Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 Tracks Of 2008

10. Studio West Side (Klumpfisk Remix)

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A late addition to this list, I only discovered this gem of a remix after reading Ohh! Crapp's similar end of year lists. Young Swedish producer Klumpfisk turns Studio's laid back favourite 'West Side' into a bonafide dancefloor killer, adding a thumping 4/4 beat, a body contorting electro hook, and a breakdown amongst the best I have heard, before bringing it all back in the euphoric final minutes of the track. How this has gone unnoticed by bloggers (including myself) all year, I do not know.

9. Van She Virgin Suicide

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A three way toss up between this track, 'So High', and 'Changes' sees 'Virgin Suicide' from Van She's brilliant debut, 'V' sitting at number nine. A "stands out 'cause it's slow" kind of song, 'Virgin Suicide' shows off Van She's musical talents, both as electronic, and traditional musicians, finding the perfect balance between acoustic guitar, subtle synth, and magical vocals, with a chorus to die for. This is Australian indie-electro at its best.

8. Friendly Fires Paris

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"One day we're gonna live in Paris. I promise, I'm on it."
This now oft quoted line is the basis of the idea behind St. Albans band Friendly Fires' hit single 'Paris'. Originally bestowed upon the masses in 2007, a re-release this year warranted addition to this list. And it sounds amazing live too.

7. Air France No Excuses

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This is the sound of summer, of a late night beach party, of relaxing beside the pool, of exploring a tropical rainforest on a deserted island. Wild and thrilling, yet strangely familiar at the same time, Air France have created a sound that could mellow out even the craziest metal head, yet bring to life a dancefloor full of mummies. There are no excuses not to like this song.

6. Cut Copy So Haunted (Knightlife's Sun-Soaked Reprise)

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Almost a year after we first got a taste of it on the 'So Cosmic' mixtape, Knightlife's brilliant remix of Cut Copy's 'So Haunted' finally gets an official release, reminding everybody of why we fell in love with the track in the first place. Ignoring the droning rock of the original track, Knightlife builds upon the sparkling outro, before the track explodes halfway through into a piece of dancefloor dynamite, capable of filling any club in an instant. For any band looking to turn a good track into a great track, Knightlife is your man.

5. Aeroplane Above The Clouds

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A slow burning track from Belgium's foremost exponents of authentic disco, 'Above The Clouds' for the first part meanders along an overgrown path, rich with the textures of melody, rhythm and beat, before turning into a slow stomper of a track, led by an acoustic guitar break that is guaranteed to get heads nodding and feet tapping. With an album apparently on the way soon, 2009 looks like it will be a very good year indeed.

4. Cut Copy Hearts On Fire

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What can I say about Cut Copy? After 2004's 'Bright Like Neon Love', Dan, Tim and Mitchell conquered the world this year with the release of their more than amazing follow up, 'In Ghost Colours'. Packed with hits, including opener 'Feel The Love', the anthemic 'Lights and Music', and latest single 'Far Away', the disco goodness of 'Hearts On Fire' remains a winner for me, with the female "Woo, Uh ooh" sample, Dan Whitford's emotive voice and lyrics, and the utterly epic saxophone breakdown. If there was a disco heaven, I could imagine this song playing 24/7.

3. Mystery Jets Half In Love With Elizabeth (Delorean Remix)

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Adding to a plethora of great Mystery Jets remixes, relatively unknown Spanish outfit, Delorean's take on 'Half In Love With Elizabeth' takes an already memorable song to a completely new level.The Spanish producers' laid back take on club music surprisingly suits the Jets' style of indie folk, with a genius piano line colliding with the repetitive yet mesmerising beat, and Blaine Harrison's unique voice, creating a mood that cannot be described without the use of the words 'blissful'.

