Archives for category: Music

I didn’t really go out there to find stuff to listen to in 2013 really. I really like the top 7 albums but a lot of the other stuff, I discovered late or is just sorta good but not great. I actually think 2012 had more stuff that was better overall.

2013 Releases

  1. Rhye – Woman
  2. Mount Kimbie – Cold Spring Faultless Youth
  3. Danny Brown – Old
  4. Disclosure – Settle
  5. Toro y Moi – Anything In Return
  6. Beach Fossils – Clash The Truth
  7. A$AP Rocky – Long.Live.A$AP
  8. Jai Paul – Jai Paul
  9. Action Bronson – Saaab Stories
  10. Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time
  11. Sampha – Dual EP
  12. James Blake – Overgrown
  13. Washed Out – Paracosm
  14. Alunageorge – Body Music
  15. Chvrches – The Bones Of What You Believe
  16. Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
  17. King Krule – 6 Feet Beneath The Moon
  18. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City
  19. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
  20. My Bloody Valentine – mbv

Late Pass

  1. Beach Fossils – What A Pleasure
  2. Action Bronson & The Alchemist – Rare Chandeliers
  3. Chet Baker – The Best Of Chet Baker
  4. Nosaj Thing – Home
  5. Nosaj Thing – Drift
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Teenage Engineering are based in Sweden and make electronic music related stuff that is sick. They definitely have a steez that has an inspired by Apple vibe but clearly, they have their own ideas and spirit as well. They just have a brilliant name that somehow reminds of John Peel R.I.P. So here’s Teenage Kicks.

But back to Teenage Engineering. I first noticed them when I came across this portable electronic sequencer called the OP-1. The design was what struck me because it looked exceptionally clean and well made but with just the right amounts of quirky cool thrown in to give it character. I especially love the animations. Then I found their other stuff, which is just as cool.

They’ve got a really simple cloud based speaker (OD-11), a lighting rigs system featuring really small halogen lamps (Studio System), a electric bicycle that’s coming soon (Machina) and the OpLab, which is a board that acts as an interface between electronic music equipment, regardless of whether it’s old or new and you can do shit like connect a shoe with a gyro sensor to trigger whatever you can think of or use one of their provided sensors like the Flip sensor that uses an accelerometer to control an element. Essentially, it lets you make your own synth based on your likes, needs and wants. There’s even a bloody harddrive that’s a work in progress that let’s you scratch like a DJ with a vinyl.

But make no bones about it, their flagship product is definitely the OP-1, which is pretty expensive at $849. Everything else revolves around this new remarkable millenium synth, which packs a lot of punch into a slim and sexy little slab.

Like Apple, TE also try to get you into a system and they have a lot of stuff that feels compelling. The design of their products is a clear standout and has to be a massive draw. I think it’s been a while since I felt an honest product lust for a new piece of electronic device and the OP-1 was what broke the drought. It’s well intentioned and probably only rich hipsters or wannabes might want it but there’s no denying, it is cool as fuck and you want it even if you don’t know what the hell it is. I know I do.

You can also check out some other projects and shit they’ve done on their website, like the 22 strong robot Absolut Choir, an ad campaign for New Balance  or a super cool styrofoam turntable.

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Like all hipsters, I like folky jangly guitar music played by a guy with a beard and skinny jeans. The Tallest Man On Earth came to Sydney just on Tuesday and played at the Opera House. He reminisced about his previous trip down here which also happened to be his first time travelling like, anywhere. He was also a little odd, a little self deprecating and full of rather dry humour. His performance was stellar, even if he fucked up a chord on the Steinway or messed around with some lyrics. The guitar playing on open tuning was, at times mesmerizing, whilst his voice was pretty fuckin’ awesome. No doubt the location had something to do with it but regardless, it was very enjoyable. Near the end, his wife pops up and they sing a cover of Paul Simon’s Graceland. I think one of the highlights was when he pulled out an electric guitar for a shimmering rendition of Where Do My Bluebirds Fly? draped in swarthy guitar effects.

I think for a one man band with just a voice and an instrument, he has a brilliant sound. His engaging stage presence also helped you forget just how simple everything was. And yet, you’re sorta entranced just watching a dude sing some songs. That’s magic.

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Just 12 episodes long, Kids On The Slope is a coming of age manga by Yuki Kodama that was recently adapted into an anime series by Shinichiro Watanabe of Cowboy Bebop/Samurai Champloo fame. Watanabe links up again with Yoko Kanno, who scored Cowboy Bebop and does so here again, with jazz the star of the show.

