Monday, January 26, 2015

Top Ten Albums of 2014

2014 was the year I gave up on new music. Instead of trying to listen to every single album that was released and possibly in my tastes, I went back and listened to the music I loved. As such, I was really out of the loop with most album releases, relying incredibly on recommendations from my friends. The albums that I listened to this year though, I fell in love with. So, here's the top ten:

10. Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again
To me, the title of the album is a play on the sound of the album. The whole 20 minutes of music sounds like an album recorded by a bunch of punks feeling a little bit poorly and slightly regretful the morning after a big night. Lyrically, apart from In the Army Now (and depending how you interpret Heated Swimming Pool), each song is about lost love. The tempo is a bit slower than most punk and is driven by very punchy bass riffs which speak to the bass nerd in me. But overall the song writing is top notch and you can’t help but find yourself singing along with a slight smile on your face to each song.
Certified club banger: Heart Tattoo

9. Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
A lot changes in ten years. Remember the first time you heard You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine? It was like being slapped in the face with a full-borne assault of sounds that could have come from any punk club or dance party that you wish you were invited to. That was then, this is now. It’s still that DFA sound that gets your feet moving, but it lacks that wake-up slap in the face quality that drew me in originally. It’s a bit slower, a bit more produced, but that’s no surprise after such a long break. There’s still glimpses of that raw, youthful energy in songs like Right On Frankenstein!, Gemini and The Physical World. But once you forget about making comparisons with the past, this album really stands out on its own. Much like 10 years ago I just want to get up on my feet, dance around and scream along to the lyrics.
Certified club banger: Right on Frankenstein!

8. Beck – Morning Phase
Beck is one heck of a musician, you just never know what he’s going to do next. I got into him largely due to Midnite Vultures, and as such his quirkier, over-the-top songs have always been the draw card for me. Morning Phase popped up early in the year and it didn’t hold my attention for long. That is until it kept playin on random and I was left wondering “who wrote these beautifully eerie acoustic tracks?!” When I finally realised it was Beck I went back, listened a few times and was sucked in. Sad Beck is the best Beck. These songs are so minimalistic and sombre, it seems to be that Beck is reflecting over his whole life, all the ups and downs. When he starts the song Blue Moon by wailing “I’m so tired of being alone” you can almost hear his voice crack with the emotion. Who, at one point in their life, has not felt this way? Morning Phase hits me right in the feels.
Certified club banger: Blue Moon

7. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
One of the long standing (and worthless) arguments in the punk community is which Against Me! album is better. And for anyone that regularly participates in the Axl Rose vs Eternal Cowboy debate, you’d hate this album. But that’s the beauty of Transgender Dysphoria Blues: given the changes in Laura’s life, this album is a growth out of that rowdy punk she grew up in and shows more depth in music than ever before. It’s a very well-produced album that strips off the punk roots but still pack a punch. When I first heard it, I could have sworn that the song Osama bin Laden as the Crucified Christ was a Kasabian track. That opening riff and bright guitar following the vocals is nothing Against Me! have really done before, but then a minute in and you still get Laura screaming out “YOU’RE GOING TO HANG!” Lyrically it’s what you always expect from Laura, exploring deep within herself and the current climate and letting it all out for us to feel and see. Overall, it’s probably the most radio friendly album (outside of the title “FuckMyLife666”) they’ve made, but that doesn’t stop it from being an amazing punk album.
Certified club banger: Osama bin Laden as the Crucified Christ

6. Shihad - FVEY
"I really like the new Shihad album" - were words that I never expected to say in 2014. I've always been a fan, but over the years since the Pacifier incident, they kind of faded off my radar. But then the opening riff of the album just sucked me in and was followed by the shouted lyrics of "Do you think we'll wake up?" This then launches into the assault that is the unrelenting drums, bass and riffs of FVEY. Shihad have always written some great riffs, but this album is just packed to the rafters with them. At some point over the last few years I just imagine Shihad all sitting around listening to bands like Mastodon, High on Fire and Baroness, because this album resembles more of a sludge style metal album. Musically each song hits a groove that resembles the march of an army in a rush, just hard, heavy and unstoppable. Lyrically the album hits some big political and social points, with the album title even being a play on the alliance of spy networks by countries including Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Put it together and it's already surpassed the General Electric, which is still an album I spin regularly after 15 years.
Certified club banger: FVEY

