Saturday, April 30, 2011

Colin Hay

The bane of my time living in the USA was the band Men at Work. Without fail, at least once a day, I'd hear the song Land Down Under. Every. Single. Fucking. Day.

It's enough to drive you to the point of no-return. But then, the lead singer popped up in a Scrubs (my favourite show at the time) video, which redeemed him and the band for me, and led me to discover that Colin Hay is not a one-hit wonder. In fact, he's a song writing machine.

He's got a new album coming out, called Gathering Mercury. To launch it, he's only playing a select few songs around the country. Queensland's will also be a flood relief fundraiser. It'll be May 20, at Joe's Waterhole in Eumundi. It's a bit of a drive away, but I can't think of a better place for him to play. The crowd won't be your regular city hipsters, but more the kind of people that appreciate Colin Hay, what he's done, and what he continues to do.

Track and Field

While you read this story, you should play this song in the background.

Presenting: Track and Field.

The idea is the brainchild of a bunch of local band managers. The idea being that instead of having regular music club nights, or an annual festival, they create some sort of fun medium ground. And thus, Track and Field was born. Every few months now they'll put together bands and DJs in a warehouse like space for good party times.

The first installment of Track and Field will happen on June 4 at the Old Museum. The bands include Last Dinosaurs, Ball Park Music, The Belligerents and Mitzi. The DJs will be members of bands such as Hungry Kids of Hungary, the John Steel Singers and the Honey Month.

Tickets will be $17 on pre-sale and $22 later on. I'm pretty sure this is 18+ too, as I imagine this won't be a party without some sort of drinks flowing.

Free Music Friday 18!

Today's free music Friday is posted on Saturday morning for multiple reasons: I'm lazy, I was busy all day/night yesterday and it's a lot of music to digest.

Anyway, it's Rhubarb.

Rhubarb are Brisbane pop-punk rockers, who emerged on Triple J way back in 1999. You may remember them for a very catchy song called Exerciser. Heck, it was one of the first songs I ever downloaded.

They put out 3 fun albums before breaking up around 2006 (according to a quick Google search). I have no idea why, but now they've decided to put out their music for free. Every album. I'm pretty sure they're not coming back, but hey, you can't complain. It's free.

Download it all here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Troubadour (as a zombie)

(Thanks for the graf Emma)

It's very un-Brisbane and un-hipster of me to say I never once went to a show at the Troubadour. But here we go, I'll admit it here. I never once went to a show at the Troubadour. So many good gigs came and went, and I always thought "next time". Until the next time became the last time and I couldn't get a ticket in.

Not too long ago I was mourning the fact that it was closed. Brisbane live music was dying! But oh, what providence. What divine intelligence... It's back.

Sort of. It's re-opening in May as the Black Bear Lodge, which will have a distinctly Canadian feel. I imagine with black bears. And mountie costumes. And possibly Ryan Adams' albums playing between bands.

And yes, I said bands, because they are bringing back live music. Although it won't be the same. Instead of having bands, they will focus predominantly on solo artists. The best part though, is it will be free entry, so you can always just wander in for a drink and catch some of Brisbane's best.

I can't wait.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Free Music Friday 17!

Today's Free Music Friday only fell into my lap at the last second the other day, when my mate made a comment to me about this band.

They are local, I've seen them play before and they go by the name of Ironhide.

They are made up of a bunch of dudes that are generally in a bunch of other bands, or just guys you see around any Brisbane gig you go to.

Ironhide play a technical metal, somewhat in the same style of Protest the Hero or Between the Buried and Me. But they mix it up by having two lead vocalists, both with excellent metal ability. One does a very deep metal growl, while the other has a slightly higher thrash style. Put together, it works excellently.

They've recorded a debut album and released it. When I first was told this, my initial reaction was "eh, it'd be a crappy mix like most local bands." But my god, this has to be one of the best produced albums I've ever heard by a local band. They apparently sent it off to Umea in Sweden to be mastered by the pros that helped shaped Refused. And it showed.

Create/Collapse/Repeat is just a superb debut metal album. I was blown away by it. It's available on their bandcamp on a free/donate style, with a few limited edition vinyl options as well. You can pick it up here. Although I picked it up for free, I'm going to go back and probably at least get one of the vinyl options. It's that good.

