Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Laneway Festival 2008: Killer Lineup

Does anyone know a good hole to hang in for say a month in Melbourne?

Cause a month later after the rumored Pirates-hit on BDO comes yet another shaping-up-to-be killer fest. Me and Pantsy have already hatched a plan which involves some survival knives, 20 hand grenades, Jack Bauer and possibly Jessica Alba (in a cute sky blue baby doll), to get our company to transfer us over to our Aussie office permanently.

No no silly, not cheap hotels. Like a literal hole. You know, the ones where we may meet a mole or two and perhaps get acquainted with the finer points of eating deep fried soil.

Anyway, off to the chunkier news bits. First announcement lineup includes (and seriously, try not to heel over and die):

Feist, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene), Okkervil River, Dan Deacon, The Brunettes. The Presets, Gotye, The Panics, The Devastations, Little Red, Via Tania, The Holidays and Bridezilla.

Laneway Festival Dates:

Adelaide (Fowler's Live & North Terrace)
Saturday 23 February
(Dan Deacon, Devastations, Via Tania & The Brunettes not playing)

Melbourne (St Jerome's, Caledonian Lane, The Lounge & Lonsdale Street)
Sunday 24 February

Brisbane (The Zoo & Winn Street)
Saturday 1 March

Sydney (The Basement, Macquarie Park & Reiby Place)
Sunday 2 March

Kevin Drew - Broke Me Up (from Spirit If ...)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Is This Love? (from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah)
Feist - It's Cool To Love Your Family (from Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down))
Okkervil River - John Allyn Smith Sails (from Stage Names)

Word for the week: Passport


I renewed mine yesterday. It's supposed to be a 15-minute affair involving an ultra-mod machine and the seamless union it makes with that chip embedded on the back page of the red book. But that seamless union unravelled the second I discovered that my chip was spoilt. Which led to a seam-filled, four-hour wait from counter to counter. Such effort, just to see the world.

Broken Social Scene - Passport Radio (from Feel Good Lost)
With breathless purity, the Scene exhume away the stuffy urbania from our possessed earthsuits.

Reverie Sound Revue - Passes and Passports (from Reverie Sound Revue EP)
Broken Social Scene sometimer Lisa Lobsinger's main band sautés a Vancouver chipmunk.

Team Sleep - The Passportal (from The Matrix Reloaded: The Album)
Deftones boss Chino Moreno's alter ego retains his band's dystopian fetish, but swaps the hardcore chugs for some fuzztronica swipes.

Charlie Parker - Passport Tune Y (from Swedish Schnapps)
Any trip by the Bird is our passage of honour.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

This Week's Track 9 - Candle by Sonic Youth

5.43pm. "Oh crap!" exclaims Captain Genusfrog, "My track 9!". Fingers primed on the keyboard, he firms his resolve. "Watch as Captain Genusfrog churns out a blogpost in 15 minutes!"

The girls swoon. "wooo!"

5.45pm. The song is chosen! The girls clap. (Clap clap clap.)

5.50. Cpatain Genusfrog wails in terror. The girls cry. "Why? Why?"

Captain Genusfrog is in trouble. The archvillain Rytersbloc is in full swing.

The girls fear. "Oh dear!" One girl offers to help. Captain Genusfrog allows her, but only because she's a dead sexy bombshell and has lips he vows to kiss once this episode is over.

"The song is called Candle. The lyrics are surrealist and oblique to say the least. It's by Sonic Youth, on their seminal album Daydream Nation. I got nothing." Captain Genusfrog belts out, for some strange reason gaining credibility with the bombshell as he bares his vulnerability. "Nothing", he finishes on an echo.

And then he looks up... "I shall die", he mutters to himself. Captain Genusfrog capitulates. Rytersbloc attacks.

6.01pm. A bolt in the sky. Superheroine Navelgazergirl, stupendous inward-looking blogger bursts like light in an already bright sky. "I shall revive you Captain Genusfrog, for I have just posted on my blog! Go and return inspired!". She flies across the scene with her head tilted downwards, dropping the url from the heavens. A savior!


And then, just like that, Navelgazergirl disappears. The bombshell wows. "Is Captain Genusfrog able to write now?"

6.14pm. Captain Genusfrog, with renewed vigour returns! Inspired he is. But he is faced with a second villain.

"Oh no!", cries the bombshell.

Rytersbloc has been paired with the evil Absenceofangle! They take stabs! They stab and stab and stab. Until Captain Genusfrog, in one swing, destroys Absenceofangle, and with his withered arm, destroys Rytersbloc.

The post is shabby. Irrelevant to music, candles or Sonic Youth, and absolutely lazy. But some will say it was readable.

Sonic Youth - Candle (track 9 from Daydream Nation)

Esplanade presents: Lover and the Sea by Astreal

A chick-fronted outfit, a swanky ball of spikes and a Friday night. No, this ain't National Whips Day in Amsterdam. This is Singapore, baby, and shoegaze roadrunners Astreal are the latest reps of Lion City's lacquered indie scene to have their own night at Esplanade's concert hall (Concave Scream and The Observatory being the other selected ones this year). The band's devellish mix of gloom-and-doom melodies and sex-frenzied moans is fully capable of putting more than a few dents in those teak walls, and I'm half expecting reports of dead, wrist-slit bodies strewn across Clack Quay the following day. That, or a constitutional amendment banning leather straps.

