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Archive for December 2008

Simon’s Top 20 Albums Of Wonderment for 2008, The Year Of Our Lord

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This required way too much effort. I don’t even know if I can be arsed tagging it.

1. Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing


Patience is a virtue. With opener Sweet Love for Planet Earth coming in at just under 10mins, it is obvious that this album isn’t for those who like their tracks cut to <4mins and full of hooks and, I don’t know, STRUCTURE. Saturated with a distorted noise/wall of sound threatening to overpower the pre-school compliant melodies and toned down hardcore vocals, Street Horrrsing is far and away the best album I’ve heard this year. Just drive around on a summer afternoon with this playing and try not to have an epiphany.

 I mean, look at that album cover… This isn’t going to be an easy listen. I feel motion sickness just looking at it.

Pick of the litter: Sweet Love for Planet Earth, but if you need to ease yourself into it,  Bright Tomorrow.


2. M83 – Saturdays = Youth


I’m not sure why, but I kept trying to find a way to knock this down the list. It’s not because I don’t think this album is amazing (or ‘epic’ as it was first described to me), but I just didn’t think it would/could end up as my second favourite album this year. <Insert John Hughes references here>. This album is truly epic, and whilst not as original and experimental as Fuck Buttons, it does everything right, and damn it feels good to listen to.

The only place it does falter is the godawful monologue in Graveyard Girl. Seriously, no. M83, stop it. 


Pick of the Litter: Couleurs, because building songs (see: All My Friends and The Past is a Grotesque Animal) are the cats meow to me. Check out Pitchfork TV to see a live version that is even better than the album version.



3. The Drones – Havilah


I’ll admit it, I’ve probably listened to this album less than 10 times in full, yet it still ranks in at number 3. It’s bush balladry without being country, it’s rock without being cock, it’s definitively Australian without being bogan, and it’s messy without being shit. When I saw these guys live in September, I ran out and bought the album to replace the MP3 copy I had floating around, because their performance was so inspired, and so ‘I don’t give a fuck who you are, or who you came to see, because there’s only one stage at this festival and we’re on it’, and that sort of ‘Nick Cave school of attitude’ resonates with me, and it’s all over this album.


Pick of the litter: The Minotaur. Normally a reference that will date the song is something I hate, but the line “spends all day looking at porn and playing FUCKING Halo 2” is so excellent it hurts.


4. Snowman – The Horse, The Rat, and The Swan


When I was younger, I had the usual fear of the dark, ohmygodtheresadudeundermybed, and so forth. That went away not long after I graduated college and began to drink my fears away, but thanks to Snowman, oh boy, it’s back. Drenched in the most haunting of reverb, sounding like it was recorded in an abandoned church in the dark with a full moon and a virgin being slayed on the altar, this album kills it, but begins to slow too much towards the end for my liking, but that may be due to Our Mother, She Remembers and We Are the Plague being the most hard hitting openers this year.


Pick of the litter: Our Mother, She Remembers and We Are the Plague. Can’t have one without the other in my mind…


5. No Age – Nouns


There’s not much to write about this album that hasn’t been ejaculated by every indie-type on this planet, so I’ll spare the commentary and just reinforce the fact that this album is killer. A new take on punk, with enough shoegaze leanings and clean Fender to satisfy the indie in me, Nouns is the record that will get a fair beating this summer, I’d imagine.


Pick of the litter: Teen Creeps, but really, Keechie.


6. The Gutter Twins – Saturnalia


Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli > You. The coolest, most badass album made this year, and when you listen to it, you become that aging gothic rocker you wish you were. Your drug addictions that plagued you in the 90’s are now a jaded memory, and your leather jacket, that you stole from the coatroom at CBGB’s in 1987 is your only friend, and that’s ok with you.


Saturnalia has a decidedly religious theme running through it, and we all know how badass God is. OT God, not that namby-pamby NT God.