5. Swans - To Be Kind
2 hours. Do you have that much time to spend with an album? Swans aren't the kind of band to pander to anything, especially the modern concept of music. What you get with To Be Kind is 10 tracks over 2 discs, averaging about 12 minutes in each song. The sound scapes Michael Gira builds are just incredible. Over my numerous listening (often late at night in the dark leading to nightmares when I fall asleep) I can best describe it as an album that sounds like a belly dancer going through a nervous breakdown. The album opens with an almost Tool-like repetitive riff that you can just groove to (the belly dancer reference in my head) and then towards the end breaks down on songs like Oxygen, just riddled with moments of Gira screaming and barking into the microphone. At times its not comfortable, but whoever said Swans were?
Certified club banger: Bring The Sun / Toussaint L'Ouverture

4. Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2
Dirty beats, slick rhymes and a cameo from the long recluse Zack De La Rocha. Why did I sleep on this for so long? Everything about this album appeals to me. Killer Mike and El-P’s vocals just blend effortlessly into the beats. Unlike a lot of other hip-hop, it’s not just one sample on loop for the verses and another for the chorus, but each song’s backing track evolves in a way that you could almost see them being a song without lyrics in an underground night club that you wish you got invited to. The lyrics themselves paint a bleak scene (mostly, there’s still the odd love/sex song), but given the current state of America’s racial issues, it’s not a surprise. The anger and lack of hope is even shown in their in-your-face style of delivery.
Certified club banger: Oh My Darling Don’t Cry

3. Sun Kil Moon – Benji
Imagine a man deconstructing his life (mainly the traumatic events) on a psychiatrist’s couch, set to some beautiful stripped back acoustic guitar folk. That’s Benji. A lot of the songs deal with the deaths, whether close to him or at the hands of serial killers, and when you take the whole album into account it has a kill count resembling an Aliens vs Predator movie. Even songs not dealing with the death of people close to him reveal some deep trauma deep inside. The song Dogs is basically his entire sexual history mixed with a lifetime of rejection in love. It’s probably the most depressed album I’ve listened to in 2014, but the brutal raw honesty of it strikes me deep down inside.
Certified club banger: Dogs

2. United Nations – The Next Four Years
Not even 10 seconds into The Next Four Years and your ears are assaulted by a brutal wall of noise. What follows is 30 minutes of unrelenting powerviolence (screamo? Grindcore? I suck at genres but it’s fast and loud) that lyrically bounces between commentary of the state of modern man (Meanwhile on Main Street: “That's a sad way to get saved. You hedge bets existentially. You call it living? That's not living if the price fixed. Can we live with it?”), politics (Music For Changing Parties: “To go right Or go left Same old prism, different prisons”) and even some combining both in some comedy (Revolutions at Varying Speeds: “Q: What's the difference between infectious disease and our hope?
A: There's a cure for our hopes.
Q: What's the difference between the Real UN and these pigs you see on stage?
A: At least we can take a joke. Because that's what this is. This world.
Q: Which side are you on? The Left of the Right?
A: Is that a joke? Yeah, they're both the same.
Q: How many Feds does it take to screw in a lightbulb these days?
A: None. They're all out of work.”).
In amongst this brutal attack on your ears, there’s something that really speaks to me. Geoff Rickly (he of Thursday fame) is not afraid to push the boundaries. Lyrically and musically he just empties himself of all of his frustrations, a lot of which I also identify with. This isn’t noise for noise sake.
Certified club banger: Serious Business

