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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Robin Thicke’s Thought Process During His VMA ‘Performance’-An Essay

The above video is a short (but the most important snippet) of a recent controversy that has courted the esteemed artists Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus. For those who can’t be fucked/stomach to watch the musical performance equivalent of 2 Girls 1 Cup, Robin Thicke stares super creepily at Miley Cyrusfor a bit, then she twerks on him, then does a slut prance, and then the video ends.

Now, some of you might call me a Miley basher. ‘Ryan you ginger harbinger of hate, it’s their personalities, twerking is Miley’s thing!’. First of all, a little red squiggly thing comes up under the word ‘twerk’ when I type it in, so as far as I’m concerned, its as redundant as the Greedo-Han argument. Until fucktwizzle becomes a word, twerk will remain to be considered an abomination to the music industry.

Okay, enough of this verbal duelling on the legitimacy of the twerk. When I look at this video, and read the hate that pours from the Internet over it, I don’t see the point of arguing about Miley. No, I want to look at the real victim here. If you thought that wreath of disgrace would be hung on Miley’s young, impressionable fans who will probably go on to suck a million dicks because they’re idol just rubbed up on a random celebritys crotch on national television, and now sensless sexualisation is okay, well your wrong! The real tortured soul here is Robin. Fucking. Thicke.

That’s right, just look at the poor uncomfortable bastard. His handsome face of moulded perfection is turned into a slightly creased frown of inevitable PR scandal whilst his genitals are used as Miley’s ass towel. I thought I’d give the guy the benefit of a doubt, and objectively describe what I see when watching this video: a man of supreme talent watching his career turn into flames. (Note: I’m only going to commentate on the above footage). This is Robin Thicke’s internal monologue as described by a douche bag ginger from Sydney.

-0:03- ‘Does this outfit make me look like Beetlejuice?’

– 0:01-‘ Fuck! I definitely look like Beetlejuice’

0:01-‘Hey, hey, hey!’

0:02-‘Is Miley wearing my grandma”s undies?’

0:03-‘Don’t stare the beast in the eye…don’t do it Thickey! Stay strong!’

0:05-‘Get your fucking foam finger out of my face wench!’

0:08-‘Thank god, she’s stomping away like the T-Rex she is.

0:09-‘It’s Thicke time baby! Turn, and the crowd goes ment-‘

0:12-‘Fuck, she’s behind me, play it cool’

0:15-‘Hand in the pocket, keep your distance…like a tiger in the jungle, hunting his prey…

0:16-‘Just stare into the crowd, ignore her. Let the crowd bask in your sexy glow’

0:17-‘What the fuck is she doing…’

0:18-20-‘WHAT THE FUCK!!!!’

0:21-‘Do these Beetlejuice pants cover my erection?’

0:26-‘I can feel a stain, I can feel it…it’s so…moist down there…it’s so hard to walk comfortably now’

0:32-‘What the fuck is she doing, she’s like a bucking rhino’

0:36-‘Focus Robin…focus. Ah who gives a fuck, I’ve finally found someone just as slimy and disgusting as myself, I should propose.’

(After the show, when Robin Thick is staring at himself backstage in a mirror) ‘I can’t believe I just had mild sex with that thing on stage, in front of millions of people around the world…wait, yes I can believe that, I’m Robin Thicke, world biggest douche shit!’

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope my brief expose on the thoughts and motivations of the entertainer Robin Thicke and the recent travesty he has faced stays with your hearts and minds. Who could’ve foreseen this tragedy occuring? Actually I could, I mean it’s the VMA’s after all, it’s exactly what happens when you get thousands of screaming pre-pubers locked in a room with celebrities that lost touch with any sense of realism the second their shit hit their golden toilet bowel. Also, you’ve paired two members of my Top 10 acts that can fuck off together! What did you think was going to happen?! Something good? Ha! You naive bastard! Your almost as innocent as the hundreds of thousands of impressionable tweenie-boppers that have just had their souls crushed by this video.

Post-Script: I had to watch that about 30 times, stopping and starting it to get the nuanced emotional capacity of Robin Thicke just right so I could reflect it most accurately in the monologue. Feel my pain. Empathise. Please.

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.