Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Milk Carton Kids - Newport Folk Festival, 26 July 2013

Milk Carton Kids' show at the St Kilda Memo was a highlight of last year. Love Police put up a post about them a few months back that made me think they might be getting ready for a return visit, but there hasn't been any news since then so maybe not.

This show is from the famous Newport Folk Festival just a couple of months after their Australian shows. As usual for these guys, the between song banter is at least as good as the music (although anyone that saw the Australian shows will notice that there are some standard jokes that regularly make an appearance). As a bonus I've also tacked on the portion of their set at the Thornbury Theatre that was broadcast by ABC, as well as their Tiny Desk Concert set (where you get an explanation of the Kenneth's handkerchief).

Hope of a Lifetime
The Ash & Clay
Honey, Honey
Girls, Gather 'Round
New York
I Still Want a Little More

Hope of a Lifetime [Thornbury Theatre]
The Ash & Clay [Thornbury Theatre]
Memphis [Thornbury Theatre]

Michigan [Tiny Desk Concert]
Stealing Romance [Tiny Desk Concert]
I Still Want a Little More [Tiny Desk Concert]!kBMDHSjD!bZueFVPzMT9qdLdvIzFDwQ

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Friday, 21 February 2014

Queens of the Stone Age - KCRW, 3 June 2013

I thought I'd put this up already, but apparently not. So here, to go with the Nine Inch Nails set, is a Queens of the Stone Age promotional set from the middle of last year. As a promotional set the focus is very much on the new album, but there are a couple of older songs at the end.

If I Had a Tail
My God is the Sun
Like Clockwork
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
The Vampyre of Time and Memory
I Sat By the Ocean
Smooth Sailing
I Appear Missing
Little Sister

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Nine Inch Nails - Rock 'n' Heim Festival (Hockenheim), 18 August 2013

Another show from just a few months back  from a band that will be doing an Australian tour soon. Trent Reznor has said that the band are reworking their sets for each leg of the tour, so this probably won't be much of an indicator of what to expect on their tour, but it does feature material from the new album and some classics that are certain to be played.

Copy of A
Come Back Haunted
March of the Pigs
Terrible Lie
Gave Up
Help Me I Am in Hell/Me I'm Not
Find My Way
The Way Out is Through
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Best of 2013 - Albums (Part 2)


So very many great albums this year. If you missed out on part one (and care) follow this link. Otherwise, check these out for a few ideas of what might be good to soundtrack your Melbourne heatwave sweatfest.

My Morning Jacket - Circuital

I've seen My Morning Jacket twice, but still only managed to really get into them recently (if you're interested, their 2012 show in Melbourne was great and the recording is really good too). It's hard to say that anyone one track is a standout, but for some reason I find myself listening to (Holdin' On To) Black Metal over and over. This album is solid gold, although Z or It Still Moves are usually recommended as the best entry points to their catalogue.

Wilson Pickett - The Very Best of...

Wilson Pickett isn't as well known as some of his soul contemporaries, but he recorded some really great songs. His voice has the same grit as Otis Redding's, but he didn't have the same big hits, which may explain why he isn't as well known.

Dandy Warhols - Capitol Years

I got into both the Dandy Warhols and Brian Jonestown Massacre through the movie Dig! It's pretty surprising how much of their music made it into the zeitgeist of the 90's (probably partly achieved through the number of ads that featured their songs). And unlike some of the music of that decade, this still holds up really well.

Neko Case - The Worse Things Get...

As well as winning the Fiona Apple prize for longest album title, Neko Case has produced an album that manages to be an account of the depression she went through, without actually being horribly depressing (although Nearly Midnight, Honlulu is is pretty bleak). She's playing a couple of shows in Melbourne next month, and I'm looking forward to how these songs translate into the live setting.

The Men - Immaculada

I only put this up a couple of days ago, but I listened to this album a lot last year. It's probably best described as noise rock, but as is often the case with these things, the label probably does more to scare people off rather than encourage them to check it out. Anyway, unlike everything else on this list, this one is free, so you don't have any excuse for not having a listen. 

Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends

Tim Harrington's antics at Les Savy Fav shows are pretty funny, but they can detract from just how good their songs are. I know that I for one didn't realise how good their Laneway set was until I listend to the recording (not one of mine, it was from the guys at Fan Made Recordings, it doesn't seem to be up anymore, but I'm sure they'll make it available if anybody wants it). I've only got their last two albums, and while Root for Ruin is very good, Let's Stay Friends is great. I particularly like Comes & Goes, I think because it sounds so much like a Flying Nun tune, but every track here is great.

Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball

Finally got to cross Bruce Springsteen off my musical bucket list last year (and will be adding some reinforcing lines in a couple of weeks). I haven't listened to the new album yet, but this one was a real return to form after what I thought was a pretty mediocre album.

Josh Ritter - The Beast In It's Tracks

Neko Case's album took a while to grab me because it was a bit of a departure from her previous work, and this Josh Ritter album did the same thing (and possibly for the same reason, given that this is, in a way, a lot darker than this earlier work). Still waiting for him to venture down this way, but at least he is still touring this album, so at least there's some hope.
Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math

These guys apparently have a new album that will come out in a couple of months, and have promised an Australian tour this year. Until then, this is their most recent album. Although it's (at least notionally) a concept album, like all good concept albums it can stand independently of the story.

Phoenix Foundation - Happy Ending

In writing this I just found out that the Phoenix Foundation is the organisation that employs MacGyver. That should be enough reason to check this band out, but if not this album of dreamy pop (sometimes described as psychedelic, but that always grates with me) is a great way to soundtrack what's left of summer.

Spiral Stairs - The Real Feel

And last but not least, Spiral Stairs' (of Pavement fame) solo album. Malkmus gets a lot of the credit for Pavement, but Spiral Stairs' songs, although fewer, are all incredible. And while he hasn't produced an album to match Stephen Malkmus' self-titled debut, his solo career has probably produced at least as many great songs as Malkmus has, despite only having recorded three albums, including this one, the first under his own name (the others being released as Preston School of Industry).

Bruce Springsteen & Eddie Vedder

I'm not planning on putting up the whole Springsteen show since every show on the tour is going to be sold through his website, but I figure a few people are going to be keen to hear this. So here are the first two songs of the set, which happen to feature Eddie Vedder. Make sure to download the full show when it becomes available in a week or so.

Highway to Hell (with Eddie Vedder)
Darkness of the Edge of Town (with Eddie Vedder)

A soundboard recording of this show is now available for paid download from Bruce Springsteen's website. I've downloaded it and it sounds great. On the other hand, it's looking increasingly like night 2 isn't going to be released. Given the length of that show, my recorder ran out part way through the show (despite changing cards part way through), but I'll process and make available what I got if this isn't released in the next week or two).

Friday, 14 February 2014

The Men - Immaculada LP

So, obviously there was supposed to be text and a link and stuff. Rather than a blank post. My bad. Anyway, this is noise rock, it's really good, not like their later stuff (in that their later stuff sounds different, rather than that it sounds bad). Here's the link:

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Best of 2013 - Books

Like the best albums of 2013 list, this is a list of the best books I read in 2013, rather than the best to be released in 2013. The list is (I like to think) pretty varied, so hopefully it'll give you a chance to stumble upon something that sounds interesting.

All the President's Men

A lot of the books on this list can be described as imperfect in some ways. This one can be a bit confusing in parts (maybe it's just me that struggles with books with lots of names) and ends at a strange point. But it is a key chronicle of the episode that gave us the -gate suffix for even the most minor of incidents. It's interesting to speculate whether, with the current surveillance available, it would be possible for the media to discover and then reveal something like this, or to consider the key role played by leakers (not just Deepthroat) in light of the fact that the Obama administration has pursued whisteblowers more aggressively than any president in American history.

How to Make Gravy 

I finally got round to reading Paul Kelly's How to Make Gravy. It was interesting to hear at the Toff in Town gig how he found it hard to write, because it comes across as being written by someone who finds these things easy (I guess that's part of the genius). The book has a story for each of the songs, although the stories are sometimes only very loosely related to the songs. The format is unusual, but works really well, making it an interesting read, even for those who aren't big Paul Kelly fans.


During the year I found a really good list of the best books of the last hundred years (I'd post a link but I can't seem to find it). Unlike most of these lists the books are pretty accessible, rather than all being a billion pages long and really hard to read. Although Dune is a science fiction classic, it is just as much about politics and ecology. I haven't read the (many) sequels, but the first novel works well as a stand-alone story.

The Underdog

Marcus Zusak's Book Thief was my favourite book of last year, and hopefully lots of people will be reading that now that it's been made into a movie (albeit one being met with mediocre reviews). Prior to the Book Thief Zusak had written children's books, The Underdog being the first of them. The novel focuses on Cameron Wolfe, a slightly rough 15-year-old; his family; and the girl he falls for. It's a very sweet novel that gives a fairly accurate portrayal of the awkwardness of being a teenager.

Bad Science/Bad Pharma

Ben Goldacre's two novels provide a fairly damning indictment of his subjects, particularly the pharmaceutical industry. I particularly liked these two because he does an excellent job of systematically demonstrating the problem and (unlike most similar books) providing some realistic proposals about how to address the problems he has identified.

Tokyo Vice

A lot of the books I read I stumble upon through fairly random paths. Jake Adelstein was mentioned as being one of the best english speaking authorities on Japan's Yakuza in relation to the discretions of a New Zealand rugby player in Japan. Anyway, the book describes his time as the first non-Japanese reporter working for one of Japan's largest newspapers, in particular, his time as the police reporter. In addition to providing lots of insights into crime in Japan, the book is an interesting account of the experience of a Westerner living and working in Japan.

The Signal and the Noise

Nate Silver's (the US election picking guy) book is about how to make predictions and how they go wrong. He uses some really interesting examples of failures (like the Fukashima disaster), but also of areas where our predictive powers have substantially improved (like weather forecasting). It's a really interesting book, even if you aren't a 'numbers person'.

The Racket

Gideon Haigh's account of the legalisation of abortion in Australia is disturbing and revealing in equal parts. The level of corruption amid the police, medical profession, judiciary and politicians is shocking, particularly given the horrific impact it had on women.

The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog is another imperfect novel - it's too long, but for most of the time this fictional (but well-researched) account of the numerous failures of the War on Drugs (not that War on Drugs) is an interesting read. It's particularly interesting to see the tale told (mostly) from the Mexican side of the border, unlike most novels and movies that only have an interest in things north of the border.


Only one pop-science book made the list, which is a bit of a surprise. This one is a must read for anyone intrigued by the recent Masters of Sex series. It outlines the research and researchers working on figuring out exactly what the hell sex is about (with some interesting diversions, such as a visit to a Danish pig farm to interview people whose job is to give pigs orgasms). In addition to all the research described, it's interesting to see how much the field has been held back by the view (held by insitutions, colleagues and funders) that research on sex is somehow 'improper'.

The Given Day

One of the reasons that The Wire was such a great TV series was that they used established novellists as writers. One of these was Dennis Lehane, who also wrote Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island, which have both been made into movies (short version: Gone Baby Gone = good, but not as much as book; Shutter Island = average, hard book to turn into a movie). This one is a departure from his previous crime fiction novels, instead this is an epic leading up to the Boston police strike in 1919. The tone of this and the fact there are some important historical figures as characters reminds me of Boardwalk Empire. This book deserves to be described as an Important American Novel, but that kind of talk usually makes me think a book will be really hard to read and quite dull and this book is neither of those things.  

The Difference Engine: Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer

I actually got this out because I thought it was a different book called the Difference Engine. This book covers the torturous path to build, what is now regarded as, the first computer. The tale of an obssessive scientist who believes in the value of their work, despite the opinions of virtually everyone else, isn't particularly original, but that doesn't stop this from being an interesting story.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The War on Drugs - Northcote Social Club, 28 December 2013

SHUT UP! How hard is it to go to a show and watch it? Rather than talk about random crap through it ruining it for everyone else. And why would you think that's a good idea? If you want to go out and have a few drinks and talk to a friend, that's great, but why waste money on going to see a band that you're going to treat as extremely loud background music?

I haven't put this one up because there was a stupid girl and her stupid friend talking stupidly loudly right next to me. I'm pretty sure you're allowed to taser people who talk at concerts right? Anyway, this was an exciting show because it was the first time they had played songs from the new album live. On one hand a new album is a little bit sad because it means they drop a bunch of great songs off their regular set, but the new material sounded really good (the only song I didn't like straightaway has grown on me with a few more listens). Lastly, as the new album hasn't been released yet I've had to guess what the new songs are simply based on the released tracklist, so it's possible I'm wrong about some.

Under the Pressure
Baby Missiles
I Was There
Red Eyes
Best Night
Eyes to the Wind
The Animator
Come to the City
Comin' Through
Arms Like Boulders

Your Love Is Calling My Name!ZNMwgISb!9znVDu70m-O9eB0T6VcXNg

Friday, 7 February 2014

Mudhoney - Big Day Out (Melbourne), 24 January 2014

One of the good things about festivals is the chance to check out bands you wouldn't normally go to see. Although I've listened to a bit of their stuff, I've never actually particularly enjoyed Mudhoney, but I wanted to make sure to check them out at at least one Big Day Out show to see whether that converted me into a fan. It didn't. But they put on a pretty decent show, and the recordings away from the main stages seem to be much better, so this doesn't sound too rough.

Slipping Away
Suck You Dry
You Got It
In 'n' Out of Grace
I Like It Small
Flat Out Fucked
Judgement, Rage, Retribution and Thyme
Touch Me, I'm Sick
What To Do With the Neutral
The Final Course
The Only Son of the Widow of Nain!lUEGgbJZ!WcAxy1hAdMypl4cLzzy9ZQ

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Arcade Fire - Big Day Out (Sydney), 26 January 2014

All three of the Arcade Fire sets I saw were great, but in terms of recording quality this one is probably the best, although it isn't perfect by any means. There's still a bit of chatter and bumping of the mic, and the sound isn't perfect, but I'd actually give this one a listen for the enjoyment, unlike the first two recordings. Anyway, enjoy this, these guys put on a hell of a show.

Normal Person
Rebellion (Lies)
Wake Up
Keep the Car Running
The Suburbs/The Suburbs Continued
Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)
It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Ready to Start
No Cars Go
Joan of Arc
Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)
Here Comes the Night Time!MYUBnIwb!afvGq7peh3GIIuqvpqEiEw

Monday, 3 February 2014

Arcade Fire - Big Day Out (Melbourne), 24 January 2014

The second of my three Arcade Fire shows for the tour, and while the recording is an improvement on Auckland, it still isn't great. There is a bit of mic noise early on, plus a fair bit of crowd chatter. Both die down late in the set, resulting in the tail end of this being pretty good, but unless you were there the best option is the promotional set I put up before the tour started.

Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)
Joan of Arc
The Suburbs/The Suburbs Continued
Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels)
Ready to Start
It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
My Body is a Cage/Afterlife
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
No Cars Go
Keep the Car Running
Normal Person
Here Comes the Night Time
Rebellion (Lies)
Wake Up!8NMQSThZ!cyp6l6oRVXx2Or2fanvIEA

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Kurt Vile - KEXP, 28 September 2011 and 12 May 2013

In advance of his two shows next week, here are two Kurt Vile KEXP sets. The first one is from 2011 for Smoke Ring for My Halo and the second is promoting the current album. The new songs didn't strike me as instantly as the Smoke Ring for My Halo songs, but with a few listens I like them at least as much.

Runner Ups
Jesus Fever
On Tour
Ghost Town

Wakin' On a Pretty Daze
KV Crimes
Girl Called Alex!BZMDAaiC!SJgEryJXz5cC6P4IFVMw_g