VIDEO: Guineafowl – “Little Fingers”

Awesome indie-rockers Guineafowl have had quite a big Wednesday!

On top of being able to tell everyone they’re playing SPLENDOUR IN THE FREAKIN’ GRASS (congratulations guys!), they’ve released their latest video for “Little Fingers”.

I’ve gotta hand it to them – I thought Botanist was done extremely well and had absolutely no idea what this clip was going to be like. Sure, people will complain that the reversed video is a gimmick or whatever. Those people are probably overly cynical and whinge about anything that comes there way. I for one don’t care that Coldplay and Eskimo Joe have done it before. This is a brilliant effort and would’ve taken a hell of a lot of practice.

In the order we watch the video, Guineafowl is actually regurgitating a banana. Seems kinda funnier when you think about it that way. But I digress. The vocals are extremely well done and it looks really cool.

TAKE A LOOK.

BRAND NEW: Death Cab For Cutie – “You Are A Tourist (Phatchance Hip Hop Remix)”

You might have heard about Death Cab for Cutie’s new track “You Are A Tourist”. They did a film clip for it which was broadcast live on the internet (the first ever, I believe). It was a pretty impressive effort.

Well, Aussie hip-hop artist Phatchance recently stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to remix it. Throwing some amazing rhymes in-between Ben Gibbard’s lyrics, Chance manages to preserve the tone and themes of the original while putting a new spin on the song. The result? A remix that actually works incredibly well. As much as I love Death Cab, I think I find it a bit more interesting than the original. Sometimes Death Cab seem to have those spaces in songs where they just lose my attention a little bit, but this remix seems to take care of that altogether.

Take a listen below, download it, and share it around. It’s brilliant.


When SoundCloud runs out of downloads (which I’ve heard it will), you can grab the mp3 here.

If you like your music a bit less lossy, you can grab the wav here.

VIDEO/TOUR: Illy – “The Chase”

Those of you who cherish your Aussie hip-hop will no doubt be familiar with Illy – one of the newest and fastest growing names in Australia. Well he’s released another single, which also happens to be the title track from his latest album – “The Chase”.

For me, as much as the the catchy hooks and melodies contribute to a song, hip-hop really shines with the messages it sends. In fact, so does a lot of music to be honest. It’s a combination of the two, because usually both are needed to make a good song. No matter the topic, if an artist can express themselves in an interesting way, and send out something worthwhile, then their work becomes instantly more appealing. There seem to be so many artists that can create a catchy melody, but only a select few that can write engaging and great lyrics.

Illy is one of them.

Welcome to the chase, thats life man / What you can hold up in your left and your right hand / And it could change overnight with the right plan / With little more than a MacBook and a micstand, look where I took it.

Lights blurred, no safety belt / I’m on the chase, hard out man, success aint gonna make itself / And I ain’t gonna wake when I’m old / And regret that I woke out of a dream, just to chase the gold.

The clip is shot really well. Definitely worth checking out. Illy has the ability to rival the top of Australia’s scene, and with time he could just get there.

Don’t forget, you can check Illy out on his national tour if he hasn’t already passed you by! Details below!

ILLY – THE CHASE TOUR – REMAINING DATES!

FRIDAY 1 APRIL – FOWLERS LIVE, ADELAIDE (Lic AA)
With guests: Pagen Elypsis, Mase & Matic
Tickets from Moshtix 1300 438 849, www.moshtix.com.au and Moshtix outlets

SATURDAY 2 APRIL – THE CEMENT EVENT, KALGOORLIE (AA)
Tickets from www.ckb.wa.gov.au

THURSDAY 7 APRIL – MANNING BAR, SYDNEY (18+)
With guests: Dialetrix and The Tounge
Tickets from www.manningbar.com, Oztix 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au and Oztix outlets

