Monday, 29 September 2008

Muxtape Rises

Incredibly popular and forward thinking mixtape sharing site - Muxtape - is officially closed... but soon to be relaunched! There's an awesomely candid article on the site currently explaining how and why it was shutdown.

With the amount of money involved in online music now, and the power of big online retailers like iTunes, eMusic and Amazon growing... plus the label's own online stores popping up and deals being cut with mobile providers etc. everyone is out to protect their patch. Or that of others, in the case of the RIAA.

The new Muxtape will be good news for bands...

Muxtape is relaunching as a service exclusively for bands, offering an extremely powerful platform with unheard-of simplicity for artists to thrive on the internet. Musicians in 2008 without access to a full time web developer have few options when it comes to establishing themselves online, but their needs often revolve around a common set of problems. The new Muxtape will allow bands to upload their own music and offer an embeddable player that works anywhere on the web, in addition to the original muxtape format.

But the show is over for those of us who used the service to make out own mixtapes for friends and listen to those of others. Boo!


I'll be presenting the Incoming program this Wednesday October 1st, filling in for Richard Moffat. Tune into Triple R on 102.7FM in Melbourne or online from 4pm AEST for the latest Australian music, and maybe even an interview or two!

The Harpoons

Forget Melbourne mop-toppers Little Red. If you're looking for a true blue 60s hit of pop nostalgia wrapped in skinny jeans and youthful wide-eyed enthusiasm then check out The Harpoons. Their ragged demos sound like they were recorded live in a bathroom, the four members arranged around some ancient, retro microphone. Check them out on myspace, where highlights are Tonight Tonight and If You Wanna Dance... plus they play live at The Birmingham with Oh Mercy tomorrow (Tuesday) night.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

On Air

I'll be co-hosting the Breakfast Club program on ABC Radio Australia tomorrow, Friday and Monday. It can be heard from 7:30am AEST on FM relay across Asia and the Pacific, and also online. Tune in tomorrow for Sophie Koh playing live, and then Friday for Irish trio The Script.

I Shall Be Released

Wilco and Fleet Foxes team up for a stunning live version of this classic. Listen below or at Cause = Time, and with thanks to Boing Boing for the tipoff. Wilco are using the download as a way to get people to pledge to vote in the upcoming in the US elections, and also contributing to the "Feeding America" charity. All details at Wilcoworld.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The Rectifiers and The Sun Blindness

Sensory Projects, the excellent independent Melbourne label, has been busy releasing two of the most interesting and satisfying local releases of the year so far. The Rectifiers new long-player Playtime for John Mountain finds the band at their most confident and articulate, shedding most of the alt-country baggage (much like Wilco before them) and further embracing the more experimental and widescreen-pop vision started with their prevoius effort Wear The Weight of the Resting Sky.

The record, like the most recent by Clue to Kalo, can be thought of as a 'concept' album, as the band told Mess and Noise:

“We wanted it to be kind of pastoral,” says Jo, “it’s sort of about nature and we also wanted to find new topics and things to write songs about, lyrically. So we ended up creating a really bizarre little set of characters and fed that into the album so there’s recurring themes and characters and stuff like that, and none of it really makes sense.” Says Nick, “We were trying to sort of, almost do a children’s album, just happy, not about ourselves. We didn’t want to say, ‘I’m so sad’ or whatever. Taking it completely out of that singer-songwriter kind of confessional. So the way that we approached was just by creating scenarios and little stories and that’s why it was fun because we’d just sit here drinking beers and just going, this song, what’s this song about – well obviously it’s about a dog with a blue nose. And none of that ever gets to the final kind of cut, but just the process was like you know just completely surreal and ridiculous.” full article

Playtime for John Mountain is being launched by The Rectifiers tomorrow night (Friday 19th September) at The Northcote Social Club. More details on shows and links to tunes on their myspace.

Also coming out on Sensory Projects is the debut for local duo The Sun Blindness, which is a more psychadelic, shoegazery affair. Think Spacemen 3 or the woozy, acid tones of early Stone Roses. The guys launch their record at the Northcote Social Club on September 26. Check out some of their great tunes on myspace.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Shoot The Player

Just found this great blog which reminds me of similar ideas i've seen overseas, in particular the excellent La Blogotheque crew and the Black Cab sessions from the UK. The basic premise is to put artists in an interesting place/context (usually outside or on the street) for them to perform solo. The team behind the Sydney based site acknowledge the influence of those who've gone before (and pay aestehtic homage too) but describe their own take on it thus:

Jonathan and Amelia began making single shot music videos on the streets and in locations around Sydney – that was it; shoot whomever you want, wherever you can. What you see and hear is exactly what happened on the street that day.

