Sunday, October 30, 2005

lazy weekend, stormy season

mixtape connetion vol. 4 went really well - thanks to everyone that came. it was a fun night. here's what i played in my set:

holyfuck - casio bossa nova, gary numan - cars, cut copy - saturdays, caberet voltaire - talking time, new order - the beach, the rapture - i need yr love, tom vek - nothing but green lights, joy division - transmission, devo - cold war, talking heads - making flippy floppy, rogers sisters - 45 prayers, gang of four - return the gift, franz ferdinand - i'm yr villain, the human league - don't you want me, datarock - fa fa fa, duran duran - girls on film, tom vek - i ain't saying my goodbyes

we got lots of photos, but i seem to have lost my digital camera on the night. if anyone has seen it, um, let me know or something. beer + technology = trouble. ugh. [edit]okay, don't worry. benet has it. phew! i'll post photos later in the week. anyway, though, the next night is set to be on probably the 2nd of december, in light of the low hum tour with so so modern and teenwolf being on the normal last friday of the month, on which mixtape connection would fall. make sure you go and support the low hum gig. these bands are from auckland [edit] make that wellington - thanks, anonymous!, and as far as i've seen, they totally tear shit up. more news on that closer to the gig.

the bats were really great at the jetset last night. the sound, for once, seemed pretty good, considering the jetset's common problems in that department. as usual, it's nice to see a band of such calibre playing such a familar style of indie-pop.

speaking of indie-pop, it's going to be poptastic this tuesday night. i've got my hands on most of the stuff mentioned in that pitchfork article about being twee as fuck and stuff. good article, especially the last page - all the bands mentioned there really are worth listening to.

another interesting thing on the net right now is this article, at tiny mix tapes. very funny from the perspective of a music writer/music geek.

wow and check out these two great covers:

iron & wine - waiting for superman.mp3 (flaming lips cover)

calexico - love will tear us apart.mp3 (joy divison cover)

awesome! what a crazy couple of versions. i guess that's the beauty of covers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

i wasn't down - i just wasn't smiling at you

i was talking on the show last night about this photo of me surfing on a big boat. so here it is, to yr right. i'd like to turn this into a myspace style/confessional blog. you won't mind, will you tim? by the way, im just joking about that. while the urge is there, i'll stick to mp3s and music stuff for now.

here's a couple of mp3s for you to download. firstly, the animal collective, from their new album feels. all the reviews of this record have touted it's accesiblity and (more) conventional song structures. and stuff. it's really good, but i think i like sung tongs more, in all it's experimentalism. here's track two from the new album:

the animal collective - grass.mp3

something else really interesting is the new modest mouse covers album about to be released by sun kil moon. this guy plays really affected indie-folk - check out his album ghosts of the great highway. he was also a member of renowned red house painters, who play similar folky stuff. i'm hanging out for this new covers album, tiny cities. i'm trying to download the whole thing, and i'll be sure to play some on the show when i've got it. in the mean time, though, he's one track from it:

sun kil moon - ocean breathes salty.mp3

remember to come see me dj at capitol bar this friday night, the 28th. it should be a wild night. it's on hereford st and starts at 10pm - hot indie tunes til late, for free. wow!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

woody allen likes japanese noise rock [playlist 25/10/05]

wow, it's tuesday already. although it doesn't seem like it - long weekend and all. tim and i (richard) are happy. i like indie pop. tim likes sludge pop. so it's going to be an odd mix of things.

1. the lassie foundation - dive bomber [pacifico]
2. dirty three - doris [cinder]
3. kiss me deadly - dance 2 [misty medley]
4. the eels - the medication is wearing off [electro shock blues]

it's not too early for 90's nostaliga. the eels - questionable. but that song is cool. speaking of 90's nostalgia - check out the twee/indie pop article on pitchfork. very in depth account of the movement's history. i'll be digging up a lot of the stuff mentioned and playing it on the show.

5. fence - explanation song [the woolf]
6. the black keys - act nice and gentle [rubber factory

it's neo-blues. they've just released a live dvd, which looks quite cool.

7. suburban kids with biblical names - parakit [#3]

yay guys. thanks for posting on our blog, johan & peter. check out the suburban kids website. it's cool - even if it's mostly in swedish...