Outkast (x 0.5)

Outkast. Probably that one hip-hop group that changed my mindset about hip-hop. Before them, I thought it was (as Triple-M would say) rap-crap. And then I heard this. My mind was blown.

Over the years they've put out some great albums, but after Speakerboxx/Love Below, things were a little bit worse. It seemed that there was some turmoil between the band, so they broke up and did their own things.

Big Boi (the Speakerboxx guy) went on and released a pretty damn good album last year by the name of Sir Luscious Leftfoot.

It was decent. It was better than decent. I was always more of an Andre 3000 fan (The Love Below) but his album has definitely brought me back around to his side.

He'll be playing the Tivoli on August 26th.

It may be one of the only chances I get to see even a part of Outkast, as their future is still in limbo.

Cruel Hands/Phantoms

Lately, Clus has had a pretty good mantra when it comes to music: if it's on the Bridge 9 label, it's good. And this tour, it features a Bridge 9 band.

Coming around in June will be America's Cruel Hand. They can best be described as New York hardcore punk with Metallica-style riffs. You like the sound of that? Check out their MySpace.

Following them on this tour will be one of my favourite current Australian bands: Phantoms. In fact, thinking about this, both bands are mightily similar. Phantoms also do hardcore punk with a metal influence. Basically, I'm going to enjoy this tour.

South East Queensland gets two shows.
June 16, Boys and Girls (X & Y), 18+
June 17, Sun Distortion Studios, All-ages

Local noise

One of Brisbane's noise-rock bands, Stature::Statue are deciding to call it a day. But they're going to go out in style, with a giant noise-rock show at the Zoo, surrounded by other local bands that also enjoy making noise.

On April 28, for only $10, you can say goodbye. Playing with Stature::Statue are Velociraptor. I've yet to see this band, but everyone says I'd dig them, not just because they are named after my favourite/most feared dinosaur. Apparently, the band ranges from 3 to 12 members, depending on how they feel and the make some excellent noise.

Here's some free Mp3s of the two:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review: The Chariot/I Am Villian, April 20, 2011 at Sun Distortion Studios

Another week, another amazingly crazy all-ages hardcore show.

I rocked up early to Sun Distortion Studios, as although this show was sold out, they said they'd release a few tickets on the doors at 5. So I made the trek there straight after work and lined up feeling like a sore thumb in my business clothes while surrounded by 16-year old scene kids. But it was worth it, I got my ticket and found out that no one would be playing for another 45 minutes at least.

It was my first foray into Sun Distortion Studios, which turns out is less of a 'studio' and more of a very tiny industrial warehouse space. Apparently 200 people were going to squeeze in there, yet I could only imagine about 60 crammed in.

In the spare time I hoofed it home, got changed, grabbed my car, got a parma and a beer and headed back in time to catch local guys I Am Villain. Mixing together some pop-punk and some hardcore, they stomped and jumped around the very small stage.

And that's where things got ugly. The stage basically gave out underneath them. After they wrapped up their set, a crew of randoms moved in and started disassembling the stage. The Chariot then started setting up on the floor. In a very tight and cramped space. And all I could think of was "my god, it's going to be like Perth." I was a little bit more than excited to think that this set was going to just fall apart into a sea of hardcore crazy.

I wasn't even close. I underestimated the entire evening.

Photographing a gig like this is hard. The light came from two fluorescent tubes overhead and was just crap. The band wouldn't stop moving and my auto-focus was no good. The crowd was insane and surging, meaning I kept being moved. So in the end I grabbed my widest angle lens, which happens to be a manual, I set it to an approximate focus, I turned my flash on, held my camera in one hand, held on to a railing behind me with the other hand and balanced on the edge of a very small couch. It's no surprise some of the photos didn't turn out. It was really just guess work, luck and me trying hard not to fall on my ass and get crushed. Because what came next was insane.
Within a song the band was just tearing it up. Instruments were unplugged, the crowd was everywhere, the band was under them, on top of them, screaming, playing along wherever they could and just losing themselves in the music.

Even as it was only one song in, they already said this would probably be their best show of the tour. And we all made sure it was. The bass player climbed up the sound booth behind me during their second or third song and just stage dove straight in. Basically, like their music and sound, it was just organised chaos. Barely organised chaos of course...

