Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mixtape: Sick day

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mixtape: The Break-Up Part 2

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

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

1. Dangers - (Love Poem)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. The Walkmen - The Rat

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

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

9. Atreyu - Right Side of the Bed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mid year album review!

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

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One Sentence Album reviews (#22)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The end... or not

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

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

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

If you want to know what gigs I'm going to, I'm going to keep my concert calendar going. I have it synched to my phone calendar and it's a godsend. The link for it is here: https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=835hou86o1lplk1ob70o36nf7c@group.calendar.google.com&ctz=Australia/Brisbane&gsessionid=OK If you have an Android/Google Calendar, you should be able to add it straight into your own.

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

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

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

I'll blog a lot of my photos over at my actually photography blog now: http://moshpitson.com/blog/

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

- Allan

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Record Store day

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

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

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

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

Go support your independent music retailers!

Frenzal Rhomb play even more shows

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

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

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


A week ago I blogged about the best hardcore music festival in Australia. Without a doubt, the band I was most excited for was Ceremony. I was considering going down there just to see them play the two days.

But now, we get two of our own shows!

July 5 - Between the Walls (all-ages)
July 6 - Basement 243 (18+)

Two small and great venues for seeing a hardcore band like this. I am excited.

Bodyjar: No Touch Red

A lot of bands from my youth have been doing nostalgia tours, showing both my age, and the spending power people of my age have when it comes to music. And the big drawcard of these tours has generally been the good-ol' "playing an album in full".

Well heck, even Australian bands can jump on that. A few months back Bodyjar did a few Melbourne shows playing their album No Touch Red in full. Now we get it up here in Brisbane!

And yes, that video is from Recovery. The best Australian show ever.  Which also shows how old it is.

On August 24th they'll be playing the HiFi, with other classic 90's Australian punk One Dollar Short.

The Ocean

You like metal? You like good progressive metal? Well watch this video:

And if you do, come to the Zoo with me on the 24th of May. Supported by local bands I like, such as Nuclear Summer (sunshine metal) and No Anchor (two bass guitars playing sludgy metal).

The Black Keys Explode!

The Black Keys are one of those bands I've enjoyed for years and their new album just blew me away last year. For fans, it's been a long wait between shows though, as they kept cancelling their tours down under due to exhaustion and other commitments. Still, it was worth it for a cracker of an album.

Well they've finally committed to coming to Australia again, touring with another artist that made my top 20 album list of last year, Royal Headache. However, I guess everyone else is finally on the Black Keys bandwagon (after what, 10 years?) and they're going to be playing the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Yep. Not even kidding. 

October 26.

Splendour in the Grass 2012 edition

It's that time of year again, after months of rumours and internet fighting, the Splendour announcement has gone live, now in handy video form!

Just in case you can't see it, here's the list:

Jack White
Bloc Party – Only Australian show
Smashing Pumpkins
At The Drive-In – Only Australian show
The Shins
Hilltop Hoods
The Kooks – Only Australian show
Miike Snow
Dirty Three – Only Australian show
Lana Del Rey
Azealia Banks
Tame Impala
Explosions In The Sky – Only Australian show
The Afghan Whigs
Missy Higgins
Band Of Skulls
Django Django
Gypsy & The Cat
San Cisco
Last Dinosaurs
Electric Guest
Angus Stone
DZ Deathrays
Lanie Lane
Big Scary
Michael Kiwanuka
Yacht Club Dj’s
Bertie Blackman
Jinja Safari
Blue King Brown
Youth Lagoon
The Beautiful Girls
Tijuana Cartel
Ball Park Music
The Rubens
Ben Howard
Bleeding Knees Club
Zulu Winter
The Medics
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Kate Miller-Heidke
Father John Misty
Emma Louise
Chet Faker
Here We Go Magic
Parachute Youth
Mosman Alder
The Cast Of Cheers
Wolf & Cub
Bob Dylan tribute: Kav Temperley, Kevin Mitchell, Holly Throsby and Patience Hodgson will join forces with an array of surprise Splendour guests
There's two bands in there I haven't seen that I'd like to see. Fun. and of course At the Drive-In. Okay, maybe the Kooks, Metric, the Shins and the Bob Dylan tribute as well.

It's back down in Byron this year, which of course means that promoters consider it a suburb of Brisbane and we won't get any shows from it. It's the 27th-29th of July.

It says it's ATDI's only show in Australia, which is absolute balls.

EDIT: Tickets are $350+BF, $99 camping or $135 for single day passes. Looks like I'll go the Friday for ATDI

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Local Shows

Two great (albeit heavier) local shows coming up this month!

Milestones/Little Shadow at Fat Louies, May 12. (free!)
The Mercy Beat/The Quickening at Basement 243, April 28. ($10)

Both some of my favourite places in Brisbane and both full of great local music. Follow the links for the Facebook event details, as well as listening to the bands!

Hardcore 2012

It's not often I post about gigs from areas more than a few hours out of Brisbane, but chances are you'll see me at this one. One of Australia's best record labels, Resist Records, are putting on two days of great hardcore music simply titled "Hardcore".

Over two days (or one if you're under 18) you'll get your face melted by some of the best hardcore from Australia on beyond.

Terror, Mindsnare, Ceremony, I Exist, Break Even, Miles Away, Extortion, Iron Mind.

For those of you keeping track, these will be the last ever Break Even shows. So you will be able to say goodbye to one of Australia's best hardcore bands.

And for me, there's mother-fucking Ceremony:

July 7 (18+) and July 8 (AA) at the Sydney HiFi.


Purple Rain.
Little Red Corvette.
Rasberry Beret.

I don't need to introduce him. So I'll let Dave Chappelle/Charlie Murphy introduce him

It's coming up within a month! A very quick lead period from announcement to gig. May 18 at the Entertainment Centre. Tickets go on sale Monday morning, and they are at regular Entertainment Centre prices ($99+).

