Monday, 30 June 2008

Just listening to the new CSS as I type

Source: Slow Fade

Yeah... not that impressed.

I'm not saying it's a bad album, it just lacks the fun and funk that made their eponymous debut of a few years back so good. I also heard from reliable if nameless sources that their gigs in Auckland earlier this year were quite a let-down.

In a genre as fickle as indie electro and with electro constantly evolving, have CSS done their dash?

I hope not.

When I last saw them live they were... just... incredible.

A slave to the written word

Source: Martin Goodman

I started Cormac McCarthy’s The Road one Melbourne morning. The bleakness of the first 100 pages sent me rushing outside into the leafy town centre of Yarraville to reassure myself that I wasn’t the last person alive, that nature was more than ashen memories and that cannibalism born of desperation wasn’t running rampant.

That initial moment notwithstanding I found the book to be quite uplifting. The bond between father and son shaped as paranoid and worrying dad genuinely caring for a son that showed a capable maturity as the book progressed. Sure the bouts of starvation and often horrific happenings on their sojourn along said road were quite harrowing in parts (I can’t get the bit about the baby in the woods out of my head), but they seemed to contrast nicely with the more human moments between the two central characters. I did however become a bit confused when the book seemed to involve flashbacks, as the flashbacks were to a time when the world was similarly bleak and desperate and in the unrelenting grip of a nuclear winter. I couldn’t work out when was when, but went with the flow all the same.

The ending seemed a nice way to end it as well: the encounter with the stranger proving a saving grace for the boy and a considerate way to finish the book.

The Road seemed quite different to Cormac’s other books, but I guess Like Sebastian Faulks’ Engleby it is through these diversions / tangents / whatever a writer takes that shows how good their writing really can be beyond the standard idiom they tend to dwell.

From the "they're doing it, they're actually doing it"-file comes this report from Pittsburgh that filming should have started on the film adaptation of The Road, with Viggo Mortensen as the father character.

Moving to matters less McCarthy but literary all the same, I’m now reading Junot Diaz’s first novel, The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao. Diaz came out with a short story compilation a few years back that was really quite good (I was in a short story phase at the time), but suffered against comparisons with American Indian short story writer Sherman Alexie (Alexie being the better of the two – grab his compilation Lone Ranger And Tonto Fist Fight In Heaven if you can).

I'm also starting on the new David Sedaris When You Are Engulfed In Flames, Perry Moore's superhero novel Hero, Ryunosuke Akutagawa's Rashomon And 17 Other Stories, as well as an EM Forster treat I picked up earlier today called The Life To Come And Other Stories (I loved Passage To India and the descriptions of the Marabar Hills as akin to a demonic fist thrust upward into an otherwise non-descript horizon).

So... what are you reading?

I am going this year

Source: trade hooks for grammys

I've never quite gotten over not going to Parklife last year so I'm determined to go this year, and for good reasons...

Dizzee Rascal
Martin Solveig
Plump DJs
Jesse Rose
Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Metro Area
Van She
Boy 8-Bit
Bag Raiders Live
Grafton Primary
Van She Tech
& many more


I only hope Chris sorts things out so he comes along for the ride, because it's going to be a doozy.

The Melbourne Parklife coincides nicely on 28 September with Ladytron on 2 October and my *mumble*th birthday a few days later. It is meant to be. Oh yes, it is meant to be.

I guess I'd better start saving.

Oh and Piers, I'd like to book your couch for the week.

I've lost my way

Wellington's own Ladyhawke has been doing the rounds of the blogosphere a fair bit the last few weeks with Paris Is Burning soon to be released with a slew of mighty tasty remixes.

The Cut Copy remix is just spectacular (no, it really is), the Peaches remix is super fun, the Innerpartysystem remix really quite different, the Alex Gopher remix moreso, the Kid Gloves and Chicken Lips remixes perhaps too far from the original for my tastes. There is also a French version of the song floating around as Paris S'enflamme that is really rather good. Mind you, I think heavily accented songs have tended to go down well after The Teenagers first emerged from the indie abyss.

The video doesn't do a lot for me but then I'm just glad to see Pip conquering the blogosphere with Australia's Modular Records behind her.

I've been a fan since getting into her collaboration with PNAU's Nick Littlemore as Teenager, with their album Thirteen still on fairly high rotation on the ipod. Pip's vocals on PNAU's Embrace also helped make it one of the standout tracks from their self-titled album out last year.

