Thursday, June 30, 2011

One sentence album reviews (#15)

Yoyoyo, so if you don't know by now, well... I do one sentence album reviews on my Twitter when I feel up to it. I normally build up a review list over the week and post them during the work days to keep me somewhat sane. When I build up a few, I post them all here for historical reasons.

Today saw me hit a new point, I've run out of reviews. I've been so busy lately that I've got a giant stack of CD's next to my comptuer, a stack of vinyl on my bookshelf and about 130 hours of new music queued up on my computer. So, as a consequence, it might slow up for a while. But here's the last bunch:

Lonely Island - Turtleneck & Chain (2011): A few funny songs, but mainly sounding like the Beastie Boys did 20 years ago, with bad humour 2.4/5

Saul Williams - Volcanic Sunlight (2011): 1st listen: like 2 minutes only of spoken word. Disappointed. 5th listen: a clever rap album 4/5

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light (2011): They have gone slightly back in time and got their heavy back. I scarily like it 4/5

Death Grips - Ex-Military (2011): Excellent grimey rap with lots of classical rock samples that make my inner music nerd jump for joy 4.5/5

Fucked Up - David Comes To Life (2011): A departure from their hardcore to make a brilliant rock opera. May alienate old fans. 5/5

Touche Amore - Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me (2011): Hardcore that sounds like La Dispute had a musical baby with Defeater. 4.5/5

Face to Face - Laugh Now, Laugh Later (2011): This is how pop-punk should be. A lesson from the masters 4.5/5

Boy Hits Car - Stealing Fire (2011): A very American rock sound, kind of like nu metal crossed with classic Iron Maiden style vocals 3/5

Braveyoung-We Are Lonely Animals (2010): Instrumental post-rock eh? So you build up each song slowly into a drawn out crescendo? #cliche 1.5/5

Bullets in Madison - We Became Your Family When You Died (2010): starts as boring post-rock and then slowly merges into a Thom Yorke sound. 2/5

Cloud Nothings - Cloud Nothings (2011): Jangly lo-fi guitar pop. Sounds like a lot of other bands, but with more personality due to raw and rough edges 4/5 The song Heartbeat is a contender for song of the year

Crocodiles - Sleep Forever (2010): This album is from the wrong decade, it needs to be in the mid 90's new wave-era. Oh the memories 4/5

The Black Powder - The Black Powder (2008): Unclassifiable noisy-post-punk-hardcore (that's a classification I guess). The kind of band I want to be in 4/5

Ampere - Like Shadows (2011): 11 Songs, 15 Minutes of good hardcore. They exemplify short and sweet 4/5

The Antlers - Burst Apart (2011): It took me 5 listens to take it all in, as it's so quiet and unassuming. Modern elevator music maybe? 2/5

Kindest Lines - Covered In Dust (2011): A band that grew up listening to way too much of the Cure and wants to keep their spirit alive 4/5

Arctic Monkeys - Suck It And See (2011): Less garage rock and more indie, there's 2 songs that channel Interpol deeply 3/5

City & Colour - Little Hell (2011): I like Alexisonfire, but I don't like Dallas' solo stuff, way too mopey. #emo 2/5

The Paper Scissors - In Loving Memory (2011): Australian band making brooding moody indie. Channeling their inner dance-goth I think 3/5

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rockinghorse: a rant

I was going to write a rant about Rockinghorse Records going out of business. But Tom, a guy who I won an award for taking a picture of at a pub watching punk bands, did it far more eloquently than me.

Read it here.

That store has been the only place I've bought music from in the last 4 years, with the sometimes exception of Kill The Music for my hardcore tastes.

Rockinghorse is also where I go to get my concert tickets. Well I used to, as now most places (FUCK YOU MOSHTIX) don't do physical tickets. Not even when I want to pay more for it.

I'm going to miss the fuck out of Rockinghorse if it goes. Every few weeks at lunch I head down and buy a vinyl or two. But with it's demise we shouldn't just be mourning the death of a Brisbane icon, we should be mourning the death of the music industry. When an iconic store like this goes down, it's a sign of an industry that just can't keep up with the times. Tom says it better, but as the owner said in the Courier Mail (kind of paraphrased here) "if we could just sell vinyl we'd stay in business." For average every day consumers, CDs are a dead format. The industry really needs a swift kick up it's behind.

