Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Holidays

Sydney indie four piece The Joysticks officially kicked off the Holidays Golden Sky single tour. Playing to a very empty crowed at the Oxford Art Factory their set was less than impressive. As people slowly trickled in out of the cold there was a better turn out for the second support band Ernest Ellis who were awesome and will be Joining the Holidays for the rest of their tour.

By the time Sydney darlings The Holidays took to the stage the room was filled. Since starting back in 2006 with a bass player who had no idea how to play, the quartet have evolved in to something very impressive. Two EP’s down and a host of international and local support slots including Ben Kweller, The Wombats, Jamie T and Lightspeed Champion, The Holidays have finally committed to a much anticipated full length album that will be out in August.

Moonlight Hours was the killer first single off their debut album followed by Golden Sky, which last nights performance was in aid of. Going off these two tracks we can expect big things from the rest of the album, recorded and produced by the guys and mixed by Tony Espie (Midnight Juggernauts).

They have evolved from their simpler indie past to something much more colourful and musically complex. Last nights gig delivered an energetic performance from the band that was heavy with vocal melodies and upbeat rhythms. With a stronger pop sensibility than their earlier material this new album will appeal to mainstream and should ensure big things for the Holidays. Dense with layers that showcase the groups growing technical ability their performance was faultless. Filled with “summer vibes, electropical dance numbers & mellow, breezy melodies” the Holidays always ensure a wicked set so try get along to one of their gigs sometime. Check out their website for details.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Introducing Dan Sultan for My World Tour (by StereoDan)

Dan Sultan certainly knows how to wind up a crowd! From the moment he steps onto stage you become drawn in by his raw and energetic live performance. Despite the vast size of the Bluesfest tent he was performing in, Dan managed to pull a large crowd of punters jostling to catch a view of his gig.

I was very thankful to see a large portion of his set from the photographers pit but was most excited when I got the chance to meet with Dan himself immediately after the set! It was a very revealing interview with us talking about a number of personal and political issues. 

Overall I was impressed by Dan Sultan's down to earth personality and honesty. If you have a quick watch of the video below and you’ll see exactly what I mean…

Dan Sultan is no stranger to the Australian live music scene with his 2nd album “Get Out While You Can” ranking number one in the Australian independent music charts and receiving much well earned support from Triple J. 

Currently Dan is looking to keep recording his music but also would like to incorporate the skills of other guest performers into his work. Most notably he would like to collaborate with Russell Smith a well know Melbourne based didgeridoo artist. 

Aside from recording Dan Sultan’s current main focus is to embark on an around the world music tour. Currently he is touring extensively around Australia with plenty of big performances (including Splendour in the Grass) to check out! 

With plans to tour Shanghai and some international festivals (confired for Womad, UK) I really hope he continues to export his music internationally. For more information about Dan Sultan be sure to check out his official website


Tomorrow In A Year Review

Finally got my hands on this little gem….

Industrial groans and electronic squeaks, which initially sound like workings of machine, pave the way into the sonic wonderland that is Tomorrow In A Year.

Swedish brother and sister duo Karin Dreijer Andersson (Fever Ray) and Olof Dreijer (aka The Knife) were commissioned by the Danish performance group, Hotel Pro Forma, to write the music for an opera based on the life and work of Charles Darwin. When reminded of the context of this project these groans clearly transform into an interpretation of animal life. Tomorrow is an intriguing, conceptual album that requires a certain level of concentration to appreciate the work. Simply listening to this album in your car will do it no justice, and will probably result in the disks being Frisbeed out the window.

Tomorrow cannot be experienced from the assumption that it is a follow on from any of The Knifes earlier works. Firstly, it has been classed as an electro-opera and therefore an entirely new set of elements and technique have been employed to make this piece work.  The album is divided into two disks, the first of which will leave many Knife fans feeling alienated and frustrated, assuming the same for fans of traditional opera, who may find the avant-garde electronics abrupt and ill suited to this domain. In an attempt to reach a more collaborative way of working the siblings invited post-punk solo artist Mt.Sims and experimental/pop, multi-instrumentalist Planningtorock to produce the album.

The duel disk album is a studio version of the opera, and therefore slight musical alterations have been made. Upon first listen disk one is hard to adapt to but as the music evolves it is by the second CD that Knife fans finally reap their reward. This album may even take a few listens in its entirety and while each time rewards the listener with a stronger appreciation of the epic aural landscape some tracks will leave you feeling discouraged such as Variation of Birds and Letter to Henslow.