Date: Friday, 30 November 2007
Time: 9.30pm
Venue: Recital Studio, Esplanade
Price: S$25

For more info, click here.

Astreal - Wallflower (from Fragments of the Same Dead Star)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Who's Who at Big Day Out: Billy Bragg

Hail ye raging old man of British folk.

From collaborating with American alt-country heroes Wilco to pushing the boundaries of British folk with his para-political rants, Bragg has been making good ol folk music for a decent 30-years now. And he really doesn't look like he's going to be stopping for tea anytime soon.

In many ways, the man's a punk legend. Just that he does it with an acoustic guitar.

But then again, that's pretty much a loose definition. It's like saying chicken is actually beef only with feathers. Or Godzilla is actually Ultraman but only with kick-ass nuclear breath. Or football is really like tennis only with bigger balls. Or Ryan Adams is actually Bryan Adams, just 100 years younger.

Billy Bragg - Walk Away Renee (from Must I Paint You a Picture? The Essential Billy Bragg)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

B-Side of the Week - Surf City Eastern Bloc

Arcade Fire
Surf City Eastern Bloc (from the No Cars Go single)
(Rough Trade Records)

What does Surf City and Eastern Bloc have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing.

When you say Surf City, I think of all the days I spent at Oahu island, riding the banzai pipeline while the traditional long-haired Polynesian hunnies sang songs to me from the sands and the modern spunky-haired ones strang garlands for me in the beach huts. I think of Japanese tourist girls who wore the garlands on me when I trudged back onto shore.

That's nothing like the Eastern Bloc at all! When I think of the Eastern Bloc, I remember the days when I served in a war camp Prekmurje, dressing bomb wounds for children and rebuilding townships for communities. I remember all the tall blonde Slovenian girls cooking me goulash at midday while the petite brunette ones made struklji with pork in the fiery evenings. I remember an 18-year-old migrant girl, the lasko beer she brought me and her sweet Hungarian teenage kisses.

So I tell you, when Arcade Fire entitle a song called Surf City and Eastern Bloc, they are absolutely out of their minds.

Arcade Fire - Surf City Eastern Bloc

Soundwave Festival: Lineup Announced

To continue reading this post, you must possess:

1) at least three tattoos on your body (with one around the forehead region)
2) at least four warrant of arrest out for assault.
3) flea infested crusty hair
4) the ability to spin your head like a helicopter propeller for no less than eight minutes
5) the anxiousness to eat little children every morning for breakfast, or
6) you wet your pants often.

Because if you don't have any of these things you might be well, uninterested in this festival. You should instead milk cows, or watch reruns of Falcon Crest.

Full list of bands confirmed so far:

Incubus, The Offsrping, Killswitch Engage, Social Distortion, Coheed & Cambria, As I Lay Dying and Motion City Soundtrack, see US acts The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Saosin, Plain White T's, Jim Ward of Sparta, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Shadows Fall, The Dear Hunter, Bleeding Through, From Autumn to Ashes, The Starting Line, Divine Heresy (featuring ex-Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares), Mindless Self Indulgence, The Receiving End of Sirens, Socratic, Kevin Devine, Halifax, Arthur Enders of The Early November, Chiodos, Mewithoutyou, My American Heart, Dan Nigro of As Tall As Lions, Envy on the Coast, Boys Like Girls, All Time Low, Fall of Troy, Sugarcult, Mae, Cartel, Still Remains, Haste the Day, Madina Lake and The Matches.

Tour dates:

Saturday February 23 – Riverstage & Parklands, Brisbane
Sunday February 24 – Sydney Park, Sydney
Friday February 29 – Showgrounds, Melbourne
Saturday March 1 – TBC, Adelaide
Monday March 3 – Steel Blue Oval, Perth

For more info, go here.

Incubus - Light Grenades (from Light Grenades)
Coheed & Cambria - Feathers (from Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow)
Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah (from Every Second Counts)
Social Distortion - Cold Feelings (from Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This Week's Track 9 - Chicago by Sufjan Stevens

One man can start so much shit.

Like this man. Mr Sufjan Stevens. Not only does he start enough shit to bash my brilliant track 9 theory into sawdust and then make me eat it with bread and pork floss, he goes and builds an entire epic album around it. And it's not just any old song, it's a brilliant number, almost triumphant.

Damn you, Sufjan Stevens. Why can't you just let a guy have his cake and eat his cake and, you know, stuff? Why do you always have to be so smart and arty and brilliant?

I mean, hey, I know I can't play 3000 instruments on a recording, my ass does not have critically loved concept albums from which I pull one out every two years, and even if I could do all these, I probably couldn't do it with the charm of the gentlechristianman that you are. So take your talent and sod off. Got it?

Yeah. Sod off to wherever your song is about, you... you... beautiful man.

Sufjan Stevens - Chicago (track 9 from Come On Feel the Illinoise)

Word for the week: Kick


The 2007 Rugby World Cup just concluded in France last weekend. I got up at 3am bubbling with the excitement of an alligator creeping up to an unsuspecting antelope in a Congo savannah...