If I was born in the 70s I'd totally tap this

And by this, I mean Stevie Nicks:

I mean come on. She was hot. She can sing. She was in a highly successful band with songs I still know most of the words to (Fleetwood Mac). She would've been my poster girl if I was a teenager in the 70s/80s.

I bet my Dad thought she was bangin'. I'll have to ask him, when I drag him to go see her play live on December 3 at the Riverstage

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: Phantoms/Cruel Hand, Sun Distortion Studios, June 17 2011

I was pretty damn excited for this gig and I was hoping to write a proper review of the whole thing. But due to getting hit on the head, I don't remember much of the Cruel Hand set. So instead, here's some photos.


I had just gotten a new lens the day before, hopefully with the ability to take better quality low light pictures. Unfortunately, Sun Distortion being what it is, the bands were only illuminated by about 2 fluorescent tubes on the roof. Trying to take reasonably good photos in there without a flash is nigh on impossible. My new flash arrived two days later, too late for me unfortunately. So most of these pictures aren't amazing, but it's all just practice for me anyway.

Whenever Phantoms/I Exist plays, this guy always shows up. He's one of the kids that are always great to watch at these punk shows (except for that Browning St Studios gig where he was near to naked the whole time). Phantoms let him sing along for a while:

Cruel Hand warming up:

This shot, taken on the new lens, is by far one of my favourite pictures I've taken yet. With a little bit more practice with the lens hopefully they all work out like this!

I was pushed against the wall at this point trying to stay out of the way. Fat lot of luck that did me. I had to take the pictures over the heads of everyone at my maximum zoom. So not many turned out. In the end I turned on the internal flash. As shite as it is, a few photos turned out okay and not overly exposed.

The singer has a Dinosaur Jr shirt. He's instantly my favourite person.

And it's really not a hardcore show unless Jacob randomly appears in one of my photos hanging out right next to the band. Every bloody time man.

I liked this photo, but with no flash it was horrible quality. Nothing a bit of sepia can't fix, right?

Apart from the injury it was a great gig. I do love small all-ages shows, and Sun Distortion Studios is looking to be a worthy replacement for Burst City.

Loaf, the tour.

Younger readers will know him from this:

For those of us to remember the good old days of classic rock (back when it was just 'rock') you'd know this:

I'm really not going to say anything else. It's Meat Loaf. October 6 at the Entertainment Centre.


I say it all the time, but we are blessed in Australia with some amazing local bands. And one of my favourite ones, who are also probably one of the best bands in their genre worldwide, is Extortion.

Granted, their genre isn't exactly popular. It is however, powerviolence: short, brutal, insanely fast songs. It's not often we get them up to Brisbane anymore, and last time we did my roomate Ed got carried off by the cops while trying to break up a fight in the mosh... unlucky bugger.

We are getting them soon for Bastardfest: a celebration of all things Australian loud and heavy. I'm not the biggest fan of heavy music, but I'm pretty damn psyched for this lineup. Bands I want to see include

I Exist (I love these guys way too much)
Ironhide (great local band I've plugged before who released an astounding album this year)
Pod People
Blood Duster

There's way more bands than that, so you'll have to get your ass down to the Jubilee Hotel on September 3rd

Pink Floyd's The Wall

Like a lot of people, I had a lot of fun times in first year university that were generally backed by Pink Floyd. Most days my roomate and I played Mario Tennis with the soundtrack replaced by Pink Floyd. However, one of the most memorable experiences came in the middle of a multi-day bender when somehow we started watching Pink Floyd's movie, the Wall, at about 3 am.

I'll tell you the story another day, probably not on the internet, but needless to say, it was a mindfuck. Even years on, re-watching it with a clear head and without everything else that was happening, it's... well... interesting. Confusing too. And it features Bob Geldoff not being a bleeding heart, which I didn't think was possible.

Despite my opinions of the movie, the Soundtrack is epic. The main song (Another Brick in the Wall) is basically a pop-song now that still gets played daily on commercial radio worldwide, and even gets remixed and sampled in dance music.