Pick of the Litter: Idle Hands. The albums themes and badassary can be summed up in this one song, and then complimented by the others.


7. The Warlocks – Heavy Deavy Skull Lover


There was a distinct period where this was my album of the year. Long, patient, noisy, this album had a serious effect on me in the middle of the year, and then… I just stopped listening to it. It’s still good, but it didn’t seem to have the staying power that a lot of other albums did. I still feel it needs to be up there though, since this isn’t “My Top 20 albums of December 2008”.


Pick of the litter: Moving Mountains. Three epic parts = One more than epic song.


8. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, DIG!!!


I loved Grinderman. Shit, I loved Grinderman more than I loved Nick Cave’s other work. Piano ballads are for losers.


That’s not true, at all.


DLD was a continuation of Grinderman, with guitars being the driving force, and Cave’s lyrics being such interesting stories and tales that you can’t help but become involved in the song. This I could dig. See what I did there?


Pick of the litter: More News From Nowhere delivers the best line in this Top 20: “I spent seven years between her legs, and pining for my wife”.


9. TV on the Radio – Dear Science,


Only number nine? Yes. Why? Because this album, whilst really, really, really good, didn’t blow me away like TVOTR can, and does. Personally, the amazing songs like Halfway Home, Golden Age, and Family Tree, are brought down by some of the other songs that don’t stand up to their standard.


You can’t give an album top billing because of their amazing back catalogue, otherwise Chinese Democracy and Metallica would be at the top of the list.


Pick of the Litter: Golden Age. Pure bliss. Clap along people.


10. Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Primary Colours


The Stooges return with their follow up to the critically panned The Weirdness. Iggy is in fine form on this album, and has finally found some subject matter that, whilst focusing on the relatively mundane normality of life, isn’t as boring/weird as songs about ATM’s.


Mike Watt’s thick basslines are amazing, and definitely form the backbone to the flesh that is Ron Ashton’s twangly guitars.


All in all, a solid album that will hopefully help us forget The Weirdness.


Pick of the Litter: I Admit My Faults. So danceable, it’s not funny.



11. Atlas Sound – Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel


Ah, Bradford Cox. When not leading Deerhunter, you’re off doing your Atlas Sound side project, and doing it well. Much more on the experimental side of the Cox palette than the other release he was heavily involved with (see below), the whole album sounds like it would be the perfect soundtrack to the next time you’re floating on the ocean.


Don’t electrocute yourself.


Pick of the Litter: Recent Bedroom. So lush and languid I think I could lose control of bodily functions if I relaxed any more than this.



12. Deerhunter – Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.


How in the hell is this number 11? Cryptograms was, and still is, one of my favourite albums, so how did the follow up(s) end up outside my top 10? By dropping the shoegaze.


Whereas Cryptograms was an exercise in noisy shoegaze with pop sensibilities, MC/WEC is sort of the opposite. Easily listenable, and definitely an album I can see myself listening to in 10 years time, just a little too middle of the road indie for my taste.


Pick of the Litter: Never Stops, but Nothing Ever Happened is also really good.



13. Eagles of Death Metal – Heart On


If I could be anyone other than Josh Homme for a day, it’d be Jesse Hughes. Another album, like ESCP and No Age, that will get thrashed during the warmer, party months.


Pick of the Litter: I Used To Couldn’t Dance (Tight Pants) is great, but the best rock star moment is the guitar solo in Cheap Thrills.


14. Nine Inch Nails – The Slip


My most played (new) album of the year, but definitely not the best. Released for free in whatever format your internet can handle, and still available (take THAT Radiohead), The Slip is a landmark in the new digital age of artist/fan interactivity, but will always be overshadowed by In Rainbows.


Pick of the Litter: Discipline for the casual listener, but I’m still stuck on Corona Radiata.


15. Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into


Whilst we’re talking about Nine Inch Nails, the support bands for their tours are quite often found on my iTunes, and DIOYY (amongst others on this list) is one of them. Sometime childish, sometimes playful, sometimes hateful, and sometimes just hugely danceable, YDKWYGYI is more than just a long album title. It’s also a hard-to-say acronym.  


Pick of the litter: With A Heavy Heart, I Regret to Inform You, but only to keep the long name thing happening. Alright, it totally slays as a song as well.


16. Black MountainInto The Future


Another band riding on a past era’s coattails, but still doing it well. Lagging in some parts (Bright Lights is almost 17mins long and isn’t particularly amazing without psychotropic drugs), but still fun to jump around your room playing air guitar to, even if you’re 23 and questioning why you’re still single.


Pick of the litter: Tyrants. This is the air guitar song, oh baby.



17. The Presets – Apocalypso


To all you nay-sayers, I have a few things to say: Kicking and Screaming, My People, This Boy’s In Love, Talk Like That, Aeons, and Anywhere.


To those who voted this album of the year at the various big name awards ceremonies, I have this to say to you: Yippyo-ay, Eucalyptus, and If I Know You.


Pick of the Litter: I’m still of the opinion that This Boy’s In Love is up there in my top 5 tracks of the year.


18. Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV


36 instrumental tracks recorded in 4 weeks, with no warning, no leaks, Adrian Belew, and a limited edition $300 collector’s package selling 2500 copies in two days. There’s something here for everyone, especially big artists who believe you can’t survive without a record label.


Pick of the litter: 28 Ghosts IV, which sounds much less like a sketch as most of the collection.


19. Girl Talk – Feed The Animals


I have my reservations about this album. As great as it sounds, as talented as Greg Gillis is, and as fun as it is trying not only to figure out what samples are being used, but also where they are being used, is it original? I mean, sure, ECSP and Black Mountain aren’t exactly the most original, but at least it’s their music… Still not sure on the concept, but the results are great fun.


Pick of the litter: Shut The Club Down. Never before have I been able to listen to Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend and actually enjoy it. Maybe sing along with it too…


20. Ladytron – Velocifero


Mira Aroyo. She will be mine, oh yes, she will be mine.


Pick of the Litter: Black Cat is a great opener, but does go a bit too long. Predict The Day is quite good though. Go listen to that.


2008: An Aural Journey

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I’m not gonna sit down and do a “Top Albums of 2008” type list – I didnt listen to nearly enough albums to make judgement calls. Case in point – my former country music loving little sister recommended Fleet Foxes album to me ages ago and I still havent given it a spin, despite Nath raving about it (see previous post).

So instead, I’ll simply list a heap of albums I gave a bit of a spin this year and how they struck me…

Motley Crue – Saints of Los Angeles
This didnt get much of a rotation. The music sounded as good as ever, but the lyrics were for the most part laughable glimpses of what was for the bad boys of old.

The Drones – Havilah
Kinda disappointed I hadn’t discovered these guys earlier. Listening to this album made for a damn good drive to Sydney one day. Sounded like if Tom Waits singing old colonial Australian tunes.

The Ting Tings – We Started Nothing
I kinda liked ‘Thats Not My Name’ then I got sick of it. Then I heard the whole album and kinda dug it all. Not great, but I’ve enjoyed it when I’ve had it on this year.

Bliss ‘n Eso – Flying Colours
Aussie Hip-Hop certainly is gaining momentum, and this got a good solid months workout in my car. Several standout tracks and a little filler. Bullet and a Target was one of my favourite songs all year.

Tame Impala – Antares Mira Sun
Nath had hyped these kids up something fierce – and they delivered. Shame its such a short EP/LP/Whatever. Swirling 60’s inspired psychodelia, and other cliches – long story short, I loved it.

The Living End – White Noise
If youve heard The Living End before, you know what to expect from this album. You can listen to it (especially when the singles come on the radio) but its a bit of a trek to get throught the whole CD.

