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Monthly Archives: May 2008

You know what? I am starting to get a little tired of all these “surprise! you can download something for free online!” mornings. Yesterday morning was waking up to a new Sigur Ros track. Bah, who am I kidding. I love it! Waking up to some new music from a band you love is a great way to start the day.

If you visit sigurros.com you can grab the opening track to their forthcoming album Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly), due in a few weeks. The track is called Gobbledigook and I am not 100% sure what to make of it.

I think it is a bold choice to set this track free outside the context of the album. On it’s own I think it is not that awe-inspiring (not like Glosoli was as a lead in to Takk). I have a feeling though as an opener to an album it might be a strong signal what you will get. So I have to really reserve judgement I think until the whole album drops. You can tell I am being diplomatic. You can also check out the clip for the track on the website too. not really work safe… lots of naked frolicking in the woods. Not sure about the proposed cover either… having some naked butts staring at you is a bit strange, especially in vinyl size. The image below isn’t the cover but I reckon is a much better choice (it is a promo photo for the track).

… muttler

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Death Cab For Cutie have announced an Oz tour for late August. I guess that rules them out of Splendour In The Grass, but doesn’t worry me being in Melbourne! Sunday August 17 here in Melbourne at the Palace Theatre (ie the Metro). Tickets are on sale Friday 30th.

Not sure what to do. I really dig the new album, but last tour I thought they were just OK. Hhhmmm… we’ll see. Plus now that they are high falutin’ Billboard #1 types who know what kind of crowd will be there. i wonder what all the kids do noth being able to get into an Over-18’s venue? Might be fake ID’s ahoy.

… muttler

Sigur Ros are coming back to Melbourne. After originally taking years to get here, they toured twice for Takk, and now about to tour for their 3rd time (not counting wacky dance recital thingy’s) for their new forthcoming album. How awesome is that? Anyone who has watched Heima, their doco about heading around Iceland playing free shows will be champing at the bit.

But why, oh why Mr Promoter, do you have them at Festival Hall? The only reason that place hasn’t been torn down is because the Beatles played there back in ’64.

… muttler

They nearly lost me. Well, not really. Death Cab For Cutie that is. Their last couple of LP’s, while I didn’t mind them, I didn’t listen to them flat out. Both were half-great albums, where for every song I really dug, there was another I thought was a bit yawn-o. Then I saw them last year (or was it the year before?!) at the Forum, and it was just OK. Nothing obviously wrong, but just OK.

So Narrow Stairs comes along. I heard the lead single I Will Possess Your Heart, and thought, hmmm, this is OK. Then heard another track or two, and I thought, maybe we are on a winner. And you know what? I think we are.

This is the first Death Cab album I reckon where I see quite a significant change from the last. Each was a steady change from great (We Have The Facts), to perfect (Photo Album), then back down a couple pegs. But this LP has some clear change in direction. Your New Twin Sized Bed is the best thing Death Cab have done for ages. But then I can’t remember anything in their back catalogue that is in the same ball park as Talking Bird. Death Cab doing My Bloody Valentine? Who would have thought.

So I really digging this. A couple of my friends who are rabid Death Cab fans aren’t digging it. But I think all they need is a little time, cause I reckon this is a bit of alright.

… muttler

P.S Where are all Jase’s posts coming from?! Man, he is either very busy, or not busy at all 🙂


We made some beer for you and then drank it

You have read Jase’s review of the Drones gig the other night, and I don’t think I have too much to add. For once we are on the same page.

I thought the new songs sounded great too. I said to Jase and James-o that I thought they were a touch more accessible than their usual stuff, but they didn’t agree. I’m right though, so you can quote me on this… the next Drones album will be big. Well, not big in a Powderfinger sense… maybe big in a You Am I when people liked them sense. It deserves to be anyway. Best Australian band at the moment, without a shadow of a doubt.

… muttler

thoreau at walden Thoreau at Walden (Hyperion/CCS), John Porcellino.

Throwing all objectivity aside, this book is great for three reasons:

1. I had been meaning to read some Henry David Thoreau for a while, but didn’t really know where to start.

2. John Porcellino is one of my favourite comic creators at the moment. I picked up “Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man” on a whim, and liked it even more than I thought I was going to.

3. Hardcover, two-color process, an excellent introduction and extensive notes. It’s just a handsome package all round.

I was aware of John Porcellino’s self-published King-Cat Comix for a while before seeing it: the style and subject matter instantly reminded me of Kevin Huizenga, so I naturally thought that’s where he was taking inspiration (kind of got that back to front though). It’s not difficult to see why John Porcellino is so well loved by critics, fellow creators and the fans alike. The simple, thoughtful linework and stripped back minimalist layouts are pretty compelling themselves, but it’s the stories that really caught me. At the risk of sounding like an emo moron, there is real heart in the stories, a gentleness and appreciation for small things that doesn’t seem forced or self-conscious.

Who better to illustrate a book about naturalist and transcendental philosopher Henry David Thoreau? The afterword notes that all text is taken from Thoreau’s writings, as well as providing a good reading list and endnotes with further detail on certain events in the comic. So much care has been put into this that I couldn’t help but get swept away.

If the purpose of this book was to get people hooked on Thoreau, then mission accomplished.

Sporadic posts from me in the last couple weeks. So like Jase’s recent posts, here is a quick recap of some new music I have got (in order of most listened to downward) that is sneaking in some playtime between Portishead and Flight of the Conchords.

1. Get Awkward by Be Your Own Pet

This album is great. I dug the first Be Your Own Pet album…. it was bit of a sleeper where I thought I kinda liked it, and I found I was listening to it quite a bit. The newy is 15 tracks of the same cool Punky-Poppy-ChickSinger goodness. I didn’t know it was coming out and on RRR one morning I heard the track The Kelly Affair and I was in heaven. What genius band writes a song based on one of my all-time favourite movies, the Russ Meyer classic Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. Well, it was Be Your Own Pet so I was all giddy up. Sure they may be a one trick band, but when the trick is this fun, who cares?

2. Volume One by She and Him

And so we go from punk-pop to country-pop with She and Him. Normallly I wouldn’t touch anything related to an actor deciding to play music. But when I heard Zooey Deschanel was teaming up with M. Ward I was curious. Then I heard some great reviews. Then I heard a track and I was hooked. I like my alt.country chanteuse. All my friends know of my Neko Case obsession. Well, Zooey is no Neko, but this is 12 absolutely sweet tracks. And by sweet I don’t mean sweet as in cool, I mean sweet as endearing. Zooey’s voice is not the most technically great you have heard, but M. Ward has captured her strengths really well, and considering she wrote these tracks (besides a couple covers), I certainly take my hat off to her. Maybe the actor as failed musician stereotype has some exceptions.

3. Narrow Stairs by Death Cab For Cutie

This is out formally next week, but like Jase I have heard a bit. And I am liking what I hear. I thought Plans was a little so-so. Some of the tracks I have heard though hear sound like Death Cab but a little more adventurous. I heard the track Talking Bird and except for Ben’s vocals, you would not know it was DCFC. This is not to say I don’t like the trademark Death Cab sound, but it was about time to change things up a little, and Narrow Stairs sounds like a step really in the right direction. Better review once I have heard the whole thing.

4. The Age of the Understatement by The Last Shadow Puppets

Who you ask? Well, a vehicle for Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys fame. I picked this up on the strength of Turner and some decent press, but not so sure it was a great move. To be fair I don’t think I have yet given this time to sink in, but I just can’t make out where this album is coming from. When the opening track started I thought I was in a Sergio Leone western. I will try and give it some more time, but I most certainly prefer the energy and wit of the Monkeys.

5. Svn Fngrs by Black Francis

Oh Charles, you frustrate me. How does the genius behind such songs as Bone Machine, Velouria, Planet of Sound and Wave of Mutilation (and even songs like Los Angeles) produce things like this. Not that it is that bad. But when (ok, unfairly) compared to a back catalogue of Pixies, this is just so lacklustre. Maybe it is because he has become Black Francis again that I get upset. Like every Black Francis/Frank Black release, there is some cool stuff in there. The punkish stomper I Sent Away, and closing track When They Come To Murder Me are pretty sweet (as in cool), but when the release has filler on it and it is only 7 tracks long, you worry.

6. Raise The Dead by Phantom Planet

Ahh, speaking of actors-cum-musicians. With Phantom Planet it is a bit grey what actually came first… the band or acting. But anyway here we are. No Jason Schwartzman in Phantom Planet anymore, the actor mantle is held my Alex Greenwald. Liking Phantom Planet is a bit embarrassing on another level. Yes, the opening song of The O.C was their track California. But I liked them before that! I swear! Anyway, we are talking about this album. Since we are at number 6 in a list of 6, you probably know what I think. I just don’t like it. The songs are pretty uninspired. Apparently this is the best of some 100 demo tracks. That’s a worry. Again, maybe I need to give it some more spins, but lots of other things are edging it out. But I should get my money’s worth I guess. Or maybe I just cut my losses.

… muttler

shigaBookhunter (Sparkplug Comics), Jason Shiga.

This book is pretty amazing, for a range of reasons (the cover is one of them). It seems like I say this for every second thing I read, but I wasn’t totally sold on Shiga’s art style – and I do remember reading Fleep a while back, so I knew what to expect. The whole geometric cartoonish -ness is a hard sell on me, but every other element of this book is so well crafted that you start to wonder how it would work if the art was any different. The thing I liked most about the art was the expression the main character, Agent Bay, wore through most of the book: this surly, unimpressed kind of squinting hard-ass glare, I loved it. I like to imagine that I look like that.

Bookhunter is the somewhat dramatised account of a 70’s library investigation into the theft and counterfeit of a valuable antique book. I know it sounds exciting, but really, it is. It’s like an 80’s action film, in book form.. about a book stolen from.. a library.. I’m astonished at how Jason Shiga manages to make this story so thrilling. But the characters are all so deadpan serious about everything, it’s hard not to get immersed in their world. If you’re at all interested in the making of books, and who isn’t, then you’re in for a ride.

As with Fleep, you can read Bookhunter online but Sparkplug have done a great job on the print copy (and Dylan is a real nice guy).

… but this one is completely free. No token 5 bucks. As Trent Reznor says “Thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years — this one’s on me.”

Called The Slip, it is available to grab gratis right now. The progressive guy that Trent is, he even provides it a number of formats, from *yawn* mp3, to *whoa* 24-bit, 96-kHz WAV files that is over a gig in size.

So, how is it? A review is kinda superfluous given it is free. Jase and I had a debate about album reviews the other day and whether they are out-dated given someone can just download something, listen, and form their own opinion. I guess that is true in this case. But it wouldn’t be a blog wihtout an opinion right?

Well, remember that this thing just came out overnight, and has had only a couple spins here at work. So far? OK. Ghosts actually surprised me how much I liked it. This is a bit more traditional NIN. As a result I am not digging it as much. Not to say I don’t dig NIN… I thought Year Zero was a consitently great album. This one though not sure first few times around. Maybe I just need to get it cranking up loud I think. It is a bit industrial, a bit grimy, a bit dubby. I think a few more listens and it might get under my skin. Unfortunately for an album only 10 tracks there is a little filler in there. But hey, it’s free!

So this is primarily a heads up more than a review. Defintely go grab it. It is alright (see, I have already changed my tune from OK to alright) and in a matter of minutes and 80mb you too can have your own copy. That is unless you are shooting for the 1 gig option.

… muttler