Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Summer Breakfasters this week

image from flickr by Luis exs

I'm presenting Summer Breakfasters on Triple R this week with Jacinta Parsons. You can stream it from 6am-9am Melbourne time (7pm to 10pm London/GMT time) or tune in locally on 102.7FM

Below are the songs we played on the first two days:

Monday 14 December 2009

The Flaming Lips - worm mountain
The Avalanches - flight tonight
M. Craft - young and in love
Telepathe - so fine
John Spencer Blues Explosion - afro
The Ancients - the rambler
Kelly Stoltz - baby i've got news for you
Sparklehorse (feat Julian Casablancas) - little girl
Grand Salvo - father
Blak Roc - on the vista
Julien Pyne - layer
Papa M - sorrow reigns
Calexico - not even stevie nicks
Kid Sam - we're mostly made of water
St Vincent - save me from what i want
Pixies - here comes your man
Memory Tapes - green knight
No Through Road - party to survive
Royalchord - all your caribbean
Animal Collective - my girls
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - 40 day dream
Wilco - one wing
Jonathon Boulet - one who fires one who dies
Devendra Banhart - going back
Super Wild Horses - what started the noise
Songs - out with a curse (ALBUM OF THE WEEK)
Faux Pas - silver line

Tuesday 15 December 2009

The Drones - sitting on the edge of the bed crying
Dick Diver - tender years
Fanfarlo - the walls are coming down
Music Vs Physics - all the pretty little horses
Spoon - i summon you
Bat For Lashes - sleep alone
Neon Indian - mind, drips
Volcano Choir - island, IS
Jarvis Cocker - angela
Darren Silvester - never stand still
Aleks and the ramps - antique limb
The Slew - it's all over
Yo La Tengo - avalon or something similar
Best Coast - this is real
Wolfgramm Sisters - cry me a river
Crayon Fields - all the pleasure in the world
Eddie Current Suppression Ring - wrapped up in you
Karl Blau - waiting for the wind
Smog - Eid Maw Clak Shaw
JJ - from africs to malaga
Brightback Morning Light - everybody daylight
The Gossip - bones
Harlem - friendly ghost
Tame Impala - half full glass of wine
Sally Seltmann - harmony to my heartbeat
Pavement - spit on a stranger

Monday, 21 September 2009

Pavement reformation ist rad

I should have posted this last week (well, i did but on Twitter, not here). It seems that my favourite band ever - PAVEMENT - is reforming for a world-wide tour in 2010. Their tour begins on September 21st, the first of four shows at Rumsey Playfield in New York's Central Park. On how the reunion came about Spiral Stairs (aka Scott Kannberg) told Prefix Mag:
"Steve and I just had a conversation on the phone, and we'd never talked about it before at all,” he said. “We've talked over the years, but the subject never came up. Then our agent asked us about these New York shows, so we went around to everybody in the band, and they said, 'Yeah, the time is right. If everybody's ready to do it, then we'll do it and see what happens'. There was no real impetus – it just kind of happened naturally."
More awesome details at matador.com and crookedrain.com

Fingers crossed for Australian dates, although it is tempting to buy tickets and a plane fare for NYC! VERY tempting...

Stephen Malkmus is in Australia this week anyway. I'll be seeing him on Wednesday at the Prince of Wales... AND Spiral Stairs is also in town too... coincidence? Hmm.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Kinky Afro and Handsome Furs

I'm presenting Kinky Afro on Triple R this week, playing a range of new music - new Wilco, Black Cab, Lightening Dust, Crocodiles, Yo La Tengo, Dick Diver, Cass McCombs, Mount Eerie and more... plus an interview with Handsome Furs from Montreal. They're a duo, a husband and wife combo - Alexei Perry and Dan Boeckner (pictured above). Here's an online interview in The Vine with Dan, a great review of their live show in Berlin and a live performance below:

Handsome Furs play Australia this week"

Thursday 27th - The Corner Hotel, MELBOURNE VIC
Saturday 28th - Oxford Art Factory SYDNEY NSW
Sunday 30th - Amplifier, PERTH WA

Tune in to hear them on Kinky Afro, 102.7FM... Thursday afternoon, August 27th from 4pm. Oh, and you can still subscribe for radiothon to be in the running for all the prizes too.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Phoenix in Melbourne

Tonight-ah! SO EXCITED. The last time the great French band PHOENIX were in town they played with Jarvis Cocker at the Forum on the night before our early morning flight to the UK so we missed them (we being me and the squeeze). Boo! Now, at last, and with a great new album in tow they arrive in town for two sold out shows at The Palace... the first in less than 2 hours time. Did i mention i'm excited?

