Top 10 Things That Happened in 2013

Okay, just to clarify, this isn’t a list about the best shit that happened in 2013 for music. Although most of it is about some of the really, really great shit that happened, some of it is about some of the bad shit that happened in 2013. That is to be expected, so chin up buddy, dry those tears, and think about the sunny day that Violent Soho brought out their sophomore record, and forget about the time that Miley fucked a teddy bear. 

10. Chapter Music and I Oh You Records (tied)

This has just been such a fantastic year for both these top-notch Aussie record labels. Albeit on opposite ends of the music spectrum, and drastically varying in age (Chapter celebrating their 21st Birthday this year, and I Oh You celebrating their 4th), they have both released some of the best tunes this year, and rightfully won their place in the music community. Chapter Music released a stunning 15 or so records this year alone, with records ranging from the ‘dole-wave’ world-conquerers Dick Diver and The Stevens, to the long-awaited debut album from Primitive Calculators and another new one from The Cannanes. Meanwhile, I Oh You was out there putting on tours for the likes of Earlwolf, Foals (DJ’s) and getting the one and only Neon Love together for a reunion show. If that wasn’t enough, I Oh You also put out another one of my favourite records of the year, Violent Soho’s ‘Hungry Ghost’, and Snakadaktal’s debut record. They also managed to be a bunch of cockteasers and put out tantalising singles for City Calm Down and DZ Deathrays. If these labels can keep the pressure, there’s no telling how 2014 will end up.

9. New Shit From Bands That Haven’t Released Shit In A While

Beware, I’m not talking about bands that reformed, or broke their hiatus. I’m talking about bands that have never broken up, but have been ‘illin on the fringes of musical society, just waiting to return to form with strident singles. The aforementioned DZ Deathrays, Straight Arrows, HTRK, The Avalanches, Royal Headache, Seekae-just a few of the bands that blew us away with stand alone releases that said, “Fuck you, we’ve still got it.” If you haven’t checked out any of these singles…do it, you unintelligible ape!

8. Shitty Albums That People Thought Would Be Way Better Than They Actually Were

Ooooh, the first hot topic! I’m not just talking about Daft Punk here, there were so many built up albums this year that fell flatter than an ad campaign for Vaginal Warts. Arctic Monkeys, Sebadoh, No Age…just a short list of albums I listened to that I wish I hadn’t had, so I could dedicate more time to wistfully thinking about making sweet love to Robert Pollard. But that’s not even scratching the surface of bands like Cloud Control, Cults, Weekend, Soft Metals, Obits and Franz Ferdinand. A lot of bands that I was expecting to deliver stunning results returned with meagre offerings that either cruised along on the strength of predecessors, or worse, fucking sucked.

7. Solo Projects

For me, the term ‘solo project’ is a bit of a dirty word. Most of the time, they’re warning stories for the over-eager frontmen and women. Just ask Johnny Borrell, Johnny Marr or Noel Gallagher…if your album isn’t awesome, you kind of lose all credibility,and come off looking like a wanker. But luckily, there was a whole swag of Australian artists that went out on their own and wandered out as deadset legends. Nathan Roche, Angie, Kirin J Callinan, Geoffrey O’Connor, and Alex Cameron are just a couple names that released some stellar records this year that only get better with repeat listens. No point getting too much into it, just go fucking listen to them yourself. Trust me, these records are more on the Bob Dylan side of the solo spectrum, in terms of awesomeness.

6. Boutique Festivals

In a year where shit is getting fucked up ALL over the place for major music festivals, whether it be the gargantuan amount of drug related arrests, Blur cancelling on Big Day Out, or AJ Maddah telling people that their favourite bands suck tremendous amounts of horseshit, major festivals are becoming more and more fucked. I can’t tell you how pissed I was when I missed the chance to see Massive Attack, Superchunk, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Neutral Milk Hotel all in the same place for Harvest festival, only to see it collapse before my very eyes. And lets not even touch on hip-hop festivals this year, with Rap City, Supafest, Movement all being cancelled.

