Sunday, November 30, 2008


I think San Francisco's Nodzzz rate as my favourite garage band of the moment. Of course, they can never really rival Billy Childish, whose fecundity in pumping out garage hits can never, ever be beaten, but they are giving him a good run for his money with their self-titled 12" on What's Your Rupture?. Can I just say that WYR? are killing it at the moment - what with the new Love Is All album as well as all those brilliant Cause Co-Motion singles they released, they'll no doubt send me broke in no time.

Anyway, Nodzzz are three San Franciscan boys making noisy garage songs slapped straight onto the 4-track like every day was Saturday afternoon out in the back room, drinking beers and jamming songs. As a big karaoke fan, I particularly like "Controlled Karaoke", but I'm also partial to a bit of "Losing My Accent". There's the power pop, Byrds-esque jangle in there but enough shaky drumming and imperfect guitar lines in there to ensure it maintains a certain shambolic charm. After all, aren't the best looks and sounds those that are a bit scruffed up?

Pick up the Nodzzz LP from What's Your Rupture? here! Hey, who needs to eat when you can buy records instead?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

lloyd & michael, woelv, jeremy jay...

I've had another exceptionally busy week, but it's always rewarding when it involves seeing wonderful bands that take your breath away, make you dance and wish that everyone loved the sounds as much as you do.

Last Saturday I flew down to Melbourne and was lucky enough to see Lloyd & Michael and Woelv play at the Triple R studios. I say lucky because I'd intended to see them in Brisbane last Thursday, but ended up being exceptionally ill that evening. Lloyd & Michael are Katy Davidson (aka Dear Nora) and M. Richey, playing cute songs on guitar and recorder. Totally winsome and very charming! Woelv, meanwhile, blew me away again, with her self-recorded loops - she is amazing amazing amazing to see live - watching her build a song up layer by layer is phenomenal.

(Note: I'd have taken pictures but I forgot to - argh! They were all super cute though!)

Last Wednesday, having flown in that morning, I made an effort to go to The Troubadour in Brisbane to see Jeremy Jay, straight from Los Angeles. Despite the rain, a small but select crowd turned out on a weeknight for the type of show I'd love to go to each week. The Legend! did a capella versions of Young Marble Giants, Zombies and Television Personalities, stripping everything right back and enchanting all 15 of us who'd made it there early. I feel so lucky to be able to see him in my own town, because I haven't seen anybody else in the world game enough to do half of what he does.

The Bell Divers played as tight a set as I'd seen, and they continue to sound better and better each time. Make sure you listen to their album because it is really good, and they deserve to be far more adored! Meanwhile, seeing Guy Blackman again, this time with a drummer and Adele Pickvance (who played in the Go-Betweens and now plays with Robert Forster) on bass, impressed me far more than the Powerhouse show a few months ago. In fact, I really like his songs, and seeing them live again just brought to life all those interesting lyrics - sometimes dark, sometimes wry, but always very thought provoking.

I hadn't heard Jeremy Jay until Wednesday night - he appeared on stage looking like Robert Forster circa Send Me A Lullaby and produced this hollow surf guitar sound that made me feel like I was on a deserted beach at dusk, watching the sun set as the waves crashed around me. The songs? Fantastic - the type that seep into your consciousness really slowly but then never want to escape. Everyone was charmed by his lanky stage presence, his insouciance, his way of charming all 50 of us who warmed to him in no time. I bought his 2008 demos CD, which should suit this humid weather perfectly.

el records

I just read a terrific article on The Guardian website about the legendary El Records - have a read here. Up until just over 12 months ago, I didn't really know much at all about El at all - in fact, I didn't know it at all. But, thanks to a mixtape I received last year positively brimming with brilliant El artists I'd not heard before - Would-Be-Goods, Momus, Bad Dream Fancy Dress - I've been converted ever since. Like the article says, I love its inherent Britishness - being quite the Anglophile, it has this mystery and charm about it that runs through all the music.

I could easily drop hundreds of dollars buying up the El back catalogue, along with a million other gems over at Cherry Red. I restrained myself today, however, and came away with just a Momus DVD and the Shop Assistants' "Will Anything Happen?" reissue CD. The Mo-Dettes reissue was very tempting, as was the Adorable best-of - sigh, perhaps next time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

sexy kids

So it seems like the most discussed band in indie pop circles this week has been Glasgow's Sexy Kids, and for good reason - "Sisters are Forever" is one of those tracks that has snuck into my consciousness and doesn't want to remove itself. It's so simple, and says it all in less than three minutes - those crashing hi-hats, those hollow guitars and oh boy, those vocals. Earlier tonight I pulled out The Royal We album, and it's the perfect progression on from where this sadly short-lived band ended off.