FRIDAY 8 APRIL – ANU BAR, CANBERRA (18+)
With guests: Raw City Rukus, Purpose Motive & DJ Hacksaw
Tickets from Ticketek on 132 849 or www.ticketek.com.au

WEDNESDAY 25 MAY – PRINCE OF WALES, BUNBURY
Tickets from the venue, Oztix 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au and Oztix outlets, Heatseeker 08 6210 2850 www.heatseeker.com.au

THURSDAY 26 MAY – PLAYERS BAR, MANDURAH
Tickets from Star Surf Mandurah 08 9353 4500, Oztix 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.auand Oztix outlets, Heatseeker 08 6210 2850 www.heatseeker.com.au

FRIDAY 27 MAY – STUDIO 146, ALBANY
Tickets from Vibes Surf 08 9841 7577, Oztix 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au and Oztix outlets

SATURDAY 28 MAY – AMPLIFIER BAR, PERTH
Tickets from Oztix 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au and Oztix outlets, Moshtix 1300 438 849, www.moshtix.com.au and Moshtix outlets

SUNDAY 29 MAY – THE NORFOLK HOTEL, FREMANTLE
Tickets from Star Surf Perth, Mills Fremantle; Planet Mt. Lawley, Heatseeker 08 6210 2850 www.heatseeker.com.au, Oztix 1300 762 545, www.oztix.com.au and Oztix outlets

NEWS: So, as I mentioned – Radiohead!

Wow. Just wow.

Last night, news reached me via Twitter that Radiohead had finally made plans to release their 8th full length – entitled The King of Limbs. They sure know how to keep a surprise! I’d been waiting for an announcement like this for quite some time, but didn’t expect it so soon.

Interestingly, Radiohead have dropped the “pay-what-you-want” model in favour of just asking for a bit of money. There are two packs available – a digital download, and a gigtantic-enormous-mega-super-deluxe package, which includes vinyl pressings, a CD, the digital download on the 19th of February, and of course a tonne of awesome sounding artwork! Personally, I’d like to purchase the latter, but I’ll have to see how it goes. I hope they sell CD’s invidividually later anyway.

The band have also come under minor scrutiny from other artists and figures because of their markup on the price of digital copies. You can buy the album digitally as .mp3 or .wav files, you see. And the .wav files are more expensive than the .mp3 files. That could be to compensate for the bandwidth costs associated with distributing the larger files, but many claim it’s a ridiculous markup. I think I speak for the larger proportion of the music-loving society when I say – really, who cares? THIS IS RADIOHEAD. They are going to make a bucket load of money off this anyway, I seriously doubt the markup was motivated by pure greed.

Anyway. 19th of February. Pre-order your copies now people. This is going to be awesome.

VIDEO: Foo Fighters – “White Limo”

What a week to start regular blogging again! Not only have Radiohead announced their new album for release in approximately five days (however that’s another soon to be covered story), but we finally have some new Foo Fighters material from their forthcoming record.

It’s been stated before that this was going to be some of their hardest, roughest, and loudest rock, and by going to producer Butch Vig (of the famous Nirvana record Nevermind), I had no idea what to expect. Well I can tell you now, the Fooies have delivered quite solidly on their promise.

“White Limo” is an adrenalin-fuelled race, one which never seems to let up at all. Grohl’s slightly distorted vocals display a re-found enthusiasm for the occasional coarse-edged scream, and to be honest, it’s quite refreshing. I like that they’re mixing it up and doing something different – especially at the expense of possibly alienating some of their pop-inclined fans. Not that I have anything against those fans, but it shows a certain degree of independence to break away from that cycle of almost guaranteed commercial airplay. It has some grinding guitar riffs and fills, and it certainly springs to mind that perhaps Mr Homme has had some influence on Dave, because the song is almost reminiscent of some QotSA (circa Songs for the Deaf, in particular).

Take a listen yourself, let me know what you think.

Foo Fighters’ new album is out on the 12th of April, and the first single, “Rope”, will debut to radio on the 1st of March.