And ended up watching South Africa beat England 15-6 by kicking five penalties against England's two. Yes, kicking. A sport built around the concept of a bunch of epic oafs who inflict bone-crippling pain on the opposition and chew off each others ears en route to scoring an earth-shattering try—and it's most important game was decided by thumping a ball through a pair of sticks. If I wanted balls and sticks, I woulda ordered meatball kebab. IRB, I demand that you refund me my 3am.

Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks (from The Stage Names)
Baroque rock loaded onto a wagon, and then dragged through Andrea Bocelli's lower cavity on the way to Deadwood.

The Kicks - 12 Steps (from O'rama)
Arkansas pop punkers perform artful sugar surgery, making some fine incisions to trim the lipids that panicked at the disco and fell out of boy.

Lupe Fiasco - Kick, Push (from Food & Liquor)
Some hail this rap gem as the best depiction of skateboarding. It is so not. If it was, the song would be called "Whirrrrr, OH SHHI...SONOFA... splattt... Stupid Doberman".

Kings of Leon - Four Kicks (from Day Old Belgian Blues EP)
Bluesy rock siblings renovate a Brussels stage to resemble the mossiest crevices of their garage.

French Kicks - So Far We Are (from Two Thousand)
If the French rugby team reproduced this song's two-step vivacity during their semi-final match against England—it would probably still have resulted in a boring-ass final.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Verve's new track(s): The Thaw Session

Genus Frog: omg
i saw "the verve" in the url
(it's loading)

Pantsy: wait...

(random, unblogable crap)

Pantsy: was waiting all afternoon
cos it was only available for download from 10.30 their time
which turned out to be like 5.30 or something like that here

(more random, unblogable crap)

Genus Frog: have you heard the thaw sessions for yourself?

Pantsy: not yet
just downloaded

Genus Frog: yeah, mine's coming in right now

Pantsy: wah its quite a huge file

Genus Frog: ya
14 mins
putting it on now



The Verve - The Thaw Session (unreleased single)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Boss and the Blossoms

Oh, and since we're on the topic of indie vs classic...

Bruce Springsteen & Arcade Fire - Keep The Car Running

Bruce Springsteen & Arcade Fire - State Trooper

Soul, baby. Soul.

Bruce Springsteen - State Trooper (from Nebraska)
Arcade Fire - Keep The Car Running (from Neon Bible)

The REAL trouble with indie rock is...

Indie rock has been the subject of mainstream press chatter over the past week. First, New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones announces that the problem with indie is that it is racially biased. Then, Village Voice's Tom Breihan sorta agrees, but questions the generalisation. And later, Slate's Carl Wilson counters by saying that the genre's problems lie not with race, but with class.

They're all totally wrong, of course. Indie rock's problem isn't race, nor class. It's beauty. I mean, c'mon. Indie rockers are seriously butt ugly. Why do you think they don't make their own album covers? Like, why can't the dudes and dudettes that make quality indie rock be regulars on Maxim covers and Vogue centrespreads? They should be shoo-ins to the next Gap billboards and American Apparel banners. That way, no one will care about whether the bands are overly quirky or underly soulful. As long as their asses wiggle like polaroids, we'll pay the gajillions.

To read the New Yorker article, click here.

To read the Village Voice article, click here.

To read the Slate article, click here.

To check out a true hottie, click here.

The Killers - Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll (from Hot Fuss)

Friday, October 19, 2007

KL Jam Asia - No More?

Re-sweetened for death.

Popular KL gig venue KL Jam Asia has once again slammed its doors on the budding independent music scene. Rumors of management changes, Bollywood nights and RM35.00 cover charges have been floating around although none properly confirmed.

What's the whole hoola boo loo hah about a gig venue anyways? Well, Jam Asia is sorta like a CBGB to us but with bad drinks, a menu that spells nuggets as 'nuggest' and an inappropriate picture of Che Guevara hanging at the background of the minuscule stage.

Never mind that half the time I've been there for gigs, I can't see a damn thing, especially when I have 'Magic Johnson' standing in front of me. Then again I remember being particularly pissed that someone spilled beer on my jeans once. And also there was this time when some silly local folk hero stumbled through a set half-drunk while his friend heckled him from the back of the hall.

Sorry, we were supposed to miss this place?

Portishead - Half Day Closing (from Portishead)
Hopesfall - End of an Era (from No Wings to Speak Of)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Top 5 Cliches of 80s Rock Ballads

I was a product of 80s hair metal.

Then again, many people were at this end of our provincial mud ball. The average cool kid in school was never into REM or Depeche Mode, they were always into hair metal.

What's hair metal? It was what Bon Jovi was before he appeared on Oprah to promote wholesome living and doing runs on thread mills. Heck most genuine 80s hair metallers don't need to run to stay fit, they just get high and forget about food altogether. What a wuss he's become. Get those cat suits out again Jon. It's what your dwindling fan base demands.

Anyways, yes hair metal. You know, studded leather, cat suits, mascara, hair the size of Nevada and ball-hugging leather pants? Yeah those dudes. Now you remember. Always checking themselves out in the mirror to make sure hair is high enough to bump the ceiling and make-up hasn't smudged.

