Friday, 25 November 2011

2011: The Songs That Mean The Most - Part One

Due to my inability to cull from these kinds of lists, I thought it would be wise to break things up and deliver the monster in two parts; like the same nightmare, two nights running. Or perhaps not. So here we are. My favourite songs this year from albums released in the first half of 2011. The rest will follow shortly. In no particular order:

Destroyer - Savage Night at the Opera
Wire - Bad Worn Thing
The Decemberists - This Is Why We Fight
Mogwai - Death Rays
Mogwai - How to be a Werewolf
British Sea Power - Once More Now
Earth - Old Black
Grails - Almost Cut My Hair
Anna Calvi - Love Won't Be Leaving
Gang of Four - You'll Never Pay For the Farm
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - The Weight of the Sun
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - Tao of the Dead 
The Twilight Singers - Waves
The Twilight Singers - Gunshots
The Boxer Rebellion - Doubt
Parts & Labor - A Thousand Roads
PJ Harvey - England
The Rural Alberta Advantage - Stamp
The Rural Alberta Advantage - Coldest Day
Kurt Vile - Runner Up
Radiohead - Bloom
Radiohead - Lotus Flower
Six Organs of Admittance - Hold But Let Go
Elbow - The Birds
Rival Schools - 69 Guns
R.E.M - Walk it Back
Buffalo Tom - She's Not Your Thing
Low - Nightingale
Low - Nothing But Heart
The Joy Formidable - Austere
The Joy Formidable - Llaw = Wall
Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place
Julianna Barwick - Flown
Explosions In The Sky - Trembling Hands
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Strange
Bill Callahan - Riding for that Feeling
Burial - Street Halo
Okkervil River - Rider
Okkervil River - Mermaid
Mountains - Backwards Crossover
Mountains - Live At the Triple Door
Jesu - Sedatives
Jesu - Brave New World
My Morning Jacket - Victory Dance
Gang Gang Dance - MindKilla
Thurston Moore - Benediction
Fucked Up - The Other Shoe
Fucked Up - The Truth I Know
Josh T. Pearson - Woman, When I've Raised Hell...
Bon Iver - Holocene
Bon Iver - Beth/Rest
Esben And The Witch - Eumenides
Glasvegas - I Feel Wrong (Homosexuality Pt.1)
Boris - Aileron
Jackie-O Motherfucker - Dedication
Eleventh Dream Day - That's What's Coming
Eleventh Dream Day - Maybe This Time

Part Two to follow.


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Harvest festival: Winning!

When: 20/11/2011
Where: Botanical Gardens, Brisbane, QLD

Harvest festival. A civilised gathering. Is there such a thing where music festivals are concerned? Gone are the days where punters go to a music festival strictly for the music. Thinking about it, was there such a thing, or was ignorance really bliss? Either way, based on the inaugural Harvest festival, there is some hope.

Festival organiser, AJ Maddah has developed his detractors in the more recent times. Criticised by various quarters for his numerous rants on twitter; the latest a come to with no other than Courtney Love (not really that hard, is it?). Then there's the cancellation of Soundwave's offshoot festival, Soundwave Revolution. The former being Maddah's initial creation prior to Harvest.

At the end of the day, people invest too much into things that don't really matter a great deal. This is no different. I don't know the guy from Adam. I don't follow nor care about his rants on twitter. As for Soundwave Revolution, I don't really know the ins and outs, so I'm not really qualified to judge. However, as they say, you're only as good as your last at bat. At the end of the day, if the guy and his crew of backbenchers are willing to bring out bands that interest people while other festivals continue to turn a blind eye and are just content of recycling their 'products', then who's to argue?  

In a current financial climate where music festivals are one of the many things that are suffering in the weight of pocket change, Harvest has gone out on a limb with this latest 'gathering', brought out some bands that don't actually get recycled every three years (are you listening Big Day Out?) and has cobbled together a festival that seems to cater for music fans and not just a bunch of moronic sheep who go to these sorts of shindigs just to bake in the sun and get wasted on mid-strength beer.

Portishead was a coup and the major draw card for many. Goes without saying, really. Wouldn't  it have been in the best interests of the Big Day Out to attempt on bringing them out, seeming as though they're Australia's 'premier' festival and all that?

The answer is simple. They'd rather go for the glamour and get a headliner that couldn't even draw a capacity at Australia's number one winter festival, Splendour In The Grass. Hopefully, the SITG organisers are smart enough to learn from their sins, already confessing to their mistake of inflating ticket prices on the back of a thin line-up.

Back to Harvest. It was a civilised gathering (hot weather aside). Without sounding like some sort of elitist wanker, it was for music and about the music. Portishead, The Flaming Lips, Bright Eyes, Mogwai, Mercury Rev, TV On The Radio, The Walkmen. Good solid modern day collectives who have tasted various levels of success throughout their respective careers. Yes, good solid modern day collectives can still draw a crowd. Strong radio presence for a band isn't the sole landscape to draw together a large scale festival line-up. Sure, it helps, but Harvest has proven that it's no longer an essential.

Times are changing. Some people do like modesty, and the Harvest festival has cashed in on it by carving out their niche. Financially, I don't know whether it broke even. I hope it did, but as stated above, given the current economic climate, I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't.

The Harvest organisers have thought outside the box, giving people something they wanted and not just rested on their laurels like their competitors have in recent times, content on raking in money by expanding their demographic and treating 'people' like consumers, totally losing the point of their creation in the first place. The sword has fallen on a few of them, and it will continue to fall on others in the not too distant future.

Summation? A big well done to the Harvest festival. Here's hoping it comes back next year. As Portishead's Geoff Barrow said; 'There's a good vibe goin' on.' His band's presence added to that vibe, delivering a perfect finish to a day where Mogwai, Mercury Rev and TV On The Radio dominated my thoughts the most.

Three cheers for Harvest!


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Take a seat...

Cup of tea okay with you? How many sugars was that? Ahh, sweet enough. That old chestnut. Milk, or is your mother's okay?

Welcome to the fold, folks. First thing's first. How did you stumble across this eyesore?
Keep visiting, I'll keep posting, then maybe you'll be drawn to the answer.