Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review: Soundwave Festival, RNA Showgrounds, February 26 2011

My birthday was last week, which in the grand scheme of things meant that this week was Soundwave! I’m starting to get used to this late summer festival, as I’ve been going since its very inception in 2007. It’s been interesting to watch it mature; outgrowing the Riverstage and moving to the RNA. This year was just ridiculously crazy, having sold out with over 40000 tickets, having six stages and more quality international bands than you can poke a stick at.

Apologies in advance for the pictures, I only had my crappy camera phone with me and didn't really feel like using it much.

As always, I started the day with a walk around to familiarise myself with the surroundings. Starting in the back corner of sideshow alley, I happened across Never Shout Never opening the two stage 5s (and I mistook the lead singer for a female. Whoops). Opposite the two stages, a few hundred metres away, were the two parts of stage 4. Here I saw Nonpoint play the only song I like (or know) of theirs, with What A Day. Going under the train line took us to the main arena with the two main stages. Here I stood for a while and watched the local band, who won Unearthed, perform. They were a local metal band called Tria Mera. I stayed for the end of their set before my hike went outside of the RNA, across the road, back into the RNA and straight past stage 6 with Asking Alexandria playing their mediocre synth-moshcore and into stage 3 to watch the Starting Line.

I hope, from this description, you get the impression that the venue was large. Because yes, it was more than large. It was massive. During peak traffic times (when multiple stages emptied) it could take more than 20 minutes to get from stage 6 to stage 5. And because that’s what I planned on doing later in the day, I made sure I scoped it out in advance.

The first band I watched in full was the Starting Line. I had not heard anything from this band since I was in high school, not even listening to the CDs I have. So I was pleasantly surprised when their catchy pop-punk had me singing along to songs I had completely forgotten about. The crowd was sparse at the beginning, being the early end of the day, but they managed to get everyone moving and singing along with their closing song Best of Me.

I then made the trek all the way back across the venue, stopping to watch the Sword. Watching the Sword was like stepping back into the 70s. Big hair, big moustaches and big metal riffs with excellent singing. Although the subject matter of most of their songs was sci-fi, you just couldn’t help but feel that you were 40 years in the past watching bands like Led Zeppelin learn their art.

I stayed in the stage 4 vicinity for my second, of what would turn out to be many, blast from my musical past: Sevendust. I saw these nu-metallers almost 9 years ago, but you’d be pushed to find what had changed about them, apart from a few more grey hairs and a few more songs to play. Lajon and the boys put on a very tight performance, showing why Sevendust is one of the few nu-metal bands with longevity. Their songs were heavier than most nu-metal of old and the crowd seemed to remember most of the words. I even found myself singing along to most of Black.

I ducked out a few songs early to squeeze into the D barrier of the main stage, to catch a band I’ve been wanting to see since the 90s: Monster Magnet. The lead singer sauntered onto stage draped in a leather jacket, which in the stage’s position in the direct sun would have been hellish. But he took it cool, playing some slow, long drawn out stoner rock songs. Momentum was slowly built up over the course of their set, generally on the back of some very long and loud solos. Their songs had me wondering, not for the only time during Soundwave, if drugs would make it better. I think so. As much as I do love their long drawn out jams, watching them on the main stage in the middle of a hot scorching day did not bring out the magic in their music. But as the momentum built up, the magic returned, with the closing tracks of Powertrip and Spacelord. Powertrip may just well have been my favourite song of the day.

With Terror pulling out of the Step Inn show the night before, I had a tough choice: see them, or the Gaslight Anthem? This predicament was easily solved as I purchased my traditional festival sushi and was just mesmerised by the Gaslight Anthem. Their Americana-folk laced punk just had me transfixed. I was never a huge fan of their recorded music, but their live sound was just amazing, losing that Bruce Springsteen rip-off edge I always complain about. Before I knew it, I had seen their whole set and was craving more. Even the stupid bogan girl who rushed on stage and tried to make out with the band and then danced around disrupting all the instruments couldn’t ruin it for me.

I then hiked back up the hill, over the road and to the main stage to prepare myself for the greatest band of all time. But while waiting, I managed to catch the last half of one of the only good things to ever come out of my old state of Iowa: Stone Sour. Corey Taylor has to have one of the best singing voices of a modern rock band. He can project his voice amazingly, while holding the microphone so far away from his mouth. This man has a great voice. Unfortunately (for me), they stuck to a lot more of the ballad-style songs, but they did finish with a few heavy songs like 30-30-150.

I was getting edgy though. Shouldn’t Primus be playing now? Shouldn’t my favourite band of all time be on stage? But no, Stone Sour pushed way over the end of their set, delighting a bunch of fans I’m sure, but crushing the hearts of Primus fans that have waited even longer for their fill.

But when Les, Ler and Tim hit the stage, it was magic. Les debuted his new self-designed bass guitar, with a typical Les bass ditty, reminiscent of Over the Electric Grapevine. They then plunged into a set list including Harold of the Rocks, Over the Falls, Jerry Was a Racecar Driver, American Life, John the Fisherman and a new song in the Fisherman Chronicles: one about salmon that was played on a resonator bass. If you can’t tell by now, I was being a huge fan boy. Les made quips about “being a professional band and actually sticking to their allotted time”, which also showed their discontent at the shortened set time. They did finish on time, which meant cutting out the more popular songs that most people come to expect from a Primus set. Heck, he didn’t even play his upright bass that was tuned and ready to go. I was bummed, but luckily I’ll still see them in Melbourne. Most of the other fans won’t and I feel sorry for them.

Slash and his all-star band took over the main stage next. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but this highly polished performance was pretty darn good. He busted out a few of his new solo songs, but of course he stuck to a healthy dose of Guns ‘n’ Roses songs like Night Train, Sweet Child of Mine and the closing track of Paradise City. He even surprised me by throwing in a Velvet Revolver song, Slither, which I was pretty flipping ecstatic to see that he plays the same way I do on guitar. But way better. Definitely a surprise of the day was how good Slash was, and how his voice did not sound like years of whisky and cigarettes, as I always imagined it did.

I then journeyed away from the main stage and back to the stage 4 area to squeeze in to a mammoth crowd for thrash legends Slayer. Behind them were 36 Marshall guitar stacks. 36! And when Tom Araya and company started playing, you could hear and feel it. It was ridiculous. They were a force to be reckoned with live, with the speed of the music incredible. Unfortunately, as far back as I was in the crowd, the frenetic guitar playing just merged into a big distorted sound. I stuck around for 4 songs before trying to squeeze out. Behind me, trying to walk out, was a guy with what appeared to be a broken face, covered in blood, but grinning like an idiot. And stopping people to boast about how he got fucked up in a Slayer mosh pit.

