Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Song #31: Justin Bieber - "One Time"

In today's WTF moment: this shit came on MTV at 2 in the morning and left myself and my little brother completely speechless. I mean, the fact MTV was playing music videos was a shocker in itself, but the VIDEO! What the hell! This kid was like twelve, dude. How the fuck do you pull chicks like that at that age - I didn't even get a girlfriend until I was at least sixteen, fuckdammit!

Then it dawned on me - I really wanted to listen to this again. I have no idea why!! Shit, I loved Hanson back in the day, that might have something to do with it. But the bigger shock came when I went to search for the video - apparently 20 million fucks worldwide had the exact same reaction as me! Damn his boyish good looks!

Let's brief - dude is a YouTube sensation, got discovered at 12, is signed to Usher's label and has like four hit singles (this included). And I'm four years older than him. Jesus titty-fucking Christ, if that doesn't make you feel inferior, I don't know what would.

The song itself is a modern-rnb pipsqueak slow jam that's insufferably cute (like how Crush on You by Aaron Carter was) and inescapably catchy. I don't want to listen to anything else, and I feel fucked in the head as a result of this. Not a good sign for my health, but this is all kind of amazing.



This is terrible, and I know it's terrible, but it's so fucking good! What am I going to do?


Song #30: Bomb The Music Industry! - "Struggler"

If you haven't heard Bomb The Music Industry!, you've surely heard of them by reputation - the alternative/punk collective who don't do a damn thing by the norm. They've got everything they've ever recorded up on Tumblr, for god's sake. They only play all ages shows for $10 or less. They even let you play with them if you learn a song of their and come to the show with your instrument. If that doesn't intrigue you, I've got nothing...they're all monkeys? No, that won't work.


Anyway, this track was recorded the exact same way the first BtMI! song was recorded - in frontman Jeff Rosenstock's bedroom on a laptop. The lo-fi, indie creation doesn't get in the way of the song itself being a happy-sad anthem, with the hook "I don't want to go outside/Cause it might be a terrible day!" and kitchen-sink instrumentation (cheesy fake drums, ukulele, horns, etc). Songs like this normally don't kick you out of your chair and demand repeated listens at gunpoint. I can assure you, however, that this little fucker did. And I gladly let it do so. And yes, I would do it again.

FINAL RATING (/10): 9.5

Fucking wonderful. Download this and everything else they have, right now.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Song #29: Rakim feat. Busta Rhymes, Styles P, Jadakiss and Cocoa Chanelle - "Euphoria"

...Pretty goddamn impressive list, right?

Legenedary New York MC Rakim has been readying his comeback record ("don't call it a comeback", maybe?), entitled The Seventh Seal, in his time away from 'the game'. The Seventh Seal came out last month, but this particular track has been readily available for free download from his label. It's a very good thing they did, too, otherwise I wouldn't have even known Rakim was even working on new material!

The beat is decidedly dope, a globetrotting strut-swagger with little more to accompany the snare attack but a buzzing bassline and choppy keyboards. Yes, I understand how white I am for using the phrase "dope", but I'm stuck for a better descriptor at this point. The string of guest raps is tied together by Chanelle's airy shoutout to Rak ("Still top 5 rapper, dead or alive"). Ironically, the man of the moment is the weakest link here - as the baton passes from Rak to Busta, the flows get stronger and even more listenable. By the time it lands in the hands of Bus, he runs it over the finish line and into the parking lot. Dude still knows how to nail a quickie rap in amongst a plethora of guests (as the genius of Touch It and its remix a few years back proved to us). That's not to discredit anyone else on the track, though - it's a team effort, and a very likable one at that.

FINAL RATING (/10): 7.5

Despite a few inconsistencies, this works on the whole. And most hip-hop fans are going to freak at this one.

