Nov 28, 2009

I Say Fever-Ramona Falls

If you haven't listened to "Intuit", the wonderful debut album from Ramona Falls, then what are you waiting for. Definitely one of the best releases of 2009. Here is a wonderful new video for the song "I Say Fever". Enjoy.

Nov 26, 2009

New Videos From Why?

Brand new videos from the wonderful "Eskimo Snow". Can't wait to see Why? next month.

Nov 23, 2009

50 Best Albums of The Decade

In 1999 Pavement released what would turn out to be their final album. "Terror Twilight" was to be the band's swansong. Their final point. By November they had played their final show, bringing an end to the most important band of the 90s. In some quarters, these ones, the most important band of all time. Of course they shared this last decade of the century with other seminal bands such as Radiohead and Built to Spill. Both of these bands would continue to make music into this current decade, but in my opinion it would not be their best work. We would need to look elsewhere to find the best of this decade. It turned out that there would be many surprises and rewarding developments. But it was one band that started out in 1993, who would not put a foot wrong in the 2000s. Spoon. As I compiled my favourite albums of the decade I realised that this Austin band would finish with four albums in my top fifty. An indication of their remarkable output in quality and also their consistency. They also seemed trendless. They just know how to one thing extremely well. Write great songs. That is all.

But what else happened. Well commercial music would get worse, if that was possible. We conducted karoake contests to discover new talent. There would be many very good Australian bands, but no truly great ones. English music would struggle to find itself, churning out bands with little appeal in these parts. Live music would boom in the festival area, but struggle in the smaller pubs. But two things stood out above all else. The internet and Canada. The internet became the place to market and discover new music. It also became the place where many people obtained their music. Blogs grew and an industry developed. This one started just over 3 years ago and is still going strong. I think. Then there was Canada. The land that gave us Celine Dion and Bryan Adams would deliver us an avalanche of vital and exciting music. Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene would light the fire. Spencer and Dan would carry the torch. In fact when I compiled my list of albums there was only one choice for number one.
Only one...

1-Apologies To The Queen Mary-Wolf Parade
Split lips. Aching bones. Crushed hearts. Scorched ears. Sunlit eyes. Tweaked noses. Dancing fingers. Twinkling toes. Full lungs. Trembling skin. Album of the decade? Try this. My favourite album of all time.

2-The Glow Pt. 2-The Microphones

Phil Elverum creates magic out of nothing. This was to be his finest hour. A majestic tapestry of sound. Simply breathtaking. A headphone masterpiece.

3-Funeral-Arcade Fire
For good reason this captured the imagination of all of us. It was music that thrilled from the word go and never let up. Will be timeless.

4-Dragonslayer-Sunset Rubdown
Too soon? I think not. This is just too good to ignore. This man writes melodies like no other. Each song is a unique story in itself.

5-Meadowlands-The Wrens
An incandescent joy. A complete and near perfect collection of songs. The only tragedy is we have to wait so long between efforts.

6-This Night-Destroyer
So much to choose from Mr Bejar, but I believe this to be his greatest work. The man writes lyrics like no other. We are not worthy.

7-Shut Up I Am Dreaming-Sunset Rubdown
An emotional and confounding statement. Swings from rapture to despair, all wrapped inside the distinctive voice that is Krug.

8-Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever-Explosions in the Sky
A perfect illustration that you do not need words to express direct emotion. In some moments this can still move me to tears.

9-Random Spirit Lover-Sunset Rubdown
Complex and sometimes bewildering. Nonetheless it's greatness can not be denied. I still marvel at the strength and genius that is RSL.

10-You Forgot It In People-Broken Social Scene
The sophisticated soundtrack to this decade. A sumptuous and elegant piece of music. Elegant, sensual and ravishingly beautiful.

11-Blueberry Boat-The Fiery Furnaces
12-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-Wilco
13-Streethawk: A Seduction-Destroyer
14-Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga-Spoon
15-Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground-Bright Eyes
16-Gimme Fiction-Spoon
17-Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?-The Unicorns
18-Alligator-The National
19-Down The River Of Golden Dreams-Okkervil River
20-At Mount Zoomer-Wolf Parade
21-The Sophtware Slump-Grandaddy
22-Girls Can Tell-Spoon
23-Plague Park-Handsome Furs
24-It Still Moves-My Morning Jacket
25-The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place-Explosions in The Sky
26-Come On Feel The Illinoise!-Sufjan Stevens
27-Feels-Animal Collective
28-Fevers & Mirrors-Bright Eyes
29-The Moon And Antarctica-Modest Mouse
30-Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See-Okkervil River
31-Fleet Foxes-Fleet Foxes
32-Veckatimest-Grizzly Bear
33-Time (The Revelator)-Gillian Welch
34-Turn On The Bright Lights-Interpol
35-Clap Your Hands Say Yeah-Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
36-Strawberry Jam-Animal Collective
37-Person Pitch-Panda Bear
38-Boys And Girls in America-The Hold Steady
39-Sung Tongs-Animal Collective
40-Master and Everyone-Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
41-Ys-Joanna Newsom
42-Broken Social Scene-Broken Social Scene
43-Oh, Inverted World-The Shins
44-Picaresque-The Decemberists
45-You, You're A History in Rust-Do Make Say Think
46-The Sunset Tree-The Mountain Goats
47-You & Me-The Walkmen
49-Friend and Foe-Menomena
50-Kill The Moonlight-Spoon

Nov 22, 2009

A Serious Man

Joel and Ethan Coen do many things extremely well. But the one thing they do to almost perfection is never waste a frame. So they prove once again in their latest film A Serious Man. This strong and direct film is pitch perfect. Each scene has a reason to exist and is neither too short nor too long. There is such care in each frame of each scene that to watch a Coen Brothers film is an entirely pure cinematic experience. It also helps when you can call on again the expert cinematography of Roger Deakins. This only adds to the overall experience. You see, great acting plus great script plus great direction and cinematography equals high cinema art.

A Serious Man tells the story of the besieged Larry Gopnick (Michael Stuhlbarg). In 1960's suburban Minnesota, Gopnick is a college professor whose life is being thoroughly tested. His wife Judith (Sari Lennick) has announced she is leaving Larry for Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed). His two children Danny and Sarah are insolent and difficult and he is also unsure if his job will survive another week. Being part of a Jewish community he is also often instructed to seek the 'wisdom' of the Rabbis. However this does not help too much as they only offer riddles and superstition, leaving Larry bereft and devoid of ideas and inspiration. This film apparently draws upon the childhood experiences of the Coens. If so, they paint a fairly bleak picture of religious and societal barriers and restraints, where the only means of escape was listening to Jefferson Airplane. Even though there is the usual black Coen humour instilled in this film, this is definitely their most personal and serious film to date. Once again some characters are almost hyper real, but there is still a strong base of realism. Especially in the protagonist Larry Gopnick. I felt a major amount of empathy for him, a tribute to the work of Stuhlbarg. In fact the cast, with no star names, is uniformly excellent. This allows you to focus on the subtext and meaning of this substantial work. It certainly left me rewarded and fulfilled.

Nov 21, 2009

Spencer Krug: New Music!

In the most exciting news in the history of excitement, Spencer Krug will deliver new music in 2010. January 26 to be exact. Jagjaguwar will release an EP entitled "Dreamland EP: Marimba and Shit-Drums", released under the name of Moonface, Krug's solo project. The EP will only be available digitally and on a one-sided vinyl 12". The release will also come with a "dream journal, on which the music is based." Oh yes!

Nov 18, 2009

The Dodos Return to Australia

In news that is sure to warm the cockles of many people's hearts, The Dodos are returning to Australia in February for a short tour. The now three piece band toured here early in 2009 for Days Like This and were a great hit. Well, why not. After all their 2008 album "Visiter" was a wondrous beast. In September they released their new album in "Time To Die". Whilst not as amazingly good as "Visiter", it is still highly enjoyable with their innate ability to write gorgeous melodies coming to the fore.

The Dodos Tour Dates
12 February East Brunswick Club, Melbourne
13 February Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
14 February The Zoo, Brisbane

Tickets on Sale November 27

Nov 17, 2009

The Low Anthem

Please watch this video for a great taste of The Low Anthem. They are from Providence, Rhode Island. Their latest album "Oh My God, Charlie Darwin" was released firstly in 2008 and then again this June on Nonesuch. It is definitely worth finding.

Nov 16, 2009

Calexico Announce Australian Tour

Calexico are returning to Australia. The band from the Southwest United States never fail to intrigue, entertain and massage the soul when they perform live. So this is a tour not to miss out on. They are here for Perth Festival, Womadelaide and Golden Plains, but now we have some sideshows that the band have announced.

