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The Swiss

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The Swiss – ‘Bubble Bath’ live in Big Day Out Adelaide

Hot new band from Adelaide of all places, The Swiss are a disco jam band trio who are also Empire Of The Sun’s backing band. Whiz kid producer Donnie Sloan, who is involved with Empire Of The Sun, Sneaky Sound System as well as a host of other stuff as well as production under his own name, have lent his knob twirling skills to this trio’s debut recording. These guys have been rocking parties around their hometown before Modular decided to sign then and up up and away they go. I saw them recently at the Adelaide stop of Big Day Out touring party machine. They’re really good live. Go see them.

www.myspace.com/theswisspage

Bridezilla – ‘Western Front’ film clip

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Part of me knows this clip trades on that same kitsch DIY-ness that a lot of videos are exploiting at the moment, but I still really like it. It benefits from the cutaways to their soporific audiences as well as the decent camera and lighting, plus they band themselves are insanely attractive and show good commitment to the clip’s vision. Suits the song well too. Bridezilla have a shitload of dates, which you can check after the jump. (more…)

St Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2010 reviews

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Review by David Payne, Melbourne:

I really like St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, actually I love it. So to those that bitched about a blow out last year – well, nothing. There were only a small number of basement dwelling noisy dickwads and nobody actually cares about them. This year’s festival sold out of course and it was once again – awesome!

The immediate feeling of the Laneway Festival is that it’s put on by music lovers for people that actually dig music. This is not a festival to get trashed and throw cans at Lilly Allen before pushing smaller people out of the way to get a glimpse of some inflated rock opera. It is a diverse, well considered and quite manageable day of quality Australian and lesser known International Artists.

Dirty three were an obvious highlight for me, Oh Mercy were solid and the Philly Jay’s have well confirmed themselves as one of the most exciting live bands in the country. Bridezilla showed confidence on the larger stage but really need an evening slot to help the atmosphere of their sound. Sarah Blasko has played every festival I have been to over summer, so it’s fair to say I saw nothing new but it’ll take a while to tire of hearing her perform tracks from ‘As Day Follows Night’. Finally, a quick mention of XX as the most incredible international band of the day and definitely the sexiest bass player to grace our shores.

Review by Matt Hickey, Brisbane

I’ve been to a fair few music festivals. Which isn’t to say that I’m any more ‘hip’ than anyone – as if going to summer music festivals is any sort of exclusive activity these days. But I mention this because I’m all too well acquainted with dancing to filler line-ups while being pressed up against sweaty, shirtless ‘bro-gans’ and ‘sluzbots’ that decided bikinis were adequate clothing. It’s not an indictment on the quality of Laneway’s program in the slightest when I suggest that my favourite thing about the festival wasn’t the bands but the atmosphere. Held in a small, nifty seciton of the RNA Showround’s, Brisbane’s Laneway Fest 2010 was undoubtedly a success. There were trees, lot’s of cover from rain and/or sun, an indoor bar, bands that have good records AND can bring the shit live – and I only saw two southern cross tattoos all day. I know it’s an easy shot to target the universal emblem for bogan nationalism and one that will probably spark accusations of pretension and a sense of misplaced superiority. But hey, there was a definitely a civilised air about proceedings that is missing from, say, BDO’s Boiler Room; an appreciative atmosphere that allowed The Dirty Three’s long-from instrumental workouts to play second last on the main stage to an attentive, sizable crowd.

With that out of the way, Laneway – musically – was in fine form. While I thought the program did kind of lacked a big headliner this year, the high quality of acts from the outset alleviated any potential disappointment at the end of the night. Kid Sam were the first band that I caught proper and they were simply great. They were somehow left off my ‘best of 09′ list and also, I realised, have been criminally uncovered on whothehell.net. If anyone involved with Kid Sam reads this, you should send me everything that you put out from this point on. Their songs are moving with an anthemic quality to them, and the instrumentation is a perfect mix of technical flair and DIY sloppiness. If you’ve not seen them live, don’t hesitate when next they play your fair city.

Philly Jays were great and uber-energetic as usual. Sharing a slot with Mumford and Sons (the “poor man’s Frightened Rabbit” as my Twitter peep @albertinho calls them) meant that there was a small crowd at the start. But after those British nu-folksters ill-advisedly played ‘Little Lion Man’ about third song in, the crowd grew to an impressive size in time for a rousing rendition of ‘I Don’t Want to Party (Party)’ that devolved into a weirdly hypnotic drum freakout as per usual before leading into set-closer and Hottest 100-charting ‘The Good News.’

Highlight of the day probably went to Wild Beasts. That any band should have one singer with a falsetto like that is near unfathomable, let alone two singers! That’s just obscene. The moment when that second, almost bland looking bald singer stepped up to the mic only to shriek out the opening “watch me, watch me” from ‘All The Kinds Men’ was literally my favourite moment of the day. And there’s just something far more offputting but alluring about a booty call invitation being sung in that high, warbly male voice that kinda gives me the goosebumps. I thought these guys would be good, but I didn’t know how good.

I won’t ramble. The xx brought enough charisma (well, bass player Oliver Sims/Chuck Bass did anyway) to overcome the lull in energy that can result from not having a live drummer; The Dirty Three did as The Dirty Three do, which is generally quite enchanting; and Florence was mildly underwhelming just as she was when I saw her in Belgium last August. I was really kicking myself for not seeing ECRS again but thank fuck they’ve announced that album tour. I shan’t be missing that. Nor shall I be missing Laneway 2011.

I don’t think I spoke to anyone that didn’t enjoy the day. Although it’s grown in size, Laneway has managed to retain its boutique charm, curating line-ups of quality acts over big names for a crowd hungry to soak up every last note.

Flying Foxes new album tracks

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Flying Foxes – ‘Napoleon’ (mp3)

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Flying Foxes – ‘Everything Will Change’ (mp3)

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Everything is better when it’s free, that’s a scientific fact. The Flying Foxes debut was probably going to be pretty good anyway, but by the aforementioned logic my appreciation for it has been heightened by roughly 20% since you can get your dirty mouse-clicking mits on that shit for free from their website right now. Yup. They’re calling February ‘Free Album Month’ or something, which would suggest that you have 28 days (well, only 20 now) to get a-downloading – but then maybe March will also be ‘Free Album Month,’ I haven’t asked. Don’t risk it, head over to flyingfoxes.tv to get in on this socialist cultural exchange.

The above songs are both pulled from that debut, Ticking Boxes. ‘Napoleon’ is the opening number and gives a pretty good idea of what Flying Foxes are about for the uninitiated. A mix of sparse, brooding, and upbeat sensibilities; simple guitar playing mixed with slightly-weak-but-in-a-cool-way vocals; a big chorus that never sounds too big thanks to the understated instrumentation.

Then ‘Everything Will Change’ is about the least Flying Foxes-esque track on their, sounding more like a post-punk band reinterpreting a BRMC cast-off. It’s nonetheless a catchy song and represents probably the most use guitar distortion on an otherwise restrained record. If you like these tracks then you’ll probably like everything in between too. And when all it costs is a fraction of your time and download quote, why not hit it up?

flyingfoxes.tv

The Hot Licks Festival

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A friend of mine told me that he was playing in a little festival called The Hot Licks Festival in Mount Gambier, 4 hours in between Melbourne and Adelaide. The lineup is mostly local bands in Melbourne. When he told me that one of his friends Riley Ellard is running the festival, I contacted her to find out just why she has decided to undertake such a massive project on her own. The whole vibe of DIY initiative and going out to see new local bands is something that we promote strongly here at whothehell.net . So this is what she had to say:

The festival was initially conceived based on my own experiences growing up in Mount Gambier and really craving a stronger arts presence in the region. The community is extremely sports-focussed and in terms of accessing live music, performance, contemporary art, photography, e.t.c. you are very much at a disadvantage. Its a sentiment that’s definitely been echoed by the majority of young people from the region – there are very few activities for young people and a strong sense of sociocultural hardship. When I moved to Melbourne to study I realised just how completely divorced rural and regional areas tend to be from the creative arts, particularly the kind of flourishing underground music scene that exists in Melbourne.

The original idea was to start taking bands down to the region to do shows – something akin to a $5 gig at The Tote – and try and make live music more accessible. Although kids in the region will sometimes travel to the city for kind of grand-scale arena shows with international artists or the larger festivals like Big Day Out, they really have no way of experiencing those very intimate, grassroots gigs where you make a gold coin donation on the door and get that sense of being a part of something as you charter the growth of a band from when they first start playing.

The bands were chosen with that concept in mind and we very deliberately shied away from approaching more prominent or recognised artists. Somewhat unexpectedly all the bands said yes straight away, the city council jumped on board by awarding us a permit to hold the event in the Valley Lakes area and so Hot Licks was born.

Its definitely been a struggle to start the event with no real infrastructure in terms of existing sponsors or funding – we’ve had some really great feedback from potential sponsors who want to be involved in future events, but this first one has very much been built from scratch. Particularly in Melbourne we’ve received overwhelming support – graphic design and web design has all been done for free and the bands have really risen to the occasion by helping with poster runs.

The biggest issue has been that this is quite a novel event for the Mount Gambier community so we’ve had some barriers in terms of people getting on board – surprisingly its been older people in the community who have really supported the project, probably because there were similar events when they were younger and in the last couple of decades there’s been a real lull. We’ll be going down with the bands early Friday to do some surprise guerilla shows and spread our enthusiasm, so there should be a real sense of anticipation come Saturday morning.

Riley.

www.hotlicksfestival.com.au

Operator Please – “Logic”

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Operator Please – ‘Logic’

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After the song about ping pong, after their keyboard player lost her shit and left the band to become a minor-league porn star, after massive national and international success, Operator Please have grown up and into themselves.

‘Logic’ doesn’t have the gang vocals, spiky guitars or buildups of their older work, instead relying on a bass hook and cowbell. Yes, cowbell. It’s much slower than their previous stuff and definitely cooler.
They’re on the touring lineup for this month’s Future Music festival, which gives a bit of an indication of the direction they’re trying to go in; indeed, it’s hard to imagine older songs like “Crash Tragic” fitting in with this new band.

You can download Logic after you sign up to their mailing list here.

www.myspace.com/operatorplease