Laneway Festival @ Footscray Community Arts Centre 04/02/201

If it wasn’t for the line-up full of Pitchfork approved buzz bands it would be easy to mistake Laneway for any of the other one festivals happening over the summer. There were big commercial tie-ins, some really stupid stage names (with the exception of the Dean Turner stage) and large amount of fake tan present. But the lack of massive headliner or bogan contingent made it a relaxing, although hot and sticky day.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart kicked off the day’s trend of scuzzy indie pop bands with boy/girl harmonies, which dominated most of the line-up. A large part of their set came from their excellent debut album and it is easy to see why they were so hyped over at the time. However some of the newer tracks, especially those that relied on their female vocalist fell a little flat.

Although the Windish Angency Stage was hell for hayfever sufferers, it was the most pleasant of the stages with grass facing the stage instead of concrete.

Givers were suffering from some serious sound problems. Their Vampire Weekend influenced indie pop was enjoyable enough but with the muddy sound a large portion sounded liked a vaguely catchy, danceable mess.

Laura Marling looks so unassuming on stage it’s hard to believe that she’s behind the brilliantly crafted songs found on her album. There’s a big difference between an excellent songwriter and an engaging festival act and she has yet to make that leap. Tracks like Ghosts and Devil’s Spoke sounded as good as ever but having seen her in a smaller venue, she benefits from the smaller space.

Cults were boring. Love them record but given the similar nature of the bands on the line-up there wasn’t enough to hold our attention.

As soon as she arrived on stage Anna Calvi looked every part the guitar wielding badass that she is. However she shared a clash with Fiest and her music is not quite suited to the ridiculously hot and sunny weather.

During Chairlift some guy got stuck in a tree. What a tosser.

Yuck played scuzzy indie rock with 90s influences you could see form space. But it was highly enjoyable. There’s a reason this stuff is coming back in fashion.

The Drums seemed pretty good but the sound bleed going on between The Eat Your Own Ears and Young Turks Stage (see what I mean about the names) and the DJ stage was unbearable.

M83 showed how festivals should be done. With a light show, a collection of danceable tracks, and yes THAT song their set was completely enjoyable. Playing a mix of songs from Saturday = Youth and Hurry Up We’re Dreaming by the time Midnight City rolled around it was something of an anti-climax. Although the live sax solo was equally parts great and cheesy the sound was thin compared to to recorded version.

We left not long after due to equal parts exhaustion, cigar smoke inhalation (why people, why?!) and realizing that taking the train home would probably be a debacle of sorts.

While many of the music acts weren’t mind-blowing the festival should be commended for bringing first time visitors to Australia and avoiding line-up recycling. The bar lines were short, the food was mostly edible and the heat didn’t kill anyone. Overall it was a very enjoyable day.

Festival News

Today appeared to be National Festival Announcement Day, with The Big Day Out, Golden Plains and Laneway revealing details about their line-ups.

 

I'ma let you finish, but Golden Plains has today's best annoucement

Big Day Out announced their line-up in the ever annoying drip-feed style over two days. 17 of the acts were announced last night on twitter, with the three headliners announced on Triple J’s breakfast show.

With rumours ranging from Radiohead to Pearl Jam expectations were very high for next year’s line up. The Big Day Out’s website also featured past line-up which created a sense of anticipation. After all, it is the 20th anniversary.

Instead the line-up was mediocre at best. While Kanye West as a headliner is completely awesome the line-up features more of the same recycled acts. The Australian acts are great, but you can see them at least once a year anyway. Also, My Chemical Romance? I wasn’t aware this was 2006.

Kanye West
Soundgarden
Kasabian
My Chemical Romance
The Living End
Röyksopp
Hilltop Hoods
Boy and Bear
Parkway Drive
Mariachi El Bronx
Architecture In Helsinki
Battles
The Jezebels
Odd Future
Frenzal Rhomb
Girl Talk
The Getaway Plan
Cage The Elephant
Foster The People
Best Coast

Golden Plains announced two acts that would be appearing at this years festival, and already their line-up is  a million times better than The Big Day Out’s. The acts are:

Bon Iver

Rocky Erickson

The full line-up will be announced in two weeks and since every hipster and his dog will want to go, it’s best to enter the ballot.

Today Laneway announced that the 2012 festival will have 26 international acts and at least six female fronted bands or solo artists. Hopefully this means the Feist and Laura Marling rumours are true.

The Dean Turner stage has been created as a permanent addiction to the festival as a tribute to the Magic Dirt  bass player who lost his battle with cancer in 2009.

Festival-goers will have the option to donate $2.60 to the Yiriman Project when they buy their tickets. The charity assists young indigenous people at risk.

Best Releases of 2010

Most years I spend a lot of time trying to find the best new music. This time it was a bit different. Thanks to the joys of VCE I spent almost every waking moment studying or on one of my many sanity savinghttps://electricskeleton.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=785&action=edit trips to cafes and the pub. The only music I really found myself listening to was stuff that I could sleep or study to, which narrowed my listening habits down to Sigur Ros and Belle and Sebastian.

Because of this I’ve decided to make this a list of best releases rather than albums because it contains a live album and few EPs. Also, I want to give a huge thanks to anyone who’s recommended or sent me music over the past year and saved me from my Dear Catasrophoe Waitress hell.

20. The Drums Self-Titled

While there are many acts jumping on the lo-fi bandwagon, The Drums are one of the best. Their debut album is satisfying mix of 80’s britpop and Beach Boys style surf. While it isn’t the most original album out there, there are enough hooks to keep you interested and is the perfect soundtrack to a summer road trip.

19. John Steel Singers- Tangalooma

I had a hard time deciding if Hungry Kids of Hungary or The John Steel Singers should take this spot, however I gave it to the latter for improving on the EPs (if only slightly). Like you would expect, this album is full of the catchy and off-kilter pop songs John Steel Singers are known for.

18. Girl Talk – All Day

While we could get into all sorts of debates about the legality of Girl Talk’s (AKA Greg Gillis) mash-ups, you can’t deny that they are extremely entertaining. All Day is his fifth album and contains, 373 samples from the likes of The Arcade Fire and Jay-Z. Hearing Ludacris rap over Black Sabbath still hasn’t lost its novelty value and probably won’t for quite some time. The album was released as a free download with no prior notice and is meant to be heard as a seamless mash-up, with tracks added for convience. Highly recommended for long train trips.

17. Washington I Believe You  Liar

It’s been a big year for Washington with an album release, record-breaking shows at The Corner Hotel and an epic ARIAs performance that managed to be the one redeeming feature of this years awards ceremony. While the endless radio play, shopping centre soundtracks and festival appearances have dampened the enjoyment of this album for many people, it still stands out as a great collection of pop songs.

16. Scott Spark- Fail Like You Mean It

This is one of those times you shouldn’t judge an album by its cover. Because while it looks like the kind of comedy you’d generally find in an op shop, it’s actually a collection of smart and touching indie-pop songs that cover everything from Christmas to Elvis. If you’re a fan of piano-playing songwriters then you’ll be a massive fan of this record.

15. Outoto- Pip

In the wrong hands this album could come off as being arty for the sake of being arty, but Outoto turn it in to a highly listenable album of quirky and off-kilter pop songs.

14. Darren Hanlon- I Will Love you At All

I couldn’t have an end of year list and not include Darren Hanlon. I Will Love You At All continues his tradition of mixing detailed lyrics about the everyday with gentle folk. While this album isn’t as playful as his previous releases, tracks like the 7 minute ode to visiting your old house and the call and response of All These Things make it an enjoyable listen.

13. Los Campesinos!Romance Is Boring

On Romance Is Boring Los Campesinos! sound frustrated.  The title pretty much gives away the main theme of the album, with plenty of songs detailing failed relationships while the music, while noisier contains all the shouts and claps we are used to hearing. While it could all come off as being too much for one release, Gareth Campesinos’ gift for witty and attention grabbing lyricism holds it all together.

12. Steering By Stars- Cables

Post-rock often gets branded as repetitive and inaccessible, because let’s face it, 10 minute build-ups to a one minute crescendo aren’t exactly the most entertaining thing to listen to. However when it is done right, the results are amazing. Steering By Stars are an Adelaide band whose music could stand up against the likes of Sigur Ros. There is so much going on musically that it draws you in and makes you forget you’re listening to largely instrumental album.

11. Vampire Weekend- Contra


The success Vampire Weekend’s debut album was the catalyst for every band and their dog deciding to add tribal beats and jangly guitars to their sound. unsurprisingly, their second album Contra didn’t have the same impact. That said, it does see the band branch out. California English sees the use of auto-tune and Diplomat’s Sun features a very effective M.I.A sample.

10. Kanye West- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy


This album does nothing to disprove Kanye West’s reputation of being completely bat-shit insane, but this time it’s a good thing. This whole album is crazily ambitious and features guests ranging from Nicki Minaj (who is surprisingly not annoying on this album) to Justin Vernon. Hell, even Pitchfork gave it a 10.

9. Local Natives- Gorilla Manor

For those of you disappointed that we didn’t get to hear the promised Fleet Foxes release last year, this album is a godsend. Featuring three-part harmonies, hand claps and a Talking Heads cover, Local Natives are one of the best things to come out of L.A in quite some time.

8. Jonsi- Go

For years Sigur Ros fans have been attempting to decipher Jonsi’s icelandic lyrics, however when we hear him sing in English on Go, it feels like some of the magic is gone now we can understand what he’s singing. That said, the music is still amazing, and quite surprisingly, mostly upbeat.

7. The Jezebels- Dark Storm


The Jezabels have gained a lot of attention this year but it’s for a very good reason. The songs off Dark Storm sound like they belong to a band who have released a number of albums rather than a few EPs, combining soaring female vocals with the atmosphere of  The National.

6. Laura Marling- I Speak Because I Can

When Laura Marling released Alas I Cannot Swim at the age of 18 many people were surprised at the quality and depth of her song-writing, which seemed to reflect the life of someone much, much older. On I Speak Because I Can she shows even greater maturity with folkier accompaniments, more serious lyrics and enough variety to prove she is one of the best things to come out of the London folk scene.

5. Boy & Bear- With Emperor Antarctica


I love it when Australian bands make music that can stand up against the international acts we all obsess over. Case in point: Boy & Bear’s debut EP With Emperor Antarctica. They play indie-folk like nobody’s business,  have got the harmonies thing down perfectly and write some incredibly catchy tunes.

4. Arcade Fire- The Suburbs

Many people hoping that Arcade Fire would release another funeral were disappointed with this album. But truth be told, I don’t think we’ll ever get another album like that from these guys. The element of surprise is defenitly absent now and it seems we expect them to release brilliant albums, rather than it being a bonus of sorts. The Suburbs may lack the orchestral swells of their previous work and at 16 tracks it can be a long listen for some. However, when they get it right on tracks like Ready To Start and Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) it is a very rewarding listen.

3.The Basics- The Basics

The Basics recently played what could be their final show, however for those of us who miss seeing them live, they’ve released The Basics, which was recorded at the Northcote Soical Club. This album is a definitive album of sorts featuring tracks from all their albums as well the obligatory cover or two. The Basics are more of a live band than a studio band and if you’re yet to hear them, this is the place to start.

2. Dan Kelly- Dan Kelly’s Dream

There was only a tiny difference between this album and my #1 album and Dan Kelly’s Dream and I have feeling most of it came down to my strange listening patterns this year. This album is Dan Kelly’s first with his dream band and features songs about indie bands blowing up power stations and playing classical music at one of Melbourne’s more interesting train stations, all set to catchy and slightly psychedelic pop music.

1. The National- High Violet


The National have always sounded unhappy, but never more so than on High Violet. The moment the demo-like Terrible Love kicks in you know it’s going to be a dark album and even the more soaring moments such as the brilliant Bloodbuzz Ohio seem restrained. What makes this album so great however, is the way it sounds like a complete album. It does not overstay its welcome and like all The National’s releases, it slowly draws you into to its multiple layers until you cannot stop listening. Addictive and amazing.

Thursday Covers 08/04/10

This post is dedicated to my friend Jackson. The other week we were talking about music we can’t stand.  He mentioned that he absolutley hates Mumford & Sons and Vampire Weekend, who I am rather fond of. Because I’m a wonderful friend, I’ve decided to post some cover songs that I’m sure he will enjoy.

Mumford & Sons covering Vampire Weekend! Hell Yes! Admittedly it sounds just like you would expect it to (yes, it has a banjo solo) but they actually sound unrestrained which is brilliant. This how they should sound ALL the time. You can’t have polite banjo solos for god’s sake.

Mumford & Sons- Cousins (Vampire Weekend Cover).mp3

For us folks living in Australia, there really only seem to be three folk bands in the UK: Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale and of course, Mumford & Sons. Laura Marling has done an acoustic cover of  Roll Away Your Stone by Mumford & Sons and it’s nice to hear a female spin on the track. It loses something without the banjo and the full band behind her but it’s defently worth a listen.

Laura Marling- Roll Away Your Stone (Mumford & Sons Cover).mp3