FEATURE: Last week’s new music.

I Am Giant - "Purple Heart"

Over the past week I’ve had a bunch of videos and songs that I intended to blog about, but never quite got around to. I don’t have the time that I’d like at the moment, so here’s quick roundup of what I was going to tell you all about.

New Zealand (now London-based) prog-rockers I Am Giant released a new clip for their track “Purple Heart”. It’s pretty intense, and I have no idea what the drummer is doing with his face, but it’s well worth a listen. It’s massive.

If you’re a fan of bands like Dead Letter Circus and Karnivool, check them out.


Star Slinger, the excellent UK producer and remix artist, has ‘refixed’ Drake’s “Crew Love (feat. The Weeknd)”. General comments I’ve seen indicate a mixed reaction from fans, but Take Care was a huge album, and I understand the conflict inherent in advocating a remix of something you’re attached to. Or maybe they just thought it was shit.

I really like it though. Amazing club vibe here. You can download it for free too if you want.


Venice, a five piece pop outfit from London, have done a few covers lately. Today I somehow got linked to one they’d done of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You”, and I was actually quite impressed. They might tread a little too close to sugary commercial pop for some of your tastes, but as far as I’m concerned, their song-writing and arrangements are great. If you aren’t sure – check out their cover of Nero’s “Reaching Out” too.

Aussie “hip-hop” group TZU have released the video for “Beginning of The End” – their first single in quite a while. It’s a bit of a return, after the band went on a four-year hiatus. Their last album, Computer Love, was released in 2008.

It’s an interesting single, and I’m looking forward to picking up their new album. Tone Deaf have an accompanying comic book for you to download alongside it all too! Check it out over here.


And last, but definitely not least, is the first original track ever from remix artist RAC.

I bang on about RAC enough already, but this is special. Featuring vocals from Penguin Prison’s Chris Glover, it’s a well-defined pop hit. It’s simple enough, but still works in a bunch of amazing hooks. I really can’t wait to hear the impending album, because knowing just what RAC can do, it should be amazing. Also, if you like it, you can download it for free!

Photo from I Am Giant’s above video.

FEATURE: Skrillex Isn’t THAT Bad Live

Skrillex

Earlier this week I entered a competition, and surprisingly – I won. The prize was a double-pass to a secret show Skrillex was playing in Sydney.

I don’t even really like Skrillex, but I rationalised my entry with the fact that a significant portion of the crowd wouldn’t remember anything from their drug-fueled night. I felt bad making assumptions like that, but after arriving I realised that for the most part, I was right.

My friend and I got there with about 5 minutes to spare (no, thank you Sydney trains!), got our tickets, and went out to wait along the wharf. A ferry pulled up and a group of us got on board. Amidst overhearing debates on the optimal timing for drug consumption, we realised we were more than likely heading out to Cockatoo Island. Cool cool cool.

We got there at about 4, and there was already some guy on stage “droppin’ da bass”. I’m not sure who he was but I didn’t like his stuff very much. He played for quite a while, and then some other guy came on, and he played for quite a while too. And I’m not trying to be disrespectful, I have no idea how these people make their music – to me it’s just someone with a MacBook who turns some dials occasionally, and I have no idea what those dials do – but the bottom line is, it just didn’t sound that brilliant.

Consequently, my friend and I spent our time sitting outside watching drunks try to open portaloos instead.

It all felt a bit like “Lost” – trapped on an island with a bunch of weird things going on, and we knew many would be leaving with numerous plot holes.

I think it was the third guy who came on who really started to get the crowd going though. I feel bad ’cause I don’t know his name, and for the most part, he was quite good. He really got into his set and was jumping around, and he played that song about blocking someone on Facebook, which everyone loved (“FACEBOOK? I USE THAT SITE! MAN, THIS DJ IS SO RELEVANT”). It looked like he kept telling people side of stage that he wanted to play for one more song, but then he had to leave when something happened and the sound cut out. Bit awkward.

After that, Skrillex took to the stage with some other guy. I didn’t know who he was. The guy in front of me told me it was Flux Pavilion, and I was cool with that. But I kinda wanted to see Sonny Moore do his own thing up there, ya know? It looked a bit strange seeing them swapping spots all the time, but I guess it was a pretty unique set at least.

