There’s been a noticeable shift slash longing backward glance in music trends towards all things 80’s. It seems that the product of that era now want to know everything about where they came from and the music that was made. For synth pop acts like Summer Camp and Twin Shadow, the 80’s are a nostalgia/inspirational goldmine, but with the rise of Zola Jesus, Salem, oOoOO, etc, it was inevitable that Goth music and its mutated electro/dark wave offspring would get discovered by the black clad suburban misfits of today. Enter, Austra from Toronto, Canada.
“Give me a minute and I’ll blow your minds“. The crowd laughs, so does the man who just uttered those words. The mood, somewhat quiet, respectful, shiftless, is lightened, and Mark Kozelek begins another master-class in tinkling the nylon strings of his Spanish guitar like Liberace would the piano. “I’m old” he breaks the silence again, “I’m fat, I need water, I need lyrics to my songs”. From my pew to the right side of the stage I have to squint to see if it’s not Neil Young sitting there complaining about his arthritis. To Kozelek’s credit, he’s still as ageless as ever, and that gut you were grabbing at? I’m pretty sure you’ve been carrying that for a while now.
Picture the scene... in a dark Minneapolis jazz club, three anonymous musicians take the stage. The usual rituals of tuning and testing, smiling and carrying on, and then the lead singer steps up to the microphone. It only takes a few songs to appreciate the underestimated prowess of the band; the churning bass, the precision in the drumming, and a fiesty singer whose melancholy adroitness shines through her toned-down Joplin-esque voice and ferocious, half-prostrated guitar solos. This is Holly Newsom and Zoo Animal, a band marked by a soulful yet minimal electrofolk sound and introspective, sometimes spiritual lyrics.
Never in the history of doing these 'Who The Hell Are... ?' spotlights has a band come along and answered each question so thoroughly and excitedly that to praise them any further would make it seem like we're actually in this band or take bribes (we do. email for details). From the same stable of acts (and household one would presume) that brought you the percussive pop concussions of We//Are//Animal and the not-very-French-at-all Masters In France, come spicy indie rock quartet Fennel Seeds. Further proof that North Wales these days is a happening place or one that naught much else happens.
New Years Eve’s are traditionally unplanned, last minute events, involving clubs or house parties especially in laissez-faire Brisbane. This year was different. An independent music festival at the Powerhouse, brazenly named No Years! offered a tempting program. 21 bands in total: 14 local, 5 interstate and 2 international acts, over eleven hours at lovely New Farm location. We cast our NYE net on Australia's Bleeding Knees Club, Parades, Love Connection, Jonathan Boulet, The John Steel Singers and Oh Ye Denver Birds. And see who ranks best out of America Neon Indian and Sweden Shout Out Louds.
So that was 2010. What does Webcuts remember most about it? It's hard to say, really. The landscapes shift, the memories flickr and 365 days blur into one long unending soundtrack. One thing our favourite tracks of 2010 all had in common was that they appeared like one night stands that lingered a little longer than usual, almost all of them attached to a singular memory of the song being performed, either from a distance or elbows resting on the stage in mute admiration, or maybe just there emanating from a speaker aimed direct into our inner consciousness, refusing to budge.