Top 10 Gigs of 2012 (For Me)

2012 has literally been the year of the gig. So many great bands have graced our shores, from Radiohead and Coldplay to…Wheatus. Not to mention all the fan-fucking-tastic local talent that swarms our venues. Here’s the best shit that I saw…

1. Tame Impala @ The Enmore-Pschedelica at it’s best. Kevin Parker blew the absolute shit out of my mind and then blew it a little more. Each song was a treasure chest of awesome.

2. Black Keys @ Entertainment Centre-Old school blues rock n roll is hard to come by these days. Black Keys knocked it out of the fucking ball bark. Pat Carney+ Dan Auberach= Rock Heaven

3. Smashing Pumpkins @ Entertainment Centre- An hour of entrancing ‘Oceania’ and an hour of obscure and classic Smashing Pumpkins songs made for an unforgettable night of 90’s rock. 

4. Primal Scream @ Enmore Theatre-Once again with the 90’s rock. Once again a fantastic show, a diverse palette of rock, gospel, rave all on display.

5. Call the Cops @ Factory Theatre- A night of sweat, blood and more sweat. 3 bands. 5 hours. Pure, unadulterated carnage.

6. Beck @ State Theatre- Almost 3 hours of classic Beck material ranging from ‘Loser’, to ‘Paper Tiger’ to ‘E-Pro’. Solid Gold Hits until your eardrums were at bursting point and your feet nearly broke.

7. Bleeding Knees Club @ Metro Theatre- Once again, carnage at it’s purest, beach induced form. It’s hard not to dance at a Bleeding Knees Club show, or mosh, or fight, or crowd surf. It’s hard to keep still is what I’m saying.

8. Bad Religion @ Hi-Fi Bar- Supported by The Menzingers, Street Dogs and Strung Out, this who’s who lineup of punk rock royalty was guaranteed to be one of the greatest nights Sydney saw this year.

9. The Rubens @ The Metro- Some fine, fine Black Keys imitators were on show that night. Imitators seems a bit harsh, as they have come out with a unique spin on blues, and added Australian flair to the music.

10. Jinja Safari @ The Metro-A night of unrelenting happiness burst forth from the crowd the night Jinja Safari took to the stage in the Sydney leg of their ‘Blind Date’ tour featuring White Arrows and Opossum. ‘Mermaids’ made the night one to remember.


Album Review: A Tribe Called Quest-The Low End Theory

Hip-Hop is a genre that couldn’t really be called consistent. Some years, there are just leaps and bounds of creativity present. Other years there’s Lil’ Wayne. It’s weird. Don’t take this to mean I think Hip-Hop is some kind of derivative genre. Quite the opposite. But it’s a fact that for every Mos Def, there are about 10 Lil’ Jon’s. Don’t even get me started on fucking Nicki Minaj. If you’re relying on your arse to sell records, and talking of nothing but dick….why not just become a porn star? Anyway, she can do what she wants, besides bastardise hip-hop. It wasn’t always that way. In 1990’s, there were groups spawning from both coasts of the USA, groups that cemented hip-hop as a viable source of good music and entertainment. There were the groups that still gather adoring fans and listeners today, critical, commercial and cultural darlings. You’ve got De La Soul, N.W.A, Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan…and of course, A Tribe Called Quest.

The second outing of A Tribe Called Quest, ‘The Low End Theory’, is considered an all time hip-hop great. Scratch that. It’s widely considered fucking musical genius. The combination of MC Phife Dawg (hands down the most ridiculous name to belong to a respectable rapper), MC/Beatmaker Q-Tip (in the running for the greatest alias in hip-hop alongside Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Quasimodo and Captain Murphy) and their producer Ali Shaheed Muhammed is just an explosive combination of talent that can only create amazing things. For science nerds, it’s Newtown, Einstein and Bohr in a room. For playwright masturbators, that’s Shakespeare, Tom Stoppard and Tennessee Williams all hanging out. For hip-hop, it’s A Tribe Called Quest.

The Low End Theory, released in 1991, is landmark for a few reasons. One, it seamlessly fuses classical jazz with hell bent rapping. The juxtaposition of laid-black, bluesy doo-woop style jazz music, complete with a hypnotic bass drum in all the tracks, and even a live double bass (played by bass legend Ron Carter) in the track ‘Verses from the Abstract’, to the brutal lyrics mainly spurted like a gush of blood from a severed tendon from Phife Dawg is surprisingly, and thankfully, mind blowing. Imagine the backdrop of a jazz bar, someone lightly strumming out some rhythmic orgasm on a basic getup, while the wild eyed insanity of hip-hop spouts choice quotes like ‘Only if you’re on stage or if you’re speakin’ to your people, Ain’t no one your equal’ (Q-Tip, Show Business) or ‘A special shot of peace goes out to all my pals, you see, And a middle finger goes for all you punk mcs’ (Phife Dawg, Check the Rhime). It’s bitter, it’s cynical, it’s funny. While Phife tends to keep things light, and uses the word ‘wack’ maybe a bit too much, Q-Tip is always very low and dead serious. They act as a foil for one another, ensuring the songs never reach over-seriousness, but never trip on being overly comical. They’re like a better version of Chuck D and Flava Flav.

Reason number two of why you need to love ‘The Low End Theory’: they rap about all sorts of shit. No matter what the topic, as long as it was thriving in 1991, then it was on the album. Even if it was trivial it was on the album. Topics varied from the pure love of jazz shared by all members (Jazz  [We Got], but also evident throughout the entire album), the horror of rape (The Infamous Date Rape) and the viciousness of the music industry, especially in the first floundering days of hip-hop (Rap Promoter, Show Business). Of course, there’s songs about girls on there, it wouldn’t be a rap record without that. But the references to women aren’t subordinant or demeaning, rather more appreciative. In fact, there’s only one track that is consumed in it’s subject matter to women, ‘Butter’ for those wondering. It’s a real record with a diverse subject matter, as well as a diverse sound.

Which brings me to the third and final reason of why ‘The Low End Theory’ is more awesome than words can describe: the sounds that come forth. Jazz and hip-hop are vastly different genres, and at face value could never be connected. But Phife, Ali and Q-Tip found a way, and by fuck did it work. The apparent contradiction worked way better than anyone could have ever expected. Also, the sampling, one of the most integral parts of hip-hop, is spot-on, abundantly varied as it is engaging. The music ensures that anyone listening to the record, even for a second, will be totally enraptured, and be able to appreciate the integrity of it.

Over 20 years on since it’s release, ‘The Low End Theory’ is still deeply cherished by hip-hop fans. It’s honest, laid-back approach can be acknowledged as brilliant writing and songcraft. Whether you like hip-hop or not, you’ll at least be able to appreciate ‘The Low End Theory’ for the achievement it is.

Top 10 Australian Producers

In recent years, electronica music has moved extraordinarily far in the world, and in Australia especially. Seriously, there is no other option but inevitable world domination by Australian electronic artists on the international stages. Earlier this year, an almost unknown Australian producer called Flume topped the ARIA and Itunes charts with his debut self-titled. Electronic, House, Ambient and Trance are all making a comeback, and they’re no longer looked upon as shit that people on drugs listen to. Electronic is fast becoming the newest popular form of music, and Australia is leading the way.  In the coming years, look forward to Hermitude gracing the main stage at Big Day Out instead of the Chili Peppers, amongst these other names…

10. Motion. Picture. Actress- There doesn’t come a more Australian sound integrated into production than the work of Motion. Picture. Actress. Throughout the opening bars of their standout track ‘Ghosts’ the sounds of birdsong, wind rustling through trees, rain falling, and wind chimes echo, all strong reminders of an Australian bush landscape. Then a soulful piano jolts in, feminine alien vocals, a kicking drum beat and the rest of the track is pure brilliance. Much is the same for the entire EP. Aussie pride n shit.

