Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sigur Rós

Ágætis Byrjún

Sigur Rós formed in Reykjavík, Iceland in 1994. With their landscape of atmospheric effects and the ethereal falsetto tones of Jón Pór Birgisson their sound has been compared to the beautiful landscape of their homeland.

Their first album, Von, was released in 1997 and has not been released outside of Iceland. Their second album Ágætis Byrjún was initially released in Iceland in June 1999 and worldwide in August 2000. It is a wonderful album, full of haunting post-rock sung in Icelandic and it was this album which announced the band to the world.

In January 2000 Sigur Rós played their first non-Icelandic gig in the backroom of London's Union Chapel. Before the end of the year they would be touring Europe with Radiohead, with Thom Yorke even citing the band as an inspiration for Radiohead's own new album.

Ágætis Byrjún was officially released in America in early 2001 and the band toured there for the first time. Later that year Sigur Rós were awarded the inaugural Shortlist prize for new music (the equivalent of the UK's Mercury Music award). Judged by a panel including Trent Reznor, Beck and Dave Grohl the band were recognized above bands such as Gorillaz, Air and the
Dandy Warhols.

Sigur Rós released their third album in October 2002, entitled ( ). The lyricless and titleless album was slightly darker, rawer and less accessible yet equally as haunting as Ágætis Byrjún and was also well received.

Their new album, which has not yet been named, has only just been recorded and mixed. It contains ten songs and is currently being mastered in New York and is expected to be released later in the year.

Sigur Rós are currently touring Europe, Japan, Australia and North America. I’ve got my tickets!

If you want to hear more, check out the band’s web page for a huge selection of mp3s.

Saturday, June 25, 2005



I'm very much looking forward to the Splendour In The Grass weekend at Byron Bay

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Virgin Prunes

Virgin Prunes

I’ve never been a great fan of the stadium rock stylings of U2, who have selected the tracks on this months Mojo magazine CD, but I don’t mind their taste in music.

Members of the Virgin Prunes and U2 grew up in Dublin together. As teenagers, they formed a society called the Lypton Village - a group of like-minded people united in their unease at the conventions of contemporary suburban life. Members were given Village names - Gavin Friday, Guggi, Pod, Bono Vox, The Edge - to represent their “true” character. Around 1977 two bands emerged from the general vibe of the Lypton Village, U2 and the Virgin Prunes.

Once described as “an infernal roller coaster through Throbbing Gristle’s most malevolent moments with heavy doses of dissonant Stooges-style string-tension testing”, Virgin Prunes feature The Edge’s brother Dik on guitar. Formed in Dublin in 1977, the Prunes and U2 have been described as the flip side of the same coin. Bono and Prunes frontman Gavin Friday also collaborated on the soundtrack to In The Name Of The Father in 1994.

Virgin Prunes - Pagan Lovesong

Monday, June 13, 2005


Midlake - The Flying Ship

Midlake formed in the small, quirky Texan town of Denton and consists of five distinctly unique musicians who met at the North Texas School of Music and who wanted to create their own sound. In 2001, their self released EP, "Milkmaid Grand Army" sold over 1,000 copies based on the strength of their live shows. They released their debut album “Bamnan and Slivercork“ a year ago on Bella Union, the label run by Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde. The album was recorded and mixed at their home in Denton, and mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Midlake's sound has a psychedelic whimsy with a slight skew akin to bands such as The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Grandaddy and Mercury Rev. Midlake have crafted a unique document which belies their youth and experience.

The posted track “The Jungler” is driven relentlessly by a big band drum beat, with a dreamy, noire-esque atmosphere, disturbed only by the Thom Yorke-inspired vocal delivery.

Midlake - The Jungler

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Radio Birdman

Hawaii 5-0

Radio Birdman did it first, did it harder, and broke up sooner than any other Australian band. Deniz Tek and Rob Younger formed the band in Sydney in mid 1974, creating a raw sound equally influenced by The Stooges, MC5, 1960's garage punk and surf instrumental groups.

They recorded the raw E.P. “Burned My Eye” in 1976 and an album “Radios Appear” in 1977, both low budget recordings made at the 24 track Trafalgar Studios. The band and the studio created their own label and the records were self distributed, at a low price, cutting out the middle men.

After The Saints were signed, the president of their US record label Sire (then also home to the Ramones) Seymour Stein went to Australia in search of new talent. Sire licensed Radios Appear from Trafalgar and signed the band to a recording contract. Radios Appear was reissued with some of the original songs left intact and some re-recorded, plus a chunk of new material, including the phenomenal "Aloha Steve & Danno" (an unapologetic Hawaii Five-O swipe coupled with a go-nowhere-life-in-front-of-the-TV narrative by Younger) which is posted here.

The band were infamous for their extremely hard playing live shows, which were considered a visual art form and a theatrical as much as musical performance. But the band were also infamous for their volatile personalities and for the long slide into madness suffered by certain members. As hot as the band glowed, it was inevitable that it would burn out.

Radio Birdman toured Europe and England and recorded a second album, Living Eyes, in Wales in 1978. But they disbanded one tour after the LP's completion, scattering musicians around Australia and augmenting the country's already thriving music underground.

Deniz Tek formed New Race with Younger and Gilbert, ex-Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton, and ex-MC5 drummer Dennis Thompson. He had also completed his medical degree during this time and would soon return home to the states and became a fighter pilot for nine years, after which time he formed the Deniz Tek Band.

Rob Younger went on to play in New Race and to form evolving super group New Christs. Chris Masuak went on to the Screaming Tribesmen and Warwick Gilbert joined the Lime Spiders.

Most of the band members got back together in 1995 to remix the two albums and the band reformed for the Big Day Out 1996 tour. During the pre-tour rehearsal time a session was recorded at Seed Studios in South Melbourne for Radio Triple R’s "Caught In The Act" live music feature. On a day off between Melbourne shows, and attended by a small but lively audience, they played ten Radio Birdman tracks and two new songs. This session was released as the Ritualism album.

Radio Birdman are still touring today, and they have recently been playing new songs for an album which should be released later this year.

Radio Birdman - Aloha Steve And Danno

Saturday, June 04, 2005

happy birthday to me

Simpsons and Ramones

today i'm celebrating having survived - and enjoyed - another year

woo hoo!

it's been another year of new experiences, new music and new friends

and a big thanks to Michelle and Heather for throwing a fun gemini party last night

plus there's another reason to go woo hoo! - I’ve had over 10,000 visitors to Something Old, Something New – howdy everyone!