Sunday, 28 November 2010

Deftones - Diamond Eyes

Deftones should no longer exist; the rap-metal genre they helped define went out of fashion more than a decade ago, bassist Chi Cheng remains in a semi-comatose state following a 2008 car accident and after spending some two years and many millions of dollars recording their Eros album the band decided to toss the whole thing in the bin a start again. But somehow the band have rarely sounded as alive as they do on Diamond Eyes.

The album starts with title track Diamond Eyes; huge riffs, epic chorus and soaring vocals the result is massive. Royal and CMND/CTRL manage to deliver all the spite of early era Deftones but with the maturity of a band beyond its 20th year.

Deftones have reined in the experimental influences that derailed parts of their post White Pony work. Pleasingly this has not been done at the expense of the dense sounds of their 2006 album Saturday Night Wrist. You've Seen the Butcher is a great example of what Deftones do today; the huge metal riff is accompanied by crashing percussion and reverb soaked vocals the whole thing swamped in ambient effects.

Deftones have never hidden their love of new wave and British romantic music. These influences can be found in the Cure-esk baseline of Beauty School and Morrissey like vocals of This Place is Death. More than just a Smiths revivalist front man Chino Moreno shows great vocal range across the album after tearing his throat out on CMND/CTRL and Rocket Skates his voice is stadium big on Risk before showing his melodic side on Sextape and 976-EVIL.

Closer This Place is Death is a triumph itself and a more than fitting end to this album of decadent heavy music.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Hot Chip - One Life Stand / We Have Remixes EP

From the cautionary tales of Thieves In the Night to the emotive pleas of Take It In, One Life Stand is Hot Chip's electro-pop ode to commitment. By keeping tightly on this theme it is also Hot Chip's most consistent album.

Many people are saying that One Life Stand is Hot Chip's grown up record. Sure, much of the album is slower, smother and more considered than the bands previous work, but it is in no way less fun. Hand Me Down Your Love gets things moving with a kicking backbeat before the title track delivers what is perhaps the best piece of pop music I have heard in years.

It is not all slow and sensible, as the reins are loosened a little on euphoric dance tracks I Feel Better and We Have Love, both of which sound like they have been pulled straight from the ecstasy filled raves of the early 90s. (This is a good thing.)

If One Night Stand is about the commitment required to live your own one life stand, the We Have Remixes EP explores the fun that can be had when others are invited into your bedroom.

The four track EP sees Todd Edwards apply a drum machine and a high gloss shine to Hand Me Down Your Love, the result a massive club choon, while Caribou use reverb soaked vocals and nulled beats to give Brothers an ethereal feel.

Perhaps the EP's highlight is Hot City's deranged take on We Have Love, the bpm have been turned up, the bass fattened out and the vocals chopped apart until the original is barely recognisable.

Final track the Osbourne remix of Take It In is lounge house at its best. If this track is not pouring out of expensive cocktail bars this summer, I will be an apple mojito.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

M.I.A - /\/\/\Y/\

0n h3r f1rst tw0 4Lbumz M.I.A. f0und surpr1s3 succ3sz w1th @ m1sh-m4sh 0f mus1c4L styL3z d4t g4v3 @ b34t n 1mp0rt4ntLy @ v01c3 2 t3h und3rd0g. W3 l0v3d 1t n l0v3d M.I.A. 4 1t.

1n t3h t1m3 s1nc3 Paper Planes w3nt SLumd0g m4ss1v3 M.I.A. h4z s33m1ngLy d0n3 3v3ryth1n' sh3 c0uLd 2 1rr1t4t3 t3h pubL1c, n0w w1th t3h r3L34s3 0f /\/\/\Y/\ sh3 m4y h4v3 g0n3 t00 f4r.

t3h 4Lbum h4z 1tz m0m3ntz It Takes a Muscle b @ r0x0rz p0p tun3 wh1L3 XXXO n Tell My Way c0m3 cL0s3 2 r3pL1c4t1n' t3h d4nc3 h4LL p0p d4t h4d w0rk3d s0 w3LL 1n t3h p4st.

M0stLy, th0ugh, t3h 4Lbum b @ r4uc0uz c0LL3ct10n 0f s0undz, 1d34z n p4rt s0ngz, n0n3 0f wh1ch d3L1v3r h4Lf 4z much 4z h3r 34rL13r w0rk.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Live Review: Whitley, The Maram, Erindale, 18/08/2010

Tonight is my first visit to The Maram and I am not sure what to expect, from the venue or the show.

After two superb albums and many shows under the Whitley name, Lawrence Greenwood has decided the music business may not be for him. This is his final Australian tour and tonight will be his last Canberra show. Will tonight be a joyous farewell, a teary goodbye?

Opening act Seagull's introspective acoustic set fails to capture much attention as the small crowd fills up on beers and chats quietly.

The crowd has thickened out by the time Whitley comes on stage, immediately admitting that when he entered the venue he thought that he was booked to play in the pool table-filled bistro. His first reaction to this was to put a gun in his mouth and end it all now (this story told with his thumb cocked and fingers in his mouth - "bite down on the steel and wait for the lead"). Luckily, the band room at The Maram is a wonderful space for performer and punter alike, and the set starts with Cheap Clothes.

Barely three lines into his second song (Bright White Lights) Whitley stops abruptly, (almost) everyone in the room falls silent as he mimics two gossiping girls:
"Did you hear Sharon missed her period, OMG is she pregnant,...SHUT THE FUCK UP"
Greenwood clearly has a low tolerance for people talking though his show - perhaps one of the reasons he has decided to call it quits on his career as Whitley.

Songs like I Remember, I and All Is Whole are all superb but the best/most entertaining parts of tonight's performance come between songs. Greenwood repeatedly talks of pushing a boulder up hill ("two steps forward, three steps back"), rough nights in spent Frankston, bikies and the pleasure he gets from head shot-ing his own horse in Red Dead.

Introduced as "a song about a girl I use to follow around Melbourne", the acoustic version of Killer is just as frightening as its recorded original.

Late in the show when another person starts talking, Whitley has had enough. Describing talking during a show "like shining a laser pointer into the eyes of someone at an art gallery", Greenwood gets into an argument with a boozed punter, glasses are smashed and the audience member is escorted out of the venue.

Keep pushing the boulder up that hill...

As More Than Life is introduced as "this one is about suicide", I am starting to get a much better idea of why Greenwood is calling time on Whitley.

The show ends with Lost In Time, and most of the crowd leaves before Greenwood comes out to share a platter of sandwiches with those who remain. Talking to the man off stage it is hard to tell if the suicidal stories are real, or all part of the Whitley show.