Category: music

Wednesday Web: We Are Hunted


This site is exactly what we love about the internet. It’s the kind of thing that makes us happy to be alive and a music fan today. Forget ’63. You can have ’77. We love ’09. And we are dying to see ’10 as well.

But back to WAH is an online chart with a major difference. It collects information from all over the ‘net – torrents, music blogs, social networks, forums, P2P networks and, of course, Twitter – and shows you the hottest 99 tracks in the the world (wide web) today.

You can see why we are excited about it. It’s a brilliant idea. (And it’s Australian to boot).

Now we suddenly have an alternative chart. It’s a buzz chart, what people are talking about.

How it works, and what weighting is put on what information, is not known. How the Kenny Dope remix of There Was A Time by James Brown is number 2, I don’t know. But the potential is there.

Today’s charts are filled with lots of new artists. Bat For Lashes makes multiple appearances. The Streets – who have been giving away tracks for free on Twitter – makes a number of appearances as well. The fantastic Silversun Pickups also make multiple entries, which makes sense as their new album is doing very well.

So are people downloading? Or just talking about this stuff? Hard to tell with WAH. Maybe this will change. But it’s already a valuble place to start checking out what the latest hot tracks are. Hopefully it will stick around and develop. Although the innovative website has already stirred the ears of APRA (Australian Performing Rights Association) about license fees. Hopefully it wont be another Muxtape.

Check it out! –

Tuesday Tunes: Jarvis Cocker – ‘Angela’

Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications out 18th May
Jarvis Cocker - 'Further Complications' out 18th May

Here at TGLF, we loved Pulp. If we had a say, we would have cast their former frontman, Jarvis Cocker, as the 12th Doctor. And although his first solo album, 2006’s ‘Jarvis’, was not quite what we expected from him, we grew to love it.

With that in mind, Cocker is offering a new track on his website, Just sign up to get the free MP3.

It’s once again, not what we expected from Mr Cocker. It’s a brashy, messy, punky, punchy number. The measured, critical lyrics have been replaced by a bit of yelping. Is this a new direction? It was recorded by hardcore/grunge legend Steve Albini.

Cocker has slowly made a name for himself since Pulp broke up. Palling around with Wes Anderson in Paris, he curated the Meltdown Festival and even salied to the Arctic.

The new record is called ‘Further Complications’ and is out through Rough Trade on 18th May.

Record Store Day 2009 – 18th April

April 18th. Go support!
April 18th. Go support!

Tomorrow, April 18th, is Record Store Day, a celebration of ma & pa stores around the world. Started in 2007 in the US, it gets bigger every year. It’s really starting to make an impact outside of America as well. Along with live performances in many stores, there is a stack of RSD retail exclusives.

What’s interesting is how much vinyl is on offer. Of the 86 retail exclusives, a whopping 69 are vinyl – 48 are 7″. If the RSD organisers feel like putting all 48 7″ into a nice RSD09 box, they can put me down for one.

It’s definitely the 7″ that have coolest songs as well. Two unreleased Flight Of the Conchords tracks (from Season 1). First, unreleased singles from forthcoming albums by Akron/Family, Camera Obscura and Modest Mouse. Classic new pressing of tracks by Elvis Costello, The Smiths, The Stooges and Whiskeytown (who I think broke up ten years ago now).

Finally – the return of the split single. Flaming Lips/Black Keys. Dr Dog/Floating Action. Cursive/Ladyfinger. Lonely Dear/Andrew Bird. And Sonic Youth has two – one sharing with Beck, the other with Jay Reatard.

It’s not all indie schmindie either. Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Radiohead and Bob Dylan are all offering exclusives. We here at WFTGLF, it’s all about the Wilco DVd and Yeah Yeah Yeahs on vinyl.

Complete list of Exclusives right here at the RSD site.

This is of course, mainly in America. Hopefully, as the years go on, and the stores don’t die off too quickly, the fun will really be worldwide.

Final though – my home country of Australia has managed to go against everything RSD stands for by inviting JB Hi Fi, Virgin Megastore and Sanity chain stores. These publicly traded, huge chain stores are everything RSD is trying to fight.

Gavin Ward – treasurer of AMRA and runs Leading Edge Music, said “As far as we’re concerned it’s all about getting people into the stores and enjoying being in a store and having fun”. Obviously the man’s job is not in trouble. He’s not fighting to make a living for something he believes. The man is a disgrace.

Hope to see you out at a Record Store tomorrow!

The Beatles…in Quicktime?

Screw you, people who dont like enhanced CDs
Screw you, people who don't like enhanced CDs

Last week it was announced that the Beatles are finally releasing thier catalogue on remastered CDs. It was a curiously dated announcement. You have Depeche Mode announcing iTunes passes, Nine Inch Nails announcing iPhone apps, and the Beatles are being remastered on CD.

Odder still was the little detail missed by most of the world’s press, that the CDs will be coming with short Quicktime movies with making-of documentaries about each album.

This is, of course, a terrible idea. I think of my copy of All For Nothing/Nothing For All, a Replacements compilation from 1997 that features Quicktime movies of the film clips. The files on there are no longer supported by the current version of Quicktime. Or indeed the last few versions of quicktime.

They could have done great webisodes, or podcasts, or sellable downloads of these movies. Quicktime? In their flimsy defense, the box set of all the albums comes with the quicktime movies as one DVD.

Which all brings me to the point that someone out there, steering the wheel on the digital yellow submarine, is stuck in the past. Will they pay dearly? Hard to tell with the Beatles – they are such giants. But it’s a tragic mistake – in a long career of reissue mistakes.

Lets hope there is more too it, and the Beatles can actually make it exciting to be a Beatles fan in 2009, not 1997.

I Like What They Say

I saw Nada Surf play at the Scala this week.

Their 2002 album ‘Let Go’ has been a constant companion. I love a lot of music, but this is one of the very few records that I am always listening to.

My friend Simon gave me this album out of nowhere. He had an advance copy, and he’s one of those older guys who I always admired. He had not just great personal taste, but he could nail what records you would like with just a few simple questions. And he got this one so right.

I wrote a few months ago about Pet Sounds, and that funny relationship you have with an album you have known for many years. Not a record you loved for a while then went back to. But one where you know all the parts. When the band played Inside of Love this week, and that tinkly guitar part before that big last chorus kicked in, it felt like home.

The other odd thing about this record is that it has meant so many different things t me over the years. It started as a record for unhappy times. Lots of listening to this record in the dark, smoking my eyeballs out, feeling pretty crap. Then it became a dark party record. Songs like Happy Kid and Hi-Speed Soul were the soundtrack to my first steps towards being really, really decadent (in my own way). Sitting at a corner at Death Disco while they played another shit Strokes song, and then just giving into the moment. Those upbeat songs ran through my head in those moments. Later on, I decided to rip off this album in any way I could in my own band.

Even the individual songs have flip flopped over the years. Take ‘Inside Of Love’. It’s sadness was well soaked up by me when a relationship that meant a lot to me dissolved to nothing. And then shortly after, when I met a girl who also loved this album, it became a hymn of hope.

(And again, I hopelessly ripped off the riff to this song for own of my own.)

I told everyone I could about this record. I worked for the record company that was distributing this album in Australia, and every few weeks I would order another bunch of copies and just give it away. I paid good money for it on vinyl (with an alternate tracklisting – the record collector in me had a nerdgasm), and downloaded plenty of bootlegs.

They have a new album out. It’s called ‘Lucky’, and it’s been 6 years since Let Go. And I find it funny how many people ask me what I think about it. Even seeing Barry and Casey in Sydney, over a few beers, we had to get back and talk about this record. It’s just a part of my life, of our lives.

Lately, this record has come to be something quite soothing to me. With not a lot of drama in my life, it’s become a warning of traps I fell into in the past. If that makes any sense. It’s just interesting that this album has changed again.

Its also interesting when I think of the time I loved that record for the first time, there were other albums that I loved. Weezer’s Pinkerton. Belle And Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister. Even Wilco’s Being There, what I consider to be my favourite album…according to my ipod I have not listened to some songs on that album in over a year.

So that’s me and Let Go. I don’t really care if anyone else ever discovers this album. It doesn’t really appear on many greatest albums lists. But I’m thinking this is probably my new favourite album.


1. Making It, Whatever That Means

1. Favourite Worst Nightmare – Arctic Monkeys

Lets look at it this way. Two years ago, my favourite album was a piano album by a dude pushing 40, about kids, loss and growing old. Last year, it was a record by guy 6 albums in, an adult pop record about maturity and love.

This year, my favourite record is by bunch of kids barely 21, rocking the fuck out. It’s a good example of how my life has changed in the last year.

But firstly, the record. So much better than the first, it is one of the best rock albums I’ve ever heard. This is the best band in the world on almost all the levels that matter to me. Let’s tear it apart.

Musicianship. Top notch. They remind me of Uncle Tupelo and Minor Threat, those bands I loved so much in the past. Early twenties working class kids who just PLAYED. Drummer Matt Helders can handle all the freaky changes, the math rock stuff, sudden stops and starts. For pure, grinding musicianship alone, they belong in the pantheon of bands like Fugazi, Minutemen and all. And the devil is in the details. The hint of a riff here, and pause there. Changing rhythms every chorus. Build ups. Slow downs. It is an absolute masterclass of musicianship. No band their age is even close to them in this field.

Songs. If it was just the playing, it would make them a great technical band. Which is great. I love bands like that. Like, the Grateful Dead. It’s all about the execution. But you will never catch the Arctic Monkeys bashing out a four chord rock thing. Stunning riffs. Great changes. I spend all my time listening to songs, and I cannot tell you where these compositions are going. Opener and first single Brianstorm opens with surf drums and fuzz guitar before cutting into the song proper. Then it ends and comes back with the intro for no reason. Well, the reason is because it’s a fucking cool bit.

And for the first time ever, they throw in a ballad, the Only Ones Who Know. And instead of Cast No Shadow, it’s this gorgeous, complicated thing. I can’t describe it. There’s a slide guitar on it but it’s not country. It’s not Beatley. It’s not Oasis-y. It’s Arctic Monkeys.

Tunes. Well sung too. There are a couple of difficult songs on here, but mainly, this is melodic rock. Some of it I find so irresistible. The group all yelling “We are defenders!!!” just takes my breath away. The million words a minute rapping of Fluorescent Adolescent is catchy, and a wonderful way of undermining the poppiest song on the record.

And finally, the lyrics. Gosh. Even if you were good players, with good songs, that weren’t a wank, to have one of the best lyricists I’ve ever heard writing your stuff…brilliant idea really. And I’m a big lyrics guy. And Alex Turner stands with the best of them. And it’s not just a wit and a clever line. The bigger ideas of this record is there too. Turner has made a record about all the outcasts, the wankers, the losers, the villains in his world.

The infidelity of the Bad Thing, the indie scenester in Brianstorm (“we can’t take our eyes off your t-shirt and tie combination”), the older girl who’s lost her youthful passion and sexual excitement (“is that a mecca dobber or a betting pencil?” – it’s a penis line. A betting pencil we all know, and a mecca dobber is that big fat thing you get at bingo)… all paints a picture of weirdos living in a weird world. Reality star wannabes, thugs in balaclavas…they all get their dues.

The sum is greater than it’s parts. And the sum, this record, is one I just kept going back to. I would look at the CD case, and it’s what I always want to think when I look at a CD case. In it is a record I love. A perfect record. And I just kept coming back to it. Every couple of weeks I had a new favourite song.

And it also helps that every interview I’ve read or seen with the band this year, they seem to holding themselves well. They are workers, not rock stars. They are not tabloid fodder like Razorlight. In fact, the one big gripe about this band is that they have no star power. They are boring in person. I LOVE that about them.

This record made me so excited this year. About new music. About guitar music. And even more importantly, it made me look out at the world. It’s probably the most important thing music can do. New to this country, I could see the indie wanker in Brianstorm. The ASBO tragics in Balaclava. The lonely hesitant lovers in The Only Ones Who Know.

It was also exciting to be here as this record ‘happened’. Like being in London for the last Harry Potter book, you could feel something in the air when this record came out, and destroyed all sales records. And to hear the songs on radio, on TV, posters around…this was happening now. And I’m usually so ambivalent to all that.

This is also the only record in 15 months that made me want to play music again.

And even the B-sides are great. The Bakery! Jamie T would kill for a song like that. So would Ray Davies.

So. Record of the year. By a long shot really. An album that has resurrected my interest in new young rock bands.

2008, don’t fucking let me down.

2. I Survived, That’s Good Enough For Now

2. Sky Blue Sky – Wilco

Let the calls of loyalty buying die down, please.

Thank you.

How does this band keep managing to nail where I am in life? As I come crawling out of that cesspool called the Indie scene, and that dark sky known as the Early Twenties, I have become a happier person. Travelling has allowed me to meet lots of people, plenty of people I would have never had met in my small, closed off life in Sydney.

And so here comes an album, a gentle, hushed album, about ambiguity. About life having it’s own plan. About surviving, and how that’s good enough. About going on and on and on, however short or long our lives may be.

Yes, Sky Blue Sky is the sound of six guys going “whatevs…”. Having come off the two highest selling and critically acclaimed records of their career, and hence very little to prove, Tweedy wrote a set of songs for his wife. They played it pretty straight, a tad indulgent-y, and lots of love.

My fave Dylan album is John Wesley Harding. A very talented guy just kicking out some sweet tunes. This record reminds me of that. Sure, 10 minutes of krautrock is interesting. But a tune? Those are awesome.

So once again, the mp3s of this album are well worn on my ipod. It has captured my year, as I walked around the canals of London. As I’ve been bored, alone in the house. It hasn’t been a dramatic year, unlike my last couple in Sydney. No dramas. No heartbreak. No anger. In short. Whatevs.

Favourites? Apart from ALL, I would have to say You Are My Face, which is probably not as straight as some of the other songs. The title track, which is so Grateful Dead-ish, and that all important line about surviving that means so much to me. The silly noodling of Walken. The gorgeous finale On And On And On.

The thing about Wilco is that they don’t stay still for long. My only worry is if they continue making Sky Blue Sky over and over again. Then again, as I get older and older, maybe that’s good enough.

3. A Thousand Different Versions Of Yourself

3. Wincing The Night Away – The Shins

This record came out at the start of the year, and I still listen to it. The Shins, I think, will go down as my favourite band of the decade. Their two previous albums, Oh Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow have soundtracked the last six years. This continues with Wincing the Night Away.

I have good memories of this record. Walking around Kensington, middle of the night, listening to the opener, Sleeping Lessons, and looking at the open sky above Hyde Park. That keyboard line is the twinkle of stars. James Mercer, that brilliant man, screams out some brilliant nonsense over it.

There are a handful of classic Shins pop songs on here. First single Phantom Limb is the best of the lot, really. It reaches for the sky, with a sadness and again, beautiful nonsense. You kind of do, and you kind of don’t, know what Mercer is on about. Turn On Me, another highlight, is a lot clearer. A goodbye to someone you don’t get along with.

And again, there’s that soundtracking. Which pushes this record, and the two records ahead of it, above the pack. I will listen to this record and forever think of being in London for the first time. I did see them 4 times this year. So Turn On Me makes me think of someone I never got along with. And Girl Sailor, the third of the great pop songs, just nails something I’ve felt. By being wonderfully ambiguous about it.

The rest of the record has some nice slow haunting stuff, and some trippy sampling stuff. All of which is great. It’s a bit hypnotic, this record. Someone could come along and remix it. There are oddities, like the less than a minute long Pam Berry.

So I’ve listened to this record at least once a week since the start of the year and there are still things I’m learning about it. I think Chutes… might just edge it out, but if they come up with another great record before 2010, they will have ruled this entire decade for me.

4. Easy As Humming A Song

4. At My Age – Nick Lowe

Nick Lowe’s last three albums have found him exploring a new sound. Gentle, country-soul, match against his fantastic wit, and songs that sound simple because they are.

At My Age is no different. It’s a subtle record, but it’s a red wine, late night record. It’s country, but with that dash of soul, of jazz and of torch songs too. None of the musicians are showing off here. Everything is second to the song.

Some of Lowe’s best songs are on here.; in the classic heartache mode. Just the titles alone…Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day, I Trained Her To Love Me, Hope For Us All.

It’s not a terribly inventive record. It’s not Radiohead. It’s just a very, very good one. It’s sweet. It’s sad. It’s funny. It’s groovy. It’s smooth. And I listened to it a lot this year.

I don’t actually have much more to say about this record. Or most of Nick Lowe’s albums. Like Paul Westerberg, what he does is just candy to me. I will always go back to this kind of stuff.

5. My Thoughts Keep Returning To You

5. Time On Earth – Crowded House

When I first fell for Crowded House, everything about music was a mystery. I couldn’t tell a bass from a banjo. I couldn’t tell a bridge from a coda. At best, I could tell you a key change is where the song gets a bit more exciting. As a band that I loved in my youth, I hold them dearly, but also see them through a mist of nostalgia.

So it’s lucky that the record is fantastic. It also helps that, as a solo artist, Neil Finn has continued to deliver great records. And if I’m honest, whether this was a Neil record or a Crowded House record, it would mean the same to me.

Don’t Stop Me was such a weird song. Could it stand up with the classics? It was pleasant enough on first listen. And on repeated listens, it really warms up, and you realise there’s something weird going on, lyrically. I’ve had quite a few conversations this year about this song, mostly along the lines of, it’s good, isn’t it? Which is the thing, Neil just let the song talk us into it.

Gorgeous, subtle moments abound. Nobody Wants To is so relaxed, it’s like a Whiskeytown ballad. Pour Le Monde, although sounding a bit like Coldplay’s The Scientist, is full of confidence. Slow burning (and long, for CH), it’s a song about the current war. Which makes the only really poppy moment, She Called Up, stand out all the more.

And yes, there is a stench of death on this record. If not directly taken from Paul Hester, the theme of losing people here. Most of the record is steeped in sadness, but not in a whiny, woe-is-I way.

My favourite song, and very much not indicative of the album, is You Are The Only One To Make Me Cry. Recalling Tim Finn’s All I Ask from Woodface, it’s a string laden jazzy ballad. No one can touch this guy when he wants to write a really song-y song. This is pretty much showing off for such a master songwriter. And like most Finn songs, I don’t know who he is thinking of in that song, but I know who I think of when I hear it. Oh, the power of songs.

I can’t think of another reunion album I’ve liked as much. But again, I’ve bought an album by Neil Finn every couple of years anyway. And I don’t care who’s name is on the cover, I just, as always, look forward to some more songs by Neil Finn.