I’m not a huge fan, but it was fun. It was infectious to see everyone up the front going crazy, and the production was great. The screen behind Skrillyflux lit up with all sorts of cool visuals, and even though I don’t know what they were doing on stage, damn did they look cool. I mean I know that has shit all to do with the actual music, and very little to do with performance, but Skrillex looked so at home behind his set up, and he worked the crowd really well – not that he had to try hard.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re a Skrillex fan and you get a buzz off of dancing to that stuff and going crazy, then chances are you’ll love his show. If you aren’t a fan, then you might be surprised at just what you get out of it. But for what it’s worth it was very cool, and definitely something worth experiencing – if only to see what it’s like.

Nice work, Skrillex. Nice work.

Ps. When I hear “Feel So Close” remixed (badly, too) like 3 times over the one night, its time to find some new songs to work with guys, okay? Okay, cool.

FEATURE: Albums Of The Year – 2011

This is more a quick list of albums I’ve enjoyed over this last year than some kind of definitive I-went-through-my-entire-iTunes-library-and-ranked-everything-in-order list. I might have missed a couple of releases – all I know is I really liked all these ones. You might too.

So without further ado, Album of the Year goes to…

Los Campesinos - Hello Sadness

Los Campesinos!Hello Sadness

Hello Sadness sees Los Campesinos! trying to refine their output into a concise body of work. A structured and focused album. Gareth’s imagery is darker than ever, and hidden within the album are melodic hooks and intricacies that take a while to become apparent (the vocal crescendo in “To Tundra” is nothing short of beautiful). Brilliant, and another great release to add to their discography.

Other albums I enjoyed, in rough order of how much I enjoyed them, kind of. Just look.

Johnny Foreigner - Vs Everything

Johnny ForeignerJohnny Foreigner Vs Everything

A very close runner-up for AotY. Messy on the first few listens, it truly opens itself up after a few sit-throughs, and it gets better and better. Loud, fast, interesting, moving. Time will determine its longevity and significance in their discography, but it’s definitely a huge step in the band’s journey – hopefully one of many more to come.

Thrice - Major/Minor

ThriceMajor/Minor

Consistent and strong. Not one song feels under-baked. There are a lot of huge cathartic sing-a-long moments, and I don’t care whether or not you associate that as being a good thing or not with Thrice, but I think lyrically and musically this is an incredibly good album. Stunning. If you only listen to one song from Major/Minor, check out “Words in the Water”.

Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon IverBon Iver, Bon Iver

Intricate. Delicate. Evocative. This is a great album full of great songs, and they paint a picture unlike many musicians ever could. It’s easy to understand why it got Pitchfork’s Album of the Year.

Radiohead - The King of Limbs

RadioheadThe King of Limbs

Arguably a step back towards their more experimental work, this was a tough album to digest. It’s entirely possible that this album takes even longer to appreciate and understand than a year, and maybe with more time I’ll enjoy it even more. It definitely has its high points, and it’s full of interesting textures – but I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. It still gets a place here though, ’cause it’s quite good.

Grieves - Together/Apart

GrievesTogether/Apart

With the help of producer, multi-instrumentalist, and beat-maker – Budo – Grieves has released a great album here. Criticised by many (unfairly so, I believe) for his consistently emotive lyrics, Grieves tells stories of girls, drinking, anxiety, and those monsters under your bed, amongst everything else, and while it can feel like a long haul at times, there are a pile of gems on this album. If you needed any more proof that the Rhymesayers crew were some of the best out there, this shouldn’t take long to convince you.

The Weeknd - House of Balloons

The WeekndHouse of Balloons

This particular instalment of The Weeknd’s trilogy of 2011 releases is making my list not because I believe it’s the best of the three, but simply because I haven’t been able to give Thursday or Echoes Of Silence a fair go yet.
That aside, this release is really interesting. I’ve never really been into R&B in a huge way, yet The Weeknd drew me in. And it’s interesting because it paints a picture of a world so foreign that I struggle to find any personal connections. It almost feels voyeuristic to listen to. It’s intriguing at any rate, and was well worth my time. It’s free too.

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Foo FightersWasting Light

A great album from a rock band still going strong, after all these years. Consistent, full of energy, and another strong release from a band that really are going to stand the test of time.

These last few albums haven’t had as many listens as those above, but from the amount of time I’ve given them, I like them a lot. Very much worth mentioning here.

