Monday, September 28, 2009

Parklife @ Wellington Square, Perth 27.9.09

With an astounding line-ups of names like Empire of The Sun, Metronomy, MSTRKRFT, The Rapture, La Roux, Crystal Castles, Junior Boys and Erol Alkan, I did not hestitate to place Parklife as my first festival down under. The event was a sold-out, and fortunately I have purchased ticket long before I even set foot in Aussie. Weather was good, hitting 25 degrees in spring time, and the blaring sun did not deter the crowd from having fun and losing their minds in an awesome day of music.

Sydney electronic band Art vs Science was the first act I caught, taking Air Stage, which is just next to the entrance. Those who arrived early were awarded with an energetic and enthuastic set. Big sounds and catchy tunes were the order of their set, getting the most crowd response during 'Flippers' and 'Parlez Vous Francais?'. It was indeed a great indication that the festival would be amazing through out the day. Skipping the last song for a toilet break, Triple J unearthed winner Tim & Jean was performing at the Fire Stage. Such youth and pop infused goodness they were displaying, it is definitely worth checking them out.

Staying at the same stage, Bertie Blackman was next. Armed with an electric guitar, she put up an rocktastic yet dark set of electronica/rock. However, unfortunately, despite my best efforts, that did not really click with me, so I left early to walk around, checking out the heaps of stalls.

I managed to catch a little actions of Autokratz at Air Stage while going to get lunch and rest a bit. Their performance was mediocre at best, a total disappoinment. Without wasting time, I headed to Earth Stage in order to get up front for the first major act I had been waiting for, Junior Boys. Those easily digestible snaps of electronics as well as romantic and mind-blowing vocals of theirs were magnificent. Most tracks played were from their latest effort 'Begone Dull Care', with one or two from previous releases. There was slight frustration among the band and the crowd as there were some technical difficulties in the sound system during 'Parallel Lines'. Nevertheless, after some delays, the band came back on stage to perform the track again, much to the pleasure of the crowd. 'In The Morning' was another highlight of the set, where everyone was dancing to the upbeat and catchy tunes.

Straight after that, I rushed to Fire Stage to catch another favourite band of mine, Metronomy, and boy were they awesome live. The live set was abstractly euphoric with synchronised salutes and the customary black t-shirt and dome light on their chest which flashed at times. It made for a light-hearted visual accompaniment to their awkwardly feel good dance rhythms. 'Radio Ladio’ was absolute fun being involved with, shouting 'R-A-D-I-O, L-A-D-I-O' in the chorus. Other highlights include 'My Heart Rate Rapid' and 'A Thing For Me', which I sang along to every single word like a fanboy. The band ended on 'You Could Easily Have Me' from 'Pip Paine' which turns the enthusiastic dancing that had been prevalent until that point into a full on mosh.It was no doubt a spectacular live shows that had my jaw wide opened.

MSTRKRFT was playing at Air Stage when I was heading there for Crystal Castles up next. At the same time, it was La Roux's set at Water Stage at the far side of the square. Such a shame to miss them both. Damn clashes. Crystal Castles' performance was nothing short of chaos, frontwoman Alice Glass appeared with a strobelight swinging from her neck, and sent the crowd to a chaotic state with her combo of screamo electronic. The onstage showmanship was quite impressive, as she dived into the crowd at one point. Unfortunately, the subpar soundsystem was a let down, as I couldn't really heard her vocal.

After another toilet break, it was time for the main headliner, Empire of The Sun. Parklife was the first ever live performance for Luke Steele and co and I was curious to see what the buzz was all about. I knew it’d be too crowded to get a nice spot at Water stage to see the band's debut performance, so I headed over early, squeezing through to the front row, with the clubbing beats of Kaskade playing at that time, which I did not really bother. With spectacular costuming, lights and dancers dazzling the crowd, Empire of The Sun did not disappoint. The visual extravaganza was a treat to the eyes, and Luke performed the debut album almost flawlessly. Visual films and dancing swordfish flowed into each track perfectly, and it truly blew me away. It was sublime to have watched thsoe first four tracks of the album live in front of my eyes.

Fresh from witnessing something spectacular, I did not forget to rush to Fire Stage to catch The Rapture. While their set was excellent, I was probably too exhausted to get into the mood to dance to the upbeat and catchy tunes of theirs. 'House of Jealous Lovers' got the crowd pumped up the most, setting the dancefloor to a mayhem. Draggin my numb feet to the exit, I had a glimpse of Tiga spinning 'What You Need' at Air Stage, which I withstood the tiredness and headbanged to it with joy, signalling the end of an amazing day.

It was spectacular music event that I will long remember, and I certainly hope there will be more in the near future.

Empire of The Sun - Romance To Me
Metronomy - Trick or Treatz (Klaxons Remix)
Tim & Jean - Come Around

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Julian Casablancas' 11th Dimension

The first taste of Strokes frontman Julian Casblancas' solo effort 'Phrazes For The Young' is finally here!

The track, titled ‘11th Dimension’, sees Casablancas opted for a much complicated and more produced sound, rather than simple Strokes rock 'n roll. Similar to Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the guitars have been traded in for synths of electro-pop. With catchy disco melodies, sweet organ links and Casablancas’ trademark vocal, this track is definitely a grower. But for now, it's really just nice to hear his voice again.

'Phrazes For The Young' is due 20 Oct.

Julian Casablancas - 11th Dimension

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

We Love Covers

Remixes or covers? I would pick covers anytime. Remixes are seriously getting out of hands nowadays, most popular tracks on Hype Machine have been remixes. They are literally everwhere that I really need to put on some ear plugs.

