Archive for the ‘ music ’ Category

Splendour up my ass, in my tent, down my shorts.

// Money buys experience, that’s for sure. $445 for the actual ticket, $188 to have my tent conveniently prepared in Tent City, $160 on alcohol. $9 per vegie burger (x3), $4.50 per organic donut (x4). Fuck me, it’s all worth it (x1000). 

Having never even sniffed the entrance of Australia’s staple music festival Big Day Out, I was a touch apprehensive about whether I would appreciate the various elements of Splendour In The Grass, the largest festival to grace our shores (although I did manage to sneak into the Hilton’s main bar after Big Day Out one year, without even attending the actual event – had a cute chat to Bob Evans about pot). Would I despise tent living and stink mercilessly as a result of avoided shower queues? Would I resent the invention of hopps and yeast as an ingredient for which my fellow festival-loving-peers use as juice to invariably turn them from usually just annoying wasps into downright douchy-dickheads? Would I lose my mind and get incredibly lost in a sea of tents and cars and gumboots? Jesus, man, get a grip. And a map. 

Given Splendour’s new location in Woodfordia, Queensland (home of the smaller Woodford Folk Festival), majority of the crowd consisted of Gold Coast beach babes + friends. Everywhere I turned, I bared witness to the tiny dresses and big cleavages. Think bleached blonde meter maid, if you will allow me such a generalisation. Having said that, the Melbourne hipster fold was also well and truly accounted for. Let’s face it, Splendour’s a place to see and be seen. And seen dead unbathed or disheveled would have been festival suicide. The electrical space for Tent City residents to charge their mobile phones was mainly a source of power for beforementioned beach babe/hipster to connect her/his GHD and set about straightening her/his long luscious extentions/quiff for forty minutes (note that given the humid weather, curls began to resurface in less than half that time). 

But enough about the crowd, who were more often than not quite lovely and honestly in attendance for one thing and one thing only: the music. Because when push comes to shove; when hipster meets beach babe, when bogan meets braun, when skank-slut meets flower child, we are all one when singing in a 20,000-person unison to The Dog Days Are Over. And that’s all that mattered. The music is the only thing that does. 

Mumford & Sons (right before the crowd dramatically clear as The Pixies take the stage)

Kate Nash: A cunt is a useful thing.

So, you wake up. You climb out of your balmy, sun filled tent. You stretch in the long, dry grass, sit down with a triple-choc biscuit in one hand and a vodka-orange in the other, and you plan your day. Will it start at the Mix Up tent for Bluejuice, a quick sprint up the hill to the amphitheater to catch The Drums and Tame Impala? Will you grab a quick dippy-dog while walking back over to Mix Up for Kate Nash, before catching the last few minutes of Laura Marling at the GW McLennen Tent and quickly back up to the amphitheater (before a much needed dash to stock up on drink tickets) for Florence and The Machine and The Strokes back to back? Every night wraps in any number of on-site clubs (Ibeefa, anyone?) dancing to an array of local and international DJ’s, or one can opt to chill out back in Tent City and begin the way you started, of course with your carefully stashed vodka. Now, decisions are made factoring in a few annoyingly frustrating clashes, and your always aware that a prime position is not going to be possible for each and every act. But hey – the main amphitheatre is surrounded by a sloped hill which offers optimum visability from even the back corner. 

What? This is what a musical festival is like? As above and repeat for three days straight? Where the fuck do I sign up for more and how on earth have I missed out on this festival experience until now?

Dame Florence positively had the crowd in the palm of the perfectly manicured hand. I’ve never seen an audience as captivated. 

Sir Casablancas. 

To be a part of the ‘couldren of humanity’ (as the Splendour crowd was so accurately labeled by The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas) was amazing and delightful and inspiring. Get your priorities in check and get on the Australian festival band wagon. We do it well. 

// Dan Z

Another blow for Paris.

// Paris Hilton inspired by The Triangles? It seems so. 

Nah, check it out. Melbourne band The Triangles have been in heavy competition with the likes of (Dame) Gaga and Ke$ha to be the sound of Spanish beer brand Estrella Damm. They’ve jumped to the top of the commercial chart in both Spain and Australia with Applejack, a song penned over 5 years ago without any intention of it ever becoming a chart topper. Seems unlikely that Ms. Hilton (or her musical camp) would have been exposed to an independently produced EP by tiny Australian label Half A Cow Records, but the obvious similarity between Applejack and Paris’ Nothing In The World (recorded in 2006 – and featuring vocals from the then unknown Ke$ha) is fantastically noticeable.  

The Triangle’s have and will reach more success with their *insert generic indie/pop tune description* than Hilton every did. Granted, Hilton was arrested for driving under the influence shortly after the song was released, so she may have lost motivation to generate heat by promotionally touring with the single. Are we shocked? No. Angered? Of course not. Paris’ musical talent certainty doesn’t warrant any sort of focus, unlike that of Coldplay’s various plagiarism claims. Hell, Hilton needs all the help she can get. (Her first single Stars Are Blind was albeit quite catchy).

// Dan Z

Biko, toughen up.

// Two months ago Kele Okereke, Bloc Party front man, came out as a raging ‘alt’ queer via BUTT magazine on the brink of his new solo endeavor. He tactfully avoided directly labeling himself for years, briefly touching on homoerotic themes in his music but never confirming his questionable sexuality. Now, despite fear of derailing the thriving Kele empire he has built, he names his parents as the reason he has finally chosen to come out swingin’. 

UK’s Attitude Summer 2010

BUTT Magazine, Spring 2010

I was never sure. And of course I’d alway hoped. Three years ago my friend tried to break it down for me: ‘He says We left our trousers by the canal.. and I’ve been waiting for you in The Joiners Arms which is like a gay pub in East London dude – total mo’. At long last he claims he is worried his parents will die without ever really knowing a large part of his person. Tear. 

Kele, stage name Kele, has been working on his solo record for the past year with UK producer Hudson Mohawk. Much like the pre-release anticipation that Bloc Party fans experience, compiled evidence thus far is really not enough to predict what Kele’s new sound will entail. His first single Tenderoni is less Intimacy and more Flux, lending one to assume Kele has hung up his Converse sneakers and taken the club-tech road. I’m not adverse to this one bit. Indie records have to be pretty damn special these days to make much of an impact. 

Anyway, check out Tenderoni. On display throughout – hot, ripped, naked black men:

Kele’s solo record The Boxer is out June 21 and probably available for illegal download a few days before that (not here, of course). 

// Dan Z

KYLIE!

// Here at team Nickabocka, we have been overwhelmed by the amount of awesome new music that is coming out this year. Favourites like Sia, M.I.A, Christina Aguilera, Operator Please and heaps more artists coming out of their caves to make 2010 a huge music year.

What has come out of the blue yesterday is leaking of the sample from our Kylie’s soon-to-be released single.

There’s not a lot to it and it’s missing hook, line and lyrics, but it’s enough to start the hyperventilating that happens a lot around here. And it’s sparked the not-very-aged debate of “everybody’s ripping of Gaga these days!”

2009 was the year of the Gaga, I think we can safely say, and that marks an important place in modern music, as we move into an extremely female vocal-centric phase in both alternative and mainstream circles. Lady Gaga is an amazing artist not just because she’s extremely popular and makes a lot of money, but also because she has credibility that most of the other pop stars of the last 10 years have lacked. Britney, Rhianna, Miley, Shakira, Christina and more came in with a whole lot of publicity and were undoubtedly talented singers, but lacked life experience, song-writing skill and in the case of Britney, sanity. Lady Gaga has that skill, experience and credibility. And then some. She’s a ripened 24 years old, she’s unashamedly sexually active, and she’s lyrically funny and relatable, even though she can get pretty repetitive (ah-ah, ra ma ra ma ma…)

Christina’s releasing Bionic this Aussie winter, and has been accused of basing her ultrapopfuturesound on Gaga’s image (even though her new song sounds like it’s straight out of 2006). And Rhianna’s disasterous Rated R, which spawned the goodness that was Rude Boy and which Def Jam happily swept every other ballady-boring non-dance track under the carpet and announced another album for 2010 so people would forget about R as soon as possible. And so, like Christina before her, Kylie has bowed down to the power of Gaga and decided that ultrapop is the way to go. *Sigh*

Wait a moment, didn’t Kylie invent ultrapop? Spinning Around, anybody? Can’t Get You Out of My Head is practically the BASIS of Gaga’s Bad Romance.

You Go Kylie! Work those booty shorts!

P.S- Dannii on Australia’s Got Talent last night? Please go back to England and leave us alone, jealous little sister. kthnxbai

// lolzworthy

Musical Love Affair.

// Australia has always been a huge fan of live music. Whether it be a small gig at the local RSL or a huge festival that takes up the entire CBD, Aussie’s always seem to get into the spirit of things and rock out with their respective cock’s out.

Music festivals have started to grow in scale and popularity within the last few years to an astonishing size. Throughout the nineties, Australia really only had a small handful of events to pick from. Big Day Out began in 1992 as a Sydney only festival and expanded after a few years to become a national festival. Falls Festival started in 1993 in Lorne and only expanded to Marion Bay in Tasmania in 2003. Despite their success, and despite their growing popularity, sadly some festivals haven’t been as fortunate. Livid, Overcranked and Summersault have simply passed us by.

