Saturday, January 30, 2010

Song #61: Pikelet - "Weakest Link"

Pikelet is awesome. I met this one-woman act in April last year, as she (real name Evelyn) played drums for both Jeffrey Lewis and Darren Hanlon. It was rad! She promised to have some new material out soon, and finally now I get to hear it!

Weakest Link has sweet, high-pitched melodies and squealing keyboards that trail along its clickety-clack drumbeat as if they are taking in their tripped-out, reverb-laden surroundings. The harmonies, especially, are lovely and guide the song in the best direction possible - upwards, twiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirllllllllingggg towards freedom! Not a lot else to say, really - if a psychedelic take on indie pop tickles your fancy, give this one a go!

FINAL RATING (/10): 7.5

Weakest Link is up now on MySpace and Pikelet will be touring again throughout the year. Make sure you go and see her!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Song #60: She & Him featuring Tilly and The Wall - "In the Sun"

 Indie squeal! Mrs. Ben Gibbard herself, Zooey Deschanel has teamed up once again with that Monster of Folk, M. Ward, to follow up the She and Him debut, Volume One. It's titled, imaginatively enough, Volume Two.

This is our first taste of what's to come, and not a lot has changed since the first record. It's still kitschy, awkwardly cute and flower-dress happy with its chorus of "It's alright! It's okay!" (which the wonderful Tilly and the Wall provide backing vocals for). It's all very pretty - Deschanel's gorgeous looks aside, the little lady can hold a tune; and Ward's sweet piano line and squeaky-clean electric guitar accentuate the isn't-everything-grand mood of the whole thing. But beyond the song's aesthetic, it couldn't punch its way out of a wet paper bag - it's repetitive, lazy and increasingly more and more dull with each listen. It's not capable of being terrible, but it's the closest Deschanel and Ward have gotten to it in their careers so far. Disappointing.


Volume Two is set for release in late March for the U.S. and early April for the U.K.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Song #59: OKGO - "Needing/Getting"

Got another interview coming up tomorrow - this time with Tim Norwind, bassist for American rock band OKGO (he's the first one on the left in the picture). I figured, thus, I should probably check out the band's new record. It's called Of the Blue Colour of the Sky - and if you think you have any idea what it's going to sound like, you're wrong.

From dirty funk to vocoder, this is easily the band's weirdest album. I think that's why I like it so much, though - in the five years since Oh No (which features the hit Here It Goes Again), they've really progressed as a band, and in a way they're more OKGO now than ever before.

This particular track, one of the longer ones on the record, is definitely of interest. From the wailing guitar that introduces it to the monstrous, thick bassline that follows it, the band really explore the minor aspects of their sound that were previously untouched or not properly expanded on. It's exciting, funky and really worth checking out - regardless of whether you liked the band previously or not.


The new album is out now and you can see the band when they visit next month.


Song #58: Keri Hilson - "I Like"

The gorgeous Keri Hilson has been working her way into mainstream conscience ever since her show-stealing chorus in Timbaland's smash hit The Way I Are. Her own hit came in the form of the epic Knock You Down, but she was unfortunately overshadowed by the incredible Kanye West. In A Perfect World, her debut, gives her the opportunity to finally make a name for herself as opposed to herself "featuring".

I Like is the first song that I've heard of Keri's on her own, and it's rather sweet. It's a little run-of-the-mill in terms of production and lyrics - swishing synth and boom-boom-pap-boom beat matched with "going out tonight with a guy I'm into" lyrics. Still, you can tell that Hilson is on her way to standing out above all of that. She's got a versatile voice that reach sexy, breathy lows and chirpy highs that suit their environment almost perfectly. The whole thing is over and done with within three minutes, but it's done enough to interest me in the rest of the album. We'll see how she goes.

FINAL RATING (/10): 6.5

In A Perfect World... is out now.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Song #57: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - "Home"

I've officially completely lost touch with what is "cool" on Triple J standards. For the first time ever in my seven years of following the Hottest 100, a song has come in the top 20 that I have never heard a single thing about before in my entire life. Who the fuck is Edward Sharpe? Who are the Magnetic Zeros? Why did this beat In For The Kill, My Girls, Rabbit Heart and Two Weeks? I sat there at my girlfriend's house in total confusion as this song played. Shortly afterward, however, this shock turned to pleasant surprise.

