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: 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

FEATURE: Coachella doubles up

wpid-c2-header-2011-06-3-11-001.png

So Coachella is doubling up for 2012. The massive festival will now be held over two identical weekends: 13-15 and 20-22 of April.

According to their website, the decision was made for two reasons. Firstly, because 2011 passes sold out incredibly fast and many people missed out. Secondly, because many who bought tickets through other outlets or scalpers were ripped off and scammed.

I’m curious. I know Coachella is absolutely massive, but are organisers pushing their luck here? No doubt it will sell out, eventually. But I get the feeling it may suffer the same fate Splendour did. Yeah, it sold out, but not nearly as quickly as everyone expected. And that’s not to say it’s a failure, because it’s not, but when you set expectations this high and assume they will be reached then there’s always a large opportunity for disappointment. There’s the legitimate idea that this could simply over-saturate the music festival market.

Everyone knows the Australian festival scene has been steadily growing over recent years, and it all has to peak somewhere (that’s what she said). But seriously, it does. If festivals keep expanding and growing, and new festivals keep jumping up, then soon enough they will stop selling out and numbers will begin to drop. As much as the public love music, and as admirable as it is to see so many people supporting musicians, it’s just not viable to continue like this. But that’s Australia.

I often wonder if overseas scenes are similar. Is the American festival scene becoming over-saturated? Do you think two weekends of Coachella is too much?

And on the other hand, will this destroy opportunities for artists to pull any surprises or special one-offs, knowing the potential for backlash if they don’t repeat it the next weekend? To what extent can you replicate a festival weekend like Coachella, and to what extent will people expect both weekends to be the same?

Unlike Big Day Out or Groovin’ The Moo (both of which travel), Coachella will not be changing locations or moving. This is probably drawing a rather long bow, but will this effect the perspective people have psychologically: to know that while they attend one weekend, they may not be getting everything out of it that others will on the other weekend? Each weekend will be unique in some aspects, and not in others: will people feel like they’re slightly missing out?

It will be interesting to see whether the first or second weekend sells out first: will people expect the opening or closing to be better?

What do you think? Am I overthinking this all (I tend to do that)? Are two weekends a good idea? What implications will this have for the festival and for attendees?

FEATURE: Is everyone getting ready to take back Sunday?

So I may be almost a month late with this, but the new single from Taking Back Sunday has been released. It’s called “Faith (When I Let You Down)”, and I’m pretty excited.

It sounds like one of the most anthemic songs I’ve heard from them, and for once some of the YouTube commenters have a point – some of it does sound 30-Seconds-to-Mars-esque, which is interesting for two reasons.

After returning to the 2001 lineup that crafted Tell All Your Friends, there was talk of the band returning to their “roots”, and moving away from some of the poppier sounds found on their latest LP New Again.

The first track to premiere from the new album was “El Paso”, and it certainly sounded much more raw and vicious, strengthening my belief this would be a completely new record.

But then “Faith (When I Let You Down)” changed that. I’m personally cool with both sides of the band, so this isn’t really bothering me, but it should be pretty obvious to anyone who listens that both tracks are very different.

Is it possible to get both worlds with this new release? I wouldn’t be complaining.

Take a listen yourself below. Taking Back Sunday’s fifth LP (which is self-titled by the way) comes out on the 28th of June.

FEATURE: HEY SPLENDOUR

Hi Splendour,

This morning, after waking up rather late, I opened up my laptop to explore the internet. As usual.

To my surprise, I’d forgotten you were releasing your lineup today! How exciting! I quickly followed a link to a news article on the subject.

Woah, $510 to camp up there! That’s a lot of money. But that’s also a lot of artists. It’s a tough decision, isn’t it? It’s tricky, because although I see many, many artists I like, I also see many artists I don’t care about.

That’s the problem Splendour. See, I’m going to Groovin’ The Moo this year, and I have one clash. Apart from that, there’s a heap of artists I’ll be seeing that I really quite like, and it will be a lot of fun. AND, it’s only $100 to go. Which means if there’s a couple of bands which seem a bit ‘meh’ it’s not so bad.

The thing is though, there aren’t that many artists at Splendour that get my heart racing. There aren’t many that make me scream “I HAVE TO GO!” Sure, I really wanna see Coldplay, and The Living End would be fantastic. There are other exciting artists too, like Modest Mouse, and it’d certainly be cool to see The Mars Volta. But for a lineup this size, and for $510, I’m not sure I can justify the travel and expenses for many artists which I’ll just be taking a punt on. Many artists where I might have heard 1 or 2 songs only.

I’m sorry Splendour. I applaud what you’re doing here, it’s brilliant. Good work on making a lineup which I believe many people will love. There are heaps of famous and great indie artists here, many of which I’d see if they performed locally – it’d be closer and tickets would be much cheaper. I’d even say you guys could get close to knocking BDO off it’s perch as the most popular and well-known music festival (hopefully you don’t inherit it’s infamous bogan atmosphere).

