Barely eighteen months since the release of one of 2009′s dark delights, the epic Sun Gangs, Finn Andrews the New Zealand bred, England based leader of The Veils has released possibly one the highlights of 2011 with Troubles of the Brain. Over the course seven songs Finn and his band mates explore less grandiose and orchestral avenues than those on Sun Gangs favouring instead acoustic guitars, simpler arrangements and a lighter air in general. Chris Berkley tracked down Mr Andrews just before the release of Troubles of the Brain to talk about the differences in recording at home, going out on his own label and having a feverent fanbase to help that transition.
Wire and Gang of Four wrote the book for post-punk, kind of. Are they still innovators or merely curators with Red Barked Tree and Content?
Dynamite Steps the new album from Greg Dulli’s The Twilight Singers is an extraordinarily cohesive album in every aspect: from production to the vocals, the masterful songwriting to the clever sequencing. Grunge guitar workouts give way to piano balladry, shoegaze meets folk and punchy rock. These are all anchored by that remarkable voice which ranges from ragged roar to velvety tenor to strained falsetto singing of love, libido, mortality and the devil. A couple of weeks before the release we spoke with Greg, a man who has seen more than his share of highs and lows in his twenty odd year career, clearly relaxed and affable, about all things dynamite and twilight, from the gutter to the (guest) stars.
An Australian tour threesome with Leed agit rockers Gang of Four finding their way downunder for Soundwave and their own set of concerts, Melbourne super-powered duo Big Scary in support of The Four Seasons compilation album and Scot-poppers Belle & Sebastian promoting middling last effort Write About Love but who have a wonderful fifteen year back catalogue to plunder full of gems from and is bound to sell out to Twee indie kids with too much money and too many badges.
Uh-oh, here comes trouble. Pris are a four piece from London featuring Cat on vocals, Agatha on guitar, Mary on bass and Sam on drums. Imagine Blondie with an attitude problem, Manics before the middle life spread and Kenickie without the big bones. They show their claws on the stuttering “All That Glitters is Not Pearl Lowe”, while “Icon on a motorbike” mixes C86 guitar and girl-group “do do, lah lah”‘s to great effect. “Thesaurus” is maybe the best distillation of Pris so far, punkish chords and a speak-sung verse combine with a killer melody in the chorus. Their skimpily dressed singer Cat Gordon answered our questions just like you’d expect, rapid fire in all caps.
In complete contrast to a month ago when it was “precipitation nation” Brisbane’s fourth St. Jerome’s Laneway festival could’ve been subtitled “Boiling Brisvegas”. Unlike many festivals Laneway 2011 had a remarkably consistent quality throughout the entire day, so regardless of the weather it was always destined to be a scorcher. We braved the extreme ultra violet index to report on Australia’s Rat Vs Possum, Cloud Control and Cut Copy. While sampling UK’s Foals and America’s best of the best with Beach House, The Antlers, Warpaint, Blonde Redhead, Ariel Pink, Holy Fuck. Oh and LES SAVY FAV!.
To say expectations were high for Foals’ second album Total Life Forever would be stating the exceedingly obvious but from the grandeur and exquisite melancholy of “Spanish Sahara” to the frenetic indie-pop of “This Orient” to the dance funk of “Miami” it met and exceeded them with uncommon ease. Total Life Forever elevated Foals further from their peers and into the rare league of artists who maintain credibility with a more accessible sound and thus gaining a larger listening base whilst still remaining true to their experimental pop principles. We spoke to bassist Walter Gervers while the band was in Australia for the St. Jerome’s Laneway festivals and some recording on the sly.
Melbourne Modular boys gone global return for their third album with mixed results. Just what the hell is a Zonoscope anyway?
Caribou (aka Dan Snaith) is not an artist prone to repeating himself. His second album, 2007′s Andorra took ’60s psychedelic pop and merged it with complex rhythm patterns, while his LP from last year Swim saw Snaith heading into a denser electronic direction while still retaining a fair amount of pop smarts. Caribou with long time friend Kieran Hebden better known as Four Tet will soon be the Antipodes for a series of shows but late last year Chris Berkley caught up with Snaith whilst on the seemingly never ending tour for Swim where Dan took time out to talk about the art of Caribou live versus recording, his electric friends, how some people perceive Swim to be his dark album and how to win over the doom metal crowd.
For the third Sunset Sounds festival it rained, it poured, it pelted down. Water came down in sheets, hell it came down in slabs. Even those who came with waterproof clothing were completely soaked not just to the bone but to the very marrow. Sunset Sounds became Sunless Sounds, Soggy Sounds and Mudset Sounds. It brought out the worst in some people and the best in others. Still the show went on and so we report on Sleigh Bells, Cold War Kids, Ladyhawke, Pubic Enemy, The National and Interpol on day one. While for the second day we braved the wet again to deliver reports on The Soft Pack, Peaches, Junip, The Morning Benders, Washington and Paul Kelly.