I’m obsessed with Future Islands at the moment and implore people to check out at least a minute of this, the most joyous live performance I’ve ever seen. It’s confounding and brilliant, and I could compare it and its singer to a hundred other things, but I’d rather enjoy it for what it is.
Emma says I dance like this when I get really into it, which is sort of funny, but mostly mortifying. I remember getting separated from my friends one time at some club on the Gold Coast. I made the best of it and danced on my own. This nearby couple started talking to me and pointed out that I was out of time with the beat. They weren’t dicks about it; it was more like a casual pointer to a fellow drunk. I just smiled and was like cool, yeah, thanks. I then fist-pumped and declared I dance to my own fucking beat. Not really, but I think it was implied.
Play the song, you jerk.
Also, here’s some esoteric nonsense I wrote yesterday to shake off the doldrums. I once found writing free-form poetry extremely liberating. When I write prose, I feel like the weight of the world’s on my shoulders. I don’t identify as a poet, so if I write a shitty poem it’s like who cares? The world won’t end. (I accept full responsibility if it does.) Anyway, thought I’d try to see if I could recapture that old feeling.
In the spirit of embarrassing dancing, here’s this.
Enjoy. Or don’t. Whatever.
Been getting ’round lately
on a giant bird:
casts a shadow
over most things.
problems below are to scale,
so adrift they’re cast:
to be dealt with by some
other version of me
(that can’t be conceived,
let alone actualised).
Peace of mind
slips between bars;
through cracks in fingers.
They disappear on the wind.
I’m unseen and
hold no candles.
Search the self
(as one is wont to do
on bird back),
falter at locked doors
whose passwords were
misplaced years ago
and whose handles
rusted in the sea air.
Dive and swoop,
disappearing for days
the depths of my loneliness,
never seen the bottom.
The skyline grows hazy,
are waves, cresting,
and this is very much
the middle of the ocean.
Favourite Pop Tracks:
Caribou – ‘Can’t Do Without You’
‘Can’t Do Without You’ perfectly introduces the stellar Our Love, Dan Snaith’s sixth album under the Caribou brand. A fun club track, it perfectly synthesises the styles exhibited on previous Caribou LP Swim and the dancefloor-oriented tracks which characterise Snaith’s other musical moniker, Daphni. Club music infused with real emotion.
Modest Mouse – ‘Lampshades on Fire’
A ‘Dashboard’ retread from the Good News for People Who Love Bad News sessions. As samey and, dare I say, lazy as this comeback single feels, its catchiness is undeniable. I’ve missed Modest Mouse so damn much during their ridiculous eight-year hiatus, and welcome their forthcoming release. My body is ready.
Kele – ‘Doubt’
Though I’ve no doubt (pun unintended) that Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke approaches his dance music with conviction, I’m still yet to find it all that engaging. Trick lead single ‘Doubt’, however, is slinky and moves with purpose.
John Frusciante – ‘Fanfare’
I’ve written before about my limited patience for Frusciante’s avant garde stuff, but ‘Fanfare’ – and half of Enclosure, the LP it’s drawn from – I can get behind. Frusciante’s newfound penchant for experimentation clashes head-on with his pop sensibilities, with catchy and unexpected results.
Sticky Fingers – ‘Gold SNAFU’
‘Gold SNAFU’ is the perfect summertime track: it’s laid-back and sports a catchy, whistled refrain. Kudos to Dylan Frost, too, for penning memorable lines like ‘sexy as a slippery water slide’. Sticky Fingers expand their sound while honouring their roots. An Australian band whose evolution I’m enjoying.
The Autumn Defense – ‘I Can See Your Face’
The Fleetwood Mac-esque ‘I Can See Your Face’ is my standout track from The Autumn Defense’s fifth album, Fifth. Pat Sansone and John Stirratt’s warm vocals gel with summery production, making this romantic folk throwback shine.
Chet Faker – ‘Gold’
Chet Faker’s had a monstrous year, with sold-out shows and copious radio play. (His year even culminated in the netting of the Best Male Artist and Best Indie Release ARIAs, which he so graciously accepted.) It’s great to see a local boy make good, though I’m not quite sold on his début LP Built on Glass. (I found it a little tedious. See: the aptly titled ‘Lesson in Patience’, which opens with two minutes of wailing and goes precisely nowhere).
Still, dude can write solid pop tracks. ‘1998’ and ‘Cigarettes & Loneliness’ are contenders, but ‘Gold’ is the definitive bright spot. I’m curious to see what he does next. No diggity.