9. Super Magic Hats- Super Magic Hats are a pretty well kept secret, and it’s dumfounding. They play absolutely next level shit. Regardless of how stoner that sounds, it’s 100% true. Listening to a Super Magic Hats song like ‘Charcoal’ is an experience. The shifts in sonic sounds, the constant bass kicks, the synth patterning that scatters then recollects…jaw dropping. To draw comparisons, I’d say they sound a lot like Purity Ring from Canada, only better.

8. Fishing-Hands down, the best new talent to be coming out of Sydney in the electronic spectrum of things. Made up of two young guys, that couldn’t be but fresh out of high school, they combine indie pop sensibilities with electronic synth fusion. Listening to a bouncy, floating track like ‘OOOO’ is like playing Mario Kart: super childish, super nostalgic and possibly the funnest thing ever. They’re entrancing live as well, speaking from first person experience, on the tours when they supported Deep Sea Arcade and Snakadaktal. Their latest single Choy Line is amazeballs.

7. Oliver Tank-Although a tad more vocal in his work than the previous entries, Oliver Tank is a feather in the cap for all contemporary Australian production. For an example, listen to the single off his ‘Dreams’ EP, ‘Last Night I Heard Everything in Slow Motion. It’s tear-inducing stuff. Even before the violins in kick in at 0:40 seconds, the waterworks have started. In no other song in the electronic genre have I felt that a musician is baring their soul through their music than in Oliver Tank’s case.  Every song on the EP is a mournful tale, and it’s heartbreakingly beautiful.

6. I’lls-Straight out of Melbourne,I’ll’s play some gorgeously hypnotic, and incredibly lustrous production. Imagine a slightly shit Radiohead, which is still miles better than the best glam band. It’s pretty fucking fantastic to just slip on some earphones, crank the volume, and slip into a trance. The band plays quietly harrowing sounds that soar and dip gently, and send shivers down the spine. Sourcing simple drums, piano, synths, handclaps, guitar and unintelligible vocals, the band’s debut EP ‘Threads’ has plenty to sink your teeth into, especially key tracks ‘Northern Quarters’ and ‘Thrice’.

5. Pnau-Kings of Australian hardcore trance. I mean, what’s not to love about these guys? They had a song in a milk ad, have got wildly insane video clips, provide epileptic inducing tracks, and were hand picked by Elton John to remix his classic hits. Let me repeat that. Elton John. Handpicked. Remix. Classic hits. Not many producers can put that on their resume. They’ve got a mental live show to accompany their equally mental music that slices and dices the brain like a Fruit Ninja katana.

4. Rufus-A tad more upbeat and dance inducing, Rufus are bound for dance floor infamy. Their music marks a turn from the usual head thumpers though, instead showing a softer, vulnerable side that, in my opinion, is way more appealing than listening to the days of the week being recited (cough, Black Eyed Peas, cough). Distorting themselves through a space-time continuum, ‘Paris Collides’ and ‘We Left’ are musical gems that tantalize, sparkle and jade the listener into submission. Rufus songs are the musical equivalent of a cocktease.

3. Hermitude-The Blue Mountains, an hour and a half West of Sydney, isn’t exactly a place where you’d think there’d be an abundance of musical talent. Hermitude, the hip-hop production duo from said Blue Mountains, are out to prove that stereotype wrong. One of the premier acts signed to Elefant Traks, the label started by Australian rap mogul Urthboy, these boys make complex, danceable tracks such as ‘Speak of the Devil’, which has an amazingly choreographed video clip. The title track from their recent album ‘HyperParadise’ is also mind blowing. Hermitude are amazing DJ’s, combining rap spirit with stellar production talent. I guess you could say they’re all right.

2. Flume-Flume is a young 21 year old from Sydney, who not only has re-invented Australian trance music, but branded himself as one of the hottest acts of 2012 by well renowned sources like Pitchfork, Rolling Stone,  and NME. Not bad for a youngster who only has two records to his name, an EP and a LP. The lack of material is by no means a jab at his talent, however, as every song on both records is musically complex and striking. The seething, tingling sounds just hit the right pitch and pace every single time, and diversity is Flume’s second nature. There’s collaboration with American rapper T-Shirt, as well as a powerful soul puncher in ‘Sleepless’.

