Friday, November 28, 2008

'Skeleton' by Abe Vigoda

To this day I can honestly say that I have never really given much thought about Mimes. It's not that I have a distaste for them or don't appreciate what they do; their just people who have never crossed my mind or I've spared a moment to give a though too. That is until now because I can tell you that after just witnessing Abe Vigoda's video for Skeleton I'm officially spooked. The way the group portrays these Mimes - whilst still rocking out to the tune, might I add - is eerie to say the least. There's glimpses of freaky smiles, weird hair-do's and extreme close ups of the members faces just starring blankingly. It's enough to give a small child nightmares. On top of this though, the film-clip is actually really incredibly brilliant. I'm sort of lost for words in just how to describe it but the way the camera shakes with each members bopping, the way it chops from one side of the group performing to the other and just the cross fades really keeps the interest level at a high. You have no choice but to watch, it's hard to look away. Even if the band does look their thinking about killing you. This is a stunning track from a stunning album, and if I were to recommend a "tropical-punk" album to someone whose interested I would hands down go for Skeleton. I'm also well aware that Skeleton may be the only "tropical punk" album in existence but that doesn't mean it's not crap.

(MP3) Abe Vigoda - Skeleton

Futher Information:
Myspace Site | Purchase Skeleton | More MP3's

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kim Salmon and The Surrealists @ Ding Dong Lounge

Photos taken by Mandy Hall and can be viewed here along with her other work.

Opening up the night was Pistons Misfire, a ‘supergroup’ of sorts, containing members from various bands such as Kamikaze Trio, Group Seizure, Digger & the Pussycats and The Cheats. This band was loud and brash, with a clash of distorted guitar and deafening drums, as if the result if Jay Reatard collaborating with Wolf & Cub. It was punk, with psychedelic undertones but still maintaining a contemporary appeal. I admit that the Wolf & Cub comparison may appear to be somewhat lazy, as this band too had two drummers booming their way through an electric set.

Second was one of my favourite bands Witch Hats, showcasing some new material. With hectic lyrics about everything and nothing at all, matched with static, manic guitar and crashing drums there is a genuine punk brutality in this band live performance, matching that of punk predecessors such as the Birthday Party. Placed amongst the newer songs were Summer of Pain, Jock The Untold and Hellhole, the live renderings of these dirty, sharp songs coming to life even more so, possessing a real viciousness, though hearing some of the new, unknown songs was a great indicator as to what is to come from this amazing band.

Coming into this gig, I know very little of Kim Salmon. I knew of how influential his music in its various form (The Scientists, Beasts of Bourbon, The Surrealists) has been not only on Australian bands, but world-wide, but basically went into this blind, not knowing what to expect. The songs has a muddy distortion to them, with Salmons vocals traveling from barely-there whispers to deafening screeches and growls, with the music often doing the same, with moments of bass heavy riffs, to barley-there, almost silent spaces, strung together with piercing guitar. I was watching, and could see how this man and all of the musical catalogue he brings with him has influenced so many over the years, I could see how this band had influenced Witch Hats, who played just before them, though for some reason something about his performance just went straight over the top of me head. Whether it be that we’re just too many generations apart for me to be able to fully appreciate what he was doing, or maybe it was just a genuinely shrug-worthy performance, I am not sure. I feel somewhat disappointed in myself for not seeing what many people there obviously had seen in the past and continued to see this night, but something was just not happening for me.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

'The Bismarck' by Lost Valentinos

The Lost Valentinos have finally returned after many many countless months in somewhat hiding, and what a surprising return it has been. The Bismarck is the name of the group's latest single. Their remix own under the Knife Machine moniker reminds me of New Order and how they always did their own extended remixes - which a lot of the times were actually better than the original. I guess maybe, its a personal thing but for some reason I really prefer it if there are less vocals and the track is 50 percent longer. Its good that I can still be a little excited about an "dance punk" band in late 2008 but the Lost Valentinos' new single just gets it right. Bismark is a pretty sweet glimpse into what the group could be producing next. It's been too long since the release of their last single 17 Death. Hopefully this time we wont have to wait as long for the album to arrive.

(MP3) Lost Valentinos - The Bismarck
(MP3) Lost Valentinos - The Bismarck (Knife Machine Remix)

Futher Information:
Myspace Site | Purchase The Bismarck | More MP3's

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

5 Songs with Children Collide

It's been a little since I've posted one of these (which I really should start doing a lot more frequently seeing as though there are so many more yet to be posted) but now that I'm trying to get things up and rolling on this website once again - and introducing some new features in the not-to-distant future - it's pretty much a perfect time to be doing this. So, all excuses aside, it's time to push forward. Children Collide is possibly one of the most talked about Melbourne bands at the moment. What with a debut album now released, a stellar live reputation, and some incredible music to go with it; it was only going to be a matter of time for these guys. The Long Now is the name of the album and starting tomorrow night the boys are set to tour around Australia promoting it. The tour dates and supports are available at this link but I also managed to steal some time from lead-vocalist Johnny Mackay for a quick interview and a '5 Songs with...' which he was only more then happy to take part in.

(MP3) Children Collide - Skeleton Dance
(MP3) Children Collide - Chosen Armies

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(MP3) NEU! - Hallogallo
I’m obsessed with this band at the moment. I love the use of the driving or “motorik” beat, something I really want to explore further in my own music. Hallo Gallo embodies what I love about the feel of NEU!

