Monthly Archives: November 2012

Issue Nine

It’s almost the end of Movember. I’m upset about it. I know you’re all upset about it. But don’t wallow on the end of this great month. Let us reflect on the tremendous times that we’ve had. Let us remeber the hair that has sprouted aloft on our upper lips. For you ladies it might be the playful tickle you got when kissing that guy you’ve had a crush on for months, just waiting for November when he of course looked his best. For the men it could be the 16 year old Whiskey that aged that little bit more whilst encaged in your face jungle, becoming a delicious blend of malt liquor and unwashed hair, perhaps mixed with day old toothpaste and toast crumbs and released during a shower for maximum taste. Ahh the good times.

But alas, these glorious days are behind us and what better way to reminisce than with a good old fashioned “high-school leavers” style slideshow of all your greatest moustache moments. Hell, while you’re at it, why not chuck in a soundtrack to back it up and really jerk those tears from your sockets. Here are some suggestions I prepared earlier.

10. Hunting Grounds – Star Shards

This weeks top ten starts with a couple of haggard rock tunes. This particular one comes from Aussie outfit Hunting Grounds off their debut album “In Hindsight”. It’s becoming very hard to get noticed in the current Australian indie scene with all the amazing talent that has been seemingly popping out of nowhere as of late but these guys have gotten a lot of airplay on Triple J (and a cheeky shazam from myself) and rightfully so. I have to say their sound does stick out a little from the plethora of hyper trendy general pants employees that have sprouted into the scene; at least Hunting Grounds brought talent along for the ride.

9. The Cribs – Come On, Be A No-One

Worst music related blog ever. This has been out for so long and I actually really love The Cribs. Got all their past records and all that stuff but still failed to catch the news of this release on it’s way out. But who cares. The blog isn’t about what’s new and cool, it’s about me and what I’m listening to. It’s like the super sweet 16th of the music blogosphere and everybody knows you only tune in to that show to watch the spoilt princess have a tantrum. Speaking of which, sounds kind of like the lead singer of The Cribs and how he comes across in recordings; just a wailing rocker having a massive whacked out tantrum but in a cool way. Doesn’t make sense I know, so just listen to the song and hear the brilliantly crazy mess that is this band.

8. Strange Talk – Falling In Love

Once again I’m on the fence about Strange Talk’s latest release. It’s got a lot less of those edgy, indie vibes we heard in the first EP and has broken out in a frenzy of corny pop lyrics and pockets of electro dance rubbish. Still, it’s better than that first single Cast Away they dropped the ball on about a month ago and I still believe in the band so much that I am hopeful the album will reveal a whole bunch of shining white knights to swoop in and take us away from the evil musical dungeon that has been these last few releases. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it?

7. The Preatures – Take A Card

Sorry is this an actual film clip? I didn’t realise. For a second I was suddenly inside a daydream or montage and this was the backing track for the first time I ever saw the keyboardist/singer from The Preatures. You have to admit, she is gorgeous and it makes the song that much more enjoyable to listen to. It’s just a chilled out fun song with everything your traditional mus-o could love; attitude, grit, talent, fun, that “Who gives a fuck” vibe and of cause there’s the sauce. Side note, I feel like the male lead singer reminds me a lot of my Dad in his old band in the 80’s which is absolute gold.

6. Architecture In Helsinki – Escapee

Funnily enough I’ve seen these guys live before. They’ve been around for a while, much like this song has apparently been around for a while. But I’ve never taken to them. Until now. My word this is a fun song. Kind of reminds me of Passion Pits stuff from Manners. It’s an epic tune built for those drunk, don’t-care-how-I-look-I-just-need-to-move moments, most frequently seen at festivals. I cringe at how being messy at a festival became cool yet habitually makes people look like tipped cows just flailing about with their udders exposed, half having the time of their life, half scared out of their wits; but if they’re doing it to this song, I’ll allow it.

5. Little Comets – The Western Boy

I wrote about this song being the stand out track on October’s Album of the Month and I stand by my decision. It’s coming in 5th only because it’s a little late in the season now and much more pressing matters have arisen. Anything you need to know about this song I wrote about in that post so check it out if you want a second opinion (given by the same person so I don’t know if you’d call it a second opinion really). Just enjoy.

4. Ben Folds Five – Drawing A Card

I haven’t always been the biggest Ben Folds fan. I know he’s huge and widely liked so it’s hardly new or unheard of tunes in this slot, but it’s a great song. The only other thing I’ve really liked was “You Don’t Know Me” with Regina Spektor. That was fantastic but every other thing really fell flat with me. Regardless I don’t have much personal insight or criticism into his music. He’s so well known, you either like him or you don’t. The song’s pretty good though.