There are twelve dudes in this band, making a lot of joyful noise across this five-minute love ode. It plays out like a mini-Polyphonic Spree taking on a Johnny and June Carter Cash love duet like Jackson or If I Were A Carpenter. Sure, it's a little cheesy, but you'll be damned if you're not grinning like an idiot at the end of this little number. It's fun, catchy and infectiously cute. Look out for my favourite part of the song, which is the spoken word near the end.

FINAL RATING (/10): 8.5


Song #56: A Place to Bury Strangers - "It Is Nothing"

I write for a site called The AU Review, who have a pretty good relationship with a cool little venue called the Oxford Art Factory on Oxford St. in Sydney. Out of a list of upcoming shows they are promoting, this one in particular took my interest. I have continuously heard the name A Place To Bury Strangers thrown around, but I had no idea what to expect. Nevertheless, I put my name down and I downloaded their latest album, Exploding Head.

It is Nothing is the first track on the record, and it's a fairly good indication of what Strangers are all about. It's quick, trashy, messy and loud as fuck. You'll feel the need to wear earplugs just listening to this fucking record. If Dave Davies from The Kinks ripped a hole in his amp speaker and put a pin in, guitarist Oliver Ackermann may as well have sliced his entire amp in half. This take-no-prisoners affair is soaked in reverb, distortion and pure noise. It will throw you off guard on the first few listens, but it ultimately proves to be one of the best tracks on the entire album.


The band are in Australia next month. Get on it.


Song #55: Rogue Wave - "Good Morning"

Rogue Wave is one band that I've always been interested in, but never really considered myself a major fan of. With the release of this new single, however, I've definitely been converted - I now plan to get everything I possibly can of this very cool little band.

Good Morning is the first single from the band's forthcoming...umm...fourth...album. It's called Permalight and it's due out in March. The track bodes well for Permalight's future: it's a very danceable, incessantly catchy number. Interestingly for an indie rock band like RW, the main instrumental focus is the synthesizer - the guitar appears distantly, if at all. The low-end choppily blurts in time with the brisk beat, whilst the higher pitches shoot arpeggios throughout the song that give an upbeat, slightly-tiwsted sense of joy. It's a really well-written tune, and one (I'm almost certain) that is going to win them a lot of new fans. Bring on Permalight!


Have a listen to the track here!

Cheers :D


Song #54: Dizzee Rascal - "Chillin Wiv Da Man Dem"

Saturday was the Big Day Out time! What a momentous day - it was the one hundredth BDO and even though the lineup was a little disappointing to a lot of people, there was still plenty to enjoy throughout the day. Of particularly good fun was Mr. Dylan Mills - better known as Dizzee Rascal.

It was a set mostly consisting of hits - Dance Wiv Me, Fix Up Look Sharp, Bonkers, etc. This track took my interest, however, as it was one I hadn't previously heard. It's taken from his fourth album, Tongue N' Cheek, of which I have only heard the singles. I'm pretty interested to hear the rest of the record on the back of this one, though. As the title would suggest, the beat is a pure cruise - squealing synthesizer, clicking rhythm and an upbeat, free-spirit vibe. It's one of those beats you'd have to hear to properly "get", but as usual Dizzee kills it up top with a tight flow that never gets aggressive or over-the-top. Classy.


Dizzee leaves the country soon, so make sure you get along to see him!


Song #53: The Retreat - "The Weather (Cloudin' Over)"

Okay, got a lot of ground to cover over the past six days, so here we go:

I went and saw Dan Mangan for the third and final time on Friday. He's the one I blogged about back at Song #37. This was his last show in the country before flying back to Canada (ehh), and it was such a thrill to see him off. Of note, however, were his support act - The Retreat.

This Sydney band play a low-key, charming style of countrified pop-rock that recalled acts like Bob Evans, Bright Eyes and even a young Ryan Adams. This song in particular was a charmer. Its major chord progressions and sugar-sweet harmonies were simple but incredibly pleasant. It will also make you want to give lead singer Ross a big hug - and the dude works at JB HiFi in Pitt Street, so there's easily a chance to do so. You have been warned.