Anyone of my generation will never get the chance to see Pink Floyd perform it. What we can get though, and as early as next year, is Pink Floyd's bass player, co-vocalist and songwriter Roger Waters perfoming the album in more than a concert, it's a multi-media overwhelming of the senses. It features:
3D animations, explosions, a Stuka bomber that dives into the stage and a 230 feet long and 35 feet high wall, which is build brick by giant brick by stage hands during the spectacular, two-hour plus show.
Whoa. Just whoa.
February 1st at the Entertainment Centre. I imagine this will sell out quickly (and probably be a little expensive).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hipster Watch: Bigsound 2011

Hipsters love finding bands no one knows, yet are still good to listen to. Bigsound is Brisbane's answer to the South by Southwest festival. For a few days, the Valley is overrun by music everywhere you look. There's live music, there's workshops, there's speeches and it's basically everything you need to be in the music industry in one place. It sounds like the perfect place for a hipster to get the inside knowledge.

The best part for the average punters like you and me, apart from occasionally seeing a famous guest speaker, is the live music event. One ticket, for $55, gets you 80+ bands across multiple venues over 2 days. And the best part is, being a music convention, it's going to be the best of the up and coming bands in our country fighting for attention. No matter what, we, the punters, win. Check out the band list so far:
The Getaway Plan
Calling All Cars
Emma Louise
Eagle & the Worm
Busby Marou
Trial Kennedy
Evil Eddie
Last Dinosaurs
Big Scary
The Adults (feat. Shihad's Jon Toogood) (NZ)
The Sheepdogs (Canada)
Jonathan Boulet
DZ Deathrays
Bleeding Knees Club
Ball Park Music
The Medics
Avalanche City (NZ)
Jinja Safari
Owl Eyes
Boy In a Box
Damn Dogs (Feat. Chris & Mark from Jet)
Okay, granted, the Getaway Plan has been around as long as I've been going to gigs in Brisbane (if we forget when they broke up) but the rest is some of the best of Australia's new music. DZ Deathrays, The Medics, Calling All Cars, Jonathon Boulet, Ball Park Music and Trial Kennedy are getting me excited. I don't even know half of the bands there, but I'm sure it's going to be awesome.

If you want to find great new music before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon, head to this. Not to mention, it's great bloody value. It's happening September 7-9 at various venues around the Valley.

Quite frankly my dear, it's a pop festival

Brisbane Festival: It's not just fireworks and F111s flying overhead (especially not since the planes got retired) but it's a month of amazing culture in Brisbane. A part of it this year that is more to the tastes of the music blogger in myself is the Frankly! It's A Pop Festival festival.

Now I'll be upfront, I've never listened to any of these bands. Not once. But LA Vampires and Wet Hair have been on my to-listen-to list for a long time. Oh wait, I lied, Wet Hair is actually coming up next on my playlist!

But that doesn't bother me, because this is what Brisbane Festival is all about, getting out there and experiencing all different forms of art and culture that most Brisbanites don't even know exist. That, and it's curated by Lawrence English. He used to work in the same building as the girl and I have been to a few of the music events he has curated. He works hard to bring out interesting music talent and he's yet to let me down.

So come September 10th, head down to the Powerhouse and experience some enjoyable pop-music. It's just not the kind of pop-music that bad FM radio stations play.

More of the Brisbane Festival will be announced over the next month or two.

EDIT: I just listened to Wet Hair. Wow, lofi psychedelic noise rock, and apparently they're from Iowa City. My old stomping grounds. I'm actually more than a little excited for this festival now.

Free Music Friday 23! (The "I-think-Blake-will-like-this-edition")

There's something to be said about slightly balding and aging musicians, with a bit of a gut that wear glasses. They make bloody good music, they don't wear much clothing and they're great performers. Case in point:

Pink Eyes from Fucked Up (okay, he doesn't wear glasses):

Dan Deacon:

Les Savy Fav:

And now, I'm going to introduce you to another contender, Clint Maul:

Now I don't know about his live show (hey, he could be an animal and not wear much clothing), but his music is sublime. My album reviews have been falling behind all week, mainly because I've been listening to his three EPs on repeat.

As far as I can tell, Clint Maul is stuck back in the hey-day of alternative rock: the early 90's. To me, it sounds like he channels Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr, writing some beautiful songs with a very distorted, noisy undertone. It's everything I loved about alternative rock of that time. I wish I could be more eloquent about it, but after reading this quote, I can't describe it any better:
“Taking the audience back to the halcyon days of alternative rock — when acts overtly indebted to the pure-pop genius of Westerberg’s Replacements signed to majors and dated Wynona Rider”
— The Washington Post
It's just amazing. It's everything I love.

You can "name-your-price" for his three EPs at his bandcamp right here.

I am going to chalk this up as my best find so far of 2011. I just hope he puts out a full album out soon that I can rank it high on my end of year list.

Brisbane Garage Rock, the festival

Is there anything better than garage rock? That raw sound of distorted guitars, not-so-clean bass and fast drum beats with not quite sung, not quite screamed vocals? I think not, I love it to bits. And so does Brisbane, as we're having a full day festival.

On July 9th, from 4pm to 3am, make sure you bring your ear plugs to Woodland, because it's going to be loud, oh so loud, for the Flavours of Skuzz festival.

Highlights for me are the ever funny hardcore boys Dick Nasty (whose song titles are longer and 80% more funny than their songs), Velociraptor (whose band members chop and change each performance, but can include 12+ people) and Undead Apes. For only $25, you're basically paying a dollar for each band. In this post-GFC climate, you won't get a better deal than that, not even on Cudo or Catch of the Day or any other cheap skate website.

The Casualties

Do you remember the good old days of punk rock? Bright coloured mohawks, plaid pants tucked into docs, chains everywhere and rough sounding raw music played as fast and violently as possible? I won't say I miss it, but goddamn it was good. It's the way punk started and the way punk should be.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is what the Casualties are still about, 20+ years after they started their punk rock, probably with their middle fingers raised in a giant fuck off salute to the world.

Sure they're older now, and playing to venues more civilised and not smelling of piss and blood, but that doesn't mean the music's changed. No, it's the same angry punk. And I'm going to be reliving it all come September 8th, when they play the HiFi. 18+.

It's going to be weird watching them in a very nice and shiny and clean HiFi venue.

Hipster tour, take 2

It just seems like the other day that Architecture in Helsinki toured, but... well.. it was. Obviously they really love their new album, because they're coming back around again! September 25 at the Tivoli.

I was going to make some sort of smart-ass comment and make fun of them, but then I remembered exactly how much I do enjoy their music. Dammit.


I was about to blog about a new music festival feature Lil' Wayne and Kid Cudi, which included stops in Cairns, Townsville and Brisbane, but it got cancelled rather quickly. Within days of the first announcement actually.


Mercy Beat

Brisbane is home of some of the best music in Australia right now, especially if you like your music heavy. And one of my favourite local bands is the Mercy Beat. Imagine if Queens of the Stone Age still had Nick Oliveri singing all the songs and played even more hardcore style.

That's these guys. And they fucking rock.

Last year they put out a tops CD called How To Shampoo a Yak. And although they plugged it a lot then, they've decided to do the whole East Coast run to play it to the whole goddamn country.
We get 3 shows out of it.
July 15 at Kings Beach Tavern in Caloundra
July 16 at Runaway Bay Tavern on the Gold Coast
July 29 at the Beetle Bar

I've blogged about these guys plenty of times before, and there's a reason for it. They're awesome

And the award for the weirdest, non-fitting venue for one of my favourite musician's next Brisbane gig goes to...

Jim Ward. For his upcoming appearance at Alhambra.

Yes Alhambra. The nightclub.

Jim Ward, he of two of my favourite bands: At the Drive-In and Sparta. He's the guitarist in the following video. No, not the one dancing like he's having a fit, but the one standing like a grunge kid over his guitar shouting out the backing vocals:

These days he goes around doing his own acoustic stuff, which is just as high quality as anything he's ever been linked to in the past. See him and his guitar, have a drink in a Turkish-themed night club and try not to swoon like I will be doing.

August 13, Alhambra. 18+


Who says you need to play shows and have a record deal to be in a good touring band? Not the members of Periphery, a metal band formed when the guitarist shared his riffs across numerous online forums. But hey, it worked for them, they got signed, and last year they got dragged out to Australia as the opening act for Dillinger Escape Plan. And it was there that they melted our faces with their metal.

And now, they're coming back for their own solo tour. They'll be zooming through the Zoo July 29 (19+), which apparently is close to selling out already, within a week of tickets being released! Melbourne's already sold out, so obviously that tells you how good these guys are.

The Living End tour

Ever since I was yay-high (points to stomach) I've been a huge fan of the Living End. Going through my CD cabinet, you'd probably see they're the only band I own every release of. And what a collection of albums.