Saturday, 6 June 2009

3RRR Queen's Birthday breakfast on Monday

I'm filling in for the usual Breakfasters with Jacinta Parsons on Triple R 102.7FM this coming Monday June 8th from 0600-0900 Melbourne time. That's from 9pm Sunday night in London or 4pm Sunday afternoon in NYC streaming at http://www.rrr.org.au

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Major Lazer

In start contrast to my week's obsession with David Crosby (see previous post) is the weird buzzy hot-flush I'm getting from Major Lazer. Its the latest project for Diplo and features a cast of famous and soon-to-be-famous ringins. Major Lazer's new album "Gunz Don't Kill People Lazers Do" is released on June 16 and you can hear the tunes on myspace or check the 'off the tap' video below.

And this little gem...

David Crosby

I think i'm getting a little obsessed by David Crosby. Yep, that's him above. He was in CSNY and The Byrds. He was also on the TV show Roseanne. You knew that. Anyway, I've spent the week listening to his debut solo album from '71 which is called "If I Could Only Remember My Name". Its smooth, and hippy, and groovy, and spiritual and 'far out'. A bunch of famous people play on it and its worth owning. iTunes have it for under ten bucks. Its left me back to one of the best concert albums of all time, Crosby Stills Nash and Young's "4 Way Street". Two of the key highlights of the acoustic set is Crosby's tunes Triad (my favourite never-released Byrds song) and the haunting Lee Shore. So amazing. I have no idea what David Crosby is up to now, although i vaguely remember hearing about a recent CSNY concert film... anyone seen it?

Check out this performance of Lee Shore with Graham Nash for the BBC:

And with CSNY doing Neil Young's Down By The River:

Monday, 25 May 2009


Former Wilco member Jay Bennett (above, second from right) died in his sleep overnight at the age of 45. Details are trickling in slowly but Pitchfork have more. Jay was with the band from 1994 to 2001 as a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, and was fired after a falling out during the making of their Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album. According to reports earlier this month Bennett had been suing Wilco for money owed from his work with the band. He also released several of his own albums after leaving Wilco. His Jay Bennett myspace page mentions his recent hip replacement and has links to his recently released album, but of course no mention yet of his death. RIP Jay.

In Jay's honour I've been listening to Summerteeth as I write this, which I reckon is the high-water mark of Wilco's Jay-era records. But I started the day listening to the new Wilco album. Yes I know, its not out until late June or early July, but I know people, OK!? I have contacts in the right places... ahem... Anyway, its called, somewhat cheekily Wilco (The Album) and the opening cut is "Wilco (The Song)". Jeff even sings the word "Wilco" in the chorus... weird. The rest of the tracks, on first listen, don't quite stack up against the set on Sky Blue Sky which has quickly become one of my favourite Wilco records. A lot of people just didn't dig it, but songs like "Impossible Germany" and "On and On and On" are as good as anything else they've ever done. So anyway, the new album doesn't quite soar as high, but is still a well crafted collection of intelligent adult-pop tunes.

I've also got my winter mittens on Ashes of American Flags, their new tour/live movie. Check the trailer:

And guess what!? You can also get a Wilco iPhone app! I'm going to download it now...

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Mum Smokes

I'm spending my Sunday with the incredible new double album from Melbourne indie quartet Mum Smokes. Easy/House Music is as close to perfect as anything else released this year, overflowing with brainy-pop and smooth jazzy-indie. Artist Mark Rodda also created the cover art and the band is Jonathan Michell from The Ancients, Karl Scullin of KES, Julian Patterson of Minimum Chips and Justin Fuller of ZOND are Mum Smokes and they launch their double CD in Melbourne on June 26 at The John Curtin Bandroom in Carlton with supports Fabulous Diamonds & White Woods. More dates and tunes on their myspace page and they release through Sensory Projects. Check out their video below which was also created by Mark Rodda.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Dark Night of the Soul

NPR are streaming tracks from the awesome"Dark Night of the Soul" collaboration between Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley and creator of the Grey Album). You can listen to the collaborations with Iggy Pop, Jason Lytle, James Mercer and DAVID LYNCH!!!! from NPR 'Exclusive First Listen'. The Guardian, among others, reports that the album was leaked to file sharing websites and has since been held up by Danger Mouse's label EMI so he plans to sell an accompanying book with a blank CD-R (so you can download illegally and burn to a physical format i presume)...

Unable to purchase the music, fans are encouraged to buy the project's accompanying book, with photographs by filmmaker David Lynch, which comes with a blank recordable CD-R. "All [CD-Rs] will be clearly labelled: 'For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Link

Link to official site for Dark Night of the Soul.

