Monday, April 26, 2010

...You've Done It Again

So JB Hi-Fi just finished their annual stocktake sale, which basically means they have further discounts off they're already nicely priced stock, and this year it just so happened to align with the advent of my birthday.Which means, wth vouchers and 'birthday money' in hand, I went a little bat-shit insane.

While many would see this stocktake sale as a good time to inflate their Blu-Ray collection, finally get that new Laptop/TV, or simply get some Hollywood-approved dross from the movie section; I instead headed straight to the music department.
Here we have a further sub-section of people who would use 20% off all CDs to grab a few new releases at a discounted price (in fact, in retrospect not picking up Owen Pallett's Heartland or Gorillaz Plastic Beach for a bargain-basement  $16 pricetag may be something I soon regret). No, instead I saw it as an opportunity to fill out some desired pockets of my weighty CD collection, oblivious to the fact that the ever-encroaching pile of plastic jewel cases that surrounds my computer probably means I don't really have space for such an investment....

Another thing to note, despite the fact that the stocktake sale also applied to JB's online store, I forgo this luxury for the thrill of the hunt in the real-word. Scouring the racks to find that physical item has always been far more satisfying than in the digital realm. As such, I definitely felt like an obsessive-compulsive freakshow at times, scanning methodically through the sections like some sort of ravenous, clinical cyborg (Alternative A-Z, Heavy Rock A-Z, Popular A-Z, cursory glance through Urban/Dance/Bargain Bins/Boxsets). Precariously balanced stack of albums in one hand, iPhone calculator app in the other - I'm sure there were a few who saw me as that guy.

Anyway, here's my JB HiFi blowout in numbers:
4 number of separate JB HiFi stores visited
350 amount in $$$ (roughly) spent
130 amount in $$$ (roughly) saved
23 music related purchases made
6 number of those purchases that were albums by Joni Mitchell
27 the percentage of those purchases that can be clearly defined as "Progressive Rock"
1 bubblegum metal album among them, take a bow Def Leppard's Pyromania
1,178 the number of minutes, total listening time, that all that music amounts to

Which all begs the question, why am I telling you all this? 
Some sort of narcissistic boast about my spending habits? Not really, I realise that blowing a third of my fortnightly payslip on any singular expense is bordering on reckless. No, I'd like to think instead that it gives you just a little bit of insight into that dying breed: the record collector, as well as show the importance of supporting the artist by buying their product. Far be it for me to suggest a 'holier than thou' approach, proclaming from my ivory tower that everyone should buy CDs. To be sure, some of those purchases were to replace cheeky downloads i've made in the past (though for fear of legal retribution I won't say which... but definitely not Joni, I wouldn't dare dream of second-handing Joni). 
Make of it what you will, but i'm still positively buzzing from the experience, and the thought of going through all this new music makes me as giddy as a child with lego on Xmas morning. Hopefully you have the same experience, and knowledge of music's worth, no matter by which means you procure it.
May your ears and iTunes be full of goodness.

Anyway just to end on a little footnote to prove that i'm not totally against the turning of the tide to digital distribution. Local Melbourne duo, Young Heretics, have made their debut album We Are The Lost Loves available in full, for free(!), from their website; and it's bloody good stuff.
So good that I might just purchase the CD.... aaah, the circle of life.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm Still Standing (yeah, yeah, yeah)

Dear Gentle Readers,
It's been too long, nearly a month, 23 days to be precise - and I feel nought but guilt about this.
My main excuse would be that I've without a working internet plan for nearly exactly as long as I've been absent from posting (but have discovered Internet Tethering through my iPhone. Heaven. Thanks Dan). On top of the that the combination of full-time work and a half-season Comedy Festival show has proven too powerful an advesary to the old blog priorities. Did I mention the guilt?

Well this is more of a quick check-in (like popping home to have a home-cooked meal with the family only to pop off to your next 'social commitment'), hopefully it will tide you over till A) that new internet plan kicks in B) I get some time off work or C) my comedy show finishes, which by the way
*smooth segue noise*
You should totally come and see!
It's called Occupation: Ugly and it's essentially an hour-long sketch comedy show, which means short, sharp punches of hilarity in live, video and audio format. I'm one of five (very/uber) talented writer/performers and although it's not strictly of a musical nature, I do get to showcase my favourite party trick - I don't want to spoil things (that'll cost you a ticket, head to Comedicate to book); but I will say this, if you ever wanted to hear the missing link between Boston's More Than A Feeling and N.W.A. (that's Niggaz With Attitude to you honky), then I suggest you come the hell along.
We're playing every night until the end of the festival (re: Sat) at 7.15pm Kaleide Theatre, RMIT.
Some reasons why you should come:
  • We got some schweet airtime on Triple J's Breakfast Slot. Listen Here.
  • Last year, The Pun called us "the best live sketch comedy of the festival" and 'people' have been saying that this year is better, you do the math.
  • Watch some funny stuff we did:
And if nothing else grabs you, look how gorgeous and model-esque we all are!

Right, enough shameless plugging, on with what people came here for. Ze Musik!

Here's a review of the new record from everybody's Danish group, enjoy.

Kashmir - Trespassers (Columbia, 2010)

It’s been quite the wait between material for fans of Kashmir, Trespassers arrives four years after their last record, the decidedly darker, more claustrophobic No Balance Palace. Their latest however, hovers somewhere between that album’s moody temper and the melodic, pathos-tinged style of its predecessor, 2003’s Zitilites. An album that saw the group tagged ‘the Danish Radiohead’ after their international profile peaked.

What Trespassers lacks in clarity or the hook-driven immediacy of its peers, it makes up for in sonic ingenuity. The opening track (and lead single) Mouthful of Wasps is an ample template, mixing a stop start bassline, shuffling drums and guitars that sound like humming organs into a curious but compelling cohesion. The quasi-title track, Intruder, follows featuring a characteristically mercurial chord progression of cloudy arpeggios against a driving rhythm section to mesmerising effect. 

Presiding over production is the legendary Andy Wallace, who lends everything a clear, crisp and balanced sound without detracting from the group’s penchant for curious, ear-prickling sonic curiosities. The emphasis remains however on frontman Kasper Eistrup’s world-worn vocals and the canny, creative lyrics that voice them. His cracked delivery wringing poignancy from even potentially cartoonish lines like “the vampire that hides in the dim corner as you walk by/will turn into cinder with one laser beam from your eye” on Danger Bear. Though his words can occasionally flit by in a torrent of wild imagery (Mantaray alone offers fireflies, woods, tumbleweeds, moons, earthquakes and spines), when he cuts through to the heart of the matter, he really hits home. One particular pearler, both lyrically and musically, being Bewildered In The City, with the line “In unison we vibrate and roar/my longest lasting love” reaching skyward in tandem with the music.

Other highlights include the chugging drive of Pursuit of Misery, or the celestial trip of Pallas Athena – an all-too-brief shimmering backdrop of static-tweaked guitars, twinkling keyboards and Eistrup’s mechanically treated vocals. A string section lends a dramatic sweep to the emotionally charged Bewildered In The City and the epic conclusion that is The Indian (That Dwells Inside My Chest). The latter finishing the album with a symphonic ending fit for cinema.
As those strings die away, the lasting impression is of a band who have now transcended the threads of their western influences, and woven them into a unique sound that is entirely their own. Beneath the beguiling textures and strange exteriors lies a return to classic verse/bridge/chorus structures. 

Trespassers may not be Kashmir’s most popular set, but time will most certainly prove it as their most cohesive and fully realised statement yet. 

And simply because it wouldn't be an AMR post without a gushing reference to one of Melbourne's best kept secrets, the ever-talented Big Scary prove their incapable of creating a bad tune with the (FREE!) release of the title track to their newest venture, four seasonal themed EP's beginning with Autumn.
Oh and here's the new Official Video for the still-excellent Falling Away: