Saturday, September 29, 2007

2nd Falls Festival Line-Up Announcement

Falls Festival has just announced the second part of their line-up for this year's new years' festivities, which consists of international acts The Pipettes (UK); Bonde Do Role (bon-jay-der-hole-ay) (Brazil) and Cut Off Your Hands (NZ).

Adding to the local talent are Angus and Julia Stone; Clare Bowditch and the Feeding Set; Old Man River; Lior; Jeff Lang; The Beautiful Girls; Little Red; Operator Please; Regurgitator; The Herd; The Scientists of Modern Music.

Seems that the first announcement had all the big names (The Go! Team; Girl Talk; BRMC; Kings of Leon; Groove Armada), but still there's more to be announced - who knows what's up Falls' sleeves...

As for me, I'll be waiting for the first Big Day Out line-up, announced this-coming Tuesday.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Deerhoof offers mp3 album

I've now had the pleasure of seeing San Franciscan art-rockers Deerhoof live a couple of times, and they definitely rank highly in my top live bands to see, if only for the sight of seeing drummer (and unofficial band leader) Greg Saunier beating his minimal kit to an absolute pulp.

A bit of time's passed since the group released their last album, Friend Opportunity, so to fill the Deerhood void some of you may be feeling, the group have put up a free mp3 album on their website. But act fast, as they don't know how long they can keep this stuff up there before the powers-that-be decide they'd like to keep the material for a 'limited edition bonus disc' on the next album.

Grab the tracks here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Unreleased Doves tracks

The story of Doves is one that is often repeated - initially a dance group named Sub Sub, who had moderate success with their #3 UK single, "Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use)", their project ended in 1995 when their studio burnt to the ground. Deciding to leave Sub Sub as dead and buried, the trio decided to go down a different path, and became Doves.

In my opinion, this band is hugely underrated. While it seems that with every album they increase their public exposure a little bit more, given similarities they share with bands such Coldplay, Elbow and other British bands, it's surprising more people don't know about them. They are currently in the studio recording their 4th LP, but if you haven't heard their work before, I strongly recommend picking up their debut effort "Lost Souls" - every song is a masterpiece, and it's an album you will find yourself constantly returning to.

While nothing is really known about the new album, the band has posted some outtakes material on their website which you can only get to if you find the button they have hidden on their page - for your convenience, I've got direct links to their songs. Apparently these are old outtakes, and not new material, but there's some good stuff in there nonetheless. Enjoy!

"Track 8""Track 9"
"Track 10"
"Track 11"
"Track 12"
"Track 13"
"Track 14"
"Track 15"
"Track 16"
"Track 17"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rage Against the Machine announce Australian dates

While some (including myself) thought that the RATM reunion at Coachella music festival was a one-off, it seems like the band are well and truly back together, with a mission to fix politics all over again. Said Tom Morello to MTV:

"It occurred to all of us that the times were right to see if we can knock the Bush administration out in one fell swoop, and we hope to do that job well… There is no action without reaction. And we're part of that reaction"
Rage against the machine will be bringing their 'reaction' to Australia early 2008, playing Sydney Entertainment Centre on January 22, and Melbourne's Festival Hall on January 30. And while not announced as yet, I think it's almost safe to assume that a Big Day Out appearance is on the cards.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Free EP from Great Lake Swimmers

Everyone loves free stuff, so everyone should love the fact that Canadian indie rock/folk band Great Lake Swimmers are making a live EP available for you to download! They've garnered comparisons to artists such as Will Oldham, Nick Drake and Iron & Wine, so that should give you a fair idea of what you're in for.

But what am I saying? It's free! Check it out and make your own call.

Great Lake Swimmers - Live EP

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Kanye video - "Good Life"

With MTV (a.k.a. 'the man') hating on Kanye, it looks like everyone's favourite temper-tantrum throwing superstar has decided he's going to make friends elsewhere. Specifically, in France, by getting So-Me (responsible for the great video for Justice's "D.A.N.C.E.") to work their visual magic on the newest video from Kanye's forthcoming release, Graduation. Nice stuff, even though it seems that he's now started referencing his own previous songs in his new songs.

New single from The Weakerthans

The Weakerthans are an indie rock band from Canada, who have garnered quite a name for themselves with their mix of punk, rock, folk, country and sonnets, though hopefully not all at the same time. I was introduced to these guys through their new single, 'Night Windows', which will appear on their next release - Reunion Tour. It's an amazing track which combines folk and rock music under beautiful harmonies. It will possibly be the nicest thing you hear all day.

The Weakerthans - 'Night Windows'

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Album Review: The Kissaway Trail - Self-Titled

The Kissaway Trail are a new band from Odense, Denmark, with an awful name, though their music is much better than their English. Their self-titled debut is essentially an indie-rock affair over eleven tracks, filled with catchy melodies, and crosses the spectrum of instrumentation, with large string arrangements on some tracks, and banjos and mandolins on others. The album standout is undoubtedly the single “Smother + Evil = Hurt”, which, with its lush orchestral instrumentation backing a rock sound, brings to mind that other epic-sounding band The Polyphonic Spree. Except while the latter has thirty members, and The Kissaway Trail have five. The fact that such a young band can have such a big sound is a testament to their ability. With that said, the album does, at times, dip into a repetitive state, but all in all it’s a strong debut effort. If you loved the latest album from The Arcade Fire, then you should find something to love in The Kissaway Trail.

The Kissaway Trail is out now through Etch 'n' Sketch / Inertia

Album Review: New Buffalo - Somewhere, Anywhere

On ‘Somewhere, Anywhere’, New Buffalo (a.k.a. Sally Seltmann) has decided to go back to the basics. While her debut album ‘The Last Beautiful Day’ was full of samples and electronic beats, the majority of the tracks were, this time, written on Seltmann’s antique Thurmer piano. As a result, Seltmann’s new album is a stripped-back listen, which feels incredibly intimate, as many of the tracks being nothing more than vocals and piano.

The fact that the songs are often so bare in their instrumentation highlights the brilliant song-writing that is present here; while in many albums, subtleties can easily be lost behind over-production and samples, this isn’t a problem for New Buffalo. On album highlights such as ‘City And Sea’ and ‘Versay’, it almost sounds as if you’re listening to a live performance right inside her studio.

Seltmann, a multi-instrumentalist, has said that she found it more of a challenge to focus solely on composing on the one instrument. If this is what she produces when she limits herself to focusing on one small area of her ability, then I really hope she does more of the same for her next effort.

Somewhere, Anywhere is out now through Remote Control

Album Review: The National - Boxer

They say that record labels will only listen to 30 seconds of a band before they decide whether a band has what it takes. If that’s really the case, then I’m honestly surprised this five-piece from New York ever managed to get signed at all, let alone release four albums. I can tell you this much from the outset: The National are not a band that will grab you immediately. They are the epitome of those bands that are ‘a grower’. Their previous album, the critically-acclaimed ‘Alligator’, is a key example of this: initially dismissed as ‘nothing special’ by reviewers upon its release, by the end of 2005 it was raved about.

‘Boxer’ starts off strong with their first single ‘Fake Empire’, and never relents in its intensity, even if it’s a quiet, slow-burning sort of intensity. Throughout, Matt Berninger’s gin-soaked vocals (which many instantly compare to Nick Cave) create a mood of a man who often drinks alone, but is never judged for it – he’s probably celebrated, if anything. The album’s introspective nature is something that makes The National so special: while there are hundreds of bands out there yelling and screaming for your attention these days, the National are content to just keep playing until you discover them.

Boxer is out now through Remote Control / Inertia

Picking Up Where We Left Off

...kind of.

Given the last post here was in May, I've resolved to start posting again, and more frequently, starting the the backlog of reviews that I've yet to post.

Sorry (again) about the delay.