You know her as the former lead vocalist for Swedish indie-pop band The Concretes and from last year's Peter Bjorn and John's single Young Folks, but it's been almost a year since Victoria Bergsman announced her departure from The Concretes. She's just released on Rough Trade records, her very own debut album "Open Field" under the name Taken By Trees; able to capture and showcase her delicate wistful vocals as we know it.
Produced with Bjorn Yttling, the album takes the listener through a walk in the forest with its echoes and instrumental patterns like stones skipping water; with the beautiful combination of folk and pop; it manages to bring simplicity which is what makes this album personal, enough to open up and see the true side of Victoria.
Artax Mission is an experimental Psychedelic rock band from Adelaide, South Australia. Their sound is indescribable, however if you have seen Wolf & Cub or The Mars Volta you may have some idea of what to expect. They are a maelstrom of droning guitars and throbbing drum beats. These tracks are from their recently released self-titled mini album (produced by Matt Hill who has worked with Wolf & Cub and Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!)
I can now honestly say that I am a fully fledge fan of all things UK indie. I was normally one who despised this sort of genre, with the exception of the more well known bands such as Bloc Party and Arctic Monkeys, but in the last few months I fallen for the lesser known bands of this genre. Bands such as The Maccabees and The Ripps are some I have been giving a go, but one that has really stuck out from the rest, is Good Shoes. This band has got it all down pat; danceable beats? Check! Guitars to die for? Check! Drumbeats to make you weak? Check! Music that is so good it's hard to believe? Check! Seriously everyone, if there was one band I'd recommend people to listen to, I would have to say Good Shoes. These guys just can't seem to do anything wrong and have released a record that so unbelievably good, it's currently sending me crazy. Just to prove how much I love these guys, I have not one, but two videos for you all.
Interpol have once again created a post punk masterpiece, Our Love To Admire. An atmospheric blend of synthesizers , metronome drumming and textured angular guitars. Their music is still catchy enough to secure their position at the forefront of indie rock. You Can Still Hear the heavy influence of Joy Division and The Chameleons.
I'm going to come out right now and say it, I am not a fan of hip hop, there I said it. I don't know what is about it that gets to me, maybe it's just that it all sounds the same. But, fortunately there is one exception and that would be the incredibly talented and gorgeous M.I.A. There were only a few albums this year that I was really anticipating to hear, and M.I.A.'s new one, Kala, was one of them. I was huge fan of the complete makeover of hip hop she created on her 2005 release, Arular, and now with her newest work about to hit shelves (August 21st to be precise) I'm really looking to seeing and hearing what sort of creative pieces of work she'll come up with this time around. Judging from the few tracks I've heard so far, this is going to be something huge. There is no doubting whatsoever that this album will push her popularity up a hell of a lot and even force her back into the mainstream scene once again. What makes the timing of Kala's release sweet, is the fact that it will be released a few weeks prior to her making another trip down to Australia, taking in all the Parklife festivals and hopefully doing some sideshows as well. If you were like me, and made up some excuse to not see her at the Big Day Out a few years back or didn't even go to her sideshows then, dont make the same mistake this time around, do what I'm gonna do. Buy a ticket for Parklife. To view possibly the best festival line-up to ever come to Australia, go here.
I don't know if it's much of a secret or not, but I have a thing for Against Me! Not in a sexual way or in a really creepy and disturbing way, but in a way like a kid having a lick of an ice cream for the first time (maybe a poor likeness). I yesterday, for the second time in one year, had to the pleasure of witnessing this band once again turn heads and leave people in shock as they screamed, stomped, and forced every ounce of energy they (and the crowd) had in their incredibly skinny bodies. The band, to me, are possibly the best band to witness live, they are just the complete opposite to what they sound on record, and it helps that your in a venue that is literally the size of your living room with numerous amounts of kids cramed into one tiny corner that if you fell over, you'd probably be crushed. So to celebrate my over excitement and the mark the band has now left on me once again, I am going to dedicate a post to the history of the band so that people that are yet to witness the band in their skin and glory could maybe jump on the bandwagon and quit being slack.
Back in 2002, the band released their debut record, Reinventing Axl Rose, on No Idea Records. Prior to this they had an endless amount of EP's, singles, cassettes, you name it flying around. To the band's surprise, the album never landed them a lawsuit from the Guns 'N Roses singer himself. Reinventing Axl Rose was a huge shift for the band, for starters they were actually a band (they use to be a two-piece) and they now had the inclusion of an electric guitar, two infact. The album has folk-punk written all over it and the influences are as obvious as any other of their releases, but the band were only starting out at this stage of their career, they were young and had many years to learn. Irish influenced Pints Of Guiness Make You Strong and Baby, I'm An Anarchist! were stand-out tracks, giving the band some attention from a certain well known punk label.
A year later the band got signed to Fat Wreck Chords and released their second album, As The Eternal Cowboy. To much delight the band recieved that wider audience exposure they were hoping, but to some of the more reliable and core fans the sign to a new label was not welcomed with opened arms. The band then really started to hit things off, their touring schedules became hectic (they made their first to Australia), interviews were overblown, and the band were becoming something of a hit in the punk-rock community. Once again the band showed a whole new movement, they focused more on the rock side of their music rather than the folksy side. This as well forced fans to split and either be with the band and where they were now heading or find a new band. Sink. Florida. Sink became an anthem for most punks whilst songs such as Rice And Bread and You Look I Need A Drink were winners with new listeners.
The band then went a little quiet, only releasing their much acclaimed and insightful DVD We're Never Going Home which showed us the hectic life that is Against Me! The band literally had major record labels throwing millions and millions towards the band to sign with them. The DVD was a clear insight as to how the band handles this sort of situation and shows that they truly think of the fans and wouldn't become sell-outs. On the plus side, there was also a lot of music to be watched and loved.
In 2005 came the band most anticipated and overhyped album yet, Searching For A Former Clarity, which once again saw the band heading a new direction and giving the finger to anyone that doesn't agree with what their doing. The album broke them into mainstream status and even debuted in the Top 100 on the Billboard charts. The band then released their first "officially" video clip for Don't Lose Touch, which even got them a spot on the Late Night With Conan O'Brien. Searching For A Former Clarity was a huge awakening for listeners as lead singer Tom Gabel gives us his thoughts and feelings towards his country and their government, thus making the album the most political album to date. The band also had Don't Lose Touch remixed by Mouse On Mars (oh! If anyone has this song, please feel free to share it with me) and they also made their second tour to Australia, which I attended.
Towards the end of 2005 it was announced that the band had officially signed with major label Sire Records. This decision, like many of their other decisions, infuriated loyal fans and they now felt that the band were betraying them. Whilst "core" fans now wanted to be removed from Against Me! most fans welcomed this opportunity with open arms and saw things like the band.
In 2006 the band released their first ever live album, Americans Abroad!, which was filmed in London on the end of their 2005 tour in front of hundreds of fans. The album featured only one new song, Americans Abroad, and was their last ever release on Fat Wreck Chords. The live album gave fans once again a new insight in the band and shows us the enthusiasm and the chemistry the band have on stage. The DVD really proves that the band do have the best time on stage.
This year it was announced that the band have finished recording their new album with legendary producer, Butch Vig (Nirvana's Nevermind and drummer for Garbage), the album will be titled New Wave and will be released towards the end of July. With the release of their new video and single, White People For Peace, the band are still sticking with being political and having a say, but have now secured themselves as one of the main leaders of punk rock (forget Green Day and whatnot).
Unlike my run of bad luck for the past week, it's been all champagne and bubbles for Brooklyn, New York quartet Bishop Allen who about to release a full-length sophomore record titled "The Broken String" on July 24th via Dead Oceans label. To brighten up the days I've been revisiting their back catalogue with the interesting music project of releasing a four track EP for every month for the last year (apart from August which includes a thirteen track live recording) which began by rescuing an old piano and sparked their inspiration.
Bishop Allen is made up of Justin Rice, Christian Rudder along with the help of revolving musicians. They make up kitschy lyrics strung together with the sweet fun of ukuleles, banjos, piano and glockenspiels (with reminiscent 60's sounds of The Kinks, Bob Dylan and The Zombies). It seems like the perfect indie pop formula hidden with warm glow inside ready to be dispersed at one of those random quiet moments. It's a rare catch but perpetual.
The Broken String will be their first record to be released by the help of a record label, it's a twelve track album with nine of the songs re-worked from the EPs.
