Top 10 Weirdest Bands

Just to clarify, weird does not necessarily mean bad. On the contrary it actually means something fantastic. Being weird is such a unique and sought after feature. If your weird, it probably means your interesting.  You know what’s not interesting? Normal stuff. Normal stuff gets really boring, really quickly. Normal people like normal stuff. Normal people make up the majority of our society, and define what’s popular and what’s not. Normal people made Nickelback a popular band. Normal people made taxes. Normal people made Project Runway. Fuck normal people. You know what weird people have done? The Snuggie. Wayne’s World. Cookies with M’n’M’s AND chocolate chips. How awesome are those things?! Weird people are the saviours of the universe. And weird people make the best music. Here is the Top 10 weirdest bands.

10. Portishead-Where would humanity be without trip-hop? Probably in a better place. That doesn’t mean that the trio out of Bristol that made up Portishead weren’t brilliant musicians. With their rolling, lolling ambience, balanced rhythms pushed over by Beth Gibbon’s absolutely stunning vocals. Portishead were always an artistic band, always delving into the studio, and fishing out something extraordinary and different. Portishead also have the brilliant combination of painting gloomy, post-apocalytpic self-portraits with their music, reflective as a stilted pond, and yet remain enticing and edgy at all times. Honestly, that description usually applies to the majority of terrible metal bands out there, and I guarantee nobody listens to those bands for more than a few seconds, and none of them are even remotely  edgy or enticing.

9. Les Savy Fav: Les Savy Fav are probably the most straightforward of bands on this list. Of course, in this context, straightforward means as crooked as a sign warning of the dangers of dyslexia. Les Savy Fav are constantly churning out interesting post-punk melodies, and their albums are all brilliant, cohesive messes. The greatest thing about the band is their lyrics though. The lyrics are twisted, metaphorical bodies that require multiple listens to even remotely understand. I’ve listened to ‘The Year Before the Year 2000’ about 40 times, and I think I’m finally figuring out what it’s about. There are just too many layers of irony and context! Also, I’ve heard they’re a diverse and entertaining live band, and well worth checking out.

8. The Black Angels- A psyched out, diverse platter is served before you with The Black Angels. Although their name holds certain negative connotations, a.k.a death metal band, The Black Angels only similarities with that of some atrocious death metal band is that you can barely understand the lyrics. When the singer isn’t moaning and groaning, then it’s a just audible mutter that is snapped up by the next barely mumbled phrase. What takes centre stage with The Black Angels is their expansive sound. They sound as if their playing in a giant stadium, and the acoustics are bouncing around everywhere, and then they manipulate it into a tightly wound, psychedelic warp that could barely fit into a manhole.

7. Liars- A Liars song is a lot like a box of chocolates. You never know what your gonna get. Will it be a full on frontal assualt, that barrages your senses with mindless noise, as in ‘Loose Nuts on the Veladrome’? Or will it be a single droning note, spoken out over a didgeridoo in the background, as in ‘Let’s Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack’? Or will it be a brushed out, gothic, epic masterpiece, like ‘We Fenced Other Gardens With The Bones Of Our Own’? The only way to find out is to steel yourself and put on a record and hope you aren’t blown away by Liars’ attempt on dubbed-techno, as in ‘They Don’t Want Your Corn-They Want Your Kids’.

6. Boris- The only band on this list that doesn’t have English as their first language. Surprisingly, when they do sing in English, they sing a hell of a lot better than most of the so-called ‘stars’ of todays generation, and with lyrics that semi make sense. Boris like to do things in extreme, often switching from one side of the spectrum to the complete opposite between albums. Whilst ‘Attention Please’ is very psychedelic and tame in comparison, and focuses on female vocals, the records ‘Heavy Rock’ and ‘Smile’ are completely fervent and hair-raising, featuring some of the most complex guitar work I’ve ever heard, and composing a distinguished stoner rock sound, something I never thought I’d ever hear.

5. Ween: Ween are fucking weird. As in, taping down dead rats to fireworks, and clapping gleefully as their eyes explode weird. Not to give a negative impression. Ween are just really hard to listen to. Most of their songs feature completely random and sporadic changes in instrumentation, tempo and style. The songs can range between a minute long, to nearly 9 minutes. This being said, Ween are so interesting. If you can finally get into them, you will reach a whole new appreciation for their music. It also helps if your on at least 5 different types of drugs. To start with, try ‘God Ween Satan: The Oneness’ and ‘Chocolate and Cheese’, Ween’s more mainstream work, the latter which featured the hit ‘The HIV Song‘. If you can dig this stuff, then try a bit more of their weirder stuff.

