My “Best of 2015” lists…

FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2015

  1. Gang Of Youths “The Positions”
  2. Jason Isbell “Something More Than Free”
  3. Shane Nicholson “Hell Breaks Loose”
  4. The Paper Kites “twelvefour”
  5. Ryan Adams “1989”
  6. The Decemberists “What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World”
  7. David Ramirez “Fables”
  8. Courtney Barnett “Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit”
  9. Mumford & Sons “Wilder Mind”
  10. John Moreland “High On Tulsa Heat”
  11. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats “Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats”
  12. Chris Stapleton “Traveller”
  13. Gin Wigmore “Blood To Bone”
  14. Leon Bridges “Coming Home”
  15. Tobias Jesso Jr “Goon”
  16. Gretchen Peters “Blackbirds”
  17. James Bay “Chaos And The Calm”
  18. Marlon Williams “Marlon Williams”
  19. The Weeknd “Beauty Behind The Madness”
  20. Justin Bieber “Purpose”

 

FAVOURITE LIVE GIGS OF 2015

  1. Ryan Adams – July 23, Sydney Opera House
  2. Ryan Adams – July 21, Enmore Theatre, Sydney
  3. Taylor Swift – December 5, Suncorp Stadium Brisbane
  4. Conor Oberst – February 25, The Triffid, Brisbane
  5. Gang Of Youths – May 16, Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
  6. Gin Wigmore – December 9, The Foundry, Brisbane
  7. Jarryd James – July 10, The Metro Sydney
  8. Ben Howard – May 28, The Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane
  9. Vance Joy – December 5, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  10. The Preatures – May 27, Sydney Opera House
  11. Winterbourne – April 9, The Milk Factory, Brisbane
  12. Birds Of Tokyo – June 6, The Triffid, Brisbane
  13. Alessia Cara – August 19, Ambush Gallery, Sydney
  14. James Bay – Feb 2, Some random bar, Sydney
  15. British India – September 18, Beer InCider Experience, Brisbane
  16. Augie March – April 30, The Triffid Brisbane
  17. Foo Fighters & Rise Against – February 24, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
  18. Jack Carty, Jordan Miller – August 14, The Milk Factory, Brisbane
  19. Bernard Fanning – January 22, The Triffid, Brisbane
  20. Megan Washington – February 14, The Triffid, Brisbane

 

FAVOURITE TRACKS OF 2015

  1. Gang Of Youths “Magnolia”
  2. Jason Isbell “24 Frames”
  3. Shane Nicholson “Hermannsburg”
  4. Mumford & Sons “The Wolf”
  5. The Paper Kites “I’m Lying To You Cause I’m Lost
  6. Alessia Cara “Here”
  7. Ryan Adams “Out Of The Woods”
  8. Gang Of Youths “Restraint & Release”
  9. Gin Wigmore “Written In The Water”
  10. The Weeknd “Can’t Feel My Face”
  11. Shane Nicholson “Weight Of The World”
  12. Jamestown Revival “California”
  13. David Ramirez “How Do You Get ‘Em Back”
  14. Gang Of Youths “Knuckles White Dry”
  15. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats “SOB”
  16. Tobias Jesso Jr “How Could You Babe?”
  17. The Paper Kites “Revelator Eyes”
  18. Chris Stapleton “Traveller”
  19. Jason Isbell “Speed Trap Town”
  20. The Decemberists “Cavalry Captain”

You can listen to this list via our Spotify playlist…

In 2016, I CAN’T WAIT….

  1. To see my baby daughter grow, smile, laugh, play, talk, walk, and generally become a menace.
  2. To see my little brother marry the girl of his dreams. I’m a sucker for love…
  3. To enjoy our first “family” holiday at some point. Probably dog in the back, baby in the carseat, heading to a little beach house up the coast…
  4. To see what Gang Of Youths do next. Such an incredible debut album, and the most charismatic young frontman in Australia.
  5. To see Brisbane’s Beer InCider Experience continue to grow, expand, and impress everyone.

 
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2015

Personally: The birth of Audrey, our baby girl. And watching my wife become an incredible mother.

Musically: The all-time Ryan Adams tour. And being introduced to the Gang Of Youths album. Blew my mind, instantly.