The set list was a healthy mix of their entire career, a perfect mix for their first Australia tour. I was actually surprised how little of Long Live, their 2010 album, that was included. But in the ones they did play off Long Live, they even included the samples, like in Evan Perks.

Not that it mattered. Some times, with random instruments unplugged, you had no idea what songs they were playing. But it didn't matter. It was just the vibe. Like in this video:

Definitely one of (if not the) craziest gigs I've ever been to. It was just uncontrollable musical chaos. And I was by far one of the oldest people there. Kids, they just know how to do it. At the end of the gig, most of the members of the Chariot just collapsed on the floor in exhaustion. The few still standing got hugged to death by the supportive fans.

Gig of the year? The Defeater show may have something to say about that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Chariot, change of venue, serious this time

Tomorrow's the Chariot All-Ages show is looking to be the hardcore show of the year. If you're wondering why, check out this video of their show in Perth a few days ago.

It got shut down. For a bowl of pears. But that didn't stop them. Oh no. Not at all. That is why I love hardcore.

Tomorrow's all-ages show is sold out. Because of that, they're moving it from the Old Museum to Sun Distortion Studios in Albion. And if you're like me, and don't have a ticket, you still have a chance, with a small run of door tickets available. So I'll be heading out from work early to go wait in line for one.

Actually, if you don't have a ticket, don't go. I want to be the one that gets in. Not you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

One sentence album reviews (#12)

No Joy - Ghost Blonde (2010): noisy shoegaze with beautiful sirens crooning over the top 4/5

Sun City Girls - Funeral Mariachi (2010): avant garde roots and folk music. Words I never thought would go together, yet it's bliss. 5/5

Uncommonmenfrommars - I Hate My Band (2010): fun punk from French, luckily in English though. 3.5/5

Plebeian Grandstand - How Hate Is Hard To Define (2010): chaotic hardcore, channels French anger yet slows down in all the right places 4/5

Defeater - Empty Days & Sleepless Nights (2011): Brilliant hardcore that is turned on it's head with an acoustic finish to the album 4.5/5

Dropkick Murphys - Going Out In Style (2011): 3 listens in, and it may already be my favourite celtic-punk album. Of all time. 4.5/5

Bayside - Killing Time (2011): It's like alternative rock meets pop-punk, and I scarily like it 4/5

Radiohead - The King of Limbs (2011): too much like background music to be their best, couple of ok songs makes it not their worst. Middling. 3.3/5

The Strokes - Angles (2011): Every time I've tried to listen to this album so far I've fallen asleep. 2.5/5

Akron/Family - S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT (2011): The first track had me thinking I was listening to Sleigh Bells, but luckily it became electronic-folk 4/5

Protest the Hero - Scurrilous (2011): 70's metal style vocals over some of the most technical musicianship I've ever heard 4/5

Selenites - Jeder Für Sich Und Gott Gegen Alle (2009): Wow. So the French do heavy music really awesomly apparently. 4.5/5

Forming - 7" (2010): Excellent fuzz rock EP in the style of Dinosaur Jr, yet signed to a crazy hardcore label 4/5

Boris - New Album (2011): Experimental metal band go electro J-pop... Confusing, But oh so good in a guilty pleasure way. 4/5

Rise Against - End Game (2011): Listen to this. Now listen to Siren Song of the Counterculture. 'Nuff said 2/5 #Iliketheiroldstuff

Explosions in the Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (2011): typical post-rock in every way possible. 2.5/5

J Mascis - Several Shades Of Why (2011): First solo album from the Dinosaur Jr lead, sounds exacly like an acoustic Dinosaur Jr album. 3.5/5

Shigeto - Full Circle (2010): quiet ambient electronica that paints some beautiful soundscapes 4.5/5

Deafheaven - Road to Judah (2011): 4 songs, 40 minutes of dark, dark black metal. Dark like my soul. 4/5

Peter Broderick - How They Are (2010): unassuming, sombre and beautiful piano led singer-songwriter, who's normally a violinist. 4.5/5

Supermachiner - Rust (2009): Listen to this instrumental scenery. Then listen to his full-time band, Converge. Is it really that different? 4.5/5

Calories - Basic Nature (2010): Every song on this album sounds different, like an homage to each subgenre of indie over the last decade. 3.5/5

Frank (Just Frank) - The Brutal Wave (2010): A bunch of French dudes who never left the 80's and nu-wave and post-punk behind 4/5

Hipster watch: ArpLine

I've recently acknowledged the fact that yes, I am a hipster. Months of denial has seen me mock and criticise hipsters from afar, but like most bigotry, it was just hiding the fact that I identified with it.