Like Watanabe’s previous work, music is the key driver of the plot and pretty much feels just as important as the characters and the story itself. Kaoru Nishimi is a smart, classically trained pianist who keeps moving schools. He ends up in Kyushu to stay with his uncle and has to traipse up and down the titular slope to get to school. There he meets Ritsuko Mukae, a cheery and attractive girl with whom he falls in love. He also stumbles onto Sentaro Kawabuchi, an infamous troublemaker whom everyone is scared of except Ritsuko, who happens to be his childhood buddy.

So there we have the start of a love triangle that gets progressively more complicated when more characters are thrown into the mix. Along the way, the boys’ friendship develops over jazz jam sessions. They fall out over Ritsuko sorta, but get back together again. At times, the bromance is a little strong. I mean, there’s hand holding and embracing and shit. It’s almost a little too strong if you get what I mean.

But it’s really just a really well crafted and heartfelt story about growing up, young love and friendship. The music is really really strong and has it’s own distinct character, nevermind that it covers a few classics from Art Blakey to Coltrane to Miles to Bill Evans. The music jams are the best parts of the film and it’s awesome how everything falls together.

At times, I struggled to accept the characters’ lack of motivation and desire to do what they really wanted. Almost everyone seems to want to hide behind a veil and pretend that it’s ok. Then when the opportunities present themselves, they aren’t really taken. I guess when you’re young and inexperienced, you’re the same and you fumble everything in your path. I know I did, which is why I like this story because it’s relatable.

My fave track from the OST has to be obviously Lullaby Of Birdland, sung by Teshima Aoi.

We missed getting tickets for Kings Of Convenience at the Sydney Opera House but we snagged some for Laneway instead. This year’s lineup includes the acoustic guitar masters from Norway and a lotta bands including Japandroids, Cloud Nothings, Yeasayer and more.

This year’s Laneway was held at the Sydney College Of The Arts in Rozelle and feels kinda big at this point. I actually regret missing 2012 because it had fucking Twin Shadow, Washed Out, SBTRKT, Toro Y Moi, Feist, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and M83, which is like what I was listening to all of 2012 minus Wild Nothing. Anyway, I’ve only ever been to one other Laneway and that was (gasp!) back in 2008! Anyway, I’m not a huge fan of the location. Nice buildings and all but doesn’t really feel laneway-ish if you know what I mean. Also, it was a mare to get around because there were a few choke points where shitloads of people would try to squeeze through in two directions. Plus, the shit rain meant we had to drop $5 on ponchos to stay dry. It was on and off all day and off at night, until we left.

First up, the non essential. Drinks were from Bulmers, who were really nice and had their own spot called Brick Lane where you could listen to classic records on vinyl through shitty Urbanears Plattan headphones and also make free badges, which was kinda fun. You could just cut something out from a zine or scrap paper or whatever, draw some shit on it or glue layers together and they’d stamp it into your own button. For free.

Food was ok, good even. I enjoyed the Kransky Hot Dog from The German Hut which was a juicy and generous feeling snag for $7 that came with sauerkraut, fried onions and your choice of wholemeal/white and also tomato/sweet mustard/hot mustard/bbq/chilli as you like it. Another good one was Jafe Jaffles who did a smart run of jaffles, which are sandwiches pressed in a toaster that splits it into two triangles and seals the fillings shut. I had a Reuben Jaffle, which came with a slice of corned beef, cheese, some sauce and a pickle for $6. Toko Surry Hills also had a pop up that did a brisk business selling cocktails and some food. I didn’t bother to try. There were also a mix of various food trucks and festival/market stalls that I’ve seen at every festival/market. Most were decent/ok. I think it’s a shitload better than whatever crap you used to get served in music festivals.

Toilets were another mare. 3 large locations but still long queues most of the time. We opted for leaving early during the afternoon acts to get ahead for the next show plus hit the loo/grab food etc. Overall, I think there were way too many people and at times, the venue felt really small, especially at the Courtyard stage, which was a dead end and I never got even close to it at any point.

KOC kicked things off early and I think most people hadn’t even arrived but they were surely the biggest names in the lineup and early birds were rewarded with a great performance. Eirik and Erlend were pretty affable and jovial, using some good natured humour to get the crowd warmed up. Later on, they brought out a backing band that included a drummer, guitarist and bassist for extra oomph. The backup guys wore infectious smiles that really got the crowd into the groove. I think one of the best tracks on the day had to be I’d Rather Dance With You Than Talk With You where everyone was just into it. Erlend climbed down to dance with the crowd near the end, which was pretty cool. He might look like a hipster nerd who dances silly but his sheer enthusiasm and joyfulness and that of his bandmates really gets to you. And anyway, this is Kings Of Convenience. Stupid sick enchanting melodies, guitars with hooks on end and gentle lilts all over. The performance was just superb.

