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Archive for January, 2008|Monthly archive page

Hottest 100 Roundup

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Well, Triple J’s Hottest 100 was this weekend. I can’t say I was incredibly pleased about the winner, Muse’s Knights Of Cydonia, because I rather wanted Silverchair’s Straight Lines to win. It’s not that I don’t like Muse (which isn’t the case), I just really like Silverchair.Anyway, my own personal Hottest 100 challenge this year was to equal my achievement last year of voting for ten songs that I liked but all failed to make it in to the countdown.

For the record, this was last year’s ten songs:

Belle & Sebastian – Funny Little Frog
Boy Least Likely To – Be Gentle With Me
Flaming Lips – It Overtakes Me
Islands – Don’t Call Me Whitney, Bobby
Panda Band – Ghosts Have The Best Time
Peter Bjorn & John – Let’s Call It Off
Red Paintings – Pickles
Scissor Sisters – Paul McCartney
Sleepy Jackson – Devil Was In My Yard
Zutons – Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love

Despite some of them being really good songs, and were quite popular, not one made the 100.

And this is this year’s ten:

Animal Collective – Peacebone – NO!
Arcade Fire – No Cars Go – YES!
Architecture In Helsinki – Hold Music – YES!
Beck – Timebomb – NO!
Jens Lekman – The Opposite Of Hallelujah – NO!
LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends – NO!
New Pornographers – Myriad Harbour – NO!
Of Montreal – Like A Promethean Curse – NO!
Regurgitator – Blood And Spunk – NO!
White Stripes – Rag And Bone – NO!

Well, 8/10 ain’t bad, I guess. I’m a little surprised that LCD Soundsystem didn’t make it in, as that was a really popular song, and usually The White Stripes get a few entries, so that’s another oddity. I should have known Arcade Fire would get in with No Cars Go, as that’s one of the more accessible and radio friendly songs on their album, but AIH’s Hold Music was a shock, as I expected people to go with Heart It Races. Regurgitator was a definite oversight, however. It’s been ages since they’ve been in the Hottest 100, and Blood And Spunk was a pretty strong track. As for the others, well, they definitely weren’t going to get in. And that’s because people just don’t appreciate good music.

I’m going to have to try harder next year.

MacBook

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2008 at 10:20 pm

I got a MacBook. 

It looks awesome, all black and smooth and a glossy screen. It’s ultra-quiet, and doesn’t seem to mind being carted around the house. No wires! I’ve been downloading and setting up and migrating all night, making it my perfect machine.

Importing my iTunes library was painless – I just hooked up a Firewire cable between it and my iMac, and sent the files through. It even brought over my play count! And getting my Safari bookmarks and NetNewsWire RSS feeds was just a matter of exporting some simple html files and sending them through the network.

It’s taking a bit to get used to the small screen – coming from a 20″ iMac, this 13.3″ business is a little weird, and the keyboard is a little odd, but things seem to be going pretty nicely. This is one cool little machine.

Yes, it’s yet another gadget. But unlike most things I buy, it’s actually going to come in handy! It’s for my upcoming year of uni, and (hopefully) some sort of overseas jaunt.

Oh yeah, because of the promo that Apple’s running at the moment, I’ve got another iPod. That brings my total iPod tally up to 5: 20GB 4th-gen, 2GB 1st-gen nano, 80GB 5th-gen, 16GB touch, and now a 4GB 3rd-gen nano. Awesome!

I really do love Toothpaste for Dinner

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2008 at 9:41 pm

… I really do!
toothpaste for dinner
toothpastefordinner.com

Lasagna Cat

In Uncategorized on January 15, 2008 at 7:04 pm


This is it.
This is why the internet exists.

Watch them all (the rest of the series is just as good) at either www.lasagnacat.com or on YouTube.

An Addendum to the Top Twenty

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2008 at 10:46 pm

As if you needed more proof that it’s impossible to not love Jens Lekman:


(image from jenslekman.com)

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

If you haven’t yet, please, go check out Night Falls Over Kortedala. It’s not number two on my list for nothing!

iTunes

eMusic

The Top Twenty of 2007: Part 3

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2008 at 11:26 pm

Aah, the good old top ten. These are the albums I’ve loved the most this year, and you should too.

Love And Paranoia-1
10. Regurgitator – Love and Paranoia
I’ve loved Regurgitator since 1997, and had been waiting for this album for a very long time, but still had my doubts. Would they still rock out like before? What direction would they head this time? Will it actually be any good? Thankfully, Regurgitator delivered something that, while nowhere near as good as Unit, is much, much better than Eduardo and Rodriquez. For Love and Paranoia, Regurgitator’s gone for a sound that sits somewhere between Mish Mash and Unit, so basically it’s rock with synth bits (provided by newest member Seja). There’s also less rapping from Quan, as he seems to have split that out of Regurgitator and into his own solo stuff. Sure, there’s some terrible lyrics provided by Ben, but I’ve gotten used to that now, and focus on the music during his songs. He really shouldn’t be allowed to write political stuff. Quan’s tracks, which are more to do with love (hence the title), are much, much better. Overall, a solid album, and in no way a disappointment.

