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Hello. My name is Muttler. You may not remember me, but I used to post here. I haven’t been here for a while. A long while in fact. Any one who was semi-regular at visiting is probably long gone.

Anyway, Jase and I were talking about a resurrection to the blog. Maybe doing something a little more “themed” rather than random musing and crap.

To close this chapter of StormTheBarricade I thought I would try and summarise my top 10 albums of the year. This will be close to definitive, but I am sure there will be something I forget. So here goes. I am sure Jase will not agree with anything.

1. Flight of the Conchords – S/T

I have already gushed over this one. I have been listening to this for what, like 9 months? No, I haven’t stopped. It is still gold. The Conchords are the highlight of the year, in music, TV, and anything else.

2. Portishead – Third

Spoken about this one too. Amazing return.

3. TV on the Radio – Dear Science

I really didn’t get their previous album. I know everyone loved it, but I just couldn’t penetrate it. But as soon as I heard this I was hooked. This is an amazing album, with nary a dud track. But I still can’t dig Cookie Mountain.

4. Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward

I haven’t stopped listening to this either. What I thought might be a throwaway purchase has been a stayer. The perfect power-pop-punk album. “The Kelley Affair” might be single of the year.

5. Deerhunter – Microcastles

I had heard lots about Deerhunter, but not really given them a crack. But with this being an RRR album of the week, it got its hooks in. Maybe my favourite discovery this year.

6. Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Primary Colours

Local boys done good. People who know me may be surprised to note that The Drones were not in my top 5, or are even in the top 10. While I like their new one, I don’t love it which is actually a real disappointment. But it is OK I guess, cause Eddy Current gave us the best Oz album of the year. Drones… I still love you, but this album kicks ass.

7. Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely

Have talked at length about this. Jack White you can do no wrong (actually you can… that song for James Bond was terrible!)

8. Sigur Ros – Med Sud…

Yeah, their live show was disappointing for me this year, but this album is still great.

9.King Khan and the Shrines – Supreme Genius

Can anyone get away with calling their album “The Supreme Genius of…”. Well King Khan did, and he can. This is 16 all-killer, no-filler tracks.

10. Pavement – Brighten the Corners (reissue) + live album

Ha! This is cheating. But it did come out this year, and came with the bonus live album on vinyl that was meant to come out a decade ago, but only in the last week saw the light of day. I love Pavement, so I don’t care if it is cheating to include this. This album is still a 6 star album from 6 star band. Pavement ist rad.

Honourable mentions: Death Cab (I just got a bit tired of you), Jay Reatard (all 3 albums), Mogwai, Deerhoof, Breeders, She & Him, Black Mountain, Nick Cave, Spiritualized, Beck

There you go folks. Jase and I will try and be back. We promise. I think we have lots to argue about in a public forum such as this.

… muttler

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The handful that read this will know that the Barricade has been an area for tumbleweeds. Jase has gone AWOL and I have been too for the most part. Between work, trying to get a PhD done, visits to hospitals, epic bike rides, soccer, AFL, etc etc, it has been hard to find time for anything.

So here is a catch up post, with some brief highlights and lowlights:

Movies:

Tropic Thunder… what a disappointment. I was geared up to love it, but felt like I missed the joke. I think I laughed 3 times… actually it was 3 times… I can count them.

Hellboy 2… I didn’t get this either. I won’t say it was bad, I just didn’t dig the vibe of it. I am not a massive Hellboy fan, but thought this would be OK, but it was just meh

Music:

– New Kings of Leon… what a shame… I dig KoL. But not this one. To me it sounds like 11 times the same song. I will give it more of a crack, but I can’t see this one getting high rotation.

– New Mogwai… this just sounds like Mogwai. So I really dig it.

King Khan and the Shrines… an “on a whim” purchase in Missing Link. Man did I make out like a bandit. The new album “Supreme Genius” is GOLD. I knew a bit about them, and had some tracks from a split LP they did with the Dirtbombs, but man, this is 16 awesome party tracks. Has not left the car in days. Get it now!

– New Okkervil River… see Mogwai review above (but substitute the word “Mogwai” for “Okkervil River”)

Gigs:

– Nope, none.

TV:

Arrested Development… I am late on this one and finally caved since everyone says “you will love it”. I am half way through season one. Can’t say I love it. I like it, but not love it. There is something a little self-conscious about it for mine. But I like it enough to keep watching.

Other:

– Jase got me into Mike Allred and Madman comics in a big way. While I can’t say the current issues of Madman are amazing, they are still really interesting, and he is a great artist and a great writer. Allred’s X-Force I really dug too. And Dead Girl is just way too cool.

So that is it I think. New Drones is out tomorrow. Woo hoo! The big one of the year for me. I will be at the record store at 9 (well, close to that). And Wall-E tonight. Giddy up… the wait for this has been toooo long.