(MP3) Peter And The Wolf - Safe Travels
Cute sentimental folk from Austin, Texas. This guy writes songs that make me feel like being a character in a fairy tale. I really wanted him to look like a medieval lumberjack, but he looks more like a pro tennis player or something…anyway, check him out.

(MP3) Bridezilla - Saint Francine
One of the best new bands in Australia at the moment. I love this song, recently got passed their EP and listened to it a bunch of times in a row. This song especially sticks out to me. I hope they do well.

(MP3) Spaceman 3 - Ecstacy In Slow Motion
This is basically the same sound repeating itself for about 9 minutes. It put me into another world the first time I heard it, so meditative and beautiful. It’s off a weird record called Dreamweapon that I had to order once I’d heard this song.

(MP3) The E.L.F. - Billie
After a tour with this brilliant man I couldn’t get this song out of my head for weeks. He knows how to write a tune, he also knows how to be a funny bastard and when he’s not dropping beats in Port Moresby he’s making videos of himself in his bedroom.

Futher Information:
Myspace Site | Purchase The Long Now | More MP3's | Watch Social Currency

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bodies Of Water

It probably seems that with every post I put together and publish I'm always speaking about bands that I absolutely love to death and couldn't live without. Well, in some cases, this is true and this one today most definitely fits under that category of "if they didn't exist, I might just die". I have to admit, I'm a late bloomer to this prog-rocking gospel-folk group but as cliched as it always sounds, it's always better late then never. It wasn't until this year's release of A Certain Feeling that Bodies Of Water grabbed my attention, and every bit of it. They quite literally just blew me away, I was stunned by the creativity and the brilliance that this band is just smothered with.

Gold, Tan, Peach, and Grey is this majestic churchy Arcade Fire-esque killer of an opening track that just simply sets the mood for the rest of the album, and has this flow about it that makes you want to take in what's being put in front of you, do some kind of tribal dancing, or just simply sit there in awe. And with proceeding tracks Under The Pines, Only You and Water Here the album just keeps on transcending through different emotions. It's really hard to pin-point just the kind of effect this album has on you. I don't know, I think for once I could just be completely lost for words and unable to describe how unbelievable A Certain Feeling really is.

(MP3) Bodies Of Water - Under The Pines
(MP3) Bodies Of Water - Darling Be Here
(MP3) Bodies Of Water - If I Were A Bell

There's influences coming from everywhere with this group; from 80's classics, theatre-esque bands such as Queen, and of course, some straight up traditional prop-rock. With this album winning me over from the first listen I had to investigate their previous release Ears Will Pop And Eyes Will Blink. It's now obvious to see how A Certain Feeling got it's sound but what I like about this first release from the group is that it was actually a little bit more different and they are group who have/are progressing with their sound. This comes across as almost something The Polyphonic Spree could've whipped up.

The song-writing for this album really takes the limelight away from everything else, it's incredibly distinctive and written so exceptionally well. They incorporated all these whimsical lyricism into a blend of songs ranging once again folk to prog-rock but what really entertained me with a couple of songs is the occasional Spaghetti-Western opening's and even bridges. Bodies of Water are perfect, that's all I can say about them now. They just have everything down pat and perform it so pleasantly. Only a handful of artists can put a huge grin on my face, and I can happily add this band to the list.

(MP3) Bodies Of Water - These Are The Eyes
(MP3) Bodies Of Water - I Guess I'll Forget The Sound, I Guess, I Guess
(MP3) Bodies Of Water - It Is Familiar

Futher Information:
Myspace Site | Album Catalogue | More MP3's | I Heard It Sound Video

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

'Into The Chaos' by Howling Bells

I don't know if I could be anymore excited at the moment. Not only have I managed to find some motivation to try and get Off The Record back up and running again in much a better way (did you notice the "single review" stamp on the above picture? a sign of things to come people) but in doing this, and searching around for something new and pretty damn good to post about, I happened to just visit the Howling Bells website at just the right moment as their new single Into The Choas has just been let out into the world for people to enjoy and love. In the midst of all these "follow-up" albums that have been coming in flourishes this year, somewhere in the minds of people the question of when the Howling Bells would release a new album surely would have been floating about, somewhere. I know for me it certainly has been, and although there is no official date for the release of the next album all I can say is let the countdown begin.

With tours coming in every direction for the band, from headliners to supporting big acts (The Killers, Placebo and currently Mercury Rev) the four-piece has seen nothing but positive feedback. I pretty much fell in love with the Howling Bells from first listen of their 2006 - and breaking - single Low Happening, and the self-titled album that proceeded. But with a couple of years passed by and now this hot new single in everybody's hands, this are only going to take off dramatically once again.

The single is probably what most have come to love about the band as it takes a similar path to that of the previously mentioned song Low Happening and even Wishing Stone with it's flamboyant but structurely (yes, I made up a word) perfect drumming and guitar work. Juanita Stein's vocals are once again the stealer. There are not a lot of female vocalists around today that can really pull off the sexy rock 'n roll voice but by god Stein has got this so far down pat it's not funny. I can honestly see this single taking off, and it most certainly remind people once again that although the group has been hibernating for some time, they are still together and most definitely back with that certain something to get the senseless tingling again.

(MP3) Howling Bells - Into The Chaos

Futher Information:
Myspace Site | Pre-Order Into The Chaos | More MP3's | Watch Live Recording | 5 Songs with...

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