1. Chet Faker- The bearded maestro certainly entertains an eclectic musical palette in his music. His most recent EP ‘Thinking in Textures’ is certainly reflective of his taste, with a dose of many styles popping their heads through his swirling, flawless production. For example, ‘No Diggity’ shows off his R’N’B side, a white man doing a damn good R. Kelly impersonation, and definitely pulling it off. ‘Nevermind Sleep’ is a scratchy, lossless sample trapping, obscure tribal chants shouting through hypnotic synth patterns, vaguely interrupted by distant crashing cymbals. The man is the Messiah of producers, and best of all he’s fucking Aussie.

NYE (New Years Eve) Playlist

New Years Eve is just around the corner! Sucked in Mayans, you predicted wrong, so instead of burning in the apocalypse, we’ll just find another excuse to get incredibly, incredibly drunk and welcome in the New Year with a despicable hangover. And what better way to welcome it than with an atrocious, dirty playlist of party favourites to drown in your alcohically induced vomit spree to?

1. Justice-Waters of Nazareth

2. The Presets-My People

3. The Shoes-Time to Dance

4. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs-Household Goods

5. The Crystal Method-She’s My Pusher

6. Crystal Castles-Celestica

7. Bassnectar-Encore

8. The Chemical Brothers-Three Little Birdies Down Beats

9. Com Truise-Open

10. The Glitch Mob-Beyond Monday

11. Does it Offend You, Yeah?-Wrestler

12. Death Grips-I’ve Seen Footage

13. The E.L.F-You Can’t Fire Me

14. Pendulum-The Island (Part 2)

15. Kill the Noise-Kill the Noise

16. Bloody Beetroots-Warp 1.9

17. The M Machine-Immigrants

18. Junkie XL-New Toy

19. The Prodigy-Smack My Bitch Up

20. Joy Division-Love Will Tear Us Apart (Listen to this at midnight, as you watch the fireworks, when you make your New Year’s Solution that you’ll inevitably break a few days later)

Gig Review: Tame Impala

Friday 16th December @ Enmore Theatre

Warning: The following review features the word ‘psychedelic’ an absolute fuckload.

Here is a list of recent accolades that Tame Impala have hauled in. ‘Lonerism’ ranked No. 1 albums of 2012 by NME magazine (The first Australian album to top the album of the year list from the British music press giant in all 35 years). ‘Lonerism’ ranked No. 1 in Fasterlouder’s albums of 2012 list.’Lonerism’ awarded the J Award for Album of the Year, the 2nd time (2 from 2) for Tame Impala. Praise has been heralded from a diverse range of artists including Mark Ronson, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Flying Lotus and (shudder) Tyler, The Creator. ‘Lonerism’ received a glowing 5 star review in The Guardian, and an incredibly rare 9.0 review from music opinion dominator But who cares about some douche bag on the internet’s opinion (oh, the irony)? It’s better to see this shit live, and form my own fucking opinion.

The first band to grace The Enmore’s stage is The Growl. Hailing from Tame Impala’s hometown of Perth, they put on the slacker version of psychedelic music. It’s raw stuff, total shoot-from-the-hip swamp rock, dirty and seething, not to mention cool as fuck. Despite lukewarm responses from the audience, The Growl seemed totally at home on the stage, strutting about like chickens in a coop. I was in total admiration of their slick, slick sound, that buzzed with stoner warmth and a slow, menacing growl. Geez, that must be why their called The Growl! Fucking whatever, they have a double bass in the band, and two drummers. What could be more awesome? The band have had some significant underground radio play with a few of their singles, so when the band launched into songs like ‘3,6,9’ and ‘The Sharp End of a Trowel’, it excited a bit more of a shout and cry than previous tracks. The closer of ‘Cleaver Leaver’ left wanting more, but overall a pretty great performance for the up-and-comers. I’m sure the performance ensured a few extra copies of their forthcoming album will be sold.

