Thursday, July 31, 2008

busy, busy times

Oh dear, I have been terrible with the internet of late. Did somebody say busy? Well, that's been me over the past few weeks. I wish I had more time! In the time since my last post, I have bought a bucketload of new skirts at Lush in Melbourne, talked shop with Britpop cats and danced to Adorable at Weekender, listened to Robert Forster discuss McLennan, solo albums and the Brisbane music scene, and witnessed The Legend! in concert. Phew! And, of course, tried to listen to more silly pop songs, but I think I may have failed a little bit on that part. Argh! Anyway, here's a few things I'm particularly excited about.

1. New Pains songs!

Oh my God, if there's a way to make me shout with glee and quiver with delight all at the same time, it's to hear new Pains of Being Pure At Heart tracks. Hell, it's enough for their tracks to come onto my shuffle playlist when I'm about 20 minutes into a heart-attack inducing run at the gym. Go to their Myspace and hear all these amazing new songs - Everything With You! Young Adult Friction! Stay Alive! Arrrrggggh they're all so good! My friend Ari listened to the Slumberland split 7" and told me they sound eighties in a naive, innocent way, rather than the brash fluoro way that so many bands are channelling at the moment. I think it sums the Pains sound up well - like a sweetheart Molly Ringwald character rather than, I don't know, some eighties neon trashpot. I love love love the Pains, and so should you.

2. New albums to listen to!
So there's some albums released recently that I am intrigued to hear - there's the new Primal Scream record, which I am sure will be as much of a cliche as many of their records, but there's something irresistible about Bobby Gillespie that I just can't help but like. Yeah yeah, they're just trying to be the MC5 these days, but I really don't care - Bobby will always be far more relevant to me than all these posing modern British pansy hipsters.

There's also a new All Girl Summer Fun Band record due out in September! It's a bit sad that it won't be released through K Records, and they've lost a member since 2003's "2", but it's set to soundtrack my spring, as the days warm up and I dream about jacarandas and picnics and summertime frolics. Did somebody say relevant? Then surely look no further than Jen Sbragia - what an amazing lady. I wish she and Rose Melberg would get back together and do another Softies album.

And I'm also kinda interested in hearing the Pas/Cal album. I remember hearing about them back in 2003 but I never pursued them further. Earlier this week I was bored at work, reading Pitchfork (something I try to avoid, really) and I read a review of their new album, which piqued my interest. I'm having a listen on Myspace now - sure, it's a bit revivalist, but I think this could grow on me. Besides, their influences are quite smashing, from Scott Walker and Pulp to The Left Banke and Serge Gainsbourg. Interesting!

3. New iPod listenings to fall in love with!

A few months ago, I downloaded the This Is Ivy League album, but sadly I never gave it a proper listen. Now, having made substantial use of the shuffle feature, I have discovered just how amazing they are. Two guys from New York producing the same type of glorious soaring pop gems that takes eight or so of Belle & Sebastian to make - just dreamy! I've happened upon hearing "London Bridges" as I'm walking to work, and it transports me, making me wish the footpaths I'm treading were in a glorious big city of the world, rather than ol' Brisbane. The whole album is full of similar beauties to reaffirm your faith that pretty pop songs can change this world.

I also chanced upon a song called "Tea and Cake" by The Lovelies, which I think came from the excellent I'm Not Always So Stupid blog. There's The Wedding Present, bands who wish they were The Wedding Present, and The Lovelies, who are so damn Wedding Present it made my ears do a double check. But the song is brilliant, with those rambling guitars and crisp English vowels. I'm hooked, but I can't really find out much more - can you help?

My, well that was quite a catch up. I'm awfully excited because tomorrow night I'll be attending Les Idoles: 60s French Pop Night at GoMA, which is sure to be an absolute blast. Je suis la roller girl!

(Oh, and before I forget, I also did karaoke to "Time of The Season" by The Zombies whilst in Melbourne - best ever!!)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

the hollowmen

The ABC's latest satirical comedy, The Hollowmen, debuted last night, and it was a corker of an episode. It's produced by Working Dog productions, who have previously brought the genius of Frontline and The Late Show to Australian viewers, and stars the inimitable Rob Sitch as a political adviser to the Prime Minister. It pinpointed bureaucracy like nothing else - all the buzzwords, shallow phrases, minions copping the blame for the ineptitude of others, etc. I'm hooked. Best of all, you can watch the episodes here!