(Thank you toothpaste for dinner. I bet you are as much of a hispter as me, the way you mock them)

So now that I've embraced the hipster in me, I'm taking off my ridiculously stupid sunglasses, replacing them with my thick-rimmed reading glasses and I've decided I'll start a new occassionally recurring segment of my blog: Hipster Watch. The idea of this segment will be to try and beat the hipster bandwagon to things. Because let's face it, it's no longer hip when more than 10 people know about it.

The first hipster band is ArpLine.

Arpline "Make It Rain" Nutroaster Studio from VVUSIC on Vimeo.

Let's go through the hipster checklist:
  • Synthesizer - check
  • From Brooklyn - check (for anyone who's never been there, right now it's as hip as hip gets)
  • Ridiculous haircut - check (see the lead singer in the video)
  • Plaid - check (lead singer, once again)
  • Distorted/changed vocals - check
  • Electronica/genre defying mixes - check
Before you've even properly listened to their music, you can just tell straight away they're hipsters.

So what do you need to know about them? Mainly that they're like Animal Collective (the original hipsters' hipster band) but with less weird-ass sounds and more melody. They put out an album last year, entitled Travel Book, and it seems that we're about to get some Australian distro for it. So stay tuned, there will probably be a tour soon where all of the hipsters can stand around, talking and pretending not to enjoy the show at all.

If you want to be more hip than most hipsters by listening to ArpLine, you can grab a free MP3 of their new single Fold Up Like A Piece of Paper right here. You can also go to their website to grab more free MP3s, including covers of bands that we don't know (because that's hip).


This is my ringtone on the few occassions my phone is off silent:

Unfortunately, Spoonfest has nothing at all to do with the Tick. Fortuately, it's a show case of some great Brisbane and Australian bands.

On May 21, at the Step Inn stage, you can see everything from Metal (The Quickening), pop-punk (Headaches), old school punk (Flangipanis) to female-led hardcore punk (Friends With the Enemy). There's some great local bands in that list, many I've ranted on before.

So head on out, it'll be a great time.

Being the Step Inn, I'm going to assume it's 18+.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Free Music Friday 16!

Hey! Listen!
Like any other person in my age bracket, I'm a huge Legend of Zelda fan. I even just ordered Ocarina of Time for my new/old Nintendo 64.

Recently I've also become a huge fan of the screamo genre. So when I stumbled across a band simply labelled as "Legend of Zelda themed screamo" it was night on impossible for me to say no.

The band is The Sky Above and the Earth Below, and as you've probably already guessed, they have free music that you can listen to!

I can't pick out too many Zelda references, but then again, being screamo, you're lucky if you can understand one word of it. Which you can.

Give it a go, it's free on their Bandcamp.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Helmet. One of the greatest hardcore bands to come out of the late 80's/early 90s scene. They're rather unknown still, which is sad, but it doesn't stop them being awesome. Evergreen Terrace even tip their hat to them on the track Chaney Can't Quite Riff Like Helmet's Page Hamilton.

(Googling for Helmet + music = Daft Punk pictures. So here's the music video I first saw as a 12 year old late one night on Rage before buying an electric guitar and learning it)

They'll be bringing their hardcore down under, and we get two south east Queensland shows!
June 22nd, Coolangatta Hotel
June 23rd, HiFi

Both 18+. But that's to be expected, most of their fans are in the mid to late 20's by now. Catch some more of their tunes here.


Going through the list of Allan's regrets, somewhere after about 10 girls, or missed opportunities with girls, we get the 2006 Splendour in the Grass festival. Every year Splendour serves up a great multi-day festival of the best indie and whatever's hip kind of music.