Example - Playing in the Shadows

ExamplePlaying in the Shadows

Slow ClubParadise

Phantogram - Nightlife EP

PhantogramNightlife EP

LEAK!: Johnny Foreigner – Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything

Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything

WONDERING WHY THERE’S A LEAK HERE? Well it’s not real. Check out this to find out what I joined in on.

I’m not normally in the habit of posting leaks at On The Tune, but today is a pretty special day.

Johnny Foreigner’s new album has leaked ahead of it’s November release, and I figured I may as well share it with you. You’re going to just get it somewhere else – may as well share the love, right?

It’s an album full of frenzied guitar jams, and slow-crawl acoustic numbers. If you like JoFo already, this’ll be right up your alley – this is basically the culmination of all of the work and effort they’ve put into past releases, and it shows. Pretty strong contender for Album of the Year if you ask me, provided Los Campesinos! don’t take the cake. 2011 is shaping up pretty nicely.

Artist: Johnny Foreigner
Album: Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything
Size: 64.2 Mb.

Download – Mediafire

Tracklist:
1. if im the most famous boy you’ve fucked then honey yr in trouble
2. with who, who and what i’ve got
3. 200x
4. hulk hoegaarden, gin kinsella, david duvodkany, etc 1
5. johnny foreigner vs you
6. concret1
7. electricity vs the dead
8. jess, you got yr song so leave
9. supermorning
10. what drummers get
11. new street, you can take it
12. concret2
13. (don’t) show us your fangs
14. you vs everything
15. doesn’t believe in angels
16. the swell _ like neverwhere
17. alternate timelines piling up

Note: The track list is going off the file names, as tracks hadn’t been tagged properly.

Don’t forget to buy stuff from these guys too. Support them, go to shows, buy merch, etc. They’re brilliant artists.

FEATURE: Gig Etiquette

We may not be able to fix global warming or poverty just yet, but the world would be a slightly nicer place if people followed these simples rules while attending gigs.

1. Plan your arrival time based on your height.

This might be harsh, but if you’re short and worried about not seeing, you have two choices: either arrive early and get a good spot, or suck it up. Positioning at a gig is equal playing ground – first in, best dressed. The fact that you’re short does not override the fact that I’ve waited for hours and lined up for a top spot. Chances are, I’m a huge fan of the band too.

That said, if you’re taller you can show some sympathy and be nice. On most occasions I’m not too bothered to let someone short in front of me. But don’t go to a gig and assume it’s your right to be able to push in front. It’s not.

And no, do not pull that bullshit excuse of “you’re tall, you can still see if you go second row”. There is a huge difference between the barrier and second row, especially in a lively crowd where you’re being thrown around.

2. Don’t be a sloppy drinker.

You know what? I actually don’t want your beer thrown over me, funnily enough. Nor do I want it in my hair, on my shirt, or all over my shoes. Keep it in your glass thanks.

3. Be polite.

If I offer you my spot against the barrier, say “thank you”. Don’t pull a face like I should’ve offered earlier.

Same goes for anything else where general manners come into play. If you accidentally elbow or land on someone – apologise. Use common sense.

4. Don’t act like a gorilla on cocaine.

People go to a gig ’cause they wanna enjoy live music. Don’t flail your arms around and barge into people, especially if you’ve got a larger build. Seeing huge (usually drunk) guys lumbering around the mosh and ruining the night for people who are smaller is pretty disgusting. By all means mosh and jump around, but don’t do it at the expense of others.

5. Watch out for people around you.

See someone get knocked down? Help them up, don’t just leave them on the floor. Someone can’t breathe against the barrier? Let a security guard know.

You know what I’m talking about. Act like a bro towards people you’ve never met – some day you could be in their spot.

6. Shut your talk-hole.

Sure, you can chat with your mates, but don’t insist on yelling to your friends throughout the whole gig when people are trying to listen to music. Especially if it’s an acoustic act. No one needs to hear about your visit to the dentist last week.

7. Follow basic hygiene conventions.

Wear deodorant and keep your shirt on. It’s natural to sweat during a gig, especially in a tight crowd, but that doesn’t mean I want you to cover me in it. Deodorant will help cover the stench of pure evil too.