2. Bag Raiders Shooting Stars

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Anyone who knows anything about the whole 'blog house' phenomenon would have no doubt heard of Bag Raiders by now; part of the Australian contingency along with the likes of Cut Copy, The Presets, and Midnight Juggernauts. Since the release of last year's self-titled EP, fans have been frothing at the mouth for more Bag raiders, and the band obliged with the recent 'Turbo Love' EP, featuring smash hit 'Shooting Stars'. On vocal duty is Rhys from fellow Aussie blog housers Like Woah! and Ted & Francis; a wise move by all parties involved. His voice suits the song perfectly. and the result is one of the most memorable dancefloor choruses of the year. Only fitting for one of the best electro tracks in recent times.

"Gave my love to a shooting star, and she moves so fast that I can't keep up; I'm chasing.
I'm in love with a shooting star, but she moves so fast; when she falls then I'll be waiting."


1. Mystery Jets Two Doors Down

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Another Mystery Jets gem to top of the list, 'Two Doors Down' lends as much to 80's contemporaries such as The Cure and The Human League as the Eel Pie band's indie and folk influences. New wave sounds mix with acoustic guitar and a driving drum beat to create a unique and truly original sound that comes along once in a while to blow the mind of anyone who dares to listen. Be warned, this song is lethally addictive. Listen at your own risk.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pop Go The Swedes

First of all, let me preface this artice by informing you that I have come to the following conclusion: Sweden is superior.
How, you may ask, did I come to this conclusion? Well, let me introduce to you...

Subject A: The Tough Alliance

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Hailing from Gothenburg, Henning Fürst and Eric Berglund, AKA The Tough Alliance have created an international popocalypse (pun intended) with their upbeat brand of dreamy dance music. Having released multiple EP's and two successful albums, the most recent of which, 'A New Chance' seeing them picked up by Australia'a Modular Records, The Tough Alliance have well and truly conquered the world of pop music, winning accross the hearts (and dancing shoes) of thousands along the way.

Read up on the boys and listen to their amazing music here.

Subject B: Air France

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Air France (coincidentally (or not so) also based in Gothenburg) make dancefloor pop music in a similar vein to The Tough Alliance, mixing voice samples with traditional instruments and blissful synths to create a type of music that one can only imagine echoing through the trees of an Elven forest in one of J.R.R Tolkein's literary creations. This is not only music to dance to, this is music to live to.

Be inspired at
http://www.myspace.com/theairfrance

Subject C: They Live By Night

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Also calling Gothenburg home are They Live By Night, the three man pop ensemble whose second debut album (no, that's not a typo) has just been released to great reviews in their home country, and internationally. Originally a more traditional 'rock' band, They Live By Night split up in 2007, after releasing an EP and an album. Three of the members, Joel Sjöö, Martin Andersson and Christofer Byström, however, decided it was not yet time to hang up their instruments, and reformed the band,adding epic strings, delightful keys, and sharing the vocal harmonies to create an orchestral pop masterpiece that certainly does not disappoint.

You'll find all the They Live By Night goodness you could possibly hope for
here, and at their official site here.

Subject D: Studio

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Studio (no points for guessing wher they're from) is Dan Lissvik & Rasmus Hägg, who specialise in the creation of "afrobeat-dub-disco-indie-pop", and whose debut album, 'West Coast' can be likened to a holiday on a sunny beach somewhere in the Mediterranean. Spanning as many genres as they do ifluences, Studio have been labelled "The missing link between The Cure and Lindstrøm.", and if the depth and span of their music is anything to go by, they took as many stops as possible along the way.

Check out the band's Myspace to see what all the fuss is about, and become addicted yourself.

Subject E: The Embassy

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Now I could say something a bit different and original here, such as "If The Beach Boys and Daft Punk were to make love, the result would be the sound of The Embassy.", however that could apply to any of the artists in this list. I could also tell you that The Embassy are native to somewhere other than Gothenburg, but I would be lying. The Embassy make electro tinged acoustic pop songs that, similar to Studio, can be likened to The Cure, and could easily be included on any new wave album from the 1980's to today without sounding out of place.
Their two albums, 'Tacking' and 'Futile Crimes' have garnered them praise from many critics, and individual tracks such as 'Lurking (With A Distance)' and 'It Pays To Belong' have established them as a musical force to be reckoned with.

Listen to their music at www.myspace.com/theembassy1

Subject F: Lo-Fi-Fnk

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Perhaps the most electro inclined of all the artists in this post, Stockholm's Lo-Fi-Fnk have been making waves on the international dance and pop scene for a while now. Having released the acclaimed mini album, 'Boylife', Lo-Fi-Fnk have recently returned with their latest track, 'Want U', a frenzy of synth and bass, with a main hook that will remain hooked in your head for days.

Check out Lo-Fi-Fnk's unique brand of electropop at www.myspace.com/lofifnksweden, or at their official site here.

Subject G: Boat Club

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In case you have realised by now, the focus of this article is on Swedish pop music, populariszed by the term 'balearic', and Boat Club epitomise the essence of this genre with a sound that is as lively as it is relaxing. Echoing guitar riffs combine with strategically placed bongo drums, dreamy synth lines, plodding bass, and the occasional vocals to bring the music back to reality. If Studio's is the music played in a sun soaked beachfront villa, then this is the music played in heaven.
If you do not yet own a copy of Boat Club's debut album, 'Caught The Breeze', make sure you change that immediately. You can find all you need to know to order at the band's Myspace, here

Perhaps instead of simply writing about the magnificent sounds that comes out of Sweden, I should have written an in depth analysis about what it is in Sweden that promotes the production of such blissfully euphoric pop music. However, in all truthfullness, I have no idea what it is, so I'll just enjoy the music.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Collage by James Nascent







Front cover for upcoming Mutating Meltdown 7 out on MLadys soon




(Click images for full size)

All images © James Nascent

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Muscles To Delete Myspace

From Muscles' blog and newsletter:

'Why I'm Deleting Myspace?

70% of my music collection is from independent bands and artists who slug it out and work hard for themselves with very little monetary return because they LOVE music so much.

As a self-taught recording artist Muscles I write, record and produce all Muscles Music by myself.

I am self managed. I do not have a manager.

I created and operate all Muscles Music related websites,

musclesmusic.net

muscleswebshop.com

and my new blog,

musclesmusicblog.com

(blog that includes behind the scenes/equipment i'm using/fashion/lifestyle/industry advice and COOL things to check out)

As well as running my own myspace/last.fm and everything else out there like my official forum too.

I do not have a Publisher, which means you will NEVER hear my songs on a TV ADVERTISEMENT anytime soon.

Recently Myspace has updated their new Music Player, and it looks so amazing and smooth but,

They've just done a deal with the 4 BIGGEST RECORD LABELS in the world, to SHARE PROFITS of ADVERTISING REVENUE that myspace brings in everytime you CLICK on my page and your own.

This is a positive step forward for the industry BUT 90% of artists/bands in the world are signed to dodgy recording contracts, which means that the :

ARTISTS/BANDS/TALENT will NOT be getting paid if you PURCHASE music through the new MYSPACE STORE (that goes to amazon mp3)

They are launching the new music player soon, UNTIL they MAKE CLEAR their FAIR DEAL for independent musicians, (MUSICIANS WHO KNEW HOW TO PROMOTE THEMSELVES ON THE INTERNET 10 YEARS AGO), I cannot be apart of this money-driven trash community it has now become (as fun as it may be).

It used to be about the music, but now all I see is pictures of LINDSAY LOHAN everytime I login and it MAKES ME SICK IN MY STOMACH! She is an actor, a puppet, and personally I couldn't give a fuck about her personal life.

The constant popping up of "LILY ALLEN or KATY PERRY or MILEY CYRUS or AMY WHINEHOUSE" 'attention seeking' blogs are INFURIATING!

[although you know what WAS cool, did anyone see the DEATH RACE animation movie ad thing, they did it when you logged in a couple months ago? THAT WAS COOL!]


Listen to that LCD Soundsystem song that goes, "Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes!",

KNOW WHERE THE FOOD YOU CONSUME COMES FROM!

Be INTERESTED in why websites like MYSPACE exist for FREE.

Myspace began as an incredible social networking tool, and fantastic resource for UNDERGROUND MUSIC, but now if INDEPENDENT MUSICIANS are shoved out of the new MYSPACE MUSIC DEAL,

Muscles as a musician will be leaving myspace forever.

IF YOU SAY STUPID THINGS LIKE,

"oh i can't like your music anymore man, cause you don't have a myspace",

THEN DON'T LISTEN TO MY MUSIC.

go back and listen to my debut album again,
GUNS BABES LEMONADE and then you might understand what Muscles is really all about.

see you all soon, or not, i don't really care about myspace anymore.

ALL I CARE ABOUT IS WRITING QUALITY MUSIC FOR YOU

I'VE NEARLY FINISHED a NEW ALBUM and putting together an INCREDIBLE NEW LIVE SHOW!

this might be the smartest or stupidest thing i've ever done, but i'm willing to take this risk.

MUSCLES

musclesmusic.net

ps. check out this website, it talks about the future of the music industry

pps. GET OFF THE COMPUTER AND GO OUT TO SEE YOUR FAVOURITE BANDS LIVE NOW!'


Hopefully Muscles will be the first in a long line of artists to show some initiative and take a stand against the direction in which the music industry is heading. For many artists it has always just been about the music, and the fans; no excessive advertising, no lucrative contracts, and no Myspace.

Muscles is leading the charge to bring the soul back to the music industry, and to move away from the all to common capitalist nature of bisiness in this day and age, where everything is driven simply by the profit motive.

Deleting his Myspace page is the first step in going back to basics as a musician, and as a manager, and connecting with only the REAL Muscles fans, the ones who will support him regardless of popularity or status.

And in that, I wish him the best of luck.

Muscles

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Damn Arms

damn arms

Since the Damn Arms camp has seemingly recently been reduced to just Tim and Yama, the Melbourne based indie-rockers have taken their music in a different direction, with the now duo focussing more on the synth than their trademark distorted guitar. This is far from a negative move however, as demonstrated by their new single, 'Destination', due to drop next month on Bang Gang 12".

Stream Destination now on the bands Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/damnarms and check http://www.theliveartex.com soon for more information.

damn arms

Monday, September 15, 2008

Featured Photography: Thomas Walk

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All photos © Thomas Walk

View more of Thomas' work at www.myspace.com/6by6memos and vote for his work at General Pants' 'The Bubble' project at www.generalpants.com.au/The-Bubble/Gallery/Online-Competitions.html?EntryId=335

Saturday, August 23, 2008

5 Preview T-shirts

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5 Preview is Swedish/Italian designers Emeli and Diego who, in a very short period of time have managed to turn their screen-printed tee-shirt business into a world-wide fashion juggernaut, with their ironic, iconic, in your face designs.

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Hailing from Rome, the duo's success has seen their creations displayed and sold internationally in exclusive stores in London, Tokyo, Berlin, Copenhagen and Brisbane, featured in the +46 fair in Stockholm, and selling out in numerous online stores.

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Their designs, lending a lot to the punk-rock attitude of the world's youth are sure to appeal to anyone with a cynical attitude towards the fashion industry, anyone with a sense of humour, and anyone simply in the market for a stylish and individual piece of clothing.


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Visit www.5preview.com to find out more, and www.5preview.blogspot.com for information on stockists, collections, designs and more 5 Preview adventures.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Featured Photography

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© Marco.B

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© A.D Kearney

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© Jimmy.L

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© Nicolas. P

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© Nicolas. P

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© Nicolas. P

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© Stepan. H

Visit http://web.mac.com/formuledepolitesse/jimmy/jimmy16.html to view more amazing photography from a wide range of artists, as well as other content.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Love My Life The Way It Is

Have you ever dreamt of something, or looked forward to something, got your hopes up, only to be let down? This was the idea behind 'I Love My Life The Way It Is', the project by Ali Alvarez, which features hundreds of un-scratched lottery tickets, with the theory that if you do not scratch them, you cannot feel the disappointment of not winnning. Ali hopes one day to display his collection in a gallery, with the goal of eventually collecting enough tickets to fill a whole room.
Whats more, you can help him!
If you are interested in Ali's cause, you can donate your un-scratched lottery tickets to:

Ali Alvarez
PO Box 60460
London E8 9EB
UK

Visit www.ilovemylifethewayitis.blogspot.com for more information, and to view some of the tickets in Ali's collection, from all corners of the globe.

Video Marsh

Video Marsh is a Canadian video production collective who shoot some rather amazing videos based on the natural environment and the plants and animals it is home to.
You may already know their work from the controversial Crystal Castles promotional video they created, which features a man dropping a cinder block on the head of a homeless person, as seen below:



Whether this can be considered art or not has been highly debated, but there is no denying that all of the organisation's videos are superbly shot, creating dream-like atmospheres.

You can view Video Marsh's amazing work at www.videomarsh.com including previews for short films and photo journals of the group's adventures. You will not be disappointed

Monday, May 19, 2008

Virgo Rising Interview

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First of all I have to ask, are there any productions in the works? An EP, an album?

No, well not at the moment. Just making tracks and seeing where it all ends up basically.


When did you start making music, and how did it all come together? What are the origins of Virgo Rising?

I guess it was mainly a response to the genres of music we were listening to at the time… Cut Copy, The Presets, Midnight Juggernauts etc. I also loved the soundscapes of Brian Eno and Jean Michel Jarre and I still do. For Sean, Sean started playing guitar a while ago, stuff like Cat Stevens and Simon and Garfunkel and moving to more electronic forms was just an exploration of different outlets. We started making music because we believed we could make something different and genuine bringing our individual tastes and preferences along to see what happened.


Where did the name 'Virgo Rising' derive from? Is there an interesting story behind it like a lot of the strange band names you see around these days, or was it just good old fashion brain cells?

Originally it was a response to love, and that romantic failure that turns into experience and nostalgia. More a feeling than any particular reference.


Having recently started playing a few live sets, what are your views on the live vs studio debate? Are you more at home in the studio or on stage?

Having only done two gigs thus far we can’t really compare the two yet. But from what we’ve experienced so far there’s definitely potential for that to become interesting and experimental and a conduit for our ideas. Which the studio has always been and continues to be.


What are the main inspirations for your music? Do you have any other creative influences in terms of art, culture etc?

I guess originally our music was inspired by artists such as Cut Copy, New Order and the Midnight Juggernauts, but has now moved onto more ambient and distant plains. More sound scapes, less clarity and more confusion but underpinned by a conscious melody. Artists like My Bloody Valentine, Brian Eno and Jean Michel Jarre. In terms of artists combined we don’t specifically reference anyone, but obviously we have unconscious inspirations from artists/thinkers like Jacques Derrida, Hiro, Anton Corjbin and Jack Kerouac, Dario Argento and David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch. We’re both pretty taken in by what surrounds us, and we know that affects our music.


Where do you hope to be in terms of music production in 5 years time? Do you see Virgo Rising as a long term project or are there other plans outside of music?

Ideally we’d love to have some music out there with people appreciating it and finding something in it. We both take the moment for what it is and don’t really idealise the future too much. We take it very seriously. But it’s more about satisfying ourselves more than anything. Knowing that we can invest people with the same shapes and feelings that have inspired us.


Who are your top 3 favourite artists, and what are your top 3 favourite albums of all time?

That changes every week unfortunately, or fortunately.


Are there any other bands around at the moment that you are particularly interested in (Australian or otherwise)?

Well the ones we’ve mentioned so far. We’re into a lot of mellowed synth and noise at the moment. Bands like Shocking Pinks, Ghostwood, Stereo Total, Sebastien Tellier.


Where is your ideal gig, and who would be the guests of honour? What tracks would you spin?

Christ and a few disciples in a dirty redneck Texan bar, in Siberia. We would play jazz and serve pretzels.


Finally, what should we know about Virgo Rising that we may not have known?

We have an endless supply.



A huge thanks to the guys from Virgo Rising for donating their time to do this interview.

Check them out at http://www.myspace.com/virgohits

Thursday, May 8, 2008