I'm waiting in anticipation for the "Sisters are Forever" 7" to arrive from Slumberland, but in the meantime make it your friend by downloading the MP3 here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Singing Bush - Do What He Says (Richard, Richard)

Oh, Skatterbrain Matt delivers once again - I'm going to spend the rest of the night watching Munch videos on youtube. And, by jove, you should too! Please enjoy The Singing Bush's "Do What He Says (Richard, Richard)", because I'm going to dance around my room in pop bliss watching this again and again and again:

The Singing Bush was a side project for Mary Wyer from Even As We Speak / Her Name In Lights. This particular song is about long-time Triple J DJ Richard Kingsmill and can be found on the fantastic Indie Aid Abroad: A Little Help for East Timor compilation, which came out many years ago on Library Records. Love love love!

brisbane is as brisbane is: cut off your hands & ninetynine

I managed to have my faith in Brisbane nightlife completely crushed then somewhat restored in the space of two days. Most would be aware my relationship with this city teeters on the side of utter disdain most of the time anyway, but oh boy, Saturday night did little to inspire me with confidence in Brisbane's future potential.

I made the mistake of venturing out to see New Zealand's Cut Off Your Hands. I should have known better - they're NME it-kids at the moment, and their songs are all over the radio. They have a couple of catchy songs, they played a show in New York with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart recently, and Bernard Butler produced their debut album. It was enough to pique my interest - that, and I felt like doing something, anything on Saturday night.

Big mistake. The music was tepid, uninspired anthemic indie-by-numbers, with nary an ounce of spark or magic to liven up the stage, and they played their radio hit single first up. I feel sorry for Bernard Butler at this point. The crowd was awful - I nearly fought a guy with three rats tails after his tall friend stood in front of little Ariadne and didn't want to budge, and the rest of the pack were just swarming faux-fashion hipsterettes. Urgh.

On the flipside, Sunday night presented an opportunity to see the wee Laura Macfarlane enchant the small Rics crowd with her delightful band, Ninetynine. With their amazing Casio lines and a drummer who plays like Animal from the Muppets, I was fixed from the first note.

Laura's voice soared above the sometimes krautrock rhythms, equally haunting, tribal, noisy and catchy. My highlight, however, was watching her play the marimbas - I'm awfully impressed when I see people play them. How can one be so co-ordinated to hit those keys at the same time and sing as well?

In support of Ninetynine were Brisbane's Do The Robot, and I think I'd like to see them again sometime soon. They've been compared to Life Without Buildings on occasion, but I detect a healthy shoegaze influence in there, too. Have a listen to the track "Six Dreams Counting" on their myspace page - the glasgow school, anyone? Splendid stuff!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

swedish pop love: cloetta paris

Swedish pop really is the best, don't you think? I've held this opinion for quite a few years now, and I'm still astounded at how often a country of eight million unbelievably attractive people can produce so much brilliant pop music. I've been playing some old Swedish favourites recently. On the train yesterday, I listened to Sambassadeur for the first time in a while, and floated away with the majesty of "Between The Lines" and "Ice and Snow" once more. Then, on my way home tonight, I played some Love Is All, who really are more amazing than words can describe. I'm still decidedly bitter about missing their Australian tour last year. Sigh. On the upside, their Myspace says they have a new album out NEXT WEEK! And they're touring with the Vivian Girls! Oh, utter jealousy.

I've now fallen madly in love with Cloetta Paris, a duo from Stockholm who are cuter than I thought was humanly possible.

Their Scandinavian cuteness is backed up by some super sweet disco house tunes, which sound like sister tunes to Sally Shapiro's delicious Italo House. If all dance music was as sweet, icy and danceable as this, I'd have no trouble spending every weekend at the disco. I love this new wave of disco - Cloetta Paris take what Saint Etienne established by pinching bits and pieces from the best of music, and give what's essentially 80s and 90s throwback beats a shiny gloss for the '08 dancefloor lipsmackers.

I'll tell you, based on the strength of "Cry Just A Little Bit" alone, I just went and bought their album from Skywriting Records, and it's a big thanks to Rob for introducing me to these amazing songs!