Anyways the interesting thing about them is that most of their hits were ballads. Which makes sense seeing as if you were a rocker then, you either screeched like a banshee on songs or try to romance chicks over a piano. The latter held more appeal for radio and MTV while the former is good for driving customers out of malls after closing time.

In the spirit of androgyny, we at Pirates bring you the top 5 cliches of 80s rock ballads.

1) It must always be about a girl

Because seriously, no one wants to hear a heartbroken rock ballad called 'Dwayne' or 'Robert' for that matter.

Europe - Carrie (from The Final Countdown)

2) Guitar solo must come after the second chorus

To not have a guitar solo in your ballad in those days is like eating McDonalds without fries, having Bryan Adams without 'Summer of 69' or Ultraman without a monster in sight. Basically it's so wrong that it should affect the laws of the universe.
Optional: Guitar solo to sometimes come after the prerequisite bridge (as demonstrated in the track below).

White Lion - You're All I Need (from Mane Attraction)

3) Always write lyrics like they are Hallmark card messages

Words such as love, heart, sun, miss, rain, baby etc must be used sporadically throughout each song. Why? Because when you are a scruffy hairy-chested rocker, one must do much to convince chicks that you're not going to turn around and hump the nearest pillar. Also, there's nothing hotter than a sensitive ruffian. Peace. (ie, the track below, which has a chorus that goes, 'Sometimes, the sun shines through the rain')

Cinderella - Through the Rain (from Still Climbing)

4) Reserve highest note for ending

Look, it's no secret that to be the best singer in the 80s hair metal scene, one must also be able to sing the highest octaves. It's a like a proud mane, a big car or the complete 12 issues of Playboy from the year 1985. One must show it off and one must show it off right at the end of a teary-eyed ballad for maximum effect.

Skid Row - I Remember (from Skid Row)

5) Three part harmonies should always only be employed when the title of the song is sung (usually at the chorus)

Because sometimes we seriously don't know what the title of the song is. I mean, when you're listening to a song where the chorus goes 'Never say goodbye' like 1564 times, one has trouble separating fact from fiction. So what are hair bands to do? Get in a harmonizer and bath those lines with some three part roboto harmonies baby. Woo hoo.

Slaughter - Days Gone By (from The Wild Life)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

This Week's Track 9 - Holiday by Weezer

Track 9s. Not good enough to be on the first side. Not good enough to start the second side. And seldom good enough to be the album closer. Track 9 is the ultimate throwaway track position on an album. And if I were a track 9, I would feel like dipshit. That, however, is not always true. This new Tuesday feature celebrates the odd joyous moment and the many urrgghh duunnhhh sssppppfffhhhttt rrrrrwwwooooooo ppssttt tok tik tok tik tok tik tok tik tok moments of being in the least celebrated dump in album positioning land.


The office is empty. They call it 'skeleton staff'. Why is it empty? Because everyone's still somewhere else. Havin a good time. Winding down from their havinagoodtimes, but nonetheless, still havin them.

So where is everyone? At some mountain retreat? Some beach? A shopping haven? A tour bus? An airport? A sleazy bar? A disco hall? A transvestite strip joint?

As for me, I'm here in the plush comfort of my office chair, flanked by two beautiful Hawaiian girls. One massages my neck and back while the other pours me endless servings of blue-coloured drinks with umbrellas on them. And if I so much as snap my finger, both will go, in unison, "Mr Pirate, what else can I do to please your handsome face?", and they immediately break into a sexy hula dance while waiting for my impending request.

Why do they do that, you ask. It's because they're trained to keep me happy even before I tell them how to keep me happy. And this is me at the office. Wait till I tell you about my holiday.

Weezer - Holiday (track 9 from The Blue Album)

Word for the week: Curry


The Muslim world celebrates Eid Ul-Fitr, otherwise known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri. It's essentially the end of the fasting month. And while everyone acknowledges it as a time for annual family get togethers and filial reconciliation, they all know that the true heart and soul of cultural festivities lies in one thing alone: the food. You go ahead and cosy up to those cultural dances and costumes; just bring me the curry.

Dan The Automator - Fists of Curry (from Bombay the Hard Way: Guns, Cars and Sitars)
Nakamura revisits the soundtracks to India's 1970s crime flicks, and electropops a slice from that era that Bollywood would gleefully adopt today.

Dr Bombay - Rice and Curry (from Rice and Curry)
Jonny Jakobsen's eurodance classic irritates to no end, but promises to reemerge in your dreams amidst those beachside romps with Mallika Sherawat.

Green Curry - ขอให้เหมือนเดิม (unknown album)
According to this site, the above means something along the lines of 'Ask Again'. I feel insanely informed now.

Tim Curry - I'm Going Home (from The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack)
Even without the visual context, Curry's overblown histrionics here are sufficient to paint a picture of a cross-dressing Dr. Frank-N-Furter delivering a graceful ode to trannies worldwide.

Panda Head Curry - Kongsi Raya (from One Thousand Homo Humpbacks)
The way these cock-rocking Malaysian punkers moan over multiculturalism, you'd have thought it was a bane of humanity. No way! Check out the curry.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fad of the land: Spiral Frog

Hmmm. How does one spiral a frog? I mean, I remember in bio where I once crucified a frog and roasted his belly under the sun with a magnifying glass. But the dude sorta just popped. Then there was this other time I was craving for an apple guava smoothie, but I was out of guava, so I just substituted that with a frog and chucked both fruit and amphibian into the blender. But it all sorta meshed, rather than doing any noticeable spiraling. I must say, it did taste pretty tangy.