After KOC was mostly a downer. The low point probably Holy Other, which I’ve been enjoying heaps on my headphones but as a live act, is boring as hell. Dude is also a short ass mofo. One other dude, Perfume Genius looked like he was gonna cry at any moment whilst he was singing and seemed to be really annoyed with the weather. Of Monsters And Men were good. Prolly queue that shit up. Despite every track sounding like Arcade Fire meets Mumford And Sons with a girl singing, I think everyone was pretty taken.

The pretty much last act for us was Jessie Ware and she blew us away. The crowd was also mad, making a lotta noise and really breaking it down. Her voice was super and was only marred by an apparent mic malfunction. Otherwise, the songs were just great and I really think she’ll go onto bigger things if her followup LP is going to be as good as Devotion. For me, she’s better than Adele or whoever but then again, I just like dance music as much as I appreciate a good singer. She was also hilarious and had lots of ditzy speels that switched easily into serious mode where she poses and preens and works her vocal chops, hard. Respect.

We skipped out the late night show mostly for work commitments but blew that by hitting up Chat Thai for supper. How the hell did I miss 2012?

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Didn’t listen to any old music at all this year! Seriously. Like nothing from before ’06 even! Big mix of hip-hop and indie pop. Pitchfork hipster type shit really. I think Triangle records’ stuff replaced dubstep this year. Fave track of the year even though it came out in 2011 was Crystalfilm by Little Dragon.

2012 releases.

  1. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, M.A.A.D. City
  2. Wild Nothing – Nocturne
  3. Twin Shadow – Confess
  4. Clams Casino – Instrumental Mixtape 2
  5. Beach House – Bloom
  6. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
  7. Holy Other – Held
  8. Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes
  9. DIIV – Oshin
  10. Jessie Ware – Devotion
  11. Grimes – Visions
  12. John Talabot – ƒin
  13. Big K.R.I.T. – 4EvaNAday
  14. Chromatics – Kill For Love
  15. The Tallest Man On Earth – There’s No Leaving Now
  16. Oh No – Ohnomite
  17. oOoOO – Our Loving Is Hurting Us
  18. Purity Ring – Shrines
  19. Action Bronson – Blue Chips
  20. kin – iamamiwhoami
  21. The Alchemist – Russian Roulette
  22. Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t
  23. TNGHT – TNGHT EP
  24. Lil B – God’s Father
  25. Nas – Life Is Good
  26. XXYYXX – XXYYXX
  27. Chilly Gonzales – Solo Piano II
  28. Curren$y – The Stoned Immaculate
  29. Metric – Synthetica
  30. The XX – Coexist

Late Pass.

  1. Little Dragon – Ritual Union
  2. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
  3. Clams Casino – Rainforest EP
  4. Danny Brown – XXX
  5. Holy Other – With U
  6. Twin Sister – In Heaven
  7. Beach Fossils – Beach Fossils
  8. The Log.OS – λόγος
  9. Oddisee – Rock Creek Park
  10. Twin Sister – Color Your Life

I’m checking my shit in the coolroom and the boss comes over and steals some dressings to put into coloured glass bottles. He was giving them away for x’mas pressies so I kinda gave him a hand. He casually asked if I liked Morrissey and I answered in the affirmative so he mentioned maybe getting me an extra one. So the week passes and he goes to Melbourne before coming back a few days ago. He sees me and asks me if I still wanna see Moz. I was like yea sure of course. He then says he’s got two tix but he can’t go because he’s promised his kids he’d hang out with them so he’s gonna give em to me instead. Cycle forward to Thursday and he calls me, waking me up to tell me that he’s got it all sorted, I’d be getting two tickets plus he talked to another chef to switch with me. Then on Friday, he even tries to hand deliver me the tickets but unfortunately, they only print them on the day itself but it wouldn’t be a problem I just need to drop his name.

So right now, I’ve just sat through this old gray haired 53 year old singing a two hour long medley of songs including some of my faves, like the opener, Everyday Is Like Sunday or Let Me Kiss You plus heaps more at the Sydney Opera House no less. Moz is a living legend and to get to tick off a concert on my bucket list is great but to get to do it for free because my boss goes out of his way to make it happen is priceless.