Seafood and Wine (and music)

I love food. And wine. I especially love seafood. All of this together means I was probably going to go to the Caxton Street Seafood and Wine Festival. But then, they decided to add some music entertainment. And by some, I mean a hell of a lot of quality Australian bands:

And reading into it further, there's a 12 year old in me getting very, very excited. Boom Crash opera and 1927?! EEP! Let's get drunk, stuffed on quality seafood and rock out!

May 6, Caxton Street

You can get tickets from here for less than $30

Flight of the Conchords

I was an Australian in America at the height of the Conchords hype. Even though they were from New Zealand, everything I did ended up being associated with them. I ended up hating them for ages because of it.

But then thanks to some really clever comedic song writing, and lots of in jokes about this song, I got back into them:

But, it seems I'm one of the only ones around to not get caught up in the hysteria of this band. Because they've announced a tour... to the Entertainment Centre. A much bigger venue than I ever imagined!

July 7


I'll be honest, before today I had not heard of this band. I let it slip by when I saw the announcement of their tour. But then the fangirling on twitter that followed, from people who's music taste I identify with, well I had to go check out.

And now, for the last hour, instead of reviewing albums, I've just been looping their YouTube playlist.

My goodness. For those people that like that emotional punk/orgcore sound, they'll love this. And I tell you what, I'm an instant convert. I will totally be heading out and checking these shows:

Wednesday 27th June – Youth Activities Centre, Byron Bay AA
Thursday 28th June – Snitch, X+Y Bar, Brisbane 18+
Friday 29th June – The Loft, Brisbane AA

One Sentence Album Reviews

Because it took me forever to finish my 2011 list, here's the first for the year!

Tennis - Young And Old (2012): another girl/boy duo making dreamy summer tunes; makes me think of pastel polo shirts and country clubs 3/5

Anti-Flag - The General Strike (2012): As always, Anti-Flag make a fun punk album full of catchy hooks and politics. It's damn catchy 4.3/5

Every Time I Die - Ex Lives (2012): typical ETID album: features the same guitar/vocal styles & funny titles but with a more metal edge 4.3/5

Bleeding Through - The Great Fire (2012): This metal album tries hard, but falls short. Especially with its overuse of fake synth violin 3/5

The Mars Volta - Noctorniquet (2012): The poppiest album Omar/Cedric have released yet. Short songs, no spacey solos, understandable lyrics 3.7/5

Caliban - I Am Nemesis (2012): Breakdowns, samples, clean singing parts, swearing. A fairly typical metalcore album 3.2/5

Hank Williams III - Rebel Within (2010): Someon with a hardcore background decided to imitate the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack 4/5

Air - Le Voyage Dans La Lune (2012): accompanying soundtrack to the 1902 movie is a return of form. The music doesn't even need the movie 4.8/5
Sonic Armada may be the song of the year

Quiet Steps - Secular (2012): The screamo influence is largely cast aside on this album, substituted for some great noodly melodies 4/5

Bleeding Knees Club - Nothing To Do (2012): Retro sounding garage rock from the Gold Coast. It's like a 60's surf party! 4/5

Narrows - Painted (2012): Every year there's a dirty, sludgy hardcore album I dig. I'm pretty sure this is it for 2012. 4.2/5

MxPx - Plans Within Plans (2012): A flashback to when I was 16 and pop-punk blared through my car windows as loud as it could go 3.8/5

Sleigh Bells - Reign Of Terror (2012): Not much changed for the 2nd album, except the riffs are more 80's power-metal. Not in a good way 2.3/5

Fanfarlo - Rooms Filled With Light (2012): Delightful indie-pop, but the album lacks a standout wow factor, it'll be forgotten quickly 3.5/5

Fun. - Some Nights (2012): Imagine if you were in a cute romantic (indie) movie, this would be your soundtrack 4/5

Kaiser Chiefs - Start The Revolution Without Me (2012): Unlike their last few albums, they don't sound totally bored. Still not great 2.4/5

Useless ID - Symptoms (2012): The melodies! I find this album so gosh darn catchy in a good pop-punk way 4/5

Lucero - Women & Work (2012): A more upbeat Lucero album, probably thanks to all of the horns. Magnificent whiskey fueled rock still 4.6/5

Ceremony - Zoo (2012): It appears the hardcore and anger is gone, replaced with a brooding almost indie sound. Not what I was expecting 3.3/5

Young Guns -  Bones (2012): an attempt at a big stadium-rock, radio-friendly sound. Meh 2.3/5

Monday, April 9, 2012

Secret Show: Dead to Me

Last night I dragged my hungover self underground for Schooner or Later at Basement 243. It was a great night of punk, headed by American Fat Wreck artists Dead to Me and Cobra Skulls. A great time was had. I'll have the photos posted on AltMusicHub at some point today (and then I'll link them back here).

But what you should know is that Dead to Me take their punk rock seriously. They even bleed for it.

They were great. So great, that they're doing a secret show today. It's at Brews Brothers, it's $10 and it starts at 2pm.

If you don't know Brews Brothers, it's a little home brewery store in Woolloongabba. They make excellent beers and sell them at ridiculously cheap prices too. Cheap beers, great music (supported by Quiet Steps) and cheap entry. All during the daylight hours.

Show details are here: https://www.facebook.com/events/184099015043016/?ref=notif&notif_t=plan_user_invited

Get there. I will be if my family easter celebrations end early.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review: The Beards, The Good Ship, The Stiffys. The Zoo, March 30 2012

On Friday night I packed up, camera in hand and headed to the Zoo to see the kings of beard-parody bands: the Beards. Last time they came up they played Rics, so it's a huge step up in the world to be playing a sold out crowd at the Zoo. I'd been hearing them for months on ABC AM radio as well, so I guess I must've missed the memo when they became a "serious" band.

But that night was anything but serious. First up was the Stiffys. They encouraged us to drink. A lot:

There were two members to the band: a drummer and a bass player. Dressed as slightly permiscuous sailors. And you'll never guess what every song was about. Penises. I guess the name gave that away. 

They even had a song about how sexy Ranger Stacey was. It really appealed to me as a 12 year old. Musically, they can best be described as DFA 1979 singing about penises. It was fast beats with some good bass playing, in a bit of a dancey way.