I came across some interesting covers lately. You know how a band with some indie credentials cover a pop song, and the guilty pleasure instantly becomes non-guilty? That's the case with the three covers below.

The Maccabees - Boom Boom Pow (Black Eyed Peas cover)
This one is nothing short of brilliance. Add on their signature buzzy guitars and Orlando Weeks' unique vocal, I got that boom boom pow, I like The Maccabees' style.

Maxïmo Park -
Just Dance (Lady Gaga cover)
I have never been a fan of Lady Gaga, in fact I am repelled by her self-claimed originality whereas everything about her has been done before , she just put them all together like a patchwork, somehow it works for her, well at least the masses buy it. Now I can listen to this version complete with Paul Smith's alluring voice, I would be more put off when I hear the original on radio again.

Franz Ferdinand - Womanizer (Britney Spears)
Well I prefer the All American Rejects cover of this song, but everyone has probably heard that version already. Alex Kapranos did the song justice, but it seemed like he was struggling to be on keys. To begin with it was a well-written pop song, this is a pretty decent cover.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Does It Offend You, Yeah? @ Capitol, Perth 5.9.09

I have longed for a live gig here over in Perth and the day was finally here. They are Rockstars, at least according to one of their songs. Are they really?

Death Disco warmed up the dancefloor with the familiar indie electronic action, robot rock and electro excess, a reminiscent of the good ol' TAG nights. After a fairly long wait, headliners Does It Offend You, Yeah? enter to a reception as feverish as their music. Everything from there on was spectacular from start to finish.

Debut album "You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into" basically wrapped up the main set, except "Epic Last Song". The band performed an energetic and tight set of electro punk performance. Lead singer James Rushent's stage presence was remarkable, jumping and smashing mic stands along the set, while interacting with the crowd durin intermission. He even revealed guitarist Matty's hotel room number, which is rather amusing.

The crowd was all revved up when the band belted out the fans favourite "Being Bad Feels Pretty Good", "Battle Royale" and "Let's Make Out", singing, or should I say shouting along to the lyrics and dancing frenziedly. The band also gave us a taste of their upoming album "Don't Say We Didn't Warn You", playing new tunes like "Monkeys Are Coming" and "Over Your Shoulder", which James claimed that the former is inspired by the annoying people around us.

The best part of DIOYY’s set was unquestionably the encore. "Attack of the 60ft Lesbian Octopus" made us feel like being attacked in a fifties movie, followed by the ballad-ish rendition of "Dawn of The Dead", which sparked positive responses and sing-along. The band ended the set with their breakthrough hit, "We Are Rockstars", sending the crowd to a frenzy state, moshing and punching the air furiously.

They are rockstars no doubt, and I certainly got offended, yeah (when the set ended). An awesome night.

Does It Offend You, Yeah? - Being Bad Feels Pretty Good
Does It Offend You, Yeah? - Weird Science

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Big Pink

I finally caught on The Big Pink, albeit a tad too late. How I could have overlooked this British electro-rock duo which was included in BBC's sound of 2009 earlier this year still baffled me. I remembered hearing the band's first single 'Too Young To Love' awhile ago, but it did nothing to me, and it went straight to the long list of songs that I heard once or twice and never revisit again, at least up until I was impressed by the atmospheric 'Velvet' and the band name struck familiarity. The abstract effects and dreamy vocals in 'Velvet' creates a soundscape that is tuneful and evokes sensational emotions.

The Big Pink was instantly tagged indie cool with its members that practically breathe rock and roll. Milo Cordell is son of 1960s pop producer Denny and runs the Merok label, which has released cutting-edge dance acts Klaxons and Crystal Castles. Robbie Furze is a former guitarist with electro-punk singer Alec Empire. 'A Brief History Of Love', the band's debut album is set to be released on September 14th. Th album title was apt as described by Cordell that every song is a love song, the album encompasses different aspects of love, the good, the bad, the boring, the exciting, the dreams, the nightmares, the whole thing etc. Monstrous wall of sound and distorted feedback drenched anthems are the perfect terms to typify the tracks in the album, but each has a graspable melody and sensitive lyrics lying underneath those thick layered noise and crooning vocals. This is an album that will draw the listeners in further with each listen.

The Big Pink - Velvet
The Big Pink - A Brief History Of Love
The Big Pink - Love Song (The Cure cover)

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Cities Of Gold

Formerly known as The Valentinos, Lost Valentinos is a psychedelic dance punk quintet from Sydney, Australia. The band has been making some waves in the indie scene down under since the release of numerous EPs under the old moniker. Comparing the band's current sound like '17 Deaths' and 'Bismarck', and their older materials, the change in musical direction is apparent, where they sound more like a dance band with guitars now as to an indie punk rock band that one can dance to in previous releases. Yet they have not lost the touch in creating some good fun beats in the veins of other forerunners in the dance punk scene like Klaxons, Friendly Fires and Late Of The Pier. The band's latest single 'Thief" is a comeback to their dance punk guitar roots with the fuzzy bassline and streetchase tempos. The single comes from their soon-to-be-released debut on 09.09.09 which is produced by respected DJ Ewan Pearson. In conjuction with that, the band is giving away a trip for two to Peru to discover the inspiration for the album titled 'Cities Of Gold' on their official website.

Check out a banging remix of the band's new single from their debut and an older personal favourite.

Lost Valentinos -
Lost Valentinos -
Thief (Shinichi Osawa Remix)
Lost Valentions -

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