Skip navigation

Category Archives: review

Doors opened at 8 pm, but the music only really began at 10:45. Oh sure there was Mission Control at 9:15, but the Melbourne based band was more self indulgent rather than entertaining. Or perhaps I was just expecting to go to a show and get more than an hour’s worth of Metric. So yes, Mission Control. The vocals were a mess, not because the singer was bad, but because of the sheer amount of effects going on. I couldn’t see the stage floor, but I’m almost certain it was littered with more effects pedals than there was floor space. I didn’t particularly dig their music, but warmed up to it by the time they had to get off. That was about 10, 10:15 or so. Only another half hour til Metric comes on.

If I am not mistaken, their setlist last night at the Billboard went a little something like this;

Twilight Galaxy
Satellite Mind
Monster Hospital
Gold Guns Girls
Empty
Gimme Sympathy
Sick Muse
Dead Disco
Help I’m Alive
Stadium Love

Encore:
Live It Out

There was a little bit extra after Empty which I wasn’t too sure about but whatev. Twilight Galaxy was a pretty kick ass song to start with, but when they started really rocking it up towards the end of the song with full on distortion and Emily Haines head banging. It was a rather short set, slightly over an hour, but it was intense.

Other highlights… Watching the sea of hands rise up with Emily Haines’ tambourine as she reaches the chorus for Help I’m Alive… and pretty much anything James Shaw did. He’s a demon on that guitar. Oh yeah, also, when Mission Control went off stage so they could clear the way for Metric (or Imperial as they’re known in the States) to perform. At least they came up with a decent joke while at it. Oh yeah. I had tears in my eyes when they played Satellite Mind, and I don’t know why.

Advertisements

At the end of September I thought I liked what I heard from Cara Beth Satalino that I’d buy her full length album off her MySpace page.  I did just that, and promptly forgot all about it, until her album showed up a month to the day I paid for it. Read More »

Tunng - Comments of the Inner Chorus

Tunng - Comments of the Inner Chorus

Ever had the feeling of coming to a party a little too late? That’s the exact same feeling I get when I listen to this album. It was released in 2006 and only now in late 2008, do I have it here with me.

The first time I heard of anything from Tunng was on a free promo disc from Spunk Records. I remember the promo disc well as that’s where I also first heard of Mates of State. I don’t recall what album I picked up had this promo disc attached. What was unfortunate was that Mates of State was the first song on that CD and I immediately fell in love with it and cared not to listen to the rest of the thing for only another year or two. Definite mistake as there is plenty of killer tracks on it, including Woodcat, by Tunng.

The best way to describe what they sound like, is the portmanteau oft used with them: Folktronica. A blend of folk with electronica. The lyrics I’ve read, are a lot smarter than I’m willing to go into; Jenny Again, one of the songs in this album, is a particular tale actually worth sitting down and paying attention to. This is more a design flaw of how I approach my music, but usually I spend more time listening to the tune than the lyrics because I can’t be buggered to think about the music. I just listen for the flow of it.

In a way, that is probably why I enjoy this album so much. The ability for me to just sit back, turn my brain off, listen to the strangely hypnotic vocals and pass out. And I know, if I wanted to go deeper with the album, slowly listening for each verse, it would all weave a tale.

What do I suggest? pop into their website, step into the audio section, download Woodcat, and see why I like them so much. If that fails, they’ve got a multitude of links to other songs that you can give a listen. I’m gonna go pass out now.

Universe by Sebastien Tellier I did say something about obtaining a new album over the internet, didn’t I? I’m fairly confident I did. Oh yes. I did. Somewhere in the region of ten days, for payment to be processed, item packaged and sent over from what I presume must really be Shanghai. Not too bad. Par for the course kind of service. I’ve had items take longer.

The album is actually a collection of songs from his previous albums, but given I have none of his previous albums, it’s all fresh to me. Or at least, nearly all fresh. It was also supposed to be a UK exclusive that came out slightly over a year ago. Sue me for not being able to find a copy of the bearded man’s work for so long.

But lets get on with the music. After rereading what I said, I made mention of expectations of minds being blown away. Mine hasn’t been blown away yet. Much like whatever review I could find out there says, there is definite hints of greatness in this. But it’s just not blowing my mind. It’s close, but not quite. It’s good, but not mind blowing. It will stay in my CD player for the foreseeable future, though.