Calexico Shows
28 February Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay
2 March The Hi-Fi, Brisbane
3 March Metro Theatre, Sydney
8 March Prince Bandroom, Melbourne
9 March Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne

Tickets go on sale November 20

Nov 13, 2009

Blitzen Trapper @ Metro Theatre

Beard City! Bliss City! To be sure, Thursday night at the Metro Theatre was a joyous concoction of melodies and good times. Blitzen Trapper were playing Sydney for the first time and they must come again. Melodies flowed like honey and tasted just as sweet. The venue was not close to being sold out, which was a pity because those that were not there missed a night of harmony and balance. A night that celebrated the power of song.

Blitzen Trapper I think were made just for me. They encompass everything I love in a band. Music with passion, soul and meaning. Lyrics that landscape the American experience. A unique blend of folk, country and rock with dry and esoteric lyrics. Plus there is a good and gentle humour to their songs. It is good for the heart and the soul. Plus the feet get a good workout. I think they played nearly every song off their wonderful 2008 album in "Furr". No complaints here for that is a wonderful slab of sound, although I would have loved to hear a few more cuts from "Wild Mountain Nation" for good measure. For starters they opened the night with "Sleepytime in the Western World", with the song's gentle melody bringing a smile to everyone in attendance. Following with "God & Suicide" was appreciated also as it amply displayed the appeal of Eric Earley's voice. His vocal is a little worn and gravelly, but oh so human and soothing. I could listen to him sing forever. Marty Marquis is also handy on the vocals, supplying great harmonies for most of the night including lead on a new song called "Canyon's Edge". The night was ramped up a bit halfway through with a storming rendition of "Gold For Bread", which nicely segued into "Jericho", surely one of the great B-Sides of our time. No time to catch breath as "Love U" pulverised us with Earley really belting this one out. "Furr" was also a highlight and definitely a real crowd pleaser, with many happy people singing along with gusto. We then encountered a slight hiccup as the band stopepd for technical difficulties. I am not sure what the problem was but Earley, Marquis and drummer Brian Koch improvised and gave us a couple of sparse and tender songs in the country standard "The Last Thing On My Mind" and "Not Your Lover". I think the band handled the situation really well and barely slowed the momentum of the night. "Black River Killer" was played back in full band mode and its glorious qualities were evident for all as the band pushed onto an exciting finish. "Fire & Fast Bullets" was pulsating excitement, whilst closer "Devil's A-Go-Go" was frenetic and supercharged with some members of support act Leader Cheetah joining the boys on stage. The encore was the perfect nightcap with personal favourite "Country Caravan" being an apt and desirable closer. 'Twas a great night all round. The band were multi talented, swapping instruments through out and their intoxicating blend of guitars and keyboards proved a big winner. Come again soon please. I know someone very special that wants to see you. Sing me home boys. Sing me home.

Set List
Sleepytime in the Western World
God & Suicide
Stolen Shoes & A Rifle
Wild Mountain Nation
Canyon's Edge
Gold for Bread
Love U
Silver Moon
The Last Thing On My Mind (Tom Paxton cover)
Not Your Lover
Black River Killer
Lady On The Water
Going Down
Fire & Fast Bullets
Big Black Bird
Devil's A-Go-Go

After The Gold Rush (Neil Young cover)
Saturday Nite
Country Caravan

Nov 11, 2009

The Crown Vandals

There is not much doubt that Said The Gramophone is one of the best written music blogs out there. It is also an excellent source for finding new and exciting music. Recently I discovered The Crown Vandals over there. This duo consists of Tim Beeler (New Hampshire) and Tim Keen (Melbourne) and they are currently based in Montreal. They are unsigned, but have three songs available on their Myspace page. All three are excellent and well worth your time. They list their influences as Warren Ellis, Sam Beam, Dan Bejar, Jeff Mangum, Bob Dylan and Wayne Coyne. That's pretty heady company and a good indication of their sound. This is definitely an act to keep an eye on.

Said the Gramophone has a song for download.
Or visit The Crown Vandals for more.

Nov 10, 2009

Dead Hearts-Dead Man's Bones

Ryan Gosling is one talented man!

Nov 9, 2009

The Micallef Program

The brilliant Shaun Micallef 'interviewing' Tim Rogers. Hilarious!