1. Taylor Swift - 1989
Surely you know why this album is number 1 by now. If you don't, you've been living in a media free bubble for months. Enough people have written about this album, but it is one of the best pop albums recorded in the last decade. This time next year we'll still be talking about how many #1 hits came from this album. 2014 was the year people bemoaned the death of music, with the largest selling album (before 1989) being a movie soundtrack from 2013. It wasn't that music was dead, there just wasn't anyone that put out anything resembling a full album of pop music that appeals to a broad audience (I know a lot of you will fight me over Beyonce on this point). This though... Damn. She's thrown away the country image that held her back from a wider audience, become more comfortable with herself and her celebrity and put it all in a goddamn banger of an album. Her subject matter is still similar to her youth (just how unlucky can one girl be in love?!!) but it's from a different angle. I have a friend who's psychiatrist told them to listen to the song Shake It Off whenever times were tough, as the message she delivers in there is just one of letting it go and moving on, set to music that will rarely fail to lift your mood. Well done Tay Tay, 2015 will be the year of you.
Certified club banger: The whole goddamn album

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mixtape: bad baby

As I put together the baby mixtape for my friend, there was a few songs that just didn't make the cut for obvious reasons. So they got put on the second CD, I gave her. Just in case things got so bad she had to let out some frustration.

1. Accidents - Alexisonfire

What if the baby wasn't planned?

2. You Are Pregnant, You Are Dead - Xiu Xiu

3. You Children Are Waiting For You To Die - McLusky

4. Rubber Baby Bugger Bumpers - Austrian Death Machine

Why not an Arnie cover band singing about baby stuff? I was so close to putting "Who is your daddy and what does he do" on here.

5. Birth Plague Die - Trash Talk


6. Birth Defect - Helmet

I saw them play this song live about the same time I made the mixtape, so it stuck in my head

7. Afterbirth - Closure in Moscow

8. Baby's First Coffin - The Dillinger Escape Plan

9. When My Baby Smiles at me I go to Rehab - Frenzal Rhomb

10. My Birth - Swans

Needless to say, this mixtape did not get played.

Mixtape: babies

When my friend got married, my job was to be the driver for the lovely bride and her family. Part of the deal was I had to make a mix tape for the trip. This mix tape ended with the Final Countdown blaring as the bride left the car.

She was so impressed that when she fell pregnant she asked me to make one for the delivery room. I put a lot of thought into this. My first idea was to time it with contractions: short, loud grindcore songs for the pain, soothing music for the time in between. That was vetoed (apparently not many people like grindcore?) and instead I made this mix.

Coincidentally, a mixtape club I'm in saw the co-founder having a kid around my month! So this got double play. I now leave it here for your enjoyment.

1. The Seed 2.0 - The Roots (ft. Cody Chesnutt)

This song is pure smut, delivered with such smooth and lovely music. It's all about getting pregnant.
I push my seed in her bush for life
It's gonna work because I'm pushin' it right

2. Teenage Pregnancy - Cake

Coming up with songs about babies and giving birth wasn't easy. Especially when the person requesting the mix is a music teacher. Sometimes I went with obvious song titles, so there's no real reason to explain this choice. But the underlying idea of the mixtape was to cover the baby from conception to delivery.

3. You Can't Hurry Love - Phil Collins

After you've found out you're pregnant, you just want the baby now! (at least I presume, I've never experienced it) Everything is still cheerful and upbeat.

4.  When My Baby Comes - Grinderman

When the pregnancy starts moving on, you get a bit moody and emotional and start planning and fretting about everything. Who says moody and emotional better than Nick Cave?!

Even better, some of the lyrics are accidentally about babies. Pooping on things.
When my baby comes
There is an ancient question behind her eyes
That I can't even begin to describe
(Hey, don't do that on the carpet!)
When my baby comes

5. (Baby I've Got You) On My Mind - Powderfinger

As the pregnancy progresses that baby is all you think about, as all of your Facebook followers will happily point out to you (generally with a groan and an eye roll).

6. I Can't Wait to Get Off Work (to see my Baby) - Tom Waits

The baby is almost at work and the dad spends all day, by the phone, with a packed bag in the car, just waiting for that call to get to the hospital...

7. The Final Countdown - Europe

It's a well known fact that I can't make a mixtape without the Final Countdown. I pretty much always finish with it, but in this case it worked right here at this point. Just before the baby's delivery.

8. Waiting Room - Fugazi

One of the sexiest bass riffs ever recorded, it also captures the frustration of waiting in the hospital.

9. Push It - Salt n Pepa

If you don't know what this is referring to in the context of this mixtape, you must have failed school.

10. I Don't Want to Push It - Sonic Youth

I love this band, but I was surprised to find any context at all that they would work on a mixtape about giving birth. But here you go. As the doctor is yelling to push, the poor, exasperated mother has just had enough.

11. Hatching Baby Raptor - John Williams

This is a bit of a stretch, even for me, trying to work my favourite movie into a mixtape about giving birth. But this magical music when the raptor emerges from the egg in Jurassic Park represents the bliss when the baby is first put in its mother's arms.

12. The Screamer - Bouncing Souls

The music and lyrics of the song itself is a bit out of place, but the title says it all. The baby starts crying. All hell breaks loose. 

13. Special Delivery - The Offspring

No matter how much the goddamn baby cries and pukes and poops you're still going to love your special delivery, as I've witness with my friends and their newborns.
It'll blow you away - You're gonna fall for me

14. Cry Baby - Cee-Lo

I've been told newborns cry all the time. I'm not sure of this, I tend to avoid babies, but I'll take everyone's word for it.

15. Kicking and Screaming - The Presets

As the parents and the baby get settled and sleep becomes a premium, the parents can build up anger just as quick as their offspring.

16. Baby's Got A Temper - The Prodigy

Some parents get unlucky, their baby just won't shut up.

17. Come to Daddy - Aphex Twin

When I first envisioned this mixtape, this was the first song that popped into my head. It seems the best way to end it though, as the baby came to its dad (my friend) for the first time.

Apparently she played this CD while giving birth!

Now there was a bonus CD, with the songs that just didn't make the cut... And you can view it here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mixtape: Sick day

So there I was a few hours ago, unable to get out of bed. I finished my book and nothing else was within reaching distance but my phone. No music, no entertainment and it hurt too much to get out of bed. So I started trying to think what songs I could turn into a mixtape about being sick. I had about 3 ideas and then I hit a blank wall (I blame the painkillers). So I turned to Twitter. And now, I present to you, my crowd-sourced sick day mixtape!

(Thanks Court, one of my favourite songs... Can't believe I didn't think of it)

The only time Kylie will be on my blog, outside of Nick Cave reasons. Thanks Kim!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mixtape: The Break-Up Part 2

Well it happened again. A break-up. Which made me revisit the playlist I made last time. Man there were some great songs on there, that covered all the feelings I had. This time around it's a different situation, but it hasn't stopped me making a playlist of new break-up songs!

I was tempted to just list every Brand New song ever (which is my defacto sad soundtrack) but I decided to challenge myself instead.

1. Dangers - (Love Poem)

This album is just pure emotional angst, from the first lyrics to the very end. But there's a theme throughout the whole album, with just small samples that pop up between songs, which culminates right at the end. Sure, it's not a proper song, but it's a great way to start it.
It's so nice to wake up in the morning and not have to tell somebody you love them, when you don't love them anymore
2. Descendents - Everything Sux

Before songs about teenage angst were cool, the Descendents were writing about it. And when your heart is broken, it really does feel like everything sucks today.
My girlfriend's moving this morning
I don't think anything is gonna be okay today
Everything sucks today
Got up on the wrong side of life this morning
othing today is gonna go my way
3. Finch - Letters to You

A lot of break-up songs come from my youth. Like this, quite possibly the poppiest song Finch ever wrote (and their most mainstream successful, if memory serves me right). Later on, with their second album about the most random stuff (I think it was drug influenced) they would become one of my favourite bands. But with their first album, it was quite cliche heartbreak/emo.

I'm writing again these letters to you aren't much, I know
But i'm not sleeping and you're not here
The thought stops my heart
Do you notice i'm gone?
Where do you run to so far away?
I want you to know that I miss you, I miss you so
4. I Killed the Prom Queen - Say Goodbye

Yes. It's cheesy metalcore. But back in the day this was MY cheesy metalcore. I loved this album by I Killed the Prom Queen. Most of it was comparing love to death, as was the fashion back then. And this song helps you get some of the break-up related anger out.

So we say goodbye
Heartstrings severed just as quick
As they were discovered
I'll break my own fall, to keep you, picture perfect
Just don't wake me up now
5. Wilco - I am Trying to Break Your Heart

When it's time to get sad, quiet and reflective, what is better than the wavering quality of Jeff Tweedy's voice? His voice in this song just captures the raw edge of emotion that you sit on during a break-up.

I'd always thought that if I held you tightly
You'd always love me like you did back then
Then I fell asleep and the city kept blinking
What was I thinking when I let you back in?
I am trying to break your heart
But still I'd be lying if I said it wasn't easy
6. Bob Dylan - Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

Oh Dylan. Is there anything you can't sing about without making it beautiful? This song was him explaining why he left his girlfriend at the time. Right now, I'm imagining this song is exactly how she's feeling.

But I wish there was somethin' you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
We never did too much talking anyway
So don't think twice, it's all right.
7. My Chemical Romance - Honey, This Mirror Isn't Big Enough for the Both of Us

Where as Mr Dylan gave us a poetic side of being the dumper, Gerard Way is showing the chaotic break down of a break-up. This song was the first real track (not including the instrumental opener) from their first album. Like a lot of break-up songs, it comes from the teenage emo years of my life. I still love this album unashamedly.

And you can cry all you want to, I don't care how much
You'll invest yourself in me, we're not working out
And you can't touch my brother and you can't keep my friends
and we're not working out
This time I mean it, never mind the times I've seen it

8. The Walkmen - The Rat

Another song of the 2003-2005 period of my life. It was big for me. I moved back to Australia from the USA, leaving behind someone dear to me as well as everything I knew. This song was so different from everything else on their debut album, and it hit a nerve with me. I may have wept when I finally saw this song live last year.

You've got a nerve to be asking a favor
You've got a nerve to be calling my number
I'm sure we've been through this before
Can't you hear me, I'm beating on your wall?
Can't you see me, I'm pounding on your door?

9. Atreyu - Right Side of the Bed

Ahh. Far out. 2003 again. Kind of cheesy metalcore again with overtones of death. But it's just good.

I can see her now, Dancing around, her drink in hand.
All her baggage in tow, I just want to forget and let go of all the love the joy,
the pain. I took your guilt and placed it into me and now I kiss it goodbye.
10. Los Campesinos! - Romance is Boring

Not about a break-up per se, but more about the slow death of love that both of you seem to ignore until it gets to that fatal point.

You're pouting in your sleep, I'm waking still yawning
We're proving to each other that romance is boring
Sure there are things I could do if I was half prepared to
Prove to each other that romance is boring
11. Billy Talent - The Ex

I'm not at this point yet, but I imagine I'll be following the course of the lyrics in this song pretty closely.

Why would she put me through such torture,
I would have given my life for her,
She was the one that knocked me over,
Now I'm alone sitting on the corner
12. The Get Up Kids - Mass Pike

You want real sad emo? You get old school Get Up Kids. All of the emotions. Especially when someone does it with a montague of pictures of love.

I wonder when I wander home If I'll be fit to drink alone.
Sleep with my memories, Pictures, apologies.
For every minute yesterday, Regret reminds me anyway.
If I remember anything, I'll make mistakes again. 
13. Bomb the Music Industry! - I Don't Love You Anymore

This song has always won my award as the best fan-made video ever. It's been stuck in my head since seeing BTMI! in February and I haven't been able to stop singing it. I hope it didn't become a pre-cursor for everything. The Lost line also resembles me way too much. And a bit of ska in a mix tape is always good to cheer up the soul.

I don't love you anymore.
No this isn't some mistake.
For the past two months I've just been getting drunk
And watching Lost and then getting even drunker just so I can fall asleep.
Every second I'm with you I get an ache in my head
And I spin in my bed and again and again and again and again.

And all the money I spend is my money again
I'll understand what is said when I'm out with my friends.
And at the end of the night, baby I'm'a gon' drive 'em home.

And all the time that I waste repeating mistake
And the ridiculous taste and the look on my face.
I'm gonna take it back.
Baby I don't love you no more.
14. No Doubt - Don't Speak

It's well known that Gwen and the bass player who's name escapes me were dating before the release of this album. This song beautifully documents the break up.

You and me
We used to be together
Everyday together always
I really feel
That I'm losing my best friend
I can't believe
This could be the end 
15. New Found Glory - Hit or Miss

Pop-punk. Of all the genres I listen to, I don't think you'll find as many whiny sounding songs about love and regrets. New Found Glory is probably the best of them all.

Have I waited too long
Have I found that someone
Have I waited too long to see you

Maybe it's for the best
Maybe it's not for anything
It wouldn't be so bad to take this right from me
16. Rod Stewart - Maggie May

Time to move away from my teenage years and into the classics again. This song, as far as I can tell, is about the failed fling between a young male and his older, richer lover. It captures the moment when Rod is deciding to end it.

I know I keep you amused but I feel I'm being used
Oh maggie I couldnt have tried any more
You lured me away from home just to save you from being alone
You stole my heart and that's what really hurt
17. The Vandals - My Girlfriend's Dead

The worst part of any break-up is telling everyone about it. Having to explain why it happened. The Vandals had a novel solution: pretend she's dead.

I once had a girlfriend,
But then one day she dumped me and everywhere
I'd go people would ask me where she was.

I don't want to talk about her.
Someone always asks about her.
So I tell them all my girlfriend's dead.
18. The Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love (With Some You Shouldn't've)?

Apparently heartache has been around for a long time. Even with the early punks in the 70s. 

I can't see much of a future
Unless we find out what's to blame
What a shame
And we won't be together much longer
Unless we realize that we are the same

Ever fallen in love with someone?
In love with someone
You shouldn't've fallen in love with
19. Arrows - Pour Me Into a Taxi

My friends have been getting depressed and emo to Arrows for years. I never understood why. I guess I first heard them when I was happy, through a friend that worked with the guitarist. But now even the tones of the guitar just make me weepy. The lyrics don't share the heartache when being read. Put it together as a narrative with the music and it just encompasses the whole feeling of the end of love.

There’s a photo by your bed of the two of us in Europe and it scares me to think of how many different men would’ve cast their eyes upon it on a Sunday morning. " When we sat on the curb outside my Sister’s house, did you really think I loved you?" "Are you that optimistic, or are you just that fucking naive?” you asked me.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mid year album review!

Some of the guys I do photos for asked me to submit my mid-year album list. If you've been following my Twitter you'd probably know what's going to be in the list, but here it is!