… muttler

Regular readers will know I have written about Pivot before. First they were one of those unexpectedly great support acts you don’t expect (supporting Battles). Then they signed to “influential” UK label Warp. I also saw them support Sigur Ros earlier in the month, although I don’t think I really wrote about them. Anyway, after waiting for the vinyl to arrive in my local, I finally have the new album, O Soundtrack My Heart.

I love this album. It is a “wacky” electronic album with live instruments, but not too wacky. It is an “accessible” electronic album, without being too accessible. So yep, we are in Battles territory, but a shade more easy for the listener. Unfortunately it is probably not going to be accessible enough to do massive sales, but I think it is certainly going to be on lots of lists at the end of the year.

I think what I am loving most is that there is no obvious single… each track is as cool as the next. I don’t have hooks running around in my head or anything (yet), however when each new track surfaces I think “sweet, I dig this one!”. What makes it even better is that the are Oz boys doing good.

So after not many awesome albums coming out recently, I am pretty chuffed to get this one on the record player. Finally, another one in my top ten (but Mogwai and Drones are coming soon so fingers crossed for those).

… muttler

Yes, yet another “let’s get it out there quickly on the interwebs” release is the new album by Bloc Party. Called Intimacy, this is an odd one. For a fiver (quid that is), you can get your hands on it now from their website. It is coming out in physical form with extra tracks in October, but what we have here is effectively a full length album anyway.

Anyway, I call it odd, because at first listen I wasn’t sure what to think. Pitchfork didn’t really like it (but then you have to take any review of theirs with a grain of salt), but then the EG in The Age did. So while I was doing some work today I gave it a few spins. And you know what? I think I don’t mind it.

If you think you are going to get part 2 of either other albums then you are a little mistaken. What we are getting is a little bit of Silent Alarm, but a lot more Flux (the bridging single between albums). If you have heard lead single Mercury, then be prepared for a bit more of that. As I mentioned I wasn’t sure what to think, but I like this direction. No it might not scale the heights of their debut, but this is a nice step in staying on the forefront of British music I reckon.

… muttler

I wonder if the cover art will change? Surely…

The new Drones track The Minotaur has been out for a few weeks now, and man is it sweet. Jase, James-o and I heard it when we saw them a couple of months ago. The album Havilah is out in about a month here in the fair old land of Oz… other countries may have to wait a little longer. But having heard most of it at the last Drones gig, I promise you it is going to be awesome. Yes, I promise.

But until then, check out the clip. Boy this is an odd one. Not sure what to think of it.

Oh, and the Drones are doing some album launches in October. We here in Melbourne get them in the opulance that is the Forum. Nice.

… muttler

So I saw Death Cab For Cutie the other night at the Palace Theatre. They were OK, but more on that in a sec. Let me tell you a story.

So it was sold out and packed. It was one of those crowds that makes you feel pretty old… it seems the Death Cab crowds are getting younger and younger (certainly a lot different to the first time I saw them in a half-filled Corner Hotel around Photo Album era). I had a pretty good spot on some steps overlooking the main crowd and a nice view to the band. Then they turn up.

This makes it sound quite dramatic, but it was just a slight inebriated, over-excited young lass, and her boyfriend (I am guessing). After upsetting a few people in front of me in trying to secure a good spot she conveniently ends up one step down, just next to me. I wasn’t fussed… she looked like she was here for a good time with a nice combo of drinks and Death Cab.

So the band starts and she is singing every word. Yep, EVERY word. Normally I would get a little agitated, but it honestly didn’t worry me. In fact I quite liked it as for the most part the crowd was pretty sterile (more on that later). She certainly was enthusiastic. Anyway, we are about 3/4 of the way through the set and she keeps falling back on me. Not in a dancing way, but in what seemed like a passing out way. So, doing what I though was the right thing, I get the attention of her man and do a bit of silent hand gesture to let him know she is falling back into me and I am keeping propping her up. What do you think I get?

I get the what’s your problem look. Assuming he doesn’t understand what I mean, I try to explain over the band that she is constantly falling back on me. I get told to find somewhere else to watch the band. Still being polite I say, no guy, you misunderstand me, is she OK? I get told, she’s fine, don’t stand so close to her or move somewhere else, although not quite that politely. He says a few more things about it being my problem and goes back to the band.

So what is the point of this story? Well, not sure. But it did get me agitated and saddened all at once. In trying to say hey, is she OK, I copped a mouthful. I will come back to this in a bit.

I can hear you all… I don’t care, how were Death Cab?! Well, they were OK. And I mean OK in the most just OK sense of the expression. Nothing they did was terrible. We got some polite “Hello Springfield!!” banter, but it was pretty workmanlike from the band. I am thinking back now and I can’t really recall much that inspired more than a meh. Again, not to say they sounded bad, but some spirit seemed a bit lacking. Maybe it was the crowd… for a young bunch they were pretty uninspired. I Will Possess Your Heart got a nice welcome, but there was a really conspicuous absence of the new album for mine. I certainly know my favourites weren’t played. Maybe the new tracks could have injected some energy.

