Sorry about neglecting this blog for the last couple of weeks. Things have been a bit mental, but in a good way.

I have been a bit busy with the radio show which was great fun. For those of you who have never been on radio, it’s a bit like this:

  • You get to the very small and plain-looking studios, meet up with your co-hosts, sit on an ugly but comfy couch and freak out until it’s you’re time to go on. Last minute plans are optional.
  • You spend the next little while setting up and perving on the hot breakfast show host, who is probably laughing at you and your ability to freak out 10 seconds before the song’s end.
  • You realise that the studio is very stuffy and that one of the CD players isn’t working properly. Neither is one of the microphones.
  • You talk about random shit and then play songs. During songs by Passion Pit, Manchester Orchestra and Pnau, you must dance around the studio or a least sing along.
  • Freak out every time you realise a track has less than a minute to go and push the wrong button at least twice.
  • Laugh at the random and often dodgy text messages people send in and forget that you’ve just spent two hours on air and everyday say “is it 12 already”

Anyway, I can now apply to co-host a show but my parents are being fun police. They are of the belief that year 12 is the end of the world and not getting above 90 will result in completely failing at life. Maybe I should change my name to my VCAA number. I think they’d appreciate that.

On the blogging front, I have some reviews for you that I should hopefully have up sometimes soon, including Vampire Weekend’s new album and an album by a great local singer-songwriter called Mezz Coleman.

The Tote Closure: The Beginning of the End?

Earlier this week it was annouced that  The Tote, an iconic Melbourne venue would shut its doors for good because of Victoria’s new liquor licensing laws.

While I can’t weigh into the argument with my own experiences with the venue because I’m still too young to get in, it’s extremely worrying that venues which support local music are being forced to shut down because of the government’s ridiculous new laws which were implamented to stop alcohol fueled violence.

I’m not denying that alcohol causes violence, because it can. But there’s a big difference between a King Street nightclub where people go just to get drunk and cause fights and small music venues where people go to see bands and have a beer or two. Unfortunately the government can’t seem to see the difference.

Venues are now being forced to pay higher liquor licencing fees, close earlier and hire security guards for all gigs including small acoustic shows. Small gigs don’t make all that much money and having to hire at leat two security guards means that we will see less live music because venue owners won’t be able to afford it.

While it’s sad to see one venue close, the most worrying thing is that it might be a sign of things to come. Melbourne boasts some the best live bands in the world, yet one day we might not be able to see them play live somewhere other than a warehouse. We live in a culture where huge amounts of money are put into sport, which also has its fair share of alcohol problems, and live music is almost totally ignored.

With the closure of a venue that supports young musicians chances are we’ll be seeing more violence.

The all ages scene in Melbourne is already dead. I just hope the rest of the live music scene doesn’t follow.

On The Radio

I’m going to be on the radio!

That’s right folks, now you can hear me ramble on about music rather than just read it online.

Expect lots of indie music, rambling about how awesome Colin Meloy is and more unprofessionalism that you can poke a stick at.

So how can you listen to this (epic) radio show?

If you’re in Melbourne you can tune into 90.7 fm from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday.  You can’t listen online, which is a bit of a pain.

The show is called The Awkward Stage and it will last for 5 days. I’m doing it with two girls called Rosie and Nat and we’ve just met and have never been on the radio before. What could go wrong?

Elvis’ 75th Birthday

When I was four or five my Dad would come home from work, put  on his best of Elvis CD  and dance with me and my sister. It is because of my Dad’s bad dancing skills and Elvis that I leant what return to sender meant, that suede was kind of material used to make blue shoes and that you can wear rings around your neck. However, the most important thing I leant from Elvis, and my dad, was that song lyrics can tell stories and aren’t  just there to sound good, which makes Elvis to blame for my lyrics obsession.

If Elvis was still  alive he would have turned 75 today and while it may be incredibly uncool to say this, I still enjoy listening to his music from time to time.  To celebrate the King’s birthday I thought I would post some Elvis tracks. I was originally going to post his best songs, but you’ve all heard those. Instead I thought I would treat you to some of his forgotten gems. And they’re forgotten for a reason.

This one is just too funny not to share. I think the opening lines sum it up perfectly “Now, I’m a U.S. Male ’cause I was born/In a Mississippi town on a Sunday morn/Now Mississippi just happens to occupy a place/In the southeastern portion of this here United States” Cringe.

Elvis Presley- U.S Male.mp3

Girls in bikinis. Girls in tight sweaters. Girls in short dresses. Wow. He really did have a one-track mind. They should have just named this track “Anthem for a seventeen-year-old boy.” At least the music doesn’t suck.

Elvis Presley- Girls! Girls! Girls!.mp3

At least with the other two songs on the list, the music was decent enough to detract from the lyrics,  however with this next song, this is not the case. Dominic is a slow, plodding number that could send you to sleep. The lyrics aren’t any better either and with lines like: “Better start pickin’ some woo/Moo, moo, move your little foot do!” it makes U.S Male look like a masterpiece.

Elvis Presley- Dominic.mp3

I thought this next track was best accompanied by the video. It’s called Yoga Is As Yoga Does and is, as the title suggests, about yoga. It’s corny, cringeworthy and the choreography isn’t much better. The only positive thing about it is that it was before Elvis’ fat stage.

Tuesday Covers 5/1/10

I was so busy getting worked up about Contra that I almost forgot it was Tuesday. Gah, I think I’m turning into an indie kid.

Anyway, I have two covers for today because as I mentioned in my last post, my internet is being shitty and I don’t plan on spending all night uploading songs.

Considering my love of bearded American folk musicians, it’s strange that I never really made much of an effort to get into Iron & Wine. However I think that might just have to change after hearing this stunning acoustic version of New Order’s Love vigilantes.

Iron & Wine- Love Vigilanties.mp3

Because I’m in a Vampire Weekend mood I thought I’d post Peter Gabriel and Hot Chip’s version of Cape Kwassa Kwassa. It’s not a personal favourite of mine but it’s worth it to hear the line “And it feels so unnatural to sing your own name.” Gold.
Peter Gabriel and Hot Chip- Cape Kwassa Kwassa.mp3

Vampire Weekend Stream Contra!

Is anyone else rediculously excited about the upcoming relase of Vampire Weekend’s second album?

I know I certainly am. It’s gotten to the point where the minute I read something about Contra I want to jump up and down like crazy 17 year old indie fan. Oh, wait…

For those of you who are also counting down the days to the release, you’ll be very pleased to that the band are streaming the entire album on their myspace page.

Although I’m getting the slow internet remix, what I have heard inbetween long silences and swearing at my computer certainly lives up to the hype. It’s good, catchy and it’s a departure from their debut while still maintaining their distinctive sound.

You can hear it here:


Best EPs of 2009

EPs are like a difficult middle child. They aren’t seen to be as important as albums and they don’t have the disposable and popular nature of singles. Instead they are largely ignored despite the fact that many of the are truly excellent. So to make up for this, I have decided to write a list of the best EPs of 2009.

5. Philadelphia Grand Jury-Going To The Casino

With four songs and none of them going over 4 minutes, the best way to describe this EP is short and sweet. Three of the tracks could have been lead singles and made their way onto their debut album Hope Is For Hopers. The only song that didn’t make to the album was the experimental and slightly dirgey Pitchshifter Blues which feels out of place. The first three tracks more than make up for it though.

Oh Mercy-In The Nude For Love

Like Philadelphia Grand Jury, Oh Mercy also released an album that made it to my end of year list. This EP was released after the album was recorded as a teaser of sorts. Aside from the brilliant title it has some great pop songs and two instrumentals. At 6 tracks it also one of the longest EPs on the list, walking the line between EP and album. If your like Oh Mercy and haven’t heard this yet, try to track down a copy.

3.Hungy Kids Of Hungary-Mega Mountain

How’s that for cover art? And the music isn’t half bad either. Hungry Kids of Hungary have some great catchy pop tunes and all of the four tracks here, including the slower number and single Old Money are impossible to get out of your head. While it is easy to hear who their influences are, it’s a great little EP.

2.Yae!Tiger- Songs From…Casualty of the Avalanche

One of the best things about blogging is coming accross great new music and I found both Yae!Tiger and the number one band  because they had been nice enough to send me their music. Yae!Tiger’s EP Songs From…Casualty of the Avalanche EP has some of the best packaging I have ever seen. The picture really doesn’t do it justice. Musically these guys have Los Campesinos! style pop songs with male and female vocals hidden under a layer of disortion. The EP also comes with a cute animated clip to their song Waging War At The Carnival. While this EP won’t change the world, it is extremely enjoyable.

1.Goodnight OwlGoodnight Owl

This EP highlights one of the downsides of EPs: the short length. Goodnight Owl is a beautiful EP that sounds like it was made by an accomplished artist rather than a group of musicians who were just starting out. Sounding like a mix between Josh Pyke and The Postal Service, the mix of electronic glitches and acoustic instruments creates an almost perfect EP. These guys should be huge.

Best Albums of 2009

Before I start this highly subjective list, I would just like to thank anyone who’s ever read this blog, recommended or submitted music or has  linked to Electric Skeleton over the past six or so months.

When I first started this blog my aim was to simply write about music that I thought was awesome and hopefully someone would  read and fall in love with a band or two. I never imagined that anybody would ever want to send me their music, take what I write even remotely seriously or that I would meet all kinds of awesome people on the internet. So thanks.

Anyway, back to the list-making. You know the rules: no compilations, no EPs and no Animal Collective.

10. Arctic Monkeys-Humbug

It would have been very easy for the Arctic Monkeys to cash in on the success of their debut album and make the same record for the next five years. Luckily they chose the harder option, which was to vary their sound to a degree. Enlisting the help of Queen of the Stone Age Josh Homme as a producer,  Humbug is the band’s  most mature album and a sign that they are more than just a one trick pony. It defenitly is much slower than their other releases and even features a ballad in the song Cornerstone, which is the best song on the album. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.

9.M.Ward- Hold Time

I have the music director at Triple R to thank for this one. I did work experience there for a week and instead of money they give you two CDs as the end and this was one of them. It is one those albums that I enjoy every time I listen to it but often forget about. I think it is because it was released with very little hype and is consistently good rather than patchy with a few exciting tracks. If you’re into folk and haven’t heard it, I highly suggest you get yourself a copy.

8.  Oh Mercy-Privileged Woes

I have only owned this album for a week or so and it is already a clear favourite with great songwriting and laid-back pop. Admittedly it can be a little samey at times, but it is still excellent.

7. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart- Self Titled

Also winning the award for the most long-winded band name is  American band The Pains of Being Pure At Heart who write great pop songs with boy-girl vocals, which are hidden under a layer of fuzz. While it is not a particularly original concept, it is a highly enjoyable one. If you don’t believe me, have a listen to their track Come Saturday which is fuzz-pop perfection.

6.Philadelphia Grand Jury-Hope Is For Hopers

It seemed like Philadelphia Grand Jury, or the Philly Jays are they like to be known, appeared out of nowhere. There is a reason for their sudden popularity: they are extremely good at writing short, fun pop songs. While some of the tracks on their debut album are a little cheesy, it’s hard not to smile along anyway. And you’ve got to love a band who run a label called Normal People Making Hits and end their album with a party song abut not wanting to party. Genius.

5. Sunset Rubdown-Dragonslayer

Dragonslayer is an album full of off-kilter epic tracks that manage to be memorable and engaging, rather than long-winded and dull. Most of the album was recorded live and doesn’t sound overproduced. The use of backing vocals from Camilla Wynne Ingr  also adds to the album and contrasts quite nicely with Krug’s unusual voice. The album’s highlight comes in the track  Idiot Heart which is the closest thing to a rock song on the entire album and features the memorable lyrics “I hope that you die…in a decent pair of shoes/you’ve got an awful lot of walking to do.”

4. The Decemberists-The Hazards of Love

Shapeshifters, forest queens, infanticide. If a lesser band had attempted such a concept album, it would be a disaster. However in the hands of The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love is a highly enjoyable twisted fairytale of an album. Mixing both folk and prog influences, the album is essentially a one hour piece of music with track names added in for convenience. While it is not everyone’s cup of tea, you must admit that is a brave move for a major label band to make when most people would rather play music on shuffle than listen to an entire album.

3. Yves Klein Blue- Ragged and Ecstatic

Ragged & Estatic is by far my favourite local release this year. Yves Klein Blue flip between pop, rockabilly, country and indie while still creating a consistent album. While most of the songs are upbeat, they can also have darker subject matter, which makes it worth listening to more than once. Highlights include Polka and Getting Wise.

2.Phoenix-Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

I don’t think anyone thought that Phoenix would become so popular this year. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is an almost flawless pop album that appeals to both indie kids and mainstream pop fans. It isn’t all catchy pop songs either with the mainly instrumental track  Love Like A sunset in the middle of the album. The reason this one isn’t the number one album is because even though it’s instantly likable, it isn’t the kind of album that requires multiple listens. In five years time I think that album number one will sound less dated.

1.The Antlers-Hospice

“What! No Animal Collective!?” I hear you gasp. Well, this is my highly subjective list, not yours. And to be honest, I don’t really care about Animal Collective. What I do care about though, is depressing concept albums and Hospice is the mother of all depressing concept albums.
Hospice is the most depressing albums of 2009 and also one of the best. It’s a concept album about a man who works in a hospital and falls in love with a cancer patient, which was written by Peter Silberman during a self-imposed exile. It’s an incredibly sad listen and deals with grief, love, loss and isolation. It is not instantly likable but it is a rewarding listen with memorable lyrics and electronic fuzz that almost sounds like hospital machinery over the instruments. Peter Silberman’s vocals are wispery and intense, which makes getting all the way to Epilogue without wanting to burst into tears very difficult. While this may not sound like the kind of album anyone would want to listen to, very few bands can create such haunting and emotional music, which is why Hospice is my album of the year.

What your favourite albums of 2009? Did I leave something out? Is my taste in albums completly crap? Let me know in the comments section.