Chuck's mid-year 2012 album of the year list!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One Sentence Album reviews (#22)

Foxy Shazam - The Church of Rock and Roll (2012): The funky-hardcore sound I fell in love with has been replaced with mediocre rock 2.6/5

Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit (2012): a very quiet little alt-county album that got my toes tapping to every song. 4/5

Xiu Xiu - Always (2012): sounds like a best-of album: it covers all of their styles (synth-pop, darkwave, avant garde) and controversial topics 3.8/5

Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood Of Colour (2012): a horrible amalgamation of politics, dubstep and heavy rock, with seemingly no direction 1.6/5

Voodoo Glow Skulls - Break The Spell (2012): their ska, with a tinge of hardcore, dirty punk and hispanic influences, is still great 4/5

The Ting Tings - Sounds From Nowheresville (2012): Proves that they are a band that can write 1 good song, and make an album to hide it 1.5/5

The Skatalites - Treasure Isle Time (2011): Instrumental ska, from one of the pioneering groups. Retro sound, but classic music 4.7/5

The Menzingers - On The Impossible Past (2012): It's not exactly what I would call "punk"... too melodic. But damn it's good American rock 4/5

Say Anything - Anarchy, My Dear (2012): I've never liked them, but this album is good. I think he's dropped the whiny and gone a bit angry 4/5

Pulled Apart By Horses - Tough Love (2012): This album just smacks you in the face with great rock. I want to see this band live 4.7/5

Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy (2012): delightful indie-guitar-rock album showing Nada's song writing is still strong 4/5

Of Montreal - Paralytic Stalks (2012): A confused meandering album of disjointed noise with no discernable theme 2/5

Buckethead - Electric Sea (2012): 1 man, 2 guitar tracks: an album of beautiful and relaxing melodies 4.3/5

Attack Attack! - This Means War (2012): You know the formula for post-hardcore by now. Scream + sing + 10% synth + breakdown = every song. 2.8/5

Loma Prieta - IV (2012): dirty, intense hardcore. The tracks of their trilogy (4,5,6) will be
some of the best heavy music of 2012 4.6/5

The Saddest Landscape - After The Lights (2012): 90's style screamo. Like an early era Touche Amore demo where the songs are 3+ minutes 3/5

Lacuna Coil - Dark Adrenaline (2012): I always considered these guys the lesser Italian
cousin of Evanescence. I still do 2.5/5

Ani Difranco - Which Side Are You On? (2012): blues sound coupled with ranty political views. Lyricallyr not my thing, but I like the music 3.8/5
Lana Del Ray - Born To Die (2012): An indie-girl's take on soul, dripping with overt
sexuality. Makes for a refreshing change in pop-music 3.9/5

Pennywise - All Or Nothing (2012): it's not the band we once knew. Oh no. But it's a bloody awesome skate-punk album. 4.6/5

mewithoutyou - Ten Stories (2012): There is a song about eggplant! Less hardcore elements in this, but still uniquely them. And good 4.3/5

Buckethead - Balloon Cement (2012): 80's guitar shredding solos go an almost 8-bit Nintendo
sound 4/5

Maps & Atlases - Beware and Be Grateful (2012): I was a huge fan of their noodyly early days,
this new direction sounds like generic indie 3.5/5

Jack White - Blunderbuss (2012): Jack thinks he is Robert Plant. How cute. 3.9/5

Death by Stereo - Black Sheep of the American Dream (2012): how is this band not  popular? A great mix of hardcore/metal. Efrem's voice is great 4.4/5

Train - California 37 (2012): seems the dude is trying to prove he can write deep songs. Way too much going on with the lyrics 2.4/5

Macy Gray - Covered (2012): She's chosen some of my favourite songs and does alright covers. Except her voice isn't suited to them 3.5/5

Horse Feathers - Cynics New Year (2012): At first thought I was listening to Gomez, but then fell asleep to the quiet folk music 3/5

High on Fire - De Vermis Mysteriis (2012): Imagine Motorhead doing a lot of pot and recording a sludge album. So many huge riffs! 4.6/5

Cancer Bats - Dead Set On Living (2012): A blistering intro in R.A.T.S leads to an album resembling their awesome Hail Destroyer 4/5

Job for a Cowboy - Demonocracy (2012): I am not a fan of most death metal. This album shows some great guitar skill and riffs though 3.8/5

The Forecast - Everybody Left (2012): I thought the indie/emo breakout of 2002 was past dead... Not to these guys. 2.6/5

Paul van Dyk - Evolution (2012): The album goes everywhere electronic (dub, ambient, trance, vocals) and does it well 4/5

Municipal Waste - The Fatal Feast (2012): an album that takes its roots in a mix of 80's thrash and hardcore punk. A healthy combo 4.5/5

Torche - Harmonicraft (2012): stoner metal that is almost pop music. I wish this is what Triple M actually played as rock music 4/5

Future of the Left - The Plot Against Common Sense (2012): More structured songs are change from the random noise of old, but still the same wit and hilarity in lyrics 4.2/5

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The end... or not

Well, it's been over a month since I've lost posted in here. Life's been busy. Work killed me, lots of family stuff and gigs and photography coming out of ears.

I've taken a step back and re-evaluated my life to see where I can try to fit in time to sleep and I've re-prioritised things. As much fun as I've had with this blog, as much fun as it's been and all the opportunities that came from it, I just don't have time to dedicate to writing a blurb on each tour/band/gig/album that I want to. It sucks. I wish I could have time.

It's not the end completely. I'll come back every now and then for things such as gig reviews, my album reviews, end of year lists and I'll try to get back into Free Music Friday, because I get a lot of great music. The problem is I'm so overwhelmed with new music, my backlog is 200+ hours deep, and only getting deeper. It's actually depressing me how I don't have time to listen to the classics.

If you want to know what gigs I'm going to, I'm going to keep my concert calendar going. I have it synched to my phone calendar and it's a godsend. The link for it is here: If you have an Android/Google Calendar, you should be able to add it straight into your own.

I'm still reviewing albums on Twitter. Every work day I'll try and put one or two album reviews up. My twitter is here: I'll put a completed list in here every month or so.

My photography is something I'm really trying to focus on now. I'm doing shots for Rave Magazine, Tone Deaf, Alternative Music Hub (and hopefully some more in the works). Your best bet for seeing my photos is in those places, or on Tumblr or Flickr.

In fact, you should just go to Alternative Music Hub for all the news. They're good guys and I was getting most of my announcements through them anywho.

I'll blog a lot of my photos over at my actually photography blog now:

Thanks guys, I'm surprised how many people actually read this and would buy tickets and albums purely on the words I wrote. I only did it for myself and a few close friends and it's been truly amazing to see what me having fun could turn into.

- Allan

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Record Store day

Record Store day almost passed me by this year, if it wasn't for Kayleigh pointing it out on twitter about an hour ago. I've supported it over the years, always heading to Rockinghorse and Kill the Music to stock up on music. Last year I got a special Sonic Youth 12"!

It's coming up this Saturday, the 21st. For those of you that don't know, it's a day to get out and support independent music stores. We in Brisbane are lucky enough to have a few, not just the two I mentioned above. You'll get live performers, sales and special one off pressings just for the day.

The one I'm most excited for has to be at Tym Guitars, as it's also celebrating their 15th anniversary and 4th in their current location on Winn St in the Valley. There's local and interstate bands (Turnpike, No Anchor, Violent Soho, Margins and Dumbsaint) and they are hosting a special listening of the new J Mascis album (J is great friends with Tim).

I'll be stopping in at some point, hopefully in time to catch No Anchor (bring ear plugs people) and walk out with a few records I probably don't need, but want anyway (last time I was there  I saw the Yuck 12 inch, I want it).

Go support your independent music retailers!

Frenzal Rhomb play even more shows

It seems Frenzal has been a constant touring since they dropped their last album, Smoko at the Pet Food Factory. Being the hard working Australian punk band they are, they don't just hit up the major venues in major cities. In fact, they're coming up for some shows in Queensland and aren't even going anywhere near Brisbane.

While I'm on my nostalgia kick, there's a Recovery video of them. Including an interview conducted by Dave McCormack of Custard fame.

June 8, Kings Beach Tavern Sunshine Coast
June 9, Parkwood Tavern Gold Coast