Wednesday, December 24, 2008

christmas just came early...

I just booked cheap flights to Melbourne for this - January looks set to be a cracking month!

Monday, December 22, 2008

100th post! best of 2008!

Who would have thought that, out of all the months of the year, December would be the busiest? It's been utterly nuts this month! Thankfully, I am on Christmas holidays at last, which means lots of sleeping in, gift giving, and a big road trip down south for New Years Eve. Lots to look forward to!

There's also lots to look back upon in 2008. It's only fitting that my 100th post marks just about the end of a brilliant year for music, and a fun year for writing about my favourite pop songs. At the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to listen to as much new music as I could, because over the past couple of years I had been neglecting and missing out on an awful lot of brilliant new bands. Since then, I've astounded myself discovering bands who are making some of the most glorious music around - 2008 has been a great year for pop music. For some recommendations, I'd suggest you visit Brogues for his Monorail year end list, and Unpopular for the 2008 Advent calendar.

For me, though? I'd say The Pains of Being Pure at Heart stole my very heart more than any other band this year, and I can guarantee their debut album will be on very high rotation across many record players in quarter one, 2009. Seeing The Long Blondes in Munich back in May was one of the best spontaneous trips I've ever made, and I only wish I snuck a glimpse of The Lodger as their support band, because "The Good Old Days" ranks as one of my favourite songs of the year.

Sure, I know I'm echoing what everyone else is saying, but the rise of Slumberland like a phoenix from the flames has been a godsend to all, and all those winning podcasts will make a discerning listener of me in no time (a more than honourable mention here to the boys from I Smiled Yesterday, who made me smile and dance and run faster at the gym on more than one occasion).

I could keep on going here - Je Suis Animal, Slow Down Tallahassee, Cause Co-Motion!, Crystal Stilts, Guy Blackman, Summer Cats... it's been a terrific year, and I really can't wait to see what 2009 offers up.

By the way, that Frida Hyvonen album? It is utterly amazing. Like, more than I can possibly describe. Like the dark horse coming from the back of the pack, it couls well be the best album of 2008. It is that good.

Anyway, I wanted to offer you a special Christmas treat of my favourite seasonal songs, but it's taking a little longer than normal for me to compile. I will try to have it up in the next day or so! In the meantime, however, you can enjoy some festive plum pudding, musical style, with super downloads over at both Skatterbrain! and Hey Hey Honeypop!. I'll pour myself some egg nog and we can all enjoy the Christmas cheer together.

Monday, December 8, 2008

frida hyvönen

After recommendations from both Too Much Apple Pie and Everett True, I decided to listen to Frida Hyvönen. Now I feel like I owe eternal gratitude for introducing me, like a blind date. Because songs like "Dirty Dancing" only come along on those rare occasions, like tiny flecks of gold in the ashes of coal that certain days at work feel like. Because those soaring "aaah, aah-aaahs" would not - still cannot - leave my mind, and all I want to do is play the song over and over again, with the occasional Ronettes song thrown in between plays. Because I don't expect a song to creep up so unassumingly yet consume me so quickly. In short: I LOVE THIS SONG.

I have just bought her album, Silence Is Wild, with its incredible photograph on the cover - her promo photos for this album carry me away as much as her music does. I am sure I will become equally as enamoured with an album's worth of beautiful stories as I am with track one.

Buy Silence Is Wild from Chapter Music.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

bionic hands

The latest from the Long Blondes camp - guitarist, mixtape maestro and all round killer cat Dorian Cox has been receiving treatment using a "revolutionary mechanical glove" to regain use of his right hand again. Isn't science great?

Read more here and here.

Thankfully, we have Sprites in the world, who understand not just about poor blogging, but about the marvels of technology too.

Sprites - Bionic Hands

Buy Sprites' Modern Gameplay here!
Buy Long Blondes records (and lots of them!!) here!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

things that are great

1. Crystal Stilts - "Alight of Night"
This album arrived in the mail last week with my big order from Slumberland Records, and I'm well sold on it. I gave it a couple of listens in the car yesterday and the really heavy production sound won me over. I even scribbled down some notes whilst stuck in traffic/waiting at red lights/driving along the Inner City Bypass:

- Track 2, "Crystal Stilts", has this great great organ line that hits about halfway through the track, right out of nowhere. It's fantastic.

- Track 3, "Graveyard Orbit" - perfect title for this song. It's droney and reminds me of The Velvet Underground's "Black Angel's Death Song". In fact, I read a bit about Crystal Stilts today on the Slumberland page, and I could hear all the references in their songs - apart from VU, there's 13th Floor Elevators, Jesus & Mary Chain and Meat Whiplash all mixed in.

I think I had to drive properly after this point, but suffice to say, I am enjoying the rest of the album a great deal, and it's an album I'll be recommending to a wide range of music fans. I think it has very broad appeal.

2. The new Slumberland podcast
It's called "So Hard To Beat", and you can download it here. I listened to this on the way to work this morning, and it's very catchy. Slumberland podcasts can do no wrong, in my opinion. Favourite tracks? The Scientists' "Frantic Romantic" (although I am more of a "Shake Together" fan), the brilliant Sneaky Feelings track (will definitely have to hunt down their records now), and The Jasmine Minks song, which sounds a million times better than any other Jasmine Minks track I've ever heard.

3. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart's "Everything With You" video
Now this is what cool cats look like! Love love love!

4. Britpop revivals
Comes around every couple of months for me. Right now I am reviving Sleeper, Mansun and Rialto. Not sure if I should be admitting this, but I am thoroughly enjoying the experience.

And things that aren't so great? Having to facilitate a seven-hour long supplier meeting at work today. My brain is completely fried!

Monday, December 1, 2008

comet gain - 'love without lies'

I read about the new Comet Gain film clip for their song "Love Without Lies" over at Heaven Is Above Your Head, then proceeded to watch the film clip here. I really thought some valid points were made - the song sure is an absolute cracker and the film clip is a lot of fun, but, I don't know, it does look very cool. Just read what Kris has to say about it - he explains it far better than I can.

One thing that really irks me about the clip is how everyone smokes in it. C'mon, is it really necessary to try to glamorise smoking like that? I don't get it. Maybe I'm just not cool. Perhaps I'll just buy myself a copy of the 7" over at Comet Gain's myspace and practice my dance moves at home.