Anyways, while Spiral Frog won't attempt to solve my scientific conundrum, it does offer a chance to resolve the ancient duel between the "MP3 for free for me!" consumer and the "How dare you rob me of the chance to buy my 12th private jet!" music label CEO. The solution? Keep the downloads free, but make them ad-funded. Yep, meaning that as you search for your fav tracks, you get a bunch of targeted ads winking at you. So companies share the ad revenue, we get free music, and no one needs to pay US$222,000.

Neat idea. It's already got a fairly substantial stable of labels on board, including Universal and EMI, plus distributors like INgrooves (Thievery Corporation, Lady Sovereign) and Kudos Records (Corinne Bailey Rae). But, as always, fine print: it's currently limited to the US and Canada. Oh well. Back to the hunt for fully illegal, ad-free, lawsuit-friendly music. And maybe instructions on how to spiral a frog.


Thievery Corporation - The Outernationalist (from The Richest Man In Babylon) [BUY]
Lady Sovereign - My England (from Public Warning) [BUY]
Corinne Bailey Rae - Trouble Sleeping (from Corinne Bailey Rae) [BUY]

Friday, October 12, 2007

More Big Day Out Rumors

Imagine with me. You've got a huge-ass cannon.

How big? Excellent question private. One big enough to send a hole the size of a Chinese wedding dinner table through Godzilla. In case you're wondering 'what in tarnations', that's pretty damn big.

And after you've got a cannon that's that big, you decide, 'Hey, why don't I add one a ten-grenade per-launch grenade launcher? I mean, just for the bloody heck of it. And while I'm at it, why not detach those plasma cannons off an X-Wing fighter and strap in on to the side of said cannon, you know, just to make it prettier?'

If you have no idea how/what I am talking now has anything to do with said Australian/NZ fest that's adorning the headline of this article then my friend, you need to eat more coriander, or run laps or you know, read more books.

Arcade Fire? Bjork? Rage? This could just be the beginning. Please, please Santa. Just this once. I promise I won't make fun of jocks anymore. Then again forget that promise, but please please grant me this wish.

Want to know who the rest of the rumored bunch are? Go here

The Smashing Pumpkins - Starz (from Zeitgeist)
The Polyphonic Spree - Running Away (from The Fragile Army)
Interpol - Next Exit (from Antics)
Manic Street Preachers (feat. Nina Persson) - Your Alone is Not Enough (from Send Away the Tigers)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

B-Side of the Week - Killer Cars

Killer Cars (from the High & Dry/Planet Telex single, cd 2)

Aaaahhh.... Radiohead. That incredible beast from literati town. You know, they're releasing their seventh LP today. Incredible. Every internet site remotely connected to the living, nevermind the dead, will be talking about it.

They sometimes remind me of this other beast, also from a very literate place. It was a robot that my mum bought me from the organic robot store. It had flesh that felt like real flesh and hair that felt like real hair. Its voice was intelligently composed from real voices and my robot - whom I wish was called Kid A, but wasn't (it was called Bob) - did all my homework for me. Heck, he tidied up my room, made my bed, played football with and against me and when our fridge wasn't properly stocked, he would open up his organic robot ass and shit out bacon, eggs and toast, just for me.

But like Radiohead and all other things, Bob the Organic Robot grew old. And as he grew old, he wore out. First, his left leg fell off, from beneath the knee-joint. Then his ears started rotting and both his arms dropped off. Eventually his whole head fell out and we had no clue what to do with the remaining stump.

So we gave him away. To anyone who would pay anything for him.

Here's to Bob the Organic Robot, and his younger, more user-friendly days.

Radiohead - Killer Cars

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nine Inch Nails do a Radiohead (sorta)

It's such a rage isn't it—mega bands choke slamming record labels. A week after Radiohead do a People's Elbow on the bigwigs, Nine Inch Nails have just sent Interscope straight through the canvas by dumping their label in favour of going independent.

It's yet another killer move for music industry moguls. No, I'm not talking about some measely rope-to-rope, elbow-to-the-ribs sorta move. This is more like Fat Albert jumping from the rafters and landing on Tiny Tim's testicles. Or like the Undertaker driving a 20 tonne truck over Squirt the Squirrel's stomach, after which Squirt's colon spatters out and latches itself onto the back wheel of the truck, and the Undertaker continues his drive all the way to a Domino's outlet in Bangalore so that he can pick up some chili flakes and sprinkle it on Squirt's colon and eat it with a 20-inch tandoori cheese pizza. Trust me, the taste is totally awesome.

To read the official announcement, click here.

Nine Inch Nails - Zero-Sum (from Year Zero)

That little thing called the 90s

The 90s was a strange and exciting time for me.

Fresh out of school, weaning off flea-infested metal and senseless movies with young pretty actors filled with oddball dialogue that amounted to nothing. But more importantly, many nights sitting in front of my beat up stereo, catching the 8pm show on Time Highway Radio with my hand on the record button, waiting for those killer tracks.