The concert was ace. Morrissey did everything, danced, pranced, posed and stripped off a shirt into the crowd. His voice was superb and he really worked the crowd a lot, sharing in a bit of banter here and there and introducing the world’s most famous Morrissey fan, Julia, who’s been to 560 front rows. One dude got to share a creepy and awkward declaration of love for the old man whilst a buncha Engleesh got to shout out their hometowns and shit. Moz seemed a little bewildered most of the time.

He was really into acting out the songs as well. Often, he’d introduce them with a bit of chatter about how he’d go to the gallows (before Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want) or how his love songs tend to be very short.

All in all, I got a chance to get up close to a guy whose songs I’ve been humming and busting out in the car and everything for ages now and it was really really awesome to see it all live and in the flesh. Incidentally, he also went on a bit about how eating meat was wrong and there was this video on the screen as he put out Meat Is Murder. For the record, I’m still eating my meat heh.

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19 years man, 19 years. The first time I heard the ch’ga ch’ga before the guitar starts wailing in Creep, I was 13 and only just started to learn how to cream in my pants. For me, Radiohead are better than The Beatles, The Stones, better than Nirvana and whatever else there is. I used to send my friends annoying emails about various band related tidbits I’m sure they didn’t bother to read but I might’ve introduced one or two to ’em that way. I was a dumbass, still am.

I grew up with Radiohead in a way, from relentlessly belting out Fake Plastic Trees and High & Dry to the stuff they introduced me to (Jeff Buckley, The Fall, Aphex Twin, Tortoise, Thomas Pynchon, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Can, Noam Chomsky… basically, a lot of stuff I don’t know much about) and the way they pivoted the role of technology in my life. Radiohead came around when the internet did, more or less and with it, came the ability to scour information across the globe and download free music. I learned to search on Yahoo! and AltaVista. Radiohead and porn taught me how to use the internet. I even made my first ever web purchase with my mom’s credit card for a backpack and some clothes from waste.co.uk. I also did a lot of graphic doodling on Photoshop by trying to combine Stanley Donwood’s work during the OKC era with stuff from Bape and the graffiti / vector line drawing shapey style of the times. A lot of it was shit. One Apple ad-esque image of the band was used as a bookmark/flyer for some church related personality test event gig. I was also obsessed with the themes that played out in OKC. Depression, paranoia and the bleak outlook of a human dystopia kinda took a disturbing hold on me but then I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.

Somehow or other, I wasn’t anticipating this as much as I should’ve been on the day itself. I remember missing out entirely on the pre-sale and then managing to get myself 4 tickets the next round, furiously clicking away the second the sale went live. I originally planned to go with 2 housemates and sell the last ticket to fund a small car but it went to my girl instead, who came along despite being a non fan. I think I was just getting too old or something because my mind was focused on work and fixing all the little things in life at the mo.

Someone tried to bum a ticket off me as I leave the collection office. I stop him mid sentence with a snarky no. Then I have a bowl of ramen at Gumshara before some dessert at Meetfresh, totally skipping out on the opening act, some dude named after a shoe. Anyway, we get into the Sydney Entertainment center and we’re like at the back but I’m not complaining, it’s Radiohead and I’m finally getting to see them live. Thom Yorke is a tiny person I think, like 2cm tall. He still manages to dance like he does in Lotus Flower or retarded-like as one friend so eloquently put it. By the way, the t-shirts look like shit nowadays.

They bust out with Bloom, one of the stronger, easy to like tracks on The King Of Limbs and think to myself that Thom’s voice is just as brilliant as I first thought it was way back when. Then they break out with Lucky and the nostalgia pangs hit and I realize how old I am because I still think it sounds so modern and cool. In mid set, I get the chills when they bring out the piano and it’s just Jonny and Thom doing Videotape. It sounds remarkably like Pyramid Song a bit later. They also played Planet Telex (woah) and Paranoid Android plus some new ones like Staircase and Full Stop. Here’s the full setlist.

  1. Bloom
  2. Lucky
  3. Morning Mr. Magpie
  4. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
  5. Myxomatosis
  6. The Gloaming
  7. Separator
  8. Staircase
  9. Videotape
  10. Nude
  11. Full Stop
  12. Lotus Flower
  13. There There
  14. Planet Telex
  15. Feral
  16. Bodysnatchers

Encore:

  1. Give Up the Ghost
  2. Pyramid Song
  3. These Are My Twisted Words
  4. Reckoner
  5. Paranoid Android

Encore 2:

  1. 15 Step
  2. Everything in Its Right Place

Encore 3:

  1. Idioteque

The show was pretty cool, replete with these video screens that were suspended above the band and could be reconfigured to various heights and angles and positions. Most of the time, they just played an intermittent transmission of different details of different band members at different points, like Thom singing and a guitar being plucked or drums getting hit etc but it wasn’t like a constant stream. It kinda felt a lot like the music and the complex, shifting, claustrophobic beat. At one point all the screens faced downwards and pulsed a bright white light downwards on the band and you just see the rather undecorated stage and then the lights come on behind on the mega screen with some wavey distorted noise thing.

But regardless of how I felt before the show, I came away thinking I’d just ticked off one item from the top 3 on my bucket list. I’ve finally caught Radiohead live and I felt like I’m 17 again, albeit with a lot less energy, some lower back pain and extremely reticent. Ok maybe I felt like I was 70. They played like 2.5 hours or something like that, with 3 encores. Not a lotta bands do that. They also didn’t talk much. It was like straight down to business. Thom muttered something about Free Tibet and maybe uttered a hello or how you going like thrice maybe. Just straight into the music and in no way was the performance hampered at all, it was just sheer professionalism and just perfect. I think the paper reviewed them as masterful. I thought similarly, that they’re already at the peak of their powers and they can just bust out whatever, whenever because they’ve been doing it for so long. But how many bands can claim to do it like they have, constantly changing directions and maybe having a bump here or there but still making music that keeps people engaged and delighted. How many bands can go 19 years and still be relevant, ever more so than before?

Fave LPs released in 2011.
  1. SBTRKT – SBTRKT
  2. The Weeknd – House Of Balloons
  3. Washed Out – Within And Without
  4. Neon Indian – Era Extrana
  5. Burial + Fourtet + Thom Yorke – Ego / Mirror
  6. Drive OST
  7. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Belong
  8. Memory Tapes – Player Piano
  9. Clams Casino – Clams Casino
  10. Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra
  11. Tyler, The Creator – Goblin
  12. Big K.R.I.T – Return Of 4Eva
  13. A$AP Rocky – LiveLoveA$AP
  14. Destroyer – Kaputt
  15. Kendrick Lamar – Section 80
  16. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
  17. Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting
  18. Com Truise – Galactic Melt
  19. James Blake – James Blake
  20. Shlohmo – Bad Vibes
  21. Curren$y – Weekend At Burnies
  22. Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact
  23. Araabmusik – Electronic Dream
  24. Lil B – I’m Gay (I’m Happy)
  25. Mayer Hawthorne – How Do You Do
  26. Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
  27. Sepalcure – Sepalcure
  28. Toro Y Moi – Underneath The Pine
  29. Asobi Seksu – Fluorescence
  30. Wiz Khalifa – Rolling Papers

Late Pass (2006 and on)

  1. Das Racist – Sit Down, Man
  2. Tyler, The Creator – Bastard
  3. The Tallest Man Alive – Shallow Grave
  4. Pantha Du Prince – Black Noise
  5. Com Truise – Cyanide Sisters EP
  6. Curren$y – Pilot Talk II
  7. Rihanna – Loud
  8. Gonzales – Ivory Tower
  9. Jamie Lidell – Compass
  10. Drake – Thank Me Later

Old Shit (pre ’06)

  1. P.M Dawn – Of The Heart, Of The Soul, And Of The Cross: The Utopian Experience
  2. The Notorious B.I.G – Ready To Die
  3. The Notorious B.I.G – Life After Death
  4. Bone Thugs & Harmony – E 1999 Eternal
  5. Nas – It Was Written
  6. Cam’ron – Come Home With Me
  7. Beyonce – Dangerously In Love
  8. Cam’ron – Purple Haze
  9. Madvillain – Madvillainy
  10. Lil Wayne – Tha Block Is Hot
Kpop!
  1. Taeyang
  2. Lee Ssang
  3. Dynamic Duo
  4. 10cm
  5. MC Mong

It’s just been a lot of hip-hop, more dubstep, more chillwave, some popular electronica and some general hipster wankiness and also Kpop. You’ll see that there’s no Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes but there is Odd Future and The Weeknd. I’m clearly leaning towards black hipster. I think it’s the Obama effect. I got force fed a lotta Kpop. HyunA’s Bubble Pop is stuck in my retina.

SaladUK knows watsup. JCVD, Inception, Friends and the awesome Singing In The Rain set to dubstep.