The rumour-mill says Pip will be playing New Zealand in August. TO be more precise Cheese On Toast had the following to say almost a month back...

So we were just chatting to Pip Brown AKA Ladyhawke on Facebook Chat last night; she was back in London for a couple of days having just played Ibiza, before she heads off to play Barcelona. She let slip that she will be playing Wellington and then Auckland in August. Watch out for an official announcement with actual dates and venues - but you heard it here first! [19 June 2008]

Can't. Hardly. Wait.

In the meantime, you should sign up to Modular's Modcast so you can check out the first few of her video diaries. I'm not sure why but I really get a kick out of hearing her kiwi accent. Maybe that's because too few of us are into this kind of music, and she would be one of the even fewer of us that makes this kind of music.

If only New Zealand Music Month could move beyond the immovably dull Elemeno P / Brooke Fraser / Op Shop troika. Maybe then I'd give more of a shit about the music this country makes.

That probably comes across as incredibly selfish, but then like the Lady says "my heart is yearning"

PS: Is it rude to talk about someone through the use of their first name when you've never met nor become familiar in even the vaguest sense of the word?

That's MISTER blind box slut to you, pal

Source: Kid Robot

Whether for right or wrong, I've started collecting the second series of Fatcaps. I know they're not as cool as the humble dunny, because the spray cap just doesn't look as cool as dunny ears. I'm sorry, but it's true. so why get them? Two reasons: the designs and the excellent execution.

I don't know most of the designers that have contributed to this series as they're generally, if not exclusively, graffiti artists and I don't really get into street art as much as I used to (such a difficult field to follow here in New Zealand). That said, some of their designs look really cool on the fatcap. The synthesiser fatcap, the Flying Fortress teddy troop fatcap and this stunning number are easily my favourite of the series.

I don't know how many more I'll be getting. Maybe a few. Maybe a lot. We'll see. You should get some so we can, you know, trade.

Just like it says on the back

Source: Jamungo

I picked up this little gem at POPUP late last week. It's the June entry from Jamungo's Bud Of The Month series that has been running since late 2007.

I've got the black bud on the left and to be honest I think I prefer it to the clear chase. There's something about the transparent shell that really disappoints. I don't really get off on seeing all the seams and joins quite so... well, bare.

I should probably declare that plastic toys have never really done a lot for me. As a material they just lack the tactility one gets from vinyl. Plastic also lacks the intoxicating aroma of just-unpacked vinyl.

That notwithstanding there was something about the design that made me want to have it, so I got it. Maybe it was the similarity to Phillipe Starck lamps. Maybe it was the uncluttered design.

Either way, I quite like it.

The figure is 4" tall and comes with 'nade and fuse tops for whichever look you're working.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Feeeeeeeeel it

This is motherfucking Hercules & Love Affair performing live for the first motherfucking time at some motherfucking place called Studio B.

The guy behind the decks is Hercules & Love Affair, the singer wearing not a lot is Nomi, and the song is Blind.

Feeeeeel it.

There is something about the bassline in Blind that has me thinking back to my childhood in Canada and a certain band that came out with a certain song that was the soundtrack to so many nightmares (I really don't know why - about the nightmares, that is).

Rehashing cliches since 1978

Source: Oldschoolreunion myspace

James and Celeste from Oldschoolreunion were sweet enough to email me an embarrassing number of days back and it's taken me until now to blog about them. Sure I'm still wading through a fair few tunes, but this is swiftly starting to become something of a habit with the treats they send me.

And what tasty treats they are too!

LOVEstory (zshare) plumbs a similar electro vein as Just Robotica but in a way that feels more familiar against a lot of the songs that were coming out early last year. I, of course, mean that in a good way.

Their remix of DJ Mark Flip's IDLE (zshare) is something else entirely. With sweeping waves of distortion, it kicks off as something you'd expect from the likes of Culture Prophet or a kind of pre-D.A.N.C.E. Justice-lite. Don't get me wrong, it's a really catchy remix. It just feels like it should be a little harder, a little edgier, a little more menacing.

While I've got you, you might want to check out the exclusive track they sent Neon River, because Rainman (mediafire) really is something worth chasing down. It's almost Danger-esque in its pacing and liberal lashings of synths. Loves it. Loves it real good.

