Saturday, 30 August 2008

The Woods Themselves

Sydney-siders The Woods Themselves have a new album brewing which you can hear on their myspace or download samples from at their official site. Their self titled debut from 2004 was amazing but I can't seem to find anymore details about the new record. I'll keep my ears pealed. In the meantime here's a new video from them:

Monday, 25 August 2008

Triple R Radiothon

Roll up, roll up. Triple R, regarded by many as the finest non-profit community radio station in the world, has kicked off its annual radiothon where it encourages listeners to dig deep and subscribe to keep it on air for another year. There's a tonne of prizes to be won, so get thee to a phone and call +61 3 9388 1027 or have a gander online to find out more about subscribing.

If you are in Melbourne and tune into 102.7FM tonight (Monday) from 9pm (AEST) I'll be on air with Jacinta and Local and/or General - the Australian music program I used to present.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Meredith 2008 Lineup Announced

photo by Snork Maiden

I've missed out on the first round of ticket allocation for one of the best festivals in Australia: Meredith. The good news though (according to them) is that I might be able to buy some in the second round... so fingers crossed! It will be my first year though without a free media ticket and a VIP car pass, which has previously enabled me to get in before most others and snap up a sweet spot in the bush. Needless to say I am a little worried about how I'll go this year, and having been able to experience the wonderful ease of three ATP Festivals in the UK over the last 18 months I also wonder whether I really want to do the camping thing anymore. Hmm.

So, ok, anyway... the lineup is what you came for, here is the first announcement...


Very promising. Discussion and more details on Mess and Noise if you like.

Reformat The Planet

Thanks to Create Digital Music blog comes this link:

The appeal of newer music apps for phones, current-generation mobile game systems, and PDAs is portability first. But for the Game Boy music scene, it’s as much about a distinctive sound, and acquiring Game Boys as a kind of unique synthesizer. Our friend and mobile game musician Peter Swimm points us to the new documentary Reformat the Planet. It’s available for a week free on, with screenings to follow. It’s a pretty nice survey of the New York corner of the scene, at least.

It recently screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival but get over to Pitchfork TV to check out this ace doco for one week only.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Little Red

I'm now back at work in Australia, and spent lunch talking about the rise of Little Red, the hot new buzz band from Melbourne. These guys are literally everywhere at the moment, and with not much time to write about them I thought I'd link to some tunes from their debut album which was recored and mixed by my lunch companion Steve Schram.

Check them out on myspace, or listen below.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Land of Talk

photo by Jalapeno

As i watched Ned Collette play last night at Roxanne, i tried desperately to remember who i saw him play with in London last year. "They were awesome" i told my friend Emily. She pressed me for their name and i drew a blank all night. And then just now I was reading Canadian music blog Chrome Waves and saw a little thing on Land of Talk from Montreal. Ah Huh! Yes! They describe themselves as being "fronted by the daughter of North America's first female alligator wrestler. Backed by Montreal's skinniest drummer and fattest bass player." Hmm. Gags.

Anyway, Elizabeth Powell's voice and delivery reminds me a little of Bertie Blackman from Sydney or maybe Ida Maria. Their new album Some Are Lakes comes out on October 9th through Saddle Creek, but I'm not sure if it will have Australian distro. Here's to hoping. Some tunes are on Land of Talk's myspace and official site... or check them on Seeqpod:


The hipster. The punching bag for uncool fat bloggers or jealous and greying Gen Xers? Perhaps the endgame for affluent western youth culture in the late naughties. Do snowed-up rich kids preening for the photoblogger get your blood on the boil? Then Adbusters have an interesting and at times scathing article for you about the hipster (an no, i don't mean those low waist jeans).

Hipsterdom is the first “counterculture” to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope, leaving it open to constant manipulation but also forcing its participants to continually shift their interests and affiliations. Less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion.

The responses are also worth a read:

Why shouldn't you applaud yourselves while being ashamed at the same time?! This is no revolution, or counter-revolution, or evolution, or devolution, it's a mobius strip of a paradox in a hampster wheel!
- Anonymous

In the spirit of un-celebrating the hipster here's some of my fave club photoblogs featuring uber-cool counter-culture revolutionaries:

Australia: Streetparty, Purple Sneakers

OS/US: Last Nights Party, Driven By Boredom, The Cobrasnake

Tunes for Lazy Mornings

One of the benefits of housesitting for a music writer is you can fossick through their CDs and albums, discovering new gems that may have passed you in the slipstream. Two albums that rose to the surface this morning, in perfect lazy Saturday fashion are from Loney, Dear and Nobody & The Mystic Chords of Memory. Both charming, breezy, free wheeling pop records for today's rainy weather or, fingers crossed, next weekend's sunshine.

Since it is a lazy Saturday (and i'm still in my PJs at midday) i'm going to leave the descriptive passages to Last FM...

Multi-instrumentalist and home-recording phenom Emil Svanängen lives in Sweden and he makes records and plays shows under the somewhat inscrutable name of Loney, dear. In either his tiny Stockholm studio apartment or the basement of his parents' house, and with a dedication bordering upon manic, Emil discreetly builds Loney, dear songs using a modest home studio set-up. In this way he has recorded and then released himself on CD-R four albums in the last two or three years. He has managed to sell several thousand of these, pretty much on his own. (Last-Fm)

I'm loving his record Loney Noir which you can hear tracks from on myspace or official site.

Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory is a collaborative effort between Nobody (Elvin Estella) and Mystic Chords of Memory (Chris Gunst and Jen Cohen). Building off of successful guest appearances on each other's past releases, the trio began collaborating on the project in the spring of 2004. After a year-plus of road trips and mail-order production efforts, the result is a perfectly crafted blend of psychedelic hip-hop and sunshine folk-rock. Nobody proves himself a producer/arranger in the classical sense, using his sample-based tool set to create the foundations for the album. (Last FM)

Listen to more from the album Tree Coloured See on Hype Machine.

Friday, 15 August 2008

I Met The Walrus

In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace.

Teenage Fanclub - The Concept

A couple of weeks ago I got Bandwagonesque, the classic Teenage Fanclub album from '91. I can't stop listening to it, especially the astonishing opening track The Concept. I was taught the tune on guitar by a mad welshman in a hot rehearsal room during London's summer '07 and it just brings back all those memories. I wish i'd owned the record before then though, i'm sure i rooted up the solo having never heard it. Anyway, since its stuck in my head, get it stuck into yours:

Unfortunately its not the full album version, you get the MTV fadeout at 3'22. Starsign and What You Do To Me are also standouts on the record. If you're a Big Star, Neil Young, Dinosaur Jr or Byrds fan then its a must-own.

And if yr in Spain in September you can see Teenage Fanclub at the Ebro Vision festival on the 19th. Woo!

Life Without Labels

Very interesting article from technology blog Ars Technica today about how indie bands are living without label help and the way they are surviving in the new online music world. It also talks about Tunecore, which i had never heard of, but allows artists to place their music on the key online music stores like iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, and Rhapsody. I wonder how many Australian bands make use of the service? The truth is bands have been surviving quite happily without major or even minor label support for many years before the online music revolution. But the difficulties they face with trying to promote, market and PR your music are the same as ever when you're also juggling self-managing and playing in a band as well.

The full article can be found here, and Ars Technica have also written about Tunecore and its service here.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Busy Ned

photo by elspop.

With another Europe/UK trip planned for October, there are now only a few opportunies left to catch prog-indie wonderkid Ned Collette and the band before they wing their way away from us.

I myself haven't seen him since a gig early last year at Monto Water Rats in London where he supported Besnard Lakes and which came at the end of a string of dates with Joanna Newsom. It was probably the best show I'd seen Ned do up until that point. But he now has a more stable band, a great critically acclaimed second record under his belt, and the confidence that comes from having already successfully traveled far from home to flog his wares.

Ned Collette Band play on Friday night at Roxanne Parlour in Melbourne with Deloris and Over The Atlantic (NZ). He'll be solo for a special "in the round" show on August 24 at The Retreat in Brunswick with fellow Melbourne songwriters Lisa Miller and Ross McLennan. Then up to Sydney on August 27th for the Shoot The Player website launch.

UK types can catch him from October 9th onwards. Check his myspace for dates.

Ned Collette's album Future Suture is in stores and worth every penny... he's a video for the tune "The Country With A Smile"...

Jessica Says

Its isn't difficult to fall for Jessica Says. Having cut her teeth on stage as the cello player of choice for touring acts like Jens Lekman and Micah P. Hinson, Jessica Venables has put herself centre stage, a potential world-class indie-songstress in the making. As any red-blooded skinny indie nerd will tell you she has the full package. Ms Venables' own piano driven gothic-pop tunes casually straddle the universes inhabited by artists like Joanna Newsom, New Buffalo, Kate Bush and Tori Amos. The latter two offer the closest comparison to Jessica's voice, which mixes enough girly charm with worldly matter-of-factness, delivered live with her fringe-covered doe eyes wide, head slightly tilted down, the unblinking confidence and vulnerability rubbing electricity into the air. I saw her at the Empress on Wednesday and was mesmerized.

The songs themselves, as yet unreleased, offer defiant statements: "nothings gonna shake me now" on The Sleeping One Beside Me; and more heart breaking observations like "by the morning she'll be gone again" on His Mothers Ring. With only these two songs on her myspace its hard to get a wider view of her talents, although rumor is there might be a release coming out through Unstable Ape in October. But try to catch her live and be seduced. Jessica Says plays tonight supporting Dave Bazan (Pedro The Lion) at the NSC then Saturday at the Edinburgh Castle with another amazing Melbourne singer-songwriter Nathan Hollywood and indie champs The Ancients.

Friday, 8 August 2008

New Melbourne Discoveries

Having not blogged for a while i thought i might do a quick wrap of some of the newer Melbourne artists starting to catch my attention.

First up is a guy called Grizzly Jim Lawrie who weaves catchy, melodic folk tunes around his slightly muppety, or some say Neil Young-esque voice. Its your fairly standard m-town 'man-with-guitar' stuff, but still makes for compelling listening. His standout tune Wish I Was There can be downloaded from his myspace page. Jim's been doing Wednesday nights at the newly refitted Birmingham Hotel in Collingwood and can be seen drumming for The Hondas and Flats and the Friendly Few. Grizzly Jim Lawrie plays the Empress on August 16th and the Tote on August 19th.

photo by James Greer.

Also on the folkie tip is Major Chord (above), the new project for Dan Flynn and Kate Connor. In spite of their uninspiring name, the tunes are well crafted modern folk pop, at times recalling Iron and Wine, Machine Translations or Nick Drake: Dan's gentle, confident balladeer's voice croons lovingly over his warm acoustic guitar and Biddy's violin and harmonies add a slight alt-country edge to the affair. The self titled debut album is out in stores and their tunes can be heard and downloaded at the Major Chord myspace page.

Major Chord plays Bar Open on August 14th with International Karate.