The next band, the Good Ship, didn't give away too much from their title. At least I thought not.

But after the 7-odd strong band came out with their plethora of instruments and started playing comedic sea-shanties, well... I figured out the title did some them up pretty well.

You may not know this about me, but I am a man who really loves his sea shanties. I really do. So I enjoyed the crap out of their set, especially their rousing rendition of "What do we do with the drunken sailor" at the end. They have an album launch at the Beetle Bar on April 20. I'd strongly recommend you go see them if you want to have a great time.

At this point in the night, girls were coming up to me and stroking my beard. It was a weird experience, but I guess they were here for that reason. And the Beards did not fail to disappoint. Especially considering the lead singer rocked a beard and a key-tar. A greater combination of awesome I've yet to see.

There was a lot of beer and a lot of songs about Beards. And a lot of chit-chat. All about Beards. For a single joke, it really never stopped being funny the whole night.

It was really hard to take the gig seriously, but that was what was great about it. It was just a fun night all around.

Monday, April 2, 2012

100 Songs Project: Brisbane bands get involved!

An interesting idea that has popped up over the last few years is the 100 songs in 100 hours project. Watch this trailer to get an idea:

The idea being that artists/bands/performers from all over (but mainly Queensland) head into the studio to record 100 songs in a 100 hour window. These songs are then mastered and shipped off to both Triple J and 4ZZZ for immediate release to the public. As the video says, it's like a music festival, but broadcast (and with much better facilities and audio quality).

Come May 20-25, QUT will throw open it's doors for 16 hours a day to record the 100 songs. FOR FREE. Yes, that's right. Are you in a band and want to get a recording and some exposure? Well why not do this? It will only take a few hours of your day, you will be contributing to something big and awesome and you'll get a professionally recorded song broadcast almost immediately on radio. Who knows, you may even get put on their best of CD (which the 2011 version, called "Twelve" was released last weekend).

If you're interested, just fill in this form: https://www.qmusic.com.au/dsp_applications.cfm?opportunityID=29. The applications close a week from today. So get on it.

Australian music! Tours! NOW!

San Cisco

They're going around plugging their Awkward EP again. Here's a song from it and it's not hard to see how their indie-pop is slowly taking over the airwaves and becoming ear worms stuck in your head for days.

May 10, Elsewhere, Gold Coast
May 11, The Zoo

Dappled Cities 
This one is courtesy of Darcy, probably their biggest fan. First off, they have a new song in anticipation of a new album very soon. Check it out:

They'll be playing this and hopefully a whole lot of new songs as well at Oh Hello on May 24.
The Medics
The best band to come out of North Queensland? Probably (I don't know many). In the past I've gotten them confused with the Dutch band of the same name. But not for this post. No. The Dutch Medics do zany rock, the North Queensland Medics make some beautiful indie-pop. Which they'll show case for you on April 21 at the Zoo. Get some free MP3s of them from here: http://www.triplejunearthed.com/themedics


One thing my old stomping grounds of mid-western America is not known for is hip-hop. Especially not Minnesota. But that's the reason why the hip-hop group Atmosphere are good. The offer a new spin on things. They do it different. It's not your "coastal" hip-hop of gangstas. It's damn good music.

And they're playing the HiFi. May 5. 18+


Who doesn't love when bands from the past bring us sweet sweet endorphins in the form of nostalgia? Well, get a load of these three upcoming tours from blasts from our musical past.

As I am all too painfully aware, thanks to a few of my friends, Hanson went on and on and on past MMMBop. In fact they never stopped, becoming a nice little indie 3 piece. I wish I was kidding. I was going to link a video. But no.

September 20, HiFi
September 21, Coolangatta Hotel

The Darkness
The lead singer was once the fastest man on Top Gear and although they believed in a thing called love, they also believed in 80s glam rock with a hefty dash of Queen influence. They broke up, they're back and they'll be playing Eatons Hill Hotel on May 4.

I've always been head over heels in love with Inxs. They are by far the best Australian band ever. EVER. Fight me if you disagree.

The whole Michael Hutchence thing was just a crying shame and the misfortunes of the replacement lead singer has detracted from a discography of amazing music. I'm not sure who the singer is now that JD Fortune has been kicked out again, but they're coming back for a massive Australian tour. MASSIVE.
In our area alone we get:
June 24, Harrigan's @ Drift Inn, Jacobs Well
June 26, Empire Theatre, Toowoomba
June 28, Twin Towns, Tweed Heads
June 30, Eatons Hill Hotel

Peter Hook cancels Joy Division

Peter Hook, one of the original Joy Division dudes, was scheduled to come out and cover one of the band's albums next week. I was excited. I had a photo pass for it!

And then it was cancelled. Why?
...due to production circumstances which were beyond their control.
 .... right. In the press release they mentioned they might try it again at the end of this year or the start of next. But this could be just the start of a huge legal to-and-fro between him and the other Joy Division guys, also known as New Order. There's been a lot of contention about who owns what rights to the music in either band between them all. A shame really, because they are two iconic bands, done by the same guys originally.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Free Music Friday 38: The good Brisbane band edition

If you go to any sort of alternative, punk or hardcore show in Brisbane, you've probably heard of and seen Quiet Steps. Heck I've already seen them 3 times this year and for a good reason. They make good music.

It's hard to pigeonhole them. They combine elements of screamo, noodly math-rock and indie; which is why you see them open for so many diverse bands.

This week they finally released their long awaited new album, Secular. And yes, because it's on this blog entry, you can get it for free! Or, as is in my case, a donation. Head on over to their Bandcamp page to grab it, and if you like what you hear, chuck them a few dollars. If only for the reason the singer owes me a beer after he drunkenly grabbed mine at Archive one night and chugged the whole thing.

The new album Secular sways more to the indie side, there's nary any of the screamo or noodly influence there, but under the surface you can still grab glimpses of it. I've been jamming it constantly at work the last 2 days. I'll give it a few more listens before I write my customary Twitter review. But in case you were wondering, my favourite song is Pointless, as it builds up to a nice, almost punk, fast paced finish.