Oh and for the novelty-inclined among you, Oldschoolreunion placed in One More Disco's Metallica remix competition with an effort I thought was better than the one that won, but then I've never really been a fan of Metallica so not sure that says that much.

Monday, 23 June 2008

In no particular order

CDs I'm really loving right now, include:

The one remix that is so good it makes your problems disappear, is Paris Is Burning from the first and remixed by the second:

That is all.

I'm here with all my people

Source: Myspace

It wasn't until the DJ dropped The Presets' My People that Friday night not only felt real, but also felt right.

Auckland club night Sohomo came to Wellington for the first time last Friday and there was no way I was going to let the back-end of a debilitating bout of illness, or painfully liquid lunch get in the way of my being there (the herb-crusted pork schnitzel was just incredible, as were the glasses of the Montenillo).

Oh dear god, Sohomo was quite simply fantastic. Easily the closest thing to a Melbourne club night I've seen in our fair city, and the tunes... oh the tunes. If I wasn't grinning from ear to ear, I was dancing my ass off on San Fran's pretty crap dancefloor. I knew and loved most of the songs they dropped and the appreciative crowd around me seemed to agree. I'd rattle them off but I was really quite drunk at the time and can only remember the odd snippet here and there. My cellphone died around halfway through the night so my phone's sent box isn't much help.

The crowd were a very pretty bunch. Hot indie kids, predominately in all their Friday night best. Deep V necks for Africa. An obscenity of long fringes. I knew we had them in Wellington but they're so very hard to find and embrace in this city. However as the night progressed the crowd seemed to become less indie and more... well, gay. Seeing normally pop music-loving twinks grinding away on the stage kinda ruined the night for me a bit, but then they tend to takeover the better clubs fafter 2:00am. Such is the way of things in Wellington.

And before anyone comments, no I wasn't a dirty lech. Rather difficult to be a dirty lech when you know most of them quite well as friends or friends of friends. Keebo asked how I knew so many of them and the truth of the matter is that once you meet one you very quickly come to meet all of them.

Sohomo involved a range of acts to help it last way into the wee hours of daybreak and unwelcome sunlight. Of those...

The Mega Pash Action dancers were a very pleasant refrain from the DJ as they moved to Kate Bush's classic Running Up That Hill. We didn't know whether to dance along or simply stand and watch. So we danced.

Wellington electro act Heat Like Me shamed me into loving them as their live set hit me with a definite WOW! (I really should get that badge to go with the "ugh!" badge). They're an act I'd heard a lot about but wasn't at all impressed by the songs on their myspace page for whatever reason. I'm not too proud to say I was wrong, because I was. Wrong, that is. I think one of them muttered something about something happening at Mighty Mighty next Thursday so I'll have to have a look-see so I can head along for it fresh off the plane from Christchurch.

Anywho, Sohomo sent a myspace bulletin around their favoured few to let us know they'll be back but nothing confirmed at this stage. Fingers crossed their next night down here isn't too far away. Wellington desperately needs decent electro nights and it is fantastic to see that finally starting to happen.


Air hell air


... and welcome to resumption of service here at SFTWM.

I have excuses and they are good and valid ones for abandoning you for so long. It's taken a while to get over no longer being in lovely Melbournetown. I haven't really had much time for myself since coming back. The adapter for my laptop exploded rather melodramatically just prior to my leaving for Melbourne and it always takes forever to get a new one (this being my third and hopefully last adapter). Three seasons of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica have been calling out to me, like a Siren's call. The backlog of new tunes grew too large to ignore.

Speaking of new tunes, I'm still wading through a fair few at the moment and have only just finished loading the Bat For Lashes, Black Ghosts and Lindstrom I picked up in Melbourne. Services will resume for my favoured few on that front soon enough.

To tide everyone over in the meantime, you might want to trawl some of the fine establishments along the left-hand side of the page. If the list is a bit too long for you, check out SFTWM-faves (in no particular order) Electrorash, Asian Dan, Kidz By Colette, Waves At Night, as well as the kids over at Have Fun Club, Hyperbole and Welcome To Dance Club.

We'll be running on all cylinders soon enough so try not to miss me too much in the meantime.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

The last few days...

... well, they've been a bit of a blur really.