The entire album switches between Darwin’s personal life and his scientific observations and disk one seems to be heavy with the latter. It is not until track two that we are introduced to mezzo soprano, Kristina Wahlin, who becomes one of the vehicles for the narrative of the opera.

Getting used to the operatic styles was a slow process, but I have come to appreciate the earlier tracks for what they are. In contrast I am yet to warm to Variation of Birds. Endless minutes of distorted baselines and screeching electronics that make you assume the CD is skipping. This song is actually hard to listen to.  By the time the beautiful vocals of pop artist Jonathan Johansson are introduced, the song has evolved enough to tolerate. Letter to Henslow on the other hand is a cross between children discovering an echo and an entire floor of an insane asylum mimicking bird calls and chimp noises. It seems uncanny, but you must keep in mind the piece is written to support a performance and you can not entirely discount until it you have seen the work live.

Lyrically, the work is very straight forward, musically, The Knife is very experimental. Recording outdoor ambience at the Mamori Artlab Workshop along the Amazon in Brazil, they have incorporated much of this throughout the album, chiefly on the track Social Swarm Orchestra.

The Second CD is less bizarre and the abrupt ambiance is replaced by rhythm, melody and even some pop hooks.

Annie’s box opens again with animal recordings before beautiful cello and orchestral movements perfectly encapsulate the morbid tone of the track. Sung from the perspective of Darwin the piece is a eulogy written for his 10yr old granddaughter and Wahlins operatic vocals are powerfully evocative.  This track is then juxtaposed against Tumult, an experimental ambient track that ever so slowly evolves into the tribal percussions that introduced us to Colouring of Pigeons, the first release off the album. Over 11 minutes of organised mayhem, this track seems to be the link between the earlier confusions and the forward direction.  Strong with elegant beauty and contemporary appeal it is in this track that we finally hear the unmistakable vocals Karen Dreijer. Less electronic and more percussive, this method really works for The Knife and I sincerely hope they continue to flirt with this style in the future.   

With electro-pop making its first appearance onto this album Seeds, delivers a building beat that establishes a new instrument or element every 10 or so seconds. As the fastest track on the album this is something you could see work in a club. For me this song was ruined by the vocals of Johansson. Although his performance is faultless, Seeds is clearly screaming for the eerie vocals of Karin or Olof. The title track is again heavy with the dark yet compelling rhythmical drums which are warmed with the layered vocals of Wahlin, Johansson and Laerke Winther who the opera was specifically written for being singers of different domains: popular music; classical opera; and the performing arts. By the final track the entire album feels complete.

This album will most likely not appeal to mainstream and if fans are expecting The Knife they will be alienated. It’s an opera, complex with experimentation and ambition, that has successfully challenged the pre-existing perception of what opera music should be. Tomorrow In A Year will polarise people. The raw power of traditional mezzo soprano against the electronic playground of The Knife, Mt. Sims and Planningtorock has created a cacophony of sound that is dense in aural imagery. It was compelling to listen to and I am curious to see what elements The Knife will borrow for their next album. 

A bit about the performance:

Directed by Ralf Richardt Strøbech and Kirsten Dehlholm the opera has been confirmed for the Melbourne International Arts Festival, 8 - 23 October 2010.

“Here there are all kinds of performance: Song and drama and dance. Here there is everything for the eye: green laser and writing in the air and video in slow motion. And here there is also everything for the ear: rock drawl and grating metal and opera trills.
Everything on this peepshow stage breaks out in 3D, what is more. The clouds of the video projections even mutate from virtual reality to stage reality, as smoke machines cause the clouds to glide through the film screens. Even the sound appears to come at you in 3D, because the one electronic layer of sound is superimposed on the other, so that this surround sound in Anders Jørgensen’s excitingly different sound design finally has a visual effect”
 Information, Danish daily, 5 September 2009


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Acceptable In The 80's

Sydney locals, if you find yourself with a bit of free time on your hands I highly recommend checking out The 80's Are Back exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum. This little time warp takes you though a decade of fashion, art, music, movies, parties, politics and icons of Australia.




Saturday, May 15, 2010

R.E.M, Snow Patrol & Belle and Sebastian Fans'.....

