Monthly Archives: December 2012

Issue Eleven: Christmas & New Years Edition

‘Tis the season to be fucking glad that most of us finally have time off to sleep in. Amidst all the parties and binge drinking that I’m sure will be filling up this happy season there’s always one in every group that insists on blasting Christmas tunes to get into the spirit. Problem is, Christmas tunes are traditionally boring. Not many new “classics” have arisen on the charts since the 1930’s so they tend to become a bit repetitive and reminiscent of a poorly crafted school song written by honestly talented musicians out of obligation, making abundantly clear that what they lack in passion they make up for in uniformity.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because they don’t get much coverage doesn’t mean there aren’t awesome Christmas tunes out there, although you can’t escape the presence of sleigh bells in almost all of them. I’ve put together Issue Eleven as a triumphant seasonal cacophony so that your end of year festivities might be that tiny bit more enjoyable.

10. The Maine – Ho Ho Hopefully

The Maine released a pretty sweet little Christmas EP a year or so ago with some actually decent original songs (although their cover of George Michael’s Last Christmas sucked). I particularly like this one and I hope you do too.

9. Motion City Soundtrack – Together We’ll Ring In The New Year

This is an absolute classic. I don’t think it was meant as a seasonal tune but came off their second album as one of the stand-out tracks. Not that we like listening to sad songs on New Years.
8. Hot Hot Heat – Christmas Day In The Sun

Hot Hot Heat admittedly isn’t for everyone. That being said, they’re one of my favourite bands and I’ve had to fight friends to get them to listen in return for a constant slew of mixed reviews. But hey, it’s Christmas so give them a chance.
7. Ohbijou – New Years

I know absolutely nothing about this band but stumbled across them in my search for seasonal greatness. They definitely impressed and this song, although once again not particularly festive in nature, impressed so much that I bumped it to seven in spite of other songs I have loved for years.
6. Passion Pit – All These Trees

Not really sure how I feel about this song but it’s Passion Pit and it’s a Christmas song. So simply on that merit I’m jumping it to number six on my Santa list. It’s actually not bad towards the end. The best part about it is it sounds very much like something off their first album.
5. Snow In Mexico – You & My Winter

Now the top five is where we start getting into the really impressive take on Christmas and New Years. This one is particularly awesome in the fact that not only is it an original song but it somehow manages to pull at your heartstrings without even being able to audibly hear most of the lyrics. It’s quite a dark vibe from these guys during a lovely time of the year but it’s OK because the song itself is one that will last all through the year.
4. Matt Pond PA – Holiday Road

What would holiday memories be without at some point in your life watching National Lampoon’s Vacation. Those cheeky Griswold’s getting up to all kinds of mischief all across America. This was the theme song from the movie (or at least one of the movies) and was one of my favourite tracks around this time of year. Matt Pond PA’s version is quite different but a wicked take on a funky track originally written by Lindsay Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac.
3. Death Cab For Cutie – Merry Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard anything new from Death Cab that I’ve really stuck with. They used to be one of my favourite acts and I guess still are. This semi-merry Christmas track is a classic, re-tuned to the sombre key that Death Cab are so wickedly famous for. It’s the second best re-make in this here list.
2. The Wombats – Is This Christmas?

I know by this time in the list, everyone is probably thinking, “Now there’s nothing very Christmas like about this list, most of the songs are sad, anti-festive pseudo-jubilations”. To be honest, What kind of association do we have with ANY of the traditional Christmas songs? We don’t have snow for one and that’s included in like 90% of songs on the standard roster. Just enjoy the brilliance of The Wombats. It’s good music like this that makes me happy on Christmas Day.
1. Jimmy Eat World – Last Christmas

Now this is the absolute best Christmas cover I’ve ever heard. Mr. James E. World just demolished George Michael’s version of this Christmas classic in the same way they always do. It’s something special to take a song like this and add such an obvious touch of you’re own signature sound. It almost doesn’t sound like a cover. Perfect way to finish up the list. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year everyone! See you in 2013.