Travel: Journeying to Alaska with Lauren in February/March. The most incredible holiday I could ever hope for, topped off by finding out that we were pregnant while in Anchorage.
LOWPOINT OF 2015

 The Wallabies losing the Rugby World Cup Final.
COOLEST ARTISTS OF 2015

Jarryd James – A kid from small town QLD (Dalby) taking on the world, and winning.

Courtney Barnett – Propelled from pub singer to world class rock star. With grace.

Gin Wigmore – Continues to make some of the most relevant pop music in the world without enough recognition. That voice is still one of the finest in all of music.

Jason Isbell – The transformation from shambolic, drug-adled alcoholic to genuine country music star to legit megastar and family man, is complete.

The Weeknd – How to go from relative obscurity to superstardom by not doing a single interview, and letting your music do the talking…

Shane Nicholson – Being a single dad and ARIA award winning singer/songwriter. Huge.
OVERHYPED ARTIST OF 2015

Meghan Trainor.
DICKHEAD OF THE YEAR

Isis.  NRA. Donald Trump. Take your pick.
5 ARTISTS TO WATCH IN 2015

  1. Vera Blue
  2. Cloves
  3. Hazlett
  4. Calais
  5. Tigerlily
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Gang Of Youths “The Positions”

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As far as Debut Albums go, they don’t come much better than this.

Sydney band Gang Of Youths, fronted by singer/songwriter Dave Le’aupepe, have delivered a remarkable first record, full of promise and power. Inspired by Le’aupepe’s 4-year relationship with a girl suffering from terminal cancer, the album follows the emotional journey through its relative highs and soul-crushing lows.

The strength of this album is in its momentum. Every song builds from its base into something magnificent, an overarching swell of harmonies and emotions that simply doesn’t let up. This is a band that apparently isn’t afraid to reach for the stars, or the stadiums, without compromising their sound or songwriting. They won’t settle for a song that just plods along. Every track reaches a point of lift-off!

Interestingly, having shared this record with a few friends, we’ve received some feedback that the 2nd half of the album might be stronger than the 1st half. And that says something, because opening track “Vital Signs” starts slow but builds into an epic, pulsing anthem, while the 2nd track “Poison Drum” is a massive tune that recalls the intense moments of an in-form Arcade Fire and the catchiness of We Are Scientists or Tokyo Police Club. It’s a sign that this album really doesn’t have a weak moment.

Whilst the power and emotion of the album are its key traits, there is no shortage of subtlety and wistfulness. There are a couple of big ballad moments on “The Positions” that will undoubtedly hit you right where it matters. One of the highlights on this record is “Knuckles White Dry” – The fragility and emotion in Le’aupepes voice coupled with the deep subject matter and deft, precise playing builds to a showstopper, an arresting track of pure beauty and absolute sadness.

For us, the centrepiece of the album is track 6, “Magnolia”. The vocal harmonies wrap around the playful piano & guitar lines to create an uplifting feeling of apologetic defiance or simple abandon. Le’aupepe recently told FasterLouder “‘Magnolia’ is about hitting rock bottom, the strange calm and intoxicating freedom of stumbling toward what may be the end with a belly full of booze and lungs filled with smoke and laughing at your predicament like the saddest and freest asshole in the cosmos.”
How you manage to translate that into a song is beyond comprehension, but somehow, Gang Of Youths have done it.

The songs on this album are longer than average (7 of them run over 5minutes, and a few hit the magical 7 minute mark). They’re epic, sprawling creations, but they never reach a point where they seem overbearing, or too long! It’s a mark of the quality of songwriting & musicianship that you remain engaged and entwined in the album throughout.

Yes, this is the first album that Gang Of Youths have ever released, but there are no indications anywhere here that this is a rookie record. It’s accomplished and mature, engrossing and enthralling, masterful, melodic, and devastatingly sad. It’s a record of real beauty. And it’s a record we’ll be listening to for a long, long time.

Splendour In The Grass 2015

SITG15

So now we know for real. All the rumour-mongering can cease. Splendour In The Grass has revealed it’s lineup for the 2015 installment, and on paper, it’s strong. Very strong. The strongest Splendour lineup ever? Well, we’ll leave that up to you to decide. One thing is for sure – there is something for almost everyone on this bill.
Blur
Florence + The Machine
Mark Ronson
Of Monsters & Men
The Wombats
Tame Impala
Peking Duk
Ryan Adams
Flight Facilities
Royal Blood (only Aus show)
Death Cab For Cutie
Earl Sweatshirt
Boy & Bear
Porter Robinson (Live)
The Dandy Warhols (only Aus show)
Xavier Rudd & The United Nations
Azealia Banks
The Rubens
Jamie T
Pond
Spiritualized (only Aus show)
Alison Wonderland
Thundamentals
Best Coast
Everything Everything
San Cisco
MS MR
Jarryd James
Purity Ring
Allday
Carmada
The Grates
The Smith Street Band
Tkay Maidza
Johnny Marr
Last Dinosaurs
Megan Washington
The Vaccines
#1 Dads
The Church
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
The King Khan & The BBQ Show
Alpine
Catfish and the Bottlemen
Paul Mac
Dustin Tebbutt

Years & Years
Jenny Lewis
C.W. Stoneking
Seekae
George Maple
Elliphant
Client Liaison
Palma Violets
SAFIA
Hayden James
Dune Rats
Wolf Alice
Meg Mac
Cosmo’s Midnight
Marmozets
Oh Mercy
Mansionair
The Districts
Shlohmo
Elizabeth Rose
The Delta Riggs
Circa Waves
Nancy Whang
Eves The Behaviour
Urban Cone
Art of Sleeping
Japanese Wallpaper
Gengahr
Bad//Dreems
Ecca Vandal
Holy Holy
Vallis Alps
UV Boi
The Babe Rainbow
Harts
Generik
Young Franco
Mickey Kojak
GL
Benson
Harvey Sutherland
Total Giovanni DJs
Dugong Jr
I’lls
Akouo
Noise In My Head
triple j Unearthed Winners

Plus …
Joyride
Post Percy
Ara Koufax
CC:Disco!
Adi Toohey
Set Mo
Edd Fisher
Mike Who
Shantan Wantan Ichiban

Tickets go on sale on 9am AEST, Thursday 23 April. More info available at the official Splendour In The Grass site.

So, we’ll see you in Byron?

Mumford and Sons go electric for dynamic SNL performance — watch

Mumford & Sons have returned, and this time, there’s no banjo… This is straight-line rock’n’roll, and they absolutely kill it. Check out new single “The Wolf”.

Consequence of Sound

Much has changed since Mumford and Sons made their Saturday Night Live debut three years ago. The band ascended to superstardom on the back of banjos and Civil War-era garb, culminating with the release of the Grammy Award-winning 2012 LP Babel. Following a short hiatus, however, Mumfords return in 2015 with a new look and a new sound, ditching their patented wool vests for leather jackets, and plugging in the amps for a sound inspired by the likes of U2 and Radiohead.

This evening, the UK rockers made their return to SNL in support of their new album Wilder Mind. They tore through the first two singles, “The Wolf” and “Believe”, in what was a no frills performance suited more for a sweaty club than a festival stage. Catch the replay below.

“The Wolf”:

“Believe”:

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Review: The Decemberists “What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World”

Decemberists cover

Early February, 2015.

Probably too early to offer an “Album Of The Year” contender, given that the year is approximately 37 days old.

But still…

It’s been 4 long years since THE DECEMBERISTS last turned our heads with their stunning alt-country gem “The King Is Dead”.

Colin Meloy, the much-lauded singer/songwriter from the band, used the time wisely. In the break between albums, he wrote and published 2 children’s books, had 1 child, and kept a multitude of fans on edge, waiting for the next instalment from his Portland, Oregon-based crew of uber-talented musician friends.

The wait was well worth it.

The return of The Decemberists and the release of their new album “What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World” is a welcome start to the music year. For fans of folk music, overtly literate lyrics, witty turn-of-phrase, understated and mature instrumentation and sunny, 70’s-inspired West Coast pop, this album will be a marker-in-the-sand for the remainder of 2015, and perhaps, beyond.

