Saturday, December 29, 2007

endless rain into a paper cup

Some albums are like home to me. I listen to them and everything’s okay. I don’t have to worry cause’ I’m safe and secure and just plain happy when I’m in their presence. I’ve never really been like that with movies. They just don’t seem to have the same effect on me.

Of course there are films that I absolutely adore - Velvet Goldmine, The Producers (Gene Wilder version, not the new one…), High Fidelity, Empire Records…

Hmmm just realised that I only listed films with or about music there…didn’t really mean for that to happen. I’m sure I love some other films that have nothing to do with music - can’t think of any right now. But I’m sure they’re out there.

Anyway, not the point. I’ve just never really been that big of a movie person.

Until now.

Wow, did that sound as ominous as I think it did!? Meh, anyhow.

Lost my train of thought again…

Okay I’m back on track. Sorry -

Alright so I saw Across The Universe (a.k.a the best movie ever!) on Friday. Actually I saw it on Saturday as well. That’s how much I loved it.


For anyone who hasn’t heard of the brilliant, Across The Universe, it’s a film by director Julie Taymor and it tells the story of Jude, Lucy, Max, Sadie, JoJo and Prudence.

Now if those names are sounding at all familiar/suspicious to you then it’s with good reason as all of the characters are named after Beatles songs. Because the film is actually a musical and the story is told basically through Beatles songs.

Now if this is sounding somewhat lame to you then I’m not explaining it right because it is incredible. I was actually a little dubious at first because I adore The Beatles. They were the band that made me realise what music could be, what it is meant to be. And I’m sure they did that for a countless number of people but I have to say that without them I wouldn’t be a music Journo, I wouldn’t be at uni and I wouldn’t have the wonderful friends I have now. In fact I’d probably be working retail, bored out of my mind and listening to Justin Timberlake or someone else equally horrendous.

But yeah, suffice to say I was worried. I’m usually not a fan of people covering songs that I adore since they inevitably stuff it up. But I was just beyond impressed. The casting for ATU was amazing. The core group was incredible. They all were not only beautiful actors but they had incredible voices and just brought both the story and the songs to life.

I was basically in awe from the very beginning. It starts with Jude (played by the incredibly handsome Jim Sturgess) sitting on a beach in Liverpool. He looks into the camera and starts singing Girl. One of my favourite songs. I couldn’t help it, this huge grin took over my face and I was in love (with the film by the way, not Jim/Jude. Although he is lovely).

It’s been such a long time since a film has effected me so emotionally. I was invested from the very start smiling and laughing (and curbing the urge to sing out loud) and then it got to the part where Let It Be is played. Now I won’t say what’s happening during this sequence for those of you who haven’t yet seen it but lets just say - I burst into tears. I was a mess.

Seriously, it was awful. I was just so emotionally engaged and that really took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to be so moved by the film as a whole but I was.

There are at least three scenes that bring a tear to my eye (not always because it’s sad…I’m a happy crier. Annoying, I know.) and countless others which have me laughing out loud.

The entire experience was simply excellent. I can’t recommend this enough. It’s just pure brilliance.

Favourite music sequences include - I Want You (She’s So Heavy), Dear Prudence, Hey Jude, With a Little Help from My Friends, Revolution and All You Need is Love.

Favourite Characters would have to be Jude and Max hands down. Even though I really do love them all.

And The all time best quote ever would have to be when Max is trying to talk his way out of the army -

“I’m a cross-dressing homosexual pacifist with a spot on my lung.”

Pure brilliance. Max is my hero.

Now I know there is so much more I want to say about this film and with more clarity then I’ve managed so far but I’m far too tired to make sense right now so it’ll have to wait til later.

Cheers and go and see the film right this instant or at least rent/buy it when it comes out on dvd!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

punctured bicycle on a hillside desolate

There is something so satisfyingly comfortable about a good cup of coffee. The way it warms you up and calms you down. Just perfect. The only thing more perfect is hearing a song that you absolutely adore when you’re not expecting it.