Follow the doodz on Twitter and the Spaz, etc.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Song #52: Gorillaz feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack - "Stylo"

 Fucking YES! First it's announced that Gorillaz are still active. Then we hear news of an album in the works. Now, just days after they're confirmed as Coachella headliners, not only is the record confirmed (Plastic Beach, out in March), but we also get the first taste of the new record in its single!

The track is difficult to describe. It's all minor-key and decidedly downbeat, yet the tempo and Damon Albarn's ever-reliable vocals keep things interesting and sprightly. Mos Def appears, distorted and warped in the background (which really isn't the best way to treat one of the world's best MCs), and Bobby Womack rips up the beat with a truckload of soul intermittently throughout the song. It's a difficult one to wrap your head around - but then again, I can remember having a similar experience with a previous Gorillaz song. It was called Feel Good Inc., which then went on to serve its duty of being fucking awesome. Can only hope the very same for this particular track - we're onto a winner, hopefully!

FINAL RATING (/10): 7.5

Plastic Beach - get excited!


Song #51: Peasant - "Well Alright"

Straight back into the Challenge again, and straight back to listening to complete strangers singin' songs I've never heard. Lately the risks have either made me so happy I took it (Social Studies) or made me want to stop the Challenge entirely (The Polyamourous Affair). This is another happy ending, however, so please keep reading!

Peasant is a young twentlysomething bedroom musician from the United States. He has one album out, On The Ground, and this is a two-minute taster from it. Judging purely from this, I think I'd like to eat the whole thing - it's lo-fi, charming and very sweetly written and performed. It's basically piano, some electric guitar and a snare drum that keeps a steady rhythm going - the Elliott Smith meets Brendan Benson vocals simmering lightly atop of it all. I feel like giving him a hug already! A very worthwhile listen.



Monday, January 18, 2010

Song #50: Tiesto featuring Tegan & Sara - "Feel It In My Bones"

Here we are, people! The half way mark! Very exciting stuff.

Speaking of very exciting, I made it my mission to finally find out what all the fuss was with this guy Tiesto today. He's coming to Australia in a few months and he's sold out some really big venues. So what does he do? Well, he appears to be a DJ/producer type with an exceptionally awesome guestlist on his latest record, Kaleidoscope. Amongst the more awesome collaborators are Kele Okereke, Emily Haines, Jonsi Biriggson and the divine Quin twins - Tegan and Sara.

This is a great sound. As proven on parts of The Con, T & S can work with things like synthesizers and drum machines. This is a lot different to anything they've done previously, however - it's a full-on dance tune with some soaring rave-inducing moments. The good vibrations coming from the song pick up in particular near the end and during the soaring choruses. Practically everything works, I have no idea why this hasn't been a bigger hit.


Tiesto is here in March. Tegan and Sara should be here before the end of the year. Here's the video. Party on, Garth.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Song #49: Operator Please - "Logic"

Everyone is always very quick to bash on Operator Please. Most were annoyed with their runaway hit Just a Song About Ping-Pong, and their age (all under 21 at the time) was easy to make fun of (early silverchair, anyone?). I personally like to think that it was just how upbeat and boisterous the band were - both on CD and live - that peeved people. Add in some smart-arse lyrics ("Just out of curiousity/Can you tell me how old I'm supposed to be?"), and you're sure to have a band that can get on people's nerves.

I'll always love them, though - not just because I count Amandah Wilkinson (vocals/guitar) as a mate. They represent freedom, apathy towards negativity, making music for the love of music - they're a fuckload more real than you'd think. With this, I've just sampled their new single from their forthcoming second album, entitled Logic, and I really like it.

If you follow Amandah on Twitter (@operator_please), you'd know how much she loves a bit of Prince. I can definitely hear that love in the slinking bass and funked-out groove that welcomes the listener into the song. It's only fleeting, though - this isn't going to turn into Let's Go Crazy anytime soon. What I enjoy the most about Logic is that it sees the band faced with a pretty serious musical question - "So, what next?" - and taking it on with substantial confidence. There's a lot going on here, but above all it's still distinguishably an Operator Please song: fun, dancey and clever.

