Saturday, 24 December 2011


I really like Vexta's stuff, like other really great street artists she has a very unique and recognisable style.  I'm tempted to buy one of her pieces, but most of the things I've seen aren't quite as good as her street work (not sure why, but that seems to be the way with a lot of people).

Friday, 23 December 2011

Future of the Left

I didn't really think about the fact that the last post was so long it would knock Future of the Left off the front page.  If you've been waiting for the link its up there now.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Albums of the Year

Since I'm trying to make an effort to ensure more is happening here I thought I'd add a post of my favourite albums of the year.  However, since I'm not a flash music reviewer who gets free albums I only have three albums from 2011.  So this is a list of my favourite albums that I bought this year, regardless of when they came out.  In reverse order (to build a sense of excitement for my album of the year!):

15 - Japandroids - Post Nothing (2009)

For some reason they felt the need to add some really annoying vocal distortion to this album.  I just found it distracting.  Nonetheless this is a really good debut album.  I still have no idea why they chose not to include Younger Us though.

14. No Age - Everything in Between (2010)

Somewhat similar in sound to Japandroids.  This album reminded me a lot of New Zealand's Flying Nun era bands, particularly The Clean.  Which is a good thing.  I haven't heard any of their other albums so I don't know if that is a consistent theme.

13. Spiritualized - Songs in A & E (2008)

I'm sure a lot of people already know a lot about Spiritualized, but I'm pretty late to the party.  Although I know this isn't supposed to be his best album, its still one I've really enjoyed.  It feels really well formed and coherent.

12. Wild Billy Childish - My First Wild Billy Childish Album (2006)

When you've put out over 100 albums since 1979 (and that's only to 2006 when this was released) it can be quite daunting for the newcomer to figure out where to start.  Hence the need for a good compilation.  This pulls together material from a variety of his recent work.  Sound-wise you'll hear a bit of the White Stripes and Nirvana, who were both heavily influenced by Childish. 

11. Don McGlashan - Warm Hand (2006)

I went through a bit of a Don McGlashan/Muttonbirds kick at the start of the year.  For Australians think of him as New Zealand's Paul Kelly - incredibly talented singer/songwriter who probably hasn't had the international success they would have if they hadn't put so much of their home country into their music.  Don't take that to mean this is inaccessible to non-New Zealanders though - this is just a great album regardless of nationality.

10. Okkervil River - I Am Very Far (2011)

Hopefully you managed to make it to one of Okkervil River/Will Sheff's recent shows, in which case you know how good this album is.  It doesn't quite reach the heights of The Stage Names, but it does show greater musical variety, which is a good sign for their future.

9. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest (2010)

Another band that made a trip to Australia in 2011 in support of a great album that doesn't quite reach the heights of their very best material (Microcastle).  Nonetheless, one of the marks of a truly great band is the ability to string together a series of brilliant albums, one or two more and I suspect these guys may be playing arenas.

8. McLusky - McLuskyism (2006)

I discovered McLusky via Japandroids cover of To Hell with Good Intentions.  Punky music, amusing and pointed lyrics, and incredible hooks make this hard not to enjoy.  McLuskyism collects their singles together, so is a good place to start.

7. Soundgarden - Live on i5 (released 2011, recorded 1996)

For those with BDO tickets wondering what Soundgarden are like as live band this will tell you all you need to know.  The only real letdown is their cover of Helter Skelter, otherwise this provides a great run through of their career in a live setting.

6. Sam Cooke - Portrait of a Legend 1951 - 1964 (2003)

This may seem a bit left field given the albums that have gone before, but I have pretty broad tastes, including a love of soul music.  Many people may only know Sam Cooke from A Change is Gonna Come (that was me before I got this album), but he produced a large number of amazing soul and gospel tracks (Only Sixteen, Chain Gang, Summertime, Good News, Shake, Havin' a Party).  For those unfamiliar with soul music I'd recommend starting with Otis Redding (The Dock of the Bay is a good compilation), and then checking this out.

5. Liam Finn - Fomo (2011)

This could easily have been my best album of 2011 (5 through 3 are pretty much interchangeable).  It's a nice progression from his debut album, and although theres still a lot of melody and noise, there is also a clear broadening of his vision.  I can't imagine that he won't be a huge star in the near future.

4. Byrds - Untitled/Unissued (originally released 1970, deluxe version released 2000)

I always liked by the Byrds but never found any of their albums that didn't seem to have major flaws.  This covers all the bases, without any flaws (even among the packed second disc).  The original idea for the album was to have one record of live material and another of new studio material.  The bonus disc here follows the same format, adding alternate studio takes and new live tracks, including four Dylan tracks.  The only real criticism could be that two packed discs are a bit overwhelming for those new to the Byrds, but for any fan I can recommend this unreservedly.

3. Wilco - The Whole Love (2011)

My favourite 2011 album.  Wilco fans have been split on their recent material (I'm a fan), but fans and critics alike have united behind this one, I'd put it in the same class as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and A Ghost is Born.  Some have seen this as an album that pulls together strands from all their previous albums.  I think that its more of a summary of where they are, acknowledging aspects of country, folk, pop, noise, and rock.  I can't recommend it more than to say I check every day to see if they've announced an Australian tour yet.