Get at it and download the mp3 now.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Song #28: La Dispute - "Nine"

When La Dispute visited Australia, playing shows all around the country with To The North from Brisbane, they inspired, invigorated and exhausted a lot of people. The entire thing was a glorious display of a band halfway across the world showing absolutely no signs of pretension or grandeur and getting in the face of about one hundred fans who adored them. I saw the band twice in two days - once at a rehearsal studio in North Wollongong and once in an abandoned house in Huskisson. Needless to say, I was in awe of how much energy the band put into the music and how much the audience was giving back to them. It made their tumultuous journey "down under" seem so worth it. It's an experience I doubt I'll ever forget.

Having worn out my album, EPs and bootlegs from that very tour, the band have just offered up some new material, as well as some harder-to-find older stuff.

Here, Hear. Volume 3 is a continuation of the band's experiment where each member records a track individually and often has music set to spoken word or a reading. The songs have no titles, only numbers. In this instance, I'm uncertain of the member (possibly vocalist Jordan?) or the text from which is being read. What I can tell you, however, is that we have a very fruitful experiment here. The keyboards are icy cold in tone, its company only a shaky percussive thud and sparse, toneless electric guitar. Your time with the track is only brief, but that's more than enough time to engross you in this bizarre world the song creates. It's not only a shock to the senses, but also a real treat for fans who are interested in another side of the band's musicality.


For those of you interested in checking it all out, the band are offering up a tonne of stuff for download.The purchase format is pay what you want - there's no minimum purchase price, so you can have the songs for free if you so desire. If you're paying, however, all proceeds go to the Well House Community Living of Grand Rapids (where the band is from), which is described as a non-profit outreach program in Grand Rapids that provides emergency shelter and permanent housing for displaced and homeless families.

The link is here. Thanks for your time!


Song #27: Hunx and His Punx - "Hey Rocky"

Come on! With a band name like THAT, was I really going to pass listening to this up?

I came across the band on a random blog, where the lady blogger in question spoke of an encounter with the band's lead singer. For those of you playing at home, he looks like this.


Onto the track itself - which is, insanely enough, fucking brilliant. A lo-fi take on Ramones-meets-The Cramps powerpop/bubblegum punk, the track is a homoerotic two-minute sugar rush. The chorus is infectious, in addition to the twangy chord progression and frontman Seth Bogart's buzzing melodies. Yes, the entire thing is paper thin. But it's colourful! And punching through it feels fucking awesome.


Close to trash-po perfection. Ugly songs about gay sex have never felt so fucking righteous. God-DAMN I'm loving this challenge - there's so much wonder out there for me!

Dunx and His Blungx

Friday, December 25, 2009

Song #26: Vic Chesnutt - "Flirted With You All My Life"

The death of Vic Chesnutt was recently reported, at only the age of 45. I have been reading through a mourning blogosphere, detailing how beautiful and emotional this man's music was, is and forever shall be. Don't I feel like a fool for never before experiencing it.

Better late than never. Flirted With You - from his 2009 album, At the Cut - not only shows where vocalists like Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear and The Decemberists' Colin Meloy got their influences from, but is also a display into a brilliant songwriter. The finger-picking is quaint and well-arranged, the hi-hats sustain an open-road rhythm and the electric guitar paired with the organ is just a gorgeous touch. It's the lyrics here, in particular, that now seem the most eerie. "O death, really, I'm not ready", he howls in the song's sweeping chorus. It's conveyed in a tone that's fearful and uncertain, but now feels more timely and frightening than ever.

FINAL RATING (/10): 10

And, no - it's not because Chesnutt has just died. This is perfect, fragile and irrefutably beautiful music that has sent me into an emotional wreck. I'm off to spend the rest of my Boxing Day in search of all this man's work.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Song #25: Polar Bear Club - "Parked in the Parking Lot of Your Heart"

Yes yes yes, Merry Fucking Christmas and all that. I sincerely hope you have a lovely day with your families, no matter what you celebrate. Much love and peace.

Let's get on with the challenge, though, shall we? We did a Christmas track yesterday, so let's continue on with a new track I've never listened to before.

Today's targets are a band I've been hearing a lot about recently and are coming to Australia next month. It's a meld of post-punk and post-hardcore, with vocals thrashing away with that throaty semi-scream in the spirit of The Gaslight Anthem, Against Me! or even Dropkick Murphys. The drums are loud and crashing, the guitar work a prickly, zig-zagging affair and the amalgamation of the entire sound is an excercise in passion, energy and consistently interesting music.


I get the feeling I'm going to like my time with this band a lot.
Here's their Australian tour dates:

Thur Jan 21- Rosies, Brisbane
Fri Jan 22- Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle 18+
Sat Jan 23- Annandale Hotel, Sydney
Sun Jan 24- Annandale Hotel, Sydney AA
Wed Jan 27-- Rosemount, Perth
Thu Jan 28 YMCA HQ, Perth AA
Fri Jan 29- Enigma Bar, Adelaide
Sat Jan 30- East Brunswick Club, Melbourne
Sun Jan 31- Castle, Melbourne AA


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Song #24: Paul and the Patients - "The Scariest Bar in My Town"

Okay, let's do this one quickly. Here's a little off-kilter Christmas tune for you from a British band I'm not too familiar with (via The Music Slut). I'm going to ignore the fact the singer reminds me a little of Johnny Borrell and enjoy this tongue-in-cheek tune. "I'm spending Christmas at the scariest bar in my town!", he moans as sleigh bells rattle away underneath some subdued electric guitar work. "Another year, another round".

Oh yes, it's depressing. But the sound! It's just so damn appealing! And who doesn't enjoy a twist in the tale of their Christmas tune?


Wishing you all a v. merry fucking Christmas.



Song #23: Talk Talk - "Such a Shame"

My little brother to the fucking rescue! Just when I thought that I couldn't find a song that I'd never listened to, he intervened with a bizarre premise. He'd just downloaded a four-disc compilation of eighties hits (spawned by his obsession with A-Ha's Take On Me) entitled Electric Dreams (yes, as in "Together In"). It was our mission to then pick the first song  from the compilation that I'd not yet heard. Surprisingly, we managed to venture all the way to Disc 1, Track 2...

Prior to this,my experience with Talk Talk was limited to No Doubt's cover of their single It's My Life (from the album of the same name). Apparently their early work was very pioneering for the synthpop genre, with their later material serving as influence for early post-rock. Bizarre. Whatever the case, it's not difficult to see why this track was a hit back in 1984 - this has "eighties pop" written all over it. The synths buzz and weave their way across, above, below and beyond, establishing a completely engaging environment for the pounding rhythms and the powerful vocals. If you're into the sound established in the vein of Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys, there's plenty to like here. Guilty pleasure? As charged.

FINAL RATING (/10): 8.5

I really did not expect to like this as much as I do, but holy mother of HELL if the rest of their stuff is as awesome, then I'm so there.

I'm now off to listen to Africa by Toto, which is also on the compilation. Apparently, my dear sweet girlfriend has never heard it. Oh the awesome to be little time...


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Song #22: Akon - "Cry Out of Joy"

My relationship with Senegalse ringtone king Akon can be described as shaky at best. I've enjoyed one or two of his guest spots (his turn on T-Pain's It Ain't Me is a personal favourite), but the bulk of his songs under his own name make me feel like breaking necks (remember Lonely and Smack That?). Interestingly, it was his duet with the late Michael Jackson, entitled Hold My Hand that lead me to believe that perhaps Mr. Lonely had his finger a little closer to the pulse (and away from fifteen-year-old girls) than I had once thought.

So where does that leave Akon's tribute track to his late friend MJ? Well, let's look at this way - the premise and the sentiment are practically omnipresent. It's nice, and it obviously means a lot to Akon. But there's still a fuckload wrong here - the hideous AutoTuning, the syrupy piano intro and some terrible subtlety-free lyrics ("I want to thank you/For showing me the Man in the Mirror", "What a wonderful dad you were to all your kids"). Yes, Akon, we were all affected by MJ's passing. It was one of the year's biggest tragedies. But if you think this makes up for fucking Sexy Bitch then you've another thing coming.