I finally squeezed out and made it to stage 5 to see the strangest and most alienating live show I’ve ever seen: Foxy Shazam. And boy, was it strange. Their funk-core style music is fun and the band played along perfectly to this image, dancing and going crazy. The keyboard player was upside down a lot while still playing, climbing on his keyboard and just being a fool. But the strangest thing ever would be the lead singer. With a small pencil thin moustache, a Dennis Rodman basketball jersey (how ironic) and a vest, he just danced and slithered his way across the stage. Even doing a handstand for almost a minute while singing.

He told stories that went nowhere and jokes that weren’t funny and it was like a car crash, you shouldn’t watch, but you can’t look away. He climbed up all of the other musicians, including sitting on the shoulders of the guitar player, he smoked 5 cigarettes at once and then ate them while still lit, he kicked and smashed the microphone every chance he could. But the closing song was the killer, while the band was playing (and beginning to trash their gear) he flung the microphone over the rafters of the stage and started climbing it like a rope in gym. After smashing their gear they then got together and did an a Capella song before hurriedly tearing down their own gear with a few minutes left in their set time.

It was odd, but a great show. Their songs mainly stuck to their newer material, although they threw in a few songs from Introducing, which is just such a fun and awesome album. They obviously do this kind of thing on purpose, but I’m not complaining. Definitely one of the highlights of the day. You just don’t see bands very often put that effort into not just performing, but entertaining.

Mad Caddies were on the next stage, and as one of the only ska bands on the bill, I had to go and get my skank on. What followed was an excellent set of just fun music. They opened with Backyard and then played what seemed to be every song off of their greatest hits album. And I don’t care. Highlights include Monkeys, State of Mind and the guy in the wheelchair getting crowd surfed by his friends. Such a fun band, I’m glad I deviated from the larger stages to go see them.

I made it back to stage 4 to see the first artist I ever saw live: Rob Zombie. As always, his stage show was freakish, with looped videos from horror films going behind him and his small band. I must be a bit older now, as the whole thing seemed a bit kitsch, especially with one of his songs even being about bubblegum. Odd. It was a chance to see John 5 shred the guitar however, and the second last song belonged to him and about 5 minutes of solos. I’d heard so much about this great guitarist and it was a pleasure to see him live. He can play so goddamn fast. Unfortunately, his solos during Soundwave were just of the blisteringly fast category, I would have rather seen him stop for a minute and make some beautifully crafted music.

I ducked out during the last song Dragula to make my way all the way across the venue to see Protest the Hero. As I got to stage 6 Bring Me the Horizon just finished, which gave me ample time to judge all of the kids with my old man “kids these days” routine. They were all boasting about how violent they were in the mosh pit and wearing shirts from crappy bands... I kind of miss those innocent music days.

Canada’s Protest the Hero have to be one of the most technically sound metal bands I’ve ever witnessed. They were all amazing musicians, especially the bass player who mixed up slap bass and finger tapping in a way that only Les Claypool probably could ever hope to pull off. The crowd was a bit nonchalant, but this kind of music makes it almost impossible to move to. You just want to sit there and take in this level of musicianship. The lead singer, although not an amazing musician like the rest, did entertain with his jokes and stories and seemed to be having the time of his life. They played a few songs off of their new record, but finished their set with Bloodmeat.

I then started the hike for the last time that night, going all the way back to stage 4 to catch the last few tracks of the Bronx. One of my favourite bands, I still feel blessed with seeing their intimate show the night before. Seeing them on such a large stage was weird, but their sound was amazing. I did manage to learn that their gig the night before was the first time they’d ever played the song Strobe Life (which I also saw during the sound check). So glad I went to their sideshow. Unfortunately they went a bit late, as it cut into the band I’ve been waiting forever to see: Fucked Up.

The crowd was almost non-existent at this little stage annexe, but that didn’t stop all of us from enjoying ourselves. The band played along perfectly, and you could see the lead singer consider jumping into the crowd. And given that’s the band’s trademark move, I was surprised it took more than half the song for him to rip off his shirt and jump in amongst us. I hadn’t really gotten into the music all day (dancing wise) but this was just insane. Wedged between the barrier and the Protest the Hero singer, I was just dancing, screaming and jumping around like a madman trying to keep up with this frenetic display of hardcore. The singer even gave a shout out to the Fires of Waco boys, who kept (safely) on the side of the stage. This was the moment and this was the band I had spent all day waiting for and it was amazing. The singer picked up Scott’s mate Macca, upside down, and sang through his legs while pretending to go down on him. He smashed things into his head. He jumped on us. He went as far as his little mic lead would let him. He stuck cups of water to his head somehow. Even the security guys enjoyed it, having a laugh as most of us hardcore guys went crazy. They played my two favourite songs: Circling the Drain and they closed with Police. Afterwards he stayed in the crowd and talked to us, such a friendly guy. Scott took some pictures on Macca’s camera, so hopefully there’ll be some floating around of me being a hardcore idiot.

But what a day. Soundwave, you’ve restored my faith in you. Despite the tonnes of bogans making it like Big Day Out. Despite the heat and the sun. Despite the two bands I went for getting shorter set times. Despite the fact I wore a Backstreet Boys shirt and everyone mocked me. Despite the bottlenecks of walking between stages. It was just a great day.

And there was bootleg merch sellers outside. Soundwave has really become one of the biggest festivals in Australia now.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review: The Bronx/H2O/Trash Talk/The Mercy Beat, Step Inn, 25th February 2011

This gig was special for me on so many different levels. To start with, it was a fundraiser for flood relief (the flood which, of course, I was affected by). It was featuring a bunch of huge international punk and hardcore bands, playing a rare enough sideshow to the Soundwave festival the next day. It featured one of of my all time favourite live bands, the Bronx, having them play in a venue three or four times smaller than the last one they played in Brisbane. And because of that, it also let me, as an amateur/crappy photographer, get closer to these bands than I normally would ever be able to.

And I had a bloody kick-ass night.

I was also really pumped for it, as I had stumbled into the Bronx soundchecking earlier in the day. And the sound for such a small PA was amazing.