It didn’t take long for Kevin Parker and Co. to grace the stage after The Growl left. A mere half hour later, the smooth psychedelic sounds of Tame Impala were rocking through everyone’s ears. It was sublime. Not since the 60’s has such genuine psychedelic music graced a stage. And never has it sounded so young and fresh! Kevin Parker is not only a lover of the music he plays, but an entrepreneur. He blasts psychedelic in his earphones, then in turn, plugs in his guitar and turns the genre on it’s head. The first chance we really get to hear his total brilliance is on ‘Solitude is Bliss‘ from their first album ‘Innerspeaker. The cheerful take on loneliness is a bit of a theme with all of Tame Impala’s work, and the shifting, sonic attitude is shouted through the speakers. The assault of the song literally shakes the building, and the mosh below me is a steaming turmoil that is the envy of most punk shows. The next big hit to rake in the waves of crowd gratitude is ‘Elephant‘, the storming first single from ‘Lonerism’. It really is a substantial piece of work, the main riff a dead-on impression of an elephant stomping through a jungle. Headbanging was in abundance. The only relief was a small, alternate break in the song, in which Jay Watson (drummer) decided he would rip through a drum solo. Next up on the crowd-goes-fucking-mental list of songs is current hit, ‘It Feels Like We Only Going Backwards’. The beautifully reminiscing tune is heartbreaking and gorgeously vulnerable. It also has this year’s best video clip. But that’s besides the point. It was totally amazeballs. If this medley of hits weren’t ‘classic’ psychedelic enough, then that was all rectified with another standout within one of Tame Impala’s oldest songs ‘Desire Be, Desire Go’. The song wavers between quiet and freak out, trampling a thin line between barraging force and hushed genius, the vocals delivered in a classic, drawn out fashion. It was a picture perfect reason of why everyone can’t get enough of Tame Impala.

All these were set highlights in their own right, but undoubtedly the stand out moment of the night came with Tame Impala’s encore of an extended version of their breakout hit ‘Half Full Glass of Wine‘. It literally had the entire crowd jumping on their feet, jamming to the slickest psychedelic grooves known to man. It seemed fitting that the song that introduced the world to Kevin Parker’s genius. But I truly cannot emphasise how insane this song was. It went for at least 15 minutes, starting with the explosive intro of fast riffing, turned to heroin-gaged brilliance, tinged with slime and gore. Then it turned to a faded 3 note progression on Kevin Parker’s part, and he held that for a long fucking time. The anticipation reached an all time height, yet the band still didn’t let up. Not until a riot seemed imminent did the band finally converge back into the main song, and the audience detonated in delight. A song of revenge and lust could not be executed more perfectly.

Tame Impala have impressed me beyond any reasonable doubt. The visuals (of which there were many), the light show (which was top notch), the banter and stage antics (reserved, but playful, as you would expect an introverted 25 year old who created two albums about the trivialisations of loneliness to act) and the music was hands down some of the greatest noise to reach my ears. The experience of a Tame Impala concert is astounding, beautiful, mind blowing and insanely psychedelic. It’s something you need to do before you die, or become so jaded and cynical you can’t properly enjoy a concert.

Album Review: Purity Ring-Shrines

It’s a difficult thing to define the electronic band Purity Ring. Sure, I just called them electronic, but that is way to broad to nail down their niche sound. They’ve been described as Witch House, Indietronica, Dream Pop, and Post-Dubstep. My personal favourite, and in my opinion, the most applicable, is Trance-Hop. I dare you to look for a Wikipedia page for that term, because it doesn’t exist. I made it up. My parents have never been so proud.

So anyway, trance-hop is the style I believe Purity Ring most eloquently embrace. Their music is ethereal, drifting and spinning in different directions at the most random of moments, but always staying in roughly the same shape. Each song is a constantly moulding ball of energy and sound. This is where the hip-hop element comes in. Don’t get it into your dumb, fucking skull that these guys are rappers, they simply utilise some of the more instrumental elements of hip-hop. The schizophrenic, jumping beats, pulsating with vigor brings to mind some of hip-hop’s more musical stars and their production, such as Flying Lotus, or even Quasimoto. The thing I’m trying to say is, every track on ‘Shrines’ has a distinct and loveable weirdness. But where hip-hop can be alienating, the trance is warm and all embodying.

Although Purity Ring have outdone themselves on their debut, surely inspiring unreachable expectations for their next album, the main trick to the album is, ironically, it’s groundedness. For the majority, ‘Shrines’ keeps quite a basic formula: minimalist yet snapping drum beats, ballooning, warped synths and lofty, delicate vocals. Serious award goes to Megan James for her vocal work, which is stunning and holds together the entire performance. Without her, Purity Ring’s work would simply be a glitchy interpretation of trip-hop, and wouldn’t have gotten past the demo stage, let alone the band being signed to 4AD records.

‘Shrines’ has some of the greatest songs created this year on it. ‘Obedear‘ is the obvious go to point, with fluctuating, innocent vocals that warp in and out of a bouncing, simplistic synth pattern, that just totally fucking works. But it would be irresponsible to ignore the other works of art on display, such as ‘Belispeak‘ that is so earnestly honest, and holds such an infectious rhythm, or ‘Ungirthed’, which, as the title suggests, ‘ungirths’ multiple, dense layers of awesome sound and systematically sonically shifts through them.

The only regret with ‘Shrines’ is the lack of depth that some of the songs undertake. What could have been a golden opportunity for the band to break out and become one of the biggest things in 2012, was unfortunately missed, and they simply became a treasured secret, hoarded by the hipsters on pitchfork, instead of being embraced by the masses. Sure, they’ve gained a cult following, but the blandness in tracks ‘Shuck’, ‘Saltkin’ and ‘Cartographist’ seem uninspired, and like the band were pushing out whatever they could be bothered to produce. With a little more effort, ‘Shrines’ could be an important forerunner in the growing electronic/producer movement currently taking place. 

However, it is better to remember ‘Shrines’ for what it is, rather than what it could be: a masterful debut album, way exceeding expectations of what young producers are capable of when given a mic, a drum machine and synths. Just some fucking jaw dropping smooth stuff. 

Video: The Go Team!-Milk Crisis

The thing with English six-piece The Go! Team, is that you’ll either really like them, or think that they are one of the most annoying things in the planet, along with sand in your arse and finding out you’re adopted. The band play a mix of glitchy pop, female, derivative shout outs, and gurgled indie guitar. It’s like if the Japanese got a hold of Britpop and tried to indie the shit out of it.  It’s a mix that works well with the video, a very childish, video game-centric, half animated, half live action piece. It’s worth a check out. You’ll either bleed from the ears and eyes, or thank the gods for your new favourite band. Totes worth the risk.

December Playlist

Just because it ain’t snowing and shit, doesn’t mean you can’t listen to music. December playlist features hardcore, trance-hop, 80’s rock and other terrible selections.