I was doing some last minute Christmas shopping, feeling utterly frazzled and just about ready to give up when I walked into a store that was playing ‘This Charming Man’ by The Smiths. A huge smile spread across my face and I could feel every muscle in my body unclench. It just completely relaxed me. I stopped what I was doing, closed my eyes and let Morrissey’s gorgeous voice wash over me.

I most likely looked like a crazy person but I really don’t care. It was exactly what I needed. When it comes down to it I guess it was exactly what I always need. Music. It just makes every aspect of my life better, clearer and more fun.

Just needed to get that out…

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Brilliant Fanzine - Then Comes Monday review


Indie pop in the 90’s was a thing of beauty. Sweeping melodies, full and luscious sounds. The kind of music you could easily get lost in. So few bands seem to be able to capture that same feeling anymore. At least not without making it seem overtly cheesy and over-produced.

One band that appear to be soldiering on in the same vein are Melbourne based five piece, Brilliant Fanzine. The recent release of their debut full length album, Then Comes Monday does much more then make me nostalgic for those times. It opens up a world of possibilities.

Then Comes Monday is a fantastic mixture of new and old sounds, seemingly drawing influences from almost every era, coupling them with their own unique stamp, making for a gorgeous experience of an album.

When talking about stand out tracks it’s difficult to bypass the first single from this record, ‘Change For You’. This one song encapsulates their sound in a way that’s hard to ignore. It’s beautifully sincere vocals and understated beats pull the listener in from the get go, demanding attention in such an unpretentious way that not loving it, isn’t even an option.

Other note worthy tracks include the already much loved, ‘One in 10,000’ (which also appeared on their 2005 EP of the same name), the Pavement-esque ‘When it’s Through it’s Gone’ and the cheery, ‘Come Up and See Me’. Which is followed by the track ‘Smile’… makes me wonder if maybe it’s meant to be a subtle reference to the 1975 hit ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)’ by Steve Harley and the Cockney Rebels. I’m probably reading too much into it but still, something to think about.

If well constructed, honest pop songs are your thing, then don’t hesitate. Brilliant Fanzine is well worth your time. Then Comes Monday is bound to be remembered as one of the truly great Australian indie pop records. Don’t get left behind.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Wombats proudly presents A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation Review


Liverpudlian indie pop trio, The Wombats have just released their new album, A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation.

It’s a bit fuzzy as to whether or not this should be referred to as their debut record or not. I mean they did after all release a full length album in 2006 called Girls, Boys and Marsupials but it was only in Japan…I guess it depends on your point of view really.

Whether it be debut or sophomore is besides the point when it comes down to it. However you look at it, it’s brilliant. Without a doubt one of my favourite albums of ‘07.

The Wombats themselves only met in 2003 when frontman, Matthew Murphy and drummer, Dan Haggis were both enrolled at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute Of Performing Arts. This meeting could have easily been the beginning of a boring cliché of a story but thankfully, The Wombats quirky, fun and original sound ensures that nothing about them is even remotely dull.

For a band with such a short history they certainly are managing some fantastic things - several EP’s, two LP’s (technically), several high profile support slots including Kaiser Chiefs and Babyshambles and their very own indie dance floor anthem with ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’.
There’s no doubt about it this band are making and impact and fast. And its really not hard to see why.

This would normally be the part of the review where I list my ‘stand out tracks’ but it’s difficult when the whole album’s a stand out. If I really had to choose though It would be hard to go past ‘Lost In The Post’, ‘Here Comes The Anxiety’, ‘Backfire At The Disco’, ‘Moving To New York’ (even though I actually prefer the version on Girls, Boys and Marsupials), ‘Little Miss Pipe Dream’ and of course ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ because it’s literally impossible to sit stay still while this song is playing.

Okay, I know that was a lot of songs but I told you it was difficult. Actually I think I showed a fair amount of restraint by not just copying down the entire track listing.