Bit of an unusuall role call...

New bands on the scene are always an exciting thing, all the more so when the line up looks like this:  Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, Peter Buck (R.E.M) and Belle and Sebastian drummer Richard Colburn.  

Tired Pony  began recording back in January and have enlisted the help of both Zoe Deschanel and M Ward  (She and Him) and Tom Smith (Editors). We can expect the album, titled The Place We Ran From, to be out sometime in July.

Following his studio time with Tired Poney Lightbody will go back to working on his electronic side project Listen... Tank!. The duo, Lightbody and producer Garret 'Jacknife' Lee (Bloc Party, Editors, U2), released Black and Silver back in 2007 and have had their hands full with other projects since. We should be expecting some new stuff from the duo shortly.

Make sure you have a gander at Tired Pony's website to get a glimpse of their stuff


Friday, May 14, 2010

Xavier Rudd (by StereoDan)

Tonight I had the chance to enjoy the cool vibes of Xavier Rudd performing live at the Enmore Theatre here in Sydney. The band have just one more gig in Australia (30th of April @ the Palace Theatre in Melbourne) before jetting off on a massive gigging tour of Canada, Europe and the States. 

Kicking the night off with an errie chant-like sequence the band quickly got stuck into their set with a collection of high energy songs. 

Musically I was loving their down tempo grooves and funky blues slide guitar! There was a moment where I thought they were going to break into a Sinfieldcover but it was all good. 

Their sound has a nice mixture of instrumentation and raw emotional energy. They really got the crowd moving and dancing in ways which completely disobey the laws of gravity and physics! :)

If you haven't heard them before check them out online as they've got some great tracks for you to enjoy! Here is a brief snippet of their live performance from tonight:

[Photos and blog by Daniel "StereoDan" Taylor ]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My World Tour Interviews... continued! (by StereoDan)

So just a quick post to let you know about two exciting interviews which have been quietly posted to our MyWorldTour channel on YouTube. If you're not already a subscriber then CHECK IT OUT NOW to see what your missing out on and keep up to date with the latest content! 

First up is an exclusive video interview (including live performance snippets) with the amazingly talented Newton Faulkner. We hear all about how he developed his specalised finger tapping technique and has applied it to his recent musical compositions and covers.

Additionally Newton lets slip about his upcoming tour plans and what his mum really thinks about those amazing dreadlocks! Apart from being such a nice fella we most importantly learned not to take him on in a LIMBO CHALLENGE!!  If you fancy watching all the malarchy check out the full interview video below... 

Next up in the spotlight is famed guitarist/songwriter/busker/Grammy nominated artist and actor Glen Hansard! Currently performing with The Swell Season he gives StereoDan a few tips on street performing and explains the reasons behind why he became dedicated to music and performance.

Watching this video you get a real understanding of how his down to earth personality has contributed to his success in the industry and why he has such a strong connection with audiences worldwide. The road may be a cruel mistress Glen but how thankful we are that you've chosen to dedicate yourself as a touring performer!

If you ever get the chance don't hesitate to see Glen or the Swell Season perform live! If you can't wait then grab a sneak peak below...


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Electric Limbo Rock - the latest music genre

Have a gander at the latest Brag magazine, there is a nice little write up on The Crookers that goes on to state “Partly because that twisted-electro-house-cum-vocal-thrash-fidget sound is pretty popular right now”.


Sure this may be taking the piss but people are actually going to this extent to try and label music and to be honest I’m struggling to keep up.   

Rewind 60 years. Elvis Presley was the coolest cat around and music was pretty simple to classify. Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues, Country, Folk, Classical and Gospel. Over the next ten or so years the lines between genres were getting crossed and artists were trying new things, the end result Folk-Rock, Blues Rock and so on. Basic.

Over the years rock evolves and we are introduced to Punk Music which brings us the likes of The Ramones and The Sex Pistols. Fast forward to the 90’s…Alternative Rock is on the rise and Kurt Cobain becomes a house hold name. Its all pretty straight forward until we get into sub genres and other music styles become just as big. 