Featured on Shoot The Player are rad humans like Laura Jean, Young Werther and Jack Ladder. Plus some international types like the overrated Lightspeed Champion.

Check out Shoot The Player, or have a quick look at this video featuring Pikelet:

Pikelet: Pillowcastle from shoottheplayer on Vimeo.

The Drones - Havilah

Melbourne 4-piece critic-magnets The Drones are just about to release their new album Havilah. The new set was written and recorded in a mud brick cottage near Mt Buffalo, in regional Victoria. Its every bit as dark, ragged and glorious as their previous efforts, and Gareth's lyrics are as potent and uncompromising as ever. Standouts include Oh My ..."People are a waste of food, the end is nearly nigh"... and I Am The Supercargo "And I am a ruin borne by sea, the stone age smoked by dysentry". Check them in action on the slightly bizarre video for lead single The Minotaur:

Havila, the fourth studio album by The Drones is out on September 20th through ATP recordings.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Small labels are winning

Great article on The Guardian this weekend on successful small labels like Rough Trade, XL and Domino in the UK and how they are staying true to their independent nature and finding success when many major labels are struggling in the face of the changing music business.

Once upon a time, the major labels were king. They swept up sales in their velvety cloaks, showered money from the heavens, and defined the way you and I bought music. Now they're shedding staff, dropping bands and losing their star names. Now the drivers of the record industry are small, maverick labels that define trends and launch careers. Some of them even sell records by the lorryload.

Read all about it here.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Tame Impala

Also floating my boat at the moment, and gathering the attention of many switched on radio announcers, is a new band from Perth called Tame Impala. I put them on my recent podcast and they have been added to the bill of the now sold-out Meredith Music Festival in December. They are also spreading their scuzzy 60s psychadelic witchery around the land with Oz rock-royalty You Am I for their album tour, as well as international supports in October for Yeasayer and The Futureheads. Groovy!

Catch You Am I and Tame Impala for the "Lets Be Dreadful" tour here:

Thursday October 16th – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River
Friday October 17th – Fly By Night, Fremantle
Saturday October 18th – Fly By Night, Fremantle
Wednesday October 22nd – Metro Theatre, Sydney
Thursday October 23rd – Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta
Friday October 24th – The Zoo, Brisbane
Saturday October 25th – Sands Tavern, Maroochydore
Saturday November 1st – The Govenor HIndmarsh, Adelaide
Sunday November 2nd – Prince Of Wales, Melbourne
Monday November 3rd – Prince Of Wales, Melbourne
Thursday November 6th – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine
Friday November 7th – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Saturday November 8th -San Remo, Philip Island
Sunday November 9th – Barwon Heads Hotel, Barwon Heads
Thursday November 13th – ANU Bar, Canberra
Friday November 14th – Wollongong Uni
Saturday November 15th – Cambridge Tavern, Newcastle

Blow your little mind at Tame Impala's myspace! Freak Out! Or check this great remix by Canyons of their tune "Skeleton Tiger"...

The Maple Trail

I love it when I get really into a band, convinced they are from somewhere 'cool' like Brooklyn or San Fransisco or Copenhagen, only to discover they basically are in my backyard. Its what has just happened to me with The Maple Trail, a solo project for Aidan Roberts from Belles Will Ring. Aidan is based in the Blue Mountains, NSW and has just released his debut full length album Dirty Echo Park. On it he weaves classic sunset-glow pop tunes with romantic/nostalgic narratives, perfect for the newly sprung Spring. You can here more on The Maple Trail myspace page.

Thanks to Who The Hell blog for the geographic tip-off! I have been listening to this album for weeks on my mp3 player when i found it at my friend Chris' place while housesitting.

Dirty Echo Park is out through Broken Stone Records.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Empire Of The Sun

No, not the acclaimed book or film, but the new project for Luke Steele (Sleepy Jackson) and Nick Littlemore from Pnau. Gorilla Vs Bear have posted the starwars-esque album art above for the Empire of the Sun debut album "Walking on A Dream" which is due out in October. The title track is also the lead single, but be warned there's lots of naked torso action (as per usual) from Nick:

Empire Of The Sun - Walking On A Dream

Clue to Kalo

Fans of psychadelic pop-electronica can rejoice with the release of the new album by Adelaide's Clue To Kalo. Mark Mitchell anc co. have crafted a joyful, technicolour concept album centred around a fictional character, Lily Perdida, with each song being sung by a different figure in Lily's life.