Issue Ten

It’s almost Christmas. The year is almost out and The Whamtam Ten is hitting double digits with this here being Issue numero ten. Looking back on the music I’ve posted so far I realise how absolutely awesome 2012 has been for music and it’s just gotta make you excited about the future prospects. So many singles released late this year with albums yet to come in the first quarter of 2013 (Gold Fields, Fenech-Soler, Strange Talk & Foals to name a few). All I can say is thank god we live in this time. Bolly.

Apart from that, let’s talk changes. When I started this blog I figured I would (like most blogs I do) get bored quickly and start another one. But to be honest, I really enjoy writing this and have been stoked with the amount of people viewing the posts so far. The original idea for the name of this blog came from a few friends of mine who had an idea about a satirical alternative to lame rap crews like Wu-Tang Clan. As we’ve made it to Issue Ten, I feel like it’s time to shake off the shackles of teenage tom-foolery and begin anew with a fresh name for the blog. These changes will be made towards the new year so keep an eye out; ’cause if it looks like I’ve started yet another blog, it’s most likely not the case; and you’ll miss out on more and more epic tracks as the posts flow. Alright. Enough stalling, here we go with Issue Ten.

10. Hungry Kids of Hungary – Twin Cities

Sneaking back into the top ten again, Hungry Kids of Hungary have released this fun little number that has been gathering a lot of momentum lately and it’s no wonder why. It’s exactly why these guys are one of my favourite Aussie acts. Sporting one of those thunderously catchy riffs they’re quite well known for, if you don’t tap at least one cheeky limb while it chuggs along you are most probably not human.

9. Divine Fits – Flaggin’ A Ride

Most people checking out this blog from Australia would most likely be sick of this song by now. They’ve absolutely abused it on Triple J. Despite this, I’m a pretty tough critic so for at least the first few weeks they smashed it out on the airwaves I really didn’t like this song at all. In fact, I thought it was too simple and unnecessarily dirty without the added plus of being catchy. Alas, the media wins again as the more it was shoved in my face the more it grew on me and now it’s one of my favourite songs; replacing “simple” with genius, “unnecessarily dirty” with deliciously gritty and “boring” with luminous. Poetic really…
8. Ra Ra Riot – Beta Love

Some would say Ra Ra Riot are a tad cheesy. I personally this is what makes them great. If you haven’t heard of them before, just think semi effeminate vocals, electro pop synth and a violinist (who doesn’t feature as prominently in this song but trust me, she’s there). Sometimes I’m a little embarrassed to declare I listen to songs like this, but who am I kidding, I love it.
7. Architecture In Helsinki – Contact High

Yet another brilliant Aussie act that has been in the spotlight for quite some time now, Contact High features on BIRP.fm’s stellar “Best of 2012″ playlist. Not unlike the rest of this album, it is so infectiously fun throughout the entirety of the song and an awesome driving companion. The film clip is a little weird but meh, with a song like this backing it up they can do whatever they damn well want.

6. Mikky Ekko – Pull Me Down (Ryan Hemsworth Remix)

Pull Me Down could definitely go for one of the years best Remix’s. If you listen to the original there’s no way it even comes close to matching up to this fine bit of musical ass. You can tell there’s some sort of R n’ B thing going on in the original but Hemsworth figures out how to mask it with all the best indie and electro vibes in town.

5. ON AN ON – The Hunter

Pulled this one (once again) from the December BIRP! playlist. There were quite a few awesome tracks in the playlist this month and this one stood out as great amongst the good. Nothing particularly stands out about these guys in terms of doing things different, it’s just a really cool song and easy to get addicted. Simple yet brilliant.
4. HAIM – Don’t Save Me

What!? An all girl band making it into this playlist!? I thought the Donna’s had completely ruined it for girl band reputations before they even got a chance to intrigue me. But no, the might that is HAIM stormed it’s way into my peripherals before I got stuck on this song basically all friggen week. They’re all sisters too which is pretty cool. They have been described as heavily influenced by 90’s pop and I agree when they say they would have been instantly famous had they released these songs maybe two decades earlier. That being said, old is new these days and retro, for a while now, has been the on trend thing, sky rocketing new bands doing old things to fame. Does that make sense?

