Category Archives: Music

Splendour 2009

splendour09

 

It is hands down my favourite festival of the year, and now the first lineup for the 9th edition of the Splendour Bender Weekender is up. It’s good. Not great. (Two of the headliners have already visited our shores once in the past six months.) And selfishly, I’m kind of glad, since I can’t go this year. Sigh.  

Delighting your eyes and ears (and nose and mouth, ew) in Byron come July will be:

Bloc Party

The Flaming Lips – Always good when your sanity levels begin to reach ‘normal’

Jane’s Addiction – Original lineup. Maybe some fighting? One can only hope.

MGMT 

The Specials – Shit yeah!

Hilltop Hoods – It’s a festival, of course they are

Grinspoon

Midnight Juggernauts

Sarah Blasko

Augie March

Josh Pyke

Friendly Fires – I’ll be sideshowing this one, fo sho. 

Little Birdy

Birds of Tokyo

The Gutter Twins

Manchester Orchestra – Ridiculous. Ridiculously sick! 

Yuksek

Bob Evans

White Lies

Kram

Yves Klein Blue

Decoder Ring

Lost Valentinos

 Leader Cheetah

 Jack Ladder

The Middle East

Polaroid Fame

Glass Towers

 Tickets go on sale at nine o’clock on the dot (I’m in my drop top cruisin’ the streets) on May 14, through what is definitely one of the most frustrating ticketing websites to have ever existed, Q Jump. I suppose they’re slightly better than the Oztix Debacle of 2007. Remember these guys?

Stupid Stickmen

Splendour in the Grass 2009

Sat July 25th and Sunday July 26th
Belongil Fields, Byron Bay

 

Ra  xxx

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Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno is Luminous

Luminous

In an announcement that is sure to get your little cochlea and oculi all in a flutter, musician, singer, producer, composer and knitter (probably, he can do everything else) extraordinaire Brian Eno, is to curate the innaugural Luminous Festival. A total legend of the music industry, Eno started off in rad as hell band, Roxy Music before going on to produce albums for Talking Heads, U2, and Coldplay, write a regular column for The Observer, publish a deck of cards that can help you solve any quandary you may find yourself in and create an app for the piece of technology that still eludes me – the iPhone. At some point during all this madness, he even found time to compose that short bite of sound you hear when starting up Microsoft Windows. Although, as that sound signals the start of my work day, I can’t say I’m particularly attached to it. Sorry, Brian. 

Surprisingly, Eno has never been to Australia before, but what a way to make an entrance. He’ll be bringing with him math rockers, Battles, reggae and dub god, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and my personal favourites, Ladytron. One of the ten people who could change the world, ClientEarth’s chief executive James Thornton, will be leading a forum on the environment and social change. I’m sure that title sitting on my shoulders would weigh me down far too much to even leave the comfort of my large, mahogany scented office, and this is probably the main reason I am not on that list.

To kick off the festival, Eno’s vivid artwork will be cast on to the sails of the late Jorn Utzon’s architectural masterpice. That’s right, lights and laserZ projected on to the Opera House for three weeks straight. If somebody lends me a tent, I think I might just set up camp on the bridge and stare. If someone else brings me graham crackers and marshmallows, maybe we can have some smores as well. The festival will also feature the Australian debut of Eno’s amazing 77 Million Paintings, a visual and audial delectation that has been described by Time Magazine as “layers of gorgeous, intensely coloured abstract images [that] appear, morph and dissolve into one another, then fade away into something entirely new.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m almost peeing my pants in anticipation. And I only say almost because, while I’m often accused of being incompetent, incontinent, is definitely one thing I’m not. Luminous takes place at the Sydney Opera House and is just one part of the city-wide Vivid Sydney that begins on the 26th of May, and will sadly come to a close on the 14th of June. There will be so much going on, I can’t even begin to cover it in the few words I have to write before you lose interest, so check out the Luminous website for performance dates, tickets, more info and some pretty graphics. 

Ra  xxx

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Totally Michael | Busted Lips and Balloon Animals

totally-michael-3

Music these days can sometimes be all too serious. I get it, it’s a great outlet for one’s political or social voice, and I love that. But sometimes I just want music to be fun. Enter Totally Michael. The Bloomington native was in the country last month touring with SPOD and we managed to catch him opening AND closing for Metronomy during the Sydney Festival. It’s amazing how one guy with a mic, replacing “Shakira, Shakira” with his own name and pelvic thrusting at some nonce yelling unimaginative insults, can make me smile so much. And if you needed more proof of just how totally awesome he is, Michael was kind enough to answer a few non-poignant questions for us. Read on…

Sara – Bec is reaching her quarter life very nearly soon, and I hear this is often accompanied by some sort of ‘crisis.’ While middle-aged men may be seen cavorting with questionable ladies on William Street or hooning around the Northern Beaches in their brand new hot-red less-than-practical-for-a-family-of-five convertible, my dearest Bec shall be re-living her youthful days of rad birthday parties. The theme this year: “Awesome.” And the one thing that could possibly make her Squeee! more than dinosaurs, ponies or even whippets, would be you, singing those catchy-as-fuck songs that you do so well. So, Michael, while we may tell young Bec that this party is for her, we really know it’s all about you. You are the man in charge.

You are the headliner and MC but you need a band to back you up. I know you’re a massive Blink 182 fan, and I can’t get enough of Travis Barker, so let’s stick him behind the drums, yeah? Who else would you recruit for your fantasy band (woops, I almost wrote bang, but you can answer that question too if you’d like to)?

TM – I’d get Katy Perry on some backup vocals. Matt Johnson on some keys. And let’s throw Mark and Tom in there while we’re at it. As for bang……right now I’d have to choose Keira Knightley. Hell yeah.

Sara – Your trip to Australia was your first trip outside of the US (apart from a visit to Montreal, which, by the way is a sick city), how was the experience for you? Where did you go and what did you do there? Who did you see? Was there something here in particular that you did that you totally fell in love with?

TM – It was seriously one of the best experiences of my life. I was in Sydney most of the time, but visited Brisbane, Canberra, and Melbourne. I did a lot of sight seeing. A LOT of pub visiting. Met a lot of rad people. Laughed a lot. I pretty much fell in love with Australia in general. It’s like America, but with way less assholes. And better beer.

Continue reading Totally Michael | Busted Lips and Balloon Animals

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XOXO, Her Space Holiday

Her Space Holiday

I’ve watched Afterbang, oh I don’t know, at least 357 times. And I’ve watched Travis Parker’s part in Afterbang twice as many times. I’ve thought about why this is, and it pretty much comes down to two things:

1) Travis’s riding is just so damn good. He can bear my children any day.

2) Her Space Holiday‘s Keystroke. My love began here.  

I read a few reviews on Marc Bianchi’s latest contribution to my record (or mp3) collection and was disappointed to find generally unfavourable opinions towards it. Fuck ’em. XoXo, Panda and the New Kid Revival may be a departure from his previous so-called ‘electro-emo’ sound, but it totally fits into everything I’m loving right now – uncomplicated, catchy, sing-along, strummy pop songs that sound like they were fun to record and make me smile. In my opinion, perfect in a time when every other song I hear has been run through Auto-Tune to disguise a shit voice and and even shitter song. Sorry Kanye, I don’t care how fresh your suit is, you can’t be great until you learn how to sing.

By no means does Bianchi have a pitch-perfect voice himself. But it is the slight vocal imperfection accompanied by hand claps, simple riffs, kazoos and numerous other random sounds and instruments that really charm the proverbial pants off me. And a live show with his old stuff and his new stuff? Yes please!     

So, when I received an email that Bianchi would finally be touring Australia for the first time ever, I almost burst into my completely embarrasing and uncoordinated happy dance. That is, until I realised I would not be in the country. At which point, some slightly profane language  was heard escaping my mouth. Highly out of character. It is perhaps fitting though, that as I head off to the land of the rising sun, Bianchi will be joined on tour by 4 Bonjour’s Parties, a seven-piece from Japan. If you’re in Sydney and have no plans for the 21st of February, Marc will be playing at the OAF. And if you do have plans, you should cancel them.

Tickets from Moshtix. $16! That’s a freaking bargain. I’ll buy you a ticket just to go in my place.*

A free mp3 of The Boys and Girls from Mush Records to get you in the mood (incidently, my favourite song on the album, mainly because he uses the phrase “my panda arms”).

Ra  xxx

* Maybe. But only if you make me a sandwich.

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Born Ruffians

Born Ruffians

 

Canada. Maple Syrup. Mounties. Funny French accents. Tim Horton’s.  Awesome music.

Case in point: Born Ruffians. Three cute indie boys from small town Ontario form a band, move to Toronto, head to Texas, take on South by Southwest (rather successfully), tour extensively through Europe and North America before catching a twenty-six hour flight south of the equator.

I could write some witty little description, but I’ll leave it to Luke, Mitch and Steve, who undoubtedly do a much better job than I ever would.

We are the next link in the evolutionary chain of contemporary pop music, mixing drums, bass, and electric guitar, an almost unheard of combination, with bits of harmonium, piano and plenty of “hootin and hollerin” to create a sound we call “the best we could come up with!”

Catch these cute indie boys playing their catchy, witty pop songs this Thursday 5th February at the OAF. Tickets available from Moshtix.

Ra  xxx

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Bon Iver. I Will Love You.

Bon Iver

After years of being my little sister’s ticket bitch, she finally came good. And when I say good, I mean “Holy Crap! That’s the best gig I’ve been to in my life. Ever. Full stop.” The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of talented should be accompanied by a photo of Justin Vernon. The Sydney Festival is over for another year and this show was definitely my highlight (thank you, Catherine).

For Emma, Forever Ago was born from three months of self-imposed isolation in a log cabin somewhere in the bitter winter of Wisconsin.  The entire album was created by Vernon, from the writing, singing and instrumentation to the recording and production. Amazing. The complexities of the record, however, cannot be performed by one man alone, as brilliant as Vernon may be. For the last twelve months, he has been joined on stage by Mike Noyce, Sean Carey and Matthew McCaughan. Yes, the album is breathtaking, but it is only Mars compared to the Venus of a live show they put on. The Angel Place Recital Hall was the perfect setting for a gig that had the crowd transfixed during every single song and gagging for more at the end. There was no fancy stage setup and definitely no laserZ, just four flannel-clad guys, totally lush falsettos, seventeen instruments and some epically full sound.

And to think I almost missed out on tickets. What a fool I was! I shall never make that mistake again, oh no. So, while Vernon and the rest of the band are probably more than settled back into Wisconsin living now, when they’re in your neighbourhood again, do as I say: Go. To. The. Show! 

Oh and here are some free downloads. Enjoy and remember to breathe. 

Skinny Love

 The Park (Feist Cover)

Ra  xxx


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The Drums, The Drums, The Drums, The Drums…

Animal!

Before I started playing the guitar, before the flute and before the piano, but probably after the recorder, I longed to play the drums. Unfortunately, due to my mother’s definition of said instrument as “noise, not music,” I was confined to sporadic sessions at a friend’s house, where her older brother would teach me simple beats. The standard bass, hi-hat and snare beat was as far as my drumming ever got, but since then, my obsession with the band’s heartbeat has never waned.

For me, it’s always been about that frantic dude at the back of the stage. Maybe it’s those incredibly quick hands. Or the ability to keep rhythm so well. Lord knows how coordination has always made me swoon.

So here, in no particular order, are the eight drummers that I think kick almost as much ass as Liam Neeson in that revenge film that left me with too many questions at the end. Like, how did he escape France without the entire force of le police nationale coming down on him? Or, whatever happened to the girl’s dead best friend?

 Anyway, I digress …

 Travis Barker – Blink 182

Dave Grohl – Nirvana

Keith Moon – The Who

Mick Avory – The Kinks

John Bonham – Led Zeppelin

Topper Headon – The Clash

Maureen Tucker – Velvet Underground (Girls on drums. Even Better)

Stewart Copeland – The Police

 Ps. I’m not entirely sure what this post has to do with Sydney (or anything really), but there will be an awful lot of drummers playing at the Big Day Out this Friday. Yes, segue FTW. 

Ra  xxx

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