Although we never hear from Lily Perdida herself, Mark told online music site Mess and Noise:

"It was kind of like the idea of a portrait which acknowledged that no portrait of someone is ever going to be accurate. So I thought that a good way to do that is to actually never even hear from the character, never really have any idea about this character, except through all these different perspectives of what this one character is, which essentially is as close as you can really ever get anyway.”

The full article is worth reading, and you can hear the new music from Clue to Kalo's Lily Perdida on myspace. The album is out through Mush Records.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Swedes dig Foxes

Thanks to Zan Rowe for tipping me off to this super-cute video of a couple of Swedish Fleet Foxes fans singing one of their tunes in the woods:

The good news for Australian Fleet Foxes fans is that the band will be here in early January, playing The Falls Festival and hopefully also some side shows. They also return to the studio at the end of the year to work on new material. All details and dates on their myspace.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

ATP Festival at Mt Buller

My favourite music festival in the world is the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in the UK. The combination of bands curating the often inspiring and esoteric lineup and comfortable self-catering chalet's by the British seaside is a winning combination in my book. And now the franchise is coming to Australia.

ATP's Don't Look Back concert series was well received here earlier this year and now Faster Louder reports that the full festival, curated by Nick Cave (pictured in Grinderman mode above), will be taking place on January 9, 10 and 11 next year. No other acts have been announced.

Fingers crossed we get the kind of experience that New Yorkers will have in just over two weeks time at the My Bloody Valentine curated ATP in the catskills. Check out the lineup!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Neil Young Down Under

photo by Toni Mikola.

Neil Young is coming to Australia to play the Big Day Out and also do some side shows with special guests My Morning Jacket.

BRISBANE - Wednesday 21 January 2008
SYDNEY - Saturday 24 January 2008
MELBOURNE - Wednesday 28 January 2008

I saw Neil at the Myer Music Bowl for the Greendale Tour a few years back where it bucketed down with rain, and then about 5 months ago on his recent world tour when he played at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. Fingers crossed I get to hear Revolution Blues this time!

Tickets for these Neil Young Australian shows are available through Ticketek and Ticketmaster and go on sale September 19th.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Podcast - Episode #5

After what seems like months - because it has in fact been months - we now have a new episode of my Everything At Once podcast series.


The music featured on the podcast is:

The Woods Themselves - Comforted and Questioned
Horsefeathers - Dustbowl
Department of Eagles - No One Does It Like You
The Walkmen - New Years Eve
Beaches - Sandy (demo)
Jessica Says - The Sleeping One Beside Me
Tame Impala - Skeleton Tiger

Please visit the artist websites above, and if you like the music dip into your pocket and support them. If you are one of these artists and would prefer your music not to be featured, then please get in contact via the comments section.

Best Australian Albums Ever

The results are in from a poll on Mess And Noise to find the Top 50 Australian albums of all time. The top ten ended up being:

01 The Saints - I'm Stranded
02 You Am I - Hourly Daily
03 You Am I - Hi-Fi Way
04 Triffids - Born Sandy Devotional
05 Radio Birdman - Radios Appear
06 Avalanches - Since I Left You
07 The Saints - Eternally Yours
08 Augie March - Sunset Studies
09 The Birthday Party - Junkyard
10 The Dirty Three - Ocean Songs

The full 50 and subsequent discussion is here. The poll came as a comment on the list compiled by The Age newspaper which asked music industry types to pitch their oz top ten. The results for their poll is here, with Midnight Oil's 10-1 leading the list. The full article in The Age is also online.

But my own votes for the Mess and Noise poll were thus:

01 Dirty Three - Ocean Songs
02 You Am I - Hi Fi Way
04 The Avalanches - Since I Left You
05 Golden Rough - This Sad Paradise
06 Grand Salvo - 1642-1727
07 Gaslight Radio - hitch on the leaves
08 INXS - Kick
09 Drones - Wait Long By The River...
10 New Buffalo - The Last Beautiful Day

I think the top three are basically interchangeable, and even for someone who presented an Australian music program for 8 years on radio it was tough to pick my ten favourites of "all time".

On You Am I's "Hi Fi Way" which features toward the top of all the final lists, music journalist Ed Nimmervoll has this to say:

It’s still hard to believe how much You Am I accomplished with their epochal second album. Vibrant, even thrilling, in sound, but imbued with melancholic childhood memories and a sense of coming of age that was idiosyncratically Australian, Hi Fi Way set a benchmark that hasn’t been matched since.


I've included INXS on my top 10 because it rules, and it was the first album I ever bought with my own pocketmoney. Also true.