FINAL RATING (/10): 8.5

Head over to their MySpaz and suss that shit, baby.

David Please


Song #48: DJ Schmolli - "Brick Halo"

 It's time for the second mash-up of my challenge, and I'm really interested in this one. In the blue corner, Beyonce's smash hit Halo. In the red corner (see what I did there?), the gorgeous Hayley Williams with Paramore's Brick by Boring Brick. Two of the most popular women in music today, together at last (what, just me?).

I'll admit, I was pretty skeptical on face value. The potential to be awesome was just sitting there, staring me in the face. Count yourself lucky, Schmolli (if that is your real name), because this is the balls. Knowles' acapella is thrown in the deep end with the pop-rocking Boring Brick's instrumental track (with Williams popping in near the end). A few choppy transitions aside, it's amazing nobody thought of mixing these two before. The move from verse to chorus blends perfectly with B's soaring scales, and some moments just seem perfect for one another. Some great chemistry here.


Here, have a download. (thanks to AudioPorn Central!)


Song #47: Bruce Springsteen - "The Ghost of Tom Joad"

 Australian people will know what I'm talking about - how awesome are 2X and 3X? You know, when you get the two or three CDs in a package for a really cheap price? This happened to me this very week - I picked up a 2X of The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, and two of his albums in Nebraska and The Ghost of Tom Joad for just thirteen dollars! Going alphabetically, I've thrown on Ghost first, to be greeted with its title track.

It's hard to say it's a generic Springsteen acoustic ballad, as I honestly believe that no two Springsteen songs sound the same.  It's definitely in familiar working-man territory, however - it's the story of a run-down town, hopless and mostly homeless. Definitely something we've all heard before in terms of the Boss' work, but that doesn't mean it's completely meritless. There's a lot of heart in this one, connecting as realistically as he possibly can with the underclass life. Cut away the cheese and you've actually got something passable here. Definitely no Devils and Dust, but still quite nice.


The Boss is the man.


Song #46: Emarosa - "The Past Should Stay Dead"

Normally, I can't rely on my younger brother for very much. But this is the second time he has come to my rescue in terms of showing me some music that I've previously never heard. Much unlike Talk Talk, however, this is much more up his alley of new-wave post-hardcore. I definitely can't get into a lot of it (I'm getting too old for this shit), but let me tell you something for nothing: Emarosa blew me away within a matter of seconds.

I think this was, in no small part, thanks to vocalist Jonny Craig, formerly of Dance Gavin Dance. Regardless of your ever-so-worthy opinion on the genre, this dude has one hell of a voice. There is so much passion and grit in his delivery, particularly when it reaches the higher levels of his range - a cross between the Emery boys and Anthony Green. It's rare to come across such a remarkable voice, so it's worth listening to this track on the back of this alone. Instrumentally, Craig is supported strongly by very intricate drumming and wailing chord progressions with a smartly-arranged lick thrown in every now and then to shake things up. It's an intense, unpredictable and genuinely exciting work that is a rarity in its field these days.


Absolutely wonderful.

The band have a new album on the way in 2010, and will be playing Soundwave this coming February. Get excited.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Song #45: Michael Buble - "Heartache Tonight"

Sometimes, where I hear my song that I've never heard before previously is just plain weird. 45 was no exception - this came to me over the P.A. of the Myer store in Wollongong, where I was stocking up on my Michael Jackson collection. The horror that it was your mum's favourite crooner covering your dad's favourite band only came to me half way through.

So, this is off Michael Buble's latest album, Crazy Love. Y'know, the one with that horrible Haven't Met You Yet song that keeps coming up on the Winter Olympics ads (it's in Canada! He's Canadian! The similarities are endless!). It's a cover of a track by the Eagles, I believe from the Long Run record. I really like the Eagles for some reason - their harmonies and songwriting have always been dead impressive to me. This track is fun, too - the big chorus and the guitar matched with the horn section always impressed me. Buble doesn't do much with his cover, though. It's safer, with more of a swing to it. Is there any more to it, though? Not a chance. MOR crooner, Buble stylee.


Great song, done very boringly.


