31 January 2008

Arctic Monkeys

It's voting time again for the Shockwaves NME Awards and Arctic Monkeys (MySpace) has been nominated for seven awards - best British band, best live band, best album (for Favourite Worst Nightmare), best track (for 'Fluorescent Adolescent'), best video (for 'Teddy Picker') and best video album artwork (for Favourite Worst Nightmare), with lead singer Alex Turner also nominated for the "best dressed" award.

Arctic Monkeys was formed in Sheffield in 2002. Their first single 'I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor' went straight to number one in the UK charts. Their debut album Whatever People Say I am, That's What I'm Not was critically acclaimed and a bestseller.

The success of Arctic Monkeys was not driven by major marketing by a major label but by the band themselves using the internet.

CD cover for Whatever People Say I am, That's What I'm Not

CD cover for Favourite Worst Nightmare

(live) clip for 'I Bet You Look Good On the Dancefloor'

clip for 'Fluorescent Adolescent'

clip for 'Teddy Picker'

clip for 'Brianstorm'

28 January 2008


Hard-Fi (MySpace) is an indie rock band from Surrey, not far from London, with an incredible fresh sound in the style of post-punk. Highly successful in the UK, they deserve to be more popular here in Australia.

I really liked their first album, Stars of CCTV, and their second, Once Upon a Time in the West was an excellent follow up.

CD cover for Stars of CCTV

CD cover for Once Upon a Time in the West

clip for 'Cash Machine' from Stars of CCTV

clip for 'Hard to Beat' from Stars of CCV

clip for 'Living for the Weekend' from Stars of CCTV

clip for 'Suburban Knights' from Once Upon a Time in the West

More from Hard-Fi's YouTube channel

27 January 2008


Editors (MySpace) is a Birmingham indie rock band with a unique sound, particularly from lead singer Tom Smith. Relatively new (their debut album The Back Room was released in July 2005), I think they will become bigger.

CD cover for album The Back Room

CD cover for An End Has a Start (June 2007)

clip for 'Munich' from The Back Room

clip for 'Blood' from The Back Room

(studio) clip for 'Smokers Outside the Hospital Door' from An End Has a Start

clip for 'The Racing Rats' from An End Has a Start

More from Editors' YouTube editorsTV

26 January 2008

Nada Surf

Nada Surf (MySpace) is another indie group that should and deserve greater recognition. In fact, they have a larger following in Europe than in the United States.

A New York band, they started in 1992 before releasing their 1996 album on a major label, High/Low, from which the single 'Popular' became a cult favourite. They followed up with The Proximity Effect, which the major label refused to issue, instead going to an indie label.

Their third album, Let Go, is one of my favourites. I sent Let Go to a friend in the United States and introduced him to Nada Surf. He was lucky enough to attend a concert last year and sent me a signed copy of their fourth album The Weight Is a Gift.

I am so looking forward to the latest album, Lucky, which will be released in Australia on 18 February.

CD cover of Let Go

CD cover of Lucky

clip for 'Popular'

(live) clip for 'Blonde On Blonde' from Let Go

(studio) clip for 'Blizzard of 77' from Let Go

(studio) clip for 'Always Love' from Let Go

clip for 'Blanket Year' from The Weight is a Gift

clip for 'Whose Authority' from the forthcoming album Lucky

See also Reuters article of 8 December 2007

20 January 2008

Echt and Kim Frank

Echt was a German pop band that started in 1997. They were huge in Germany and were known as a 'teeniband'. Their style of pop was fresh and addictive.

CD cover for Echt (self titled debut album) 1998

clip for 'Alles wird sich ändern' from album Echt (I love this song)

clip for 'Du trägst keine Liebe in dir' from album Freischwimmer (1999)

clip for 'Weinst du' (live) from Freischwimmer

The band went into hiatus in 2001 and lead singer Kim Frank (MySpace) has pursued a very successful solo career.

CD cover for Hellblau

clip for 'Zwei Sommer' (live) from Hellblau

If Echt had sung in English, they would have been huge internationally. What a shame that non-German speakers miss out.

