Friday, 29 July 2011

Green Day v Recovery

Remember this post about the greatest Recovery moments? Well, after some clever YouTube-ing I found the amazing Green Day interview for your viewing pleasure.

The quality is awful, probably due to the fact that this clip was once taped on a VHS (I know! What is a VHS?), but it is hilarious. The band look tired and/or stoned and obviously think host, Dylan Lewis is a major tool.

I taped this when it first aired and watched it much so that my VHS (ancient technology) actually broke from all the wear and tear! Oh, the memories. Oh, the perils of live television!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Pearl Jam Twenty

I cannot wait for this:

Being a big Pearl Jam fan, I am really, really keen to see this. Lots of interviews, lots of footage from the vault and its directed by Cameron Crowe! Sure old Cameron has directed some crap films (Vanilla Sky) but he's also directed some gems (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Almost Famous? Oh yes!).

The trailer is so gave me goosebumps.

It says it's out in Fall 2011, which I guess means it'll be out between September and November this year.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

New York, New York!

This isn't really related to music, but in two months, I'll be here:

I am insanely excited and am starting to count down the days already (58 days to go...if you're wondering).

I must be subconsciously working up to my trip because I've been listening to a hell of a lot of Ramones, Talking Heads, James Brown and old Frank Sinatra recently. Every time I listen to New York, New York I get way over-excited.  

I want to catch a band or two while I'm there. Primus and Portishead are both playing (as well as a stack of others that I wouldn't mind seeing), so we definitely have options, people.

Oh, please let the next two months fly by!

Monday, 25 July 2011

The Rumours Were True!

Remember this post about the heavily rumoured Harvest Festival? Well, the rumours were true! Full details of the festival were announced a couple of days ago, including the (really decent) lineup and the dates.
I'd love to see The Flaming Lips, Portishead, Bright Eyes and a couple of the other bands, but at $135 a ticket, it's pretty steep...particularly given all the other great festivals and gigs that have come our way recently.
Anyways, here are the details:
The Flaming Lips
Bright Eyes
The National
Mercury Rev
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
Family Stone
Holy Fuck
Death In Vegas
The Walkmen
Dappled Cities
This Town Needs Guns
Foxy Shazam
The Holidays
Kormac’s Big Band

Saturday 12th November – Werribee Park, Melbourne
Sunday 13th November – Parramatta Park, Sydney
Saturday 19th November – Botanical Gardens, Brisbane

Friday, 22 July 2011

Welcome to Blah-town

You know how I said I was (with a great degree of trepidation and scepticism) excited about the new Blink 182 and Red Hot Chili Peppers' records? Well, within the last week or so, both bands released the first singles from their new albums. People, I was right to be sceptical because both singles are very much a trip to Blah-town.

Blink 182’s effort Up All Night sounds like a cross between singer, Tom De Longe’s side project, Angels & Airwaves and Blink’s 2003 self-titled album…which is not a good thing. Basically it’s boring and takes itself way too seriously. Not to mention that the intro sounds nothing like the Blink 182 that we know and love. I actually had to skip to the middle of the song to check that I’d downloaded the right thing! This song lacks the fun, the innuendo and the pop-punk party spirit that the old Blink 182 gave us in spades.

And the new Chili Peppers song, The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie (worst song title ever!), isn’t much better. It’s just…dull. Sure, it sounds like the Red Hot Chili Peppers but it doesn’t deliver the same punch and energy that a lot of their other singles have in the past. The lyrics and tempo are predictable, Anthony Kiedis’ vocals sound stale, and new guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer hasn’t brought anything exciting or innovative to the table. To me, the Chili Peppers have long been about musical innovation and the seamless mixing of genres but this song is just a big nap. We’ve heard it before and we’ve heard it done a lot better than this.

Will the records be better than the singles? Will there be some hidden gems that recapture the magic of these once great bands? We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Men in Kilts

Hooray! Boston-Celtic punks, Dropkick Murphys are headed back to Australia!

It seems like just yesterday that they were here, playing in the torrential rains at the No Sleep Till festival. Despite the bloody awful weather (it was December, it was pouring nonstop, it was freezing), the Dropkicks played a great set full of Celtic punk favourites.

They are returning in October and are brining alt-country punks, Lucero with them. There will be bagpipes, accordions, kilts, possibly even a jig or two. And the Brisbane leg is at the Tivoli. Should be a grand evening all round!