I’m listening to it right now. On what must be my third or fourth time through it. I try to find words to describe what it is, what makes his music so alluring to listen to over and over again. Each track on it feel distinctly Tellier, from the piano lines in each song, the synth that comes up every now and then. The instruments. The drums. The bass.

It’s telling, how good it is when the whole thing plays from front to back, and there is no urge to press the skip button. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve got that CD from some band you love, but they’ve got some good songs, and some awful ones along the way (I personally skip all the songs on Foo Fighter’s Skin and Bones until the last 3. You know. Friend Of A Friend, Best Of You and Everlong). What’s strange is how Universe feels out of place unless the album is played from front to back. Literally. It compels you to listen to the whole thing, to appreciate it.

That isn’t to say that it isn’t appreciable on a per song basis, because it is. The only proof I have to give would be a certain video I embedded some time back when I closed the blog. The Mr.Dan’s Mix of La Ritournelle. The original song itself, was pretty fucking ace, but the Mr.Dan mix blows it out of the water in terms of getting into the song. Pretty fucking ace, squared, or cubed, perhaps.

This whole album could probably be called downtempo music. Or something. It has its slow points. In fact, it’s most assuredly the kind of music you’d be listening to on a lazy day. Or everyday. It’s strangely infectious, the more times I listen to it. Probably something about his voice, as he sings slowly, softly. In another language. Or english, depending on the song.

Perhaps it’s the culmination of all of it. His voice, the piano, the bass lines, the strings, the synthesizer, the notes. The arrangement of the songs. Theres a feeling to it. A soothing, calming feeling. A feeling to cherish. Music that inspires feeling. Awesome.

It is an album that is nice to listen to. It’s an album where I’d just listen to it and lie down on the floor, staring at the ceiling. Humming along to the tune, as I get sucked into the world of this fairly hairly musician. As said earlier there is hints of greatness. Mainly because of the subdued tempo, it feels like he holds back. Should this really be the case, I can’t wait to be there when he comes out with magnificent.

I think I ought to be late on this, given their EP popped out at the end of April last year. But I like what I hear, when I sat on the couch with the telly tuned to rage and they came on.

Them. You know. Tokyo Police Club. In retrospect I’m sure I’ve heard the name somewhere. Not that whether I’ve heard the name before is particularly important.

Its like, I have trouble coming up with a comparison with anyone as to what they sound like. I wouldn’t call it unheard of, but I’m sure I’ve heard similarities with other bands, though I just can’t put my finger on it. Although if we pop into their myspace1 they have a cute little “sounds like” area which they threw in

Winston Churchill, that master of the verbal thrust and parry, described TOKYO POLICE CLUB thus: “Like a swift kick in the pants followed by a raucous dance party.” Touche, Mr. Churchill, touche.

Apt.

I’d say pop into their myspace page and have a listen to the 4 songs on offer there. Ah. It struck me. I’m reminded of The Postal Service, hints of Bishop Allen and stuff. I still can’t quite put my finger on why they sound so pleasingly familiar.

I read the EP they came out with is fairly short. Like barely makes 16 minutes despite having 7 tracks. But if it sounds good…

Well I think it sounds good.

1 Tokyo Police Club’s myspace

Their actual website.

I had the greatest fortune of finding this album when I was gallivanting around town today after my last paper. Its the Foo Fighters’ latest album released on the 7th of this month, Skin and Bones. Its a live album, supposedly their first ever live album.

Foo Fighters - Skin And Bones

It has 15 tracks, with “unique interpretations” of such songs such as My Hero, Best Of You and Everlong. Eveerrrrlong. Never get tired of that song. And listening to the track on the disc it appears neither do anyone else as you can hear the screams of adoring fans (this being a live album, after all), much louder than on other tracks. But gosh. I swear man. Listening to this version of it is amazing. All there is is Dave Grohl’s beautiful voice and an acoustic guitar. This is the acoustic version of everlong you want to hear, period. The end half of the song rises into a crescendo as the rest of the group start playing as well to end the whole CD on a high note.

There should be an appreciation for movies that set out to be different. Watching something purely character-driven instead of being guided by plot is a gamble.

And such is the case when watching Funny Ha Ha, a story revolving around Marnie, a girl who just left college and trying to integrate into her new life, finding temp jobs and a permanent boyfriend. Post-education limbo.

Marnie

The movie practically encapsulated the mannerisms of a generation with how they talk, how they act. Watching how Marnie and Rachel talk about her feelings for Alex at the balcony, it feels like a path I’ve been down before, with the expressive glances and remarks that ‘its not like that’ and hints at otherwise. The embarassingly cold jokes we try to pass off to friends. The inexplicable insanity we go through as when we throw a bottle out a balcony. The nonsensical phonecall to a potential love interest in a sad attempt to prod our way in the metaphorical darkness of someone else’s mind.

Its a movie with parallels to things in life that I know I’ve done before. That it gives such clarity of vision to events that we ourselves have experienced. That it gives us what is a perceivable realism, an indie effort that produces a movie that feels like a home made video that you haven’t watched since you were little. There is no flash or extraneous effects. And there really shouldn’t need to be when its not about anything else but a character. Watching actress Kate Dollenmayer play Marnie is a marvel at realism.

It would be hard to pigeonhole this movie into a genre, as it isn’t comedy of slapstick variety, or any variety for that matter, but you laugh at the events that happen, the mimicry of real life and how life sometimes throws us into a funny position. It would be hard to call it a drama as there is no plot to dramatize, but just characters of immense likeability stuck in a mundane setting.

Alex

Does a good movie polarize its viewers? Because while sitting in the theater a good number of people left half way through the movie. The two I sat with thought it was utterly boring with no plot. For a while I imagined the title was mocking sarcasm directed at the viewers. But as I continued to chew on the idea of the movie, there was enlightenment. I actually enjoyed the movie. I and a few others who I presume thought it was a fine movie that showcased fantastic character-centric filmmaking. Everytime I tried justifying why it was so good to the other two, it was difficult selling the idea that it was good not because nothing particularly exciting happened, but because as it focused on Marnie, we feel endeared to her experiences with awkward relationships and temp jobs, all the while providing us a glimpse into the mirror that reflects what its like to be in post-education limbo. The believability of the situations, with the messy rooms, the late night parties, the feeling of being lost in temporary jobs, its an understanding of life.

The movie is great not because its immediately likeable. The movie is great because long after you’ve left the cinema the whole movie just continues playing in your head as you think about the scenes that remind us of the awkward randomness of entering adult life.

As one might remember, I mentioned that José Gonzáléz was touring Australia again and that I made sure I wasn’t going to miss him when he pops Down Under again. So at 3PM me and two other lucky people made it to the Athenaeum Theatre to get in. Athenaeum Theatre is a building that looks old, and probably is old, with white classical facades and 3 floors of seats. This, is a real theatre. The seats on the ground floor were divvied up into “stalls” which is a crummy way of calling it given they aren’t partitioned or anything save for the walkways that divide the sections. Thankfully, the place was small enough that you’re never too far from the stage where the action goes on when you’re down there.

The upper areas, which I’ve had the misfortune of walking to thinking thats where my seat was was called the dress circle on the 1st floor. Decent view from that height, I’d hate to be the fellows on the uppermost floor on the farthest seats at the back. But anyway.

I had no clue of who the opening act would be, or whether there would be an opening act at all given no name was given on the ticket nor was there any indication of an opening act until actually in the theatre and looking at a silk screen poster for sale that looked a lot like 2 japanese cranes printed on recycled paper. That and his name was on it along side a Jen Cloher. Opening act.

Ah. Now we know.

Did I mention you could bring drinks into the theatre? Thats right. As an alcohol friendly country, this theatre sold drinks at a bar next to the entrance, and you had people buying bottles of champagne, glasses of reds, whites and bottles of beer. Its 3PM people, and we’re already drinking alcohol. And they drank in moderation. Lest they not have the ability to clap mid-show.

Anyway, the stage was set with 3 chairs and 5 different guitars. 2 for one chair, 3 for another. The other chair sat all alone. By 3.30 the lights started dimming, and a trio came on stage. A woman carried a violin, a man and another woman picked up guitars. The woman with a guitar, introduced herself as Jen Cloher, her violin toting friend as Andrea, and her other guitar playing cohort as Michael. Jen Cloher & the Endless Sea are actually a 5 piece but played as a trio that night to set up what would be an acoustic night.

They played a 30 minute set which was made up of songs from their Dead Wood Falls LP and Permanent Markers EP (really, what else would they take it from if not from their albums??) and all are actually quite, decent. From sad songs like The Longing Song which is very much like its name is about longing, to the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Statetrooper, which Jen said has a “stalker-ish” feel when sung by a woman. I concur.

Each time a song ended the lights went out, and without fail I kept hoping its the last time so they can stand up and let Mr. Gonzáléz come in and play. That isn’t to say they were bad, its just that everytime I hear his songs I can’t help but wonder if there are actually guitars in play when his song is on.

By 4PM Jen Cloher and co had picked up and gone, and the sound technicians swarmed in and set the stage up. For 3 seats. Again. All had microphones to them, but the left most was left untouched with no instruments, the middle one had two bongos and what looked like a hard guitar case on the floor, the rightmost was left with a mic as well.

Then finally the lights dimmed. José Gonzáléz walked out with guitar on hand, and sat on the rightmost seat. A single light was focused on him, his deep eye ridges produced shadows that covered his eyes, his fingerwork on the guitar showcased as he immediately started plucking Deadweight on Velveteen, no accompanying vocals, no other person on the bongos, no introduction.

He needed no introduction for his hands did all the introducing, mesmerizing the seated public with his ability and finesse on the classical guitar. When listening to his album, you get the assumption that there are more than two guitars in play. But the reality is that he is a one man show. Any string being plucked or strummed are of his own guitar. No one elses. The price of admission is justified the moment you watch this virtuoso show you how to play the classical guitar.

There was rarely an in-between time between songs as he seemed all business in putting out songs, rather than make banter with the public. Later in the show the two seats were filled with a man on the bongos and a woman on with a rattle or a shaker… something. The hard guitar case was probably not a guitar case but actually something to step on. Like a bass drum, but not producing a bass sound. The percussions were not obvious, as his haunting vocals and classical guitarwork took centerstage.

His voice was hardly ever heard outside of himself actually singing. A quiet meek voice introduced his two friends on the bongo and shaker, and to state that he was playing his last two songs was probably all we’d hear outside of him actually singing. By then he had gone through about a dozen songs, most from his Veneer album, and a few newer ones I don’t remember, even from his Australian Tour EP.

And yet as he played his last song and he got up, we had yet to hear ALL his tracks, such as the song in the Bravia Advert – Heartbeats. Indeed as he walked away with his two friends the applause kept going for at least 5 minutes, until he walked out again and the applause turned into outright ovation as he sat down with his guitar and said into the mic “Heartbeats”.

The crowd just went nucking futs.

The one song that the general public would’ve heard from him, that probably turned what was already a hit in Sweden into a world renowned one. This song is worth the price of admission alone. You come in, sit down, hear him play this and walk out satisfied knowing you can die and not have anything else left in the world to do.

Upon finishing that number, a smile on his face, he gestured to people offstage to come on, and along came bongo-guy and shaker-girl. More percussion accompaniment to songs like Stay In The Shade.

3 more songs and a thank you, an ovation as the three come together for one last bow and a wave.

For 45 bucks, I’m happily gratified. This may not be a Foo Fighters rock concert or Snow Patrol, and it never tries to be. This is a José Gonzáléz concert. For the hour and a half you’re in the hall with him, you’re sharing something special. For that hour and a half, your eyes and ears are his. You experience a world of music that is unique to itself.

Thank goodness the Snow Patrol tickets sold out so I could end up here instead.

José Gonzáléz Australian tour shirt.

Ooh. While at it, I picked up his paraphenalia in the form of a shirt. The design is also on his Australian Tour EP cover. More music swag added to my inventory.

The Tourniquet - MagnetMy copy of Magnet’s 2005 album, The Tourniquet arrived today. All the way from the UK. The irony of the situation being that despite being imported, the album costed less than it would’ve if I were to buy it from local retailers. The only regret being that this isn’t the US version (which was released to them earlier this year instead of in 2005), which came with an extra track. That said if I wanted that, I could’ve, but for the same price as I would’ve gotten one here but without the extra track, and no addition to my eBay rank.

But how does it sound? I’ve already mentioned it before, and will say it again that you can stream part of all the songs, and even get to download a track of it for free here. That said, for those inclined to not stream music or follow links, it would probably be described as folk-tronica. Slow, guitar strummed sessions mixed with synth sounds that really just put you back into your seat and just listen. Listen as he slowly sings and takes your mind on a stroll through his songs. This isn’t one of those anthem albums where you shout-a-long and get wild with like Morningwood.

Its even got a fine looking cover. Not just his pretty face, but inside, are pages of art that enclose the lyrics to his music. And no, buying an album just because it looks pretty is no basis for doing so. It’s the fact that this is a fine album for those who want something to sit back to on a lazy Sunday. With 10 songs and a total time that clocks under 42 minutes, this is qualitative, not quantitative works. All killer no filler.

FUCK YES!