19 January 2008


Glasvegas (Myspace) is a yet unsigned band from Glasgow, which BBC is tipping to be one of the hottest new talents for 2008 (fourth in their top ten).
They are: A Glaswegian four-piece who play vintage rock and pop with brooding guitars, like the Jesus and Mary Chain covering the Grease soundtrack.

NME magazine said they had put out the best debut single since the Arctic Monkeys.

The pundits say: "Glasvegas already sound like a classic band." Jonas Woost, Last.FM head of music

They say: "There's something really authentic about a lot of doo-wop and '50s rock 'n' roll."

More from BBC
Fifteen years ago, indie mogul Alan McGee was blown away by a band who were playing third on the bill at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow.

They were called Oasis, and the rest is history.

Now McGee cannot stop raving about another band he saw playing in the same slot at the same venue in 2006.

They are Glasvegas, and McGee has declared them to be the best Scottish band for 20 years.

Music weekly NME has just ranked their song Daddy's Gone as the second best track of 2007, hailing it as the most exciting debut single since the Arctic Monkeys arrived.

The group have even got the seal of approval from Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of their number one musical hero.

Glasvegas draw on rockabilly and pop from the 1950s and '60s, using a backdrop of brooding guitars to create their own wall of sound, a bit like the Jesus and Mary Chain playing the Grease soundtrack.

The sound I get with the guitars is to make it sound like an orchestra
James Allan
Singer James Allan says the group started by taking their lead from classic doo-wop groups.

"It's a minimalist approach to the rhythm, it's really simple, but that simplicity leaves a lot of room for other things," he says.

"And the other things... I really like a lot of orchestral music and classical music. I think that can be a good furious backdrop to something.

"A lot of the sound that I get with the guitars is to make it sound like an orchestra. But we've only got the bass, my guitar and his guitar."

Glasvegas are currently fielding offers from many record labels
His bandmates are his cousin Rab Allan on guitar, bassist Paul Donoguhe and drummer Caroline McKay.

Daddy's Gone, a heartbreaking message to an absent father, has given the first glimpse of the emotional power of James' songwriting.

The lyrics begin: "How you are my hero/ How you're never here though/ Remember times when you put me on your shoulders/ How I wish that it was forever you would hold us."

They carry on in the same heart-rending vein. When the song is brought up, James immediately interjects: "I knew you were going to ask that.

"So Daddy's Gone, is that through personal experience? That's what you were going to ask, yeah?"

Well, yes.

"Yeah, some of it's through personal experience. And there's other stuff that I've just noticed through my friends' families. I don't really know a lot of families where the mum and dad are still together."

The band have supported Dirty Pretty Things and Ian Brown
The point of the song, James says, is not wanting to be 50 and "having to regret everything".

Daddy's Gone was put on MySpace and soon made its way to a friend of Lisa Marie Presley.

Elvis's daughter liked it so much that she called the band up and asked them to meet her for a drink when she was in Edinburgh recently.

"It was a really nice night," James says.

"It's quite far out. It makes the world feel a bit smaller than it is because she's heard something that I've recorded in my bedroom, and how the hell did that get to Lisa Marie Presley?"

So what did she say?

"I'll not go into exactly what was spoke about," James says. "But it was pretty far out man. It was nothing to do with music."

Despite having so many fans in high places, Glasvegas are still unsigned. But that situation is unlikely to last long. Which labels are trying to secure their signatures?

"Every label I've ever heard of," James replies. "Does that answer that?"

Yep, they are going to be huge!

clip for Daddy's Gone

13 January 2008

Matt Finish

In the 1980s, Australian guitar bands (which were mainstream, but considered to be 'alternative' these days) had a particular sound which reflected where they were formed. Matt Finish (MySpace) was formed in Sydney and had that quintessential Sydney sound.