Long story short, it's been a great time had with great people.

Short story elaborated: Cut Copy was incredible (great crowd, great venue, great set, great openers), The Juan Maclean were incredible (these guys really impressed, even as a support act), Mr Oizo was incredible (OH. MY. FUCKING. GOD.), The Whip were incredible (awesome set, great sound, great performance, totally hot drummer), !!! made me wish I'd seen them in Wellington before coming here (a bit band-y for a festival finisher but a really solid performance), Bonde Do Role were great (love that Brazilian sass), Lindstrom took a while to sort his shit out but killed it in the second half of his set (Teutonic thunder), Grand National was pretty good but suffered from a too early timeslot, Derrick Carter was surprisingly good with a fairly electro heavy playlist, and Cassius were good but I was hoping for a live set that involved more than the two of them behind a set of decks (the bald one is really quite hot in person).

The Saturday at We love Sounds left me too spent to contemplate seeing Mr Oizo at The Prince last night so I caught up with Tim and Takae at a Greek Cypriot place down Southbank (good food, good beer and the prices didn't hurt much either) before meeting Ned at a Japanese place somewhere in the inner-city and catching his set at Eurotrash before heading home with exhaustion setting in far too quickly. Well that and the prospect of missing the last train for the night.

Love the public transport here in Melbourne. I do. The enforcement seems quite fascistic but it seems to do the job. I can't say I've had any problems thus far. Well nothing more than suffering the more insufferable range of the Australian accent in full flight.

No matter how often I come here I just can't get used to the oppressive attention directed towards the vowel over here. It really is almost suffocating. Generally humourous to the kiwi ear, but can still prove suffocating. Thankfully we haven't been asked to "sex" and "six" or the old favourite "fish and chips".

What else happened?

Um... Well, Bonnie and I saw a dreadful poker film called 21 at the nearby cinema. It really was dreadful and we were both left openly wondering why Laurence Fishburne would slum it in a totally irrelevant role in a totally meaningless film, but ah well. It got us out of the house for a bit, which was nice. Also gave us a chance to talk, which was even better. Colour us now firm friends. Or at least I hope so.

I haven't done any shopping yet, but will probably look to get some done whilst browsing the inner-city tomorrow. Tomorrow being Tuesday. Today was Queen's Birthday over here. Today being Monday. Or at least it was when I started writing this post.

My appetite disappeared after Friday night and I can't say that I've eaten a lot since. I've tried and managed to partake of some spectacular thai food earlier tonight, and even went as far as whipping a little vegetarian snack around lunchtime, but that was more out of concern for not feeling in the least hungry and wanting to make sure I got something to eat. Heaven forbid I waste away. I could have fasted but I think that might not have been such a good idea in case it lead to complications while on foreign soil. I'm all for causing international incidents, but not where I'm the point of concern.

What else?

Well, I've started reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road and have made it about 100 pages in. A great if confusing read. There's a father and son travelling along a road during what seems to be a nuclear winter, but then there are also flashbacks on the father's part to earlier sections of their journey, only I don't rightly know which parts of the story are occurring when. it''s also really quite bleak. And desolate. I had to go for a walk to reassure myself that nature and people still existed. I also picked up some asparagus while I was out. Very tasty. And cheap. And thin. I don't like the woody kind. They also have cherries over here. Motherfucking cherries. In motherfucking June! Shit is just wrong but damn it tastes good.

There's more I could probably share but I'm starting to nod off with Deadwood playing on the DVD.

Friday, 6 June 2008

A hoy hoy

I've been up and about for hours and it isn't even noon yet. What. The. Fuck. The body clock has taken a fair battering the last few days and thankfully I wasn't the only one suffering this morning. Piers kindly made me a cup of tea while I was weeding the patio garden out the back of the house out here in lovely wistful Yarraville. I might start down the side of the house tomorrow morning. Well that or the front garden. Both are in dire need of attention. We'll have to see how we cope after Cut Copy tonight.

Talking to a drunk Josh last night (who saw them last night) Cut Copy were beyond awesome. Mind you he was drunk and he's funny when he's drunk and he sometimes exaggerates for effect when he's being funny. Naturally he didn't get there in time to see the opening acts (The Juan MacLean and Shocking Pinks), but then that didn't seem to phase him as the main act was what counted.