2. Robert Plant - Band of Joy (2010)

I like Led Zeppelin, but I'm not a big enough fan to bother with their solo stuff.  At least until I heard Robert Plant performing a couple of these tracks on Jules Holland.  This doesn't sound anything like LZ, instead it fuses classic folk and blues with a modern sound that is at once fresh and old (to understand the contradiction you'll have to listen to the album).  If this is what we get in exchange for no LZ reunion the world isn't such a bad place.

1. Japandroids - No Singles (2010)

Easily my favourite of the albums I've purchased this year.  It's hard to describe the perfection of this album - every track is a winner, fusing punk and hardcore into anthemic songs that will hold a gun to your head and force you to dance round the room.  I initially discovered them through the free Winston's Essentials compilation, which includes their recent non-album single Younger Us (maybe the best thing they've ever written).  Another band that desperately needs to tour Australia (I think I would die if a Wilco/Japandroids tour is announced).

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Classic Bootlegs

One of the ideas I had to keep things interesting when there aren't any new shows to put up is to make some classic bootlegs available.  These are ones that I've listened to a lot and enjoyed.  To kick things off I thought I'd have a poll so people can indicate what they'd actually be interested in listening to (you can vote for more than one).  Some info on the options is below, vote using the poll on the right.

Pearl Jam - Atlanta '94

To my mind this is the greatest bootleg ever from a band well known for producing some great shows.  It captures them just before the release of Vitalogy (this is about the last time you get to hear Betterman without a singalong).  They play most of their first two albums, a few tracks from Vitalogy, some non-album tracks, and some covers.  Particular highlights are WMA (which has hardly ever been played), and an extended version of Porch.  Soundwise this is perfect - the show was broadcast by the band with any radio station able to broadcast it.

Wilco - Brooklyn '09

Like the Pearl Jam bootleg above this is a recording made available by the band, so sounds perfect.  The show has a festive atmosphere, with guest appearances from Feist, Yo La Tengo, and Ed Drost (from Grizzly Bear).  Highlights: an extended version of Spiders with Yo La Tengo, and Bull Black Nova.

Wilco - Singles Collection

Wilco are one of those bands that produces an enormous amount of material that doesn't make it onto their albums.  Hardcore fans put the effort in to track these tracks down benefit, but for more casual fans they miss out, which is sad given the quality of some of this stuff.  The version I have only goes as far as Summerteeth, but I'm working on updating this to cover everything up to the new album.

Bob Dylan - Munster (Germany) '00

Dylan's recent bootleg series has done a great job in filling the gaps in his recorded career.  My only real criticism of it is that its skipped most stuff since the 70's.  I suspect this is for commercial reasons, but its sad nonetheless because his material since then has actually been really good (particularly if you cherry pick the best of it).  This album is from after his 'comeback' with Time Out of Mind, but only features two track from that album (plus the non-album track Things Have Changed).  Instead this album focuses on reworkings of his back catalogue.  Again, the sound is perfect - (there have been a few calls for this, or one of the other similar quality live recordings) to be officially released.

Neil Young

I haven't figured out what Neil Young show would be the best to put up.  Probably something from the mid-70's (maybe '76 when he played both acoustic and Crazy Horse sets?).  There are lots of good quality ones, I'll just have to figure what is the best of the ones I have (any requests are welcome).

If there are any other artists, or particular concerts feel free to request them in the comments.

Note: all requests may be ignored.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Future of the Left - 16 December 2011, The Corner Hotel

I only recently discovered these guys via McLusky, who I found through Japandroids (amazing) cover of To Hell with Good Intentions on their No Singles album.  Well thank you (again) Japandroids, because in addition to getting to hear your one amazing album and one very good one, I got to discover Future of the Left, and just after doing so I get to see them live.

This show was great!  The Corner was pretty packed with enthusiastic punters (which I think is the reason the recording initially sounds a bit muffled).  FOTL came on and ripped through a set covering all their albums, their recent EP, their few days old single, and a handful of McLusky classics.  Of the new songs, I particularly enjoyed Beneath the Waves an Ocean, which started off slow but has a classic finish.  The others have grown on me with a few repeated listens, but I'll wait for the album before making my mind up.

Recording wise this is pretty good.  As I mentioned it starts off slightly muffled, but that doesn't last long.  I've got to offer some praise to the sound guy, who managed to keep things sounding powerful without simply cranking the sound up.

Arming Eritrea
Chin Music
Small Bones, Small Bodies
Beneath the Waves an Ocean
Sheena is a T-Shirt Salesman
Polymers are Forever
Failed Olympic Bid
You Need Satan More Than He Needs You
New Adventures
To Hell with Good Intentions
Robocop 4: Fuck Off Robocop
Without MSG I Am Nothing
Plague of Onces
Chastity Drive
Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues
Lapsed Catholics

Link to come (before Christmas)

Update: the good folks over at Fan Made Recordings also taped this -

Thursday, 15 December 2011


A few more of my favourite bits of street art.  These are a series by E.L.K.  Theres a nice alley by Queen Victoria market that has some of his work, but I haven't managed to get there with a camera yet.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


Sorry for the lack of any new material - I've got a new job that is taking up a lot of my time.  I'm hoping to be able to put up a couple more shows this year, and have lots lined up for next year.

In the meantime, there is a complete recording of the Okkervil River show (I only managed to capture part of it) at  I haven't had a chance to download it yet, so can't comment on the quality.  If I have the time and inclination I may create a hybrid recording if the portion of the show I recorded justifies it.

I'll be making more of an effort to post at least a couple of updates every week from now on, although they won't always include new shows obviously.

Till then, thanks for visiting.