4. Beck- Beck is one of the most talented individuals in music today. He’s been going strong since 1993, with the release of his hit song ‘Loser‘, and produced hit after hit album. He is currently in the process of releasing his 12th album. Just to establish how weird he is, it’s coming in the form of a song booklet, for the fan to deconstruct and compose the music themselves, so as to add personal and unique flavour to Beck’s new songs. Beck has flitted from style to style through the years, never remaining stationary, and always staying interesting and contemporary. He was one of the first white people to fully embrace hip-hop, loops, and rap and co-incedentally made it huge with his album ‘Odelay’. He only relies on himself, and makes the majority of his music for himself, and has barely been influenced by outside factors. Lastly, he’s a Scientologist. It explains a lot.

3. Modest Mouse- Although they’ve flattened out their weird streak recently, Modest Mouse are one of the strangest, moulding sources of sound in contemporary music. The only thing weirder than their music is their durability,as they’ve been building their fan base slowly but steadily in the 19 years they’ve been together. Their music is full of surprise instruments, and Modest Mouse have never shied away from experimenting with old kinds of styles from blues and roots, to classical, to folk, to post-punk. A scan at the instruments shows evidence of organ, horns, banjo, fiddle and too many others to mention. Isaac Brock is the main idea’s man behind the band, and his warbling voice provides most of the distinct sound for Modest Mouse, along with their plucky, shifting style of music. Isaac’s voice is like the ugly duckling, beautiful in it’s own way; unbearable to listen to, yet impossible to tear yourself away from.

2. Sonic Youth- There have been many re-incarnations of Sonic Youth. They’ve been art-house, they’ve been grunge, they’ve been noise, they’ve been psychedelic, progressive rock, punk, post-punk, and garage. Most of all, they’ve always been insanely popular. They represent the underdogs, they outcasts, the rejects. They proved you can take a garage band, mix in some feisty boy-girl vocal dynamics, a whole hell of bass, mix it with punk and DIY ideology and sprinkle fantastic guitar work over it and produce one of the most endearing bands of the century. It’s not only critics and fans that think this. Sonic Youth’s landmark album Daydream Nation is one of the only rock records to be considered culturally significant enough to be placed in the Library of Congress’ historical records. Their scuzzy, dirty (intentional pun), and rash blend of every genre has made them the most beloved weird band on the planet. P.S All the individual members are genius. Check out any solo record by any member of the band, especially Thurston Moore. Oh how I adore that man.

1. The Flaming Lips: Wayne Coyne by himself warrants an entry on this list. He poses naked for Twitter photos, empties the physical blood of his collaborators into his record and sports and absolutely insane hairdo. But we’re here to talk about his fabulous band: The Flaming Lips. The Flaming Lips don’t just embrace their weirdness. They are weirdness personified. Not afraid to do anything, The Flaming Lips constantly challenge themselves and the norm by providing an audience with sprawling album after album, and have searched and investigated every them under the sun, and turned it into a majestical song. It helps that not one, but two of their albums, ‘At War With The Mystics’ and ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ are two of the greatest albums to ever be recorded in human history. The ultimate weirdo’s, The Flaming Lips embody what it is to be weird, and show just how much success can stem from it.

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New Artist: The Poison Control Center

If I had discovered The Poison Control Center a few years ago, I would have absolutely hated them. Mind you, I was going through my heavy metal phase. Everyone has one, don’t try and deny it. Luckily, they came up on my radar about a year ago, and I’ve absolutely loved them since. They have a unique brand of the same old indie lull. There is a little bit of unusual, peppered swagger and delightful resonance to them, and it shows that they are men, not boys, even if their songs are incredibly childish.

The Poison Control Center play indie rock-pop songs, and they’re from small town Iowa. Formed in 2003, they’ve pumped out album after non-changing album, so there isn’t any real danger of picking up one of their records and getting something completely unexpected. All you shall receive is some relaxing, naive songs by adults stuck in kids bodies, and mourning the loss of their youth, in the most euphemistic way possible, of course. The Poison Control Center  play music in the vein of the Airborne Toxic Event, Dinosaur Jr., Coconut Records and Wolf Parade.

The Poison Control Center don’t really stray from the formula they have. That is, chilled, touching and melody-centric indie pop tunes. Heartbreak and desperation are constant themes, but The Poison Control Center always have a way of making the songs upbeat in tempo, and happy in style. Although the sound doesn’t shift dramatically, in fact, rarely at at all, every song is different in it’s general appeal. That is, every song is a happy, strummed version of the one before, but it is so gorgeous that you can’t help but not mind.

The sound rarely crescendos, delves in experimentalism or breaks the 4/4 signature. But The Poison Control Centre will definitely capture your heart because they’re too innocent not to love. All you have to do is listen to ‘Being Gone’ from their album Sad Sour Future. Deliciously crafted, it holds a somber tone, but not one that is self-appreciating, which is a good thing to note. The band is self-deprecating and very aware of their status and role. They are simply an indie band trying to play upbeat indie songs for an unappreciative indie crowd. Nothing more, nothing less. Except they do it better than your shitty band.