I mention Summersault in particular because it was organised by Steve Pavlovic, one of Australia’s biggest importers of music. He was the dude who organised Nirvana to come out to Australia just before Nevermind broke out and in turn Nirvana exploded. Locally, he is the head of Modular records and has built the career of acts like Wolfmother, The Presets and Cut Copy. After the success of Big Day Out, he decided to start his own festival. Considering he brought Big Day Out one of it’s first big bands, he figured it highly possible on reputation alone. Summersault boasted a lineup that both then and today would be smiled upon by alternative fans. Such acts as Beastie Boys, Sonic Youth, Beck, Pavement and Foo Fighters graced the stage that year, but a follow up festival was never arranged, and it became simply a once off festival that never returned.

These days, punters are inundated with choice. We have Big Day Out, Falls Festival, Splendour In The Grass, St Jeromes Laneway Festival, Future Music Festival, Pyramid Rock, We Love Sounds, Creamfields, Soundwave and Summadayze just to name a few. But as is with everyday life, is quantity better than quality? Australian festivals have never quite reached the status of other overseas music festivals. Names like Glastonbury, Coachella and Roskilde are instantly recognizable around the world. The festivals are known for their amazing lineups which boast exclusive acts or bands that don’t usually tour but have made an exception. For example, Coachella celebrated their 10th birthday last year, and formed a most impressive lineup to celebrate. The closest that Australia has ever got to this was when Big Day Out secured Rage Against The Machine as their first gigs outside of America. Usually, Australian audiences have become accustomed to seeing acts months and months after a new release. Bands will release an album mid year and will not tour with it till early the next year, due to festivals being either behind the pulse of current music or poor scheduling.

It seems that, like Coachella, Australia’s own Splendour In The Grass has stepped up to the challenge of celebrating its 10th birthday in style. What started out as a 2 day festival with roughly 30-40 bands has this year been turned into a 3 day camping festival featuring over 90 acts. No waiting for  two North American tours and an European tour this time, LCD Soundsystem, Broken Social Scene, Midlake, Goldfrapp, Kate Nash and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are all celebrating the release of their brand new records. Splendour has somehow managed to defy this rule and produce an extremely wide palette of artists. Bands such as Grizzly Bear, Florence + The Machine and headliners The Pixies have all toured Australia already this year and are coming back again due to increased popularity. The Strokes (also headlining) have only secured two other festival gigs worldwide and don’t have any new music out to support their touring, but Splendour has captured them. 

Friday

The Strokes, The Temper Trap, Empire of The Sun, Band of Horses, Grizzly Bear, Hot Chip, Midnight Juggernauts, Kate Nash, Lisa Mitchell, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Magic Numbers, Bluejuice, The Middle East, Delphic, Alberta Cross, Miike Snow, Phiadelphia Grand Jury, Two Door Cinema Club, Violent Soho, Last Dinosaurs, Jonathan Boulet, Cloud Control, Ernest Ellis, Tijuana Cartel, Gypsy & The Cat, Zennith, Van She Tech, Purple Sneakers, The Only

Saturday

The Pixies, Mumford & Sons, Scissor Sisters, Goldfrapp, LCD Soundsystem, Wolfmother, Jonsi, Laura Marling, Midlake, Broken Social Scene, K-OS, Little Red, Whitley, We Are Scientists, Surfer Blood, British India, Clare Bowditch, The Drums, Miami Horror, John Steel Singers, Dan Sultan, Fanfarlo, Horrowshow, The Joy Formidable, Money for Rope, Tim & Jean, Kid Kenobi, Levins

Sunday

Ben Harper & Relentless 7, Florence & The Machine, The Ting Tings, Richard Ashcroft & The United Nations of Sound, Angus & Julia Stone, Passion Pit, Paul Kelly, Fat Freddys Drop, The Vines, Tame Impala, Operator Please, Ash, Yeasayer, Foals, Space Invadas, Washington, Band of Skulls, The Mess Hall, School of Seven Bells, Yacht Club DJs, Oh Mercy, Boy & Bear, Frightened Rabbit, Skipping Girl Vinegar, Jac Stone, Bag Raiders, Yolanda Be Cool, Anna Lunoe.

Splendour In The Grass could well very be Australias answer to the big worldwide festivals and give other Australia festivals some motivation to work harder in impressing audiences with their lineups. We’re looking at you Lee’s and West.

// Simon-Z

Wellie’s out.

// With a new location and up to 10,000 more tickets available, all Splendour needed was a killer line up to ensure the biggest party in Australia this year. 