This year, for the second year in a row, they're having it at Woodford, up on the Sunshine Coast. Convenient? Most definitely. But to me, it's always the line up. And this year's has been announced.
I've done that thing where I've bolded the ones I'd go see.

Now don't get me wrong, there's some great artists there that I'd love to see. Heck, my second favourite band (Modest Mouse) was the first announcement. But at the same time, it's the regular Australian indie concert lineup almost. And for ~$500? No. I think I'll take that money, buy flights to Melbourne/Sydney, catch a few sideshows and avoid the camping, the traffic jams, the idiots only there to do drugs and drink and not for the music.

And that's what's going to piss me off. Sideshows. Brisbane never gets Splendour ones. Even though it sells out in microseconds every year. It's a bit of a sham. It grinds my gears.

And FYI: Mogwai, Regina Spektor, Kanye and Coldplay are doing zero sideshows.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Record Store day

Every day for me is basically record store day. Where I go into a record store and buy lots of vinyl. However, there's one day a year where they try to encourage me to do it more and more and more to buy special limited edition runs and listen to instores.

Normally I venture into Rockinghorse Records in the city and pick up a 12 inch or two. But this year, they've upped their game and made me actually excited to go in and spend a few hours in my favourite record store. They've got Frank Turner. My favourite hardcore singer turned acoustic punk. He's going to play a few songs in Rockinghorse before he heads out to Thriller for a full set later that night.

Not to mention, they're releasing a run of limited Sonic Youth and Nirvana EPs that I want... nay, I need.

I am not sure on the times, but keep watching the official website for updates.

The Get Up Kids

Emo. You hear that term bandied around a lot (well, maybe less these days). And a lot of the old hipsters, like me, always refer to the better days of 90s emo. When the music was softer, yet still raw. Emotions bubbled through the lyrics (sometimes shouted). And bands like the Get Up Kids Were releasing amazing albums.

They broke up. They got back together a decade back and played Soundwave last year. This is them, on my phone:

Now if you know me, you know I'm a huge James Dewes fan boy. And he plays the keyboard in Get Up Kids. So you can probably guess that I squaled a little when I heard they were coming back for a headlining tour. No standing on the concrete in the afternoon sun with a bunch of kids not knowing the band they were listening to. No. Just me and the Get Up Kids. And a few hundred other fans.

Catch them August 5 at the HiFi. 18+

Monday, April 11, 2011


It's very rare that I'm wrong. So rare, that I don't think I can remember it ever happening.

But today, it dawned on me. I was wrong. Specifically? This post:

Check the dates on that. Yeah. It's already gone. Huh. Wait. I was at the Alley that night! And I didn't see The Chariot.

What happened is that I mixed up my Defeater and Chariot shows, in excitement. So really, the Chariot show is still happening at the Old Museum. Next Wednesday. And I will be there.

Woops. My bad.

Review: Defeater/Fires of Waco (The Alley AA and Thriller 18+), April 8/9, 2011

This review will cover two days and be simple, because... well, I got drunk this weekend. So it's been a bit since taking these photos and remembering what happened.

Fires of Waco. One of my favourite local bands. Always put on a tight show, even now they've dropped the crowd-pleasing At the Drive-In cover. More power to them though, they're starting to swell with popularity.

But the reason I went to the same show 2 days in a row was simply for Defeater. This year's album, Empty Days and Sleepless Nights, is one of my favourite albums of the year. Not just hardcore, but in general. So when they trooped down to our country, I just had to see them two days in a row. And what followed was one of the best gigs I've ever been to, and one of the worst.

The best was the Friday night all-ages show at the Alley. Earlier in the week it was announced the Alley is being shutdown to build a tax-office there (boo! HISS! RIOT! COMPLAIN!) So this was the second last show ever to be held there. And I'd hate to be the last show following up this penultimate one. Just amazing.

Hardcore kids love their music. Especially when they can go to all-ages. The lead singer walked out with his acoustic, sang the song I Don't Mind, put his guitar away... and then all hell broke loose.
The tiny venue, with the band playing on the floor, just couldn't with hold the energy the crowd put out to Defeater. They just rushed in, danced, jumped off speakers and left nothing behind.

The crowd was crazy, except for Jacob. That's him above, standing in the back, kind of looking away.

It was insane. The crowd disrupted every song, but it didn't matter. The guitarists played above the crowd. Something I haven't seen since my all-ages gig days.

And the Saturday night Thriller gig was the complete opposite. I don't know if the lead-singer had lost his voice, but he spent most of the time giving the microphone to the crowd to sing. We hardly heard him, which really just ruined it for me.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review: Star Fucking Hipsters/AC4/The Quickening/The Mercy Beat, the Zoo, April 7 2011

With the punk royalty (and washed-up sell-outs, as Dennis called them) the Dead Kennedys playing a few suburbs away, it was a smallish crowd that trickled into the Zoo for a Thursday night punk show. A show that had an eerie vibe that made me think of many a 4ZZZ Punkfest show.

First up, playing to no more than a handful of punters standing way back in the shadows, were one of my favourite local bands, the Mercy Beat. They started playing only a few minutes after doors opened, which is a rarity at the Zoo. By their own accounts, they started poorly, but it was loud and hard enough that I didn’t really notice. After profusely apologising to the few in attendance, they ripped through a tight set off of their album How to Shampoo a Yak. At this point a few people came out to dance around and heckle the band, I’m guessing they were mates.

Following the hard rock/punk stylings of the Mercy Beat, things took a rather dramatic turn into metal, with local boys the Quickening taking to the stage. The band seemed pieced together with characitures: a Garth from Wayne’s World on guitar, Willie Nelson on guitar/vocals and the bass player seemed a bit like Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother. Despite their 80’s all-stars look, they were very tight, even if they were the self-proclaimed “token-metal band of the evening.”

Metal Willie Nelson.

Metal Garth.

The crowd was building at this point, and during their last song they got a little circle pit happening. But I was starting to fan-girl, as I saw Dennis Lyxzen in the background getting ready for his band, AC4, who were coming up next.

When theses Swedes, comprised of three-quarters of the legendary hardcore band Refused did take the stage, I was just blown away. Despite having flown the 35+ hours from Sweden and only landing that morning, they did not relent. Dennis showed why he’s one of the best performers in music, spending the better part of 40 minutes not stopping: dancing, doing the worm, running, jumping, screaming, swinging off the roof, skanking, all while singing their short and fast hardcore punk songs. The band were also quite talkative. They gave us how they write their new songs “we start slow, then we follow it with fast, then faster, then much faster” and how everything is downhill from 28, mocking a girl next to me who was about to turn 28.

AC4 played a great selection of songs from their short history together, and I found myself putting down the camera and singing along with fist pumps most of the time. That’s exactly what their music is about. At the end of the set they trooped off stage for all of 3 seconds before coming and doing an encore for us, which was the Motorhead cover that I posted a few days earlier. For a band that started playing together in Umea 20+ years ago, who formed one of the most influential hardcore bands before breaking up under very inauspicious circumstances, to put aside their differences and come together to make great hardcore music again and still put on a great kickass show while forgetting the past... I forgot where I’m going with this spiel. It was just bloody good.

The crowd dwindled slightly after AC4, but all of the Mohawk and denim-jacket clad punks moved up to the front for Star Fucking Hipsters. And when they started, the whole floor just became a sea of skanking and moshing. On stage, the female lead singer seemed to be struggling, and even had a sheet of lyrics in hand. But after a few songs, we found out why. She had been bought into the band less than a week before with the departure of the previous female singer. She struggled through some songs, singing off queue, but getting friendly reminders from the male lead. In her hands she had a handy cheat sheet of lyrics. But apart from a few slip ups with timing and forgotten words, she did okay. The Hipsters played a variety of music, at times sounding like ska, sometimes grindcore, sometimes punk, a dash of metal and then just some random hardcore. The punks in the audience loved it, and despite not knowing much myself, I enjoyed the old-school-punk vibe and music they gave off.

The last song was when everything finally seemed to click though. The lyrics sheet was gone, the music was all in time and the band really came together for a solid song. Earlier in the night, Phil and I had been talking about which end of a tour is better to be on, and we both agreed that you the last show on the tour is the best. This show however was the very first of the tour, with bands jet lagged and still learning to play with new members. If the Star Fucking Hipsters can click like in their last song of the set though, I’ll be jealous of the punters who get to see the last few shows of the tour.