If you like what you hear and you're not doing anything this weekend, go see them at Woodland on Saturday. I'll more than likely be there with camera in hand.

Woodland's last call

So I've only been to Woodland once, in a drunken haze. I don't remember who I saw or when it was or anything, except that it was my kind of bar. Dingy. The shape of a box. Cheapish drinks. And a room for a band in the darkness.

Over the last 2 years they've put on some great punk and garage rock shows, featuring both local bands and internationals. I'm kind of ashamed I've never managed to go to one. They seem to always conflict with other things and have a reputation for running late and being almost impossible to photograph at.

It appears its short run is about to end though, on Easter weekend in April. It's a shame, as we're already hard pressed in Brisbane for venues of that size and quality. However, there's going to be some damn good shows coming up there.

The first I know about is the EP launch for the sludgy noise merchants No Anchor, supported by good Brisbane band Quiet Steps. March 17th, $12, bands start at 9pm. Go in, watch some great live music and enjoy the last few days of the venue.

Punk Show of the Year: 2012 edition

The Flatliners.
Strike Anywhere.

That's all I'm really going to write about this tour.

You like punk music yeah? WELL GET YOUR ASS TO THIS.

Seriously, I've already written a draft review of the new Anti-Flag album and it's shortlist on being my album of the year already, seriously catchy political punk. If that's not enough reason, Strike Anywhere are one of the best live punk bands I've ever seen, also with their political hardcore-punk. And the Flatliners, I've missed them on their earlier tours, but dammit, this is finally my time to see them!

The Zoo
May 30

Frank Turner

Frank Turner is one of the few artists that both me and my girlfriend agree on and have even seen together! And it's not hard to see why. His punk/hardcore credentials now moved on to folk/acoustic/punk is something we both like.

Last time we saw him was in the sweat box that is known as Rosies, with him playing by himself over the bad electronic music from the room next door. But now, we're getting him with his full band!

May 13 at the Zoo. To make this an even better folk-punk night, he'll be supported by William Elliot Whitmore (EEP!) and my number 1 album of last year, the Smith Street Band. This may be the gig of the year for me.

Mass tours update, the March edition

My blogging has been slack! Sorry! But hopefully you've checked out all the photography I did and my massive 2011 album review. I haven't been slack. And as much as I hate doing this, I'm about to spam you with a tonne of upcoming gigs that I just don't have the time to dedicate to individual posts.

Velociraptor Australia tour
First I'll start with one of the best garage rock bands in our fair town right now. Consisting of, at times, up to 13 members, of course it's Velociraptor.

They're packing their bags and heading around Australia but their home show will be March 23 at Alhambra. If you don't know these guys yet, you're really sleeping on your Brisbane music cred.

Fu Manchu
When I was all of about 15, my mum bought me a random mix CD entitled "The Hard + the Heavy". I fell in love with it and found a lot of bands I'm still obsessed with today on it (especially Ministry). The first song I ever heard of Fu Manchu was this one:

Needless to say, they are one of those bands I still like. Apparently it's been over 10 years since they've been to this country, but they are coming down and doing that old tour gimmick thing of playing one of their albums in full. For this tour, it'll be the stoner rock classic from 1997  The Action Is Go.

May 4. HiFi

Brian Jonestown Massacre/Raveonettes
Now this could be the indie sideshow of the year. The band probably best known for being the nemesis of the Dandy Warhols coming out with the Dutch two piece the Raveonettes. I'm already getting my hipster self psyched up.

I doubt they'll play this song, but I'll always love it.

May 24. HiFi.

Despite only being out here a few weeks back with his band of old, Coal Chamber, Dez is bringing his current band back, with less nu metal and more plain old metal.

May 4, Tivoli

Groovin' the Moo Sideshows
As I've already mentioned, this is probably the only festival in Australia where Brisbane gets quality sideshows. Possibly because the closest it gets to us is Townsville. There's two more sideshows announced in Brisbane for the festival.

Public Enemy, May 10, HiFi
Digitalism, May 9, Family

One of the longest lasting and best known electronic groups has to be Orbital.

They will apparently be bringing out a large audiovisual show to go along with their music at the Tivoli on May 6.

Zola Jesus
Most people this year would know Zola Jesus for her vocals on the intro to the 2011 M83 album. This former opera singer however does her own thing with beautiful synth music.

Catch her June 1 at Alhambra.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

2011: Best albums

Musically, 2011 was for me the final death knell of the CD. For years I had been a sworn defender of this format, where you'd get more enjoyment from the album, above and beyond a collection of songs. The greatest advantage was how easy they were to play in my car. But 2011 saw me very rarely driving, depending more on public transport, and thus an MP3 player to provide my musical enjoyment.

This does not mean that I stopped buying music and started illegally downloading it. Oh no. A lot of my downloads, especially of newer bands came straight from their bandcamps, chipping in a few dollars to get the newest EP or album. But this was not the main way I got my music. In a throwback to my parents era, most of my new albums of 2011 were purchased on vinyl.

Yes. Vinyl records. Call me a hipster if you want, but there's good reasoning for it. To me, it is more of a collector's item. You get something physical to hold and store, with more packaging and content than you'd even get with a CD. Listening to the album becomes more of an involved task. If I'm listening to my MP3 player, I'm generally doing other things and not paying 100% attention. Because I've only got the one record player, I have to make the time to sit down and actually listen to the music. My setup sees me lying on the couch a lot, eyes closed, just consuming music. You notice a lot more.

But really, it's become simple economics for me. When you buy an album on vinyl, 90% of the time you get so much more for the same cost as the CD. You get the album (which can be in a collectible limited edition cover or packaging) and a download or included CD of the album. For the same cost I'm getting the album on many formats for my enjoyment, whereas a CD would only be on CD. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll get even more. This year I've got included 7" EPs/Singles, Zines, T-Shirts, DVDs and even CDs of B-Sides. I find I get more for my money.