Which reminds me, Piers and I saw Van She and The Bravery last night at the Corner and it was... 'good'. Van She played a good set that included old favourite Sex City (loves it live) and Kelly (his seemed to be what the crowd were waiting to hear), as well as newer songs like Strangers (sounds really good live), The Cat & The Eye and songs they'll be releasing on their forthcoming album (I think we're looking at an August release).

As good as they were, Van She didn't really seem to be putting too much into their performance. Looking back it had an air of just wanting to get through it and move on. Maybe that would explain why their set was just over half an hour. It also didn't help that the crowd didn't seem to be into seeing them, instead appearing to be merely killing time for The Bravery, which was unfortunate.

The Bravery were loud and charging at it from the first song of their hour-long set. They did well, but there's only so many times you can hear them play songs with the exact same chords. It was a good mix of their more well-known songs (Tyrant, Swollen Summer, An Honest Mistake) from their first album, as well as less well-known tracks off their more recent effort. The crowd seemed to more obviously dig The Bravery more than they did Van She, and yet half the crowd seemed to disappear just after halfway through The Bravery's set. As good as they were, it was a bit of a damning indictment that the crowd only really seemed to get into it once they played An Honest Mistake.

It was a good gig and worth the effort and late night for our heavily sleep-deprived selves, but it all seemed just a bit too 'band-y'. We're obviously too used to guys behind decks and laptops to appreciate music played on actual instruments.

Some things can be just a little too real.

Speaking of real, there is what sounds like an extremely feral dog on a neighbouring property. I only mention this because every now and again it seems to fly into a savage snarling frenzy only to then never be heard from. It's quite unnerving, especially in a quiet suburb like Yarraville.

Anywho, we better head off to welcome Tim to Melbournetown.

Try not to miss me too much.

And as always, wish you were here.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Excitement... building... starting to feel... real...

Source : We Love Sounds

The set times for We Love Sounds in Melbourne this Saturday have been announced. I haven't quite had a chance to digest what this means for me beyond a lot of rushing between stages as the evening progresses. The artists in BOLD are the ones I'm quite keen to see.

0900p – 1000p CHK! CHK! CHK! (Live)
0735p – 0850p CASSIUS
0630p – 0730p THE BRAVERY (Live)
0530p – 0630p GRANT SMILLIE
0445p – 0530p THE WHIP (Live)
0430p – 0445p ANDEE VAN DAMAGE
0330p – 0430p GRAND NATIONAL (Live)
0245p – 0330p ANDY MURPHY
0200p – 0245p BLACKGRASS
0120p – 0200p MIKE HUNT
1240p – 0120p ANDEE VAN DAMAGE
1200p – 1240p CHINA

0845p – 1000p UTAH SAINTS
0745p – 0845p JOHN COURSE
0615p – 0745p MR OIZO
0530p – 0615p BONDE DO ROLE (Live)
0400p – 0530p DERRICK CARTER
0300p – 0400p ACID JACKS
0200p – 0300p DUKE DUMONT
0100p – 0200p EDU K
1200p – 0100p NICK FOLEY & GENERIK

0830p – 1000p DUBFIRE
0715p – 0830p STEVE LAWLER
0615p – 0715p MODESELEKTOR (Live)
0500p – 0615p ELLEN ALLIEN
0400p – 0500p MARC HOULE (Live)
0300p – 0400p GAISER (Live)
0200p – 0300p LINDSTROM (Live)
0100p – 0200p MIKE CALANDER
1200m – 0100p DAVE PHAM

Hmmm... Looks like I have a few clashes.

Important question du jour

Source: Popjustice

Did you know there are Presets snow globes? Snow globes. Motherfucking snow globes!

Who the fuck comes out with snow globes as a promo? The Presets, that's who.

Can anyone get me a snow globe? A motherfucking snow globe? A Presets snow globe?

Do Cut Copy have snow globes? What about Midnight Juggernauts? Would they have motherfucking snow globes? Santogold should have snow globes. With motherfucking gold glitter.

Mighty Morphin Bag Raiders go Fun Punching???

Bag Raiders. Fun Punch.

Need I say more?

Sunday, 1 June 2008

In no particular order

Albums I am really enjoying right now, include:

Albums I really need to enjoy less, include:

Albums I'd really like to enjoy more, include:

People whom I really wish would release albums, include: