Died yesterday due to lung cancer

Splendour in the Grass have annouced the line up for 2011 and yes I am a little late but better late than never. Essentially music festivals live and die by their headline acts and this year I am not sure that they have got it right with Coldplay, Kanye and Jane’s Addiction. I don’t think that these acts are going to affect the number of punters at the festival, if anything they will probably attract more. The great thing about SITG was that it was about Indie music and have never really gone towards mainstream acts. I’ll leave JA alone here because they obviously belong, surely they would have been better served bringing more big name Indie acts instead of  the local ones that you can see every other Tuesday at the local pub and 1 or 2 main stream artists, especially since it is now a 3 day festival.

http://splendourinthegrass.com/#

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I first stumbled upon Lykke Li on the first Twilight soundtrack which personally I thought was an amazing compilation with some fantastic artists, yet I never managed to convince anyone that it was any good. Her track “Possibility” was just so beautiful, dark and haunting at the same time, showed immense depth beyond her years.

I hate to say that the talents of Lykke will be somewhat lost on the young female audience who generally hoard towards any act with a female vocalist and don’t look forward to seeing her live.

The album title aided by the artwork is somewhat misleading. I initially had the impression that this would be a dark and emotional musical experience, yet this could not be further from the truth. This album has a more mainstream sound than I expected, yet is still quite an enjoyable listen.

“Youth Knows No Pain” sets the tone early with a nice short pop track to open the album. There are a lot of elements with some nice keys, percussion and strong vocals overlapping to provide a solid entrance to the album. “I Follow Rivers” continues off the quality pop sound with a really catchy and addictive sound that grows every time you listen to it. It is the signature track in a sense for this album as you can enjoy it at a fun, pop song yet it is also much deeper if you are so inclined. This is definitely one of the best songs out there from the first half of the year.

“Love out of Lust” turns towards the deeper, heartfelt side that I was expecting from this album. It is slower and softer than the previous songs and really shows off Lykke’s gentle, almost girlish voice.

“Unrequited Love” is probably never going to be my favourite track on this album. It really doesn’t sell the vocal even with a stripped back sound, having said that though the backing vocals are quite enjoyable and save the track before it starts getting on my nerves.

“Get Some” is a song that has me listening to the lyrics trying to figure out what the song is about (I have read them and yeah, let’s leave it at that). It’s a good little pop track if you are able to separate yourself from the lyrics and just enjoy the song. The song shows off some nice percussion and that familiar floating vocals. Like the other up beat tracks on the album, it really has addictive qualities which flow from the brilliant use of the vocal as the primary instrumental sound through the song and very abstract drumming. By this stage I seem to have forgotten what I had wanted from this album and am really hooked.

The keyboard sound that leads into “Rich Kids Blues” seems in vogue of late and really reminds me of something by the Arctic Monkeys, of their Humbug days. Despite this, the song goes in a very different direction and stays away from a darker sound. “Sadness is a Blessing” is another song title that suggests something hauntingly beautiful yet seems not to even attempt to deliver on the promise. Using an intriguing drum-kit sound and a very simple piano as backing. This song seems to attempt to pull at the heart-strings but it’s just too fast paced and the vocal has too much warmth which is very confusing. Once again, I find myself forgetting the lyrics and just enjoying the music as it misses the mark to a degree.

“I Know Places” brings you back to where “Youth Novel” left off, with a very bare and gentle acoustic sound supported by a male backup vocal which really gives the first taste of that heart-felt sound that I was waiting for. This is the highlight of the album as the songwriting never tries to do too much and allows the song to flow with little effort. The song transitions into an instrumental piece which flows on beautifully from the first part of the song. This is exactly what I had hoped for from this album and it continues with that warm tone on “Jerome” which takes a move in a more up tempo direction, with more some interesting electronic sounds that keep folding back through the track and reflects well off the vocal.

Percussion is a key element to this album and it’s no surprise that the closing track “Silent My Song” features an entrance that is heavy in industrial sounding drumming machine. I really love this kind of pop music and I keep using that word, however this will never tear down the charts. It’s just not the kind of thing that would ever sell in the States, which for me is great as I don’t have to have it ruined by the shopping mall radio which I think is probably still playing Kings of Leon on loop. I could rant on all day about this album, but really just go and listen to it cause it’s a ripper. Watch this space, because I think this young lady is about to take over the indie scene.

ALBUM RATING: Brilliant pop album displaying a very unique vocal

No surprises here. Arctic Monkeys are continuing on that dark and easier paced vibe of “Humbug”. Nice rock track, not really going to blow your socks off though, me reckons.

Not too sure on the lyrics though, they are one part that you must admit have de-evolved since the “Whatever people say….” days.

Well, well, well. Isn’t this interesting, someone has apparently got their hands on the poster for Splendour this year and isn’t there some interesting name there. The big question though is whether this is legitimate or a dud? A few of those band names were already ones that I was thinking would be likely visitors for this years Splendour which gives it some credibility.

What makes this very unbelievable are two names, Radiohead and Kanye. Both would be a really difficult act to pull in terms of budgeting and venue size. Having said this, in the favour of this happening is that Radiohead are a band that could be convinced to take a pay cut. They are generally not a band governed by the rupee or maybe I am just looking for excuses for them to visit our shores.

Having said that though, I do believe that there is some truth to this. In this day and ago it is not all that difficult for an individual to knock up a poster and I get the feeling that someone  may have got their hands on the  real deal and messed about with it. Why? Don’t ask me, but there are a lot of nutters out there.  Bands like The Vaccines, Birds of Tokyo, Sparkadia, The Jezabels, The Decemberists and Gotye would be bigger surprises if they didn’t show than if they did. The person who has done this has clearly put in a fair amount of work, cause putting together the artwork, as well as a list of Bands that long while checking each bands availability would be quite time consuming.

Either way, I think its going to be a fake, but gives a good idea of what to expect for the 2011 lineup. Just don’t let it get your hopes up too high.

http://www.fasterlouder.com.au/forum/showthread.php?p=612087#post612087

 

A new young band from ye old London town going under the name of The Vaccines have hit the town and haven’t they caused a stir.  Probably one of the more high profile debut releases on the British charts since the Arctic Monkeys announced themselves to the world, by reaching the #4 spot with their album “What did you expect from the Vaccines?”

The album kicks off with the very short and sweet “Wreckin’ Bar” which is generous way of putting it. It’s a nice little track, but really they could have put a little more time and effort into it. It doesn’t quite open the album in the way that “Girls, Boys and Marsupials” does for the ‘Bats, where the track is obviously just an intro/exit piece. On the flip side “Wreckin’ Bar” has been released as a single and leaves me wondering what they were trying to achieve.

Now that I have had my whinge for the day we can get down to business. The second track “If You Wanna” gives a lot more substance to dig your claws into. There is some really simple techniques implemented with the drumming and tambourines, simply put this is a nice little pop rock song (in the alternative sense, not the Pink sense…..shudders). From here you are taken onto “A Lack of Understanding” which shows that these rookies have an idea of song writing based on the “patented Schnitz theory of musical longevity”. The theory basically states that if the band can put together a decent slow track (relatively speaking in terms of this album) then they can write songs and will last the test of time. I really like this track , but I really want it to be a little longer. Maybe should have been a bit of a seventh inning stretch song. The most evident thing on this track is the vocals which are really solid. He sounds like Martin McVeigh of The White Lies, although not as haunting and dark.

“Blow it up” starts nowhere and just doesn’t see to go anywhere. Enough said. “Wetsuit” follows this up and it just feels as though the album is going through the motions. Saying “C’mon” thirty times in a track doesn’t constitute song lyrics and gets on your nerves after a few listens. When listening to the song, I just find myself waiting for it to end, but unfortunately it’s not as short as “Wreckin’ Bar”. What does “Put a Wetsuit on” or “Put a t-shirt on” mean? Seriously, no really buying into it.

“Norgaard” gives a step up in pace and energy, but really I wanted it about half a track earlier. This is a fun song which makes me wish I was seventeen again and gets the album back on track. If there were more songs of this calibre then this band could have a real future and then a hundred seconds later its over. “Post Break Up Sex” is the highlight of the debut and is a decent output, however I am just not sure what I can say to is good about it? Lyrically this song could teach a few of its buddies a lesson or too.

The back end of the album definitely shows of a little more creativity with “Wolf Pack” and “All in White”, but I am just not feeling it by this stage. Also it has taken an interesting turn away from the punk vibe which was flowing through the start of the album that really has me confused as to what this album is trying to be.

As I write this I am finding that the songs feel short and it’s as though the band was is in a hurry to be somewhere else when they wrote it. It’s not until the fifth track that anything reaches past the three minute mark and I know, I know they are working with a bit of a punk theme, but every song doesn’t need to be written for radio. Please write the occasional track for me, the listener, I pay your wages!

Ok, so we have made it through the album and I finally have a chance to sit back and think about what I have been listening to, ’cause geez, The punchy and rushed nature of the sound makes the tracks feel short and the fact they genuinely are short makes the album feel like its around fifteen minutes long. This is tidy little debut album, however I am not quite seeing what all the buzz is about. There are not really any killer tracks to discuss and the individual songs don’t change tempo for start to finish. The drumming throughout is pedestrian and very unimaginative, the vocals feel the same on every track with a lack of emotion and there is no experimentation with different instruments to offer any variety.

I’ll definitely give this a few listens, but once done it will probably just gather dust. The sound would probably transfer well to the stage, but why would I want to go to a concert full of twenty year olds breaking their concert cherries to see a mediocre band, when I could save $80, stay at home and put the cd on and allow it to put me to…….

ALBUM RATING: Not sure what all the hype is about, album is ok

Probably not the best place to start with this album review would be the album title “Skit I Allt” which essentially translates to fuck it all. The reason I say this is that it truly doesn’t reflect the feel of the album. The sound is as crisp and deliberate as Dungen have ever been while remaining true to their past, however this album is a bit more folk influenced then I remember them being.

I had been looking forward to Dungen releasing some new work for a while after hearing Tame Impala’s cover of “Remember Me” and thinking for around a month that it was Dungen, similar are the psychedelic sounds of the two bands. After finding this band as a support act for Wolfmother of all bands (before their 2nd album, aka mental meltdown) at the Hordern a few years back, I have kept them as my personally little secret, hoping that by me not telling my small group of friends that they wouldn’t make it big and ruin their sound. So I apologise to the band for the delay on reviewing their now 6 month old album and holding back their careers.

The album opens with “Vara Snabb” which is the first of many tracks to show off the flute sounds which direct traffic through this album and allow the other instruments to contrast off it. The recognisable tones of those Dungen guitars are there and they feel like they are under tight reign to the point that they almost are lost in the background, but they are very noticeable on repeat listens. This is a classy instrumental track which sets the tone of album and is simply mind blowing.

“Min Enda Van” is such a beautiful track that shows off great song writing ability and control. Violins, flute and piano elegantly folded together to create oral orgasm with really simple and effective clapping used instead of drumming which really works well with the track.

“Brallor” is a track that I have like certain aspects yet hate others at the same time. This is the first time that I have come across Dungen using a female vocalist, I know that I make this sound like a negative, I can’t help who I am. I love the transitions in this song and the growling guitars that I am at home with when listening to Dungen. At times the female vocals seem ok and then they introduce the harmonies and it really grates on me as the contrasting vocals don’t work for me. This is that track on the album that I hate cause it breaks the continuous feel of the album and forces me to use the skip button. I must add, that I am not a fan of too many female singers, however on this track it just doesn’t add anything and just works as a distraction from the rest of the song which is really not that bad at all.

This album is what I envision “The Priest” from The Mighty Boosh ended up writing after killing Beta-max. Introducing, “Hogadalstoppen”. “Barnen Undrar” is a fantastic piece of psychedelic rock showing off the fuzzy guitar sound that Dungen fans would be all too familiar with and somehow manages to lead effortlessly into the track “Blandband” which surely isn’t an English title as Ejstes’ song writing is anything but grey. The album is full of little adventures as the sound ebbs and flows with subtle changes from track to track culminating in the closer “Marken Lag Stilla” which brings everything to a close.

This comes across as one of those albums that you think you can put on while you’re doing housework or on a long road trip, assuming that it will drift into the background, yet it never allows that to happen. The band has definitely taken a turn in a softer direction as the guitars and drumming are toned down and there is more focus on percussion and flutes on this album. That is not to suggest that there is anything lacking, it’s just that this album feels more folk than psychedelic compared with previous albums which honestly threw me off a little at first. The song construction is second to none and the instruments and vocals come and go as they please yet never feel like they are intruding. This album makes me feel like I should be sitting back in a deck chair with a cool beer and a blindfold when I listen to it and not on the side of the road swapping registration information with the car I just back-ended. Oh well, Skit I Allt!!!

ALBUM RATING: They could easily be using a restaurant menu for their lyrics, but who cares; the sound is the same old solid Dungen, with just a little more chilled out

Check out what you have missed over the past decade. Not too bad of a list, nothing is  ever going to be exactly what you want.

 

http://www.nme.com/list/the-top-100-greatest-albums-of-the-decade/158049/page/10

The best place that I can recommend to start, with Beady Eye is to check the YouTube clip out below. The sound will be very familiar to a whole range of music listeners both young and old given where this group of musicians past and their influences on this album.

Beady Eye are essentially made up of those who have managed to scrape their way out from under rubble that was once known as Oasis. In other words, anyone not named Noel. The opening track “Four Letter Word” doesn’t quite deliver the punch that the title suggests, it’s by  no means a bad track and is not far removed from the very familiar Oasis sound of yesteryear.

The following song “Millionaire” moves away from the Oasis-like vocal and brings a country sounding 60s number, which seems to go round and round with out ever reaching a purpose. This song really started to grind on me after a while, and doesn’t really seem to serve any purpose other than to provide a transition into “The Roller” which is a far better song. Despite this fact though, there are some distinctively “Beatle-esc” guitars and tambourine use, which just feels a little too close to the real thing to really represent an original piece of work. By this point of the album my mind has started drifting and I am wondering which Beatles album I should have put on as opposed to Beady Eye.

The album continues with this tone through the tracks “Beatles and Stones” and “Wind Up Dream” which are decent songs and easy to listen to, it’s just the familiarity and continued tempo of the tracks which fail to stand out from one another and blend into a continuous tribute album. “For Anyone” is a rip off if every I heard one. Everything I hear screams “Beatles!!” about it to the point that I feel that they need to be taken to court and forced to pay royalties, so close is the sound.

“Bring the Light” brings some classic 60s rock and roll sounds and gives a modern feel to them in what is probably my favourite musical experience of the album, and probably also my favourite song. I think this is what Oasis-lite was trying to achieve when they set out to make this album, to take an existing style and expand and modernise it. It has a great energy and I love the old-school piano work that they added to this song that has some great punch to it.

“Wigwam” is a track which is the track which derived my theory that this album was in part written with the goal of being directed towards a live sound, with the drum solo of sorts that starts the song off in the right direction, yet seems to fizzle as it progresses. The back  end of the album, unfortunately is a continuation of the same.

If you like the Beatles then you will enjoy this album, however it just seems so similar to me that why wouldn’t you just pull out your favourite Beatles album and listen to that instead? I think that the group have delivered exactly what they set out to achieve, however I am just not sure if its for me. I don’t understand the reason for writing an album which sounds so much like another bands work. I cant’ figure out the motivations and I don’t hate it, I simply don’t understand it. Having said this, I feel like this makes for some great music here that would deliver well to a room full of people.  I don’t mind the fact that they have used such a classic band for inspiration, it just feels like a little more than inspiration and needs to find its own sound and carve out its own identity by incorporating some new sounds into the mix.

 

ALBUM RATING: Feels like a Beatles cover album by Oasis. A little bit too predictable to be inspiring