Bandcamp: http://thepoisoncontrolcenter.bandcamp.com/

Top 10 Australian EP’s of 2012

Australia, as we all know, is rich with young musical talent. All musical genres and styles are represented by the fathoms of musicians out there trying to make a name for themselves, and 2012 has not been an exception of a year, that hasn’t produced countless amazing records from amazing up and coming bands. The greatest way for a band to show their undeniable talent is for them to release an EP. An EP has been the maker or breaker of bands for generations, and will do for generations to come. It’s value is priceless, and shows that fat cat record executive exactly what kind of band you are. An EP usually contains between 3-6 songs, and provides a taste for what the casual listener can expect from the band. EP’s aren’t mass-produced, and there are usually only a couple hundred available, so if a band ever makes it big, make sure you hold onto their EP, it’ll be worth big bucks. This is a list of the greatest Australian EP’s to be released this year from up and comers.

10. Rufus-Rufus EP (Blue): Rufus provide a lossless, enchanting take on dance music, and they’re a lot more driven and complex than their previous EP. The beats are trapping, and his voice is simply elegant, and it floats over the music in a silky, fashionable way. Some absolutely stunning synth-pop from a crew that can both chill you out and fire you up within the same song.

9. Set Sail-Hey! EP:  Set Sail have the happy vibes down pat. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of growth or distinction between songs, however it doesn’t seem to bother, and the catchiness factor accelerates to an all time factor, especially on ‘The Charleston’. Homegrown talent that is special, and a bit of a guilty pleasure. Incredibly easy for this EP to cheer you up, no matter what mood your in.

8. Millions-Nine Lives, Six Degrees EP: Droopy love songs have never sounded this good. Dreary, grey slacken vocals set against a backdrop of gentle, pitter-patter guitar rhythm. The band is not charging down with aspirations of glory, but more just channeling a nervous, semi-confident energy that suits their style and songs.

7. Kingswood-Change of Heart EP: I’ll be honest. Kingswood scare me. They scare me a lot. I feel that when I listen to them, the singer will reach through the audio barrier, grab my face off, and hoard it amongst a collection of other similarly detached and horrified expressions. Perhaps this is where he gets his inspiration. Mythological inspirations aside, Kingswood are brutally honest, and howl like a wolf in the dead of winter.

6. Fait Accompli-Spies EP: The bar was set quite high after Fait Accompli’s previous EP’s. The single’s ‘Ride’ and ‘No Fool’ have been personal favourites in my collection for a while, and Fait Accompli are a shining light in the Sydney rock scene. Spies did not disappoint, and is a great lesson in how to manufacture some straight forward rock n roll. It doesn’t gallop, it doesn’t trip, it doesn’t hobble, it simply…does.

5. Bloods-Goodnight/All the Things You Say Are Wrong 7″– Old school, fuzzy to the bone, and teeth gnashingly beautiful. Bloods present a guts-on-the-floor assault on the senses with another 7″. The vocals are distant, and pretty much second rate. What really takes centre stage are the thrashing guitar, and furious rampage that takes place during any Bloods song. If you want to relax, Bloods are the wrong band. If you want to jump around, party, stick it to the man, and make out all at the same time, then Bloods might be suitable.

4. San Cisco-Awkward EP: This lil’ indie band absolutely stormed Australia earlier this year when they chugged out the indie anthem Awkward. It’s cute and unassuming, and deals with the teenagers flirting and trifling with love, and it’s wishy-washy melody and narrative style could be the sountrack to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. Don’t think of the band as annoying, teenage one hit wonder. The EP is full of other little diamonds like ‘Rocket Ship’ and the dreamy and silky ‘Reckless’.

3. Sures-Stars EP: Sures have surely (fuck me, I’m reckless with my puns) grown as a band and musicians. With their debut EP, Sures still stick to a cliched surf rock teenage fantasy, but they have branched out and found a way to make it otherworldly, and incredibly groovy and cool. It almost seems like an underrated privilege to listen to the EP. Every song is full of life, hope and plain desperation, that both contains normalcy and abnormality to it.

2. The Jungle Giants-She’s a Riot EP: They’ve strayed away from their tried and true method of polite and quaint country folk, and it’s really paid off. There’s a more learned and produced approach to the EP, that gives off slickness, but not in a bad way. The Jungle Giant’s scored a massive hit with the lead single, and the entire EP is ten times more catchy and smooth than the rest of their material.

1. Dirt Farmer-Dirt Farmer EP: There is simply no other way to talk about this band, other than to gush. Everything about them is superb. It’s impossible not to drift off to your favourite place or setting when listening to them. Although Dirt Farmer have stuck to quite a strict repertoire, this has allowed them to hone every song to perfection, and when they finally got around to recording those demo’s, the practice really shows. A stylised blues-rock record, with a hint of Australian spirit thrown in there for good taste.