3. Wild Cub – Thunder Clatter

Where the hell did Wild Cub come from? They have a whole album out and everything and I’ve only recently heard this song. It’s one of the coolest, jim jam jivenest tracks I’ve heard all year long (it’s still hip to be square right?). Expect to hear them all around you soon, if only in your own earphones. Thunder Clatter is one of those composition that has taken full advantage of the over the top percussion phase that our beloved music industry seems to be going through and I for one hope it never ends. It’s catchy, fast paced and pumps a wicked tempo that gives it top place on my list of best songs to wake up to.
2. Kate Boy – Northern Lights

Why can’t Scani-Pop just migrate to Australia? Joining the likes of Miike Snow, Urban Cone, Lykke Li and Robyn (and probably closer to the latter two in terms of sound), Kate Boy is without a doubt sure to be the next big breaker into the world mainstream. Northern Lights is her first release ever and has already been nominated for a Swedish Grammy. It melts the essence of a really dark, brooding, haggard verse with a confident stuck-in-your-head-for-days type pop chorus to make what is proving to be an unfathomably amazing debut single. 
1. Foals – My Number

Here is the Foals I know and love! Back with a bloody vengeance, sort of releasing this new  track off their upcoming album Holy Fire. I say sort of because it’s not yet available on iTunes in Australia yet so technically I can’t really say its “been released”. I’ve been killing my data for a few days now just listening to this song over and over. It’s that static guitar and funk-like symphony, together with the almost hollow sounding vocals of front man Yannis Philippakis that made me obsessed with Foals in the first place and have now reeled me back in and given My Number top spot without a second thought needed.
With Ten Issue’s under our belt now, make sure to look out for some small changes and a very special festively seasoned Christmas/New Years edition of The Whamtam Ten to be posted in a couple of days.

Hottest of the Hot

So the mighty Triple J Hottest 100 launched it’s voting yesterday at midday and already people are rushing to the front of the queue to make sure their voices are heard. I’m sure they’ll be a plethora of fake email accounts and excess digital device usage in order to scam the system. But in case you’re not aware yet, you’ve got 31 days left to get voting and make sure we have an epic playlist of songs to listen to while we’re firing up those barbeques by the pool on January the 26th, 2013. Anyone who is having trouble deciding what to vote for in the mix of amazing Australian and international artists that have emerged this year, take a quick peek at my choices from yesterday (I’m sure I’ll be on there again to push my agenda).

1. Gold Fields – Dark Again; 2. The Griswolds – The Courtship of Summer Preasley; 3. Northeast Party House – Pascal Cavalier; 4.Passion Pit – Carried Away; 5. The Preatures – Take A Card; 6. Everything Everything – Cough Cough; 7. Clubfeet – Heartbreak (ft. Chela); 8. CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share; 9. Chairlift – I Belong In Your Arms; 10. Buchanan – Run Faster.

Late For Class

Late Of The Pier

Where has Late Of The Pier gone? Their online presence has me believing they are on “hiatus” but really, are they going to come back? They’re like that newly single girl that tells you she’s “staying away from boys for a while” but really she just simply doesn’t like you. Tear. But seriously guys, just make a decision and be honest with us. It’ll be much easier for fans in the long run without the hope that some day you’ll change your mind and come back to us. If you do decide you don’t want to come back, we can all at least find solace in the fact that the stuff you did release was just spiffing and without fault and you’ll never ever get the chance to disappoint us. Except for it being disappointing to never hear any new stuff from you.

For me, their only released album Fantasy Black Channel was a like journeying through levels of a video game. Almost like every song had a completely different landscape from the one before, sometimes becoming harder to get used to but much more rewarding when completed. If you don’t understand what I mean just check out the difference between songs like The Bears Are Coming and Mad Dogs & Englishmen. The sheer musical brilliance in the mix of sounds whether instrumental or digital is mind blowing. Truly a band for every occasion whether it’s breaking out like a retard on the dance floor or thrashing around angrily in your living room when your alone (not that I do that ever). Late Of The Pier, you will be sorely missed.

If you haven’t already heard of Late Of The Pier, here is some of the best and brightest from their collection. Although at the end you’ll be just as sad as I am about them not being around anymore.