8. iron & wine - teeth in the grass [our endless numbered days]
9. winter vacation - the alps [the netherlands, 1980]
10. kings of leon - red morning light [youth & young manhood]

the big day out announcement sure has been good. looking forward to seeing the kings of leon guys in january. apparently the arcade fire are rumoured for the second announcement. they're into their in-jokes - anyone know who leon is?

11. mazarin - another one goes by [we're already there]
12. jolie holland - old fashioned morphine [escondida]
13. pony up! - minstrel [pony up! ep]

these girls say: "my brother's gonna beat you up. my sister's gonna beat you up. my mother's gonna beat you up". i believe them. they're from, like, new york. or something.

14. silver jews - punks in the beerlight [tanglewood numbers]
15. calvin johnson - rabbit blood [before the dream faded]

two weird guys, thats for sure. there are plenty of interviews with david berman from the silver jews on the net at the moment.

16. art brut - my little brother [bang bang rock & roll]
17. mommy & daddy - the streets have come alive [duel at dawn]

they have the husband/wide dynamic going on. plus they're from new york. did someone say "style over substance"?.

18. devendra banhart - chinese children [cripple crow]
19. harvey danger - incommunicado [little by little]
20. tim rogers & the temperance union - riding between my place and ours [dirty ron/ghost stories]

tim dodgers is going to see tim rogers in melbourne on december the first. check this blog for stories and photos and stuff. now something pretty much totally contrasting. that pitchfork's article about twee reminded me of these guys. thanks to some girl in some clothes shop who got me onto this band.

21. the softies - hello rain [it's love]
22. radiohead - where i end and you begin [hail to the thief]

check out this site for links to these crazy blogs that radiohead have supposedly been setting up. it's interesting, really, what they're doing. they post a lot of stuff from their fourthcoming album on their own blog. it's interesting to me in terms of radiohead as actual, real people - their music is so far from that. it distances themselves a lot from their public. obscure lyrics, spacey sonics, other-wordly atmospherics - they're from some other planet, i'm sure.

23. the gris gris - down with jesus [for the season]
24. black mountain - don't run our hearts around [black mountain]

the metal show guys outside the studio window have a cd cover with "prostitute disfigure" on it. we're not quite up to that standard, but these last two tracks are certainly towards the heavy end of the rock spectrum.

25. immaculate machine - phone no. [ones and zeros]

Monday, October 24, 2005

breathe like yr dancing

okay, time again for the mixtape connection. if you haven't been yet it's hosted by myself (richard), dr hitchcock (benet from the mixtape sessions on rdu), gretchen (missy g from girl school, before guitar media on rdu), dj indie slut (bill from human pleasure at hourly rates on rdu), and also a special guest in the form of nick harte from the shocking pinks. we'll all be playing dj sets filled with music you can dance to, not dance music. it's real indie bro. it's at capitol bar this friday night (the 28th) and it starts at 10pm. it's free, too, and for nothing you can hear the sweet sounds of bands like the following:

the cars, duran duran, out hud, the rapture, lcd soundsystem (plus other dfa tracks), !!!, mu, the human league, the soft pink truth, death from above 1979, the cure, blondie, talking heads, joy division, devo, new order, felix da housecat, gang of four, the go! team, vitalic, arthur russell, ellen alien, junior boys, maximo park, tom vek, ladytron, cut copy, etc.

and with general styles playing: post-punk, 80s pop, electro, indie-rock, dance-punk, new wave and more.

this is the fourth edition of this "indie" club night, and they have all been super fun so far. rdunited members get 20% off tap beer and a free limited edition mix cd upon entry. capitol bar is a nice place, and the cool thing about these nights is that it's filled to the brim with nice people.

Friday, October 21, 2005

the dandy warhols - odditorium or warlords of mars [album review]

[Capitol, 2005]

Pitchfork gave this album a 1.6 out of 10. Sure, the name is kinda stupid, but this album will surprise any hipster with an affinity for even the most obscure. It’s actually really good – despite the cliché-ridden stoner-chic poseur aesthetic that the group has become renowned for. To say that they embrace their own idiosyncrasies would be reading too far into it - it’s really just about style. Many critics talk of this as bad when compared with having actual substance. There’s a little bit of the latter here, too. Breezy, lackadaisical and well-paced guitar tunes like “Love is the New Feel Awful” are what this record does best. The Dandys clearly have a target market of faux-hipsters and Volvo adverts, but the mood of this album works too well to ignore. This is sure to suit summer perfectly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

deerhoof - the runners four [album review]

[5RC, 2005]

It’s hard not to like Deerhoof. They’re composed of three super-indie guys with one really fucking crazy Japanese chick for a lead singer. The eclecticisms are pretty obvious – spastic vocals with instrumentation to match. At least that’s what their previous albums are like. The Runners Four, their eighth album, is certainly less hyperactive, but by no means tame. This is also their longest, clocking in at 57 minutes over 20 songs – a fact that talks, especially when compared to previous, more frenzied albums like Apple O’, which is only 13 songs and half an hour in length.