There was a new sound on radio then. A new sound that was loosely classified by This is Alternative stickers stuck on their albums. The idea was that this was the 'alternative' to the mainstream. Gradually, the alternative became the mainstream. And the mainstream became the alternative to 'indie'. And I became bloody kick-ass on Raiden.

It's hard to explain the sound. It's meat and potatoes rock music but not played with the kind of pomposity that 80s hair bands used to. Neither were they angsty and flannel-laden like their Seattle grunge counterparts. They took bits off The Replacements, bits off Neil Young and created a sound that was exclusively 90s.

As a tribute, here are my essential 10 non-grunge/non-punk tracks from that era.

Gin Blossoms - Hey Jealousy (from New Miserable Experience)
A bastion of warm tube amps and Westerberg-approved melodies, these Arizonians redefined guitar-playing in the 90s with their twinkly lines and two-step harmonies, all under a colorful straw hat.

Foo Fighters - Big Me (from Foo Fighters)
Dave Grohl's post-Nirvana pop statement packaged with an award-winning music video. Still remains as probably the best song he ever wrote.

Live - Selling the Drama (from Throwing Copper)
These Pennsylvanians tittered between grunge angst, R.E.M.-like melodrama while also finding the time to piss-off Christian fundamentalists with their scathing lyrics.

Counting Crows - A Murder of One (from August and Everything After)
Adam Duritz made poetic lyricism relevant again in the 90s. But the band's hardly just about the words on a paper written by a bearded/braid-haired socialite, as this mid-tempo Americana rocker proves. Might just be worth a wink from Dylan.

Soul Asylum - Runaway Train (from Grave Dancers Union)
Dave Pirner's heartbroken ode to missing American youths. The track that helped him trade-in his punk boots for an acoustic guitar.

Toad the Wet Sprocket - All I Want (from Fear)
Sure, the band's scored at least a top 5 on every edition of those VH1 silly band-name shows but hey, no one made brooding rustic odes like them. Long live the housewives and pretty dresses of Santa Barbara.

Collective Soul - Forgiveness (from Disciplined Breakdown)
The obvious choice would've been 'Shine' but Disciplined Breakdown, while marking the end of the band's relevancy, produced many a good track. This jangling sweet ballad is but one of many.

The Lemonheads - Paid to Smile (from Come on Feel The Lemonheads)
We certainly need no such compensation as Evan Dando time and again proved that he remains the king of cheeky punkabilly tunes and that soft long-haired look. A smile and some cotton candy should follow.

Better than Ezra - Good (from Deluxe)
Kevin Griffin may have committed the cardinal sin by sporting Michael Knight's hairstyle but the man knows his way around those four magical chords and an incredibly infectious chorus. Yeah it was so good.

Blind Melon - No Rain (from Blind Melon)
Shannon Hoon may have the lungs of a banshee and guested on a certain Guns 'N' Roses hit but the man's all Lennon on this one. The kind of strumming campfire chorus that just reminds you of toys, playgrounds and a warm home.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Word for the Week: Machine


Hype Machine has released their redesigned site for private viewing. No screenshots allowed, but my early thoughts are a bit like meeting your nephew for the first time in 20 years: he's a heart-stopping ladykiller with all the glitzy shenanigans that will likely make the family go ga-ga—yet you can't help but reminisce the days when he was the one going "Ga ga". They sure grow up fast.

Aa - New Machine (from GAaME)
Brooklyn snare smackers time travel to 735,309 BC, just as Polyphonic Spree's ancestors get ready to clobber a woolly mammoth. All in a minute-and-a-bit.

Secret Machines - 1,000 Seconds (from Ten Silver Drops)
Epic on every level, save for the fact that it's possibly the dinkiest song on these psych rockers' second album. Simple schmimple.

Intensive Care - Break Me Up, Machine (from 2805 EP)
Montreal's next great hope? Lock the jury up a little longer pending a full length, but by 4:39 of this song, you wouldn't be a shoddy gambler if your bets were placed this way.

Cornelius - New Music Machine (from Fantasma)
Jappy indie chicks captivate American pale face with pixie twinkles and twee giggles. Jappy indie males, like Keigo Oyamada, beat chest and bellow. 私は好む.

New Release: The Otherside Orchestra - Healing Gravity

The Otherside Orchestra is not really an orchestra.

Unless you think shopping malls are the same as arcades. Or Ultraman is the same as Godzilla. Or if you think Ryan Adams sang 'Summer of 69'. No my friend, they are not an orchestra, unless orchestras have been debunked into a rock 5-piece that plays furious fusion instrumental rock with a dash of indie-cism.

But it's cool to name yourself one huh? I mean, when I think about this, I am reminded about the time when all my friends named ourselves after Transformers characters. Everyone refused to give me the Optimus Prime name, insisting that I take Sludge or Bonecrusher. I have no idea why until today, cause when I see myself in the mirror these days, I still see a red truck sometimes.

For more info on how to get their EP, go here.

Format of file is m4a so for those of you that can't read it, you need to up the ante on hip-ology. Cause what I hear, they going to make it a law that anyone that doesn't have an iPod will not be able to buy groceries in the future. Honest, I read it in the National Enquirer sometime back and you know the Enquirer, they only report hard truth.