3. Foals – Inhaler

Foals are FINALLY back with a new single and the album is to be released soon. I love these guys as do most people I know and it’s been a long time coming. It’s no surprise this track has been demolishing the Triple J hitlist for the past week or so. I once heard that these guys played backyard house parties even after they were already big enough to play University arena tours in the UK. Man, that would’ve been some killer party and it just makes them seem like absolute champs. Inhaler starts off very reminiscent of their better tracks from Total Life Forever but then suddenly busts out into a beautifully angry chorus. Terrific stress relief.

2. Buchanan – Run Faster

Great indie tune. I like to crank this one when I’m on the train home from the city just thinking about things and stuff. Don’t know much about the band but I’d liken it a lot to Gypsy & The Cat’s ‘Bloom’ that was on Issue Seven I believe. I think Buchanan are just at the beginning of what looks to be an amazing career and this track is the right way to start things off. For fans of High High’s or maybe Grizzly Bear, I recommend breaking this out on a Sunday.

1. Fenech-Soler – All I Know

Yes. Yes. Yes! I’ve been waiting and waiting since my time in Canada (which ended up July, 2011) for a new track to come out from Fenech-Soler. Not so well known in many places, I was shown this by a good friend of mine when we were driving around in a Van in the BC Rockies and loved them ever since. Kind of like the British version of The Presets, not so much in sound but in the way there’s two dudes rocking electro, dance sounds and managing to find that perfect mash between enjoyable, catchy pop and sweaty underground club anthems. When I play them, EVERYBODY asks who it is and immediately downloads it, so make sure to do the same. Thank me later.

I’m in the process of making this here site more use-able so make sure to check it out in the next couple of months to see the changes. Currently it’s pretty confusing to follow without having to sign up for twitter or a Google account but you can follow me on instagram @jessesmonster as I’ll be posting my favourite tunes throughout the week as well as many of the stupid-ish things I think are funny or interesting.

Album Of The Month: October

I know I’m a bit late. We’re almost due for an Album of the Month: November (which I assure you will be a lot quicker to develop then this one). It’s strange too, because this here album is quite possibly the easiest pick I’ve ever had to make. I mean, it’s shockingly brilliant. I literally can’t believe how much I am stoked over this record.
I prematurely announced that this record would be released on the 30th of September. However, due to the unforeseen circumstance of one of the band members breaking a bone or being sick or something reasonable, the release date was pushed back to the 15th of October. Not released on Australian iTunes, I was understandably furious that I could only listen to this glorious collection over YouTube, having to ride out the train and only listen to this new stuff on my computer when I got home. Furthermore, about four of the tracks on the album have been previously released, including two (Worry and Waiting in the Shadows in the Dead of Night) that were released back in February/March! Nevertheless, it is clear that in the short time Little Comets have been ticking along in the spotlight, their sound has matured at an incredible rate. Their debut record, In Search of Elusive Little Comets, was a collection of your standard British pop tunes with vibes taken straight off the likes of The Wombats, The Kooks or even perhaps to a lesser extent We Are Scientists.The vibrant three part harmonies and stop/start clanging of guitars rivalling the drummer for control of driving the beat of the songs, alongside Robert Coles unreal ability to make a crafted, polished voice sound gritty and cool. It was one to be reckoned with and justifiably gave them notoriety in the UK.
Little Comets Live accompanied by hanging percussion

Enough said about their old stuff. We’re hear to give praise to the new and mature version of Little Comets. Life Is Elsewhere is a polished number that doesn’t pit their old stuff against their new stuff, but rather effectively showcases their growth as a band the way the fans would want it to happen. There’s no “oh they’ve sold out” or “they tried too hard to be proper musicians and ended up making some wanky experimental record”. They just got better, more interesting and fresh. It’s still the same Little Comets vibe that all the fans (well assuming I speak on behalf of all the fans) loved, but not the same old shit. Tracks like The Western Boy resonated the most with me, highlighting the carefully crafted musicianship of the band in the alternating time signatures layed out in the drums, the jumpy falsetto over the scurrying lead guitar all culminating in the simple words “One day I’ll wake up and I won’t need you”pitching to the crowd a straight forward catchy chorus that shows the people that although their musicianship is getting much more wicked, the essence is still that of a fun, enjoyable British pop band. Older singles like Worry and Jennifer are easy tunes guaranteed to get stuck in the old noggin for days whilst having tines of originality that can only be identifiable in conjunction with this one particular band.

The stand out tracks for me would probably be Bayonne (featured on this months BIRP! Playlist and an earlier Whamtam Ten issue), Semaphores on the Lawn and W-O-E. Maybe this is because I am usually opposed to the first single after hearing awesome stuff on the rest of the record, I may have immediately dodged the singles. But these are just great tracks that include a whole mix of everything that is good about Little Comets. The first single of the record prior to the release is also the first track, titled A Little Opus and is actually a great song in its own right but for some reason was a little plain for me in comparison to all the other great stuff. All in all, save for maybe one crusier tune I think they didn’t spend much time on, it’s an almost flawless album.
So there’s my album of the month for…almost two months ago…better late than never! Do yourself a favour and go pick it up if you somehow can! We need to get them popular in Australia so they will tour over here!! Do it now.