Sometimes, though, Deerhoof are pretty hard to like. The shtick of the group is interminably appealing (you should see the lead singer dance! Explosive!) but for all of their aesthetic, they are pretty difficult at times. That’s the point, though – the sense of difficulty is engaging and rewarding. This difficulty seems to have subsided somewhat on this new album, which is good thing for both longtime fans and newcomers alike. They’ve become more conventional, in their own, twisted way, but not so much that it would discourage Deerhoof-spaz purists. Besides, they could only have kept that up for so long. It’s like they’ve somehow matured and selected the best facets of their oeuvre and made a solid indie-rock album out of them. They know how to kick it – that is obvious – it’s just a little less relentless.

A comparison to The Pixies is adequate. But Deerhoof take the loud/soft dynamics that The Pixies pioneered and flip it upside down. They’ve been labeled “by turns cuddly and chaotic”, and that’s pretty apt. While at parts they can be quaint and simple, they can also be dense and incredibly fucking loud. The production is quite raw, which is useful as explicative of the hidden charms of melody and sweetness lumped under the car-crash wreck that is the rest of their sound. Either way, it’s definitely the best car crash I’ve ever heard.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

my sun is setting over her magazine [playlist 18/10/05]

so i'm typing tonight. it's me. richard. the space bar is kinda sticky.

1. okkervil river - stoned [black sheep boy]
2. herman dune - [not on top]
3. pinback - fortress [summer in abbadon]
4. clap your hands say yeah! - upon this tidal wave of young blood [clap your handssay yeah!]

my favourite album of the year. but what about the best song of the year? i was listening to national radio today and they were getting people to name the best song of all time. actually it was maggie barry hosting the show, which lessened the integrity of the debate at hand. someone suggested something from the platters.screw that. what about the smiths? "there is a light that never goes out"? oh yeah.

5. architecture in helsinki - wishbone [in case we die]

it's cute. "twee-prog", as someone aptly put it. now for a golden oldie. from a terrific album - there aren't many albums that can be just as good when you put them on "shuffle" mode...

6. pavement - kennel district [wowee zowee]
7. uncle tupelo - factory belt [no depression]
8. blood on the wall - mary susan [awesomer]

fuck yeah - listen to this guy's voice. you can't argue with an album title like "awesomer".

tim actually likes this next song. "in a bland sea of salty mediocrity, the arcade fire is a clean refreshing burst to the pallet"

7. the arcade fire - neighborhood #3 (power out) [funeral]
8. broken social scene - major label debut (fast) [ep to be you and me]

i remember when funeral first came out, lots of people compared it to you forgot it in people by broken social scene. it's the energy and fervour that is most easily likened, but it falls pretty short otherwise. i guess they both use parenthesis...

9. the strokes - juicebox [forthcoming]

this is more of a public service announcement than anything. tim would rather people listen to this than, well, the killers at least. he likes franz ferdinand now. hehe.

10. art brut - modern art [bang bang rock & roll]
11. buttersprites - fever [buttersprites]

now for shea's pick of the night. they're from sweden and sound kind of like this guy called jens lekman. who i like, too. try his album when i said i wanted to be your dog.

12. suburban kids with biblical names - trees and sqirrels [3]
13. the clientele - the geometry of lawms [strange geometry]

this album is really great. so is their 2003 lp, the violet hour. lush, simon & garfunkle-eqsue indie-pop. good for summer nights at around 9:30pm.

14. immaculate machine - broken ship [ones and zeroes]
15. dirty three - ember [cinder]
16. xiu xiu larsen - paw paw paw paw paw paw paw paw [ciautistico]
17. joanna newsom - three little babes [the milk eyed mender]

apparently her concert with smog in auckland on sunday night was "perfect" (mirabel, 2005). i could only imagine. the milk eyed mender truly is one blissful record. it's funny how a voice so immediatly abrasive can be so rich and rewarding.