So this all sounds quite negative, but it should be far from it. It wasn’t bad. This just brings me back to part of my story. I can’t say I have left many gigs this year all woo hoo! like. I did really dig the Breeders the other week. But the last few I have kinda dug but been a little underwhelmed. I am starting to think it may be me. In fact I am sure it probably is. Am I getting over gigs? Maybe… I certainly am passing on bands at the moment that I would have 100% seen in the past. And people are frustrating me more than ever, part of the reason for my main story. But there is always going to be bands I drop everything to see… so maybe I just need to go to the odd gig and leave it at that.

Wow… what a soul searching post. Maybe I’m tired. But don’t worry… I am sure I will see the New Pornographers in October and my sunny outlook will come back. AC and Neko will cure all.

… muttler

P.S In thinking, maybe the Pixies come down has finally happened. At the time, I proclaimed their Palace gig as the greatest gig ever. I still do. And I also said it was no point going to any other shows as it can never be as good. I am certainly still getting the buzz every now and then. Sufjan Stevens and LCD Soundsystem both certainly did it for me at the start of the year. But maybe the golden days are done? Maybe I just need to either lighten the hell up or toughen the hell up?! Probably.

P.P.S If you were that jerk guy at the gig, I hope your gal was OK, but boy are you a jerk.

Note: Ben’s mutton-chops not to proper scale here

A new Tara McPherson gig poster is reason to celebrate as she doesn’t do too many these days. And this one for the Melvins is super sweet. I thought her last was pretty cool, but this one makes me laugh each time I see it. It drops midday on the 14th (US time). There is a super limited run on wood, and although I really really want it, I don’t think I’ll part with the 300 bucks for it. But who knows what I’ll decide? Visit taramcpherson.com to check them out.

… muttler

Wolfmother are an easy band to rag on. Sure they sound a bit derivative, and a bit too much like Black Zeppelin. It doesn’t help that here in Oz anyway they have been played to death. But I gotta say when I first got their debut ep it was pretty sweet. The 1-2-3-4 hit of Dimension, Woman, Apple Tree, and White Unicorn is not a bad way to say hello to the world. Plus I got to see them live when they were but cubs, at the tiny Ding Dong Lounge, and slightly bigger Corner Hotel.

Anyway, the current incarnation has called it a day. And in a pretty refreshing announcement have pretty much said (paraphrasing here) that they really don’t like each other too much and can’t get along. Part of the statement says that “they just could not find a harmonious way to work together”.Can’t really get more honest than that. It seems that frontman Andrew Stockdale gets to keep the name, while Myles and Chris are working on some stuff together.

So there you go. Sure, lots of people will laugh, and to be honest this doesn’t phase me too much one way or the other, but it is a shame when an Oz band that does well internationally disappears. To be honest we don’t have that many (not that we shouldn’t… c’mon Drones… take over the world!)

… muttler

This is one of my favourite lyrics ever, from one of my most beloved albums. It’s from I Just Wanna Get Along from the album Last Splash by The Breeders. I must have listened to this album 500 times. Seriously… I don’t think I am exaggerating.

Anyway, the Breeders were in town on Tuesday night for a show at Billboard. Regular readers will know I was a little 50/50 with their latest album Mountain Battles when it came out. But I have to say, over time I have really grown to dig it a lot. Sure it lacks the catchy nature of Last Splash, but as a whole album it hangs together really really well. I actually find I listen to it heaps. So I was a bit excited about the gig, but a little cautious since I was a bit so-so about Sigur Ros the other night.

Well, no need to worry. This was a great gig. Now look, first up yes I am a Pixies nut, so Kim Deal is a bit of a holy icon for me. But so is Black Francis, yet I don’t particularly dig his solo stuff. But I tells ya, seeing Kim and Kelley wander on stage was awesome. And the fact they beamed smiles, made corny jokes, and riled each other up all gig made it a great atomsphere. Then you combine that with a perfect set and I can’t imagine anyone being unhappy.

The set was a great mix of everything… 2/3 of Mountain Battles, 1/2 of Last Splash, a dash of Title TK, a dollop of The Amps material, and a splash of Pod. Not bad huh? And the Mountain Battles songs translated really well. Yep, they were the more mellow entries in the set, but the interplay between the Deal sisters was best at those points. But without sounding all “I like your old stuff better than your new stuff”, Divine Hammer, Saints, Cannonball, IJWGA and New Year sent shivers down the spine. Best of all may have even been their cover of Happiness Is A Warm Gun. It just sounded amazing.

The whole band should get credit as they were the perfect blend of messy and tight, a well drilled garage band almost. So yeah, looking at my review I sure liked the gig huh? When I reviewed Mountain Battles someone posted a comment that they saw them live and they were great. I didn’t doubt them at all, but this was just a fun, awesome show. Bless ya cotton socks Kim Deal.

… muttler

Wow. This was out of the blue. Be Your Own Pet have announced on their website that they have split and the handful of shows they have left are their last. That sucks as I never saw them, and as I mentioned in my mid-year album list, I love their latest album.

As they themselves say in one of their songs “it’s bummer time”.

… muttler