Key Track: Romance of the Damned is the album’s highlight – a wonderfully 80s-style synth-based song about obsession and stalking The bubble-synths in the solo will win your heart! (It’s also a really good video).

Challengers
09. The New Pornographers – Challengers
This is a bit of a change for The New Pornographers. Their last couple of albums have been much more power-pop and upbeat, but for Challengers, they’ve toned it all down a bit, and it’s a much more easy-going record. As usual, the quality of songwriting is top-notch – AC Newman does some really great stuff, as does Dan Bejar, and the musicianship is, of course, perfect. My only gripe would be that the brilliantly talented Neko Case doesn’t have nearly enough to do on this as she has on previous records.

Key Track: Myriad Harbour. A slow-burning rocker with snarky backing vocals.

Dystopia
08. Midnight Juggernauts – Dystopia
Midnight Juggernauts are one of the best new Australian bands of 2007. Like Muscles (no. 14), this is dance music with personality. It’s definitely more produced than Muscles, but there’s still a uniqueness to Midnight Juggernauts. Most importantly, they play live. No pre-programmed beats here, they have a drummer. That’s a points winner right there. They can actually rock out, as well – Twenty Thousand Leagues is an incredibly 80s track, with string stabs and vocals reminiscent of that guy out of the Human League. But then the last forty-five seconds of the track is a crashing drums and distorted guitar rock-out. Definitely one of the best dance releases of the year.

Key Track: Into the Galaxy. It’s impossible to not dance about to this.

Icky Thump
07. The White Stripes – Icky Thump
The rockest album of the year. After the slight disappointment that was Get Behind Me Satan, Jack White’s lightened up and got rid of that freaking marimba and have made what is probably their best album to date. Replacing the marimba and piano of the last album are the bagpipes (Prickly Thorn but Sweetly Worn) and mariachi horns (apparently played by some homeless guy on Conquest), which I much prefer. Thankfully, Meg’s only vocal contribution to the album is hidden beneath drums and distortion and more bagpipes – something that should have been done last time. While still skippable, it at least provides a partner to Jack’s romp through the highlands in the aforementioned Prickly Thorn but Sweetly Worn. The definite highlight, however, is Rag and Bone, in which Jack and Meg play rag-and-bone collectors over a very cool blues riff. Also, Jack’s got rid of that silly facial hair and now looks like himself again.

Key Track: Icky Thump is their best full-out rock song ever. That’s all that needs to be said. Oh, and Meg is dead cute in this live clip).

Tones Of Town
06. Field Music – Tones of Town
It’s sad that Field Music don’t have the recognition they deserve. They write intricate pop music, full of hooks and melodies and clever lyrics, but nobody seems to know who they are. Tones Of Town is a much deeper record than their first, self-titled album – they sound like they’re exploring a bit further, adding more layers than before, and this is only helping to improve their sound. But it’s all still very simple, almost like early 60s pop, where they didn’t need anything more than a good drum beat.

Key Track: A House Is Not A Home is a prime example of Field Music’s expertise at writing a great pop song. Also has a really cool piano line.

Neon Bible
05. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Neon Bible is a big album. Everything about it is big, from the grandly orchestrated music and the themes of some sort of armaggeddon, to the way that even lines like ‘I know a place where no cars go’ feel like a major statement. What also makes Neon Bible great is its liberal use of those big booming drums. I reckon any song can be made grander by booming drums. Organs also do the job. Possibly even better.

Key Track: No Cars Go is really really good. This live vid (from Glastonbury) also shows how there’s a hot chick who plays accordion in the band. How cool is that?!

Places Like These
04. Architecture in Helsinki – Places Like This
Oh, how Architecture in Helsinki have changed over three short years. On 2004’s Fingers Crossed, they were like little kids with instruments, playing with their xylophones and trumpets, singing about silly things, all quiet and messy and not quite knowing what they were doing, but having a grand old time. But now, on Places Like This, it’s like a completely different band. Gone are the quiet whispering songs and hesitant singing, and in come steel drums, synthesizers, snarling vocals and crazy singalongs. Though I greatly enjoyed Fingers Crossed (and the follow-up In Case We Die), this is a hell of a lot more fun, really capitalising on their skill of crafting a stupidly catchy dancy song that doesn’t mean anything but is totally listenable. It’s also one of those rare albums where the last track is one of the best on the album.

Key Track: Hold Music is ridiculous, full of ‘hey-ya-ya’s and enthusiasm. And what better way to show off that enthusiasm than making a video in which they jump on tiny trampolines?


Sound Of Silver
03. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
If Sound Of Silver was just an EP with North American Scum, Someone Great and All My Friends on it, it would be the best EP ever. But no, LCD Soundsystem went and made an entire record out of awesome. There is not one poor track on this, from the seven minute opener Get Innocuous, to the epic closer New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down, which is probably the single best piano-laden rock ballad by what is essentially a dance band in all of history. I don’t think anything needs to be said except for ‘watch these videos and love them’.

Key Track: Definitely All My Friends, as it’s just beautiful. And then watch North American Scum. They’re just too good.

Night Falls Over Kortedala
02. Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala
This is one of the most beautiful records I have ever heard. It is impossible to describe it in any other way. Jens’ way with words is amazing, being able to sing about such boring things like going to the hairdressers (Shirin) and turning them into wonderful little stories. And backing this songwriting talent is this incredible musical production, merging indie-pop with elaborate 60s Burt Bacharach via disco influences (check out Sipping On The Sweet Water for the best example of this). And even while he’s singing about having great untold depression and worrying about his sister (The Opposite of Hallelujah) or breaking up (I Am Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You) or injuring himself with an avocado (Your Arms Around Me), there’s a great joyfulness right through the album, which is why I’ve found it impossible to not fall in love with it. Sweden produces some of the best pop music in the world, and Jens Lekman is right at the top of the pile.

Key Track: The Opposite of Hallelujah, while also having some brilliantly funny lyrics, is just too sweet, and is a highlight of the album. This video is a live one so doesn’t have the best sound, but it’s clearly awesome whatever way you hear it. A Postcard To Nina is my favourite, though, because it’s a great story.

Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer
01. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
It was just too easy to choose this as my favourite album of the year. Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer is equal parts indie, glam, funk, rock and pop, and is the most perfect record of 2007. Tracing the transformation of depressed frontman Kevin Barnes into his alter-ego of transgender glam performer ‘Georgie Fruit’, HF, AYTD? (what a messy acronym…) is all drum machines and synths and melodies and mood swings in the first half, in which he considers isolation and religion to remove his present self from the world. And then comes the centrepiece, – The Past Is A Grotesque Animal – twelve minutes of angst and darkness and pain, surrounded by constantly building and swirling sounds. And out of this comes a whole new personality, with ‘Georgie’ getting all funky, delivering lines like ‘to me you’re just some faggy girl, and I need a lover with soul-power’ (Bunny Ain’t No Kind Of Rider), and getting very close to Prince-height falsetto on Faberge Falls For Shuggie. Brilliant. Not only lyrically but sonically, this is the most perfect album I’ve heard for quite some time, hitting just about everything I look for in music. There is not one mis-step at all. That’s why it’s number one album of 2007, and has quickly become one of my favourite albums of all time.

Key Track: Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse. Watch this and you’ll understand. And then you’ll go buy the album from iTunes or eMusic. And then you’ll watch this acoustic version of The Past Is A Grotesque Animal and wonder why you didn’t months ago.

~

That’s it. The top twenty, finally done. I hope at least one person’s found something from this list that they’ve enjoyed, or something like that. Please comment or whatever, I promise I won’t delete them like I (accidentally) did last time. And have a look at the videos. They’re all pretty damned cool (especially the Of Montreal ones). Thankyou, and good night!

Dammit!

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2008 at 4:37 pm

I’m so tempted to just review everything with the power of YouTube. This is one of the best reviews I’ve ever read, because it got its point across in a way that words could never do.

I have nothing else for you, today. Again.

Slight Delay in Transmission

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Yeah, so I was supposed to have the top ten up online tonight. Obviously, it isn’t. Because I’m lazy. I’m hoping it shall be up tomorrow. If not, well, expect another apology.

Paul McCartney – Comin’ Up

In Uncategorized on January 2, 2008 at 9:05 pm

After watching Sydney’s New Years Eve fireworks the other night, I switched over to Rage, and was reminded of just how terrible this video really is. There’s way too many ‘ooh’s, Linda McCartney’s pointing is unnecessary, and Paul’s incessant grinning is just plain ridiculous.

Enjoy.
  

The Top Twenty Albums of 2007: Part 2

In Uncategorized on January 2, 2008 at 1:51 pm

And here we go – my (admittedly) under researched and poorly thought-out top twenty albums of the year. Tonight I’m counting down from twenty to eleven, with ten to one coming in a day or so. I’ve provided links to Youtube videos which may or may not be high quality. They all seem to be OK, though. Also, little images of the album art! It’s almost professional!

Enjoy. And please comment on any errors or poor taste!
Read the rest of this entry »