18. the radio dept. - this past week [this past week ep]
19. animal collective - winter's love [sung tongs]
20. john wilkes booze - cultural hurricane [telescopic eyes glance the future sick]

vice magazine hates those guys. and yr parents. and you.

21. daniel johnston - my life is starting over again [discovered/covered]
22. yo la tengo - upside-down [may i sing with me]
23. tim rogers - shit [dirty ron]

token tim rogers track. now, time for some surf guitars. i've been getting into these surfing/tarantino-esque stylings. another band like the next one is messer chups. they're great.

24. suspirios - make you wet [make you wet]
25. the ramones - teenage labotomy [rocket to russia]
26. cut copy - saturdays (reprise) [bright like neon love]

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

top five albums of 2005 [list]

note: if this top five seems a little early to you, that's because it is - as part of canta mgazine's top five page, i had to contribute my picks. they will probably change before the year is out. so this is my "unofficial" top five albums. please post yr own (early) top fives in the comments section at the end of this post. but here's what i wrote, anyway.


Every year, music geeks like myself rejoice at the chance to compile “best albums of the year” lists. And we write these little bits about how we like to compile these lists. It’s getting a little too idiosyncratic, but that’s okay. I’m like High Fidelity - without the irony. This year has been particularly good as far as great albums go, so now that list-assembling time has come, I find myself worried – almost dreading the fact that I have to reduce it to five records. Five! It falls desperately short considering the great amount of music that has come out this year. Torn between my personal favorites (albums that personally affect me and bring me close to them) and albums that are undeniably good on a more universal plain, I find myself somewhat stuck. The following list tends more towards the former, as partially concede defeat against the barrage of fucking terrific records to see release this past year. So here goes:

5. Serena-Maneesh – Serena-Maneesh
Any band can play on influences like Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and The Velvet Underground, but few embrace what these groups pioneered the most – noise. They take the densest and loudest elements of all of the above and add even more layers to that. The advantage of this is that the melodies hidden within become even more rewarding in their juxtaposition with distortion. The album is very creative considering their influences. It’s long, sprawling and easy to get lost within, just like the aforementioned classics. Shoegaze is probably the best genre to slot these Norwegians into, but as usual, it’s not enough – they supercede this, and manage to rock out in the process.

4. The Most Serene Republic – Underwater Cinematographer
On the same label as Broken Social Scene, the number two entry on this list, Arts & Crafts, this group have been described as sounding very similar. At times unabashedly happy but at others taking the time to dwell in less cheerful areas, they have dynamics and variance in spades. Their aesthetic is that of ascendant pop with shout/sing-a-long choruses and clever lyrics that ooze energy and vibrancy. It’s symphonic, and definitely a little cheesy, but unashamed. Crafting songs with such beauty is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, and that’s what makes this Canadian group so good. It’s so exuberant and invigorating. And sentimental as well – but these kids actually mean it.

3. Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary

This clashes completely with the niceties of the rest of the albums on this list. The hype and anticipation surrounding this release nearly swallowed it whole, but it easily speaks to itself. Even if they encapsulate the fervor and energy of The Arcade Fire and craft beauty from the unattractive like Modest Mouse or Frog eyes, these comparisons fall desperately short. Because that’s only half the sound. The other is made up of pure passion and sincerity – melodies that through contrast are so overarchingly beautiful that the more dystopian sounding moments are either soon forgotten or soon cherished. This is indie-rock at it’s most inventive; at a time where it is clear that reinvention is what is constantly needed.

2. Broken Social Scene – Broken Social Scene

In 2003, these ten kids from Montreal released a record called You Forgot it in People. It’s one of those albums that seemed impossible to ever better, and my personal affliction for that record filled me with anticipation when considering their next effort. And this year, they managed to do just that – make an even greater, even more well-rounded and interesting record. Building on the already passionate, vigorous indie-pop/rock that louder moments of their previous album was renowned for, this new release is even more ambitious and momentous. Joyous girl vocals intermingle with dense, organic guitars and triumphant drumbeats, alongside other diverse ranges of instruments, while at other moments taking time to lay-low. Song structures are particularly interesting and keep the album refreshing. But the best thing about it is how much it grows on the listener. Like it’s predecessor, the sound exhibits so many facets that while it sounds good the first time, it can be cultivated into something all the more rewarding through repeated listen. And that’s exactly what it encourages – one listen after another, no matter what the situation.

1. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Clap Your Hands SayYeah!
The do-it-yourself success story of 2005, CYHSY! blew the indie world away by self-releasing and self-recording an album capable of furthering the genre of indie-rock with . Of course, that’s not the reason why this album is number one. This four-piece restore passion to indie-rock in a similar way to how The Arcade Fire did last year. It’s unbridled, but it still works within the indie-rock genre. They have the added edge of real passion, and real emotion – sincerity is what speaks wonders on this album. Of course, there’s the plain beauty of their chord changes and riffs. They’re into the subtitles of music – each of their instruments reflects this. People have dropped some pointless comparisons to Talking Heads (the lead singer’s voice only slightly echoes David Byrne’s, and that’s as far as comparison goes), but otherwise they are hard to reference. If they aren’t as inventive as Wolf Parade, they certainly have the songwriting skills – and the eagerness – to carry themselves more capably than any other band this year.

Other Noteworthy Albums:

The Lucksmiths – Warmer Corners
Architecture in Helsinki – In Case We Die
Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
Tom Vek – We Have Sound
Devendra Banhart – Cripple Crow
Sigur Ros – Takk
New Pornographers – Twin Cinema
Edan – Beauty and the Beat
The Decemberists – Picaresque
M83 – Before the Dawn Heals Us
Of Montreal – The Sunlandic Twins
The Phoenix Foundation – Pegasus
The Robot Ate Me – Carousel Waltz
Sufjan Stevens – Illinois

Forthcoming Albums of Significance:

Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase
Animal Collective – Feels
The Clientele – Strange Geometry
Gang of Four – Return the Gift

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

and now, here's tom with the weather (playlist 11/10)

good evening laydeez and gentlemen, timmy d, shea, and richard mf are in the hiz-ouse.

let's kick out the jams.

1. Iggy & The Stooges, Raw Power (Raw Power on Vinyl)
2. Wire, Ex Lion Tamer (Pink Flag)

That's a dman fine start if I do say so myself. Iggy at the Big Day huh? Count me in...

3. Calexico, Wave (Alejandro Escovedo cover, Por Vida A.E. Tribute album)

One of the all time alt country legends, a true pioneer of texas punk/ rootsy americana, this album is a tribute by many of the biggest stars of the scene as Mr Escovedo has been struck down by hep c (methinks?!) so this is a bit of a fundraiser...

4. Palaxy Tracks, Clarion Way (Twelve Rooms)

Richard has a little knitting patch that was knitted. It's red, like a fire engine.
And now, because if I don;t play it who will (and it's nearly summer after all)...

5. Manu Chao, Bixo/ El Dorado 1997 (Proxima Estascion Esperanza)
6. Buttersprites, Fever (Buttersprites)

Strange couplet full of crunchy music goodness. Mmm, nougat.

7. OOIOO, Niko Niko Niko (Kila Kila Kila)
8. Numbers, The Fuck You Garage (We're Animals)
9. Coco Rosie, Brazilian Sun (Noah's Ark)
10. Messer Chups, Fntomasofobia (Crazy Price)

I've always said Guitar Media is more about an attitude than a sound. So yes, there wasn't many guitars amongst that lot, but hey, if you like what we normally play you may have liked those... or maybe not.

11. Tim Rogers & The Temperance Union, I'd Rather Be Krund (Dirty Ron/ Ghost Songs)

Check that T Rex rip and the femal back up singers at the end... Still gotta say that this album is sensational. You need to give it a go if you love classic rawk and the singer songwriter savoir-faire...

12. Broken Social Scene, 7?4 Shoreline (Broken Social Scene)
13. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead, Baudelaire (Source Tags and Codes)

This album is so much better than their latest... honestly.... this album kicks your ass.

i like your sleeves. they're real big.


14. The Radio Dept, Deliverance (This Past Week)

It's the mutha trucking pet shop boys. do not buy this album. Just remember in the time it takes to download this album you could get a life.

15. 63 Crayons, Rocketship (Good People)
16. Miniskirt, Be Here With Me (Woody Allen Likes Guitar Pop)
17. Teenage Fanclub, Did I Say (4766 Seconds Best Of)
18. Maritime, Tearing Up The Oxygen (We, The Vehicles)

get out your best chucks cause it's shoe gazing time! waves of guitars... mmm... instrumentals and spacey vocals... i'm in love

19. Slowdive, Sing (Catch The Breeze)
20. Saxon Shore, With A Red Suit You Will Become A Man (The Exquisite Death Of Saxon Shore)
21. Explosions In The Sky, Glittering Blackness (How Strange, Innocence)
22. The Bell Orchestre, The Upwards March (Recording A Tape The Colour Of The Light)
23. Pelican, Aurora Borealis (The Fire In Our Throats Will Beckon The Thaw)

The cream of the post rawk crop is in full effect. From Canadia to Jagjaguaria it's allgood. And no I don't have a clue what I'm saying but it's a good excuse to buy some headphones and disconnect from everything around you and become weightless... and then the song ends and we're still swimming in samsara.

wtf?! anyhoo, nice guitars methinks...

24. Drop Nineteens, Winona (Delaware)
25. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Don't Fail Me Now (Jacksonville City Nights)

Oooohh. Ryan versus Timmy Rogers.I want them both but who can win the best of the year?! Check this blog for Richard's (unofficial) top five albums of this year...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

lost, in the woods picking flowers

just a short post because i'm procrastinating (big essay due soon) and because i stumbled across a link to download a really beautiful frank black song. it's from his new album, honeycomb - the lead single, in fact. i like it lots, and if you click on the link below then you can download it. and then listen to it. and then maybe like it.

frank black - i burn today.mp3

downloading lots of interesting new stuff at the moment. this week i'll be posting two or three reviews, as well as my unofficial top five albums of the year (!!!). in that post you can post yr very own top fives, if you want. it's a bit early for top anythings though, really. but canta needed an article to go on their two-page spread of people's top fives, so i had to oblige. my list wil undoubtedly change a lot by the end of the year, when tim and i will obsess over our official top tens or whatever.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

rdu roundup band competition finals - 1/10/05 [live review]

Band competitions are often pretty cringe worthy. Shitty high school bands with shitty high-school band names are normally the type of act that inhabit these types of contest But not Roundup – oh no. Well, at least the finals weren’t. They showcased some of the best bands in Christchurch on Saturday night. The Dux de Lux was full to the brim, and so was the level of quality music being performed.

The New Originals played a solid set of dense (but messy) jangly/sloppy indie rock. There was an obvious improvement from previous recent shows As is usual with the local four-piece, the drums need to be pushed back in the mix (a lot) and the bass needs to stay in time. But I’m always a sucker for this messy sound – the keyboards add a particularly nice touch. If better paced and more subtle, their sound would work a lot better. Plus, Tim Moore’s theramin was not only well placed but of course had huge indie-geek appeal. It sounded terrific – the Neutral Milk Hotel influence was clear.

The much tighter sound of Happy Palace then highlighted any inadequacies in The New Originals sound. Their layered shoegaze style recalls both the density Bailterspace and the upbeat guitar riffs of Bike or The Stereobus. Like these bands, their penchant for melody is at the forefront of their music. But after half their set, the repetition that was at first rewarding became a little overused – the keyboard especially in some parts. Their aesthetic doesn’t give way for much variation. It’s all about sounding meticulous. Waves of meticulously played chords and upfront, feel good vocals. The latter usually work in a good way If they embraced the use of noise and distortion the way My Bloody Valentine, Ride or Serena-Maneesh do, then a far more intricate, subtle and generally more rewarding sound would be easily achieved.

Third band House of Dolls certainly had the “X-Factor”. Compared to the previous two acts, their sound was exciting and exhibited elements of fashonista that were more refreshing than the standard indie-rock fare of other bands of the night. But that’s probably a little beside the point. Their sound, though, was as sharp was their dress. They were the most professional sounding band of the night. Their previous experience in overseas music was clear – in terms of instrumentation and depth of sound, they were the most professional band of the night. Consisting of only a guitarist, synthesizer and drummer, they are sparse and angular – the loud/soft and danceable/stagnating dynamics sound mature and assured. Reminiscent of Joy Division, their 80’s nostalgia was matched by a forward-thinking enthusiasm that was encouraging of some explosive dancing.

The Undercurrents pleased with their now-renowned brand of confident and solid indie-rock. Slightly branching out from the traditional four-strong guitar band lineup with a violinist adds another successful dimension to an already good sound. Their strongest facet is probably how well-paced they are. They take their time, embracing the more unassuming elements of indie-rock and reclining within them, exploring intricate melodies and structural features to strong effect. Louder and most overt moments work just as well as those of a more subdued nature. They work between these contrasting elements to exhibit depth, range and musicianship. It’s like the slackness of Pavement and the emotion of Sebadoh combined and built upon. They love lo-fi. Oh yeah, and they won the competition. (Yeah, they won. All the other bands came last!). And deservedly, too. They’re polished without pretension, and can show how to craft solid indie-rock with self-assurance and skill. I was kinda gunning for House of Dolls, though.

Last band of the night was Christchurch rock mainstays Orkid. Combining post-punk guitars with more quirky and eccentric vocals and song structures, they sport a diverse style. And sure, they’re pretty good. But their sound can be a little one dimensional, and ultimately pretty boring. They’re the sort of band who, like someone such as Tool, keep the melodies close together, in the sense that they sound quite monotonous and gray. The Dismemberment Plan provide an excellent comparison, except they tend to branch out from the same notes a little more. Their sound sports the type of eccentricities that are interesting for a while but ultimately too devoid of passion to be engaging enough. Stunted and spastic guitar stabs and bouncy bass lines are confident but their irony-steeped aesthetic oppresses any real emotion or fervor. Which is probably the point, really. It comes down to personal taste more than anything.

Such a fine selection of bands isn’t often seen in one evening in Christchurch. It’s very encouraging – hopefully all the bands that competed will escalate their live outings. It must have been a tough decision for the judges. Each of the five is worthy of attention at independent gigs and on recordings – make sure you show them some.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

wolf parade - apologies to the queen mary [album review]

[Subpop, 2005]

Wolf Parade are the most hyped band around right now. They’re from Montreal, Canada, just like every other indie band making it big. After months of anticipation, their first album, Apologies to the Queen Mary is finally unleashed on the all-too-suspecting public (it has also been highly downloaded). Their earlier EPs were pretty much submerged in brown, swampy sludge; but here, they are cleaned off a little. Probably due to more money (this is their Sub Pop debut) and also thanks to Modest Mouse front man, Isaac Brock’s production on this record. Still, the swamp idea is suitable – Apologies is one thick, discordant record that finds beauty in ugliness, just as Modest Mouse is renowned for. I’d like to put this name-checking aside, but it’s pretty important – at least in terms of contextualisation of this review, if not the record itself. Being good pals with The Arcade Fire (the indie-kid favourites that are taking the world by storm) certainly helps, but the majority of press surrounding Wolf Parade’s debut is preoccupied with this link. Not only that, but Wolf Parade feature members in Frog Eyes and Sunset Rubdown, two other more obscure but critically acclaimed artists who’ve garnered attention lately. They’re probably the most talked about band of the moment, but for once, it’s actually warranted. This album is amazing.

Even if they encapsulate the fervor and energy of The Arcade Fire and craft beauty from the unattractive like Modest Mouse or Frog eyes, these comparisons fall desperately short. Because that’s only half the sound. The other is made up of pure passion and sincerity – melody’s that through contrast are so overarchingly beautiful that the more dystopian sounding moments are either soon forgotten or soon cherished. For instance, “It’s a Curse” is pure exposition. For the two minutes, it chugs along (or around in circles) only to give way to the most anthemic, serene and emotional climax that goes for the remaining one minute. Soon, though, one learns to appreciate these more stagnant moments. It’s easy to find joy from such an aesthetic of such repulsiveness, because not only is it rewarding and interesting, but it has some killer riffs and terrific hooks. Shrieky vocals and dirty guitars are matched with blissful synth lines and ornately diverse instrumentation. This is indie-rock at it’s most inventive; at a time where it is clear that reinvention is what is constantly needed. Bands that generate this much hype are generally soon consumed by it. But not Wolf Parade, oh no. It’s safe so say that this will be the first of many great albums.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

the evolution will not be televised [playlist 3/10]

1. Rogers Sisters, 45 Prayers (Three Fingers)
2. Ryan Adams, The Hardest Part (Jacksonville City Nights)

I've been mystified by troooooooooo luvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv... ah, ryan can testify! another great album followingon from cold roses and possibly one more to come this year.

and now for richard's favourite new song of the moment...

3. The Kingsbury Manx, 10008 (I still don't know the album name)
4. Goblin Mix, The Winter Song (Goblin Mix and the Exploding Budgies)

The latter,a Shea pick, and a Flying Nun classic which will no doubt sit well with our stationmanager Hat. richard's on the bloddy phone again. interactive radio-e-o.