FEATURE: Pop is the new indie

Pop is the new indie.

[Note: For the sake of clarity, by “pop” I strictly mean music that is popular or known by a very large portion of regular music listeners. By “indie” I mean the broader alternative scene, otherwise largely ignored by mainstream stations.]

Not too long ago it seemed most independent bands either denounced all pop music as unoriginal, boring, and mass-marketed tripe, or were apathetic towards the topic. Which is why it’s interesting to notice a changing shift in attitudes towards commercial mainstream artists today.

The time old view by some musicians that all pop music is rubbish and biased is unreasonable. That said, I believe the majority of today’s popular music is over-sexualised, shallow, and largely uninventive – and as a result I listen to very little of it. Most would argue that it’s popular because it’s uninventive. It appeals to people’s established notions of popular music, and through its refusal to stretch boundaries, it is easily accessible. But I digress.

Recently, the attitude amongst independent musicians, and some listeners, appears to be leaning towards an acceptance and enjoyment of pop. Is this a bad thing? Of course not. To be able to enjoy a form of music regardless of listener base or popularity is a desirable trait. We are too often influenced by stereotypes and manipulated into assuming a certain artist is “bad” – or “good” for that matter – that we subconsciously form part of a judgement before even listening to the song. To try and judge music on its individual merits, and to block out misconceptions surrounding its popularity, shows a strong sense of independence.

There is however, what appears to be a bigger issue.

Subcultures are present all over society, and the predominant one ingrained within the independent scene has now evolved into the hipster subculture. Which summed up in a musical context, is elitism based on musical preferences, with an accompanying fashion aesthetic. Sure, not everyone who enjoys indie behaves like a hipster, but the subculture itself exists, and behaving in such a manner serves no purpose. It doesn’t encourage people to broaden their musical horizons, and it creates a misplaced sense of entitlement and worth. What is important is that hipster-ism isn’t just a subculture – it is a counter-culture. It appears to actively go against the grain. Hipsters gain their sense of worth by standing out and listening to small independent bands most people haven’t heard of, and they sometimes use this to belittle others – in short, they gain their worth by being different.

Of course standing out from the crowd or listening to small bands isn’t bad and shouldn’t be chastised. But to actively seek out new ways to be different for attention, or to abandon bands once they become popular, is pointless.

As independent music becomes more accepted and well known within broader society (bands like Phoenix, Vampire Weekend, and Arcade Fire are prime and outstanding examples), hipsters everywhere are facing a problem – their counter-culture is slowly losing its “counter” aspect. As the hipster aesthetic and musical mindset become more widespread, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to be different for the sake of being different. They no longer stand out.

The hipster subculture is by no means changing. Whether we will see a large increase in future years as the subculture reaches its peak will remain to be seen, but like the wave of “emos” that came through in the early 2000’s, it appears the subculture will slowly be abandoned by those originally devoted to it, especially as it becomes over-populated by new people interested in the next big trend.

So, what is happening? What’s my point? I believe we are seeing a certain mindset developing in opposition to the onset growth of hipster-ism.

We are seeing an increase in musicians (and probably some listeners of indie as well) who are proclaiming their love of pop music. This is of course completely reasonable, if they truly love and are influenced by pop music. However, the ironic part is that the majority of these artists don’t create pop music, and are in fact largely independent. The music they create may be “pop” in the sense that it’s upbeat and cheery, but it is rarely targeted towards a mainstream audience.

So what? Just because they enjoy pop music doesn’t mean they have to write it as well. Yes, very true.

However, and call me cynical, but from my perspective that may mean that people are not developing a more reasonable and open approach to their music and their tastes. They may not be breaking down musical barriers associated with popularity.

Maybe all this change embodies is another counter-culture. A counter-counter-culture, if you will. A simple reaction to the growing number of hipsters. How many artists and listeners are saying they like pop music now, merely to be different? Merely to go against the grain, and stand against everything hipsters stand for.