After a few years playing the pub circuit, they released their first album Short Note in 1981 which remains a classic today. The title track 'Short Note' can be heard from MySpace (link above).

clip for 'Come On Over' (1984) from album Word of Mouth

In between breaking up and reforming a number of times, lead singer Matt Moffitt released a debut solo album in 1986 called As Little As A Look and the single 'Miss This Tonight' charted reasonably well. I had the album on vinyl LP but unfortunately lost it in a move. Today, it is a rarity.

Moffitt died suddenly in 2003 at the age of 46. RIP.

The band Matt Finish was reformed in 2006 for the "Matt Moffitt Memorial Tour". It has continued with a regularly changing line up.

Short Note (1981) is still one of my favourites. If I had to describe what Sydney sounds like as music, Short Note would still be it.

12 January 2008


Athlete (MySpace) is a four-piece band from Deptford UK who debuted in 2003 with Vehicles and Animals. I am yet to find anybody else I know who likes them. Lead singer Joel Pott has a very melancholic and angsty style which makes Athlete an emotional version of the Coldplay-like music which is a very common sound these days. Still very much under-rated.

CD cover for Tourist (2nd album) - one of my favourites

CD cover for Beyond the Neighbourhood (latest album)

clip for Twenty Four Hours (live) - from Tourist

clip for Tourist

clip for Hurricane - from Beyond the Neighbourhood

More clips from YouTube Athlete Channel

09 January 2008

Les milles et une vies d'Ali Baba

Les milles et une vies d'Ali Baba is a French musical which had a great run in Paris and was a huge hit in 2000.

Most musicals today seem to be derivative, a collection of existing hit songs, or Andrew Lloyd Weber productions. And they are all in English. This is really limiting.

Les milles et une vies d'Ali Baba is the type of musical that could and should go global. Sure, it is all in French, but then most classical operas are in Italian, French or German. Just include the lyrics in both English and French in the souvenir program.

The song 'A quoi bon' was a huge hit in France and charted highly.

'A quoi bon' from Les milles et une vies d'Ali Baba

'Tu Me Manques Depuis Longtemps' from Les milles et une vies d'Ali Baba

Sonia Lacen is now a really huge and famous singer in France.

cover of soundtrack album available for download/purchase from Bigpond or Amazon.fr

08 January 2008

Sigur Rós

The last concert I went to was to see Sigur Rós (Myspace) in Sydney on 12 April 2006. It was an incredible concert - Jón Þór (Jónsi) Birgisson sings in an incredible falsetto and plays the electric guitar with a cello bow. Awesome.


CD cover for the latest release - Hvarf/Heim

Download free MP3 tracks here (official site)

clip for Glósóli (from the album Takk...)

clip for untitled #1 (from the album () )

06 January 2008


I've always liked Radiohead (MySpace). The Bends is one of my favourite CDs.

Their latest release In Rainbows doesn't disappoint. The CD came in a cardboard pocket with stickers/labels for a plastic CD cover (along with instructions). Hmmm... I prefer the cardboard case.

clip for Jigsaw Falling Into Place (Scotch Mist Version)

More in Radiohead's YouTube

05 January 2008

songs in Hebrew

One of the biggest music artists in Israel is Ivri Lider עברי לידר. His songs in Hebrew, whether electronica or ballad are always on the radio at anytime in Israel.

CD cover for Haanashim Hadashim (The New People)- 2001 (Lider's 3rd album)

עברי לידר - בוא (LIVE) Ivri Lider - Bo

עברי לידר - מלטף ומשקר Ivri Lider - Melatef uMeshaker

עברי לידר -האנשים החדשים- Ivri Lider-Ha'Anashim Ha'Chadashim

(I especially like the use of traditional instruments in this one)

עברי לידר - ניסים (LIVE) Ivri Lider - Nisim

עברי לידר - הכוס הכחולה - Ivri Lider - Ha'kos Ha'kchula

Music in Hebrew sounds really cool. Those live concerts in Israel look totally awesome.

Ivri Lider's stardom may also now shift to the United States, where he has released songs in English. Unfortunately, he seems to be only going for the gay niche market there - check out his MySpace, or possibly the gay Jewish (or Jewish gay) market.

Surely translations of his original hits in Hebrew would have been a good start.