I know, I know, I know. I stink. I haven’t been around all that much. But I am here now, so be happy! I am rewarding your patience with a fabulous mix. These tracks have been guiding me through my strenuous activities, and I hope they do the same for you!
Barbara Morgenstern The Operator This fabulous compilation of beautiful symphonies and electronic adaptation, is what makes Berliner, Barbara Morgenstern so damn great. Her beautifully united beats and mixed language assemblage is simply gold to the ears!
Whiskey Go Gos 2 Cent Girl Hello, Kings of Leon. I know, we all hate wanna-bes, but these guys you cannot simply ignore. This track especially. These all Australian boys, have this rustic southern American aura to them. Whether this is a good thing or not, I am not sure. But they sound pretty damn good! I dare you not to tap your feet and hands to this song. I dare you!
Johnny Cash The Wanderer Again, I know. Johnny-bloody-Cash. We all know he is a genius, we have all seen the movie (minus myself). I grew up with Johnny Cash and Neil Young. It reminds me of my parents when they have people over (which seemingly, as of late; is a lot!). Sometimes out comes “Essential: Johnny Cash” [squeezed between Kraftwerk and The Eels – what a mix!], and this song is just beautiful. I enjoy sitting next to the heater with a big glass of red wine, just em-basking in the beautiful unity that is this amazing song.
Tom Waits Martha Considering we are on the same page as Johnny Cash, why not go all the way and include Tom Waits. Another genius – that I am sure is before all of our time (unless you have musically literate parents, like myself). This song brings shivers, and goosebumps to my skin. All I want to do is meet Martha, and ask her some questions. This song is especially unique, as it was prior to the almost over-the-top rustic, deep and croaky voice, that is Tom Waits. I like the innocence and honesty in this track. All songs can adapt to each and every one of us, whether they are meant to or not. Interpretation is a very magical thing.
Men Without Hats Antarctica I simply couldn’t help myself with this track. Given Kraftwerk was mentioned before – this song just came to mind. A great track to just ask “what the fuck” to. What are they talking about? The psychedelic beats and vocals scream 80s hysterically. Just think; Digitalism, Tiga, Uffie’s beats, Cut Copy, The Presets all had inspiration and guidance from some where. At least they didn’t fuck it up like “The Living End”. Slowly adapting their traits and growth [from America] to be Australia’s own Green Day.
Nedelle (aka Nedelle Torrisi) has been kicking about for some years now and has been doing her thing quietly but sufficiently. Since being signed by Kill Rock Stars in 2005 for the release of her second album, rom The Lion's Mouth, she has become a recognisable musician within the "underground" world. She has done her fair share of helping out of the last two years, touring with Deerhoof, Destroyer, and Magnolia Electric Co. to name a few but also has done background vocals for albums by The Curtains and John Vanderslice, and even played violin on a Xiu Xiu album.
Nedelle also had the favored returned when Xiu Xiu recently covered her song Ex-Priest but under the title, Blueberry Mineshaft. When Nedelle's got time off, she spends most of it either helping out The Curtains on tour or working with her new band, Cryptacize (which features her long time friend Chris), whose album is bound to drop at the end of June.
The Locksmith Cometh is Nedelle's latest (and possibly greatest) album. It features everything we've all come to know and love about her, but with even more delicacy and secretive than her previous releases. Her songs are short and sharp, every soothing melody and background vocals make this album that lot more enjoyable and straight out fun. I Hate A Mountain is by far the standout track with it's clap-a-longs and sing-a-longs, it sets yourself up for a great album and one that holds your attention for the entire listen.
You gotta admit, over the last three years watching New You Pony Club grow into such a tight and well known band has been a joy. Everything about the band is delightful, from the colours, the fashion, to their stage presence they never fail to amaze me. The band have risen from an underground dance band to being instantly thrown into stardom, mainly due to their highly infectious and just way to catchy song, Ice Cream (Which was even used in an Intel commercial lately). The band have since been traveling the world almost non-stop, playing almost every single festival you can name and even making a few visits down under and appearing at this years V Festival.
With a non-stop touring schedule the band have managed to wangle some time to record their debut album, Fantastic Playroom, which is set to hit stores soon. The band recorded songs here and there and waited for their record label, Modular, to give them the thumbs up when they had built a big enough profile to release it. The new album will no doubt push the band further into the more mainstream category and they will become one of the most recognisable acts around.