Michael Jackson – ‘Slave to the Rhythm’
Hesitated putting this on here thanks to the dubious motivations behind this release, but ‘Slave to the Rhythm’, originally written in 1990, is a catchy reaffirmation of Jackson’s pop-writing talents. (Like he needed one.)
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars – ‘Uptown Funk’
Though it may not reach the same magnitude of cultural hit (due in part to the forever shifting tides of popular music), ‘Uptown Funk’ is, for my money, the most infectious, hook-laden pop song since ‘Hey Ya’. This song is an unparalleled party: all killer, no filler. Even the bridge is an absolute jam.
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My Favourite Albums of 2014:
Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams marks Adams’ first release since the stripped-back, hiatus-shattering Ashes & Fire (one of my favourite records of 2011), and largely continues in the same artistic vein. It features a fuller sound than Adams’ last release, but straddles the same adult/contemporary line – not a bad thing. This self-titled release exudes confidence and cohesiveness. It also features some of Adams’ most mature songwriting efforts to date. It’s hard to believe this is the same hyperactive brat who wrote Love is Hell and Rock n Roll.
Foster the People – Supermodel
In 2011, Foster the People burst onto the scene with Torches, a potent pop début with a cache of surprise hits. The album netted the band a legion of global fans and, with the pressure high, it took them three years to follow it up.
Supermodel arrived to a warm but comparatively modest reception. Its singles failed to make the same splash as Torches mega-hit ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ and the album largely fell through the cracks.
Admittedly, it took me awhile to warm to Supermodel. It’s a reflexive, considered album, and is less immediate than its predecessor. Here, the band broadens its scope, trying on different stylistic hats. It’s a slower, more experimental affair – and consequently a richer experience. Punters will be greatly rewarded if they invest the time. Continue reading
Sharing my favourite music of 2013 was a lot of fun, so I’ve decided to write another music post, this time detailing my most anticipated albums for 2014. Some of these artists have been away awhile, and absence has definitely made my heart grow fonder.
Without further ado, here are the albums I’m most looking forward to:
It’s no secret that I love Wilco (I’m currently reading Greg Kott’s band biography, Learning How to Die, and listening to Sansone and Stirratt’s side project, The Autumn Defense), so it should come as no surprise that the forthcoming Wilco record tops my most wanted list.
One thing that sucks about no longer having a Facebook page is that I can’t share my annual list of favourite music. Then it occurred to me: hang on, dickhead! You’re a super serious blogger now! You can share all them opinions you have! (I got lots. Seriously, it’s a veritable weed infestation up in here.) Strictly speaking, this post isn’t about literature. I’m sure you gathered that by the title. I decided not to hamfistedly relate any of this back to the writer’s journey, or talk about inspiration, or any of that crap. Frankly, I think we’re past all that.
Been a pretty good year for music, at least as I see it. Much as people like to mourn the apparent death of good music, I’m still finding artists who excite me on a regular basis. People like to act like there’s a finite amount of good music out there, but in my experience that just isn’t so. All you need to find it is an open mind and a willingness to research.
I went to like ten shows this year. Pretty good, I think, for a casual fan on a student wage. Even had this crazy streak going for awhile where I didn’t once double-up on any of Melbourne’s music venues. I think that’s a testament to the great music culture in this city.
This year I continued to educate myself on all the great music of yesterday. I also took several brief respites from rock (my genre of choice) — although my most-played newly discovered artists, The Antlers, The Dears and Dan Sultan, weren’t far from my comfort zone. Curiously, I didn’t listen to a lot of folk or alt. country this year. I guess those genres and I needed some time apart. It’s cool, though; I found other avenues for mopey music. Maybe next year, alt. country. Been listening to a lot of Soulive lately. They’re a jazz organ trio. The album I have (Doin’ Something) is ineligible for this year’s list, but it deserves some love, so check it out. Continue reading
I’ve been a fan of Wilco for a while now. They’re the only international act I’ve paid to see more than twice, and their diverse and ecclectic catalogue has variously appealed to my teenage and adult hearts. In my opinion, they haven’t put a foot wrong.
Naff as it sounds, Wilco’s music is a constant inspiration to me. I’ve discovered the seeds for stories and poems in the soundscapes of their songs. For instance, there’s an old story of mine, ‘Gun Grey Maverick’, that has many parallels to the song ‘Bull Black Nova’, and various other Tweedy lyrics have springboarded me towards my own writing ideas. As such, I have to credit Wilco and Jeff Tweedy as major influences. They were instrument in my formative years and played a part in helping me discover my writing voice. Continue reading