we've seen yet. These are songs to break and make your heart, songs that many of us will relate to and maybe even find a sense of catharsis from that I can only imagine (and hope) Hooper achieved in the recording process. Venom is the painful journey from confused heartache to the eventual release that comes with accepting something you can't change. It's a terribly effecting piece of work that lovers of the sad musics will hold dear to their heart, but it's not all doom and gloom. Let's take a closer look at the tracks and you'll see what I mean...      


Singing to the rats in the park... after dark
Wonder if you don't have the guts... or the heart
To tell me the whole story I wanted to know for so long
- 'Rats'


A vivid image of Hooper's world is painted on 'Rats', a song rich with melancholy and full of all of those questions you can't fight from popping into your head when you find yourself at your lowest. As will always be the case with tales of this nature, it feels like you've been invited to join in on a very private moment. The narrator's heart and mind locked in battle. Will they break down completely or find the inner strength to get them through the night? A more restricted use of instrumentation than we're used to wisely puts the focus on the lyrics and Hooper's defeated performance. With the constant shaker percussion highlighting the internal conflict and loss of reason, the question of, "is this something I deserve?" becomes, "this is something I deserve." The pain felt in that moment becomes paramount and the image of Hooper, a friend or even yourself sitting alone in that park at night with only your thoughts to keep you company stays in your mind long after the track has finished.     


There'll always be someone willing to be
A complicit part in your duplicity
- 'Sarah Sarah Laura'


Have you ever broken up with someone (who was a dick) and gone on a bit of a bender? You might have come to your senses in some low-lit bar at an unsavoury hour with a lounge singer morosely working their way through their issues and you have a moment of clarity where you're like... "you know what, [insert name of choice] was a dick!" And in that moment, even if it's just for a moment, you stop thinking you're to blame. Then you regret that last whiskey. That's happened to you right? Maybe not... but that's what 'Sarah Sarah Laura' feels like. "No shortage of bitches, with Daddy issues, to make you feel special, to tell you they miss you." The Sarah, the other Sarah, the Laura, the not so mysterious other in what you thought was a real relationship. It might take two to tango, but the blame finds itself directed in the right place here; [insert name of choice] aka the dick.  


Waiting for a sign
Your hand on the wheel
Not in mine
Not in mine
- 'Rapeseed'


I did some research on rapeseed and by research I mean Google searches, Wikipedia etc. because journalism. The yellow flowering vegetable also goes by the name of canola, which seems to be grown a fair bit around Violet Town aka the home of Ella Hooper. I'm not known for agricultural knowledge, but I hopefully get the story of 'Rapeseed', which features a numb Hooper returning to her roots and leading directly into the next song, 'Good Wagon'. A long introduction that calls to mind organ music you might hear at a funeral is suddenly interrupted by trip-hop like electronic beats that would make Portishead nod their heads in approval. A cigarette likely hanging from Beth Gibbons' mouth as she nods her head slowly and precisely, ash falling beautifully to the ground. She's kinda magical. So is Ella Hooper and the atmosphere she creates on this song. 


I had to go home to make it
Like it had never happened
- 'Good Wagon'


You're likely more 'with it' than I am, but it was with 'Good Wagon' I understood Venom was following a narrative and we had arrived at the penultimate chapter. It's also at this point we can see some true healing beginning. There's a fuller sound to 'Good Wagon' and a newfound strength in the featured vocals. If there was a song that would be at home on In Tongues, this would be it. A fantastic slice of alt-country that reworks the old adage to be something more like your heart is where your home is.  


I gave you so many chances, baby
I gave you all I got
Maybe you don't remember that way
But I gave it the fucking lot
- 'Couldn't Have Loved You More' 


Can a song be uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time? Of course it can. 'Couldn't Have Loved You More' certainly is. But if it leans towards one over the other, the final Venom track is the uplifting closure you're wanting. It might not be a cinematic happy ending, but it's full of acceptance and hope. The home stretch is the light to the dark that's come before and it will make you feel all of the feels like only the very best music can. Nothing sucks more than being made to feel like you're crazy for having high hopes and dreams for the future, especially when it comes to a relationship. "Spent time being blind thinking I was crazy, but at least I know now I am not, I won't ever do that to myself again, I'd laugh about it if I could." Love makes you do the wacky. A powerful end to Venom sends you off on a high... maybe even a low high.


