Thursday, May 29, 2008

on returning

At last! It's been two weeks since returning to Brisbane from my European jaunt, and I have been nothing but stupidly busy since arriving back. Pray tell, what have I been doing? Terribly exciting things - uni assignments, a work trip to Sydney and Melbourne, lots of unpacking and cupboard clearing, to make way for all my delightful new stuff, and, yes, not updating my blog. Argh! So, then, here is a brief summary of highlights:

- Last time I wrote I was contemplating attending How Does It Feel To Be Loved? on my own, down in scary ol' Brixton. Thankfully, my lovely friend Leigh accompanied me, and I ended up having one of the best nights out ever. Oh boy, did I have fun or what - Amelia Fletcher DJed everything from Elastica and The Long Blondes to Tiger Trap and Bis, and when Ian played about three Belle & Sebastian songs, I danced like no other. Here is some photographic proof of my ridiculous dancing to boot:

Yup, pretty much dancing like this all night long. I made friends with a super sweet Swedish girl called Diana, who I instantly befriended because she was wearing a Nixon badge. Yay!

- The following night, I then ventured off to Chalk Farm for a super pop night featuring Zipper, Horowitz, MJ Hibbert and the Bumblebees. I must admit, it was a bit scary going to a pop show on my own in a city where I knew nary a soul, but at the same time it's kinda liberating. I suspect lots of Anoraks were at the show, but I only met a couple, including the delightful Marianthi, Tom from Indie MP3, and Pete from Horowitz, who has been kind enough to send me lots of records and zines. Of course, the bands were pretty great - Horowitz ripped through their set in fine form, while Zipper were buzzing like no other. Everyone loved them, but especially the kids from the Bumblebees up the front. I must admit, I didn't go much for MJ Hibbert - perhaps it's a very British thing, I'm not sure.

- I was lucky enough to meet up with another traveller, Andrew, who comes from Boston and plays in oh, a band I only kinda like, Pants Yell! So great! We went shopping, bought souvenirs and hung around East London on a busy Sunday afternoon. I also met his friend Lachlan, who plays in Sleeping States - I'm going to listen to them a lot more, because they sound terrific from what I have heard. Watch this space.

- Going to Munich to see The Long Blondes was one of the craziest things I've ever done, but also one of the most exciting. Somehow I managed to communicate with little more than "bitte" and "danke" under my German language belt, and really, I loved the place. The show was cracking - it was great to hear all the songs from "Couples" live, plus they played 'Autonomy Boy'!! And it was wonderful to see Dorian again - I'm now fairly well certain that the best looking boys only exist in places in the northern hemisphere, or pretty much anywhere apart from Brisbane. Speaking of which, I missed seeing The Lodger, which might be a good thing because I may well have just gawked at them all night long. I've been listening to "Life Is Sweet" a whole lot and it is up there for the best dancefloor albums of the year.

(crap, I just looked at The Lodger's website - they're playing shows in Japan but not venturing down to Australia. Siiiiiiiiiigh.)

- At first, I was concerned the Pitchfork-curated All Tomorrow's Parties would be a total beard-fest, but it ended up being a brilliant festival, mostly because of the people I was spending time with. Best bands? Of Montreal were so grand and theatrical that even when they hit the 9 minute mark of that 11-minute track off "Hissing Fauna...", I still liked them a whole lot. The Clientele were unfortunately scheduled as the first band on the Friday, and I must admit, I wanted to hear noise rather than their dreamy pop at that time of day. Jens was as charming as ever, but, admittedly, the best bands were the noisy ones I wouldn't normally listen to - Times New Viking, The Hold Steady and Deerhunter, in particular.

- After ATP, I went record shopping with Chris and found the best records ever, but I might need to spend another night writing about my recent record shopping exploits. Suffice to say, when I found a copy of "Back In Denim" at Flash Back in Islington, my heart skipped ten thousand beats.

So yes! That's it! I'm now planning all the shows I want to attend in the next few months, because short-term planning is impossible in Brisbane with nary a show to attend on weekends. Sigh.

Now, back to writing about pop songs when I find a spare moment...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

travel update #1

Hello blog readers!

As you may be aware, I'm on the other side of the world at the moment. I'm currently sitting in a flat in north London, having just returned from a week in Sweden. Yay! I'm currently contemplating travelling to Brixton on my own tonight, to attend Amelia Fletcher DJing at How Does It Feel To Be Loved?, but I am awfully scared about doing so.

Unfortunately, I'm not posting from my own computer - it seems to have an aversion to wireless internet and broadband networks over here. As a result, I haven't been able to upload any photos of my travels so far. Instead, a brief update of some of my travel (and music) highlights so far!

- Last Friday night I went to see Minisnap and Ghost Club at the Brixton Windmill - it was fitting to watch New Zealand bands with antipodeans on Anzac Day (a major Australian and NZ memorial day), and it was a great show. Tiny Kay from Minisnap was wearing a Magic Marker t-shirt, and if the venue wasn't so small and full, I would have danced a whole lot more. Ghost Club played Sonic Youth esque noise rock, and the songs were really terrific.

- I went to Another Sunny Day, an indiepop club in Stockholm, with one of my oldest internet friends. It was so strange and exciting to meet someone who I'd known via the internet for ten years, but had never met. Moofish Catfish played at the club, and they were a whole heap of buzzy fun, and afterwards the Swedish pop the DJs began playing certainly had some of the crowd dancing. Unfortunately we had to leave to catch the last subway home, but it was fun to hear Suede, Moneybrother, Hakke Hellstrom and more at a club night.

- The last day of April is a major day of celebration (and drinking) for Swedish students, and I was right in the epicentre, in Uppsala, one of Sweden's biggest university cities. Even though I didn't get to see any bands, it was a crazy experience to sit in the Swedish spring sunshine, drinking beer and attempting to speak Swedish. Luckily there was an American guy to share poor Swedish language skills with!

- Records? Not very many so far, but that will change this week, I'm sure.

Tonight is How Does It Feel To Be Loved?, featuring a DJ set from Amelia Fletcher. I'm a bit scared about going, but perhaps I can drag my sister along for a drink and a dance!

More updates soon, and I will share some photos when I have an opportunity to.