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A Few Track Reviews

April 29, 2009

Maybe that whole “death of the album” thing that everyone keeps talking about is finally going ahead, or Pitchfork have started doing song reviews again, but bands seem to be releasing a lot of one offs, EPs, big news remixes and pre-album singles at the moment. If you are Hype Machine savvy at all you will probably have these already but here are my opinions anyway:

DOOM: “Gazillion Ear (Thom Yorke Remix)

I still love Four Tet’s remixes of Mad Villain from way back when. Doom’s whacked vox sounded great over something a little less conventional hip-hop. And Born Into This is pretty cool but how many album does he have rapping over cartoon samples and a beat too low in the mix? So anyway, I was looking forward to this. And it starts out pretty good with some typically clicky, textural percussion and spooky synths blending into clipped Yorke “ooohs”. But old mate seems to forget that this song is long for MF at four minutes and that the original completely switches the beat around a couple of times to keep our attention. Instead, the envelopes just fade up the whole time and then DOOM runs out of words.

doom – gazzillion ear (thom yorke remix)

HEALTH: “Die Slow”
Despite having a faint reek of late-90’s rocktronica, of vintage Placebo or something, this second attempt at writing “Glitter Pills” still slays. Putting their thin, decayed vox and noise over Led Zep beats and addictive synths, they then go about writing an actual song. Even my fucking girlfriend likes this.

HEALTH -die slow

Major Lazer (featuring Santigold and Mr Lexx): “Hold The Line “

I find Diplo and Mad Decent and all that stuff pretty hit and mix, but this is one of the good ones. Its Diplo and Switch’s new project and the track features Santigold or whatever she has to call herself now and some dude Mr. Lexx. On top of all the star power, its fast, the drums are big, and there are lots of crazy noises going on. You’d think the whole ‘phone song’ thing was played as far back as M.I.A.’s lowest low, “URAQT”, but other than that…

major lazer – hold the line

Sea Within A Sea

April 15, 2009

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Remember when you loved The Horrors for like five minutes in 2006/2007? An awesome lead single and an even better video to accompany it was promising but the highly fashionable, stylised and derivative sound didn’t really carry Strange House‘s running time. In fact it was hard to get through more than three or so of their frenetic organs + feedback + bleary screaming jams at a time. It seemed the band could only be destined for a short history of diminishing returns, self parody and Mighty Boosh cameos.

But new album Primary Colours, due in May, is their bid for credibility, and sees the band finding their feet, discovering space and filtering their influences smartly rather than throwing them all in the blender, leaving the lid off and flicking the switch. The band enlisted Portishead dude Geoff Barrow for production duties and some of 3‘s starkness and brittle shards of sound find their way onto the album along with new-romantic synths, big 80’s basslines and a few more girl group/wall of sound/Velvet Underground signifiers.

They no longer sound like “The Munsters” theme song, their hooks are better and this time it feels like you are left wanting more, not ready to turn it off after ten minutes. They still look like a bunch of natty pin-up boys who are way too into The Corpse Bride though. Anyway, here is seven minute closer and album highlight “Sea Within a Sea”.

the horrors-sea within a sea

The video for the track is also streaming over on their website for people who have faster internet than us chumps in Australia.

Cross Promotion

April 6, 2009

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To my peoples: I have just started contributing to sweet new music site My Vision TV. It is based in Brisbane and has heaps of vids on top of the requisite news and reviews. Here is my review of Lotus Plaza’s new album. I am hell of legit now. Well sort of, here is a legalish mp3 from the album that they aren’t really going to host over there:

lotus plaza-sunday night

Top image from Boner Party via Wits Or Dagger.

Poppin’ These Bottles/Touchin These Models’

March 18, 2009

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Is it just me or does FloRida’s new song remind you of MC Hammer’s “Addams Family Groove”?

Header image via Wispy Hair. Runners up, these guys:

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GOLD FM

March 17, 2009

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So the new series of Underbelly has been pretty uneven. Newton and his kiwi hussy have mostly been boring, the Kane Bothers thing was all over too quick and most of the plot has centered around typical gangster betrayals and retribution. It looks like it is starting to get better however and it has had its moments. The closing montage of last week’s episode for instance featured an epic cover of The Easybeat’s “Sad And Lonely And Blue” by Iva Davies, the guy from Ice House or whatever.

iva davies – sad and lonely and blue

To get a hold of this song was quite the effort, the Underbelly website had it listed as by Isa Davis and then after much detective work I could only find it on last year’s tragic, abysmal EasyFever: A Tribute To The Easybeats. I can’t believe someone hosted this mess. Ben Lee turning “Friday On My Mind” into weightless, sub-Sufjan Stevens jauntiness? The Resin Dogs? People are also complaining about The Veronicas but “Good Times” is basically a Jimmy Barnes song at this point and they at least have some of The Easybeats pep. Faker’s version of “I’ll Make You Happy” drags it through sludge for the first couple of minutes then switches to tired, mindless disco-stomp. I don’t know why I didn’t just send it all straight to the recycle bin. The Grinspoon track will haunt my dreams for weeks.

grinspoon – st louis

I dare you.

Some Etcetera

March 16, 2009

Old people review Young Jeezy and Animal Collective. Hilarity ensues:

The interview with Fuck Buttons is also pretty good, if just for the intro. These videos are by Woodshop Films/Scrapple TV, who are also responsible for “The Smut Cave”, a talk show discussing internet porn/gross-outs/weirdness which you may have seen featured on Street Carnage. Probably pretty NSFW.

This Taste Of Milk

March 9, 2009

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So Bromst has finally leaked and no longer in the 350th-in-the-queue-on-Soulseek type of way, so I got it this morning and I listened to it a few times today even though I should be listening to Wolf & Cub because I am interviewing them this week and I only know that one Phones remix that came out. Of course all the hacks over at Hype Machine are going on about how whacky and zany and INSAAAANE Deacon is but this album is pretty toned down/that is missing the point. While the voyeuristic appeal of Deacon’s surface weirdness is pretty blurbable and often works as a good hook to grab people’s interest, there is usually very little credit given to the musical virtuosity, genuine emotion and intelligence that lies beneath the day-glo intensity and quirk. Bromst highlights these undercurrents, still drawing from the same Nintendo, Hanna Barbara and rusty-saw synth sound palette, but focusing on themes of regret and aging. Songs go through several movements and generally last over six minutes, major chords bleed on and on, the chipmunk voice is a bit toned down. It is pretty much what I was hoping for and expecting, an album of “Wham Cities” and “Pink Batmans”. On first impression it is maybe a bit samey but I am an asshole. It’s probably amazing.

dan deacon – snookered

Pitchfork TV have a fucking sweet thing on the recording of Bromst here. Highly recommended.