Friday, December 30, 2011

Free Music Friday 34! The "my new years eve plans" edition

What are you doing for New Years Eve? Going to a club with 100's of other people, drinking overpriced champagne and generally just hating on humanity as you wait for the bus/train/taxi with 100's of other people after midnight?

I'm not. I'm getting my rock on at the very last Sun Distortion Studio show. It features some great bands from all over the world. The headliners are Italian screamo band Raein and American scream band Loma Prieta. It's going to be a great (and loud) night.

If you're deciding at the last minute to come along, check out Raein's new album "Sulla linea dell'orizzonte fra questa mia vita e quella di tutti gli altri" which you can get for free on their website!

Seriously, if you've got no other plans tomorrow night, get to Sun Distortion Studios. It's 20 bucks. It's BYO and their will be a tonne of great bands.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Murder By Death

The year: 2003. An 18 year old Chuck sneaks into a bar in Iowa City (drinking age, 21, legal entry age, 19) to watch one of his favourite, yet really new bands, My Chemical Romance, put on a rip-snorting show to about 80 punters in a dive bar with a tiny stage and a low roof named Gabe's Oasis. Their set was high energy and amazing (never to be relived no matter how many times he saw them in the next decade) but it was the opening bands that he remembers fondly.

The first one was a post-hardcore band channeling Muse named Vaux, who's album still gets constant rotation in Chuck's car in 2011. The other was a country-punk band called Murder By Death.

It was the first time I ever heard anything of this sort in my sheltered mid-west American musical upbringing. Of course, these days I'm obsessed with bands like Lucero that do this constantly. But at the time, it was something new and wonderful.

Even my great mate Wes, known more for his love of Christian punk rock, enjoyed them. We bought a matching set of these shot glasses to celebrate the night:

I hope he's still got his, I know I do and always use it when I hear this song... but that's another story.

It's been a long time since I first saw Murder by Death, but now they're bringing their unique style to Australia for the first time, and I imagine this little shot glass will be filled with a lot of whiskey before their show at Woodland on February 25.

Wait... what?! SOUNDWAVE DAY. Ah shit. This fucking blows. That being said, Woodland is notorious for late starting shows, I could probably do both in a day and then be exhausted.

Brisbane Soundwave Sidewave #2

Marilyn Manson, supported by Coal Chamber and Wednesday 13.

Do I really need to explain this one to you guys? If I do, well then you weren't alive in the 90s and weren't interested in any of the more "heavier" or "controversial" music.

For me, this will be best for Coal Chamber. 13 year old me loved this band.

Eaton's Hill Hotel, February 24. All ages.

Sublime (with Rome)

To me, Sublime was the soundtrack of my mid-teens, spent lounging around with my birthday buddy Tom, taking our guitars everywhere just playing music and wasting time. To this day, their reggae-ska-punk sound is my perfect summer album.

Of course, the whole Bradley Nowell death thing (RIP) happened before my time, so I never got to see them live. Over the last few years the rest of the band (who are extremely musically-gifted) have formed with a new lead singer (named Rome) to live out the Sublime legend, as well as record a new album, under the name of Sublime With Rome.

I understand what they are doing and it's still pretty good. But it will just never be the same as the original Sublime. Bradley Nowell is just one of those enigmatic people whose struggles and outlook on live is what made the music.

That being said, the new reincarnation of Sublime will be coming to Australia (for the first time in any form of the band) and it will be the only opportunity I will ever get to see these songs live.

April 5, HiFi, 18+

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Brisbane Soundwave Sideshow #1

With the news of Brisbane's Soundwave festival selling out, now begins the agonisingly slow trickle-feed of sideshow announcements, which unlike most festivals, will include a few in our wonderful city.

The first one is a huge metal lineup: Lamb of God, In Flames and the Black Dahlia Murder. I'm already growing my hair out long and strengthening my neck muscles for the black-shirt headbanging I'll be joining in.

It's February 28, all-ages and at the "suddenly having every medium size show ever" venue, Eatons Hill Hotel. Which truly is in the middle of nowhere, and according to my friend, has no public transport after 830. And also isn't technically in Brisbane.

Future Music Festival adds a great band (What the hell, I'll ruin it in the title: NEW FUCKING ORDER!)

Future Music Festival is the dance festival that normally falls on the same day as Soundwave. For me, Future generally only has 4 or 5 bands I want to see, so it's an easy choice. However, this year, it's the weekend after. I've already blogged the first announcement, which included Aphex Twin and Fatboy Slim, which is almost enough for me to go for.

But now they've added one of the greatest bands the world has ever seen: New Order. NEW FUCKING ORDER (swoon).

Mark Ronson was also announced, but given my downtime in blogging, he's cancelled his appearance since then.

March 3, Doomben Racecourse

Florence and the Machine

If you haven't heard of Florence and the Machine by now, you must have been living under some sort of sound-blocking rock. Seriously, everyone and their dog now knows this song:

This female fronted indie-pop band are on track to take over the world with their upbeat art-rock tunes. So it's not a surprise that their next tour of Australia will be an upgraded large venue tour. Entertainment centres and sports arenas Australasia-wide will be full of their music soon, or in our case, the Riverstage. May 26.

Hip Hop Holiday! (well just a party)

Although not an avid fan of the hip-hop and related DJ genre, there's still quite a bit I like. And recently two upcoming shows have caught my eyes, purely for 2 of the names on the lineup.

First up, on January 4, is the (disputed) beatbox champion of the world: Rahzel.

He'll be playing at the HiFi with Pharoahe Monch and DJ jS-1.

The other one is February 25 at the HiFi and features the turntablist of Jurassic 5/Ozomatli, Cut Chemist!

Duran Duran

I don't know whether to blame my parents or not, but one of my favourite types of music is 80's based synth-pop. It just makes me happy. My second favourite of this era (behind the mighty Tears for Fears) would have to be Duran Duran.

Back in my younger days, this was even our drinking song/music video:

In the real version it's just gratuitous nudity everywhere.

A few years ago I had the wonder, nay, amazement, of seeing them play at V Festival. Surrounded by people 20 years my elder, we all got together and just danced. It was fun and they put on a great show as a band.

I get to live it all again at the Entertainment Centre, March 17th. Unfortunately this time it's almost festival prices, with $99 giving you the far back seats.

Manchester Orchestra

Manchester Orchestra are one of those bands that have slowly built a solid fanbase through almost word of mouth alone. Up until their latest album, Simple Math, I never really heard them get a mention in anything even close to mainstream.

Which is a pity, as they create some great indie music. Their albums just consist of absolutely beautiful songwriting. You just can't get enough of it.

I've yet to have the privelage of seeing them, but that will change come March 6th, when they play the HiFi. It's only ~$40, as far as international bands go, that's almost a steal!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Review: The week that was (Off!/Future of the Left/Fucked Up/Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group)

Last week was one of the best weeks of my life musically. From Sunday to Sunday there were so many bands I wanted to see and just not enough time to indulge it all. I still managed to get to 4 shows and each of them blew me away on exponentially increasing levels of awesomeness.

Off!/Dick Nasty/Mouthguard
December 4, 2011
The Zoo

It all started last Sunday with Off! Fronted by the first Black Flag singer Keith Morris, it was really a journey back to the good old days of hardcore punk. I felt as if I was back to where it all began. In a hot sweaty venue, listening to loud and fast punk, I was home.

The two local bands, Mouthguard with their skinhead punk and Dick Nasty with their comedic hardcore, complimented the night perfectly. Keith not only sang, he entertained us with stories of his past and even his preachier moments weren't too bad. When it came to the end of their set, they kicked it old school and just started playing their set again from the start as an encore.

This whole night made me wish I was back at the very start of Black Flag.

Future of the Left
December 6, 2011
TYM Guitar instore and The Zoo

The band so nice, I saw them twice! I managed to find out at the last second that Future of the Left were playing an instore at TYM guitars, so I headed over there to watch them play 4 songs for free, with about 50 other people. It was a great time, although slightly awkward. The band and the crowd weren't sure how to react.

A few hours later I was upstairs watching Future of the Left do what they do best. They made a lot of noise, played some old songs, played some new songs, played some McLusky songs and tore down their equipment in a large sonic blast at the end of the set, as pictured above. As always, a great bloody band to see live.

Fucked Up/DZ Deathrays
December 9, 2011

When Fucked Up were announced as the openers for the Foo Fighters/Tenacious D tour, I was mighty jealous. When Fucked Up announced they were going on hiatus not long after this tour, I made a pledge to go to wherever they were playing a sideshow. When the shows in Melbourne and Sydney turned out to be during work trips, I cried inside.

And then magically, a little over 2 weeks ago, they announced a club show in Brisbane. I was so excited I got ticket number 2. A pleasanst surprise came from the DZ Deathrays who were the secret opener, playing their noisy 2 piece drum+guitar rock in Australia for the first time in a very long time.

But then.. Fucked Up. Yes. Alhambra wasn't ready for it. The little barricade in front of the stage could barely hold the band or the crowd away from each other. The security didn't know what to do. They threw out someone next to me, but Damian stopped singing and went out and fetched him back in. The set included many songs old and new, playing my favourites Son the Fater, Police and a hardcore cover of Jingle Bells. There were guitarists crowd surfing, half naked lead singers going crazy throw the crowd, and me singing into the microphone while taking a photo (as above). An amazing night. So glad I finally got to see them play a club show.

Being the nicest guys in hardcore, they even stayed back afterwards and got photos taken with us, gave signatures and just chatted. What a night.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group/Le Butcherettes/Coerce
December 11, 2011
The Zoo

No cameras were allowed at all to this gig, so no photos. It was also the busiest I've seen the Zoo yet this year. Sold out completely, the crowd was almost at capacity as Adelaide band Coerce won me over with their sludgy prog-rock.

Le Butcherettes were an experience, featuring Omar on bass and a girl on vocals/guitar/keyboard and another on drums, this Mexican garage punk band broke many hearts and surprised everyone else. The lead singer put in a performance that had everyone spellbound with the lead singer going absolutely nuts in her gothic Alice in Wonderland-esque blood stained outfit. To me, all I could think of was a combination of The Dresden Dolls with old school Yeah Yeah Yeahs and a bit of the Grates, but with a heck of a lot more attitude and energy. The music was great too. They definitely have a new fan with me.

But the reason everyone was there, was of course Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, of At the Drive-In and the Mars Volta fame. He, and his three-piece band, just played an hour of jam numbers characterised by that guitar sound Omar has made his personal trademark. The skill of these three musicians was amazing, especially Omar. And the best part was how thankful he was to be playing for us. This, from a man that has been selling out stadiums for over 10 years and has been the key guitarist of two of the most influential bands of my time. It was such a privelage to witness this.

I don't think I'll ever have another week of music as amazing as last week was. Time now to rest my weary ears.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Free Music Friday 33!

I've been waiting for this album for what seems like forever now. And finally, it's here. And even better, it's free! The band is Nuclear Summer and they are from Brisbane. And I took this picture of the guitarist doing some finger tapping at Fat Louies.

I've been raving about this band for the better part of the year now, with their mix of noodly riffs, clean harmonies and thrash-like vocals (not surprising, given their lead singer is one of the two from Ironhide). They dub this sound Sunshine Metal... I like that tag.

Their first album is pretty damn good. Get it for free (or give them some a donation) over at Bandcamp.

You can also catch them touring around supporting this album on the following dates:
December 26, Billionaire (18+ and with Mourning Tide!)
December 30, House Show, Sunshine Coast
December 31, Sun Distortion Studios, supporting Raein and Loma Prieta (all ages)

That las tshow is one you do not want to miss out on. Seriously. I just bought my tickets today. It's an all ages show, so it should be done well before midnight so you can still go off and party for NYE and kiss your girl. It also features to great skramz bands, Raein from Italy and Loma Prieta from the USA. It's also the very last show Sun Distortion Studios will host. Which is sad, as it has been an amazing all ages venue in Brisbane.

One sentence album reviews (#19)

Zebrahead - Get Nice! (2011): Just a fun pop/punk/rock album that doesn't take itself seriously at all, making it enjoyable to listen to 4/5

The Living End - The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating (2011): I promised not to write a review saying I miss their rockabilly days. So... um.. yeah. Very mainstream rock 3.4/5

The Horrible Crowes - Elsie (2011): The Gaslight Anthem's lead singer creates a stripped back folk album that is just beautiful 4.6/5

Saves the Day - Daybreak (2011): A surprising upswing in mood from their last 2 albums sees them lapse back in time to sound like 2003 4/5

Engineer - Crooked Voices (2011): Sludgy hardcore that seems to want to be metal, but just can't quite get there with it's vocals 3.6/5

Powerman 5000 - Copies, Clones & Replicants (2011): sounds like a bad nu-metal band butchers good songs to sound like bad new wave 2/5

VA - A Tribute To Alkaline Trio (2011): 39 mostly unknown mediocre artists for the most part butchering Alkaline Trio songs 2.2/5
There are a few good songs in there, but after a while they have the sameness that 90% of Alkaline Trio songs already have

Kevin Devine - Nevermind (2011): Sounds like a note for note copy musically of the Nirvana album, but with K-Dev's less gravelly voals. 3.9/5

VA - SPIN Presents Nevermind (2011): An interesting mix of different interpretations of Nirvana. Falls short on all but a few tracks 2.5/5

VA - Kerrang! Presents Nevermind Forever (2011): Heavier bands covering the Nirvana legacy. Some of the metal interpretations put a new spin on it. 4/5

Bombay Bicycle Club - A Different Kind Of Fix (2011): I'm definitely getting a Coldplay meets Radiohead and goes hipster vibe from this 3.7/5

Wilco - The Whole Love (2011): An uncharacteristically noisy, electric and long opening song gives way to the classic Wilco sound 4.5/5

M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (2011): 70 minutes of lush and beautiful shoegaze. This will be my future album for long hot baths 5/5

Tokyo Police Club - 10 Days, 10 Covers, 10 Years (2011): When they cover indie bands they sound okay, but there's some horrible song choices 2.4/5

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire (2011): He's about 1 album and a few whiskeys away from being Neil Young now. 4.4/5

I Am The Avalanche - Avalanche United (2011): I was not expecting this to be the fun punk album it is. Preconceptions can be very very wrong 4.3/5

Bjork - Biophilia (2011): typical Bjork: layered, quiet, weird, discombobulated and full of odd instruments and wavering vocals 3/5

This Is Hell - Black Mass (2011): it truly is a strange time we live in when one of the best thrash albums this year is by a hardcore band 4.2/5

Kevin Devine - Between The Concrete & Clouds (2011): More of his style than his Nirvana album this year, but nothing that really stands out 3/5

Northington - Borrowed Time (2011): An orgcore album that harks back to some of the punk of my earlier years 3.8/5

Polar Bear Club - Clash Battle Guilt Pride (2011): Solid, but doesn't make me pump my fist in the air and sing along like their 1st album 3.3/5

Chuck Ragan - Covering Ground (2011): He was one of the first punks to go folk-country, and he's still the best 4/5

The Medics - Dance Into The Dark (2011): I dub these boys the Two Door Cinema Club of the Netherlands. But better. 4/5
Misfits - The Devil's Rain (2011): Sounds like they haven't changed sound in 20+ years. Which is not a good thing. 2.4/5

Star Fucking Hipsters - From the Dumpster to the Grave (2011): A great mix of old school punk, hardcore and ska. It's me, in an album 4.3/5

The DC3 - The Future Sound Of Nostalgia (2011): The song "I Was the Guy in TISM" sums up this album perfectly. Best TISM spin-off yet. 4.7/5

Skalapper - Go Along Sing Along (2011): Japanese ska-punk in poor English. Or is it just bad Japanese? I can't quite tell. 3/5

Jane's Addiction - The Great Escape Artist (2011): Unlike their previous albums, I like all of the songs on this, not just one good song 4/5

Dude Jams - How To Abuse Everything (2011): raw, rough and edgy punk which tips its hat to the sounds of the 70s and 80s 3.6/5

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Hysterical (2011): Another album of weird falsetto-vocals indie music. 2.8/5
We Were Promised Jetpacks - In The Pit Of The Stomach (2011): Embracing more of a post-rock sound on this album really pays off 4.3/5

Maylene & the Sons of Disaster - IV (2011): stepping away even further from their hardcore roots, this album is very mainstream US radio rock 3/5

The Kooks - Junk Of The Heart (2011): Embracing a 1960s Brit-pop sound, they've finally produced an album that lives up to their hype! 4.4/5

Andrew Jackson Jihad - Knife Man (2011): Quirky, acoustic-folk-punk. Although a common genre now, their more comedic take is a good spin 4.7/5

Nuclear Summer - ST (2011): locals' noodly heavy band's 1st album is good, with some ex-Ironhide thrash vocals thrown in for a surprise 4/5

Screaming Trees - Last Words: The Final Recordings (2011): a soft, for grunge, recording from the late 90s, highlighting Lanegan's brooding vocals mainly 3.6/5