Will we see an increase in exclusive indie kids and hipsters, alongside the beginnings of a new counter-culture? Time will tell. Let’s just hope that anything new will be less arrogant and elitist. A broader acceptance of music, and judgement of art on its individual merits alone – whether it exists merely as a counter-culture or for the right reasons – will at least be a step in the right direction.

REVIEW: A Family Of Strangers – “New Techniques for Beginners & Champions”

If you’re a regular triple j listener you’ll have no doubt heard of The Butterfly Effect. That said, you may not have heard specifically of Glenn Esmond, or his new side-project A Family Of Strangers. Created as an outlet for musical ideas that didn’t quite fit The Butterfly Effect, AFoS’ first release is entitled New Techniques for Beginners & Champions .

My experience with The Butterfly Effect is limited to their more popular singles and their 2008 album Final Conversation of Kings, with their prog-influenced, heavy style of rock, that’s both accessible and entertaining.

The warped beeping of “Lovely (The House at Number 23)” sounds initially like something further from home, but the reality is that this is an EP full of anthemic, accessible rock. This isn’t a bad thing, but those expecting something a bit heavier won’t quite get there. There are moments of surprise that will throw you, and moving between the rockier tracks and softer piano ballads, AFoS have got musical movement and variation nailed.

There are some great textures explored, and it feels like although there are similarities between AFoS and TBE, they could quite easily branch out on their own to form another entity entirely. One of the biggest pitfalls of the side-project is that it will sound too similar to everything else and never take off. AFoS have got considerable influence coming across, but with continued effort and with time, I believe A Family of Strangers will find their own feet and impress their audience with a completely new charm not seen before.

Verdict: Give it a shot. Although it’ll be more for some than others, but it’s charming and an easy listen.

Get over here and grab a free download of “Don’t Forget (03.03.03)”.

LIVE: Karnivool, live at The Metro Theatre, Sydney (01-07-10)

Karnivool #5

One week ago, I embarked on a journey of epic proportions. Joined by one of my best friends and my dad, at approximately 8 o’clock in the morning we began a 7 hour drive to Sydney to see one of my favourite bands ever: Karnivool.

Doors at The Metro Theatre were set to open at 8pm, and not wanting to miss the opportunity to be up against the barrier, we lined up 2 hours early. Around 5 minutes after lining up, looking down the alley beside the Metro, who do we see but the one and only Ian Kenny! Deciding to take the chance while we had it, my friend and I walked up to him to see if we could get a photo before the gig. At first I wasn’t sure how he’d react – musicians such as himself must get asked for photos and approached by fans all the time, and it would probably get tiring. But he was the nicest guy, and was only too happy to have a quick chat and take a photo. It really made the night, getting to meet a musician from one of my favourite bands.

After that, we returned to the line outside the Metro. We were still basically at the very front, and the next 2 odd hours were spent chatting with a couple of people in line with us and a security guard (who by the way was one of the coolest security guards I’ve ever met).

The clock hit 8 and we all waited with anticipation for the doors to finally open. It took them about 10 minutes to let us in, and we walked (albeit very quickly) up the stairs to hand in our tickets and make our way inside.

Gay Paris #1

The first support act, Gay Paris, were on at about 8.30, so we didn’t have long to wait for some entertainment.

Initially, I had my doubts about Gay Paris. I checked out some of their demos and wasn’t terribly impressed, but their live show was something a bit more special. The lead singer’s style was out there, to say the least. Jumping all over the stage, talking with the audience, telling stories, rolling on the floor – it was all a bit odd, but it was interesting. He put a whole tonne of energy into it and it paid off. The guitarist I was closest to kept pulling surprised faces every so often, and did some awesome jumps during the tenser moments in their set.

In an instrumental sense, their material is full of loud rock hooks and quasi-punk-rock drumming, and it really does sound pretty good. The vocal lines consist primarily of deep growls, making most of the lyrics unintelligible from my perspective, but if that’s your thing then you should check these guys out. All in all, they put on an energetic show, and looked thrilled to be supporting someone as relatively big as Karnivool. So kudos to the guys for being interesting and warming everyone up – you did a great job.

MM9 #5

Next up were electro-rockers MM9. I was pretty excited to see these guys, having heard about their solid reputation when it comes to live shows.

They ended up being pretty entertaining. For those of you unfamiliar with them, they’re like a rockier version of Pendulum. The lead singer stood behind what looked like a small keyboard and a Mac, occasionally standing away from it and singing directly at the audience. The drumming was top notch, and was clearly tough work. The drummer had sweat pouring off his face by the end of the set.

Apart from a few troubles the guitarist had at one point, the set was flawless (as far as I could tell) on a technical level. It sounded good, and they interacted with the crowd, getting us all to sing along at a few points.

MM9 have recently released their debut “The Air Between”, and it sounds like they could begin making some bigger waves very soon. Keep an eye on them.

By this point the crowd was brimming with excitement. With each support act the mosh was getting more and more lively. With the curtains drawn over the stage, and the Karnivool guys doing a quick little sound-check to make sure everything was in order, everyone was getting fairly pumped.

The curtains opened, and we were given an empty stage. Everything was in its place. All we needed was the band. Then they came out.

Karnivool #9

The reaction from the crowd upon their entry was to be expected. It was enormous. This was the moment we’d all been waiting for.

Coming out on stage, Karnivool launched into the lead single from their latest LP “Sound Awake” – “Set Fire To The Hive”. And what a fitting beginning it was. The raw energy behind the song was matched only by the energy inherent in the audience’s enthusiasm. It felt like at least half of the mosh pit was singing along to every single word.

Karnivool then moved onto the rhythmically changing “Goliath” and LP opener “Simple Boy”, which saw guitarist Mark Hosking pick up a pair of xylophone mallets for the distinctive opening melody.

Karnivool #14

Everyone’s performances on the night were amazing. Drew Goddard’s extensive pedal set-up allowed him to recreate the majority of the studio sounds in a live environment, and when a band puts on a performance that’s so good you can hardly tell the difference between them and a CD, you know they’re something special. Ian Kenny’s vocals were amazing, and did not disappoint one bit. Jon Stockman’s bass playing was energetic and ferocious, yet still accurate. Though Mark Hosking was over on the opposite side of the stage to where I was, I couldn’t fault anything I heard, and Steve Judd’s drumming was superb, handling every time signature change and rhythmic nuance like the expert he is (I’m not sure why he had a plush bee on his drum kit, but it was cool none-the-less). In a sense I expected all of this. Karnivool are widely renowned for their live performances, and it really was a sight to behold, seeing 5 extremely talented musicians up on stage playing together.

Launching into “C.O.T.E”, one of my favourites from their debut album “Themata”, provided a nice contrast between their equally interesting songs from a few years ago and their latest material. At the end of the night, they really did quite a good job of mixing together old and new material. “Roquefort”, “Themata”, and “Shutterspeed” all got an airing, and the crowd loved it. These more mosh-friendly tunes really got everyone pumped up and excited.

Karnivool #7

Having already played through most of “Sound Awake” however, there was one final track to play before the main set was closed: “Change”. Having been alternating between “Deadman” and “Change” at previous gigs, I was glad they played the latter. It’s an amazing track that goes for over 10 minutes, and it really showcases everything brilliant about Karnivool: their ability to create moving songs, that despite their length manage to be captivating and beautiful. “Change”’s different sections fit together seamlessly, and this song is truly amazing. A brilliant end to the main set.

Karnivool #2

After around 5 minutes, Karnivool came out again to a rapturous applause. Everyone knew the encore was going to be something special – and they were right.

Bringing out fan favourite “Fade” from their “Persona” EP showed just how far Karnivool have come over the years. Moving from their early nu-metal influenced days, they’ve developed into a more progressive and unique group. I warned my friend earlier about “Fade”, and it turned out I was right – the mosh pit went off. Everyone loved it. I suspect that the New Day tour gigs could be the last gigs that they’ll play it. Maybe they’re giving it one last run before they put it on the shelf. I don’t have any evidence to justify it, but it’s just a feeling I get.

After “Fade” they pulled out the tour’s title track – “New Day”. Kenny’s hair was a little dishevelled, and they were beginning to look tired, but it seemed to me that Karnivool put in every ounce of energy possible, right up until the final notes.

All up it was an amazing gig. My friend managed to get one of Judd’s drum-sticks and a set-list, but the real prize was a drum plate thrown out at the end. It had been signed by all of the band, and was well out of my reach, going straight into the middle of the mosh.

I feel like I probably spent too much time taking photos and not enough time getting into the gig (you live and learn I guess), but regardless I still enjoyed myself a hell of a lot. It was one of the best gigs I’ve been too, and one of the most enjoyable. If you ever get a chance to see Karnivool, do so. For $40, Thursday was an absolute bargain. Make sure you see them before they start filling stadiums.

You can view a tonne of fairly good quality videos from the night here from ChezBerryxXx.

You can check out the whole set-list from the night here.

You can view all of the photos that I took here.

Also; check out the professional, and consequently much better photos taken by TheEnglishGentleman from FasterLouder over here.

triple j also managed to snap a few awesome ones. Take a look here.

BRAND NEW/TOUR: Birds of Tokyo – “Plans”

I’ve been wondering for quite some time what Birds of Tokyo were doing with the new album. They released new single “The Saddest Thing I Know” a while ago (the clip is in 3D if you’ve got a pair of glasses floating around!), but there were no details on the new album.

But, good things come to those that wait. And things don’t get much better than this.

Due to be released on the 23rd of July, Birds of Tokyo’s third album, which is to be self-titled, is looking to be amazing. As always, Ian Kenny’s vocal melodies are brilliant. The softer ambient atmosphere is a bit of a throw away from previous tracks like “Silhouettic”, but let’s not forget, in terms of alternative music BoT really are on the poppier side of things, which is not intended as a derogatory description at all. I can easily see this being the album where they really break onto mainstream commercial radio. For such a solid band they deserve it too. So perhaps self-titling this album is the beginning of a new era for the band. Regardless of whether this actually happens or not, it doesn’t matter. This track is great, and I’ll be picking up their new album on release.

Birds of Tokyo have also announced an up-coming tour. It’s going to be their “every album tour”, and will showcase their new material alongside their classics. The band are now “bigger, bolder, more refined and more fearless”. And it certainly looks like they’re planning one hell of a special tour.

Dates:

September 22, 2010 – Adelaide, SA

September 24, 2010 – Brisbane, QLD

September 26, 2010 – Hobart, TAS

September 30, 2010 – Sydney, NSW

October 01, 2010 – Melbourne, VIC

October 02, 2010 – Fremantle, WA

BRAND NEW: The National – "Afraid of Everyone"

I know I said I wasn’t going to blog much, but I couldn’t pass this opportunity up! A new song from The National!

"Afraid of Everyone" begins slowly, but manages to develop into a rumbling layered repetitive song, for want of a less negative sounding description. It isn’t a bad repetitive, but I do feel like certain sections are dragged on a tad too long. The guitar line adds a nice atmosphere to it though.

To be honest, it’s not quite up there with "Bloodbuzz Ohio". But altogether it isn’t bad. Might be more of a grower. But it certainly isn’t going to deter me from buying "High Violet", because I know that in a sense The National are an albums band. They have good songs that can stand on their own too, but it’s definitely more enjoyable to listen to an album completely when you’re in the mood for it.

Score: 6/10

Grab a free download from Pitchfork here.