8. Dress appropriately.

There are very few gigs where huge handbags and stupid hats are appropriate. And yes – that’s also a no for heels. Partly because I don’t want you rolling an ankle, but mainly because I don’t want you breaking my freakin’ toes. Just wear something normal and practical.

9. Unless you have a media pass, you are not a professional photographer.

I don’t have to move aside so you can use a big camera to take nice pictures. By all means, take a couple (I take a two or three on my phone for reviews), but let’s be honest – unless you’re in the photographers’ pit, your photos are going to be sub-par compared to what you’ll find on a professional site.

Mosh pits can be rough. Bringing an expensive camera is plain risky. But no matter what you’re using, don’t hold it up all night – it’s ridiculously annoying. Put it away and enjoy the gig, yeah?

10. Don’t be a dick.

If these are too much to remember, just keep this one in mind and you should be fine.

Thanks to the contributions from Electric Skeleton, And Pluck Your Strings, Sabi’s Aus Music Blog, and Wasting Time.

FEATURE: Michael Bublé drinks fire water

Most of you will have seen the video for Michael Bublé’s hit “Haven’t Met You Yet” (if you haven’t, take a quick look over here).

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed someone post a link to one of those funny lip reading videos. You know, the ones where people mute the audio and then talk over the video with different words? Yeah, those ones.

It was for Michael Bublé’s video, and it was extraordinary for a few reasons.

1. Not only was the video muted, but someone (or a group of people) had crafted an entirely new song over it.
2. Despite the nonsensical lyrics, the result was a truly brilliant pop song. And I mean brilliant.

Check it out.

The drop into each chorus is absolutely huge, and the brass section not only fits with the video, but provides a perfect hook for the bridge. To me it seems insane that a song like this can be written so well, sound so good, and fit the video so closely. At the end of the day, this is great pop song. Everything about it, bar the lyrics, scream “PLAY ME ON MAINSTREAM RADIO”, and the thing is, it sounds really good. It’s definitely got more flair and stronger melodies than most of the other pop songs I hear on the radio these days.

And to add icing to this already delicious cake, Bublé himself loves it. I’ve got much more respect for the guy – where other musicians would get angry and sue, he’s able to laugh at it and enjoy it.

FEATURE: An open letter to The Living End

Hi Andy, Chris, Scott,

How’s it going? I hear you guys are doing pretty well, especially with the new album – I can’t wait to pick it up on Friday!

Anyway, I wanted to tell you guys about someone. His name is Alex Hingston. Conflict of interest here: yeah, he is my best friend, but he is also the most naturally talented musician I personally know, and the biggest The Living End fan I’ve ever met.

This is a person you’ve had a huge influence on. Since early highschool, he’s become incredibly skilled at drumming and playing bass (both guitar and double-bass), and the number of times I’ve visited and seen him jamming his way through your back catalogue are countless. This is a person who lines up hours before your gigs to get a top spot. This is a person who owns your DVDs, your albums, and knows all of the b-sides you’ve recorded. This is a person who has introduced hundreds of people to your music through amazing school showcase performances. This is a person who stayed up ’til midnight to stream The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating, even though he had to leave for work the next day at 7. This is a person who has 28 videos where he covers your songs, uploaded on his YouTube channel (two of them are of your latest tracks, “Machine Gun” and “The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating”).

This is a person who will be driving for four hours to see you guys play in Canberra in September.

I’m writing this because I know firsthand how much it would mean for my friend to get to meet you guys. Even just to have a chat. Maybe to even have a little jam with you at soundcheck. Possibly to play a song with you on stage… – well you can’t blame me for trying, right? ; )

Alex has nothing but love for you and your music. I know you can’t just let anyone backstage because they say they’re a massive fan, because that gives an expectation to other fans too. All I can hope is that you see how much of an impact you’ve had on his life, and give him a chance to meet you somehow when you play in Canberra.

Enough of my words. If you (Andy, Chris, and Scott) have actually read this, thanks for your time. Here’s just one example to support what I’ve said: you’ll find many more uploaded on his account.

And don’t worry, I’m not trying to gain any leverage by publishing this here – I only get about 20 hits a day anyway. I just figured that writing here is my best chance to get you to see this.

If by some incredbile chance you’re keen to make this happen, send me an e-mail: jeremy.stevens@live.com.au