5. tim rogers & the temperance union, my brother's room (dirty ron/ ghost stories)

this album really is that good but none of you will listen. i hate you all.

no, honestly, give it a go. ps. i love you all.

and now for the ads which you don't have to listen to which is a very very good thing.

6. Maritime, Tearing Up The Oxygen (We, The Vehicles)

7. The Byrds w/ Gram Parsons, The Christian Life (Sweetheart of the Rodeo Legacy Edition)

One of the foundational albums in any americana/ kountry kollection. Mmmm, Twangy!

8. Rogue Wave, Bird On A Wire (Descended Like Vultures)

A very very nice Sub Pop album.It's getting to the point where you can almost buy anything with Sub Pop on it and be safe in the knowledge that things are going to be a-ok... and a glockenspeil! Ohhhh, so subtle...

9. Neil Young, Alabama (Harvest)

Shea's been modelling knitwear. Mmm, breathable fabrics. That shine that only man made fabrics can give is a sure sign of quality. That's a tip for the indie kids. If yra little bit kountry then beards are where it's at man.

10. The Action, Strange Roads (Rolled Gold)

Think of the mainstream and shit.

11. Devendra Banhart, I Feel Just Like A Child (Cripple Crow)

Freak folk's very own poster boy releases single, makes video and next thing you know he'll have his own clothing label. Get on the wagon now before it becomes cool to hate him and you'll discover one of the most vital artists of the last however many years. Enough to excite the most cynical and jaded listeners....

12. Deerhoof, Wrong Time Capsule (The Runners Four)

click here to download a covers album with tracks contributed by fans and friends of the band.

13. Mission of Burma, Dead Pool (Vs.)

14. Serena-Maneesh, Selina's Melodie Fountain (Serena-Maneesh)
15. The new Strokes, no Interpol, No Franz Ferdinand.Or Joy Division's Interzone (Unknown Pleasures)

Perhaps thenext band once Rockstar INXS is over? JD wins by the way. Ha ha.

16. Tom Vek, A Little Word In Your Ear (We Have Sound)
17. Bright Eyes, Road To Joy (I'm Wide Awake It's Morning)
18. Bats, Bells (At The National Grid)

19. Yo La Tengo, Upside-Down (May I Sing With Me)

20. Pavement, Flux = Rad (Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain Disc 2 from latest reissue)

21. Go Go Go Airheart, Heart On AChain (Rats! Sing! Sing!)

22. Ryan Somebody. Something. Some album.

How cantankerous am I? Arguing about musick as usual. PS. Richard hates spiritualized but shea and I think "Ladies And Gentlemaen WeARe Floating In Space" is an absolute must have (especially for those of you who have had some difficult relationships!)

23. Malcolm (In The) Middleton, Loneliness Shines (Into The Winds)
24. Dungen, Panda (Ta Let De Like De Prog Psych Rawk)

so yer. you can;t imagine how strange it can be in the studio sometimes. maybe you can.have you ever thought you were in a david lycnh film? um, it's like that bitin the cafe in mullholland drive.

except we all wear white chucks and argue aboutthe merits of vinyl versus cd. it's like hi fidelity without the irony. which would make me jack black. cause i'm fat and grumpy. hey ladies.......

25. Flotation Toy Warning. Pop Star Researching Oblivion, (Bluffer's Guide To The Flight Deck)

26. Test-Icicles, Boa Vs. Python (Boa Vs. Python 7")

c u c u later.

love shea, richard mf.

timmy dodgers


Monday, October 03, 2005

terrestrial tones

this thursday night (the 6th), canterbury university music students present with sound: a concert featuring new, original music by all of the department's composition students. it's upstairs in the school of music department in room 205. it's free entry and starts at 6pm. it will feature some quite interesting experimental stuff, as well as more conventional classical works.

afterwards you can go and see bachelorette with thomas:parkes at the dux, for the former's the end of things ep release gig. this is going to be terrific - i can't rave about bachelorette enough. thomas:parkes are good too. oh, new zealand music! i'm such a nationalist.

good night at the dux on saturday with the roundup band competition finals. all bands really out-did themselves. congratulations to the undercurrents, who were the winners on the night.

oh, some other good bands are playing at creation this friday. food not bombs is a benefit gig that costs $5 (which go to the charity) and features house of dolls, the new originals, a million lights and the pickups. starts at 9pm.