Ladyhawke – Ladyhawke
‘Paris Is Burning’ certainly piqued my interest in Ladyhawke, but when I put the album on, it was pretty disappointing. There was one or two other songs that were ok, but the album was not what I was expecting.

Empire of The Sun – Walking on A Dream
I listened to the whole album on www.thevine.com.au and it was ok. That whole retro-revamped 80’s sound got really old really quick as this album got on. Can’t say I’d rush out to get it.

Sparkadia – Postcards
Ok, anyone who knows me, knows that I am a big fan of these guys. Postcards has never been too far from my ears since it was released. Its even better live – go see a Sparkadia show – then you’ll know.

Eagles of Death Metal – Heart On
It’s funny, this album doesn’t sound that different from their others. But it doesnt make this seem old, it just makes the others seem timeless. Good hard rockin’ party tunes-a-plenty. Lovin’ it!

Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
My first listen, I hated this album. Since then it has become my most listened to album of ’08. Sure its not the gritty southern alt-rock of the previous efforts, but it’s darn catchy. It’s another case of indie-rock band loses indie rock cred when too many indie kids make them so popular non indie kids love ’em and they are no longer indie.

Metallica – Death Magnetic
Thank god for Rick Rubin. Metallica return to their roots with some decent metal tunes. I listened to this album for about a month solid after it was released. Haven’t really had it on since.

Portishead – Third
Listening to Third only made me want to listen to old Portishead. Third is ok, but – you know. It’s no Dummy.

The Black Keys – Attack and Release
Same could be said for this effort. The ‘drum and guitar’ staples from the Akron, OH boys got a working over by Dangermouse and the addition of a few other instruments. I dont think they really needed it. I haven’t listened to this as much as I did Rubber Factory.

MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
By the time I got around to listening to this, I think I was nearly sick of the singles. Its a shame, cos its a pretty decent album. I just wish it didnt inspire more flouro clad freaks at festivals to look and act weirder than normal.

Tapes ‘n Tapes – Walk it Off
A pretty underrated album with a pretty understated sound. It’s not the best thing you’ll hear all year, but there is plenty of worse albums getting alot more play – which I’m afraid to say is also the case in my collection.

Smashing Pumpkins – American Gothic
Ok – you thought I liked Sparkadia! Seriously, this is a sweet and pretty piano driven EP that if you’ve seen their recently released doco ‘If All Goes Wrong’ you’ll understand where the songs come from, but scratch your head why the other dozen of similar sounding, equally great songs were omitted.

Guns ‘n’ Roses – Chinese Democracy
Has anyone bought this? Serously. Does anyone care?

Tipaklon’s Best Albums/Singles/Gig of 2008!

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What a year, hey!?

It has flown so fast and in the world of music even faster. The death of cd sales is coming closer and we have seen more festival’s pop up this year than ever. Kanye West’s head is getting bigger, and The Presets and Kings Of Leon have become so popular your little sister will know them. Yes that’s right, they made the latest So Fresh cd. Also it was the year of Metallica releasing Death Magnetic (doesn’t anyone else think he sounds like the singer from Nickelback these days) and we finally saw the new Guns n Roses album on a shelf, but who really gives a shit about them anymore?

We have also seen some pretty decent releases this year and here is my list (Nathan’s that is, Simon’s will be up soon!) with a quick summary on each. Albums from these artists that narrowly missed the cut were The Sun Blindness, Spiritualized, Mogwai, Mercy Arms, The Drones, No Age and Flying Lotus.



10. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours

Cutters went mainstream with this electro/pop/disco opus and many years of constant touring paid off when this went number 1. Nearly all tracks of this could of been released as singles, demonstrating the overall quailty of album 2 for the Melbourne Lads.


9. King Khan & The Shrines – The Supreme Genius of…

If you haven’t heard of these guys then get of your ass and see the light. Vice records have made it easy for you all and released this best of compilation of the great showman/sex machine King Khan and his band of merry men. If you like your soul, 60’s era rolling stones and a touch of funk, then what are you waiting for?