Terror were originally supposed to play, but their flights made it impossible to get to the venue on time. So they were replaced with local band The Mercy Beat.

I did not know of this band before coming in, but I was mightily impressed. Although they hit the stage early to a still filling band room at the Step Inn, they put on a great set. Full of high energy and plenty of loud guitars, they sounded as if a Nick Oliveri era Queens of the Stone Age wanted to play punk.

Of course, they were no replacement for Terror, but their 30 minute set made a fan out of me and a few of my friends.

But if I thought they were high energy, I have no idea how to explain the next band: thrashers Trash Talk.

The face of the guy on the side of the stage says it all. This band is one of the most high-energy crazy-stage-antics bands I've ever seen, almost on par with Dillinger Escape Plan.

Their short thrash songs were perfect for screaming...

...jumping in the air

and just all sorts of crazy. The lead singer was stage diving into the crowd most of the time, climbing the walls and just having a great time. And surprisingly, the music still sounded damn good, even with all of the insanity.

I wish I knew more of their songs coming into the gig, but regardless, they've got a new fan in me. Even just for their live show. Taking pictures was horrible, with the poor light and the speed these guys moved, but I tried anyway.

Not to mention, it was bloody hot.

I will definitely see these guys again.

H2O were next, with a bit of a change of pace. They play NY style old school straight-edge hardcore punk, and it was their first time playing Australian in over 9 years. In fact, they said it would be their last time playing Australia. So I am glad I got along to this show.

Their set was fringed by punk royalty (at least in regards to the Soundwave tour). Crammed on the stage behind them were Polar Bear Club, Sum 41, New Found Glory and members of pretty much every other punk band on the Soundwave bill. We were even lucky enough to get Chad from NFG come out and play a song on guitar/vocals.

These guys might be old, but they still show the passion for the music they had when they started. They even gave the crowd a serving for being lame and not stage diving or moshing.

But all the way through it, they showed why they are one of the best hardcore bands, putting on a set with almost as much energy as Trash Talk.

There was plenty of crowd sing alongs

And the bass player just loved his punk jumps in front of me.

At some point during the show, Terror's plane must've landed. The singer made it out, in a wind jacket for some strange reason, and sang Guilt By Association for us.

One of the best old-school hardcore bands out there, it'll be sad to never see them come to Australia again.

But the disappointment of H2O finishing was quickly outweighed by the stage going dark, the strobe light going overtime and the sounds of Knifeman coming through the air. Yes, the Bronx were here.

It's no secret that they love Brisbane and they put on a gig that made us love them even more. Despite the technical issues of a guitar amp being replaced over and over again.

They played a stunning set, covering all of their releases. I couldn't think of any song I still wanted to hear when they finished. Here's the set list:

And there's really nothing to say about this gig that I haven't said about the Bronx millions of times before. They were passionate about what they were doing and as such put on a great show. And so humble too, thanking Brisbane over and over again. I really get the feeling that they like it here.

The lead singer, as always, went a bit mental. He spent quite a lot of time riding the crowd while singing, or dancing around in the middle of the mosh. Or just grabbing on to fans.

When the set wrapped up over an hour later, almost at 1 am, everything was a mess. The stage was trashed, the audience was drenched in sweat, there were bodies and broken glasses everywhere and we were all dehydrated. But that's what you get when you close with the great song Kill Your Friends.

It was a great night in such an intimate venue, and I'm sure I won't get to see something of this calibre again. A big thank you to the Step Inn crew, Soundwave touring and all of the bands for putting such a great show together for a great cause. All up they raised over $13000 for the flood relief. Although it's helpful, for people like me, it was just as good seeing such a great show.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Free Music Friday 11!

I thought I'd give you all some free music before I officially start these holiday shenanigans. And today's free music comes from a band that randomly added me on Twitter. Now normally when someone adds me on Twitter I just presume it's spam and ignore it completely. But this profile had a little spark to their description which initially attracted my attention.

First off, they are from Madison Wisconsin, one of my favourite party locations in the world. Second, they play noise rock. And if you follow this blog at all, you'll know that I have a weakness for the world of noise rock.

They are, the United Sons of Toil.

They've got a new album ready to come out soon, but you can currently get their 2008 album Until Lions Have Their Historians, Tales of the Hunt Shall Always Glorify the Hunter. A mouthful, huh? I recently did the one sentence review treatment of it:
The United Sons of Toil (2008):this is what happens when 90s midwest-emo-loving kids grow up, get angry & discover feedback & distortion 4/5
As I mentioned, the best way to describe their sound is of a band that grew up on 90's emo/math-rock (the likes of Texas is the Reason and Sunny Day Real Estate) but also liked their noise and hardcore (I detect a definite Helmet sound floating in their music). They mixed it all up, let it marinated for a decade or so, and then created this band.

Their album of the ridiculously long name is available on their Bandcamp, for the low cost of "name-your-price". Check it out, and if you like it like I do, throw a few dollars and wait for their next album out in the next few months.


Thursday, February 24, 2011


So here's the deal kids, I'm off on holidays. A musical holiday.
Tomorrow I've got the Bronx/H2O/Trash Talk (Terror has had plane issues and will no longer be playing).
Saturday I'm at Soundwave.
Monday I fly to Melbourne and see Less Than Jake/New Found Glory.
Wednesday I see This Town Needs Guns.
Thursday I see Primus and the Melvins.

Then I get back on Saturday.

So between now and then, don't expect much in the way of updates. I'll stock pile reviews, news, pictures, etcs and update like crazy on my return, unless I get distracted by more shows then. Which I will.

Much love to all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


A few months ago I was fuming, as one of my favourite hip-hop artists was not coming to Brisbane. He was going to Adelaide, but not to BRISBANE?! Swear words and pieces of furniture were thrown about in disgust.

Apparently my anger caught on and attracted attention, because now I can say that yes, MF Doom is now coming to Brisbane.

One of the smoothest, lyrical and all around amazing hip-hop artists will be gracing us with his presence. April 1 at the HiFi.

I would be there. I want to be there dammit. I love his work. But one of my favourite bands of all time is playing the Zoo. I know they didn't do it on purpose, it's not often that a crazy ska fan is also a crazy hip-hop fan... But hey, you get that with me.


When it comes to my activist punk, I find it hard to go past Canada's finest, Propaghandi.

They take their strong beliefs (and disbelief at others) and mash it with skate-punk and metal influences. Making just some absolutely kick-ass music.

I missed their last tour due to work commitments/being stuck at a shitty mine in the Andes in Peru, where I was subjected to Scott picture messaging me the awesomeness of it. And I, for one, am still pissed off at it. Luckily, I now have the chance to make up for it, twice over.

May 28, Coolangatta Hotel
May 29, HiFi

You can grab a few of their MP3s for free here.

I Don't Even...

Well, here's a tour for you to scratch your head over.

The Mix n Mash tour, coming through Brisbane on May 18 at the Riverstage, will combine local and international hardcore and pop-punk bands. This mixture blows my mind. On one hand, you'll have the mosh heavy Bleeding Through, Confession and Parkway Drive; which most of the pop-punk children will just shake their heads at and cover their bleeding ears during. On the other hand you have pop-punk the Wonder Years and You Me At Six, which I'm sure the hardcore kids will use quite inappropriate slurs for homosexuals to deride, all while yelling during their sets.

It's a clever concept, the bands are obviously all friends. But what will the crowds be like? Ticket prices are apparently under $50, so if you like any 2 of these bands (or more) check it out.

Personally, I'd go almost for Bleeding Through. We don't see them much any more, and their album Truth is still one of my favourite heavier albums.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Denny Crane

William Shatner.
Up until a few years ago, unless you were a Trekkie, you really had no idea who this "odd" Canadian was.
And then he slowly became kitchsy popular. He recorded a few songs with Ben Folds and even did a spoken word cover of a classic Pulp song.
And then he was Denny Crane.

But really, we all love him for his crappy, yet hilarious spoken word. Which apparently he's been doing for over 30 years now.

Now, he's announced that he is coming over to Australia for what he calls "an intimate night". I don't know if this means poetry tour, or just him telling stories, but it'll be bloody funny.

It's at QPac, April 11. The kicker though? Cheapest ticket is $149.


Architecture in Helsinki

Architecture In Helsinki were one of those pre-hipster hipster bands that emerged from Australia many a year ago. They wrote dancy little indie numbers and everyone loved them.

They dropped off the face of the earth for a few years, but now they're back with a new song, Contact High:

Contact High by Architecture In Helsinki

To go hand in hand with the new song and up coming new album, they'll be touring the country and making us dance like idiot hipster kids.

May 27, HiFi

The Jebs

Remember the 90s? A great time for music. A great time for indie music. A great time for Australian indie music. And this was the pinnacle of it:

Ah, good times indeed. Flannel was still cool. And Triple J played good music still. Sometimes I wish I could go back.

Luckily, Jebediah are letting us, as Bob Evans has finished his solo stuff for a while, and the Perth group has gotten back together, recorded some new music and is now going out on a tour.

June 3, HiFi
June 4, Irish Club, Toowoomba

A long time ago, we used to be friends

For anyone keeping track of new and upcoming Australian bands, this announcement would not be a surprise. Dandy's drummer Brent De Boer has almost officially become an Australian now, what with living in Melbourne and forming a band with the locals (Immigrant Union).

But the rest of his "other, more well known" band will be coming to join him on a small Australian tour. Singing such songs as this former My Restaurant Rules theme song:

They'll apparently be putting out a new album in the next few months, so we'll probably catch a few of their new songs on this tour.

May 31, The Tivoli

Underoath/A Day To Remember tour

Two albums I surprisingly loved last year was Underoath's and A Day To Remember's.

A Day To Remember put together post-hardcore and pop-punk for a fun little mix. They came through in December for the very wet No Sleep Til festival. I didn't go see them, as I was dry and I didn't want to go in the sea of scene kids, but by all reviews they were fun as all hell. It seems a bit weird that they'll be back within half a year of their last tour, but their fans will love it.

Underoath on the other hand, has been a band I've always had a little bit of a crush on. From my friend's Christian-music loving ways in high school, I fell in love with this song:

Then in 2006 they put out what is still one of my top 30 albums, Define the Great Line. It was just a beautifully put together screamo album (if there's such a thing). Although they lost their singer/drummer to the pop-punk band the Almost (who are almost good.. haha) they still stayed together and put out an album last year, Disambiguation. And it was grand. They dropped most of the singing vocals and just made a great heavy album.

I've seen them a few times now and their live show is amazing. If you look past the occasionaly god related speeches that pepper the show, it's still amazing. And I have a man-crush on their guitar-tech as he always checks the guitars to the song There is No Dana by Twothirtyeight.

Put these two bands together and you're bound to have a loud, yet fun, musical night. Well actually, two nights in South East Queensland!

May 15 - The Tivoli, AA
May 17 - Coolangatta Hotel, 18+

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Good Vibrations: the Curse

So this year's Good Vibrations just keeps getting worse and worse. What with major attractions pulling out and all, it seems that the festival is just getting to be a whole pile of 'meh'. So much so that a bunch of my friends are offloading tickets with just a few days to go.

This may throw them for a spin though, because Good Vibrations are now offering a "buy 1 get 1 free ticket" deal, but with a twist. If you show up at the door with a ticket, you can get a second person in for free!

Oh dear, the sales must be real slow for the Gold Coast leg this Saturday.

Soundwave local opening band

Chuck: Trend spotter.

A while ago I saw a band open for another few bands and I liked them a lot. And blogged about them. And now they've won a competition to be the local band opening the Soundwave festival in Brisbane.

They are Friends with the Enemy.

Well done to them! They're awesome and deserve it.

Catch them February 26 at the RNA showgrounds.


I've got a bunch of free music for you. And it's not even Friday yet.

Devin Townsend
This man is a music machine. When he's not pushing out great metal albums for Strapping Young Lad, he's putting together great music under his own name. And this year he'll be putting out two albums of solo material. To get a taste of what's to come, you can download a free 5-track EP right here.

Title Fight
Another one of those melodic hardcore/pop punk cross over bands that have been emerging from late, except with a twist: I actually like Title Fight. Their debut LP is coming out very soon, so they've put out a free MP3 for everyone to salivate over.

San Cisco
These boys (and girl!) are from my birth place, Perth. More specifically, Fremantle, home of the Bon Scott statue and a park bench of many stories (according to Bek after a few beers at Little Creatures). They do a style of dream-pop, very similar to Beach House and Girls. Being from Perth, you know they've got a bit of rep (it's hard to be a bad band over there, the scene is tough and unforgiving). They've got two free tracks you can download from this press-page.

