… of Adult Decisions and Teenage Dreams

Twenty-third of January, Two Thousand and Thirteen. Confession time; I was pretty late to the Weezer party. And when I say “pretty late” I’d say it was around 10 years late. Which is actually closer to extremely late if you’re attending a party, especially one it seems you were invited to.

Truth is I always liked Weezer. I knew the singles. I’d seen the videos to Undone, Buddy Holy and El Scorcho over and over and over on Rage. My friend Bret had put Say it Ain’t So on a mix to listen to on the way to our first Big Day Out, and I really liked that too. I think I even remember seeing the disastrous interview with Rivers on ABC’s Recovery in 1996 and feeling terrible for Rivers, who clearly did not want to be there. I was always aware of Weezer, and I always loved the songs I’d heard of theirs, but it wasn’t until around 2004 that I realised that I loved Weezer.

Continue reading “… of Adult Decisions and Teenage Dreams”

… of Discipline & Determination

I’m not sure if it’s becoming a ritual, or just habit. Maybe it’s the warmer weather? Maybe it’s something in the water? In any case, my post New Year motivation has hit, as it always does around this time. My study-come-Man Cave has been transformed into an almost ready to actually work in work space. I’ve attended my first taekwondo class of the year after a two month break, and despite my legs still not working as they should, I intend to go back. And inspired by good Twitter friend Sunky, I’ve decided to take a different approach to listening to my always growing music collection.

Continue reading “… of Discipline & Determination”

…of Making Lists with a Vengeance

It’s been a odd year. A good year, for sure, but an odd one. I’ve got a list as long as my arm (I have short arms) of things I’d hoped (and failed) to achieve, but I’ve also got another arm’s worth of awesome adventures, surprises and happy co-incidences. As I get older (and I talk about getting older a lot), I’ve started to realise how unimportant it is to tie our successes and failures to the arbitrary boundaries of a calendar system dreamed up by a bunch of men in togas. The theme of my year has become “These things are what we make them”. Life will sometimes hand us lemons, and other times boxes of chocolate, and sometimes the chocolate boxes will contain only peppermint creams, which are kinda gross unless you like eating chocolate filled with toothpaste, so then you have to hand them back and ask for lemons, because at least you can make lemonade with those if you have enough sugar, which hopefully you do. Point is, good stuff happens and bad stuff happens and how you chose to deal with the stuff is entirely up to you.

Ramble over. Music wise it’s been a mixed year for me (we’ll get to why shortly), so for a change I’m going to expand my review out to include some of that life stuff.

Continue reading “…of Making Lists with a Vengeance”

…of Making Lists 2: Listing Harder

Cool Things from 2010
Some Cool Things (and Not Cool Things) from 2010

or: Another year of falling behind.

Rather than dwell on the failed plans, let’s just look at what came out, ok? A shorter list than last year, and no real suprises. Nothing you’re not going to see on anyone else’s list anyway. Music has been a bit up and down for me this year. Some of my most anticipated releases have failed to grab me, while I found a few bands who should’ve always been on my radar (I’m looking at you The National). So without any further adieu, and in the interest of getting this done before next year, here are the explanations:

The National’s High Violet: A definite highlight for me, and perhaps my favourite release. An almost perfect album.

Owen Pallett’s Heartland: It came out early on, but I’ve had it on pretty high rotation over the year. I’d been aware of Owen under his Final Fantasy moniker, but never got around to checking him out. And then I saw this video, and I was sold:

Warpaint’s The Fool: Discovered while researching for Laneway. It helped that they had the whole album up for streaming. I spent a whole day getting caught up in it. Beautiful.

Kyu’s Kyu: Despite only attending a handful of gigs that weren’t festivals, one of my live highlights was seeing Kyu open for Xiu Xiu at Amps. They weren’t even listed on the bill, but the twenty minutes they spent on stage I spent gobsmacked. An amazing surprise, and their debut album is fantastic.

Foals’ Total Life Forever: A departure from their first album, and a bit of a grower for me. Another potential highlight of the upcoming Laneway Festival.

Kanye West’s My Dark, Twisted Fantasy: However you want to label it (I’m going with Hip Hop for White People), and whatever you want to say about the man’s ego (yes, it’s gigantic), Kanye put out a great album.

Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs: I’ll be honest, this almost very nearly ended up on my disappointments list. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great tracks on The Suburbs, but it really didn’t grab me like their previous albums. And while both Funeral and Neon Bible growers for me, as much as I tried, I just couldn’t get The Suburbs to stick. I blame expectations for this one.

Batman, Green Lantern & Scott Pilgrim – It was a good year for comics. Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin and Return of Bruce Wayne has been spectacular. 2010 was also the year I started reading Green Lantern, which has been pretty rad (although I read it’s taken a dive of late), and everything Scott Pilgrim rocked my world. The books, then the movie, and then game, and then the soundtrack. Geeky goodness.

A notable exception and possibly my track of the year – if Triple J will please stop flogging it to death. I heard this one night in the car, and it’s the first time in a long time I’ve been knocked on my arse by a song. It’s everything I like about music, all rolled into one. An amazing drum line and fantastic beat, layers of noise and vocals, a nice build and a solid ending. It’s three minutes and twenty-nine seconds of perfection. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but my kind of amazing.

Disappointments

Interpol’s Interpol: When “Lights” was released early in the year, I could barely contain my excitement. Where-as there’s a common opinion that Interpol are working on a schedule of diminishing returns with each release, I’ve found myself falling deeper and deeper in fan as they’ve progressed. The move from Bright Lights, to Antics to Our Love… all seemed perfect to me. Enough of the same yet just the right amount of different to make it work. Interpol was said to be a “return to form”. Daniel had found the Bright Lights setting on his amp again, and they were excited about going back to their roots.

And then, not long before the album was released, came the news that Carlos had left the band. The beginning of the disappointing end. For me, Carlos’ bass had been integral to the band’s sound, and while he was still on the album, you could almost hear him phoning it in.

My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days: True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys: Sitting in a drafts folder somewhere is an open letter I started to My Chem explaining my disappointment, and while I won’t go into the gory details now, the long and the short of it was, you don’t follow this:

Grant Morrison with a ray gun
It's Grant Morrison, and he has a ray gun!

With an album full of synth-y euro pop/rock. It’s just not good. And yes, I should probably be ashamed of even mentioning this here, but you can’t release a video with Grant Morrison holding a fucking ray gun and not follow up with something kick ass. Here’s hoping Garrard Way has some more comics in him. He’s good at those.

Lost: Yup.

And I saw perform live*:

The Voltaire Twins, (avoided) Mumford & Sons, Whitley, Daniel Johnston, Echo & The Bunnymen, Sunny Day Real Estate, Clutch, Isis, Placebo & Paramore & AFI (all from a distance), Jane’s Addiction, Jimmy Eat World, Faith No More, Pavement, Dinosaur Jnr, Pixies (viva la Marchapalooza), Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mark Lanegan & Dave Rosser (as well as completing my Gutter Twin’s autograph collection), Band of Horses, (avoided, again) Mumford & Sons, The Strokes, Kyu, High Places, (the face meltingly good) Xiu Xiu, Silversun Pickups, Birds of Tokyo (against my will) and

* It should be noted, I may have seen (walked past) more bands at festivals, however the above were bands I either planned to see, or saw full sets.

…of Marchapalooza pt. 2

Or: Of things that Begin and End.

It would be remiss of me to not mark the ending of Marchapalooza with some sort of update. Truth be told, it’s been kind of hard to know where to start. The word ‘epic’ doesn’t really begin to cover it. Having become an only occasional gig go-er, to see so many amazing bands all in the one month was something close to transcendental.

Rather re-hashing the whole thing with a blow by blow account, here’s a rundown of the highlights, with some pics I managed to snap over the course of the month.

Continue reading “…of Marchapalooza pt. 2”

…of Marchapalooza

While rambling about my Faith No More experiences, I neglected to mention the significant importance of the month of March; Marchapalooza, as I have now dubbed it. Named after the Greek Godess of 90s music fesitvals – Lollapalloznia – who’s name was adopted by a one Mr. Perry Farrell as the representation of his own symbol of worship that was the festival, Lollapallooza [1] [2].

You see Soundwave brought not only the awesomeness of Faith No More, but also the amazingness that was (or, were) Jane’s Addiction. And I can only assume that the meeting of these two powerful forces convinced the Godess Lollapalloznia to shine her bright 90s light down upon us all and grace us with the presence of not one, or even two, but three of the giants of 90s music, all in the one month [3].

Tonight – Pavement at Metropolis, Northbridge [4].

Friday, March 12th – Dinosaur Jr. at The Rosemount.

And then, as if that wasn’t enough, Saturday the 27th of March – Pixies at Belvoir Amphitheater

Dearest Lollapalloznia, we thank you for this veritable bounty of musical goodness. May your light shine continue to shine down upon us all.

Love,

Mark

—–
[1] At least, this is how I’ve come to understand the story. Of course several details may be wrong.

[2] We are of course forgetting what Lollapallooza has become, and instead choosing to remember her as what she was – the birth of the Alternate Nation.

[3] Spread over its duration, so as to allow our now tired and aged bones to recover between gigs. Cause Soundwave was just cruel man. With the heat. And all the young people! BAH! How dare they! With their noise and drinking and being young!

[4] One of the only reasons I’ve had of late to go North of the bridge after dark. I’ve mentioned my distain for young people, yes?

…of those moments that stay with you

One of my favourite concert memories of all time occurred on November 1st, 1997; the night Faith No More played the Entertainment Centre in Perth. Despite being aware of the band for many, many years, it was my first time seeing them live, having missed them on the King for a Day tour [1]. Only five months later, the band announced that they were breaking up. Faith No More were, well, y’know…

But back to that amazing night in ’97. I don’t remember who was support. I don’t believe my friends and I arrived in time to see them. I remember Faith No More opened with Mightnight Cowboy (Patton on the melodica), followed by the lead track of Album of the Year, Collision. Tracks from Angel Dust, King for a Day and The Real Thing all came early. And somewhere in the middle comes my highlight.

Continue reading “…of those moments that stay with you”

…of making lists and catching up

or:  …a year of Fridays and Falling in Love,
or:  Not another fucking ’09 list?

I remember a time where I used to be ahead of the curve. Or at the very least, I felt like I was. It might have only been for a week some time around 1993 or 1994, but I was there. I know I was. I could feel it.

I should clarify at this point, that when I say “ahead of the curve” I’m referring to the knowledge of bands that weren’t quite famous yet. And when I say “curve”, you need to understand that, where I was from the curve wasn’t exactly what you’d call, “pronounced”. Or even a curve really. As discussed previously, living two hours drive south of the most isolated capital city in the world made keeping close to the cutting edge of anything pretty hard [1]. And I should state for the record that this isn’t about trying to stay cool or keep up with the kids. I like the music I like because of how it makes me feel, and I’ve never been one to blindly follow what everyone else is listening to for the sake of fitting in. Nor is it about dropping band names in an effort to make an impression on people. Once upon a time, maybe. In fact this used to sum me up pretty well:

Continue reading “…of making lists and catching up”

…friday, I’m in love #03 – loud noises

Friday, I’m in Love aims to tell the stories of how I came to find some of my favourite music. Usually – more often than not – they come on a Friday. Some of these bands have been with me forever, others are very, very new to me, my iPod and my world. Whether they’ll stick around, I couldn’t tell you, but for now they seem to make some kind of sense.

While I’ve not being doing this for long enough to have formed any kind of convention, in the interest of actually posting something about something the convention we might’ve been using is going to take a break this week. I’d like to – if I may – take some time to talk about two albums that have found their way into rather heavy rotation on my Apple branded music player over the last couple of weeks or so.

The theme will be loud noises.

Continue reading “…friday, I’m in love #03 – loud noises”

…friday, I’m in love #02 – radiohead

Friday, I’m in Love aims to tell the stories of how I came to find some of my favourite music. Usually – more often than not – they come on a Friday. Some of these bands have been with me forever, others are very, very new to me, my iPod and my world. Whether they’ll stick around, I couldn’t tell you, but for now they seem to make some kind of sense.

For part two, we’re going to jump to somewhere around the middle. Hope you enjoy.

The who: Radiohead
The what:
Specifically, The Bends & O.K. Computer
Sounds like:
Radiohead. No other words have been invented yet, or if they have, I don’t know them.
The when:
First in ’95, then the follow-up in ’97, and everything ever since.

Continue reading “…friday, I’m in love #02 – radiohead”