2010’s line up was leaked last night to overwhelming glee: THE STROKES / MUMFORD AND SONS / THE TEMPER TRAP / BAND OF HORSES / PIXIES / PASSION PIT / FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE / LAURA MARLING / GRIZZLY BEAR / BAND OF SKULLS /SURFER BLOOD / ALBERTA CROSS / MIIKE SNOW / THE DRUMS / TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB / LCD SOUNDSYSTEM / BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE /MIDLAKE / FOALS / FRIGHTENED RABBIT / GOLDFRAPP / KATE NASH / JONSI / BLACK REBEL MOTORCYLE CLUB  / SCISSOR SISTERS / THE TING TINGS / HOT CHIP / YEASAYER / ASH / BEN HARPER AND THE RELENTLESS 7 / WE ARE SCIENTISTS / RICHARD ASHCROFT AND THE UNITED NATIONS OF SOUND / K-OS / DELPHIC / FAT FREDDY’S DROP / SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS / THE MAGIC NUMBERS / ANGUS AND JULIA STONE / EMPIRE OF THE SUN /WOLFMOTHER / THE VINES / TAME IMPALA / PAUL KELLY / OPERATOR PLEASE / LISA MITCHELL / MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS /  LITTLE RED / SPACE INVADAS / BRITISH INDIA / OH MERCY / THE MIDDLE EAST / BLUEJUICE / WASHINGTON / WHITLEY / DAN SULTAN / CLOUD CONTROL / MIAMI HORROR / CLARE BOWDITCH / PHILADELPHIA GRAND JURY / JOHN STEEL SINGERS / VIOLENT SOHO / THE MESS HALL / JONATHAN BOULET / BOY AND BEAR / GYPSY AND THE CAT / LAST DINOSAURS / ERNEST ELLIS / TIM AND JEAN. The DJ line-up includes BAG RAIDERS / VAN SHE TECH / ANNA LUNOE / KID KENOBI / YOLANDA / BE COOL / THE ONLY / PURPLE SNEAKERS DJS / MIAMI HORROR DJS. 

The festival has moved from it’s iconic Byron Bay setting to Woodford, Queensland, only twenty minutes from the Sunshine Coast. And for the first time, the festivities will run over three days. The new spot increases the number of punters by up to 10,000, allowing those who’ve never been to Splendour the opportunity to sieze tickets in the 75 or so minutes it usually takes for them to sell out. The deal is this, people who have attended up to four Splendour’s previously (members) have the opportunity to purchase tickets first. Without the use of a ballot system like so many other festivals, the concept strikes me as a little unfair, but loyal nonetheless. However, with the extra tickets provided, it’s not guaranteed that only previous attendees will snatch up the allocated amount. It’s simply gonna be a matter of first in, best dressed. Campers bunk down from Wednesday 28th July to Monday 2nd August ($464); those who purchase concert only tickets get access to the festival from 30th of July to August 1st only ($360). 

Tickets will go on sale at 9am EST on Thursday May 6. 

FUCK.

// Dan Z

Ain’t Life Swell.

// I first learnt about Glen Hansard in the middle of 2007. One of his bands, The Frames, were supporting Bob Dylan on his Modern Times tour. I listened to some of their music and fell in love with it almost immediately. Falling Slowly was, simply put, one of the greatest songs I had ever heard.

This song would later be stripped back by Glen and used in his next musical endeavor, The Swell Season. Teaming up with Markéta Irglová, a Czech songwriter and musician, they wrote a self-titled EP in 2006. They later went on to star in the independent movie Once together. Although not technically a musical, Once was a vehicle for a number of performances for the duo. The film went from being a small independent Irish film to the little movie that could. It took home an Academy Award for Achievement in Music Written for a Motion Picture (Original Song), a Critics Choice Award and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award.

They recently released their third album together, Strict Joy. Receiving rave reviews, it reached 15 on the Billboard Charts.

I saw these guys at the start of 2009 in Melbourne at The Palais Theatre. Starting the show with an unplugged guitar and no microphone, Hansard strolled past the speakers and right to the very edge of the stage. He performed to the entire theatre without the use of any audio equipment and still managed to fill the entire space with his vocals and guitar. It was one of the best shows I had ever seen.

Last week, The Swell Season toured again in support of Strict Joy. Their tour reached Adelaide this time and they played to a sold out Thebarton Theatre. I was obsessed enough to have purchased front row seats and as a result given a sensational view for the evening. Starting the same way he did in Melbourne, he blew the entire Adelaide audience away from the very start. Both performers would take charge of different songs for the night, and they even tried their hand at an Empire Of The Sun cover. (It worked.)

When poking around for some clips after the concert, I stumbled across this video for one of their recent singles. Low Rising is the second single off Strict Joy, and the video is absolutely stunning. Like, can’t-look-away type brilliance. Check it. 

// Simon