Top Shelf Records
And finally, the company Top Shelf Records are celebrating their fifth birthday. And in celebration, their giving away a bunch of albums for free downloads. Now pay attention, you must do this. Click here. Download it. Listen to at least Caravels. Your life will be better for it. Trust me.

The Waifs

When you think of Australian folk music, it's hard to go past the Waifs.

They've been putting together some of the most beautiful folk rock to come out of this country for the better part of a decade now. In the next few weeks they'll be releasing a new album called Tempatation. If you're keen, you can download the track Angela for free. After you've done that, put it on, lie in the grass in the sun, close your eyes and truly enjoy the beauty of it all.

And then open your eyes, and head on out to catch them touring the new album.

March 2, Nambour Civic Centre
March 3, The Tivloi

The Collision Continues

Since releasing their album Theory of Everything mid last-year, Children Collide have been working their little asses off. And I don't blame them. In our ADD generation's one-hit-wonder style of music, they've got to try hard to keep our attention.

But with songs like this, I'll always hold a special place in my CD collection for Children Collide:

I've been rocking out to them constantly since my roomate introduced me to them 3 or 4 years ago (too long to remember now). I've seen them opening for bands, I've seen them selling out venues, I've seen them drunk, I've seen them sober and I've even seen them play once this year at Sunset Sounds.

But when they play their best, it's definitely in the club setting. So get around to the Zoo on April 20 and have a damn good time watching one of Australia's better young rock and roll acts sing songs written mostly about outerspace.

Pack it up, pack it in. Let me begin.

This is Everlast:

Soulful. Slightly depressing. Introspective. Laid back.

This was Everlast a long time ago:

Yes, he was an "Irish-American Rapper." And he had a massive one-hit wonder that most of us know when we're in the Mustang bar listening to 80s/90s music and still managing to remember all the words despite the quantity of cheap rum and vodka we've imbibed and the decades between last hearing the song.

House of Pain split up in 1996 which left Everlast writing some great folk-American-rock. But to celebrate a 20 year anniversary of being white rappers, House of Pain are coming out on a reunion tour. They'll be coming along as the Grooving the Moo festival, but we get to see them do a headline show in Brisbane.

May 2, HiFi
May 5, Coolangatta Hotel

I think I've just found an excellent reason to wear my 1991/92 replica Chicago Bulls Scottie Pippen jersey. And maybe a backwards cap. But not fitted. I'm pretty sure they didn't exist then.

Grooving the Moo sideshows

I was actually a little bit jealous when I saw the announcement of the Grooving the Moo lineup. Jealous because it only goes to regional locales, and there were more bands I'd enjoy seeing than most festivals this year (Laneway announcement included!).

But, unlike most other festivals in Australia, the promoters are letting the bands do sideshows in most major centres. And pretty much every band I want to see on this festival are playing sideshows in Brisbane.

The first band I avoided for ages, because for the life of me I could not understand what the fuck was the irony of dancing to Joy Division. But if you haven't guessed the band yet, you probably didn't listen to Triple J at any point in the last 3 years, because it's the Wombats. They'll be doing a sideshow of dance-indie May 3rd at the Tivoli.

The second band is one of those bands that kicked off my love with all things musical from the Scandanavian regions.

I've missed seeing them tonnes of times now and constantly regret it. They mix together a healthy dose of geekiness, dance and rock, generally with a mix of tracksuits and BMX thrown in. What isn't there to love?

I will definitely be there this time, May 4 at the Zoo. 18+

Cut Copy

In what was quite a busy week for Cut Copy last week, they released an album and headlined the main stage (or at least the biggest one) at Laneway. I missed it to go see !!!, because, let's be honest, I figured they'd be back to do an Australian tour very soon.

And god, it feels good to be right.

If you don't know Cut Copy, they do a very relaxed electronica. But not so relaxed that you can't get up and dance. I personally haven't listened to their new album Zonoscope yet, but their 2008 release In Ghosts Colours generated more than a lot of hype. And most of it was warranted.

If you missed them at Laneway, you can catch them May 19 at the Tivoli.

Here's Johnny!

A line from a classic Simpson's episode and from a classic Stephen King-inspired movie.

And now it's being used as a pun-title for a new tour featuring two of Australia's indie darlings: The John Steel Singers and Jonathon Boulet (of the band Parades). The tour is shaping to be a bit of a collaborative effort, with them both promising surprises and a little magic in all of the shows.

Here's a video I took (and re-mastered using my audio ninja-ness) of the John Steel Singers (and others) covering the Saints:

Maybe they'll do something like that again? But without Robert Forster I imagine.

March 9, Great Northern, Byron
March 10, Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
March 11, Kings Beach Tavern, Caloundra
March 12, HiFi

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One sentence album reviews (#10)

Electric Wizard - Black Masses (2010): Imagine Black Sabbath smoking a hell of a lot more pot. 4/5

Eternal Summers - Silver (2010): dreamy, jangly lo-fi. Honestly thought it sounded like it was from 10 years ago. 3/5

Forever The Fallen - Narrations (2010): Why do I keep listening to post-hardcore?! I hate 95% of it. At least this one has no electronica 1/5

Midi & the Modern Dance - Make it Easy on Yourself (2010): quiet jangly guitar indie, with a hint of 90s emo influence 3.5/5

Magic Man - Real Life Color (2010): quiet synth-pop indie. Very cheerful. 4/5

Former Ghosts - New Love (2010): Imagine Joy Division doing moody electronica. This is that. 3.5/5

Grids - Kansas (2010): A brutal noise-rock assault by a band that sounds like they listen to a lot of Cursed. 4/5

Hellogoodbye - Would it Kill You (2010): The last time I listened to these guys they were bad electo-pop-punk; now 60's inspired pop. 3.5/5

Ill Niño - Dead World (2010): Old nu-metal band embraces the regular metal sound; highlight: Smashing Pumpkins metal cover 2.5/5

Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans - The Falcon Lake Incident (2010): My new favourite folk-rock supergroup (sorry Travelling Wilburys) 4/5

John Steel Singers - Tangalooma (2010): Excellent local pop, that channels big band music through their use of horns 4/5

Kid Cudi - Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager (2010): Can someone tell me why there is not more beautifully crafted hip-hop like this? 4.5/5

Killing the Dream - Lucky Me (2010): Very fast hardcore punk with gravelly vocals, like Comeback Kid where the vocalist has a cigarette habit 3.5/5

The Aquabats - Hi-Five Soup! (2011): It's fun, but after time every song is starting to sound the same and the novelty is becoming thin 3/5

Casey Jones - I Hope We're Not the Last (2011): Excellent hardcore album. But really, listen to it for the intro to the song Butt-Hash. 4/5

The Get Up Kids - There Are Rules (2011): It's much heavier than their classic emo sound and may alienate old diehard fans, but not me 4.5/5

Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (2011): I wish every post-rock album was like this, not just droning & dreary guitars. 4.5/5

The United Sons of Toil - Until Lions Have Their Historians, Tales Of The Hunt Shall Always Glorify The Hunter (2008): this is what happens when 90s-midwest-emo-loving kids grow up, get angry and discover feedback and distortion. 4/5

Lack - Saturate Every Atom (2008): My review of this indie-punk-hardcore band is moot as the first lyric is "behead all the screamo kids" 4/5

Sunday, February 13, 2011


One of my favourite local bands, Numbers Radio, have been working hard for the last year or so, touring constantly and putting out great music. 2011 is not the year they are going to stop though, as they have a new single coming out, called Josephine.

And because you're all lazy buggers, I'll embed it here:

To celebrate the launch of this kick-ass single, they'll be doing a single launch show.
March 11 at X&Y. Supported by Blonde on Blonde

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Free Strokes Song

You like the Strokes, don't you? If you don't, please leave my blog. We seriously can't be friends.

There's no denying that when Is This It came out, the whole world dropped everything and paid notice. It was like a resurgence of the underground garage rock days of the 60s and 70s. Some people say that after that it was all downhill, but I won't hear anything like that from anyone thank you very much. Room on Fire was magnificent and First Impressions of Earth brought an extra dose of loud rock and kick-ass with it.

They then took a break, Albert went off and made some beautiful, reminiscent of 1960s pop-rock music, while Julian put out some of the same old same old.

But now, they're back together. They're putting the finishing touches on a new album and the first song can be yours. For free. But only for the next 48 hours.

Called Under the Cover of Darkness, you can grab it right here. I've only listened to it about 10 times already, but I'll let you form your own impression of it. I don't want to bias it at all.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Chariot

Well it's not official yet, but the Marathon boys said they were playing this show on their Facebook. And that's as official I need to be to get excited. Coming in at Number 9 on my best of 2010 album list, the Chariot are a chaotic noise/hardcore/mathcore/who-knows-what-core band.

They were originally only playing one show in Queensland as part of their Australian tour, and that was at Easterfest in Toowoomba. But luckily they have seen the outcry of their fans in Brisbane, and have organised a club show here.

An all-ages club show too!

April 20 at the Fort, with the awesome locals Marathon.

I'd recommend pre-buying a ticket for this. It'll be full.

The Chariot

The Drums

I never go to Splendour. I wish I had in 2006, but ever since then the lineup hasn't excited me enough to fork out a large chunk of money to spend a long weekend driving a long way to camp in a muddy field full of pill-popping drunk-party girls to listen to bands, 90% of which play every Australian festival ever.

But if I had gone in 2010, I would've definitely checked out the Drums.

As I have much lamented, 2010 was a year of the re-emergence of surf-rock. Where as surf-rock has been interesting in the past, 2010 was a year of generic sounding guitar-surf rock.

The Drums weren't really like that. They were a bit more upbeat and a bit more electro. Like if old school Gang of Four and New Order crossed over with the Beach Boys. That description makes me happy, like the Drums music does.

Well in less than a year, they've decided to come out as part of the regional Grooving the Moo festival. And like the Go Team, Brisbane actually gets sideshows!

May 3, The Zoo.

The Drums

The Go! Team

Back when Triple J were good (~2004) this band had a bit of a hit time!

Their mix of extreme lo-fi (mmm humming and distortion) with hip-hop, dance, alternative rock and lots of experimentation with noise made them a pretty great band for that time and place that was 2004. And unsurprisingly, I dug it.

Fast forward 7 years and there's been 2 albums since Thunder, Lightning, Strike; but no tours in 4 years. But that shall be rectified, as they have been announced as part of the Grooving the Moo run of festivals.

Although these festivals run to regional centres (Queensland's stop is Townsville, if it hasn't blown away), unlike most other festivals we get Brisbane sideshows. So catch the Go! Team May 4 at the HiFi.

Donavon Frankenreiter

Sure, he's not as good as the original Donovan (and his name is spelt differently), but he's got that same laid back folk rock with a dash of beach and surfing thrown in.

The beach part is no surprise, he did start his life as a professional surfer that just happened to hang around Jack Johnson. And his sound is a lot like Jack's at time. He's taking a very extended tour of Australia over most of March, probably so he can do a bit surfing while it's still cold in America.

As such, you can catch his mellow sounds on the following shows:
March 14, the Zoo
March 15, the Coolangatta Hotel
March 16, Beach Hotel in Byron

Cum on Feel The Noize

Girls, it's time to rock your boys like it's the 80s again.

Warrant - Cherry pie
Uploaded by krematoria. - Explore more music videos.

Coming in 2011, it's a triple dose of music memorabilla, all live! (and possibly in wheelchairs!) The lineup is right out of your dad's record collection and includes Quiet Riot, Warrant and LA Guns (that's the Guns from Guns 'n' Roses if you were wondering).

All this nostalgia is going down at the Tivoli May 7.

The tour is one of those classic album tours, for Quiet Riot's 1983 album, Metal Health.

Dead Kennedys tour

A few weeks ago I bought my first Dead Kennedy's vinyl. It was hard to find, but gosh darn it, it's a classic for any collection.

And now we get a tour!

However, whatever hopes you had of screaming out Too Drunk to Fuck at the top of your lungs at a crazy punk show like this, you should shelve them. As the fearless lead singer, Jello Biafra (better know for his voice overs on many Offspring albums) hasn't been part of the band for ages.

Now, that shouldn't stop you from going out on April 7 to the HiFi and rocking out with all the giant mohwawks, but to me... it may just not be the same. Kind of like that Misfits tour without Danzing.

April 7. HiFi.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

News Post

I hate doing all the news in one blog post, but I've been snowed under this month and it's not picking up. And I am inherently lazy. So here's a bunch of news in bullet points.
  • Kings of Leon tour is now officially postponed until November 8, but still at the Entertainment Centre. Tickets for the march tour can be used there.
  • Fleet Foxes, the folk-rockers, has a free MP3 from their new album here for you:
  • British India also have a free MP3 for you:
  • Unkle were one of the bands on the Groovin' the Moo festival announcement that I got excited for. And now they're doing sideshows! May 3, HiFi. Now if only they had Ian Astbury come on that tour with them...
  • Christian rockers (with a Jesus lookalike on keys) Emery are coming on another tour. They're a great live band, but unfortunately, much like the Chariot tour, the only Queensland date is at Easterfest in Toowoomba, April 23. BOO TO YOU.
  • The Rics Big Backyard festival on March 26 has added a few more bands: Violent Soho, Velociraptor and Numbers Radio being the highlights.
Now good day to you.

Sidewave/Flood Relief/HUGE SHOW

I'll be quick so you can read this and buy your ticket, because there's only about 80 left. It got announced earlier today and it's already almost sold out.

But on February 25 a bunch of Soundwave bands will be doing a flood relief show at the Step Inn. They are Trash Talk, Terror, H20 and the headline act will be the Bronx! This is a massive show. MASSIVE. At a tiny venue. Something like ~150 people only will be in there.

The ticket revenue will be going straight to the flood relief. So not only is it a great show (featuring one of my favourite bands, the Bronx), but it's helping people out as well.

To get a glimpse of how awesome this will be, here's a recording of the Bronx last time they were here, going on about how much they love Brisbane:

DO NOT WAIT. This will sell out by tonight probably.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Best of 2010: Albums

My best of 2010 albums list has very little crossover with my best of 2010 songs list. 2010 has seen some amazing albums released where some songs were maybe not amazing to stand out by themselves, but together on place in an album it just puts it all together. I was aiming for a list of 5. Then it became 10. And then it became 20. There's just been so many good albums put out over so many different genres that I couldn't separate them. So here's the top 20, starting with the two that just missed out.

22. Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
21. Kid Cudi - Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager

20. Daughters - Daughters

Chaotic, noisy, math-hardcore. It’s hard to describe this band as they blend so much in to their self-titled (and last) album. At times it’s an assault on your ears that still manages to make sense in music, all while topped off with quirky, almost spoken vocals.

19. Crime In Stereo - I was Trying to Describe You to Someone

A turn around from their emo-punk days. Unfortunately their last album, they followed their friends Brand New with an evolution of sound into a more rounded, well produced rock feel. This comparison is not a bad thing, as Brand New are one of those few bands that continually change their sound, generally for the better.

18. Cower - Land Before Time

It’s like Black Sabbath decided to form a hardcore band. Dark detuned guitars, with an almost Ozzy styled vocals but playing with more of a hardcore feel and riffs. At times there’s also a very blues influence, including the random acoustic track towards the end of the album, which shows off some very nice acoustic guitar blues.

17. Ghostface Killah - Apollo Kids

After a remix album and an experimentation with R’n’B, Wu Tang’s most prolific member (in my opinion) has returned to the style we know and love him for: that of a slick rapper rhyming about the grimey life of the streets. As always it features a slew of guest rappers from the mighty Wu, but Apollo Kids also includes guests such as Black Thought from the Roots and Busta Rhymes. This is almost as good as the Ghostface of old.

16. The Chemical Brothers - Further

The last Chemical Brothers album was an abomination on my ears. Especially the fish song. *shudders* Luckily on Further they’ve completely changed tack. Gone are the almost all the vocals. Instead we are left with 8 highly polished tracks of beautiful electronic music. Ranging from relaxing chill out parts, to dreamy sequences to full on assault noise and dance beats, this album has it all. An absolute masterpiece.

15. Envy – Recitation

Normally when I see the words “post-rock” mentioned anywhere near a band, I get a bit hesitant. When done well, it’s beautiful music, but more often than not it sees my eyes slowly drooping shut until my neck rocks forward in sleep, as their seemingly never-ending soft-instrumentals lull me. And then there’s Envy. It’s not post-rock per se, but Recitation swims in a major post-rock influence. But then it’s mixed (shaken and stirred) with screamo and hardcore. And what you get is one of the most beautiful albums ever recorded. The songs are so amazingly structured, it’s almost symphonic. They build up from gorgeous melodies that just swell and swell until they hit a cinematic climax, at which point the crunching heaviness occasionally kicks in. The only bad thing about this album is that my minimal conversational Japanese I know isn’t enough to understand the lyrics. But you don’t need the lyrics, the beauty of the language just flows with the music.

14. Girl Talk - All Day

Sure, it’s not “real” music. None of it is original. It’s just an entire album of samples. But where most people would just mix a musical track with a lyrics track, Girl Talk goes OCD with the level of detail that only a musical fan boy could do. From the opening seconds of Ludacris over Black Sabbath, to the hidden gem that is Fugazi with Rhianna (and an appearance of Dr Octagon), Girl Talk rewards his listeners for paying attention. All Day is an all-encompassing and never ending game of “name that song” (here’s the answers if you want to cheat). And he’s made all the samples work together to actually sound like real songs. A whole 71 minutes. A whole 71 minutes that was released for free, just to make it sweeter.

13. Toadies – Feeler

I’ll be honest, before I heard this album I was like everyone else in the world: I only knew of one Toadies song, Possum Kingdom, all the way from the mid nineties. And that’s the reason why this album is rating so high for me. It sounds like they pulled it straight out of the mid 90’s and right into 2010. It’s that raw grungy-sound that defined 90’s alternative rock. Which is more or less what this album is. It was originally recorded as their second album in 1997 and 1998 and was just never released due to label disputes. Until over a decade later. The songs still sound relevant in this modern musical landscape, probably more so than the 90s, as that grunge sound has almost died away and is now unique again.

12. Meth, Ghost & Rae - Wu-Massacre

Wu-Massacre is about as close to a real Wu-Tang clan album we’ll ever get these days. It’s got three-eighths of the Wu artists on every track, with more guest appearances (as you’d expect from any modern rap album). At times it’s more polished than what you’d expect from a Wu album, but there’s plenty of old school sounding moments when for a glorious few minutes you think it’s the full group.

11. Robert Plant - Band of Joy

Not bad for a 62 year old. Not bad for a 62 year old that once fronted the greatest (source needed) rock and roll band ever. Of course there will be comparisons drawn from Band of Joy to Led Zeppelin, but I won’t be one to indulge much in that. All I will say is that it sounds more like the quieter Zeppelin songs (think like All of My Love and Travelling Riverside Blues). Band of Joy, with no comparisons to classical rock, is just a good album of blues and southern American influenced rock and folk. It’s the kind of songs that you could easily imagine playing around a campfire as the night wanes on. And on some of the tracks there’s a beautiful female harmony added in.