Song #44: A Death in the Family - "Erasing the Maps"

I wrote up some email Q and As today for the site I write for, FasterLouder. One was for hardcore band Every Time I Die, and the other for these guys - headliners of the very-cool-looking Blood, Sweat and Beers festival, A Death In The Family.

I decided to listen through all of the songs on their MySpace page as I was writing up the ten or so questions I wanted to ask them - including questions about the festival and opening for Rise Against. I've always had at least a passing interest in this band and what they do, but it was in this simple lunchtime task that I came to appreciate them a lot more. This track in particular was a favourite - passionate and very rough around its edges, delivered with plenty of heart with no abandonment of a shout-along hook in order to remain "punk" necessary. ADITF are a very quality band, and I believe it's perhaps Erasing The Maps that will be the first to convince you of this. For fans of acts like The Gaslight Anthem, Hot Water Music, Against Me!, Polar Bear Club, etc. - y'know, the good shit.


Don't forget to grab a BSB ticket, too! Head to and suss it out!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Song #43: The Polyamourous Affair - "New York City"

Some days in this project, I'm completely uninspired as to where I'm going to find new music. In this instance, however, it literally jumped right out at me - signing into my Blogspot dashboard, I noticed a new post from a blog I follow, Off the Radar. It lead me to a new track and video from a duo called The Polyamourous Affair. Unlike my tripping upon Social Studies, however, discovering this music was far from pleasant.

So the Affair are a husband-and-wife duo that make lifeless electro-pop. The male counterpart is breathy and slightly creepy, and the female simply cannot sing at all. Throw in some shallow, namedropping lyrics ("I walk through Paris in the rain/I sip champagne in Hollywood"), and a dull thud of a beat that comes across as something even The Human League at their cheesiest would throw to the dogs. You're now getting an idea of what this snooze-fest sounds like, and if you're as dissatisfied with how I've described it as I am with how it actually sounds, then we're onto something here.


I have no idea if this shit is cool or not, but take note, lovebirds: New York City sucks.

Here's the video if you don't believe me.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Song #42: Social Studies - "Weathered White"

Right now, we're getting back into the very essence of why I started this project - this is Spinner's free MP3 of the day. I have no idea who this band is. And I find that really exciting - the prospect of experiencing something I've previously never done is something I'm not taking for granted, especially in light of this blog.

But onto the song itself. Two words: How lovely! I've latched myself onto an irrepressibly cute little band, with a very sweet lead vocalist and some very charming keys. Coming across as a Stateside take on what Camera Obscura do (with hints of Regina Spektor and Mates of State), it's the kind of song that you gradually get to know and appreciate over several in-depth listens. I like the drums in the verses, especially how they sound - the snare sound is quick and tiny, the floor tom sounding cavernous. Maybe it's just because I'm a drummer myself that I pick these kind of things up, but what would I know?

The point is this: Weathered White is a gem. I'm so glad I tripped upon it.

FINAL RATING (/10): 8.5

Like what I've described? Get it now, why doncha.


Song #41: We Have Band - "Oh!"

Went to Sydney on Sunday for the second annual Days Like This! festival. Turned out to be a pretty quality day in spite of a pretty odd venue choice (the main stage was practically a car park). Highlights included Amp Fiddler, Cat Power and once again seeing my friends in Micachu and the Shapes. This lot, however, were easily my surprise of the day. Mica would not stop hyping them up in the lead-up to their set, but when it came down to it she could easily validate it.

Let's focus on this track in particular. The fact I had never heard it before and already knew the chorus within the first thirty seconds speaks volumes about how goddamn catchy this one was. Huge booming rhythms, a slinky bass line and even a nod to roller-disco is what makes this one such a treat. Live, it was even more off the chain - the titular "OH!" was practically screamed by Darren, Tom and Dede as they swayed and shook their respective booties in proper accordance with our own. Pure, unadulterated fun. Fuck yeah.


Their album drops in April and I'm wetting myself in excitement for it. Let's party.

Oh, and here's the video!

We Have David

Song #40: Let Me Down Jungleman, Gently - "Cobargo Drama"

Woo! Another landmark! How exciting. Another hectic weekend, so here's the three songs from the past three days.