FINAL RATING (/10): 3.5

R.I.P. Michael. Hope your career joins him soon, Akon.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Song #21: Miami Horror - "Sometimes"

I've been hearing the name Miami Horror a lot lately. Good PR? Whatever it was, the most I'd heard of them previously was walking past a tent at Splendour in the Grass earlier this year and someone on stage thanking the crowd - "Thanks, we're Miami Horror". The psuedo-cool name intrigued me, but more important things were at hand - trust me, once you've had a Byron Bay organic donut, you will know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.

I finally got around to hearing this artist late night on Channel [V], with a bizarre video to accompany it. This is synth/electropop straight out of the Van She/Cut Copy 80s-worshipping mold. Actually, this does remind me a fair bit of early Van She - I found their first EP to be patchy and pretty annoying, but I could see the potential to make something great (which they did with their formidable V album). In the same respect, the song's overt cheesiness is hard to grate away, in addition to how uninspired the bulk of it sounds. There's salvation to be found, however, in the form of the chorus and the Depeche Mode-esque guitar sounding off in the distance of the track. The kids are going to eat this up, but I'm still convinced there's got to be something better in the works.


Miami Horror are playing the Big Day Out and also opening for Lily Allen at her sideshows.
Here's the vid for the song, if you were interested:


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Song #20: Hot Chip - "One Life Stand"

The British laptop rockers were unepxcted heroes of 2009's Big Day Out, playing just before The Prodigy in the boiler room and causing a massive stir whilst doing so. Nearly a year after these apperances, and fresh from the solo album from frontman Alexis Taylor, material has begun to surface from the band's forthcoming forth (see what I did there?) album, One Life Stand.

On offer for listening today is the title track. After a bit of a build-up, Taylor's vocals kick in...we're in familiar territory momentarily before being catapulted into space. With an army of synths, tripped out backing vocals and even those steel drums you always hear in Jamaican music that change the sound depending on where you hit them. And then, the glorious chorus makes its way in, and any bizarre behaviour is instantly forgiven. Momentarily, at least.

There are some redeeming qualities, but a lot more surrounding the track is in the realm of puzzling. The question that lingers is just where the band can possibly go with this sound. If this turns out to be a grower, then it looks like we'll have to quote the classic disco hit - "the only way is up". For now, though, I'm still not entirely sure.


One Life Stand is available now on iTunes, with the album arriving in early February. You can stream the song from YouTube below, and see what you think:


Friday, December 18, 2009

Song #19: Girls - "Lust for Life"

On paper, there doesn't appear to be a great deal that's inspiringly original about this band. They're called fucking Girls, for God's sake; and it doesn't help that their album is called Album and that their lead single takes its name from a popular Iggy Pop tune (Lust for Life).

What does help them, however, is the fact they've got a damn catchy little pop tune on their hands. Lust for Life jangles along with an eccentric lyrical wishlist, handclaps and a dancy little rhythm. It might not be ground-breaking by any means, but you'll be damned if you can't get the melody out of your head.

What I can't understand is how this got such great critical response - the site I write for, The AU Review, listed it as their second best song of the year behind My Girls (fittingly enough). It's a nice tune, but, as emphasised, definitely not best of the year.


Oh, I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong.
Watch for yourself.

Song #18: Mayer Hawthorne - "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out"

So I'm on the street team for the Days Like This! festival, which is a festival happening in Sydney in early January. There's a really awesome line-up including The Cat Empire, Roots Manuva, Method Man & Red Man, The Black Seeds, Cat Power, Micachu, Cassette Kids...and this guy, Mayer Hawthorne. Buy your tickets right now from here, and visit the website!

Now, onto the matter of this young man.