19th October Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane
20th October Enmore Theatre, Sydney
21st October Panthers, Newcastle
22nd October Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
23rd October Metro City, Perth
25th October Forum Theatre, Melbourne

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Return of Blink 182

Is it wrong that I’m kind of excited about this? Dick-and-fart-joke pop punkers Blink 182 are set to release their first album since their 2003 self-titled effort. The band declared an indefinite hiatus in 2005 before officially reforming in 2009. Their new album is apparently in the mixing stage and should be released in the next few months. And I’m kind of keen to hear it.

Their first three albums (Cheshire Cat, Dude Ranch and Enema of the State) pretty much defined my high school days so the nostalgia factor is high. They’re just a fun, funny, stupid party punk band and 14 year old me is pretty stoked about their return.

Whether the new album is any good is anybody’s guess. Will they bring a more mature sound to the table or are they still writing songs about being peeping toms? They aren’t snot-nosed little punks anymore…they’re pushing 40. It’ll be interesting to see which direction they take.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Late on the Bandwagon: Girl Talk

I’m not usually one to jump on the bandwagon. Not because I’m a snob, but mainly because I’m slow to pick things up. I don’t listen to the radio and 99 per cent of music press drives me insane. Anyway, I pretty much missed the Girl Talk bandwagon, but hey, it’s not too late to jump on now, right?

Last week, my friend Chuck gave me a copy of Girl Talk’s latest album All Day (amongst a truck load of other things) and after a few listens, I am a fan. It’s not proper music, really. Instead, this is an album full of mashups…mashups of the highest calibre. Girl Talk uses hundreds of samples of (mostly) well known songs to create new music which makes my inner music nerd jump for joy.

The Beastie Boys’ Hey Ladies is layered against Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, Ludacris is sampled over Black Sabbath, Missy Elliott’s Get Ya Freak On appears over the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop. Throughout the album there are so many “oh my god, I love that song” moments as samples from Radiohead to Busta Rhymes to Fugazi to New Order are all mashed in.

If you haven’t heard the album, it might just sound like a bunch of random crap all smooshed together, but Girl Talk actually makes these samples work and manages to create incredible new songs with them.

This album is insanely detailed but more importantly, it’s just a really good party record. It’s fun, it’s got a sense of humour and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Be warned though; if you listen to this record, you will spend most of the time playing “guess that sample”. Or you can just check out this list.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Hill Hates…Stadium Rock

Be warned, this is a rant. Ever since I heard that Foo Fighters are playing at Metricon Stadium, I’ve been in rant mode because let’s face it, stadium shows suck. I’ll admit that apart from festivals, I’ve only been to a couple of stadium shows, mostly because I avoid them like the plague.

I saw Pearl Jam play at QSAC in 2009 to a 35,000+ strong crowd and while the band did an amazing job, the gig was disappointing. Firstly, the sound was piss poor. Outdoor concerts never sound as good as indoor gigs, but the sound that night was particularly bad. Secondly, we made the mistake of getting seating tickets and although our seats were some of the best in the house, they were still about 5 kilometres from the band. “Man, what are those ants doing on stage? Oh, wait…that’s Pearl Jam.”

I also saw Green Day play at the SCG in 2005 which was better than Pearl Jam, but only because I managed to get tickets in the front mosh pit, closest to the stage.

I can see why bands do it. It’s a spectacle, it’s a way to sell more tickets and make more money, it’s a sign that they’ve ‘made it’ as a band. But seriously, think of the fans. Think of the lack of intimacy, the crap sound quality and the fact that most people there can’t see a damn thing. 

I think these shows are so alienating and put an even bigger gap between the band and the audience. It’s hard to feel like you’re part of something when you’re surrounded by 40,000 other people and the band is 5 kilometres away. Bands talk a lot about trying to connect with the audience at a show, but it’s almost impossible to do that at a venue which holds 40,000, 60,000 or even 80,000 people.

And honestly, if you lucked out and got seriously crap tickets to a stadium gig, you may as well just stay at home. You’re not going to see anything, the sound quality will be awful and you just wasted $100.

Stadium shows only work is you’re in the first 40 rows from the stage…or you watch them on DVD. And hey, stadium shows make great concert movies.

Here are some visual examples of why stadium gigs and large outdoor concerts are ridiculous. Take a moment to look where the stage is and how far back the audience spreads. Seriously. The people at the very back would see zip!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Foos Fail

Sadly, I am no longer that excited about the Foo Fighters tour. Firstly, they are doing stadium shows…and I hate stadium shows with a passion. Secondly, they’re playing at the Gold Coast instead of Brisbane. Seriously, WTF Foo Fighters?! Majorly disappointing.

Epic fail, Dave Grohl!

In better news, the Foos are being supported by Tenacious D, which will most likely be hilarious.

Anyway, here are the details:

Monday 28th November – NIB Stadium, Perth
Friday 2nd December – AAMI Stadium, Melbourne
Monday 5th December – Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Thursday 8th December – Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Saturday 10th December – Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast (BOOOOO!)
Tuesday 13th December - Western Springs Stadium, Auckland

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Mind Readers…

So you know how I just said that I was keen for the next Foo Fighters tour? Well, look what popped up on the band’s Facebook page a couple of hours ago.

Good morning AUS + NZ. So.... Are you guys gonna be around tomorrow ? Checkin the facebooks & stuff ? Kinda have something we should talk about....cough cough.. rock tour.. cough cough..

Excellent! Stay tuned for details tomorrow.

Wasting Light – A Return to Form

For a long time (since about 1997) I’ve called myself a Foo Fighters fan. Actually, I’ve been a fan of most of, if not all of, Dave Grohl’s projects. BUT, in the past few years, I’ve found my love for the Foos waning. I didn’t mind 2005’s In Your Honour  and 2007’s Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace was ok.

But that’s the problem…these albums from a band I once adored were just ok, passable, listenable. I loved the early Foo Fighters records because they had grunt and edge and big ass guitars mixed in with cutesy pop songs and melodic ballads. I get that Dave was experimenting with more acoustic ballady stuff and grandiose musical landscapes, and that’s cool. Go ahead. I just prefer my Foo Fighters with the volume turned up to 11.

So on the weekend, I bought the Foos new album Wasting Light, admittedly with mixed emotions. I’d heard good things. Really good things. The album was recorded in Dave’s garage. Husker Du’s Bob Mould was contributing vocals (being a big Husker Du fan, this particular piece of news got me pretty excited). Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic was a guesting bassist. Ex-Foo, Pat Smear was back on guitar. The band were going back to their ‘rock roots’. The album was being produced by Butch Vig. All great things! But still, I was hesitant.

Anyways, I’ve listened to the record four or five times now and…it’s good! It’s actually really good. The opening track Bridge Burning is a real return to form with big ass guitars, memorable riffs and Dave’s classic rock vocals. White Limo is fast and pulsing with distorted vocals and almost sounds like a track from Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf. Bob Mould’s back-up vocals make the track Dear Rosemary and I don’t think the song would be nearly as good without his contribution. There are also a couple of songs that sounds like classic Foo Fighters songs, like These Days and Arlandria.

Overall, it’s a very solid album from one of the biggest rock bands around. It’s a return to form for the Foo Fighters and is probably their best album since There Is Nothing Left to Lose…possibly even since The Colour and The Shape. I’m keen for their next tour now!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Recovery Moments

This article on Faster Louder has made my day! The Top 25 Best Recovery Moments.

Recovery was possibly the greatest thing to happen to television in Australia...ever. Three hours of music gold every Saturday morning with amazing bands, hilarious interviews and of course, Dylan Lewis. And then they took it away and the world went black.

Faster Louder's post is amazing with heaps of videos of hilariously awkward interviews and a random selection of live performances. I actually remember most of these videos from when they first aired. The Green Day video is a highlight. Hilarious!

Now that Channel 10 has cancelled its Saturday morning music show, Video Hits, I think it's high time the ABC considered airing reruns of Recovery. It would make Saturday morning hangovers so much more enjoyable.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Dolls & Cigarettes

70s glam rock legends, the New York Dolls are heading to Australia in October to play some solo shows, headline The Boroughs in Melbourne…oh, and play at a bunch of cigarette trade shows for tobacco giant Peter Stuyvesant. That just seems wrong to me…but whatever.

Oh the hair...and the shoes!
I saw the Dolls at V Fest in 2007 and while they were entertaining enough they have obviously lost a lot of their on-stage oomph and shock value over the years. And they lost Johnny Thunders and his legendary hair many moons ago.

Anyway, the Dolls are playing in Brisbane on the 13th of October at the Hifi.

Frenzal Rhomb, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Arena!!

So a pretty awesome tour was announced a few days ago. Frenzal Rhomb and Teenage Bottlerocket will be hitting the Arena (YES, the Arena lives!) on the 9th of September.

Top-notch dive bar and live music venue, the Arena in Fortitude Valley closed its doors in 2009 which made me sad. Very sad. Over the years, I saw some truly memorable gigs at the Arena including the Mars Volta, the Living End, Hot Hot Heat and Kasabian (aka the loudest gig in the history of the world) so I was pretty gutted when I heard that it was no more. But it looks like it’s reopening! YAY!

And it’s being reopened by Frenzal Rhomb, one of my favourite Australian punk bands. And they’re bringing out USA punk band, Teenage Bottlerocket. Seriously, what’s not to love?! It’ll be loud, it’ll be hilarious, it’ll be bringing back the magic of the Arena.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Music Heroes: Part 4

John Frusciante (Froo-shan-tay). This man is a living legend and possibly my favourite living guitarist. He’s best known for his work as guitarist and back-up vocalist with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but he’s also made a truck load of solo albums and has been involved in some pretty amazing collaborations.

His time with the Chili Peppers was interesting. He joined in the late 80s before the band recorded Mothers Milk, he stayed around for the recording and (most of) the touring for Blood Sugar Sex Magik, then he left, became a hardcore heroin addict, got clean, re-joined the band in the late 90s to record Californication, By The Way and Stadium Arcadium…and left again in 2009 to pursue his solo projects.

There is little doubt that the Red Hot Chili Peppers do their best work when John is part of the band. There seems to be a perfect synergy between Anthony, Flea, John and Chad, and things just don’t seem to work when that union is broken (One Hot Minute with Dave Navarro on guitar? Yeah…it sucked). Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Californication were musical revelations and John's influence on these records should never be underestimated.

John’s guitar sound is distinctive and I can usually pick it out of a line up. He has a lot of influences, from blues legend, Robert Johnston to Jimi Hendrix to Pat Smear of the Germs. His influences are diverse but they all seem evident and obvious in his guitar playing. John plays in a lot of different styles but always manages to keep his signature sound.

John also has an amazing singing voice which he really gets to showcase on his solo albums. His vocal range is amazing. He can wail, he can scream, he can sing perfect falsetto. His voice is so versatile and emotive, and it was a gift that was wasted as a backup vocalist in the Peppers.

So far, John has released 10 solo albums with seven of these being recorded and released in 2004 as part of the Record Collection project. Man, that was a good year! Although all seven records were recorded quickly and cheaply (most of them in John’s home studio), they are incredible. Each album plays with different genres, styles, themes and instrumentation.

Out of the seven, it really is hard to pick a favourite. Shadows Collide with People was my first introduction to John’s solo work so it’ll always be right up there for me. The final record in the series, Curtains is another favourite as it is mellow and melodic, and is full of beautifully poignant lyrics. The Ataxia record (a collaboration with Josh Klinghoffer and Fugazi’s, Joe Lally) Automatic Writing is also brilliant. A five-song, 45-minute long experimental record full of wailing synthesisers and pared back vocals.

Over the years, John has done some interesting collaborations with artists such as the Wu Tang Clan (weird, right?), George Clinton and the Mars Volta (John has actually contributed guitars to all of the Mars Volta’s records). He also intended to audition for Frank Zappa’s band in the late 80s but changed his mind when he realised Zappa strictly prohibited illegal drug use (that’s right, people, Frank Zappa is and always has been sober!).

John is an odd fellow who is incredibly spiritual and claims to be guided by the voices in his head. He recovered from serious and long-lasting addictions to heroin, crack and alcohol, which ruined his teeth, destroyed his arms and nearly took his life. He even released the 1997 album Smile from the Streets You Hold in order to get drug money. After more than five years of addiction, John managed to get clean and stay clean, and as a consequence his creativity flourished.

Simply put, John is a musical genius. I adore his solo projects, admire his collaborations and love his work with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. His personal story is pretty inspiring too. Anyone who hasn’t checked out his solo albums should. Buy Curtains…it’s a good introduction.