First up, a very cool band that I saw for the first time on Saturday, opening for a one-off Epitomes reunion - the name's Let Me Down Jungleman, Gently. They immediately intrigued me on the basis of having two lead vocalists that both played instruments, as well as the fact they weren't playing the kind of music I'm used to seeing at tiny south-coast gigs. There was melody! Song structure! Time signature changes! ...okay, that probably made everything else sound shit, but I'm so used to straightforward hardcore that this was a real surprise.

Not complaining in the slightest, for the record. This track in particular was fantastic - strong vocals, a thick twisting bassline and a compromise between abrasiveness and cohesiveness. Think At the Drive-In if there was more of a focus on Jim Ward's vocals (no, not Sparta, shut up) and you're on your way. It's a track even Frenzal Rhomb/Triple J man Lindsay "The Doctor" McDougall has shown some appreciation for - so perhaps that's a bit of incentive?

FINAL RATING (/10); 8.5

Mostly, the bonus .5 is for the fact their two-track demo has a stroke of real red paint on it. Mad cool.

Check it all out on Triple J Unearthed.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Song #39: Break Even - "November 18th"

 Last night, I had the privilege of seeing hardcore supergroup Burning Empires live, which was huge for me but strangely enough not for a lot of the other people there. The crowd was surging forward and subsequently going apeshit for a band I'd previously never listened to - Perth's Break Even.

Currently wrapping up their Endless Bummer tour with BE and The Amity Affliction, this quartet couldn't match the intensity of Empires, but they still put on a fairly enjoyable show. This track in particular - the finale of their debut album, The Bright Side, stood out in particular. It's aggressive, but also very open in its emotion - a trait that only the very best hardcore can do. Its recorded version is also significantly less heavy than when it was performed live. Rather than seeing this as a flaw, I perceive it to be an indication of the kind of passion they put into their live show. I'm now definitely keen to listen to a bit more of these guys.


The album is out now.


Song #38: Brendan Maclean - "Beat Me To It"

I'm happy to count myself not only as a fan of Mr. Brendan Maclean, but also as a friend. He recently sent me his new EP, entitled White Canvas. I'm happy to report on its excellence - the title track is possibly my favourite thing he has ever done. This track in particular, however, has struck a chord with me. And we're talking major, none of that minor-seventh shit.

The song is a tender piano ballad on the topic of loneliness and isolation. That might sound generic as hell, but it's Maclean's personality and his way around slender baritone melodies that accentuate this song's features above everything else. With only hints of jazz-brush drumming to accompany his voice and piano playing, it's considerably stripped-back, and works wonders as a result of it. It is also the sign of a great songwriter when the lyrics come across as exceedingly personal, yet you feel as if it's instantly a cinch to relate yourself to. Brendan is on to something here, I just know it.


If you're in the Wollongong area, I'll be playing drums and guitar for Mr. Maclean on the 13th at the Oxford Tavern. If you're in Sydney, you can catch Brendan's EP launch at Cronulla's Brass Monkey on the 22nd.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Song #37: Dan Mangan - "Robots"

Ever been to Tomerong? Didn't think so. Neither had this guy before Wednesday. His name is Dan Mangan and he's a singer-songwriter from Canada. People thankfully don't think he's slow, ehh. Rather, everyone at the tiny community hall watching this charming twentysomething performing with his fellow-countryman bassist and two of the guys from Australia's own Dead Letter Chorus, thought he was a dead-set charmer


Mangan is in the country to promote his new record, entitled Nice, Nice, Very Nice, whilst opening for the wonderful Charlie Parr. This track in particular stood out, as it was the last track he performed and he took crowd participation to the mostly-elderly crowd and unexpectedly delivered. The simple lyrics and melody of "Robots need love too/They want to be loved by you" are charming in an anti-folk kind of way, but when put in with a small crowd singing it in perfect harmony, with just the right acoustics, it becomes pretty special for some strange reason.

FINAL RATING (/10): 8.5

Catch Dan and Charlie tonight in Sydney, tomorrow in Katoomba and Cronulla on Tuesday. You won't regret it.


Song #36: Vampire Weekend - "Horchata"

APOLOGIES: First up - my apologies for not getting everything up sooner. My internet hasn't been up lately so I'm getting around to posting my last three songs. Thanks for your patience. Yes, you, one of the like two people that actually read this. Now, on with the toonz!