Issue Eight

Back on schedule with some awesome tunes for you this week. Apart from the obvious pop tune, the digital sound seems to be all the rage these days and I’m definitely not immune to it with several tracks dishing out either serene synth numbers or electric pump-up anthems from the click of a keyboard. For the first time since I started this here blog you’re going to see two tracks in the top ten coming from the same artist as I couldn’t decide which one was better and played both equally throughout the month. In the immortal words of super mario, here we go.

10. STARS – Fixed

STARS are incredibly poppy. It’s quite a coincidence that they hail from Canada as it’s hard not to compare them to Metric in this particular. I really dug one of their other tracks of a playlist I listened to a couple of months back but didn’t think it was good enough to make it into the ten. This week I did a bit of research and decided I liked this enough to chuck it in at the tip.

9. Millions – Nineteen

I came across Millions at the Oxford Arts Factory when they toured with Gold Fields late last year and if they were pretty good back then, they’re absolutely awesome now. They sound pretty old school. I mean, new school type old school. Like they would’ve gotten massive around the same time that The Hives and The Strokes and those type of bands suddenly burst out of nowhere collectively. They have their first video out now for this song. Get behind it.
8. Lo-Fi-Fnk – Marchin’ In

I’ve been sitting on this one since April this year twiddling my thumbs on it, wondering if it’s time to put it in a top ten, assuming I’m still listening to it. It resurfaced sometime last week and reminded me of why I’ve kept it in my think tank for so long. It’s a cruisy, catchy little head bopper and just plods along at perfect pace the whole way through. Some of the best moments of my year so far have been at the time this was a favourite, so it keeps me nostalgic.
7. Noble Oak – Patience

Making good on that whole “Serene Digital” thing I promised you in the little intro there. Noble Oak are full of that. Every song of theirs should be the the theme song for nature. This song would be playing on the big screen as the entrance music if one day the action of swimming ever made it onto wrestling TV shows. Just wicked stuff to have on when you’re shooting the breeze over a couple of beers.
6. Crystal Bats – Arabella

Crystal Bats are suuuuper new. I checked them out and they actually only have two releases out at the moment. When I say two releases, I mean two songs. That being said, the songs a winner. It’s simple (very simple) but catchy and was able to keep me hooked for at least a whole train ride. I even added them on Twitter as my seal of approval.
5. Ghost Beach – Miracle

Three words. Pump. Up. Song. For some reason it feels like a corny song to listen to, but there’s nothing really about the words or the music in particular that make it that way. I like these guys for no other reason than I just do. Miracle is by far their best track as it just pounds through your brain from start to finish. His vocals are something different to me, but I like it. It’s like synth-pop met glam rock or something. Ok that doesn’t sound too awesome. Just decide for yourselves.
4. St. Lucia – Before The Dive

This is one of many awesome songs by St. Lucia off what I think is their debut self-titled EP. They get a really cool mix of pop rock, electro and indie all over the recording that make for a record that you will play over and over again for weeks on end. They’re going to be headlining a tour across the east coast of the US and Canada in December I believe supported by one of my aussie favourite, Gold Fields, so if you’re reading from the US then definitely pick up some tickets and check it out.

3. Blackbird Blackbird – It’s A War

God Dammit this is an awesome song. The only reason it’s coming in at number three and not one is because I decided it’s maybe a little too long and carries on. But I just love the vibe the whole way through. It’s a talented track musically as well as adding some really transparent vocals to produce something that sounds almost like that backing track in a romantic drama that stands out more than the actual movie itself. Give it a listen the whole way through once before discarding this one.
2. Chairlift – I Belong In Your Arms

I found out about Chairlift as I was scouring through iTunes in the “People that listened to this also bought…” section and my sister informed me one of their older songs was the backing for an iPod ad. I didn’t end up checking it out but this was off their most recent release earlier this year. I think it’s the stand out track and it’s up there with the most attractive female vocals I’ve ever heard.
1. St. Lucia – We Got It Wrong

This song pumps me up. I can imagine seeing them live and the stage being black. Suddenly this busts on and everyone is geared up for the rest of the show and the after party as well. It’s catchy, poppy, electric and just drives with so much power at the right points. I don’t have much else to say about the band but they’re the first to appear in The Whamtam Ten twice in one issue so they must be damned good. I love the EP so make sure you check it out on iTunes.
So there it is. Another issue done and so much more stuff to come this year. Very excited for Gold Fields first album release in early January, 2013 and hopefully Little Comets will be releasing Life Is Elsewhere, their new album, on iTunes in Australia soon or I might start to go crazy. In local news, Strange Talk apparently released a new single today so I’d check that out if I were you! Peace out.