Monday, 18 May 2009

The Wooden Birds

Fans of classic mellow Texan band American Analog Set can rejoice with a new project from lead chap Andrew Kenny. The Wooden Birds picks up where the sadly departed 'amanset' left off - familiar understated, slow-moving indie-pop for the lost in love - but with fresh new-folk muscle under AK's gentle boyish croon. I'm loving their album Magnolia and its really worth owning. Like really worth it. Listen on myspace or buy it straight from their label Barsuk.

Oh, and thanks to Leigh Tran for the tipoff. She knows I'm an American Analog Set tragic. And her radio program Tape Relay on 2SER in Sydney is amazing.

Grizzly Bear

It is no secret Grizzly Bear have a new album. But following up a slow burning treasure like Yellow House was always going to be a difficult task. Have the Brooklyn outfit succeeded? So far I'm not sure, but my guts say... maybe not. After 2-3 listens I am in love with its warm romantic swooning and chiming energy. It is just as mystical and evocative. I can't get beneath the lyrics yet, but then they usually sink in late for me anyway. And 'Tha Grizzlz' are about texture and tone, aren't they?

But the new album "Veckatimest" doesn't soar, on initial listens, quite as high... or beat with the same vigor as Yellow House. I'm hoping (and I'm sure) it will dig in under my skin soon and I can then stop being so passive aggressive. Its certainly one of the better releases of 2009 so far. Inertia are carrying "Veckatimest" (on Warp Records) in Australia. It is named after an island and comes out on the 23rd of May. Tunes and dates on Grizzly Bear's myspace page, and below is a performance of new track Two Weeks from the BBC's Later... with Jools Holland.

Dick Diver

I saw this band, Dick Diver, play a few weeks ago at the Curtin Bandroom in Carlton. The bassplayer danced around and wore a wifebeater and a cowboy hat. Steph, who shares Home and Hosed presenting duties on Triple J is their drummer. She used to drum for Screamfeeder and Children Collide. The two young dudes out front share vocals and trade slippery guitar lines. They are pretty much fantastic.

They describe their sound as Tropical German-Pop Soul. Are they being funny for their myspace page? No. Its true. I can imagine them playing behind the wall, with nice trousers and boatshoes, near a wading pool, with an ice-cream van nearby, and sunscreen on, in 1965, supporting The Beatles but kicking their ass. To be fair they actually owe a debt to The Go-Betweens from Brisbane and their peers more than anything. There's also little bits of Pavement and Crow in the mix too.

They are finishing a recording so the best I can offer you to hear is the ace music on Dick Diver's myspace and try to see them when they play with The Middle East and Grand Salvo at the Northcote Social Club on June 13th.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

High Highs

I'm going to Sydney next week for work, and then a weekend of play. One of the things we're doing is heading to the bi-annual Finders Keepers Market which is on Friday May 15th and Saturday May 16th at the Carriage Works. Playing on Saturday at around 6pm is a duo called High Highs. I've fallen for the gentle, otherworldly acoustic folk/pop tunes on their myspace page. They even try their hand at a cover of Dan Auerbach's "Trouble Weighs a Ton". There's no official release or label or any more details but the full list of artists appearing at the markets is here.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Custom Axes for The Beatles: Rock Band

Engadget posted these photos above of the custom guitars available for The Beatles: Rock Band game which is coming out this year. At a retail price of US$99 the Gretsch above is only $10 cheaper than the equivalent REAL guitar purchased by George Harrison in 1961. Which would you prefer? I had been thinking of getting a REAL Gretsch (yes, i can actually PLAY) but am having second thoughts now that it is associated with a GAME. Am i over-reacting, being over sensitive? Hmm.

Monday, 4 May 2009


Thanks to Zan at Triple J for the tipoff with the video below from Newcaste group Firekites:

Firekites AUTUMN STORY - chalk animation from Yanni Kronenberg on Vimeo.

Firekites full length debut album, The Bowery, is worth owning too and makes for perfect rainy Sunday listening.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Jonathan Boulet

Got the hot tip about this guy, Jonathan Boulet, from Steph at Triple J's Home and Hosed. I can hear why she's a fan - lovely tropical pop-folk in a way similar to something like Vampire Weekend but less preppy, or Ruby Suns but less 'way-out'. Why doesn't everyone know about this guy!? He's from Castle Hill in NSW and has a full debut album available online too. Check his myspace for the tunes and details of the record. You can also download the excellent tune "Community Service Announcement" from RCRDLBL.

No Through Road

Can any indie band in the land lay a hand on No Through Road? Their skinny white asses may not win in a headbutt fight, but in the shouty guitar slingery grudgematch they'd kick yours and your mothers. And they're from Adelaide too, my hometown, so i'm rooting for them. In the American sense yo.

The group, led by self proclaimed 'Slacker King' Matt Banham, have mutated into quite the shock-and-awe rock force, some miles away from the Oberst-esque folk wrangling of his early recordings. Now there's more of a Bob Pollard swagger and punch, with the spit and bile of early Constantines or fellow convicts The Drones. Its party music. For thoughtful tough guys and hard drinkin' geeks.

Winner, the new album from No Through Road, is released through Melbourne label Low Transit Industries on April 25th, with a corker hometown show in Adelaide is planned for May 9th at The Metro featuring Wagons, Sea Thieves and Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire! Check their websites for more details, free music and links to their myspace and stuff. Below is the video for the latest single from the new album "Party to Survive" but there's even better songs on the album. Truly.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Sleepy Sun

I'm digging this San Francisco psych-band Sleepy Suns. They tread some similar Rock 'n' Roll paths to Black Mountain, Tame Impala, Wolf and Cub and in their quieter moments most obviously Brightback Morning Light. ATP Recordings do that stuff they need done and are putting out their record Embrace on May 11th. Listen to them on Hype Machine or myspace.

Wolf and Cub

The first album for Adelaide outfit Wolf and Cub was one of the more satisfying local debuts of recent times. Vessels, released around two years ago, had an urgent energy and a widescreen sheen that is still present on the followup Science and Sorcery. But with help from Chris Colonna (Bumblebeez) and after some member reshuffling the 'cub seem up for some groovy lo-fi experimentation and deconstruction. "One to The Other" and "The Loosest of Gooses" are the chugging boogie-rockers but opening cut "Seven Sevens" and the closer "Blood" say the most about the overall tone and vibe. There's more space this time, its more open texturally, sometimes more pop corners are explored... and its more vocally adventurous but just as lyrically obtuse. I'm going to stick with it. Remote Control are handling the Wolf and Cub release which sees the album drop into stores this Saturday 18th of April.

Monday, 13 April 2009


Pretty much my favourite song at the moment is "So Fine" by Telepathe...

Their album - Dance Mother - comes out in America tomorrow on IAMSOUND Records. I'm not sure who will release it in Australia. Maybe Remote Control? It is produced by TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek. They're a duo from Brooklyn: Melissa Livaudis and Busy Gangnes. Drowned In Sound went in depth with them recently so that's where to go for more info. And more of their tunes are on Myspace.


Saturday, 11 April 2009

Easter tunes - Tilman and Cymbals

I've been neglecting this blog somewhat, and for that, apologies dear brethren, but my music radar has been in mothballs for some weeks now. I've had little time or inclination for discovering new tunage, besides just a couple of albums added to the collection last week and the odd aural dip into All Songs Considered podcasts while on the treadly at the gym. In terms of the latter you could do worse than check out their recent post-SXSW analysis and the sterling interview/special with Mr Bonnie Prince Billy. His new album - Beware - sounds like it could be a corker, so I reckon I'll get the greedy mits on it quick smart once it hits stores...

In the meantime I'm trying to emerse myself in a couple of great new albums from the US of A which i procured from eMusic...

Cymbals Eat Guitars (above) make classic indie rock. Not the bland stadium-indie peddled by so many lego-haired british silver spooners. But the down-home yankee-college indie rock that drips forth from albums like Crooked Rain Crooked Rain or Lonesome Crowded West or more aptly Perfect From Now On. Slack guitars ring out like cymbals and cymbals crash like guitars. I guess the name works on that level. Sometimes its shouty too, and sometimes shuffly, broody or urgent while still being loose. They love Pavement and I love them. It's an easy, no frills equation.

In all honesty I don't know much else about the band though so thats all i have to share. The album is called "Why There are Mountains" and they are from Staten Island, NYC. Like the Wu Tang Clan. You can hear Cymbals Eat Guitars on their myspace page, as if you didn't know you could, hey?

photo by kjten22 from flickr

J. Tillman (above) has also been in my stereo (aka the iPod) with his new album "Vacilando Territory Blues". You should listen online. I have blogged about him before. He drums for Fleet Foxes but is a capable, inventive songwriter and performer in his own right. His ragged, intimate vocals sit across strummy acoustic folk-ballads and occasional lush rushes of strings, steel and brushy drums. The songs weave a kind of magic that isn't completely full of surprises but still offers solace from the other nonsense offered up by modern noisemakers or the half-rate songsmiths that radio cling to and champion.

I wish he'd played shows in Australia when the Foxes toured recently. I think people would have reacted well. Nevermind. Its Easter Saturday and I have him and the cymbals to keep me company as the sun casts treacle across the trees and through my dusty window.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Music journalism in Australia

Mess and Noise have a well considered and passionate article online from Andrew Ramadge on the state of music journalism and music criticism in Australia. It takes as its stepping off point an article in Rolling Stone by Everett True (which I'm yet to read) and dissects the predicaments facing street press and the value of cultivating and supporting online music sites/blogs with an Australian bent:
"...the web has, or will very soon, become the major source of news for Australians. This month the Communications and Media Authority reported that the internet had surpassed newspapers, TV and radio as the nation's most trusted source of information. One of the biggest challenges that Australian music journalists face is ensuring that local music history doesn't get lost online – but it isn't the street press, or Rolling Stone, who are going to tackle it."
Read the full article and the ensuing discussion on Mess and Noise.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

New music for a Sunday

I slipped into Polyester this morning with CD buying on my mind. I've been using my eMusic subscription lately to get my ears into new music, but I'm getting a hankering to return to the land of tactile purchases. So I bought three great new albums to enjoy in the warm sunshine streaming into our loungeroom on this glorious sunday in Melbourne.

First up the debut from Melbourne duo Kid Sam. Cousins Kierin and Kishore Ryan make lovely, otherworldly indie folk tunes full of looped industrial percussion and skittery guitars which are sometimes fuzzed out, and other times gentle and acoustic. The self titled album is RRR's album of the week and they're playing a free instore at Polyester's city store on April 24th. I reckon I might be there.

I also picked up the new album for NZ's Lawrence Arabia (pictured above). Its a joyful pop-soaked affair... dripping with Beatle-esque tones and a wistful boyish charm. The album - Chant Darling - is out through Mistletone.

And lastly I got the new album for Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt. I'm pretty much obsessed with his band and the album he's produced - The Floodlight Collective - is a sweet, multi-layered and dreamy adventure into similar pastures to the 'hunter. Recorded under the name Lotus Plaza, the record is out through Kranky.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

God's Children of Golden Men

Paste Magazine has audited the bands playing at SXSW next week and come up with some interesting trends in their names. Where we previously had Wolf, The and Crystal we now have names that refer to dudes, religion and bling. Read the full article at Paste.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


I'll be presenting the Incoming program on Melbourne radio Triple R this afternoon from 4pm AEDT. Tune in on 102.7 FM or stream online and hear interviews from Fearless Vampire Killers, The Little Stevies and also an interview with The Herd about the Elefant Traks' 10th birthday celebrations.

Tech Stream

The reason I've been so slack posting to this blog is that I've launched a new radio program and blog for ABC Radio Australia called Tech Stream. It is a weekly wrap of technology from around the world, focused on the Asia-Pacific region. We cover online trends, web culture, consumer electrical, mobile devices, software, IT and computers.

Now that its in production, I promise to be more forthcoming with music stuff on Everything at Once.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

On Music

Rollo Grady, the music-news blog, has recently posted some great interviews on the music business. First up Seth Godin, respected online marketing entrepreneur/guru, discusses his thoughts on the changes in how we discover and consume pop music, being a successful artist or music business and tribe building.

"...music labels used to be in the business of grabbing shelf space, on the radio and in the record store. Now, the music industry needs to realign and be in the business of finding and connecting and leading groups of people who want to follow a musician and connect with the other people who want to do the same."

The full interview with Seth Godin is on Rollo Grady and hes interviewed aboutthe ideas in his book Tribes in Wired Magazine.

Also on Rollo Grady is an interview with the former longtime presenter of KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. Nick Harcourt discusses his new book Music Lust and how he was the first guy playing Coldplay in the USA. Ok, so don't hold that against him, its still an interesting chat.

"What I think is the album format is probably dead. People don’t listen to albums anymore. They just listen to songs and buy the songs they want. I think the world has to adapt to that because clearly that is how people are listening. The Internet had a lot to do with that. The iPod and MP3 players have an awful lot to do with the way people listen to music now."

Finally there's a really good chat with RCRD LBL's Peter Rojas, who I listen to every week presenting the GDGT podcast, which looks broadly at new technology and gadgets. Peter Rojas also started Gizmodo and Engadget. Yep, famous.

RCRD LBL itself is "a network of online record labels and blogs serving up fresh new music downloads and exclusive content." Its an incredible resource that is becoming an essential connection for people passionate about discovering new music. Peter Rojas talks to Rollo Grady about music blogs and the strategies that have made RCRL LBL such a success:

"You have to create something that people who really know what’s going on with music, those who are the most in touch and paying the most attention, are going to find credible and real. We can’t just throw a bunch of bands out there; its bands that we really believe in. The key is finding people with their ears to the ground, discovering great new music, kind of like A&R people."

And if you are interested in music criticism in Melbourne or Australia I'd suggest keeping an eye on Channel 31 in early March when Clem Bastow hosts Dancing About Architecture.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Here We Go Magic

New from Brooklyn we have Here We Go Magic. A wonderful folky three-piece peddling reverb-drenched psych-pop with electro leanings. "Tunnelvision" from their debut ticks all the right boxes - falsetto indie-dude whispers, steady looping percussion, offbeat/otherworldly BVs and strummy acoustic rhythms. Stream it on Myspace. The band is a vehicle for Luke Temple's songwriting, but he's also a mural painter, and his previous recordings (Snowbeast from 2007 as an example) only hint at what was to spring forth from this new project. The self titled album is out through Western Vinyl, home to J Tillman and The Dirty Projectors. I've been using eMusic to download albums for a couple of months now, its the perfect place to buy Here We Go Magic. You can also read and listen more on Obscure Sound.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Melbourne Laneway Festival backlash

As a follow on to my previous post about The Crayon Fields, the backlash against the badly organised Melbourne leg of the Laneway Festival has begun. The best coverage is on The Enthusiast and The Vine with another article and punters venting on Mess and Noise... and Faster Louder has the festival's somewhat weak response to the criticism.

Crayon Fields at Laneway

Piss-smelling inner-city streets, the stinking-hot weather and a ridiculous inability to get into the smaller stages detracted from what was one of the better festival lineups of the summer - Melbourne's now annual St Jerome's Laneway Festival.

Those who didn't cough up the $99 for a ticket had the opportunity to partake in the spirit of the fest at two FREE stages - one in the QV complex (see photo below) showcasing acoustic music. Tobias Cummings, Emily Ulman and Grand Salvo being highlights here...

...and around the corner Holly Throsby, Luluc, Oh Mercy (below) and more were on the Library steps, providing a more upbeat electrified experience.

As the sun slipped behind nearby buildings the pink-skinned crowd at this stage lounged around on the grass drinking smuggled cans of Carlton, smoked ciggies that were banned in the main event and allowed themselves to be wooed by the dreamy pop of Geoff O'Connor's group The Crayon Fields.

Crayon Fields - not at Laneway. Pic by Snipergirl.

The local four piece are back in action after a small hiatus, with a new 7" in tow...

"Mirror Ball" from their forthcoming, but delayed longplayer All the Pleasures in the World, is getting plenty of radio play on Triple R and Triple J, and they sound more exciting live than ever before. Adding cello and violin to their show at Laneway, they bopped their way through some older classics and a swag of fresh material. Geoff was at his bashful best and the rest of the dudes were rock solid in the clammy heat. "We should have gone into the library" he quiped shyly at one point "they'd have air conditioning. And books and computers". Nerdly banter rules.

Pitchfork approve of the new tunes too, and you can read all about them and download Mirror Ball for free. Guy Blackman, who often sits in with Geoff in his other project Sly Hats, is releasing the album through Chapter Music, hopefully sometime soon this year. But you can get the 7" now or grab their excellent first LP "Animal Bells".

The band play again tomorrow night, February 3rd, at Billboards supporting Stereolab from the UK before skipping over the Tasman to play in Auckland and Wainuiomata. Then they're off to Europe in April and May. Dates, as they stand, are on the Crayon Fields myspace page.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Spiral's in town.

Scott "Spiral Stairs" Kannberg is back in Australia this summer, playing Laneway Festival and a Melbourne show next week at the Northcote Social Club with a 'pickup' band of locals including his mates from Gersey and BBQ guru Julian Wu. Go figure! Along for the ride on Tuesday 3rd of February is campfire-pop heroes Port O'Brien, currently featured in TV ads locally (see below) and gathering some momentum on the back of their excellent album of 2008 "All We Could Do Was Sing".

Kannberg, in case you don't know, is the former guitar-slinger and founder of the best band ever invented in the known and unknown universe: PAVEMENT. I've been reading Rob Jovanovic's essential bio of the band "Perfect Sound Forever" which is the perfect accompaniment to the recent Pavement redux-reissues. It features interviews with the band, plus reviews, flyers, artwork, photos and anecdotes from people involved with them. So, so good.

The question on everyone's lips though is when's the Pavement reformation tour? Its now ten years since they broke up and 2009 is also the 20th anniversary of their first release. Surely, the planets are aligned? Scott told Time Off Sydney:

"I actually saw Malkmus last night, he played here in Seattle... We were supposed to have a little talk about that (the reunion), but instead we ended up having a little too much to drink. So, those best laid plans went to waste. So, I can tell you that nothing is imminent"

Boo! Come on!!! Ok, so some good news for fans of Kannberg's work as Preston School of Industries is that he'll be releasing a new, as yet un-named album, as "Scott Kannberg", in the not to distant future. It will be out through Matador. We're sure to hear some new tunes from it this coming Tuesday too!

So, anyway here's that Port O'Brien track to also get you excited about their small club show on the 3rd:

Dark Was The Night

I find it hard to get into charity compilation albums. There's an earnest element that niggles at me, and often the song and artist choice seems either overly conservative or commercially driven. Being able to reach the most amount of people with the message of your cause is one thing, filling a various artists collection with a variety of nobodies or wannabies is another. Make Mixtapes Not War is probably the only recent compilation i can think of that bucks this trend thoroughly, although I'm sure you can think of more (and feel free to suggest some in comments below). For me tribute albums present the same problems too. Maybe the fascist-mixtaper-selecta in me will never be happy with someone else's choice.

So, a tinge of trepidation is dampening my otherwise totally psyched feelings about the forthcoming compilation for the AIDS charity Red Hot Organization. Aaron and Bryce Dessner from American band The National (above) have been set the task of filling the discs with contributions from some of the leading lights in indie music.

"A total of thirty-two exclusive tracks have been recorded for the compilation, which will be available as a double cd, triple vinyl and download album, with profits benefitting the Red Hot Organization - an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS." Official 4AD link.

The list of artists involved is enough to make you gasp:

Andrew Bird
Antony + Bryce Dessner
Arcade Fire
Beach House
Blonde Redhead + Devastations
Bon Iver
Bon Iver & Aaron Dessner
The Books featuring Jose Gonzalez
Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues
The Decemberists
Dirty Projectors + David Byrne
Kevin Drew
Feist + Ben Gibbard
Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear + Feist
Iron & Wine
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Kronos Quartet
Stuart Murdoch
My Brightest Diamond
My Morning Jacket
The National
The New Pornographers
Conor Oberst & Gillian Welch
Riceboy Sleeps
Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio)
Sufjan Stevens
Yo La Tengo

You can hear Sufjan Steven's contribution on Drive By Media.

Various: Dark Was The Night is out through 4AD on February 16th.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Animal Collective

I figure if nothing else this post may get me some traffic. EVERYONE seems to be going a little nutty over the new Animal Collective album "Merriweather Post Pavillion". Now lets hope, cross fingers, pray to God that we can get some tour action down under!

Pitchfork give the new album 9.6 out of ten:

"What they've constructed here is a new kind of electronic pop-- one which is machine-generated and revels in technology but is also deeply human, never drawing too much attention to its digital nature. It's of the moment and feels new, but it's also striking in its immediacy and comes across as friendly and welcoming." LINK

Tunes from the new album are (of course) on myspace, or check out the video for standout track "My Girls" at the Animal Collective site because i can't embed it properly from Vimeo and their label, Domino, have removed it from You Tube which is weird and fricked-in-the-head.

Class of 2009

Drowned in Sound have begun a series profiling their pick of the best new bands of 2009. For my money its a better roundup than the similar BBC's Sound of 2009, which is largely packed with synthy garbage or underwhelming "ghetto" princesses.

However both lists do feature Brooklyn's Passion Pit, who, i admit, have a synthy side too, but come over like a glammy-disco Avalanches meets Hot Chip with the detached coolness (and take-off appeal) of MGMT. Tunes from their UK debut EP, Chunk Of Change, are on myspace, with a video below...

Melbourne band Temper Trap join Empire of the Sun on the BBC list which i thought was an interesting couple of Antipodean choices. And the latter's record has been inching its way back up our local charts and popping up on UK radio too. I don't have a huge amount of time for Temper Trap's U2-lite indie-rock, but there's no doubt also they have the sound of "now"... if by now you mean the last 18 months rather than the next. Judge for yourself from the video for "Sweet Disposition" below:

Friday, 9 January 2009

The Middle East

A band from Townsville, Queensland, was the support last night for Bill Callahan at the Thornbury Theatre. They are called The Middle East, and three of their members came to town and wooed us with their lush, folk harmonies and dreamy anthem-indie tunesmithery. Just two guys and a girl with keys, acoustic, electric, glock and makeshift drums. Perfect for the venue, and the seated audience seemed very responsive to this relatively unknown entity.

The Middle East are releasing music independently, and also feature on the Spunk Records singles club. You can hear some of it on their myspace and even buy the record there or on the Who The Hell blog.

They play the East Brunswick Club on February 26th with Leader Cheetah. Nice gig!

Bloggers Choice '08

Forget the magazine editors & big label marketing budgets. This is the best music from 2008 chosen by the most passionate music fans alive: music bloggers.

Hype Machine bring together the best albums, songs and artists of two-thousand-and-GREAT! And in true HypeM style there's free downloads, full albums and bloggery analysis a kimbo.

Check out Music Blog Zeitgeist.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

RIP Ron Asheton

Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton is dead at 60 of a suspected heart attack. Mike Watt pays tribute.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Leader Cheetah

A couple of years ago, when I presented a radio program called Local and/or General on Triple R, I got sent some great tunes by an Adelaide indie group called Pharoahs. I also saw them play in Melbourne and was suitably impressed by their swagger and repertoire. They've since called it a day (although they still exist on myspace), but from the ashes now grows Leader Cheetah, a band quickly gathering the kind of hype and hubbub that the Pharoahs could never quite attain.

The sound is, not too surprisingly given current trends, more 70s folk-rock inspired, shifting away from Pharoah's indie-disco abrasiveness. Less angles, more widescreen perhaps. Leader Cheetah have supported Dinosaur Jr and Blonde Redhead in their very short time together and are featuring on the upcoming Laneway Festival too. Their debut was recorded by legendary US producer Kramer, who worked on all of Galaxie 500's classic albums. Its called 'The Sunspot Letters' and is released in February through Spunk Records.

I'm actually quite excited by this band, and while we wait for the album, here's Leader Cheetah's clip for "Blood Lines":

Compelling Music Writing

With the cricket burbling away in the background, I'm devouring some quite fine music writing. The first article, by Ben Gook, is entitled "Teh Interwebs: Best Mixtape Ever?" on newmatilda.com:

"People have been fretfully holding a stethoscope to the chest of the Australian music industry ever since its birth. But the prognosis has been fundamentally altered in recent years, as technology-led changes to the consumption of music on the internet have ripped the heart out of the CD market and opened up many different paths to hearing music. One provisional — or should that be provincial? — result of this is that Australian artists can navigate the music industry more easily: DIY production has been supplanted by online tools. Another immediate result is that local musicians are less isolated." LINK

And I've also been bashing my way through an excellent article by a guy called Nick Sylvester, dissecting the "artist" known as Girltalk. From "GIRL TALK, THE MASHUP DETONATOR":

"If Girl Talk has done anything, his dead-end project is a reminder of how fiercely dominant Western pop music has become. This is a capitulation, an audio essay even, of the last 25 years of American pop music: loop-based, interchangeable parts that, turns out, are more similar than maybe we'd like to admit. The "isn't it funny how 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' sounds like that Boston song" moment is taken to its darkest, veil-lifted extreme. That we're back in the Tin Pan Alley, and all pop music might actually be the same after all. That the difference is truly manufactured, that the concerns of each song are not interesting. Taking cues from the Grand Wizard Theodor: pop music is not art, but sound design." LINK

Girl Talk is coming to Australia at the end of the month, playing the Laneway Festivals.

Thanks to Tim Shiel (Triple R announcer and the artist known as Faux Pas) for the tip off about the article above. Funnily enough he's also quoted in the top article too!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Astral Weeks

I've been listening to a bunch of new stuff in the past fortnight. I'll try to post about more of the sweet nuggets soon, but for now I'll recommend you track down Astral Weeks, the classic album by Van Morrison. Many people dig it, and now so do it. Rolling Stone rate it. So does Lester Bangs.

Its a sprawling folk-psych, jazzy, free-wheeling trip, straight out 1968. Dig it. Unpopular at the time, it seems, and I guess I can hear/see why, but it makes so much sense in light of all the post-folk, pastoral, free-spirited, mystical, wanna-be psychedelic stuff we've been hearing over the last couple of years. Maybe I sound like a wanker. Do I? I don't know why I never got into it earlier though, maybe its one of those albums your parents had to own for you to discover. It makes sense now. I'm going to need to take more of it in. Its dense, weird, imperfect, magical.

Van apparently played the album in its entirety in November last year at the Hollywood Bowl. Woah! You can watch it on Youtube with an annoying full-screen watermark. Boo.

Dead Spod

Sydney-based hyper-rad lazer-pzarty shaman SPOD has a new video for his single "Dead" from the album Superfrenz:

Spod plays in Melbourne soon - on the 17th of January at Revolver with Metronomy (UK) and Totally Michael (US). Totally RAD. Thanks to Who The Hell for the tip-off.