However, with the absence of ya boiz 50 Cent and T.I, boutique festivals have continually outshone their counterparts. The ‘original’ boutique festival, Laneway, has gone international, and their 2013 edition was fucking awesome. Japandroids, Divine Fits and POND all left massive dents in my brain, right were the pleasure centre is located. Other festivals like OutsideIn, Strawberry Fields and the upcoming, sold-out Secret Garden festival (which frankly has the most amazing lineup I’ve ever seen) continue to dominate. Oh, and Sound Summit was one of the most pleasurable and unique experiences of my entire life, a smorgasbord of musical delights that will probably never be collected in the same period again. Fuck me, if boutique festivals become a thing, how the fuck will yadda yadda capitalism, Soundwave, Nova 969, joke, haha.

5. Reformations-the fucking shit and the not-so-shit

Firstly, let’s talk about Black Flag. Maaaaan, did they fuck that one up. One of the all time greatest punk bands became a petty squablling bitch fit of the highest order, and at the end of it all, once-stoked fans where left with an album called ‘What The…’, which compromised of a bunch of piss-take ‘punk’ songs and an album cover that looked like ClipArt threw up. They fucking fired Ron Reyes onstage! Black Flag aside, bands that also wanted money to buy that brand-new toaster and reformed included Boyzone, The Backstreet Boys and Girls vs. Boys. It reads like a list of who-gives-a-shit.

However, on the plus-side, Jurassic 5, Philadelphia Grand Jury, and Powder Monkeys all put aside differences and got stuck into some gigs. And by some miracle, the mother fucking Replacements got together again! What! That’s amazing! I nearly blew a load when I heard that!

4. Electronic Music???

Electronic music has had a confusing year in 2013. On the one hand, there has been some absolutely froth-worthy local shit that has gotten tails wagging and genitals exploding. Touch Sensitive, Wave Racer, Cosmo’s Midnight and Hayden James have had stellar years, and underrated labels like Future Classic, Silo Arts, and Yes, Please have all shot to national attention, like synth induced erections. And let’s not even bother to touch on Flume-that guy gets enough deserved praise.

But in terms of mainstream music, the result has been mixed like a cocktail served by a squirrel with Parkinsons. Of course, Disclosure released that pretty killer album. But the likes of hardstyle trap from the likes of Baauer and DJ Snake, and the legions of mindless DJ’s that trample our radio waves that release forgettable single after another dilutes a lot of the mainstream appeal of electronic music. Not even new albums from Jon Hopkins, and Boards of Canada, or the embracing of the genre from indie rock icons like Arcade Fire and David Bowie, could distract from the likes of Knife Party destroying decent music. Although it is undeniable that electronica had a killer year on the local front, its better to forget that other shit happened outside of our shores.

3. Debuts

Face it, a lot of debuts came out in 2013, and they all rock me better than a hurricane. International props to the likes of Savages, FIDLAR, Eagulls, HAIM, Jackson Scott, SQURL, HUNTERS and Atoms For Peace. But that doesn’t even come close to the amount of talent that pooped out shining nuggets of debut gold this year in Australia. TV Colours, Gooch Palms, Bad//Dreems, Food Court, Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, Zeahorse, Bloods…the list goes on…and on….and on. Batpiss, Clowns, Amateur Drunks, Reckless Vagina! Unity Floors, Day Ravies, The Stevens, SMILE! These are just a couple of my favourites, but you get the idea. There was a fuckload of bands that popped their cherry and the collective music community lost their shit. Blood was everywhere.

2. Miley Cyrus and the Death of the Child Star

Look, I actually don’t hate Miley Cyrus. I think her music sucks, her taste is awful, she acts and sounds like a spoiled brat and is a living cumstain, but she’s actually the perfect pop star that this generation needs. She’s like The Dark Knight of shitty, over-produced music. And good for her for completely shaking off the goodie Hannah Montana image.

But therein lies my point. The Jonas Brothers broke up this year, the Biebs has conveniently spray-painted, prostituted and retired (?) his way into a ‘bad boy’ image, and we all saw Miley nearly fuck Robin Thicke onstage at the VMA’s. Right now, there isn’t really a glistening child-star to sell t-shirts. Even Lorde, the youngest pop star of the moment is more grown up than the majority of twenty year old hipsters that infect her concerts just to say they saw ‘Royals’. She hung out with fucking David Bowie and Tilda Swinton for her birthday party!

Regardless, 2013 saw the Death of the Child Star, a feat that should both cause us to all be thankful, and astonished.

1. Local Garage Rock Hit a Fucking Peak

Garage rock, my favourite genre, has well and truly hit its peak at the moment, and shows no signs of declining. Seriously, attend any bar in any capital city in Australia, and there’s a 1-in-3 chance that there’s a garage rock band giving it 100% and blowing minds.

Not only is the live scene of garage rock well and truly at a high point, but the albums these bands are making are astoundingly good. Palms and The Gooch Palms released underdog debuts that blew everything out of the fucking water like a land mine in a kiddy pool. TV Colours took the usual formula and added dashing synths and samples to create a tale of fucked-up-ness that’ll have you massacring penguins just to get your hands on some more. And Bad//Dreems single handedly resurrected the sound that was left behind where GOD put it.

Outside of debuts, garage bands that have already established themselves continued to push shit further into the realm of amazeballs. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Witch Hats, Ooga Boogas and fuckloads of others continued to do what they do best-ensure that we, the shitstains of musical society, are enjoying their output more than humanly possible.

As if that isn’t enough, there’s new garage bands springing up all over the place, and the sound still hasn’t been tired out. Bands like Doctopus, The Living Eyes, Tiny Migrants and Adults are just a very small handful of the concoction of rock n roll music that is permeating our ears on a local level. If you haven’t done so, check out all of these bands and more.

We are living in a renaissance of the greatest form of amatuer music in all its forms, and the least you can do is contribute in some small way. 2013 was one of the best years for Australian music, garage and rock n roll specifically, because finally, all the years of hard work that these bands have done has started to pay off exponentially in fantastic records and performances. Get along to a show, buy a record, and ensure that 2014 means that local music is better than the last shitstain of a year.

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Top 10 Acts That Can Fuck Off

Right now, the music scene is bursting to its brim with talent. Seriously, there is so much good shit right now, I have a hard time knowing where to start when someone asks ‘So, what’s your favourite band right now’. Do I go with FIDLAR, or TV Colours? Yes, I’m Leaving or Swim Deep? Ooga Boogas or The Stevens? And that’s just some of my favourite ‘bands’, in the traditional sense of the word. When you broaden out the spectrum to the very vague definition of ‘acts’, my mind jumps from DJ’s like Hayden James and Touch Sensitive, and instrumental swirlers like Gay Witch Abortion and Mogwai. Usually, I spontaneously combust, and end up foaming at the mouth in a foetal position for a couple of hours. However, there are some things out there that aren’t so good. But a lot of people have a hard time figuring that out. There are just some ‘acts’ out there that the world can do without. To put it in plainer terms, these are the Top 10 acts than can simply fuck off.

10. Mumford & Sons: I’ll admit it-when ‘Little Lion Man’ came out a few years ago, I was frothing at the mouth like every other pre-pubescent faux hipster. I was amongst the legions swarming for a vest and a vintage pipe. Then I grew the fuck up, and saw that Mumford & Sons were simply a fad. Every seems to have realised this except for the fucking band. Still rocking those shitty vests and dumb as fuck banjo, the band strut their scuffed boots across all the major festival stages of the world, including our own Splendour in the Grass. What the actual fuck? You do realise that it’s because of Marcus Mumfords ‘dashing’ (errrr…) looks, and that his James Blunt voice sounds exactly the same as any stupid as fuck acoustic ballad of the last century? You do realise that, don’t you?

9. Empire of the Sun: I used to think Luke Steele was kind of a genius. Then I discovered Steve Albini (don’t worry, this is the last entry that will start with ‘I used to like this, but then duh duh duh’…I realise it’s pretty cliche). Now, I can see that Luke Steele is just a flamboyant dude with a penchant for costumes and semi-catchy tunes. But after the 100th time of listening to Nick Littlemore and Luke Steele adopt a falsetto and prance around, I can say that ‘Priscilla: Queen of the Desert’ did the whole aren’t-men-fabulous schtick a long time ago, and they did it way better. In fact, Priscilla is ten times better than whatever rehashed turd those dudes chucked out earlier this year.

8. MC Riff Raff: Riff Raff sucks. I’m pretty sure people realise that. I’m pretty sure Riff Raff realises that too. He’s like the 21st Century ‘rap’ iteration of GG Allin. Except if we want to hear verbal defecation, we can just go onto any seedy website and watch it from the safety of our home. Riff Raff is a desperately clinging onto relevance, and becoming the equivalent of that annoying kid at the party that cries for attention by doing increasingly stupid shit, like fighting a bear naked, or driving a car blindfolded. It’s kinda funny for the first few seconds, then gets really sad, and the dude’s going to end up in a lot of pain very soon.

7. Arcade Fire: Ahhh! OMG! New Arcade Fire album coming out soon! It’s called ‘Reflektor’! It doesn’t use the correct spelling’ How fukn edgy, like any rapper that shortens Little to Lil’. Arcade Fire have always been pretentious snobs that appeal to pretentious snobs through pretentious snobby music. It sounds shit, and Pitchfork convinced everyone it was OK. Well, it sucks, the new album will almost definitely suck (sorry James Murphy), and the sooner this band disappears the better.

6. Robin Thicke: I only heard of this guy the other day, but apparently this dude has released 6 fucking albums. To put that into perspective, he’s released double the amount of albums than Step-Panther have members. Holy shit! So, is there any good material on there. No. That’s the short answer. The long answer is a 2000 word essay on the disgraceful nature of his ‘music’. To put my beef in summarised terms, Robin Thicke is a shitty misogynistic prick who makes shitty music for shitty people.

5. Imagine Dragons: Besides having a less inspiring band name than We Are A Rock Band That Plays Music, Imagine Dragons don’t just pander to the mainstream; they suckle the teet of the mainstream and then throw up over it. Imagine Dragons is what happens when you combine glam rock with douche bags. For people that liked Lostprophets, The Script or One Republic, you’ll fucking love Imagine Dragons. For everyone else who’s sick and tired of corporate rock and doesn’t give two fucks about ‘Radioactive’, congratulations you passed a basic bill of health.

4. Miley Cyrus: I didn’t mind Miley Cyrus when she was the twee Disney princess. Actually that’s a bit of a lie, I fucking hated her music with a passion, but she was basically a Disney chick, and those things can be ignored. Just don’t watch the Disney channel, you’re fucking sorted. But now, she’s a ‘popular artist’. Both those words in comparison to Miley defy logic. Everything she has done recently is both inescapable and fucking stupid. Her try hard hit of the summer ‘We Can’t Stop’ has actually made me less intelligent as a person. And as for her popularisation of twerking….fuck off. Just fuck off.

3.  Major Lazer: Major Lazer is a concoction of ego and trap music  from the twisted mind of well-known dickhead Diplo. His music is not catchy…it literally sounds like someone just taking a shit. This shit is made up of random yelling, hideous ‘rapping’, sirens and alarms, all conveniantly wrapped up in the label of shit music. If you want to go watch macho shirtless jocks try to make out with obviously underage girls and have your ears bleed, Major Lazer is playing at the Big Day Out. If you’re normal, go see Pearl Jam or some shit.

2. Daft Punk: In case you didn’t know, I don’t like the new Daft Punk very much. I think it sucks. I wrote an essay on its shitness. But let opinions be opinions right? Not this time. Daft Punk are fucking everywhere, getting mentioned in every facet of conversation. You can’t turn on a radio without hearing ‘Get Lucky’, or mention the names Pharrell Williams, Nile Rogers, Julian Casablancas or Panda Bear without some twat screaming ‘YOU MEAN THAT GUY ON THE DAFT PUNK SONG?’. No, you fucking dickhead. Not at all. Besides creating some of the most bland and mediocre music of the year, Daft Punk have tricked people into thinking their music is top shit. It isn’t. Oh, and for the record, two guys not wearing helmets isn’t news, it’s called getting a breath of fresh air. The band should try it sometime in their music.

1. Limp Bizkit: Yes, the majority of these acts on the list can, in my opinion, fuck off. But they’re all, to varying degrees, quite popular. Daft Punk released one of the biggest albums of the year, and got heaps of unnecssary press, but they’re still huge. Imagine Dragons sold out their Sydney show in a matter of minutes. And Mumford and Sons are definitely headliner material, regardless of the fact they’re ‘nice-guys-with-grandad’s-clothes’ schtick is totally stupid. But Limp Bizkit is an act that refuses to die, and drags it’s bloated Fred Durst-infected carcass around like an animal nobody has the decency to shoot dead. But don’t feel sorry for them or anything. Limp Bizkit is one of the worst things to happen to music ever, along with Kurt Cobain’s death and the breakup of Sonic Youth. They’re a hydra: cut off one head, it comes back with two heads to replace it. After ‘Gold Cobra’, you wouldn’t think the shitness could get worse. You would be wrong, as they’ve just come out with a comeback song and video entitled ‘Ready to Go’. It features Lil’ Wayne, because when you’re on hellbent on creating a musical genocide, what’s the difference of one more asshole? This is something that doesn’t just need to fuck off, it needs to be hunted down and publicly executed.

Why the New Daft Punk Album Sucks-An Essay

So, if you’ve been on the internet within the past six months, and are vaguely into music, you’ll have figured out that Daft Punk, the French house artists with zany helmets just released a new album. It’s entitled ‘Random Access Memories’, and I think it sucks. Not just me though. I saw a photo on Facebook of an anonymous JB HI-FI employee that described the album thus: ‘It’s like being a kid on Christmas, and running downstairs to open up the Sega you’ve been waiting all year for, only to find out that your parents are instead taking you to the vet, because you have to put the dog down.’ That, my friends, is goddamn poetry, and more entertaining than any single track found on the new Daft Punk album. Now, I don’t claim to be a critical connoisseur of any sorts, especially not of the electronic genres. My forte rather heaves on the garage spectrum of things, as yo will know if you’ve even glanced at this blog with the shitty name before. However, I do know a few things: Crystal Castles makes consistently good albums, the 90’s were a good time for dance music and Australia has an abundance of talent in the area, from obvious choices The Avalanches and Flume, to underdogs Fishing and Seekae. Now, picking on Daft Punk seems like a risque move, as they are one of the most incredibly powerful figures in dance music of all time. ‘One More Time’? ‘Around the World‘? ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’? These are not just dance music icons, but household names, all over the fricking world man! The last song was sampled in a fucking Kanye West track! That guy only samples the best of the best, like that Will Ferrell line from ‘Blades of Glory‘. However, despite pulling off one of the best launches, in Wee Waa, rural NSW, the hype has not only exceeded the actual album itself and left myself severely disappointed, but has hindered the Daft Punk legacy as a whole. Harsh, but true,as I prove that ‘Random Access Memories’ is no more than a bland, self-indulgent smothering of randomness than never peaks past ‘meh’.

Firstly, there is not a track on here worthy of note. Not fucking one. ‘NAY!’ cries every single electronica fan that hasn’t discovered The Chemical Brothers yet, ‘Nay, you ginger headed dwarfsicle! For there is ‘Get Lucky’!. Yes, and what a stellar track that is, brimming with the talent and authenticity that first attracted so many to French robot fever. That is sarcasm by the way. This is something I would half expect T-Pain to put out if he was in a creative and jazz friendly mood. This is literally a song about getting laid muffled over some jazzy, zig-zag rhythms. Not only does the auto-tune and entrance of Daft Punk bring down any of the soulful and hard-earned positive elements that Pharrell Williams brings to the track, it’s 6 minute length time definitely ensures that the most ‘likeable’ and ‘danceable’ track on the album overstays its welcome. Speaking of Pharrell, he is one of the many collaborators on this album that can’t save it from being a highly flamboyant un-ironic caricature of art. Nile Rogers, famous for his schtick with Chic, has his hand in a few tracks, including opener ‘Give Life Back to Music’ and ‘Get Lucky’, whilst the aforementioned Pharrell is seen in ‘Lose Yourself to Dance (with Nile Rogers)’. Animal Collective’s Panda Bear is evident on ‘Doin’ it Right’ and even The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas shows himself, providing vocals to album ‘highlight’ ‘Instant Crush’. This doesn’t even reach the halfway mark of the plethora of guests on ‘Random Access Memories’, however, it remains a meddling mess. A fault of too many cooks in the kitchen? I doubt it. Daft Punk’s weakness for deploying wildly overdone and tasteless orchestra arrangements is seen throughout the album, from the rash and wince-worthy opener ‘Give Life to Music’. Speaking of terrible, pompous openers, ‘Give Life to Music’  seems like a four and a half minute overdub of a Chemical Brothers track, something from the albums ‘Come With Us’ or ‘Surrender’. The auto-tuned vocals in the Daft Punk song giving the listenable appearance of a pufferfish gasping for air on the beach: it looks, smells and sounds disgusting, but you can’t help feel sorry for it.

Whilst on the warpath of declaring why the new album is devoid of listenable tracks, one can take a scour of ‘Instant Crush’ featuring Julian Casablancas, or as I like to call it: the track they left off ‘Comedown Machine’ because it sounded too similar to The Strokes 2011 album ‘Angles’. Yep, Daft Punk are almost unrecognisable in this foray of what could perhaps be the only track with what could be deemed a layer of substance. It does have a semblance of groove, but it still comes off half-hearted and plaintive, awkwardly juxtaposing the shit-shock of tracks like ‘Game of Love’ and ‘Lose Yourself to Dance’. Another of their diving into traditional singing backed by eschewed keys and a bass line that must have been lifted from a 1970’s blaxploitation film, is ‘Fragments of Time’ featuring Todd Edwards. Now, even though it has a mildly intriguing style, it isn’t anything that should incite the riot-like passion of Daft Punk’s hardest fans. It’s something you would jam to while wasting time on the train, not bust a move to on the dance floor like dance music should inspire

This is from an subjectively objective point of view: I would admit if I saw the new Daft Punk album as revolutionary as some do. It just seems that it’s been hyped beyond belief, to a point where nothing they did would have succeeded. However, it goes to a point where it’s like they are re-hashing old ideas done better by old bands. Monologues followed by down-to-earth jazz drumming and spritzy electro as seen on ‘Giorgio by Moroder’? DJ Shadow did it better on ‘Endtroducing…’. Cheesy lyrics belted out with earnestly, whilst the star of the show hums idly and seductively asI assume was the motive for ‘Get Lucky’? Our own Chet Faker kills anything Daft Punk brought to the table. Spacey, out-of-this-world bass drops with acoustic guitar plucked delicately, with ‘Motherboad’? I’ll take Radiohead thanks. Even the attempts at melodrama and over-the-top, end up somewhere Daft Punk nor the listener want to be, and it comes off as totally idiotic (see: ‘Give Life to Music).

It’s not just a case of their-old-stuff-is-better-than-their-new-stuff, but it’s just a disappointing album of flat, empty pieces of music that aren’t as shimmery or glamourous as the band hoped for. Hype can do so much, such as stir your robot-kilted fans into near-murder mania, in which they’ll stab each other to clasp their fingers around your spandex wearing, auto tuned vocal pipes. But it can’t save the album that was never meant to be anything more than filler. Unfortunately, ‘Random Access Memories’ is a robotic apocalypse filled with jarring, mostly-dumb and boring observations that have been done so many times before, it’s past the point of cliche, and into the realm of just plain sad.