My earliest memory of them was on a school bus going somewhere, with all of us singing the lyrics of Prisoner of Society to our teacher's face, as he was getting mad at us. There's nothing better than "WE DON'T NEED NO ONE LIKE YOU! TO TELL US WHAT TO DO!"

Ahh, yes, the good old Living End days. The rockabilly punk days. The days when Recovery was still the best TV show in the world:

These days the Living End are more of the "alternative rock" end of the spectrum, but by no means does that mean they are crap. Or that Chris Cheney isn't one of the best guitarists ever. Hopefully they'll still turn out the hits though, especially on their new album to be released soon.

To support the album, they'll be heading out on tour. September 2, the Tivoli. Supporting them will be one of Ellery's favourite bands, King Cannons.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Apparently they ain't nothin' to fuck with, fo realz.

The reason Wu-Tang is skipping Brisbane apparently.

Thanks for this Pete.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Parklife is one of those yearly kind-of-dance music festivals that I avoid with a passion. Years gone by it would be full of neon-wearing teenie boppers dropping E and generally just annoying the heck out of me with bad music that I just don't care for.

But about a year ago I started watching this show:

It's funny, it's got Aziz Ansari. But even better is that title track that starts it off. The band? Death From Above 1979.

My Canadian friend Michelle spent years telling me I'd like this band, but I never got around to listening to them. But as soon as I started watching Human Giant, I was hooked. DFA 1979 really hasn't left my MP3 player since that day. It's just 2 guys: a bass guitar and a drummer, but the hooks and riffs the write are just noisy and danceable, my kind of music.

They broke up a long time ago, but only reformed this year, which saw their first show end in a riot.

So hang on, what's this got to do with Parklife, a music festival I hate? They're playing probably their only Australian shows there. Goddamn it. I want to see them so badly, but I don't want to pay what I'm going to guess is $150+ to see one band I'd kill to see. Of course there's other bands, they are:
Lykke Li
Death From Above 1979
Duck Sauce
Katy B
The Naked & Famous
Crystal Fighters
Adrian Lux
The Streets
Simian Mobile Disco
Magnetic Man
Sebastien Tellier
Little Dragon
Gold Fields
Wolfgang Gartner
Joker & MC Nomad
Feed Me
The Aston Shuffle
Flux Pavilion
Yacht Club DJs
Harvard Bass
There's a few in their I'd want to see, especially the Streets, who will be breaking up after this tour of their last album. But, not bagging on the genre, it's just not really my scene... But... DFA 1979. GYAH.

It's all going down October 1 at the Riverstage.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hardcore dancers: a rant

It seems I've been ranting a lot lately, probably because of me being an old jaded man. But as I sit here, 16 hours later, with a swollen face, a black eye and a ringing headache that hasn't fucking quit since last night, I figured this rant is allowed.

Hardcore dancers, fight dancers, mosh lords, whatever you want to call yourselves, show a little respect for your fellow punters please.

I say it a lot, hardcore and punk fans are some of the best in the world. No matter what, there'll always be a few people dancing and really getting into the music. It's great to see people feel something at a gig and be motivated enough to move around. I've got nothing against your dancing. I think it's hilarious to watch and bloody stupid to participate in, but you know what, I don't care. Enjoy yourselves. That's what we're supposed to be doing at a gig.

I'll move aside, I'll give you room. However, when you impede on other's people's private space and start involving and trying to hit people who are actively avoiding it, then you become nothing more than a dickhead.

Swinging fists, flying feet, it's ridiculous to think it's going to do anything but cause damage if it connects with someone.

Last night I saw Cruel Hand/Phantoms at Sun Distortion Studio. It was a great show. As expected, during Phantoms, the pit opened up. Well as much as it can in a room with only about 5 metres width. No problems, I got out of the way. I took the animations you see in this rant now. It was all fine, you only involved those that wanted in (although my camera, and JHat's too, seemed to get close to getting hit a few times).

But during Cruel Hand, that's when shit turned nasty. I was pushed right up next to the merch desk, leaning against the wall. It's as far away as I could get in that corner. Not an ideal place to take photos, but I would think out of the way, as there were a few people in front of me. Oh, how wrong I was. A few songs in and you assholes decided to push everyone out of the way and go wall-to-wall. Next thing I know, a fist comes flying across my face, hitting me hard. I went down. I was groggy. I had no idea where I was for a few seconds.