Firstly, let's get this out of the way. Hawthorne has to have one of the most deceptive voices going around. The way his stylish croon oozes slick harmony and effortless falsetto woudl give you the idea of an original Motown king, as opposed to a bespectacled white 21st century boy. Still, let's move away from imagery for just a second - this is fucking beautiful.

The harmonies sooth over the lightly-toned electric guitar and the crackling drum loop, creating a tune that's punchy, soulful and the kind of pop masterwork that is critically overlooked these days.  The fact that this song could have been a hit in the sixties and seventies as well as one now shows transcendence as opposed to deriving - it's an undying, evergreen sound. This kind of music only comes around once in a blue moon, so this tiny pop gem needs to be cherished.

FINAL RATING (/10): 9.5

Mayer tours Australia next month, and his record A Strange Arrangement is out now. Also, check out the fucking seven inch you can get of this track:

God bless America.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Song #17: Hathbanger - "Party in the B.I.G."

Now, I love me some mash-ups, but I never for the life of me expected anything like this. Right here we've got the beat of one of the year's biggest guilty pleasures, Miley Cyrus' Party in the U.S.A., matched up with the timeless  rap verses of  The Notorious B.I.G., in this instance from his hit Party and Bullshit.

Sounds insane, right? Wait till you hear it matched up. The funky guitar in U.S.A. works rather well as Biggie discusses his idea of a fun time - which, to no-one's surprise, is just a little different to that of Miley's. The assemblance of verses, which is done by DJ Hathbanger (the alias of pro skater Andrew Hathaway), is admittedly a little choppy, as is the transition from verse beat to chorus beat. When this track is on, though, it's fucking ON. If only Biggie were alive to suss it out.

FINAL RATING (/10): 7.5

If you're a mash-up nerd, you may as well take a listen. It's pure fun. If this sounds like your kind of thing, why not download it and see what you think?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Song #16: Lil Wayne featuring Eminem - "Drop the World"

It's finally happened. Two giants of mainstream hip-hop have towered over their first full-on collaboration, and it's one of the most interesting tracks either have put their name to this year.

2009 has been pretty drastic for Weezy. He's pleaded guilty to gun charges, released a handful of singles, turned in a hit collaboration on Chris "Beat Your Woman Down" Brown's I Can Transform Ya and announced the imminent release of his "rock" album, Rebirth.

At this stage, this is the closest we've got to the album itself, save for Prom Queen back in January. The album has been delayed from mid-year, to late-year, all the way through to February 2010. Everyone is still expecting a car crash, but perhaps Drop the World will work towards changing minds?

Drop is strange in the fact it starts off with an off-kilter, dripping beat, before building up to a splashy rock-funk beat where Weezy threatens to pick up the world and "drop it on yo fucken head". The transitions continue between one and the other, like moving from the closet into Narnia. Em eventually slithers in with one of his multi-layered singing tricks before not so much scoring a touchdown over the beat as winning the fucking Superbowl. Weezy F. Baby fans have nothing to be worried about, as he holds his own here; but Eminem continues to perplex as to why he saves his best verses for other people.


Honestly, this is worth it for Em alone, but everything else works considerably well here. Fans of either are set.

Download the track here. (big ups to Nah Right for the link)


Song #15: Darkstar - "Aidy's Girl's a Computer"

In today's effort to check out some music I'd never listened to before, I sussed out the first half of Pitchfork's Top 100 Tracks of 2009. In typical Pitchfork style, I'd heard maybe one out of every ten songs listed. What a great opportunity, I thought! So I decided then and there to start at the very beginning (which, if I remember my Julie Andrews, is a very good place to start).

Track #100 on their list was a very upbeat dubstep number entitled Aidy's Girl's a Computer (yeah, I thought it was a touch creepy, too); by a producer known as Darkstar, one of the recent signings to the very popular Hyperdub label in the UK. The song itself is glitchy and somewhat of a Crystal Castles-meets-Burial pastiche. Its next-level experimentation and surprisingly addictive melody - which features 8-bit and xylophone, together at last! - will at first polarise and confuse you as a listener. You can take either of two routes from here - try and forget Aidy's Girl never happened, or throw yourself into another overwhelming listen. Hopefully, you'll make the right choice.