8. Fleet Foxes – Self Titled

Those harmonies!

7. Friendly Fires 

If one more disco-punk band came out I was seriously going to cry. Way too many angular guitars, ESG basslines and terrible Van She haircuts, but then this came along! What the Klaxons should of sounded like and they have more funk than any white guys I know. If you want to boogie and get down, then purchase this and hit the dancefloor, pronto!


6.  Yeasayer – All Hour Cymbals

This album is quite a trip into some serious catchy psychedelic almost tribal music. So many influences on this album yet it is somehow so hard to find them. “2080” is a wonderful song that makes me so happy every time I hear it, but this an album that needs to be played in full, it truly is a great trip to be taken.


5. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

Wow what a voice. Like Jeff Buckley reinacarnated into a hairy lumberjack looking man, this is a beautiful album that you must listen to. Gives me goosebumps every time this gets played, if you know what I mean.


4. Deerhunter – Microcastle

Mr Brandon Cox is truly the man. That voice of his when drenched in reverb is truly breathtaking and combine that with the truly underated rhythm section and the three way attack of shoegaze guitars. Cryptograms was very special, but this is almost a stripped down version of that and still sounds amazing.

3. Hercules & Love Affair – Self Titled

Holy Disco Batman! Who would of ever thought of combining the strange voice of Antony with disco beats! seriously this sooooo good. The two ladies otherside of him are fantastic as well and if it wasn’t for the outrageous price of Nevereverland and the thought of having to see The Presets and Cut Copy for the millionth time, then i would be there front row and getting my disco on like John Travolta pre-Qantas.


2. M83 – Saturdays=Youth

This really does sound like a John Hughes movie soundtrack, it just aint funny. It also reminds of a scene in The Neverending Story when Falcor is riding into the sky with that great big nose of his. Yes this album is that good.


1. TV on the Radio – Dear Science

No explanation for this is needed, but I will say one thing. Buy this album!

Ohhh and also I got tickets to see them, did you?




5. Neon Neon – Dream Cars

4. Tame Impala – Glass Half Full of Wine

3. Yacht – Summer song

2. The Juan Maclean – Happy House

1. MGMT – Kids

Has there been a bigger band this year?! Seriously they have been everywhere, from bond ads, to making it in every clothing shop accross Australia. They have been the definition of hype but the album is pretty damn good but this song i just cant ever remove from the side of my brain. “Indie” anthems and pysch indie pop gems, but “Kids” has rightly taken 2008 by the balls and made every person sing the opening beats to it, come on you know the one, doo doo doo doo doo dah dah dah do…….. do. Okay here it is


Most Disapointing Album of 2008

1. Kings Of Leon – Only by the night

What a bloated pile of shit of an album, overproduced and so many disgustingly bad power ballads. What happened to the rough and ready, southern indie hillbilly jams of the first album! This is what touring with U2 and Pearl Jam does to you. In the end teenage girls and Sony are loving every moment of it.


Gig of 2008 was The National. A truly special band and night, were you there?


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…are a’blowing through here.

We’re not dead. Hardly. Just busy struggling with work etc. 

Plus, what’s been newsworthy? Chinese Democracy came out? Who cares! Unicorns wouldn’t mean shit to anyone if they were real. 

My weekend life is a lot quieter now that festival season in Canberra has run into it’s proverbial lightpost and stopped dead for the year, so I will post up some late-2008 CD reviews in the coming days, and we’ll also do the obligitory Top XX of 2008 album/CD/concerts/faceplants lists that EVERY blog does.

Actually, it’s the reason this blog was started, so I may do two, just to get it out of my system.

Until then, my flickr is a scorching case of photo herpes ie. grungy, discoloured, painful, and won’t go away without cream. As far as analogies go, that sucked. Like herpes. Uh, check it out.

Written by saimagery

December 1, 2008 at 8:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized