New iPhone App for Parklife and more
Gone are the days of lost or destroyed festival timetables. Fuzzy have released an iPhone app in time for the summer festival season.
The app is quite comprehensive, offering news, events, Twitter and tickets sections, allowing you to purchase tickets right from your mobile phone. Given the recent increase in mobile internet usage, Fuzzy is making itself one of the leaders of the pack when it comes to its online marketing channels by embracing this increasingly popular technology.
Guitars and emotion
Just finished listening to Motion Picture by Bombazine Black. And loved it. From the very moment I held the CD cover – I just had a feeling I was holding onto something beautiful.
I’m a little speechless. This album is incredible.
It’s emotive, delicate and yet extremely powerful. If you’re a Sigur Ros fan – then you’ll love it tracks like The Bel Esprit – overall the minimal guitar sounds are contemporary and beautiful.
There’s a lot of heart in this album and I can’t say enough about it. Make sure you get a copy.
Those in Australia can buy the digipak featuring artwork by our very own Jayne Tuttle at the following stores:
Basement Discs – basementdiscs.com.au
Greville Records – myspace.com/greville_records
Missing Link – missinglink.net.au
Polyester (City & Fitzroy) – polyesterrecords.com
Pure Pop – purepop.com.au
Readings (Carlton, St Kilda & Port Melbourne) – readings.com.au/music
Title – (Brunswick, Fitzroy and Northcote) – titlespace.com
Title – titlespace.com
Funhouse Records – 160 Magill Rd. Norwood SA 5067
Tommy Gun Records – myspace.com/tommygunrecordshobart
78 Records – 78records.com.au
Mail-order copies are also available from the Bombazine Black blog -www.bombazineblack.blogspot.com.
“Shack is a force to be reckoned with”
I first saw Elite Force aka Shack a few years ago when he played the Harbourlife festival on Sydney Harbour. What a set that was, and every set of his I’ve heard since has been huge. One of the pioneers of the tech-funk sound, a wonderful marriage of tech-house, electro and breaks, Shack is a force to be reckoned with. Known for his electrifying DJ sets where he will often scream at the audience, revving them up just before the beat drops back in.
This mix is to help promote one of the large number of sets Elite Force is playing at this year’s Burning Man festival in Nevada, USA (I think I’ve seen him post somewhere from four to six different set times and stages on his Twitter over the last week or two). Beginning with a monologue about weed and acid I knew I was in for another banger from this monster of a DJ. Moving from the intro straight into a jacking techy sound, Shack wastes no time getting the dance floor moving.
The mix continues with some bass heavy tunes, almost dipping into the wobbly house sound currently being supported in the UK by likes of producer/DJs Jack Beats while still keeping that wonderful rolling groove Elite Force has always managed to keep in his sets.
Continuing with Shack’s flawless mixing the set begins to wind into a ravey feel but still with huge breakdowns, basslines, and breakbeats, which surely would have gone down a treat at his recent set at Canada’s Shambhala Music Festival, touted by Elite Force himself as “the perfect rave” and also known as Canada’s answer to Burning Man, which I was lucky enough to attend in 2009.
Always one to keep the dance floor on their toes, Shack takes a turn around the twenty minute mark with a very heavy electro feel full of more breakdowns to give the dance floor a short rest between the stomping beats being thrown down shortly before changing again into a harder tech-infused sound at the half an hour mark to get the dance floor pumping even more.
With the basslines getting bigger and bigger Shack proves the whole way through this set he knows how to build up a set and take the audience on a musical journey, crossing genres, different feels and seamlessly moving from one to the next, constantly keeping things interesting.
Dropping his revamp of the breaks classic, “Blackout” by JDS, Shack shows off his acid-breaks roots before he moves into his tech-funk sound of today, before quickly mixing into the housier sounds of Felix da Housecat’s “Oops”, giving the dance floor a short rest before throwing down more heavy tech-funk beats and basslines.
While personally I wasn’t much of a fan of Shack’s revamp of Nero’s remix of “Sincere”, I was quite happy to hear his version of the Smashing Pumpkins hit “1979,” which was featured on The Crystal Method’s “Community Service 2” mix CD. This tune lightened the mood of this otherwise quite heavy set before dropping into the fiery depths of hell with the even heavier final tracks of the mix.
Dubstep. The popular sound in underground electronic music today. Huge basslines and big broken beats. This sound really fits in well with Shack’s sets and is a perfect way to make a set full of big dirty basslines even bigger and dirtier. While I prefer the original, the Elite Force revamp of dubstep God, Excision’s, “Subsonic” was the perfect track to link the breaks sounds of “1979” into Shack’s collaboration with another of dubstep’s heavyweights, Bar 9, before finishing off this monster of a mix with another excerpt from the monologue found in the intro.
Delicate, powerful and hopeful.
This is honestly one of the most beautiful albums I’ve picked up in a long time. And if anyone has anything else similar then please send it. And as one review points out – it’s almost an album of too many good tracks! But I’m looking forward to soaking up each and individual track.
It’s a collection of epic folk songs. Grab a copy from iTunes.
“The Army is Australia’s longest running professional musical organisation, employing hundreds ofmusicians across the country.” Director of Army Music, Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Ian Mclean.
Jump onto the MySpace of these crew and you hear a really fat cover version of Don’t Hold Back. The rest was non-stop listening for me. Probably the last thing we think about when talking about our Defence forces, but this cannot be over looked.
They’re a soul-funk, big band, jazz outfit that operates like any other band and just so happensto be made up of Army Musicians. They play gigs, they have street posters and they even run ads looking fornew band members in street press, on blogs and at universities. And like a lot of bands around the world,they have a MySpace page.
On their MySpace page you can hear some of their music, watch a few clips, get event dates, as well as findout more about what being a musician in the Army Reserve is all about.
For information about the role of Musician in the Army Reserve, visit myspace.com/thereservists or call 1319 01.
Slipknot Bassist, Paul Grey Found Dead at 38
Paul Grey was found dead this morning at age 38. Drugs are suspected as he’s had a long running problem with both drugs and alcohol. Slipknot have been one of my very favourite bands since I first got my hands on their selt-titled debut.
One of the biggest inspirations to the (pejoratively termed) nu-metal movement, he’ll be surely missed by me and the others maggots.
RIP. Paul Grey.
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Fight For Your Right 2 Deadmau5 (The Slips Mash Up) by The Slips
Thanks to the guys over at The Slips for passing this one on. I’m a huge Deadmau5 and Beastie fan and this is just sex through the head phones.
A perspective on the future of the music industry
Missing Link Records is recognised by all as one of Australia’s leading independent record stores. As times change, so has the way we listen to music.
Missing Link Records is launching their new digital download service, Missing Link Digital Media and we talk to owner, Nigel Rennard about their dedication to keeping indie label and unsigned bands alive.
SR: You have been in the music industry for over thirty years now, how have you seen music change over the years?
NR: Back in 1981, when I took over the shop, we were just about to embark on the arrival of the CD, as the new format for the future of music – the single largest change to music since it’s change to vinyl. Just like we did in the early 80’s we were committed to bringing new music, from both the U.S. and European arenas to Australia, along with our strong focus on Australian Independent artists. Of course we have seen the punk/new wave movement, the grunge movement, the emo movement, the advent of urban rap/hip hop music, the many various metal genres and all the other trends in music style over those years.
SR: Missing Link Records is an icon of Melbourne, have cd sales slowly declined over many years or has there been a sudden and quick drop?
NR: There is no other way to put this but yes we have, especially over the past year, seen a dramatic decline in cd sales and sales overall. As we have traditionally catered to a male audience there has been an almost total disappearance of the 14-20 year old punk/metal/thrash crowd along with just the overall trend in all age groups and genres being downward. I put this down to a number of factors, the economic conditions, the type of music being promoted and last but significantly the most damaging has been the theft of music by our target market.
SR: Do you think joining the digital download world is a necessary step in keeping music sales alive?
NR: Missing Link are currently in the process of creating Missing Link Digital Media, which is going to provide a digital download facility, along with a hard copy sales option for our customers and hopefully many, many more around the world. The writing is on the wall as digital sales increase by hundreds of percent each year and hard copy sales decline somewhere around 8-10% a year.
SR: What is your vision for MLDM?
NR: We are looking to create the largest archive of Australian Independent music stretching back as far as we can go along with the latest offering from the artist as they leave the recording studio. To this end we have been hunting down people from the late 70’s to now, in order to get hold of anything recorded by them over the past 30+ years. It is a mammoth task but we will persist to create a catalogue that will offer previously unheard music to areas of the world that has never had the opportunity to hear it. We will also provide overseas music on the service that is distributed by Independent Australian wholesalers.
SR: Is it a case of “if you cant beat them, join them”?
NR: We must get our music back from the clutches of free file sharing and once again protect copyright owners from the greatest threat to their intellectual property ever conceived, the internet. We must be part of this if this is the way that people wish to receive music. Just look around at the human zombies as they walk around, sit on the tram or elsewhere with headphones, downloading music just by putting their portable device up against a speaker to recognize a song for them, which they then hopefully pay for. We also change our shop from being a storefront in Melbourne to a storefront to the World.
SR: Some people may believe that digital downloads are killing the music industry. What do you have to say to those people?
NR: They said the same about cd’s killing off vinyl and music 30 years ago. Illegal downloads are the biggest factor, as previously mentioned, in causing the greatest damage to music and movies for that matter. Governments must create laws to stop this a.s.a.p. but all we can do is do what we are doing and become part of the new technology, provide something different to our competitors and charge money for that service.
SR: We all know that illegal downloading has been an issue for some time now. How can we stop this from happening?
NR: Governments and ALL businesses involved in the entertainment arenas need to put pressure on ISP’s to stop illegal file sharing. The mindset, amongst the young generations is that music is just a free throw away commodity, yet if asked about a career in music they all wish to be rich and famous, it doesn’t add up.
SR: What about those artists who want to sell their albums in hard copy form?
NR: Our service will be offering both single download (if permitted by the artist), album/e.p. download and if it is available, a hard copy purchase.
SR: Will we ever see physical form music completely disappear?
NR: There will be a place for hard copy and there are still millions sold each year but more likely as a collectable item in the future.
SR: It seems hard for unsigned and indie label bands to get their music heard on mainstream digital services. How is MLDM different?
NR: As our focus is on Australian indie, they will get the opportunity to self promote on our site along with us giving priority to these releases through our banner ads. They can promote their live shows, do instores at the shop and generally benefit far more than sites that give a high profile to Lady Ga Ga or other such nonsense.
SR: What has the response been so far from independent labels and unsigned bands?
NR: Just about everybody we have contacted has been very enthusiastic and signed up. Chasing down old label owners like Citadel and Aberrant, AuGo Go and many other icons from their eras like, Cosmic Psychos, Ollie Olsen, David Thrussell and plenty more has been a personal job of mine. We also have commitment from Shock, Stomp, MGM and plenty of medium and small labels that self distribute.
SR: When will we see MLDM up and running?
NR: The first week of June 2010.
Stone Sour in The Studio
Finally grabbing a copy of Save Me From Myself by ex-Korn member Brian Welch – better known as Head – was a massive step. Korn have been my favourite band since I was about 14, and Head deciding to leave the band once he found God and cited moral reasons for leaving, was almost like a personal punch in the throat – he was my favourite, massive reason for me playing guitar and influenced my own band‘s style to some degree.
While there’s much I wasn’t as impressed with (my bias to Korn is unavoidable really) it’s the openness of the album that made it for me. The video to Flush is incredible though – very Korn, but really confronting, there’s also a little controversy around it too.
Personal things aside. I’ve picked it up, and put it on, and will give it a fair go.
The production is strange: I guess I was expecting massive guitars, dripping in bass. What it appears to be is a much more Dope – I can’t even really tell what guitars they are, too much (what I assume) post-production work, kind of sucked any rawness. (Note: I’m telling myself now to stop expecting a Korn album)
Hearing Head’s absolute musical direction is actually surprising: it’s pretty classic nu-metal meets industrial metal. The guitar work isn’t incredibly technical – another surprise to me. Some really great melodies through there. Head on vocals is also interesting: it’s pretty Jon Davis (Korn’s lead singer), and you can hear heaps of other influences from the nu-metal and industrial era there: but definitely some classic Jon Davis from the earlier days.
The synth work is okay – although because I’ve been spoiled listening to heaps of tech and progressive house (dance) music, they sound ‘cheap’ – and in fact much like what I’ve been producing on my MacBook’s GarageBand, another let down.
Overall, it’s enjoyable, even if it sounds a little juvenile in production and lyrical content. But I definitely something I’d put on and play comfortably at full volume, just as a metal fan. Religion isn’t spat at us, the themes are there, but like so many are delivered well tact.
What I really do enjoy about this album is it’s just raw – it’s Brian just smashing out all the songs that have obviously been in his head for some time. Good work, mate. Will pick up your next one for sure.
“Flush” controversy – from Wikipedia
The content of the music video has reportedly caused select retailers to pull Save Me from Myself from their shelves. This prompted Welch to provide his explanation for what transpires in the video:
The video for ‘Flush’ is about crystal meth addiction and the crazy things anyone addicted to meth will do while they’re high or to get their fix. Everything the models were doing in the video is what I was wrapped up in while I was addicted to meth. The video is a very realistic look at the addiction and where it will lead you if you get hooked. I understand the images of the models may be too much for some people, but honestly, I was just trying to be real with what happened in my life and show where I was, as well as where I am at now. I was totally imprisoned by meth … I would do anything to get my meth … I believe I would be dead right now if I continued using meth, but instead, I chose to surrender my life to Christ and die to myself so He could share His resurrection with me … Significantly, the images also go along with what the kids (not actors) at the beginning of the video were honestly saying about their addictions.
my music is my life…something you can listen to over and over again and still find something new
I’m always excited to speak to fellow Australian artists and musicians and tyDi (aka Tyson Illingworth) delivered very well. tyDi gives us a really passion and honest look into what he loves about creating music, and exactly what creating music means to him.
Jye Smith: When did you first start DJing?
Tydi: When I was about 14, in my bedroom really, then inviting friends around to watch. From there it was house parties til I was about 15 when I started playing my first clubs with like 50 people in the room.
JS: What were the clubs like having some 15, 16 year old playing shows?
T: The liquor licensing act meant that as long as I was contracted by the club, and was with a guardian, meant I was fine. But yeah, they were a little worried I guess.
JS: Where’s been the best place you’ve ever played?
T: If you’ve ever been to Miami, it’s an incredible city. Holland too. But I’ve played so many shows now, and sometimes it’s the shows with only 300 people that can be the best.
JS: What do you think of the drug scene? It’s pretty heavy here in Sydney
T: I don’t take any drugs, for me personally. With my job I’m in the studio Monday to Friday, then always on flights and playing so many shows on the weekend. All people see are the DJ’s playing, so they think it’s all party, but not really the work that goes into it.
JS: Does the drug scene ever affect you?
T: Nope, never affected me. My interest is purely in music. My music is my life, and that’s my passion.
JS: What is music making process like?
T: Well right now I’ve really found my zone.. I’ll call up my friend down the road who’s a guitarist and invite him around. I’ll sit down on the piano in the studio, I’m here now, and the guitar will jam along till we come up with a sequence.
From there, I’ll take it and map it out on Logic.
JS: So you play the piano?
T: I’m not really a piano player, but I studied Music Technology at the con [Conservatory of Music] for 4 years.
JS: Would you consider yourself a bit of an audiophile?
T: Yeah, I’m a bit of a music geek I guess.
JS: What’s the biggest challenge to making music?
T: Writer’s block – sounds like something that musicians just say. But I need every song to be unique. And when I can’t make it unique I need to take a week off and just go to the beach of something and then come back.
JS: What’s the direction of your music? Not only in the next 1-2 years, but also in the 3-4 year period?
T: I want my music to be cutting edge, intricate and have a large amount of detail involved. Something you can listen to over and over again and still find something new with in.
JS: Does anyone else help produce the album, or just you?
T: Just me, but then the people who come in to do the strings, cellos, etc. or guitars, they usually will write the parts, and sometimes I’ll let them bring in their own ideas.
Interview with Stone Sour
Because ultimately that is what we all want out of music – some fun. Sure, I like a little dourness every now and then but not when the aim is to cut loose. With this in mind, I can not begin to explain how wide of the mark the faux-soundtrack Almost Alice actually is.
Perhaps it is best to question the album’s actual existence before sinking the slipper into its content.
Music that is inspired by a film (in this case Tim Burton’s take on Alice In Wonderland) has never really sat well with me. Usually these sorts of soundtracks are vessels for off-cuts from a record company’s roster where ninety-five percent of the songs never appear in the film (save for the end credits) and almost never have any lyrical link to the movie in question.
Whilst the songs that make up Almost Alice certainly reference Lewis Carroll’s classic tale (at times too bluntly) only one of them can actually be heard in the film – during the end credits of course.
That honour belongs to the shrill-gorged tones of Avril Lavigne with ‘Alice’. With that as an indicator, the rest of Almost Alice is your stock standard American commercial pap (All Time Low, The All-American Rejects, Metro Station) cheekily throwing in Wonderland-esque lines into their oh so earnest lyrics: “If you cut me I suppose I would bleed the colors of the evening stars.”
If I never hear from Owl City again it will be too soon.
The only surprise amongst this lot is the inclusion of heavyweights like Franz Ferdinand and Wolfmother whose appearance seem as out of place as Obama at a Klan rally. And of course nothing says fun times like the inclusion of Mr Happy himself Robert Smith.
Speaking of the British, a group who actually know about fun is New Young Pony Club. While admittedly nothing on their new album The Optimist is as overtly playful as early single ‘Ice Cream’, NYPC deliver a more mature sound without sacrificing their sense of having a good time. ‘Chaos’ begs to be played on the dance floors on a Saturday night whilst ‘Dolls’ evokes the spirit of 90s outfit Luscious Jackson.
Though The Optimist plateaus about three quarters of the way in (a sequencing problem more than anything), there is much to like from this band. You get the sense that their defining album is not too far off.
If you’re a Ludacris fan or if you’re into Hip hop without the over-the-top audiotuning you need to buy the Ludacris CD now. Don’t waste your time thinking, get it. This album pumps out the best of Ludacris’ work, and is great driving music. The guest appearances are crash-hot with Ne-yo, Lil’ Kim, Trey Songz, Trina, Flo Rida and more popping up in just about every track. Track 2 – How Low – is a fun, catchy tune showing off the lighter side of LLudacris, and track three drops into hardcore Ludacris beats, featuring excellent vocals from Nicki Minaj. I Know You Got a Man features Flo Rida and is another stand-out tune. Can’t Live With You features Monica as a guest vocalist and you’re almost guaranteed to have that song stuck in your head. Bottom line: If you’re a Ludacris fan you need this CD.
Back in the early days of The Music Blogs I wrote about the brave choices artists often make, in particular when they leave one band to start another. Ben Drew aka Plan B, though a solo artist, has effectively just done the same thing.
Anyone who picked up his startling debut, the 2006 grime-fest Who Need Actions When You’ve Got Words, may well ponder what has happened in these ensuing three years. For you see, the forthcoming The Defamation of Strickland Banks has Drew performing the old switcheroo and my guess is that some of the bruvvas ain’t going to like it. Where the first album was wall to wall rap with some tasty vocal hooks thrown in every few songs (Drew’s own secret weapon), on Defamation you will mostly find a Smokey Robinson album with rap taking a quite noticeable back seat.
I kid you not.
But I am not surprised at this and neither should you. His voice is too good to have played second fiddle for much longer and above all, Drew is a talented artist smart enough not to be pigeon-holed.
Back in 2006 I had the privilege of interviewing Plan B for a magazine I was working for at the time. In that interview he said:
“I tell stories in hip-hop because I’m not gangster and I am not anyone special, I’m just a regular guy. The only way I know how to rap and make it interesting is talking about other people’s stories and other people’s lives.”
Just as he used the genre of hip-hop to convey his stories back then, now he uses R&B to tell his tales. R&B is where Drew first started out before becoming disillusioned with it. I’d like to think all he needed was the right songs to make it happen. From what I have heard so far – he has them.
The Defamation Of Strickland Banks is released on April 12.
Just as the long-hairs were preparing for the arrival of AC/DC in Sydney, party-goers of a more funky persuasion were leaving the city behind to spend 4 days at Del Rio Resort in Wisemans Ferry, where Playground Weekender took place for the 4th time over the weekend.
Getting there – anyone that went last year will remember the nightmare that was waiting in the ferry queue for hours in 40 degree heat. This year there were more ferries on and the whole process was a comparatively beautiful experience.
The Carnivale area – one of the best spots for watching all the crazies filter past. I hope the chair people from Thursday night came back to Earth at some point.
The Melody Wine Bar – new for this year and a great place to finish the night. As it was nicely tucked away at the back of the same field as the main stage it was a perfect alternative if you found the Big Top a touch on the hectic side.
The police/ security team – their presence was noticeable but not intrusive, and they behaved like they were there to make sure festival-goers were safe, rather than looking to catch people out. Small things like barrier staff at the main stage wearing Indian head dresses make all the difference.
ManChoir – 8 blokes in wife-beaters singing (near) cover versions of Bon Jovi songs, Queen songs, and even the Home & Away theme tune (which they introduced as the Australian National Anthem). Much funnier and more entertaining than it sounds.
Orbital – still one of the best festival bands around. Unbelievable. And to the girl who gave me torches to clip to my glasses as they started, I will love you forever.
Fancy dress – I salute everyone that put in so much effort. From the couple in tailored green shopping bag suits to the guy in the ball dress/ gimp mask combo, the Muppets, the Stormtroopers and the Hitcher from the Mighty Boosh, congratulations for helping make the Saturday so special.
The weather – couldn’t have been better. Whoever organised it is a genius.
The can fairies – offering 20/ 50c for every Tiger can returned to the recycling bins was a brilliant idea and a win-win-win. The army of can fairies that sprang up got enough free drinks to see them through the evening, made the festival a cleaner place for everyone and relieved pressure on the official cleaners.
The swimming pool – this qualifies a high and a low. Perfect area to be in during the day, and we are so lucky to have it at a music festival, but why do people need to shit in it? Not cool.
Pricey drinks – it makes it very hard to obey the rules and not sneak booze in when the going price for a small can of Tiger is $8. And a vodka & red bull for $12? Ouch.
Running out of cider – surely Festival organisers know by now that cider will be the drink of choice on a hot day. It was obvious, however, that the staff were working over time to bring more in. Maybe a Glastonbury-style cider bus would be a good idea.
The (Death Metal) Filth stage – great idea on paper, and a potentially great way of broadening the appeal of the Festival, but it just wasn’t that popular. A lot of the bands on there seemed pretty good, it just seemed that not many people were interested.
The comedy at the Shack – again, a good concept, but one that just didn’t fly with the punters. Tough gig though, I wouldn’t get up and tell jokes to a bunch of snarky pissheads who think they are funnier than the guy on stage.
Fancy dress – poor (= no) effort on my part. I will get involved in 2011 for sure. No excuses next time.
Playground Weekender is one of the few Festivals where you can have a great time no matter what the line-up. The music is important, but in no way essential. It has fully deserved the awards it has won for Best Crowd and Best Atmosphere, and will no doubt go on to win again. 2011 can’t come soon enough.