What becomes of the brokenhearted? Venom has your answers. I like that line about it being music to break and make your heart. That's exactly what it is. A story that follows a beginning, middle and end timeline that's really a story about an ending becoming a new beginning. It's an already strong storyteller at her strongest and an established music maker finding strength in unfamiliar sounds. Venom might seem like it's for lovers of the sad musics, but I think everyone will be able to find themselves relating to at least one if not all of the EP tracks. And, hey, keep in mind that Ella plans to release a follow up EP called New Magic later in the year or next year that promises to be just the pick me up you'll need to brighten your day. Personally, I'm a big fan of the sad songs. And I'm a big fan of Ella Hooper, which makes rating the Venom EP all too easy...




Matt Bond gives the Venom EP five red, red wine emoji out of five...

Sunday, 23 August 2015

BIGSOUND Live 2015 Feature Artist - Ali Barter




Oh hey, friends. We're back with our second featured BIGSOUND Live artist tonight, the sublime Ali Barter! BIGSOUND Live tickets are still on sale, but they won't be for long. So if you want to be able to see incredible artists like Barter, Gang of Youths, Tired Lion and Ngaiire, you'd better head over to QMusic quick smart and get some. Now, read on and enjoy our chat with Ali Barter!


ALI BARTER
Performing as part of BIGSOUND Live 2015
Wednesday 9 September - 9:50pm @ The Zoo




Hey there, Ali Barter. Thanks for joining us! How’s life treating you today?


Ali Barter: Heya! It’s pretty good. I’m sitting in a cafe in London catching up on emails. Been traveling around Europe and writing songs in London. It was fantastic to see your name on the list of artists performing at this year’s BIGSOUND Live event. 


What are your thoughts on the BIGSOUND concept? Any acts you’ll be keen to check out during the event?


Ali Barter: I think BIGSOUND is a great concept. It’s important to a SXSW type conference in Aus. We have so much amazing music here and it allows industry from Aus and all over the world to come check us out! I have heard great things come to pass from playing BIGSOUND, like bands getting overseas booking agents - which then opens the door for them to tour in the UK or US. In terms of who I want to see… I’m really keen to see City Calm Down because I LOVE their sound. Also looking forward to Aldous Harding who is playing before me at The Zoo. Her voice is divine.


You’ll be performing on September 9 at The Zoo! You have a short space of time to play for people who may not know you or your material well. So, how do you decide what songs you’ll be playing on the night?


Ali Barter: All killer no filler!! We will just play the loudest, randiest songs!


We’ve been loving your new single ‘Hypercolour’… especially the live version you made a video for. The song sounds like it was written when you were coming out of a particularly trying time. What’s the story behind the song?


Ali Barter: It was written during a break up and then finished during a year I wasn’t allowed to sing due to vocal issues. It was a shitty time and one that I really had to force myself to stop moping and get back on the horse. My partner Oscar kept pushing me to write when I wasn’t allowed to sing, which was the best thing because otherwise I would have had all those words and feelings rolling around inside my head and I probably would have gone crazy. It’s a bit of a mad song, I mean, it came from times of madness and despair. Which is always a bit of fun!


Have you got any other releases planned for this year we can look forward to? What about 
touring plans? After you’ve hit up BIGSOUND, will you be heading out on the road for any other shows in 2015?


Ali Barter: Yes! I’ll be launching my EP later in the year and playing some shows in Melbourne and Sydney, hopefully with a little run of regional solo shows too! There will be a support slot or two I’m sure as well.



What do you think makes a good songwriter? I ask, because you’re really very good at that whole songwriting thing. Is there anything in particular that you draw inspiration from when it’s time to start writing?


Ali Barter: I usually watch movies, write down words that evoke a feeling. I went to the Tate Modern in London and walked around listening to a playlist of songs and just wrote down anything that came to mind while looking at the works. I wrote quite a lot looking at the Mark Rothko paintings. They were really dark but beautiful. there was a Picasso that was great too. But thats the first time I’ve written from visual art. Usually its films or other music. I get into soundtracks big time.


I apologise for asking this question, because more often than not I get a, “why would you ask this question?” in response… which is probably why I keep asking it… but, if you had to pick five albums that have shaped who you are as a person (or if the zombie apocalypse happened and you could only grab 5 albums to keep with you forever), what would they be and why?


Ali Barter: I did this recently for my friend Justin Guppy who is starting a podcast for his blog ‘Lost In Dopeness’.

The songs I picked were -

1. Malibu by Hole - Perfect combo of rock/pop/glam/grunge. I love the chords and lyrics, the picture the song paints. It was co-written by Billy Corgan who is a legend. I never get sick of this one.

2. Stand Inside Your Love by The Smashing Pumpkins - Ugh, just amazing. Epic, huge. I remember the first time I heard this song. I listened to it on repeat on my discman for days. I love how the chorus kicks up a gear the second time through. The drums and screaming guitars are just so good.

3. Glorybox by Portishead - from one of my favourite film soundtracks, ’Stealing Beauty’. This song is so sexy and timeless.

4. Crazy by Patsy Cline - This is my mum’s favourite song. It was written by Willie Nelson and sung but the incomparable Patsy. It’s just so sad but has that country way of lifting the song to a lilting sweetness. A timeless melody and subject.

5. Metal Heart (the Moon Pix version) by Cat Power - I love the guitar in the intro and the double tracked vocals sung super effortlessly. I just adore this song. I would say it’s my all time. The lyrics are great ‘be true cos they’ll lock you up in a sad, sad zoo.’ It’s so simple and beautiful, sung by the disturbing and bewitching Chan Marshall.


Quick Hits:


If you could have one of your songs featured on any TV show, you would want it to be…
Ali Barter: OMG Made In Chelsea


If you weren’t a musician, you would like to pursue a career in…
Ali Barter: Travel, I’m about to do it too! I’m taking over my mum’s India tour company, ‘Tagore Tours’… watch this space!


The first album you ever bought was…
Ali Barter: It was a compilation CD called Moods 2. It included ‘Sweet Lullaby’ by Deep Forest and the theme from ‘The Mission’ by Ennio Morricone.


Your dream music collaboration would be with…
Ali Barter: I love the production Justin Vernon did for the band Land Of Talk’s album, Some Are Lakes. He just nailed it. Beautiful, honest and grungy.  I’d love to work with him one day.


When they air the Ali Barter MTV ‘Behind The Music’ special in forty-two years, what will they say about you?


Ali Barter: She was a searcher… and a kook.


There's exciting times ahead for Ali Barter, with BIGSOUND Live an EP and more shows to come. And maybe some India adventures too! Thanks for the chat Ali and we'll see you at BIGSOUND!

Top 25 - 23 August, 2015


Jack Colwell + Little May


1. Jack Colwell - Don't Cry Those Tears (NEW)





2. Chvrches - Never Ending Circles





3. Little May - Seven Hours (NEW)
Listen over at Stereogum...

 
4. Oh Wonder - Drive





5. FKA Twigs - Figure 8 (M3LL155X Film)





6. Winters End - Mayfair





7. Ngaiire - Once





8. Kimberly Anne - Bury It There





9. Little Shock - Tinkerbell





10. BATTS - For That, I'm Sorry





11. Gang of Youths - Magnolia





12. Bec Sandridge - In The Fog, In The Flame





13. Courtney Barnett - Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go To The Party (NEW)





14. The Dead Weather - I Feel Love (Every Million Miles) (NEW)





15. Girl Band - Paul





16. Meg Mac - Never Be





17. Hollow States - Damage I've Done (NEW)





18. Arctic Maps - Let Me In



 

19. Actor - Baby Cries





20. The Bulls - Rumors





21. Vance Joy - Fire And The Flood





22. ODESZA ft. Little Dragon - Light (NEW)





23. Lana Del Rey - Terrence Loves You (NEW)





24. JOY. - About Us





25. Chvrches - Leave A Trace


Friday, 21 August 2015

BIGSOUND Live 2015 Feature Artist - NGAIIRE




It's almost that time of year once more, when Brisbane's Fortitude Valley is overrun by over one hundred incredible music artists that are ready to knock your socks off. Or hat. There seems to be that thing happening again where people are wearing hats at night time and in doors like it's a thing you should be doing. The time of year we're talking about is BIGSOUND time of course! And this year's BIGSOUND Live line-up has got us feeling gooood about life and causing some first world problems in the vein of who we should be seeing. There's just too many acts we'd love to see! When can you see all these acts? Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 of September. Where can you get tickets and find out who's playing, when and where? Here! And where can you read some QandA's with awesome BIGSOUND Live acts like NGAIIRE? Here. Enjoy!




NGAIIRE
Performing as part of BIGSOUND Live 2015
Wednesday 9 September - 11:20pm @ The Foundry




NGAIIRE! Welcome to It’s My Kind of Scene. How are you on this fine day?


Ngaiire: This whiskey old fashion would say that I’m pretty damn good.


Do tell… what music have you been loving in 2015?


Ngaiire: So much. I’ve actually been getting into a bit of country music as of late! They’re such great lyricists. Dolly Parton hello. I’ve also just fallen in love with Nathaniel Rateliff who just tore a new one on Jimmy Fallon. Johnny Albino a Puerto Rican bolero singer from the 40s I listen to sometimes when I’m working or when I want to feel like it’s not winter. Aretha Franklin never leaves me, Kwabs, a wonderful singer from the UK who played on our stage at Glastonbury who’s now featuring on the new Disclosure album, Bjork’s "Vulcinura" is the best break up album I’ve ever heard and I finally managed to check out St Vincent and David Byrne’s "Love This Giant" for the first time this year. So big. Jill Scott’s album is a bit of a cocktail that doesn’t know what it is but I dig it and then there are my staples; Frank Ocean, Beyonce, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway etc.


You’re going to be bringing the NGAIIRE live experience to BIGSOUND Live on September 9 when you headline The Foundry line up for the night. What drew you to showcasing your work at BIGSOUND?


Ngaiire: I’ve always wanted to play BIGSOUND – it’s a rite of passage to where people starting to pay attention to you. You don’t really have too many options to showcase your stuff in Australia  – BIGSOUND and AWME, really - so I’ve worked hard to try to get on in one way or the other and am stoked to be playing both this year.


Showcase sets for each act run for half an hour. You have a short space of time to play for people who may not know you or your material well. So, how have you decided on which songs to play?


Ngaiire: Killers no fillers, basically. That seems like such a non-Aussie, anti-tall-poppy-syndrome thing to say.


BIGSOUND Live is a whole lot of fun for those in attendance. If you get a chance to run around The Valley and check out some of the other artists, who are you going to see?


Ngaiire: Buoy. I’m friends with Charms, who’s the lead singer, and Jack who plays keys with her is my producer. I’ve heard nothing but spectacular things about her new outfit so I finally will get to see her.


Following BIGSOUND Live, you’ve got your sophomore album “Blastoma” due for release! How excited are you to get the album out into the world?


Ngaiire: Oh man. Will you help me get this baby out of me already?! I’ve spent nearly 2 years on it
and so much has happened in that period. The way ‘Once’ has a been received I hope is a good omen for what is to follow.


“Blastoma” will be the hugely anticipated follow up to 2013’s “Lamentations”, with lead single ‘Once’ perfectly building upon the soulful sounds you established with your debut. What would you say are the biggest differences between “Blastoma” and “Lamentations”? 


Ngaiire: I invited more people into my songwriting world with this new one. It was quite interesting and slightly daunting at first being in a room with [Megan] Washington and Paul Mac and also Jack Grace with all their brilliant minds and learning how they approach songs lyrically and structurally. I was more so concerned with aesthetics and being inside my own head with “Lamentations” but “Blastoma” has its own life. I knew she would be bigger and bolder then the last record and I wasn’t so sure I was up for that but she seems to be connecting with more people and a much younger audience these days which is just so fascinating to me. I love how stuff works.


Last year you headed on over to the UK to perform at Glastonbury. No biggie, right? I know this because I was there. I saw you. You were awesome. How was your Glastonbury adventure and any plans to head back overseas to tour “Blastoma”?


Ngaiire: Oh you were there?! Glastonbury was wild. I mean you were there. How incredible is it? It was a real turning point for me on so many levels. I started to see my life and the new album in such a different light. I was feeling quite burnt out after “Lamentations” and Glasto was the inspiration I’d been looking for. Flying halfway across the world to play to a tent full of people who mostly didn’t know me and being received with such open hearts by an audience of mostly strangers made my heart burst. London had been sitting in my gut since then and I can’t shake the feeling.


Quick Hits:


Your dream collaboration would be with…
Ngaiire: Sia

Your favourite songwriter is…
Ngaiire: Carole King

The best gig you’ve ever been to was…
Ngaiire: There have been a few. St Vincent at Vivid and then at Glastonbury was ridiculous. Florence and The Machine at Splendour In the Grass this year was otherworldly also. She is a deity.

The best music video ever made is… 
Ngaiire: Thriller


When they air the Ngaiire MTV ‘Behind The Music’ special in thirty-seven years, what are
they going to say about you?


Ngaiire: She marched to the beat of her own drum.


A huge thanks to Ngaiire for taking the time to have a chat with us! We can't wait to see her tear it up at BIGSOUND Live next month AND to hear the new album "Blastoma" when it's out. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

A to Z of the 80s - Z is for Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz




I'm Off To Have A Nap Now
by Jo Michelmore


And here we are at the final instalment of this alphabet and therefore, we can finally leave the stirrup pants, scrunchies, Rubik's cubes, clothes that show everyone where you are sweating (yes, the 80s were a crazy time) and Rainbow Brites away. Committing to an entire alphabet can be an exhausting thing. But before we leave the fabulous fluorescent decade that was, let's celebrate everything it is, I mean was, one more time. 


The 80s were about hair....and being hairy was an extra bonus. And being Bon Jovi was even better.




The 80s were Cyndi Lauper.




The 80s were about dancing.




The 80s were about fighting. And the Jacksons fighting. Or dancing and fighting. Or both.





The 80s were about Axl Rose's pants.





The 80s were about the greatest song ever written. Or was that this one? Well, it wasn't this one. 




But most of all, these 80s were about things I like, which include some of my favourite karaoke songs.





And now, after all that 80s. It's time to take a nap. Until next A to Z friends, featuring much less hair, less lycra and no big hair! Well, I can't promise that last one. Sweet dreams are not made of this...




But more made of this. Phew. 80s. Done! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.



Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Song Review - Bury It There




Bury It There
by Kimberly Anne




Now don’t get me wrong, I hear Taylor Swift on the radio every couple of minutes (not even exaggerating) and I love her. You can’t deny that you know all the words to at least one of her songs and you more than likely love it. I do. But sometimes a little pop song will come out of nowhere by someone you don’t know and take over that little pop part of your brain that commercial radio forces Taylor to occupy. A song which says words like this...

  
'Cause I must be built of different stuff than what your love is made of, 
So we'll bury it there...


...has made its way into my existence and sat in my consciousness for a little while and has taken over the "now we got bad blood" part of my brain and let me say, I'm not complaining. A little googling and I still don't know much about this girl from South London called Kimberly Anne, who wrote this song a couple of years ago and has now become my favourite pop track of this year, so far (sorry Swifty). I don't know if I can love it anymore than I do but I'm going to try because that drum track and those words have been stuck in my head for weeks. And really, that’s the beauty of pop music isn’t it? I don't need to google that much, because it doesn’t matter if you’re Taylor Swift or Kimberly Anne; if it’s honest and if it's catchy, it makes it great pop and that's enough.

Jo Michelmore gives 'Bury It There' five dancing girl emojis out of five...

Monday, 17 August 2015

Song Review - Don't Cry Those Tears




DON'T CRY THOSE TEARS
by Jack Colwell




I know the secrets of the mind...


Be still, my beating heart. Jack Colwell has made his return with another masterpiece for our listening pleasure. Like the other tracks that make up the Sydney local's catalogue, 'Don't Cry Those Tears' has a sense of cinematic wonder you just can't beat and features those deep, gorgeous vocal tones that we've come to love from Mr. Cowell. We've moved on from last year's baroque-ish 'Seek The Wilde' to a more modern Doo-Wop jam, perfect for those lonely nights at the drive-in when you're sitting on the swings and crying into your popcorn. To take this 50s thing we've got going on further, if 'Don't Cry Those Tears' was in a motion picture musical, it would be in Grease. Specifically in the moment when Sandy storms out of the dance when that fierce bitch Cha-Cha steals Danny during the 'Born to Hand-Jive' scene. Imagine Jack Colwell, all Teen Angel like, appearing to Sandy and telling her not to cry those tears with the anthemic choruses of this song and that epic build to the finish. Now that would inspire her to get her leathers on, flick a durrie at Zuko and say, "tell me about it, stud." By the end of this one, everyone will be ready to say goodbye to the Sandra Dee lurking under the surface.


Brilliant song, brilliant singer and soon we'll be able to say brilliant music video and brilliant EP, with the accompanying clip to 'Don't Cry Those Tears' due for release soon and the Only When Flooded Could I Let You Go EP out August 28. I don't think I could say brilliant enough about Jack Colwell. His music really is something else and we can't wait to hear the rest of that EP so very soon. 



Matt Bond gives 'Don't Cry Those Tears' five Cha-Cha dancing girls out of five...        

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Top 25 - 16 August, 2015


FKA Twigs


1. FKA Twigs - Figure 8 (M3LL155X Film) (NEW)


 


2. Chvrches - Never Ending Circles (NEW)


 


3. Gang of Youths - Magnolia





4. Ngaiire - Once





5. Meg Mac - Never Be





6. Bec Sandridge - In The Fog, In The Flame





7. Winters End - Mayfair (NEW)


 

8. Oh Wonder - Drive (NEW)


 


9. Arctic Maps - Let Me In





10. Vance Joy - Fire and The Flood





11. Little Shock - Tinkerbell (NEW)


 

12. JOY. - About Us





13. BATTS - For That, I'm Sorry (NEW)


 

14. Atlas Genius - A Perfect End (NEW)


 

15. Lucy Neville - On My Own





16. Actor - Baby Cries (NEW)


 

17. Chvrches - Leave A Trace





18. Bad Pony - Down To You





19. Girl Band - Paul (NEW)


 


20. Patrick James - Bugs





21. The Bulls - Rumors (NEW)


 

22. Half Moon Run - Trust (NEW)


 

23. Kimberly Anne - Bury It There





24. Big Smoke - Lately





25. Pillars - You Got This


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Song Review - Lately



Lately
by Big Smoke (available now on bandcamp)




I’ve been listening to this track quite a bit lately (boom!) I mean, for a few weeks now, but you can count yourself lucky that something has bought me to the point of needing to share my love of it today. Ok, maybe you don’t need to count yourself lucky for that, but you should count yourself lucky for Big Smoke, because they write songs like ‘Lately’ and their songs, quite simply, are really, really good.  Drums I can’t help but nod to, twanging guitars, a bassline forcing its way throughout and a vocal that has me convinced I’m listening to a sweet little tale of unrequited love one minute and a desperately irate tale of anguish the next. Either way, it’s a song I haven’t been able to get out of my head lately (boom, twice in one review!) and probably a song I’ll be nodding along to for a while yet.
Jo Michelmore gives 'Lately' four guitar emojis out of five...

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Gig Review - The Grates




THE GRATES
Live @ The Triffid, Brisbane (8 August, 2015)
Supported by Pleasure Symbols and Straight Arrows
Review by Matt Bond




Why hello there. You'll have to excuse me, I'm still soaking in the post-Grates gig happiness bubble I'll be living in for the next few weeks. It lasted a couple of weeks the last time I saw Brisbane's best rockers. That was in 2009 at the Sunset Sounds festival. Patience Hodgson was confined to a throne due to a broken foot (maybe?), John Patterson's beard game was not quite as strong and I was still full of hopes and dreams. Since then the band has gone from a three-piece to two and back again, released two knockout LP's Secret Rituals and Dream Team, opened the Southside Tea Room, started the Death Valley record label that's also a bar, Patience and John got married and had a baby with the coolest name ever, Soda. Sure, they've been super busy and have a lot going on, but with their 'Team Work Makes The Dream Work' tour kickoff in Brisbane they showed they haven't lost a step when it comes to being one of the best live music experiences going around. 


Straight Arrows


My posse (aka my sister Sam and I) sadly only caught the last song from the first opening act, Pleasure Symbols. They seemed pretty cool, all dark and mysterious electronic magic going on. With them being from Brisbane, hopefully I'll see more of them soon. But since this is the first gig review I've written since BIGSOUND last September, well... I have been stalking up Pleasure Symbols' Bandcamp though. Straight Arrows were up next, with The Triffid filling up nicely for a tight set from the Sydney rockers. 60s rock and BritPop influences shone through on tracks like 'Don't Call My Name' and 'Make Up Your Mind' and the band looked like they were having a lot of fun doing their thing. Especially the guitarist who I've decided is Alex through the wonders of Facebook. I liked your Madonna shirt and would like to know if you're interested in selling it? 


With The Triffid packed out, the super special five-piece edition of The Grates made their way onto the stage. Patience looking as fabulous as ever, Patterson taking up keys duties due to injury, Jack Richardson on guitar, Ritchie Daniell on drums and Owen Penglis from Straight Arrows on bass. Launching into '19-20-20' to much excitement from a hometown crowd you knew was largely made up of longtime fans was the perfect start to a set that was any Grates fan's dream come true. Seriously, the screams from the crowd at the start of each song, the huge singalong moments... Brisbane LOVES The Grates. '7-11' from their latest album Dream Team was introduced by Hodgson as the first they've written about Brisbane, at least technically, since an old number called 'Capalaba Town' is more about the Redland. This will only make sense to people from Brisbane, so if you don't get it just laugh and pretend you're in on the joke. The Dream Team tracks didn't get lost amongst the crowd favourites, with '7-11' only the first to get everyone jumping up and down... especially Patience who is possibly even more energetic on stage then she was the time before I saw her throne-ing it up. 'Wild One', new single 'Call Me' and a performance that left me completely in love with 'Back To Back' will have me listening to Dream Team on repeat once more. But for my money, 'It Won't Hurt Anymore' was the real showstopper. As ballad-y as it gets for The Grates, Patience made her way into the crowd to belt out what's arguably their best song.




It wasn't all about the new. Like I said, the set list was a longtime fan's dream. When you weren't having a little mosh to 'Feels Like Pain' or 'Like You Could Have It All' you were having a big one to 'Trampoline' and 'Burn Bridges'. 'Science Is Golden', 'Aw Yeah', 'Sweet Dreams' and 'Rock Boys' filled in an incredible run of songs... urgh, I want to hear them all again now. Looks like I'll be digging out the "old" Grates records too. A beach ball and inflatable kangaroo were being thrown around the crowd, with Hodgson quick to point out the latter was really a wallaby and the former was a pool ball. Which had her thinking about pool boys and her love for them. In all fairness she only said, "I like pool boys." The banter was as colourful as the costumes (I like your jackets and would like to know if you're interested in selling them?), with Patience getting the crowd to make their best lip-smacking sounds. An attempt to make finger-pistol kisses a thing ended hilariously with her establishing the power of this particular kind of kiss. "You, mister... are pregnant. Sorry. See you next album cycle." 




Did I say 'It Won't Hurt Anymore' is arguably their best song? Maybe it's 'Holiday Home', which was the final song before we got two bonus encore tracks. As the band returned to the stage, Patience with her coat of many colours, she announced the first number by saying, "this is a song about best friends. That's us." The song was 'Friends With Scum'. I laughed. And for a song that has a recorded version I like, I really loved the live performance of it. The definition of fun. All good things must come to an end and the final song for the night was 'Turn Me On'. You could say the crowd was left satisfied, but that would be a criminal understatement. Fans of The Grates know they're going to see something they'll never forget when they head to a show and even with some time away from the stage, that certainly hasn't changed. Sydney and Melbourne... you're in for a treat when The Grates arrive for your stops of the tour. Get excited.

Top 25 - 9 August, 2015


Gang of Youths, Ngaiire, JOY. + Art of Sleeping!


1. Ngaiire - Once





2. Gang of Youths - Magnolia (NEW)





3. Meg Mac - Never Be





4. Chvrches - Leave A Trace





5. Bec Sandridge - In The Fog, In The Flame





6. Arctic Maps - Let Me In





7. Vance Joy - Fire and The Flood





8. JOY. - About Us (NEW)





9. Bad Pony - Down To You





10. Pillars - You Got This (NEW)





11. Kimberly Anne - Bury It There (NEW)





12. Big Smoke - Lately





13. Art of Sleeping - Bleeding Out (NEW)





14. Evangeline - CHEMICVL





15. Petite Noir - Best (NEW)





16. Little May - Home





17. Avaberee - Doubt





18. Lucy Neville - On My Own (NEW)





19. Big Scary - Organism





20. Eves The Behavior - Digging





21. Patrick James - Bugs (NEW)





22. Kira Puru - All Dulled Out





23. Holy Holy - Sentimental and Monday





24. Cosmo's Midnight ft. KUCKA - Walk With Me





25. Major Leagues - Someone Sometime


Thursday, 6 August 2015

A to Z of the 80s - Y is for Yes





Yes. And yes.
by Jo Michelmore


The thing that has struck me most since writing this A to Z, is that there are a lot of songs from the 80s that have elicited the same response from me. It's happened every week for the past 26 weeks (slightly more for those paying attention), but every time I've thought of music in 80s the same thing has happened. The smile is big and the word is always the same. Yes. Yes. And yes. Because it's become clear to me the 80s were clearly awesome. Yes? Yes.




And because I may have thought Alison Moyet in 1982 was Boy George in 1983 for a minute or two. Yes.




And because the same people who were responsible for Kylie's first fame in 1988 were also responsible for this in 1985. Yes.




And because one day this hair will be back and it won't be 1986 and I can't wait. Yes. 




And because in 1988 Nirvana, The Vengaboys and Mariah Carey didn't exist yet, so the only way was up. Until about 2003. Yes.




And mostly because although I can do about three quarters of selected Eminem and some Beastie Boys songs, this is the only rap song I know the all words to, from beginning to end. She's dressed in yellow, she says hello, come sit next to me you fine fellow...told you. 1989 was a clearly a good year. Yes. Yes. And yes.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Song Review - Let Me In




Let Me In
by Arctic Maps





It could be the fact that I first heard this track on a chilled Sunday afternoon that made me like it's calm vibe so much but it's probably the fact that it's just a super smooth track that makes me sway which made me a fan. It could be the quirky little synth sounds on top of the subtle beats that I liked but it's probably Freya Bennett's super sweet vocal combined with Nathan Power's restrained emotion that make it a song that's a little hard to resist. It could be the sparsity of sounds and those luscious keys halfway through that I liked, but it's probably the understated, casual crescendo that really make it a song I love. It could be the distant affection they've created with a slightly ingenious wall of sounds and really, it could be all of those things, but it's probably just because quite simply, it's a really, really gorgeous song and that's enough to make me like it so much that I love it.


Jo Michelmore gives 'Let Me In' three and a half The xx heads out of five...

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

10 and 1 - Stop Children What's That (BIG)Sound?




BIGSOUND LIVE 2015 PREVIEW
by Matt Bond


With Splendour all but a muddy memory for the thousands of music fans lucky (?) enough to attend, everybody's attention should now be placed firmly on the BIGSOUND conference and Live event. BIGSOUND Live is not only THE place to find the next great Aussie acts, but you get to enjoy showcases from some of the country's greatest established artists. By day, you can head to the conference to listen to talks from speakers encompassing all aspects of the music industry. By night, you can get on down to incredible music as the Live event takes over the best of Brisbane's Fortitude Valley gig venues for two nights in September (9th and 10th). The team here at It's My Kind of Scene rate BIGSOUND Live as our favourite two nights of the year, as we've discovered some of our absolute favourites there over the past three years.


Little May, Thelma Plum, Tkay Maidza, Bad//Dreems, Karl S. Williams, Kira Puru + The Bruise, The Hello Morning, The Trouble With Templeton, Clairy Browne and The Bangin' Rackettes, Adalita and more... we've gotten to take in showcases from a truly impressive range of musicians that we've fallen in love with or fallen in love with even more. BIGSOUND is the best. And this year's line-up promises another amazing BIGSOUND Live adventure, so I've picked out ten acts I would love to see. It's a 10 and 1, so I'm supposed to throw out an act I don't want to see, but this is BIGSOUND and everyone is there because they deserve to be... so I'll come up with a cop-out 1 while you take in the music of 10 of BIGSOUND 2015's best.


THE 10:


Ali Barter




Ayla




BANFF




HOWQUA




I Know Leopard




Major Leagues




NGAIIRE




Tempura Nights




Tired Lion




Winterbourne





THE ONE (?):


Whoever Is Playing When Those 10 Previously Mentioned Acts Are On...
Sorry :(


You should see everyone! Which isn't possible, but you'll do your best as you run around the Valley trying to get in as much music as you can. It's like a marathon, but with bands. Enjoy! Don't forget to get 'yo tickets now over at the BIGSOUND site. You can check out the full line-up too and see who'll be speaking at the conference if you're keen to head along. It will be well worth it.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Top 25 - 2 August, 2015


Meg Mac, Bec Sandridge + Big Scary!


1. Meg Mac - Never Be (NEW)


 

2. Chvrches - Leave A Trace





3. Vance Joy - Fire and The Flood





4. Evangeline - CHEMICVL





5. Big Smoke - Lately





6. Eves The Behavior - Digging





7. Bec Sandridge - In The Fog, In The Flame (NEW)


 


8. Bad Pony - Down To You (NEW)


 

9. Little May - Home





10. Disclosure ft. Sam Smith - Omen (NEW)


 


11. Ngaiire - Once





12. Big Scary - Organism (NEW)


 

13. Kira Puru - All Dulled Out





14. Holy Holy - Sentimental and Monday





15. Cosmo's Midnight ft. KUCKA - Walk With Me (NEW)


 

16. Arctic Maps - Let Me In (NEW)


 

17. Santigold - Radio





18. Avaberee - Doubt (NEW)


 

19. Major Leagues - Someone Sometime





20. Highasakite - Keep That Letter Safe





21. Jessica Domingo - We Could Be Anything (NEW)


 

22. The Paper Kites - Electric Indigo





23. The Waifs - 6000 Miles





24. Starling - Misfit (NEW)


 

25. Velociraptor - Dollarmite