Tales of youthful love, lust, and lessons learnt abound here. As Meloy recently revealed in an interview with SALON, “There’s a lot of nostalgia. It finds its way in. The initial 10 years of The Decemberists were such a blur. I felt like I was managing adulthood at the same time that I was managing this career that sometimes feels very adolescent. I think when we took the break, those four years were an opportunity for a lot of looking back for whatever reason, prior to all that stuff happening. I think I was trying to recast memories of an anonymous and heart-broken childhood and teenage-hood through the songs.”

Tried-and-failed intimacies are intertwined with wisdom gained from years in a tour van on the highways of the world. Jaunty piano mingles easily with warm guitar tones alongside Meloy’s old-style, almost arcane phrasing – there aren’t many lyricists in the pop or indie world who could easily get away with phrases like “Oh Philomena, you in a tawdry gown… ,” “Sing me some eilodon and I’ll sleep all winter long… ,” or “So lay me down on the cobblestone and furrow this aching jet… ” It’s evocative, earnest, almost-cryptic lyricism, indicative of a well-educated, well-spoken and accomplished songwriter, the likes of whom are sadly few and far between in modern music.

Various moments on this record clearly suggest various pop- and indie-influences. “Make You Better” could be the best song R.E.M never wrote. The alt-country/Americana vibe on “Mistral” could well be Band Of Horses, circa “Infinite Arms”. The shimmering guitar and vocal melodies on “The Wrong Year” are straight from a Death Cab For Cutie handbook. And throughout the entire affair, Californian icons The Eagles, and The Byrds, Southern sons The Band and semi-West Coasters Fleetwood Mac are all drawn-upon to provide glimpses of that sunny pop glory of the 70s and 80s.

As their name would have you believe, The Decemberists have dropped an album in January that might prove hard to beat in 11 months…

The Decemberists “What A Terrible World, What a Beautiful World” is out now.

Listen to New Music from The Staves, “Steady”

2015 is going to be a BIG year for The Staves. This is just the beginning.

Timber and Steel

The Staves
Image Courtesy of The Staves

The new Justin Vernon produced album from The Staves, If I Was, will be released at the end of the month and the trio are giving us a taster with their new track “Steady”. We think this track is definitely something special and you can hear Vernon’s influence all over it.

Listen to “Steady” below:

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Tame Impala announce new album

Consequence of Sound

It’s official: Tame Impala is set to release a new album sometime this year. The LP will serve as the long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s Lonerism.

The album news was quietly announced today via an email sent out by Spinning Top Music, a management company/label that handles the Aussie indie rock outfit, as well as its offshoot Pond. Check out a screenshot of said email below.

Tame Impala announce new album 2015

With the exception of a Kendrick Lamar collaboration, two live EPs, Live Versions and Peace and Paranoia, and a fewrandom covers, Tame Impala hasn’t done much in the way of release new music in over two years. However, that hasn’t stopped frontman Kevin Parker from exploring other projects, most recently teaming up with producer Mark Ronson.

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My Best Of 2014… lists.

So here’s how my 2014 panned out, musically and personally. Feel free to let me know if you think I might’ve missed something life-altering!

FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2014

1. The War On Drugs – Lost In The Dream
2. Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
3. Hozier – Hozier
4. The New Basement Tapes – Lost On The River
5. Royal Blood – Royal Blood
6. Lydia Loveless – Something Else
7. The Delines – Colfax
8. The Preatures – Blue Planet Eyes
9. U2 – Songs Of Innocence
10. Caitlin Harnett – The River Runs North
11. Elbow – The Takeoff & Landing Of Everything
12. Megan Washington – There There
13. Jack Carty – Esk
14. Conor Oberst – Upside Down Mountain
15. Justin Townes Earle – Single Mothers
16. Hey Rosetta! – Second Sight
17. J.Roddy Walston & The Business – Essential Tremors
18. Taylor Swift – 1984
19. Little May – Little May
20. Broods – Evergreen

FAVOURITE LIVE GIGS OF 2014
1. Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band – Feb 26th, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
2. Pearl Jam – Jan 19, Big Day Out Gold Coast
3. Eddie Vedder – Feb 23, QPAC
4. Eddie Vedder – Feb 25, QPAC
5. Eddie Vedder – Feb 22, QPAC
6. The War On Drugs – Dec 10, The Zoo
7. Jason Isbell – April 21, Blues Fest
8. Arctic Monkeys – May 7, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
9. Neil Finn – March 7, QPAC
10. Elbow – Oct 30, The Tivoli
11. Paramore – Jan 9, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
12. The Preatures – Nov 28, The HiFi
13. Bob Dylan – Aug 25, The Tivoli
14. Megan Washington – Aug 30, The Zoo
15. Allen Stone – April 16, The Zoo
16. Biffy Clyro – Sept 4, The Tivoli
17. Lady GaGa – August 26, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
18. Courtney Barnett – July 26, Splendour In The Grass
19. Missy Higgins – Sept 27, Convention Centre
20. Justin Townes Earle – Oct 22, The Tivoli

FAVOURITE TRACKS OF 2014
1. The War On Drugs – Red Eyes
2. Hozier – Take Me To Church
3. James Bay – Hold Back The River
4. The War On Drugs – Eyes To The Wind
5. Ryan Adams – Gimme Something Good
6. Coldplay – Magic
7. Lydia Loveless – Really Wanna See You
8. The New Basement Tapes (Marcus Mumford) – Kansas City
9. U2 – Every Breaking Wave
10. Missy Higgins – Shark Fin Blues
11. The Delines – Colfax Avenue
12. Justin Townes Earle – White Gardenias
13. Hozier – Jackie & Wilson
14. Jack Carty – And The Ass Saw The Angel
15. Winterbourne – Cold
16. Caitlin Harnett – Oh I Have Suffered
17. James Bay – Let It Go
18. Taylor Swift – Blank Space
19. The Cairos – Obsession
20. Broods – Bridges

And here’s a Spotify list of those tracks, so wrap your ears around ’em! 

In 2015, I CAN’T WAIT….
1. To travel to Alaska in Feb/Mar for a Winter Adventure with my beautiful wife…
2. To see Brisbane continue to evolve into a world-class city with more amazing venues, restaurants, cafes, festivals, etc.
3. To see Conor Oberst, (hopefully) Ryan Adams, Shovels & Rope, The Eagles, Rise Against, Taylor Swift, and many other world-class artists perform in Brissy.

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2014
Musically: The Eddie Vedder / Pearl Jam tour.
Personally: My wife Lauren finishing her PHD in Genetics Research of Melanoma. MASSIVE achievement.
Sports-wise: The Rabbitohs winning the NRL. Being at the stadium with my Dad to witness the historic victory was enormous.

LOWPOINT OF 2014
The passing of Phil Hughes, and the passing of a close family friend.

COOLEST ARTISTS OF 2014
Megan Washington. Watch her TedX Talk, and you’ll understand…
The Preatures. Flying the Oz flag REALLY high overseas.
Courtney Barnett. As per The Preatures.
Ryan Adams. Class year, from his live work to his records to the way he carried himself. Genius.
Taylor Swift. Everything she did this year was rad. Never seems to take life too seriously.
The War On Drugs. A gracious frontman, the best album of the year, and some worldclass songs with serious longevity.

OVERHYPED ARTIST OF 2014
1D.

DICKHEAD OF THE YEAR
Tony Abbott. Shirtfronting the Russian leader? Really Mate?

5 NEW ARTISTS TO WATCH FOR IN 2015
1. James Bay (UK)
2. Winterbourne (Aus)
3. Caitlin Harnett (Aus)
4. Brawlers (UK)
5. Asaf Avidan (Israel)

Interview: Adam Granduciel of The War On Drugs

Interesting… Hard to comment, being that I love both artists…

warondrugs-152

Written by Tommy Juto for Kulturbloggen

Adam Granduciel, main engine in Philadelphia’s psychedelic countryrockers The War On Drugs, is scrolling on his phone in a corner of the backstage dining room of tonight’s venue, Münchenbryggeriet. He’s just come back inside from a smoke out in the moisty, rain-threatening air in Stockholm and is now slouching in a sofa. A few minutes earlier he and his band finished an extended soundcheck, as it’s their first show on the European leg of their tour. “Yeah, we’ve had a week off, so we needed it”, he shrugs. The past few weeks have been tarnished by the public squabbling from Mark Kozelek that arose at a festival in Ottawa a month ago, when the sound from The War On Drugs‘ simultaneous set leaked over to Kozelek‘s stage. It all culminated with the latter’s newly written song “War On Drugs: Suck My Cock”. None of this…

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