If my near nauseating amount of gushing hasn’t already convinced you that The Wombats are your future favourite band then their music will. Give A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation a spin. Hopefully you’ll love it as much as I do.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

You Talk A Good Game


What can I say? It's been an amazing year for new music. I tend to think that most years but I think it's especially true this time.
I was going to attempt to make a list of my top 20 albums but that proved far too difficult so instead I present you with a top 10, that's in no particular order as i'm too damn indecisive. Followed by other note worthy releases of the '07.
here we go...


TOP 10

I'll Be Lightning - Liam Finn

The Ides - frYars

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - Spoon

A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation - The Wombats

The Magic Position - Patrick Wolf

Time On Earth - Crowded House

Messages - To My Boy

Shotters Nation - Babyshambles

Cassadaga - Bright Eyes

Wait For Me - The Pigeon Detectives


Other Brilliant Albums...

Free School Milk - Tiny Dancers

Oh We Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside - The Vasco Era

Teenager - The Thrills

Ten New Messages - The Rakes

These Things Move In Threes - Mumm-Ra

Colour It In - The Maccabees

Hats Off To The Buskers - The View

Because of the Times - Kings of Leon

Easy Tiger - Ryan Adams

Strange House - The Horrors

No Fighting In the War Room - Harrisons

Tones of Town - Field Music

Favourite Worst Nightmare - Arctic Monkeys

Control - Goodbooks

Myths of the Near Future - Klaxons

Go! Go! Go! - Bit By Bats

Future Suture - Ned Collette

The Return to From Black Magick Party - Pop Levi

Wincing The Night Away - The Shins

Give 'Em All A Big Fat Lip - The Whigs


Wow, didn't realise there was so many. And I bet I've forgotten at least one or two albums that I really should have included but there you go. My favourite albums of 2007.

Any you haven't heard be sure to check them out. Every single one of them is a keeper.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Shocking Pinks Review

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New Zealand’s, Shocking Pinks have just released their first album since signing up with DFA records. The result is a mixture of tracks from previous records - Dance the Dance Electric and Mathematical Warfare which were both NZ only releases.

This self titled, stateside effort isn’t what you’d generally expect from a group looking to branch out and ‘crack the market’ as it were. In cases such as this production value is usually upped ten fold. The tracks are tight and fast paced, making a real effort to prove what it is they’re all about.

Shocking Pinks, it’s safe to say, haven’t taken this particular route. In fact they’ve almost done the exact opposite. The album, for the most part, sounds like a bedroom recorded demo. Rough not only around the edges but all they way through. And I for one could not love it more.

There is something so refreshing and energising about this record. It’s full of flaws. With imperfections and loose ends visible at every turn, but to me that’s what makes it great.
Front man, and only consistent member, Nick Harte at times seems so lost that it’s not only difficult to tell where his music is headed but also where it’s been.

The somewhat chaotic and unpredictable sound is littered with signposts alone the may marking out Harte’s influences. Most noticeably My Bloody Valentine of whom he is a self confessed fan but I also find a real Joy Division/The Jesus And Mary Chain type vibe seeping in at odd intervals.

The album, despite it’s 17 tracks, runs a surprisingly short 45 minutes. However, a great deal happens in that short amount of time, with the sound being anything but uniform.
The standouts for me would have to be ‘This Aching Deal’, ‘End of the World’ and the mellow, ‘Girl on the Northern Line’.

This unpredictable and eclectic album would be a welcome addition to any indie/post punk fans record collection.

Carry On Up The Morning

New blog for an (almost) new year.

Today has been such a lazy day. Too hot to be bothered doing anything. Damn Australian christmases

*shakes fist*

I was watching some videos of The Wombats on youtube earlier and it occured to me that almost every band I like has some serious ghey tendencies... not that I think thats a bad thing. I just find it ammusing.

The Wombats are actually coming to Oz in March. So exciting! Hopefully I'll be able to find the time/money to go see them for myself.

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honestly, look how lovely they are! Besides A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation is one of my favourite albums of the year.

Anyone who hasn't heard their stuff should go check them out at - well worth the effort in my books.

Best be off.

I'll write more when it isn't so darn hot!