DJ Champion is an electronic DJ and producer hailing from Montréal, Canada. Originally a guitarist he switched to turntables after a hand injury. Disliking the way the electronic music was heading in the early 00s (or whatever this decade is called) he went against the trend. Mixing his love for guitars and sequenced music he began to play with a live band (called the G - Strings). Not just any live band but 4 guitarists, 1 bass player and 1 vocalist. Clearly not you average DJ.
The music itself sounds like some a mix between Fatboy Slim and The Avalanches and at some times the ambient hip hop of Portishead or DJ Shadow. Its an eclectic mix of big beat electro, catchy guitar riffs and soulful vocals.
From what I have seen on youtube their live shows look awesome. It's as if he is conducting his live band like they were records on a turntable. Everything apart from the precussion is sampled live allowing for a more organic live experience. I can personally attest to the their ability to rock a stadium size crowd at the Montréal Internation Jazz Festival in 2005 which is quite a feat for a DJ. I wished I had gotten closer when but it was probably one of the first concerts I had been to.
Staring off as The Bumblebeez, then changing their name to Bumblebeez 81 after a fall out of a couple of members, the band has finally found comfort in their simple, clear and easy to remember name, Bumblebeez. Having been founded (like most up-and-coming Australian artists these days) by the folks at Triple J Unearth, the band has been giving one push healthy push after another in the right direction, even if things have hit them hard.
It seems that no matter what the band seem to be doing, something bad always comes and spoils it. The band were scheduled to play this years (first ever) V Festival, but due to Vila being struck by a severe illness the band were forced to cancel (but were instead replaced with the ever so delightful Soft Tigers). Now, with the new album release in sights and the band being as healthy as ever, they will hit the roads to promote their new album, Prince Umberto And The Sister Of Ill. First single off the album, is the very contagious Dr. Love, which to this current day is being flogged be every music video show in Australia. For your pleasure today, i have chucked in Dr. Love and a couple of other nifty tracks.
I'm Here Where Are You is a new song off their latest EP Boy Hush Yr Mouth. Grrr Bare Yr Teeth. Which will be released in August. Currently they are doing the usual amount of playing around in adelaide supporting the likes of Lost Valentinos (formerly The Valentinos), Red Riders and Dappled Cities Fly. Also there will be an album release party on the 24th of August at Candy's Apartment, Sydney. It’s their first time playing in Sydney so head out to their show.
Download their previous EP, You Seize The City, I'll Seize The Sky
I have been constantly reminding myself to make a post about this band for the last week or so, but then something else always comes along and interrupts your plans. Well not today, I have forced myself to sit here and to not move. Some may be aware of Fields existence by now due to other blogger's lapping this band right up and hailing them "the next best thing", which i can sort of see. Don't get me wrong, the band definitely has the potential. The release of their anticipated album Everything Last Winter, is a solid effort and should be acknowledged, like it already has, by everyone not matter wort sort of genre of music may be your thing.
The album was recorded in Dublin, Ireland and the band have really incorporated that sort of atmospheric background to their music, much like Amusement Parks On Fire. The band have been compared to fellow UK indie saviors Bloc Party and have risen to glory almost instantly. With duel vocals coming from Nick and Thorumn and creative nature that comes from the rest of the band, this release will only bring good things too the band.
If there is one thing musically that Melbourne can be proud of, it's Love Of Diagrams. Having been together now for just over six years, this garage-indie band has only seen highs in their career. In 2004, the band got signed to local label Unstable Ape (home to artists such as Laura Jean, Sir, No Through Road, and recently signed Spider Vomit) and released their debut EP We Got Communication which received high praises, mainly in the UK. The band then went silent for a little while and in late 2006 they released their next EP which was self titled.
After that, the band went absolutely nuts. They got snapped up straight away by American label Matador (Cat Power, Yo La Tengo, and Pretty Girls Make Graves) and did an extensive tour across Europe, America, and the UK. Just recently the band have dropped their much anticipated debut album Mosaics which, much like everything else they've released, has been lapped up by absolutely every body. I haven't heard one bad word about it yet. Please do yourself a favor, give these guys a listen if you haven't already. If there was an award for hardest working band in the world, these guys would be nominated.
MP3s are for sampling purposes only.
Please buy the album if you like what you hear.
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