Gig Review: Jinja Safari

Friday 17th August @ Metro Theatre

This triple-headliner bill at the Metro was pretty much the only thing keeping me going all week. I was exhausted and prepared to just listen to some live music, and enjoy a mediocre performance from a mostly average band. I got so much much more.

First on stage were White Arrows, from LA. That is, Los Angeles. In the USA. I don’t know how I’ve never managed to hear about these guys before I bought the tickets to the gig, but they absolutely blew me away. On record, they sound a bit strained, and try a bit too hard to pull off a perfect sound. Live, however, the band are in their element, caressing the stage like a newborn baby, and waltzing up and down like they own the venue. Although the venue was only half full, those in attendance were treated to some of the most laid back garage/indie rock to grace ears. Hits from the set included ‘Sail On’, ‘I Can Go’, and ‘Coming or Going’. Although not high energy, the band were a pleasant surprise, and a highly recommend them.

After a short break, Opossum, the New Zealand side project of the ex-Mint Chicks drummer. The debut album, Electric Hawaii has been on rotation quite a bit for me, and I was very excited to see how the blissed out pop would unfurl itself on stage. Unfortunately, the band failed to deliver at all. There were quite a few technical problems, such as dimmed out vocals and bass, and incessant fuzzes of feedback. The worst part however was the lack of gelling between bandmates, as if it were just a few session musicians thrown onto stage. A girl replaced the usual male vocals on the majority of the songs, probably because of the complexity of the drum parts, however it was too different a change to be accepted, and diluted the strength of the extraordinary vocals in the songs on the record. Lastly, the band used heavy guitar and bass effects, probably in excess, and achieved a much more noise rock/ drone sound, similar in fashion to post-punk. Whilst on the record, Opossum presents itself as definitely pop, the band used delayed reverb in excess and what spewed forth was a shoddy mess of sound, showmanship and general entertainment. Thoroughly disappointing, and not a true showcase of the bands talent.

After waiting for a rough 45 minutes, Jinja Safari finally entered onto the stage. Entered isn’t really the right word….more exploded. The band were incredibly down to earth, humble and just as excited to be playing the Metro, as every punter in attendance. I tried really hard to hate Jinja Safari ( The band I was really there for was Opossum), I really did. They fit so easily into the category of Triple J indie kids, flavour of the month, nonsense trashy indie pop. But the band were too genuine for that, and my cynicism soon disappeared.

The band went with the opener of ‘Hiccups’ and instantly, the crowd was in the palm of their hands. Jumping around, barefoot, on the stage, swinging wildly around in a makeshift fashion, Jinja Safari were obviously having the tie of their lives, playing their forest-vibes indie tunes to a crowd that was just lapping it up, crowing every word back to the singers. What amazed me most was the great amount of excitement and live energy that purveyed the stage. They were like monkeys, completely wild and uncontrollable, and exhibiting such a primal, bohemian force that shot down any naysayer in the crowd…peacefully of course, and with a slice of fruit.

Instrumentally, the band surpass everything. Jinja Safari have a wild eyed maniac (Marcus Azon) solely dedicated to banging jungle drums to achieve their primitive sound, and he surely provided a third of the entertainment aspect for the band. They incorporate many styles, from African skin drums and tom toms, to a looping pedal and drum machine, all worked by the same lunatic. Another interesting aspect was the long haired part time vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Pepa Knight. He was another highlight of the band, talent aside, for his climbing skills, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to compare him to a monkey, as he clambered all over the sound systems, and drums, before jumping off, screaming in delight. When you factor in his contributions to the music, he is a god. He played keys, guitar, bass, a portable red keyboard, an ancient flute ( that he kindly offered to the crowd, after he broke it) and he even broke out a sitar for the crowd favourite ‘Peter Pan’.

The set was littered with good humour and banter, and Jinja Safari peppered the set with old and brand new material, ensuring everyone got a piece of the action. One girl even got a little bit over-excited and flashed the band, causing a whirl of excitement on stage, and the remark “…how rock n roll is that?!’ from the usually quiet bassist. They were so thankful and respectful of the audience, and the crowd, including myself fell in love with their honesty and skill as musicians and showman’s. This only proved itself with the encore: a shirtless belt out of a new song, and the summer time favourite ‘Mermaids’. The finale had the entire audience jumping up and down, in absolute ecstasy, and the floor was about to crumble under everyone’s feet. A great summarisation of the vibes shooting out from the transportation from normally boring Metro, to the glowing forest rave that took place that night, all thanks to the Sydney boys, Jinja Safari.