Exciting times lay ahead, kids! 2010 has some very hotly-anticipated new records coming up - and the well-to-do lads of Vampire Weekend are the first out of the gate.We've already heard the wonderful lead single, Cousins, and now it's time for our first taste of the quartet's follow-up album, entitled Contra. The album's been featured on Triple J and had its full-length premiere on MySpace (hahaha! Remember that old chestnut?), so it's officially Vampire season for the first time in ages that isn't involving True Blood.

Vocalist Ezra Koenig is all class in this downbeat Afro-pop experiment, doing his usual nasal channeling of Paul Simon with some cute lyrics about drinking the titular drink, stomping on pavement and someone asking how his day was. This ain't no A-Punk operation; but let's not that stop us from letting this sweet tune grow on us a little.

FINAL RATING (/10): 7.5

Contra is out now.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Song #35: Nick Jonas and the Administration - "Who I Am"

My girlfriend and I have a war going on. It's fairly friendly, though. We both pick a movie that we think the other is going to hate and we're going to enjoy. The last time around, she threw Step Up 2: The Streets into the ring. I, conversely, hit right back with The Jonas Brothers Concert Experience. Naturally, I won.

It's now time for my secret-favourite Jonas brother (no longer a secret, but you get it) to release his new solo shit. Yep, it's Nick. He's cute! And he's easily the most talented out of the three - whether that means as much as it should is debatable, but you get it. Anyways, the song is a lot more pop-rock than his JoBros stuff, but still has enough going for it to make the tween bitches swoon. It's got a catchy chorus and more structure, but it still definitely sounds like he's searching for a sound rather than trying to define it. For now, who Nick Jonas is = up in the air.


As usual, my girlfriend tried to bring poor little Nick down. It's like stepping on a puppy! Look at him!

I digress. Album's out this month, I think. Will get. Judge me.

David Jonas2

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Song #34: Asobi Seksu - "In the Sky"

Before we begin, some self-indulgent, name-dropping wankery: What a weekend!!!! Back from Slopfrenzy, which turned out to be deadset insane - I spent most of today sightseeing in Sydney with fucking Micachu and the Shapes. I can't even begin to describe how weird that shit was, man. But it was so great! I also met the wonderful humans from Ponytail, as well as JD Samson from Le Tigre and her girlfriend...who happens to be Sia friggin Furler. What a weekend.

No rest for the wicked, let's get on with the goddamn listening. Today, we've got a band from the states called Asobi Seksu. I believe their name is something really naughty in Japanese, but I can't remember. It doesn't matter. They made an album a few years' back called Citrus. It had two amazing songs in particular - New Years and Thursday. Haven't heard much from them since, so it's good to know they're still kicking around - they released an album in 2009 entitled Hush, and I'm finally getting around to taking a listen to some of the tracks.

Yuki Chikudate still unquestionably has a wonderful set of pipes about her. The notes she can soar to are done flawlessly and really engage you as a listener - if you're to take anything away from this song, chances are this will be it. The song itself, in comparison, takes a little longer to find its wings. It's a shift into dream-pop territory, with direction towards the capital city made exceptionally clear. Lovely, yes. Interesting? Not nearly as much as previously. Even still, there's a few wonderful sounding parts (particular the synth outro that will trip your speakers out something chronic), and if you were a fan of the band previously then you're almost certain to develop enjoyment of this over time.

FINAL RATING (/10): 6.5

It's no New Years, that's for sure. Try that song for those of you uninitiated with the band. Regardless, we've got a pretty nice little track on our hands here. Big ups this time go to Stereo Jealousy.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Song #33: Telepathe - "In Your Line"

Fuck, I'm excited. Two days into the new year and I've already got a gig lined up. This one is being put on by Popfrenzy Records, entitled Slopfrenzy - the headliner being the amazing Micachu with her band The Shapes. I went into a fit when I found out she was touring Australia, so naturally I had to get to the show by any means necessary. I'll also be seeing her at Days Like This! (plug plug plug).