But being a university student, I’m not sure I can make it.

If you had bands like Karnivool, The National, Johnny Foreigner, Los Campesinos!, or (if it’s even possible…) Radiohead; if you had bands that really got me excited and screamed “GO GO GO”, maybe I would try hard to get there. But you don’t.

Although I like some of your artists, there aren’t enough that I love to make it worthwhile for me to fork out over half a grand (although if any media outlets or friends want to buy me a ticket or send me, I’d totally be cool with that).

Sincerely,

Jeremy

Artists playing Splendour 2011:

Coldplay (only Aussie show)
Kanye West (only Aussie show)
Jane’s Addiction
The Hives
Pulp
The Living End
The Mars Volta
Regina Spektor (only 2011 show)
Bliss N Eso
Pnau
Mogwai (only Aussie show)
DJ Shadow
Glasvegas
The Grates
Devendra Banhardt
Modest Mouse
The Middle East
Kaiser Chiefs
James Blake
Kele
The Vines
Elbow
Eskimo Joe
Noah And The Whale
Children Collide
Thievery Corporation
Cut Copy
Isobel Campbell And Mark Lanegan
Bluejuice
The Kills
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears (Featuring The Relatives)
Architecture In Helsinki
Foster The People
The Panics
Friendly Fires
Jebediah
The Vaccines
Gomez
Boy And Bear
Gotye
Does It Offend You Yeah?
Cloud Control
Mona
Sparkadia
Warpaint
Muscles (Live)
Fitz And The Tantrums
The Jezebels
Drapht
British Sea Power
Tim & Jean
Leader Cheetah
Grouplove
Seeker Lover Keeper
Yelle
Kimbra
Phrase
Oh Mercy
Dananananaykroyd
The Black Seeds
Marques Toliver
The Holidays
Ghoul
Liam Finn
The Herd
Young The Giant
Guineafowl
Hungry Kids Of Hungary
Jinja Safari
Wild Beasts
Illy
Cut Off Your Hands
Gareth Liddiard
Alpine
World’s End Press
Mosman Alder
Lanie Lane

Plus a bunch of DJ sets which you can look up if you’re into that kinda thing.

Tickets go on sale on the 5th of May at 9am via Moshtix.

Info and lineup from The Music Network.

FEATURE: Lupe Fiasco and Modest Mouse

You’ve probably heard Lupe Fiasco’s new hit “The Show Goes On”. What you may or may not know, is that it samples the riff from Modest Mouse’s single “Float On”.

There are no doubt many devoted indie kids or Modest Mouse fans who are upset about this fact. I’m not upset Lupe sampled the track, however do feel strongly about other aspects of the situation.

Modest Mouse no doubt allowed Mr Fiasco to sample their song. If he had stolen it, there would have been a legal storm surrounding it all. The fact that Lupe Fiasco is using the sample is not an issue with me – all musicians involved have kept their integrity. If Isaac Brock and co are happy with the sampling of “Float On” and the outcome, then so should everyone else.

The issue I have is that the wider population who hear “The Show Goes On” on commercial radio, probably have no idea where that great riff came from. It would not be a widely known fact that Lupe borrowed the melody from other musicians. And this affects me because MM are, in general terms, an independent band. Yes, they’re much more popular now amongst the alternative scene, but they’re still independent and not being flogged by commercial radio.

So when a melody of theirs is used so prominently in a song, and so many people are completely oblivious to it, it annoys me.

It annoys me, because so many people absorbed by commercial radio and terrible auto-tuned pop (in all honesty I’m not having a swipe at Lupe here) are so intolerant towards any other music. I’ve met people, and when I try and introduce them to something new, they basically reject it in their minds before they’ve even heard it.

“I don’t know this band or song,” they think. “Therefore they/it can’t be that good.”

Their minds are closed off.

Except, of course, when it is played hundreds of times over by mainstream radio. “Oh! The new Lupe song! I love this song, it’s so catchy!”

I’d wager that if someone had introduced the people who like the new Lupe song to “Float On” when it was released, most people would have dismissed it. Maybe I’m too cynical, but I honestly think they would just pass it off as some other “unknown band who aren’t cool”. And that’s what irritates me.

It irritates me that as soon as it’s presented in a mass-marketed mainstream track, Modest Mouse’s melody becomes popular, whilst being attributed to another artist. It annoys me that people think “Wow, isn’t this great!”, yet have no idea that people have been loving that combination of notes for years beforehand.

What annoys me most, is that after being told this information, most people probably wouldn’t care one bit. They wouldn’t think to expand their musical tastes. They wouldn’t try to be more tolerant of independent music. They wouldn’t look for these amazing songs and riffs themselves.

Most people simply wouldn’t care.