I couldn't get away, I was just trying to watch the band and take a few photos out of your way, and you had to come at me. I ended up with a bloody nose, a black eye, a swollen face and a fucking headache that won't quit. That's what I get for trying to stay out of the way and enjoy a show. You probably don't realize that you did it to me, but it happens a lot.

A couple years ago I was sitting at the back of a crowd at the Big Day Out watching Enter Shikari. Nowhere near the pit, probably 30 to 40 metres back just standing around. The next thing I know, a crowd surfer lands on my head, and as I stand up some asshole fight-dancer swings his fists right into my gentleman's area. The rest of the day was a blur. I was out of it completely. According to someone that saw me afterwards, I was just sitting on the edge of the highway looking lost and confused after the festival.

So seriously, if you're going to fight dance, at least keep it to yourselves. We give you room and don't chastise you, why can't you show the equal respect and do it back?!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Balance and Composure

For people that go around in my circles (at least the punk/hardcore one), Balance and Composure is one of those big buzz bands for the year. My one sentence review on Twitter compared their sound to as if a young Silverchair decided to do an emo album. And I stand by that. It's definitely not an insult. Frogstomp is a classic album and I see Separation by Balance and Composure being a big winner in best of 2011 lists.

So when a band is hot, of course they're going to go on tour to Australian.

On Thursday the 18th of August we will be blessed with two shows in Brisbane. One, a free acoustic one at Kill the Music, the best store for punk/hardcore in Queensland. And then that night they'll be playing Boys and Girls at X&Y (18+).

Touring with them will be the Brisbane band Fires of Waco, who, based off the number of national supporting slots they've nailed in 6 months, are going to be very big very soon.

Balance and Compsoure MySpace

Harvest Festival

I don't normally post rumours on my blog, but this one has caught my interest so much that I had to share with you.

AJ and the team at Soundwave touring, best known for their punk/metal tours and festivals (I've been to every festival they've put on), are taking a slightly different path in November this year with the Harvest Festival. Unfortunately, it's not a festival featuring Neil Young playing his iconic album (how sweet would that be though?), but rather an arts and indie-slanted music festival.

So what do I mean? Well let's start with the music. Bands rumoured to be on this tour are the Flaming Lips, the National, Aphex Twin, Portishead, Bright Eyes and Mogwai. The indie hipster in me is already frothing at the mouth with just that line up.

Secondly, the Brisbane date is November 19 and the venue size will be 15-20 thousand. I'm thinking Riverstage, which would be an awesome venue for this type of festival, as long as it doesn't turn into the wanky-fake-hipster-dance-music crowd that is Sunset Sounds et al.

But the most interesting thing is something I saw tweeted early this morning. It's a call for submissions from the art sector. That's right, the festival is taking submissions from artists for installations and shows for their music festival, to go hand in hand with the music. This includes:
  • Massive installations for the main arena
  • Installations for a garden and campire stage, for more laid back music and discussions
  • A 1920's style alt-performance tent, incorporating a bar (I've already got some messed up visions of what this could be floating around my head)
  • Art for in between the stages and just around the facility in general
It's an interesting idea coming from the Soundwave team. It's good to see them branch off with something new and challenge themselves.

If you're an artist, you have until July 14 to submit your proposal to the team. And if they like it, they'll fund your art at a major music festival! Not too bad. All of the details can be found here at their call for submissions.

Of course, given the internet and the rumour mill, all of this could be a fake. But I hope not, I'm sick of music festivals in their current format and I hope this turns it into something bigger and better.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Post-rock: a rant

Genres are something I really suck at. For years I was getting my post-hardcores confused with my hardcores and my shoegaze completely muddled in with noise-rock. But honestly, who gives a fuck what you label your music with? As long as it's good, right?

Despite saying all of that, thanks to me doing album reviews now, I'm actually researching bands (with a big chunk of that thanks to Last.FM) and finally figuring out some of these genres. And one genre I just do not understand is post-rock.

Over the last two hours I've been digesting two albums that have been sitting around waiting for a listen for a long time (since last year actually): Braveyoung and Bullets in Madison. Both are post-rock, albeit one instrumental and one a singer. I couldn't tell when one album switched to the other, until I noticed there was a singer. Now, as far as I with my random musical knowledge can tell, post-rock can best be described as thus:
  1. Really fucking long-songs. Find me a post-rock band whose album has an average track length under six minutes. I dare you.
  2. Every song starts out mind-numbingly slow and builds up into a crescendo. No exceptions. If it doesn't finish with a lot of splashed cymbals, it's obviously not post-rock
  3. It's quiet. For some reason, despite the shit-tonne of instruments being oh so carefully layered and built up, it still sounds quiet overall. Like they're afraid to make noise.
  4. All songs are cinematic. In fact, a lot of them sound like they'd make great soundtracks to dramatic movies. Unfortunately, nearly every post-rock album I listen to sounds like it's scoring the same fucking movie. Not even sequels. Just the same movie.
  5. Singers are optional. If there is a singer, he (most of the time, there's not much female post-rock) tends to just drone his voice out, lots of held notes that sound like soft wailing.
Of course, I'm sure this is just a wide generalisation, but everytime I listen to new post-rock, I just hear the same old sound over and over again. It's so bloody cliche that I just can't get into this genre.

That being said, there are a few exceptions to this generalisation. Surprise surprise, they are actually post-rock bands that I love. And why's that? I guess it's because they are slightly different.

Envy - This Japanese band builds up to crescendoes, then just melts your face off with hardcore (almost metal at times) before bringing it back down with some absolutely beautiful melodies.

Mogwai - Especially with their new album, they experiment a bit more and take it out of the tired cliches.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - The best of the best. It's not just music, it's an experience. With tracks going on for whole movements, and a live show (that I've yet to see) that mixes in cinema and samples, it's the way instrumental post-rock should be.

One sentence album reviews (#14)

Violent Soho - Violent Soho (2010): Excellent grunge-rock, channeling the 90s and based out of Brisbane. Noisy and funny at times too. 4/5

Emery - We Do What We Want (2011): I never know how to feel about Emery, are they hardcore or emo? This album is like the 2 sides clashing. 2/5

The Vaccines - What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? (2011): Summery 1960's-esque twee dance music.. If they had dance music then. 3.5/5

Yellowcard - When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes
(2011): Heavier than what I already know of them, I still laugh when I hear violin in 'punk' 3/5

Coolrunnings - Dracula Is Only The Beginning
(2011): relaxing, ethereal, sounds of a 60's summer, all rolled into light pop music 3/5

Lemuria - Pebble
(2011): Poppy indie music, with a bit of a distorted edge. Reminds me of Sonic Youth if Kim pop songs. 3/5

Alea Jacta Est - Gloria Victis
(2010): Very generic French hardcore. It's basically all bad breakdowns and movie samples 1/5

The Vandals - Hitler Bad, Vandals Good (1998) - A perfect mix of comedy, politics and punk. One of my all time favourite albums 6/5

Alpinist - Lichtlaerm (2010): Dark and heavy German hardcore, bordering on black metal. The music is depressing sounding, but still good. 3.5/5

Gun Outfit - Possession Sound(2010): I hated this at first, but then realised it's just a poor man's Sonic Youth. 3/5

The Babies - The Babies
(2011): Sounds the same as the Vivian Girls. Probably because it's mostly the same people, with a dude singing as well. 3.5/5

Beach Fossils - What a Pleasure (2011): More generic jangly surf-rock. #yawn #cliche #next 2/5

Adventure - Lesser Known (2011): If you were to Google the phrase "hipster electronica" this would come up. 2.5/5

My Morning Jacket - Circuital (2011): Every album gets more country, but in a weirdly good way. The Black Metal song may be song of year. 4.5/5

The United Sons of Toil - When The Revolution Comes, Everything Will Be Beautiful (2011): Whenever I hear this album, I can't help but picture them angry union protestors in the 70s 3.5/5

Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (2011): They somehow make an album that sounds as good as Hello Nasty, but 10 years in the future. 4/5

Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math (2011): An album that grew on me. It combines some classic rock, some emo and indie in complex layers 4/5

Bon Iver - Bon Iver (2011): I still don't understand what Bon Iver are trying to do with their sound. Regardless, this is a beautiful album. 4/5

Battles - Gloss Drop (2011): With the departure of the lead man, they've lost the random and become almost symphonic. Dare I say... pop? 3/5

Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts (2011): The Sonic Youth lead singer takes his noise rock acoustic, compensating with beautiful layering 4/5

Tyler the Creator - Goblin (2011): The lead of OFWGKTA makes a solo album that sounds like a conversation with his messed up conscience. 3/5

Swingin' Utters - Here, Under Protest (2011): It's basically an album that sounds as if punk goes country 3/5

Man Overboard - The Human Highlight Reel (2011): The better end of the pop-punk spectrum. He sings a lot about when he was 15 3.5/5

Balance and Composure - Separation (2011): It sounds as if young Silverchair dropped the grunge and made an emo album. The voice is so similar. 4/5

Wu Tang Clan

So Wu Tang Clan, one of the most known/acclaimed/loved hip-hop collectives are bring the mother fucking ruckus to Australia in August.

And Brisbane is not getting a show. Again.

That's it.
There's no punchline to this joke.
This is the joke.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Free Music Friday 22!

I'm posting today's free music friday massively early this week, as I will probably be in absentia for the next few days. But that's not important. What is important is that this one is for fans of Hot Water Music. Well for fans of orgcore, or melodic hardcore punk in general, or anything that just sounds that bloody awesome.

They're called Campaign.

And they have a free EP called Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! It's 4 songs of just great orgcore. If you like any punk that sounds like what I mentioned above, get this now. You won't regret it.


Motley Crue

Just the sound at the start of this music video gets me amped:

Yes, that's right Motley Crue. Back in early uni days we had a saying "What would Motley Crue do?" Whenever I'd get in a situation I'd think that, and just go for it (generally a party mode and with stupid repurcussions). Motley Crue have got to be known as one of the biggest party bands of all time, their shows were just parties. If you ever get the chance, watch their VH1 Behind The Music. The stories... Just wow. A brothel under the stage full of drugs was quite normal.

These days, they're much older and hopefully wiser after a few near death experiences. But they still have an excellent back catalogue of music that they can rock out.

And we can go see them.

September 21 at the Riverstage.

Supporting them is the lead singer of Poison, Brett Michaels. Also will be Australia's own Doc Neeson, the lead singer of the Angels.

Now, the part that decides whether you'll go or not. The price. Once again, it brings me back to the post I wrote a few weeks ago entitled "Music promoters, pick up your game". Why? The tickets are at least $136. That's a medium to large festival price. For a washed up 80s rock band supported by 2 singers (not even with their own bands).

Pass. Andrew McManus, you're a greedy bastard.

Fat Wreck Tour 2011

Fat Wreck Chords. You may not them, but you'd probably know most of their artists. They are the punk label of labels in this modern age. It helps that it's owned by Fat Mike of Nofx. What they do though is sign some of the best modern punk bands, and give them a great go. So it's good to see a tour coming over to Australia of some of their smaller bands. So you could say I'm a little more than excited for this tour:

Pour Habit was one of my favourite bands of the last few years. They are one of those bands that just combine partying, skating and punk into a great fun package. And Smoke or Fire are just a good all around punk bands I've been enjoying for a long time. They will be playing two shows around our area, in very small venues. You'd be an idiot to miss this great punk show.

October 8, Miami Shark Bar, Gold Coast
October 9, Step Inn

Smoke or Fire
Pour Habit (Check out the song Bad Luck Drunk, it's one of my favourite drinking songs)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Free Music Friday 21!

As much as a rip on rap and hip-hop, I do like it. When it's done good. Unfortunately years of mainstream radio has ruined my opinion of a lot of this genre. And then I stumbled upon this album:

Death Grips is what they call "experimental hip-hop". Now fucked if I know what that actually mean, but if this is experimental, I love what the genre is experimenting with. To me, with my limited knowledge, it sounds like he's mixed his grimey and dirty sounding rap style (not as in dirty as in rude, but just his vocal style) with interesting beats. His beats go from random electronic buzzes and squawks, to using a lot of classical rock and 60's sounding pop samples. And that's the part that I love.

I download this a few weeks ago and I've been listening to it at least once a day, discovering new things about it and how much I love it. I can feel a big hip-hop resurgance in my listening trends soon.

And yes, being Friday (or at least inLink 2 hours) it's free on his website! Go to his website: scroll half way down, and click where it says Download Now!

I will say this, his music is way better than his web design skills. Way, way, way better.