Maybe if I'd gotten to it a little earlier in the year, it might have made my top 100? Who knows.

Enjoy the track through the joys of YouTube below:

The rest of Pitchfork's end-of-year lists are out over the course of this working week, for those of you playing at home. Will be interesting to see what takes out the top spots!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Song #14: Massive Attack featuring Hope Sandoval - "Paradise Circus"

Having just blogged about 30 Seconds to Mars' comeback, we may as well discuss another return to the fold - Britain's fearless leaders of trip-hop, Massive Attack.

It's been nearly seven years since their last record, the coldly received 100th Window. After time in hibernation, the duo have re-emerged with talk of a new record, Heligoland, and a fucking cool guestlist scrawled onto a page next to it.

Amongst the guests are TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, Elbow's Guy Garvey, Damon Albarn and, on here, Mazzy Star singer Hope Sandoval. By the way, Hope hasn't lost an inch of quality - she really is fantastic here. The beat is slow and sensual, like something Beth Gibbons forgot to put on Dummy, complete with syncopated handclaps, echoing glockenspiel and a walking bassline that smooths over the ambience. This all but leaves Sandoval to play seductress in a dirty-sex playground (fitting as hell, given the video), breathily working her way across the beat itself by a crawl. It's slow-paced, but it's one of the most engaging tracks the band have put their name to this side of Mezzanine.

FINAL RATING (/10): 8.5

If the rest of the album continues like this, we're going to have something pretty awesome on our hands. I LOVE new music!


Song #13: 30 Seconds to Mars featuring Kanye West - "Hurricane"

No, seriously! This happened!

It's been four years since 30 Seconds to Mars released A Beautiful Lie, their second album, which went gangbusters somewhat anachronistically circa 2007. After label dramas, gratuitous touring and frontman Jared Leto playing the role of Mark David Chapman in Chapter 27 (in addition to gaining a few pounds for it), the band have finally pulled the veil off This is War.

Shiny, ain't it?

This track in particular intrigued me the most. I mean, what role would Kanye play here? How would the band react to his presence? Interestingly enough, the band have created a guitar-less, piano-centric affair with a stirring chorus and Kanye doing his 808s and Heartbreak AutoTune dealio. It all comes together as far more of a cohesive unit than you'd initially expect. The icy, synthesized strings swell beneath Leto's king-of-the-world vocal melodrama, the beat is a successful exercise in robotic precision and Kanye's solo verse, whilst a little out of place, still holds its own. The track will take a little getting used to if you're only a fan of one or the other, but if you're like me and find merit in both, then you're on easy street.


This is War is out now. Kanye was happy for them and let them finish.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Song #12: From First to Last - "Going Lohan"

It's hilarious to think how much I hated this band before the departure of former frontman Sonny Moore. Words can't really begin to describe how much he shat me up the wall. The band's first release without him, 2008's From First to Last, wasn't brilliant by any stretch but it's still miles ahead of anything the band did with Moore. The vocals were taken over by one Matt Good, who is in possession of a far stronger and far more interesting voice.

It's now time for them to follow up, and their album Throne to the Wolves is set for a 2010 release. As a taste-test, they've release the track Going Lohan to their MySpace profile. It immediately seems like the teething problems that were present on From First to Last are, at the very least, being worked out. The transitions and progressions are smoother, the mix is far less vocal-centric and the vocals themselves have a sting in the tail - especially when the surprisingly good screams take over. Who'd have know, too, that this lot can shred like old-school metal heroes? The song might be just shy of three minutes, but it still holds plenty of substance, in addition to hope for the band's future.


Modern post-hardcore usually isn't my bag; but the sixteen year old in me still gets a substantial boner (he loved Hawthorne, Saosin, etc). This is great, and I really hope they can keep it up for a whole album.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Song #11: The Phenomenal Handclap Band - "All of the Above"

I think the 100 Days thing has really gotten me onto trying new things and being a little more daring with my time. As an example, today I'm going to be interviewing a guy from a band I don't really know that well. His name is Daniel Collás, who is one half of the creative force behind The Phenomenal Handclap Band, fresh outta New York City. If the name is not familiar, perhaps the chorus "5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40..." is? Yep, THAT song. Fun fact: a girl I went to school with is in the Bonds Underwear ad that features 15 to 20 as its background music.

So what else do they have to offer? Surprisingly, a lot more than you'd think. This track in particular is a bizarre funk pastiche, with a McCartney-esque falsetto, spacetrip organ, whirring electric guitar and fucking BONGOS. If that doesn't make a song win, what does? Maybe a friggin' harmonica solo? Yes, Phenomenal Handclap Band, that WILL do nicely. This is a five and a half minute orbit through space and time, and you don't normally get to say stuff like that for music from 2009 (usually, it's 1976!).


This is great. I'm glad I took the risk to say I'd interview them, this is going to be really interesting.

If you're interested in catching them live, they'll be here for Pyramid Rock in a couple of weeks, in addition to doing some shows with Chairlift in Sydney and Melbourne. Get amongst it.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Song #10: Burning Empires - "Accomplice"

Booya! We're onto a fucking milestone, people - TEN days into the 100 Days project. That's one tenth of the process to becoming a better person already gone! Amazing! A big shout out to everyone else doing this, so much love for all of you! Keep in touch.

So here we go with number ten - it's the newest supergroup of 2009, but for the 'core kids - meet Burning Empires. You brocore moshers needn't worry about Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy on the drums -Pete Wentz is nowhere to be seen! Members of Misery Signals and 7 Plagues 7 Deaths take his place.

What can I say? This is more than exciting. This is amongst the best hardcore I have heard all year.

Accomplice is heartfelt, aggressive and a very engaging display of what the powers combined of Mis Sig and FOB are capable of. Through several movements and progressions, an attack of thundering drum fills, charging guitar and impassioned lyrics will hit home to the point of being completely overwhelming. Hardcore usually isn't my genre to go batshit over, but I can't stress enough how great this is. It's the kind of track that not only invigorates but restores faith.

FINAL RATING (/10): 9.5

Am I overreacting? Maybe. But put it this way - I was in a lazy slump before listening to this, and now I'm more pumped about this project than ever. Feels fucking GOOD, man.

Experience this now. Over here (love you Spin).


Song #9: Shout Out Louds - "Walls"

No kidding! They're back!

I've been wondering what happened to the Shout Out Louds for a long time. It feels like forever since I was infatuated with their jangly, slightly-twee brand of indie pop-rock with tracks like The Comeback, Tonight I Have To Leave It and Very Loud (my favourite). It's been at least a few years since I've heard anything in relation to them (apart from chatting to one of my editors about the time he met them), so it's very relieving to know they didn't die a tragic death like...welll....Dogs Die in Hot Cars?

Walls, which is a taster from their upcoming third album Work, is an interesting beast. The environment in which it finds itself is spacious and lush, yet it's reluctant to explore. The first minute or so is nice enough, but everything feels a little unremarkable leading up to the chorus, and even more so after it's gone - it's a bloody good one. Vocalist Adam Olenius is still doing his best impression of a young Robert Smith, albeit changing up his breathier tone for something a little more scrawny and strangely sounding more Swedish than before (this shouldn't be weird, considering he IS Swedish, but it's actually kind of disconcerting). The piano that tinkers away melodically underneath is lovely, too, but you can't shake the feeling that something's missing when listening to this song.


Let's remain optimistic about Work, which is set for release in Februrary 2010. Anything could happen, and this isn't a bad track by any stretch. Still, after a couple of listens, you'll probably find yourself skipping ahead to the chorus part, disregarding the rest.