Nov 8, 2009

Newtown Festival 2009

A whole lot of fun for a gold coin donation. That is definitely the Newtown Festival. Sunday in the inner west on an overcast day was spent enjoying live music, writers talks and good food and markets. Although there was a sizeable crowd on hand it did seem a bit easier to get around this year. We arrived shortly after noon, in time to see Parades on the main stage. I had been wanting to see this band for a while and was incredibly impressed. This young five piece create a wall of sound with their guitar attacks, with great melodies and lashings of atmosphere. This band has a very exciting future and I eagerly await their next move.

We then ventured to the Writers' tent where we saw the end of Thomas Keneally's talk. The man is certainly someone who contains a mountain of knowledge of Australia's history. Then we were suitably entertained by a talk between Bernard Zuel and the legendary Robert Forster. The man is a living treasure. Fiercely intelligent and filled with a sharp wit he gave us a good insight into his time as a Go-Between and also his current work as a music critic. After this we took in Dead Letter Chorus on the main stage. This band always delivers the goods live and it was the first time I had seen them with their new bass player. They also played a new song in "All Mine". It was a live debut and after a false start, it proved to be a worthy addition to their live repertoire. Looks like the band might have a new album in 2010 as well. To finish the day I enjoyed the melodic pop of Melbourne's The Crayon Fields. Playing mainly songs off their new album, their dreamy harmonies were a fitting end to an enjoyable day.

Nov 7, 2009

Little Lion Man-Mumford & Sons

Great song from a great album. Looking forward to seeing Mumford & Sons at the Laneway Festival in 2010.

Nov 6, 2009


File this under interesting. Home are from Florida and have been making music for years, but I really only heard of them recently. In 2006 they released "Sexteen", their first on Brah, an imprint of Jagjaguwar. January 26, 2010 will see the release of their new album in the form of "Seventeen". Featuring 15 tracks, I have heard the MP3 that the label has released. "Photographed With Ease" is daring and very exciting. If the rest of the album measures up this standard then I will certainly be looking forward to.

MP3: Photographed With Ease-Home

Nov 4, 2009

One Fast Move Or I'm Gone

Recently purchased "One Fast Move Or I'm Gone", which a CD/DVD based on the life of legendary beat poet Jack Kerouac. The DVD is a recollection of Kerouac's time in Big Sur, with many of his contemporaries looking back on his extraordinary life. The CD is music composed for the film recorded by Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard. I haven't watched the DVD as yet, but the CD is very good indeed.

Nov 3, 2009

Grizzly Bear Live-With The London Symphony Orchestra

Very, very nice. Grizzly Bear performed with the London Symphony Orchestra at Barbican on Saturday night. The song is "Southern Point". Now, about those Sydney dates...

Nov 1, 2009

Other Truths-Do Make Say Think

It's quite simple really. There are four tracks. Do. Make. Say. Think. If this is the defining statement for the band, then it is defined very, very well. For this sixth full length album from the Toronto collective sees their star shining as brightly as ever. Ever consistent and frequently brilliant, the music here is robust, daring, exciting and totally rewarding.

Opener "Do" is a thrusting beast of a song. Guitars parry back and forth, ensnaring the listener in an intoxicating and vibrant web of sonic composition. This song builds and collapses several times, hitting peaks before declining and then rising again. As the guitars ache and bellow, we are also carried away by frenetic and forthright drumming before a slew of horns enters to heighten the already explicit drama. The song then peaks before coming to a leisurely pace. This gives us time to digest before moving on to the next course, the shimmering "Make". This song plays in a different register, a lower one. Guitars tremble and thunder, moving with great precision and even poetry along to the conclusion. This imperious song is also augmented by horns as well as the mournful vocals of Akron/Family. Sublime to be sure. "Say" is more experimental. It begins with syncopated notes and no hint of guitar. Initially that is. After two minutes the guitars enter the fray, weaving intricate and symmetric patterns. This song is definitely one that pays off with time. Each listen reveals a little more detail. A little more of itself. It rewards the patient discerning listener, a definite reward in this disposable age we live in. Do Make Say Think are in it for the long haul, reminding us that the best music is made for us to make an emotional investment in. It is made to assure us that each search for the beauty that is possible is truly worthwhile. The search on this album ends with the contemplative and meditative "Think". It is a composition in languid and deliberate notes of ecstatic sound. This band is a master at perfecting a natural balance in their music. They can give you the thrust to send you into the stratosphere and also the emotional punch to give you comfort and peace. This is music that is natural and real. Honest, true and sparklingly intelligent. Do Make Say Think have given us one of the stand alone moments of 2009.