Another act on the bill that I'd never previously listened to is Brooklyn's Telepathe. The two-piece have a spaced-out, synth-infused style that's reminiscent of the first Bat for Lashes and a poppier Bjork. It's not a very original sound - in truth, it gets a little grating, especially with the excessive vocal layering. Let's not discredit this entirely, however. It's cute in its space-cadet kind of way, and its appeal will definitely be picked up by a lot of different kids. No idea how they'll go live, but it should be fun.


If you're in Sydney, you should really get along to this gig - starts at 5:30 and it's $30 at the door. I'm so excited I could very well puke.


Song #32: DJ Earworm - "United States of Pop 2009 (Blame It on the Pop)"


Before we get into it, a very happy new year to anyone and everyone reading the blog and to everyone doing the 100 Days project! More power to each and every one of you, and I sincerely hope you make 2010 your year.

What a way to kick off 2010! The magnificent DJ Earworm has made his return by once again compiling the 25 most popular songs of the year (in this instance, 2009 - his third) into a magnificent mashup.
I'm not even exaggerating - this is an absolutely, unquestionably brilliant composition. How can this be? Easy: U.S.-based mashup king Earworm has tapped into euphoria by simple yet incredibly effective means.

The song's instrumental basis revolves around the catchy chord progression and beat found in Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling (which is, for those of you playing at home, G/C/Em/C), and brought it up one whole step - thus transforming it to A/D/F#m/D. For the non-musical types, this may not mean very much at all. To me, however, it's a small gem of beatmatched brilliance - in turn with the key change, the songs sampled have been tweaked to a new corresponding key (save for Kelly Clarkson's My Life Would Suck Without You and Beyonce's Halo which were already in the key of A to begin with). Everything changes. Kings of Leon's Use Somebody sounds more desperate than ever. A strange sense of world-weariness is added to the lyrics of Jay Sean's Down. Taylor Swift has her confidence boosted through the roof as she powers out lyrics from Love Story and You Belong With Me in notes soaring above their previous incarnations. Instead of sounding depressed about singing "the old me is dead and gone", Justin Timberlake now sounds as if he's been emancipated on T.I.'s Dead and Gone. Good God, even artists I normally cannot stand, such as The Fray (with You Found Me) and Jason Mraz (with I'm Yours), sound wonderful.

Herein lies another element of Blame It on the Pop's genius. No matter what change comes from the pitch-shifted samples, every single one of them is for the better. The songs sampled sound as if they are working towards a collective goal - and the way they tessellate is a wonder in itself. Just listen to the virtual duet between Beyonce and Miley Cyrus with her track The Climb. With the similar lyrics (Knowles sings "The risk that I'm taking", as Cyrus plays call-and-response with "Every chance I'm taking", etc.), the two have a momentary eclipse of pop-ballad beauty.

With 2009 a thing of the past, the pop music puzzle is complete. What Earworm has done is take the pieces apart once more, completing the same reconstructive task yet helping us notice the minute, formerly-ignored details we didn't take notice of when taking in the big picture. It also shows the mood that was set in 2009's United States of Pop, as its prequels did. 2007 was raucous and loudmouthed (Crank That Soulja Boy, Fergalicious, Umbrella). 2008 saw pop mature and engross itself in the grandiose (Viva La Vida, Bleeding Love, Apologize). So what of 2009? It was a year of uncertainty, distress and occasional incoherence. But that never got in the way of a good party. When Earworm posted the track on his page, he had this to say in relation to the composition and its bracketed title:

This year in the charts, so many of the pop songs this year seem to tell the same story: Yeah, we’ve been through a lot, but right now we’re gonna celebrate with music and dance, and it’s gonna be ok. With that spirit in mind, I invite you to…BLAME IT ON THE POP

FINAL RATING (/10): 10

Blame? Maybe later.
Right now, I just want to thank it for the good times. And while we're at it, let's thank Earworm for another stroke of genius - 25 in 1 never seemed like a better deal.

Download the song here.

While you're at it, take a look at the video.

Finally, big ups to Vinyl and Vodka for helping me pick up on this. Muchos appreciated.

Here's to 2010!!


P.S.: This is probably the most I've written about a song in the blog so far, so I apologise if it's a little long-winded, but I can't emphasise enough how great this is.