Take this for example

Rock which gave rise to Indie Rock which is linked to Post-Punk and births Dance Punk, Electro Rock and of coarse New Rave which seemed to be over just as quick as it started. Speaking of which we are still waiting for the Klaxons to release a follow up from their 2007 album Myths of the Near Future that they keep promising. I sure hope they have a few tricks up their sleeve because that's the sad thing about these microgenres, they are not a sturdy as the original model. Thank god New Young Pony Club have tried to steer clear of this association with their latest album The Optimist. Their still NYPC as we love them and just as danceable. 
Either way its these little buggers (micro genres) that bleed into one another to confuse the hell out of me. There are over a thousand different genres of music these days and a good 50 or so have ‘core’ somewhere in their name. From Pornocore, a filthy X-rated genre of Hip-Hop, to Nerdcore, yet another side project of Hip-Hop where the artists rap about politics, Star Wars and computers things are getting a little out of hand.  Imagine if Weird Al was being legit then this would be Nerdcore to a T

Lets not forget:
Wizard Rock. You will have to take a listen to 50 Points from Slytheran to see what I mean. Dumbledoor in particular...
Chicken scratch
Intelligent dance music 
Yodell Rock

Yeah OK so that last one was made up but you get my gist and besides that would be hilarious to see/hear. I give it three years. But don't steer clear of a genre just because the name sounds less than appealing. Take for example Math Rock legends Battles out of NYC who are A-Mazing. 


Math Rock is a pretty hard genre to articulate, think progressive, experimental, avant-garde rock. And now I have just gone done it myself, listed a bunch of words to describe music that end up meaning little to half  the people reading this. Well I can tell you this -  "it [the term ‘math rock’] was invented by a friend of ours as a derogatory term for a band me and James [Lo – Chavez’s drummer] played in called Wider. But his whole joke is that he’d watch the song and not react at all, and then take out his calculator to figure out how good the song was. So he’d call it math rock, and it was a total diss, as it should be.” Safe to say a fair few of the other odd genres came about a similar way. 

As much as I hate, and am useless at pigeonholing music thanks to these microgenres, we can also thank them for some wicked new sounds and phenomenal bands that aren't afraid to try something new. Either way if your just as confused about music genres as I am then have a look at this blog it has it pretty much down pat. 


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Coming To A Festival Near You

I Wish

You have probably already seen or heard about Ruth Flowers (AKA Dj Mamy Rock) who, at age 69, has been taking the European club scene by storm. I hate to say it but this British Granny is about 100 times cooler than I will ever be. And with get ups to match. Think Grandma Yeta only behind a set of decks.

Getting over being your average senior citizen and living life off a pension Flowers took up her new hobby after at night out for her Grandsons birthday in London. She got introduced to producer Aurelien Simon who showed her the ropes and the rest is history. 

Why I love Mamy Rock
1. "have had a very lively youth, I used to go to balls all the time..."

3. "I’d rather sign a contract with a record company than to sign up for the nursing home"

So what would happen if we got say 100,000 members to join a facebook group or sign a petition to try and get DJ Mamy Rock to play at Big Day Out 2011?

POST BY BEC CLARK (Reebajeeb) 

Ozomatli Interview


Monday, May 3, 2010

Burning Man Australia

The rumors are true! Burning Man has come to our shores.... 

Not exactly sure how it will be in comparison to the original that takes place in Black Rock Desert, Nevada but if your around for the June long weekend then this is a must. 

The concept behind this event is pretty unique as thousands of people gather in the Desert and create a community that celebrates art and self-expression. People are invited to create their own themed camps or villages to enhance the atmosphere and the experience for all involved. 

The event started back in 1986 near San Francisco and was originally a beach party. There are heaps of stories going around about WHY a 8ft high figure of a man was ignited but this has become the icon of and name behind the famous event. Today the figure of the man that is set alight has even reached 4 stories. 

The original Burning Man is top of my list of festivals I want to go too and check out this vid to see why

For information on the Australian Seed check it out here!

I would love to hear how this event goes! My World Tour please add this festival to your list for next years winners!!


Sunday, May 2, 2010


Lately I have been hearing a bit of banter about a stellar indie two piece from Pittsburgh called 1,2,3 and have become a massive fan. Their debut single Confetti was only released in February and features B-Side track Cant Bribe God which is equally, if not more, awesome. Nic Snyder and Josh Sickels who preciously played in The Takeover UK  are the talented souls behind this band that seems to be popping up on blogs everywhere. Rightly so, they are something to keep your eyes on and make sure you get your ears around Going Away Party. 

Couldn't find a legitimate film clip from the guys so I hope you like kittens....