1. Alexisonfire-Born and Raised

2. Purity Ring-Obedear

3. Justice-Waters of Nazareth

4. Atoms for Peace-What the Eyeballs Did

5. Neon Indian-Deadbeat Summer

6. The Gun Club-She’s Like Heroin to Me

7. The Cult-She Sells Sanctuary

8. Moon Duo-Circles

9. Bad//Dreems-Tomorrow Mountain

10. The Mint Chicks-I Can’t Stop Being Foolish

11. Beach House- Walk in the Park

12. Boomgates-Bright Idea

13. Golden Grrls-Pop

14. The Violent Femmes-Gone Daddy Gone

15. The Pyschadelic Furs-Pulse

16. Day Ravies-Heartache

17. The Horrors-Who Can Say

18. Palms-Love

19. Spiritualized-Hey Jane

20. N.A.S.A- Whatchadoin? feat. Spank Rock, Santigold, and Nick Zinner

Gig Review: Alexisonfire

Tuesday 11th December @ Hordern Pavilion

Alexisonfire (pronounced Alexis-on-fire; don’t get that wrong around a fan, they’ll kill you) are one of the few hardcore bands that have pervaded the stigma that hangs over the genre like a foul smell. This is the stigma that hardcore is just a brutal, unintelligible form of emo music, for heavily tattooed brutes looking for any avenue to channel aggression. In simpler terms, big, dumb men, playing big, dumb music. Now there is nothing wrong with this, everyone is entitled to their musical opinion, however the snobbier of us might simply deride hardcore as awful, vapid noise. To throw Alexisonfire in with this trope would be woefully ignorant, proven to any non-believer in attendance at their Sydney show.

The Hordern was totally packed out with tattoo laden, muscular fans, ready to ruin their physical endurance in the mosh. And mosh they did. For it was the last time that Alexisonfire would ever perform in Sydney, this being their Farewell tour. After 10 long years pioneering in hardcore, they were calling it a day, due to tensions in the band, Dallas Green’s solo career (known as City and Colour) and guitarist Wade McNeil’s new job as frontman for English hardcore crew Gallows. So, for such a heavy event, an equally heavy opener should be called upon, yes? A few piano bars chime throughout the hall, followed by Alexisonfire marching on stage to the bellows of the audience, and the tuning of instruments. Then: ” This is a song called ‘Young Cardinals”, and the sign to go insane was sounded. Immediately, throngs of the crowd were caught in some of the most violent moshing known to man, and the band responded with ferocious duplication, going as hard and fast as humanly possible. The medley of hardcore gems continued throughout the night, barely any rest given to the enduring fans and band alike, except for sparse, intermittent commentary by lead vocalist and shouter George Petit, based on the band’s thankfulness for such a large fan base in Australia, second only to their hometown in Canada, and the stories from their many, many tours in Australia.

The band shredded through songs from their four album career, but mostly stuck to their two most recent, and embraced albums, ‘Crisis’ (2006) and ‘Old Crows/Young Cardinals’ (2009). The most well received exception from these albums was ‘.44 Calibre Love Letter’, from their debut, which sent the crowd into a reinvigorated frenzy set apart from previous songs. The highlights of the set were the bellowing anthems ‘Born and Raised‘, ‘Accept Crime’, ‘Midnight Regulations’, and the softer (if you can call them that) ‘You Burn First’, ‘Rough Hands’ and the haunting ‘The Northern‘, delivered during their encore. Overall, any song by the band was lapped up with utmost enthusiasm.

The thing that separates Alexisonfire from every single other hardcore band out there, in a genre where sounds can start to meld together and become stale, is the voice of co-vocalist Dallas Green. The, I’ll say calmer, member acts as a foil to all the over-the-top in your face antics of the rest of the band, and promises some soaring, heart melting vocals. Despite the heights of brutality reached by the music, Dallas Green will always come in and offer something in the chorus to make sure the music doesn’t fall to a mediocre mess of aimless chord scrappings and botched drums. He holds the melody together, and accentuates the music, turning all the otherwise mediocrity into fantastic swelling and emotional music that is both unsparing and reaching. It’s a rare mix in hardcore music, and when it’s done, it’s barely ever done well. The live show of Alexisonfire is pretty jaw dropping, and it’s truly a shame that only the people who booked tickets to the last remaining shows will be able to experience it.

Video: Chicks Who Love Guns-Moon Eater

Awesome new video from the potheads behind the thrash/gash/ puking nard-sharks Chicks Who Love Guns. The title track from their new-ish EP Moon Eater, which I reviewed a couple months back, the video has it all, and by has it all, I mean it has a bunch of stoners making fun of people that aren’t stoners. And a transvestite. So, everything you could want. EVERYTHING. Just watch it, it’ll make more sense.