Sunday Punk Fix: The Hives

One of the liveliest, energetic and genuine of bands going around right now are Sweden’s The Hives. Started as a teenage garage band in 1993, they still maintain an uncorrupted source of Howlin’ Pete’s arage rock ferocity. The main source of brilliance is their ability to have a strong poudning rythym section that both incorporates and blasts through the whirling shout out chorus’ The Hives always offer. It recognition of their new album and slot on Falls Festival, here are the Top 10 Hives songs.

10. Go Right Ahead (Lex Hives): One from their latest album, The Hives definitely incorporated a more slick and produced tone on the record than in the past. Although it might have alienated the bands more punk fans, it still holds true to The Hives’ aspirations to be the biggest band in the world. Features an absolutely killer horn section that provides an amazing underlying, swelling bass and overall epic tone.

9. Square One, Here I Come (Black and White Album): A clever re-telling of a man’s decline into his current position of helplessness, except in a lot more basic way. Just a classic shit-out-of-luck story, and how you have to persevere. Think of that…with ragged guitar plugs and riffs, and cowbell, lots of cowbell.

8. Main Offender (Your New Favourite Band); A huge, stomping, snotty introduction really sets up the entire song. A charging riff, layered with fuzz and dirty to the bone, Howlin Pete throws out his rebellious, discharged points and lays it all on the floor. Absolutely gut wrenching stubbornness.

7. Tick Tick Boom (Black and White Album): The introduction is so tantalising, and leaves so much buildup, that it seems impossible to deliver on expectation. Rip-roaring, like a chainsaw is the answer to that expectation. Not literally, but that is what it feels like is happening to you when you sit down, and get your head blown off by it’s sheer proportions.

6. Walk Idiot Walk (Tyrannosaurus Hives): The album name is a dead give-away of the bands intentions, and earned them legions of fans when it was released. So the album must be jam packed with hits, like this one: Walk Idiot Walk. It’s really just the band venting frustration about the stupid people who robotically function throughout their lives, but it packs the biggest of punches, with the absolute infectious repetition of it’s bass and guitar riffs.

5. Try It Again (The Black and White Album): With it’s call-and-answer style, Try it Again gives off quite an underdog vibe. There’s a real Rocky punching a bag off meat spirituality to it. There’s the same charging ahead atmosphere, and an all round exaggeration that really makes the song what it is. 

4. B is for Brutus (Tyrannosaurus Hives): The scuzziest and grittiest of The Hives songs. It has a very rock n roll approach, and there are no real anthem-like flourishes. The riff is also slightly longer and more complex than other Hives’ efforts, and it really shows, in the overload of groove that oozes from the song.

3. Won’t Be Long (The Black and White Album): Successfully integrating percussion ting tings with heavy and light differentiating guitar melodies would be the strongest point for this song. It really drives off too much of a negative feel with a perfect screams and bouncing guitar ringing.

2. Hate To Say I Told You So (Veni Vidi Vicious) The Hives first real hit, off their debut album. Has a real taste of their bratty, petulant, and semi-arrogant attitude that everyone can’t get enough of, and has really been the reason why they’ve trail blazed so well as a garage band. Very in your face, and very, very good.

1. A.K.A I-D-I-O-T (Barely Legal) Definitely the fastest song in The Hives’ catalogue. This song just has such a frenetic, haphazard, and ballistic attitude to it, and romps from start to finish, blasting away any other competitor. It’s a clever song, disguised as a stupid song, written and performed by clever people, pretending to be stupid people, about stupid people pretending to be smart people… I need to sit down.

The Top 10 Most Relaxing Bands

Let’s face it: sleeping is hard. What are you supposed to do between the hours in which you turn off the light and when you actually fall asleep. Do you really want to sit there, bored out of your mind, simply tossing and turning in the sheets, and switching sides of the pillow? No way! But what to do? Listen to some relaxing, sleepy music that will both entertain you and put you to sleep. Here is a list of the best of the best.

10. Blonde Redhead: Swirling in every essence of the word, Blonde Redhead really go to lengths to push such a drone sound. Every note is pushed to it’s absolute extreme, until it is gasping for breath, and only then will they change the chord (good example: ‘Publisher’). Blonde Redhead provide tranquil, soothing melodies that push your brain into a thinking place, and make sure it stays there.

9. Father John Misty: The excellent side-project of ex-Fleet Foxes (amazing band in their own right) drummer, J. Tillman. Haunting harmonies, and expansive sounds are the name of this record. Actually it’s called Fear Fun, quite a good title, as it gives off a shut-in-living-in-a-log-cabin-in-the-woods vibe. Exquisite.

8. The Trouble With Templeton: After releasing their debut record this year, TTWT have really captured my eye. Amazing soaring pieces of acoustic folk, the songs slide along past your mind quietly, yet always keeping a piqued interest. Thomas Calder gives off such a carefree, slipping away tone, and his songs can really only be compared to a falling Autumn leaf. Quiet, and strong.