If you'd like to have a listen, why not download it for free (courtest of


Monday, December 7, 2009

Song #8: Smashing Pumpkins - "A Song for A Son"

Wait, sorry. Let's try that again.

 That's better.

Jesus Christ. Here we go - Billy Corgan is at work with a James-less, D'arcy-less and even fucking Jimmy-less lineup of the Smashing Pumpkins. It gets worse - this lineup is working on a FORTY-FOUR (read: FORTY-FOUR) track album (which will also be split into four 11-track EPs) entitled Teargarden by Kaliedyscope.


Let's get this out of the way first, Billy. STILL writing and recording under the name of the Pumpkins is fucked. You might think it was all about you, but that classic lineup was something special. It's not fair on anyone, especially you.

Now, let's move onto the song itself.

After the first listen, you're going to feel as if this was a practical joke. What the hell is this? Essentially, we've got ourselves a Stairway wannabe with a wankish guitar solo, gratuitous layering and terrible lyrics (Corgan spends most of the time talking about who the song is for rather than what the song is actually about). His vocals are also hollow and highly nasal, drawling away in the corner of the mix. I have no idea where the band think they're going with this, but so far it's not looking good at all.


The Smashing Pumpkins are dead. Or, at the very least, they're on their deathbed. Pay your respects and go listen to Mellon Collie.

Song #7: Joe Brown - "Long Gone"

So there I was, watching late night television with my girlfriend, worrying about how I hadn't yet heard a song that I'd never heard before that day. Thankfully, we were tuned into Later... With Jools Holland, who always has an array of brilliant guests on his show. Tonight was no exception, with Mr. Joe Brown taking to the stage (or, at least, the corner of it) with about four other guys to perform a song called Long Gone.

I'm going to be perfectly honest - maybe it was half-past-midnight talking, but this song hit me as a stroke of brilliance. It's bluegrass music in its truest form, played with precise skill and stunning five-part harmonies. The song's a simple my-woman-done-me-wrong number, but it's all done so effectively that you're just in awe of the skill all five of these musicians have.

Interestingly enough, I'd never heard of Joe Brown before this performance, either. Apparently, the guy's an MBE, was the best man at George Harrison's wedding and has worked in music, film and radio. All over a 51-year career! Fuck me, I've got some work to do.


This was a real treat to listen to. If you'd like to experience it the way I did, have a look-see on YouTube.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Song #6: H.I.M. - "Heartkiller"

Ohh, His Infernal Majesty. You used to be so tough and edgy and cool and all the goth kids would praise your every move. The tunes were rockin' and we'd all sing along about heartache, vampires, death, destruction, whatever was on your faux-Robert-Smith mind. So what happened?

Fucksticks like Bam Margera happened.

Ever since he got the Heartagram tattoo, Jackass followers got caught in the craze and for awhile there, it was really cool to like the band - hell, in year nine you weren't cool if you didn't listen to them. This sent Ville Valo and company into a tailspin, resulting in albums that were either patchy (Dark Light) or just plain average (Venus Doom). After a couple of years out of the limelight, it's now time for the band's imminent return. Have they learned anything in their time away? Sadly, no.

Firstly, Heartkiller? What kind of a fucking name is that?
Beyond that, as well as the laughable Nintendo fight-scene intro, this really is H.I.M. on autopilot. Stadium rock drums, pseudo-epic chorus and wannabe "prince of darkness" lyrics are all chewed up and subsequently spat out as the flavour quickly dies. Ultimately, the only noticable change is that Finland-born Valo sounds a LOT more American these days. And really, when that's the only major thing one can notice, you KNOW something's up.

FINAL RATING (/10): 4.5

This is pretty much fans-only. And considering there can hardly be as many fans as there were back in the day, this is pretty much gonna be a niche market track.

The new album's out in February, and they play Soundwave around the same time. Doubt I'll be seeing them, though.