Track List:

1. The Orchestra Has Just Arrived
2. Eksperimentasi Clectro Cinta
3. In Certain Circumstances
4. Possessive

Thursday, October 4, 2007

B-Side of the Week - Wine In The Afternoon

Franz Ferdinand
Wine In The Afternoon (from the Eleanor, Put Your Boots On single)

Every evening, I have a fat, juicy steak, rare. When I sink my teeth into it, I like the taste of warm blood on my tongue.

Every night, I have fifteen sticks of satay, spread evenly between lamb, beef, venison, duck and perut tembusu. I line the empty sticks up like dead bodies.

Every midnight, I have a maggi mee kari, and i crack an egg into it, stirring lightly so that some of it gets mixed into the soup but the rest of it gets cooked.

Every morning, I have german ham with bread, cherry tomatoes, slices of pear and a hot cup of english breakfast tea. It makes me believe that I will eat well for the rest of the day.

And every afternoon, I have wine. How bloody boring.

Franz Ferdinand - Wine In The Afternoon

Big Day Out 2008: first lineup announcement

Dear Mr Branson,

How's Sudan? I heard they got great camel meat. Apparently if you grill it over a spit, and eat it with some of their corn (which I heard is pretty killer too), it's almost as tender as Kobe beef. Serious.

Anyways, you're a busy man, so I'll get straight to the point. You see, there's this music festival coming along in January. It's called Big Day Out. Now, usually it's really only two-thirds loyal to its name. Like, it's 100,000-people big, and it lasts the whole day in various Australian and New Zealand cities. But the lineup for the last couple of years hasn't really been all that out. Oh, it had White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, My Chemical Romance, Muse, Magic Numbers—decent-sized names, sure, but nothing truly historical. Nothing out.

But then there's Big Day Out 2008. And Mr Branson, this year, it's OUT. You see, there's a band called Rage Against The Machine that will be playing their first ever gigs outside America ever since their reunion this year. That's history. Then there's this other band called Arcade Fire, who have revived my passion to bash motorcycle helmets. That's history too.

And you know all about history right? So you'll totally feel me when I say that those two bands, plus Bjork, Battles, LCD Soundsystem, Grinspoon, Hilltop Hoods, Sarah Blasko, Billy Bragg, Paul Kelly, Dizzie Rascal and so on and so forth (and that's just the first announcement, with rumours of Smashing Pumpkins and Queens Of The Stone Age also coming)—all of them are making history.

But what's history made if there's no one to share it with? Which is where we, the Pirates of the Bargain Bin, together with a few supportive chums, come in. You help the needy, and we need to go to Big Day Out. And since you recently just gave some Dutch greeny company €500,000, we figure that just 1% of that would be more than enough. Just to pay for our flight and ticket. We're willing to eat each other to skimp in the food department. And we reckon kangaroo pouches can fit at least our bottom halves during bedtime.

What's our worthwhile cause, you ask? Well, we've always thought of ourselves as freedom fighters. Pro-democracy revolutionaries. Anti-slavery battlers. World peace. No hunger. Death to malaria. Life to polar bears. Eternity for...

Dude, give us the money, and I'll paint my car red and tattoo 'I love Virgin' on my ass.

Pirates of the Bargain Bin


Rage Against The Machine - How I Could Just Kill A Man (from Renegades)
Bjork - Vertebrae By Vertebrae (from Volta)
Arcade Fire - Windowsill (from Neon Bible)
LCD Soundsystem - Get Innocuous! (from Sound of Silver)
Grinspoon - What You Got (from Alibis and Other Lies)
Hilltop Hoods - The Nosebleed Section (from Calling)
Sarah Blasko - Always Worth It (from The Overture & The Underscore)
Paul Kelly - You're Learning (from Foggy Highway)
Dizzie Rascal - Wanna Be (from Maths & English)
Battles - Race: Out (from Mirrored)
Billy Bragg - A New England (from Life's a Riot with Spy Vs Spy)

Recharge Revelation 5 Global Gathering Malaysia

Straddle up those skimpy dresses, get your hair-colored and practice that hazy club look because the hottest dance party of the year is here. Recharge Revelation 5 is all out to knock your socks off with a barrage of sexy chicks, geeky chicks and chicks err ... more sexy chicks. For a small admission fee, you get to ogle at them all you want and as much as you want. It's seriously the deal of the millennium.

What did you say, this event is about music? You must be mad.

For full list of performers go here.

Simian Mobile Disco - Wooden (from Attack Decay Sustain Release)
I am David Sparkle - Apocalypse of Your Heart (from Apocalypse of Your Heart EP)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Word for the Week: Loser


Well, you see, some of us play fantasy football (i.e., soccer). Some of us, not including me. And some of the some of us who play fantasy football bragged over the weekend about how his team was going to rule the roost of fantsy footballdom from now on, and how splendid his team was, and how their cumulative average points per week was the highest of any combination of players, and how he couldn't go wrong with his team selection.

And, well... some of the some of us who play fantasy football, and bragged about how terrific they'd do over the weekend—didn't do too terrifically. Which makes some of us a loser. And since some of us does not include me, I get to do what all losers don't: gloat. Can you feel my swelling head...

Flogging Molly - What Made Milwaukee Famous (Made A Loser Out Of Me) (from Alive Behind the Green Door)
Pre-Flogging Molly's version, this song about beer's destructive wiles had been limited to placid ol' country interpretations. Trust the Irish to throw down the best ode to grog.

Lucy In The Loo - Loser Lullaby (from Radio Malaya compilation)
One of Malaysia's original power poppers beckons us to embrace the romanticism of Third Division puppy love, while it lasts.

Ben's Bitches - Webchat Loser (from National Disservice)
Ninety-eight seconds, ditzy handclaps and a chorus that honours the Archies; for a moment, you'll forget that this is the same punk-rock act that writes tunes about masturbation, black metal and flat-chested models.

Pablo - Loser Crew
(from Half The Time)
This Brooklyn-based indie folksters unearth the mystery of mingling with the fellowship of the defeated; their revelation is a soul-bruised slugfest worth moping along to.

Tickle Me Emo

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Emo came rather late to me, around July of 2001.

By then, most of the bastions of the old guard ha lost much of their luster or were already sent to the industry scrap heap. Mineral's supposed deal with Interscope had fallen through, The Get Up Kids had traded in the art of synchronised jumping in favour of acoustic guitars, and MTV was starting to take notice.

But there was something about those pre-millennium emo albums that was just a notch above the chasing pack. Maybe it's cause they do sound like they are often in serious hurt. In fact, Mineral's Chris Simpson often sings like he has 40 Katana blades stabbed into his stomach with his ex-lover slapping him continuously just after he was knocked down by a Deathstar.

Yes, it's an icky term for a genre. One laced with far too much puffy clouds and pink love letters for rock music's comfort. But hey, like B-grade movies, sometimes some things can be so bad, they become good. Like my soccer-playing activities. On Football Manager, that is.

Here are my favorite tracks from my six most essential emo rock albums released before 1999. Enjoy, cry or go take a dump.

Sunny Day Real Estate - In Circles (from Diary)
The song that sold the genre to me. The blueprint for sobbing emo can be traced back to the vocal chords of one Jeremy Enigk. On this, backed by Foo Fighters' defensive line, driving lo-fi guitars and syncopated hardcore attacks, we see what the fuss was all about to begin with.

Mineral - Take the Picture Now (from The Power of Failing)
Just suffer Chris Simpson's inability to hold a tune to the last 40 seconds of the song. Should redefine emo for you.

Texas is the Reason - Johnny on the Spot (from Do You Know Who You Are?)
What happens when a bunch of religious hardcore nuts starts singing about girls instead? Angular riffs and precise drum assaults, loaded with more than a couple of scoops of emotional dexterity. Lovely.

Mineral - Gjs (from EndSerenading)
Chris Simpson's at it again, this time using pseudo-Christian imagery to put his point across about just how much suffering he is experiencing. Unlike many of the rest, you believe him.

The Get Up Kids - Holiday (from Something to Write Home About)
One Tree Hill may have perverted this record a few rungs lower on the shelf but that doesn't remove the fact that this concept album about long distance relationships is about the only time that emo rock's marriage with pop punk worked. This furious opening track, filled with challenging time signatures and sliding octave chords, should get you up and jumping.

Jimmy Eat World - Table for Glasses (from Clarity)
Yes, they're MTV happy these days but there was a time when Jimmy Eat World sang songs for the lonely kids crying in their rooms. The gorgeous harmonies at the interlude should send you to a better place than where you are at the moment.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Radioh... I mean, The Charlatans give away new album

No, it's not quite news on the level of some other Brit band (virtually) giving away their new album. But then again, for the past two days nothing much in the music world is. I mean, there was this one time when I released a killer cover of 'Three Blind Mice'. Man, it was the most buzzed about song on Hype Machine for 19.56 whole seconds. Like, that was news. Like, "Thom, Johnny, Ed Colin, Phil will be the names of my babies even if all of them are girls"-kind of news.

Anyways, the Charlatans aren't exactly aliens in the give-stuff-away universe. The Britpoppers let everyone download their live album Live At Delamere Forest in July. Any now, it's studio album number 10, available January 2008, free and peachy, from British online radio site Xfm. It's a beauty of an idea; after all, generosity kills the fat.

To read more, click here.

The Charlatans - Muddy Ground (from Simpatico)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Let's get lyrical, lyrical: The Gloria Record - I Was Born in Omaha

I was born in Omaha
In my mother's tired arms
After all our fight was gone
I bet it felt good just to lie there
Drinking the warm lights
And breathing through the tubes
As our lovers filled the room with conversation

I was named to bear you like
A float in a parade
My piano fingers tugging at the chord
And so much extra skin
That I still can't fit in
Wonder whose it could have been
'cause it didn't fit me comfortably

And the nurses stopping in
To see that you are fine
To open up the blinds
And shower you with sunshine

I was born in Omaha
To steal her skeptic heart
My piano fingers tugging at the chord
'cause life in a bubble can be
The sweetest thing sometimes
With the world just passing by
Outside your window

Dream over

Have you ever wondered why US states just sound so romantic in songs? Omaha, Illinois, New York etc. I mean, I doubt a song called I Was Born on Jalan Yap Kwan Seng could ever pass off as a lamenting ballad.

The Gloria Record - I Was Born in Omaha (from Start Here)
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