7. Dirt Farmer: Although having only released an EP, Melbourne’s Dirt Farmer employ chilled out rock to great effect. Vocals that interlope and intertwine textually, singing about love gained, love lost and all in between. Delicate guitar work makes for a woven masterpiece of indie-folk rock, and Stuart Boyle’s voice is gentle and comforting, the perfect sleep mixtape.

6. Bearhug: Bearhug play a more mature version of what Dirt Farmer hope they could sound like. Although the ideals of sound are struggling between Dinosaur Jr. and the Velvet Underground, whatever they have landed on is still brilliant. All the material released by the band so far is spectacularly soothing and sleep inducing. The guitars pluck and sing, waining out beautiful ballad after the next, and the mixture never quite reaches a peak, but certainly flatten out at a very high plateau. High expectations for this band.

5. The War on Drugs: Ironic name, since war is the last thing to come to mind when listening to them. Drugs…..well, probably. This is Kurt Vile’s actual band, with a moniker that doesn’t contain his name, and tends to stray less into a garage sound, and sticks more definitely with ambience. Slow and loving, and carefully constructed, like a ballet. Standout relaxing songs are ‘It’s Your Destiny’ and ‘Baby Missiles’.

4. Bon Iver: Quite an expansive and impressive catalogue for a guy who sits around and mostly just strums a guitar. There is only one way to describe Justin Vernon’s voice: beautiful. It is so textured and unintentionally glamourous. Bon Iver make everything seem tragic and hopeful at the same time, and their songs, like ‘Flume’ and ‘Skinny Love’ are so simple, yet so complicated. Every time I hear one of his songs, I notice something different, and that’s an amazing thing to take away from any artist, casual listener or hardcore fan.

3. Youth Lagoon: An exotic, hypnotic twist of complex, minimalistic sounds. All Youth Lagoon try to achieve is a sense of hopeful loss-less. Less is more is kind of the moniker for Youth Lagoon’s debut, and it works very well to his advantage, providing a wall of architectured sound, that is dreamy and  inspiring.

2. Portugal. The Man: The band has been around 8 years. They have pumped out 7 albums in that small space of time, and don’t look like slowing down. That’s a hell of a lot of material to choose from to go to sleep to. The greatest way to describe them would be a palette of watercolour, casually spinning around, carefree yet serious, and combining a variety of techniques for the perfect song to put you in the perfect mood for a nap.

1. The xx: One of those original indie ambient bands. The amount of thought put into every song is very evident, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is incredibly excited for the sophomore release ‘Coexist’. For now, Islands will have to do, but that is by no means a complaint. The chiming, irreverent tones of The xx are perfectly suited to any hard day’s night, and seem to calmly explain why everything is going to be ok, and that you should just let you worries slip to the side as their album takes absolute precedence.

The Avalanches-Frontier Psychiatrist

An oldie but a goodie. A true testament to The Avalanches wonderful weirdness. The hazardous collection of sounds all collide to form an orgy of fantastic majesty. This video perfectly conveys that with the completely unrelated all combining to form a confusing but wholesome video. Perfect for if your in the tripping balls mood.

Top 10 Movie Soundtracks

The music soundtrack is one of the most important elements of a film. It’s meant to perfectly capture the essence of the film as a whole when you look at the entire track listing, but it’s also mean to fit the type of mood at the specific point that the song pops up in the film. A Film’s soundtrack should be an eclectic mix of diverse and strange tracks, based on a variety of genres and time periods, and preferably from bands that are a bit older, or more obscure, so as not tick the box of a ‘Top 40: The best of 2012’ feel. The following items in this list are not necessarily my favourite films, albeit they’re all up there, but they provide the greatest soundtrack that bring the vibe of the film to life.

10. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle: This cult stoner comedy about two buddies on the search for the ultimate munchies has touched a lot of stoned kids hearts, and brought countless tears of laughter. Most of the songs you’ll find on here regurgitate that care-free, stoner vibe, what with it being chock full of stoner hip hop classics, like Lexicon’s ‘Rock’ and Kottonmouth King’s ‘Shunk One’.

9.The Crow (1984): The Crow was an absolute fantastic gothic fantasy, full of dark, satanic imagery, the supernatural, a twisted superhero witchhunt, and fuel of cruelty. Sadly, it was also the last film Brandon Lee made before he died. To fit the sombre tone of the film, an equally heavy and dramtic soundtrack was needed, and such a thing was delivered. Featuring Pantera, Rage Against the Machine, The Cure, Rollins Band and Nine Inch Nails, it also launched the career of Stone Temple Pilots, with their contribution ‘Big Empty’. Also, it featured an in movie cameo of White Zombie, which is pretty cool.

8. Hanna: The only film in this list that you’ll find is compiled entirely by a single artist. Hanna is the incredibly interesting, and incredibly recent film about a young Swedish girl assassin traipsing America, and it starred the Australian heavyweights Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett. The Chemical Brothers devised such an interesting score to go with the film, being haphazard and delusional when they needed to, and touching and endearing when it was necessary.

7. Reality Bites: This little known indie film is actually quite endearing and deep if you ever have the chance to watch it, if not for the plot and characters, then definitely for the music. Seeing Winona Ryder dance wildly to ‘My Sharona’ by The Knack in a convenience store is absolutely hilarious, and it features the beautifully intrepid ballad ‘Turnip Farm’ by Dinosaur Jr. It also features a few songs and covers sung by Ethan Hawke, who surprisingly holds his own amongst the heavyweights of Crowded House, U2 and Lenny Kravitz.

6. Rock N Rolla: What are you supposed to pick for the music to go to a sophisticated British gangster-crime thriller by Guy Ritchie? A perpetual mix of old and new, the soundtrack more or less made the otherwise convoluted and forgetful film, the song flicked back and forth from the gutsy ‘I’m a Man’ by Black Strobe, to The Sonics, The Scientists, and The Clash, and then right back to the Subways with a cameo performance of ‘Rock and Roll Queen’.

5.Clerks: The indie film that launched Kevin Smith to stardom, and made Jay and Silent Bob eternal household names, this film had the oddball, quirky tone of the traditional nobody outsider, and the soundtrack backs that up perfectly. The most mainstream of artist’s on there would be Alice in Chains, which is quite a testament to it’s indie cred. The album is so diverse and beautiful featuring tracks by The Jesus Lizard, Stabbing Westward, Bad Religion, and  Seaweed. And who could forget Supernova’s Chewbacca, which is a Star Wars fan homage in a film full of Star Wars fan homages.

4. Drive: There was definitely a theme to Drive’s soundtrack, and that theme was modern 80’s inspired synth. The film drifts along at half speed, before switching to 5th gear occasionally and blasting us all away, just like the perfectly considered soundtrack. As an audience, we feel nostalgic for a time gone by, but are still pumped by the soothing, neon beats of the Siren-esque calling of the songs. I could seriously just watch Ryan Gosling drive around LA all day with the soundtrack in the background. Highlights include Kavinsky and Lovefoxxx’s ‘Nightcall’ and College’s ‘A Real Hero’.

3. Romeo + Juliet (1996): This classic tale of love, brought to you by Australian director Baz Luhrmann via Shakespeare, there is no way the soundtrack could beat such a fantastic portrayal of one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays brought to life by such fantastic filmography. Or could it? it’s hard to decide, but the decision is made even harder at a gaze at the track listing. Garbage, Everclear (with their only half-decent song), Butthole Surfers, The Cardigans and an absolutely stunning choir cover of Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good). Radiohead’s creepily bitter ‘Talk Show Host’ was possibly one of the greatest songs to come out that year, and encapsulates the entire forbidden love essence of the film, and the unspoken, unnatural hate felt between the Montagues and Capulets.

2. Trainspotting: The disturbing Scottish film that put Danny Boyle and Ewan McGregor on the map. Trainspotting would be a fine movie if there was no soundtrack, and all we did was watch the incredible acting unfold. Fortunately, it gets even better, and there is the outstanding accompanying soundtrack. It has the dirty, scummy, perseverant yet super duper cooler-than-thou presence that was so integral to the film and features tracks by people who were all junkies themselves: Lou Reed, Primal Scream, Iggy Pop, and New Order. A stack of British and international stars also contributed like Brian Eno, Damon Albarn, Blur, Pulp and Elastica, giving the greatest, carefree Britpop inspired soundtrack ever.

1. Pulp Fiction: The greatest movie, ever. Hands down. No contest. Seriously, try to compare to another film, you can’t. There is simply no other standard for a Quentin Tarantino film, and Pulp Fiction is the best of the best. Quentin Tarantino truly outdid himself with the soundtrack, which is so intensely important to the contemporary, ultra violent/romantic/abused feel of the film. Urge Overkill’s ‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon’ perfectly foreshadows an overdose, and Bruce Willis’ intense stare down with Marcellus Wallace would never be the same without Al Green crooning in the background. Tarantino’s pop culture inspired love story of violence and the counter culture is just brought to the absolute precipice of unbelieavable by this exploitation of a soundtrack. In this context exploitation is a good thing.

(Special Mentions: Into The Wild, The Big Lebowski, Reservoir Dogs, Garden State, Wayne’s World, O Brother, Where Art Thou?)

The Top 10 Most Atrocious Rappers

Hip Hop, at best, is a fragmented genre. There are undoubtedly heroes, who have stuck by their roots, and produced amazing albums, so full of talent and prowess, and deserve your utmost respect. Credit where credit is due. But these albums are dime a dozen, and every time an amazing hip hop album comes out, it has been preceded by dozens of horrible, despicable piles of atrocity. The main problem is that Hip Hop has become such a bankable genre, that you can just slap some ‘grillz’ on a dude, give him a microphone, and film girls grinding him, and it will become a pop sensation. The three main things needed for a good Hip Hop track are good beats, good lyrics, and good flow. The following artists possess none of these qualities. They are the worst offenders.

10. Tyler, the Creator: as the formidable leader of the Odd Future crew, Tyler does have an overwhelming amount of street cred and support going his way. There was a short time after Goblin was released, that Yonkers was playing on everyone’s Ipod, and it admittedly has amazing bass. But he’s just too controversial. He seems to only say things for the pure shock effect he gains from them, and it loses that effect very quickly.

9. Akon: Ahhhhh, Akon. What a poor, misunderstood soul. He’s so lonely (AMIRIGHT!?). He’s also terrible. Akon isn’t really a rapper, he’s more a pop star, like Usher, but he calls himself a rapper, which is in part why I have so much distaste for him. He builds up such a ghetto image for himself, rapping about how he had it tough, then in the next song talks about how he ‘makes it rain’ with strippers. What a tool. Also, he ruined David Guetta’s innocence. How could you, Akon?

8. B.O.B: Another criminal of the pop star ‘rapper’ label, B.O.B makes straight up terrible music. Airplanes and Magic are absolute deathly to the ear holes, and make me want to puke. Over-produced, over-commercialised, over-considered. Everything B.O.B says seems like it was written for him, and he seems really uncomfortable saying it, and would rather just say ‘YO’ over and over again. Shame on you Rivers Cuomo for working with this travesty.

7. Drake: Rappers seem to have this fascination with making up dumb phrases, and trying way to hard to make them popular. In Drake’s case, it is YOLO, the dumb slang word of the month, this August of 2012. Drake rhymes like he’s unsure whether he should keep going or not, and I’m sure there are countless takes of him in the studio muttering”…no, this can’t be right…maybe I should give up this rap thing…”

6. T-Pain: This flashing chain of self-obssession is a prime example of why pop music has been degrading over the years. I don’t think anyone has ever heard T-Pain’s real voice, only an auto-tuned parody of it. T-Pain could be dead for all we know, and they’re just replacing him with bedazzled, dreadlocked man after the other. But he raps like he struts: Painfully obnoxiously.

5. Lil Jon: Is there any way you can forgive someone who brought the term ‘crunk’ to mainstream popularity? That point aside, every single Lil Jon song sounds exactly the same, and is terrible in any other context other than spewing your guts up on a dance floor, and even then it’s barely mediocre. Every song of his is about drinking, bitches, or some other superficial topic, but mostly the first two. He sounds like a 5 year old that is home alone, and is suddenly allowed to swear as loudly and as much as they want. Also theres this….isn’t that voice like grating sandpaper?

4. Chief Keef: If you don’t know or hate Chief Keef, watch this for a few minutes….done? Is that not some of the worst rapping you’ve ever seen. It’s so in your face and pointless, it’s hard not to turn it off. The chorus itself makes you want to take a trident and harrow out your insides, and I refuse to type it, because I might just spontaneously combust. I was actually surprised when I found out he had more than one song. Who produces this scandalous atrocity?

3. Vanilla Ice: Is Vanille Ice alive anymore? Seriously I’m worried about him, someone should drop off some soup, make sure he’s ok, and that he has enough water in his bowl. Beside the fact he thinks he is the greatest rapper to grace the earth, he literally ruined rap for mainstream audiences. Instead of the mainstream pioneer being someone like Public Enemy or N.W.A, we got Ice Ice Baby, and it has taken way too long to clear that smear from our minds. You ruined rap for everyone Vanilla Ice!

2. Kerser: Words cannot describe this human travesty. It’s hard to distinguish where exactly Kerser fucked up. Was it when he released a song called Kerser is the sickest? When he started up Hustle Hard TV? When he battled 360 wearing a Nautica polo and Dry Fit? Or how about that time he got Kerser tattooed to his cheek/chin? Doesn’t that just scream job possibilities? Not even McDonald’s would hire this walking apocalypse. He speaks like his mouth is full of marbles, and he walks like he’s Jay-Z, when in fact Cee Lo Green could snap his neck with his pinkie. And if Cee Lo reads this…CRUSH THAT JUNKIE!

1. Lil Wayne: It’s physically exhausting for me to type this “man’s” name, as I have to go punch myself in the eye every time I think of him. This is a rapper who thought that rhyming the N-word with the….(gasp) N-word was literary prowess. This is a rapper who has covered every inch of himself in tattoos….that mean nothing to him. Above all, this rapper not only degrades women, which is pretty normal in the Hip Hop community, but I’m pretty sure he actively despises them. I’ve come to the conclusion Lil Wayne is an alien and wants to kill us all with his music. Phase two of his plan is to run over grandma’s with his skateboard.