Switching formats has not diminished my consumption of music this year. For anyone that follows me on Twitter, you'll see I post album reviews whenever I can. This year I listened to and reviewed 237 albums. The big theme of the year seemed to be the return of the concept album. So many punk-esque bands upped their game, producing a CD with a central theme and story. Bands like Fucked Up, The Wonder Years, the Dear Hunter, Defeater and even Saves the Day, who finally finished their 3 part concept album. And the best part is, most of these concepts were not over the top and campy, they were really good albums.

Of course, there's more than just that, so what follows are my top 34 of albums released in 2011. I know it's late, but I wanted to go back and triple check that these were good albums, and I wasn't just caught in the buzz of it at the time of listening.

34. of Mice & Men - The Flood
(Twitter review: Perfect combination of really heavy music, with clean parts and just the right amount of breakdown 4.3/5)

I can see me getting a lot of hate for this, but I'm okay with it. I've preached many times in the past about the death of what I consider "post-hardcore" to be replaced with synth, breakdowns and screaming vocals in tandem with a higher pitch singing vocals and the kids with bad haircuts. Aside from the haircuts, which I am not sure about, Of Mice & Men are almost cut from the same cookie-cutter. Yet there's always been something about their albums which have caught my attention. With the Flood, it's an album I can't put down. Whenever I'm having a bad work day (like right now as I write this review) it's just the perfect heavy, angsty and angry soundtrack to put me in a better frame of mind.

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

Ever since In Reverie, Saves the Day have been on a bit of an exploratory phase. In Reverie saw them embrace a new, less-punk sound with a very Beatles-influence. It seemingly lost them a lot of fans, but not me. I loved it. Next came Sound the Alarm, a dark and heavy album dealing with absolute disgust and anger that is filled with some of their most violent lyrics ever. It is still my favourite Saves the Day album. Following that, Under the Boards was a bit more mellow. Now with Daybreak, we have Saves the Day mellowing out even further to a mix that sounds like a between phase from In Reverie and everything before. It turns out Daybreak was the third album in a cycle starting with Sound the Alarm's depression and then finally finding acceptance in Daybreak. And that's what you get in Daybreak. Acceptance; it's as happy as Saves the Day have sounded. It even includes a 10 minute epical song, that shares the title of the album.

32. Death Grips - Exmilitary
(Twitter review: Excellent grimey rap with lots of classical rock samples that make my inner music nerd jump for joy 4.5/5)

Death Grips is exactly what I imagine hardcore hip-hop to be. I don't care if that's a real genre or not, but in my head, this is the equivalent. A bunch of guys just screaming most of their lyrics into a microphone with fast beats and dirty guitar and noises. Sure, it's not the best rhyming you'll ever hear, and they still drop the old 'hos' and 'bitches' rhymes in, but there's something else that really excites me. And that's the samples. When listened through good headphones, you can pick up on so many little things. It's not at the level of Girl Talk, but there's a lot of sampling in there. Lots of little samples. Over a few songs I noticed a lot of Beastie Boys samples (from the Ill Communication days I think) and even a Black Flag sample! There's more, but it's quite hard for me to put my finger on. Lots of riffs I recognize but just can't place.

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

It's not a year of music for me unless there's one really short, fast, loud, noisy and dirty hardcore album. This is it. Figuring out what to write has taken me longer than the album itself. But for that kind of hardcore that just sounds like the singer and the band are airing some heartfelt grievances with all of their energy... well this is your album for 2011.

30. The Subways - Money and Celebrity
(Twitter review: a very up-beat pop/grunge/punk album, with a beat great for jogging. It's very fun 4.6/5)

I find the Subways to be like the Fratellis: a British band with punk roots and inspiration that write catchy pop-music. Money and Celebrity is a great example of this. All short songs, nary over 3 minutes. Screamed vocals at times, gang vocals at times and lots of quick and simple guitar riffs all set to a fast tempo. As much as I loved the Subways first album, this is their best work by far.

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

As mentioned in the Twitter review, preconceptions can often have me missing an excellent album. There's two reasons I didn't listen to I Am the Avalanche for a long time: 1) stupid name. I skip bands with stupid names because I imagine their music is as bad as their name. 2) The Movielife. I'd seen the Movielife a tonne of times in my youth and they were just never a band I liked. But from the first minute of the opening track of Avalanche United, named "Holy Fuck", I was hooked. This is the punk album for 2011 for gang vocals. Vinnie's (the former lead singer of the Movielife) vocals are already gravelly, but about 30% of each song features everyone else singing along. And for a good reason, the songs and the lyrics make you want to sing along.

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

I like the Dropkick Murphys, but have never loved them. Each album always had one or two good songs, but the rest of it just fell to the wayside. But after 20 years, this is it. An album of theirs I love from front to back. It's not like their style has changed, it's the same formula as previous albums: some bagpipe, songs about unions, working class themes, drinking, gang vocals, tin whistle and a healthy walloping of hardcore punk througout. But as a whole album, they maintain the same excellent level of songwriting. And I feel like singing along with almost every song on the album.

27. The Wonder Years - Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing
(Twitter review: A pop-punk album with a theme. The songs show depth not known to the genre and aren't generic or whiny 4.5/5)

Pop-punk is the domain of teenagers. I loved it a decade ago. But these days it seems to be the same old aging artists singing songs of teenage heartbreak with really whiny voices even though they are in their mid-40s. And then there's the Wonder Years. I don't think a pop-punk album has made me this excited since the first time I heard New Found Glory. There's nary a mention of teen love, lust or heartbreak on here either, it's a basically a concept album, capturing a moment of time in suburban Chicago, a place that speaks close to my heart. Sure, there's still plenty of power-chord punk guitar, gang vocals, slightly nasaly singing, but it's almost not a pop-punk album.

26. Starfucker - Reptilian
(Twitter review: Hipster indie-dance. At times I think Flaming Lips, Of Montreal or Avalanches. The whole time I think "YES!" 5/5)

When I did my Twitter review for this all those months ago, I was obviously madly in love with this album. As I sat down and listened again for the end of year review, I could not remember why. It's got barely understandable vocals that sound like moaning, it's a bit of a quiet ambient indie-electronica sound and nothing really stuck out for me. But as the album started to unravel, I remembered why. It's the exact same reason I love M83. The layers of different music all mixed together just works. Although it seems a fairly quiet album overall with it's low key electronic beats and indie-stylings, when you really start listening to it you notice how complex it is at times and how well it works together. Sure, it still sounds like a hipster dance party, but it's the kind of hipster dance party I'd go to.

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

The Get Up Kids were once this powerhouse of 90's American emo. They disappeared for a few years before re-emerging with a reunion tour. And I guess they liked what clicked, because they got together and recorded a new album. However, on There Are Rules, they depart from everything and anything you knew about the Get Up Kids. Jangly, noodly, clean guitar is replaced by distorted fast garage rock. Emotional heartfelt lyrics have been ripped completely out, you'll barely find any romance on this album. Vocals that used to be softly song are now shouted in a punk way. Now, most fans have hated on their new sound, but I applaud it. Why come back and live in the past? Grow up, move on, try something new. And they have. If you ignore their back catalogue you find yourself listening to a great garage rock band. In fact, at times, I kept thinking I was listening to the Strokes!

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

I'm a huge Sonic Youth fan. There's no denying it. Shirts, CDs, records; all of it is mine. With the news this year of the divorce of the two main characters of the band, Thurston and Kim, I was concerned. What will become of this music I love? But then I heard the album Demolished Thoughts, any and all concerns were banished. Thurston, Sonic Youth's main guitarist, continues his style from later Sonic Youth recordings on his solo album, but with one change: acoustic. It's the same meandering guitar and chord styles that he has honed over the last few decades, but without the distortion or the drone. And it works so well. It's not just one guitar and his voice though, he's layered it with other subtle music such as more guitars and strings. It shows that there's still plenty of creative genius left in him.

23. We Were Promised Jetpacks - In the Pit of the Stomach
(Twitter review: Embracing more of a post-rock sound on this album really pays off 4.3/5)

Accents in music is something that generally makes me shudder (see: Australian hip-hop). But there's something about the nice Scottish brogue of We Were Promised Jetpacks that really works. And post-rock is something that I generally don't like. In the Pit of the Stomach sees this Scottish Indie band descend down a very post-rock path with huge build ups and climaxes in fairly long songs. But in this case, two wrongs seem to make a right as the combination of the Scottish-ness and the post-rock is what makes this album stand out!

22. Cults - Self Titled
(Review : The ultimate hipster-indie-female-singer-lofi-pop album, but Christ it's good 4.5/5)

I should hate this album. It's that combination of hipster-love affair, sort of typical almost Triple-J fare that I bemoan constantly. But Cults are good. I can't hate them. The male-female vocals play off each other beautifully. Their lofi sound adds that bit of extra distortion that makes it just sound a bit more gritty and raw. The lyrics are somewhat typical, but with a bit of a twist. Like in the song "Abducted" which have the love v. gore word play you would expect more from an early 2000's emo-core album. An excellent debut album that managed to keep the hype that they expertly wove in the blogosphere.

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

After my first few listens of this album, I really liked it, as I do most Wilco albums. But as I also do with most Wilco albums, it quickly got forgotten. And then, a few weeks back, I was up north on a work trip when one of my coworker's phone started ringing... and the ring tone was the acoustic guitar riff from One Sunday Morning. I recognized it within 2 seconds and got Wilco on the brain. This album starts and ends with long songs. One a full on electric noise assault, very unlike Wilco. The other ends with 12 minutes of soft acoustic guitar. The whole album slides from the loud opening to the very soft and romantic finish. It shows a Wilco that's still willing to experiment, but also still knows when to go back to the old Wilco formula

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

Acoustic folk. It's done to death. But then someone like Andrew Jackson Jihad comes along. Packing an album full of comedy, wit and satire, all set to a slight folk-country soundtrack. Heck, he even apologises before a solo halfway through a song. I've found myself singing the words to American Tune over and over again, identifying with it way too much than I should "I'm a straight white male in America/I've got all the luck I need."

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

If you think you've heard this voice before, especially if you get annoyed by it, then you must have listened to TISM at some point in your life. The DC3 seems to pick up almost where TISM left off, but after having some time to mellow. Sure, it's still an album full of synthesizer rock that belongs in a shady bar in the 80s, but that's not why you listen to it. It's the lyrical content, delivery and dare I say... genius? The DC3 is just a platform for a rant by a man attacking his middle years and former infamy. With a massive dash of humour and satire. There's many reasons I love the lyrical content. 1) Purely for having numerous references to cricket and AFL. 2) The self-serving song "I Was the Guy in TISM". One of the songs of the year for me. 3) Ripping on pseduo-celebrities and Triple-J. 4) Ripping on the old-boy private school network 5) Well, you really need to listen to the whole thing and appreciate it yourself. But it's the perfect soundtrack for a former "alternative" Australian that is now grown up and looking on things he used to like with disgust. In other words, for me.

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

Over the last few years, probably starting with a Wilco album, I've been slowly falling in love with the soft, yet indie, sounds of alt-country. I think it's all been leading up to this new My Morning Jacket album. It's very laid-back and country, but in a very soft way. The songs seem quiet, but they've done enough to make each song work. At times they experiment a bit, with some crazy falsetto singing (and not-country subject matter) in Holding on To Black Metal, which should have been a huge single in my opinion.

17. The Weeknd - House of Balloons
(Twitter review: a modern RnB album with a lot of dub/electro overtones. Great rainy day or laid-back romance music 4.7/5)

This album is a huge step out of my normal listening asthetic. 1) It's dubstep. That deplorable genre. 2) It's R 'n' B, which, apart from the original rhythm and blues of the 30's, I've never been interested in outside of drunkenly singing Boys 2 Men songs. 3) It's minimalistic, ambient, electronica, a style of music I find so boring 98% of the time that it just knocks me out to sleep. But then, there's the Weeknd, who puts it all together and makes me love it. You'll find yourself turning the volume up whenever you listen to it, just because the background beats are so quiet and so subtle that you may just miss it. The vocals show the talents of a great singer, even if a lot of the lyrics seem to be about drugs. It's an album like this that makes me think there is hope for what can be popular music.

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

I'm a man that doesn't like post-rock. 98% of the bands are cookie cutter "oh let's just slowly build the guitars up for 7 minutes and crash them into a crescendo with maybe some spoken word samples over the top to be deep and shit". And I used to think that about Mogwai. Then this album happened. There's actually singing on the track Mexican Grand Prix. There's real song struture too. Sure, it's 90% instrumental and still does the build up/break down on some songs, but it's put together in a way that makes you stop and say "yes, this could be the soundtrack to the movie of my life."

15. Owen - Ghost Town
(Twitter review: Absolutely beautiful folk/indie/acoustic album, with just subtle touches of his noodly emo past showing 4.5/5)

I missed a lot of the noodly-90's-emo hype, so I was not aware of who Owen was until after listening to this album. A lot of people know him as Mike Kinsella, member of numerous bands in that genre/scene. With that in mind, you can see his earlier work influencing the album Ghost Town, but with a transition to an acoustic medium. That noodly sound becomes quite beautiful in this quasi-folk setting. His lyrics and voice translates better to this medium than the full-band emo (this I decided after listening to Owen and going back to check out his earlier work). At times Ghost Town builds up with a small post-rock feel, with a backing band adding depth and feeling to his songs, but it never gets too loud. It just stays at a nice, easy, medium. This is truly a beautifully crafted album that just makes you swoon a little bit on each listen.

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

This album is 75% Brian Fallon, from the Gaslight Anthem, sitting in a room singing to himself quietly. The other 25% is what he does best, with his American-rock sounding punk. Elsie is a beautiful album though, as it's not the usual acoustic fare that punk lead singers fall back on. There's plenty of instruments when required, or even just electronic sounds. He's actually crafted a fairly new sound for himself that is just beautiful.

13. Royal Headache - self titled
(Twitter review: ridiculously fun and catchy retro garage pop. I dare you not to dance to this. Double dare 4.7/5)

If the first time you heard Royal Headache was someone playing you the 12" vinyl record, you'd be excused for thinking it was something they pulled out of their parents' record collection; some old band that no one ever heard of but made damn good music. This is pretty much what I thought the first time I heard Royal Headache. Their lo-fi garage rock has a sound reminiscent of the early days of rock and roll; nestled with polka-dot dresses, quiffs and hot rods. Even their band logo, surrounded by dimaonds, reminds me of the 60s. When your mind eventually escapes the 60s and listens to them, you'll find one of the danciest rock and roll albums you've ever heard. Every song, with it's jangly guitar and fast beats, just makes me want to get up and swing my girl. This is the most fun album of 2011.

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

A double album is a huge effort, both for the artist and the listener. With a style of music that at times borders on dreamy shoegaze, this can be a challenge to the listener to try and stay awake throughout the course of the two discs. M83 do a pretty darn good job of this. Although spread out over 2 albums you will of course get a few quiet and boring moments that'll make you push skip on the CD player, you'll still find yourself falling in love over this album. It has it all: 80's saxophone (a scary amount of this actually), spoken word samples that don't make sense (I think one is a little girl tripping on mushrooms), plenty of uptempo dance-beat songs, plenty of quiet contemplative shoegaze songs and lots of vocals that just sound like chants, not actual words. It's everything M83 has done well in the past, spread out over 2 hours.

11. Touche Amore - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
(Twitter review: Hardcore that sounds like La Dispute had a musical baby with Defeater. 4.5/5)

In referencing the length of the album, this album is pure punk. 13 songs, 20 minutes and only one of them is longer than 2 minutes. What you do get in this short time is an explosion of angst and emotion in each song with the gritty shouted vocals (there's no singing at all) complementing the fast guitars and instrumentals. If you heard any other band play this way, you'd probably write it off as crap screamo. But there's something special about Touche Amore that makes it all work together. I'm still not sure what it is, maybe the honesty of the lyrics or the quick delivery, but it works very well.

10. The Black Keys - El Camino
(Twitter review: hard to believe it's 2 guys making such a sonically rich album; finally taking blues-roots mainstream 4.8/5)

Not long after writing that twitter review, it sort of came true. Look how high they got in Triple J's Hottest 100, how many ads the song is on and how much TV exposure it gets. And honestly, I can say good on them. I've been a fan of the Black Keys for years. For albums they toiled away on their two-piece blues-rock. Over time it lost that gritty edge and started sounding like a full band and it has hit it's peak with El Camino. The songs are no longer raw, although they still have a bit of blues in them. What you get here is 40 minutes of catchy rock and roll. It's not pop, it's still very much rock and roll, but gosh darn it deserves to be radio material.

9. Letlive - Fake History
(Twitter review: It's like Finch. Before they broke up the first time. Of course I love it. 4.5/5)

Post-hardcore is one of those genres that defines a whole bunch of music vaguely, that confuses me, most of which I despise and lament the really good bands which never seem to be around long. And then, amongst all of this music full of synthesizer lead breakdowns with bands with bad haircuts, makeup, horrible lyrics and misspelt band names, there comes something like Letlive. The first time I heard this album I was blown away, and much like my Twitter review says, it reminded me a whole lot of the very first Finch album. In fact, a lot of parallels can be drawn between the sounds of the two bands. And being that Finch was a rare act that never put a foot wrong with me, this album is just on how rotation for me all the time.

8. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Self Titled
(Twitter review: Surprising album that shows why he is a great songwriter. he's still got it 4.8/5)

Is it possible to write a review of this album without comparing it at one point to an Oasis album? No. So let's get it over with. If this was an Oasis album, it'd be one of my top two. Yes. It's good. But at the same time it's not Oasis. What Gallagher has done with his debut album from the High Flying Birds is take his years of rock star experience and put it all together with some superb songwriting. It sounds like he's really taken advantage of the solo creative control and managed to put the songs together exactly how he wants, with each part working together magnificently. It's just a testament to how someone with talent, despite his history of band breakdowns and inability to recapture early initial success, can leave it all behind and grow from it.

7. Boris - Attention Please
(Twitter review: Their 2nd album this year sees them make stripped back, yet bloody catchy, J-Pop, still with overtones of heavy rock 4.7/5)
Boris - Heavy Rocks
(Twitter review: their only album of the 3 this year that channels their older metal sound, but with a garage rock twist 4.3/5)
Boris - New Album
(Twitter review: Experimental metal band go electro J-pop... Confusing, But oh so good in a guilty pleasure way. 4/5)

You can't help but review all three of Boris' releases in one grouping. 2011 was quite a busy year for them, releasing 3 brand new albums. Although, to be fair, a few songs are featured in different forms throughout all three. The Japanese doom/metal band shows different facets of themselves over the three albums. In Attention Please, you get focus on the female singer, with more minimalistic crafted songs, a weird mix of J-pop gone ambient and electronica. On Heavy Rocks you get a more punk feel, with the female vocals nary in sight. It's as if they've tried to go back to the roots of the guitar/bass/drums traditional rock sound. New Album is almost the J-pop remix album of their work, with pop music, rock n' roll and even Atari Teenage Riot-styled digital hardcore thrown in. Throughout the three you can't help but respect what Boris has done, they are truly not a band to sit back on their laurels and rest, rather they push new boundaries.

6. Mastodon - The Hunter
(Twitter review: To me, it sounds like Baroness crossed with Alice in Chains. It's prog-rock/sludge bliss 4.8/5)
Sludge metal: Ever since catching Baroness at Soundwave a few years back, it's become something I've fallen in love with. Maybe it's the fact it's metal, but still fairly clean. Maybe it's the blues-rock feel that is somehow distinct in all of the noise. Maybe it's the stoner-rock elements in it. I'm not sure, I love it and the Hunter has all of those elements. Sure the album's got some prog-rock elements to it, especially the song content itself (What the heck is a burl and why does it curl?!), which may throw off a lot of listeners. But altogether it's just a great bloody rock album.

5. La Dispute - Wildlife
(Twitter review: an emotional trip with some of the best lyrics I have heard recently, each song is a story 4.7/5)
Wildlife came out at a very emotional point in my life. The week before it's release my roomate and friend passed away in an accident. Wildlife's subject matter was almost the perfect matching soundtrack to this part of my life. So much so, that it took me almost a month to be able to progress through more than the first handful of tracks without breaking down and having to turn it off. But that's what La Dispute do best. The lyrics of the songs weave a deep tale; but combined with Jordan's vocal tendency to ebb and flow (in intensity, volume levels and pitch; even wavering when it gets emotional) with this story and you get something you don't normally see in this post-hardcore genre: a journey. The journey is a loose collection of short stories, all sad. There's the kid that is collateral damage in a street-gang war, the child of a teacher dying of cancer, the life of a dad whose son is so ill he doesn't remember him and so much more. It's borderline depressing. But somehow, it works. The instrumentals in the songs are a step up and sideways from their noodly-screamo youth, branching out and accompanying the story quite well for the most part. Even now, 4 months later, I can still get goosebumps and tears in my eyes listening to this album

4. Yuck - Self Titled
(Twitter review: It's awesome lo-fi fuzz, as if Dinosaur Jr mated with Sonic Youth and their child dated the Japandroids 4.5/5)

Remember the days of 90's Brit-rock? Fuzzy guitars, nice melodies and almost happy songs? I do and look back fondly. Apparently I'm not the only one, because Yuck have put together everything I loved about the 90s alternative movement and put out an album that would be amazing then and is still amazing now. They've got guitar elements that sound like the noise rock of the late 80s,w ith plenty of Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth influence. They write songs which show they had an education based off Blur, Oasis and their contemporaries. And the song Georgia (my favourite of the album) channels a very healthy Cure guitar riff. This album is all of my favourite alternative rock rolled into a brand new band.

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

It's not every day a hardcore-punk band decides to try something big and brilliant, but if any band could pull it off, you would guess it would be Fucked Up. And they did. They've moved away from a hardcore sound somewhat, adding some beautiful melodies on their music, but have maintained that constant and loud rhythmic feel which is the mainstay of any Fucked Up song. But lyrically, they've moved it up and away from hardcore. It's a concept album. Following the life of someone named David. It's one of those albums that you may get one or two singles from, but put it together and listen to it in one sitting and it's something else. And yet, deep down, it's still hardcore punk. It's ridiculous to think that they were ever going to top their award winning album Chemistry of Common Life. Now I have no idea how they'll ever top this.

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

This album is one of those rare jewels in the overcrowded hardcore field. It's an album the band has obviously sat down and thought about, as it doesn't play out as a collection of songs, rather a story. The album starts with the scream of "Dear God, what have I done?!" and the storyline then follows the journey of characters surrounded a bar in days gone by, the Copper Coin. It's not just that this album lyrically has a story, it also has the music to back it up. Despite being heavy hardcore music, the band still manages to paint scenery with the instrumentals as well as following the emotions of the vocals. The story then reaches a logical point towards the end: regret. This climax, the Sleepless Nights side for those with the vinyl, is an acoustic and sad look back on lives and loves lost. It's hard to believe this can be done with hardcore music. But it has.

1. The Smith St Band - No One Gets Lost Anymore
(Twitter review: a masterclass in writing hella-emotional and catchy sing-a-long folk-punk 4.5/5)

A lot of my good-music loving friends have been pimping this album out, not only as the Australian album of the year, but the album of the year. And I've been trying to not follow that path, but given that I've just listened to it 10 times on repeat to do this list, it's probably not going to happen. So why is it so damn good? It's the unique sound of it. Sure, it's folk-punk, channeling unhealthy amounts of Defiance Ohio, but with Will Wagner's voice, it's something new. Is it the lyrics? I dare you to listen to songs like My Little Sinking Ship without crying or Sigourney Weaver without laughing. It is an emotional rollercoaster of an album. Is it the way it can transition from full on punk with gang-vocals-fist-pumping-in-the-air singalongs to quiet acoustic retrospective numbers? It's the combination of all of this, but still remaining honest sounding. It's a fucking great album.