I knew I'd be watching it without having seen a single episode, though, when I heard The Bats' "North by North" playing during the promos for the show. Turns out it's the theme! Best ever! Now, I've seen Robert Scott play solo, and I've seen Minisnap - when am I going to see the two merge and play a glorious set of their Flying Nun hits? Harrumph. Here's the original film clip for you - what a brilliant song:

Anyway, because I hold Rob Sitch, Tom Gleisner and co. in such high comedic regard, here's some classic Late Show for you, too. Champagne comedy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I've always been a bit of a Tullycraft fan, but I would hardly call myself an expert or a huge fan or anything like that. They're certainly not a band I would know all the lyrics to, or even all the songs, if I went along to one of their shows. One thing is for sure, though - they know how to play a damn fine cover version. Picking the best songs to cover is an art in itself, which only the best can nail (c.f. The Aislers Set, Teenage Fanclub), and I think Tullycraft are up there. Their version of "Falling Out of Love (With You)", on the flipside to the Twee 7", was truly wonderful, up there with the original. I'm yet to hear a bad version of that song, which suggests Stephin Merritt wrote a song which can nary be faulted, not even in the worst of hands. That's some achievement!

What's piqued my Tullycraft interest again - apart from hearing "Rumble With The Gang Debs" on the train tonight - is news that Happy Happy Birthday To Me have released a split 7" with Tullycraft and The Smittens as part of their singles club. Unfortunately, I haven't signed up to this, but this little gem of a 7" would be a delight to have in my collection. The Smittens do a cover of "My Boyfriend's Back", which really is one of the most perfect songs to cover, because it's just a timeless piece of music. Tullycraft, however, take it up a notch by taking on The Pooh Sticks' "On Tape" - I'm yet to hear it, but I bet it's a killer, especially with different lyrics. The recent masters of the indie-name-check take on the 80s masters of the indie-name-check - yeah!

Over at HHBTM, there are a bundle of discs and singles I'd like to acquire (Eux Autres, Bearsuit, Boyracer, Cats on Fire...) so I might have to investigate further. Tomorrow's listening, however, will come courtesy of Bored To Hear Your Heart Still Breaks, with Camila's handclap popcast. Best idea ever! Of course, if it wasn't for this delightful blog, I'd have not had reason to investigate this Tullycraft 7" further, so claps all round for being super cute AND informative to boot!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

liechtenstein + a bunch o' fives

Oh dear, I have been a little neglectful of late, owing to a whole load of worker bee busy-ness and a lack of time to trawl the web for new songs to listen to. Can you, dear reader, offer some recommendations to me? I've been meaning to listen to Liechtenstein for quite a while, so I might investigate them a little further and report back. Oh wait, I'm looking at their myspace now and have observed two things already:

1. Their song "Apathy" is enchanting my ears with those glorious harmonies. I could probably listen to this on repeat on a sad night. It's like the Marine Girls, 2008 style!
2. They're selling canvas totes screenprinted with buildings - I think I need one of these!

Alright, well Liechtenstein have converted me already!

Since we're now halfway through the year, I've had a chance to think about some of my favourite releases for 2008 thus far. I am head-over-heels in love with The Lodger's "Life Is Sweet", Je Suis Animal's "Self-Taught Magic From A Book" and Slow Down Tallahassee's "The Beautiful Light" - discovering these three albums alone has made my year all the more delightful. And, even though it's been receiving mixed reviews, I am very much enamoured with The Long Blondes' "Couples" - I can understand why people may have dismissed it after one or two listens, but with repeated listens, it's just smashing.

Here's five other things I'm enjoying right now:

1. Trash Video TV: Best video store ever! Watch these four french new-wave inspired advertisements, featuring all manner of Brisbane identities, and understand why we should all go to Trash for our film requirements and save the shop!

2. The Vivian Girls: I finally understand what all the buzz is about, and boy, it's like honey to my ears. Just amazing. I'm disappointed my copy of the "Wild Eyes" 7" hasn't show up yet - I'm starting to get itchy waiting for the album's re-release. I don't think anybody has a bad thing to say about them, which is just incredible - here's hoping somebody in Australia might release it and get them down here sometime soon!

3. Suede: It's been a while, but I'm revisiting my youth, dreaming about Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler. From the perfection of the first album to the glossy glamour of "Coming Up", I am enjoying every single minute of listening. I'm glossing my lips plastic at the mere thought of listening to "Trash".

4. Patricia Highsmith novels: I don't normally venture into the Crime section of the bookstore, but I'm reading "Ripley's Game" at the moment and I'm well hooked. I'm looking forward to reading "The Talented Mr Ripley" next, but I might go with watching Alain Delon film versions first, then move onto Jude Law, Matt Damon and John Malkovich versions.

5. Northern Soul: Last weekend I attended my first Northern Soul night and had a terrific time watching ex-pat Brits dancing the night away like they were at the Blackpool Mecca all over again. I didn't get up and dance, but I'm going to learn some more and hopefully next month I'll know a few songs.