10. The Walkmen - Lisbon

After blowing me away with their first single the Rat in 2003, the Walkmen has been one of those bands that are very hit and miss. Each album has a few good tracks and then the rest just become a screech in my ears, with the singer’s vocals wavering and not finding key. However, Lisbon is what happens when they finally get it right. The Walkmen have finally managed to live up to their potential (in my eyes at least). They’ve nailed the melodies in what is a very laid-back and relaxed indie release.

9. The Chariot - Long Live

Long Live is chaos. From the very first seconds of the opening track Evan Perks, as the feedback whines and fills the speakers, the Chariot just explode. The chaos treads a fine line to just becoming horrible noise, but somehow it never crosses the line. It’s so chaotic that at times the songs gets interrupted half-way through with a random olde-timey sample or there’s a guest vocalist with an oddball voice that pops up. The Chariot has always been that Norma Jean copycat band (due to their histories together and very similar sounds) but Long Live has finally seen them establish their own sound.

8. Nas & Damian Marley - Distant Relatives

A combination of hip-hop and reggae and songs about African-American roots in Africa. Take one of the better MC’s (Nas) and the son of reggae’s demi-god (Damian Marley, who’s pretty damn good himself) and there’s really no way this album fails. There’s some great jungle-inspired beats overlayed with some uplifting and almost inspirational lyricism. It’s not often (in my narrow view of the hip-hop world at least) where artists dedicate an entire album to a theme. Nas and Damian have really nailed the them with great music in Distant Relatives.

7. Norma Jean - Meridional

Norma Jean’s last album, the Anti-Mother, moved away from their traditional song writing strengths. They softened down and wrote full length songs. The fans will tell you it wasn’t their best work (myself included). However, on Meridional they return with full crushing force. The songs return to the same style as the magnificence that was their album Redeemer. Crushing and dirty guitar riffs, repeated and shouted lyrics interspersed with surprisingly quiet (yet still aggressive) fills. Not quite on par with Redeemer, but in my opinion it’s their second best album.

6. Neil Young - Le Noise

Many would say Neil’s greatest work is in the past, and I’m not one to argue against that. Lately he’s come up against that great wall most artists with more than a few ‘good’ albums face: how to reinvent themselves. And with Le Noise, Neil has done an outstanding job. The album producer has just stripped everything away from Neil Young’s music, making it just a man, his guitar, his voice and his lyrics. What is left is just raw: emotions and music. Whether it’s a song with reverb and feedback on his electric guitar and loud singing, or just a soft sounding acoustic with equally soft vocals, it’s a side of Neil you’ve yet to see. It makes him almost seem frail and weak, while still trying to maintain a strong revolutionary frontage. It’s a very good symbolism for the man he is now. Plus it’s called Le Noise for a reason. It gets quite noisy at times.

5. The Bouncing Souls - Ghosts on the Boardwalk

As a huge Bouncing Souls fan, this album was a long time coming. Their last record, the Gold Album, was anything but gold (so much that in their last tour they played zero songs off the album). Most of Ghosts on the Boardwalk had been leaked with their 20th Anniversary 7 inch series, but I didn’t care. When it came together as a package, it became a great album. From the beginning build up of Gasoline to the typical fast & hardcore nonsense that is Badass, this is a great album. They’ve slowed up their hardcore/pop-punk (maybe their age) but they still manage to rock great songs.

4. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Hawk
These two, without a doubt, have the sexiest voices in rock and roll (well, maybe with a Tom Waits exception). Over the past few years the former Belle and Sebastian cellist and Screaming Trees/Queens of the Stone Age singer have put out a few albums of alt-country/folk ballads. I’d heard them and thought there were a few great songs, but then out of the blue came Hawk. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I saw Mark Lanegan play at around the same time I got this album, but I fell in love hard with Hawk. Hawk covers everything from soft and sad vocal songs, to old school American-country/rockabilly, to 1960’s noisy garage rock jams in the title track (is that a distorted saxophone I hear in there?). All of this in an album that maintains some sort of beauty over the whole length, and is so accessible that even my Dad could listen to it while harvesting grain for 14 hours a day (and he did).

3. Los Campesinos! - Romance is Boring

Where the hell has Los Campesinos been my entire life?! On Romance is Boring this Welsh band carves out a luscious, and at times orchestral, indie-keyboard-pop. Each song is beautifully layered with the mix of instruments. The songs feel like they have a mind of their own, changing keys, time signatures and beats at random times, like the mathcore bands I love. But then there’s the vocals. A brooding male and a chirpy female interplaying with each other. Singing some of the most poetic and literary lyrics I have ever heard. Most of the lyrics are fairly jaded, obviously about the death of romance and love (as per the album title). Romance is Boring takes me on a roller coaster ride of sad and brooding, angry and noisy, happy and dancing and soft and contemplative... It’s as if they chronicled an entire relationship into an album.

2. Dangers - Messy, Isn't It?

From the start, with the guitar twanging and Al asking “Why didn’t you kill yourself today?” you can’t help but feel the anger. The guitar is heavy and low, the vocals are spat out at you with such ferocity and the lyrics themselves are dark and disturbing (although some songs such as Opposable are almost laughable at its word play). Throughout the course of the album we hear snippets of people incanting “It’s so nice to wake up in the morning all alone and not have to tell somebody you love them, when you don’t love them anymore”. There are songs about the speed at which cancer can strike you down (based on his grandfather’s death) and prejudice towards homosexuals. Messy Isn’t It definitely covers all of the darker sides of life we want to ignore, with the accompanying hardcore music complementing the anger towards the dismissal of this subject matter. And it fucking rocks hard.

1. Bars of Gold - Of Gold

From the 8 bit intro of the song Boss Level, you know you’re listening to something unique and different from most music. It starts as an homage to 80s video games (the music, the lyrics “you ride a horse you better carry a gun” and even the song title!) before sliding into a punk guitar feel. The rest of the album is just a curve ball. It jumps all over the place from dance guitar, banjos, math-rock, hardcore, punk, country and folk. When reading it, it sounds like an absolutely bloody mess. But it works so wonderfully together. It’s probably not for everyone, it sounds rough around the edges but it’s this kind of music that I truly love. Bars of Gold, the bastard child of hardcore band Bear vs Shark, shows that musicians are willing to put everything out there and experiment with new sounds and still make great music.