Sympathetic Stupid

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oz Day Week

January 2007's mainly been about catching up on 2006 releases - like I finally got the Return to Cookie Mountain thing only a few weeks to late to make my best-of lists. And some great Melbs stuff as reviewed on Across the Rooftops (plug, plug, plug).

But I did just receive my first 2007 release: Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? Bought the album on the back of one track, basically, The Past Is a Grotesque Animal as posted on Said the Gramophone last year. That track's a magnificent kraut-rock epic, with ranty vocals and a restless drive that never gets old despite it being twelve minutes long. Don't know exactly what I think of the band, being a newcomer, or the album yet, but let's just say that the rest is a little bit more pop. Could be a good thing, though.

(The packaging and presentation of this album is as bizarre as anything I've seen since Tool's 10,000 Days - the track titles and the packaging have this weird baroque ornate sorta feel, with a quad-fold case. It could be a masterpiece.)

But I'm also enjoying other stuff. I've got a new favourite CD shop - The Goldmine on Nicholson St. No website, sorry, but it's down near San Remo Ballroom. You'll find it. It's great. All second-hand stuff, bought and sold, and since I was getting well sick of Polyester's high prices and lack of range it's just what the doctor ordered. I got a coupla old Warren Zevon albums (what a great man), Gerling's latest album (sadly overlooked), EPs by Warmer and Peabody, last year's Kill Devil Hills album and Guided by Voices' Alien Lanes - total cost $70! Like, awesome!

Everyone should go there and sell stuff really cheap which I can then buy. (I'm looking for a copy of TISM's Great Trucking Songs of the Renaissance, if you please.) I think I'm gonna have to ration my visits.

In other news. Crikey's daily email bulletin is a big part of my weekdays. They've picked up a new editor, Jonathan Green from The Age. I've always appreciated his tetchy, acute observations on the world, so that will hopefully carry through into Crikey, which has something of that character already.

Also, been to some gigs. At many of which, I've seen Elanor - as she says, we have an uncanny knack of turning up at the same time. Obviously we tend to be about as fashionably late as each other. And, aside, Elanor's writing stuff regularly again on Symposiasts! So everyone wins in the reading of her thoughts on net-paper. (Except her blog seems not to let me comment - apparently I'm spam.)

Um, yeah, gigs. Saturday night was great - Because of Ghosts with Ned Collette and JP Shilo. JP Shilo and band were so good I bought the CD, these atmospheric, experimental, beautifully performed sound-pictures. It doesn't come through as well on tape as it did in the perfect sound of the East, unfortunately. Collette was pretty good, covering TV on the Radio's Hours among new tracks and old tracks, and the Ghosts were exactly as good as expected. Which is very much so.

And Friday night was at Revolver, wrong side of the river yes, but crap? No. Deloris played with Tucker Bs (I refuse to put the apostrophe) and The Tigers. All were good, Deloris' power-pop good enough to prompt me to but the album, which I think is very pleasurable, especially Everything Ever and Loup Garou and Xs for Eyes and Birdcatcher Finds a Tail. Seriously, it's really good work and if you like indie guitars you've gotta listen.

Stuff to look forward to:

Andrew Bird tonight at the NSC
a public holiday Friday with a BBQ at Pat's and hopefully a non-crap Hottest 100
Joanna Newsom next week
Neko Case next week (twice)

And last, but most:

My honey pie returning from over the sea, Friday evening late.

On that nauseating note, I'm away!

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Remember Him Well

The Mountain Goats came back to town on Friday night. They were here last April and put on a show and a half. Apparently, this was no fluke, because John Darnielle and small company did it again.

Admittedly, the show wasn't quite as all-fired rousing as the last one. But this year's album, Get Lonely, is a different beast to The Sunset Tree; a contemplative, melancholy affair, as compared to the uplifting vibe and crashing peaks of its predecessor. It's harder to play these tunes to a room of 800 people. As John said, he has to play some rockin' ones to build up goodwill, before convincing people to shut up for a quiet one. Which are always great.

But the close of the (first) encore was even better. Closing with a very, very quiet one (was it Wild Sage? I forget), supported by just Peter Hughes' bass, no guitar. The audience were attentive but a little rowdy - a bit of "marry me, John" banter with everyone a comedian. The song was getting swamped in the general bonhomie. John stepped around the microphone to the front of the stage and continued singing, staring down the crowd, the full force of his will projecting through the fragile, barely-voiced lyrics. The Corner is a notoriously tough venue to shush, there's always that group around the mixing desk chatting amongst themselves.

The room went dead, DEAD silent. All eyes were on his face as the song continued, Hughes completely backgrounded by a consummate performer with hundreds of people wrapped around his little finger. For minutes, until the song reached its inevitable end. And then he was gone, disappearing off the stage in a blink.

There was another encore, The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton. John Vanderslice guested on guitar for a few tunes, adding increased energy but not heaps to the sound. Peter Hughes' bass was more alive than ever, bouncing and jerking him around the stage. It was just another great set from a great man and band.

You missed it? Bugger. Don't miss it next time. They're damn sure not getting worse.

[download the as-yet unreleased Michael Myers Resplendent from The Mountain Goats site]

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A New Face for Old Dave

It turns out that Melbourne really doesn't have enough music blogs.

I mean, look at Sydney, with their surfeit of cool kids. The Sandwich Club, A Reminder, Boudist, Get Big, Little Kid, Who the Bloody Hell Are They?, O Song!, Decomposing Trees. (Disclaimer: Some of the afore-mentioned may not actually be cool.) And many others who I can't be bothered typing in the links for.

Whereas Melbourne has the estimable godfathers at and little else of global renown. This was brought to my attention, in fact, when I accused Sean at A Reminder of Sydney listing bias - which he countered by noting that there were few other Melbourne blogs to aggregate. Of course, we've got those wacky tastemaking judgmental funsters at Mess and Noise. But we need more battalions to fight back against the evil Sydney dominance of the hip online sector! (Half tongue-in-cheek. Only half.)

Taking matters into our own hands, here's something:

Across the Rooftops

It's mostly about Melbourne, mostly about music, mostly updated regularly. There's three of us. I'm one of them. Pat and Nick are the other two. Welcome to the jungle. We've got fun. And games.

But never fear, loyal readers, I'm gonna keep writing here. Dunno what it'll be about. Probably just drivel. Whereas on ATR you'll only get quality.