Moose and VenuesA concert. Is where teenagers go to get drunk, throw up middle fingers, body surf, do mexican waves and have a fucking awesome time. The last day of the Australian Foo Fighters In Your Honor tour, here in Melbourne was no exception. With a packed Rod Laver Arena, the Foo Fighters rocked it up on the last day of their In Your Honor tour here in Australia.

The opening show was Nation Blue, a seriously loud 3 piece band who must have really rocked the first night because tonight one of them came in crutches. As Dave put it, they really put new meaning to ‘break a leg’. Although appreciably musical, at times I had this strange feeling in me to get up and and tell them to “get off the stage ya cunts”. But yes, good show lads. At least I didn’t have that thought running in my head with the rest of the concert.

But really, we have to appreciate a band who goes out of their way to bust a knee to please a crowd. The guitarist who kept flinging his guitar around however, should probably stick to keeping it in his hands and actually playing something instead of having it out of his reach.

Then we had the British lads the Kaiser Chiefs. With a name like that I was half expecting them to greet us in German. But otherwise naw. They seemed like nice Brit chaps. Potential posterboys for the GLBT movement. But I’m being harsh over choice of clothes. The Chiefs put on a good show, belting out quite a performance which is admirable. If they came by again I’d be sure to attend. The Foo Fighters handpicked these fellows because they genuinely like their music. So Dave says. The Kaiser Chiefs had a choice to go with two groups to Melbourne, U2, or the Foo Fighters. Aren’t we glad they came with the Foo Fighters, as Dave started mimicking U2’s frontman Bono as drummer Taylor started up the drums to the sound of Sunday Bloody Sunday. “This is not a song about a rebellion”, to the amusement of those who got it.

In Your Honor coverThe Foo Fighters started out this concert strong and kept plugging at it all the way through. With songs new and old, it was a flashback for old fans and a baptism for newer ones. A 10 year anniversary of the formation of the band, they really threw in a song from practically ever CD produced. In Your honor, Big Me, All My Life, My Hero, they played just about every song to singalong. It felt, pretty much like a Foo Fighter sing-a-long the whole while.

They showed just how adept they are at what they do, as Dave ran to the otherside of the arena and started shred away on his guitar, only to have guitarist Chris shred his guitar as well, mimicking him and adding more. A guitar duel, was on the way. But just as quickly as it started, it ended with Dave running down the side of the moshpit back on-stage to showcase drummer Taylor’s ability. To drum, that is. And quite an impressive show he put on. Several minutes worth of drum solo and then Dave Grohl comes out talking about how great his bandmates are, from Chris, Nate and to Taylor. He went on to say that Taylor could do a drum roll one handed. And he did just that, as the Foo frontman went on to suggest how he’s able to do that by a little pump action, or practice with shaking hands with Mr.Benjamin. But their ability did not stop there as Chris and Dave switched places for the song Cold Day In The Sun. Admittedly Chris looked strange actually, with his red singlet, shorts and white socks as he strummed the guitar and sang that song. Being behind the drums all the time does that to you, I guess.

They rocked on for about an hour or so, and suddenly went backstage, much to the puzzlement of the crowd, which started cheering and clapping in hopes it draws them back out for an encore. Eventually they did, obviously tired from much screaming, Dave was holding on to some beer in a plastic cup. He really knows how to play with the crowd, getting into a little shouting match with the arena over whether to give up his beer to the moshpit.

That said, he engages with the crowd rather often, cracking a joke or two now and then. Which really should be par for the course with any concert. “I thought we were friends?” said a quizzical Dave Grohl as the packed arena crowd said yes to music but no to Dave talking. Eventually he did talk about his thanks. Which we do have to be thankful for, especially the people that brought them here for us.

There was an inkling of playing a cover of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, but sadly no luck. “Nobody fucking remembers the lyrics man” says Grohl as he searches for a Zeppelin song to cover, but eventually ends up playing his own tune, Big Me.

The musical tour-de-force ended a bit earlier than hoped, with sample favorites from all albums but not much else. We can’t expect them to play ALL their songs, but it was cool, how the last song they did, was a solo Dave on the guitar, slowly singing Everlong, which reached a euphoric high when the band joined in near the end and come out leaving the crowd in awe, as with every other song they did.

As much as one and a half hours worth of Foo Fighters doesn’t seem enough, I believe we came out with what will undoubtly be an unforgettable experience. As Dave said, he’s just an ambassador out to spread the good word. Of Rock n’ Roll. Rock on, good man.